Trump drops the T-word
Donald Trump on Monday sounded like he was channeling his inner Kim Jong Un as he stewed -- six days afterward -- about Democrats who didn’t applaud his State of the Union speech.
While Republicans were “going totally crazy wild” as he recited his achievements on the economy, the Democrats “were like death, And un-American. Un-American,” Trump complained while speaking at an Ohio factory.
Then he added: “Somebody said treasonous. I mean, yeah, I guess why not. Can we call that treason? Why not. They certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
Equating chilliness toward him by elected representatives in Congress with disloyalty to the nation took the president into new territory. Previously, Trump reserved such accusations for “the FAKE NEWS media,” tweeting it “is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” The NFL players who staged protests during the nation anthem were berated only for “disrespecting” the country.
If Trump ever checked in with his predecessor, he might be reminded that when Democratic presidents give their State of the Union speeches, there are usually more hands resting in laps than clapping on the Republican side of the aisle. Those with curbed enthusiasm were not labeled as traitors.
Ow, ow, ow — the Dow
Trump’s speech, before it veered off script, was meant to boast that the economy is roaring under his presidency.
“Your taxes are going way down. And right now, for the first time in a long time . . . factories are coming back, everything’s coming back,” Trump said.
One favorite Trump line not in the speech: “How’s your 401(k) doing?” Best not to go there on a day the Dow plunged 1,175.21 points, the worst one-day point drop ever.
According to The Washington Post’s fact-checking database, Trump bragged about the rise in the stock market 95 times in his first year as president.
After Monday’s market rout, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The president’s focus is on our long-term economic fundamentals, which remain exceptionally strong.”
Janison: It’s not happening
The Trump White House can churn out drama like no one before, but actions that require movement on Capitol Hill aren’t speaking as loudly as the words.
On immigration, the laws, administrative crackdowns and policies remain as they did before his “shithole countries” remarks, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison. As government funding is about to officially run out again Thursday, deals on budget limits and immigration remain unlikely.
Kicking DACA down the road?
With pessimism growing that Congress can get itself together on immigration, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said one option is a temporary one-year extension of the DACA protections for Dreamers. “That’s probably where we’re headed, OK?” he said.
Trump signaled opposition to a bipartisan proposal by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.). That plan would provide permanent legal status to the young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, while providing funding for modern border security enforcement measures.
Any plan that doesn’t include a border wall “is a total waste of time,” Trump tweeted. See Newsday’s story by Laura Figueroa Hernandez.
Trump loves to Brit-pick
No other country — not Russia, not China, not Mexico — comes in for as much repeated and varied Trump carping over its domestic policies as America’s closest ally, the United Kingdom.
On Monday, after hearing his pal, British far-right pol Nigel Farage, on “Fox & Friends,” Trump tweeted: “The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their . . . system is going broke and not working.”
Farage blames immigrants for burdening the National Health Service. But NHS, a single-payer system, has near-universal support in Britain. The marchers were calling for more funding.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt from the ruling Conservative Party tweeted: “NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage -- where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance.”
High on Nunes
The president tweeted praise for House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) for his memo accusing the FBI and Justice Department of unfairly targeting a former Trump campaign adviser for surveillance.
Trump said Nunes “may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero” and is “a man of tremendous courage and grit.”
Then again, Nunes may not have the firmest handle on details of the Russia investigation. On “Fox & Friends,” Nunes said there is no evidence that Trump ever met another campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, now a cooperating witness for special counsel Robert Mueller.
A photo of Papadopoulos with Trump at a March 2016 meeting of the candidate’s “national security team” was widely published after Papadopolous pleaded guilty in October for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.
Short with Schiff
This week’s memo melodrama: Will Trump allow the release of the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo, authored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)? The House intelligence committee voted Monday to make it public if Trump goes along with declassifications, as he did with Nunes’ handiwork.
“We think this will help inform the public of the many distortions and inaccuracies in the majority memo,” Schiff, the committee’s ranking Democrat, told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that “Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington . . . Must be stopped!” See the story for Newsday by Figueroa.
What else is happening:
- Trump’s lawyers are advising him against a sit-down interview by Mueller out of fear that the president, with a history of saying false things and contradicting himself, could wind up charged with lying to investigators, The New York Times reported. But Trump still wants to talk.
- Give Trump credit. Lots of it. With revenue dipping after the passage of tax cuts, the federal government is on track to borrow nearly $1 trillion this fiscal year — almost double what the government borrowed in fiscal year 2017.
- Kellyanne Conway is taking control of opioid policy for the administration -- and sidelining drug-policy professionals in the process, Politico reports. It raises a basic question: Will anything at all get done?
- Trump’s pick for chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, was sworn in Monday amid the stock market turmoil.
- Trump worried aloud during his Ohio speech that Republicans could suffer in the midterm elections because “the people are happy . . . and they don’t get out and vote like they should. Maybe they go to a movie.”
- Players from the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles said they would turn down any invitation from Trump to the winning team’s customary White House celebration. The decision “goes beyond politics . . . I don’t think he is a good person,” tweeted wide receiver Torrey Smith.
- Trump tweeted a shout-out to “Fox & Friends,” his morning must-watch, “for exposing the truth.” His tweets about Schiff and Nunes came after the show aired clips of both congressmen. No word whether his intelligence briefers hear such gratitude.
- Vice President Mike Pence left on a trip to Japan and South Korea. White House officials said a key aim is to ensure North Korea doesn’t “hijack” the Winter Olympics as it participates on a joint team with the South.