So it wasn’t a blood oath
Even before he entered the race for president, Donald Trump set himself apart from his Republican rivals by promising he would protect popular entitlement programs, including Medicare.
“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” he tweeted in May 2015.
The Trump budget plan unveiled Monday would slice Medicare spending by $554 billion over the next 10 years — a 6% reduction. It also outlines nearly $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade to Medicaid, the health program for the poor, and whittles $72 billion from Social Security disability programs.
Overall, the Trump plan calls for a $4.4 trillion budget for next year while adding a projected $7.1 trillion to the national deficit over 10 years — a figure swollen by massive tax cuts.
While cutting domestic programs, it boosts military spending by 7%.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle appeared to dismiss the president’s budget blueprint, saying they will come up with their own. See the story for Newsday by Laura Figueroa Hernandez.
Janison: Swimming in red ink
It seems quaint nowadays, but it wasn’t that long ago — less than two years — that Republicans stood against growing the federal deficit. Trump’s budget plan stands that idea on its head.
In Congress, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been one of the few voices of dissent against a two-year spending increase approved by Congress and Trump last week, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison. Outside conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth are still denouncing bigger budget gaps as irresponsible.
Road to nowhere
Local transportation experts say Trump’s infrastructure plan will do little to address Long Island’s road, bridge and transportation needs, in part because it relies on already-stretched local governments to kick in substantially more than they do now, reports Newsday’s Alfonso A. Castillo.
While crediting Trump for “trying to get the federal government back into the infrastructure game,” Long Island Association president Kevin Law said he hoped the proposal was just the beginning of a negotiation with Congress that would result in substantially more federal investment.
Cat grabbed his tongue?
Trump has gone camera-shy, mic-shy — and Twitter-shy — when it comes to acknowledging women who say they have been victims of domestic abuse, including the two ex-wives of now-ousted aide Rob Porter.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump dictated a statement she read at Monday’s news briefing. “The President supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process,” it said.
So why won’t he say it?
“It’s my job to speak on the behalf of the President,” Sanders replied.
And why was Trump offering good wishes for Porter’s career?
“The president wants success for all Americans,” she said.
Porter ex: My truth vs. Trump
Jennie Willoughby, one of the ex-wives, ripped Trump in an opinion piece for Time, writing, “I want to assure you my truth has not been diminished.
“When Donald Trump repeated twice that Rob declared his innocence, I was floored. What was his intent in emphasizing that point?” she said.
“If the most powerful people in the nation do not believe my story of abuse in the face of overwhelming evidence, then what hope do others have of being heard? ... The truth exists whether the President accepts it or not.”
An opening on North Korea?
The Trump administration is opening the door a little wider to the possibility of talks with North Korea.
Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the Winter Olympics in South Korea, said the U.S. is open for discussions with Kim Jong Un’s regime without preconditions.
Kim has invited the South Korean president for a rare summit, but has given no sign of being ready to talk to the U.S. about its nuclear weapons.
Pence said: “The maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk.”
What else is happening
- While touting his infrastructure plan, Trump said the U.S. should invest in itself “after so stupidly spending $7 trillion in the Middle East” over 17 years. He seemed to mean the wars in Afghanistan (not in the Middle East) and Iraq, which cost an estimated $1.8 trillion, The Washington Post said.
- Trump’s budget projects that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office will still be in business in fiscal year 2019, which begins in October, Politico reports. Mueller’s office has been spending at a rate of $10 million a year.
- Rachel Brand, a top Justice Department official who is leaving for a corporate job, wanted out in part because she didn’t want to inherit oversight of the Russia investigation if Trump fires Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to NBC News.
- Melania Trump's parents from Slovenia -- her father is a former Yugoslav communist official -- are staying in the U.S. But the White House hasn't explained their immigration status or whether they're here on a program the preisdent proposes to kill.
- In a setback for LGBT rights advocates, the Education Department says it won’t investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity, BuzzFeed reports.
- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is running up a big tab for taxpayer-paid first-class air travel, The Washington Post found. A $90,000 spree in early June included a $1,641.43 first-class seat for a short flight from Washington to New York City.
- A pending inspector general’s report faults Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin for accepting Wimbledon tickets and using taxpayers’ money to pay his wife’s airfare during a European trip last summer, USA Today reports. Shulkin’s lawyers say he did nothing wrong.