Trump’s reasons to believe
The power of the sexual predator stories about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has been undeniable.
Republican leaders of the Senate and House called the women accusing Moore credible and disowned him. The White House backed decisions by GOP’s national campaign arms to end support.
The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump said, “There is a special place in hell for people who prey on children” and “I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.”
Now, after a long silence, President Donald Trump sees a reason -- the GOP’s 52-48 majority. “We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat -- (Doug) Jones,” Trump told reporters on his way from the White House for a Mar-a-Lago holiday.
So believe Moore, not the nine women? “He denies it,” Trump said 10 times.
The last Fox News poll showed Moore -- once favored -- down by 8 points. Could Trump’s popularity in Alabama rescue him? He didn’t rule out campaigning for Moore before the Dec. 12 special election.
‘Special time’ for women
Moore aside, Trump said the torrent of sexual harassment allegations against powerful and prominent men is a good thing.
“Women are very special. I think it’s a very special time because a lot of things are coming out, and I think that’s good for our society, and I think it’s very, very good for women ... I’m very happy it’s being exposed,” Trump said.
Asked whether Congress should make public the names of lawmakers whose harassment accusers collected settlements, Trump said, “I think they should.”
Trump also has been accused of harassment, and called those women liars. The flurry of charges Trump faced in the homestretch of his campaign is another reason he has been warming lately toward Moore, according to Politico.
President "ME" taps again
True to form, Trump wandered early Wednesday into the realm of trash talk on Twitter against an antagonist of a much lesser power. Once again, the purported leader of the free world squawked about LaVar Ball, who Trump feels is ungrateful for helping resolve a shoplifting charge in China against Ball's son LiAngelo and two other college basketball players.
The pouting president posted this new gem at 5:25 a.m.: "It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME. Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think."
And continuing at 5:33 a.m.:
Silence on air tragedy...
One Air Force pilot was killed and another injured on Monday in a crash of a T-38 Talon 14 miles from their base in Texas, according to the Pentagon. Flights from the Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio were grounded through Thanksgiving weekend.
Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that he is headed back to Mar-a-Lago and crowed: "Military building up and getting very strong." No expression of concern as of midmorning from the White House on the crash Monday afternoon, near the Texas-Mexico border.
...but a tweet on latest crash
Trump did break silence later in the morning on the matter of a U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 passengers and crew members on board that crashed off Okinawa en route to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in the Philippine Sea. Eight were rescued in good condition with three personnel still the subject of a search, officials said.
Trump's brief tweet on that incident is posted here.
An Obama legacy wobbles on
Trump couldn’t resist sticking his fork -- lightheartedly this time -- in Barack Obama as he presided over his first pre-Thanksgiving turkey-pardoning ceremony at the White House.
Trump ceremoniously spared the lives of this year’s guests, Drumstick and Wishbone, and said he would not try to undo Obama’s act of mercy for last year’s lucky birds.
“I’ve been very active in overturning a number of executive actions by my predecessor,” Trump said. “However, I have been informed by the White House Counsel’s Office that Tater and Tot’s pardons cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked.”
Janison: The not-welcome mat
Nearly a year into Trump’s administration, he’s still fighting on several fronts to make his pledges to curb immigration stick, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
A federal judge has thrown up a new roadblock on the attempt to cut off funding to “sanctuary cities” that won’t collaborate with the federal government on deportations.
Court battles continue on the latest versions of the travel ban from Muslim nations, and Homeland Security’s inspector general suggested senior officials stalled release of his findings on how the first travel ban rollout in January was botched.
Border agents mystery
After a border agent was killed and another was badly hurt in southwest Texas about 30 miles from the Mexican border, Trump tweeted Sunday that “We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible” and added: “We will, and must, build the Wall!”
The FBI said Tuesday that it’s still uncertain whether the agents were victims of an attack, though the case is being investigated as “potential assault.” An official told The Associated Press that the dead agent may have fallen down a culvert. The surviving agent has no memory of what happened.
Union officials said it looked like the men had been assaulted with rocks.
What else is happening:
- Trump spent more than an hour on the phone with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, discussing Syria, Iran, North Korea and Ukraine, according to the White House. It was a “great call,” Trump said.
- Trump’s golf course in Westchester County paid back more than $158,000 to Trump’s foundation this year -- a reimbursement for money taken from the charity to settle a lawsuit against the club, The Washington Post reported.
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is defending his management of the State Department, even as his spokeswoman has acknowledged low morale among staff.
- The Trump administration is considering naming Thomas Brunell, a Texas politics professor with no government experience, to a key U.S. Census Bureau post, Politico reports. His background has raised concerns on whether minorities who lean Democrat would be fairly counted.