Trump’s ‘ill-informed’ tweet
Soon after reports emerged that attackers plowed down pedestrians along the London Bridge and stabbed others nearby in a bloody rampage, world leaders dispatched messages of support.
“My thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote in a statement: “Today we are united across borders in horror and mourning, but also in determination.”
“Awful news from London tonight,” wrote Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump took to his favorite social media platform to lobby for his proposed travel ban and to criticize “political correctness” on anti-terror measures, reports Newsday’s Tom Brune and Scott Eidler.
“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” Trump tweeted.
Keep alarmed and carry on...
As London Mayor Sadiq Khan reassured residents the city was ramping up its police presence, urging them not to be alarmed in the coming days by the amplified security presence, Trump took a portion of Khan’s comments to attack the mayor’s response.
“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’ ” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s tweets spurred criticism from officials on both sides of the pond, reports The Washington Post.
“There’s every reason to stand together in defence of our values — you don’t do that by spreading alarm,” wrote John King, the European Union’s top security official in a tweet to Trump.
Former Vice President Al Gore, during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union, said: “I don’t think that a major terrorist attack like this is a time to be divisive and to criticize a mayor who’s trying to organize his city’s response to this attack.”
A spokesman for Khan later responded that the mayor “has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks.”
...And carry on some more
"The courts are slow and political!" complained the president in an early-Monday tweet, saying "we are EXTREME VETTING people (sic)" who come to the U.S.
The Justice Department, which he controls as part of his job, "should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.," he grieved.
And also: "The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court - & seek much tougher version!"
Trump did not say if he will get his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to do that.
Trump’s trillion-dollar plan
On Monday, Trump kicks off a weeklong effort to sell Congress on his $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan.
Trump’s five-day effort to rally support behind the plan that pushes for more public-private partnerships to fund roadway and transportation repairs comes as former FBI Director James Comey is slated to testify before the Senate Intelligence committee on Thursday about the probe into Russian interference in last year’s presidential race.
The White House is looking to draw attention back to Trump’s economic agenda and away from the string of controversies that have hovered over the Oval Office, including the Russia probe and Comey’s abrupt firing.
“Infrastructure is a priority of his,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last week. “So the president’s legislative agenda is in full swing.”
Trump will deliver an address Monday from the Rose Garden that outlines a proposal to privatize the air traffic control duties that are currently handled by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to The Associated Press. On Wednesday, Trump will travel to Ohio and Kentucky to talk about rural infrastructure projects and will meet Thursday with various governors and mayors about funding projects. The president is slated to meet with Department of Transportation officials on Friday.
White House officials have said the infrastructure plan counts on cities and some states to fund more of their infrastructure needs, reports Politico. A senior White House official told the AP, the “plan might also incentivize local governments to sell their existing infrastructure to private firms.”
Putin: Flynn who?
Vladimir Putin, in a sit-down interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, downplayed reports that he shared a close relationship with Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“You and I, you and I personally, have a much closer relationship than I had with Mr. Flynn,” Putin told Kelly, during the debut of her Sunday news program.
“I didn’t even really talk to him,” Putin said of his first encounter with Flynn at a 2005 dinner celebrating the Russian news outlet Russia Today.
Putin said he was not aware of his ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, meeting with Trump campaign aides, as has been reported.
“Do you think I have time to talk to our ambassadors every day, all over the world?” Putin said.
Gore: Trump ‘reckless’
Former Vice President Al Gore, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his environmental advocacy work, described Trump’s recent withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement as “reckless.”
“I think it was indefensible and undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens the ability of humanity to solve the climate crisis in time,” Gore told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The decision was a terribly mistaken decision, but in the aftermath of that decision, we need to move forward regardless of what he decides.”
Gore, who met with Trump at Trump Tower during his transition to discuss climate change, told Tapper he had not spoken to Trump since then.
“”I thought that he would come to his senses on it, but he didn’t,” Gore said, noting that he has spoken on occasion to Ivanka Trump, who had supported remaining in the Paris agreement.
The former Democratic presidential candidate lauded dozens of cities, states — including New York — and business leaders that have pledged to abide by the Paris agreement’s principles.
“The Paris agreement was really historic,” he said. “But it laid the foundation for the faster progress that’s needed in order to solve the climate crisis in time. And we could have faster progress with presidential leadership, but we’re going to keep moving forward regardless of President Trump.”
The boss 'believes,' Haley believes
While Trump’s aides have dodged questions this week on whether the president believes climate change is real, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said, during an interview with CNN, that Trump does believe humans have a role in climate change.
“President Trump believes the climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of the equation,” Haley said, later adding, “Just because the U.S. got out of a club, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to care about the environment.”
It was not clear if this interpretation was based on anything Trump purportedly told Haley personally.
The take-away: Payment plan
How will the Trump administration pay for its sweeping plan to rebuild and repair roadways, airports and other transit hubs?
The question has come into focus as Trump is set to unveil more details of his $1 trillion infrastructure plan this week.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said recently: “The administration’s goal is to seek long-term reform on how infrastructure projects are regulated, funded, delivered and maintained.”
That goal seems to include pushing costs from the federal government onto states, localities and private entities, which raises concerns about which private interests, foreign and domestic, might profit from public assets, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
What else is happening
- As Trump weighs the United States’ next move in Afghanistan, he is hearing from competing voices — the generals in the cabinet, who favor increased U.S. intervention, and his political advisers, who believe sending more troops overseas will leave him politically vulnerable, reports The New York Times.
- Dismantling Obama programs aside, the question remains what affirmative steps Trump will take in collaboration with Congress.
- Kellyanne Conway seems to be saying that Trump's own tweets are no way to track what he's thinking or doing as president.
- Despite the rumors, Reince Priebus survives as White House chief of staff, in part because nobody else wants the job.
- The president's tweets will provide a “treasure trove” of information for special prosecutor Robert Mueller as he launches an independent probe into Russia and its ties to Trump campaign aides, reports Politico.
- Financier Richard Spencer has been selected for Navy secretary. Spencer is Trump’s second pick, after his first choice, Philip Bilden, withdrew his nomination.
- A health care bill looks highly unlikely this year, according to top Republican senators.