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Threats grow after dining rows, and Trump joins the incitement

Maria Rojas, of West Columbia, S.C., berates CNN

Maria Rojas, of West Columbia, S.C., berates CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, right, before President Donald Trump speaks at a rally there on Monday. Credit: AP / Richard Shiro

Ain’t that a shame

C’mon, did anyone really expect Donald Trump to tweet, “Can’t we all just get along?”

There is anxiety among cooler heads from both sides of the aisle that last week’s shaming confrontations of Trump officials at restaurants could morph into something uglier and more dangerous. Yet to firebrand Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Trumpies were getting their just desserts.

Video showed her telling a Los Angeles crowd that if they see a Trump Cabinet member “in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

The comments drew rebukes from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) “No one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American,” Schumer said.

In tweets, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) decried “politics on both sides so tribal” that it “isn’t far removed from irrational gang rivalries driven by what neighborhood you live in or what colors you wear.”

Trump — who as a candidate urged rallygoers to punch out protesters — weighed in, too. As if Waters’ comments weren’t incendiary enough, he exaggerated them as a call “for harm to supporters.” His tweet labeled Waters “an extraordinarily low IQ person” and ended ominously: “Be careful what you wish for Max!”

Freedom of screech

You don’t have to be part of Trump’s team to get harassed by strangers with agendas while trying to go about your life. It happens to ordinary Americans too, like Esteban Guzman, an IT systems administrator who was helping his mom doing landscaping work in Running Springs, California.

A video shows a woman who came from across the street to scream at them. Guzman asks “Why do you hate us?”

“Because you’re Mexicans,” she responded. “Rapists. And animals ... drug dealers.” The words echo those that Trump has used to justify his immigration policies.

He sticks a fork in it

He’s never been there, but Trump tweeted a review of The Red Hen, the restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, whose co-owner asked press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave Friday night because she speaks for an “inhumane and unethical” administration.

“The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!” he said.

Actually, The Red Hen did fine on its most recent health inspection, contrasting favorably with restaurants at some Trump properties. Inspectors in April found 10 violations at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and gave it a “moderate risk” rating. In 2017, Fox News reported 78 violations over a three-year period at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Is Trump more hospitable to those who say things he doesn’t like? As president-elect, he personally ejected the author of an unflattering biography of him from his West Palm Beach golf course.

Janison: What emergency?

Trump’s rationale for his border crackdown is that the country is being overrun by illegal immigration. To turn the corner, he now argues, “We must immediately, with no judges or court cases, bring them back from where they came.”

Is it really a crisis demanding drastic action? A border city mayor — Tony Martinez of Brownsville, Texas — told The New York Times: “There is not a crisis in the city of Brownsville with regards to safety and security. ... Most of the people that are migrating are from Central America. ... They’re trying to just save their own lives.”

Government data indicate unauthorized crossings from Mexico have declined long-term. Border arrests spiked in March over the same period in 2017, but remained lower than in 2013 and 2014. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.

Tariffs backfire on Harley

In 2016, Wisconsin was one of Trump’s biggest surprise wins. In 2018, it’s getting caught in the crossfire of Trump’s trade war.

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson said it will shift some of its production to factories outside the United States to avoid EU tariffs on motorcycles it sells in Europe. The EU action was in retaliation for the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe.

Wisconsin cheesemakers also fear losing access to foreign markets — including Canada, Mexico and parts of Asia — from the escalating tariff fights and new trade agreements among other countries that put them at a growing disadvantage, The New York Times reported.

Trump is enjoying strong poll numbers for his handling of the economy, but that could be at risk if more U.S. businesses that depend on trade take hits.

‘Fake’ news, fully baked

On Thursday, the Justice Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection denied a report that parents and children who entered the country illegally would no longer be referred for prosecution under the “zero tolerance” policy.

On Monday, the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleen, said he had temporarily stopped referring for criminal prosecution adults who cross the border illegally with children. Since when? Since Thursday, after Trump’s executive order to stop separating families, he said.

Sanders said at her briefing: “We’re not changing the policy. We’re simply out of resources.”

What else is happening

  • Playing the flattery card as he addressed Trump on a White House visit, Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein praised “your humility and your grace.” Said Trump: “That’s probably the nicest compliment I’ve been given in a long time.”
  • Stormy Daniels’ planned meeting Monday with investigators in the Michael Cohen investigation was canceled. Prosecutors complained that the porn star’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, tipped off the news media Sunday, breaching the “required confidentiality.” Avenatti denied it.
  • Cohen’s lawyers are claiming attorney-client privilege for more than 12,000 of the 4 million files seized from him in raids by federal agents.
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis, once a Trump favorite, is out of the loop these days and has been blindsided by presidential decisions such as pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and suspending military exercises with South Korea, NBC News reports.
  • The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating whether EPA aides have been dismissed or demoted as retaliation for questioning EPA boss Scott Pruitt’s decisions and spending, CNN reported.
  • Fox News has suspended former Trump campaign official David Bossie for two weeks after he told a black panelist during an on-air argument, “You’re out of your cotton-picking mind,” The Daily Beast reported.

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