President Donald Trump visited war-torn Iraq for the first time during the fifth day of his spearheaded government shutdown. The 72-year-old admitted to reporters that he was “scared” for his safety and the safety of his wife, First Lady Melania Trump.
The two traveled on a secret overnight flight from Washington, D.C. and landed in pitch dark territory. It’s been 15 years since the American invasion.
“If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price,” Trump said at the Al Asad Air Base, where he landed after dark with Mrs. Trump. “Sometimes that’s also a monetary price, so we’re not the suckers of the world. We’re no longer the suckers, folks. And people aren’t looking at us as suckers.”
President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas. pic.twitter.com/s2hntnRwpw
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 26, 2018
According to CNN, Trump recently ordered a drawdown of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan and, citing the destruction of ISIS, a complete withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Syria — which came against the advice of his military generals and top national security officials.
Is Trump on a surprise visit to Afghanistan? Turkey? Flight trackers show that one of two planes used for Air Force One (92-9000/VC-25) using what appears to be a fake HEXCODE of AE47C4, departed Andrews Air Force base at midnight. Transponders changed or disabled near Romania. pic.twitter.com/JtVzEPUoLv
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 26, 2018
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Trump Knew Coronavirus Could Be a Crisis but ‘Made Clear’ Lower Numbers ‘Were Better’ for His Re-Election: Report
Politico reporter Dan Diamond is out with a bombshell story about how President Donald Trump and his administration not only botched the management of what is now the coronavirus pandemic, but clearly took steps that were not in the best interest of the public in order to help the President’s re-election efforts.
In short, according to Diamond, Trump was warned “the new coronavirus could be a major problem,” but “made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus… the better for his potential reelection.”
In this interview Diamond tells NPR’s Terry Gross that President Trump “did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.”
Just to be clear, let’s look at that again: Trump “did not push to do aggressive additional testing” and “had made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.”
NPR took to Twitter to ensure the quote was clear, emphasizing that it was indeed President Trump’s decision to not push for testing – in order to keep the documented cases of coronavirus as low as possible – despite the clear public health risks.
Seeing a lot of attention on this quote and want to be clear about what we’ve previously reported.
1) The president attached to rosy scenarios about coronavirus, fixated on case count and conveyed to staff that low numbers were better politics for 2020. https://t.co/d9hzvQBCig
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) March 12, 2020
(It does not seem to be a stretch to say that the lack of testing – for whatever reason – will likely lead to coronavirus related deaths.)
Diamond says that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar “did go to the president in January. He did push past resistance from the president’s political aides to warn the president the new coronavirus could be a major problem. There were aides around Trump – Kellyanne Conway had some skepticism at times that this was something that needed to be a presidential priority.”
So Conway, who just days ago on national television lied, insisting the Trump administration had “contained” the coronavirus outbreak, reportedly didn’t think a global pandemic – it has been clear that’s where this was headed – was important enough to involve the President.
Diamond tells Gross that “some of the decisions behind the scenes haven’t always reflected the best judgment of career professionals.”
Clearly that’s correct.
There’s a great deal more of how the Trump administration has not just mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic, but horrifically mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic, and in some cases to benefit Trump’s re-election efforts. The NPR interview is 44 minutes long. You can read it or listen to it at NPR, or listen to it below.
Image by The White House via Flickr
‘Already Dead to Us’: Trump Admin to Declare International Criminal Court at The Hague ‘Illegitimate’
The Trump administration is poised to declare the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague “illegitimate.” It is a move that will further distance the United States from its allies and make it easier for the world to view America as uninterested in abiding by a common set of rules and moral standards.
“We will not cooperate with the ICC,” Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton (photo) will say in a hard-hitting speech to a far right wing group, the Federalist Society. “We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”
The International Criminal Court was created to adjudicate international war crimes and acts of terrorism. 123 nations belong to the organization, which has indicted more than three dozen people during its history.
“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton is also expected to say, as Reuters reports.
Bolton is expected to threaten the ICC, saying the United States “will fight back” against the international judicial body if it opens what Reuters describes as “an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by U.S. service members and intelligence professionals during the war in Afghanistan.”
During his speech Bolton is also expected to announce the Trump administration will kick the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) out of Washington, D.C., in a move seen as working to protect Israel.
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