North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un allegedly reappeared in public yesterday — at the ribbon cutting of a fertilizer plant — after being MIA for 20 days following rumors of him being “gravely ill” after heart surgery.
Trump confusingly said Monday evening, “I do know how he’s doing, relatively speaking,” and “I hope he’s fine,” before stating, “I can’t tell you, [but] yes, I do have a very good idea… I just wish him well. You’ll probably be hearing in the not too distant future.”
Two years ago, Trump said of himself and Kim, “The relationship is very good. He likes me. I like him. Some people say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t like him.’ I said, ‘Why shouldn’t I like him?’ I like him. We get along great. We’ll see what happens.” His comments made sense considering his admiration for strongman leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte.
But Trump was far terser and much less chummy about Kim Friday evening though. When asked about Kim’s health shortly before the North Korean leader’s reappearance, Trump said, “I’d rather not comment on it yet. We’ll have something to say about it at the appropriate time.” It was a rather short reply for a guy who has boasted about re-kindling warm relations between the U.S. and the Stalinist dictatorship.
Trump could just be choosing his words carefully now because Margaret Croy, an expert on East Asian nuclear proliferation, has said North Korea’s fertilizer plants could actually help the country create nuclear materials by extracting uranium from phosphoric acids.
If so, then Trump’s newfound silence about Kim may underscore Trump’s failure to achieve his Sept. 27, 2017 goal of North Korea’s “complete denuclearization.”
Quick history recap: After nearly two years of saber-rattling — with Trump tightening sanctions and cutting off humanitarian aid while Kim tested missiles towards Japan, South Korea, and Russia — Trump met with Kim in a June 2018 Singapore summit. There, Trump declared Kim “an honorable partner,” despite Kim murdering his own half-brother, his own uncle, American student Otto Warmbier and using secret camps to work, torture, and starve political dissenters and their families.
Thinking the U.S. could get more with honey than vinegar, Trump furthered his historic ambitions with Kim in late June 2019 by meeting him North Korea — a U.S. presidential first. By then, Trump said he wasn’t in a rush to rid the country of its nukes; he later tweeted that it was no longer a threat, though he didn’t say why.
Despite their agreements to restart nuke negotiations, nothing has materialized since.
Even though Trump and Kim “fell in love” after meeting, bringing the two closer than any U.S. and North Korean leader ever have been, and even though North Korea hasn’t launched a missile or conducted a nuclear test since fall of 2017, Trump knows he hasn’t de-neutralized Kim as a regional threat. In fact, as recently as a year ago, Kim was busy rebuilding a long-range rocket test site.
So now, as Kim’s first public appearance in two weeks hints at his continuing nuclear ambitions, it highlights Trump’s failure to secure a North Korean peace declaration or nuclear ban — something no American president has been able to do — effectively undermining his persona as a dealmaker and showing just how little he has actually achieved with his new friend.
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George Santos Says Man Interviewed for Staff Position ‘Violated’ His Trust After Secretly Recording Conversation
The freshman New York Republican lawmaker who is believed to be under multiple DOJ and local investigations, suggests the candidate handed the recordings over to Talking Points Memo, and says he expects an article will be published there Thursday evening, after the news site contacted his office.
“According to Santos, his office had been in the process of hiring Derek Myers for a position, but paused when they saw he faces wiretapping charges in Ohio after publishing recorded court testimony — obtained from a source, he said — as part of a story for a small newspaper,” Semafor reports. “FIRE, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to First Amendment issues, has defended Myers, arguing local authorities in the state were criminalizing legitimate journalism.”
“While they said they expect the audio will just show them questioning him about his specific circumstances, it’s unknown if he recorded other exchanges.”
Regardless, Santos is taking action.
The GOP congressman accursed of deceiving his constituents with countlessly false claims that helped get him elected, says he is going to report Myers to the Biden administration, claiming he has a White House press pass.
Santos says he wants Myers’ White House press pass to be revoked, after Myers, the congressman says, claimed to have one.
“He should have that revoked if it’s true, if it’s even remotely true he has it,” Santos told Semafor.
It’s not known if Myers does, and if so it’s unlikely it’s a permanent hard pass. It’s also unlikely it would be revoked if Myers did not break the law.
Semafor adds in Washington, D.C. it is legal to record your own conversation with another party without obtaining their consent.
‘They’re Not Taking My Gas Stove’: Joe Manchin Teams Up With Hard Core Republicans to Promote False Claims
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is again promoting the false claim that the federal government is planning to remove gas stoves from private homes, after news last month revealed once more the open-flame appliances are responsible for hundreds of thousands of cases of children’s asthma.
“They’re not taking my gas stove out,” said Manchin, who has made millions from coal and protects his state – which ranks in the top five for production of natural gas – at every turn.
Manchin, a rare breed of conservative Democrat, announced in a Senate hearing on Thursday that he is teaming up with Republican Senators Ted Cruz and James Lankford to fuel the unfounded fears of the federal government coming to rip gas stoves out of Americans’ homes – fears promoted by the right.
“Gas stoves have been in the news lately and I’ve come out strongly against the Consumer Product Safety Commission pursuing any ban of gas stoves,” Manchin declared, despite there being no possibility of that. “In fact, I’m introducing legislation today with Senator Cruz that would ensure that they don’t and separately sending a letter to the commission with Senator Lankford.”
“I’ve always been a proponent of energy efficiency,” Manchin continued, “but the draft proposes efficiency levels that DOE [Dept. of Energy] says at the highest level, up to 96% of gas stoves don’t currently meet. I don’t like where I think they’re going with this and I tell you one thing, they’re not taking my gas stove put. My wife and I would both be upset.”
Manchin went on the claim the Biden administration is “looking to find ways to push out natural gas.”
And he warned the feds to stay out of his kitchen.
“Like I said before,” Manchin declared, “the federal government doesn’t have any business telling American families how to cook their dinner.”
The federal government does have a responsibility, by law, to warn Americans of health and safety issues in their homes. For decades it has been doing just that.
But the West Virginia Senator went even further, stating: “retrofitting or removing stoves that people have had for years is not going to happen.”
Manchin isn’t just blowing smoke – he has a lot at stake in the “gas stove war.”
“West Virginia is the fourth-largest producer of marketed natural gas in the nation,” according to a federal government December report.
“At every step of his political career, Joe Manchin helped a West Virginia power plant that is the sole customer of his private coal business. Along the way, he blocked ambitious climate action,” The New York Times reported last year. It called the West Virginia Democrat “the single most important figure shaping the nation’s energy and climate policy.”
Watch Sen. Manchin below or at this link.
“They’re not taking my gas stove out!” pic.twitter.com/P4zFGC6Kqp
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 2, 2023
‘Firehose of Disinformation’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders Picked to Deliver State of the Union Response in Nod to Trump (Video)
Trump White House press secretary turned Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been chosen by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address next week.
Speaker McCarthy hailed Huckabee Sanders, 40, as the nation’s “youngest governor” on Thursday afternoon in remarks to reporters (below).
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 2, 2023
The former press secretary was quickly endorsed by Trump, ran a campaign carefully crafted away from the press, and has no relevant experience to run a state.
“Can Sarah Huckabee Sanders be elected governor without ever taking questions or talking specifics about public policy?” Arkansas Times’ senior editor Max Brantley asked rhetorically last summer, calling her campaign “stealth.”
“Her inauguration marks the first time in 42 years Arkansas will have a governor without any experience in elected office,” the AP noted last month.
“She clearly has some national aspirations,” University of Arkansas political science professor Janine Parry told the Associated Press last month. “In order to fulfill those, it’s likely she’ll have to show some capacity for governance.”
According to Speaker McCarthy, she has already accomplished a lot in her first 23 days as governor.
Although McCarthy did not offer any specifics, CNN did: “Within 48 hours of being sworn in as governor, Sanders signed a flurry of executive orders, with one targeting critical race theory ‘to prohibit indoctrination’ in schools and another banning the use of the term ‘Latinx’ in official state documents.”
After the announcement was made, Huckabee Sanders tweeted, “I’m honored to have the opportunity to address the nation after the State of the Union on Tuesday. What America needs – and what Republicans are offering – is a return to common sense and a commitment to the ideals that made America the land of the free and home of the brave.”
But in a joint statement with McCarthy and McConnell, Huckabee Sanders took a much different tone.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to address the nation and contrast the GOP’s optimistic vision for the future against the failures of President Biden and the Democrats. We are ready to begin a new chapter in the story of America – to be written by a new generation of leaders ready to defend our freedom against the radical left and expand access to quality education, jobs, and opportunity for all.”
Responding to the news, critics online pointed to Huckabee Sanders’ history that was fraught with controversy and false claims in the Trump White House.
Indeed, conservative critic Charlie Sykes on MSNBC pointed to Huckabee Sanders’ ties to Trump, telling Andrea Mitchell that Huckabee Sanders was “a firehose of misinformation and disinformation” during the “Trump era,” and noted she has been “prioritizing the culture war” in her short tenure as governor.
“Yet another data point about the Republican party not moving on from the Trump years,” he added.
GOP taps Sarah Huckabee Sanders to deliver the Republican response to Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday, a pick that Charlie Sykes says is “yet another data point about the Republican party not moving on from the Trump years.” pic.twitter.com/eXAasOQWQ9
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 2, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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