Trump praises his first 100 days

In typical fashion Donald Trump praised his first 100 days as president.

President Trump: In my first 100 days, I kept my promise to Americans

One hundred days ago, I took the oath of office and made a pledge: We are not merely going to transfer political power from one party to another, but instead are going to transfer that power from Washington, D.C., and give it back to the people.

In the past 100 days, I have kept that promise — and more.

Issue by issue, department by department, we are giving the people their country back. After decades of a shrinking middle class, open borders and the mass offshoring of American jobs and wealth, this government is working for the citizens of our country and no one else.

The same establishment media that concealed these problems — and profited from them — is obviously not going to tell this story. That is why we are taking our message directly to America.

He details all the things he has achieved and concludes:

The White House is once again the People’s House. And I will do everything in my power to be the People’s President — to faithfully, loyally and proudly champion the incredible citizens who love this nation and who call this God-blessed land their home.

But he has also complained about how hard it is to get things done

And not everyone sees his successes ahead of his difficulties.

 

One thing Trump seems to desperately succeed at is popularity, and he has a way to go there, and this sort of thing will grate:

He continues to blame the media:

At PA Rally, Trump Says Media Deserves “Big, Fat Failing Grade”

“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from the Washington swamp spending my evening with all of you and with a much larger crowd and much better people,” he added.

Trump touted his record while slamming reporters as “incompetent, dishonest people.” He said the press should also be judged for its performance in the past 100 days.

“If the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth, then I think we would all agree the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade,” he said.

But a majority of Americans still seem to be unimpressed.

RCP Average President Trump Job Approval:

RCPApproval2017-04-30

That is likely to be the pollsters fault of course.

The missile/bomb bounce has largely levelled off at a significant deficit. Trump has a lot to prove yet, to a lot of people.

Q&A today

A not very riveting line up on Q+A today.

This could be a bit interesting and is no doubt contentious in the Coast:

A West Coast council is looking at whether to offer up cutting rights for native trees on public land.

The West Coast council and ‘sustainable’ timber business wants to pluck logs out of native forest and they can provide revenue and jobs..

Russel Norman says that the largely ancient forest ecosystems should be left alone and I think it’s hard to argue against that.

Looking back on Murray McCully’s political history (the most interesting bits will probably remain secret):

Foreign Minister Murray McCully is finishing up his 30 year political career. He sits down with Jessica Mutch to discuss the highs and lows.

I was never a fan of McCully, but he seems to have risen to the task of being Foreign Minister, with a few significant question marks.

McCully says he doesn’t feel uncomfortable with any major decisions he’s been involved in. He acknowledges a couple of ‘blemishes’ but won’t give details.

Russel Norman concedes some positives but laments what he sees is the biggest negative – a lack of progress on climate change.

100 days of President Trump

There’s a lot being said about the first 100 days of President Trump. Trump himself says what he has achieved is not important, except for the things he has achieved and the publicity he can get about marking the a00 day inchstone.

It’s early days for the most inexperienced president with the most inexperienced administration for a long time.

His base seems to be still happy and forgiving, but he has lost some support and he has the lowest approval levels for a president at this stage of his tenure.

AOL: ‘Get off of Twitter’: As Trump nears day 100, some stirrings of discontent

Some of his supporters fret that President Donald Trump is backing himself into a corner with promises that can’t be kept. Others lament he is not pulling America from international conflicts as he vowed – or say he should “get off of Twitter.”

What reporters found this time in more than two dozen interviews is that Trump voters are largely standing with their man but with signs of restlessness, mainly over foreign policy, concerns over getting legislation through Congress and some skepticism that he won’t be able to follow through with promises – from building a wall along the Mexican border to repealing Obama’s signature healthcare law.

But rather than bash Trump, many largely blamed Democrats and Republicans alike, a fractured Congress, the federal judiciary, and what they see as a hostile news media.

Taking Trump’s lead perhaps they blame everyone else.

They showed a willingness to trust the president almost implicitly, saw him as a tireless worker, and appreciated his efforts to secure the border and curb immigration.

I don’t know where they see him as a tireless worker.

An analysis of Reuters/Ipsos polling data shows slippage in Trump’s approval ratings, with lower enthusiasm among white men without a college degree, the core of his political base.

In comparing Trump’s approval rating in the first 20 days of his tenure to a 20-day period in April, Reuters also found a rise in disapproval among independents, college-educated adults, people with below-average incomes, white women and white Millennials.

The RCP job approval average: 43.1% approve, 51.9% disapprove.

In a statement touting Trump’s record in the first 100 days, the White House highlighted, among other things, his attempts to streamline government by proposing a lean budget, and his aggressiveness in foreign affairs, particularly with regard to challenging Russia and Iran.

Trump: “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days”.

Politifact: Seven whoppers from Trump’s first 100 days

  1. “Terrorism and terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe have “gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” Feb. 6
  2. “I didn’t know Steve (Bannon),” April 11
  3. “109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers” were affected by the immigration executive order, Feb. 5
  4. Says “the New York Times wrote about” Barack Obama wiretapping Donald Trump during the election,  March 15
  5. “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.” March 20
  6. “The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!”, April 18
  7. “The National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion,” Feb. 25

Supporters seem to believe him regardless, or don’t care when he states ‘alternative facts’.

The Weekend Australian: Donald Trump is growing into his power role

For US President Donald Trump, arriving at the first milestone of his young presidency, old habits have died hard.

Determined to bend the institution of the presidency to fit his own improvisational style, Mr Trump’s Oval Office routine isn’t materially different from how he operated for years on the 26th floor of Trump Tower: He continues to work the phones and watch hours of television every day. He has also refused to give up tweeting for himself from his own ­mobile phone.

But Mr Trump’s increasing focus on his first 100 days as an important measuring stick has compelled him to accept some of the intractable realities in Washington and the world. Officials close to the President say in recent weeks he has corrected course after acknowledging a slow transition from campaign mode.

At the same time, Mr Trump has spent the days leading up to his 100th day in office racing to fulfil campaign promises, signalling he may withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, trying to coax congress into a new healthcare deal, and rolling out the broad outlines of what would be a massive tax-cut undertaking.

On Monday, press secretary Sean Spicer called Mr Trump’s first 100 days a success because he has set a course for future action. “Think about what he started — he’ll move forward on tax reform, healthcare, on immigration, on trade. It’s been a hugely successful 100 days,” Mr Spicer said.

Mr Trump does have one unquestionable, lasting accomplishment: the nomination of new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a 49-year-old conservative likely to maintain his place on the bench for several decades.

Fox News: Sen. David Perdue: Donald Trump, 100 days and the art of the turnaround

Turnarounds are messy. Turnarounds take time. Turnarounds often break some eggs in the early stages, but a successful turnaround starts with a serious change in direction.

President Trump immediately signified that change when he nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.

That was one of the few things Trump didn’t turn around on.

President Trump signaled his willingness to significantly restructure and cut down the size of the federal government. He directed all federal agencies to identify and root out waste. He’s taken action to review overreaching federal rules – like the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. and Clean Power Plan – that are holding back our economy.

Additionally, Congress has embarked on the boldest rollback of federal regulations since Ronald Reagan by passing thirteen pieces of legislation dismantling the current regulatory regime.

In a successful turnaround, you have to be willing to adapt to any unforeseen challenges. President Trump has done so when it comes to making major policy changes to our health care system and changing our archaic tax code to provide middle-class relief and boost our competitiveness with the rest of the world.

The challenges of dumping Obamacare shouldn’t have been unforeseen, but Trump has said that that, like the presidency, was much harder than he anticipated.

Largely as a result of these efforts, we’re seeing the early signs of a potential economic turnaround. Job one is to grow the economy and create jobs, and there are clear signs that we are moving in the right direction.

Equally important, America is re-engaging with our allies and others globally.

International engagement has been very uneven.

The reality is President Trump’s early success is a direct result of his refusal to conform to Washington as we know it.

From what I’ve witnessed personally, President Trump is a thoughtful leader. He brings diverse stakeholders to the table and drives consensus. He outlines a clear mission and moves at a business pace, not a bureaucratic pace.

That’s highly debatable.

Real Clear Politics: After 100 Days, These Things Will Stick

President Trump, who produced a contract for the voter last October that outlined all that he would accomplish in his first 100 days, now feels the marker isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, since governing isn’t either.

Yet it’s clear from the first three months that Trump has learned on the job, and enjoyed some achievements with a Supreme Court confirmation, decreased border crossings and hefty rollbacks of regulations. Despite the failure to pass a health care fix and court challenges to some of his executive orders, Trump has handled foreign policy better than most expected by relying upon several respected Cabinet secretaries who have earned the trust  of members of both parties.

Trump will continue to change as the learning curve dictates, but here are a dozen things Americans have learned about him since Election Day, or that have been reaffirmed since then, that will never change:

  1. The sell is supreme. No matter what issue, no matter what political context or consequence, Trump the Over-Promiser will push out superlatives for any event or  policy, at potential cost to the process. Everything will always be the best in history, the largest, and simplest, and it’s all coming quickly.
  2. Trump likes to work. The man likes to stay busy, and he doesn’t care for sleep. He  doesn’t read lengthy memos or briefing papers, and he takes plenty of time out for golf and cable news, but it’s clear that, at age 70, Trump is an active man who craves the stimulation of the job.
  3. Trump is a brazen hypocrite, as documented by his Twitter archive.
  4. Trade will be Trump’s reliable weapon of choice.
  5. Trump can’t let go of his obsession with the media.
  6. The wall is fantasy. It’s hard to find anyone beyond the president who will say out loud that yes, we need to build a wall.
  7. Trump rather likes the swamp after all.
  8. Trump backs down easily.
  9. Family wins.
  10. Trump loves Goldman Sachs.
  11. Donald Trump isn’t too concerned about our democracy.
  12. Steve Bannon is NOT Trump’s brain. Depending on the particular Republican or conservative arriving at this realization, it is either good news or bad.

And finally:

 

 

 

 

Trump: “I thought it would be easier”

President Donald Trump seems to be on a bit of a learning curve. Any new president is. Especially any new president with no previous experience as an elected representative, taking on one of the most powerful and most responsible and most complex and difficult jobs in the world.

Especially when he appears to have not expected to win until late in the campaign, and seems to have been terribly unprepared for what he was taking on.

That’s a couple of examples of Donald learning things that should be obvious to most people.

More in The education of Donald Trump

The 70-year-old leader of the free world sat behind his desk in the Oval Office last Friday afternoon, doing what he’s done for years: selling himself. His 100th day in office was approaching, and Trump was eager to reshape the hardening narrative of a White House veering off course.

So he took it upon himself to explain that his presidency was actually on track, inviting a pair of POLITICO reporters into the Oval Office for an impromptu meeting.

It was classic Trump: Confident, hyperbolic and insistent on asserting control.

But interviews with nearly two dozen aides, allies, and others close to the president paint a different picture – one of a White House on a collision course between Trump’s fixed habits and his growing realization that this job is harder than he imagined when he won the election on Nov. 8.

So far, Trump has led a White House gripped by paranoia and insecurity, paralyzed by internal jockeying for power.

As president, Trump has repeatedly reminded his audiences, both public and private, about his longshot electoral victory. That unexpected win gave him and his closest advisers the false sense that governing would be as easy to master as running a successful campaign turned out to be. It was a rookie mistake.

“I think he’s much more aware how complicated the world is,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who serves as an informal administration adviser.

No single day was more telling about the ambiguity of Trumpism than April 12. It was that day that Trump not-so-quietly reversed himself on at least four of his campaign promises. He canceled a federal hiring freeze imposed in his first week. He flipped on labeling China a currency manipulator. He endorsed the Export-Import bank that he had called to eliminate. He declared NATO relevant, after trashing it repeatedly on the campaign trail.

“I said it was obsolete,” Trump said. “It is no longer obsolete.”

Trump’s critics and supporters alike are equally flummoxed about what this president stands for.

Apart from trying to win ratings and praise Trump probably doesn’t know what he stands for either.

“I kind of pooh-poohed the experience stuff when I first got here,” one White House official said of these early months. “But this shit is hard.”

Not just Trump caught out by what work is involved.

As Trump is beginning to better understand the challenges—and the limits—of the presidency, his aides are understanding better how to manage perhaps the most improvisational and free-wheeling president in history. “If you’re an adviser to him, your job is to help him at the margins,” said one Trump confidante. “To talk him out of doing crazy things.”

Interviews with White House officials, friends of Trump, veterans of his campaign and lawmakers paint a picture of a White House that has been slow to adapt to the demands of the most powerful office on earth.

Advisers have tried to curtail Trump’s idle hours, hoping to prevent him from watching cable news or calling old friends and then tweeting about it. That only works during the workday, though—Trump’s evenings and weekends have remained largely his own.

“It’s not like the White House doesn’t have a plan to fill his time productively but at the end of the day he’s in charge of his schedule,” said one person close to the White House. “He does not like being managed.”

He doesn’t seem to like working particularly hard either.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has developed a ritual of sorts: Just before going onstage for his televised briefings, he usually walks down the hall to the Oval Office to ask Trump what he wants to hear on TV that day. Cable news only occasionally carried press briefings from Obama’s secretaries in the later years of his presidency, but Spicer’s almost-daily outings have become a regular, wall-to-wall fixture.

His sessions with Trump were described by people familiar with them as part pep talk and part talking-point seminar. In the early days, Trump criticized Spicer fiercely, prompting him to upgrade his delivery at the podium as well as his wardrobe of suits. Now, people close to the president say, Trump brags about Spicer’s ratings.

More interested in perceptions of popularity rather than credibility.

If the goal of most administrations has been to set the media agenda for the day, it’s often the reverse in Trump’s White House, where what the president hears on the cable morning gabfests on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN can redirect his attention, schedule and agenda. The three TVs in the chief-of-staff’s office sometimes dictate the 8 a.m. meeting – and are always turned on to cable news, West Wing officials say.

Since taking office, Trump has 16 times tagged Fox and Friends, the network’s morning show, in his tweets, and countless other times weighed in on whatever they were talking about on air. After Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings went on Morning Joe and asked the president to call him, Trump did. After Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher defended Trump in an early Saturday morning Fox News hit, Trump called him moments later, inviting him to an Oval Office meeting. And after news segments, Trump will sometimes call his own advisers to discuss what he saw.

The reality presidency.

“Trump is a guy of action. He likes to move,” said Chris Ruddy, a close friend. “He doesn’t necessarily worry about all the collateral damage or the consequences.”

Who doesn’t care about damage or consequences.

Trump may be learning and adjusting. But he is still Trump. On Saturday, he’ll celebrate his 100th day in office by boycotting the traditional White House Correspondents’ Dinner in favor of a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The rallies, which remind him of the campaign trail, often improve his mood, several people close to him say. “I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania,” he tweeted by way of announcement. “Look forward to it!”

Trump seems to be doing as many interviews as he can fit in to his not very busy schedule outside publicity seeking.

He has also just done one with Reuters: Exclusive: ‘If there’s a shutdown, there’s a shutdown,’ Trump says

President Donald Trump downplayed the severity of a potential government shutdown on Thursday, just two days shy of a deadline for Congress to reach a spending deal to avert temporary layoffs of federal workers.

“We’ll see what happens. If there’s a shutdown, there’s a shutdown,” Trump told Reuters in an interview, adding that Democrats would be to blame if the federal government was left unfunded.

Don’t worry, just blame someone else.

Exclusive: Trump complains Saudis not paying fair share for U.S. defense

“Frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“Nobody’s going to mess with Saudi Arabia because we’re watching them,” Trump told a campaign rally in Wisconsin a year ago. “They’re not paying us a fair price. We’re losing our shirt.”

Reuters: Trump says ‘major, major’ conflict with North Korea possible, but seeks diplomacy

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

“We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult,” he said.

Something else he is finding difficult.

Reuters: Trump says he thought being president would be easier than his old life

President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

Trump seems to think he is there for the adoring accolades, to be praised and revered. And he will keep watching TV until he sees it happen, it seems.

It’s hard to see how he will last out four years.

It may not matter, the world may not get to last that long.

Trump withdraws threat to withdraw from NAFTA

Yesterday it was being reported that a White House official had indicated that Donald Trump was likely to sign an order beginning the process for the US to withdraw from the NAFTA trade agreement.

That appears to have been a bluff, or Trump has reconsidered.

Trump has more or less confirmed that, but now says he has held off doing that pending negotiations with Canada and Mexico, but Trump has left a threat to withdraw hovering over talks.

Bloomberg: Trump Says Nafta Pullout Still Possible If Renegotiation Fails

President Donald Trump said Thursday he’s still ready to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement if he can’t renegotiate better terms for the U.S. but that he decided to hold off on a decision after appeals from the leaders of Canada and Mexico.

“I was going to terminate NAFTA as of two or three days from now,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. But he said he reconsidered after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both phoned him Wednesday asking him to renegotiate the deal instead. Those talks will start as soon as today, he said.

Trump also said a quick U.S. withdrawal “would be a pretty big shock to the system.”

But Trump… added that “If I’m unable to make a fair deal for the United States–meaning a fair deal for our workers and our companies, I will terminate NAFTA.”

So the threat is still there. That seems to be how Trump likes to ‘negotiate’. And how he deals with ‘promises’.

Back in December:  Trump’s stance on NAFTA was a ‘campaign promise designed to be broken’

President-elect Donald Trump’s vow to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, would have a detrimental impact on the United States’ automobile industry and its jobs, VLF Automotive CEO Bob Lutz told CNBC on Friday.

Once Trump looks at the impact of the goals he voiced on the campaign trail, he will find a way out of pushing the auto industry into disarray, Lutz said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

“I have every confidence that this is a campaign promise that is designed to be broken,” Lutz said.

“Trump is a reasonable, good, analytical businessman. Once he takes an earnest look at pluses and minuses of dealing with NAFTA and sees what the impact on American jobs [is],” he’ll find a way to roll back any promise of dismantling the agreement, Lutz contended.

The problem with Trump’s argument that producing car parts abroad constitutes unfair trade practices is that there are international systems in place that are mutually beneficial, said Lutz, who was formerly the vice chairman of General Motors.

So those who voted for Trump based on his promises may have to get used to his wheeling and dealing and flip flopping.

The North American Free Trade Agreement came into force on 1994.

Most economic analyses indicate that NAFTA has been a small net positive for the United States, large net positive for Mexico and had an insignificant impact on Canada.

Chad P. Bown (senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics): “a renegotiated NAFTA that would reestablish trade barriers is unlikely to help workers who lost their jobs — regardless of the cause — take advantage of new employment opportunities.”

Harvard economist Marc Melitz: “recent research estimates that the repeal of NAFTA would not increase car production in the United States.” Melitz notes that this would cost manufacturing jobs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Free_Trade_Agreement

Trump on chemistry and his progress

Donald Trump has just had an interview with Associated Press. There are gems in it for both fans and critics.

Chemistry with leaders:

TRUMP: Yeah, it’s funny: One of the best chemistries I had was with (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel.

(Crosstalk) AP: Really?

TRUMP: Chancellor Merkel.

TRUMP: And I guess somebody shouted out, “Shake her hand, shake her hand,” you know. But I never heard it. But I had already shaken her hand four times. You know, because we were together for a long time.

AP: Did you expect you would have good chemistry with her?

TRUMP: No. Because, um, I’m at odds on, you know, the NATO payments and I’m at odds on immigration. We had unbelievable chemistry. And people have given me credit for having great chemistry with all of the leaders, including el-Sissi. …

TRUMP: So it was a great thing to see that happen.

On the first 100 days and chemistry with leaders:

AP: Do you feel like you have changed the office of the presidency, how the presidency can be used to effect change?

TRUMP: I think the 100 days is, you know, it’s an artificial barrier. It’s not very meaningful. I think I’ve established amazing relationships that will be used the four or eight years, whatever period of time I’m here. I think for that I would be getting very high marks because I’ve established great relationships with countries, as President el-Sissi has shown and others have shown.

Well, if you look at the president of China, people said they’ve never seen anything like what’s going on right now. I really liked him a lot. I think he liked me. We have a great chemistry together. …

On troops in Syria and chemistry:

AP: Should Americans who are serving in the military expect that you are going to increase troop numbers in the Middle East to fight ISIS?

TRUMP: No, not much.

AP: In terms of the strategy, though, that you have accepted, it sounds like, from the generals —

TRUMP: Well, they’ve also accepted my strategy.

AP: Does that involve more troops on the ground, it sounds like?

TRUMP: Not many.

AP: So a small increase?

TRUMP: It could be an increase, then an increase. But not many more. I want to do the job, but not many more. … This is an important story. I’ve done a lot. I’ve done more than any other president in the first 100 days and I think the first 100 days is an artificial barrier. And I’m scheduled … the foundations have been set to do some great things. With foreign countries. Look at, look at President Xi. I mean …

AP: What do you think it was about your chemistry?

TRUMP: We had good chemistry. Now I don’t know that I think that’s going to produce results but you’ve got a good chance.

AP: Uh-huh.

TRUMP: Look, he turned down many coal ships. These massive coal ships are coming where they get a lot of their income. They’re coming into China and they’re being turned away. That’s never happened before. The fuel, the oil, so many different things. You saw the editorial they had in their paper saying they cannot be allowed to have nuclear, you know, et cetera. People have said they’ve never seen this ever before in China. We have the same relationship with others. There’s a great foundation that’s built. Great foundation. And I think it’s going to produce tremendous results for our country.

Claims by Trump of great chemistry should be taken with a grain of sodium chloride.

On his biggest success so far.

AP: So in terms of the 100-day plan that you did put out during the campaign, do you feel, though, that people should hold you accountable to this in terms of judging success?

TRUMP: No, because much of the foundation’s been laid. Things came up. I’ll give you an example. I didn’t put Supreme Court judge on the 100 (day) plan, and I got a Supreme Court judge.

AP: I think it’s on there.

TRUMP: I don’t know. …

AP: “Begin the process of selecting.” You actually exceeded on this one. This says, “Begin the process of selecting a replacement.”

TRUMP: That’s the biggest thing I’ve done.

AP: Do you consider that your biggest success?

TRUMP: Well, I — first of all I think he’s a great man. I think he will be a great, great justice of the Supreme Court. I have always heard that the selection and the affirmation of a Supreme Court judge is the biggest thing a president can do. Don’t forget, he could be there for 40 years. … He’s a young man. I’ve always heard that that’s the biggest thing. Now, I would say that defense is the biggest thing. You know, to be honest, there are a number of things. But I’ve always heard that the highest calling is the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. I’ve done one in my first 70 days.

TRUMP: Our military is so proud. They were not proud at all. They had their heads down. Now they have their heads up. …

On the first 100 days and the size of government:

AP: Can I ask you, over your first 100 days — you’re not quite there yet — how do you feel like the office has changed you?

TRUMP: Well the one thing I would say — and I say this to people — I never realized how big it was. Everything’s so (unintelligible) like, you know the orders are so massive. I was talking to —

AP: You mean the responsibility of it, or do you mean —

TRUMP: Number One, there’s great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I’m saying to myself, “You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that’s involved,” because people could have been killed. This is risk that’s involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet …. every decision is much harder than you’d normally make. (unintelligible) … This is involving death and life and so many things. … So it’s far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ….The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list.

AP: Right.

TRUMP. It’s massive. And every agency is, like, bigger than any company. So you know, I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that’s involved in some of the decisions.

On loving people and big responsibilities.

AP: What’s that switch been like for you?

TRUMP: In fact, in business you’re actually better off without it.

AP: What’s making that switch been like for you?

TRUMP: You have to love people. And if you love people, such a big responsibility. (unintelligible) You can take any single thing, including even taxes. I mean we’re going to be doing major tax reform. Here’s part of your story, it’s going to be a big (unintelligible). Everybody’s saying, “Oh, he’s delaying.” I’m not delaying anything. I’ll tell you the other thing is (unintelligible). I used to get great press. I get the worst press. I get such dishonest reporting with the media. That’s another thing that really has — I’ve never had anything like it before. It happened during the primaries, and I said, you know, when I won, I said, “Well the one thing good is now I’ll get good press.” And it got worse. (unintelligible) So that was one thing that a little bit of a surprise to me. I thought the press would become better, and it actually, in my opinion, got more nasty.

He’s still not big on the media.

AP: Obviously, that’s going to come in a week where you’re going to be running up against the deadline for keeping the government open. If you get a bill on your desk that does not include funding for the wall, will you sign it?

TRUMP: I don’t know yet. People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall. My base, which is a big base; I think my base is 45 percent. You know, it’s funny. The Democrats, they have a big advantage in the electoral college. Big, big, big advantage. I’ve always said the popular vote would be a lot easier than the electoral college. The electoral college — but it’s a whole different campaign (unintelligible). The electoral college is very difficult for a Republican to win, and I will tell you, the people want to see it. They want to see the wall, they want to see security. Now, it just came out that they’re 73 percent down. … That’s a tremendous achievement. … Look at this, in 100 days, that down to the lowest in 17 years and it’s going lower. Now, people aren’t coming because they know they’re not going to get through, and there isn’t crime. You know the migration up to the border is horrible for women, you know that? (Unintelligible.) Now, much of that’s stopped because they can’t get through.

AP: It sounds like maybe you’re beginning to send a message that if you do get a spending bill that doesn’t have border funding in there, you would sign it.

TRUMP: Well, first of all, the wall will cost much less than the numbers I’m seeing. I’m seeing numbers, I mean, this wall is not going to be that expensive.

AP: What do you think the estimate on it would be?

TRUMP: Oh I’m seeing numbers — $24 billion, I think I’ll do it for $10 billion or less. That’s not a lot of money relative to what we’re talking about. If we stop 1 percent of the drugs from coming in — and we’ll stop all of it. But if we stop 1 percent of the drugs because we have the wall — they’re coming around in certain areas, but if you have a wall, they can’t do it because it’s a real wall. That’s a tremendously good investment, 1 percent. The drugs pouring through on the southern border are unbelievable. We’re becoming a drug culture, there’s so much. And most of it’s coming from the southern border. The wall will stop the drugs.

The wall will not stop the drugs. Nothing has stopped the drugs, especially warring against them. The wall will be no different.

AP: This morning you tweeted that after the possible terrorist attack in Paris, that it will have a big effect on the upcoming French election. What did you mean by that?

TRUMP: Well, I think it will have a big effect on who people are going to vote for in the election.

AP: Do you think it’s going to help Marine Le Pen?

TRUMP: I think so.

AP: Do you believe that she should be the president?

TRUMP: No, I have no comment on that, but I think that it’ll probably help her because she is the strongest on borders and she is the strongest on what’s been going on in France.

AP: Do you worry at all that by saying that, that a terrorist attack would have an impact on a democratic election, that it would actually embolden terrorists to try to —.

TRUMP: No. Look, everybody is making predictions who is going to win. I am no different than you, you could say the same thing. …

AP: I just wonder if you are encouraging, you are the president of the United States, so to say that you worry that it encourages terrorists …

TRUMP: No, I am no different than — no, I think it discourages terrorists, I think it discourages. I think what we’ve done on the border discourages it. I think that my stance on having people come in to this country that we have no idea who they are and in certain cases you will have radical Islamic terrorism. I’m not going to have it in this country. I’m not going to let what happened to France and other places happen here. And it’s already largely, you know — we have tens — we have hundreds of thousands of people that have been allowed into our country that should not be here. They shouldn’t be here. We have people allowed into our country with no documentation whatsoever. They have no documentation and they were allowed under the previous administrations, they were allowed into our country. It’s a big mistake.

AP: Just so that I am clear. You are not endorsing her for the office, but you are —

TRUMP: I am not endorsing her and I didn’t mention her name.

AP: Right, I just wanted to make sure I have that clear.

TRUMP: I believe whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism and whoever is the toughest at the borders will do well at the election. I am not saying that person is going to win, she is not even favored to win, you know. Right now, she is in second place.

Without saying it outright he clearly seems to favour Le Pen and her policies.

Ivanka Trump defends father at women’s summit

Ivanka Trump was given a critical reception at a women’s summit she attended in Berlin when she tried to defend her father’s attitude and action towards women.

BBC: Ivanka Trump forced to defend father at G20 women’s summit

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was met with groans as she defended her father’s attitude towards women at the G20 women’s summit in Berlin.

The First Daughter was taking part in a panel discussion about female entrepreneurs alongside German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

An audible groan went up as she told the room her father was a “tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive”.

Mr Trump has been criticised over his attitude to women, especially after a tape of him making obscene remarks was released during the presidential campaign.

But Ms Trump said that although she had “heard the criticism from the media and that has been perpetuated”, she did not recognise her father in the description and nor would the “thousands” of women he had employed over the years.

“He encouraged me and enabled me to thrive. I grew up in a house where there were no barriers to what I could accomplish,” she added.

How he has treated his daughter and how he treats women in general seem to be quite different.

Ignoring the boos, hisses and disapproval of a room full of female delegates, Donald Trump’s special adviser persisted in her defence of a father who, she said, had enabled and encouraged her.

Ostensibly today’s visit – at the direct invitation of Angela Merkel – was about empowering women. But it’s been widely interpreted here as an attempt to forge another line of communication to the US president, and may mark a profound shift in the way in which Berlin – and Europe – does business with Washington.

Thus far the charm offensive seems to be working. Despite their significantly different politics, Mr Trump has said that he shares an unbelievable chemistry with the German chancellor.

Claims like that from Trump need to be taken with a grain of sodium chloride. He appeared to treat Merkel with disdain when she visited Washington.

Fox News gave a similar account: Ivanka Trump greeted with groans from Germany audience while defending her dad

First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump faced a rocky reception Tuesday while defending her father’s advocacy for women at an event in Germany.

During her first official trip abroad in her White House role, she drew groans from the audience when she touted her father’s record after making a plug for paid leave policies.

“I am very proud of my father’s advocacy — long before he came to the presidency but during the campaign and into the primaries, he has been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive,” she said in Berlin.

Disapproving murmurs and groans could be heard, and the moderator paused to note the reaction. The moderator said President Trump’s public attitudes toward women “in former times might leave one questioning whether he’s such an empower-er for women,” and asked Ivanka to comment.

In response, the first daughter said she’s heard such criticism from the media, and it’s “being perpetuated,” but said she knows her father’s attitudes from “personal experience.”

“And I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women,” she said.

There’s a lot of controversy over what potential Trump sees in some women – potential targets for his unwanted attention.

Also at Fox in Trump’s learning curve collides with campaign hype is this typically bizarre quote:

Trump went on to say that another key difference he observed from his time in the business world and in government is the need for “heart.” In business, Trump concluded, it’s bad to care about people. In government, he said, it is important to “love people.”

Is this the sort of business in which he means bad to care about people?

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And the potential of women in Government? White males dominate Trump’s top cabinet posts:

TrumpsWhiteHouse

Including Trump, that’s 22 men and 4 women. Not as lot of potential for females there.

And his general attitude to women is described at The Telegraph in Donald Trump sexism tracker: Every offensive comment in one place

These are just some of the names that Donald Trump has called women over the years.

The newly elected President of the United States has been widely called out for his objectification of women – he has a tendency to criticise them for their looks – and sexist remarks.

So it’s not surprising that Ivanka Trump would get a critical reception at a women’s summit when trying to defend her father.

Poll: Trump would beat Clinton again

Different poll slants from the US, none of which mean much.

12h12 hours ago

New News/WaPo poll: 56% say Trump has accomplished either not much or nothing in his first 100 days in office

Washington Examiner saw something different of interest: Wash Post poll hides: Trump still beats Clinton, 43%-40%

A new Washington Post poll that declares President Trump as “the least popular president in modern times,” waits until the second to last paragraph to reveal another tidbit: He’d still beat Hillary Rodham Clinton if the election were held today and in the popular vote, not just Electoral College.

It probably wasn’t prominent because it isn’t very important.

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Clinton is failed political history so it’s not surprising to see her support waning. It’s more notable that Trump’s support is staying low even though he is now president and getting a lot of attention.

Also unchanged: His base still likes him.

That’s not surprising, he had strong support from his base and hasn’t done much that would lose that support. He hasn’t done much to gain support from people who doubted his abilities either.

The poll found that Trump’s polls continue to be upside down, with a 42 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval.

That’s similar to most other polls. Trump’s approval was diving until his missile strike in Syria and big bomb drop in Afghanistan, after which it recovered a little but that doesn’t seem to have been sustained.

RCPApproval2017-04-23

Trump still has a lot to prove – that he can get things done as promised, and that he won’t stuff up the world and provoke Armageddon.

Support may drop off if he keeps failing to deliver on his tough talk and campaign promises, like this winding back the rhetoric.

100 day excuses in advance

Donald Trump is about 90 days into his presidency. He had campaigned on how much he was going to achieve quickly and simply, including in his first 100 days. He is blaming the media in advance for not getting enough credit for his achievements.

Fox News: Trump says media won’t give him credit for his accomplishments

President Trump, who this week boasted at a Wisconsin tool factory that “no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days,” said in a Friday morning tweet that he’s not getting enough credit from the national media for all his successes.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/855373184861962240

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/855373184861962240

Whether the president was looking to pre-empt media criticism or lower expectations as the benchmark nears was not clear, but the White House is clearly bracing for a report card from the press.

Trump seems to also have a habit of trying to shame the media into giving him positive coverage.

But he would get better coverage if he didn’t keep making ridiculous claims, like “no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days” (I guess it depends on what “has accomplished” actually means though).

The fascination with the first 100 days goes back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who came into office in 1933 and signed a staggering 76 pieces of legislation, including 15 major overhauls and new programs during the depths of the Great Depression.

Trump came into office with nothing like the level of urgent problems faced by Roosevelt, but he has achieved nothing anywhere near that.

Trump had promised huge changes during his first 100 days including cracking down on illegal immigration, a complete tax overhaul and the repeal and replace ObamaCare.

“You’re going to have such great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost and it’s going to be so easy,” Trump said during an October 2016 rally.

When it came to building his “big beautiful wall” with Mexico, he told Fox News in 2015, “So simple. So simple.”

Expectations were high, given Trump’s promises and the fact he had a Republican-led Congress, but so far, the two branches have not always been on the same page.

And Trump raised expectations with his bragging. Now he seems to be making excuses in advance for his lack of progress. Given that he and his administration was very inexperienced and they were slow to fill positions – a month after taking over the White House nearly 2,000 government positions remained vacant.

It’s a huge job just staffing an administration, especially one with no background in transitioning to power and with many people being reluctant to hitch their futures to the Trump wagon.

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the Trump administration’s accomplishments.

“Look at the record that he’s achieved over these first 90 days,” Spicer told Fox News’ “The First 100 Days.” “It’s very clear that he’s committed to the conservative principles and agenda that he outlined in the campaign.”

This is Fox News picking that as an achievement to highlight.

That level of lameness has become one of Spicer’s trademarks. At least it is not as bad as making some of his outlandish alternative truths and gaffs.

I don’t see the big deal about what a President and his administration achieves in their first 100 days in office, what happens over four years is what’s important, and especially if they start inexperienced taking time to achieve things would be better than rushing into it.

But if they choose to make a big deal about it and don’t measure up then they are hoist by their own petard.

A cardinal rule of successful politics is to under promise and over deliver, because the opposite can be very damaging to credibility and support.

Trump said he would do things differently. Given the belief and devotion of some of his supporters he will get away with big talk and little effective action for a while yet.

A report card on progress after 100 weeks will be far more pertinent to Trump’s success or otherwise as president.

Putin linked to plan to sway US election

The controversy over how much Russia tried to influence the US presidential election last year continues with the claim that two documents link Vladimir Putin to attempts to help Donald Trump’s campaign and to attack Hillary Clinton.

Reuters reports: Exclusive: Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election – documents

A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.

They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election.

The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.

The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.

It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.

A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election.

For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.

The documents were central to the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia mounted a “fake news” campaign and launched cyber attacks against Democratic Party groups and Clinton’s campaign, the current and former officials said.

“Putin had the objective in mind all along, and he asked the institute to draw him a road map,” said one of the sources, a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

Four of the officials said the approach outlined in the June strategy paper was a broadening of an effort the Putin administration launched in March 2016. That month the Kremlin instructed state-backed media outlets, including international platforms Russia Today and Sputnik news agency, to start producing positive reports on Trump’s quest for the U.S. presidency, the officials said.

Several specific examples of the Russian news agencies involvement:

  • Russia Today and Sputnik published anti-Clinton stories while pro-Kremlin bloggers prepared a Twitter campaign calling into question the fairness of an anticipated Clinton victory, according to a report by U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian interference in the election made public in January. [bit.ly/2kMiKSA]
  • Russia Today’s most popular Clinton video – “How 100% of the 2015 Clintons’ ‘charity’ went to … themselves” – accumulated 9 millions views on social media, according to the January report. [bit.ly/2os8wIt]
  • Russia Today and Sputnik “consistently cast president elect-Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional media outlets.”

Sounds a lot like the Trump campaign. Who followed who’s lead?