During the coronavirus crisis, President Trump has not always been honest about its severity and his government's preparedness.
Our new blog, “A PANDEMIC OF MISINFORMATION,” has counted the ways – 99.
See complete list @ https://a-pandemic-of-misinformation.webnode.com/
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July 30, 2020
Coronavirus Special Report
From his first day in office when he insisted his Inaugural crowd was bigger than Obama’s, President Trump has had difficulty telling the American people the truth. The coronavirus crisis is no different. Let us count some of the times – in chronological order - the president has misinformed, misled or misdirected the American public about the COVID-19 crisis sweeping the world and the USA...
Dr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is first alerted to a public health event in Wuhan, China.
From Science Daily: The Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization announce the discovery of a novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, which was confirmed as the agent responsible for the pneumonia cases in China. Over the weekend of January 11-12, the Chinese authorities share the full sequence of the coronavirus genome, as detected in samples taken from the first patients.
From the Washington Post: Despite the flurry of (virus-related) activity at lower levels of his administration, Trump was not substantially briefed by health officials about the coronavirus until Jan.18, when, while spending the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, he took a call from (Health and Human Services Secretary Alex) Azar. Even before the heath secretary could get a word in about the virus, Trump cut him off and began criticizing Azar for his handling of an aborted federal ban on vaping products, a matter that vexed the president.
But the secretary, who had a strained relationship with Trump and many others in the administration, assured the president that those responsible were working on and monitoring the virus issue. Azar told several associates that the president believed he was “alarmist” and Azar struggled to get Trump to focus on the issue.
Chinese President Xi Jinping warns his nation of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, six days after top Chinese officials secretly determined they likely were facing a pandemic in Wuhan. But by that time, more than 3,000 people had been infected during almost a week of public silence, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Cases of COVID-19 are breaking out in China, Vietnam, Canada, Scotland and other countries. Asked by a CNBC reporter whether there were “worries about a pandemic” a day after the United States announced its first confirmed case, President Trump says, “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.” (1) Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) writes to Secretary Azar expressing concern about the spreading coronavirus and encouraging the Trump administration to consider banning travel between the U.S. and China.
Bloomberg reported on May 3: The intelligence community briefed President Donald Trump twice in the eight days before he imposed travel restrictions on China in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus, said a senior White House official familiar with the briefings. In a Jan. 23 briefing, Trump was told the virus was poised to spread globally from China and that becoming infected wouldn’t be deadly for most people. The next time intelligence officials spoke to Trump on the topic was Jan. 28, when he received information showing the virus was spreading outside of China but that all deaths remained inside of that country, the official said.
Bloomberg reported on May 3: The intelligence community briefed President Donald Trump twice in the eight days before he imposed travel restrictions on China in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus, said a senior White House official familiar with the briefings. In a Jan. 23 briefing, Trump was told the virus was poised to spread globally from China and that becoming infected wouldn’t be deadly for most people. The next time intelligence officials spoke to Trump on the topic was Jan. 28, when he received information showing the virus was spreading outside of China but that all deaths remained inside of that country, the official said.
USA Today: Trump tweets praise for China’s handling of the epidemic, including the nation’s “transparency,” adding, “It will all work out well. (2) In particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi!”
From the New York Times on April 11: On January 28, Dr. Carter Mecher, a senior medical advisor at the VA, wrote to public health experts both in government and at various universities warning that “any way you cut it, this is going to be bad.” Mercher added that “the projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe.” The list of government officials on Mercher’s email list included Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others at the Health and Human Services Department, the Homeland Security Department, and the State Department.
New York Times: President Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion. He also warned, “The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil.” Mr. Navarro’s memo concluded, “This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.” (Note: On April 7, President Trump said he “didn’t see” Navarro’s 1/29 or 2/23 memos (see below). And then on April 8 he said he didn’t “remember” seeing them. (65) But the New York Times reports on April 11,
From NBC, Fox News and the New York Times: President Trump says while in Michigan, “We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it. That I can assure you.” (3) That same day, the World Health Organization declares coronavirus to be a “public-health emergency of international concern.” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warns President Trump of the pandemic for the second time in two weeks.
From the New York Times: Trump took his only early, aggressive action against the virus barring most foreigners who had recently visited China from entering the United States. It was a good move. But it was only one modest move, not the sweeping solution that Trump portrayed it to be. It didn’t apply to Americans who had been traveling in China, for example. Two days later the number of cases in the world doubles to 15,000. (Note: See 3/31 below for information about the actual number of persons entering the U.S. from China after President Trump took action on 1/31.)
State of the Union address “We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China. My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.” (4)
The Washington Postreported, “With fewer than a dozen confirmed novel coronavirus
From CNN: On the same day the World Health Organization sounds alarm bells about "the limited stock of personal protective equipment," noting demand was 100 times higher than normal for this equipment, the Trump administration announced that it was transporting to China nearly 17.8 tons (more than 35,000 pounds) of "masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials." As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted in the press release announcing this shipment, "These donations are a testament to the generosity of the American people." Asked if he was “concerned that China is covering up the full extent of the coronavirus,” President Trump responded, “No. Late last night I had a very good talk with President Xi, and we talked about - mostly about the coronavirus. They're working really hard, and I think they are doing a very professional job. They're in touch with World - the World - World Organization. CDC also. We're working together. But World Health is working with them.”
President Trump tells Fox Business, “You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that’s a beautiful date to look forward to.” The president then tells governors, “You know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat – as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April.” (5)
From the New York Times: On Feb. 23, the World Health Organization announces that the virus has spread to 30 countries, with 78,811 confirmed cases, a more than fivefold increase over the previous three weeks.
From Fox News: White House trade advisor Peter Navarro writes a second memo (see 1/29 above) warning President Trump of the “increasing probability of a full-blown COVID-19 pandemic that could infect as many as 100 million Americans.”
Cloudy crystal balls President Trump, the self-described “stable genius,” tweets: (6) Rush Limbaugh, with talent on loan from God, joined the president, telling his listeners today: “Folks, this coronavirus thing, I want to try to put this in perspective for you. It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump. Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. You think I’m wrong about this? You think I’m missing it by saying that’s — Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”
New York Times and StatNews: In a conference call with reporters, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s top expert on viral respiratory diseases, spoke frankly about the pending threat. “As we’ve seen from recent countries with community spread, when it has hit those countries, it has moved quite rapidly. We want to make sure the American public is prepared.According to the New York Times, President Trump reportedly called Secretary Azar fuming that Messonnier had scared people unnecessarily and caused the stock market to plummet.
From Yahoo News and the Washington Post: Trump expresses confidence at a White House press conference in the government’s response, insisting that with his guidance and thanks to the people he appointed, “We’re very ready for it. We’re really prepared. We have — as I said, we’ve had — we have the greatest people in the world. We’re very ready for it. And again, we’ve had tremendous success — tremendous success — beyond what people would have thought. (7)
"Because of all we've done, the risk to the American people remains very low. We're ready to adapt and ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads." Trump says that only 15 people had contracted the virus in the U.S. and that all were expected to recover.
"I think every aspect of our society should be prepared. I don't think it's going to come to that, especially with the fact that we're going down, not up. We're going very substantially down, not up." (8) And he adds: "And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done." (9) Trump also says “This is a flu. This is like a flu…It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.” (10) FACT CHECK: President Trump, on April 1, the day the death toll in the USA reached 4,700, finally admitted he was wrong.
From USA Today: Speaking at the North Charleston Coliseum, Trump dismisses the complaints from Democrats about his handling of the virus crisis as “their new hoax” (11) and insisted “we are totally prepared.” (12) Trump says it “starts in China, bleeds its way into various countries around the world, doesn’t spread widely at all in the United States because of the early actions” of his administration. “It’s going to disappear…like a miracle — it will disappear.” (13)
From the Washington Post April 27: U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.
President Trump tells a campaign rally in North Carolina, “We had a great meeting today with a lot of great (pharmaceutical) companies and they’re going to have vaccines. I think relatively soon and they’re going to have something that makes you better and that’s going to actually take place, we think, even sooner.” (14)
TRUMP: But, you know, again, a lot of people don't report, because they get the coronavirus, and they get better relatively quickly. It's not that severe. (15)
From the New York Times: President Donald Trump sought Wednesday to deflect criticism of his administration’s response to the coronavirus onto his predecessor, complaining that a federal agency decision under President Barack Obama had made it harder to quickly enact widespread testing for the virus.
“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion.” (16) It was not entirely clear what he was referring to. Trump did not explain why his administration did not change the rules during its first three years in office. CNN reported:
From USA Today:The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) explicitly beseeched world leaders to prepare, warning that the “epidemic can be pushed back, but only with a collective, coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government."
From The Guardian: Some commentators are calling Trump’s press conference at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today one of his “most frightening” and “disturbing” appearances in recent memory, given his political rants, misinformation, bizarre boasting and callousness. (President Trump) implied that the coronavirus test was available to anyone who needs it. "Anybody who wants a test, gets a test. And they're beautiful." (17) (Blog editor's note: President Trump would, in the months ahead, repeatedly claim, falsely, that America had all the coronavirus tests it needed.)
“As of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test [can have one], that’s the important thing, and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect,” Trump says, referring to the White House transcript of his call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in which he requests an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.
At the CDC press conference, Trump also asks if his appearance on Fox News the night before got good ratings. “I heard it broke all ratings records.” And he credits himself with an instinctive understanding of the science. “I like this stuff. I really get it,” he says. “People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
And from USA Today: (On March 6) there were confirmed cases in two dozen states, including Washington, where a state of emergency had been declared after at least 10 people died in the previous week in connection with a single nursing home. New York City was experiencing an alarming upward trend in cases. A cruise ship carrying infected passengers idled off the California coast, waiting for a port to allow them to disembark. Hospitals, nursing homes and health officials around the country worried over a lack of testing capabilities and a shortage of medical equipment. Armed with all of that evidence, President Donald Trump spent the (coming) week treating COVID-19 in much the same way that he had over the previous two months: he hosted large gatherings at Mar-a-Lago, went golfing, attended fundraisers, dispensed misinformation about the virus and flouted social distancing guidelines known to stem its spread.
As the disease rapidly spreads across the United States and the world, President Trump tweets: "We have a perfectly coordinated and fine-tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
Tweet from President Trump
“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” (19)
From CBS News and Fox News:
The World Health Organization reported 113,702 cases of the virus in more than 100 countries.
"It will go away, just stay calm," Trump says at a press conference today. He added, "Be calm. It's really working out.
On his Fox News show that night, Tucker Carlson commented, “The Chinese coronavirus epidemic turns out to be just that -- an epidemic. There's no denying that now.
On the day the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic, an alarming scientific report compiled by British researchers and shared with the Trump White House warns that, in the absence of drastic and coordinated government action, the novel coronavirus could
From the Washington Post:
(President Trump) said in (tonight’s nationally televised speech from the Oval Office) that his travel prohibitions affecting Europe “will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo but various other things … Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.”
Nor did his travel suspension apply to American citizens or legal permanent residents and their families, tweeted Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.
(On March 31, President Trump claimed, “We stopped all of Europe. We started with certain parts of Italy, and then all of Italy. Then we saw Spain. Then I said, stop Europe, let's stop Europe. We have to stop them from coming here." (52) CNN reported, “Trump did not issue a series of travel bans before restricting broader travel from Europe. Furthermore, the travel restrictions Trump did announce in a prime-time Oval Office address on March 11 did not apply to all European countries and contained multiple exemptions. The restrictions also did not apply to US citizens returning from Europe as well as permanent US residents and certain family members of both citizens and permanent residents.” Note: President Trump repeatedly made the false claim throughout the spring and summer that he shut down all travel from Europe. On July 16, the Independent (UK) reported, "By the time Donald Trump's administration imposed travel restrictions from Europe into the US at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the virus had been circulating widely in New York City, according to a new report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The earliest strain detected was from 2 March. By April, New York had emerged as a global epicentre of the virus."
From the Daily Caller:
Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress that the U.S.’s ability to test for coronavirus has been “a failing,” comments that are in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s assurances that testing for the virus “has been going very smooth.”
“The system is not really geared to what we need right now,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz during a House Oversight Committee hearing.
Federal and state government agencies and the private sector have conducted around 11,000 tests for coronavirus in all. South Korea, by contrast, tests 10,000 potential coronavirus carriers each day.
President Trump, however, said at the White House, “Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth. If you go to the right agency, if you go to the right area you get the test.”
CNN also reported President Trump said, “But it’ll be – it’ll go very quickly” and “We’ll be discussing some other moves that we’re going to be making. And I think it’s going to work out very well for everybody.”
At a press conference in the Rose Garden with business leaders, President Trump announces that Google is developing a coronavirus testing website. “
The president also tells his Rose Garden audience, "We've been in discussions with pharmacies and retailers to make drive-through tests available in the critical locations identified by public health professionals."
Continuing his press conference, President Trump, who has been in office more than three years, deflects blame for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) slow coronavirus testing process, saying former President Obama "made changes that only complicated things further."
President Trump also tells his Rose Garden audience he doesn’t take responsibility for the delays and shortages of test kits.
But on March 17, the Independent (UK) reported: “A video has emerged of Donald Trump talking about cutting the US pandemic response team in 2018 – days after claiming that he knew nothing about the disbanded White House unit. Mr. Trump said of the pandemic team ‘some of the people we’ve cut they haven’t been used for many, many years and if we ever need them we can get them very quickly and rather than spending the money’.”
“Relax, we’re doing great,” Trump says in the White House briefing room Sunday, two days after declaring a national emergency. “It all will pass.” Trump says the virus was “very contagious” but it’s “something we have tremendous control of.”
From the Associated Press:
A review of federal purchasing contracts shows federal agencies waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers. Hospitals in New York, Seattle and New Orleans were reporting a surge in sick patients. Doctors and nurses took to social media to express their alarm at dwindling supplies.
Seventy-four days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was first alerted of the outbreak in China, the president finally acknowledges the gravity of the situation. “We have an invisible enemy,” he tells a thinned-out, socially distanced room of reporters as he unveiled new guidance on avoiding restaurants, bars, and gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 15 days and practicing social distancing. "This is a very bad one. This is bad in the sense that it's so contagious."
President Trump also tells reporters: “We have a problem that, a month ago, nobody ever thought about.” (31) (
Asked how he would rate his administration’s response to the health crisis, the president says, (32)
Disease modelers at Columbia University said in a study
New York Times:
For weeks, President Trump has minimized the coronavirus, mocked concern about it and treated the risk from it cavalierly. On Tuesday he took to the White House lectern and made a remarkable assertion: He knew it was a pandemic all along. “This is a pandemic,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I’ve always known this is a, this is a real, this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries…no, I’ve always viewed it as very serious.”
Blog editor: There is no evidence he passed this life-saving information along to anyone in the White House, the CDC or the medical or scientific community.
At today’s White House press briefing, President Trump claims, “Where you have a problem with ventilators, we’re working very hard trying to find — nobody in their wildest dreams would have ever thought that we’d need tens of thousands of ventilators. This is something that’s very unique to this, to what happened.”
From CNBC, Fox News and the Los Angeles Times:
At the briefing, President Trump directs the FDA to investigate whether existing drugs given to malaria patients can also be used to treat the novel coronavirus. Some scientists claim the anti-malaria drugs could be a potential treatment.
The World Health Organization, however, said last month there is “no proof.”
Trump says at a White House press briefing that the drugs will be made available by prescription “almost immediately.”
Addressing potential safety concerns, Trump notes that the drugs had been used previously in treating malaria, “so we know if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody.”
The FDA commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, said trials are necessary to determine if the drugs provide effective treatment and in what dosage. “We may have the right drug, but it might not be in the appropriate dosage form right now, and it might do more harm than good.” Hahn, standing next to the president, says he didn’t want to give Americans “false hope” about an immediate panacea.
President Donald Trump claims during a White House briefing Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the "very powerful" drug chloroquine to treat coronavirus.
"It's shown very encouraging -- very, very encouraging early results. And we're going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that's where the FDA has been so great. They -- they've gone through the approval process; it's been approved. And they did it -- they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we're going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states."
From the Huffington Post:
Pressed by a reporter Thursday on the dire shortage of medical supplies and testing to deal with the coronavirus, President Donald Trump deflects responsibility for the crisis and instead put the burden on governors. “Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work,” he says. “The federal government’s not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”
Headline at Drudge Report today:
From the Washington Post:
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked at the daily White House coronavirus briefing about an hours-earlier tweet by Trump that claimed the FDA was working on a combination of an anti-malaria drug and an antibiotic that could treat the infection.
President Trump’s tweet: HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains - Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents) (38)
“I’m not totally sure what the president was referring to,” Fauci says, but says he believes Trump was referring to one anecdotal study that showed that combination could be effective.
“There are those who lean to the point of giving hope and saying give that person the option of having access to that drug. And then you have the other group, which is my job as a scientist, to say my job is to ultimately prove without a doubt that a drug is not only safe, but that it actually works.”
From The Independent (UK), Science Magazine and the Washington Post:
President Trump criticised China for what he described as a lack of transparency over its coronavirus outbreak, telling reporters, “I just wish they could’ve told us earlier” about the virus that is believed to have originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, China. “All of the people — the talent that we have — would have loved to have had three or four months of additional time,” Mr Trump said at the White House. “They didn’t have that time. They read about it in the newspapers like everybody else.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci told Science Magazine: “The way it happened is that after (Trump) made that statement, I told the appropriate people, it doesn’t comport, because two or three months earlier would have been September. (The coronavirus killed its first victim in December in China.) When Dr. Fauci was asked by Science about having to stand in front of the nation as “the representative of truth and facts” when “things are being said that aren’t true and aren’t factual,” the 79-year-old said there is only so much he can do. “I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down.”
The Hill, NBC, Business Insider and the New York Post:
President Trump on March 18 announced he had signed the Defense Production Act, but later said he would only invoke the law in a “worst-case scenario.”
The president then offered conflicting messages about the issue on March 20: He said he invoked it the day previously to help states secure medical equipment like masks and ventilators, but later said he hadn’t needed to use the authority to compel companies to increase production of those supplies before reversing again and saying he had directed “a lot” of companies to do so.
Asked at the March 20 White House press briefing of the Coronavirus Task Force whether he had formally used the act, the president was equivocal. “When we need something, we order something. When we need something, we will use the act. Before we even go out, companies are willing to make product for us, medical product, that the states can’t get,” he said before adding that “I have” ordered companies to cooperate and that he would put the act “in gear.” But on Sunday, March 22, President Trump rejected calls from governors, hospitals and others to direct companies to ramp up production of critical supplies. Trump argued that he has used the Defense Production Act as leverage in negotiations with companies to get them to produce supplies and equipment for the coronavirus fight. "The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept…Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well.”
From the Associated Press:
TRUMP: “Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?” — tweet March 22.
TRUMP: “General Motors, Ford, so many companies — I had three calls yesterday directly, without having to institute like: `You will do this’ — these companies are making them right now.”
UPDATE: The Trump administration was actually negotiating with GM when President Trump sent these tweets. But five days later, on March 27, the president grew frustrated with the negotiations and announced he had used, for the first time, the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to produce ventilators. Reported Bloomberg, the change of heart is a “remarkable turnabout from the night before, when Trump told Fox News he wasn’t invoking the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to compel manufacturers to make ventilators because companies including GM had already stepped up.”
From Fox News, CNN, the Washington Post and NPR:
· Fox News reported President Trump tweeted early Tuesday saying that the government had sent just 400 ventilators to New York after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had requested some 15,000 ventilators. But Vice President Pence later on Tuesday noted that the federal government sent 2,000 ventilators from the national stockpile to the state of New York. On Wednesday President Trump tweeted that he sent New York 4,000 ventilators. (42)
· President Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator contradicted each other within minutes Tuesday morning on whether the Defense Production Act is being used in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Around 8 a.m. Tuesday, Trump tweeted, "The Defense Production Act is in full force, but haven't had to use it because no one has said NO! Millions of masks coming as back up to States." Minutes later, FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor told CNN the administration will start wielding the powers in the Defense Production Act (DPA) to contract for 60,000 tests kits and 500 million masks. But then FEMA changed its mind and announced it was able to secure additional test kits without invoking the DPA even though the FEMA spokeswoman didn’t know when those tests would be delivered.
From Fox News and USA Today:
Trump said Tuesday that he would like to have the government restrictions on travel and social gatherings eased by Easter, which comes on Sunday, April 12.
“We’re going to be opening relatively soon,” Trump said during a Fox News town hall Tuesday. “I'd love to have it open by Easter ... It's such an important day for other reasons but I'll make an important date for this too. I would love to have the country, opened up and just raring to go by Easter. You'll have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time. And it's just about the timeline that I think is right."
President Trump at the White House press conference
"This was something that nobody has ever thought could happen to this country. I’m not even blaming … Look, we inherited a broken situation, but I don’t totally blame the people that were before me and this administration. Nobody would’ve ever thought a thing like this could have happened.” The president first made this claim on March 16 (see above) and then repeated it throughout March and April. The facts:
· From Politico: The Obama administration left behind a 69-page National Security Council guide for fighting pandemics titled, "Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents."
· The Nation: Despite President Trump’s
· And CNN reported that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense, in April, 2019 listed the threat of a pandemic as an issue that greatly worried them. “Of course, the thing that people ask: ‘What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?’ Pandemic flu, of course,” said Azar at the BioDefense Summit.
· Also see warnings on: 1/2, 1/9, 1/18, 1/22, 1/28, 1/29, 2/23, 2/25 and 2/28
From Politico and the New York Post:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York says his state needs 30,000 ventilators to respond to the escalating coronavirus crisis. President Donald Trump doesn’t believe him. Speaking with Sean Hannity on Fox News Trump minimized the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, casting doubt on the need for tens of thousands of ventilators for hospitals responding to the crisis. “I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” he said. “I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
"We have to open up. We can't say, 'Let's close.' People don't want to close. People want to go back to work. I'm hearing it loud and clear from everybody."
A Fox News
And on the day U.S. recorded its 1,687th coronavirus-related death, President Trump announced:
At the White House brief briefing, President Trump announced
· A large number of masks were being stolen from New York hospitals. “How do you go from 10 to 20 (thousand masks being used) to 300,000? Are they going out the back door?”
From US News & World Report:
Today was the
President Trump claimed the country's governors were thanking him for the federal assistance they have received in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. A record of the call with rural state governors refutes Mr. Trump's claim, where Montana Governor Steve Bullock warned him that testing delays could soon overwhelm hospitals in rural areas. President Trump responded, “I haven’t heard about testing in weeks. We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world…But I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”
From USA TODAY:
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, said on NPR's Morning Edition that President Donald Trump was incorrect in saying coronavirus testing problems had been resolved. "Yeah, that's just not true. I mean I know that they've taken some steps to create new tests, but they're not actually produced and distributed out to the states." Hogan said. "No state has enough testing." In fact, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
“If we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 — that’s a horrible number — maybe even less, but to 100,000; so we have between 100- and 200,000 — we all together, have done a very good job.” (49)
“We can expect that, by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery. We think, by June 1st, a lot of great things will be happening.” (50)
“I was on the call yesterday with the governors, and they were happy with the job we’re doing. We are really doing a job.” (51)
“We’re producing tremendous numbers of ventilators. We’re doing a great job on it. The fact is, we’ve done a great job of delivering.” FACT CHECK: On April 2, President Trump again invoked the Defense Production Act, this time to clear up supply chain problems encountered in the manufacturing of medical ventilators. On April 9, Governor Gavin Newsom said he would use the bulk purchasing power of California “as a nation-state” to acquire the hospital supplies that the federal government has failed to provide.
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
From the New York Times:
President Trump: “I do think we were very early, but I also think that we were very smart, because we stopped China. That was probably the biggest decision we made so far. We’re the ones that kept China out of here.” (53)
FACT CHECK: Since Chinese officials disclosed the outbreak of a mysterious pneumonialike illness to international health officials on New Year’s Eve, at least 430,000 people have arrived in the United States on direct flights from China, including nearly 40,000 in the two months after President Trump imposed restrictions on such travel.
President Trump: . (54)
Blog editor’s note: There was not “a group” saying “Let’s just ride it out.” And no president of the United States would have done “nothing.”
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
A month later, on May 1, the U.S. had suffered more than 60,000 dead – and counting.
From the Washington Post Fact Checker:
· President Trump:(56)
A shortage of ventilators and personal protective equipment for health-care workers (masks, gowns, gloves and the like) has caused consternation among local leaders and medical professionals. Because supplies are limited, states have had to compete and outbid each other for what’s available on the market.
U.S. unemployment rate his 16.3% in May with more than 40 million Americans petitioning for unemployment benefits. The National Bureau of Economic Research on June 8 declared the United States economy was in recession.
This is a misleading claim the president has made repeatedly before and after April 1. Trump’s “clear suggestion (is) that the flawed test had been left to him by President Barack Obama’s administration,” reported CNN. Every time a new virus surfaces, like the coronavirus, a new test is developed by the CDC. Sticking to past practice, the CDC created its own test for the coronavirus rather than use the test being distributed by the World Health Organization. But the test CDC developed in January did not work properly. A new test was developed in February and is working and in use today, although still in short supply according to public health experts and state officials.
Today’s White House briefing
On the day after coronavirus deaths in the United States topped 1,000 in a day for the first time and President Trump announced he would not extend the Affordable Care Act enrollment period, the president claimed that his administration would “do better than” reopening the “Obamacare” markets.
Today’s White House briefing
Of the nine states that "are not in jeopardy," five - South Carolina, Utah, Iowa, Arkansas and Nebraska - all experienced significant spikes in cases beginning in mid-June.
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
“I hope (Americans who are sick) use the hydroxychloroquine, and they can also do it with Z-Pak subject to your doctor’s approval and all of that. But I hope they use it because, I’ll tell you what, what do you have to lose? (61)But it’s their choice. And it’s their doctor’s choice or the doctors in the hospital. But hydroxychloroquine. Try it, if you’d like.
“I hope they use it because it’s been used for a long time and therefore it’s passed the safety test. But I’ve seen some results now. It’s early, I guess. It’s early, and they should look at the lupus thing. I don’t know what it says, but there’s a rumor out there that, because it takes care of lupus very effectively as I understand it..
“I may take it."
Blog editor's note: See immediately below - Special hydroxychloroquine update - for more information.
Today’s White House briefing
For the second time during his press conference today, President Trump stopped a reporter from getting an answer to a question.
The Daily Caller reported that when Kevin Freking of the Associated Press asked, “Records show that federal agencies did not begin calling for [inaudible] and respirators until mid-March,” Trump interrupted, telling him to “stop it,” asking who Freking worked for. “The Associated Press,” the reporter answered. The president then defended the work of FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] and the military, adding “What they’ve done is a miracle in getting all of this stuff. What they’ve done for states is incredible. And you should be thanking them for what they have done, not always asking wise guy questions. Thank you very much, everybody,” abruptly ending the press conference.
Special hydroxychloroquine update:
During today’s White House briefing, the president again urged Americans to take hydroxychloroquine. “What do you have to lose? What do I know? I’m not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.”
Today’s White House briefing
Reacting to a report today from the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general that a survey of 323 hospitals across the country reported serious shortages of tests and protective equipment in the fight against coronavirus and concerns about being able to keep health workers safe, President Trump responded:
“It’s just wrong.”
The survey also found "severe" shortages of tests and wait times as long as seven days for hospitals. The president berated Fox News reporter Kristin Fisher for asking the question, saying testing has been a success. "You should say, 'Congratulations. Great job' instead of being so horrid."
Today’s White House briefing
President Trump criticized the World Health Organization.
Fox News reported January 30 that the coronavirus outbreak started in China in late December. The World Health Organization and Chinese officials announced the discovery of the virus on January 9. It would have been impossible for the WHO to announce it “months earlier” since the virus had been discovered only a couple weeks before WHO notified member nations.
President Trump tweet: “The Invisible Enemy will soon be in full retreat!” (66)
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
"When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total." (67)
"The President of the United States calls the shots," he declared, adding that governors of the 50 states "can't do anything without the approval of the President of the United States."
President Trump was responding to a question about his authority to re-open the country. Even law professor Jonathan Turley, who defended Trump during the impeachment trial, says the president is wrong. “The Constitution was written precisely to deny that particular claim. It also reserved to the states (& individuals) rights not expressly given to the federal government.”
New York Times:
Recent polls show that more Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of the virus than approve. So on Tuesday, the president tried to shift the blame elsewhere, ordering his administration to halt funding for the World Health Organization and claiming the organization made a series of devastating mistakes as it sought to battle the virus. He said his administration would conduct a review into whether the W.H.O. was responsible for “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread.
President Trump told governors on a conference call today that he wants to begin to reopen the U.S. economy on May 1. "You states with beautifully low numbers, let's get your states open and get back to work." Reversing field from his statement three days before that he has “total” authority and the governors can’t do anything without his approval, Trump told the governors on a conference call, “You’re going to call your own shots.”
It took 38 days to reach 10,000 deaths and just nine more days to reach 30,000.
Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, called President Trump “delusional” for suggesting there is enough testing capacity for the states to reopen while Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, called the president’s claim “absolutely false.”
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned (4/21) that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean. We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”
President Trump tweet today
“CDC Director was totally misquoted by Fake News…on Covid 19.” (69)
FACT CHECK: When asked at the White House press conference today whether he was accurately quoted, Redfield, with the president standing next to him, replied,
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
“So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way and I think you said you’re going to test that too. I see the disinfectant that knocks it (coronavirus) out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning. As you see it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.” (70)
The Washington Post:
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said on CNN, “I certainly wouldn’t recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant.” The Environmental Protection Agency
Roughly 200 adults who responded to a CDC survey in May, 2020 said they intentionally inhaled disinfectants, washed food with bleach or applied household cleaning products to bare skin to combat the virus.
The Sage of Baltimore speaks
“On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
- H.L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)
President Trump tweets
We have now Tested more than 5 Million People. That is more than any other country in the World, and even more than all major countries combined! (71)
Hot Air’s Allahpundit comments:
It’s true that the U.S. has tested more than any other country (although not true that we’ve tested more than all other major countries combined), but the raw numbers of testing don’t tell us anything. We’re the third most populous country in the world; of course we’re going to test more people than most others are. The relevant number is how many we’re testing per capita. In that metric we’re behind Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Australia, Belgium, even Russia. Even if we were ahead of them, it wouldn’t change the fact that most epidemiologists believe we need many more tests per capita to reach a point where we can safely reopen most of the country without fear of a sudden spike.
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
From CNBC and TIME:
President Donald Trump said Tuesday the U.S. will “very soon” run 5 million coronavirus tests per day, even as the lack of testing remains an obstacle for many states anxious to reopen for business. He said he didn’t have the exact data off the top of his head, but “if you look at the numbers, it could be that we’re getting very close.”
Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health who is in charge of the government’s testing response, said during an interview on Tuesday morning that “there is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even five million tests a day.”
Five hours later, when a reporter asked Trump at the White House if the country would reach five million daily tests, as (a) Harvard study recommended, Trump responded: “We’ll increase it, and it’ll increase it by much more than that in the very near future.” Asked to clarify if he meant the U.S. would “surpass 5 million tests per day”, Trump said, “We’re going to be there very soon." (72) FACT CHECK:
From CNN and National Geographic:
President Donald Trump contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community by claiming Thursday that he has seen evidence that gives him a "high degree of confidence" the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, but declined to provide details to back up his assertion.
"Yes, I have," Trump said when asked whether he's seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, Trump demurred.
"I can't tell you that. I'm not allowed to tell you that," he said.
The comments undercut a public statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued (earlier in the day) which stated no such assessment has been made and continues to "rigorously examine" whether the outbreak "began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan."
UPDATE: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a television interview with Breitbart on May 16, said "We know it began in Wuhan, but we don't know from where or from whom." Pompeo conceded the evidence the coronavirus came from "the vicinity" of the Wuhan lab "could be wrong."
Politico reported May 6 that on May 1 President Trump’s “own health and emergency management officials were privately warning that states were still experiencing shortages of masks, gowns and other medical gear, according to a recording of an interagency meeting between FEMA and HHS officials across the country, conducted by conference call...In the calls, officials in Washington and their regional counterparts were blunt about their struggle to keep pace with a flood of requests from governors for more medical equipment, even as the president touted the administration’s actions to secure sufficient gear from foreign and domestic producers.”
At a National Nurses Day event in the Oval Office on May 6, Sophia Thomas, president of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners, reported sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment “has been sporadic.” She told the president, “I’ve been reusing my N95 masks for a few weeks now.”
At a Fox News virtual town hall at the Lincoln Memorial
"We’re going to lose anywhere from 75-, 80- to 100,000 people.” (75)
Blog Editor’s Note: President Trump can’t seem to agree with himself on the potential death count in the U.S. from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 30 and 31 the president agreed with Dr. Fauci’s prediction that U.S. coronavirus deaths could reach between 100,000 and 200,000.
On April 10, the president predicted that the projected number of deaths will be “substantially under” 100,000.
He changed his mind again on April 20 when he revised his thinking downward again and said,
But the president then raised the anticipated death total on April 28 to as many as 70,000.
And, just three days later, on May 1, warned,
"You go back, and you take a look at even professionals like Anthony were saying, 'This is no problem.' This was late in February. This is no problem. This is going to blow over." (76)
President Trump has used Dr. Fauci as an excuse for his decisions several times. Earlier, on April 28, President Trump explained, “You go back and you take a look at even professionals like Anthony were saying. ‘This is no problem.’ This was late in February. There is no problem. This is going to blow over.’”
Fauci never said that.
“Medically: We had empty cupboards. The cupboards — I say, the cupboards were empty.“
ABC’ David Muir on May 5: ”You're three years into your term.
What did you do when you became president to restock those cupboards that you
say are bare?”
President Trump’s tweet on the day U.S. deaths topped 80,000 : “Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere. Big progress being made!” (77)
Coronavirus infection rates are spiking to new highs in several metropolitan areas and smaller communities across the country, according to undisclosed data the White House's pandemic task force is using to track rates of infection, which was obtained by NBC News.
The 10 top areas recorded surges of 72.4 percent or greater over a seven-day period compared to the previous week, according to a set of tables produced for the task force by its data and analytics unit. They include Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and — atop the list, with a 650 percent increase — Central City, Kentucky.
Today’s White House briefing in the Rose Garden
Trump claimed on Monday during a press conference focused on coronavirus testing that Americans "should all be able to get a test right now."
But there's no evidence that the U.S. is testing everyone who wants it. Some counties are able to perform testing on-demand, but many regions are prioritizing symptomatic individuals or requiring doctor's notes to get tests despite the prevalence of asymptomatic transmission.
Admiral Brett Giroir, the Health and Human Services official overseeing testing efforts, said that the states "aspire" to perform more than 12 million tests in the next four weeks. Pressed by a reporter, Giroir countered that "anybody who needs a test" can get one — calling out specifically symptomatic people or those with a confirmed exposure uncovered through contact tracing — but the president again doubled down on his claim.
"If people want to get tested, they get tested," Trump said.
Blog editor’s note: For more examples of President Trump misleading the American public on the availability of coronavirus tests, see 3/6, 3/12, 3/30, 4/6, 4/10 and 5/1 above.
President Donald Trump deployed some bizarre, backwards logic to try to explain away the country's global-leading number of COVID-19 cases in a Tuesday afternoon speech at Allentown, Pennsylvania.
"Don't forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world. But why? We do more testing," Trump said. "When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn't do any testing we would have very few cases."
NOTE: In the interview with CBN News June 22, Trump repeated this fallacy: “So, instead of 25 million tests, let’s say we did 10 million tests. We’d look like we were doing much better because we’d have far fewer cases.”
So remember kids, if you don't want to get pregnant, don't take a pregnancy test.
President Trump tweets
“Wow! The Front Page @washingtonpost
Aaron Rupar at VOX:
The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 didn’t even exist until nearly three years after Obama left office. So Obama would’ve had to have been some sort of time traveler to develop coronavirus tests during his term. It’s also not even close to true that the US has tested “more than all countries in the world, combined.” According to data compiled by Worldometer, while the US leads the world with 11.9 million tests conducted as of May 18, the next three countries on the list — Russia (7.1 million), Germany (3.1 million), and Spain (3 million) — have done more tests together than the US.
Blog editor’s note: On July 13, former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney wrote: "I know it isn't popular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country. My son was tested recently; we had to wait 5 to 7 days for results. That is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic." And on July 21, the head of FEMA, Peter Gaynor, told Congress that the country has "a ways to go" before it has enough protective equipment for health workers.
NBC News and U.S. News & World Report:
LONDON — A British medical journal Tuesday rebutted claims by President Donald Trump that the World Health Organization had consistently ignored reports of the virus spreading in China, including ones featured in its publication.
In a letter published Monday, Trump's excoriated WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying the organization had “failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts.”
The letter accuses WHO of consistently ignoring "credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from The Lancet medical journal." The journal pushed back against the claim on Tuesday, saying in a statement that it "published no report in December, 2019, referring to a virus or outbreak in Wuhan or anywhere else in China. This statement is factually incorrect.”
President Trump announced that new Centers for Disease Control guidance will classify houses of worship as “essential,” as he called on governors to allow them to open “right now” after being closed during the coronavirus lockdowns. "The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now--for this weekend," Trump said. "If they don't do it, I will override the governors.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Friday that President Trump does not have the authority he says he does when it comes to overriding governors who will not allow churches or synagogues to reopen. "As ill-advised as these gubernatorial orders are -- as essential as is the right to worship, as fundamental as it is -- as absolutely protected by the First Amendment as it is, the president does not have any authority to override the governors.
Blog editor’s note: See 4/13 above for similar claim by President.
The United States recorded its 100,000th COVID-19 death today. President Trump made no public statement on the milestone but did retweet Fox News’ Lou Dobbs comment that Trump “is arguably the greatest president in our history.”
President Trump at the White House
Blog editor’s note: These are mostly false claims the president has made in the past. No one in the United States opposed his decision to partially close down travel from China. See 3/31 above. He previously made the claim about how testing determines the number of cases on 5/14. President Trump made the false claim about closing down all of Europe on 3/11. Trump claimed to have saved millions of lives on 3/31 and 5/26. As of today, the number of U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 is actually 4,000 higher - 109,000 - than President Trump claimed. And the president's decisions have hardly been perfect. The U.S. leads the world in COVID-19 deaths and cases. Australia, South Korea and Canada, with a total population a third of the U.S., have experienced less than 1/10th the number of deaths as the U.S.
Donald Trump is blaming an uptick in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations solely on an increase in testing rather than his push for governors to reopen their states even as the sometimes-deadly disease continues to spread.
"If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any," the president said Monday during an event for seniors at the White House.
President Trump declared during an exclusive interview with “Hannity” Wednesday that the coronavirus is "fading away" as states continue to reopen and the president prepares for his first reelection campaign rally in months. "We are starting up and it's going to be very, very strong ... " Trump told host Sean Hannity at the tail end of a discussion of the economy. "We're very close to a vaccine and we're very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics. But even without that, I don't like to talk about that because it's fading away. It's going to fade away.”
FACT CHECK: At least 19 states have seen new cases go up in the last two weeks and six states on Tuesday reported record increases, CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez reports. Florida reported 2,783 new cases. Texas reported 2,622, and Arizona reported a one-day jump of 2,392 new cases. Oklahoma, Oregon and Nevada also reported their highest single-day spikes in cases yet. Trump made a similar claim on February 28 when he promised, "It's going to disappear...like a miracle."
President Trump’s campaign rally at a Tulsa, Oklahoma indoor arena
From USA Today:
President Donald Trump boasted of his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic and again blamed China for spreading the virus.
Coronavirus cases have spiked in several states around the country, including in Oklahoma, the site of the rally. Local health officials had called for the rally to be postponed out of concern about the spread of the virus.
Trump said he told his administration, "slow the testing down, please" reiterating his argument that higher test numbers led to higher case counts.
President Trump again referred to the novel coronavirus as “kung flu,” eliciting laughter and wild cheers from a young crowd in Arizona on Tuesday.
Trump was listing the different names he has heard for the virus, which has killed at least 119,000 Americans, during a speech for the student Republican group Turning Point Action.
“Wuhan. Wuhan was catching on, coronavirus, kung flu,” he said, repeating it as the crowd roared.
"It's going away." (86)
Twenty-six states have seen their case counts rise over the past 14 days, according to a New York Times tracker. Infections have more than doubled over the past two weeks in Florida, Texas and Arizona, three states led by Republican governors that have been vocal supporters of Trump. The next day, June 24, a record single-day number of COVID-19 new infections - 38,173 - were recorded in the U.S.
President Trump in Wisconsin
"We’ve done an incredible, historic job.”
FACT CHECK: The President is right. Today, the U.S. recorded a
Headline at Drudge Report:
President Trump on Fox Business:
"I think we're gonna be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope."
Blog editor’s note: President Trump has made this promise repeatedly - the virus, he has said, will “disappear,” “fade away,” “die,” and “pass” and that it will have a “good ending.” See 1/30, 2/10, 2/28, 3/15, 4/1, 6/17 and 6/23 above. On July 19 in an interview on Fox News Sunday, President Trump again said, "It's going to disappear, and I'll be right. Because I've been right probably more than anybody else." See 86 examples above of when he wasn't...
President Trump at the White House press conference
Trump claimed that, just like in China and Europe, the situation in the U.S. is "getting under control." He said health experts "continue to address the temporary hot spots in certain cities and counties." And he said "we have some areas where we're putting out the flames or the fires, and that's working out well." (87)
FACT CHECK: On July 1, the United States suffered its largest ever number of new single-day cases with 52,788. The next day, July 2, new cases in the U.S. jumped to 55,223. And on July 3, the number of cases rose to 57,497.
President Trump at the “Salute to America” event at the White House
“There were no tests for a new virus, but now we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless.” (88)
Dr. Anthony Fauci on July 10 commented, "I'm trying to figure out where the president got that number. What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality rate is about one percent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 percent is not a problem when that's obviously not the case."
On 7/6 and 7/7
President Trump tweet:
An FDA warning issued July 1 cautioned against use of hydroxychloroquine outside of a trial or hospital “due to risk of heart rhythm problems.” The agency revoked its emergency use authorization, or EUA, two weeks earlier “based on recent results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery.” The EUA had been issued in March.
President Trump tweet:
While U.S. coronavirus mortality rates have declined recently, they are not the lowest in the world. Among the 20 countries most affected by the virus, at least 14 have lower deaths rates than the U.S. John Hopkins estimates the U.S. fatality rate is 4.5%, the sixth highest worldwide.
President Trump on America and COVID-19:
This is a claim the president has made repeatedly since January 22, despite the growing number of COVID-related deaths in the U.S. and record-numbers of new cases across the country in the month of July. (On July 16, the U.S. recorded 71,406 new cases of COVID-19.)
President Trump on Dr. Fauci’s comments that the pandemic in U.S. is "really not good."
President Trump during Fox News interview
In a statement Saturday, a White House official told CNN that "several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things." The official went on to provide a lengthy list of examples, citing Fauci's comments early in the pandemic and linking to past interviews. These bullet points, which resembled opposition research on a political opponent, included Fauci downplaying the virus early on and a quote from March
Editors of the National Review
"This is a ridiculous gambit. The allegations in the circulated memo are largely out of context or overstated, and the doctor has never said anything as wildly unrealistic as Trump's own repeated assurances that the virus is simply going to disappear."
President Trump at today’s White House press conference
Magical Thinking, White House Style: So if we want to end COVID-19 or cancer, diabetes and all other human ailments in the United States, we just need to stop testing for them. See 5/14 above.
“But if we had listened to Joe Biden, hundreds of thousands of additional lives would have been lost.”
President Trump on Fox News
“Dr. Fauci said don’t wear a mask. Our surgeon general — terrific guy — said don’t wear a mask. Everybody was saying don’t wear a mask, all of a sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask. And as you know, masks cause problems too. With that being said, I am a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”
Best-selling author and leadership guru Marcus Buckingham:
“Effective leaders don’t have to be passionate. They don’t have to be charming. They don’t have to be brilliant…They don’t have to be great speakers. What they must be is clear.”
Chris Wallace: “Our mortality rate is higher than Brazil, it’s higher than Russia and the European Union has us on a travel ban.”
President Trump: “I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.” (93)
Chris Wallace: “That’s not true, sir.”
FACT CHECK: According to the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, as of July 19, the United States’ deaths-per-100,000 rate of 42.83 is the third highest in the world, behind only the U.K. and Chile.
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
At his first coronavirus briefing since April, President Trump for the first time ever, after five months of minimizing the threat, admitted the COVID-19 crisis will probably get worse before it gets better.
Four year ago today: On July 21, 2016, candidate Donald Trump stood before the American people at the GOP’s national convention and announced: “I alone can fix it.”
President Trump at today’s White House briefing
The Daily Beast
After cancelling the Republican National Convention in Florida due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, President Trump could not help but attempt to put a positive spin on the American outbreak, which has risen to more than 4 million cases. “The country is in very good shape
Schools opening good, GOP convention opening bad:
· “Schools have to open safely, but they have to open.”
· “I looked at my team, and I said the timing for this event is not right, just not right with what’s happened recently. The flare-up in Florida to have a big convention is not the right time. It’s really something that for me, I have to protect the American people. That’s what I’ve always done. That’s what I always will do. That’s what I’m about.”
A video featuring a group of doctors making false and dubious claims related to the coronavirus was removed by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube after going viral online Monday. President Trump shared multiple versions of the video with his 84 million Twitter followers Monday night despite the dubious claims running counter to his administration's own public health experts. During the press conference, a speaker who identifies herself as a doctor makes a number of dubious claims, including that "you don't need masks" to prevent spread of the coronavirus, and that recent studies showing hydroxychloroquine is ineffective for the treatment of Covid-19 are "fake science" sponsored by "fake pharma companies." The claims run contrary to multiple studies on the anti-malarial drug and advice from public health officials to prevent spread of the virus.
From The Daily Beast:
The doctor making these claims, Stella Immanuel, is a pediatrician and a religious minister who has claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.
Tweet from GOP Texas Governor Greg Abbott:
“A community lock down is not needed as long as masks & other distancing strategies are used,” Abbott wrote, citing the analysis by Rajesh Nandy, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday dismissed dubious medical advice President Donald Trump shared on Twitter the previous evening. “The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in [treating the] coronavirus disease.” (See 4/5 and 7/6 above for more information on hydroxychloroquine’s safety.)
From John Hopkins University:
Total confirmed cases in the U.S.: 4,364,000+ Total deaths: 149,400+
INDEX OF BLAME and
President Trump blames China…see 3/21 and 4/30 above
· Also, President Trump praises China
President Trump blames Dr. Fauci...7/7, 7/9 and 7/11
President Trump blames President Obama…3/5, 3/13, 3/26, 4/1, 5/3 and 5/18
President Trump blames Joe Biden...7/14
President blames the CDC, the media, Democrats and "our Doctors"...7/12
President Trump blames the World Health Organization…4/7, 4/14 and 5/19
· Also, WHO warns the world…1/9, 1/30, 2/7, 2/23, 3/5 and 3/11
“Anthony (said) ‘This is no problem’”…5/3
“Nobody thought this could happen”…3/16, 3/19 and 3/26
“I don’t take responsibility”…3/13
Campaign Promises Scoreboard
July 30, 2020
😀 Promises kept:
#3 (Repeal Obamacare individual mandate), #9 (Implement "extreme
vetting"), #10 (Stop massive inflow of refugees), #11
(Renegotiate NAFTA), #12 (Withdraw from Trans-Pacific
Partnership), #13 (Impose tariffs on many imports), #17 (Bring trade cases against China, both in this
country and at the WTO), #17 (Declare China a currency manipulator),
#19 (Allow US corporations to bring overseas $$ back into U.S. at reduced tax
rate), #21 (Dramatically lower corporate tax rates), #35 (Gut
the EPA), #39 (Dump the Iran nuclear deal), #41 (Alter US
relations with Europe and Asia), #42 (Withdraw U.S. from the Paris climate
accord), #44 (Move U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem) and #46 (Bomb the shit out of ISIS)
Promises partially kept:
😀 First step(s) taken to keep promise:
😠 Promises dropped:
😐 Promises Not Yet Scored:
2016 promises being recycled for 2020
2016 campaign theme: “Make America Great Again.”
2020 campaign theme: “Make America Great Again.”
Promise #1 (Build the Wall):
Promise #4 (Replace Obamacare with something better)
As his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, 2020, President Trump promised, “We’ll always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.”
Promise #7 (Deport 11 million illegals):
With the nation possibly in a recession due to the coronavirus crisis, President Trump on June 5, 2020 promised, “Next year is going to be one of the best years we’ve ever had economically.
I’ve always done well with numbers, but I had a feel for it. I said it even the other day, I was saying, ‘I think we’re going to have a tremendous next year. I think it’s going to be a phenomenal next year.’” And he promised,
Promise #16 (Create 25 million new jobs):
On June 5, 2020 at the White House, President Trump promised, with unemployment at 13.3%, “We had the most people working in the history of our country, almost 160 million people. We were never even close to that. So we had things that we were doing so well and then it came in, but we’re going to be back there. I think we’re going to actually be back higher next year than ever before.”
Promise #22 (Middle-class tax cuts):
Promise #27 (Renegotiate all big trade deals):
As his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, 2020, President Trump promised, “We will enact new trade deals that result in more products proudly stamped with that beautiful phrase, Made in the USA." He repeated his promise to negotiate big trade deals if re-elected in an interview on July 9 with Sean Hannity.
Promise #50 (Drain the swamp):
Campaign advertisement on the internet June 24, 2020 soliciting campaign donations:
Let’s Drain the Swamp
President Trump promised that he would Drain the Swamp of corrupt Washington Bureaucrats, but he can’t do it without you.
2020 GOP Platform
June 11, 2020 headline at NYTimes.com:
G.O.P. Platform, Rolled Over from 2016, condemns the “Current President”
“When Republicans read the platform their party is using for the 2020 campaign, they may be surprised to see that it is full of condemnations of the sitting president.
“(The party’s platform includes) more than three dozen unflattering references to either the ‘current administration’…or the ‘current occupant’ in the White House.
“Adopted at the party’s 2016 convention, it has been carried over through 2024 after the executive committee of the Republican National Committee chose not to adopt a new platform for 2020.”
Build Wall on Southern Border
1. Build "a great, great" wall - PROMISE DROPPED
2. …And have Mexico pay for it - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: Trump vowed from the beginning of his campaign to "build a great, great wall on our southern border" and repeatedly promised to "have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words." In August, 2015, Trump told (PROMISE DROPPED) At one campaign stop, Trump said, "That wall will go up so fast your head will spin." In August, 2016, he told a crowd, "On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable physical wall. We will use the best technology." He also bragged, "Nobody builds walls better than me and I'll build them very inexpensively."
: There are 1,954 miles of border with Mexico. When President Trump took office, there were 280 miles of low-to-the-ground fencing that would stop a car and 374 miles of pedestrian fencing designed to block people from crossing on foot.
On March 23 President Trump signed the 2018 $1.3 trillion omnibus budget bill that had only $641 million for 33 miles of "new fencing or levees" - not a concrete wall - plus replacements for up to 59 miles of existing barriers. Reported the
On April 28, 2018 President Trump threatened again - as he did in August, 2017 - to shut down the government if he didn't get funding for the wall. Referencing the next government funding bill, the president told a Michigan rally, "We come up again on Sept. 28 and if we don't get border security, we'll have no choice. We'll close down the country. Because we need border security." Sarah Quinlan from
On May 29, the president got into another back-and-forth with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto over who is going to pay for the wall. President Trump told a campaign rally in Tennessee that "in the end, Mexico is going to pay for the wall and they're going to enjoy it." The Mexican president immediately tweeted his response: "NO. Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever."
And then on June 18, the president, as he did in April, told members of Congress he will shut down the government in September if Congress - not Mexico - fails to fund the $25 billion wall. And the next month, both on July 29 and 30, the president repeated his threat. "If we don't get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown." But on September 4, President Trump, for the third time in his administration, backed away from his promise to shut down government. The president told
And on September 8, President Trump, as he did in March, said if Congress won't fund Homeland Security to build the wall, he would do so using military funding. "We have two options: we have military and we have Homeland Security. I'd rather get it through politically, I'd rather get it through Congress. If we don't, I'm looking at that option very seriously."
On September 20, the president tweeted, "I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill." But eight days later, on September 28, President Trump signed the 2019 budget bill without funding for the wall. On November 15, and then again on November 22, Thanksgiving Day, President Trump threatened Congress that he could force a government shutdown in December if U.S. taxpayers didn't fund construction of the wall. And finally on December 11, on national television, the president said, "I am proud to shut down the government for border security. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down." Trump has now threatened a government shutdown over funding for the wall several times: August 22, 2017 and in 2018 on April 28, June 18, July 29 and repeatedly in late November and throughout December.
But then on December 21 the government - or at least a portion of it - shut down after Democrats in the Senate refused to fund the wall. "It will never pass the Senate, not today, not next week, not next year," said Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer (NY). More than 420,000 federal workers who were considered essential worked without pay during the shutdown. Another 380,000 government employees were furloughed and sent home without pay. On Christmas Day, President Trump told the press, that the government won't reopen "until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it." He also made the claim he'd recently approved 115 miles worth of border barrier. "It's going to be built, hopefully, rapidly. I'm going there at the end of January for the start of construction." And then on January 5, 2019, President Trump said he could declare a "national emergency" to circumvent Congress and build the wall "very quickly."
The shutdown entered its second month on January 22, the 2nd anniversary of President Trump's term in office, and was the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. On January 19, President Trump delivered a televised speech in which he proposed temporary protection for "Dreamers" (See Promise #5) in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for the wall. Democrat leaders in both the Senate and House rejected the proposal and urged the president to reopen the government and begin negotiations. And on January 25, the 35th day of the partial government shutdown, President Trump caved to public pressure and announced he would support a deal between Republicans and Democrats to temporarily reopen the government without any funding for the wall. Sources told
President declares a national state of emergency: Frustrated with Congress' refusal to fund the wall, President Trump on February 15, 2019 declared a national emergency on the southern border, citing an "invasion" of crime, drugs and human trafficking. Trump plans to use the declaration as justification to transfer billions in Department of Defense funding to build the wall. Sixteen states, led by California, landowners in affected areas and environmental groups filed suit in federal court to stop the president.
On March 11, President Trump submitted his 2020 budget, asking Congress for $8.6 billion to continue construction of the wall.
How much of the "Trump Wall" has actually been built during the Trump administration? Confusion on how much wall has been built since Donald Trump became president continued when Brian Kilmeade of
Congress approved a $2 trillion stimulus package in late March, 2020 in response to the national health, medical and economic crisis. The bill approved by Congress and signed by President Trump prevents the Pentagon from shifting $10.5 billion in coronavirus funding to construction of the wall.
Repeal and Replace Obamacare
Repeal Obamacare on "Day One" - PROMISE DROPPED
4. And replace it with something "so much better" that takes care of everybody - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: Trump promised to repeal President Obama’s
signature health care law on "Day One" (also "immediately"
and "very, very quickly") of his administration, including the
individual mandate. ("Everybody's got to be covered," he told (PROMISE
DROPPED) A month before the election,
candidate Trump said, "Repealing Obamacare is one of the single biggest
reasons we must win on November 8." Americans, he promised, will have
"great health care at a fraction of the cost." PROMISE DROPPED) The GOP candidate said that "we will be able to
immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. Have to do it. I will ask Congress to
convene a special session so we can repeal and replace, and it will be such an
honor for me, for you, and for this country because Obamacare has to be
replaced and we will do it very, very quickly." He told an audience,
"You're going to have such great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the
cost, and it is going to be so easy." He has also promised an
audience that he would maintain the portion of the law that allows adults under
26 to be covered on their parents' plans.
History of Trump/GOP effort to repeal and replace: On March 6, 2017 House Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership introduced draft legislation to replace Obamacare. Vice President Mike Pence said, "This is the bill and the President supports (it)." President Trump called it "wonderful" and said, "I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives." On March 13, the Congressional Budget Office announced that roughly 24 million more people would be uninsured over the next ten years if the House Republican Obamacare repeal bill were enacted. The On May 4, the House passed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare with the GOP's American Health Care Act. The bill was approved along mostly partisan lines, 217-213. President Trump, at a Rose Garden ceremony celebrating passage of the House bill, called it "a great plan." The bill allows states to get federal waivers to allow insurers to charge older customers higher premiums than younger ones by as much as they'd like. (Obamacare limits the difference to a 3-1 ratio.) The states could also seek waivers from Obamacare's prohibition against insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing health problems if the states have a mechanism to cover people with serious, expensive-to-treat diseases. According to a CBO analysis of the bill, issued weeks after it was passed, 23 million Americans would be without health insurance by 2026 and 14 million uninsured in its first years. Insurance premiums would continue to rise, especially for older citizens and those with pre-existing health issues. On June 13, President Trump met with GOP senators working on their own health care bill and told them the House bill, which he originally praised, was "mean, mean, mean" and said, "We need to be more generous, more kind."
In late September, the GOP senate brought up a new bill sponsored by Senators Graham and Cassidy, one that would send funding back to the states and allow states to determine how best to provide health care. "The newest legislation,"
On December 23, a day after President Trump announced that "we have essentially repealed Obamacare," the
The Hill reported June 2, 2018 that a number of states, including California, Maryland, Vermont and New Jersey, were taking steps to protect Obamacare. California and Maryland are looking to put limits on short-term insurance plans pushed by the Trump administration and Vermont and New Jersey have passed laws that require people to buy health insurance. "States are determined to safeguard the gains they've achieved," said Stan Dorn, a senior fellow at the advocacy group Families USA. "There's a lot of interest in making sure the achievements of Obamacare are not in danger." Virginia's Republican-control legislature voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act allowing 400,000 low-income residents to gain access to the federal public health insurance program. Virginia is the 33rd state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. (On June 30, 2020, Oklahoma voted to become the 37th state to expand Medicaid to tens of thousands of poor adults, "defying state and Trump administration officials fighting to limit the Obamacare program," reported
On June 8 the Trump administration announced it won't defend central provisions of the Affordable Care Act in a lawsuit filed by Texas and 20 other GOP-led states asking the court to rule ACA unconstitutional. In a letter to Congress, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Justice Department was taking this position "with the approval of the president of the United States." California and 15 other Democrat-led states have filed a motion to intervene to defend the law. (See "ACA vs. GOP in court battles" below for more information on the Texas lawsuit.)
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Insisting his administration would "do better" than Obamacare, the president announced the government will cover the hospital costs of all uninsured coronavirus patients. But
Trump vs. Trump in battle to over pre-existing conditions
Flip-flopper? Political gamesmanship? Or just plain confused? Candidate Trump and the Trump administration have taken both sides of the “pre-existing condition” issue so many times – claiming to be in favor of protecting insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and then taking steps to end such protections – that you need a scorecard to keep track of the back-and-forth. So let’s review the scorecard, in chronological order:
During his first year in office, in late September, 2017, the GOP-led Senate brought up a bill sponsored by Senators Graham and Cassidy. President Trump, who praised the proposed bill as "GREAT!", also tweeted "I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. It does! A great bill. Repeal & Replace." However, according to
On June 19, 2018 at a meeting of National Federation of Independent Business, the President rolled out the administration's "association health plans" blueprint offering businesses and the self-employed health insurance coverage with lower premiums and fewer benefits. Scott Flanders, CEO of eHealth, Inc. saw real advantages to short-term health insurance plans over expensive Obamacare plans. "Make no mistake," he wrote in USA Today, "ACA alternatives like short-term health insurance present a trade-off. They typically don't cover pre-existing conditions, preventive care or maternity care. Some don't cover prescription drugs.”
During the mid-term elections leading up to November, 2018 President Trump joined other Republicans in supporting protections for citizens with pre-existing conditions. "All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions and if they don't, they will after I speak to them," he told a rally October 18. Then he tweeted, "Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions. Democrats will not!"
But then, after the election, on December 14, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Texas ruled in favor of the GOP-led legal effort against the ACA by declaring Obamacare unconstitutional. The ruling, if upheld by the Supreme Court, would terminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions. President Trump called the ruling a "big, big victory" and "Great news for America!"
President Trump praised the announcement by his Department of Justice on March 25, 2019 supporting Judge O’Connor’s ruling and the GOP-led legal effort to declare Obamacare unconstitutional. “Let me tell you exactly what my message is: The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care,” he told reporters. “You watch.” Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the Trump administration has "affirmatively argued to overturn" the ACA's pre-existing condition protections in the lawsuit that's making its way through the courts.
On April 26, 2019 speaking to the NRA convention, President Trump once again promised to repeal Obamacare. But then on June 18 at a Florida rally to kick-off his 2020 re-election campaign, President Trump vowed to "always protect patients with preexisting conditions." But a year later, on June 25, 2020, the Trump administration petitioned the Supreme Court to declare Obamacare - and its protections for 23 million Americans with pre-existing conditions - unconstitutional.
5. Cancel President Obama's executive action on DACA - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: Trump promised, if elected, to "immediately terminate" Obama’s immigration executive orders regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The GOP presidential nominee strongly criticized President Obama for "illegal executive amnesties." Undoing DACA would make undocumented young people who arrived in the United States as children - "Dreamers" - subject to deportation. There are currently about 800,000 young (but growing older) immigrants currently protected by the Obama-era program.
Update: At a February 16, 2017 press conference, President Trump backed away from reversing President Obama's DACA orders. "DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me," Trump conceded, promising to address the issue "with heart. It's one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids." On February 21,
However, on September 5, President Trump terminated the DACA program but delayed implementation of his order for six months (until March 5, 2018). The
However, within hours of the decision to terminate DACA, Trump was sending signals that he wanted Congress to restore the program through legislation. Following a storm of criticism by Democrats and Republicans, the president tweeted, "Congress now has 6 months to legalize. If they can't, I will revisit this issue." Trump announced he and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer had tentatively agreed to legislation that would protect Dreamers and provide funding for increased border security (but not fund construction of the wall). Trump tweeted, "For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!" He then told reporters, "Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I." Or does he? On October 8, President Trump announced that he now insists Congress fund construction of the border wall and the hiring of 10,000 new immigration agents in return for legislation protecting the "Dreamers." Chuck and Nancy immediately objected, claiming Trump was going back on their September agreement that "explicitly ruled out" money for the wall.
On January 9, 2018 the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco blocked the administration's attempt to end DACA, citing President Trump's tweets in September supporting the program, including,
The Supreme Court heard arguments on November 9, 2019 regarding the 9th Circuit's decision blocking the government's effort to end DACA. On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, blocked the Trump administration's attempt to end DACA.
6. - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: As a presidential candidate, Trump said that ending birthright citizenship was one way to reform immigration and "make American great again." An immigration reform plan posted on Trump's campaign website said birthright citizenship "remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration." In an August, 2015 interview with
It is not clear whether "clarifying legislation" by Congress, an amendment to the Constitution or an "originalist interpretation" of the Constitution by the Supreme Court would be required to change the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
7. Deport the almost 11 million immigrants illegally living in the United States and other related promises
Background: The wall was just one piece of Donald Trump’s immigration policy that defined his campaign. He also pledged to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. At a February, 2016 presidential debate, Trump said, "We have at least 11 million people in this country that came in illegally. They will go out. They will come back - some will come back, the best, through a process. They have to come back legally." (PROMISE DROPPED)
Trump explained that he would do this by having “the greatest deportation force” imaginable and tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. "We will triple the number of ICE agents."
In addition, on August 31, 2016, candidate Trump told a crowd that building the wall was his first priority but his second priority was to end President Obama's policy of "catch-and-release." The GOP candidate explained, "Under my Administration, anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of the country." He told the GOP national convention in July, 2016, "By ending catch-and-release on the border, we will stop the cycle of human smuggling and violence. Illegal border crossings will go down. We will stop it." (First steps taken to keep this promise) On June 18, 2019 at a rally in Florida kicking off his 2020 re-election bid, President Trump once again promised to end catch-and-release. (PROMISE DROPPED)
Regarding criminals who are also illegal immigrants, candidate Trump told a campaign rally, "We will begin moving them out on day one. Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone." On November 2, 2016 Trump promised, "A Trump administration will stop illegal immigration, deport all criminal aliens and save American lives." (PROMISES DROPPED)
Five days after President Trump took office, he signed an executive order that promised a swift, sharp crackdown on illegal immigration, immediate construction of a massive border wall, quick hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and stepped-up deportation of undocumented migrants. That executive order was never implemented.
Current status of promises:
According to the April 10, 2019
And then things began to change. On June 7, 2019 Mexico and the U.S. reached agreement on strategies to halt the illegal crossings. Mexico agreed to dispatch its national guard on its border with Guatemala and expand the so-called "Remain in Mexico" program, returning tens of thousands of asylum seekers back across the U.S. border into Mexico to await their hearings in U.S. immigration court. David Agren of
On June 17, 2019 President Trump, on the eve of his 2020 re-election announcement and two-and-a-half years into his first term, tweeted the news, "Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in." On the eve of the nation-wide ICE sweep, June 22, President Trump tweeted that people coming into the U.S. illegally "will be DEPORTED!" And then, just hours later, the president tweeted that he had called it off. President Trump on July 6 threatened again that mass deportation roundups would begin "fairly soon," adding, "we're removing people, all of these people who have come in over the years illegally."
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: President Trump announced March 22, 2020 that undocumented immigrants should be able to get tested for coronavirus without fear of arrest or deportation. On May 19, the Trump administration "indefinitely extended its coronavirus border restrictions, finalizing a rule that has allowed the government to turn away asylum seekers and other immigrants for public health reasons over the past two months,"
8. Temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States -
Background: In December, 2015, the Trump campaign released the
Trump, by executive proclamation, then issued a travel ban on immigration from eight countries, six Muslim countries plus North Korea and Venezuela. On June 26, the Supreme Court allowed parts of the travel ban to go into effect and scheduled oral arguments on the case in the fall. The court allowed the ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lack any "bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States." On July 15, the federal judge in Hawaii further weakened the already-diluted travel ban by vastly expanding the list of U.S. family relationships that visitors from six Muslim-majority countries can use to get into the country. The judge ordered the government to allow into the country grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the U.S. The Trump administration appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court but the court let stand the Hawaii judge's order.
9. ...And implement "extreme vetting" - PROMISE KEPT
Background: Trump first brought up the idea of extreme vetting in August, 2016 comparing it to ideological screening tests used in the Cold War. He said that Muslims or at least those from "terror-prone" countries would be the targets. Trump said the United States needs to screen members of terrorist organizations and vet "any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles — or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law." His campaign's "Contract with the American Voter" promised, "All vetting of peoples coming into our country will be considered 'extreme vetting.'"
Update: On January 27, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order requesting a 90-day interagency review of existing screening measures to ensure that "radical Islamic terrorists" cannot get into the U.S. and "ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson directed diplomatic missions to identify "populations warranting increased security" and toughen screening for visa applicants in those groups,
10. Bar Syrian refugees from entering the country, stop the inflow of refugees, and kick out any Syrian refugees in the U.S.
Background: During the campaign, Trump pledged to "stop the massive inflow of refugees" and warned that terrorists were smuggling themselves into naive countries by posing as refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.(PROMISE KEPT)
Trump also promised to kick out any who are already living here. "I'm putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria," he told a campaign rally in Keene, New Hampshire, "as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they're going back."
The president signed an executive order on January 27, 2017 indefinitely banning all Syrian refugees from entry into the United States. (Promise partially kept) On February 9, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal rejected the Justice Department's request to lift a Seattle-based judge's restraining order blocking the Trump executive order. The court said Trump's executive order was clearly a "Muslim ban." On March 7, the president signed a new executive order blocking citizens from Syria from obtaining visas for at least 90 days and suspending admission of refugees into the U.S. for 120 days. On March 15, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a worldwide restraining order against the executive order. A Maryland federal judge subsequently issued a second ruling against the ban on March 16.
On October 23, the Trump administration's worldwide temporary ban on refugees entering the U.S. ended, with President Trump signing an executive order allowing the resumption of admissions but with new enhanced screening measures. "There will be a general resumption of refugee admissions under this exec order, while that review (of vetting procedures) is ongoing. Refugee admissions from the 11 countries will be considered on a case by case basis," a senior administration official told
On April 26 the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the legality of President Trump's travel ban targeting people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. And on June 26 the Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration's ban, stating Congress had given the executive branch authority on immigration.
n Oct. 2, 2018
11. Renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or withdraw from deal- PROMISE KEPT
UPDATE: The United States, Mexico and Canada reached a tentative agreement September 30, 2108 on a new trade agreement – the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – to replace NAFTA. The revised trade agreement addresses wide areas of the economy, ranging from patents and financial services to auto manufacturing and protection for intellectual property. It will also give American farmers and dairy producers greater access to Mexican and Canadian markets. But the U.S. did relent on its demands to eliminate an independent tariff dispute settlement system that Canada opposed. "Throughout the campaign, I promised to renegotiate NAFTA, and today we have kept that promise," Trump said during the Rose Garden briefing on October 1. (See Promise #13 below for more details on the tariff war.)
President Trump finally closes the deal On November 30, President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada signed the deal at a G-20 meeting in Argentina. The treaty now goes to Congress, where members of both parties quickly expressed concern about the language in the treaty. On April 2, 2019 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi indicated the House will not consider the new trade pact "until Mexico has passed and implemented its major labor law reforms," reported (See Promise #13)
12. On first day in office, withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership - PROMISE KEPT
Background: On the campaign trail, candidate Trump called TPP "another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country." On January 23, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the TPP. Moments after the executive order was signed, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) praised the president's action. "I am glad the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead and gone. For the last 30 years, we have had a series of trade deals - including the North American Free Trade Agreement, permanent normal trade relations with China and others - which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs." To celebrate the President's decision, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.) and Sen. Sanders held a rally on Capitol Hill.
Update: On November 11, the
Commentary from the Editors at the National Review: "Trump's views on trade have always been and remain foolish - he has been going on about the Asian economic Superman getting ready to eat our lunch since Japan rather than China was the locus of our national trade anxiety. This has led to many unfortunate outcomes, including the abandonment of American leadership on trade-related issues: The U.S. decision to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, has not derailed the project, but simply left it to proceed with Canada rather than the United States taking the lead while also giving China more leverage in its trade negotiations with its neighbors. Trump called TPP 'a terrible deal,' but he never explained his objections in any meaningful detail, and his aides have been trying to replicate some of its provisions in new trade deals." (See Promise #11 above for more about TPP.)
13. Impose tariffs on many foreign imports (and other related promises) - PROMISE KEPT
Trump promised to heavily tax Chinese goods coming into the country, telling
supporters, "We can't continue to allow China to rape our country."
On January 7, 2016, Trump told the (PROMISE DROPPED)
In June, 2016, Trump also promised, "When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians have proven, folks, have proven they do nothing. We are going to put American steel and aluminum back into the backbone of our country." (PROMISE DROPPED)
Trump also promised in his "Contract with the American Voter" to introduce the "End the Offshoring Act" within his first days in office.
The President's frustration with his staff on the issue of tariffs came to light on August 27, 2017 when
In response, Mexico slapped a 20 percent tariff on $3 billion worth of U.S. pork, cheese, bourbon and other imports and the European Union announced it would also impose tariffs on $3.2 billion worth of U.S. exports, including bourbon, orange juice, steel, aluminum and peanut butter. Canada announced it will impose retaliatory tariffs on $12.5 billion worth of U.S. exports, including steel and aluminum. (See Promise #11 above for details on the effects of the tariff war between the U.S., Mexico and Canada on US agriculture.)
On June 17, India announced it would impose tariffs on various U.S. imports in response to the tariffs imposed by the U.S. on Indian steel and aluminum exports. (A year later, on May 31, 2019, the Trump administration raised tariffs on “billions of dollars of the country’s products,” according to the
On May 17, the U.S. agreed to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico in an effort to get the new NAFTA passed in the Mexican, Canadian and U.S. congresses. Mexico and Canada also agreed to reduce tariffs on American goods.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: On May 23,
14. Rebuild the country's aging infrastructure - PROMISE DROPPED
Candidate Trump promised, “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.” The GOP presidential nominee promised he would outdo Hillary Clinton's infrastructure plan. "Her number is a fraction of what we're talking about. We need much more money to rebuild our infrastructure," he announced on the (PROMISE DROPPED) Among the stated goals: modernize airports and air traffic control systems and reconstruct the nation's roadways, waterworks and bridges.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The
15. Grow the nation's economy annually by 4 to 6 percent - PROMISE DROPPED
Candidate Trump said that his policies as president will boost GDP growth to 4%, which is about double the average
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: According to a statement in early June from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the United States is now in an economic recession. The GDP in the first quarter of 2020 was -4.8%. As of July 10, the GDP for the 2nd quarter is -35.5%. The recession brings to an end the longest expansion in U.S. history, which began 11 years ago.
Perhaps no promise was more critical to Trump’s ability to win over voters than the one guaranteeing he would be “the greatest jobs president God ever created.”
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The United States lost an unprecedented 22.2 million jobs in March and April. After adding 7.5 million jobs in May and June, unemployment in the U.S. stands at 11.1%.
17. Designate China a currency manipulator, bring trade cases against China at the WTO and fix the trade deficit with China
Trump called China the "grand champion" of currency manipulators and promised in his "Contract with the American Voter" to "direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator." In a (PROMISE DROPPED) But on April 12, 2017, three months after taking office and a week after meeting the president of China, President Trump told the And then on August 20, the president told
(See Promise #13 for more information), China responded August 5 by letting the yuan tumble to the weakest level in more than a decade against the dollar. Within hours, the Trump declared China a currency manipulator. (PROMISE KEPT)
Update on promise to fix the trade deficit with China: Despite the president's protestations, America's trade deficit with China hit a record high $375 billion in 2017. (The deficit with the European Union was $151.4 billion, with Mexico $71.1 billion and with Japan $68.8 billion.) The total U.S. trade deficit in 2017 was $566 billion, exceeding the 2016 level of $505 billion. (See Promise #13 above) were met with corresponding tariffs from trading partners. The level of U.S. exports, which had been steadily climbing for two years, began to decline in May, 2018." In 2019, the U.S. trade deficit with China actually shrank, but figures indicate that Americans turned to other countries for goods and other supplies. The Commerce Department reported February 5, 2020 "the deficit in exports versus imports from China shrank to $345.6 billion, down about 18 percent from a record high level in 2018,"
18. Bring manufacturing jobs back - PROMISE DROPPED
In late July, 2019 Kenan Fikri and August Benzow at the
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: On May 11, the
19. Allow corporations a one-time window to transfer money being held overseas back to the U.S. - PROMISE KEPT
At the beginning of 2017, corporations were required to pay up to 35% of their earnings in taxes if they wished to "repatriate" overseas profits. Candidate Trump indicated he wanted to charge a much-reduced one-time tax of 10 percent to encourage companies to bring those funds back to the U.S. for investment and economic growth. It was estimated at the time that US companies held about $2.5 trillion abroad.
In December, 2017 Congress passed its tax reform bill, which sets a one-time mandatory tax of eight percent for illiquid assets and 15.5 percent for cash and cash equivalents. In touting the tax bill, Trump predicted that more than $4 trillion would return to the U.S., which he promised would create jobs and spur investments.
- PROMISE DROPPED
Background: At a memorable campaign stop in West Virginia in May, 2016, Trump told miners holding "Trump Digs Coal" signs,
Key Pro-Coal Personnel Hires: On October 5, 2017 the (See Promise #50 (Drain the swamp, Topic #9) below for more details on Pruitt and Wheeler.)
Clean Power Plan update: On October 10, 2017 the Trump administration officially moved to kill the Obama-era climate change rule for power plants by repealing the Clean Power Plan, fulfilling a campaign pledge but setting off what is expected to be a bitter legal battle between the EPA and several states, health and environmental groups. EPA chief Scott Pruitt said that repealing the measure meant that "the war against coal is over." See Promise #35 for more information on Clean Power Plan.
Are coal jobs really returning?
On January 9, 2018
According to reports from
UMWA Pension fund on life-support:
Lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, get rid of most corporate tax loopholes and incentives and make the tax code simple, fair and easy to understand. STATUS -
Trump's "Contract with the American Voter" promised to drop the
corporate tax rate to 15%. He also promised to eliminate "corporate
loopholes that cater to special interests." Trump's
first principle for a tax bill was to "make the tax code simple, fair and
easy to understand." And in December, 2017, Congress passed a tax reform
bill that reduced the corporate rate to 21% but did not eliminate corporate
loopholes or make the tax code easy to understand. (H & R Block stock rose
10% on the day Congress passed its tax reform bill!)
22. Give middle class a large tax cut, reduce the number of tax brackets and raise taxes on the rich - STATUS -
Candidate Trump promised in his "Contract with the American Voter," that the "largest tax reductions are for the middle class...A middle class family with two children will get a 35% tax cut." He told the GOP convention in July, 2016, "Middle-income Americans will experience profound relief, and taxes will be greatly simplified for everyone. I mean everyone." And on October 11, 2017, just before Congress passed the GOP tax reform bill, President Trump said, "Our framework ensures that the benefits of tax reform go to the middle class, not to the highest earners."
As a candidate Trump also promised to eliminate "most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich." At an April 21, 2016 town hall exchange on
Other elements of his promise include: reduce the number of tax brackets to three and eliminate income tax on single individuals earning less than $25,000 per year or couples earning less than $50,000.
In December, 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which broke three of candidate Trump's promises - to give the middle class a large tax cut, to reduce the number to tax brackets to three and to ensure the rich would not benefit from the tax bill. The number of tax brackets was kept at seven. The tax reform bill, the
To benefit the wealthy, the bill makes large cuts to the estate tax, a levy on inheritances charged only to the very wealthy, like President Trump and his family. In addition, the tax bill includes new provisions to benefit real estate investors, like President Trump and his family. (For more details on the benefit of the new tax cut to President Trump and his family, see Promise #50 - Drain the Swamp/Topic #3 The Trump family benefits $$$ from 2017 tax reform.) According to estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, while most Americans will benefit at least somewhat from the tax cuts, the top fifth of earners get 70 percent of the bill's benefits, and the top 1 percent get 34 percent. On December 24,
On October 21, just weeks before the 2018 midterm elections,
On September 12, 2019, President Trump once more promised tax cuts for the middle class. "It will be a very substantial tax cut," Trump told congressional Republicans. He said the tax cut would be "very, very inspirational" without providing any details. And on January 1, 2020, two years after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect, Frank Clemente, director of Americans for Tax Fairness, wrote in the
A history of Donald Trump's promises during the 2016 campaign that his tax cuts are for the middle class, not the rich:
· On October 22, 2016 in Gettysburg, PA., candidate Trump said, "The largest tax reductions are for the middle class, who have been forgotten."
· On February 15, 2017, the President said, "We'll lower rates very, very substantially for virtually everybody in every category, including personal and business."
· On July 25, 2017, President Trump told the
· On September 13 promised that "The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan. We are looking for the middle class and we are looking for jobs." And then two days later, the
· On September 21, the
· On September 27, the day Trump announced the tax plan, he said, "I'm doing the right thing, and it's not good for me, believe me. My plan is for the working people, and my plan is for jobs. I don't benefit." Two days later the president told a gathering, "We will cut taxes for everyday, hard-working Americans, and we're going to cut them substantially. Our framework ensures that the benefits of tax reform go to the middle class, not the highest earners."
· President Trump insisted on October 11, "By eliminating tax breaks and special interest loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy, our framework ensures that the benefits of tax reform go to the middle class, not to the highest earners. It's a middle class bill. That's what we're thinking of. That's what I want."
But once again, this time on October 16, President Trump said, "We want to make sure that the middle class is the biggest beneficiary of the tax cuts and tax reform."
· According to
· On November 7, President Trump again promised that the GOP tax reform bill will "kill" him. "My accountant called me," he told Democrats by phone during his Asian trip, "and said, 'you're going to get killed in this bill.'" West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin told the press, "The bottom line is the president told me specifically that this is not a tax cut for the rich - it's a tax cut for the hard-working middle class, so I'm looking at everything we're seeing." Also in November in St. Charles, Missouri, Trump took pains to tell his audience that the tax-overhaul bill would hurt him personally. "This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing. Believe me."
A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.
23. Eliminate the carried interest loophole for Wall Street - PROMISE DROPPED
is the carried interest loophole? It's a 20% tax rate that allows Wall Street
investors, hedge fund managers, venture capitalists, real estate developers and
mutual fund managers to avoid the tax rate paid by high-income salaried
Americans. They do this with investments that are taxed as long-term
capital gains rather than as ordinary income. In 2015, Trump said, "The
hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift
paper around, and they get lucky." He added, "They make a fortune.
They pay no tax. It's ridiculous, O.K.?" Candidate Trump promised
that "carried interest will be taxed as ordinary income" to
"ensure the rich will pay their fair share." At a 2016 campaign
speech at the Detroit Economic Club, candidate Trump promised, "We will
eliminate the carried interest deduction and other special interest loopholes
that have been so good for Wall Street investors and for people like me but
unfair to American workers."
Update: On November 2, 2017 the GOP leadership in the House introduced, with President Trump's blessings, its tax reform package. The plan did not eliminate the carried interest loophole. Even super-Trump supporter Ann Coulter was critical. "For Trump to promise to end it everywhere he went, and then back down, is a very bad look. Tax rates ought to at least have some bare minimum perception of fairness."
Commentary: James B. Stewart at the
24. Eliminate the federal estate tax, the alternative minimum tax and the so-called marriage penalty that affects some high-income earners. - STATUS -
25. Paid maternity leave plus make child care more affordable
Background: During a speech in suburban Pennsylvania September 14, 2016, candidate Trump, flanked by his daughter Ivanka Trump, a working mother who helped craft the policies, said he would seek to make child care expenses tax deductible for families earning less than $500,000 and called for establishing tax-free accounts to be used for child care and child enrichment activities. "The Trump plan will rewrite the tax code to allow working parents to deduct from their income taxes child care expenses for up to four children and elderly dependents."(PROMISES DROPPED) He also called for guaranteeing six weeks' maternity leave to biological mothers by extending unemployment insurance benefits to working mothers whose employers do not offer paid maternity leave. "We can provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit." (Promise partially kept.)
26. Propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. - PROMISE DROPPED
The Trump campaign issued the "Donald J. Trump Contract with the American Voter" and listed, as its
27. Reduce and eliminate the $19 trillion national debt (and other related promises) - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: Donald Trump has been concerned about America's growing
national debt since 2013, when, during the Cyprus fiscal and economic crisis,
the New York businessman tweeted, "
President Trump told the
A brief history of the Trump administration's decision to drop the promise to eliminate the national debt: When President Trump was inaugurated, the national debt stood at $19.5 trillion. As of June, 2020, three years and a half years into his first term, the national debt stands at $26 trillion.
Budget director Mulvaney, a strong deficit hawk when he was a Republican congressman, said on October 1, 2017 in an interview with
The budget deficit continues to grow: The
The Congressional Budget Office projected January 28, 2019 that the federal deficit will rise to $897 billion in fiscal year 2019 and then will swell to over $1 trillion per year starting in three years. The
After many decades of being the party of fiscal responsibility and many Republican presidents and presidential candidates swearing an oath to tackle the national debt, President Trump has achieved what many thought impossible: convincing "conservatives" in the party and in Washington D.C. that debt is good. As long as a Republican is in the White House.
On February 12, 2019 the
They just don't like paying for it."
- Robert Samuelson
28. Get rid of Common Core - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: Common Core created a set of academic standards within the subjects of English and math throughout our public school system. Trump pledged to abolish Common Core, saying that education should be managed on a local level – not a national one (though Common Core is not a federal program). He called Common Core "a disaster" and a "very bad thing." On March 3, 2016 at a GOP presidential debate, Trump said, "We're cutting Common Core. We're getting rid of Common Core. We're bringing education locally."
Update: TIME magazine reported on December 22, 2016, "Both Trump and (Secretary of Education Betsy) DeVos have promised to 'end' the controversial state-based achievement standards. But the Education Department is forbidden under the new federal law from either setting such benchmarks or incentivizing states of adopt them. Common Core was adopted by state lawmakers, and will also have to be dismantled by them."
DeVos claimed in April, 2017 on
29. "Be the nation's biggest cheerleader for school choice." -PROMISE DROPPED
Background: Trump's "100-day action plan" included a promise to introduce legislation to allow families to redirect their share of education spending to "give parents the right to send their kid to public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice." His campaign's education vision statement said he supported $20 billion in federal funding to send low-income students to private and charter schools. At the GOP convention in July, 2016, Trump said, "We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice."
At the third GOP presidential debate, Trump was asked about abortion by moderator Chris Wallace. "Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?" Replied candidate Trump: "Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that's really what's going to be - that will happen and that will happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court." Trump also promised during the campaign to appoint "pro-life" justices willing to retry and overturn Roe v. Wade.
President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 8, 2017. Maine Senator Susan Collins told
On October 4, 2019 the
And on June 29, 2020, the Supreme Court, on a 5/4 vote, ruled the Louisiana law unconstitutional. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch both voted with the minority. Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote.
31. Get rid of gun-free zones at military bases and in schools - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: Candidate Trump pledged to eliminate gun-free zones on his first day in office to keep the United States safe from mass shootings. "I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and - you have to - and on military bases," Trump told a Burlington, VT. rally January 8, 2016. "My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There's no more gun-free zones."
: And on his first day in office, President Trump didn't get rid of gun-free zones. Or during his first three years in office.
32. Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cutting benefits -
Background: Trump promised repeatedly during his White House bid not to touch entitlements. As early as 2013, he told a political conference, "As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in any substantial way, and at the same time you think you are going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen." Before entering the race he tweeted, "I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid." When he announced for the presidency, Trump said, "I'm not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican, and I'm not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid." It wouldn't be "fair" to make cuts to a program that people had been paying into. He added, "Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it."
Update: On March 6, 2017 the House leadership introduced a repeal and replace bill for Obamacare that would cut, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $880 billion from federal Medicaid funds over the next 10 years. In all, the CBO projected the bill would cut total Medicaid spending by 25 percent in 2026 and would insure 14,000,000 fewer Americans. And on March 16, the House Budget Committee voted to recommend further cuts to Medicaid beyond the $880 billion already targeted. On March 24, House Speaker Ryan and President Trump, who called the bill "wonderful," pulled the repeal and replace bill after Republicans in the House declined support. However, on May 4, the House passed the bill - the American Health Care Act - which included the $880 billion cut to Medicaid. President Trump on May 22 released his 2018 budget proposal which would cut Medicaid and several Social Security programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance, by over $850 billion over the next ten years. Medicaid currently covers about 73 million Americans. SSDI covers approximately 10 million Americans.
33. Dramatically reform Department of Veterans Affairs - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: Candidate Trump promised to dramatically reform the agency, including investigating "the fraud, cover-ups and wrongdoing" at the VA. Veterans, Trump also promised, will be able to seek care "at a private service provider of their own choice." On July 18, 2015, Trump tweeted, "One of the reasons I am no fan of John McCain is that our Vets are being treated so badly by him and the politicians. I will fix VA quickly."
2017 Update: On November 6, 2017
In a special report November 18, 2017 in the
However, Shulkin was soon accused by the department's Inspector General of breaking department rules by taking his wife on a European vacation at taxpayer expense. After pushing out the assistant who filed the paperwork that allowed Shulkin and his wife to take the government-funded European vacation, Shulkin sought out those in the department who, he said, were involved in "subversive events."
The end for Secretary Shulkin's tenure at the VA came on March 28, 2018 when he was fired by President Trump due to corruption charges against him.(See Promise #50 below for more details on Shulkin’s travels under Topic #11:
President Trump then nominated his personal physician, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, to replace Shulkin. However, news reports surfaced that Jackson was "abusive" to his colleagues, loosely handled prescription pain medications and once wrecked a government vehicle while drunk. While all allegations were denied and/or never proven, Jackson withdrew his candidacy on April 26.
2018 Update: On March 8, 2018 Arthur Allen of
"Employees at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Washington pleaded with the new VA secretary to take action on conditions at the facility that have continued to deteriorate even after national leaders swept in more than a year ago, removed the hospital director and sent in patient-care experts to help," reported Donovan Slack at
And on August 20,
But veterans received good news in late September when the VA's Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning (SAIL) report card showed that nearly three-quarters of Veterans Affairs hospitals improved on care quality and certain patient outcomes measures. Only five percent of VA facilities showed any decreases in quality. In an op-ed piece in
Update on promise to improve Veterans Choice: The program - allowing vets to use private-sector health care services if they live too far from a VA facility or would have to wait too long for an appointment with the VA - was started in 2014 in the wake of a scandal at VA's medical center in Phoenix, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments.
0n June 5, 2018 the
In his 2020 budget proposal, President Trump urged Congress to spend $216 billion for VA programs, up $19 billion from the year before. Much of the new money would be spent on the Veterans Choice program and on improvements to electronic medical records, part of the department's 10-year plan to bring those files in line with Defense Department health computer systems
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The Hill reported April 25, 2020, "The Department of Veterans Affairs is coming under fire as the number of veterans and health care workers infected with coronavirus within its system continues to mount." More than 6,000 VA patients have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 400 have died. Meanwhile, 2000 VA health workers have gotten the virus, with 20 deaths. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-Mass), a Marine who served four tours in Iraq and who gets his health care through the VA, said in April, "There are hundreds of thousands of vets who should have been tested and should be being tested now. People are dying because of it." President Trump "certainly has the blood of fellow Americans on his hands because of his total failure as commander-in-chief."
34. Defund Planned Parenthood -
Background: On September 8, 2015, candidate Trump said, "I mean a lot of people say it's an abortion clinic. I'm opposed to that. And I would not do any funding as long as they are performing abortions." On October 18, 2015, candidate Trump said, "Planned Parenthood should absolutely be defunded. I mean if you look at what's going on with that, it's terrible." And then on February 25, 2016, candidate Trump said, "Millions and millions of women - cervical cancer, breast cancer - are helped by Planned Parenthood. So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly. And I wouldn't fund it. I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is three percent. I don't know what percentage it is. They say it's three percent. But I would defund it, because I'm pro-life. But millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood."
Update: On March 23, 2017 President Trump signed the 2018
omnibus budget bill that fully-funded Planned Parenthood. (In 2018,
Planned Parenthood received $563.8 million in federal funding, a $20 million
increase from the year before.) Which prompted Sarah Quinlan of
n September 28, 2018 President Trump signed the 2019 budget bill that included funding for Planned Parenthood. Commented Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, "For the second straight year of unified Republican governance - unified pro-life governance - Congress's annual spending bills will include no new reforms protecting unborn children or getting federal taxpayers out of the abortion business." After the November midterms when Democrats took over control of the House of Representatives,
(See Promise #30 above.)
Planned Parenthood released its annual report in January, 2019 which revealed it had performed over 332,000 abortions the previous year, an increase of over 11,000 from the year before. Contraception services declined in the same period.
In February, 2019, the Trump administration moved to shut Planned Parenthood out of Title X funding. (According to one source, Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of Title X funds, garnering about $80 million per year.) "Family planning clinics that provide abortions or refer patients for abortions will not be eligible for certain federal funds under a new rule finalized by the Trump administration,"
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Planned Parenthood received over $80 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds, designed to help small businesses around the country pay employees during the pandemic. According to
35. Gut, if not eliminate, the Environmental Protection Agency - PROMISE KEPT
"I'm an environmentalist. A lot of people don't understand that.
I think I know more about the environment than most people."
President Trump at the G7 summit in France in August, 2019
Background: At a March, 2016 GOP debate, candidate Trump promised he would reduce the size of government by, in part, getting "rid of it (the EPA) in almost every form. We're going to have little tidbits left, but we're going to take a tremendous amount out."
Update #1: On July 2, 2017 the
On October 10, at an event with coal miners in eastern Kentucky, Pruitt declared the end of the "war on coal" and moved to officially repeal the Clean Power Plan - what he termed the "so-called Clean Power Plan" - and its goal of reducing power-plant carbon emissions. When asked earlier this year on
On October 21, 2017 Eric Lipton of the
(See Promise #50 Drain the Swamp - Topics #9, 10 and 11 for details.) His #2, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, was named interim chief and in February, 2019 was confirmed by the Senate as head of the EPA.
Update #2: On August 7,
The Trump administration is "preparing to make it significantly easier for energy companies to release methane into the atmosphere," the
States begin to push back in court: On September 19, 2018
The California Air Resources Board moved to challenge the EPA's effort to relax national standards on tailpipe emissions, the
On December 28, the
“The U.S. is on track to meet targets established by President Obama’s signature climate policy, the Clean Power Plan, despite the Trump White House’s aggressive efforts to roll back its requirements,”
Update #3: The EPA plans to limit the scientific research that the government can use to form public health regulations, the
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: "Nine states on (May 14, 2020) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for relaxing a range of companies' compliance and monitoring requirements with federal clean air and water laws in response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing the policy is too broad and not transparent,"
36. Move forward with the Keystone Pipeline - PROMISE DROPPED
The Obama administration rejected the application for the Keystone SL pipeline in 2015, arguing, in part, that it encouraged the use of fossil fuels and would harm the U.S.'s standing in the world as a leader in fighting climate change. Trump promised during the 2016 campaign to overturn the Obama administration's rulings and barriers regarding the pipeline.
Four days after Trump was sworn into office, he invited TransCanada to resubmit its permit application. And then on March 24, 2017 the Trump administration gave the pipeline its key federal permits. The 875-mile line would carry up to 830,000 barrels a day of heavy oil sands petroleum from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, where the oil would continue through existing lines to the Gulf Coast to be refined. Environmentalists vowed to fight the decision "in the streets and in the courts."
37. Stop crime and gun violence - PROMISE DROPPED
Background: In July 2016 at the Republican National Convention, presidential nominee Donald Trump promised, "The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20, 2017, safety will be restored."
n August, 2016, candidate Trump promised, "I'll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street in your inner city, or wherever you are, you're not gonna be shot."
At his inauguration, President Trump said, "For too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
On August 3, a young white man, denouncing the "invasion of Texas" by Hispanics, walked into a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and killed 22, wounding another 26. Hours later, in Dayton, Ohio, a young man killed nine and injured 16. There have now been 251 mass shootings (four or more dead) in the United States in 2019, with 522 people dead and at least 2,000 injured.
A database compiled by the
On May 31, after a white policeman in Minneapolis murdered an unarmed black man, riots and demonstrations broke out nationwide, including in front of the White House, driving the president into a special safe room. Wrote Dan Balz at the
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Headline July 17 at
38. Strengthen the military (and other related promises) -
Strengthen the military so that it's "so big and so strong and so great" that "nobody's going to mess with us."
Ask Congress to repeal the defense sequester. "As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester." (PROMISE DROPPED)
Other promises: Grow the Naval fleet from 275 to 350 ships and subs (PROMISE DROPPED), build an Air Force of at least 1,200 fighter aircraft (an increase of about 100) (PROMISE DROPPED), increase the size of Army from 476,000 to 540,000 (PROMISE DROPPED) and grow the Marine Corps to 36 battalions (up from the current force structure of 24 active-duty infantry battalions, two active-duty tank battalions and supporting units(PROMISE DROPPED) and add new missile defense systems (PROMISE DROPPED) and upgrade the nuclear arsenal. (
On January 16, 2019 President Trump announced plans to study development of a missile defense system to protect against advanced hypersonic and cruise missile threats. The administration will also study the idea of basing interceptors in space. President Trump said "space sensors" would not only be "a very, very big part of our defense," but also part of "our offense." The goal, he said, was to destroy "any missile launched against the United States, anywhere, anytime, anyplace."
Rebeccah L. Heinrichs at
The 2020 defense budget includes funding for Space Force, a new branch of the U.S. military, $23 billion for nuclear weapons programs, 98 F-35 aircraft, 74 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 14 warships, including an aircraft carrier and three Virginia-class submarines. As part of the 2021 budget, the Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger announced plans to shrink the size of the corps by more than 2,000,
President Trump uses defense funding to build The Wall: According to the
39. Find an "out" clause in the Iran nuclear deal (and other related promises)
On November 16, 2011, citizen Trump said of President Obama, "Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate." On April 5, 2017 President Trump described the Iranian nuclear deal as "one of the worst deals I have ever witnessed." On April 20, he said, "Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the agreement, and they have to do that. It's a terrible agreement." He also promised to "totally" renegotiate it. He told supporters in September, 2015, "This deal if I win will be a totally different deal. This will be a totally different deal." PROMISE DROPPED
At his confirmation hearing in January, 2017 Gen. James Mattis, Donald Trump's secretary of defense nominee, said he believed the United States should stick with the 2015 Iran deal. "I think it is an imperfect arms control agreement -- it's not a friendship treaty. But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies."
According to the
The multi-nation nuclear deal fell apart on January 5, 2020 when, three days after the U.S. killed a top Iranian general in Iraq, the Iranian government announced it will no longer abide by any of the limits in the 2015 deal, including limiting their uranium enrichment capacity. In response, President Trump tweeted January 7, "IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!"
(For more on the threat of war between Iran and the U.S., see Promise #40 below.)
40. Stay out of Syria and allow Russia to deal with the Islamic State and withdraw US military forces from commitments abroad - PROMISES DROPPED
“Yet another U.S. President has learned that a promise to end U.S.
entanglements in the Middle East is far more easily made than kept.”
David French in TIME Magazine January 20, 2020
Candidate Trump promises to get U.S. out of Syria: In 2013, when President Obama was mulling a military response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's first use of chemical weapons, citizen Trump tweeted, "We should stay the hell out of Syria, the 'rebels' are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $BILLIONS? ZERO" Two years later, candidate Trump told
In March 2012, he tweeted, "Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don't know what we are doing." In 2013, he tweeted, "Let's get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are going killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there."
Quick facts: In 2019, there were more than 225,000 U.S. military personnel stationed abroad. There were more U.S. troops in Japan, for example, in 2019 than in 2018. Germany, South Korea, Italy and the United Kingdom all experienced in increases in U.S. forces. The number of U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East has grown in 2019-2020 from about 60,000 to more than 80,000. Commented Jonah Goldberg in the National Review: "He consistently says he wants to extricate the U.S. from Mideast conflicts. Except for all the times he doesn't. With each about-face, his defenders and detractors rush to debate the theory behind the policy change, when there is none. To expect intellectual consistency from Trump is like expecting a dog to meow. It's not in his nature."
Stay-out-of-Syrian promise update: President Trump changed the U.S. mission in Syria, reported the
On December 8, the
On April 13, 2018, a week after Syria dropped chemical weapons on a rebel outpost, killing men, women and children, the United States, France and Great Britain launched air and sea attacks "on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad." President Trump tweeted afterwards, "Mission Accomplished!" (It was noted in the media that the last time a U.S. president declared "Mission Accomplished," Americans fought and died in the country - Iraq - for another eight years.) Matthew RJ Brodsky and Bassam Barabandi at the
On December 19, 2018 President Trump announced via twitter that because, according to the President, the U.S. has defeated ISIS, all U.S. troops are going to be pulled out of Syria. "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency." The president ordered a "full" and "rapid" withdrawal from Syria. When he heard the President's announcement, GOP Senator Lindsay Graham, a South Carolina defense hawk, tweeted the ultimate Trump-era insult, "Withdrawal of this small American force in Syria would be a huge Obama-like error." The next day Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned, stating in a letter to the president that the Secretary's views on "our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships" with allies and the Secretary's views on China and Russia differ from those of his boss. "Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position." Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the president of the United States. "If the USA made that decision (to pull out of Syria), then it's the right one. Donald is right, and I agree with him."
David French at
President Trump, who on December 19 said ISIS was defeated, on December 31 tweeted, "ISIS is mostly gone, we're slowly sending our troops back home." The president is now giving the military about four months to withdraw.
And on February 5, 2019 at his second State of the Union address, President Trump told Congress, "Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnant of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home." But on February 22, the Trump administration announced it will keep 200 troops in Syria "for a period of time." And then the next day, on February 23,
But on October 7, President Trump, after a telephone call with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that Turkey will invade Syria to move the Kurds out of the northern region of Syria and the U.S. will pull its troops out of the region altogether. Russian troops will join Turkish troops in monitoring the Syrian border. The
Russian forces raised their flag on November 14 over the former U.S. airfield in Kobani, Syria. The airstrip was critical in the defeat of ISIS's so-called caliphate. The
Update on promise to withdraw US forces from overseas commitments: In mid-December, 2018 President Trump announced that some of America's 14,000 troops in Afghanistan would be pulling out soon. But nine months later, in September 2019, a peace deal with the Taliban blew up when President Trump surprised the nation by announcing that the Taliban had been invited to Camp David to talk peace but that he had switched gears and disinvited them. On September 9, he announced that peace talks, which had begun in 2018, were now "dead." Two months later, on November 28, President Trump announced peace talks with the Taliban were back on. And on February 29, 2020, the U.S. government and the Taliban signed a peace agreement that, if fully implemented in the coming months, could result, 19 years after the U.S. invasion, in the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Currently there are approximately 13,000 U.S. troops in country. The agreement calls for that number to wind down to 8,600 within the year and all U.S. troops out of the country in 2021.
In the Middle East, on May 25, 2019 the Pentagon announced it will deploy 1,500 troops to "improve our force protection and safeguard U.S. forces given the ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces."
On September 20 and again on October 11, 2019 the U.S. announced it would send more troops to the Middle East in response to an attack the weekend before on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and potential Iranian aggression. The
41. Alter U.S. relations with NATO and Asian allies (and other related promises) -
Background: Candidate Trump told the Candidate Trump called NATO "obsolete" and promised to update "NATO's outdated mission and structure." NATO members, Trump complained, do not pay "what they should" for their defense. (The U.S. foots the bill for about 22 percent of the 28-nation NATO spending.) (First step taken to keep promise)
US relations with Europe during the Trump administration: On January 27, 2017 British Prime Minister Theresa May put President Trump on the record as being "100 percent" behind NATO. "Mr. President, I think you said, you confirmed, that you're 100 percent behind NATO," May said at a press conference following their first meeting. Trump responded quietly to her, "It's true." On April 12, President Trump, in a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, announced that he no longer believes that NATO is obsolete. "I said it was obsolete. It is no longer obsolete," citing the group's recent anti-terror efforts. Stoltenberg, however, noted that NATO soldiers have fought terrorism for many years, including in Afghanistan and against ISIS. President Trump called NATO a "great alliance" and the "bulwark of international peace and security."
In July at the NATO meeting, Trump reaffirmed support for NATO, "but only after stirring more discord with a vague threat that the United States could go its own way if the allies resisted his demands for additional military spending," reported the
On May 30, 2020, President Trump postponed the G-7 summit for four months and said he hopes to invite Russia, Australia and India to join. "I'm postponing it because I don't feel as if G7 probably represents what's going on in the world. It's a very outdated group of countries."
US relations with Asia during the Trump administration: On April 27, 2018 after months of tension and threats of nuclear destruction and nasty tweets - President Trump called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un "short and fat" and North Korea called Trump a "dotard." Many credited President Trump's strategy of threats against North Korea, coupled with economic sanctions and cooperation with China, for bringing both North and South Korea and the United States to the peace table. Wrote Anne Gearan of the
In June, 2020, the North Koreans decided against letting President Trump make that "beautiful vision" come true when it released a government statement stating the hope for peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula had "faded away into a dark nightmare."
President Trump on May 29, 2020 leveled an extraordinary broadside at the Chinese government, accusing it of a comprehensive “pattern of misconduct” and ordering U.S. officials to begin the process of revoking Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law.
In Rose Garden remarks, Trump alleged that the Chinese government covered up the coronavirus outbreak and instigated "a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 American lives and over 1 million lives worldwide.” The president also attacked the World Health Organization as effectively controlled by Beijing.
“We will today be terminating our relationship” with the WHO, the president said, adding that the organization’s more than $400 million annual U.S. contribution would be diverted to other health groups.
USA Today reported June 30, "Americans will not be allowed to travel to European Union countries when the bloc opens up to international visitors July 1. Those from U.S. and many other nations will be barred as too risky because of spiking coronavirus cases in their home countries."
For additional information on how Trump is altering U.S. relations with Europe, Asia and Latin America, see #12 (Withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership), #13 (Impose tariffs on many imports), #39 (Find an 'out' in the Iran nuclear pact) and #42 directly below.
42. Cancel U.S. participation in the 2015 Paris climate accord - PROMISE KEPT
Background: Climate change allegations and climate science are a "hoax" invented by the Chinese, Trump said on the campaign trail. In a March, 2016 interview with the
The Paris accord seeks to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century by shifting away from fossil fuels. Under President Obama, the U.S. committed to cutting its greenhouse-gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
Update: On June 1, 2017 President Trump announced he's pulling the United States out of the 195-nation agreement. "The bottom line is that the Paris accord is very unfair at the highest levels to the United States," the president said. "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburg, not Paris." Negotiations, he said, will begin for the U.S. to re-enter "on terms that are fairer to the United States, its business, its workers, its people, its taxpayers." The leaders of Germany, France and Italy responded by stating the accord cannot be renegotiated. Said French president Emmanuel Macron, "On climate, there is no Plan B because there is no planet B." The
Reality check: On November 25, 2018, the
And then on January 15, 2020,
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that the United States led the world in reducing CO2 emissions in 2019, the
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The Earth Institute at Columbia University reported June 25, 2020 that as a result of the lockdowns around the world to control COVID-19, huge decreases in transportation and industrial activity resulted in a drop in daily global carbon emissions of 17% in April. Nonetheless, CO2 levels in the atmosphere reached their highest monthly average ever in May because the carbon dioxide human have already emitted can remain in the atmosphere for a hundred years.
43. Repeal President Obama's executive orders regarding Cuba - Promise partially kept
Background: Trump promised to reverse Obama's Cuba-related executive orders - including opening a U.S. embassy and lifting restrictions on trade and tourism - if Cuba did not meet his "demands," including religious and political freedom and the freeing of political prisoners. "All the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them - and that I will do unless the Castro regime meets our demands. Not my demands. Our demands," Trump told supporters in Miami during the campaign.
Update: On June 16, 2017 President Trump visited Miami to announce a partial rollback of President Obama's policy of normalizing relations with Cuba. Trump's action will not affect the new embassy in Havana or the Cuban embassy in Washington. "People-to-people" exchanges are banned and Americans visiting Cuba will be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with any entity owned by the Cuban military (but will be allowed to buy the country's popular rum and cigars.) The U.S. will continue to keep Cuba off a list of state sponsors of terror and will allow commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba.
On November 19,
But President Trump disagrees. During a September 26, 2018 press conference at the United Nations, the president said, "I've been very proactive against Cuba. I don't like what's happening in Cuba. As you know, President Obama gave them a pass, and I didn't like it. I've ended much of it, most of it." And on April 17, 2019, the Trump administration took three more steps to restrict American-Cuban interaction: 1) restricting "non-family travel" that counters President Obama's "purposeful visits" rule that led to soaring numbers of American trips for cultural and educational exchanges, 2) a new policy allowing lawsuits against foreign firms operating on properties Cuba seized from Americans after the 1959 revolution and 3) a new cap on money families in the U.S. can send to relatives in Cuba. And then on June 4 the Trump administration announced the U.S. will no longer allow group educational and cultural trips known as "people to people" travel to the island.
Blog editor's note: President Trump has, in fact, reversed some of President Obama's outreach efforts to Cuba. He has not, however, changed political or religious conditions in Cuba.
44. Move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem - PROMISE KEPT
Background: Trump promised to move the embassy "fairly quickly," telling a March, 2016 rally, "We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem."
Brief history of a kept promise: On the day President Trump landed in Israel for his first state visit, May 22, 2017, the
But two months later, on December 6, President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced plans to relocate the U.S. Embassy. "Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result."
And on February 23, 2018 the U.S. State Department announced it would open its new embassy in Jerusalem in May. And on May 14, the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment, ceremonies were held to mark the opening of the embassy. At least 52 Palestinian protesters were reportedly killed the same day in clashes with Israeli security forces.
War on Terrorism
Trump promised the U.S. will use interrogation techniques that go even further than waterboarding, because “torture works.” Even if such tactics don't work, "they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing."
On November 23, 2016 in an interview with the
46. "Bomb the shit out of ISIS" (and other related promises) - PROMISE KEPT
Trump made repeated promises in 2015 and 2016 that he had a "foolproof plan" to defeat ISIS and "bomb the hell out of" the terror group. "I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me," he boasted in one speech, adding, "I've had a lot of wars of my own. I'm really good at war."
Update: In his inauguration address, the new President pledged to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism "completely from the face of the Earth." (PROMISE DROPPED) In his first week in office, Trump signed a directive ordering the Joint Chiefs of Staff to return within 30 days with a plan to defeat ISIS. Columnist Trudy Rubin of the (
On June 19, Nahal Toosi at
On July 20, the
ISIS continues to provoke terror around the world. Sixteen months after President Trump took office - in May, 2018 - there were reports from Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, France and Libya of ISIS led or inspired attacks on innocent civilians and authorities. In September, the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States reported that there were more than 10,000 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2017, five times as many as there were in the year of the Sept. 11 attacks. Reported (See Promise #40 for update on Taliban/U.S. negotiations in Afghanistan.)
Update on promise to eradicate ISIS from the planet: On October 16, 2018 President Trump declared in an interview with the
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis resigned after President Trump abruptly announced on December 19 that the U.S. had defeated ISIS in Syria and that America was withdrawing its forces.
But on December 31 GOP Senator Lindsey Graham met with the President and announced the President now understood that ISIS is not "completely destroyed" and that the U.S. was "slowing things down in a smart way" in terms of an immediate withdrawal from Syria. And President Trump, who declared ISIS defeated on December 19, tweeted on December 31, "ISIS is mostly gone, we're slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants."
On January 16, 2019, remnants of ISIS killed four Americans in north-eastern Syria, reported
On August 21, talking to reporters at the White House, President Trump again bragged about the total defeat of ISIS. "We wiped out the caliphate. 100% I did it in record time." (He did not indicate what the previous record was.) On October 7, President Trump announced the U.S. was pulling out of northern Syria to allow Turkey to clear the region of Kurds, the U.S. allies in the battle against ISIS. Senator Lindsey Graham, who called Trump's decision "irresponsible" and "a disaster in the making," said that ISIS is not defeated and that is "the biggest lie being told" by the Trump administration.
In the week after Turkey's invasion of Syria, the
(For more information on U.S. bombing of ISIS and U.S. involvement in Syria, see Promise #40 above.)
47. Take Iraq's oil - PROMISE DROPPED
In 2013, citizen Trump tweeted, "I still can't believe we left Iraq without the oil" and during the 2016 campaign he told an audience, "It used to be, 'To the victor belong the spoils.' Now, there was no victor there, believe me. There was no victor. But I always said: take the oil."
A day after his inauguration, the President visited the CIA and told a gathering of employees, "To the victor belong the spoils. We should have kept the (Iraqi) oil. But, O.K., maybe you'll have another chance." However, a month later, on February 20, 2017 Defense Secretary Mattis, while visiting Iraq, said the U.S. does not intend to seize Iraqi oil. "I think all of us here in this room, all of us in America, have generally paid for our gas and oil all along, and I'm sure we will continue to do that in the future. We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil."
(See Promises #40 and #46) but sent back in 900 U.S. troops to protect Syrian oil fields from ISIS. And then he said he may have the U.S. tap Syrian oil reserves. "What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly...and spread the wealth." The president also said, "We may have to fight for the oil. It's OK. Maybe somebody else wants the oil, in which case they have a hell of a fight. But there's a massive amount of oil."
48. Prosecute Hillary Clinton - PROMISE DROPPED
Trump promised to appoint a special prosecutor to go after his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on October, 2016, a month before the election. "We have to investigate Hillary Clinton, and we have to investigate the investigation." "
President Trump's growing list of folks to lock up: Days after his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was arrested and charged with various federal crimes, Trump issued a forceful call for the Justice Department - which is currently investigating the President and several of his campaign associates - to investigate Hillary Clinton over "all of the dishonesty." In a tweet November 3, 2017 the President said, "Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary& the Dems. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!" Trump has, in his tweets, urged the Justice Department to also investigate the Democratic Party, former FBI Director James Comey, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and Congressman Adam Schiff. On February 21, 2018 the president urged the Justice Department to investigate former President Obama, who Trump blamed for the Russians meddling in the 2016 election. On February 27, he tweeted agreement with a
During the following months, as the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller progressed, the president lashed out at Clinton and just about everyone else in the Democrat Party, his Justice Department, the media and various intelligence services. On August 24, just days after his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to various crimes and his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted by a jury (See Promise #50 below for details), President Trump tweeted that the Justice Department should investigate the Clinton Foundation, Russian collusion with Democrats, a host of former FBI officials and special counsel Mueller. On September 7, the President added his own administration to the list of groups the Department of Justice should investigate after a "senior" official in the Trump administration published an anonymous letter criticizing the President in the
According to the
At a campaign rally in Michigan on March 28, 2019, following the partial release of the Mueller report, Trump listed several "enemies of his state", including Congressional leaders Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, Democratic politicians, the media, bad people, crooked journalists, totally dishonest TV pundits, and "all the current and former officials who paid for, promoted, and perpetuated the single greatest hoax in the history of politics." On September 16, President Trump advised Congress to stop investigating his businesses and investigate Barack and Michelle Obama and their book and Netflix deals. "Then look at all the deals made by the Dems in Congress, the 'Congressional Slush Fund' and lastly IG Reports. Take a look at them."
President Trump said his former National Security Advisor John Bolton "should go to jail" for publishing his new book, "
During a May, 2020 White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump, who had been complaining about alleged crimes committed by the Obama administration, was asked to define the crime the former president committed. "You know what the crime is," he replied. "The crime is very obvious to everybody." A couple days later he tweeted, "Biggest political crime and scandal in history of the USA." On June 22, the president "suggested without evidence that his predecessor, former President Obama, committed treason in connection with the investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign's contacts with Russia," reported
49. Release tax returns - PROMISE DROPPED
Even before he became a candidate and certainly throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to release his tax returns. And then after the election, Trump promised again on IRS says
Two days after President Trump's inauguration, special assistant KellyAnne Conway told
President Trump takes legal and political action to prevent himself from keeping his promise: U.S. law specifies that the leaders of the House and Senate tax-writing committees have the power to request taxpayer information and that the Treasury secretary "shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request." Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, "formally requested copies of President Trump's tax returns, taking action on one of their top oversight priorities,"
On May 6, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced he would not release the president's tax returns as requested by the House committee due to the fact, Trump's lawyers argue, the request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose. On May 10 the House of Representatives issued subpoenas to both the Treasury Department and the IRS for President Trump's tax records. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refused to comply with the subpoenas. President Trump, meanwhile, reassured the nation during a White House appearance, "I'm the most transparent president probably in the history of this country."
President Trump is so transparent the House Ways and Means Committee on July 2 was forced to sue the Treasury Department and the IRS seeking the president's tax returns. Trump later in the same month sued the House Ways and Means Committee, New York State and New York City officials and his own accounting firm in an effort to block the disclosure of his state tax returns. On November 14, according to
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding President Trump's tax returns and financial information on May 12 via telephone conference calls. The cases stem from the House Ways and Means Committee and New York state demands to see the documents. The president's attorneys argued that Trump had "temporary presidential immunity" and that investigations and prosecution of Trump while in office could interfere with him leading the country in times of coronavirus pandemic. In a ruling released July 9, the Supreme Court found, according to
A brief history of Trump's "promise" to release his tax returns
MAY 20, 2014: More than a year before he announced his presidential campaign, Trump told an Irish television station
FEBRUARY 25, 2015: Trump told radio host Hugh Hewitt
OCTOBER 4, 2015: Trump said in an interview with
JANUARY 24, 2016: Trump told NBC's Chuck Todd
FEBRUARY 11, 2016: Trump appeared again on Hewitt's radio program
FEBRUARY 24, 2016: Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper
FEBRUARY 25, 2016: Trump tweeted that he's already filed public financial disclosure forms that are "great." He said that tax returns "have 0 to do w/ someone's net worth." The disclosure forms do give wide estimates of asset value. But tax returns would reveal much more. Even the top two pages of his 1040 and Schedule A, for example, would say how much taxable income he made, how much he paid in taxes, his charitable contributions and whether he paid tax to any foreign governments. During a CNN-Telemundo debate later that day
FEBRUARY 27, 2016: Trump revisits the audit argument on Twitter. "Tax experts throughout the media agree that no sane person would give their tax returns during an audit," he said. "After the audit, no problem!"
MAY 11, 2016: Trump tells the Associated Press
SEPTEMBER 27, 2016: Trump says during the first presidential debate
50. "Drain the swamp" - PROMISE DROPPED
Bob Dylan ("Subterranean Homesick Blues")
Candidate Trump, at a rally in Wisconsin in October, 2016, announced, “It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C." But President Trump’s famous promise has been overwhelmed by ethically questionable appointments, decisions and actions by the President himself and a plethora of unethical actions by White House staff and cabinet members, criminal guilty pleas by and convictions of campaign staff. Here are 15 examples – we call them “Topics” - outlining how President Trump has repeatedly broken his promise to "drain the swamp."
Topic #1: President Trump – Businessman in the White House
President Trump speaking to reporters October 21, 2019
When newly elected President Trump decided to keep ownership of his companies and continue to do business with foreign governments, he said, "I will be leaving my great business in total." But President Trump’s ownership of the Washington, D.C. Trump International Hotel and other hotels and businesses put the president, according to some experts, in conflict with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits elected officials from receiving gifts or earning profits from foreign governments.
Here are some examples of exactly how President Trump has made money as a private businessman in the White House:
On December 15, 2017
In mid-May, 2018 media sources reported that the Chinese government - in the midst of a tariff dispute with the Trump administration - decided to extend a $500 million loan to a state-owned construction company to build an Indonesian theme part that will feature a Trump-branded golf course and hotel. A few days later, President Trump announced he had directed the U.S. Commerce Department to work with the Chinese telcom giant ZTE to rebuild its business in the U.S. "Too many jobs in China lost," the President of the United States tweeted. ZTE had been shut down by the U.S. government for illegally shipping products to Iran and North Korea. On June 8 a deal was reached with China to lift the U.S. ban on ZTE and save the company.
Update on legal proceedings on the Constitutional question of emoluments: Two days after taking office, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a suit accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause. A federal judge in Manhattan tossed out the case, ruling that CREW hadn't been hurt by Trump's actions. A New York-based appeals court disagreed and reinstated the lawsuit in September, 2019. Trump has asked the court to reconsider.
In February, 2018, the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit suing Trump not only as President but in his personal capacity as a businessman. The suit alleges President Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting income from foreign visitors to his Washington, D.C. hotel. Reported the
In another related case, on June 7, 2018 lawyers representing over 200 Democratic members of Congress urged a federal judge to allow them to press ahead with a lawsuit seeking to block President Trump from taking payments and other benefits from foreign governments doing business with his corporate empire.
In another case, on September 13, 2019 President Trump was "ordered by a federal appeals court to defend a lawsuit accusing him of profiting from his presidency in violation of the U.S. Constitution,"
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The sale of President Trump's Washington D.C. hotel was been put on hold in March, 2020 due to the stock market and real estate market collapse triggered by the coronavirus crisis. In addition, Congress has approved legislation to bar Trump's businesses from getting loans or investments under the newly approved $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal. The
Topic #2: Business is good between Trump Family and China
Questions were raised February 15, 2017, less than a month after becoming president, when the Chinese government announced that Trump had been granted something he had been seeking for 10 years - trademark protection for the use of the Trump name in the construction industry. The Chinese announcement came only six days after President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation, after which Trump announced he supports the long-standing "one China" policy of the U.S. (In early December, 2016, president-elect Trump held, according to the
On May 6,
In mid-May, 2018 media sources reported that the Chinese government - in the midst of a tariff dispute with the Trump administration - decided to extend a $500 million loan to a state-owned construction company building an Indonesian theme park that will feature a Trump-branded golf course and hotel. Two days later, President Trump announced he had directed the U.S. Commerce Department to work with the Chinese telcom giant ZTE to rebuild its business in the U.S. "Too many jobs in China lost," the President of the United States tweeted. ZTE had been shut down by the U.S. government for illegally shipping products to Iran and North Korea. On June 8, the Trump administration announced it had reached a deal to lift the U.S. ban on ZTE and save the company. Commented David Leach at
The (See Topic #4 below.)
Despite repeated promises as a candidate and as President that the tax reform bill he favored would benefit middle class voters and not the wealthy – “There's very little benefit for people of wealth. I don't benefit. I don't benefit” – President Trump signed into law a major tax reform package in December, 2017 tilted heavily in favor of the wealthy. As
(See Promise #22 above in the blog for a long list of Trump quotes promising he wouldn’t benefit from the tax bill and more details on how, in fact, he does.)
Here are just a few of the many financial benefits the 2017 tax reform bill provides the President and his family:
Like all 1-percenters, Trump benefitted from the lowering of the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent
Trump conducts his business affairs through hundreds of “pass-through
Couples can now pass on to their heirs as much as $22 million (up from $11 million) before estate taxes take effect.
The minimum income level affected by the alternative minimum tax, which was created to ensure the wealthy pay taxes, was also increased to benefit the wealthy.
“I’m not even aware of a single provision in the bill that disadvantages him or his family,” said Daniel Shaviro, a tax professor at the
Topic #4: President Trump and family vs. the State of New York
Trump charity closed down: New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on June 14, 2018 filed suit against President Trump and his three eldest children alleging “persistently illegal conduct” at the president’s personal charity, saying Trump repeatedly misused the nonprofit to pay off his businesses’ creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion dollar giveaway at
But on December 18, despite the President's promise not to settle the case, he did just that when he agreed to "shut down his embattled personal charity and give away its remaining funds," reported theFINAL NOTE: As part of the settlement with the State of New York, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump were all required to undergo "mandatory training" so they don't misuse charity funds again in the future.
On March 4, 2019, New York State regulators issued "an expansive subpoena to the Trump Organization's longtime insurance broker, the first step in an investigation of insurance policies and claims involving President Trump's family business," reported the
More on Trump's tax returns: The Manhattan district attorney's office has subpoenaed Trump's financial accounting firm, Mazars, seeking Trump eight years of tax returns and other financial records as part of a grand jury investigation into whether Trump and his company broke the law when they reimbursed former Trump attorney Michael Cohen for payouts to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, both who said they had affairs with Trump. His lawyers argued he "cannot be subject to criminal investigation, for any conduct of any kind, while serving as president." A federal judge on October 7, 2019 rejected President Trump's argument, saying that Trump's assertion of sweeping immunity was "repugnant" adding, "The Court cannot square a vision of presidential immunity that would place the President above the law with the text of the Constitution." On October 23, Judge Denny Chin pressed Trump's attorney, William S. Consovoy on his claim that as long as Trump is in the White House, he can't be investigated or prosecuted, asking what about if he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue. "Nothing could be done? That is your position?" Responded Consovoy, "That is correct." But on November 4, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit unanimously rejected President Trump's effort to prevent handing over eight years of tax returns in the case.
On May 12 the Supreme Court heard arguments from the State of New York and President Trump's attorneys on Trump v. Vance, the case involving the New York prosecutor's grand jury subpoena of Trump's tax records and the House of Representative's efforts to get Trump's financial records through Mazars and Deutsche Bank. The president's attorneys argued that Trump cannot be investigated or prosecuted while in office. On July 9, the (See Topic #12 below for more on Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and the President's legal jeopardy in the State of New York.)
Topic #5: Don’t tell the President but the First Lady’s parents…
“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different
from you and me. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
President Trump tweeted in September, 2015, "CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!" In November, 2017, he tweeted:
CNN reported August 9, 2018, “President Donald Trump’s in-laws are now officially United States citizens, obtaining their citizenship through the sponsorship of their adult daughter, one of the very categories of family visas that the administration has sought to end.” Viktor and Amalija Knavs left their native Slovenia and have been living in the United States as permanent residents.
Their attorney? Michael Wildes, who has worked with numerous wealthy celebrities on immigration cases.
A source with direct knowledge of Melania Trump’s parents and their immigration status told
Topic #6: The Trump Campaign and Яussia
In July 2016, U.S. intelligence agencies, including the FBI, noticed a spate of curious contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian intelligence. Russian hackers had broken into the Democratic Party's servers and gained access to the emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. They provided the stolen emails and documents to WikiLeaks, which then leaked the documents during the campaign. Candidate Trump publicly called on Russians hackers to steal more documents to help his campaign on July 27, 2016. Investigators then began looking into possible connections between the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, and Russian hackers.
On January 6, 2017 the U.S. intelligence community reported that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to hurt Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump.
On March 2, after stories broke indicating Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not told the truth at his Senate confirmation hearings about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, the attorney general held a press conference to announce he had, contrary to his testimony, met twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign and was, therefore, recusing himself from overseeing any investigation(s) by his department related to Russia's contacts with the Trump campaign.
On March 20, 2017 FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and confirmed that the FBI is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 president election, including possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
On May 9, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump first said Comey was fired for mishandling the Clinton email investigation. The next day, May 10, Trump told a group of Russian foreign officials meeting in the White House – including Russian Ambassador Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off. I am not under investigation." (On September 28, 2019, the
On May 11 the President told
The late, great
Special Counsel Mueller appointed: On May 17, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named by the Justice Department as special counsel to oversee the federal government’s investigation of possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign (and “any matters that arose or may arise” from that investigation) following reports (leaked by FBI Director Comey) that President Trump had asked Comey to back off the investigation of former National Security Advisor Flynn. According to a memo Comey wrote after his private meeting with the President February 14, Trump dismissed Vice President Pence and Attorney General Sessions from the room and told Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” It was an apparent reference to the bureau’s counterintelligence inquiry into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates – including Flynn – and Russian officials accused of seeking to influence the presidential election. (In late August, 2019, the Justice Department's Inspector General released a report criticizing Comey for releasing "sensitive information" to the press about President Trump's requests.)
On May 22, the
On May 26, the
On June 7, Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee – and 19.5 million viewers on television and the internet – that while he didn’t want to express an opinion on whether Trump was seeking to obstruct the ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling into the presidential election, he is “sure” the special counsel Mueller will be examining that. Comey said he was fired because of “the Russian investigation.” He also explained that he wrote the memos of his January, February and April private meetings with Trump because he had a “gut feeling” the president might lie about the nature of the meetings.
Trump Jr. meets with Russians at Trump Tower: The entire Trump campaign/Russian collusion story exploded on July 11, 2017 when Donald Trump Jr. released emails, hours before the
On July 31, the
However, President Trump's lawyers in early 2018 confirmed the President had a hand in drafting the letter - "the president dictated a short but accurate response...on behalf of his son" - when they sent the special counsel a memo arguing that Trump can't be charged with obstruction of justice because he has the constitutional authority over all federal investigations and, therefore, can act with impunity in all matters affecting the Department of Justice or FBI. One of Trump's attorneys, Rudy Giuliani, told
TheGuardian.com reported in July that two of the Russians Kushner, Manafort and Trump, Jr. met with in Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 worked for the oligarch owner of Prevezon, a Russian company that was under investigation by U.S. authorities related to money laundering through Manhattan real estate. One of Prevezon’s main business partners is Russian-born billionaire Lev Leviev, from whom Kushner bought $295 million worth of Manhattan office space in 2015. (After Trump entered office, his Justice Department abruptly settled a Prevezon money-laundering case for just $6 million.)
On January 26, 2018 Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of the
On February 16, the federal grand jury empaneled by special counsel Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election. According to the indictment, the Russians’ primary directive was to “communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton” and “to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”
In July, the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed with U.S. intelligence agencies' assessment that the Russian government tried to boost President Donald Trump in the 2016 election and weaken Hillary Clinton. On July 13, the Justice Department announced indictments of 12 Russian nationals, accusing them of engaging in a "sustained effort" to hack Democrats' emails and computer network. The indictments indicated that the Russian hackers were in "regular contact" with someone advising the Trump campaign and that the effort to hack Democrat emails and computer networks started the same day - July 26, 2016 - candidate Trump said, at a campaign rally, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
At a press conference with Russian President Putin following a two-hour summit in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, President Trump, standing next to the Russian leader, told the assembled audience that he spoke to Putin about Russia's interference in the U.S. election in 2016. "So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today." He added, "I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be (Russia)." When Trump returned to Washington, and after a private chat with the Vice President and Secretary of State, the president announced he meant to say "wouldn't," not "would." Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said at a national security conference the next day, "I wish he'd made a different statement," when the president defended the Russian leader. It is "undeniable that the Russians are taking a lead on this (attempting to influence U.S. elections.)"
On September 14, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to several felonies in federal court and agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Mueller. Those formerly connected to the Trump campaign now cooperating with the special counsel include Trump's deputy campaign chair Rick Gates (who according to Mueller's court filings, is cooperating "with respect to several ongoing investigations"), former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen (who, according to (See Topic #8 below)
Armed FBI agents arrested long-time Trump friend Roger Stone in a 6 a.m. raid on his home January 25, 2019 and, according to the
On July 27, 2016, October 10, 2016 and February 16, 2017, Donald Trump said "I have nothing to do with Russia" and "I never did." Nine days before the election, in fact, Trump tweeted, "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!"
But in October, 2015, four months after he announced his candidacy, Trump signed a non-binding letter of intent to move forward with a Moscow tower project with a Russian development firm. The
Special counsel Mueller told the court that the work on Trump Tower Moscow "occurred at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election." Not only were the Russians interfering, but they were interfering on behalf of the Trump campaign at the same time Trump was making positive comments about Putin and questioning U.S. sanctions against Russia.
On November 30, President Trump finally tweeted an acknowledgement of his business pursuits in Russia. "Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business - very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail." His attorney, Rudy Giuliani, confirmed that candidate Trump continued to negotiate with the Russians during the campaign and that Trump, in a written communication with special counsel Mueller, admitted there was an "active proposal" on the table with the Russians "up to November, 2016."
On February 27, 2019, Cohen testified before the House of Representatives - and millions of Americans via television and the internet - that candidate Trump knew about the ongoing negotiations in Moscow and lied about it repeatedly during the campaign and that Trump's children were regularly briefed on the project during the 2016 campaign. Wrote Andrew C. McCarthy at
Who was telling the truth and who was lying?
The evolving truth re. meeting at Trump Tower with the Russians
Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner meet with Russians in Trump Tower, New York City, headquarters of the Trump for President campaign.
July 8, 2017:
July 9, 2017: But that story only lasts a day. After being confronted with new reporting by the
July 11, 2017:
July 16, 2017: Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow promises on
August 1, 2017: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders: “(President Trump) certainly didn’t dictate (the Air Force One statement), but he — like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestions like any father would do.”
January 29, 2018: President Trump’s attorneys responded to queries from the special counsel about “Alleged Obstruction of Justice.” The lawyers stated, “the President dictated a short but accurate response to the
August 5, 2018: Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said he made a mistake when he told the American people President Trump did not draft the misleading statement on Air Force One about Donald Jr.'s meeting at Trump Tower with the Russians. “I had bad information at that time and made a mistake in my statement," Sekulow said on
The findings and conclusions of the Mueller report
The final report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was released by the Justice Department April 18, 2109 and concluded that the Russian government undertook a “sweeping and systematic” campaign to help Donald Trump win the White House in 2016 and found Trump campaign aides eager to benefit from its help. (Mueller documented 127 confirmed communications between Russians and the Trump campaign.) However, Mueller also concluded that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian Government.”
But Mueller did find “substantial evidence” that President Trump may have broke federal law on numerous occasions attempting to shut down or interfere with the Mueller investigation. "The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests."
During the campaign, the Russian-controlled Internet Research Agency created “a targeted operation that by early 2016 favored candidate Trump and disparaged candidate Hillary Clinton.” On July 27, 2016, Trump publicly implored Russia to find 30,000 emails that had been deleted from a private server Clinton used while she was secretary of state. Within five hours of that request, Russian hackers sought to break into several email accounts, including one belonging to a Clinton aide. Russian hackers then leaked those stolen emails to WikiLeaks which subsequently released them.
Mueller wrote the "investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts."
While the Mueller team did not find evidence that Trump or his associates conspired with Russians efforts to sway the campaign, they did find evidence that the Trump campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts. “The investigation established multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government. Those links included Russian offers of assistance to the Campaign.”
During the two years of the Mueller investigation Trump and his associates repeatedly attempted to impede the investigation. The report lays out 10 instances of possible criminal obstruction ranging from the termination of FBI director Comey to public attacks on the Mueller team to both public and private efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate. Mueller reported that efforts to quash the investigation fell short, in part, because Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House counsel Don McGahn and White House adviser Corey Lewandowski refused to carry out President Trump’s orders.
The most highly reported incident was when Trump attempted in 2017 to have McGahn fire Mueller. McGahn refused and later told another White House aide that the president asked him to “do crazy shit.” When it was subsequently reported in the media that Trump had asked McGahn to fire Mueller, Trump repeatedly denied he was even considering it, calling reports about it "fake news." The President then asked McGahn to tell the New York Times the president had never asked him to fire Mueller.
Mueller found the president took other steps to impede the investigation. He lied about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians, he dangled pardons to those facing criminal charges, he refused to be interviewed face-to-face and his written responses to Mueller’s questions about Russia and the investigation included more than 30 times in which he did not “recall” or “remember” or have an “independent recollection” of events. Mueller said Trump’s other answers were “incomplete or imprecise." Mueller unsuccessfully sought to interview the president for over a year. In addition, Mueller reported the president "engaged in efforts to curtail the special counsel's investigation and prevent disclosure of evidence to it, including through public and private contacts with potential witnesses."
Mueller reported that while he couldn’t conclude Trump had committed a crime by obstructing the investigation, the report “also does not exonerate him.” Mueller writes, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” Mueller wrote, “The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President's corrupt exercise of the powers of the office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law."
Following the Department of Justice policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, Mueller did not attempt to reach a legal conclusion about the facts. Mueller believed it would be improper to even accuse Trump of committing a crime so as not to "preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct," meaning impeachment.
In addition to indicting, convicting or securing guilty pleas from 34 people, Mueller made 14 referrals for potential criminal activity to the Justice Department outside the purview of the investigation’s mandate. Twelve of those referrals remain secret as of April, 2019.
The aftermath of the Mueller Report: Immediately following release of the report, the White House asked former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to say publicly that he never believed the president obstructed justice. McGahn declined. Special Counsel Mueller held a nine-minute press conference on May 29 at which he highlighted the findings of his report, including "If we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so." President Trump tweeted the next day:
On November 15, (President Trump commuted Stone's sentence on July 10, 2020, absolving him of wrongdoing. Stone commented, "He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably.") The Mueller investigation has now resulted in six convictions of Trump campaign associates, including Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. On April 21, the Senate Intelligence Committee "reaffirmed it support for the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of putting Donald Trump in the Oval Office," reported
Topic #7: Michael Flynn – Two-time loser, felon
But on January 26, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn lied to administration officials about his contact with Russians. The White House responded by firing Yates a few days later.
And then on February 13, President Trump asked for Flynn's resignation and received it after Flynn admitted he had lied to both Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Pence about his contacts with the Russians. President Trump later tweeted: "
Flynn pleaded guilty December 1, 2017 in federal court of lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russians. He told the court, "I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right."
On December 16, 2019, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled against Flynn's argument that the FBI had conducted an ambush interview with him for the purpose of trapping him into making false statements. "It is undisputed that Mr. Flynn not only made those false statements to the FBI agents, but he also made the same false statements to the Vice President and senior White House officials, who, in turn, repeated Mr. Flynn's false statements to the American people on national television."
Mueller report findings: According to the Mueller report released in April, 2019, during Flynn's plea negotiations with Mueller, it was revealed by the defendant that President-elect Trump had directed him to discuss sanctions with Russian ambassador Kislyak. According to
Topic #8: Paul Manafort - Trump campaign chairman and convicted felon
Federal investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election charged President Donald Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his associate and Trump aide, Rick Gates, with money laundering and other crimes. A third former Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty in early October, 2017 to lying to the FBI. (Papadopoulos was sentenced on September 7, 2018 to two weeks in prison. In 2020, he is running for Congress in California.)
Manafort, a longtime Republican operative, and Gates, who served as Trump’s deputy campaign chairman, were arraigned at a federal courthouse in Washington. Both men pleaded not guilty to charges against them in a 12-count indictment, ranging from money laundering to tax and bank fraud to acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine's former pro-Russian government.
Manafort ran the Trump campaign from June to August of 2016 before resigning amid reports he might have received millions of dollars in illegal payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. (A
Both Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars of income from Ukraine and laundered money through scores of U.S. and foreign entities to hide payments from U.S. authorities, the indictment said. On February 22, 2018, the special counsel filed a 32-count indictment against Manafort and Gates with fresh allegations of tax evasion and bank fraud. Commented Mona Charen, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, "
Update: On February 23, 2018, Gates pleaded guilty to fraud and lying to the FBI. And then on June 3, Special Counsel Mueller accused Manafort, who was free on bail, of tampering with witnesses - "in an effort to secure materially false testimony" - ahead of his upcoming trial on charges involving illegal lobbying work. He and business associate (and Russian intelligence agent) Konstantin Kilimnik, who is believed to be in Moscow, were indicted on June 9 on charges of conspiring to obstruct justice.
On August 6, Manafort went on trial for bank and tax fraud. Gates testified that he and Manafort conspired to commit bank and tax fraud and that he - Gates - embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort. Gates also testified that Manafort used a web of offshore companies to receive millions of dollars from Ukrainian businessmen and skirted U.S. tax laws by failing to properly register his foreign income and bank accounts. (Gates, well into 2019, was cooperating with Mueller's Russia probe and "several ongoing investigations.")
On August 21, 2018 a jury convicted Manafort of eight counts of tax and bank fraud. On September 14 Manafort pleaded guilty in federal court to two more felonies, admitting he laundered more than $30 million and cheated the United States of $15 million in taxes. (In April, 2019, Special Counsel Robert Mueller reported that Manafort shared polling data during the campaign with Konstantin Kilimnik.) A federal judge in Virginia on March 7, 2019 sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison for defrauding banks and the government, and failing to pay taxes on millions of dollars in income he earned from Ukrainian political consulting. On March 13, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. sentenced Manafort to serve nearly seven years for crimes related to foreign lobbying and witness tampering. On the same day, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Manafort on 16 counts in connection with a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.
Rick Gates was sentenced to 45 days in jail on December 17, 2019. He avoided a longer sentence by cooperating with authorities.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Manafort, who had been in federal prison since June, 2018, was released to home confinement on May 13, 2020 due to the pandemic.
Topic #9: A government of, by and for lobbyists
At a campaign stop in Green Bay, Wisconsin on October 17, 2016, Trump tied his “drain the swamp” promise to a specific set of rules for lobbyists, saying, “I am proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again." At a campaign rally in Colorado, the candidate said, "We have to break the cycle of corruption, and we have to give new voices a chance...so that we can have a government that works again and can function properly."
· Trump nominated Brendan Carr, a former telecom lawyer who represented, among others, AT&T and Verizon
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is a former lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. He later resigned under a cloud. (See Topic #10 below)
In June, President Trump appointed former Raytheon head lobbyist Mark Esper to replace former Boeing lobbyist Patrick Shanahan as defense secretary.
The Hill reported on January 28, 2018 that "Trump's first year in office has mostly served to fatten the swamp creatures inhabiting the Beltway" and for "virtually all of the top 20 lobbying firms in D.C., revenues were significantly higher in 2017 than in 2016." On October 25,
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The
Topic #10: The Unusual Suspects
morality in his administration.
a number of people who are now convicted criminals.”
Mark Galli, editor of Christianity Today
Candidate Trump promised repeatedly throughout the campaign to "hire the best people in the world." He subsequently hired and then trashed many of those "best people," including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ("dumb as a rock"), Chief of Staff John Kelly ("can't keep his mouth shut"), Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis ("the world's most overrated general"), Attorney General Jeff Sessions ("slime") and National Security Adviser John Bolton, calling Bolton a "sick puppy," a "dope" and a "washed up creepster." At a White House briefing on June 18, 2020,
On July 27, Ryan Lizza of the
Scaramucci’s called Lizza to find out who tipped Lizza off about a dinner at the White House.
“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said of the White House chief of staff. He channeled Priebus as he spoke: “‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ” (Former
Scaramucci said, unlike other White House officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”
“What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.”
After the interview became front-page news, Scaramucci, naturally, blamed the reporter he called. “I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won't happen again.” Priebus was fired by Trump a few days later, on July 28, 2017. Scaramucci was fired after just 10 days on the job.
In 1993, Callista Bisek was an aide in the office of Wisconsin Rep. Steve Gunderson. At the time, she was having an affair with a married man, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was leading the charge to impeach President Bill Clinton for having an affair with an unmarried woman. The Bisek/Gingrich extra-marital affair lasted through 1999 when Ms. Bisek testified in Speaker Gingrich's divorce hearing regarding her relationship with the Speaker. Newt Gingrich subsequently divorced his second wife, Marianne, and, in 2000, married Ms. Bisek.
Proving once again that not only does God exist but that he/she has a sense of humor, in May 2017 President Trump, like Speaker Gingrich, a thrice married man who has bragged about his sexual conquests during and between marriages, nominated Callista Gingrich to represent the United States before the Pope and the Holy Roman Church.
Sarah Sanders - Press Secretary and presidential enabler
President Donald Trump has set the standard for his administration in terms of telling the truth (See Topic #13 below) and his former press secretary, Sarah Sanders, lived up to that standard. First, she told the public that President Trump did not write Donald Trump Jr.'s dishonest reply to questions about Junior's famous meeting with Russians in Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. ( Then she denied that President Trump paid off his two mistresses - including porn star Stormy Daniels - during the 2016 campaign. Special Counsel Mueller reported that Sanders also lied when she misled the American people about FBI Director Comey's firing when she claimed at least twice that "countless" FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey. She later admitted to Mueller that her comments were a "slip of the tongue." Erik Wemple of the
Stephen Moore – Very weird Federal Reserve board member nominee
After President Trump nominated economics commentator Moore to a seat on the powerful Fed board in March, 2019 it was reported by
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spent nearly $1 million on new furniture in his first 15 months in office (including a $4,000 desk). As would any stand-on-his-own-two-feet conservative, Lighthizer blamed President Barack Obama. "The furniture purchases are the culmination of a longtime, planned project that began under the Obama Administration to replace two-decade-old furniture."
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, drew criticism over the cost of curtains in her official residence: nearly $53,000. Her spokesman also blamed the Obama administration for the purchase. When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke needed to fix his office doors, he charged US taxpayers $139,000, "more than double the median U.S. household income in 2017," according to
In late June, Ivanka accompanied her father to the annual G-20 summit in Japan and sat with him in meetings with the leaders of France, Canada, Japan, India and China. She then traveled with the president to South Korea where she met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Commented Christopher R. Hill, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, "It looks to the rest of the world like we have a kind of a constitutional monarchy. It says to our allies, to everyone we do business with, that the only people who matter are Trump and his family members." Matt Ford at
"Donald Trump is lawyering up for his impeachment trial with a team that looks surprisingly similar to that of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein," wrote
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta - A secret deal for serial sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein
President Trump, who records show was a passenger in Epstein's private jet, told Acosta resigned July 12, 2019. Epstein, the friend of presidents, hung himself in a Manhattan jail on August 9.
Miller, the architect of President Trump hard-line immigration policies, has ties to white nationalists, according to emails uncovered by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2019. According to
Porter resigned as White House staff secretary February 7, 2018 after his two ex-wives accused him of physical and emotional abuse, with one presenting pictures of her blackened eye.
Porter’s second wife, Jennie Willoughby, received a temporary emergency protective order in Arlington in June 2010 after saying he refused to leave her residence, in violation of their separation agreement. She said he broke her window, causing his knuckles to bleed. The document, a copy of which was obtained by the
After the White House staff secretary was accused of domestic violence by both of his ex-wives, Chief of Staff John Kelly publicly defended Porter as “a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him.” A day later Porter was terminated.
After Omarosa – a contestant on “The Apprentice” – was hired by President Trump to serve on the White House staff, she was fired less than a year later. And then on August 13, 2018, weeks before her White House memoir,
“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser& nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me - until she got fired! While I know it’s “not presidential” to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry! Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement!"
Sadler, a member of the White House communication staff, was participating in a meeting where the subject of Senator John McCain's opposition to President Trump's nominee for CIA director came up. McCain had made his opposition public from his home in Arizona, where he was battling terminal cancer. Sadler commented on McCain's opposition, "It doesn't matter, he's dying anyway." President Trump then called a meeting of Sadler and top communications staff aimed at stopping leaks coming out of the White House. After telling the group, including Sadler's boss, Mercedes Schlapp, that he's no fan of McCain and that Sadler would keep her job, Sadler told the President that it was her boss, Schlapp, who was to blame for the leaks. Sadler was fired a month later but in April, 2019 took a job with the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. She will handle communications.
Jason Miller will return to the Trump fold for the 2020 re-election campaign after being booted out a couple years ago when he had an extramarital affair and impregnated another 2016 campaign official, A. J. Delgado. At the time, Miller had been named the White House communications director. Delgado and Miller subsequently got in a custody squabble and Delgado alleged in court documents Miller had another affair with a woman he met in a strip club. Miller admitted in a videotaped deposition in 2019 that he hired numerous prostitutes and visited "hand job" massage parlors. He will now serve as a senior adviser on the Trump re-election campaign team.
On February 28, 2018 the
On January 24, 2019,
On May 24, 2019
Topic #11: Here come the jets
"A cabinet of crooks, dolts and sycophants
who form the biggest swamp in Washington"
Jim Hoagland describing the Trump Administration
Trump's current and past cabinet members – Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – have a passion for flying first class…in taxpayer-funded U.S. government planes, privately-owned jets, helicopters and first-class commercial airlines. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin had a slightly different proclivity – he had a passion for the U.S. taxpayer picking up his travel tab for a European vacation.
Politico first uncovered Secretary Price’s passion for private jet travel when it identified more than $400,000 spent on 24 charter jet flights Price took from May through September, 2017.
(Interestingly, Price had a reputation for being vehemently opposed to government-funded jet travel when he was a Congressman. In 2009 he attacked as “fiscal irresponsibility” a proposal to spend $550 million on planes for members of Congress and government officials. And in 2010, Congressman Price criticized then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “flying over our country in a luxury jet.”)
The inspector general’s office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed September 22, 2017 it was investigating the private jet travel of the agency’s chief. Price told The next day, September 29, Price resigned his post.
On July 13, 2018, an inspector general's report found that Price's use of private planes cost the taxpayers $341,000 and that for the 21 trips reviewed by the IG, 20 did not comply with federal regulations. Interestingly, Transportation Secretary Chao basically did the same thing as Price - used government jets to fly around the world – but then started using commercial air travel after Price resigned. However, in 2017, Chao's government jet flights cost the taxpayers $93,977,
The EPA’s Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into Scott Pruitt’s’s travel habits in October, 2017 after new reports surfaced that Pruitt had taken frequent and costly trips on private and military jets at taxpayer expense.
The Hill and the
Pruitt on February 13 attributed his habit of taking taxpayer-funded, first-class flights to security concerns expressed by his personal security detail and chief of staff. “I’m not involved in any of those decisions,” Pruitt told the New Hampshire Union Leader
Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) of the House Oversight Committee asked to interview the head of Pruitt's security detail to get an explanation for how the agency justified his first-class flights and the need for such security. Gowdy told
The stories about Pruitt’s travel habits continued into April when it was reported that several weeks after taking the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator Pruitt was stuck in Washington, D.C., traffic. Sources tell
NBC News reported in early May that documents obtained by the Sierra Club show that Pruitt enjoyed “lavish dinners” when traveling at home and abroad. “In one such instance – during a four-day trip to Italy for last year’s G-7 summit – Pruitt dined at the five-star luxury Hotel Eden in Rome. The Hotel Eden’s fine dining restaurant, La Terrazza, offers a tasting menu for 280 Euros per person ($333.76).” Agency records showed that Pruitt’s entire Italy trip cost around $120,000. It was also reported by the
On March 5, 2020, Pruitt's successor as EPA administrator, former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, accused the agency's inspector general for making "errors" in reaching the conclusion that Pruitt and his staff incurred an estimated $124,000 in excessive airfare expenses and announced the agency would not seek to recoup any of the improperly spent government funds.
Zinke failed to properly document his travel, the agency's watchdog said November 16, preventing it from determining whether he had violated government rules. "Our investigation is delayed by absent or incomplete documentation for several pertinent trips and a review process that failed to include proper documentation and accountability," Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall said in a letter obtained by
(On December 15, 2018, President Trump announced that Zinke would be stepping down.)
Veterans Affairs Secretary Shulkin and his wife really enjoyed their European vacation.
On March 15, 2018, the
Topic #12: The President and the porn star (and other women not named Melania)
In January, 2018 the
Susan Wright at
On March 20,
Trump then hired former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to represent him in the Mueller investigation. However, Giuliani quickly turned the media’s attention back to Stormy Daniels when he admitted to
On August 21, Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court of "violating federal campaign finance laws by arranging hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal 'at the direction' of then-candidate Trump,"
President Trump on September 8 agreed in court to rescind the nondisclosure agreement with Daniels that required her to keep silent about their alleged sexual encounter. President Trump had sued the porn star for $20 million and dropped that suit and asked Daniels to drop her lawsuit against him. The President of the United States on October 16 called Daniels "Horseface" in a tweet from the White House. Daniels, who described Trump's genitals in her book, "
Karen McDougal, Summer Zervos and E. Jean Carroll:
· Former Playboy model Karen McDougal alleges to have had a nine-month affair with Trump beginning in 2006, just months after First Lady Melania Trump gave birth to son Baron, and was about to go public about it during the 2016 presidential campaign. But then the National Enquirer, which is owned by Trump's close friend - David Pecker - bought the rights to her story for $150,000 and never published it. In July, 2018, the New York Times reported Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with Trump two months before the 2016 election in which they discussed payments to Karen McDougal. The tape was broadcast by the media in late July, 2017 and showed Cohen and Trump, just prior to the 2016 election, discussing how they would buy the rights to McDougal's story. On December 7, the Special Counsel's office reported in a court filing that candidate Trump met with Cohen and Pecker during the 2016 campaign and directed Cohen to pay hush money to both McDougal and Daniels. Reported the New York Times, the prosecutors have said both payments "violated campaign finance law" and "constituted an illegal corporate donation to Mr. Trump's campaign."
On December 12, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for lying to Congress about a project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow (, tax fraud and paying to silence Daniels and McDougal. Cohen will pay $1.4 million in restitution, $500,000 in forfeiture and $100,000 in fines. On the same day, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York announced they would not prosecute the company that owns the National Enquirer after it "admitted that it made the $150,000 payment (to McDougal) in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate." The U.S. Attorney's Office said the payment to McDougal and the coordination with the Trump campaign was done "to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election." At a Congressional hearing on the matter February 27, 2019, Cohen produced checks signed by President Trump and Don Trump Jr. reimbursing Cohen for the Daniels hush-money payoff. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, downplayed the severity of the crime. "Nobody got killed, nobody got robbed...This was not a big crime." NOTE: As of February, 2020, Cohen is locked up for the next three years at the federal correctional institution in Otisville, New York. (CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Due to the fact that 14 inmates and seven staff tested positive for the virus, Cohen was released May 21 from prison to serve the balance of his sentence at home. He was jailed again, on July 9, when he was discovered eating at a Manhattan restaurant. But on July 23 a federal judge ordered him released again, ruling that Cohen was imprisoned again because he refused to agree not to publish a book about President Trump.)
· On March 20, 2018 a New York judge rejected a bid by President Trump to dismiss a defamation lawsuit relating to his alleged forcible kissing and groping of Summer Zervos, a contestant on "The Apprentice," in 2007. Lawyers for Trump argued that he was immune from the suit in state court while serving as president. "No one is above the law," the judge wrote in her 18-page decision. A panel of New York appeals judges on May 17 also rejected Trump's bid to stay the case while he appeals. Zervos is seeking $2,914 in damages and an apology from the President, who has called her claim "false smears." On March 14, 2019 a New York appellate court ruled that Zervos can proceed with her defamation lawsuit, rejecting the president's assertion he cannot be sued in state court. On November 19, the New York state Supreme Court rejected another effort by Trump to prevent the president from being deposed in the defamation lawsuit.
On January 9, 2020, a New York State Supreme Court judge denied President Trump's request to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by writer E. Jean Carroll who has accused the president of raping her in the mid-1990s. Trump's suit accused "Carroll of lying about the rape in order to increase book sales, carry out a political agenda, advance a conspiracy with the Democratic Party, and make money."
Michael Cohen testifies before Congress: On February 27, 2019, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress - and millions of Americans via television and the internet - that not only did he get reimbursed for the payments to Stormy Daniels by President Trump (Cohen provided the committee with a signed check for $35,000 from the president and another signed by Don Trump Jr.) but that Trump asked him to lie to Melania about the president's former girlfriends and the hush payments. Cohen accused the president of being involved in a "criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. I am going to jail in part because of my decision to help Mr. Trump hide that payment from the American people before they voted a few days later." Jerry Dunleavy at the Washington Examiner called Cohen a "grifter and thug. Loyal henchman turned traitorous rat. Habitual liar now claiming to wield the sword of truth." Andrew C. McCarthy of the National Review wrote, "The check Trump signed is new damage for the president because he publicly insisted that he did not know anything about Cohen's payment to Daniels." On July 19, court documents released at the direction of Federal Judge William Pauley showed that President Trump took part in phone calls with then-personal lawyer Cohen as the attorney and others scrambled to arrange hush payments to Daniels. An FBI agent wrote at the time, "Based on the timing of these calls, and content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent (Daniels) from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story."
Topic #13: The President’s casual relationship with the truth
From Sarah Wells and Ann Thornill's
"Today I Will Nourish My Inner Martyr" (1998)
President Trump’s dishonesty has been a central story of his presidency, confounding supporters, opponents, government officials, cabinet members, Congress and foreign leaders. T
President Trump tells so many lies the
On August 26, at the G7 summit in France, the president told a lie the White House even had to refute. President Trump claimed first lady Melania Trump had "gotten to know" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "I think she'd agree with me - he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential." White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement soon after noting that the first lady has never met Kim.
The secretary of defense, Mark Esper, had to correct his boss in January, 2020 when President Trump claimed during an interview with
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: See NEWS section of blog above for long list of misleading statements by the president during the crisis. The Washington Post reported in June the president has made 800 falsehoods regarding COVID-19 since January.
Leonard Steinhorn, a professor at American University, observed in a column dated July 24, 2018, “To his supporters, what makes Donald Trump so special – and so unique among politicians – is the authenticity they see in his public persona. Here’s a president who says what’s on his mind, who’s unafraid to offend, who pokes at the politically correct, who irritates the liberal elites, who riffs stream of consciousness at rallies untroubled by what the press and his critics might say. They praise him for ‘telling the truth’ even when the ‘truth’ he tells isn’t true, because it isn’t really the ‘truth’ they want but rather a raw articulation of their grievances."
Topic #14: Timeline of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump
In 2019, President Trump declared, citing Article II of the Constitution, “I have the right to do whatever I want as president. It gives me all of these rights at a level nobody has ever seen before.”
$391 million in military aid for Ukraine is approved by Congress in
The Trump administration tells Congress it is releasing the aid
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office emails President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani’s office, “Pls have Mr. G bring the documents,” on
The Department of Defense sends Congress a letter in
On Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, testifies before Congress in October he became aware that military aid had been held up "by about
July 7, the
On U.S. Ambassador Sondland over Sondland and Giuliani’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, according to the Politico reported October 23 that Bolton “abruptly ended” the Bolton’s top advisor on Russia, Fiona Hill, told Congress October 14 that Bolton was so concerned about the effort by Sondland that he directed Hill to immediately notify the National Security Council lawyer John Eisenberg. Hill also told Congress, “Sondland, in front of the Ukrainians, as I came in, was talking about how he had an agreement with Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney for a meeting with the Ukrainians if they were going to go forward with investigations.” Former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker also confirmed before Congress that Sondland made the demand for an investigation. State Department officials subsequently told Congress that Bolton referred to Sondland and Giuliani’s efforts as a “drug deal.” (After Congress began investigating, Sondland denied knowledge of the connection between Hunter Biden and Trump’s demand for an investigation into Burisma until later, when news of the whistleblower’s complaint surfaced. However, Sondland’s initial contention was disputed in testimony October 29 by Lt. Col. Vindman who, according to
July 14, the
In a secure call with national security officials on
Ambassador Sondland, according to the kept several Trump administration officials apprised of his effort to get Ukraine to launch investigations that President Trump would later discuss in a
In Taylor confirmed the report when he told Congress October 22 that he was told a week before Trump’s call with Zelensky that Trump ordered the hold on the military aid via acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney.)
July 25 is the most pivotal day in the Ukraine controversy and impeachment inquiry. State Department envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker sends a text to top Ukraine aide Andriy Yermak: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper gives Congress emails she received from the State Department on President Trump has his now-infamous call with
old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government…You are a great teacher for us and in that.
President Trump: (Blog editor’s note: The editors at the National Review would later comment on this:
Zelensky: For me as a President, it is very important, and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine…(followed by unrelated comments by Zelensky
President Trump: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good, and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved.
And then, less than two hours later, Mike Duffey, associate director for national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget, writes to OMB and Pentagon officials, "Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration's plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional [Department of Defense] obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process." He added, "Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction."
The second important event on The official who listened to the entirety of the phone call was visibly shaken by what had transpired and seemed keen to inform a trusted colleague within the U.S. national security apparatus about the call. The official described the call as ‘crazy,’ ‘frightening’ and ‘completely lacking in substance related to national security.’ The official asserted that the President used the call to persuade Ukrainian authorities to investigate his political rivals, chiefly former Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter. The official stated that there was already a conversation underway with White House lawyers about how to handle the discussion because, in the official's view, the President had clearly committed a criminal act by urging a foreign power to investigate a U.S. person for the purposes of advancing his own reelection bid in 2020.”
On The whistleblower complaint states, in part, “I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. … The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort.”
According to National Security Council advisor Tim Morrison, in
Lawyers from the White House counsel’s office tell President Trump in
Just Security reported on January 2, 2020 that on
On a top Zelensky aide in Warsaw that U.S. military assistance funds would likely not be reinstated “until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” including investigating Burisma. Sondland told investigators that at that same .S. Ambassador Taylor text Sondland:
According to Taylor, on that he had talked to President Zelenskyy and Mr. Yermak and told them that, although this was not a quid pro quo, if President Zelenskyy did not ‘clear things up’ in public, we would be at a ‘stalemate.’”
And then on However, the The Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said he actually learned of a potential quid pro quo from Sondland himself, who told Sen. Johnson that aid to Ukraine was tied to the desire of Mr. Trump and his allies to have Kyiv undertake investigations related to the 2016 U.S. elections. “At that suggestion, I winced,” Mr. Johnson said. “My reaction was: Oh, God. I don’t want to see those two things combined.” (Sondland told Congressional investigators October 17 he could not recall this conversation with Sen. Johnson. According to the
Two days later, on
On of National Intelligence (ODNI) is withholding the whistleblower complaint. Inspector General Atkinson alerted Congress of the decision to withhold the complaint after Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire failed to forward the complaint to Congress within seven days as required by law. Maguire later told Congress he consulted with both the White House and the Department of Justice on how to proceed.
The Criminal Division of the U.S. Justice Department in
Rudy Giuliani appeared on
The uggested…that he raised former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son in a summer phone call with Ukraine’s new leader, as Democrats pressed for investigations into whether Trump improperly used his office to try to dig up damaging information about a political rival.” Trump,
On the morning of Speaker Pelosi has launched an official impeachment inquiry into President Trump. President Trump responded to the news: “I did not make a statement that you have to do this or I won’t give you aid. I didn’t put any pressure on them whatsoever. I think it would probably, possibly have been OK if I did.”
Fox News reported
Fox News reported
According to the
President Trump on
“I had no idea the military aid was held up,” at the time of the call with Trump, President Zelensky said on
After weeks of denial by President Trump that there was any quid pro quo with Ukraine – Trump said “zero” – Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on
Acting U.S. Ambassador William “Bill” Taylor on Taylor also said Sondland had told him he had been wrong to tell the Ukrainians that only a White House meeting was linked to the statement; in fact, “‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.” The testified, “I understood that the reason for investigating Burisma was to cast Vice President Biden in a bad light,” adding that it would benefit “a political campaign for the re-election of President Trump.” Tayor admits he did not talk directly with President Trump about the matter.
“The testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (on
In a closed-door hearing at the capital
November 13 marks the beginning of public hearings in the House Intelligence Committees’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The first witnesses are State Department official George Kent and top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor. “For the millions of Americans viewing today, the two most important facts are the following,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said on the first day of public impeachment hearings. “No. 1: Ukraine received the aid. No. 2: There was, in fact, no investigation into Biden.”
While former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is testifying before Congress on
More public hearings are held by the House Intelligence Committee
President Trump on
The House Intelligence Committee, on a party-line vote, approves its 300-page report on the impeachment inquiry “The impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.” The report alleges Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, Acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney and Secretary of Energy Perry were either knowledgeable of or active participants in the effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President. Republicans drafted a report of their own, which rejected the Democratic majority's claims. "The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor.”
The House Judiciary Committee held its first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry
Four constitutional scholars provide testimony on the topic of whether Trump’s conduct rises to the level of impeachment. Professor Jonathan Turley: “One can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president.” Professor Michael Gerhardt: “The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president.”
The next day,
The House Judiciary Committee holds its second hearing Stephen Castor, who appeared as counsel for Republicans on both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, denies the Democrats' characterization of Trump's July call with Ukraine President Zelensky, saying, “To impeach a president, who 63 million people voted for, over eight lines in a call transcript is baloney. There is simply no clear evidence that President Trump acted with malicious intent in withholding a meeting or security assistance.”
On two articles of impeachment against President Trump; abuse of power and obstructing Congress. The resolution states, in part: “Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.” It also reads: “Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its ‘sole Power of Impeachment’…without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.”
On December 18, President Trump becomes the third president in the 243-year history of the United States to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The vote on both articles of impeachment is mostly along party lines. No Republicans vote for the articles.
Speaker Pelosi on he House of Representatives officially delivers the two articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The Government Accountability Office says in a report released
January 21 is the first working day of the U.S Senate impeachment trial. Democrats attempt but fail to pass amendments seeking documents from the White House, State Department and Office of Budget and Management and testimony from key White House officials. The Senate votes along party lines to table, or kill, all the proposed amendments.
The House impeachment managers on
On January 25,Trump’s “lawyers defended the president against articles of impeachment Saturday morning arguing it’s the Democrats trying to interfere in elections by seeking to remove Trump from the 2020 ballot for doing ‘absolutely nothing wrong,’”
“Saturday was the first chance Trump’s lawyers had to refute the House’s case of impeachment and they came out making a forceful case that there are no grounds to remove Trump from office.” The president’s lawyers argued that Ukrainian officials did not know key military aid was withheld so withholding aid could not have been a threat, a rough transcript of a July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump did not condition either security assistance or a White House meeting on anything, Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that there was no quid pro quo and no pressure on them to review anything, the security assistance flowed on Sept. 11, and a presidential meeting took place on Sept. 25 without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations. Trump attorney Mike Purpura argued that “not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting or anything else.”
But then the
President Trump on
During the question-and-answer period of the impeachment trial, Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz said that a U.S. president is allowed to orchestrate a quid pro quo with a foreign leader to benefit their own re-election campaign, if they also believe that their re-election is in the national interest of the United States. Dershowitz said:
On the last day of questioning from Senators,
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee announces on the morning of
The U.S. Senate, on almost exclusively partisan votes, acquits President Trump on both articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstructing Congress - on I believe that attempting to corrupt an election to maintain power is about as egregious an assault on the Constitution as can be made. And for that reason, it is a high crime and misdemeanor and I have no choice under the oath that I took but to express that conclusion.” After the votes, the White House issues the following statement:
President Trump exacts his revenge: On
Topic #15 - Honoring alleged war criminals
Salon reported November, 25, 2109: “This month Trump overruled military leaders and cleared three members of the military who had been accused or convicted of war crimes, but whom the hard-right has championed as heroes. He ordered full pardons for former Army Lt. Clint Lorance, who was serving a 19-year sentence for murdering two civilians and Special Forces Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who was facing trial for the murder of an unarmed Afghan. The most infamous of the three, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL, had been acquitted of murder but found guilty of a lesser offense in a dramatic trial this summer that got the president's special attention through his friend Pete Hegseth, a commentator on
Speaking of war crimes: President Trump on January 5, 2020, announced, via twitter, that he has chosen 52 targets to hit in Iran if the country avenges the killing of a top Iranian general by U.S. forces January 2 in Iraq. Trump tweeted that the targets are "important to Iran & Iranian culture." The
19th hole promise:“I’m not going to have time to play golf” - PROMISE DROPPED
: “I’m going to be working for you," he told a campaign rally crowd in August 2016. "I'm not going to have time to go golfing, believe me. Believe me, folks."
But look who also loves to play golf: Wrote
With Hurricane Dorian threatening Florida in late August, 2109 President Trump cancelled a trip to Poland to monitor the possible crisis. He then snapped into action and went and played golf the next two days at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, marking the 289th day he has spent at a Trump property and the 227th day he has spent at one of his golf clubs as president.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: In 2014, private citizen Donald Trump tweeted,