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Category Archives: Donald Trump

Donald Trump Confirms He Called House GOP Health Care Bill ‘Mean’ – HuffPost

Posted: June 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm

President Donald Trump confirmed that he privately called the House Republicans health care bill mean, the same legislation he publicly celebrated with a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

Asked about former President Barack Obamas response to the Senate version of the bill, unveiled Thursday, Trump said that his predecessor, who blasted the legislations fundamental meanness, had appropriated my term.

He used my term: mean, Trump toldFox and Friends in an interview that aired Sunday. That was my term, because I want to see and I speak from the heart thats what I want to see. I want to see a bill with heart.

Mark Wilson via Getty Images

Based on unnamed congressional sources, it had been reported earlier this month that Trump told GOP senators during a private meeting that the House bill was mean, and the Senate version should be more generous.

In his latest comments, he again criticized Democrats for being obstructionistsin the health care debate, saying the process for passing a new bill on the issue should be so easy.

It would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together, wrap their arms around it, and come up with something that everybodys happy with. Its so easy! he said. But we wont get one Democrat vote. Not one. And if it were the greatest bill ever proposed in mankind, we wouldnt get a vote. And thats a terrible thing.

During an interview that aired Friday, he discussed how he had falsely insinuated that he had tapes of his private conversations with FBI director James Comey before he fired him from that post. His interviewer, Ainsley Earhardt, praised the presidents subterfuge as smart.

Trumpslast non-Fox interview was on May 11, with NBCs Lester Holt, in which he all but admitted that he had fired Comey because of this Russia thing.

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POTUS on Democrats’ Trump resistance movement: ‘It’s a terrible theme in terms of getting elected’ – ABC News

Posted: at 2:45 pm

President Donald Trump is taking issue with his predecessor’s recent comments criticizing the newly-unveiled Senate Republican healthcare draft bill.

Former President Barack Obama wrote in a Facebook post Thursday, “Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”

In an interview with Fox News’ Pete Hegseth, airing Sunday on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Hegseth asks the president, “What do you say to the former president?”

The commander in chief responds, “Well, he used my term, ‘mean.’ That was my term because I want to see — and I speak from the heart — a bill with heart.”

Trump continues, “Health care is a very complicated subject from the standpoint that you move it this way, and this group doesn’t like it. You move it a little bit over … you have a very narrow path. Honestly, nobody can be totally happy. Even without the votes, forget about the votes. This has nothing to do with votes. This has to do with picking a plan that everybody’s going to like. I’d like to say love, but like.”

Trump has endorsed the Senate version of the bill, which isn’t as drastic as the House version in some areas.

Trump also slammed the Democrats’ Trump resistance movement, telling Hegseth, “I think it’s a terrible theme in terms of getting elected. And more importantly, I think it’s a terrible theme for the people of this country. Resist, obstruction. That’s not what they want.”

Also in the interview, President Trump criticizes Obama for allegedly doing “nothing” about reports that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it — but npobody wants to talk about that,” Trump says. “The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before the election. And I hardly see it, it’s an amazing thing. The question for me is, if he had the information, why didn’t he do something about it? You don’t read that. It’s quite sad.”

Trump’s comments echo a tweet he wrote Friday: “Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?” he tweeted.

Hegseth — a U.S. Army veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, who holds two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantrymans Badge for his time there — asked Trump about signing on Friday the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017.

“[Veterans have] gone through so much, and I’ve always felt they were never appreciated the way they should be appreciated,” he said. “But you know who appreciates? The voters, and I’m not just talking about them as block, which is a big block. But I’m talking about the voters outside of the veterans.”

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POTUS on Democrats’ Trump resistance movement: ‘It’s a terrible theme in terms of getting elected’ – ABC News

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Donald Trump Becomes First President In Two Decades To Not Host A Ramadan Dinner – HuffPost

Posted: at 2:45 pm

Breaking with tradition, the White House under President Donald Trump did not host an iftar dinner, the meal Muslims eat to break their daily fast during Ramadan.

The dinner, which has been often attended by prominent members of the U.S. Muslim community, began in 1996 during former President Bill Clintons White House tenure and continued through the subsequent Bush and Obama administrations.

Trump and first lady Melania simply issued a brief statement Saturday that offered warm greetings to Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the close of Ramadan, Islams holy month of fasting.

On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eidal-Fitr.

Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity. Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbors and breaking bread with people from all walks of life.

During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values.

Eid Mubarak.

Trumps decision to skip hosting the dinner comes after he released a controversial statement meant to mark the beginning of Ramadan. Many members of the Muslim community condemned the message, which largely focused on terrorism.

This year, the holiday begins as the world mourns the innocent victims of barbaric terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt, acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, read a White House statement issued in May. Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology.

Trumps remarks starkly contrast with those by then-President Barack Obamaduring Ramadan last year. In June 2016, Obama and then-first lady Michelle announced plans to host an Eid celebration in the White House and praised American Muslims for their contributions to the U.S.

Muslim Americans have been part of our American family since its founding, the Obamas wrote in a statement roughly five times longer than Trumps Ramadan message. We look forward to welcoming Americans from around the country to celebrate the holiday.

U.S. secretaries of state have also traditionally hosted Iftar dinners since 1999 but not this year. Trumps top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, declined an invitation this year from the State Departments Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr celebration, according to CNN.

With its break from precedent,the Trump administration shunned an opportunity to reach out to the U.S. Muslim community whose leaders have said has been ostracized by the presidents rhetoric and his policies, including his proposed travel ban.

Imam Talib Shareef, president of the Nations Mosque in Washington, D.C., called Trumps decision disappointing.

To stop it doesnt send a good message Shareef told Newsweek.

Referring to one of Trumps main pastimes, he added: You get the chance to go golfing and all this other kind of stuff. How come you dont have time for a population of your society that needs some assistance?

The White House message on Eid al-Fitr just hours after Trump was spotted visiting the golf club he owns in Virginia.

This story has been updated with the report of Trumps visit to his Virginia golf club.

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Make America Spell Again? 25 of Donald Trump’s Twitter Spelling Errors – Newsweek

Posted: at 2:45 pm

President Donald Trumps unabashed use of his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account has been met with praise by some and eye rolls from others. Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump used Twitter to send derogatory messages about a range of characters, from opponents little Marco Rubio and low-energy Jeb Bush to so ridiculous Major League Baseball.

Trumps use of Twitter has led to controversy, particularly when he accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his campaign and hinted that he had tapes of his conversation with former FBI Director James Comey (he doesnt).

His Twitter usealso has revealed that spelling probably wasnt the presidents best subject in elementary school. Can you spell better than Trump? Here are 25words Trump has spelled wrong, or made a typo on, over the last year and a half.

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The president misspelled the last name of the candidate he supported in the special election in Georgias 6th Congressional District.

Karen Handle’s opponent in #GA06 can’t even vote in the district he wants to represent, he tweeted June 19, before deleting and correcting.

Trumps “covfefe” tweet received tons of coverage.White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared serious when he claimed the president and a select group of people knew exactly what he meant.It appears he meant coverage.

Despite the constant negative press covfefe, Trump tweeted in the early morning of May 31, before deleting it hours later.

Trump has had a very difficult time with the word counsel, part of White House Counsel Don McGahns title and Robert Muellers position in investigating Trump.

On May 18, the day after Mueller was appointed special counsel, Trump tweeted and deleted, With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!

Just before former deputy attorney general Sally Yatess testimony before Congress, Trump alsomisspelledthe word.

Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council, he tweeted and deleted.

Principal vs. principle is a common elementary spelling lesson. It appears the president still doesntunderstand the difference, at least according to a deleted tweet from March 7.

Buy American & hire American are the principals at the core of my agenda, which is: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Thank you @exxonmobil, he tweeted.

In one of the presidents more infamous tweets, Trump misspelled tap in accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. Unlike most of Trumps other tweets with spelling errors, he has not deleted this one.

Trump struggled greatlyin spelling “hereby” correctly when calling for an investigation into Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumers ties to Russia in a tweet on March 3. He originally spelled it hear by before incorrectly changing it to hearby before finally getting it right with hereby.

Trump made an embarrassing spelling mistake upon his inauguration, tweeting that he was honered to serve as the 45th president. He deleted the tweet after it was up for about fourhours.

He made the same mistake, using an e instead of a second o, while celebrating a self-proclaimed debate win.

Wow, every poll said I won the debate last night. Great honer! he tweeted and deleted February 26, 2016.

The president struggled with the wordunprecedented in a since-deleted December 17, 2016 tweet.

China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act, he tweeted.

Trump deleted a tweet December 15, 2016, after adding an e to the word wait.

If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House waite so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost? he tweeted.

Trump had a particularly rough spelling week from December 10 to17, 2016. On the 10th, he attemptedto discredit a CNN report on his involvement with The Apprenticeas president by tweeting:Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are rediculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!

Then-candidate Trump stumbled in attempting to blame Obama and Clinton for terrorism in September2016.

Saturdays attacks show that failed Obama/Hillary Clinton polices wont keep us safe! I will Make America Safe Again! he tweeted and deleted.

In trying to attract Bernie Sanders voters, he misspelled waste” (and seemed to have trouble with the differences between “there,””their”and “they’re”).

Looks to me like the Bernie people will fight. If not, there blood, sweat and tears was a total waist of time. Kaine stands for opposite! he tweeted and deleted July 24, 2016.

The weekend in Texas and Arizona wss fantastic. I raised a lot of money for the Republican National Committee @Reince, he tweeted and deleted June 20, 2016.

Crooked Hillary just can’t close the dael with Bernie. It will be the same way with ISIS, and China on trade, and Mexico at the border. Bad! he tweeted and deleted May 8, 2016.

A word that has certainly knocked manymiddle schoolers out of spelling bees, “judgment” drops the e at the end of the word judge.

Hillary has bad judgement! Trumptweeted and deleted May 16, 2016.

The famed basketball coach was a staunch supporter of Trump during the campaign, but that didnt prevent Trump from misspelling his name on Twitter.

I will be campaigning in Indiana all day. Things are looking great, and the support of Bobby Night has been so amazing. Today will be fun! he tweeted and deleted May 2, 2016.

(Of course, rival Ted Cruz clearly edged Trump on a big basketball-related gaffe, calling a hoop abasketball ring.)

These politicians like Cruz and Graham, who have watched ISIS and many other problems develope for years, do nothing to make thing better!, Trump tweeted and deleted March 24, 2016.

.@AndreaTantaros- You are a true journalistic profesional. I so agree with what you say. Keep up the great work! he tweeted and deleted March 19, 2016.

It is Clinton and Sanders people who disrupted my rally in Chicago – and then they say I must talk to my people. Phony politicions! he tweeted and deleted March 12, 2016.

Although Trump has praised Haley since naming herU.S. ambassador to the United Nations, he wasn’talways been a big fan.

The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Hailey! he tweeted and deleted March 1, 2016.

Trump doesnt seem to mind that he misspelled paid in this March 6, 2016 tweet, which is still up.

Then-candidate Donald Trump tried out a variety of derogatory nicknames for his opponents after low-energy Jeb Bush caught on. But he had some issues spelling lightweight, which he was using to describe Rubio.

Lying Ted Cruz and leightweight chocker Marco Rubio teamed up last night in a last ditch effort to stop our great movement. They failed! he tweeted and deleted February 26, 2016.

Did you catch the other error in the above tweet? Trump really struggled with the term lightweight choker.

Leightweight chocker Marco Rubio looks like a little boy on stage. Not presidential material! he tweeted and deleted, also on February 26.

Lose vs. Loose is another elementary school grammar lesson Trump likely struggled with, if his Twitter is any indication.

Although Trump has spelled Barack right most of the time, he has also added an extra r on a fewoccasions.

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Donald Skunks the Democrats – New York Times

Posted: at 2:45 pm

The 43-year-old Ryan, who failed to unseat Pelosi as House minority leader last year, says that the Democrats brand is toxic, and in some places worse than Trumps. Which is beyond pathetic.

The Republicans have a wildly unpopular, unstable and untruthful president, and a Congress that veers between doing nothing and spitting out vicious bills, while the Democratic base is on fire and appalled millennials are racing away from Trump. Yet Democrats are stuck in loser gear.

Trumps fatal flaw is that he cannot drag himself away from the mirror. But Democrats cannot bear to look in the mirror and admit what is wrong.

We congenitally believe that our motives are pure and our goals are right, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, told me. Therefore, we should win by default. But, he added dryly: Youve got to run a good campaign. In elections, politics matter. Oooh, what a surprise.

As Ryan sighs: If you dont win, you dont have power, and you cant help on any of these issues we care about.

Democrats cling to an idyllic version of a new progressive America where everyone tools around in electric cars, serenely uses gender-neutral bathrooms and happily searches the web for the best Obamacare options. In the Democrats vision, people are doing great and getting along. It is the opposite of Trumps dark diorama of carnage and dystopia but just as false a picture of America.

With Jon Ossoff, as with Hillary Clinton, the game plan was surfing contempt for Trump and counting on the elusive Obama coalition. Heavy Hollywood involvement is not necessarily a positive in Georgia, though. Alyssa Milano drove voters to the polls but couldnt bewitch the Republicans. And not living in the district is bad anywhere.

Democrats are going to have to come up with something for people to be for, rather than just counting on Trump to implode. (Which he will.) The party still seems flummoxed that there are big swaths of the country where Democrats once roamed that now regard the Democratic brand as garbage and its long-in-the-tooth leadership as overstaying its welcome. The vibe is suffocating. Wheres the fresh talent?

In a new piece in The Atlantic, Emanuel and Bruce Reed who engineered their partys last takeover of Congress in 2006, the first since 1994 argue that Democrats need to channel their anger and make 2018 a referendum on Trumps record, not his impeachment.

In dwindling swing districts, Emanuel told me, Democrats need to choose candidates who are pro-middle class, not merely pro-poor.

They cant just waltz in and win seats held by Republicans. And they cant go full Bernie. They have to drum up suburban candidates who reflect their districts, Emanuel says, noting that they wrenched back control of Congress by recruiting a football player in North Carolina, an Iraq veteran in Pennsylvania and a sheriff in Indiana.

Its shocking that Hillary couldnt be bothered to come up with an economic message or any rationale other than Its My Turn. Hillary never got a real message out, Michael Bloomberg, who eviscerated Trump at Hillarys convention, told Anderson Cooper. It was Dont vote for that guy and the gender issue. Whereas Donald had us saying Make America Great Again.

Ryan says Democrats need to stop microtargeting. They talked to a black person about voting rights, a brown person about immigration, a gay about gay rights, a woman about choice and on and on, slicing up the electorate, he said. But they forgot that first and foremost, people have to pay their mortgages and get affordable health care.

He also urged his fellow Democrats to stop obsessing about Trump and Russia and start obsessing on globalization, automation and wage stagnation.

The crazy thing is that theres a great opportunity here, because neither party has figured out how to thrive in the new economy, he said.

Carrier and Boeing, where Trump visited to boast about saving jobs, announced layoffs last week, and Ford is shifting some production to China. And news flash for Donald: King Coal has been dethroned.

Trump leveraged his wealth to convince working-class people that he could deal with these changes, Ryan said. But just saying, The Chinese rent from me, doesnt mean hes figured this stuff out.

Trump may be nuts enough to blow up the world. But the Democrats are nuts if they think his crazy is enough to save them.

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The Untold Story of How Gary Cohn Fell for Donald Trump – Vanity Fair

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ALL THAT GLITTERS President Trump is briefed on a military strike on Syria, at Mar-a-Lago, April 6. Among his advisers present, nearly one-third are Goldman Sachs alums (circled).

Photograph from the White House/CNP/SIPA USA.

One photograph makes it abundantly clear just how present a small group of Goldman Sachs alumni has become in Donald Trumps White House. From April 6, it shows a stone-faced Trump and his advisers in a sensitive, compartmented information facility at Mar-a-Lago, just after the president had given the order to launch cruise missiles at a Syrian-government airbase. In the closely cropped picture, released by Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Twitter, 14 men and one woman are crowded tightly around a small table, their eyes glued to a closed-circuit-television screen. Three of the people in the pictureGary Cohn, the head of the National Economic Council and Trumps chief economic adviser; Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary; and Dina Powell, a deputy national-security adviserare former Goldman Sachs partners, one of the most coveted perches on Wall Street. A fourth, Steve Bannon, Trumps chief strategist, was a Goldman Sachs vice president in the late 1980s, before he left the firm to start his own investment-banking business.

I find it validating, says Lloyd Blankfein, Goldmans chairman and C.E.O., from his Battery Park City, Manhattan, office, 41 floors above the Hudson River, that as he was looking for good people it happens that a lot of them had Goldman Sachs affiliations. It makes me feel good that he sees in those people the same thing I see in those people.

That Trump would turn to Goldman Sachs to fill some of the most important positions in his fledgling administration is rich with irony. For years, Trump and Goldman practiced mutual disdain. Trump was the poster child of the kind of client that Goldman, which has always prided itself on superb risk management, warned its bankers to avoid. At least four of Trumps hotel and casino businesses have ended up in bankruptcy court, costing creditors and shareholders billions of dollars in losses. For this reason and others, Goldman determined never to do business with Trump and conveyed that message to its new recruits. Sources at Goldman now deny he was unwelcome at the firm, but more than one former Goldman banker has told me that its true, and Goldman has never underwritten a single stock or bond offering for a Trump majority-owned business or real-estate project or lent him any money.

Goldman also avoided Trump politically. It is no secret that Cohn, when he was Goldmans president and C.O.O., and Blankfein were Democratsalthough neither man was particularly enamored of President Obama and his antiWall Street rhetoric. Famously, Goldman paid Hillary Clinton $675,000 to appear at three non-taxing question-and-answer sessions during 2013, less than two years before she declared her candidacy for president. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Goldman employees and affiliated pacs donated less than $5,000 to Trump during the 2016 election cycle. By contrast, Clinton received more than $340,000 from them.

During the campaign, Trump was not shy about returning the love. He criticized his political opponents mercilessly for their ties to Goldman Sachs. During a rally in February 2016, when he was still trying to fend off Senator Ted Cruz, whose wife, Heidi, is a managing director at the bank, Trump said, I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton. As the presidential campaign was coming to a close, Trump ran a television ad featuring Blankfein (along with billionaire businessman George Soros) as one of Wall Streets arch-villains, responsible for sending U.S. jobs overseas and closing U.S. factories.

Yet, after his surprise victory, last November, Trump did a 180-degree turn on Goldman Sachs. Perhaps he decided that, after a long and divisive campaign, he had to show the capital markets that he wasnt a total lunatic, especially when in the early-morning hours of November 9 the futures market plunged some 1,000 points. What better way to reassure Wall Street that he wasnt completely bonkers than to hire Goldman Sachss best and brightest? And, even better, he could make them kiss his ring and show them whos boss. At the infamous June 12 Cabinet meeting Mnuchin fell right in line with the other sycophants in the room praising Trump. There was nothing rehearsed about that, Mnuchin says. I mean, it was, basically: the vice president started it, and I think it was how everybody felt in the room. He dismisses the widespread charges of fawning at that Cabinet meeting: What criticism? I mostly list that in the fake news.

Whatever Trumps convoluted logic for going Goldman, it confounded Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken critic of Wall Streets bad behavior leading up to the financial crisis and since. Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp, she says. Then he put enough Goldman bankers on his team to open a branch office of Goldman in the White House. The more Warren thinks about it, the more exasperated she gets. Donald Trump ran on not Goldman Sachs running this economy. If there was a single economic idea that was consistent in his campaign, it was that Goldman Sachs should not run Americas economy. Then he got elected, put in a Goldman team, and handed them the keys.

If Trumps about-face was surprising, you also have to wonder why Gary Cohn, a lifelong Democrat, left Goldman to accept Trumps offer. The conventional wisdom is that Cohn, 56, grew tired of waiting for Blankfein to retire from the C.E.O. post at Goldman and leapt at the chance to serve his country in such a crucial role. Becoming the director of the National Economic Council gave Cohn a graceful exit from Goldman and allowed him to follow in the footsteps of two illustrious Goldman senior partners: Robert Rubin and Stephen Friedman. (Leaving also allowed Cohn the not insignificant economic benefit of being able to convert his roughly $250 million of Goldman Sachs stock into Treasury securities on a tax-deferred basis. In 2016, Goldman paid Cohn $20 million and then vested his restricted stock after he left for Washington.)

There is another version of Cohns decision to leave Goldman that is slightly more complicated. In September 2015, Blankfein announced the shocking news that he had lymphoma. He had been C.E.O. for nearly a decade and had successfully steered Goldman through both the 2008 financial crisis and the reputational abyss that followed, when the firm became the symbol of Wall Street greed and arrogance.

While Blankfein was recuperating, Cohn seemed to delight in the attention and adulation he received when he filled in for his boss on earnings calls, industry presentations, and media events, such as The New York Timess DealBook Conference. Thats when, some say, he became overconfident and decided to inquire of several of his fellow board members about becoming C.E.O., even as Blankfein was responding well to his chemotherapy treatments. Gary made a play to replace Lloyd, according to a former Goldman partner. It didnt work. The board was noncommittal to Cohn, he continues. Theres a lot of loyalty to Lloyd on the board.

I think Gary had been getting frustrated in the sense of Will I ever be in a position to lead? says a longtime Goldman partner. And I think the conclusion was Well, not now, buddy. He then started looking at Wait a minutetheres other opportunities here to do things.

The board consensus was that Cohn wasnt well rounded enough to lead the firm. Wed talk about how wed crossed the Rubicon and he wouldnt know what we were talking about, says a former Goldman board member. But he was unusually bright, knew markets, had huge character, and was straightforward. If you think Im blunt, hes right from the brain to the mouth.

But the man who had made any number of successful bets as a Goldman trader had miscalculated. That quickly proved to be an untenable situation for both Cohn and Blankfein.

A source close to the situation describes what happened at Goldman differently. The honest-to-goodness story is: did Gary have lunch with Bayo [Adebayo Ogunlesi], Goldmans lead director, once or twice? Absolutely. Did he ever make a power play to become C.E.O.? He absolutely did not. He met with Bayo and said, Look, is the board comfortable with Lloyd staying on? Bayo said, Yeah. Gary said, Well, look, thats great. I know where I am. Im not in any hurry and Im not threatening, but we should all be on the same page that Ive been president and chief operating officer for 10 years. Gary gets a lot of phone calls for opportunities. He told Bayo he was going to start listening when his phone rang.

The timing was perfect for Jared Kushner, Trumps son-in-law, to pounce. He approached Cohn, supposedly at the suggestion of mutual friends. Jared Kushner has always been a little starstruck with Goldman Sachs people, says a former Goldman partner who knows him well. Hes always liked that sort of promotional edginess that Goldman Sachs has had, and hes always liked the reputation that Goldman Sachs has the best people, quote unquote, the smartest, savviest people. The idea, by the way, that Jared was suddenly in a position where he actually had the power to call on and hire and lure a number of people like that to the bench side, if you will, was a very, very intoxicating, enticing, and really kind of exciting thing to him, the former partner continues. This was an incredibly sort of convenient and opportune kind of thing that came along for Gary becausewhether he was going to Washington or notGary was out.

Cohn was the quintessential Goldman executive, with a well-known backstory: a middle-class striver from the heartland who came to the firm and succeeded wildly. From a suburb of Cleveland, the dyslexic grandson of Jewish immigrants, he was pressured by his father to get a job he didnt want, in the home-products division of U.S. Steel.

On a business trip to New York he visited the comexthe Commodity Exchange Inc., as it used to be knownin Lower Manhattan and eventually talked his way into a job trading options. In 1990 he joined the J. Aron division of Goldman, rising through the ranks, along with his mentor, Blankfein. When C.E.O. Hank Paulson became Treasury secretary, in 2006, Blankfein succeeded him, choosing Cohn to be his deputy.

I think people respected Gary completely, says Robert Steel, a former Goldman partner, Treasury official, and New York City deputy mayor who is now the C.E.O. of Perella Weinberg, the boutique investment bank. I dont think theres any issue of him being a jerk or a bad guy or anything like that. Hes very generous. Hes raised a lot of money for N.Y.U. hospital. He has nice kids, one wife. Hes not obnoxious. He looks you in the eye. Ive never heard him say a single thing derogatory about anybody . . . . Hes never read a five-page memo in his life, but when he asks you to describe something to him he pays incredible attention and remembers every word.

I think Mnuchins homework is being checked by Gary Cohn, says a former Goldman partner.

Adds John F. W. Rogers, Goldmans longtime consigliere, If you went and talked to most of the bankers at the firm, they would say Gary was a guy whod go anywhere, anytime, if we asked him to. He was always engaging, and he always brought an interesting market perspective to the dialogue of the problem of the client. He also was an exceptional listener and would look for those common points of moving the conversation forward.

A former Goldman partner, who still speaks occasionally to Cohn, thinks hes already made a huge difference in the White House. Trump likes alpha males that either have been in the military and have been in battle or alpha males that have made a lot of money, he says. Trump likes to say, Thats my Goldman Sachs president over there, Thats my Exxon C.E.O. over there, you know, Thats my general over there. The partner says that, by working closely with Ivanka Trump, Kushner, and Dina Powell, Cohn has tempered the reactionary influence of people around the president (such as Peter Navarro, head of the National Trade Council, and Steve Bannon, the chief strategist with white-nationalist leanings), and he is dedicated to making sure the U.S. doesnt start any ridiculous trade wars or do something crazy on health care. Im not going to let it happen, the former partner says Cohn told him.

But he also may be starting to hedge his bets. Trump has asked Cohn to head up the search for a replacement for Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen, when her term expires early next year. She may yet get reappointed, but there has also been speculation that Cohn himself wants the job, which would insulate him, and his reputation, from the ongoing Trump scandals. Crazier things have happened: Once upon a time Dick Cheney led the search for George W. Bushs vice president and then took the job himself.

Like Cohn, Steve Mnuchin became a Goldman partner in 1994 and made his first fortune, said to be around $100 million, when Goldman went public, five years later. (Fortune puts Mnuchins current net worth at close to $500 million, based on his disclosure forms.) But thats pretty much where the similarities between Mnuchin and Cohn end. Mnuchin is Goldman royalty, which is far from the norm at a firm that takes pride in hiring the ambitious sons and daughters of the middle class and molding them in the Goldman Way. Steves father, Robert Mnuchin, was a Yale graduate and a longtime Goldman partner, a member of the management committee, and the head of institutional equity trading. In his 17 years at Goldman Sachs, his son had a variety of jobs. At his peak he ran Goldmans mortgage-backed securities division, as a protg of Mike Mortara, an exSalomon Brothers trader who became a Goldman legend. Mortara co-headed the fixed-income division with Blankfein. They hated one another, the former partner says. In 1999, at the height of the dot-com bubble, Paulson decided he needed to separate them. He moved Mortara out of fixed-income to run something called GS Ventures, a short-lived venture-capital fund. Mnuchin followed his rabbi there, but in November 2000, Mortara died suddenly of a brain aneurysm, at the age of 51.

Mnuchin left Goldman two years later, in 2002, convinced that, with the ascension of Blankfein, his days at the firm were numbered. He went to work briefly with his former Yale roommate Eddie Lampert, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, who invited him onto the board of directors of Sears Holdings, the parent company of both Sears and Kmart, Lamperts ill-fatedand ongoingretail venture. (Mnuchin resigned his board seat before he was confirmed as Treasury secretary.) In 2004, he started Dune Capital Management with financial backing from George Soros.

At Dune Capital, Mnuchin wasnt afraid of taking big risks. He formed RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a film-financing company, with Hollywood producer Brett Ratner and investor James Packer. They have had some successes, including The Lego Movie, American Sniper, and, most recently, Wonder Woman, and their share of bombs, including Pan and In the Heart of the Sea. Now hes making movies, says a former Goldman partner, who knew him when. [Now] hes going around with . . . Trump-like guys, which is really different than [who he was], which was a bit socially awkward, very smart, really into teamwork. I would have sworn he was a Democrata liberal Democrat.

In 2014, Mnuchins fund invested a reported $80 million in a small Hollywood studio, Relativity Media. For a time, he was co-chairman of Relativitys board, having been personally recruited to it by the studios founder, Ryan Kavanaugh. Mnuchin and other Wall Street investors were assuming Relativity would eventually go public, and theyd all cash in. Instead, in 2015, it filed for bankruptcy, and Mnuchin lost his $80 million investment. But he enjoyed the Hollywood social scene; he recently married the Scottish actress Louise Linton, 18 years his junior. It is Mnuchins third marriage; he has three children from his second marriage.

Mnuchin also built a real-estate business at Dune, which invested in two Trump projects: the Trump International Hotel Waikiki and the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. In November 2008, a day before a $330 million payment was due on the $640 million Chicago-tower construction loan, Trump sued his lenders, including Dune Capital. Incredibly, Trump claimed that his lenders had precipitated the 2008 financial crisis and therefore he shouldnt have to repay the loan, which had been provided by a syndicate led by Deutsche Bank. The lawsuit between Trump and his Chicago creditors was later settled, and the building was completed. But Trump ended up losing his $40 million of equity in the building. I like to think of Chicago as something that I got built, that is a great monument, he once told me. I always say it was better for the people of Chicago than it was for Donald Trump.

Mnuchins biggest score by far came when he led a group of investors, including Soros, billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson, and computer billionaire Michael Dell, in the 2009 acquisition of IndyMac, a failed California-based bank that had made too many risky mortgages in the years leading up to the financial crisis. With the help of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which agreed to cover a portion of any future loan losses, Mnuchin and his partners bought IndyMac for $1.55 billion and renamed it OneWest.

In 2014, CIT Group, a large financial institution then run by former Goldman partner John Thain, bought OneWest for $3.4 billion in cash and CIT stock. While its not known publicly exactly how much Mnuchin made from the deal, his 1.2 percent stake in CIT was at one time worth around $100 million.

OneWest generated plenty of controversy when Mnuchin owned it, including claims that the bank ruthlessly foreclosed on individual homeowners for tiny infractions. In 2011 the Office of Thrift Supervision issued a consent order after its review of OneWest uncovered unsafe and unsound practices. California housing advocacy groups have also filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleging that OneWest discriminated in its lending practices against African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.

Mnuchin says he has known Trump for about 15 years and met with him several times during the primaries, when he was funding the entire primary himself, and then, when it got to the point that it was clear that he was going to win the nomination, he reached out to me and asked me to work for him being the finance chairman. I was also a senior economic adviser on the campaign.

In May, Mnuchin went toe-to-toe with Senator Warren during a public hearing over the topic of whether the Trump administration would make good on backing a return to a form of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall law, which separated commercial banking from investment banking to prevent risky bets being made with depositors money. Cohn had led her and other senators to believe during an early-April closed-door meeting of the Senate Banking Committee that the Trump administration would support a reinstatement of the law. Now Mnuchin was hedging. It was quite the show, which ended with Warren concluding, So, let me get this straight. Youre saying youre in favor of Glass-Steagall, which breaks apart the two arms of banking . . . except you dont want to break apart the two parts of banking. This is like something straight out of George Orwell.

A former Goldman colleague says of Mnuchin, If you look at him and you study him, hes not a charismatic guy that will inspire you, [but] he is a very confident person. . . . If the shit were hitting the fan or something like that, Id rather have Hank [Paulson] there, but . . . I will not be surprised if Mnuchin does a very good job with all the limits that surround somebody in a role like that.

Others disagree. Hes in way over his head, says one Washington insider. Another former Goldman partner adds, I think his homework is being checked by Gary.

Theres clearly friction between Cohn and Mnuchin. The Washington insider says that Mnuchin seems insecure in his role, is not a team player, and has so far not hired the best possible team at Treasury. Mnuchin dismisses such criticisms. I was at Goldman for almost 18 years, he says. I oversaw various trading desks, I oversaw the technology division, so I had both operational as well as trading and risk-management expertise. I then started my own investment business; Ive been a regional banker for the last eight years, so Ive had firsthand experience on what it is to grow a regional bank, what it is to deal with regulators and interact with lots of small and medium-sized companies. So, I really see this as: my different jobs in my career were preparing me for the different parts of the Treasury job.

As for his hires at Treasury, Id say weve probably interviewed 300 or 400 people for these jobswe have every single one of the jobs filled. So whats holding back the process is these jobs require security clearances. . . . I think these comments that we havent filled jobs is ridiculous. We can get back to you with the facts, but I think weve filled jobs faster than the previous administration.

Mnuchin and Cohn found themselves on the defensive over the bizarre rollout of Trumps much-anticipated tax-reform plan. In late April, Trump visited the Treasury. Steven didnt want anyone else over there, if you notice, the Washington insider says. He wanted the whole thing to himself because it was his moment of glory. Suddenly, and without warning, Trump announced that the tax-reform plan would be forthcoming the following week. Cohn and Mnuchin, who had been working on the assumption that any such announcement was months away, were shocked, and were left scrambling to put something together over the weekend. This resulted in an embarrassing, one-page, detail-free proposal, presented at an April 26 press conference. Steven didnt manage [Trump], the insider concludes. Mnuchin responds, That couldnt be farther from the truth, okay? The facts are: I worked on a tax plan with the president for the last year. I started coming in, in January, and meeting with the House and the Senate and speaking to the leadership on tax reform, so weve been working on this since January. We have over 100 people in the Treasury working on it. [Tax reform] hasnt been done in 30 years.

In the White House, Steve Bannon is not considered part of the Goldman team. He was at Goldman, in the mergers-and-acquisitions department, but for only four years, in the late 1980s. I dont think Bannon has jack shit of a Goldman Sachs pedigree, a former Goldman partner says. But what was unusual about him, recalls another partner who knew him at the firm, was he was a huge patriot and kept thinking the country was going to hell. . . . He was really concerned about the United States of America. But I was never quite sure what he thought was wrong with it. . . . He was never able to articulate it in a way that I understood.

Dina Habib Powells Goldman pedigree also sets some teeth on edge at the firm. But shes beloved among the occupants of the top executive suites. Blankfein says he told Trump about her: Youre going to find shes going to be a very big, positive surprise to you. Youre going to find out that you end up counting on her for much more than you could imagine.

And indeed shortly after Powell joined the administration to work with Ivanka Trump on womens economic-empowerment issues, H. R. McMaster, the national-security adviser, plucked her to work with him as one of his deputies. Vogue recently called her Trumps right-hand woman.

Its a trajectory that leaves many current and former Goldman rank-and-file bankers scratching their heads. Powell, one Goldman executive tells me, was always thought of around the firm as content lite, when it came to knowledge about finance, which is about as brutal an observation as can be made about someone at Goldman, where intellect and revenue generation are prized above all else.

The most remarkable thing about Dina Powell is that she can manage up better than anybody Ive ever seen in my entire life, says one of her former Goldman colleagues. I believe managing up is when you are able to get the people whom you work for to think you are unbelievably good and competent at what you do.

Adds another former Goldman partner, Her gift is that shes incredibly politically astute. She is an incredible worker of people and relationships, and she is that type of person where, if you come into the room and Dina wants to make you feel like youre important or whatever, you are going to feel it. She is very effective at that, and the exterior package is really well put together. So she plays the part extremely well, and she knows the game in Washington.

Like Cohns, Powells narrative is classic Goldman, only more exotic. She was born in Cairo, and her father was a captain in the Egyptian Army. In 1977 the Habibs moved to Dallas to join grandparents who had already settled there. Her parents believed that she and her sister would have a much better chance of achieving their potential in the United States (another daughter was born in the U.S.). Their message was simple: We left our homeland and all our everything behind so that you and your sisters can achieve your potentialas long as youre a lawyer, a doctor, or an engineer. Settling in was difficult. Her father drove a bus, owned a convenience store, and eventually became a small real-estate entrepreneur. Her mother was a social worker.

After she graduated from the University of Texas, in 1995, she got into law school but instead took an internship working for Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. senator from Texas. Her parents were horrified. They wanted her to be a lawyer and thought she was ruining her life. She worked for Hutchison for one year and then spent the next four years working for Dick Armey, then the Republican majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. Armey later said something about Powell that many men echo: We immediately recognized her brains and her ability, and then her charm, and finally, I think somebody noticed she was gorgeous, too.

After George W. Bush was declared the winner of the 2000 election, Powell joined the White House and eventually became an assistant to Bush for presidential personnel, with responsibility to find and hire people to fill many of the empty White House positions. She later was promoted to become a deputy undersecretary of state, working closely with Karen Hughes, then the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. She traveled around the world with Hughes and later with Condoleezza Rice, then secretary of state, who has said she found Powell to be indispensable.

Powells role in Republican politics in Washington brought her to the attention of John F. W. Rogers, the longtime Goldman partner who had worked for both Ronald Reagan and James Baker. He hired her in 2007 as a managing director. Three years latermuch to the surprise of many people at GoldmanPowell was made a partner. Rogers cites her intuition and creativity as reasons she did so well at Goldman. We had this idea of what we wanted to pursuea belief that womens empowerment was going to be an emerging thematic issue, he says. We had ideas, but we didnt have the execution. And one of the things that I found with her, she grabs hold and she executes.

But there was plenty of resentment inside Goldman toward her and envy of her meteoric rise. If there was ever a character tailor-made for Dina Powells charms and abilities, it was John F. W. Rogers, says someone who knows them both well. She knows how to play that guy . . . a combination of actual smarts, charm, flirtation, compliments, loyalty, all those things…. She was the apple of his eye at Goldman.

Anne Black, now the president of Goldman Sachs Gives (a philanthropic fund for Goldmans current and former senior employees), worked nearly nine years for Powell. She was really a steadfast champion for me and others of us on the team, who were all promoted thanks to her, she says. She elevated my game, inspired me to be creative and bold, and expected us to show results.A former Goldman partner who knows Powell well insists she played a substantive role at the firm and was a champion for the women who worked for her. All six of her senior leadership team members were with her most of her 10-year tenure, this person says. She fought hard to ensure that each one was promoted several times.

Rogers understands the envy. She wasnt in the revenue-producing area of the firm, so maybe some people here were jealous of her accomplishments, he says. But Ill say I know a lot of other people apply standards to her that they never would apply to a man. Thats just a fact.

At Goldman, Powell held several jobs: president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation (Rogers is its chairman) and overseeing the firms 10,000 Women program, which provides capital and training to women entrepreneurs, and its 10,000 Small Businesses program. Powell was also head of Goldmans Impact Investing Business, which makes loans to, and equity investments in, underserved communities in the U.S. Over a 13-month period ending in January, Goldman paid her around $6 million in compensation (the figure includes annual bonuses for two years), according to her White House disclosure forms.

Her fans at Goldman say she was worth every penny. Alison Mass, a Goldman investment-banking partner, with whom she worked closely, says, She got stuff done. She was great at executing. We were at a point where the partnership really valued what she did. Shes a great networker. Shes got one of those attractive personalities.

Days after the election, Powell got a call from Ivanka, who was mapping out her agenda in Washington, focusing primarily on womens empowerment issues. She called Powell, at Goldman, to find out what had accounted for the success of the 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses programs. Powell impressed Ivanka, who offered her a job. After Trumps inauguration, Powell became a senior counselor to the president for entrepreneurship, small-business growth, and the empowerment of women. That didnt last long. In March, soon after he replaced Michael Flynn as national-security adviser, McMaster asked her to join him as one of his deputies. She leapt at the chance. (Some 20 percent of her time is still spent on her initial White House job.) Some say she did so because she feared it would become obvious that she had little understanding of finance and economics; others say her language skills (she is fluent in Arabic) and previous experience in Washington made her a natural fit for the job, because it requires bringing together a disparate group of government officials to get things done.

Powells fingerprints were all over Trumps May trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel. She spent months helping to plan it and working across various government agencies to make sure it came off without too many hitches. The consensus seems to be it was the most successful part of Trumps first overseas venture. Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary of state for the bureau of Near East affairs, went on the overseas trip with Powell. He says she was extremely influential and active on the trip and deserves much of the credit for making the Mideast part a historic success.

Jones says people at Goldman are mistaken if they question her qualifications for her position on the National Security Council. These are people who dont know Washington, he says. Thats the dichotomy between New York and Washington. I cant speak to her banking prowess, but in Washington its not just about deals. Its about relationships. Its about politics. Its about fostering policy. Its about bringing people along. Thats a different set of skills. Shes not only qualified, shes the most qualified person in that group of people.

The Washington insider also praises the job shes doing in the White House. Shes the best politician Ive ever met in my life, he says. She can work an organization better than anyone Ive ever seen. . . . Unlike the rest of us, she has prior White House experience, and she really knows how this place works. . . . Shes been able to use that to a huge advantage in here of working the system.

While the Washington insider says that Trump listens to Powell, it seems she has little influence over him on Middle East policy, even though she probably understands its intricacies as well as anyone in the Cabinet.

A Middle East specialist calls Trumps Middle East policy in general an unprecedented disaster. Whereas previous U.S. presidents have played a delicate game of appeasing the Saudis, while letting them know we wont support parts of their agenda not in our national interest, Trump has unbalanced the region by essentially tweeting them unconditional support for anything they want to dothe blockade of Qatar and roiling the Russians with further involvement against Assad in Syria, for instance.

Which brings us to the larger question: How successful is the Goldman troika at influencing the president? Recent signs have not been as encouraging as many people have hoped. Cohn and Powell (along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Javanka) urged Trump to keep the nation a signatory to the Paris climate agreement. They lobbied the president, but their sound reasoning was overwhelmed by the illogical arguments made by Bannon and the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, who together persuaded him to stick with his campaign promise to abandon the accord.

The crucial question confronting Cohn, Mnuchin, and Powellwhether they choose to acknowledge it or notis if their association with Trump and his administration will forever tarnish the reputations they have worked so hard to build, mostly by affiliation with Goldman Sachs. And given how closely the three Goldman partners have come to be linked with Trump, it might not be great for Goldman eithera fact that Blankfein seems to have intuited. In his first-ever tweet, on June 1, after Trump trashed the Paris accord, Blankfein wrote, Todays decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.s leadership position in the world.

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Donald Trump responds to Elizabeth Warren’s claim that ‘people will die’ due to Republican health care bill –

Posted: at 2:45 pm

Theyre at it again.

In response to Sen. Elizabeth Warrens strongly worded criticism of the Senate Republican health care bill, President Donald Trump shot back at the Massachusetts senatorin a Fox News interview Sunday.

Trump was asked about Warrens claim that people will die due to the recently unveiled bill. He responded with some familiar ad hominem attacks.

Well, I actually think shes a hopeless case. I call her Pocahontas, and thats an insult to Pocahontas. I actually think that she is just somebody who has got a lot of hatred, a lot anger.

I dont think she has the kind of support that some people do. I think she hurt Hillary [Clinton]. I watched her campaigning for Hillary, and she was so angry. Hillary would be sitting back, listening to her, trying to smile, but there were a lot of people in that audience that were going Wow, is this what we want? Theres a lot of anger there and hostility.

Trump did not address or dispute Warrens criticism of the legislation, which would significantly cut Medicaid and roll back many aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

I think shes a highly overrated voice, he added, including Warren (not for the first time) on the long list of other people and things he thinks are overrated.

Earlier in the interview, Trump said he wished Congress could produce a bipartisan health care bill and criticized Democrats for not supporting the bill (even though Senate Republican likely do not need bipartisan support, given the procedural rules they hope to use to pass the bill).

We wont get one Democrat vote not one, Trump said. And if it were the greatest bill proposed in mankind, we wouldnt get a vote.

A study released Thursday by Harvard researcher and the center-left policy think tank Center for American Progress estimated that the subsequent health care coverage losses from the Senate bill could result in 18,100 to 27,700 additional deaths in 2026.

In a speech Thursday, Warren characterized the bills cuts to Medicaid as blood money.

People will die, she said. Lets be very clear: Senate Republicans are paying for tax cuts for the wealthy with American lives.

Academic studies haverepeatedlylinkedlack of health care coverage to increased mortality rates. A number of health care and hospital groups have come out against the current legislation in the Senate. Download our app

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Fox & Friends is Donald Trump’s safe space – Salon

Posted: June 24, 2017 at 2:58 pm

President Donald Trump loves rallies, but he cant hold a rally every day. Sometimes he has to turn to Fox & Friends.

Amid a series of moves closing off access to the administration for journalists including recent major changes to the frequency and format of official press briefings the president and first lady Melania Trump are tapingan exclusive interview today with Fox News Ainsley Earhardt, his first televised, in-person interview in six weeks. (The interview is set to air Friday.) This move makes perfect sense for Trump, who is mired in countless major scandals and can expect to avoid being grilled about any of them on Fox & Friends, known more for its family-barbecue brand of casual, coded racism and xenophobia than for actual journalism.

The interview also speaks to a larger trend in the presidents approach to the press, as he increasingly elevates and prioritizes loyal conservative sycophants over actual news outlets. After tomorrows Fox & Friendsinterview, Trump will have given as many interviews to Fox & Friends (three) during his presidency as he has to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN combined.

Since his inauguration, Trump has given 10 televised interviews in total to Fox News (and one to Fox Business), one each to CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and the Christian Broadcasting Network, and none to CNN.

Trumps decision to grant another sit-down interview tohis friends at Fox & Friendscomes 40 days after his last one-on-one interview with Foxs Jeanine Pirro, who also asked him predictable softball questions. It is an ideal move for a president who wants to appear as if hes granting media access without being accessible to any members of the media who might actually ask him a critical question. (The last time he allowed that to happen, he stepped on a James Comey-shaped rake courtesy of NBCs Lester Holt.)

Trumps retreat to his friends at Fox is happening in the midst of his administrations unprecedented war on the press at large. On the same day the president and first lady are sitting down with Earhardt, elsewhere in the White House, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducted yet another bizarre and pointlesspress briefing that barredvideo recordings. The frequency of the White House press briefings and gaggles recorded or otherwise has been sharply declining in recent months. The Washington Posts Callum Borchers calculated that the total White House press briefing time for June will shrink to about a third of what it was in March.

Trump also lags far behind his predecessors in holding solo presidential press conferences. So far, Trump has held just one press conference, in which he called CNNs Jim Acosta fake news; at this point in previous administrations, President Barack Obama had held six, President George W. Bush had held three, and President Bill Clinton had held seven solo press conferences.

Fox News (and Fox & Friends, in particular) is predictably the runaway favorite when Trump is compelled to branch out from public interaction via Twitter and rallies. As Politicos Joanna Weiss wrote last month:

Trumps cozy relationship with Fox & Friends has become one of the great curiosities of his unusual presidency. A well-known cable TV devotee, Trump has found inspiration for his Twitter timeline in various programs but none so much as Fox News Channels 6-9 a.m. talk show.

[. . .]

Its not hard to understand the shows appeal. While the rest of the media frets and wails over Trumps policies and sounds the alarm over his tweets, Fox & Friends remains unrelentingly positive. Its pitched to the frequency of the Trump base, but it also feels intentionally designed for Trump himself a three-hour, high-definition ego fix. For a president who no longer regularly receives adulation from screaming crowds at mega rallies, Fox & Friends offers daily affirmation that he is successful and adored, that his America is winning after all.

On Twitter, his preferred mode of communication with the public, the president has repeatedly lavished Fox & Friendswith praise since taking office. Trump routinely appeared on the show throughout his campaign, often calling in just to talk or complain about whatever was bothering him, including on Election Day. For years beforehand, he even had a weekly call-in segment on the show to share this thoughts about the news of the day.

The warm and familiar embrace of Fox & Friendsis where Trump turns for unconditional support in furthering an alternate reality where his presidency is historically successful and his critics are merely unfair or needlessly mean. Perhaps thats why Ivanka Trump is also now frequenting the show her own one-on-one interview with Earhardtwas pushed back to accomodate her fathers,but it will air on Monday.

Rob Savillo contributed original researchto this post.

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Fox & Friends is Donald Trump’s safe space – Salon

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‘Julius Caesar’ Star Considered The Play To Be Donald Trump ‘Resistance’ – HuffPost

Posted: at 2:58 pm

The New York Public Theaters presentation of William Shakespeares 400-year-old play, Julius Caesar was embroiled in controversy this month, with protests over a choice to costume the titular character as President Donald Trump. This wardrobe decision was controversial because senators plot to stab Caesar to death in the play.

Now that this run of Julius Caesar has come to an end, actor Corey Stoll has written a piece for Vulture about what it was like to star in the play. Stoll had the role of Marcus Brutus, a reluctant assassin of Caesar.

Although the play is explicitly about the pitfalls of assassination, Stoll wrote that following through with the play amid the protest eventually felt like a contribution to the resistance. These days, that term is loaded to evoke the phrase #resist which refers to a rallying cry against Trump.

The protesters never shut us down, but we had to fight each night to make sure they did not distort the story we were telling, wrote Stoll in the piece that was published Friday. At that moment, watching my castmates hold their performances together, it occurred to me that this is resistance.

Watch video of two protestors disrupting a performance:

Stoll, who memorably played an eventually murdered politician in the first season of House of Cards, said that he had no idea this production would portray Trump so explicitly before signing on to the role.

Stoll was frustrated by the choice at first, as he feared involving Trump would overshadow the rest of the performance.

A passage from Stolls piece:

When I signed on to play the reluctant assassin Marcus Brutus in this production, I didnt know Caesar would be an explicit avatar for President Trump. I suspected that an American audience in 2017 might see aspects of him in the character, a democratically elected leader with autocratic tendencies. I did not think anyone would see it as an endorsement of violence against him. The play makes it clear that Caesars murder, which occurs midway through the play, is ruinous for Brutus and his co-conspirators, and for democracy itself …

After four weeks in the rehearsal room, we moved to the theater and I saw Caesars Trump-like costume and wig for the first time. I was disappointed by the literal design choice. I had little fear of offending people, but I worried that the nuanced character work we had done in the rehearsal room would get lost in what could seem like a Saturday Night Live skit. I was right and wrong.

chudakov2 via Getty Images

After the presidents eldest child,Donald Trump Jr., blamed this production for the actions of the gunman who fired on a baseball team made up of Republican congressmen, Stoll began to fear for his own life.

Like most Americans, I was saddened and horrified, but when the presidents son and others blamed us for the violence, I became scared, wrote Stoll.

The production was plagued with disruptions from protestors, but fortunately had none that caused physically critical harm.

Read the whole piece at Vulture.

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‘Julius Caesar’ Star Considered The Play To Be Donald Trump ‘Resistance’ – HuffPost

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Stephen Colbert Tweets at Donald Trump and Mulls 2020 Run – TIME

Posted: at 2:58 pm

Comedian Stephen ColbertPhotograph by Roger L. WollenbergGetty/Pool

While in Russia, Stephen Colbert sent a tweet to President Donald Trump and announced he was considering a White House run.

“I am here to announce that I am considering a run for President in 2020, and I thought it would be better to cut out the middle man and just tell the Russians myself,” Colbert said on the Russian late-night show Evening Urgant on Friday.

As the American TV host continued poking fun at allegations that President Trump’s campaign may have colluded with Russia , Colbert added, “If anyone would like to work on my campaign, in an unofficial capacity, please just let me know.”

Russian host Ivan Urgant joined in on the fun saying, “Its a pleasure to drink with the future U.S. President. To you, Stephen. I wish you luck. We will do everything we can so you become President.”

Colbert tweeted a picture of himself in Russia to the President Thursday with the caption, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’m in Russia. If the ‘tapes’ exist , I’ll bring you back a copy!”

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Stephen Colbert Tweets at Donald Trump and Mulls 2020 Run – TIME

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