Trump slams homelessness as an aesthetic and 'prestige' problem en route to California fundraising blitz
Sept. 18, 2019
Flying to California for two days of high-dollar fundraisers, President Trump deplored the state's homelessness problem on Tuesday, telling reporters aboard Air Force One that "we will be doing something about it at the appropriate time." He did not provide specifics, and "it is unclear what legal authority the federal government has to clear the streets and how that might be accomplished," The Washington Post notes , but Trump said he has personally heard complaints from unidentified California residents who find homelessness distasteful and detrimental to property values.
In Los Angeles and San Francisco, homeless people are living on the "best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings," Trump said, "where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige." Trump's Council of Economic Advisers released a report on homelessness in America on Tuesday, faulting building codes, zoning, rent control, historic preservation laws, and other regulations, also apportioning some blame to homeless shelters.
Advocates for reducing homelessness were underwhelmed by Trump's grasp of the issue. So was Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D). If Trump "really cares about solving this crisis, he wouldn't be talking about criminalization over housing, he'd be making dramatic increases in funding for this country's housing safety net," he said, adding that Trump's report treats "this crisis like fodder for a cable news debate." Perhaps coincidentally, the Post adds , "Fox News has aired at least 18 segments on California homelessness in 2019."
Protesters on the route to Trump's Tuesday fundraiser in Silicon Valley noted the disparity between Trump's homelessness comments and his courting of the rich.
Trump is expected to raise $15 million from wealthy California Republicans at his four-meal fundraising swing, a third of that from a dinner at the Beverley Hills home of real estate developer Geoff Palmer. "There's not been a president in living history that is as unpopular in the state of California as Trump," GOP political consultant Mike Madrid tells The Associated Press . "But our money spends the same as everyone else's." Peter Weber
President Trump's "internal polling must be terrible, because he is now reaching out to people who want nothing to do with him — and this time, it's not Melania," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show . "Last night, the president held a rally in a state he lost last time by 8 points, New Mexico," and "after four years of Donald Trump throwing Latinos under the bus that he stopped at the border," his "plan to win is to woo Hispanic voters. Woo boy!"
"Buenos suerte with that, El Trumpo," Colbert said. "Trump must really need los hombres hispanico, because he laid it on muy thick," and un poco weird. When he singled out one Latino supporter, Steve Cortes, for example, he asked him a puzzling question . "Who do you like more, Steve, the country or the Hispanics?" Colbert repeated in Trump voice, adding, "Because I can't decide which to destroy first."
Trump clearly "tried to tailor his message to the crowd, and I'm not going to lie — it got a little bit uncomfortable," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show , playing more of the clip. "What do you like more, the country or Hispanics? Those two things aren't even in the same category. 'What do you like better, Pepsi or Mongolia?' It's also a sh-tty question because it implies that Hispanics aren't a part of the country."
"When Trump wasn't busy torturing Hispanic people with weird mind games, he tried to stay focused on going after his Democratic rivals, but in the middle of his rant, a fly buzzed in front of Trump's face, and that totally threw the president off," Noah laughed. And while Trump was in New Mexico, "bragging about how he helped the mega-rich keep their cash," across the country, Democratic rival "Elizabeth Warren was talking about making the super-rich pay more, 2 cents more," at a dueling campaign rally in New York . And after her speech, he added, "Warren spent four hours taking selfies with her supporters — it took three hours to get through most of the crowd, and then an extra hour for that annoying person who's never satisfied."
The Late Show also created a whole backstory for that fly who blitzed Trump. Watch that below. Peter Weber
Wearing just a cap, goggles, and swimsuit, Sarah Thomas got into the water Saturday and emerged more than 54 hours later, a world record holder.
On Tuesday, the 37-year-old from Colorado became the first person to ever swim across the English Channel four times in a row, nonstop. It was a commendable feat, as only four other swimmers have crossed the English Channel three times without stopping. An open water ultra marathon swimmer, Thomas was hooked on the sport after entering her first race in 2007. She swam the English Channel in 2012 and 2016, but after completing breast cancer treatment last year, she wanted to take on this challenge, saying her swim was for "all the survivors out there."
Going into it, Thomas expected to swim about 80 miles, but strong tides tacked on 50 additional miles. The hardest parts included getting stung on the face by a jellyfish and having to deal with the saltwater burning her throat, mouth, and tongue, but Thomas pushed through, buoyed by her supporters and the protein drinks she downed every 30 minutes. Once she was back on land, Thomas told BBC News she was "stunned" and couldn't believe she did it. "I'm really just pretty numb," she added. Catherine Garcia
In response to drone attacks against Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, the Trump administration is contemplating several different ways to retaliate against Iran, U.S. officials told NBC News on Tuesday.
U.S. intelligence says there is strong evidence that Iran was behind the attack, an accusation Tehran denies. During a national security meeting on Monday, Trump was presented with several ways the U.S. could target Iran, including a strike against oil facilities or a cyber attack, NBC News reports. Trump wants to avoid being drawn into a larger military conflict with Iran, the officials said, and asked for more options.
On Monday, Trump said the U.S. is prepared for war, but "we'd certainly like to avoid it," and he thinks the Iranians "want to make a deal." Catherine Garcia
The Trump administration will formally revoke California's right to set its own stricter vehicle emissions rules this week, setting up a massive legal fight with high-stakes consequences for U.S. automakers and greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency was scheduled to announce its unprecedented withdrawal of California's waiver on Wednesday, while Trump is raising more money in California , but after the news broke, the announcement has been pushed back to at least Thursday, The Washington Post reports .
The Trump administration has long signaled it will revoke California's special authority to set its own auto emissions standards, granted under the 1970 Clean Air Act. Other states gained the right to adhere to California's stricter standards under a 1977 law, and 13 states have pledged to follow California's current rules.
California vowed to fight the waiver withdrawal all the way to the Supreme Court, and environmental groups have signed on. Stripping California of the right to control its own air quality "could have devastating consequences for our kids' health and the air we breathe, if California were to roll over," Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said. "But we will not." In a speech to the National Automobile Dealers Association on Tuesday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said "we embrace federalism and the role of the states, but federalism does not mean that one state can dictate standards for the nation."
Trump's move against California was originally supposed to be part of a broader rollback of fuel economy standards set under President Barack Obama, but the rest of the plan has gotten bogged down "as staff members struggled to prepare legal, technical, or scientific justifications for it," The New York Times reports . Wheeler told the Post last week that the rest of the rules will be finalized by the end of the year. But Trump "wanted to press forward with a policy that would punish California," the Times reports , after he was "blindsided and angered" by a deal California forged with four large automakers in July to adhere to California's goal of higher-efficiency vehicles by 2026 regardless of what the Trump EPA decides. The Justice Department is also examining whether that deal violates antitrust laws. Peter Weber
September 17, 2019
The results of Israel's Tuesday election are starting to trickle in, and the race is too close to call.
With 26 percent of votes counted early Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party has 28.42 percent of the vote, followed by the centrist Blue and White Party with 25.4 percent. Exit polls showed that Netanyahu did not appear to have enough votes for a parliamentary majority, and the Central Elections Commission told the Times of Israel the final tally might not be known until Wednesday afternoon.
The commission also said 69.4 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots, with higher turnout among Arab voters; this was likely due to Netanyahu's actions before the election, when he questioned their loyalty and vowed to annex settlements in the West Bank.
Speaking to supporters late Tuesday, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party said that "starting tonight, we will work to form a broad unity government that will express the will of the people." At his rally, Netanyahu said the country "needs a strong and stable and Zionist government." He touted his relationship with his "close friend President Trump," and declared there can't be a government "that is being supported by anti-Zionist, Arabic parties that don't believe in Israel as a Jewish and democratic state."
Netanyahu is expected to be indicted soon on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges related to three separate scandals. He wanted to secure a majority so he could work with his allies to pass legislation giving him immunity, The Associated Press reports. Catherine Garcia
September 17, 2019
The United States wants Cuban migrants who pass through Honduras to seek asylum there, rather than in the U.S., Honduran Foreign Minister Lisandro Rosales said Tuesday.
Rosales told reporters that over the last year, thousands of Cubans have made their way through Honduras, headed to the United States. Negotiations are ongoing between the U.S. and Honduras on what to do about migrants, and "one of the topics discussed in the deal with the United States is precisely that if Cuban migrants are interested in seeking political asylum ... they do so in Honduras," Rosales said.
Looking for ways to stop the flow of migrants to the U.S., the Trump administration has worked out an agreement with Guatemala, so migrants headed toward the United States can first apply for asylum there. The Guatemalan government has not yet ratified this deal. Thousands of Hondurans and Guatemalans are leaving their countries every year for the United States, fleeing poverty and violence. Catherine Nichols
September 17, 2019
President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said that while he is a "truth-teller" while under oath, the same can't be said for when he's not.
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Lewandowski was asked by Barry Berke, an attorney for the Democrats, about comments he made to MSNBC host Ari Melber in February. During the interview, Lewandowski told Melber he didn't remember Trump ever asking him to "get involved" with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice.
Earlier in the hearing, Lewandowski confirmed something that appeared in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report — that in 2017, Trump did ask him to tell Sessions to limit the scope of Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, in order to get the attention off his campaign. Lewandowski said he didn't do this because he was going on a trip with his family. He also said he thought it was a "joke" when Trump said he would fire Sessions if he didn't meet with Lewandowski.
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