Trump’s traitor denial and immigration idiocy (updated)

Update from last night: This is an unusual Tweet because it is in the evening (5:37 PM). It is another childish insult aimed at a U.S. Senator. Worse, it is an advertisement for a TV network, something no other president would ever do or ought to be allowed to do.

Trump’s Sunday morning Tweets are about immigration, and are on the bottom of this page.

Here’s what Trump said when Jeanine Pirro, chucking like an idiot, asked him “are you now, or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Of course, a simple “no” would have sufficed.

I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing. But the, the headline of that article, it’s called “The failing New York Times” for a reason, they’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that. But you look at what’s going on, you know, I fired James Comey. I call him lying James Comey, because he was a terrible liar, and he did a terrible job as the FBI director. Look at what happened with the Hillary Clinton and the e-mails and the Hillary Clinton investigation, one of the biggest screw-ups that anybody’s ever seen as an investigation. And what happened after I fired him? Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, his lover, Lisa Page, they did it. And, you know, they’re all gone. Most of those people, many, many people from the top ranks of the FBI, they’ve all been fired or they had to leave. And they’re all gone. This is what they were talking about. And, obviously, nothing was found. And I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other — probably any other president period, but certainly the last three or four presidents, modern day presidents. Nobody’s been as tough as I have from any standpoint including the fact that we’re doing oil like we’ve never done it, we’re setting records in our country with oil and exporting oil and many other things, so, which is obviously not great for them, because that’s what they, that’s where they get their money for the most part. But many other things. So I, I think it was a great insult. And the New York Times is a disaster as a paper. It’s a, it’s a very horrible thing they said, and they’ve gone so far that people that weren’t necessarily believers are now big believers, because they said that was a step too far. They really are a disaster of a newspaper.

Trump’s “I am not a traitor” tweets so far this morning (Saturday) from earliest to most recent:

1) Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!

2) …Funny thing about James Comey. Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike. After the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she was interviewed on July 4th Weekend, not recorded or sworn in, and where she said she didn’t know anything (a lie),…(3)….the FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey’s poor leadership and the way he handled the Clinton mess (not to mention his usurpation of powers from the Justice Department). My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop……(4) …..who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats – leaking machines who have NO interest in going after the Real Collusion (and much more) by Crooked Hillary Clinton, her Campaign, and the Democratic National Committee. Just Watch!

5) I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!

6) Lyin’ James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter S and his lover, agent Lisa Page, & more, all disgraced and/or fired and caught in the act. These are just some of the losers that tried to do a number on your President. Part of the Witch Hunt. Remember the “insurance policy?” This is it!

This is how James Comey responded to being referenced five times in Trump’s Tweets:

From a follow-up article in the New York Times published Saturday night: Trump Tweets Lengthy Attack on F.B.I. Over Inquiry Into Possible Aid to Russia.

Hours later, Mr. Trump continued his broadside on a friendly television venue, Jeanine Pirro’s show on Fox News. Asked “are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Mr. Trump did not directly answer the question.

“I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,” he said by telephone. “I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written.”

…an investigation conducted by the Justice Department’s inspector general and internal surveys of F.B.I. agents have undercut Mr. Trump’s portrayal of Mr. Comey as corrupt and unpopular within the bureau.

Parts of the statements by Mr. Trump and Ms. Sanders are at odds with the public record and with the findings of the inspector general’s report.

He also Tweeted about the wall this morning. I am only including commentary on his “I am not a Traitor Tweets:”

On Tweet #5 when he says he fully expects that someday we will have good relations with Russia again I wish someone would ask him when the last time we had good relations with them was. I think we would have to go back to World War II when we were both fighting the Nazis.

This reminds my of the MAGA question: when does Trump think America was great? Was it before the Civil War? Was it when the robber barons had more power than the government?

Trump conveniently ignores that the FBI already was seriously concerned about evidence suggesting that he and Russia were working together and were already considering opening an investigation before his firing of Comey. This was the final straw.

Trump demonstrates convoluted defensive reasoning (really lack thereof) and ignorance of what it takes to open a counterintelligence investigation of a high government official (and multiply that tenfold when it is a president.) My understanding is that this would have required approval at the highest level of the FBI and the DOJ.

I won’t be the first and I won’t be the last to say Trump is behaving the way an unhinged guilty person would.

Responding to Trump’s wall and immigrant bashing lie-filled Tweets today would raise my blood pressure to dangerous levels:

Democrats should come back to Washington and work to end the Shutdown, while at the same time ending the horrible humanitarian crisis at our Southern Border. I am in the White House waiting for you!

23% of Federal inmates are illegal immigrants. Border arrests are up 240%. In the Great State of Texas, between 2011 & 2018, there were a total of 292,000 crimes by illegal aliens, 539 murders, 32,000 assaults, 3,426 sexual assaults and 3000 weapons charges. Democrats come back!

Democrats could solve the Shutdown in 15 minutes! Call your Dem Senator or Congresswoman/man. Tell them to get it done! Humanitarian Crisis.

I just watched a Fake reporter from the Amazon Washington Post say the White House is “chaotic, there does not seem to be a strategy for this Shutdown. There is no plan.” The Fakes always like talking Chaos, there is NONE. In fact, there’s almost nobody in the W.H. but me, and…

Trump contends that the White House isn’t chaotic, which may be true since he says he is almost the only one there. In fact, there is no doubt that whether chaos reigns around him, it dominates his mind. Phil Rucker, who believes he is “the “Fake reporter from the Amazon Washongton Post” Trump tweeted about responded to the Tweet above with this:

….I do have a plan on the Shutdown. But to understand that plan you would have to understand the fact that I won the election, and I promised safety and security for the American people. Part of that promise was a Wall at the Southern Border. Elections have consequences!

We have a massive Humanitarian Crisis at our Southern Border. We will be out for a long time unless the Democrats come back from their “vacations” and get back to work. I am in the White House ready to sign!

Trump, the all time king of presidential vacations, chastizes Democrats for taking a break. Give me a break!

I wasn’t going to include Trump’s video Tweet of him at the border, the final Tweet of the morning. Then I read this on The Daily Beast and changed my mind since I couldn’t help but put a comment on his Twitter feed, not that he will ever read it.

Posted at noon, EST, Sunday Morning Tweets. Most of them are outright lies. Number 5 is patently absurd. Then again, we know that when Trump uses the word “many,” in this case “many Hispanics,” it is the same “many” as when he talks about the “many scientists” that don’t believe in climate change.

  1. Thousands of illegal aliens who have committed sexual crimes against children are right now in Texas prisons. Most came through our Southern Border. We can end this easily – We need a Steel Barrier or Wall. Walls Work! John Jones, Texas Department of Public Safety.

  2. The damage done to our Country from a badly broken Border – Drugs, Crime and so much that is bad – is far greater than a Shutdown, which the Dems can easily fix as soon as they come back to Washington!

  3. I’m in the White House, waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!

  4. The building of the Wall on the Southern Border will bring down the crime rate throughout the entire Country!

  5. Democrats are saying that DACA is not worth it and don’t want to include in talks. Many Hispanics will be coming over to the Republican side, watch!


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Trump’s comments must have driven Bill Shine crazy

Trump’s ranting this morning must have driven Bill Shine crazy. He was one of 11 people who went with Trump on the trip (see bottom of page).

I doubt he will last in the job for very long. He’s used to being able to tell his subordinates at Fox News what to do and, with some exceptions I’m sure, having them comply because they knew he was the consummate professional.

Bill Shine is the current White House communications director who left Fox News where he was being paid $25 million a year to work for Trump at approximately one tenth  one hundredth (corrected, the maximum salary of W.H. staff is about $180,000) of the salary.

Slate published this piece last year about why Shine left Fox News:

Bill Shine, who has served as Fox News co-president since Roger Ailes’ disgraced departure last year, resigned from the network on [May 1, 2017] amid accusations that he enabled a culture of sexual harassment there. 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch announced in a memo to network employees that Shine, who was “respected and liked by everybody at Fox News,” would be replaced by Suzanne Scott on the programming side and Jay Wallace in news.

Shine was implicated in several of the recent lawsuits and allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros alleged that she suffered mistreatment at the hands of both Ailes and O’Reilly, and that Shine was a major player in the cover-up.

At least one would think he’d be shown some respect by the president who, according to reports leaked from the off the record meeting with media representative the other day was insulted by the boss man:

And it was Mr. Shine who was among the unnamed targets of the president when Mr. Trump criticized those plans at a lunch with broadcasters before his speech.

The border visit was “not going to change a damn thing,” Mr. Trump said, belittling the plan as a photo op urged on him by “these people behind you,” he said, pointing to Mr. Shine and a cluster of other communications aides.

The criticism was nothing surprising given Mr. Trump’s habit of quickly turning on his staff, and his recent habit of asking people whether Mr. Shine has been “good” for him since arriving last summer had a familiar ring. NY Times

Trump said his border visit was not going to do a damn thing. What he should have said, and what no doubt Shine and the other public relations pros working for him would have liked him to say would have been that he was looking forward to visiting the border to see the what the crisis looked like first hand and to talk to the brave men and women protecting us from the marauding murders about to dismember your grandmother.

Well, not exactly in those words.

You’d think Trump would know something about stagecraft considering his long run working with Mark Burnett and his team on The Apprentice. However know we know from Newsweek that “Working with Trump “was like making the court jester the king.”

“Most of us knew he was a fake,” (editor Jonathan) Braun, who worked on six series of the show, told The New Yorker. “He had just gone through I don’t know how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to be the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king.”

On his way to board Marine One to head for the border when talking to reporters he had another chance to utter some of the words I suggested. He didn’t. Instead he lamented about the top two Democrats in Congress thwarting his agenda (taking his binky away, WAW! WAW! WAW!): “And I find China, frankly, in many ways, to be far more honorable than Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy. I really do.”

I have the absolute right to declare an emergency, the lawyers have dole me this. He said “national emergency” six or seven times adding he will almost definitely do this. ” I lost count of the times he used the word crisis after about four.

He yammered incoherently about declaring a national emergency. What are the odds he will declre one. I say 80%. Consider how this must be bouncing around in his mind:

“I haven’t done it yet. I may do it. If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it … I would almost say definitely…. “If we don’t make a deal — I mean, I would say a hundred percent, but I don’t want to say a hundred percent, because maybe something else comes up…. If we don’t make a deal, I would say it would be very surprising to me that I would not declare a national emergency and just fund it through the various mechanisms.”

Trump rambled on like your drunken uncle saying the same things using the exact same words repeatedly. Bill Shine must have been grinding his teeth.

When asked about the human pain of those hurt by the shutdown he said “human pain, the parents of people whose relatives were killed by illegal immigrants.” He went on to say the Democrats don’t care about Immigrants stabbing people and cutting them up.

It was all a rerun, well almost all. He might as well have been a parrot with a limited vocabulary: “Donnie wants a cracker, Donnie wants a cracker, Donnie wants a cracker!”

Talking about the wall he did say something new: “There’s acid that can go through concrete, but what you do is you fix it.”

He also said he didn’t know anything about Paul Manefort sharing polling data with the Russians. Mueller will no doubt take note of that.

Earlier Thursday (the White House counsel Pat) Cipollone was expected to travel with the President, though Trump was not expected to declare a national emergency while there. People close to the President had cautioned this could change. CNN

Here’s who Sanders said went with Trump

  • Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both Republicans
  • Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
  • White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney
  • White House senior adviser Jared Kushner
  • White House communications director Bill Shine
  • White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller
  • White House social media director Dan Scavino
  • Lt. General Todd Semonite, head of US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection

Related: Cris Cillezza at CNN commented on 30 outrageous things said before boarding Marine One and Victoria Albert at Daily Beast selected a choice six “loco” remarks to comment on.


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Trump tweets more lies about immigrants, GM

Cristian Mejia, of El Salvador, waits with others in line for food, outside of a shelter for members of the migrant caravan, in Tijuana, Mexico, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

President Donald Trump is spreading a false claim from supporters that people who are in the United States illegally receive more in federal assistance than the average American gets in Social Security benefits.

Everything about the tweet he passed on to his 56 million listed Twitter followers Tuesday is wrong.

In a tweet of his own, Trump sketched an overly simplistic portrait of the auto industry in suggesting that General Motors plants slated for closure would be chugging along if foreign cars were heavily taxed in the U.S. market.



TRUMP’s retweet: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT (retweet) if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.”

THE FACTS: Wrong country, wrong numbers, wrong description of legal status of the recipients. Besides that, immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally do not qualify for most federal benefits, even when they’re paying taxes, and those with legal status make up a small portion of those who use public benefits.

The $3,874 refers to a payment made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted family of refugees. It was largely a one-time resettlement payment under Canada’s refugee program, not monthly assistance in perpetuity, the fact-checking site Snopes found a year ago in debunking a Facebook post that misrepresented Canada’s policy. A document cited in the Facebook post, showing aid for food, transportation and other basics needs, applied to a family of five.

Apart from confusing Canada with the United States, the tweet distributed by the president misstated how much Americans get from Social Security on average — $1,419 a month for retired workers, not $1,200.

Overall, low-income immigrants who are not yet U.S. citizens use Medicaid, food aid, cash assistance and Supplemental Security Income aid at a lower rate than comparable U.S.-born adults, according to an Associated Press analysis of census data. Noncitizen immigrants make up only 6.5 percent of all those participating in Medicaid, for example.

Despite that, the administration wants to redefine the rules for immigrants to further restrict who can receive benefits and for how long.

A retweet is not necessarily an endorsement of the opinion it contains, but Trump does not populate his Twitter feed with views that are contrary to his own.



TRUMP: “The reason that the small truck business in the U.S. is such a go to favorite is that, for many years, Tariffs of 25% have been put on small trucks coming into our country. It is called the ‘chicken tax.’ If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here … and G.M. would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland. Get smart Congress. Also, the countries that send us cars have taken advantage of the U.S. for decades. The President has great power on this issue – Because of the G.M. event, it is being studied now!”

THE FACTS: It’s a stretch to conclude that the plants General Motors plans to close would be spared if foreign-made cars were subject to hefty duties. Tariffs could indeed be an incentive to build cars in the U.S., but the overarching problem for GM is that people aren’t buying cars like they used to. More want SUVs or trucks now.

The 25 percent tariff on pickup trucks imported into the U.S. was put in place years ago to protect the Detroit Three’s major profit centers from imported pickups. It does not apply to trucks imported from Canada or Mexico at present. So GM, for instance, builds pickups in Mexico and exports them to the U.S. without such a tariff. Fiat Chrysler also builds heavy-duty Ram pickups in Mexico, although it plans to move that production to the U.S. next year.

Japanese automakers, mainly Toyota and Nissan, use U.S. plants to build nearly all of the pickups that they sell in the country. Honda switched production from Canada to Alabama. Toyota does sell a small number of Mexican-built Tacoma pickups in the U.S., but most are built in Texas.

So there are grounds to believe car duties could make a difference, but it’s not that straightforward.

Six years ago cars were 49 percent of new-vehicle sales in the U.S., while trucks and SUVs were 51 percent. Through October of this year, it’s 68 percent trucks and 32 percent cars. All the factories GM wants to close make cars that aren’t selling well. The Commerce Department has been studying whether it can use national security reasons to justify putting tariffs on imported cars but has yet to make a decision.

Most automakers, including those based in Detroit, import vehicles from abroad that would be affected by any tariffs. And U.S. car exports would probably be subject to new or higher tariffs overseas.


Associated Press writers Colleen Long in Washington and Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report.


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Judge halts Trump’s refusal of asylum to immigrants

Central American migrants sweep outside the shelter where they are staying in Tijuana. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A federal judge barred the Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally.

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that said anyone who crossed the southern border between official ports of entry would be ineligible for asylum. As the first of several caravans of migrants have started arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump said an asylum ban was necessary to stop what he’s attacked as a national security threat.

But in his ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar agreed with legal groups that immediately sued, arguing that U.S. immigration law clearly allows someone to seek asylum even if they enter the country between official ports of entry.

“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said Tigar, a nominee of former President Barack Obama.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment on the ruling, which will remain in effect for one month barring an appeal. In issuing the ban, Trump used the same powers he used last year to impose a travel ban that was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.

If enforced, the ban would potentially make it harder for thousands of people to avoid deportation. DHS estimates around 70,000 people a year claim asylum between official ports of entry. But Tigar’s ruling notes that federal law says someone may seek asylum if they have arrived in the United States, “whether or not at a designated port of arrival.”

“Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry,” said Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which sued the government alongside the American Civil Liberties Union. “It couldn’t be clearer.”

Around 3,000 people from the first of the caravans have arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, across the border from San Diego, California. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Monday that it closed off northbound traffic for several hours at the San Ysidro crossing. It has also installed movable, wire-topped barriers, apparently to stop a potential mass rush of people.

As of Monday, 107 people detained between official crossings have sought asylum since Trump’s order went into effect, according to DHS, which oversees Customs and Border Protection. Officials didn’t say whether those people’s cases were still progressing through other, more difficult avenues left to them after the proclamation.

DHS has said it wants asylum seekers at the southern border to appear at an official border crossing. But many border crossings such as San Ysidro already have long wait times. People are often forced to wait in shelters or outdoor camps on the Mexican side, sometimes for weeks.

ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said that some people seeking asylum cross between official ports because “they’re in real danger,” either in their countries of origin or in Mexico.

“We don’t condone people entering between ports of entry, but Congress has made the decision that if they do, they still need to be allowed to apply for asylum,” he said.


Associated Press journalists Jill Colvin and Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.


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Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Trump: America’s homophobic bigot

The Daily Beast just highlighted a story by Scott Bixby which needed to be told. It is about the plight of LGBT members of the so-called “caravan” of people making their way north to the Mexican-American border to seek asylum to find safety in a country where they can live free from fear.

Read: “LGBT Migrants Fled Persecution Back Home. Then They Fled the Caravan: LGBT migrants will wait as long as it takes to follow President Trump’s restrictive new rules for asylum seekers—even if those rules seem designed to discourage waiting at all.”

Not unexpectedly, living as a member of the LGBT community in countries like Honduras is especially hazardous.  Of course prejudicial attitudes about gender identity are still prevalent in the United States. There has been a hard-fought battle for social acceptance and legal equality since the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Finally same sex marriage is legal in the United States thanks to the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. This is a lasting legacy of Justice Kennedy who cast the deciding vote in the 5-4 decision. Still shamefully four of the justices didn’t think there was a guaranteed right for same-sex couples to marry which was covered by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Does anybody wonder for a second how the current Supreme Court would have ruled on same-sex marriage?

There is no doubt whatsoever that LGBT and others in the long list of letters describing members of the non-straight community will be better off in the United States. Homophobic violence and police indifference is rampant in some of the Central American countries these migrants are fleeing from. According the The Daily Beast, Honduras passed a law in 2001 that criminalized what they called immoral behavior that “disturbs the tranquility of their neighbors” It gave the police authority to arrest people who “violated modest, decency, and public morals.”

However, the president  who said in his acceptance speech at the RNC Convention Trump he would to do “everything in my power to protect LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology” and who stood literally behind the rainbow flag during the campaign has shown his true colors, and they are not rainbow, in his anti-LGBT decisions. If Trump has any flag at all it is the flag of a heartless unempathic bigot.

 Ten days into his presidency—the same day that the White House released a statement vowing that President Trump would be “respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights”—the Education and Justice Departments issued a joint letter rescinding a 2016 Obama administration guidance that had protected transgender students’ access to appropriate restrooms and locker rooms under Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination in public education.

The president has also signed an order barring transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, rescinded protections for transgender people in the prison system that allowed them to be held in populations that correspond with their gender identity, and, according to Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White Housereferred to gender reassignment surgery as getting “clipped.” The administration is also reportedly considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, unchangeable condition determined by genitalia at birth—essentially wiping trans identity out of legal existence.

Even some members of the LGBT community in the United States who don’t follow politics closely or who just watch Fox News don’t understand where Trump really stands on issues that affect their lives. For example, on election afternoon a friend of mine was getting gas at a manned gas station. She knew the 20-year-old attendant very well. She asked him if he’d voted and he said he was planning to vote after work. She asked if he didn’t mind telling who he voted for and he said “sure, I think I’ll vote for the Trump people.”

My friend asked why and he said “because of all the things he’s done for the people.” When she asked what he did for him he said he really didn’t know.

My friend, who knew the man since he was a child living in a group home, and knew that he was gay said “well, you know that he’s against gay people.” He looked puzzled so she enumerated some examples.

He took this all in and said, “I didn’t know that, thanks for telling me. Now I will vote for the Democrats.”

She suggested he watch MSNBC instead of Fox.


Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Grieving Pittsburgh to Trump: ‘You’re not welcome here’

President Donald Trump, who uses hate as a political tool to stroke support with his angry base, ventured into anger Tuesday with a hastily planned visit to grieving Pittsburgh, where an avowed anti-Semite killed 11 worshipers at a synagogue and left others wounded Saturday morning.

Absent from Trump’s entourage were members of congress or local politicians.  Many declined to appear with him and others from “the other party” didn’t get invitations.

Protests in the mostly Democratic city greeted Trump while social media and talk radio phone lines spewed out angry comments about Trump and his visit.

“The sense in the community is that they didn’t think this was a time for a political photo shoot,” said Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle, who represents the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the synagogue sits.

Relatives of one victim refused to meet with Trump, saying his visit and his rhetoric are “inappropriate.”  Trump’s suggestion that the synagogue should have had an armed guard angered them and many others.

“Everybody feels that they were inappropriate,” said Stephen Halle, nephew of victim of Daniel Stein, 71. “He was blaming the community.”

“It was just a worthless thing to say,” Halle added. “When something tragic has happened, you don’t kick people when they are down. There should have been an apology.”

Republican and Democratic congressional leaders declined to come with Trump.

Tens of thousands of people signed an open letter from a Pittsburgh jewish group that said Trump was not welcome in their city “until you fully denounce white nationalism” and “cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.”

“This didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Ardon Shorr, who helped organize protest against the president’s visit, told The Washington Post. “There is a growing trend of white nationalism. And that has been enabled by Trump, who traffics in the kind of conspiracy theories that we know were foremost in the mind of the shooter last Saturday.”

Others criticized Trump for not canceling a campaign rally in Murphysboro, IL, right after the shootings, and some 2,000 marchers protested his actions, waving signs that said “Words matter” and “President Hate is not welcome in our state.”

“He refused to cancel his rally when it would have been the decent thing to cancel the rally,” said Jonathan Sarney, 72, referring to Trump’s campaign stop in Murphysboro. “And now he’s coming to intrude on the funerals when it’s an indecent thing to do.”

Julia Santucci, a senior lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, says Trump’s “fear mongering” is what he does.

“You’re fomenting a type of hatred that others take too far,” she added.

Many Pittsburgh residents we talked to this week said Trump and his followers bear “culpability” with his “build the wall” rallies that promotes what they feel is one of the worst tragedies in the city’s history.

“His coming here is not an empathetic move, it’s a power move,” said Sherri Suppa, a special education teacher. “It’s the last thing the community needs.”


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Trump embraces Cruz, ramps up immigration rhetoric

President Donald Trump campaigns for Sen. Ted Cruz in Houston. (AP Photos/Eric Gay)

President Donald Trump escalated his immigration rhetoric at a midterm rally in Texas on Monday, falsely accusing Democrats of “encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders and overwhelm our nation.”

With weeks to go before Election Day, Trump is seeking to drive Republican turnout with his hard-line immigration policies. He cast the November choice in stark terms before the Houston rally for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, saying Democrats “have launched an assault on the sovereignty of our country.”

Trump spoke before a massive crowd on behalf of his former foe, who faces a strong challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke. When the two competed in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Trump would frequently deride his rival as “Lyin’ Ted” but said in Texas that their relationship had come a long way.

“Nobody has helped me more with your tax cut, with your regulation,” Trump said, also attacking O’Rourke, as a “stone-cold phony.”

With the midterms drawing near, Trump has emphasized immigration, targeting a migrant caravan heading to the U.S. southern border. The president’s focus on immigration politics comes as he seeks to counter Democratic enthusiasm in November. Trump believes that his campaign pledges, including his much vaunted — and still-unfulfilled — promise to quickly build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, are still rallying cries.

Trump is betting that his latest focus will further erode the enthusiasm gap that began to close during the debate over Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. But the approach offers both risks and rewards.

The hard-line rhetoric may be popular among the red-state rural Republicans who will play an outsized role in the top Senate contests. But it may further alienate the moderate Republicans and women in the overwhelmingly suburban races that will decide the House majority — including several in Texas, California and Florida that feature large Hispanic populations.

On Monday night, Trump called the caravan an “assault on our country” and suggested, without citing evidence, that “Democrats had something to do with it.” He added: “We need a wall built fast.”

Earlier Monday, Trump said the U.S. will begin “cutting off, or substantially reducing” aid to three Central American nations because of the caravan.

In Texas, an enthusiastic crowd packed into Houston’s Toyota Center, wearing red Make America Great Again hats and waving signs, including some with the president’s new catchphrase, “Jobs vs. Mobs.”

Speaking before Trump took the stage, Cruz made clear that their conflict was behind them and that the two were working together. His biggest applause came when he predicted that “in 2020, Donald Trump will be overwhelmingly re-elected.”

A series of elected state officials were among the warmup speakers, as well as Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump and son Eric Trump, who told the audience that “we are driving the Democrats absolutely nuts.”

Trump gleefully used his latest attack line against Democrats, saying, “Democrats produce mobs, Republicans produce jobs.” He declared Democrats would be a “big risk to the American family,” and went after some of his favorite targets, including Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Rep. Maxine Waters, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The president stressed tax cuts, the strong economy and the hurricane response in the state. He repeated his pledge for a new middle-income tax cut of about 10 percent, though he offered few details on the plan. Trump said they would be “putting it in” next week, though Congress is not in session.

Trump also criticized so-called globalists, declaring, “You know what I am? I’m a nationalist.”

Trump’s Texas stop is part of a campaign blitz that is expected to last until Election Day.

Although political relationships tend to be fluid, Trump’s appearance for Cruz is notable, given that the two were bitter enemies during the 2016 primaries. After Trump insulted Cruz’s wife and father, and Cruz refused to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention, it was far from clear that the two would ever put it all behind them.

But they started rebuilding in the closing days of the campaign and have worked together since Trump took the White House.

The White House views Cruz as a loyal vote for his agenda. Trump promised he would come to Texas after the Senate race grew closer than expected, with O’Rourke out-fundraising Cruz and drawing large and enthusiastic crowds around the state. Cruz, who is leading O’Rourke in the polls, said over the summer that he would welcome Trump’s support, though he has brushed off any suggestion he’d need Trump to win.

During the 2016 Republican primary, Trump assailed Cruz as a liar and “dishonest politician,” insulted his wife’s appearance and promoted unsubstantiated claims that Cruz’s father had links to President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Trump on Monday did not voice any second thoughts about labeling Cruz the son of a presidential killer, telling reporters, “I don’t regret anything.”

Cruz gave back as good as he got in 2016. He savaged Trump as a “pathological liar,” an “amoral bully” and a “sniveling coward.” After Cruz lost the primary, he gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in which he did not endorse Trump and instead called on Republicans to “vote your conscience,” drawing boos from the crowd. But he announced his support about a month before Election Day — and won points in Trump’s camp for not withdrawing after the “Access Hollywood” tape was released in which Trump bragged about groping women.


Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in New York contributed to this report.


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