February 25, 2018

President Trump phoned in for an interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro Saturday night, holding forth on a wide range of topics.

He declared the Democratic counter-memo, published earlier that day, "really fraudulent" and its congressional authors worthy of investigation. Trump specifically targeted for critique Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who oversaw the counter-memo's creation and release, labeling him a "bad guy."

On guns, the president again proposed arming teachers as an antidote to school shootings. A mass shooter would be deterred by "some offensive power in there," Trump said, while "a gun-free zone is like target practice" and beloved of "bad guys."

And though he insisted "the generals would love" a military parade, the president seemed to back off from the idea by noting it could be too expensive. "We'll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost," he said. "If we can't, we won't do it." A Military Times poll found nine in 10 readers believed the parade is "a waste of money and troops are too busy."

Watch two excerpts of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian

December 30, 2017

When President Trump gave an interview to The New York Times on Thursday, no one on his staff knew it was happening. That's because the president is at the "Winter White House," his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where The Washington Post reports aides cannot maintain the structured schedule and information flow they have created for Trump in Washington.

"Nobody tells Donald Trump where he can and cannot go" at Mar-a-Lago, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone told the Post. "The president is able to get a lot of information that is normally blocked from getting to him," Stone continued. "You don't have the minders. There is no doubt that he makes more calls."

He interacts more freely with members of the public, too — well, members of the public who are also members of the Mar-a-Lago:

"At Mar-a-Lago, anyone who can get within eyesight changes the game," said a former White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss a sensitive subject, and referring to club members and guests who sometimes try the influence the president on policy, share an opinion on his administration or simply say hello. "Everyone who is angling for something knows to be there." [The Washington Post]

Read the Post's full report on Trump's Florida freedom here. Bonnie Kristian

October 14, 2017

Two Sisters (On the Terrace) is an 1881 painting by impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir which is presently housed in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Therefore, it is not housed in President Trump's New York City penthouse.

That's relevant because Trump reportedly insists he owns the original work, as Vanity Fair recounts in a piece published Friday night:

Years ago, while reporting a book about a real-estate developer and reality-TV star named Donald Trump, Tim O'Brien accompanied his subject on a private jet ride to Los Angeles. The plane, as you can imagine, was overly ornate; hanging on one wall, for instance, was a painting of two young girls — one in an orange hat, the other wearing a floral bonnet — in the impressionistic style of Renoir.

Curious, O'Brien asked Trump about the painting: Was it an original Renoir? Trump replied in the affirmative. It was, he said. "No, it's not Donald," O'Brien responded. But, once again, Trump protested that it was. [Vanity Fair]

On the return flight, O'Brien said, Trump mentioned the painting "as if the conversation had never happened" and again announced it to be an original. Then, shortly after the 2016 election, Trump gave a 60 Minutes interview in his New York home. In the background, visible behind Trump and Mike Pence, then vice president-elect, was the faux Renoir.

Trump's long-term commitment to his claim that the painting is authentic is emblematic of the president's relationship to the truth, O'Brien told Vanity Fair. Trump "believes his own lies in a way that lasts for decades," O'Brien argued, and he'll "tell the same stories time and time again, regardless of whether or not facts are right in front of his face." Bonnie Kristian

July 5, 2017

President Trump spent much of last week taking swipes at the news media, and CNN was a major target of Trump's ire on Twitter and at a closed-door campaign fundraiser, after the network retracted an article about one of his advisers and a Russian investment fund. But at the end of the week Trump drew more attention for personal attacks against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski.

"Some White House advisers said they were frustrated that the Brzezinski feud," The Washington Post reported late Friday, "overtook the president's fight with CNN, which seemed in their eyes to have clearer villains and heroes." Early Sunday, Trump tweeted a gif of himself body-slamming a man whose head was replaced by the CNN logo, drawing statements of concern from CNN and the Committee to Protect Journalists about promoting violence against journalists.

On Monday, CNN's Andrew Kaczynski tracked down the identity of the Reddit user who claimed credit for creating the original gif, he reported Tuesday, and right after he tried to contact him, the user, "HanA**holeSolo," posted an apology on the pro-Trump subgroup /The_Donald. The user told his fellow Redditors he is sorry for his "racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic" posts, called internet trolling an addiction and "nothing more than bullying a wide audience," and said the Trump-CNN "meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation."

"HanA**holeSolo" then called and confirmed his identity, Kaczynski says, and he "sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family." Not everyone was sympathetic.

But CNN is honoring the request because the guy "is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again," Kaczynski said, adding that "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." The White House won't say where Trump found the gif, but insists it wasn't at Reddit. Peter Weber

July 2, 2017

Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert on Sunday defended President Trump's tweet depicting himself physically beating "CNN." Trump is "the most genuine president and the most non-politician president we've seen in my lifetime," Bossert said in an appearance on ABC News, and "no one would perceive [the tweet] as a threat. I hope they don't. I do think that [Trump is] beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to."

CNN did not share Bossert's take. The network's response said the tweet "encourages violence against reporters":

The tweet depicts Trump whaling on Vince McMahon in a staged fight at Wrestlemania XXIII in 2007. McMahon's face has been covered with the CNN logo. Bonnie Kristian

July 2, 2017

On Sunday morning, the president of the United States posted this tweet:

This latest installment of President Trump's war on the media is a gif edit of his staged attack on Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania XXIII in 2007. Watch the original here. Bonnie Kristian

May 27, 2017
Tiziana Fabi/Getty Images

President Trump may be asked to subject his tweets to legal scrutiny before posting them, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday night in a story covering changes to White House procedure Trump will entertain upon his return home from his tour abroad Saturday evening. The tweet vetting would be designed to avoid unforced errors as the Trump campaign and administration undergo scrutiny in federal investigations concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election:

One major change under consideration would see the president’s social media posts vetted by a team of lawyers, who would decide if any needed to be adjusted or curtailed. The idea, said one of Mr. Trump's advisers, is to create a system so that tweets "don't go from the president's mind out to the universe."

Some of Mr. Trump's tweets — from hinting that he may have taped conversations with Mr. Comey to suggesting without any evidence that former President Barack Obama wire-tapped Trump Tower — have opened him to criticism and at times confounded his communications team. Trump aides have long attempted to rein in his tweeting, and some saw any type of legal vetting as difficult to implement. [WSJ]

Many of Trump's critics and supporters alike have repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) urged the president to curtail his tweeting habits, as his posts often come back to bite him politically. Bonnie Kristian

May 19, 2017

Foreign leaders who meet with President Trump this week during his first tour abroad since taking office have been encouraged to tailor their conversation to his personal preferences and knowledge base, The New York Times reports. The big three bullet points to remember: Praise him for winning; don't talk history; and keep it brief.

After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged: Keep it short — no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory. [The New York Times]

Leaders and diplomats who do not speak English must cut their comments especially short, said Peter Westmacott, former British ambassador to the United States. Trump is "a guy with a limited attention span," Westmacott told the Times. "He absolutely won't want to listen to visitors droning on for a half-hour — or longer if they need an interpreter."

Trump is scheduled to make stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, Belgium, and the Vatican. Pope Francis, with whom Trump will meet for the first time, learned English as an adult and is not confident in his mastery of the language, so he often uses a translator. Bonnie Kristian

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