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September 25, 2018

President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are both in New York on U.N. business this week, but Rouhani has made it clear he does not want to meet his American counterpart.

"Naturally, if someone is keen on having a meeting and holding dialogue and creating progress in relationships, that person would not use the tool of sanctions and threats [and bring] to bear all of its power against another government and nation," Rouhani said Monday. "That means that the necessary willpower is absent in order to resolve outstanding issues." Tehran has consistently refused talks with the Trump administration since the president withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year, labeling Trump an "untrustworthy" diplomatic partner.

A day after Rouhani's remarks, Trump on Twitter claimed he'd rejected Rouhani's request for a meeting:

This forlorn effort to save face was undercut by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement on NBC's Meet the Press just two days ago that Trump has "been pretty clear" he is "happy to talk with" Iran "at any time." Bonnie Kristian

September 15, 2018

President Trump on Twitter Friday night redoubled his Thursday denial of the estimated 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico attributable to Hurricane Maria. He quoted a Washington Post story — an article declaring his initial claim false — to note that officials told him the death toll was just 16 when he visited the island territory last year:

Contrary to the suggestion of the president's second post, the research method that produced the larger figure is not novel. The study counts "excess mortality" during the storm and in its aftermath, tallying deaths that would not have occurred under normal conditions. Many of these deaths were due to secondary effects of the hurricane (like power outages or medicine shortages) rather than direct effects (like flooding or building collapse).

The "researchers did not, contrary to [the president's] claim, attribute any specific individual’s death to Maria," the Post story Trump referenced explained. "Given the methodology, there was not an opportunity to misclassify someone who died of old age, as Trump suggested" Thursday. Indeed, "[h]ad the GWU researchers done what Trump claimed they did — attributing any death to Maria — the six-month death toll from the hurricane would have been 16,608." Bonnie Kristian

September 8, 2018

Apple will have to raise prices in response to President Trump's escalating trade war with China, the company said in a letter Friday, with hikes affecting products including the Apple Watch, AirPods, Apple Pencil, HomePod, and a number of chargers and other accessories. Trump responded on Twitter Saturday morning with an idea for an "easy" fix:

The president made clear the previous day he has no intention of backing away from his aggressive protectionism despite, as the Apple letter put it, concerns "that the U.S. will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower U.S. growth and competitiveness and higher prices for U.S. consumers."

A new package of tariffs targeting another $200 billion in Chinese exports to America "could take place very soon depending on what happens," Trump said Friday, as could an additional set of taxes on $267 billion in goods. "That totally changes the equation," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. Bonnie Kristian

September 2, 2018

President Trump is pleased with his sometime (quick) golf buddy, Tiger Woods.

Last Sunday, the pro golfer offered a tepid non-condemnation of Trump, saying "we all must respect the office" of the president, and then dodged a question about race relations by explaining he was "really hungry." This Sunday, Trump posted a tweet about it which also listed his other black friends:

West has repeatedly expressed enthusiasm for Trump; Foreman has dubbed Trump a "good president;" and both Foreman and Brown have taken the president's side in his beef with pro athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism. (Dennis Rodman no doubt feels left out.)

In a second post, Trump repeated his frequent claim to have pushed the black unemployment rate to record lows:

African-American unemployment has actually been "steadily declining since March 2010," when it was 16.8 percent, Fortune writes, and "while Trump was in office, it decreased by one point — keeping up a trend that had already been in place." Bonnie Kristian

September 1, 2018

President Trump threatened on Twitter Saturday to shove Canada out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if he doesn't get the concessions he wants:

Despite what Trump's message suggests, there is relatively little he can do about NAFTA without congressional help. In a second post, Trump reiterated his longstanding claim that NAFTA has done severe damage to the U.S. economy:

A 2015 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found NAFTA "did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters," and labeling its net effects "relatively modest."

NAFTA negotiations with Canada will resume next week, the White House said Friday. Read The Week's breakdown of NAFTA's legacy here. Bonnie Kristian

August 25, 2018

President Trump responded on Twitter Friday and Saturday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Thursday assertion that he would "not be improperly influenced by political considerations" in his Justice Department leadership.

First, Trump quoted Sessions' pledge, sarcastically adding, "Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the 'other side,'" after which he gave a laundry list of grievances related to Hillary Clinton and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump reprised his tweeted attacks on Sessions Saturday morning, implying Sessions is incompetent and may be fired:

Trump has reportedly toyed with ousting Sessions since the spring of 2017.

The president also referenced Fox News to accuse the FBI of ignoring "tens of thousands of Crooked Hillary Emails, many of which are REALLY BAD." He appears to be responding to a Thursday report from RealClearInvestigations which says a "technical glitch" kept the FBI from reviewing most of the emails found shortly before the 2016 election on a laptop used by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner. Bonnie Kristian

August 19, 2018

President Trump raged on Twitter early Sunday, continuing an overnight series of tweets on a Saturday New York Times report that White House counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation:

In previous posts, Trump claimed he approved McGahn's information sharing for the sake of transparency and that the Times published the piece to unfairly smear McGahn:

The president also reprised a familiar refrain of protests and misdirection about collusion, Hillary Clinton, the media, McCarthyism, and the "witch hunt." Read more about the Times story that has him so agitated here. Bonnie Kristian

August 18, 2018

President Trump on Saturday alleged on Twitter, to his 53.8 million followers, whom he reaches for free via the network's platform, that social media is censoring the right:

In follow-up tweets, the president spun a confusing and contradictory approach to censorship, apparently speaking in response to conspiracy-monger (and Trump fan) Alex Jones' internet woes:

So, to summarize: Social media is censoring Republicans, and our Republican president is letting us know via social media. Censorship cannot be policed, but the Trump administration won't let it happen! Trump himself deplores censorship and thinks everyone should speak in the public square, but he definitely would prefer to censor CNN and MSNBC, who are "Fake News" and would ideally be weeded out. Got it? Bonnie Kristian

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