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Destiny

Trump 38: Donald Trump and the Wall of Lies

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Depressed
Destiny

Continued from here: 

 

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AmazonGrace

Happy new year to all the federal employees! 

 

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Cartmann99

Are the NYE party guests going to get their money back, or is Scaramucci going to go down there with his new musical about the Trump family and "entertain" them?

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Meh
Dandruff

I have no pity for anyone willing to pay $1,000 to attend that "party".

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AmazonGrace

The White House runs like a fine tuned machine that wasn't designed to run. 

 

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AmazonGrace

In an ideal world the president would not be a mob type person 

 

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GreyhoundFan

"Trump’s focus on pleasing his most ardent supporters raises questions about reelection strategy"

Spoiler

President Trump’s headstrong refusal to reopen the federal government without new border wall funding has set him on a risky and defiant path for 2019, relying on brazen brinkmanship to shore up his base support and protect him ahead of a challenging year for his administration.

The latest overtures in the wake of the midterm elections, which brought about sweeping Democratic gains and the end of GOP control of Congress, stand in stark contrast to the historical behavior of modern presidents, who have moved at least briefly toward the political center after being humbled at the ballot box.

But Trump — counseled by a cadre of hard-line lawmakers and sensitive to criticism from his allies in the conservative media — has instead focused on reassuring his most ardent supporters of his commitment to the signature border pledge that electrified his followers during his 2016 presidential run even though it is opposed by a majority of voters.

The president has rejected the advice of Republican pollsters and strategists to declare that he holds a winning hand, predicting in a series of tweets that even losing the clash over border construction will lead him to reelection, all while threatening to “close” the border if Democrats do not blink on his $5 billion request for a new wall.

“This is only about the Dems not letting Donald Trump & the Republicans have a win,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “They may have the 10 Senate votes, but we have the issue, Border Security. 2020!”

Trump’s fervent appeals to his supporters — not just on the wall but in his sharpening criticism of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and Democrats — leave him both emboldened and hamstrung heading into the new year, according to top Republicans and Democrats. While he is galvanizing his base amid political and economic uncertainty, he is also making it difficult to work with Democrats or recast his own presidency.

His current stance on the government shutdown reinforces a central tenet of Trump’s career: Choosing base politics over a broader pitch and applying a one-dimensional pugnacity to whatever obstacle looms, often replete with bursts of misleading or inaccurate statements.

Republican critics, such as veteran strategist Mike Murphy, say Trump is threatening the GOP by “learning nothing from November and playing to the third of the country that he already has.”

“He’s trapped,” Murphy said. “He’s playing poker holding two threes and suddenly putting all of his chips in. It’s pure emotion, the mark of a panicking amateur.”

Democrats see a president staggering forward, unready for the siege coming in the new year from empowered House Democrats and developments in the special counsel probe of Russia’s role in the 2016 election — and flailing as the financial markets endure a roller-coaster of highs and lows.

Democrats have also pointed to another recent online poll by Morning Consult showing a 6-point decrease in Trump’s approval rating since mid-November as evidence that their position remains strong even as the effects of the shutdown become more severe.

“I don’t think you can get elected president of the United States with 39 percent of the population supporting you,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said. “Talking only to your base while alienating the rest of the entire country is not a recipe for success.”

As the shutdown continues to drag on, Trump’s dogged base politics have left him little leverage to force Democrats to comply with his wishes, an ominous reality as Pelosi is expected to win the House speakership in the coming days and then mostly ignore Trump’s calls for wall funds as she asserts herself within the confines of divided government.

Pelosi, in a recent interview with USA Today, mocked Trump’s ultimatum as the battle cry of a weakened executive searching for a legislative fig leaf: “Now he’s down to, I think, a beaded curtain or something, I’m not sure where he is.”

Some Republican pollsters have also been watching the president’s tactics with concern, noting there is little evidence he has grown his electoral coalition after the 2016 election, when he won the White House despite losing the popular vote.

“The problem is that the base is nowhere close to a majority of the nation,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres said. “In a government of the people, for the people and by the people, it sure helps to have a majority of the people behind what you are trying to do.”

White House officials and Trump friends say the president is unbound from convention and party, arguing he is going with his gut instincts and shrugging off calls for a more traditional approach, including his decision to end the U.S. operation in Syria, where roughly 2,000 troops are deployed. That policy shift prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign in protest, rattling senior Republicans who have long viewed Mattis as a stabilizing force who guarded against the president’s impulses.

“It’s a preview of things to come,” former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (R) said of Trump’s recent moves. “He feels like he listened to too many people who told him he’d get the wall next year and he didn’t get it. So now he’ll fight for something he believes in.”

In the days before Christmas, when several options to end the shutdown were floated, Trump dismissed them and told several advisers that the political benefit with his base for “fighting and fighting” for the wall outweighed any political cost and was a necessity for keeping “my people” engaged, according to two Trump advisers familiar with the discussions.

Trump’s blizzard of tweets on the shutdown, before and after his trip to Iraq last week to visit U.S. troops, repeatedly played to his core voters, many of whom see illegal immigration as an urgent national emergency that necessitates a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Friday that Trump would stay in Washington through the new year — and Trump readily amped up his rhetoric on Twitter.

“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump tweeted.

Earlier in the week, while at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, Trump’s base politics were on display as he blamed Pelosi for the impasse, telling reporters that “Nancy is calling the shots” and that “the American public is demanding a wall” — sparking criticism for injecting politics into an apolitical setting.

As Trump has rallied, House Democrats say they believe their leverage has only increased. They have repeatedly highlighted Trump’s claim this month that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security,” which was made in a televised meeting with congressional leaders where Trump expressed dismay with Democrats by acting as an avatar for his base voters.

Trump’s tactics stand apart from recent presidents who have endured midterm losses. Barack Obama in 2010, George W. Bush in 2006 and Bill Clinton in 1994 all expressed some self-awareness of voters’ dissatisfaction after watching their party lose control of the House. They subsequently spent time reaching out to the other side about bipartisan efforts, with varying records of success. Bush called his party’s stumble a “thumping” and Obama called the 2010 election “humbling” and a “shellacking.”

Former Obama advisers said part of the reason for that response in 2010 was the necessity of adapting and improving the president’s standing for his reelection campaign.

“I don’t think there was ever a time during any of the Obama presidential campaigns where the strategy was predicated on doubling down on our base,” said Joel Benenson, who served as lead pollster for both of Obama’s national campaigns. “You don’t win presidential elections with your base typically.”

In his first news conference after the midterms, where Democrats flipped 40 House seats, Trump declared “we did very well last night,” highlighting Republican pickups in the Senate and some successful gubernatorial races. He blamed several losing members in the House for their own defeats, saying they had erred by failing to embrace him, a claim that is undercut by polls in their districts showing his unpopularity.

Trump has also reacted to the midterms by closely eyeing conservative media organs and huddling with deeply conservative members of the House GOP, such as Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), who have encouraged a hard line.

“I can tell you, if they believe this President is going to yield on this particular issue, they’re misreading him, misreading the American people,” Meadows said Thursday on CNN.

One longtime Trump adviser, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said Trump has been “spooked” not by the midterms but by a brewing rebellion on the right earlier this month when he was considering accepting a deal from Democrats to fund the government through early February. Rush Limbaugh dismissed the potential compromise program as “Trump gets nothing and the Democrats get everything.” Another firebrand, Ann Coulter, published a column titled “Gutless President in Wall-less Country.”

“He’s spooked by what the world would be like for him if the base wasn’t there” for whatever comes from the Mueller probe or House investigations, the Trump adviser said, adding that the volatility of Wall Street has increased Trump’s private frustrations to include not just Democrats and the media but the Federal Reserve.

Trump’s current border stance has polled poorly. A Quinnipiac poll in mid-December found that 62 percent of the country, including 65 percent of self-identified independents and one in three Republicans, oppose shutting down the government over wall funding. The same poll found Americans oppose building a wall on the Mexican border by a margin of 54 to 44 percent.

Some Trump allies, however, said Trump is savvier than his stubborn tweets let on, suggesting that the president must play to his base and show solidarity on the wall if he wants to move on at some point in 2019 and turn his attention to other issues such as infrastructure or health care.

“It’s de facto playing to the base so he can get it done and move on,” longtime GOP consultant John Brabender, who has advised Vice President Pence, said. “He can’t get reelected with only his base but he needs the symbolism of what he’s doing so they don’t go away. It’s about his credibility with them and talking about it now so eventually he can talk about other issues.”

Trump’s 2016 victory was dependent on winning over white voters in the Midwest who did not attend college with populist and nativist pitches, and some officials and allies continue to believe he can repeat the same success.

In a 2018 study of the nation’s changing demographics, Brookings Institution political scientist Ruy Teixeira concluded with his colleagues that increasing margins and maintaining turnout among this group provided Republicans the greatest opportunity to continue to win the White House.

If Republicans expanded Trump’s 2016 margin among non-college whites by a hypothetical 10 percent and other voting patterns are unchanged, the party could keep winning the electoral college through the next five presidential elections, the report concluded, overcoming the growing diversity in the general electorate and even losses in the popular vote.

“It’s the way to finesse the structure of the electoral college,” Teixeira said. “White non-college, in the center of the country.”

 

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GreyhoundFan

"Former U.S. commander calls Trump dishonest and immoral"

Spoiler

Retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, sharply criticized President Trump on Sunday, calling him immoral and untruthful and taking aim at his foreign policy decisions.

In an interview on ABC News’s “This Week,” McChrystal told host Martha Raddatz of Trump, “I don’t think he tells the truth.” The general also responded affirmatively when asked whether he believes Trump is “immoral.”

McChrystal said that contrary to Trump’s claim, the Islamic State militant group, also known as ISIS, has not yet been defeated.

“I don’t believe ISIS is defeated. I think ISIS is as much an idea as it is a number of ISIS fighters. There’s a lot of intelligence that says there are actually more ISIS fighters around the world now than there were a couple of years ago,” he said.

The president tweeted this month that “we have defeated ISIS in Syria” and abruptly announced plans to withdraw all U.S. forces from that country, against the counsel of his top advisers.

The decision — along with Trump’s directive days later to withdraw nearly half of the more than 14,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan — prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

McChrystal, who recently co-authored a book on leadership, on Sunday praised Mattis as “selfless” and “committed” and said his departure should give Americans pause. He also decried Trump’s decision on Afghanistan, saying it effectively traded away U.S. leverage against the Taliban and “rocked [the Afghan people] in their belief that we are allies that can be counted on.”

McChrystal has been outspoken in his criticism of Trump earlier, as well. Last month, when the president pushed back against criticism from retired Adm. William H. McRaven by saying the decorated Navy SEAL and Special Operations commander should have caught Osama bin Laden more quickly, McChrystal rallied to McRaven’s defense, saying there has to be a “confidence” in the “basic core values” of the country’s leaders.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, said Sunday that he was having lunch with the president and would try to get him to reconsider his decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

“I’m asking the president to make sure we have troops there to protect us,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

 

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Meh
Dandruff

I suspect that someone isn't exactly looking forward to the new year...

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AmazonGrace

It is awake and tweeting.Screenshot_20181231-160227.thumb.jpg.f40318e7a45dc35cf34a485207ad1145.jpgScreenshot_20181231-160215.thumb.jpg.08841d015fc42de9a00f9e0eab8011f8.jpg

Happy new year y'all!

Just the other day they were trying to save Trump's face saying the wall is a metaphor for border security but Trump does not want his face saved, it's seen its best days.

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AmazonGrace

 

 

 Tell your border jailers not to kill them then.

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GreyhoundFan

Maybe he has an elongated toilet, which has an oval shape so he confused it with the oval office while he was poop-tweeting.

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onekidanddone
19 minutes ago, GreyhoundFan said:

Maybe he has an elongated toilet, which has an oval shape so he confused it with the oval office while he was poop-tweeting.

I want to give the disgust reaction but don’t want it to be a down vote. 

I’ll do it here instead 

🤮🤢

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AmazonGrace

Any chance he's in Maralago and just pretending that he's not.

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GreyhoundFan

"A year of unprecedented deception: Trump averaged 15 false claims a day in 2018"

Spoiler

President Trump’s year of lies, false statements and misleading claims started with some morning tweets.

Over a couple of hours on Jan. 2, Trump made false claims about three of his favorite targets — Iran, the New York Times and Hillary Clinton. He also took credit for the “best and safest year on record” for commercial aviation, even though there had been no commercial plane crashes in the United States since 2009 and, in any case, the president has little to do with ensuring the safety of commercial aviation.

The fusillade of tweets was the start of a year of unprecedented deception during which Trump became increasingly unmoored from the truth. When 2018 began, the president had made 1,989 false and misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database, which tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. By the end of the year, Trump had accumulated more than 7,600 untruths during his presidency — averaging more than 15 erroneous claims a day during 2018, almost triple the rate from the year before.

Even as Trump’s fact-free statements proliferate, there is growing evidence that his approach is failing.

Fewer than 3 in 10 Americans believe many of his most-common false statements, according to a Fact Checker poll conducted this month. Only among a pool of strong Trump approvers — about 1 in 6 adults in the survey — did large majorities accept several, though not all, of his falsehoods as true.

Similarly, a November Quinnipiac poll found 58 percent of voters saying Trump wasn’t honest, compared with just 36 percent who said he was honest. The same poll found 50 percent saying he is “less honest” than most previous presidents, tying his own record for the highest share of registered voters saying so in Quinnipiac polling.

“When before have we seen a president so indifferent to the distinction between truth and falsehood, or so eager to blur that distinction?” presidential historian Michael R. Beschloss said of Trump in 2018.

Beschloss noted that the U.S. Constitution set very few guidelines in this regard because the expectation was that the first president would be George Washington and he would set the tone for the office. “What is it that schoolchildren are taught about George Washington? That he never told a lie,” the historian said. “That is a bedrock expectation of a president by Americans.”

Trump began 2018 on a similar pace as last year. Through May, he generally averaged about 200 to 250 false claims a month. But his rate suddenly exploded in June, when he topped 500 falsehoods, as he appeared to shift to campaign mode. He uttered almost 500 more in both July and August, almost 600 in September, more than 1,200 in October and almost 900 in November. In December, Trump drifted back to the mid-200s.

Trump’s midsummer acceleration came as the White House stopped having regular press briefings and the primary voice in the administration was Trump, who met repeatedly with reporters, held events, staged rallies and tweeted constantly.

Trump is among the more loquacious of recent presidents, according to Martha Kumar, professor emerita at Towson University, who has kept track of every presidential interaction with the media, dating to Ronald Reagan. Through Dec. 20, Trump held 323 short question-and-answer sessions with reporters, second only to Bill Clinton through the first 23 months, and granted 196 interviews, second to Barack Obama.

More than a quarter of Trump’s claims were made during campaign rallies. On Nov. 5, the day before the midterm elections, for instance, Trump held three rallies, yielding a total of 139 false or misleading claims. A review of every statement made by Trump at two of his earlier 2018 rallies found that he exaggerated or made up at least 70 percent of his assertions.

Almost as many false claims came during remarks at press events, and about 17 percent were the result of his itchy Twitter finger.

The president misled Americans about issues big and small. He told lies about payments that his now-convicted attorney says Trump authorized to silence women alleging affairs with him. He routinely exaggerates his accomplishments, such as claiming that he passed the biggest tax cut ever, presided over the best economy in history, scored massive deals for jobs with Saudi Arabia and all but solved the North Korea nuclear crisis.

He attacks his perceived enemies with abandon, falsely accusing Clinton of colluding with the Russians, former FBI Director James B. Comey of leaking classified information and Democrats of seeking to let undocumented immigrants swamp the U.S. borders.

The president often makes statements that are disconnected from his policies. He said his administration did not have a family separation policy on the border, when it did. Then he said the policy was required because of existing laws, when it was not.

The president also simply invents faux facts. He repeatedly said U.S. Steel is building six to eight new steel plants, but that’s not true. He said that as president, Obama gave citizenship to 2,500 Iranians during the nuclear-deal negotiations, but that’s false. Over and over, Trump claimed that the Uzbekistan-born man who in 2017 was accused of killing eight people with a pickup truck in New York brought two dozen relatives to the United States through “chain migration.” The real number is zero.

In one of his more preposterous statements of 2018, Trump labeled the Palm Beach Post as “fake news” for blaming him for traffic jams across the nation — when an article about the effect of low gas prices on driving habits never mentioned his name.

Sometimes, Trump simply attempts to create his own reality.

When leaders attending the U.N. General Assembly burst into laughter when Trump uttered a favorite false claim — that his administration had accomplished more in less than two years than “almost any administration in the history of our country” — the president was visibly startled and remarked that he “didn’t expect that reaction.” But then he later falsely insisted to reporters that the boast “was meant to get some laughter.”

In an October interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump emphatically denied he had imposed many tariffs. “I mean, other than some tariffs on steel — which is actually small, what do we have? . . . Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere,” he insisted. The newspaper responded by printing a list of $305 billion worth of tariffs on many types of U.S. imports.

Trump exaggerates when the facts are on his side.

He routinely touts a job-growth number that dates from his election, not when he took office, thus inflating it by 600,000 jobs. And although there’s no question Trump can draw supporters to his rallies by the thousands, he often claims pumped-up numbers that have no basis in fact. At a Tampa rally, he declared that “thousands of people” who could not get in were watching outside on a “tremendous movie screen.” Neither a crowd of that size nor the movie screen existed.

The president even includes references to The Fact Checker in his dubious remarks.

On Oct. 18, in Missoula, Mont., Trump falsely said that no one challenges his description of the Democrats as the party of crime. “Democrats have become the party of crime. It’s true. Who would believe you could say that and nobody even challenges it. Nobody’s ever challenged it,” he said.

But then he had an unusual moment of doubt. “Maybe they have. Who knows? I have to always say that, because then they’ll say they did actually challenge it, and they’ll put like — then they’ll say he gets a Pinocchio.”

 

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GreyhoundFan

"Trump claims there’s a 10-foot wall around the Obamas’ D.C. home. He is wrong."

Spoiler

In one of his most recent arguments for a southern border wall, President Trump on Sunday falsely claimed that the Washington home of former president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama is surrounded by a 10-foot wall.

Trump’s tweet comes in the midst of a partial government shutdown, which was spurred Dec. 22 by Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. He alleged that the “wall” around the Obamas' mansion was necessary for the former first couple’s “safety and security,” adding that the United States needs a “slightly larger version!”

Trump’s assertion came as a surprise to two of the Obamas' neighbors Monday, who told The Washington Post that there is no such wall. The 8,200-square-foot structure, despite several security features, is completely visible from the street.

A neighbor, a longtime resident of the area who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve their privacy, said Trump “has a very active imagination.”

“There’s a fence that goes along the front of the house, but it’s the same as the other neighbors have,” the neighbor said. “It’s tastefully done.”

image.png.69da2039c0f32eeed5557a268fd8a52e.png

The former president and first lady purchased the nine-bedroom mansion for $8.1 million in 2017, The Post previously reported. It’s located in the affluent D.C. neighborhood of Kalorama, which is also home to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, who owns The Post, bought the former Textile Museum in the neighborhood for $23 million; it is being converted into a single-family home. Previous residents of the neighborhood have included former presidents Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover.

TMZ reported on construction to the residence in 2017 before the Obamas moved in, which the website also characterized as “a wall.”

In trying to make the case for a high concrete border wall, Trump exaggerates about the Obama house in Washington, D.C. It is an 8,200 square foot Tudor-style home in the Kalorama residential area, but it is not a “compound.” The Obamas added security fencing to an enlarged retaining wall in front for the needs of the Secret Service but there is not a ten-foot wall around the house; the front steps are open to the sidewalk. Chain link fencing, but no wall, was added to the back. While Trump says the border wall would be a “slightly larger version” of the alleged Obama wall, he has previously described his proposed wall as 1,000 miles long, made of precast concrete slabs, rising 35 to 40 feet in the air.

Some found the president’s tweet irresponsible. Fred Guttenberg, the father of one of students killed in the Parkland school shooting, tweeted, “Are you seriously trying to put our former President at risk?”

The Secret Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet and security risks Monday morning.

A spokesman for the Obamas declined to comment on Trump’s tweet, and the White House did not respond to an email requesting more context on Trump’s claim that there is a wall around the property.

Another neighbor said the Obamas' home is “100 percent visible from the street.”

“There is no 10-foot wall in the front, back or sides of the house — and no wall is going up,” the person said.

An editor at The Post who went to the residence Monday morning noted that part of the street was blocked off — neighbors say there are security checkpoints at either end of the street — but confirmed that a wall was not visible from their vantage point, either.

Trump continued to tweet about his proposed wall Monday morning, criticizing Democrats for rejecting the idea. The Senate approved a stopgap funding measure in late December that did not contain wall money but would have kept the government open until Feb. 8.

“They say it’s old technology - but so is the wheel,” Trump wrote.” They now say it is immoral- but it is far more immoral for people to be dying!”

 

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onekidanddone
1 minute ago, GreyhoundFan said:

"Trump claims there’s a 10-foot wall around the Obamas’ D.C. home. He is wrong."

  Hide contents

In one of his most recent arguments for a southern border wall, President Trump on Sunday falsely claimed that the Washington home of former president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama is surrounded by a 10-foot wall.

Trump’s tweet comes in the midst of a partial government shutdown, which was spurred Dec. 22 by Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. He alleged that the “wall” around the Obamas' mansion was necessary for the former first couple’s “safety and security,” adding that the United States needs a “slightly larger version!”

Trump’s assertion came as a surprise to two of the Obamas' neighbors Monday, who told The Washington Post that there is no such wall. The 8,200-square-foot structure, despite several security features, is completely visible from the street.

A neighbor, a longtime resident of the area who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve their privacy, said Trump “has a very active imagination.”

“There’s a fence that goes along the front of the house, but it’s the same as the other neighbors have,” the neighbor said. “It’s tastefully done.”

image.png.69da2039c0f32eeed5557a268fd8a52e.png

The former president and first lady purchased the nine-bedroom mansion for $8.1 million in 2017, The Post previously reported. It’s located in the affluent D.C. neighborhood of Kalorama, which is also home to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, who owns The Post, bought the former Textile Museum in the neighborhood for $23 million; it is being converted into a single-family home. Previous residents of the neighborhood have included former presidents Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover.

TMZ reported on construction to the residence in 2017 before the Obamas moved in, which the website also characterized as “a wall.”

In trying to make the case for a high concrete border wall, Trump exaggerates about the Obama house in Washington, D.C. It is an 8,200 square foot Tudor-style home in the Kalorama residential area, but it is not a “compound.” The Obamas added security fencing to an enlarged retaining wall in front for the needs of the Secret Service but there is not a ten-foot wall around the house; the front steps are open to the sidewalk. Chain link fencing, but no wall, was added to the back. While Trump says the border wall would be a “slightly larger version” of the alleged Obama wall, he has previously described his proposed wall as 1,000 miles long, made of precast concrete slabs, rising 35 to 40 feet in the air.

Some found the president’s tweet irresponsible. Fred Guttenberg, the father of one of students killed in the Parkland school shooting, tweeted, “Are you seriously trying to put our former President at risk?”

The Secret Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet and security risks Monday morning.

A spokesman for the Obamas declined to comment on Trump’s tweet, and the White House did not respond to an email requesting more context on Trump’s claim that there is a wall around the property.

Another neighbor said the Obamas' home is “100 percent visible from the street.”

“There is no 10-foot wall in the front, back or sides of the house — and no wall is going up,” the person said.

An editor at The Post who went to the residence Monday morning noted that part of the street was blocked off — neighbors say there are security checkpoints at either end of the street — but confirmed that a wall was not visible from their vantage point, either.

Trump continued to tweet about his proposed wall Monday morning, criticizing Democrats for rejecting the idea. The Senate approved a stopgap funding measure in late December that did not contain wall money but would have kept the government open until Feb. 8.

“They say it’s old technology - but so is the wheel,” Trump wrote.” They now say it is immoral- but it is far more immoral for people to be dying!”

 

Silly @GreyhoundFan there really is a 10 foot wall, however it is see through.

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thoughtful

Too bad there was no way to build a retaining wall to keep Trump's mind from eroding -- should have been done decades ago.

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GreyhoundFan

I wasn't quite sure where to post this, but figured this was as good as anywhere, since it would make Dumpy even crazier (if he actually read the WaPo): "MSNBC is surging"

Spoiler

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow can speak at length on many topics. The whims and demographics of her cable-news audience, however, are not among them. “I think I may just be lucky that we’re at a time in the news cycle where there is an appetite for that kind of explanatory work,” Maddow told the Erik Wemple Blog back in the early months of the Trump administration, when her eponymous nightly program was posing a ratings threat to the top dogs over at Fox News.

That threat has turned into a full-time menace. Whereas “The Rachel Maddow Show” several years ago finished in the double digits in annual rankings of cable-news programs, it’s now in the tastemaking vanguard. Over the first three quarters of 2018, Maddow sat in between No. 1 Sean Hannity and No. 3 Tucker Carlson in the cable-news elite. Her show finished fourth for all of 2017.

The host’s audience-pulling exploits drove, at least in part, a recent press release from her network: “MSNBC IS THE #1 CABLE NEWS NETWORK FOR WEEK OF DEC. 17, BEATING FOX NEWS FOR 1ST TIME IN 17 YEARS.” Over almost eight years on this beat, the Erik Wemple Blog has come to treat ratings-oriented press releases from major TV outlets like exposed wiring in a flooding basement: Do not touch. There are just too many baskets in cable-news ratings — total viewers, the 25-54 demographic, prime-time ratings, dayside ratings, “sales day” ratings and so on — lending themselves to corporate spin. For even the lamest of cable-news shows, a ratings “win” can often be pried from the data, so long as there’s a crafty PR type at the keyboard. And there always is.

And indeed: Fox News pointed out that MSNBC’s historic win for the “week of Dec. 17” included only Monday-through-Friday numbers — and excluded the weekend, which put Fox News in its normal place: No. 1. Another consideration: Hannity was on vacation that week.

Caveats noted. Still, MSNBC has something to crow about. Its news programming is sharp, energetic and relentless. Its anchors are prepared. Its correspondents are on the scene. Many of the names are the same as always: “Morning Joe” early; Chris Matthews early evening, followed by Chris Hayes, Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell in the prime-time block. Starting in 2015, however, NBC News/MSNBC Chairman Andy Lack and MSNBC President Phil Griffin overthrew a cabal of progressive anchors in the daytime and replaced them with talented newsies — Nicolle Wallace, Craig Melvin, Stephanie Ruhle, Katy Tur, Ali Velshi, Hallie Jackson — who resist blanket characterizations, other than to say that they keep on top of the news.

What a job that has become. Whereas prime-time anchors were once able to plan their programs based on what had transpired by close of business, Trump scoops observe no clock. One of the mantras of Maddow throughout 2018, in fact, is the wonder she expresses at how many times she has had to rip up her scripts because some court document or some White House hiccup emerged from the national news vault in the early evening hours.

Chaos, though, has helped: MSNBC had its best year ever in 2018, with an 11 percent jump in viewership. Though CNN was down, it managed its best numbers for a midterm election year. Fox News being Fox News, it finished as the most-watched network in all of cable, not just cable news. As it turns out, benighted tweets, frequent resignations, multiple federal investigations and a generalized climate of grifting boost the audience for television news.

While newspapers and digital outlets struggle to pay for their staffs, profits exist at Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

Within this crew of panel makers, MSNBC is distinguishing itself with reporting about the Trump administration without depending on the Trump administration. “I don’t necessarily want to hear from the White House on almost anything,” said Maddow to this blog in 2017, citing the lies coming from the building. So, where to go for news? Federal courthouses, that’s where. Ever since special counsel Robert S. Mueller III started producing indictments and other interesting documents, Maddow has devoured them — all of them. She reads the filings on air, off air and in-between. Often with the help of key reporters on the Mueller beat, she proceeds to detail what’s in them and what’s not in them. There has been a lot of explaining to do.

To appreciate the focus of the “Rachel Maddow Show” on the Mueller legal plume, consider the name of Alex van der Zwaan. Perhaps the most international guy ever conceived, he’s a 30-something Dutch man who was born in Belgium, formerly worked in the London branch of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and speaks Russian, French, Dutch and English. His entry into Mueller’s world came through Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who made a handsome living in part by making corrupt Ukrainian politicians look okay. Manafort facilitated a report by Skadden that whitewashed the actions of pro-Russia, former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych, who had jailed an opposition leader.

For reasons that caused a great deal of speculation, van der Zwaan misled prosecutors about his contacts with a Manafort associate, Rick Gates, as well as an unidentified associate of Gates and Manafort. Summing up the implications of van der Zwaan’s February guilty plea in the case, Maddow said: “This stuff that we learned in this guilty plea today, this all comes out of some very dramatic, terrible and really recent stuff that happened in Ukraine. We know from previous reporting that after Yanukovych got run out of that country — after Manafort’s client got run out of that country in 2014 — Ukrainians started screaming bloody murder about this stuff that Paul Manafort and his client had done to Ukraine, which U.S. law firms and U.S. PR firms may have been involved in greasing the skids for.”

While Maddow busied herself explaining what the van der Zwaan news was, her rival over at Fox News focused on what it wasn’t. Upon van der Zwaan’s sentencing in April, Hannity spewed dismissals: “Now, also tonight, Robert Mueller secures his first conviction — got to give him a lot of credit in this witch hunt. A Dutch lawyer was just sentenced to 30 days in jail, 30 whole days. And he’s being ordered to pay $20,000 fine for lying to the FBI. That’s it? And it had nothing to do with Russia collusion."

So: One cable-news host is mining a sprawling investigation of the president’s top associates and campaign aides; the other is dismissing it out of hand. Which one, do you suppose, has the brighter future?

Fox News and CNN have attracted a great deal of attention in the past two years with high-profile interviews of Trump officials, whether it’s the president himself or White House adviser Kellyanne Conway or press secretary Sarah Sanders or some other appointee. The sessions on Fox News tend to be easier on the Trump folks — though they’re by no means uniformly so — and on CNN, they’re invariably confrontational, bordering on antagonistic. As the Hollywood Reporter noted, MSNBC has had fewer interviews with Trump appointees, though the shortfall is by no means intentional. MSNBC sources tell the Erik Wemple Blog that they routinely make requests to the Trump White House. Rejections pile up.

The result may well be an accidental benefit to MSNBC. Though its reporters routinely abridge the positions of the president on air, the network traffics in a minimal amount of Trumpism from the mouths of Trumpites. And that appears to be exactly what the audience wants. As this blog has pointed out, MSNBC’s daytime crew has begun veering from the cowpath on which all the networks carry live presidential announcements and briefings. For example: Wallace blew off that no-news speech in November by President Trump, and Tur televised Sanders’s remarks at a press briefing only so long as she didn’t require an on-the-fly reality check, and that didn’t take too long. Our posts on those topics have drawn a generous amount of engagement, including a lot of positive feedback for the network. A good chunk of the news-consuming public appears to have decided that the Trump crew has lied far too much to deserve a footing on major media outlets.

Finally, a note on contributor hygiene. Fox News pays contributors, not to mention anchors — Hannity and “Fox & Friends” (though things are changing there) — to defend Trump’s “policies” as well as his misanthropic behavior. Starting in the presidential campaign CNN brought on certain contributors — Jeffrey Lord, Kayleigh McEnany, Scottie Nell Hughes, Paris Dennard (all of whom are no longer with the network) — to do likewise, with embarrassing and anti-journalistic results. MSNBC has sidestepped this brand of clown time by airing the comments of conservative contributors principled enough to bash Trump — like Charlie Sykes, Bret Stephens and George Will — or at least principled enough to publicly agonize over Trump — like Hugh Hewitt. Another emphasis has fallen on reporting; MSNBC has eased up on the I-can-comment-on-any-topic! punditry and commonly hauls in whatever reporter has a big story for that particular day.

Reporting helps with programming decisions, too. When Wallace steered clear of Trump’s falsehood-ridden immigration speech in early November, according to an informed source, she had done some reporting to determine that the president wasn’t going to make any grand announcements. Just falsehoods, as it turned out.

 

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GreyhoundFan

Another good one from Dana Milbank: "Don’t blame the rats abandoning the U.S.S. Trump"

Spoiler

One by one they leap — or are pushed — from the foundering USS Trump, each offering a variation of the same plea: Don’t blame me.

Comes now retired Gen. John Kelly, the second of President Trump’s chiefs of staff to be discarded. Days before departing, he paused for a two-hour telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times. It was an extended exercise in self-absolution.

Don’t blame him for Trump’s border-wall obsession. “To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly disclosed, insisting “we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration.” (A day after the interview was published, Trump tweeted: “An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED.”)

Don’t blame Kelly for Trump’s fabricated “crisis” at the southern border. “If you want to stop illegal immigration, stop U.S. demand for drugs and expand economic opportunity” in Central America, Kelly proposed.

Don’t blame him for Trump’s claims that Hispanic immigrants spread violence and drugs. “Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people,” Kelly said.

And don’t blame him for the travel ban or the family separation policies, either. Rather, he, argued, he should be judged for what Trump didn’t do: withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan (which he’s doing now), pull troops out of South Korea or withdraw from NATO (which remain uncertain).

Right. And if we judge success by things that didn’t happen, we should also credit Kelly for avoiding a zombie apocalypse.

Kelly served his country honorably for decades. But there’s nothing courageous in announcing, on the way out the door, that he didn’t agree with many awful things Trump did on his watch. There was, once, a good argument that qualified people, by taking administration jobs, could temper Trump’s worst instincts. But it turned out Trump was not to be tempered. Those who disagreed with the madness had an obligation to resign, or at least to speak out — not to wash their hands of responsibility after the fact.

Don’t blame Rex Tillerson. The ousted secretary of state recently told Bob Schieffer of CBS News he reined in Trump by saying “you can’t do it that way. It violates the law. It violates a treaty.”

Don’t blame Jim Mattis. The former defense secretary waited until resigning to publicly state his disagreements with Trump over NATO, “malign actors” such as Russia and “treating allies with respect.”

Don’t blame Reince Priebus. Trump’s first chief of staff spoke up about Trump’s chaos after he was ousted, telling author Chris Whipple: “Take everything you’ve heard and multiply it by 50.”

Don’t blame Nikki Haley. Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, in a parting shot, said “our opponents are not evil. They’re just our opponents.”

Don’t blame Gary Cohn. The former economic adviser denounced Trump’s trade war and defended the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate policy against Trump’s criticism (“I don’t think he should make comments on any independent agency”).

Also, don’t blame Omarosa Manigault Newman (she knew Trump was a racist but took a job in his White House anyway) or Michael Cohen (at his sentencing, the president’s former personal lawyer said his “blind loyalty” to Trump led him to “cover up his dirty deeds”) or Stephen K. Bannon (after he departed the White House, the former top strategist suggested Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had engaged in “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” behavior) or Anthony Scaramucci (who now brands Trump “an intentional liar”) or H.R. McMaster (Trump’s second of three national security advisers took issue with softness toward Russia) or David Shulkin (fired amid a scandal, he criticized Trump’s Veterans Affairs privatization plans).

The self-absolution extends into the diaspora of Trump apologists. Departing House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) gave a farewell speech denouncing the use of social media to “play on anger” and “on people’s fears.” Departing Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a Trump cheerleader, gave a farewell speech lamenting the loss of “comity, compromise and mutual respect.” Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), in defeat, denounced Trump for operating with “no real relationships, just convenient transactions.”

Better late than never? Perhaps. Those taking parting shots are certainly more honorable than those who, with non-disparagement agreements, get paid to defend Trump on the airwaves. The post-employment critics also compare favorably with Mick Mulvaney, who called Trump a “terrible human being” before becoming Trump’s budget director and now acting chief of staff.

But the after-the-fact criticism seems self-serving — a way for Trump enablers to rebuild their reputations and find new jobs. Tucker Carlson, an unstinting Trump booster, used the anonymity of a German-language weekly to put on the record that he questions Trump’s competence, knowledge, self-aggrandizement and personnel choices.

Even Carlson, though, is braver than the anonymous Trump official who wrote the New York Times op-ed about efforts to sabotage Trump from within. How long before the author emerges to claim credit — and perhaps a book contract? Proposed title: Don’t blame me.

 

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