Trump’s escape to a Florida rally, “I want to be among my friends”
Developments on Day 30 of the Trump Administration:
Seeking an escape from problems in Washington, Donald Trump speaks to a campaign-style rally in Melbourne, Florida.
On his third weekend visit in a month to the state, Trump was forthright, “I am here because I want to be among my friends and my people.”
While defying the initial turmoil around his Administration by declaring “a great spirit of optimism sweeping across the country”, Trump opened by again attacking the media with “one false story after another”.
“They are part of the corrupt system”, Trump declared and then invoked Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and “many of our greatest Presidents…calling out the media on their lies”.
He also devoted much of his time trying to defend his Muslim Ban, suspended by a US circuit court earlier this month, with a lengthy, distorted account of the legal situation and hyperbole about the “threat” overrunning Europe. He said the Administration will release a new order “over the next couple of days” to restrict visa holders from seven mainly-Muslim countries.
He framed his immigration crackdown — in which hundreds of undocumented immigrants have already been detained — as an effort to get “drug dealers out of the country”.
Trump promised that a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare will be launched “within two weeks”, and he hinted that he would look to revise or even scrap the North American Free Trade Area as part of “bad deals” hindering the American economy.
Marking his push against environmental regulations and restrictions on energy companies, Trump lauded his renewal of the Dakota and Keystone pipelines and blased the Environmental Protection Administration for “clogging up the veins of the country”.
Cost of 1 Month of Trump’s Florida Trips = Obama in Year
Donald Trump’s three trips to Florida in the first month of his administration have cost taxpayers nearly as much Barack Obama’s cost in a year.
Trump’s visits to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida since his inauguration, combined with his sons’ business trips, cost $11.3 million.
Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch estimated Obama’s travel expenses were an average $12.1 million in each of his eight years in the White House.
Homeland Security Memos Crack Down on Immigration
The Department of Homeland Security is set to release guidance on President Donald Trump’s executive orders cracking down on immigration.
Memoranda from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to agency chiefs make it more difficult to seek asylum in the US, allow the detention of substantially more undocumented immigrants, and give more authority to immigration officers.
The guidance also expands the use of “expedited removal” proceedings for undocumented immigrants, allowing them to be deported more quickly with limited court proceedings. It covers those who cannot prove they were in the US continuously for two years before being apprehended and determined to be unauthorized.
Previously, immigration officials used “expedited removal” only for immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border within 14 days of entering the US or by those who arrived by sea but not at a port of entry.
The guidance orders a surge in immigration judges and detention facilities to accommodate the holding of individuals paroled from detention while awaiting immigration court proceedings, which can take years.
The memoranda set a high bar for supporting immigrants’ claims that they are at risk of persecution or torture in their home countries, and they make it more difficult for children entering the country without authorization to be treated as “unaccompanied alien children”.
McCain Warning of Trump and Dictators
Senator John McCain, using a speech in Germany and an interview with American TV, speaks of Donald Trump’s attacks on the media as “how dictators get started”.
He told Meet the Press, in an interview airing Sunday: “When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Twitter has responded to Trump’s assault with the hashtag #NotTheEnemy honoring journalists:
— Lizzie O'Leary (@lizzieohreally) February 18, 2017
— MD (@mccdoe3289) February 18, 2017
McCain reiterated to his interviewer Chuck Todd:
If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and, many times, adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.
McCain’s speech at the Munich Security Conference about the chaos in the Republican Administration:
House Resolution Lifts Protection of Alaska Wildlife
The House of Representatives pass a resolution lifting a federal rule protecting Alaska wildlife from practices and equipment considered cruel.
Passed 225 to 193, the resolution permits “gassing of wolf pups in their den, killing hibernating bears, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and trapping grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares”, according to a group of National Park Service employees.
The employees are using Facebook to publicize the effect, as the Republican Administration has restricted the Service’s communications with the media.