In the CNN Republican Town Hall on Tuesday, Anderson Cooper pressed Donald Trump on his stance on nuclear proliferation. When Cooper attempts to ask Trump about proliferation Trump immediately interrupts him and calls it “the biggest issue of our time.” Later in the interview he states that he is against proliferation and “hates proliferation.”
Almost immediately Trump then suggests that the US stop giving military aid to Japan and South Korea, and promotes allowing them to develop nuclear technology, thereby exacerbating what Trump just called the “biggest issue of our time.” He also denies that this is contradictory, because Trump doesn’t know what “proliferation” means?
Cooper asked “So you have no problem with Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons?” Trump responded with “At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself.”
He then seems to be in favor of Saudi Arabia gaining nuclear weapons, but quickly backtracks, saying that the US should stop militarily supporting one of our strongest allies in the Middle East.
Cooper mentions that for years it has been US policy to prevent Japan from developing nuclear weapons. Trump responds that “maybe it’s going to have to be time to change.” In the most chilling moment of this terrifying exchange, when Trump is pressed to give an answer on whether Saudi Arabia and others should have nuclear weapons he flippantly replies “Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we’re going to have to get rid of them entirely…Wouldn’t you rather, in a certain sense, have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?”
In an earlier post WDTLAY outlined the alleged assault on (now former) Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Trump said that “she made it up” and has continually supported his manager. Trump doubled down on Tuesday saying “How do you know those bruises weren’t there before?”
Video of the incident has been released by the Jupiter, FL police department showing that Lewandowski definitely grabbed the reporter. He has been charged with misdemeanor battery and will have to appear in court.
Trump has repeatedly defended Lewandowski on Twitter as well. Here is what he tweeted yesterday, after the release of the video:
On Fox and Friends yesterday morning, Donald Trump claimed that he predicted the terror attacks in Brussels. Check the 6:30 mark on the above video. “It was ridiculous. I know more about Brussels than Brussels do.” Trump continues, in somewhat less garbled English: “I was the one that predicted this was going to happen in Brussels, and was criticized by the New York Times for it. Now everyone is saying I was right all over Twitter.”
Did Trump predict the Brussels attacks on March 22? The answer seems to be “not really.” He is referring to a New York Times article from January 27, 2016 criticizing him for insulting Brussels and calling it a “hellhole.” That article is referring to an earlier interview on the Fox Business Network:
In that interview he makes a lot of vague claims about infiltration of radical Islam into Brussels and Paris. “There is something going on, Maria [Bartiromo, the Fox interviewer]. Go to Brussels. Go to Paris. Go to different places. There is something going on and it’s not good, where they want Shariah law, where they want this, where they want things that — you know, there has to be some assimilation. There is no assimilation.” Trump continues in a vague sort of way: “There is something bad going on…You go to Brussels — I was in Brussels a long time ago, 20 years ago, so beautiful, everything is so beautiful — it’s like living in a hellhole right now.”
He says nothing about a future attack in those statements, or any specifics, he only uses this platform to blast Muslims that want to live as Muslims, that don’t care to “assimilate.” He was correct that Brussels was ripe for an attack, as the unpreparedness of Belgium in the wake of a terrorist attack has come to light. But to say that he predicted the attacks is a falsehood. More braggadocio from Trump because he accidentally linked a city that he was insulting to radical Islam.
In the GOP Louisiana primary last week, Donald Trump won over Ted Cruz by 3.6%. According to Politico, Trump took 41.4% of the vote, while Ted Cruz took 37.8%. By the primary rules of Louisiana, both men are awarded 18 delegates. Where Trump is crying foul is that Marco Rubio, who won 5 delegates in Louisiana, has now dropped out of the race. His delegates are up for grabs, in addition to 5 delegates that have no affiliation and can vote for whomever they want.
The Wall Street Journal reported that those delegates are planning to support Cruz, giving him a 10 delegate advantage in a state in which he was beaten by nearly 4%. However, this is all above board and completely agrees with the rules of Republican primaries in the state of Louisiana. What’s more, Cruz claims to have sown up support of 5 of the 6 committee members in Louisiana that will help write the rules of the convention in Cleveland in the case of a contested nomination.
Trump is understandably upset, but doesn’t seem to think that the rules apply to him. In typical Trump fashion, he fired off an angry tweet and threatened to sue. Jason Dore, executive of the Louisiana GOP, spoke to New York Magazine saying that the party is prepared for a lawsuit, but says it is “unclear” who exactly the Presidential hopeful will sue. All the rules set forth by the Louisiana GOP were followed, so it doesn’t appear that Trump has a leg to stand on. That, of course, hasn’t stopped him from threatening to sue in the past.
Ted Cruz’s campaign spokesman Ron Nehring summed it up pretty well:
Trump has been taking it easy this week on campaigning, preferring to spend his time mudslinging about infidelity and nude photos. In a final installment on the subject for now, Donald Trump claimed yesterday that Ted Cruz bought the rights to the GQ photos of his wife that were used in the distasteful attack ad in Utah last week.
In an interview yesterday on ABC News, he stated unequivocally that “From what I hear, [Ted Cruz] and his campaign went out and bought the cover shoot. Melania did a cover story for ‘GQ,’ a very strong modeling picture. But it was a cover story for ‘GQ,’ a big magazine,” Trump told ABC. “And it was, you know, fine. And from what I hear, somebody bought the rights to it and he was the one or his campaign bought the rights and they gave it to the super PAC.”
GQ UK Magazine, the magazine that originally published the photos and republished them a few weeks ago, repeatedly deny that Ted Cruz was the source of the photos. “In fact, this image was created by the anti-Trump super PAC Make America Awesome (which is an awesome name for a political action committee),” GQ UK said, “and Ted Cruz’s campaign team had nothing to do with it…the attack ad clearly shows it was created by a political action group.”
While the GQ article falls short of saying who actually bought the rights to the photos, if anyone, GQ UK states twice that Ted Cruz had nothing to do with the ads. It seems most likely that Make America Awesome did not actually have the rights to the photos.
For further proof here is a tweet from Liz Mair, the woman in charge of the Make America Awesome PAC:
On Monday Donald Trump sat down for an intense hour long interview with the editorial board of the Washington Post, largely talking about his foreign policy. Recently Trump has been talking and tweeting about reducing the US involvement with NATO, prompting much hand wringing from our allies in Europe.
“NATO is costing us a fortune and yes, we’re protecting Europe but we’re spending a lot of money,” Trump said Monday to the Washington Post editorial board. “Number 1, I think the distribution of costs has to be changed. I think NATO as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved. And I think we bear the, you know, not only financially, we bear the biggest brunt of it.”
While Trump doesn’t seem very confident that the US contributes the most to NATO (he said “I think” three times in as many sentences), I actually looked it up. It turns out that he’s right, the US is the largest contributor to NATO’s funding, at 22%. Germany and France are the next largest contributors at 14% and 10% respectively.
What he doesn’t say is that our NATO troop presence is down 85% since its high in the late 1990s. At that time the US contributed 200000 troops, and now that level is just 30000. It seems unlikely that bring these troops home is a good idea, nor would it save very much money. These troops staff extremely important bases around Europe and help to stabilize our most important allies. They are also nearby world hot spots like the Middle East and Africa, on the ready if fighting erupts. These troops would have to be paid anyway in America, as well as added transportation costs and time if they were kept here. It is hard to overestimate the value of a stable and pro-American European continent to the US.
In an interview with Britain’s Piers Morgan yesterday, Donald Trump trumpeted his early opposition to the Iraq War saying “I was against going into Iraq a long time ago, I was against it from the beginning. And that was a terrible mistake going into Iraq, because it destabilized the entire Middle East.”
While most would agree with his assessment of destabilization in hindsight, is there any evidence that he opposed the Iraq war before it happened? Or “from the beginning?”
In the months prior to declaring war, James Fallows with the Atlantic made a study of what public figures were saying about the Iraq war, and wrote extensively about it. In an article last month he states that “As far as I can tell, this is one more thing he’s just making up.” He could not find any evidence that Trump had publicly spoken out against the war at the time, despite actively collecting opinions in the lead up to the war.
He links to many other articles saying the same thing. Despite repeated attempts by many talented journalists, there is no evidence of Trump publicly opposing the Iraq war before it started. Trump did apparently oppose the war well after it started, in November 2004, saying on Larry King Live “I do not believe that we made the right decision going into Iraq, but, you know, hopefully, we’ll be getting out.” That is hardly opposing it “from the beginning.”
On September 11, 2002 on the Howard Stern Show, Trump was asked if he supported an invasion of Iraq. He replied with tepid support: “Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish it was, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
Here is the audio of that show. Check it at 3:42.
To be honest, this whole thing about the wives has taken the fight out of me a little bit. I felt physically sick when I saw this retweet. Trump really thinks that a woman’s value is determined by her looks, and feels comfortable comparing unflattering pictures of Heidi Cruz to professional model pictures of his own wife. Feast your eyes on this awfulness, I’m going to try to not think about Trump for the rest of the day. I’ll be back tomorrow with some actual lies, instead of just blatant misogyny.
Yesterday Donald Trump continued his display of contempt for women in general and Heidi Cruz in particular by threatening to “spill the beans” on her. This was in response to an ad aired in Utah showing a nude Melania Trump in a GQ ad from 2000 by the super PAC Make America Awesome. She was working as a model at the time, and the girlfriend of Trump.
First the lie: the ad was not Ted Cruz’s ad, as tweeted by Trump, it was from an independent PAC unaffiliated with a candidate. Cruz responded, and corrected the error:
There is a lot of gross to unpack in this whole affair. Firstly, is Make America Awesome trying to slut shame a super model? She’s a model, doing exactly what she wants with her body, it seems unlikely that she was ashamed of those pictures. Furthermore, if a woman works as a model does that make her less worthy of respect or integrity? Gross.
In some sort of sick quid pro quo, Trump then threatens to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife Heidi. What does that even mean? How is possible that a Presidential candidate can openly threaten to blackmail his opponents wife? Gross.
Cruz comes off as the least gross in this sordid bit of mud slinging, but still resorts to name calling and chest puffing. Gross.
In the wake of the Brussels attacks this morning, Donald Trump got onto Fox News and blamed a the city of Brussels for allowing the attack to happen. A rare lone tweet so far today:
In the above video, filled with vitriol about Muslim refugees, he states “We don’t know where [the Syrian refugees] are from, who they are. They could be ISIS. They could be ISIS related. We just don’t learn.”
Trump is apparently unaware of the six point screening process for refugees. Also, he doesn’t seem to understand what a refugee is, and that Syria is a failed state. It is difficult for a government to issue passports in a years long civil war.
Trump goes on to blame Brussels for its lax borders saying “Brussels is an amazing example. Brussels was an absolutely crime free city, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And now you look at it, its a disaster.”
This reeks of racism and xenophobia, implying that Brussels was “absolutely crime free” before they let all of these poor, brown Muslims in. According to Eurostat’s Urban Audit, Brussels had the 4 highest crime rate of European capitals, with a murder rate of 10 per 100,000 people. For a comparison, the US as a whole had a murder rate of 4.5, and Washington DC had a murder rate of 15.9 per 100,000.