Circus Trumpsimus
September 22, 2018

President Trump seemed to respond Friday night at a rally in Missouri to the day's report that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein considered invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from the Oval Office.

"Just look at what is now being exposed in our Department of Justice and the FBI. Look at what's going on," Trump said, never mentioning Rosenstein by name. "And I want to tell you, we have great people in the Department of Justice. We have great people. These are people, I really believe, you take a poll, I gotta be at 95 percent. But you got some real bad ones. You've seen what's happened at the FBI. They're all gone. They're all gone. They're all gone. But there's a lingering stench, and we're going to get rid of that too."

Trump also again weighed in on the sexual assault allegation against his Supreme Court nominee. Brett Kavanaugh is a "fantastic man" who was "born for the U.S. Supreme Court," the president said, promising his audience the confirmation would go through. "We have to fight for him, not worry about the other side," Trump said. "And by the way, women are for that more than anybody would understand."

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll published Thursday found a plurality of Americans now oppose Kavanaugh's nomination, and his rising unpopularity is significantly due to shifting attitudes among women since the allegation came to light. Bonnie Kristian

August 5, 2018

President Trump gave a typically freewheeling performance at his rally for Republican congressional candidate Troy Balderson in Ohio Saturday night.

Significantly, the president seemed to concede the existence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and U.S. life more broadly. "We have to stop it. We have to stop meddling and stop everybody from attacking us," he said. "But there are a lot. Russia is there; China is there. We are doing well with North Korea, but they're probably there."

Trump also touched on "the elite" — "I have better everything than they have," he told a cheering crowd — and Republicans who oppose him — "I only destroy their career because they said bad things about me." And he hit on familiar themes like his contempt for the media, declaring MSNBC "so corrupt ... so disgusting" and basking in chants of "CNN sucks!"

In an attempted swipe at Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who lost his 2018 primary race after criticizing Trump, the president said Sanford "likes flamingo [sic] dancers from Argentina," referring to Sanford's infidelity scandal in 2009. The word for which Trump was seeking is "flamenco."

Watch the full speech below. Bonnie Kristian

July 28, 2018

President Trump has asked aides to ban reporters he considers "disrespectful" or "impertinent" from covering White House events, The Washington Post reported Friday evening.

"These people shouting questions are the worst," the president has said, according to the Post's administration source. "Why do we have them in here?"

Before this week, when CNN journalist Kaitlan Collins was told she could not cover a Rose Garden event, White House staff have resisted Trump's requests.

The president has also "privately discussed with aides retaliating against individual journalists," the Post reports, including revoking press credentials. However, his comments were often interpreted as a way to express frustration rather than a direct order.

As a candidate in 2015, Trump said he would not revoke press credentials for reporters he does not like. "It doesn't mean I'd be nice to them," he added. "I tend to do what I do. If people aren't treating me right, I don't treat them right." Bonnie Kristian

June 23, 2018

Implementation of President Trump's hastily crafted executive order reversing his administration's policy of separating families at the border reportedly has the executive branch in chaos. "It was policy based on a PR-messaging impulse," light on detail and heavy on speed, a source familiar with administration discussions told Politico.

Trump originally wanted to make comprehensive immigration law by fiat, a Friday night Washington Post story says, but was told by government attorneys that was not possible (or, as one unnamed official put it, "a pretty insane idea"). He then demanded the order on family separation be crafted in less than one day to quell public uproar, a quick solution Politico reports has left the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Defense unsure of how to proceed.

Especially uncertain, says ABC News, is how to reunite families already separated. All migrant children in the care of Customs and Border Protection have been returned to their families, but up to 3,000 are still held by the Department of Health and Human Services, and some have been shipped clear across the country.

"It's devastating because I already know when I meet [clients] for the first time, and they start telling me that they are [a] parent, that I'm not gonna have the answers that they want in any time that they should have," Texas immigration lawyer Erik A. Henshaw told ABC. "I don't know if I'll find them during their case. I don't know if it'll happen when you get to immigration proceedings. I don't know if you're going to be deported or removed and have never actually found and/or had contact with your child." Bonnie Kristian

April 29, 2018

President Trump on Saturday threatened to shut down the federal government in September if Congress does not appropriate funds for his much-promised wall construction along the southern border.

"We have to have borders, and we have to have them fast. And we need security. We need the wall. We're going to have it all," he said at a campaign-style rally in Michigan. "We come up again on September 28, and if we don't get border security we will have no choice: We will close down the country because we need border security."

On the campaign trail, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. Watch his comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

April 29, 2018

President Trump skipped the White House Correspondents' Dinner for a campaign-style rally in Washington, Michigan, Saturday evening. "Is this better than that phony Washington White House correspondents thing? Is this more fun?" he asked his approving audience.

Trump's talk hit on familiar themes: the need to maintain GOP control of Congress ("We gotta go out, and we gotta fight like hell"); former FBI Director James Comey ("a liar and a leaker"); immigration ("We have the worst laws anywhere in the world"); and Kanye West ("He gets it").

The president spoke hopefully of further progress toward peace with North Korea, and the crowd chanted "Nobel!" in response, referencing the Nobel Peace Prize. "I had one of the fake news groups this morning. They were saying, 'What do you think President Trump had to do with [North Korea's pledge to work toward denuclearization]?'" Trump said. "I'll tell you what. Like, how about everything?"

On Twitter Sunday morning, Trump dubbed the night a win:

Watch Trump's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian

March 27, 2018

President Trump insists he wants to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the Russia probe, so NPR did a little digging into the president's many depositions past to get an idea of how that conversation may play out. A common theme in Trump's behavior was lack of preparation, as perfectly typified in this exchange from a 2016 deposition:

Baum: What did you do to prepare for the case today, for the deposition?

Trump: I would say virtually nothing. I — I spoke with my counsel for a short period of time. I just arrived here, and we proceeded to the deposition.

Baum: Thank you. So you didn't look at any documents or —

Trump: No, I didn't.

Baum: — anything. [NPR]

Trump also displayed a habit of disregarding his lawyers' advice, willingly and even boastfully answering questions to which they objected. His responses were sometimes contradictory: In one 2011 conversation, he first claimed to be involved in all the decision-making in his organization and then professed ignorance of individual decisions. Trump admitted inattention to pertinent legal documents, like the very deposition notice that had summoned him to appear.

The president was also rude to his interviewers. "I think they're stupid questions you're asking me," he said in the 2011 session. "I think you're asking very stupid questions." Perhaps the rumors that Trump is having trouble securing legal representation don't seem so stupid, though. Bonnie Kristian

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

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