Kellyanne Conway bristles over questions about her husband's tweets: 'It's fascinating to me that CNN would go there'
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's husband, George Conway, does not seem to share his wife's boundless enthusiasm for defending President Trump. He has repeatedly tweeted critiques of the president, going after Trump's Twitter habits, his staff turnover, and, most recently, his understanding of the law.
When Conway appeared on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, this was not a topic she wanted to discuss. "It's fascinating to me that CNN would go there, but it's very good for the whole world to have just witnessed ... that it's now fair game how people's spouses and significant others may differ with them," Conway told host Dana Bash.
Bash protested the question was not intended to be critical and had nothing to do with Conway's gender, only her husband's high profile as a conservative lawyer. "Oh, of course it was [critical]," Conway replied. "It was meant to harass and embarrass," she continued, labeling the exchange a "cross the Rubicon moment."
Watch a clip of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian
— Axios (@axios) April 22, 2018
Leaving or attempting to change the nuclear deal will undermine U.S. diplomacy, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, warned in a press conference in New York Saturday.
"That's a very dangerous message to send to people of Iran but also to the people of the world," he said, "that you should never come to an agreement with the United States, because at the end of the day the operating principle of the United States is, 'What's mine is mine; what's yours is negotiable.'"
Zarif made similar comments in a CBS interview Sunday, arguing that exiting the deal "will lead to U.S. isolation in the international community" because it will show "the United States is not a reliable partner," and that "the length or the duration of any agreement would depend on the duration of the presidency."
President Trump faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to maintain the agreement. Watch the full CBS interview below. Bonnie Kristian
The United States' "work in Syria is not done," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Fox News Sunday. "We're not going to leave until we know we have accomplished [U.S. goals]," she continued. "Be very clear, if we leave — when we leave — it will be because we know that everything is moving forward."
Haley listed three goals to be achieved in Syria: no use of chemical weapons in a manner that could harm U.S. interests, complete defeat of the Islamic State, and limiting Iranian influence in Syria. She argued a chemical weapons attack could happen in the United States "if we're not smart."
In an appearance on CBS, she announced new "Russian sanctions will be coming down," likely Sunday or Monday. These new sanctions "will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] and chemical weapons use," she said. "I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it."
Watch the full Fox interview below. Bonnie Kristian
"We have a president who is anti-diplomacy. And I worry that Mike Pompeo has shown the same tendency to oppose diplomacy," Kaine said in a CBS interview. "I don't want a secretary of state who is going to exacerbate [President Trump's] tendencies," he continued. "We need a secretary of state who's going to stand up for strong diplomacy, and I don't believe that is Mike Pompeo."
Now more than ever, we need a Secretary of State who will stand strong for vigorous diplomacy, not exacerbate President Trump's proclivity towards conflict. Unfortunately, Mike Pompeo has often demonstrated a similar disposition against diplomacy, so I will oppose his nomination.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) April 15, 2018
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who are on the Foreign Relations Committee with Kaine, have both indicated they will vote against Pompeo as well. Read The Week's Jim Antle on Paul's rationale and role in determining Pompeo's fate here. Bonnie Kristian
"Our expectation is that we don't think there will be a trade war," Mnuchin said. "Our objective is to continue to have discussions with China. We want to have free and fair reciprocal trade." But "whatever happens in trade," he continued, "I don't expect it to have a meaningful impact on our economy."
Saturday afternoon, President Trump had struck a combative tone about China and trade on Twitter:
The United States hasn’t had a Trade Surplus with China in 40 years. They must end unfair trade, take down barriers and charge only Reciprocal Tariffs. The U.S. is losing $500 Billion a year, and has been losing Billions of Dollars for decades. Cannot continue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2018
Sunday morning, however, he was more optimistic:
President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade. China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said Sunday on ABC nothing has been ruled out as a possible U.S. response to this weekend's suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria. "I wouldn't take anything off the table," Bossert told host Martha Raddatz. "These are horrible photos."
"The pendulum has swung in the wrong direction for too long, and the United States of America has been taken advantage of in their responsibility to provide security for the entire world," Bossert continued. "It is time to move that pendulum back in a way that brings regional partners and others with equities in these matters all around the globe into putting their resources and their treasure and their boys and girls on the line, and not just American troops."
President Trump has vocally opposed regime change efforts, including in Syria, but in his response to this attack, he blamed former President Obama for failing to oust the Bashar al-Assad regime. When Assad was accused of a chemical weapons attack last year, Trump reversed his position on Syria, deciding to respond with a missile strike on regime targets after he was shown photos from the attack.
Watch an excerpt of Bossert's comments below. Bonnie Kristian
In wake of an apparent chemical attack in Syria, would Pres. Trump reconsider pulling out U.S. troops? Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert: “American troops aren’t going to fix this… we need regional partnership increased and we need U.S. presence decreased.” pic.twitter.com/HLujv4nXFz
— ABC News (@ABC) April 8, 2018
When in Washington, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt rents a room in a townhouse co-owned by Vicki Hart, the wife of top energy lobbyist J. Steven Hart, ABC News reported Friday. Whether the rental will be officially deemed an "improper gift" from the lobbyist remains to be seen, but former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) suggested Sunday he doesn't see Pruitt hanging on to his job.
"This was a brutally unprofessional [presidential] transition. This was a transition that didn't vet people for this type of judgment issues," Christie said on ABC's This Week. "If Mr. Pruitt’s going to go, it’s because he never should've been there in the first place," he argued. "I don't know how you survive this one, and if he has to go, it's because he never should have been there in the first place."
Christie's comments on Pruitt came at the end of a broader conversation about Trump administration staff turnover, the Russia investigation, and more. Watch a clip of his remarks below. Bonnie Kristian
Does EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt need to exit the Trump administration following ethics concerns over condo rental? Fmr. Gov. Chris Christie: "I don't know how you survive this one, and if he has to go, it's because he never should have been there in the first place." pic.twitter.com/6QMLkkr7xz
— ABC News (@ABC) April 1, 2018
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Fox News Sunday pushed back on President Trump's interest in ending U.S. military intervention in Syria now that the Islamic State has lost nearly all its territory and power.
"It'd be the single worst decision the president could make," Graham said. "I've seen this movie before when Obama did the same thing in Iraq," the ever-hawkish senator continued. "When it comes to Syria, do not read the Obama playbook, one foot in, one foot out." Graham offered a litany of potential negative consequences for U.S. withdrawal from Syria, simultaneously claiming that ISIS will gain control of the country and that Iran and Russia will do the same.
On the subject of Russia, Graham argued the United States' "problem is that Russia is running wild. Whatever we are doing is not working, and the president, for some reason, has a hard time pushing back against Putin." He suggested modern U.S.-Russia relations feel like a Cold War redux, advising Trump to "look at the Reagan playbook and economically isolate Russia." Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian