Category Archives: Military

Stories about the US or other militaries and their soldiers, civilians and equipment or policies

Trump to cut back Federal civilan employee pay raises….

Anybody who is working FOR the government and voted for this guy?

He just paid ya back in your paycheck…..

President Trump sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday announcing his intention to cut pay raises for civilian government workers.

In the letter, Trump cited his authority in times of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare” to make adjustments to the 2018 pay schedule for federal employees.

Under the previous plan, workers were scheduled for a 1.9 percent bump. Trump will use his authority to lower that to 1.4 percent.

“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a sustainable fiscal course,” Trump wrote.

“A pay increase of this magnitude is not warranted, and Federal agency budgets could not accommodate such an increase while still maintaining support for key Federal priorities such as those that advance the safety and security of the American people.”

Pay raises for government workers outside of Washington, D.C., will average only 0.5 percent and will be specified in a coming executive order, Trump said.

The White House did not respond to a question about how much the government would save from the action or whether it had discussed the matter with offices on Capitol Hill.

Trump will maintain the 2.1 percent pay increase for members of the military…..

More…

Share on Facebook

No…Barack Obama was NOT the President during Hurricane Katrina….

I just wanted to post this after I saw something on twitter where some knucklehead was trying to blame President Obama for the slow response to the tragedy  and comparing that to Trump’s handling  Harvey….

President George W. Bush WAS in office during the storm and for more than THREE YEARS afterwards….

Apparently, there are quite a few people on social media platforms who are – unironically – comparing the way Trump handled Harvey to the way Obama handled Katrina. I guess that makes some people believe that I was being serious, too.  I’ve explained to people who questioned me that I was joking, but one person fired back, “You shouldn’t have joked – now the loonies picked it up & ran with it.”

Really? I’m the reason that they’re running with that.

We reported here at NOLA.com in 2013 the results of a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.  When a pool of Republican primary voters in Louisiana was asked, “Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?,” 29 percent answered Obama.

That was four years before I made a joke mocking such jaw-dropping ignorance….

More…

Share on Facebook

Why does North Korea keep giving Trump the finger?….

Politico’s Jon Wolfsthal , and Obama White House guy, gives several pretty good reasons why Trump may talk the talk, but he he’s kinda stuck…..

If we are going to continue to rely, as we have for decades, on deterrence to prevent a major conflict on the Korean Peninsula, it helps to know both a little about who we are trying to deter and what our deterrence partner thinks about America. As a senior director in the Obama White House charged with coordinating nonproliferation policy, I thought about this question a lot as we tried to ensure our actions and words intended to influence North Korea would send the right deterrent and diplomatic messages to Pyongyang.

After almost 30 years of efforts to prevent a nuclear North Korea, we have demonstrated some patterns; patterns that Kim relies on to guide his decision-making, just as we have come to rely on his patterns to inform ours. We began working to prevent a nuclear North Korea in the late 1980s, and since then five America presidents have tried without final success to achieve this goal. And, to be blunt, the picture these patterns paint is pretty disappointing. Here are a few key lessons we have to assume Kim lives by based on what we have said and done over the last three decades….

First, America wants a deal….

Second, America says our isolation is getting worse, but more and more money keeps coming in….

Third, America talks about military options, but they are not going to start a war with us….

Fourth, America is losing ground in the region…..

Here for the explanation on the above….

Share on Facebook

Mexico offers to help to Houston flood effort…Gets no answer from Trump State Dept?

Politics vs Saving lives?

Mexico sent manpower and supplies during Katrina….

Image result for mexican help during katrina

They are offering help again…

Texas Governor Abbott  (A Republican) has accepted…..

Trump’s State Department hasn’t answered….

Some reports in Mexico say  the help in on the way….

Mexico reached out to the United States over the weekend, offering to assist with Hurricane Harvey, as it did in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, when it sent a convoy of soldiers to aid emergency relief efforts a week after the levees were breached.

But this extended hand—whether genuinely necessary or merely a gesture of solidarity—has gone officially unacknowledged.

Despite reports in Mexico that the proposed aid is on its way, it is not clear that the U.S. has accepted the offer at all. Mexico’s undersecretary of foreign affairs, Carlos Sada, told the BBC that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott “immediately accepted”—but that was pending approval from President Donal Trump.

A spokesperson at the State Department clarified in an email, “If a need for assistance does arise, we will work with our partners, including Mexico, to determine the best way forward.” A spokesperson at Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs—unauthorized to speak on the record—said, “Texas hasn’t answered,” nor has the federal government….

More…

image…the star.com

Share on Facebook

Texas Harvey storm will come back on land soon…Recovery will be long and slow…

…from the NY Times….

As one of the most destructive storms in the nation’s history pummeled southeast Texas for a fourth day, forecasts on Tuesday morning called for still more rain, making clear that catastrophic flooding that had turned neighborhoods into lakes was just the start of a disaster that would take years to overcome.

Local, state and federal officials conceded that the scale of the crisis was so vast that they were nowhere near being able to measure it, much less fully address it.

Across a region that is home to millions of people and includes Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, no one has a clear idea how many people are missing, how many evacuated, how many hunkered down or were trapped in their waterlogged homes, or how many inundated houses and vehicles are beyond saving.

President Trump landed in storm-brushed Corpus Christi on Tuesday morning to see for himself some of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Harvey and demonstrate his personal commitment to a region still in the grips of a historic natural disaster.

Mr. Trump, who pushed aides to schedule a visit to Texas as early as possible after Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, initially considered touring San Antonio, which is outside the most hard-hit areas. But he settled on Corpus Christi because it was 30 miles away from the most severely impacted parts of the Gulf Coast, and suffered relatively light damage from the initial impact of the storm.

“It’s a real team, and we want to do it better than ever before,” Mr. Trump said of the response effort during a meeting with officials from local, state and federal agencies in a Corpus Christi firehouse. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.”

Photo

An off ramp of Beltway 8 in Houston became a boat launch for rescuers searching for people stranded in floodwaters. CreditTamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Local officials reported 10 deaths possibly related to the storm, six of them in Harris County, which includes Houston. But the painstaking and heartbreaking work of clearing streets, going door to door, assessing damage — and finding victims — has not yet begun.

Scenes of people and pets being rescued from the roofs and upper floors of houses revived memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when early estimates vastly understated both the material devastation and the death toll, and recovery efforts lasted years.

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said on Monday that he expected more than 450,000 people to apply for federal assistance.

“We’re going to be here for several years helping you guys recover,” he said. “The state of Texas is about to undergo one of the largest recovery housing missions the nation has ever seen.”

For the time being, efforts are focused on the most basic elements of keeping people alive — plucking stranded survivors from the flood, providing shelter, food and water, and restoring electricity to hundreds of thousands of people who were left without power…

More…

President Trump landed in storm-brushed Corpus Christi on Tuesday morning to see for himself some of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Harvey and demonstrate his personal commitment to a region still in the grips of a historic natural disaster.

Mr. Trump, who pushed aides to schedule a visit to Texas as early as possible after Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, initially considered touring San Antonio, which is outside the most hard-hit areas. But he settled on Corpus Christi because it was 30 miles away from the most severely impacted parts of the Gulf Coast, and suffered relatively light damage from the initial impact of the storm.

“It’s a real team, and we want to do it better than ever before,” Mr. Trump said of the response effort during a meeting with officials from local, state and federal agencies in a Corpus Christi firehouse. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.”….

More…

Share on Facebook

Trump holdover in the VA is a Trump Admin good guy?

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is pictured. | Cliff Owen/AP Photo.

Sure is….

One of the several Obama guys that is still on the job gets kudos from his boss….

VA Secretary David Shulkin has proved to be something unique in President Donald Trump’s Washington: an Obama appointee nominated by Trump who is beloved by almost everyone and getting stuff done.

By tweaking regulations, he has managed to fire hundreds of allegedly incompetent employees, publicized waiting times at Veterans Affairs clinics, gotten money to expand vets’ treatment by private doctors, and expanded care for isolated vets through telemedicine and mobile phones, while promising to close 430 vacant VA buildings and speed up benefit awards. Shulkin also made a bold — and risky — decision to bypass contracting rules to buy a $16 billion digital health record system.

“What motivates me and what motivates Dr. Shulkin is the same, to provide the best care to veterans,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. “I don’t know whether he’s a Republican or Democrat, and I could care less.”

But there’s a reason Shulkin was Trump’s fourth choice for the VA job — or possibly the fifth, or the 10th, depending on whom you ask. The VA, with 350,000 employees and 1,250 health care sites, is a political quagmire. Not many people want to clean up others’ messes with hundreds of people looking over their shoulder.

The VA’s conservative critics are holding their fire now that a GOP administration and Congress control the agency….

More…

Share on Facebook

Our best wishes for the people of Texas…Open Thread for 8/27/17

As the rain continues and the flooding gets worst?

We hope the best for their safety down there…

We hope that the politicians can come together and proved those assets needle for search and rescue and support service for those made homeless and stuck on roof tops of houses and cars….

Amen…

…twitter….

“This is the worst because it’s not stopping”: the extraordinary Houston floods

Share on Facebook

Cops will resume getting surplus military equipment…

No surprise here…

After The Charlottesville violence you KNEW this was coming…

In addition, Under Atty Gen. Sessions, there will less losing at local and state police actions from the Feds…

Image result for Police military surplus equipment

The Trump administration is preparing to restore the flow of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.

The government program had been sharply curtailed by the Obama administration amid an outcry over police use of armored vehicles and other war-fighting gear to confront protesters.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press indicate President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order undoing an Obama-era directive that restricted police access to military grenade launchers, firearms, ammunition and other gear.

The documents say Trump’s order would fully restore the program….

More….

image of a Stanford Police military surplus UH-1 ‘Huey’ Helo….Standfort Advocate….

Share on Facebook

White House to direct the Pentagon…No more Transgenders….

But they will leave it up to Defense Dept. on if they want to keep a transgender in the service…

The White House is almost ready to issue guidance to the Pentagon on the implementation of President Trump’s proposal to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that a White House memo will direct the Defense Department on details related to Trump’s intention to bar transgender people from being admitted to the military.

Under the new policy, Defense Secretary James Mattis would have to consider a service member’s ability to deploy in deciding whether to remove them from the military.

Trump announced via Twitter last month that he would reinstate a ban on transgender military service that was lifted last year under former President Barack Obama.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had clarified that there would be no practical modifications to Pentagon policies until the White House issued detailed guidance on the reimplemented ban….

More…

Share on Facebook

Sen Rand Paul….Bring the troops home from Afghanistan….

The Kentucky Republican Senator does a Op-Ed…..

Image result for rand paul

The Trump administration is increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan and, by doing so, keeping us involved even longer in a 16-year-old war that has long since gone past its time.

The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose, and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war. It’s time to come home now.

Our war in Afghanistan began in a proper fashion. We were attacked on 9/11. The Taliban, who then controlled Afghanistan, were harboring al Qaeda, and after being warned, and after an authorization from Congress, our military executed a plan to strike back. Had I been in Congress then, I would have voted to authorize this military action.

But as is typical, there was significant mission creep in Afghanistan. We went from striking back against those who attacked us, to regime change, to nation-building, to policing their country for them. And we do it all now with an authorization that is flimsy at best, with the reason blurred, and the costs now known. We do it with an authorization that was debated and passed before some of our newest military personnel were out of diapers. This isn’t fair to them, to the American people, or to a rational foreign policy.

The Afghanistan war going beyond its original mission has an enormous cost. First and most important is the cost to our troops. Deaths, injuries and unnecessary deployments causing harm to families are certainly the most important reason as to why you don’t go to wars that aren’t necessary.

Then comes the taxpayer. We have spent over $1 trillion in Afghanistan, and nearly $5 trillion on Middle East wars in the past 15 years. Would we not be better off with $5 trillion less in debt or using these funds in other, more productive ways?

Nation-building should not be our job, and it has consistently been a fool’s errand for us, particularly in this region. There is no reason to believe we can do it in Afghanistan, and certainly no reason to believe we can do it without a permanent, costly presence in the country.

So I strongly disagree with the administration’s actions here….

More…

image…washingtonpost.com

Share on Facebook

Trump will announce increased ‘boots on the ground’ to Afghanistan….

His National Security Advisor McMaster was a planner during the first US/Allied effort in that country under Bush and Obama….

But President Obama worked hard to get the troops home….

Image result for afghanistan war

President Trump is now being pushed to increase the American and NATO military footprint bring back into the Middle East….

He will give Sec Def Mattis and McMaster the authorization to use more Spec Ops and Private Mercenaries to carry out this escalation back that region….

Be aware ….

If the number of troop deaths increase there will media focus on the US overall policy in the region and the cost….

Trump DID promise that money that will go into this should have gone into America…That clip is already being played in the media….

Trump is expected to authorize about 4,000 more U.S. troops for counter-terrorism missions, as well as U.S. advisors to work closer to the front lines with Afghan military officers in America’s longest war.

The new forces will join the 8,400 U.S. and 5,000 North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops who now train and advise Afghan security forces as they seek to quell a resurgent Taliban, Islamic State militants and other militias that have plunged the war-torn nation into deeper chaos over the last year.

Adding more U.S. forces would reverse President Obama’s decision last year to withdraw 1,400 troops. Obama declared an end to U.S. combat in Afghanistan in 2014.

The new Trump strategy also aims to pressure Pakistan, a nominal U.S. ally, to take greater measures to crack down on Taliban insurgents and other militant groups that launch cross-border raids into Afghanistan.

Whether the strategy will restore stability is far from clear. Despite a variety of American initiatives, the Taliban holds sway over rural areas and controls more territory now than at any time since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 toppled the group from power, according to U.N. estimates.

In a statement, the White House said Trump would address the nation at 9 p.m. EDT Monday from Ft. Myer, outside Washington, instead of the White House or the New Jersey golf resort where he has spent most of the month.

Trump will “provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement” in Afghanistan and South Asia, the statement said.

Trump’s decision emerged from a meeting he held Friday with Vice President Mike Pence, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, national security advisor H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and other top advisors at the presidential retreat at Camp David, a rustic compound in rural Maryland…..

More….

image….lobelog.com

Share on Facebook

The Putin-Trump thing is OVER……

While Donald Trump tried  hard to get in bed with the guy?

The actions of the Obama, American Intel community,  Congress and the Mueller investigation have stopped THAT effort dead in its tracks…

It appears that the Russian President has returned back to form….

Image result for Putin glasses

Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed a hard-line critic of the U.S. who’s blacklisted by the European Union over the Ukraine crisis as his new ambassador to Washington.

Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov will succeed Sergey Kislyak, the Russian envoy embroiled in controversy over contacts between the Kremlin and members of Donald Trump’s campaign team in the 2016 presidential elections. Antonov will also be Russia’s permanent observer at the Organization of American States, the Kremlin said in a website statement Monday.

The appointment, which had been expected for some time, comes amid growing Kremlin disillusionment with Trump, who campaigned on pledges to improve ties but has failed to deliver as president amid investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the elections.

As relations have soured, Russia and the U.S. have engaged in punitive tit-for-tat measures involving their embassies. The U.S. announced on Monday that it’s slashing visa services in Russia after the Kremlin ordered it to cut two-thirds of staff at its embassy and consulates. Russia said it took that step in reaction to new sanctions legislation passed by the U.S. Congress last month, as well as over Trump’s failure to reverse a December order by then President Barack Obama to expel 35 Russian diplomats and seize two embassy compounds in response to the alleged election interference…..

More….

image…reddit.com

Share on Facebook

Another US Navy Destroyer runs into a merchant ship in Asia waters….Update

The US Navy HAS a problem….

This is the second incident with a US Navy warship ( The USS John McCain,  of all ship ‘s ) colliding with a merchant ship in TWO months with causalities to the Navy crew….

This is another Destroyer captain that is gonna lose his job. after losing sailors who depend his command….

American naval ships have been in Asia waters for centuries  and not have loses like this in none-war times….

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer war ship’s are the navies best and most technically advanced with supposedly highly trained crews….

The guided-missile destroyer, the John S. McCain, was passing east of the Strait of Malacca on its way to a port visit in Singapore at 5:24 a.m. local time, before dawn broke, when it collided with the Alnic MC, a 600-foot vessel that transports oil and chemicals, the Navy said. The destroyer was damaged near the rear on its port, or left-hand, side.

Half a day after the crash, 10 sailors on the ship remained unaccounted for. Five others were injured, none with life-threatening conditions, a Navy official said. Ships with the Singaporean and Malaysian navies and helicopters from the assault ship America were rushing to search for survivors.

Families of the ship’s crew members waited through the night in the United States, hoping for news of their loved ones.

“No word yet but some sailors have called on cell to families,” wrote Marla Meriano, the mother of Meghan Meriano, a 24-year-old electrical officer, in a Facebook post. “Thank you for all the prayers and remarks,” she wrote two hours later. “God has his plan and we serve him.”

The collision occurred in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, a narrow waterway of strategic significance connecting the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea, where Beijing has been challenging American naval dominance. It immediately raised questions about the training and safety record of Navy ships, coming just two months after another Navy destroyer collided with a freighter off Japan, killing seven American sailors.

“Clearly this is an annus horribilis for the U.S. Navy,” said Euan Graham, the director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia.

The John S. McCain being guided by a tugboat outside Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday. CreditRoslan Rahman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“It is really hard to understand with all the technology that’s out there in the world on a boat, especially a naval destroyer that’s supposed to be the best in the world,” said Kirk Patterson, a former dean of the Japan campus of Temple University who has crossed the Pacific in a sailboat and circumnavigated Japan. For a destroyer to be hit by an oil tanker would be “like an F1 sports car and a garbage truck. Which one is going to be able to avoid the collision? An F1 racing car equipped with state-of-the-art missiles.”….

More….

UPDATE….

US Navy plans 1-day operational pause following warship collisions

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson is expected to order a rare operational pause across the entire US Navy, a US defense official told CNN.

The pause is a one-day safety stand-down that would be done over the course of a couple weeks and at the discretion of individual commands, the source said.
The operational pause comes in the wake of the USS John McCain’s collision with an oil tankereast of Singapore early Monday — the fourth accident in Asian waters this year….
Share on Facebook

Steve Bannon just gave a lefty media editor an interview….

Huh?

We KNOW he likes to stir things up, but this move is crazy…..

And actually makes his boss, the President look BAD.…(Is he spilling Foreign Policy here?)

Maybe after the Trump’s…’Steve a nice guy’ thing he don’t want the job anymore?

‘Loose lips sink ship, eh?’

Steve Bannon’s White House colleagues can’t believe what they’re reading tonight — and here’s the twist: neither can Bannon.

The White House chief strategist has told associates he never intended to do an “interview” with an editor at the American Prospect, a left-wing publication.

Bannon has told associates that he admired the author’s stance on China, and so called the journalist, Robert Kuttner, on Tuesday, to discuss his piece. Apparently Bannon never thought that the journalist might take his (very newsworthy) comments and turn them into a story. It’s Anthony Scaramucci all over again (minus the curse words.)

The result is not good for Bannon, who is already under pressure, with colleagues lined up against him and a president who agrees with him ideologically but tells associates he thinks Bannon is a leaker.

Here’s what one of Bannon’s colleagues — somebody who’s not an enemy of his — told me after reading the piece: “Since Steve apparently enjoys casually undermining U.S. national security, I’ll put this in terms he’ll understand: This is DEFCON 1-level bad.”….

More…

Here are some things that Bannon’s colleagues tell me bother them about the interview — an article that appears to be so well-read that it’s crashing the American Prospect’s servers:

  • The liberal journalist Bannon called — Robert Kuttner — is no friend of Trump’s. As Kuttner writes, “I’d just published a column on how China was profiting from the U.S.-North Korea nuclear brinkmanship, and it included some choice words about Bannon’s boss. ‘In Kim, Trump has met his match,’ I wrote. ‘The risk of two arrogant fools blundering into a nuclear exchange is more serious than at any time since October 1962.'”
  • Bannon undercut the president’s stance on North Korea: “Contrary to Trump’s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said: ‘There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
Share on Facebook

US Top Service General’s come out against racism…

The general’s do NOT point to one group vs another giving them wiggle room with their boss , the President…

But some have to looking at this as a snub to Trump from his beloved general’s….

Nearly all of the nation’s top military leaders unequivocally condemned racism in public messages Wednesday, posing a stark and unusual contrast to President Donald Trump’s remarks that both white supremacists and counterprotesters were equally to blame for the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

The brass did not mention Trump specifically but made clear they would not tolerate racism in the ranks, after it was revealed that some former troops attended and helped organize the deadly white supremacist rally that singled out minorities and Jews.

Dillon Ulysses Hopper, who helped to organize the protest in Charlottesville, reportedly served in the Marine Corps, including tours overseas and time as a recruiter. James Alex Fields Jr., who is accused of running over counter protesters with his car, killing one woman, also reportedly washed out of Army basic training. And NBC reportedWednesday that a leading neo-Nazi recently re-tweeted by Trump is an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve whose security clearance has been revoked.

“The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks,” Army Chief Gen. Mark Milley tweeted early Wednesday, one of a number of members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to feel the need to restate the military’s commitment to diversity. “It’s against our Values and everything we’ve stood for since 1775.”

He was joined by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, the only member of the Joint Chiefs who is Jewish, who tweeted that “we’re always stronger together.”

The charge was led by Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, who after the clashes on Saturday posted on Facebook that the Navy “will forever stand against intolerance and hatred.”…

More…

Share on Facebook

Donald Trump goes back to blaming White AND Black’s for Virginia racial violence…

Yesterday , under pressure, after 48 hours,  he disavowing the actions of White Power/Nazi supporter actions at the Charlotte Virginia protest’s that ended with 20 injuries and 3 related deaths…

His first response was say white and black activists where at fault even as media footage showed  black and white counter demonstrators to the White Power supporters being assaulted..

Image result for Trump

Today in an impromptu presser Trump  went back on those his words and  said he believed that the anti-White supporters where to blame for the violence…

Reaction to his turn about has been swift and widespread ….

Including Republicans out of and within the government and military…

Donald Trump, it appears, was NOT happy with efforts to get him to hang the responsibility of the violence on the White Power group….

Make no mistake?

This is NOT about the racial aspects of this story…

This IS about a man who does NOT like to be told what to DO and FIGHTS back at it….

President Trump reverted Tuesday to blaming both sides for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., and at one point questioned whether the movement to pull down Confederate statues would lead to the desecration of memorials to George Washington.

Abandoning his precisely chosen and carefully delivered condemnations of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis from a day earlier, the president furiously defended his initial reaction to the unrest in Charlottesville. He drew the very moral equivalency for which a bipartisan chorus, and his own advisers, had already criticized him.

“I think there is blame on both sides,” the president said in a combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”

Mr. Trump defended those gathered in a Charlottesville park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”

He criticized “alt-left” groups that he claimed were “very, very violent” when they sought to confront the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups that had gathered in Charlottesville.

“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Mr. Trump said. “This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” he said, noting that the first American president had owned slaves.

It was a remarkable rejection of the criticism he confronted after waiting two days before naming the right-wing groups in the bloodshed that ended with the death of a young woman after a car driven by a white supremacist, who was later charged with second-degree murder, crashed into a crowd of protesters.

Mr. Trump accused people he called the “alt-left” of “swinging clubs” as they “came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right.” He said some of the right-wing members of the crowd in the Virginia park were “bad.” But he added that the other side came “charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”

Aides had urged him for days to take the high ground, persuading him on Monday to read a brief statement condemning the neo-Nazi groups from the Diplomatic Room in the White House. But over the past day, back in his private New York residence for the first time since becoming president, Mr. Trump was alone, without his wife and young son, and consuming hours of television, with many on cable news telling him he had not done enough.

On Monday night, he was tweeting his frustration, accusing the “fake media” of never being satisfied. But by Tuesday morning, the president was fuming again. At a scheduled event about the permitting process for infrastructure, Mr. Trump asked for questions — contrary to the wishes of his aides, including John F. Kelly, his new chief of staff, who stood to the side, looking grim….

More…

The president’s rhetorical ricochet — from declining on Saturday to name the bad guys in the violent confrontation in Charlottesville to his muted acknowledgment Monday that neo-Nazis and white supremacists “are criminals and thugs” and then Tuesday to a classic doubling down on his original remarks — seemed almost perfectly designed to highlight some basic truths about Donald Trump: He does not like to be told what to say. He will always find a way to pull the conversation back to himself. And he is preternaturally inclined to dance with the ones who brought him.

As his top aides stood behind him in the lobby of Trump Tower Tuesday, looking like they were wondering whether it was possible to slide right into the pink marble, the president fielded questions about the aftermath of the Charlottesville confrontation between far-right marchers and those who protested against them….

More…

Share on Facebook