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Debbie Wasserman Schultz tells Fox Business that Donald Trump ‘believes he was elected dictator’

Debbie Wasserman Schultz blasted President Trump Tuesday morning, a day after he fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for what the White House called “refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”

“I think it’s important to note that she did exactly what she said she would do if she was given an order by the President of the United States, which she believed violated the law,” the former Democratic National Committee chair said on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria.”

“Her answer to Jeff Sessions was that she would make sure that the Department of Justice followed the law,” Wasserman Schultz added.

Wasserman Schultz was referring to Yates’ 2015 Senate confirmation hearing as deputy attorney general, when she was grilled about being able to challenge Barack Obama if she disagreed with him. That’s when Sessions was Senator from Alabama. Now he’s poised to become the next U.S. Attorney General for Donald Trump.

“And frankly, because President Trump did absolutely nothing to consult the Department of Justice, his Secretary of Homeland Security, any members of Congress, the leadership of Congress, since they basically slapped this policy together in which they were barring immigrants and refugees for a period of time from countries, by the way, none of which had the 9/11 attackers come from,” the South Florida Democrat continued.

“When will the Democrats give us our Attorney General and rest of Cabinet! They should be ashamed of themselves! No wonder D.C. doesn’t work!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Wasserman Schultz reprimanded Trump for that tweet, saying: “The President’s tweet this morning was very interesting and telling because it shows that he believes he was elected as a dictator. There is an ‘advise and consent’ role in the United States Senate, and that is what they are doing. He doesn’t just get to have his nominations rubber stamped, and he has nominated some very disturbing individuals.”

 

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Americans feat they’ll lose coverage with Obamacare repeal: Poll

Though “Obamacare” still divides Americans, a majority worry that many will lose coverage if the 2010 law is repealed in the nation’s long-running political standoff over health care.

new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 56 percent of U.S. adults are “extremely” or “very” concerned that many will lose health insurance if the health overhaul is repealed. That includes more than 8 in 10 Democrats, nearly half of independents, and more than 1 in 5 Republicans. Another 45 percent of Republicans say they’re “somewhat” concerned.

“No one should go without health care for even a day,” said Wendy Narug of DeMotte, Indiana, a small town south of Gary. A political independent who leans Republican, Narug works caring for people with disabilities. She favors repealing the Affordable Care Act, but not until Congress and President Donald Trump have a replacement ready.

Released Friday, the poll serves as a reality check for Republicans as they try to find a path to repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation. It found that even as few Americans want to keep the health law in its current form, many provisions enjoy broad popularity. The exception: the law’s requirement that most Americans carry health insurance or face fines.

“They should come up with something that’s a little easier and more affordable for everyone,” said Narug. “Some people have to pay hundreds of dollars just to go to their doctors.”

The health law offers subsidized private insurance for those who don’t have job-based coverage, along with a state option to expand Medicaid for low-income people. About 20 million people have gained coverage since it passed. Employer coverage has also increased, but experts credit the law for the vast majority of the gains. Some 28 million people remain uninsured.

Trump has said he wants to replace “Obamacare” with a plan that provides insurance for everybody and lowers deductibles. But his pick for health secretary recently cast doubt on the notion that a Trump administration replacement is ready to go. Questions remained after Trump attended the GOP congressional retreat in Philadelphia this week.

Overall, Americans remain divided, with 53 percent wanting to keep the law in some form, and 46 percent favoring its repeal.

Most of those who favor repeal say that should happen only when a replacement is ready. And most of those who want to keep the law say changes are needed. Among those who favor keeping it, only 1 in 4 think it should remain unchanged.

“If the Affordable Care Act was affordable, I would have no problems with it,” said Kevin Wollersheim, a delivery truck driver from the Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins. “Costs were supposed to go down, or at least not go up at such a high rate.”

Wollersheim is uninsured and expects he’ll have to pay about $200 in fines at tax time for failing to comply with the law’s coverage requirement. He said he didn’t even bother to look this year because premiums on Minnesota’s individual insurance market jumped by 50 percent and more.

That coverage requirement – known as the individual mandate – is a top target for Trump and GOP lawmakers.

The poll found that only about 1 in 3 support it, while just over half are opposed. Among Republicans, opposition rises to nearly 3 in 4.

“Don’t fine people; just make it affordable,” said Madlyen Sharp, a retired factory worker from West Plains, Mo., near the Ozarks.

The requirement was modeled on one that former GOP Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts in 2006, designed to get healthy people into the insurance pool and help control premiums. At the federal level, it narrowly survived a Supreme Court challenge in 2012.

Although the Obama administration argued that the mandate was essential for stable insurance markets, the main insurance industry trade group recently told Congress there are other workable alternatives. Trump’s executive order on health care opened the way for broader “hardship” exemptions.

Other major provisions of the health care law fared far better in the poll. They included elimination of out-of-pocket costs for preventive care (favored by 77 percent), allowing young adults to stay on parental plans until age 26 (73 percent), forbidding insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health problems (69 percent), and the Medicaid expansion (66 percent). The first three are favored even by most of those who would get rid of the law.

Although Trump and other Republicans have made it seem like “repeal and replace” would be an easy matter, many Americans seem to question that.

“Obamacare” is like “a 1,500-foot battleship driving along,” said Michael Wolski of Lakeland, Fla., who administers a homeless shelter. “The infrastructure has already been changed. It’s already in place. (Trump) can’t just rescind it. And what’s he going to replace it with?”

The AP-NORC poll of 1,036 adults was conducted Jan. 12-16, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Rick Scott: Obamacare expanded the welfare state

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has asserted that he is helping President Donald Trump work on a replacement for “Obamacare,” made his feelings known about the Affordable Care Act again on Friday.

In an editorial on CNN‘s website, Scott made a number of points.

Among them, that the Affordable Care Act was nothing more than an expansion of the welfare state, and an usurpation of state’s rights when it comes to handling Medicaid.

“With Obamacare,” Scott writes, “President Obama enacted a massive expansion of the welfare state. And, not surprisingly, Obamacare has resulted in widespread increases in premiums and costs are expected to continue increasing.”

Scott’s preferred option — and likely the one the Trump administration will land on — block grants to the states for low-income health care.

“States can do a far better job administering the Medicaid program than the federal government can. If Florida is given the flexibility to run our own Medicaid program, we will be more efficient and less wasteful than the federal government,” Scott notes.

“Liberal Democrats,” asserts Gov. Scott, “have a game plan for America: everything for free, provided by the government, paid for with your tax dollars. There is a name for this approach, and it is called socialism. President Obama gave it a try, and in the process he proved what we already knew — it does not work.”

“Government assistance must be the last resort,” Scott adds, “not the first stop. This is no time for Republicans to go wobbly or get weak in the knees about repealing Obamacare. If we refuse to roll back the welfare state, what real purpose do we serve?”

With many people expecting Scott, termed out next year, to challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for his Senate seat, an oped like this serves multiple purposes.

It reminds national conservatives that, when it came to Medicaid expansion, the governor fought Washington and won.

It allows the governor to frame the current debate around what he has accomplished in Florida.

And, most importantly, it provides a framework for what might come out of Washington this year regarding reform of the current health care schematic.

Expect more op-eds like this in the weeks ahead.

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Charlie Crist slams the GOP for ‘extreme measures’ on women’s reproductive rights

Following moves by President Trump and the GOP-led Congress this week on abortion, St. Petersburg Democratic Representative Charlie Crist is blasting D.C. Republicans on the issue of women’s reproductive rights.

“This past weekend, I stood with thousands of my neighbors in St. Petersburg, Florida to demand the protection of women’s health and rights – a message that was echoed by a million others nationwide,” Crist said. ” And how did Republicans in Washington respond to this call to action?  By pushing forward several extreme measures attacking women’s healthcare and reproductive rights.  This alone is outrageous.  Even worse, these actions will particularly hurt low-income families, young people, and women of color.”

Among the decisions that Crist was criticizing was a vote on H.R. 7 , sponsored by New Jersey Republican Chris Smith. The bill permanently bans the use of federal funds for abortion and prohibits anyone who receives subsidies to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from purchasing a plan that covers abortion.

On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order banning foreign nongovernmental organizations that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling health clients about abortion or advocating for abortion law liberalization. Ronald Reagan originally issued the so-called Mexico City policy in 1984. Bill Clinton reversed it when he took office. George W. Bush put it back into play in 2001, and Barack Obama reversed it in 2009.

However, according to Mark Leon Goldberg with UN DispatchTrump’s executive order goes beyond what previous Republican Presidents have done on this issue:

Rather than applying the Global Gag Rule exclusively to US assistance for family planning in the developing world, which amounts to about $575 million per year, the Trump memo applies it to “global health assistance furnished by all department or agencies.” In other words, NGOs that distribute bed nets for malaria, provide childhood vaccines, support early childhood nutrition and brain development, run HIV programs, fight ebola or Zika, and much more, must now certify their compliance with the Global Gag Rule or risk losing US funds. According to analysis from PAI, a global health NGO, this impacts over $9 billion of US funds, or about 15 times more than the previous iteration of the Global Gag Rule which only impacted reproductive health assistance.

Crist says “we will not stop fighting” for women’s reproductive rights.

“Women’s rights are human rights, and no matter where you live, what insurance you qualify for, or your income – all women should have equal access to quality, comprehensive healthcare,” he said.

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Bill Nelson sounds off on Donald Trump’s “rocky” first week in office

Although U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s press conference on Wednesday in Tampa was ostensibly to discuss President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to spend up to one trillion dollars improving the nation’s infrastructurehe spent considerable time discussing – and criticizing- some of the moves that the newly-inaugurated president has made in his first week in office.

Nelson has voted against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Mike Pompeo for CIA Director, and he says he’ll oppose Rex Tillerson when the former ExxonMobil CEO’s name comes up for a confirmation vote for Secretary of State. When asked why at a press conference in Tampa, Nelson said just two words.

“Vladimir Putin.”

When asked to elaborate, Nelson simply said he didn’t feel comfortable with Tillerson’s past relationships with the Russian leader.

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month, Florida’s other U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio, was remarkably aggressive in questioning Tillerson, asking him at one point if he thought Putin was a war criminal. But Rubio ultimately voted for Tillerson in committee earlier this week.

Regarding Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s choice as Treasury Secretary, Nelson said he has not made up his mind, even after speaking with him personally.

“There are a number of things that trouble me about him,” he said about the former partner of Goldman Sachs and hedge fund manager. “He’s got some tax issues. But the main thing is it’s kind of an attitude that – ‘I know better than you’ – and for a Treasury Secretary who has the tremendous responsibility to keep our economy on an even keel, that concerns me.”

Mnuchin initially failed to disclose $100 million in assets last week, which he called an “unintentional” oversight.

Meanwhile, Democrats have accused a potential conflict of interest for Tom Price, Trump’s selection at HHS, saying he held more than $100,000 in stock in companies that could have benefited from legislation he promoted.

In 2009, former Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle withdrew  his nomination by Barack Obama to become Health and Human Services secretary, amidst a scandal involving unpaid taxes. When asked if there had been a lowering of standards in vetting cabinet selections, Nelson said they had not been lowered in terms of how he votes.

Meanwhile, Trump repeated his false claim on Wednesday hat at least three million illegal immigrants cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, calling for an investigation into voter fraud, even though his own legal team has previously argued that no such fraud occurred.

Nelson said it “well documented” how little voter fraud there actually is in the U.S., and told the reporter who asked that it was “illustrative of our times that you have to ask that question.”

He grew quite passionate, however, in claiming that there’s been voter suppression in Florida and around the nation, and spent several minutes discussing specific examples in and outside of Florida.

Nelson also was dismissive of Trump’s call on Wednesday to begin plans to construct a border security fence on the Mexican border, saying that a “multiplicity of things” can be done to  protect our borders.

“This, unfortunately has gotten into a political issue,” he said, “and one particular demographic group is being singled out and I think unfairly,” referring to Mexicans.

When asked to describe Trump’s first week in office, Nelson described it simply as “rocky.”

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Sean Spicer cites ‘studies’ to back Donald Trump voter claim

The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

2 p.m.

A spokesman says President Donald Trump’s belief that there were millions of illegal votes cast in the November election is based on “studies and evidence.”

But spokesman Sean Spicer did not provide examples of that evidence.

Trump first made the false claim during the transition. He reiterated the statement in a meeting Monday night with lawmakers, blaming illegal ballots for his loss of the popular vote.

Spicer says Trump “continues to maintain that belief.” There has been no evidence to support the claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the election.

Spicer’s only attempt to support Trump’s assertion was to point a 2008 Pew Research survey that showed a need to update voter registration systems.

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1:55 p.m.

An Agriculture Department research agency has banned the release of news releases, photos and other material to the public.

In a memo to employees at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, chief of staff Sharon Drumm said the agency would immediately cease releasing any “public-facing” documents.

“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” read the email memo obtained by The Associated Press.

A statement released by ARS spokesman Christopher Bentley said the agency “values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public as we strive to find solutions to agricultural problems affecting America.”

The statement said some material would still be available on the agency’s website.

Buzzfeed News first reported the memo.

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1:50 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump has accepted House Speaker Paul Ryan‘s invitation to address a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28.

Ryan announced the invitation on Tuesday and informed reporters after a meeting with House Republicans. Ryan had met with Trump Monday night at the White House. Trump also met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on Monday.

Trump was meeting Tuesday at the White House with top Senate leaders.

The speech will be Trump’s first to Congress. He was sworn into office on Friday.

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12:45 p.m.

The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.

Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts.

The Trump administration has also ordered a “temporary suspension” of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.

The EPA did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment Monday or Tuesday.

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12:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is hanging up some new art in the White House press area — and it’s none too subtle.

The panoramic photo shows the crowds gathered near the U.S. Capitol for Trump’s inauguration on Friday. It’s a nod to the ongoing interest the president has in making it clear that his event was well-attended.

Trump tweeted: “A photo delivered yesterday that will be displayed in the upper/lower press hall. Thank you Abbas!” For emphasis, the official Twitter account of the president retweeted the @realDonaldTrump message. The photo was taken by Washington-area photographer Abbas Shirmohammadi, and it notes the wrong date — Jan. 21, although it does appear to depict the correct event.

Trump and press secretary Sean Spicer have taken pains to play up the crowd size, sometimes exaggerating the number in attendance. They’ve excoriated the media for what they said is an effort to downplay enthusiasm for Trump’s inauguration.

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11:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump has taken steps to streamline the permitting process for manufacturing.

He also wants pipelines to be made in the U.S. and an expedited process for environmental reviews and approvals.

The steps came as Trump signed executive actions to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. Former President Barack Obama blocked construction in late 2015 of the Keystone line from Canada to the U.S. Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers is studying alternative routes for the Dakota Access pipeline.

Trump describes the regulatory process as a “tangled up mess.” He says if the answer is no, it should be a quick no. If the answer is yes, Trump says “let’s start building.”

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11:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he will announce his pick to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat sometime next week.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he’ll be “making my decision this week” and “we’ll be announcing it next week.”

“We have some outstanding candidates,” the president said. “And we’ll pick a truly great Supreme Court justice.”

The Supreme Court has only had eight justices since Justice Antonin Scalia died last year. President Barack Obama nominated a replacement but Republicans in the Senate refused to bring the choice up for a vote.

During his campaign, Trump publicly identified nearly two dozen candidates for the vacancy.

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11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump has signed executive actions to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

Trump tells reporters in the Oval Office that the moves on the pipelines will be subject to the terms and conditions being renegotiated by the U.S.

President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, saying it would hurt American efforts to reach a global climate change deal.

The pipeline would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needs to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border.

The Army decided last year to explore alternate routes for the Dakota pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters said the pipeline threatened drinking water and Native American cultural sites.

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10:50 a.m.

FBI Director James Comey is staying in his job. A Justice Department memo lists him among officials remaining in their positions.

FBI directors are appointed to 10-year terms intended to carry across presidential administrations, even when a new party takes over the White House.

President Donald Trump criticized the FBI during the campaign for its decision not to recommend charges against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. But he also appeared to warmly greet Comey at a law enforcement gathering over the weekend.

Comey is in his fourth year in the job.

The New York Times first reported that Comey would stay on.

The director’s job has been a 10-year term since 1976. Since then, only one has been removed prematurely — Reagan appointee William Sessions by Bill Clinton in 1993.

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9:48 a.m.

President Donald Trump is expected to take executive action Tuesday to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

That’s according to a person with knowledge of the action. The president is scheduled to sign orders at the White House late Tuesday morning.

Former President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal that was a centerpiece of his environmental legacy. The pipeline would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needed to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border.

The Army decided last year to explore alternate routes for the Dakota pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters said the pipeline threatened drinking water and Native American cultural sites.

The person with knowledge of the decisions insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to confirm the moves ahead of a formal announcement.

-By Julie Pace

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9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s an environmentalist.

The president made the comments Tuesday at a breakfast with auto industry executives.

He didn’t elaborate on why he sees himself as an environmentalist, but the comments came after urging companies from the auto industry and beyond to bring jobs back to the U.S.

On Monday, he made similar comments at a business breakfast, stating, again without elaborating, “I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment. I have received awards on the environment.”

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9:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is spending the morning meeting with auto executives as part of his push to bring jobs back to the U.S.

Trump told his guests Tuesday at the White House that he’s looking to ease regulations to help auto companies and any other businesses wishing to do business in the U.S.

Among the attendees of the breakfast are Ford Motor Co. chief executive Mark Fields, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and General Motors chief executive Mary Barra.

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3:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s efforts to build bridges and push through his agenda have been overshadowed once again with his continued fixation on the election and more false claims.

During a bipartisan reception with lawmakers at the White House late Monday, Trump claimed the reason he’d lost the popular vote to his Democratic rival was that 3 million to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally had voted.

That’s according to a Democratic aide familiar with the exchange who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

Trump on Tuesday will continue his outreach efforts as he meets with executives from the auto industry and speaks by phone with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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White House press secretary: ‘Our intention is never to lie’

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told a roomful of reporters that “our intention is never to lie to you,” although sometimes the Trump administration may “disagree with the facts.”

Spicer’s first full press briefing was closely watched Monday following a weekend statement about President Donald Trump‘s inauguration audience that included incorrect assertions. After White House counselor Kellyanne Conway received wide social media attention for her explanation that Spicer had presented “alternative facts,” Monday’s briefing was televised live on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and, for a time, even ABC.

Meanwhile, ABC announced that anchor David Muir would interview Trump for a one-hour prime-time special to air at 10 p.m. EST Wednesday.

Spicer tried to defuse tension by opening with a self-deprecating joke about his lack of popularity, and his 78-minute session was wide-ranging and mostly substantive. He corrected one disputed statement from Saturday, defended another and expressed some frustration regarding how the new Trump administration feels about its news coverage.

Asked for a pledge not to lie, Spicer assented, saying, “I believe we have to be honest with the American people.” He said he had received incorrect information about Inauguration day ridership on the Washington Metro system when he initially claimed the system was used more Friday than for Barack Obama‘s 2013 inauguration.

“There are times when you tweet something out or write a story and you publish a correction,” he said. “That doesn’t mean you were trying to deceive readers or the American people, does it? I think we should be afforded the same opportunity.”

Spicer didn’t back down from his claim that Trump’s inauguration was the most-seen ever, clarifying that he was including people who watched online. The ceremony didn’t have the highest TV ratings and aerial photographs indicate the live crowd wasn’t as big as it was for Obama’s first swearing-in, but there are no reliable crowd estimates or numbers indicating how many people across the world watched the ceremony online.

He expressed frustration about an erroneous report, later corrected, stating that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from a room in the White House following Trump’s inauguration.

“Where was the apology to the president of the United States?” Spicer said. “Where was the apology to the millions of people who thought that it was racially insensitive?”

One reporter said Spicer had accepted an apology from the news outlet that made the mistake in a pool report.

Spicer would not say whether he was ordered by Trump or other staffers to make Saturday’s statement, but explained some of the thinking that went into it. Like countless White House staffs before them, the Trump team is exasperated about “negative” and “demoralizing” coverage.

“When we’re right, say we’re right,” he said. “When we’re wrong, say we’re wrong. But it’s not always wrong and negative.”

Spicer broke with the White House tradition of opening briefings with a question from The Associated Press. The AP was traditionally given the first question because it is a broad-based news cooperative that represents the largest swath of American newspapers, broadcasters and other kinds of news organizations.

Instead, Spicer initially called on a reporter from the New York Post, and he took questions from several news organizations that were rarely called on during the previous administration. He said four seats in the briefing room would be kept open for out-of-town reporters to participate via Skype.

The new press secretary — who took no questions Saturday — drew a laugh when he said he’d stay at the podium for as long as the reporters wanted him there, and he nearly did.

“I want to make sure we have a healthy relationship,” he said.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Jared Moskowitz files resolution condemning U.N. Security Council Israeli settlement vote

A South Florida Democrat has filed a resolution calling on the Florida House to stand with Congress in its condemnation of the United Nations.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Coral Springs Democrat, filed a resolution (HR 281) last week objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.

“The passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 undermined the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and veto United Nation Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final-status issues or are one sided and anti Israel, reversing decades of bipartisan agreement,” reads the proposed House resolution. “The passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution undermines the prospect of Israelis and Palestinians resuming productive, direct, bilateral negotiations.”

In December, then-President Barack Obama’s administration abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution that called Israeli settlements on land claimed by Palestinians a violation of international law. The U.S. had used its veto power to block similar measures in the past.

Days later, the GOP led U.S. House passed a resolution calling for the repeal of the resolution. The vote, according to the Washington Post, reflected the bipartisan nature of Congress’s support for Israel.

Moskowitz’s proposal will likely find bipartisan support in the Florida House as well. In 2016, a bill requiring the State Board of Administration to identify companies it does business with that are boycotting Israel overwhelmingly passed both the House (112-2) and the Senate (38-0). Moskowitz carried that bill in the Florida House.

“The United Nations has proven time and again that it lacks the ability to be an impartial mediator when it comes to issues of the state of Israel. The fact that one of the most holy sites of the Jewish people, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, is considered occupied territory under the terms of UNSCR 2334 is just the most egregious example of this continuing bias,” said Moskowitz in a statement. “I have no doubt that if any other holy site in the world was considered occupied territory, other nations around the world would be outraged, and rightly so. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution expressing our disappointment in the United States decision to break from long-standing tradition of allowing the two sides to negotiate independently towards a viable two-state solution and to reaffirm Florida’s continuing friendship with the Israeli people.”

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Fact Check: Donald Trump overstates crowd size at inaugural

President associated Donald Trump‘s speech Saturday at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency turned into the latest battle in, as he put it, his “running war with the media.” He had two central complaints: that the media misrepresented the size of the crowd at his inauguration and that it was incorrectly reported a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. was removed from the Oval Office. A look at those assertions:

TRUMP: “I made a speech. I looked out. The field was — it looked like a million, a million and a half people.”

The president went on to say that one network “said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad. But it’s a lie.” He then claimed that were 250,000 right by the stage and the “rest of the, you know, 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed.”

“So we caught them,” said Trump. “And we caught them in a beauty. And I think they’re going to pay a big price.”

THE FACTS: Trump is wrong. Photos of the National Mall from his inauguration make clear that the crowd did not extend to the Washington Monument. Large swaths of empty space are visible on the Mall.

Thin crowds and partially empty bleachers also dotted the inaugural parade route. Hotels across the District of Columbia reported vacancies, a rarity for an event as large as a presidential inauguration.

And ridership on the Washington’s Metro system didn’t match that of recent inaugurations.

As of 11 a.m. that day, there were 193,000 trips taken, according to the transit service’s Twitter account. At the same hour eight years ago, there had been 513,000 trips. Four years later, there were 317,000 for Obama‘s second inauguration. There were 197,000 at 11 a.m. in 2005 for President George W. Bush‘s second inauguration.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer later added to the misstatements.

Spicer claimed that it was the first time white “floor coverings” were used to protect the grass on the National Mall and that it drew attention to any empty space. But the same tarp was used four years ago.

Spicer also said it was “the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.”

The Secret Service says that this was the first time security fencing was installed around the National Mall for an inauguration. To get onto the Mall, people were required to go through one of seven checkpoints where their bags were checked, but there were no magnetometers used at those checkpoints.

A law enforcement official not authorized to publicly discuss the inauguration says officials were “not aware of any issues with flow rate in and around the National Mall.”

Spicer then said, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.”

He offered no evidence and there is no immediate way to confirm such a claim.

But photo taken during Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration showed substantially more people on the Mall. It is not known how many people watched the ceremony on television around the globe. In the U.S., Nielsen estimates 31 million viewers watched TV coverage, but that’s less than Barack Obama’s and Ronald Reagan‘s first inaugurations.

The exact size of the crowd Friday may never be known. The National Park Service stopped providing estimates in the 1990s.

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TRUMP: The president also went after a reporter who incorrectly wrote that the president had removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. The reporter later acknowledged the error, saying a Secret Service agent and a door had obstructed his view of the bust when reporters were allowed into the room briefly after Trump’s swearing in.

“But this is how dishonest the media is,” Trump said.

“Now, big story, the retraction was like, where?” he asked. “Was it a line or do they even bother running it?”

THE FACTS: Trump is right. The reporter for Time magazine made an error. The White House said Trump never removed the King bust from the Oval Office.

The error about the bust was first transmitted in a pool report distributed among reporters. The White House often uses a pool system when not all reporters who want to attend an event can be accommodated in a space.

At 7:30 p.m., reporter Zeke Miller wrote a pool report saying, “The MLK bust was no longer on display.”

Once Miller realized his error, an update was sent to the pool. “The MLK bust remains in the Oval Office, in addition to the Churchill bust, per a WH aide. It was apparently obscured by a door and an agent during the spray. Your pool offers sincerest apologies.”

Miller also corrected the error on Twitter, and Time magazine corrected its story based on his report.

Republish with permission of The Associated Press.

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No American Covenant or New Frontier for this president. Donald Trump speaks of ‘American carnage.’

America is getting what it ordered on Election Day.

If anyone was expecting an evolution from Donald Trump the candidate to Donald Trump the president, never mind.

The new president delivered an inaugural address Friday that was straight from his campaign script — to the delight or dismay of different subsets of Americans.

Trump gave nods to unity and began with kind words for Barack and Michelle Obama, but pivoted immediately to a searing indictment of the status quo and the Obama years.

Presidents past have promised an American Covenant, a New Frontier, a Great Society.

Trump sketched a vision of “American carnage.”

Then he promised to end it with a nationalist “America First” approach to governing.

It was a speech for Trump’s supporters, but maybe not those who voted for somebody else.

When Trump told the crowd on the National Mall and watching from afar that “everyone is listening to you now” and spoke of a “historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before,” he seemed to harking back to his voters.

“At some point, there has got to be a transference to being the leader of all the people,” said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, though, heard “exactly the speech Trump needed to give to be the kind of president he wants to be.”

“In a very workmanlike way, he was reasserting precisely the themes that had gotten him elected,” Gingrich said. “He is trying to communicate how he sees the next few years from his perspective: It will basically be pitched again and again as the people vs. the establishment, and it will be constant striving to reform the system.”

In his 16-minute inaugural, Trump spoke in grim terms of families trapped in poverty, shuttered factories dotting the landscape like tombstones, of rampant crime, drugs and gangs.

It was an echo of the bleak message he delivered at the Republican National Convention — and likewise short on specifics for how he will solve those problems.

His pledge to make things better came wrapped as a nostalgic paean to better days long gone.

“America will start winning again, winning like never before,” the new president said. “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.”

Nostalgia works for some Americans, but not all.

“If you’re an African-American, 50 years ago doesn’t seem so great to you,” said Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a frequent Trump critic. “You need some kind of vision for a future America.”

The new president “amplifies resentments” in the name of pursuing change, said Gerson. “It’s always us vs. them.”

Trump did directly take on the nation’s modern security challenges by giving a blanket promise to “eradicate completely from the face of the earth” the scourge of “Radical Islamic Terrorism” — a capitalized phrase that the Obama administration refused even to utter.

But he’s given few details about how he’ll do that.

Granted, inaugurals aren’t meant to be wonky policy speeches. But they must be backed by a plan of action to have oomph.

As the new president took office, whitehouse.gov was filling up with policy pages that were long on broad goals and light on specifics.

And the question marks about his policies on taxes, trade, immigration, terrorism and more are magnified by the sometimes contradictory policy pronouncements coming from his Cabinet nominees.

Going into Friday’s address, Trump already had a lot of work to do to rally the nation behind him.

Just 40 percent of Americans have a favorable view of him, far lower than any other president-elect’s popularity since at least the 1970s, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll.

And if he can’t deliver on the bold promises of his inaugural, he’ll lose those he does have in his corner.

“The speech is notable for laying down very specific markers by which his presidency will be assessed,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a communications professor and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “The categorical nature of those markers is going to be problematic for him.”

Gingrich put it more bluntly:

“If he keeps us safe and creates jobs, he will almost certainly be re-elected. If he can’t do those things, he’s in deep trouble.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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