Despite being warned by his advisors in ALL CAPS in a letter before his phone call, Trump managed to do the opposite, leading some to believe he misread his instructions. He decided to congratulate him on his re-election, drawing bruising criticism from members of his own party, including a leading senator who scorned the election as a “sham.”
What they didn’t discuss on Tuesday was noteworthy as well: Trump did not raise Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections or its suspected involvement in the recent poisoning of a former spy in England.
“An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and has pressed the Trump administration to respond aggressively to Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent Trump critic, called the president’s call “odd.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump “can call whomever he chooses” but noted that calling Putin “wouldn’t have been high on my list.”
At the State Department, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it was “no surprise” that Putin was re-elected, commenting that some people were paid to turn out to vote and opposition leaders were intimidated or jailed. She also cited a preliminary report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that said Russia’s election took place in an overly controlled environment that lacked an even playing field for all contenders.
Her comments were notably tougher on Russia than those coming from the White House.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s call, and noted that President Barack Obama made a similar call at the time of Putin’s last electoral victory.
“We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate,” Sanders said.
The action and reaction fit a Trump White House pattern of declining to chide authoritarian regimes for undemocratic practices.
Trump himself has long been reluctant to publicly criticize Putin. He said that during their hoped-for meeting the two men would likely discuss Ukraine, Syria and North Korea, among other things.
Trump Caught On Tape: Trump Lies About Wealth
Donald Trump lied (above) about his wealth to get on the Forbes 400, the business magazine’s ranking of the world’s richest people, posing as publicist ‘John Barron’ to do so.
Writes Jonathan Greenberg in the Washington Post:
…it took decades to unwind the elaborate farce Trump had built to project an image as one of the richest people in America. Nearly every assertion supporting that claim was untrue. Trump wasn’t just poorer than he said he was. Over time I have learned that he should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all. In our first-ever list, in 1982, we included him at $100 million, but Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million — a paltry sum by the standards of his super-monied peers — as a spate of government reports and books showed only much later.
When Trump was campaigning for president, it was revealed that he masqueraded as his own spokesman earlier in his career to brag about his accomplishments, his wealth, and his alleged desirability to famous women.
In May 2016, The Washington Post published an audio recording of a 1991 call from a man claiming to be on Trump’s PR team, who responded to a request from People magazine reporter Sue Carswell for a comment on Trump’s divorce from wife Ivana and his increasingly complicated relationship with model Marla Maples.
As “John Miller”, Trump touted his reputation as a playboy, explaining that famous actresses and even the likes of Madonna call him wanting to date him.
Trump using the pseudonyms John Miller and John Barron was a fact well-known among New York journalists at the time. Trump would eventually admit that the call to People was a “joke gone awry.” And prior to that call, in 1990, Trump said of the name ‘John Miller,’ “I believe on occasion I used that name.”
Trump denied that fact:
In a phone call to NBC’s “Today” program, Trump denied that he was John Miller. “No, I don’t think it — I don’t know anything about it. You’re telling me about it for the first time and it doesn’t sound like my voice at all,” he said. “I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice and then you can imagine that, and this sounds like one of the scams, one of the many scams — doesn’t sound like me.” Later, he was more definitive: “It was not me on the phone. And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that, and it was not me on the phone. And when was this? Twenty-five years ago?”
Trump continues to lie to this day, though there appears to be little to no consequence.
Pruitt Asks Trump to Make Him Attorney General
While its very possible that Scott Pruitt will not survive being the EPA Director for another week, he has being lobbying Trump for another job as Attorney General.
Yes, the man who is now under Investigation by the EPA Inspector General for using millions of tax payers money for his own person first class travel, believes he should be rewarded with a new job as the top cop.
Current AG Sessions has recused himself from investigations into Russia’s ties to the campaign of President Donald Trump, effectively prohibiting Sessions from firing Mueller. Pruitt, who has not recused himself, would seemingly not face the same constraints.
Switching out Sessions for Pruitt could have its pitfalls. Pruitt would face a tough confirmation hearing in the Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow majority and Democrats would interrogate him about Russia, his EPA tenure and other thorny topics.
Trump Now Hiring From Disney Channel
Telling staff he wants more “hot young women” in his office, Trump is hiring a 22-year old Disney Channel star is making the leap from entertainment to the White House.
Caroline Sunshine, 22, has joined the Trump White House as a press assistant, ABC News has learned.
While she may be known for her acting, Sunshine has interned for the White House, the Office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the College Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party, White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters told ABC News. She was also involved in the American Enterprise Institute and her school’s Model United Nations team.
Before transitioning to politics, Sunshine spent three seasons playing Tinka Hessenheffer on the Disney Channel sitcom “Shake It Up.” Her other television credits include “A.N.T. Farm” and “Fish Hooks” on Disney Channel and appearances in “The Outfield,” “Marmaduke” and other films.