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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reportedly indicated that he was open to differing abortion views within his party, describing the position as a “personal” one.

“Members run and take positions. It’s a personal position, and they have to stake out their own personal position, just as I have,” McCarthy said, according to Vice News on Thursday.

His comments came as he pushed back against Alabama’s restrictive abortion law that excluded exceptions for rape and incest.

McCarthy’s position reflected the personal view of his party’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, who told CNN that she would include those exceptions in abortion legislation. McDaniel, however, also said that her party had a broad tent and allowed states like Alabama to craft their own legislation even if it didn’t stricly adhere to her position.

POPE FRANCIS LIKENS ABORTION TO HIRING ‘HITMAN,’ SAYS IT’S NEVER ACCEPTABLE

State-level abortion initiatives — in particular, Alabama’s and New York’s — have put politicians in both parties in tough spots as they faced questions about aspects of the procedure that were seen as the most difficult to defend.

According to Vice, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a prominent conservative caucus, circulated a “messaging guidance” email that blamed the media for creating division in the GOP and directed members to use talking points that supported Alabama’s law.

“While some Republicans may disagree with the timing and/or particular legal strategies being implemented with the various state measures, it is critical our members speak with clarity and conviction about the broader issue of the sanctity and inherent value of every single human life,” the email read.

Claiming that “every single human life has inestimable dignity and inherent value,” it argued that rape and incest didn’t justify abortions.

2020 DEMS JUMP INTO ABORTION FRAY AS LEGAL BATTLE HEATS UP

“Committing a second violent act with abortion to a woman who has already been victimized by an act of rape or incest could phyiscally or psychologically wound her further,” the guidance also argued.

When the president tweeted on the issue, however, he said he supported exceptions for rape, incest, and protecting the mother’s life.

“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with three exceptions – Rape, Incest, and protecting the Life of the mother – the same position taken by [former President] Ronald Reagan,” Trump said.

MISSOURI GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL BANNING ABORTIONS AT 8 WEEKS

His tweet reflected a vigorously pro-life agenda and Supreme Court nominees who could overturn longstanding precedent on the issue.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have sued over many state laws, including Alabama’s, setting up legal challenges for the court to consider. While it’s unclear how the Supreme Court will rule on the issue, pro-choice advocates have been adamant about politicians defending abortion access.

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But Democrats, like Republicans, seemed to face differences within their own party. Just after Louisiana’s Democratic governor signaled he would sign his state’s “heartbeat” legislation, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus called for “strong primaries” against pro-life Democrats.

While Democratic leaders have indicated it was possible to be pro-life and a Democrat, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., previously made clear that his party was pro-choice.

Source: Fox News Politics

Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, a longtime supporter of President Donald Trump, released a two-part video on Twitter Friday night, saying that Trump has the “utmost respect and our love” of Voight and his fellow Republicans.

“This job is not easy, for he’s battling the left and their absurd words of destruction,” Voight said. “Our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln.

“Our country is stronger, safer and with more jobs because our president has made his every move correct,” Voight continued. “Don’t be fooled by the political left because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph.”

“Let us stand up for this truth,” Voight, said, “that President Trump is the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

A flood of laws banning abortions in Republican-run states has handed Democrats a political weapon heading into next year’s elections, helping them paint the GOP as extreme and court centrist voters who could decide congressional races in swing states, members of both parties say.

The Alabama law outlawing virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, is the strictest so far. Besides animating Democrats, the law has prompted President Donald Trump, other Republican leaders and lawmakers seeking reelection next year to distance themselves from the measure.

Their reaction underscores that Republicans have risked overplaying their hand with severe state laws that they hope will prod the Supreme Court, with its ascendant conservative majority, to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion. It also illustrates the way that those statutes are forcing the GOP to struggle over how to satisfy its core anti-abortion supporters without alienating the vast majority of voters averse to strictly curbing abortion.

The Alabama law is “a loser for Republican candidates in Colorado, without question, and in many other swing parts of the country, because it’s extreme,” David Flaherty, a Colorado-based Republican consultant who’s worked on congressional races around the country. “It’s only going to widen the gender gap.”

Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt Law School professor and former aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there are many “women, moderate women who are going to be scared that this right that they thought they had for the last 40-some years is going to be shelved” and they will be motivated to vote.

GOP Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine, both seeking reelection next year, said the Alabama ban goes too far by eliminating exceptions for pregnancies involving rape or incest. A 2005 survey by the Guttmacher Institute, which backs abortion rights, found about 1% of women said they had abortions because of rape or incest.

Democrats see the statutes as a way to weave a broader message about Republicans.

“You use it as an example of what they do when they’re unchecked,” said Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Va., a leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats’ campaign organization. “I think it drives moderate Republicans away from their party.”

Democratic presidential contenders are competing to lambast the Alabama law, which allows exceptions when the mother’s health is endangered. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., called it an “existential threat to the human rights of women,” while former Vice President Joe Biden said GOP hopes of striking down Roe v. Wade are “pernicious and we have to stop it.”

Campaign Facebook and Twitter accounts of Democrats seeking reelection next year, such as Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, are littered with posts attacking the harsh restrictions. “The people of Alabama deserve to be on the #rightsideofhistory — not the side of extremists,” Jones tweeted.

Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio have enacted or neared approval of measures barring abortion once there’s a detectable fetal heartbeat, which can occur in the sixth week of pregnancy, before a woman may know she is pregnant. Missouri lawmakers approved an eight-week ban.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that of the country’s 638,000 abortions in 2015, almost two-thirds were performed within the first eight weeks of pregnancy. About 1% were performed during or after the 21st week.

Spotlighting the perilous political territory Republicans are navigating, an April poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans support Roe v. Wade by 2-1. A Gallup poll last year found that 57% of adults who described themselves “pro-life” nonetheless said abortion should be legal if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

The focus on the state measures has also stolen GOP momentum on abortion. Until now, congressional Republicans had spent much of this year forcing Democrats onto the defensive, goading them into blocking bills aimed at curbing the rare abortions performed late in pregnancies and misleadingly accusing them of supporting infanticide.

“Obviously, the attention has shifted,” said Sarah Chamberlain, president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which represents dozens of moderate GOP lawmakers. She said while her group doesn’t think Democrats’ focus on the harsh laws has gained traction, “We are talking about that and how it’s going to play in our districts.”

Some Republicans say the Democratic drive will have minimal impact because the abortion issue drives relatively few voters from each party. Others say GOP candidates should accuse Democrats of extremism by opposing bills restricting abortions late in pregnancy and, if they wish, cite their support for exempting rape and incest victims.

Democrats have “never seen an abortion they don’t like,” said David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee.

Added Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP campaign arm: “We’re not Alabama state representatives, we’re United States senators. And each of us has to make our positions known.”

Yet the laws have generated energy among abortion-rights groups, which held more than 500 demonstrations and other events this past week. “We will power this movement into 2020. There will be political consequences,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., distanced themselves early last week from the Alabama statute. They were joined Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who told The Associated Press, “My position remains unchanged for 25 years. I’m opposed to abortion except in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother” being in jeopardy.

Source: NewsMax Politics

As a team of U.S. Navy Seals prepared to take down the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, Admiral William McRaven had some frank words for his troops.

While recalling that raid during an interview on “Fox & Friends,” McRaven said he treated the raid like “any other mission.” “What I told the guys was, ‘look, it is going to be easy to get overcome by the moment but just do your job.'”

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He told Pete Hegseth that the raid felt different given that if former Al Qaeda leader Usama Bin Laden was in that Pakistani compound, his troops would be taking part in a “historic moment in terms of bringing justice to all those people that were killed in 9/11.”

When Hegseth asked what kept the admiral going, he said the young men and women of the military.

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“If you spend time around the young men and women of the military, you can’t help but be inspired by their courage, their heroism, their sacrifice … all you got to do is spend a little time with them and you’ll get the energy to do the job.”

McRaven was promoting his book, “Sea Stories,” which recounted details from his life of service. He received attention for his book “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World.”

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After Hegseth asked about raising good kids, McRaven praised milennials as the “next greatest generation.”

“I’m probably the biggest fan of the milennials you’ll ever meet and I think that surprises people,” he said. “I hear this that the milennials are pampered and they’re soft and they’re entitled. I’m quick to tell people, ‘then you never saw them in a firefight in Afghanistan’ or ‘you never saw them in a classroom in the University of Texas system trying to improve their life and the lives of their families.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Democrats were puffing hot air and criticized the Trump administration because they feared his declassification plan would uncover their dirty deeds, according to Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz.

When “Fox & Friends” co-host Jedediah Bila asked Chaffetz about Democrats’ concerns that President Trump’s plans would hurt national security Saturday, the former chairman of the House Oversight Committee responded that it was “hogwash.”

Trump’s plan, Chaffetz argued, would improve Attorney General William Barr’s ability to communicate with intelligence agencies.

“First of all, the attorney general has every security clearance that he could possibly have, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has a counterintelligence component.”

He speculated that Democrats were projecting their own fears about the declassification uncovering troubling activities on their part.

BRENNAN, CLAPPER LASH OUT AT TRUMP FOR DECLASSIFYING 2016 ELECTION INTEL

“I think it’s projection by the Democrats that they’re scared to death that the highest echelons within some of these agencies — specifically [former CIA Director John] Brennan and [former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper and perhaps [former national security advisor Susan] Rice and some of these other people along the way were doing some things that they shouldn’t have been doing,” Chaffetz said.

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Chaffetz was commenting on Trump’s decision to give the attorney general greater authority in investigating the origins of the Russia investigation.

Chaffetz, on Saturday, suggested that instead of getting criticism, the president should be receiving awards for his efforts at transparency.

Source: Fox News Politics

There is an old expression in Washington that nothing is decided until everything is decided.

Well, consider the state of the $19.1 billion disaster bill.

It took a Herculean effort to pry that package loose Thursday in the Senate, triggering an overwhelming, 85-8 vote. President Trump signaled to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., that he would sign the package – even without provisions for the border. The senators say the President indicated the disaster money was too important and had been stalled too long. States in the south and Midwest – stricken by hurricanes and flooding – could wait no longer.

That’s until Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, torpedoed everything Friday morning.

There are three ways the House and Senate can approve bills. They can conduct a standard roll call vote, where everyone either casts ballots as yea or nay. The House and Senate can hold a “voice vote.” That’s where everyone either hollers yea or nay. The loudest side is supposed to win.

However, the lawmaker who is presiding always declares “in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it” or “the noes have it.” But, if the losing side doesn’t like the outcome, they can always demand a recorded vote. Finally, there is “unanimous consent.” That’s where all 435 or 100 people must agree. All it takes is a solitary objection, even if everyone else wants to do something else. Lodging an objection stops everything.

LONE GOP REP BLOCKS DISASTER AID BILL IN SURPRISE MOVE

It is said you can make the sun rise in the west if you obtain unanimous consent.

This is where Roy comes in.

There were only three House members on the floor Friday when the House tried to advance the disaster aid measure by unanimous consent and sync up with the Senate. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., presided over the session. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., was on the floor to make the unanimous consent request. And then there was Roy.

Those in favor of the measure outnumbered Roy two one.

Unanimous consent is powerful – but hard to obtain. There’s only one reason Roy showed up Friday morning as the House attempted to approve the measure with a skeleton staff on hand. Passing the package by unanimous consent would mean the House and Senate were in alignment, having okayed the same package. The measure would then be ready for President Trump’s signature.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., implored Democratic leaders to keep the House in session on Thursday to approve the disaster aid measure. But the House wasn’t going to budge until the Senate acted. Most House members jetted out of Washington midday Thursday for a week-and-a-half, starting the Memorial Day recess.

It was unclear until early Thursday afternoon as to the fate of the disaster package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned his colleagues the Senate would vote “on something” on disaster aid and “not adjourn.” The Senate pondered re-voting a sidetracked version of disaster aid which fell apart in early April. But the Senate was set to vote on a retooled plan once President Trump signaled he would sign the measure – even without the border provisions. Things came together very quickly in the Senate. But the House was long gone.

One may ask whether it would have been worthwhile to keep the House in session just to see if the Senate would act. Of course, there’s always grandstanding from lawmakers about such efforts. Lawmakers regularly trumpet why Congress should remain in session over a recess or a weekend to try to fix one issue or another. Those are often the same lawmakers who have a cab idling just outside the Capitol, ready to whisk them across the river to make a flight at Reagan National Airport.

The Memorial Day recess is particularly problematic for scheduling. Many members have big overseas work trips planned. A number of lawmakers are expected to go to Normandy, France in a few days for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. That’s to say nothing of lawmakers who are jetting back to their states and districts to participate in Memorial Day parades and visit cemeteries.

Tethering lawmakers to Washington for a day or two, without a clear idea that a consequential vote is coming presents a problem. Yes, the Senate approved the disaster bill just after the House abandoned Washington. But it was far from clear that senators would do that Thursday.

So, the disaster measure is now stalled. Again.

Roy chatted briefly with Shalala on the House floor just before the session started Friday morning.

“He came up to graciously inform me he was going to object because he wanted the President’s border request to be included,” said Shalala. “This is not the way our government should work. We’re ready to work in the House in a bipartisan way. The same as the Senate was ready to go. One individual. His position is irresponsible.”

Shalala characterized the turn of events as “tragic.” She worried about the additional delay for families trying to recover.

“Why should they have to wait a week longer because some member of Congress objects?” asked the Florida Democrat.

Of course, the question is whether Roy simply delayed the inevitable. But the House won’t return to full action until June 4. The House appears to have the votes to pass the plan in bipartisan fashion.

“This, is respectfully, swamp-speak. Delaying the inevitable. It’s the inevitability of DC. The inevitability of spending where we don’t speak up and voice the concerns that I hear when I go back to every town in Texas 21,” said Roy. “Why aren’t we addressing disaster spending in a way that is fiscally responsible? We just keep writing checks.”

Roy got an earful from Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“It’s craven, shameful politics at its worst that a single House member would choose to further delay disaster relief,” protested Fried. “Congressman Roy must have forgotten the aid that Texans received after hurricane Harvey.”

But is passage of the bill inevitable? Simply delayed?

SENATE PASSES DISASTER AID BILL 

It is said that house guests and fish start to smell after three days. Consider the controversy which stymied this disaster package. Republicans tried to infuse the bill with presidential politics. They argued Senate Democrats running for President should vote yes – or face trouble in sodden Iowa ahead of the caucuses. Republicans contended Democrats played politics with Puerto Rico money. There were questions about what a stunted disaster bill would mean for Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Perdue. All face re-election bids in states desperate for disaster assistance. All could face competitive races. Ernst is in a battleground state. Texas and Georgia are trending slightly toward Democrats. Then there were issues about adding humanitarian provisions for the border. Are things settled with this legislation? Or, will another impediment possibly expose the bill to political enzymes, ready to foul the legislation?

“I am not looking for a way to erode support for something,” said Roy when asked about letting the legislation bake in the parliamentary elements for more than a week. “This legislation should be offset. This legislation should include border funding so we can deal with that crisis.”

But the bill may not have to wait a week.

Only a few House members will linger around Washington for the next 11 days. The House is scheduled to meet briefly at 2 pm on Tuesday, May 28 and at 4:30 pm on Thursday, May 30. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., intimated that “we will take action as early as next week when the House meets again during pro forma.”

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That’s a reference to those short sessions. The House could again attempt to marshal unanimous consent to pass the disaster aid bill without a roll call vote. This is a ploy by Democrats to dare Roy or other Republicans to object again. Then Democrats can portray them as obstructionists who are trying to delay disaster assistance.

This could all backfire on Roy and other GOPers. If they don’t object, then the bill passes and the protestations fall by the wayside. If they do block the bill a second or a third time, then Democrats can easily make the case about Republican obstructionism.

Not a lot of people knew who Chip Roy was before today. But now they do. Democrats will pin a name and a face on the obstruction.

Then again, one senior Republican source told Fox “perhaps Roy wants it that way.”

Source: Fox News Politics

President Donald Trump urged Japanese business leaders on Saturday to increase their investment in the United States while he chided Japan for having a “substantial edge” on trade that negotiators were trying to even out in a bilateral deal.

Trump arrived in Japan on Saturday for a largely ceremonial state visit meant to showcase strong ties even though trade relations are problematical. In the evening, the Tokyo Sky Tree tower was lit up red, white and blue in Trump’s honor.

Shortly after arriving at the airport to a red-carpet welcome, Trump attended a reception at the residence of U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty that the White House said included Japanese business executives from Toyota, Nissan , Honda, SoftBank and Rakuten.

Trump told the company officials there had never been a better time to invest in the United States and repeated a complaint that the Federal Reserve’s policies had kept U.S. economic growth from reaching its full potential.

With trade talks ongoing, Trump also got in a dig at Japan and said he wanted a deal to address the trade imbalance between the two countries.

“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” he said.

“With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, removing barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship,” Trump said.

Trade is one of Trump’s signature issues, and encouraging foreign investment in the United States is a hallmark of his trips abroad.

Trump will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday for a round of golf, a sumo tournament and a private dinner.

The two men share a warm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washington considers tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as a potential national security threat.

STILL GAPS

Trade is likely to be addressed during a formal meeting on Monday between Trump and Abe, but even a partial trade agreement isn’t expected, said Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi after meeting his counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, in Tokyo on Saturday.

Motegi said there was no discussion of Trump’s decision to declare some auto imports a national security threat.

“We deepened our understanding of each other’s positions on trade. However, we’re not in complete agreement,” Motegi told reporters following the talks. “There are still some gaps. We need to work to narrow our differences.”

The United States is in the middle of an expensive trade war with China, and trade tensions als als simmering with Japan and the European Union.

Trump’s Japan trip is largely ceremonial in nature. The president will become the first foreign leader to be received by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito since he inherited the throne earlier this month; he and Harvard-educated Empress Masako will host an elaborate dinner for the Trumps on Monday night.

A medium-strength earthquake hit eastern Japan, causing buildings to shake in Tokyo, hours before Trump’s arrival. The epicenter was southern Chiba, southeast of the capital, the prefecture where Trump is due to play golf on Sunday.

No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Former CIA Director John Brennan and former DNI James Clapper blasted President Trump on Friday night for directing Attorney General William Barr to declassify documents related to the surveillance of his campaign during the 2016 election, calling it “outrageous.”

“I see it as a very, very serious and outrageous move on the part of Mr. Trump, once again, trampling on the statutory authorities of the Director of National Intelligence and the heads of the independent intelligence agencies,” Brennan told MSNBC host Chris Hayes. “And it’s unclear to me what Mr. Barr is actually going to do. Is he investigating a crime? Well, what’s the predication of that crime? Or he is just going to be looking for information… that Mr. Trump can just give to his defenders on the right and cherry-pick information that could be taken out of context?”

TRUMP VOWS TO UNCOVER RUSSIA PROBE ROOTS WITH DECLASSIFICATION CALL: ‘WE’RE EXPOSING EVERYTHING’

Brennan expressed concern about exposing “sources and methods” as well as the intelligence of “partners abroad.”

“This is very serious and I know that my former colleagues in the intelligence agencies are looking upon this with great concern and worry,” the former top Obama official stated.

He later said he hopes that DNI Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel will “stand up” to President Trump’s “unprecedented act.”

Brennan slammed President Trump on Twitter after the president shared a political cartoon mocking the former CIA Director, former DNI Clapper, and FBI Director James Comey.

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

“Young people everywhere: Please do not emulate Mr. Trump’s very immature behavior. Find others of honesty, integrity, & decency to be your role models,” the MSNBC analyst tweeted. “And always try to do what you know is the right thing, even when doing what is right is both unpopular & difficult.”

Meanwhile, Clapper told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the “bigger issue” is “what exactly is the scope” of the declassification, whether it involves all of Russia’s interference in the election or just the counter-intelligence probe. He expressed similar concerns as Brennan regarding sources and methods being exposed and putting “people’s lives at risk.”

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Clapper, now a CNN analyst, insisted that the infamous Steele dossier was not used as sourcing for the intelligence community assessment in January 2017.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is blasting President Donald Trump for “chest-thumping militarism” and warned that rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran “could very quickly get away from this president.”

At a campaign event Friday night in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, the one-time long shot for the nomination — who has surged the past two months to become a credible contender — also vowed that “I’m going to win” as he took an indirect jab at former Vice President Joe Biden, the clear front-runner in the Democratic 2020 race.

TRUMP SENDS 1,500 TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST AMID RISING TENSIONS WITH IRAN

The South Bend, Indiana mayor and Afghanistan War veteran criticized the Republican president just hours after the Pentagon said that 1,500 additional U.S. forces and firepower are headed to the Middle East as the specter of potential conflict with Tehran increases.

The Trump administration has been ringing alarms the past month over what it calls “troubling” and “escalatory” moves by Iran. The U.S. has been raising the volume on Iran ever since the president took the country out of a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran a year ago.

Trump has spent weeks alternating between tough talk towards Tehran while still insisting he’s open to negotiating with the Islamic Republican. On Friday, the president told reporters before departing on a trip to Japan that “we’re going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.”

Buttigieg, speaking at a campaign event in Exeter, New Hampshire, claimed that Trump “now seems to be setting us on a course that could lead to violent confrontation.”

He later told reporters that “I’m very worried because we have steps towards confrontation in Iran that almost make it seem as though we learned nothing from the experience in Iraq.”

And he warned that “what we’re seeing right now is a set of escalations that could very quickly get away from this president to where he’s not even in control.”

JUDGE TEMPORARILY BLOCKS TRUMP’S BORDER WALL CONSTRUCTION PLANS

For the third time in two days, Buttigieg took aim at Trump accusing him of faking a disability decades ago in order to avoid military service in the Vietnam War.

Speaking to a crowd jam-packed into Exeter’s historic town hall that his campaign estimated at 680 people, the candidate charged Trump “used his privilege to avoid serving when it was his turn.”

He made similar comments at a campaign event with veterans in Londonderry, New Hampshire earlier in the evening.

Trump received five deferments from the draft for military service during the Vietnam War. Four were education deferments while he was a college student and the fifth – in 1968 after he graduated – was a medical exemption.

Two daughters of a New York podiatrist told The New York Times recently that 50 years ago, their father diagnosed Trump with bone spurs in his heels, as a favor to the doctor’s landlord, millionaire real estate developer Fred Trump.

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On the campaign trail in 2015, as he was running for president, Trump said: “It was a long time ago … I had student deferments and then ultimately had a medical deferment because of my feet. I had a bone spur.”

Trump told reporters at the time that he couldn’t remember which foot had the problem. His campaign later said the bone spurs affected both feet.

Minutes after once again charging that Trump used his “privilege” to avoid military service, Buttigieg emphasized to the audience that “we can’t spend all our time thinking up a zinger that’s going to knock the president flat. Because any energy that goes his way, any attention that goes his way, even in the form of criticism, it’s kind of like food, he just takes it in and gets bigger off of it.”

Asked later by Fox News how he could square those comments with his repeated attacks on Trump the past two days over his Vietnam War deferments, the candidate answered “we absolutely need to say exactly what we think about the president’s wrongdoing, malfeasance and lies. It’s just that that can’t be our message. As soon as we say that, we’ve got to return to the question of how we’re going to make American lives better.”

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Buttigieg also appeared to take a shot at the former vice president during the town hall. In an obvious reference to Biden – who many voters feel may be the most electable candidate of the two-dozen Democrats currently running for president, Buttigieg argued that “sometimes we pick somebody who is less inspiring that we think will also be less risky and we wind up getting somebody that’s neither.”

“The point is you can move people. It’s not just about ideology. It’s not just about where your dot is on the political spectrum. It is about offering something new, offering something different,” the 37-year old candidate emphasized.

Asked by a member of the crowd why they should support him, Buttigieg declared “two reasons, I’m going to make a really good president and I’m going to win.”

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump landed in Japan on Saturday, kicking off a highly anticipated state visit — with the president to become the first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito.

The trip, which will last through Tuesday, comes amid fears among Japanese political and business leaders that U.S. tariffs on the auto industry will have a crippling effect on the Asian nation’s economy.

The president’s first stop was a dinner with business leaders at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Tokyo after a brief airport welcome.

Trump told reporters that he’s working to introduce “fairness and reciprocity” in the new American-Japanese trade agreement.

“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years but that’s OK,” Trump said during remarks with the business leaders in Tokyo, noting that negotiators were “hard at work” on the trade talks. “We’ll get it a little bit more fair.”

“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years but that’s ok. We’ll get it a little bit more fair.”

— President Trump

He added that the new trade deal will “address the trade imbalance” and eliminate the existing “barriers to U.S. exports.”

Japan enjoys a $70 billion trade surplus with the U.S, while it imports just a fraction of U.S. goods and imposes protective measures against competition from other countries, a source of frustration for Trump, who sees tariffs as a corrective measure.

President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with Japanese business leaders, Saturday, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with Japanese business leaders, Saturday, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

TRUMP CHEERS US TROOPS DURING STOP IN ALASKA ON WAY TO MEET JAPAN’S NEW EMPEROR

Japan is expected to use the state visit as a charm offensive to convince Trump to spare the country of the punitive tariffs.

To fulfill this task, Trump is officially the first foreign leader invited to meet with the country’s new Emperor Naruhito, who inherited the throne earlier this month, a fact Trump gleefully acknowledged earlier this week. The emperor will treat Trump to a meeting and host an imperial banquet in Trump’s honor.

“Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe said to me, very specifically, ‘You are the guest of honor.’ There’s only one guest of honor … I’m the guest of honor at the biggest event that they’ve had in over 200 years,” Trump said this week.

“So it’s a great thing. And we get along very well with Japan. I get along very well with the prime minister.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Haneda International Airport Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Haneda International Airport Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

During the first remarks in Japan, Trump also stressed that Japan is buying military equipment from the U.S., which he says was a sign of threats in the world.

“We make the best equipment in the world — the best jets, missiles, the best rockets, the best everything,” he said. “So Japan is doing very large orders and we appreciate that.”

“It’s probably appropriate for everything going on,” he added. “The world is changing.”

JAPAN’S TRADE NEGOTIATOR: US WON’T IMPOSE QUOTAS ON AUTOS

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, is greeted by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, on Trump's arrival at the Haneda International Airport Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, is greeted by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, on Trump’s arrival at the Haneda International Airport Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

On Sunday, Trump and Abe are expected to play golf and then watch a sumo wrestling tournament in front-row seats. Trump previously called the sport “fascinating.”

Only on Monday will the two leaders sit down to talk about trade. A possibility of a trade deal is reportedly on the table, but officials on neither side committed to such goal. (Because of the Japan trip, Trump paid a pre-Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, to honor America’s war dead.)

The U.S. and Japanese leaders will also discuss the threat from North Korea, an issue that comes in the wake of U.S. national security adviser John Bolton’s comments on Friday that a series of short-range missile tests by North Korea last month was a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

U.S. President Donald Trump, second from left, reviews an honor guard during a welcome ceremony, escorted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Nov. 6, 2017. (Associated Press)

U.S. President Donald Trump, second from left, reviews an honor guard during a welcome ceremony, escorted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Nov. 6, 2017. (Associated Press)

But it remains to be seen whether the celebrations and close relationship between Trump and Abe will be enough to force Washington to reconsider imposing tariffs on Japanese auto exports.

The Trump administration is currently embroiled in a trade war against China over the country’s treatment of American companies.

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Yet the administration has been tough and criticized both Japan and the European Union for, in its view, unfair trade practices that exploit the U.S. economy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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