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Trump boasts to GOP lawmakers about his win, crowd sizes

Posted by on Jan. 26, 2017 at 5:57 PM
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Trump boasts to GOP lawmakers about his win, crowd sizes

Winning. Crowd size. Dishonest media. Voter fraud. Mexico.

A laundry list of President Donald Trump's obsessions overshadowed the substance of the remarks he delivered Thursday to a friendly audience of congressional Republicans at their annual retreat in Philadelphia.

While Trump peppered his 25-minute speech with nods to Obamacare, tax cuts and infrastructure spending, he sounded more like a candidate at a campaign rally than a newly inaugurated president revving up his party for an ambitious legislative agenda.

Trump wasted little time unloading about his fixations, almost immediately reveling in his victory as he stood before an entire room of Republicans, who for the first time in years control the White House and both chambers of Congress — and will likely have a majority on the Supreme Court this year after Trump announces his nominee next Thursday.

“Nice to win,” he greeted his fellow Republicans. “Do we agree? It’s been a while. It’s been a while since we had this position. Nice to win.”

Trump delved into a riff seconds later about how great it was for him to be in Philadelphia, first noting its place as home to where he attended college before acknowledging its history as “the place where we launched our American independence.” What’s more, Trump said, Philadelphia is a city in a blue state people said he, like many Republican candidates in the past, couldn’t win.

He signaled to House Speaker Paul Ryan a much-anticipated change in Washington, D.C. — the end of years of dysfunction — telling the Wisconsin Republican he won’t be wasting time writing legislation that never gets signed into law by the president before declaring: “This Congress is going to be the busiest Congress we’ve had in decades — maybe ever.”

It was about five minutes into his address before he mentioned any policy, recounting what he described as “major contractual steps to restore the rule of law and to return power to everyday Americans” with executive actions. But nearly every mention of presidential memoranda and other actions he’s signed since taking office last Friday included off-the-cuff segues into, for example, American pipes (Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines), a projection of 600,000 people for Saturday’s anti-abortion March for Life and an assertion that there’s “nothing fair about the media” because they allegedly report unfairly on crowd sizes (reinstatement of Mexico City policy), and a call for commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross to be confirmed by the Senate “because I hear he did fantastically well” (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

He said when he meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, he’ll have to negotiate deals himself since Ross has yet to be confirmed.

“I’m meeting with her tomorrow. I don’t have my commerce secretary,” Trump said. “They want to talk trade. So I’ll have to handle it myself, which is OK.”

Trump addressed the elephant in the room when he highlighted his recent actions on immigration, including the first move from the White House to begin construction of his proposed border wall. As Trump traveled to Philadelphia from Washington, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had announced that he had informed the White House that he would no longer be visiting next week, a rejoinder to Trump’s suggestion that the North American leaders shouldn’t meet if Mexico won’t agree to pay for the border wall, a pledge Trump made on the first day of his campaign.

“I’ve said many times that the American people will not pay for the wall, and I’ve made that clear to the government of Mexico,” Trump said, going on to slam NAFTA as a “terrible deal.”

“To that end, the president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week,” Trump said. His comment, however, is at odds with White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who during an earlier gaggle with reporters during the trip to Philadelphia was unaware that Peña Nieto would no longer be coming. Nevertheless, Trump continued: “Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and I want to go a different route. I have no choice.”

The president quickly shifted into patting himself on the back for naming Vice President Mike Pence, a former Indiana governor, as his running mate. It wasn’t until more than midway through his remarks that he mentioned his “ambitious legislative agenda.”

The Republicans’ agenda begins with the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, Trump said, before echoing his past criticisms of the Affordable Care Act as a “disaster.” And that’s as far as he got before he began name-checking his “all-star roster” of Cabinet nominees and, as he got to Jeff Sessions, relishing his endorsement during the presidential campaign by the Alabama senator and attorney general nominee.

Finding his way back to the topic at hand, Trump highlighted new trade deals to boost jobs and wages, tax reform, an infrastructure package, an investment to rebuild the military, a reduction of energy regulations and a commitment to stand with law enforcement as priorities of his nascent administration.

“We also need to keep the ballot box safe from illegal voting. And believe me, you take a look at what’s registering, folks,” Trump added. “They like to say, ‘Oh, Trump, Trump, Trump.’ Take a look at what’s registering. We are going to protect the integrity of the ballot box, and we are going to defend the votes of the American citizen.”

Trump has called for a “major” probe into what believes is widespread voter fraud that occurred in the presidential election despite no evidence to support the charge. He’s expected to issue an executive action on the matter later Thursday. But as he told congressional Republicans, it’s only the beginning.

“We are now only at the beginning of this incredible journey together,” he said. “I am honored to be your partner in this amazing quest. I am privileged to stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, as we work every single day to make America great again.”


by on Jan. 26, 2017 at 5:57 PM
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by Gold Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 5:57 PM

Just a personal correction to the story.  I believe Trump postponed signing of an executive order to look into voter fraud.

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