Perhaps Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg summed up the crisis is U.S. international relations best Friday when he tweeted simply: “The United States of America no longer has a foreign policy.”
The tweet came in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement, also on Twitter, that he “ordered the withdrawal” of new sanctions on North Korea that the Treasury Department has just announced. In addition to it being a stupefying decision for a president to immediately contradict his administration after a decision had been made, the tweet was factually mistaken in at least two respects: The sanctions were announced Thursday, not Friday. And they hit two Chinese shipping companies that have been doing business with North Korea — they are not, as Trump implied, additional “large scale” sanctions on North Korea itself.
CNN’s national security reporter Kylie Atwood noted that the companies were “violating sanctions that are already in place.” A senior administration official had described them as “maintenance,” she said.
“What is unclear here, to White House officials, what they do next,” she said. “Does Treasury roll back these sanctions on these Chinese entities? Well if it did that, then they would also have to roll back even more sanctions on other companies and entities that were violating these sanctions in place. So it’s extremely complex, and administration officials are quite confused about where they go from here.”
Gloria Borger, a CNN analyst, noted that Trump’s decision Friday reflected similar chaos brought on by his announcement Thursday that the U.S. will recognize Israel as the rightful possessor of the contested Golan Heights region.
“And we don’t know with the Golan Heights tweet whether it’s actual policy, and we don’t know with this tweet what is actually means,” she said. “My colleagues and I have been rushing around trying to figure out who knew what when about this. And it seems to me this takes everything to a new level of dysfunction that if the president can tweet something about his own policy on sanctions and nobody quite understands what it means, how do you run foreign policy?”
She noted that Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump “likes” North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un — a brutal authoritarian — and doesn’t think these sanctions are necessary.
“Well, they’re already instituted!” said Borger. “We’re trying to confirm whether they’re part of existing, or whether they’re new — and Treasury was surprised by it, national security staff were surprised by it. Makes you scratch your head and say what’s going on over there?”
Watch the CNN clip below:
President Trump triggered rampant confusion among his own aides and administration officials when he said he is withdrawing new sanctions aimed at North Korea that were just issued by his own administration https://t.co/BlmpBbpnUW pic.twitter.com/odIf6YRVgx
— CNN (@CNN) March 22, 2019
Trump’s ‘no collusion’ lie is finally falling apart — but will Americans actually notice?
Although the Mueller Report has been in the public domain for nearly two months, there’s still a ton of confusion and disinformation around it. The confusion is specifically due to two things: Very few voters have actually read it, and Donald Trump is delighted to exploit that fact. It doesn’t help that Robert Mueller has been more than a little cryptic about his findings — refusing to answer questions or to appear for congressional testimony to clear the air.
Consequently, the president and his Red Hat loyalists continue to repeat the “NO COLLUSION!' lie with very little push-back. The all-caps falsehood gains momentum every time Trump repeats it. Likewise, Bill Barr’s March 24 letter and his subsequent public remarks erroneously confirmed Trump’s lie before anyone, including Congress, was allowed to actually read the report.
Trump calls himself a rock star as he tries to drum up interest in his Orlando rally: ‘Going to be wild!’
President Donald Trump compared himself to a rock star ahead of his campaign kickoff rally in Orlando, where hundreds of supporters camped out a day ahead of the Florida event.
Supporters waited in line more than 40 hours before Tuesday night's rally at the Amway Center, and the president claimed that showed he was as popular as musicians who pack arenas for rock concerts.
"The Fake News doesn’t report it," Trump tweeted, "but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild - See you later!"
MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Mika hilariously taunt Trump over lousy ratings for his ABC interview: He didn’t even beat ‘Family Feud’
President Donald Trump sees his poll numbers as the same thing as television ratings, according to panelists on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Host Joe Scarborough and others shared anecdotes showing the president's obsession with poll numbers and TV ratings, and his compulsion to push back when those popularity metrics are challenged.
"You have to to think back to that period you just described, 2015-2016, when reporters would go up to the 26th floor of Trump Tower," said Washington Post reporter Robert Costa. "President Trump would have all these framed ratings from 'The Apprentice' in picture frames on the wall. He would use the phrase ratings, and he would interchange it with the discussion of polling. He would say, 'My ratings are doing really well.'"