During a news conference alongside French president Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the NATO Summit this Tuesday, President Trump was asked by a reporter if he supports the protesters in Iran, who’ve been met with a brutal government response that has so far left around 200 people dead.
“I don’t want to speak to that,” Trump replied, before adding, “The answer is no.”
Asked if the U.S. supports Iranian protesters, Pres. Trump says, "I don't want to comment on that, but the answer's no. But I don't want to comment on that." https://t.co/M5slGfPrE2 pic.twitter.com/w85Jyt9pYh
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 3, 2019
Trump’s comment seemingly contradicts words from his own Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who just yesterday suggested that the US sees the Iranian government as the villain in the unrest.
During an appearance on Fox & Friends, Pompeo said that the US supports the protesters and that “we’ve done our best to make sure they can continue to communicate by using the internet,” despite a move last week by the Iranian government to shut it down “in its entirety” in the country.
In later comments at the University of Louisville, Pompeo said Iran is the uniting factor in protests around the Middle East. When speaking about the recent resignation of Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi, Pompeo said it was “because the people were demanding freedom and the security forces had killed dozens and dozens of people. That’s due in large part to Iranian influence.”
“The same is true in Lebanon, the protests in Beirut,” he added. “They want Hezbollah and Iran out of their country, out of their system as a violent and a repressive force.”
In regards to the protests in Iran, Pompeo said that they’re due to the fact that the Iranian people are “fed up.”
“They see a theocracy that is stealing money, the ayatollahs stealing tens and tens of millions of dollars,” he said.
Trump’s answer on the Iranian question puzzled many observers:
First of all, you can't answer the question and then say "no comment." "The answer is no" IS a comment. A very definitive comment.
Second… for real? For what possible reason would Trump not want to support the Iranian protesters?
— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) December 3, 2019
Weird moment. Trump was asked if he backed the Iranian protesters. He said he didn't want to comment, and then says: "The answer is no".
— Julian Borger (@julianborger) December 3, 2019
It seems possible Trump was thinking the Iranian protesters might be the "death to America" type?
Still a weird response, though.
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) December 3, 2019
Trump announces Rudy Giuliani ‘wants to go before Congress’ and testify about his Ukraine dealings
President Donald Trump on Saturday said that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, wanted to testify before Congress.
Speaking to reporters as he departed for a Republican fundraiser in Florida, Trump praised the former New York City mayor.
"Rudy, as you know, has been one of the great crime fighters of the last 50 years," Trump said of his lawyer, who is reportedly under federal investigation for breaking the law.
"And, he did get back from Europe just recently and I know -- he has not told me what he found, but I think he wants to go before Congress and say, and also to the attorney general and the Department of Justice," Trump said.
GOP governors are refusing to do Trump’s bidding and ducking him on the campaign trail: report
On Saturday, Maggie Haberman of The New York Times profiled how President Donald Trump is having less luck whipping Republican governors into line than Republican senators, including governors who arguably owe their election to his support.
"In Florida, Mr. Trump’s aides helped save the flailing candidacy of Ron DeSantis in the 2018 Republican primary, and then the general election," wrote Haberman. "Also last year, in Georgia, Mr. Trump helped pull Brian Kemp over the finish line in both the primary and the general election. In both cases, Mr. Trump’s advisers implored him to stay out of the primaries, and he agreed to — only to surprise his aides by jumping in to support Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Kemp."
Courts have avoided refereeing between Congress and the president — Trump may change all that
President Donald Trump’s refusal to hand over records to Congress and allow executive branch employees to provide information and testimony to Congress during the impeachment battle is the strongest test yet of legal principles that over the past 200 years have not yet been fully defined by U.S. courts.
It’s not the first test: Struggles over power among the political branches predate our Constitution. The framers chose not to, and probably could not, fully resolve them.