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Trump’s top communications aide resigns, moves to re-election campaign

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Resignation

Shine, a former Fox News executive, resigned on Thursday and will serve as a senior campaign adviser ahead of the 2020 presidential election, White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement.

A source close to Trump, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the president had lost confidence in Shine and was relying heavily on Sanders to run the communications operation.

Shine is the latest in a string of communications directors, who have had short tenures in the Trump White House, where the president in many ways serves as his own communications chief.

Trump said in a statement released by the White House that Shine had done an “outstanding” job.

“We will miss him in the White House, but look forward to working together on the 2020 Presidential Campaign, where he will be totally involved,” Trump said.

Shine said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

“Serving President Trump and this country has been the most rewarding experience of my entire life.

“To be a small part of all this President has done for the American people has truly been an honour,” he said in a statement.

The former Fox News executive was named to the top White House communications job in July, 14 months after he left the network amid charges he failed take effective steps to deal with sexual misconduct at the channel.

Although not accused of harassment, Shine was named in a number of lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and accused of not doing more to prevent it.

Trump named Shine to be assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications, a job that had been vacant since Hope Hicks, the president’s campaign confidante, left in February 2018.

The New Yorker magazine earlier this week reported on “seamlessly” close ties between Trump and Fox News, citing an expert on presidential studies, who said the television network founded by Rupert Murdoch is the “closest we’ve come to having state TV.”

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Trump directs United States troops reduction in Germany: media

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United States President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to reduce United States military presence in Germany by September, United States media reported on Friday.

Citing United States government officials, The Wall Street Journal said in a Friday piece that the move would reduce 9,500 troops from the 34,500 troops that are permanently assigned in Germany.

The move also limits the size of United States troops deployed in Germany at any one time at the 25,000-troop level. According to the report, overall troop levels under current practice can rise to as high as 52,000 as units rotate in and out or take part in training exercises.

The report came days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said due to the coronavirus pandemic, she will not attend the Group of Seven (G7) Summit that initially scheduled at the White House in late June.

A person familiar with the matter was quoted as saying that the troops’ reduction plan had been discussed within the administration for months and was not linked to Merkel’s decision on G7 Summit.

The reduction plan might further strain the relations between Washington and Berlin. The two allies have been at odds with each other on Iran nuclear issues, Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, and defense burden-sharing, among others.

(XINHUA)

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Washington mayor asks Trump to remove federal forces

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The mayor of the United States capital city, Washington, has formally asked President Donald Trump to remove federal forces from the district.

The forces were deployed amid protests over police brutality, which in some instances descended into rioting.

Mayor Muriel Bowser noted in her letter to the president that there were no fresh arrests in recent days of sustained protests and asked that the troops leave “our city.”

The mayor has come across as being subtly supportive of the protests and more overtly has been pushing back against federal heavy-handed tactics in the city.

Washington is not a state, under the constitution, and has a unique status. It was granted “Home Rule,” though the federal government still has influence and power.

Federal property throughout the city is under the Federal Government’s control.

The federal troops have at times seen the most intense clashes with protesters demonstrating over the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by police in Minnesota, including using tear gas outside the White House.

Among the federal forces were poorly identified members of various Justice Department agencies, including the Bureau of Prisons riot control teams.

The incidents have renewed the debate over statehood for the district. Bowser posted a tweet in favour of the move this week. Republicans in Congress are opposed.

Stand with DC now… or later wonder how it happened to your state,” Bowser said on Twitter, referring to federal overreach. dpa/NAN)

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

 

 

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D.C. mayor asks Trump to withdraw federal law enforcement, troops dealing with protests

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday requested that President Donald Trump “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” in the nation’s capital after the president sent in forces to tackle the protests related to the death of George Floyd.

Bowser, a Democrat of African-American descent, wrote in a letter that she has ended the state of emergency in the district related to demonstrations against the death of Floyd, a black man killed last week under the custody of white police in Minneapolis.

The mayor noted that protests in the capital have been “peaceful,” and that the Metropolitan Police Department, for the second consecutive night, “did not make a single arrest” Thursday night.

“I continue to be concerned that unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C. pose both safety and national security risks,” Bowser told Trump in the letter, adding that federal law enforcement personnel and equipment “are inflaming demonstrations and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans.”

Trump, whose threat to deploy active-duty military forces to quell the protests has drawn harsh and broad condemnation from both current and former officials, said Friday that his plan to address racism in the country is to provide a strong economy for the African American community.

While touting the unexpected decline in unemployment in May, the president said at the White House Rose Garden that a strong economy is “the greatest thing that can happen for race relations” as well as minorities including African Americans.

(XINHUA)

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Trump finds himself isolated among allies: United States media

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After having experienced years of American unilateralism, United States allies in Europe no longer believe that President Donald Trump will offer them much, reported The New York Times.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision earlier this week of declining to attend the Group of Seven (G7) Summit that initially scheduled at the White House later this month was the most obvious evidence, said an article published Tuesday in the newspaper.

Merkel cited the unabated pandemic as the reason, but a senior German official noted that it was not the case, said the article.

“She believed that proper diplomatic preparations had not been made; she did not want to be part of an anti-China display; she opposed Mr. Trump‘s idea of inviting the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin; she did not want to be seen as interfering in American domestic politics,” the official was quoted as saying, adding the chancellor was shocked by Trump’s unilateral decision to pull out of the World Health Organization.

Likewise, French President Emmanuel Macron, said the article, believed that Trump had damaged European security through his unilateral abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal and nearly every arms control agreement with Russia.

“As so often in the past, on issues like unilateral American withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal or the Paris climate accord or the Open Skies treaty or the sudden ban on air travel from Europe, Mr. Trump ignored the views of allies or did not consult them at all,” it said.

Trump’s opposition to all these international institutions and agreements is “outrageous for Europeans like Merkel and Macron who have multilateralism in their DNA,” the article quoted William Drozdiak, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, as saying.

(XINHUA)

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Merkel evades question about Trump’s role in polarising United States society

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Merkel

Berlin, Jun 4, 2020  German Chancellor Angela Merkel

was evasive when asked during a TV programme about whether President Donald Trump is responsible for police violence and racism in the United States.

“I believe that his leadership style is controversial,’’ Merkel said, in response to the question of whether Trump is polarising the country, which has seen massive protests nationwide over the killing of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of white police officers.

Asked by broadcaster ZDF whether she still trusted Trump, Merkel answered: “I work with the world’s elected presidents.

“And of course this includes the American president.

And I hope that the country can be pacified’’.

The chancellor said she didn’t talk about the things she discusses with Trump in public.

“I can only hope that Americans are able to work together,’’ she said, adding that she was glad that many in the United States were contributing to this aim.

Merkel also spoke about the “murder” of Floyd, calling it “racism,” and said: “Racism is something horrible’’.

She added that she trusted in the United States’ democratic system to deal with the difficult situation.

“Racism has always existed, unfortunately also in Germany,’’ she said.

“So we are now putting our own house in order and hope that there are also enough people in the United States who simply want to protest peacefully.’’

Since the death of Floyd, many United States cities have seen protests against police violence and racism, sometimes ending in looting and riots.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

 
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Roundup: Former United States defense secretary says Trump deliberately sows division among Americans

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Former United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis broke silence on Wednesday amid the ongoing turbulent unrest across the United States, saying that President Donald Trump “tries to divide” the American people.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” said the revered Marine general, who resigned as the Pentagon chief in December 2018 in protest against Trump’s Syria policy.

“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” Mattis continued in an article carried by the Atlantic magazine.

“We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children,” he said.

Mattis’s excoriation came as Trump threatened to send in active-duty military forces to quell the ongoing protests against police brutality and racial discrimination that have spread to over 300 U.S. cities and towns following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, by white police.

“We should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict — a false conflict — between the military and civilian society,” Mattis said.

Noting that the protesters were “rightly demanding” equal justice under law, Mattis said he has “watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled.”

“It is a wholesome and unifying demand — one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers,” he continued. “The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values — our values as people and our values as a nation.”

“We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution,” said the former defense secretary.

Mattis also bluntly berated Trump’s posing for a photo op in front of a fire-damaged church near the White House. The president, flanked by senior administration officials including Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, visited on Monday the St. John’s Church minutes after police used non-lethal weapons to disperse peaceful protesters nearby.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Mattis wrote. “Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

Apparently outraged by Mattis’s remarks, Trump took to Twitter to fight back, saying he “had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world‘s most overrated General.”

“His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations,” Trump said. “I didn’t like his ‘leadership’ style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!”

On May 25, 46-year-old Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes until he stopped breathing.

In a video posted online, the victim is heard saying “I can’t breathe,” while three other police officers stand close by.

Referring to the death of Floyd and the ensuing nationwide unrest, former President Barack Obama — himself an African American — said Wednesday that “as tragic as these past few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they’ve been, they’ve also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends.”

(XINHUA)

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Former United States defense secretary says Trump deliberately sows division among Americans

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Former United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis broke silence on Wednesday amid the ongoing turbulent unrest across the United States, saying that President Donald Trump “tries to divide” the American people.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” said the revered Marine general, who resigned as the Pentagon chief in December 2018 in protest against Trump’s Syria policy.

“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” Mattis continued in an article carried by the Atlantic magazine.

“We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children,” he said.

Mattis’s excoriation came as Trump threatened to send in active-duty military forces to quell the ongoing protests against police brutality and racial discrimination that have spread to over 300 U.S. cities and towns following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, by white police.

“We should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict — a false conflict — between the military and civilian society,” Mattis said.

(XINHUA)

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Trudeau under fire for silence on Trump’s response to protests in United States

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Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Jagmeet Singh has accused Prime Minister Trudeau of hypocrisy for failing to condemn irresponsible remarks by United States President Donald Trump on the mass protests over the death of African American George Floyd.

“His (Trudeau) silence reveals hypocrisy,” Singh said at a news conference in Ottawa Wednesday morning.

Trudeau fell silent for more than 20 seconds at a press conference Tuesday when a reporter asked for his views on the United States crisis. He eventually said Canadians were watching in horror what was going on in the United States, but did not mention Trump directly.

Singh called Trump‘s actions reprehensible, accusing the U.S. president of inflaming hatred and divisions, fuelling racism and putting people’s lives at risk.

Trump has lashed out at the protesters marching against the death of African American George Floyd, calling them thugs and anarchists. He also has threatened to use military forces to quash them.

Singh said that “the prime minister of Canada has to call out the hatred and racism happening just south of the border, and if the prime minister can’t do that, how can everyday people be expected to stand up?”

Meanwhile, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said Trudeau should show more courage in the face of aggressive actions by a U.S. leader, which are fuelling chaos on the country’s streets.

Blanchet said Trudeau is more inclined to accuse Canadians of being racist than to accuse Trump of being incendiary and provoking serious social tensions.

Mr. Trudeau is much more inclined to accuse us collectively of all the vices,” he said.

“He didn’t have the courage to say the president of the United States is once again throwing oil on a dangerous fire against people, most of them in a peaceful fashion, who express sadness, indignation, sorrow, anger, all of that being entirely legitimate,” Blanchet said.

In defence of the prime minister on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Trudeau‘s answer to the Trump question was “excellent and eloquent.”

“I think that most important response of any Canadian political leader has to be to understand our own responsibility for what happens here in our own country,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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Pentagon chief breaks with Trump over protest response

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United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Wednesday that he opposed the use of active-duty military forces to quell protesters across the country demonstrating against police brutality and racial injustice.

“I say this not only as Secretary of Defense, but also as a former soldier, and a former member of the National Guard: The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now,” the Pentagon chief said at a press conference.

Esper’s statement put him at odds with United States President Donald Trump, who on Monday said he might invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to crack down on the nationwide unrest over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis who was suffocated to death on May 25 as a white police officer kept kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes.

“I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Esper said. The 213-year-old law authorizes the president to unilaterally deploy military forces on domestic soil for law enforcement purposes.

Trump claimed in a speech Monday at the White House Rose Garden that he would send in “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers” to restore order should state and local officials fail to do so.

After finishing the speech, Trump walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church where he held a Bible in his hand and later posed for a photo op flanked by senior administration officials, including Esper. Police reportedly used tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets against largely peaceful protesters to clear the way for the president and his entourage.

Criticized for participating in the controversial event, Esper said Wednesday that he was not aware of the plan to take the group picture at the church, nor did he know protesters were being dispersed when the group made their way. “I did know that we were going to church, I was not aware that a photo op was happening.”

James Miller, a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, resigned in response to the incident. “You may not have been able to stop President Trump from directing this appalling use of force, but you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it,” he told Esper in his resignation letter dated Tuesday.

As violent confrontations between protesters and police seemed to subside in Washington, D.C., active-duty troops deployed to the nation’s capital have started returning to their home bases Wednesday, U.S. media reported.

Esper said at the news briefing that his goal was “to keep the department out of politics and stay apolitical.”

(XINHUA)

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