category: politics

Did Trump Flip-Flop on Libya? Nope!

 

MEDIA’S ATTACK: “Trump is lying when he claims he was against taking out Gaddafi!”
Nope. THE FACTS:

  • Strawman argument! Trump doesn’t say/hasn’t said he was ‘against taking out Gaddafi.’ He says the area would be better off with Gaddafi in power, yes, but he does not claim he was against removing him.
  • While, in a Feb 2011 video blog, Trump indicated he was in favor of “knocking out” Gaddafi, he clearly said he was in favor of doing so if we did so “surgically,” efficiently, and quickly. That is NOT what was done and thus Trump did not support the messy, drawn-out removal (as executed).

MEDIA’S ATTACK: “OK, but Trump was clearly in favor of the Libyan intervention overall!”

Nope. THE FACTS:

  • Trump’s Feb 2011 video (speaking of a quick, surgical knock-out) clearly indicates he opposes a months-long, heavy intervention (what Obama/HRC did), so no, he was not in favor of the Libyan intervention that was actually carried out.
  • Contemporaneous (!) to Gaddafi’s effective ouster (i.e., in August 2011), Trump was tweeting his criticism of the intervention, even tweeting that “As bad as Gaffadi was – what comes next in Libya will be worse – just watch” and other critical tweets. Thus, at the very latest, in August 2011, Trump was already publicly against the Libyan intervention, which still carried on months longer after that. His August 2011 opposition is thus consistent with his current position/remarks FIVE YEARS LATER (e.g., consistent with his Feb 2016 GOP-debate statement wherein he said we “would be so much better off if Gaddafi would be in charge right now” and that he did not favor the Libyan intervention; consistent with his Oct 2015 CNN SOTU statements that the MidEast would be be better off with Saddam and Gaddafi, despite being bad guys, still in power; and consistent with similar Oct 2015 remarks on Meet the Press).
  • P.S. You’ll notice most articles that reference Trump’s ‘we should knock him out’ video blog curiously only say it’s from “2011” but don’t give the month. (Example here.) That’s because they want you to assume that Trump was in favor of the ouster as it was happening (i.e., summer/fall) to indicate agreement with both the method (which Trump opposed) and the long intervention (which Trump also opposed). I had to comb through at least a dozen articles to find one that mentioned that his video blog was from February 2011 (i.e., early on).

SO… WHERE’S THE FLIP-FLOP??? On the contrary, what we have here is someone who’s maintained the same position on Libya for the past five years (!), and who even disagreed with the method of Gaddafi’s removal.

 

 

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category: politics

Trump DID Oppose the Iraq War Before It Started / Hillary & Media Lie Again

Sigh. I didn’t think we’d have to revisit this. I already addressed this in a very thorough blog post in February. But… the media keeps insisting (or, at best, insinuating) Donald Trump lied when he said he was against the Iraq War before it started.

On CNN today (June 5th), it came up:

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Tapper also discussed it with Trump directly, prompting various headlines.

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Before we dive into this, let’s just stop for a moment to consider how bizarre this ‘line of attack’ is. It is basically: “You didn’t support the Iraq War before it started!” vs HILLARY, who voted for and led us into the Iraq War. Huh? What’s the point of this discussion?

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Let’s dive into this sucker. There are two arguments happening here:

(1) the claim (by both Hillary and the media) that Trump in fact supported the Iraq War before it started (Hillary cites the ‘audio’ and ‘tape’ of this so she means the Howard Stern interview), contrary to his claim that he was against the war before it started; and

(2) the claim that there is ‘no evidence’ that Trump opposed the Iraq War before it started.

Let’s start with the first. Is there actual evidence, as Hillary claims, of Trump supporting the Iraq War before the war started in March 2003?

Nope.

The ONLY relevant material here, all parties agree, is Trump’s appearance on the Howard Stern show in on September 11, 2002, six months before the war. In it, Stern asked Trump, “Are you for invading Iraq?” and Trump answered: “Yeah, I guess so….”

THIS, kids, is what the media and Hillary have taken as “evidence” that Trump “supported” the war. (Yes, I’m scratching my head, too.)

It is no such thing.

  1. “Yeah, I guess so…” is NOT a statement expressing support. As someone pointed out to me on Twitter in February when I was discussing this topic, if someone asked you if you love your spouse, and you answered: “Yeah, I guess so…”, they would call a divorce attorney for you. “Yeah, I guess so….” is not at all a supportive or affirmative answer.
  2. Notice the date — it’s September 11th. Yup, the one-year anniversary of 9-11… and you’re in New York City, no less. Considering the “you’re either with us or with the terrorists” atmosphere at the time surrounding politics, it was considered a no-no to doubt Bush’s plans to go into Iraq (I would know firsthand — I was in NYC at the time).
  3. Consider the venue — it’s the Howard Stern show. This isn’t exactly McLaughlin Group — does one give a thoughtful answer re wartime policy on Howard’s show? Or just an easy “Yeah, I guess so” which is exactly what Trump gave?

(For more on this, see my original February post, showcasing tweets from Twitter users opining on the issue.)

Second, there’s the timing. The Stern interview is six months (pretty long time) before the war started. Even if, for argument’s sake, we go with “his statement on Howard Stern means he supported the war”, it’s a whopping six months earlier. A lot can happen in six months. Couldn’t a person (and many did) change their minds (whether supporting the war/then not or vice versa), say, two months later? Three months later? i.e., Isn’t it possible to be in favor of the war in September 2002 but not be in favor of it in November 2002, before the war began?

Third, if Trump did in fact “support” the war before it started, why is there no other report and no other interview (Trump was interviewed all the time, formally and informally on the street by reporters while exiting parties and events) showcasing his support? Wouldn’t there be at least one other quote out there were Trump expresses his support, in those long six months between the Stern interview and the war’s commencement in March 2003? Here, the absence of evidence is (almost) evidence itself.

Bottom line: No, there is no evidence Trump supported the Iraq War before it began. Hillary is lying.

OK, moving onto the second angle: Is the media correct that there’s no evidence out there of Trump opposing the Iraq War before it started?

Nope, they’re wrong. There IS evidence of Trump opposing the war before it started.

  1. In a January 2003 interview on FOX News with Neil Cavuto, the same night as Bush’s SOTU address, Trump and Cavuto are discussing the matter. This is what Trump said:

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Notice his statements: “perhaps [we] shouldn’t be doing it yet”…. “perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations”… “a lot of people are getting a little tired”…. “I think the economy is a much bigger problem [than Iraq situation].”

In my interpretation, and most reasonable folks with whom I have discussed this quote, that is indeed expressing opposition. And yes, it’s “before the war” (two months before).

2. Then there is the eyewitness testimony of those who personally recall Trump’s opposition. Sean Hannity recalls Trump “did not want us to go into Iraq. He was dead set against it.”

In a court of law, we would consider this witness testimony “evidence.”

3. There is the timing-of-his-opposition-statements. The war officially started on March 19th, 2003. On March 25, 2003, the Washington Post runs into Trump at a Vanity Fair party. He is quoted as saying the war is “a mess.” Would have felt the same way a week EARLIER, i.e., BEFORE the war started? Otherwise, the theory is that a person would support the war the week of March 18th but suddenly be against it a week later?!!! That makes no sense! Trump’s remark at the Vanity Fair party, the same week the war started (!), is proof he must’ve opposed it in the immediate days, at the very least, leading up to the war, too!

So there you have it! There is (a) no evidence Trump supported the war before it started, and (b) there IS evidence that Trump was against the war before it started, just as he said.

Sorry, Hillary! Sorry, media! You’re proven wrong. And Trump is right, yet again.

 

 

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category: politics

In Defense of Trump re: Judge Curiel

In the past 48 hours, the media and Donald Trump’s opponents have latched onto yet another angle on which they hope to bury Donald Trump (if this sounds familiar, it’s because they do this every week).

The new hit angle? Donald Trump’s ‘racist’ attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge currently presiding over the Trump University class-action suit. Trump is concerned Judge Curiel may be biased against him, based on Trump’s positions, such as his widely-reported policy-plans to build a wall with Mexico.

First, a few quick facts:

1) Judge Gonzalo Curiel is Mexican-American (the son of Mexican immigrants). [To be sure, as a Latina, I am proud of Judge Curiel’s accomplishments (not many children of immigrants go on to become federal judges!) and am sure he is a fine individual, something with which I’m sure Trump agrees as well.]

2) Trump has made remarks that some interpreted as “anti” Mexican or “anti” Latino — namely, his June 2015 remarks (albeit factual remarks) that some of the illegal immigrants who cross through the Mexican border unvetted are criminals; his plans to build a wall with Mexico; and his plans to deport illegal immigrants (the majority of which are Latinos). To those with a brain, or those without an agenda, this is not at all anti-Latino or anti-Mexican but it is nonetheless indisputable that some Latinos did take offense to these remarks, largely due to (a) the anti-Trump media widely misquoting and misrepresenting what Trump actually said in June, and (b) radicals for whom anything short of “Let illegal immigrants come and stay” is anti-Latino.

3) He has awarded scholarship assistance to those here illegally. (It is natural to infer from such that the Judge is in favor of helping illegal immigrants.)

4) Judge Curiel has issued questionable rulings in this case. The most glaring one was on May 28th, when he unsealed previously-sealed documents (already an eyebrow-raising move). It’s worse, though… The reason? As Judge Curiel himself wrote in his order to unseal the documents, the reason was the public interest in the case, part of which was due to Trump’s remarks about the case. Huh?

Hm, that’s not normal.

The worst part? In unsealing the documents, the Judge, well, messed up, to put it lightly. You see, some of these documents were never supposed to be unsealed, containing sensitive, personal information about private individuals. Judge Curiel then had to scramble to reseal some of the documents he’d unsealed but, too late — they were already out in the public domain.

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What a mess. That alone is arguably enough to warrant Judge Curiel recusing himself, as he is apparently no longer thinking clearly or able to preside over this case in a rational manner.

A few days later, Trump, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, noted Judge Curiel has an “inherent conflict of interest”, citing his plans to build a wall and Judge Curiel’s Mexican-American heritage, including the Judge’s membership in a Latino lawyers’ associations named “La Raza” (“the race”). Trump also mentioned the reports that have surfaced regarding Judge Curiel having known the plaintiffs’ lawyer for years. (Are they friends? What is their relationship? These are questions that deserve answers.)

Shortly thereafter, on June 3rd in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Trump said Judge Curiel should recuse himself. (Notice: Trump had not previously called for Judge Curiel to recuse himself — he only did so after the unsealing of documents containing private citizens’ personal information.)

All pretty benign. So what’s the problem here???

Critics have seized on this, feigning outrage, saying Trump’s stance is “racist” because, according to them, Trump is claiming — hang onto your horses for this one! — that Judge Curiel is unfit to serve because of his Mexican ancestry.

If you try to wrap your head around that gem, it will give you a glaring headache. The truth is (to anyone without a partisan, anti-Trump agenda) Trump’s stance has NOTHING to do with Judge Curiel’s ethnicity but rather with Trump’s policy positions / remarks. Trump is rightly concerned / questioning whether his positions / remarks have caused Judge Curiel to have any personal animus towards him. Consider, for instance, this analogy:

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It isn’t saying the judge can’t be effective “because she is a single mom”… it’s saying the judge can’t be unbiased because of remarks the person made about single moms (a category to which the judge belongs). In Trump’s case, it’s a national origin category. Big whoop.

The most ironic part of all this is the media and Trump’s critics who, for a year now, have constantly insisted that ‘no Latino will vote for Trump!‘… ‘Latinos all dislike Trump because of his remarks/policy positions!‘ … yet now clutch their pearls and shout: ‘How dare you say this (Latino) judge might not like Trump because of his remarks?!’ Which is it? Make up your minds!

As I quickly mentioned on CNN’s “Out Front with Erin Burnett” last night, and again on Twitter:

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The saddest part of this fake controversy? It’s un-American. The media and Trump’s critics are essentially saying a private citizen cannot ever exercise his speech rights to question a judge’s impartiality or ethics. (Ironically, these are the same folks who danced over Justice Scalia’s grave and attack Justice Clarence Thomas on every angle, repeatedly.)

It is downright frightening.

The truth is: judges are humans. Judges are not infallible. In fact, they routinely err. Often, they even breach criminal laws:

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A 2015 New York World article entitled, “When Judges Are Judged,” notes:

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So what’s with the un-American pushback against Trump’s First-Amendment right to simply express misgivings about the potential bias of a judge? Since when did it become an American value that we do not, cannot, and should not question the ethics of judges? Have you ever listened to a Supreme Court nomination hearing?!

Bottom line: As a Latina myself, if I were a judge presiding over a very unique case where a defendant had made remarks, which some Latinos interpreted or could interpret as anti-Latino, I would naturally expect my impartiality to be questioned. In fact, I would likely even consider recusing myself prior to any such request, even IF I knew I was not affected by, or acting upon, the conflict of interest, in order to preserve confidence in the case and in the judicial system. Do I think Judge Curiel actually is acting upon the conflict of interest? No, I don’t. But Trump has an absolute right to voice those concerns, ask questions, and it should not spark any controversy whatsoever.

Last two points:

As for the media feigning horror that Trump called Judge Curiel “Mexican.” Hmm, newsflash for the non-Latinos — we Latinos do this all the time. I often refer to myself as “Cuban” (even though I was born in the U.S.) and my U.S.-born Mexican friends and neighbors often refer to themselves as “Mexican.” It’s just a colloquial shorthand, nothing more.

Lastly, Trump has *never* stated Judge Curiel *is* definitely biased. When Trump states there is an “absolute conflict of interest”, and a Trump critic runs with that, it only reveals the embarrassing ignorance of the Trump critic. Saying there is a definite conflict of interest, does not mean you believe the person is ACTING on the conflict of interest. All Trump is saying is the POTENTIAL for impartiality is there. In fact, look up the definition:

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So, again, what’s the controversy here??? The only ‘controversy’ is how the media and Trump’s critics continue to use fake, phony attacks to further their own partisan agenda. Quite frankly, it’s tacky.

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category: politics

So is Donald Trump ‘busted’ re his alleged opposition to Iraq War? nope!

Trump recently claimed he opposed the Iraq War in 2003 and “before that.”

Buzzfeed’s Andrew K (a tremendous reporter, with terrific scoops) did some digging, though, and found audio of Trump appearing on the Howard Stern show on September 11, 2002. It’s a solid find by Andrew but it’s being used by Trump critics to apparently demonstrate Trump is a ‘liar’ who didn’t, in fact, oppose the Iraq War.

Buzzfeed’s headline:

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I don’t see, however, how this audio negates Trump’s alleged opposition to the war. If anything, it supports the notion that Trump was against the war. Why?

    1. For starters, Trump’s “Yeah, I guess so…” isn’t exactly an enthusiastic, ringing endorsement of the war plans. One can almost hear his shoulders shrugging. Let’s just say that’s not what an Iraq War supporter sounded like in 2002.
    2. It’s September 2002 — months before the war began the following year. At that time, I recall opinions (my own included) wavered week to week. Wildly varying information and various Bush pitches were emerging constantly, and opinions on whether to invade — including even what the ‘invasion/war’ would actually entail — were all over the place. So, yes, one could say “Sure, let’s go over there” one week and easily turn around and oppose it the following week, or vice versa. Thus, it’s possibly Trump could go on a show and say “Yeah, I guess so” regarding plans to invade but then reconsider — which would make his “I opposed the war” truthful.
    3. Notice the date — the interview was on the anniversary of September 11th. Who would dare — 12 months after 9/11, on its anniversary — question Bush’s “plan to fight terrorism”, much less on a public show that isn’t even about political affairs??? Most of us, even if we opposed the war, would probably just say “Yeah” when interviewed on that date and on that show.
    4. It’s NYC. As someone in NYC during this exact time period, I can tell you support of the Iraq War — at a time when one was expected to give Bush free-reign to go after ‘terror’ — was almost mandatory. Only the most hardcore liberals dared openly AND CONSISTENTLY criticize the idea of invading Iraq.

So there you have it.

UPDATE/FURTHER INFO: Trump addressed the matter, noting:
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Indeed. End of story.

Also, a quick Google search revealed Trump did, in fact, express skepticism BEFORE the war began (the invasion began in March 2003), back in January 2003. I guess if you’re going to take his I-was-against-it-in-2003-and-before-that (a one-time, offhand remark) extremely LITERALLY, and take that to mean 2002 or earlier, then sure, maybe he didn’t do so publicly, on the record, in 2002 or earlier. But he DID publicly, on the record, do so… in January 2003 (close enough, for ya?!), certainly before the war started. Trump’s Jan 2003 comment is ‘skepticism’ at the very least but pretty much what most would call healthy opposition.

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Need more? Here’s Trump at a Vanity Fair party, only five days after the war began, calling it a “mess.”

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Here’s Trump outright AGAINST the war in July 2004, a year after the war began but still pretty darn early on and at a time when many were still fervently supporting it!, during an interview with the Dallas Morning News.

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And also in August 2004: 

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Also: Since posting this circa 10 pm EST tonight and sharing it on Twitter, my Twitter tweeps made some excellent points, with which this post should be updated:

 

UPDATE 2 (following day, Feb 19th): New information has emerged, including additional finds. Thanks to some of my Twitter tweeps, who tipped me off to my pal Sean Hannity’s remarks on this topic, I located two relevant remarks by Sean, wherein Sean clearly notes Trump was clearly against our going into Iraq from the very beginning.

and…

Andrew also had another good find, this afternoon, though, worth addressing:

Again, however, I do not see the ‘gotcha’ here. Of course (!) folks (even those against the war) would compliment the job our troops and military were doing. My take?:

Also, notice Trump’s actual quote: “it looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.” FROM A MILITARY STANDPOINT. That’s not saying you support the endeavor or think it’s a great success overall — but rather are opining strictly from a military standpoint. Trump also later adds, in an obviously skeptical manner: “let’s hope it all works out.”

UPDATE 3: In August 2003, only five months after the war began, while on Joe Scarborough’s show, Trump noted the following:

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Also, there is this 2006 CNN interview:

And in 2007, when, yes, many were still supporting the war, including Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Trump noted anyone who justified it was an “imbecile.”

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