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Oscar’s Best Picture Flub Occurred Because Show ‘Focused So Hard’ On Me-Trump

 

Ted Johnson
                                     © Provided by Variety

 

President Donald Trump, making his first remarks on an Oscar ceremony where he and his policies were a frequent target of jokes and serious speeches, told Breitbart News that the ceremony’s political tone may have played a role in the major flub of the announcement of best picture.

“I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end,” Trump told Breitbart. “It was a little sad. It took away from the glamour of the Oscars. It didn’t feel like a very glamorous evening. I’ve been to the Oscars. There was something very special missing, and then to end that way was sad.”

In the final award of the evening, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the best picture to “La La Land.” Minutes later, though, the producers of the movie were informed on stage that they didn’t win. Jordan Horowitz then announced that “Moonlight” had won the honour, holding up a card from an envelope showing that was the case.

As it turned out, Beatty was given the wrong envelope as he took the stage. It was a duplicate of the previous category, best actress, showing that Emma Stone of “La La Land” had won. He looked puzzled after he opened the envelope, pausing for a few moments before handing it to Dunaway, who then blurted out that “La La Land” had won.

It’s unclear if Trump actually watched the ceremony. Last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested that he and the first lady would be too busy hosting the nation’s governors at a White House dinner.

A number of presenters and winners made political references, on issues including immigration and diversity, while host Jimmy Kimmel made Trump the target of jokes throughout the evening.

Trump did have a connection to the ceremony: His treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, financed and was an executive producer of “Suicide Squad,” which won for hair and makeup.

Although Trump did not tweet about the ceremony, as he has done in the past, his son, Donald Trump Jr., did. He made a dig at another flub of the evening when the show used the wrong photo to identify Janet Patterson, a costume designer, for their In Memoriam segment. The woman in the photo, producer Jan Chapman, is still alive.

(Variety)

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Will Trump Take ‘Brutally Forthright’ Advice From McMaster?

 

By PETER BAKER
Lt. General H.R McMaster, left, the president’s national security adviser, has a reputation for being candid.© Al Drago/The New York Times Lt. General H.R McMaster, left, the president’s national security adviser, has a reputation for being candid.  

WASHINGTON — As commander of an armoured cavalry troop, H. R. McMaster fought in the largest tank battle of the Persian Gulf war, earning a Silver Star in the process. Afterwards, the young captain reflected on how different his experience had been from the accounts he had read about Vietnam.

So when he arrived at the University of North Carolina for graduate studies in fall 1992, questions swirled through his head: How had Vietnam become an American war? Why did American troops die without a clear idea of their mission? “I began to seek answers to those questions,” he later wrote.

The result was a dissertation that turned into a book that would become, for a whole generation of military officers, a must-read autopsy of a war gone wrong. Now, as a three-star general and President Trump’s national security adviser, General McMaster will have the opportunity to put the lessons of that book to the test inside the White House as he serves a mercurial commander in chief with neither political nor military experience.

The book, “Dereliction of Duty,” published in 1997, highlighted the consequences of the military not giving candid advice to a president. General McMaster concluded that during Vietnam, officers on the Joint Chiefs of Staff “failed to confront the president with their objections” to a strategy they thought would fail. Twenty years later, the book serves as a guidepost to how he views his role as the coordinator of the president’s foreign policy team.

“It’s a history, but he obviously draws conclusions about the need for what you might term brutally forthright assessments by the military and indeed also by civilian leaders,” David H. Petraeus, the retired Army general and a patron of General McMaster, said in an interview. “That’s a hugely important takeaway. He has a record of being quite forthright.”

In his first week on the job, General McMaster has already shown an independence familiar to past colleagues. He has begun moving to revise an organizational order issued last month that seemed to downgrade the role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the director of national intelligence, and he told an all-hands staff meeting that he did not consider the term “radical Islamic terrorism” helpful, even as the president insists on using it.

But those are relatively small matters compared to what may come. Already, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general, has led the president to put aside his desire to reinstitute torture in interrogations of terrorism suspects, at least by the military. Mr Trump places great faith in the generals he has surrounded himself with, but he and General McMaster had never met until a week ago, and the book’s reputation may set a hard-to-meet standard for the general.

“The difficulty is that Trump has a lot of crazy ideas in his head — like we should steal Iraq’s oil or we should kill the relatives of terrorists or we need to ban Muslims from coming here,” said Max Boot, a military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations. “And I’m sure someone like McMaster, like Mattis, understands how crackpot these ideas are.

“So can you say to the president, ‘Hey, Sir, you’re full” of it? Mr Boot continued. “Or do you have to sugarcoat it and handle him with kid gloves? I suspect it’s the latter, and that’s not been H. R.’s approach. We’ll see if Trump is man enough to take it.”

From right, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Gen. William Westmoreland and Gen. Earle Wheeler in July 1967, during the Vietnam War. General McMaster’s book became a must-read autopsy of how the war went wrong.© Associated Press From right, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Gen. William Westmoreland and Gen. Earle Wheeler in July 1967, during the Vietnam War. General McMaster’s book became a must-read…  

The book is central to General McMaster’s identity and career. As he embarked on graduate studies after the gulf war, he approached his adviser, Richard H. Kohn, a professor who specialised in civil-military relations, and said he wanted to explore the role of the Joint Chiefs during Vietnam.

Using newly declassified records, General McMaster came to a conclusion that upended the conventional wisdom within the military that it had been betrayed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and undercut by antiwar protesters and never given the chance to win the war.

General McMaster concluded that the chiefs had been absorbed by the parochial interests of their different services and had never adequately pressed their opposition to the gradual escalation strategy favoured by Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara.

After finishing the dissertation, he published it as a book while still a major. It quickly became a sensation. Mr Petraeus recalled bringing it to the attention of Gen. Hugh H. Shelton after the general took over as chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1997. General Shelton made it required reading for all of the chiefs and combatant commanders. “It is a valuable resource for leaders of any organisation,” he later wrote in his memoirs.

Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who served in the Army, said officers of his age all read it. “We took the analysis to heart,” he said. Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican and a Vietnam veteran, called it “one of the very important books that anyone aspiring to leadership should read.”

Still, while praising General McMaster, Eliot A. Cohen, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and a counsellor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said it may not have made a difference had the Joint Chiefs been more outspoken with Johnson. “It’s not like the president didn’t know they wanted to do more and do it quickly,” he said. “And it’s not like they really had a better idea for winning the war, other than using more violence right away.”

Others said General McMaster’s book had been misread. The shorthand is that generals should have “stood up to Johnson” or even stopped him somehow. Among those who think that is a misinterpretation is Mr Kohn, General McMaster’s graduate adviser. “McMaster’s book neither says nor implies that the chiefs should have obstructed U.S. policy in Vietnam,” other than by candidly presenting their views, he wrote in the Naval War College Review in 2002.

Peter D. Feaver, a specialist in civil-military issues at Duke University and a national security aide to President George W. Bush, even coined the term “McMasterism” to describe the common overstatement of his thesis.

“They read McMaster’s book as supporting this defend-against-the-civilians role, but his actual argument is more subtle,” Mr Feaver said. As a result, he added, the misinterpretation may haunt General McMaster. “McMaster’s challenge is that some may hold him to this inappropriate standard, and then he will be open to even more criticism if he disappoints,” he said.

Mr Cohen agreed that General McMaster would now be held to an impossibly high bar. “This book will hang over him being national security adviser,” he said. “He has to be very aware that he now represents integrity and a forthrightness about speaking truth to power.”

This is not the first administration to find itself absorbed by a book on Vietnam. When President Barack Obama contemplated sending more troops to Afghanistan, he and his staff read “Lessons in Disaster,” by Gordon M. Goldstein, an account of McGeorge Bundy, the national security adviser to Johnson. The book found that Johnson had failed to question the underlying domino theory that the fall of one country to communism would lead to others.

Whether Mr Trump has read or will read “Dereliction of Duty” and, if so, what lessons he will draw remain to be seen. “This will really be a test of Trump as commander in chief,” Mr Goldstein said in an interview. “Can he absorb and benefit from the advice of a strong adviser who probably doesn’t share many of his biases?”

He added: “This is why this movie’s going to be really fascinating to watch. I don’t think we know how that conflict is going to be resolved.” The New York Times

(The New York Times)

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Trump Decides To Skip White House Press Dinner |The Republican News

 

By Mike Stone and Andy Sullivan
President Donald Trump points to the media up as he walks on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2017.© REUTERS/Yuri Gripas President Donald Trump points to the media up as he walks on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2017.  

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a high-profile event that draws celebrities, politicians and journalists.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

On the campaign trail and in the White House, Trump has had a strained relationship with the press, calling journalists “the enemy of the people” and frequently criticising outlets and individual reporters whose coverage he does not like.

The reporters’ group said it would go ahead with its April 29 dinner despite Trump’s absence. The Washington event typically draws movie stars, politicians and business leaders to hear a humorous speech by the sitting president.

The dinner “has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic,” said Jeff Mason, a Reuters White House correspondent who heads the association this year.

Ronald Reagan was the last president to sit out the event after he was shot in 1981.

Some news outlets such as Bloomberg News and the New Yorker have said they will not host the lavish after-parties that have been a fixture of past events.

On Friday, the White House excluded several major U.S. news organisations, including some it has criticised, from an off-camera briefing held by the White House press secretary.

Reporters for CNN, The New York Times, Politico, The Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed were not allowed into the session in the office of press secretary Sean Spicer, a decision that drew strong protests.

The event occasionally makes news: in 2011, President Barack Obama delivered a scathing evisceration of Trump, joking that the mogul, who sat stone-faced in the audience, would move on from questioning Obama’s citizenship to figuring out “did we fake the moon landing.”

Critics say the event encourages journalists to cosy up to politicians they should cover aggressively.

(Reporting by Mike Stone and Andy Sullivan in Washington; Editing by Mary Milliken and Andrew Hay)

REUTERS

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Hollande Replies Trump Over Paris Comment |The Republican News

Our Reporter

Hollande replies Trump over Paris comment

French President, Francois Hollande

French President Francois Hollande fired back at President Donald Trump of the United States of America yesterday after Trump remarked in a speech that a friend thought “Paris is no longer Paris” after attacks by Islamist militants.

Hollande said Trump should show support for U.S. allies.

“There is terrorism and we must fight it together. I think that it is never good to show the smallest defiance toward an allied country. I wouldn’t do it with the United States and I’m urging the U.S. president not to do it with France,” Hollande said.

“I won’t make comparisons but here, people don’t have access to guns. Here, you don’t have people with guns opening fire on the crowd simply for the satisfaction of causing drama and tragedy,” Hollande said, responding to questions during a visit at the Paris Agric fair.

During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, Trump repeated his criticism of Europe’s handling of attacks by Islamist militants saying a friend “Jim” no longer wanted to take his family to Paris.  (The Nation)

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Trump Rejects DHS Intelligence Report On Travel Ban |The Republican News

Edmund DeMarche

President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md.© Alex Brandon/AP Photo President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md.

 

Officials in President Trump’s administration Friday downplayed an intelligence report by the Homeland Security Department that contradicts the White House’s main argument for implementing a travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The report, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press, determined that the “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”

The Trump administration has taken the position that immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries should be blocked from the U.S. due to their terror risk. Trump used terrorism a primary justification when he announced the now court-blocked travel ban in late January.

The intelligence report found that in the past six years, foreign-born individuals who were “inspired” to strike in the U.S. came from 26 different countries.

Senior White House Policy Adviser Stephen Miller told Fox News’ “First 100 Days” Tuesday that a revised version of the travel ban would “have the same basic policy outcome.”

A senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal that the DHS report’s assessment overlooked key information and the finished product that the White House requested has not been completed. The White House called the report politically motivated. Officials said it overlooked some information that supported the ban.

“The president asked for an intelligence assessment,” the official said. “This is not the intelligence assessment the president asked for.”

VIDEO: DEMOCRAT FINDS ELEMENTS TO SUPPORT IN TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN

The draft report determined that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria’s civil war started in 2011.

Gillian Christensen, a DHS spokeswoman, does not dispute the report’s authenticity but says it was not a final comprehensive review of the government’s intelligence.

“It is clear on its face that it is an incomplete product that fails to find evidence of terrorism by simply refusing to look at all the available evidence,” she said, according to The Journal. “Any suggestion by opponents of the president’s policies that senior (homeland security) intelligence officials would politicise this process or a report’s final conclusions is absurd and not factually accurate. The dispute with this product was over sources and quality, not politics.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report   (FOX NEWS)

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Trump To CPAC: ‘Now You Finally Have A President, Finally’

 

                   © Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images 

President Trump declared himself among friends as he delivered a campaign-style speech Friday at an annual gathering of conservative activists and told the crowd that his movement represented the future of the Republican party.

“Now you finally have a president, finally,” Trump said, shortly after taking the stage to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”

He later promised that “the forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no more.”

With his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Maryland, Trump became the first sitting president since Ronald Reagan to address the group during his first year in office.

Trump noted that he had appeared at the conference several times before and pledged to return often.

“I love this place, love you people, so thank you,” Trump said. “I wouldn’t miss a chance to talk to my friends. These are my friends.”

Trump’s speech followed several well-received appearances at the four-day gathering by senior members of his administration, including a speech Thursday night by Vice President Pence.

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During his remarks, Trump said that in a matter of days, he would have “brand new action” to keep the country safe, a reference to the second attempt at an executive order to restrict travel into the country from several majority-Muslim nations.

Trump cited a series of terrorist attacks overseas and said: “We have to be smart, folks. We can’t let it happen to us. … We are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.”

“I will never ever, ever apologise for protecting the safety and security of the American people,” Trump said, adding that he’s even willing to get bad press for doing so.

The new president got a raucous reception from the crowd, which at one point started chanting “lock her up” after Trump derided Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent in last year’s election, for describing some of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables.”

Trump sought to portray his fledgeling administration as one of action, ticking off multiple fronts on which he’s already moved: pulling out of a major trade deal, reducing regulations, cracking down on illegal immigrants and clearing the way for construction of major oil pipelines.

Trump also touted his efforts to “massively lower taxes” and replace the Affordable Care Act. He called it “the disaster known as Obamacare,” to great applause.

He also asserted that his presidency was already producing more jobs, and said it was time for all Americans to “get off of welfare and get back to work.”

He pledged to build up the military and “totally obliterate” the Islamic State terrorist group.

“Nobody will dare question our military might again,” Trump said.

Trump used the opening of his remarks to again denounce the media, saying many stories about his administration are “fake news” with stories that rely on anonymous sources. Trump pointed to a Washington Post story this month that cited nine current and former intelligence sources who said Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn discussed U.S. economic sanctions on Russia with that country’s ambassador before Trump took office.

Trump said he didn’t believe there were nine sources. “They make up sources. They are very dishonest people,” Trump said. The Post’s stories helped lead to Flynn’s resignation after further disclosures that he had misled administration officials, including Vice President Pence, over the nature of his conversations.

“We are fighting the fake news,” Trump said. “It’s fake, phoney, fake.”

Trump, who has taken a combative posture toward several media outlets, derided to CNN as the “Clinton news network,” as he has done before.

When he was not attacking the press, Trump told his audience that his victory represented a “movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.” He said other movements, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who sought the Democratic presidential nomination, “petered out.”

“The core conviction of our movement is that we are a nation that put and will put its own citizens first,” Trump said. That lead the crowd to chant: “U.S.A! U.S.A!”

“For too long, we’ve traded away our jobs to other countries. We’ve defended other nations borders while leaving ours wide open,” Trump said, prompting cries to “build a wall.” Trump pledged the construction of the wall on the U.S. border with Mexico would begin soon, even though it is unclear where the money to pay for it will come from.

“We’re going to build a wall, don’t worry about it,” the president said.

Through Trump won election as more of a populist than a traditional conservative, his fledgeling administration has given conservatives plenty to cheer, including many Cabinet selections and Trump’s pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pursue sweeping tax reform.

During his speech, he called his victory “a win for conservative values.”

The speech marked the fifth time Trump has addressed the conference hosted by the American Conservative Union, which is showcasing how he has pushed the Republican Party and the conservative movement toward an “America first” nationalism that has long existed on the fringes.

Trump’s first appearance in 2011 offered clues to his political ambitions.

“America today is missing quality leadership, and foreign countries have quickly realised this,” he said six years ago.

“[The] theory of a very successful person running for office is rarely tested because most successful people don’t want to be scrutinised or abused,” he said. “This is the kind of person that the country needs and we need it now.”

In a speech Thursday night, Pence touted the Trump administration’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, declaring “America’s Obamacare nightmare is about to end.”

Earlier in the day, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist, made a joint appearance. They declared that, contrary to some press reports, they are working hand in hand toward what Bannon described as an unending battle for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway was also part of the program. During a morning session Thursday, Conway, the first woman to run a successful U.S. presidential campaign, made headlines by saying that she doesn’t consider herself a feminist “in a classic sense” because the term is associated with being “anti-male” and “pro-abortion.”

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Trump Touts Recent Immigration Raids, Calls Them A ‘Military Operation’

 

Philip Rucker
U.S. President Donald Trump pauses during an an interview in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 23, 2017.© REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst U.S. President Donald Trump pauses during an interview in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 23, 2017.

 

President Trump on Thursday celebrated what he called “a military operation” to round up and deport undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes or caused violence in the United States.

“We’re getting gang members out, we’re getting drug lords out, we’re getting really bad dudes out of this country — and at a rate that nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump told a group of several dozen manufacturing executives during a policy discussion at the White House.

Trump brought up immigration enforcement as he discussed the trip Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are taking to Mexico this week. Trump said he told Tillerson, “That’s going to be a tough trip because we have to be treated fairly by Mexico.”

Trump then praised Kelly for the work his department is doing to secure the border with Mexico and deport illegal immigrants.

“It’s a military operation,” Trump said, attributing gang violence and illegal drug trade to undocumented immigrants.

Trump was presumably referring to enforcement actions carried out by ICE two weeks ago that rounded up 683 immigrants purportedly in the country illegally.

Trump’s reference to a military operation could raise eyebrows among immigrant rights advocates and even within the Department of Homeland Security. Federal immigration policy is enforced by several divisions inside DHS, including Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the military has no role. A leaked DHS proposal last week to deploy Army National Guard troops to help apprehend undocumented immigrants was quickly denied by DHS leadership and the White House as being under consideration. The unions representing Border Patrol agents and officers have regularly denounced the use of military personnel.

“I do not believe the National Guard to be a good idea,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said in an interview. “We’re just setting ourselves up for too much liability with people who have not been trained to do the jobs.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump used the phrase “military operation” as a way to describe how the raids were being conducted, not to suggest that they are being done by the military.

“The president was using that as an adjective,” Spicer said at his Thursday afternoon press briefing. “It’s happening with precision … The president was clearly describing the manner in which this is being done.”

Similar raids were carried out during the Obama administration, and the department played down the significance of the number of people arrested in a Feb. 13 news release.

“ICE conducts these kinds of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years,” DHS said.

But immigrant rights advocates have said directives contained in a pair of memos from Kelly this week would significantly expand the pool of immigrants who would be targeted for deportation, broadening it well beyond the hardened criminals and new arrivals that had been the priorities under the Obama administration.

On Thursday, Trump portrayed the immigrants targeted as criminals.

“They’re rough and they’re tough, but they’re not tough like our people, so we’re getting them out,” Trump said.

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