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Trump Announces Plans For Pentagon To Create ‘Space Force’ |RN

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
Watch: Trump wants US to dominate space (Reuters)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space.

Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country’s flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a manned mission that would reach Mars. The president framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”

President Donald Trump shows off a "Space Policy Directive" after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © The Associated Press President Donald Trump shows off a “Space Policy Directive” after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest spacefaring nation,” Trump said in the East Room, joined by members of his space council. “The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers.”

Trump had previously suggested the possibility of creating a space unit that would include portions equivalent to parts of the Air Force, Army and Navy.

But his directive will task the Defense Department to begin the process of establishing the ‘Space Force’ as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces. He said the new branch’s creation will be overseen by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said. He added: “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”

Donald Trump     © associated press Donald Trump

 

The president also used the White House event to establish a new policy for reducing satellite clutter in space. The policy calls for providing a safe and secure environment up in orbit, as satellite traffic increases. It also sets up new guidelines for satellite design and operation, to avoid collisions and spacecraft breakups.

Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the recently revived space council, and several Cabinet members, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, retired astronauts and scientists.

The council’s executive secretary, Scott Pace, told reporters before the meeting that space is becoming increasingly congested and current guidelines are inadequate to address the challenge.

AP

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Trump, Kim Shake Hands To Commence Momentous Summit In Singapore

 SINGAPORE (AP) — President Donald Trump says that his one-on-one meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “very, very good” and that the two have an “excellent relationship.”

Trump and Kim met for about 40 minutes Tuesday one-on-one, joined only by interpreters.

Trump made the comments as he and Kim walked together along balcony as they headed to a larger meeting with aides.

Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. They sat across the table from Kim and his team.

President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un kicked off a momentous summit Tuesday that could determine historic peace or raise the spectre of a growing nuclear threat, with Trump declaring they would have a “great discussion” and Kim said they had overcome obstacles to get to this point.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before their expanded bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before their expanded bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Standing on a red carpet in front of a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags, the leaders shook hands warmly at a Singapore island resort, creating an indelible image of the two unorthodox leaders. They then moved into a one-on-one meeting, joined only by their interpreters.

“We are going to have a great discussion and I think tremendous success. We will be tremendously successful,” Trump said.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kim said: “It wasn’t easy for us to come here. There was a past that grabbed our ankles and wrong prejudices and practices that at times covered our eyes and ears. We overcame all that and we are here now.”

Trump and Kim planned to meet with their interpreters for most of an hour before aides join the discussion and talks continue over a working lunch. But even before they met, Trump announced plans to leave Singapore early, raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

 

The first meeting of a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader was the product of dizzying weeks of negotiations over logistics and policy.

Up early in Singapore, Trump tweeted with cautious optimism: “Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly … but in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”

In the run-up to the talks, Trump had hopefully predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But on the eve of the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore by Tuesday evening, meaning his time with Kim would be fairly brief. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to keep expectations for the summit in check.

“We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future successful talks,” Pompeo said, describing a far more modest goal than Trump had outlined days earlier.

 

The sudden change in schedule added to a dizzying few days of foreign policy activity for Trump, who shocked U.S. allies over the weekend when he used a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies in Canada to alienate America’s closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, Trump lobbed insults at his G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump left the summit early, and as he flew to Singapore, he tweeted that he was yanking the U.S. out of the group’s traditional closing statement.

As for Singapore, the White House said Trump was leaving early because negotiations had moved “more quickly than expected,” but gave no details about any possible progress in preliminary talks. On the day before the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with U.S. and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

The president planned to stop in Guam and Hawaii on the way back to Washington.

Trump spoke only briefly in public on Monday, forecasting a “nice” outcome. Kim spent the day mostly out of view — until he left his hotel for a late-night tour of Singapore sights, including the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, billed as the world’s biggest glass greenhouse.

As Trump and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sat down for a working lunch at the Istana house, the president sounded optimistic, telling Lee, “We’ve got a very interesting meeting, in particular, tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely.” Trump had earlier tweeted about “excitement in the air!”

It was a striking about-face from less than a year ago when Trump was threatening “fire and fury” against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” As it happens, the North Korean and the American share a tendency to act unpredictably on the world stage.

Beyond the impact on both leaders’ political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people — the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North’s nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide. Or, it could amount to little more than a much-photographed handshake.

Still, the sense of anticipation was great in Singapore, with people lining spotless streets holding cellphones high as Trump headed to meet Lee.

U.S. and North Korean officials huddled throughout Monday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel ahead of the sit-down aimed at resolving a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. Delegates were outlining specific goals for what the leaders should try to accomplish and multiple scenarios for resolving key issues, a senior U.S official said, adding that the meetings were also an icebreaker of sorts, allowing the teams to get better acquainted after decades of minimal contact between their nations.

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © AP President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

Trump’s early exit will be his second from a summit in just a few days.

As he was trying to build a bridge with Kim, he was smashing longtime alliances with Western allies with his abrasive performance at the G-7. After his premature departure from Quebec, he continued to tweet angrily at Trudeau from Singapore, saying Monday, “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal.”

Trump advisers cast his actions as a show of strength before the Kim meeting.

Alluding to the North’s concerns that giving up its nuclear weapons could surrender its primary deterrent to forced regime change, Pompeo told reporters that the U.S. was prepared to take action to provide North Korea with “sufficient certainty” that denuclearization “is not something that ends badly for them.”

He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, but said the context of the discussions was “radically different than ever before.”

“I can only say this,” Pompeo said. “We are prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique than America’s been willing to provide previously.”

The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has the advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pompeo held firm to Trump’s position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes — and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there’s deep scepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there’s also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the U.S. and the North.

While advisers say Trump has been reviewing briefing materials, the president insists his gut instincts will matter most when he gets in the room with Kim. He told reporters he thinks he will know almost immediately whether a deal can be made, saying: “I will know, just my touch, my feelings. That’s what I do.”

(AP)

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LIVE VIDEO: Buhari, Trump Hold Press Conference |The Republican News

By Michael Abimboye

Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Donald Trump are currently holding a press briefing in the U.S. leader’s first meeting with a leader from sub-Saharan Africa at the White House.

The U.S. president also commended Mr Buhari for the role he played in securing the release of kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirls.

Mr Buhari also promised to secure the remaining Dapchi and Chibok girls in Boko Haram custody. He also said he would work to end the killings in the north-central states.

Watch the video below:

(New Telegraph)

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Nigeria’s Democracy Is Under Threat, PDP Tells Trump |The Republican News

By Onyekachi Eze, ABUJA

donaldtrump3

Less than 24 hours to President Muhammadu Buhari’s scheduled ‎meeting with the United States of America (USA) president, Donald Trump, the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised anti-democratic issues and human rights abuse against the Nigerian leader.

The party specifically drew President Trump’s attention to the recent report of the US Department of State on constitutional and human rights violation in Nigeria under President Buhari.

‎”We, therefore, urge President Donald Trump to stand up for democracy and take President Buhari to task on constitutional and human rights violations in Nigeria under his watch,” PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said at a press conference yesterday.

Also, the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, in a statement by his media adviser, Ike Abonyi said‎ Nigeria is now a police state under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

‎Ologbondiyan noted at the press conference that President Buhari’s administration has wrecked the nation’s democratic order, eroded constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens while foisting a siege mentality on the people.

“Nigeria is facing a perilous time; our constitution has been technically suspended; we have now become a police state; governance has reverted to the nightmares of the 1984 era when draconian leaders held sway and forcefully held our people under the grips of military Decree 2.

“Currently, there is a total collapse of respect for constitutionally guaranteed personal freedom; there is no regard for the natural course of justice, life in Nigeria is gradually returning to the state of nature and there is fear everywhere.

“Today, Nigerians are being hounded, arrested and directly detained on ‘order from above’, without warrant; citizens are locked up in dehumanizing detention centres without access to medical care and legal assistance, just for holding political opinions that run contrary to the views of those in power at the centre.

“There are preponderance instances of citizens’ detention in special police and military facilities for weeks, months and in some cases, many years without trial. Nigerians are daily falling victims of extreme torture, extra-judicial and arbitrary killings and mass burial by unrestrained agents of state security forces,” he stated.

He added that the Amnesty International (AI) 2017/2018 Human Rights report‎ confirmed cases of extreme human right violations under the Buhari administration.

These, he cited to include extra-judicial execution, the forceful crackdown on peaceful demonstrators as witnessed in the South East between September 2017 and January 2018 as well as torture and killings in custody, adding that many of those who were arrested were still in detention without trial.

Ologbondoiyan noted that the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ group that freely protested unmolested in 2014 and 2015 were today hounded and manhandled wherever and whenever they dare to come out on a peaceful protest.

“The recent US government’s report on human rights violation in Nigeria also confirmed cases of harassments, persecution of opposition, arrests, detention and extra-judicial killings under President Buhari’s administration.

“Indeed, the height of human rights abuse being witnessed in our country today is the worst in our national contemporary history.

“As we speak, government’s inaction and aloofness have led to escalation of killings in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Nasarawa, Edo, Zamfara, Ekiti, Enugu, by insurgents and marauders, who are having a field day as the presidency has abandoned governance for 2019 re-election bid.

“Painfully, our democratic institutions, particularly the legislature, judiciary and even the media are being decapitated by dictatorial forces who are encouraged by the agents of the state at the centre.

“Let the truth be told! Nigeria is bleeding under President Buhari and the world must come to the rescue.

“We also pray that President Buhari will not use the occasion of his visit to President Trump to further de-market our nation as he has always done whenever he is outside the country on official assignment,” Ologbondoiyan added.

Secondus in the statement noted ‎that the on-going clampdown on persons not in agreement with the views of government either in the opposition party òr within their APC fold is a clear evidence of the desperation of Buhari’s to suppress free speech and association which are indispensable requirements for democracy to flourish.

“Legislators are not safe, judges are living and working in fear; media are being harassed, security agencies have all become tools of oppression for the government. Dictatorial signs are all over the place threatening our democracy.

“Their intention is clear: to intimidate and frighten people from saying the truth. But they will never succeed because the huge sacrifice made to bring this democracy to this level by Nigerians is not for it to be destroyed cheaply.

“If governance in a democracy is associated with the delivery of dividends and after three years you have nothing to show, no amount of aggressive pressure and bullying will save such government in the hands of the voters.

“Democracy provides for a day of reckoning when we leaders must return to the people to renew our mandate, that hour has come and only a government that has nothing to show that resorts to intimidation and harassment of those telling them the truth,” he stated. (New Telegraph)

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Trump ‘Morally Unfit’ To Be President, Says Former FBI Boss, Comey |RN

“I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president,” he added.

Donald Trump has attacked James Comey over an upcoming revealing interview© Reuters Donald Trump has attacked James Comey over an upcoming revealing interview

 

Donald Trump “lies constantly” and is “morally unfit” to be US president, according to former FBI boss James Comey.

The man fired by Mr Trump last year told ABC News: “I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia.”

The President lashed out at Mr Comey, calling him a “slimeball” in a series of tweets before the US TV interview and labelling him the “WORST FBI director in history, by far”.

He said Mr Comey was lying and is “not smart”.

The former FBI chief appeared to hold nothing back when he got in front of the cameras.

“[He] talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat [and] lies constantly about matters big and small,” said Mr Comey.

He also said it was “stunning” to think that Russia could have compromising information on the President, but that he could not discount the possibility.

In this combination photo, President Donald Trump, left, appears in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 10, 2017, and FBI Director James Comey appears at a news conference in Washington on June 30, 2014.  Comey is making his first public comments since being fired by President Donald Trump and, according to his prepared remarks, will talk about the president's efforts put the investigation behind him. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Susan Walsh, File)© ASSOCIATED PRESS In this combination photo, President Donald Trump, left, appears in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 10, 2017, and FBI Director James Comey appears at a news…

 

Mr Comey has kept quiet about his time under Mr Trump for nearly a year, with the interview and his new book, A Higher loyalty, breaking the silence.

The former lawyer also compares the President to one of the mafia bosses he once fought to prosecute, calling his leadership “ego driven and about personal loyalty”.

Mr Comey was sacked in May 2017, with officials accusing him of mishandling the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of email.

Many Democrats blame his decision to reopen the probe – 11 days before the 2016 election – for Mrs Clinton’s shock defeat.

In the interview, Mr Comey said he assumed Mrs Clinton would win.

He told ABC: “I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been, that she’s going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out.”

Opponents of the President have suggested Mr Comey was dismissed because he was leading the investigation into alleged links between Mr Trump’s campaign team and Russia.

Mr Trump’s letter firing Mr Comey said he was losing his job on the recommendation of the Attorney General and that he was “not able to effectively lead the Bureau”.

Another former FBI director, Robert Mueller, is now in charge of the ongoing Russia-Trump investigation.

His remit now also includes whether the President obstructed justice when he fired Mr Comey.   (SkyNews)

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Trump Invites Putin To White House Despite Diplomatic Row Over Nerve Agent Attack |RN

Alex Ward
President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg.© Associated Press President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg.This is yet another example of Trump’s incoherent stance toward Russia.

 

President Trump is willing to hold a rare face-to-face meeting with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin despite growing evidence that Moscow poisoned an ex-spy and his daughter near their homes in the UK, an attack that has plunged relations between Russia and the West to their lowest point in years.

The two leaders discussed a potential meeting on a March 20 phone call, a conversation that the Kremlin and White House disclosed for the first time today. Neither the time nor the location of the potential meeting has been finalized, and it’s possible the summit won’t happen. That doesn’t make the prospect of the two men sitting down together any less jarring.

Here’s why: Meetings with a US president are a major honour for any world leader, even one as powerful in his home country as Putin. Trump was offering the Russian strongman a reward at the same time the US was working with other countries to punish Russia for the nerve agent attack on a former Soviet spy. And while it’s not odd for US presidents and Russian leaders to meet, dangling a potential face-to-face at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could make Putin conclude that he has little to fear from the US and its allies for the attack.

Video: Trump and Putin Discuss Potential Summit Meeting (Provided by Bloomberg

The potential meeting comes against the backdrop of an attack that was audacious, even for Putin. On March 4, Sergei Skripal, a former Soviet and Russian spy, was found unconscious on a bench next to his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury. Ten days later, the UK announced that it was kicking 23 Russian diplomats out of the country because London blamed Moscow for the attack. (Moscow denies any involvement in the strike, unsurprisingly and unpersuasively.)
And on March 26, the US expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers and closed a Russian consulate in Seattle. More than 20 other countries followed suit, saying they would kick out over 100 Russian spies. Even New Zealand tried to kick out Russian spies but couldn’t find any. Russia announced its own retaliation, removing 150 Western diplomats from the country on March 29 — effectively a like-for-like response.

That makes the Trump-Putin call on March 20 so striking. Trump knew America’s top ally, the United Kingdom, already responded forcefully to the Skripal attack, and he knew his administration was in the middle of a coordinated global response. It also doesn’t help that Trump called Putin to congratulate him on winning a sham election — even though his staff expressly advised him not to.

So to dangle a White House meeting in the midst of all of that makes seems, at this point, dangerously naive.

“It was bad enough that Trump didn’t raise the Skripal issue with Putin during their March 20 phone call,” Andrew Weiss, a Russia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Vox. “Now we see that he was proposing something that looks, at face value, like going back to business as usual at a moment when most of our friends and allies were trying to send the exact opposite signal.”

Putin is not America’s friend
Trump consistently says he wants a better relationship with Putin and hopes the US and Russia could work more closely together to solve global problems. Putin clearly doesn’t want that.

Consider the following:

  • According to the US intelligence community, Putin personally ordered an influence campaign during the 2016 presidential election to help Trump win.
  • Russia works against the United States in Syria by propping up Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
  • Russia reportedly provides weapons and other assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan, even though the US military currently helps Afghan forces fight the insurgent group.
  • Moscow helps North Korea avoid sanctions on its economy, but the Trump administration uses sanctions as a central component of its “maximum pressure” strategy on Pyongyang.

That, of course, is not all. But these examples alone show that Trump likely shouldn’t cavort with Putin at the White House. The fact that Trump won’t call Putin out by name for any of them is as mysterious today as it was during the 2016 campaign.  (Vox .com)

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Mysterious Change In Trump’s Demeanor Since After The S..thole News Cycle… No One Knows Why

Allan Smith
US President Donald Trump              © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump

 

President Donald Trump has been much more subdued since the “s***hole countries” news cycle.

  • He has delivered six speeches in the past couple of weeks without stepping on his intended message.
  • On Twitter, he’s been much more restrained.

President Donald Trump has been relatively subdued in recent weeks — and his poll numbers have spiked.

The trend can be traced back to the passing of the news cycle about his “s***hole countries” remark from the middle of last month. In the weeks that followed, he has only posted a handful of acerbic or unnecessary tweets — virtually unprecedented for such a length of time — and delivered a series of speeches that remained on message.

It’s a frequent occurrence for Trump to initiate a days- or weeks-long news cycle on a subject unrelated to the message he and his administration were trying to drive home.

And the trend has been noticed by observers.

“I have noticed,” Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and communications director for Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, told Business Insider in an email. “The president’s shown more message discipline in the last month than he did in all of 2017. It’s directly correlated with general improvement in his poll numbers.”

Conant is right about the correlation between Trump’s weeks of relative calm and the improved polling. On Thursday, Trump’s approval rating reached its highest point in months, according to the RealClearPolitics aggregate of polls.

Trump began February with a 41.5% approval rating in RCP. It was his highest rating since he hit 41.7% on September 24, and it was just the second time his average rating was 41.5% or higher since mid-May.

Donald Trump        © Provided by Business Insider Donald Trump

‘It’s very clear that he’s cognizant of not stepping on himself and not stepping on his own news cycle’

The improved rating came on the heels of three polls published following Trump’s State of the Union address. Both an Economist/YouGov poll and a Monmouth University survey found Trump’s approval rating to be 44%, while a right-leaning Rasmussen poll put Trump’s approval rating at 45%.

The State of the Union address itself polled well among an audience that was skewed a bit more conservative than the voting populace at large and featured Trump touting his first-year accomplishments in addition to calling for revitalizing US infrastructure and overhauling the immigration system. In addition to that speech, which saw Trump stay firmly on message, the president has delivered five speeches since mid-January that have all remained on point.

US President Donald Trump                      © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump  

They included remarks on tax cuts and the economy at H&K Equipment outside of Pittsburgh, his speech at the March for Life, the address he delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the swearing in of Alex Azar as Health and Human Services secretary, and his Thursday speech to House and Senate Republicans at their retreat in West Virginia.

“I think he has gotten a lot better at driving a message,” a former White House official told Business Insider. “He’s always been extremely talented at putting a message out there, but I think he’s gotten really good at letting something just stay out.”

“It’s very clear that he’s cognizant of not stepping on himself and not stepping on his own news cycle,” they added. “I think that’s what we’ve seen recently where he’s left a little bit of room for people to breathe. The State of the Union happened and I think after it, a lot of people were expecting some sort of tweet that would step on that news cycle. That didn’t happen.”

US President Donald Trump               © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump  

Indeed, that wasn’t the only time the president decided to remain a bit calmer on Twitter during this time. Save for a couple of tweets about “Cryin” Chuck Schumer, responding to a comment from music mogul Jay-Z, and commenting on the text messages sent between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the president hasn’t sparked much — if any — news with his tweets since the middle of last month. He even went three days without tweeting at all, save for one post that was clearly set up by a staffer.

Again, that’s virtually unheard of for a stretch of time that long. And it’s during a time when plenty is going on in the background.

The Russia investigation is seemingly reaching a climax, with officials such as FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe being shown the door, a potentially explosive Republican memo from the House Intelligence Committee causing tension between the White House and Justice Department, and reports that Trump himself has sought to push out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or even special counsel Robert Mueller.

US President Donald Trump            © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump  

Plus, there was a three-day government shutdown that occurred during this time. But Trump was able come out on top, at least in the short term, by staying on the sidelines.

The former White House official said they did not know if there was a specific triggering event that led to the sudden change in Trump’s demeanor, but added that the president is “reaping” the benefits of such a change.

“I think he figured out really quickly that a big important thing in politics is to not step on your own message, to not step on your own good news cycle,” the former official said. “I think he’s been very effective over the last couple days and weeks at doing that.”

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