The Week on Planet Trump: Tweeter-in-Chief Threatens Iran with War and America with Government Shutdown
Monday: Tweet Fires War Threat at Rouhani
President Donald Trump late Sunday threatened Iran in a tweet, warning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
The tweet capped off what was one of Trump’s worst weeks in foreign policy since becoming president and is a marker of escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran. Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in May, and in June, the administration said it would impose sanctions on all Iranian oil importers by the fall. Officials have since moderated that demand.
Trump’s Sunday tweet, which seemed to arrive almost out of nowhere, was an all-caps declaration of potential dire consequences for Iran. “We are no longer a country that will stand your demented words of violence [and] death,” Trump tweeted. “Be cautious!”
Emily Stewart, Vox
Tuesday: Kim Begins Disarmament
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that new images indicate North Korea has begun dismantling "a key missile site" -- a step he says was promised by dictator Kim Jong Un after the two leaders met in Singapore last month.
"New images just today show that North Korea has begun the process of dismantling a key missile site, and we appreciate that," Trump said, an apparent reference to images of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station published Monday by the prominent monitoring group 38 North.
Those images, captured between July 20 and July 22, show North Korea has indeed started to dismantle key facilities at the satellite launch station, a move analysts said represents "an important first step towards fulfilling a commitment" made by Kim during his summit with Trump.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said Tuesday that reports of missile engine test facility dismantlement in North Korea are "entirely consistent" with the commitment Kim made to Trump in Singapore, and the US has pushed for inspectors to be present.
Zachary Cohen, CNN
Wednesday: Letter Floats NAFTA Exit
President Trump is telling Mexico's president elect that he wants to renegotiate the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) "quickly" and warning of a "different route" otherwise.
“I believe a successful renegotiation of [NAFTA] will lead to even more jobs and higher wages for hard-working American and Mexican workers—but only if it can go quickly, because otherwise I must go a much different route,” Trump said in a letter to Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “It would not be my preference, but would be far more profitable for the United States.”
The letter was dated July 20, but released on Tuesday night by López Obrador. Trump drafted the letter in response to a letter López Obrador sent to Trump.
NAFTA has been in effect since 1994, but Trump views the free trade pact as an unfair deal that benefits Mexico more than the U.S.
López Obrador said in his letter, sent to Trump with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who visited Mexico on July 13, that his administration will work “so that no Mexicans have to migrate because of poverty or violence.”
Jesus Rodriguez, The Hill
Thursday: Truce with EU Reverts to Obama
When President Trump called a truce with the European Union over trade, the general outlines of his plan sounded familiar. It echoed of earlier negotiations — the ones started under President Barack Obama and shelved by Mr. Trump last year.
Mr. Trump, in many ways, is taking credit for solving a crisis of his own making. After taking office, he criticized the deals of his predecessor and cut off trade talks with the European Union. He raised the stakes by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum, prompting retaliatory measures by the European Union. Then he stoked the tensions by calling Europe a “foe.”
Now, Mr. Trump, in hashing out an agreement on Wednesday with president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is declaring victory. He said the two sides would work to lower tariffs and other trade barriers. They would reduce bureaucratic roadblocks to industrial goods flowing across the Atlantic, while ending conflicting regulations for drugs and chemicals.
Ana Swanson and Jack Ewing, The New York Times
Friday: Economic Boom Boosts White House
The U.S. economy grew by an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter, marking the fastest pace since 2014.
A surge in consumer spending and exports pushed the rate of gross domestic product growth slightly higher than the 4 percent that economists had predicted, according to figures released Friday by the Commerce Department.
President Barack Obama, whose first election coincided with a debilitating economic collapse, had four quarters of higher growth than this during his presidency. It would tie for the fifth strongest quarter under President George W. Bush and the 13th strongest quarter under President Bill Clinton.
The president repeatedly credited his administration for the growth — which had begun before he took office — and suggested that his trade policies had stopped other countries that had "stolen our jobs and plundered our wealth."
Lucy Bayly and Jane C. Timm, NBC News
Saturday: Anti-Clintonites Turn on POTUS
Many boiled the 2016 election down to whether or not they could stand Hillary Clinton as president, instead of viewing President Donald Trump as a capable commander-in-chief.
But with Trump serving as one of the most polarizing leaders in the country’s history, a new poll has indicated the voters who originally picked Trump due to their dislike of Clinton could swing the other way during this fall’s midterm elections.
Fifty-one percent of so-called “Never Hillary” independent voters disapprove of Trump, with 47 percent approving, according to an Axios/Survey Monkey poll released Friday. The online poll drew its results from 52,211 respondents and had a margin-of-error of 1.5 percentage points.
The disapproval for Trump among the group, even if narrow, could be a worrying sign for the president and his party looking ahead to the 2018 midterms. Much, though, will depend on how many of those who disapprove of Trump show up to cast a vote for a Democrat in November.
Trump earned poor marks from both millennials and African-American women, the latter of which played a huge role in electing Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in December's Alabama Senate special election.
Greg Price, Newsweek
Sunday: Shutdown Threat Sparks Conflict
President Trump said he would be willing to shut down the government over immigration but a Republican representative leading his party's election efforts to keep control of the House demurred.
Trump tweeted Sunday morning, “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!”
Shortly after the president's tweet, the chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee told ABC News "This Week" Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz the GOP-led Congress would keep the government open.
"I don’t think we’re going to shut down the government," Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio said. "You know, I think we’re going to make sure we keep the government open, but we’re going to get better policies on immigration."
Congress has a deadline of Sept. 30 to pass a budget for next fiscal year or risk a shutdown of the federal government, such as happened as recently as January when Senate Democrats and Republicans failed to reach agreement on immigration policy.
Will Parsons, ABC News
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