Trump tweets create new outrage


President Trump has reignited feuds with the mayor of London, the media, Democrats and his own Justice Department with a new series of tweets on Monday that begins a critical week for his administration.
Days before testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee by former FBI Director James Comey, the president for the second day in a row lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, saying he had to “think fast” to excuse comments that people in his city need not be alarmed after Saturday’s terror attack.
It was one in a series of tweets from the president, who also targeted the media for trying to give cover to Khan, saying they were “working hard” to sell his argument.
Even more unusually, Trump said his own Justice Department should have stuck to an original White House executive action that blocks people from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States.
The administration is defending a new order designed to pass judicial muster, though courts have repeatedly rejected it.
It is difficult to interpret the rationale for all of Trump’s tweets, which may have caught even some of his advisers off guard.
{mosads}White House counselor Kellyanne Conway criticized the media’s “obsession” with Trump’s tweets during an interview Monday with NBC’s “Today” show, saying it was how the president likes to communicate with the American people.
Trump since his successful campaign has fed on Twitter feuds to give himself momentum. He’s repeatedly been quick to condemn terror attacks while labeling critics as soft on terrorism.
Comey’s pending testimony may also be having an effect on the president, who fired the FBI director in a dramatic move last month that has led to new charges that the White House was seeking to influence an FBI probe into possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia during last year’s election.
The firing led the Justice Department to name a special prosecutor for Russia. On Thursday, the public may for the first time hear the degree to which Comey saw the White House as influencing the FBI probe, which he had been overseeing.
The Russia story has been a constant distraction for a White House that has seen Trump’s approval ratings fall and his agenda stall in Congress. The agenda’s future, and perhaps next year’s midterms, could hinge on a special prosecutor’s investigation. Republicans are already seeing warning signs that their House majority could be in the balance.
Trump’s Monday morning outburst cast the media into a frenzy, with news outlets furiously fact-checking the president’s flurry of claims and accusing him of seeking to capitalize on the London terror attacks for political gain.
The swirling controversies blotted out the administration’s effort to get an infrastructure-spending package off the ground. This was supposed to be “infrastructure week” for the White House, which has a number of events planned to tout what it sees as potentially a bipartisan win for the administration.
Trump has been embroiled in controversy since Saturday night for being quick to tweet about the London terrorist attack. On Saturday night, terrorists drove a truck into a crowd and then exited the vehicle to stab and slash at victims near London Bridge. Seven people died and scores more were injured in the attack.
In the wake of that attack, Trump criticized Khan while taking the mayor’s remarks out of context.
In an interview with the BBC, Khan said that the “threat level remains at severe” but that there is “no need to be alarmed” at the heavier-than-usual police presence in the streets. British police have been conducting raids throughout the city and have made dozens of arrests.
Trump accused Khan of saying there was “no need to be alarmed” by the terrorist attacks. Trump refused to back down under criticism, accusing the mainstream media of downplaying the terror attack and covering for the London mayor.
The dispute provoked a response from British Prime Minister Theresa May, who faces an election on Thursday.
“Sadiq Khan is doing a good job,” May said. “It’s wrong to say anything else.”
Trump had already been under fire from the media for weighing in on the London attack even before British officials had released an official response.
In an unusual move, the Associated Press released a story on Monday morning fact-checking Trump’s tweets and warning that that the president can’t be relied upon for accurate information during a terrorist attack.
Here too, Trump doubled down.
Legal experts say Trump’s call for a tougher version of his travel ban could undermine his administration’s effort to reinstate the controversial policy, which has been appealed to the Supreme Court.
Trump ignored the legal problems that arise from the term “travel ban,” using it four times on Twitter in the past 24 hours.
The flurry of controversies come as the House and Senate reconvene in Washington. GOP lawmakers were hopeful the president would stay on message but instead walked into a Trump-driven buzzsaw.
Many conservatives were thrilled by Trump’s decision last week to exit the Paris climate accord. The administration was looking to build on that victory this week by pushing an infrastructure-spending package.
“I think the president could be more focused and disciplined about staying on his agenda,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in an interview with David Axelrod on The Axe Files podcast. “I’ve communicated that publicly as well as privately to him.”
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