After Donald Trump called Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a "pussy" on the campaign trail Monday for his stance on waterboarding, he played off the inflammatory comment as just a crowd having a good time. "We were all just having fun," Trump said Tuesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, clarifying that he was simply repeating what a supporter shouted out during the rally so "everybody could hear."
Making off-the-cuff remarks and apologizing later isn't a new strategy for the outspoken real estate mogul. Here, five other times Trump has made a controversial comment and then later cast it as nothing but a joke. Becca Stanek
The issue: Cruz's hesitation on whether he would support waterboarding
Trump's comment: "She just said a terrible thing. You know what she said? Shout it out, 'cause I don't want to. Okay, you're not allowed to say — and I never expect to hear that from you again — she said... he's a pussy."
The excuse: "We were all just having fun. I was just repeating what she said so everyone could hear. I was doing everybody a favor. I got a standing ovation [and] the place went wild. You're talking about close to 5,000 people. It was a great moment. The world is politically correct."
The issue: His unshakeable popularity with voters
Trump's comment: "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."
The excuse: "That comment was said with me laughing and thousands of other people laughing. It was said as a joke — obviously it was a joke."
The issue: Climate change
Trump's comment: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
The excuse: "Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I'd be — received environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn't care less. They have very — you know, their standards are nothing. But they — in the meantime, they can undercut us on price. So it's very hard on our business."
The issue: His daughter, Ivanka
Trump's comment: "Yeah, she's really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren't happily married and, you know, her father..."
The excuse: "I said on a certain show — my daughter's a beautiful young woman — so I said, and I said it joking, everybody laughed, everybody laughed. I said, 'My daughter's so beautiful that if I weren't married, etc., etc. I'd be dating her.' Cute. It was cute. Everybody laughed... The next day [the headline was] 'Trump Wants to Date His Daughter.'"
The issue: Trump's treatment of women
Trump's comment: Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly referenced Trump's past remarks about women during the first GOP debate, asking him to explain why he has called women "fat pigs," "dogs," "slobs," and "disgusting animals."
The excuse: "I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. Frankly what I say — and oftentimes, it's fun; it's kidding; we have a good time — what I say is what I say."
President Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and other GOP supporters of the failed American Health Care Act cast the vote as a strict with-us-or-against us scenario: Either support this plan or you're stuck with ObamaCare while the White House "agenda moves on" to other issues. More than 30 House Republicans had other ideas.
As The New York Times details in a breakdown of which GOP lawmakers in the lower chamber opposed the AHCA and why, the proposal came under a diversity of criticism from left and right alike — and that's just within the Republican Party. It's a scenario which leads Paul Kane at The Washington Post to observe the rise of a new paradigm of power in the GOP:
[The AHCA's de facto defeat] suggested a new dynamic in which both the right and left flanks of the Republican conference are emboldened to challenge leadership. And that could make each future negotiation more difficult as the issue matrix gets more complicated and the pockets of internal GOP resistance continue to grow, not shrink, in the new era of Trump’s Republican-controlled Washington. ...
This new combination, with Ryan’s right and left flanks willing to buck him and the new president, presents deep concern for the long-term effort to take up the more complicated effort to overhaul the corporate and individual tax codes. [The Washington Post]
President Trump reiterated on Twitter Saturday his argument that the health-care system set up by the Affordable Care Act will "explode" of its own accord — after which, he added, Republican lawmakers will successfully pass the replacement plan they could not swing without the added pressure of political explosion.
ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2017
Leaders of the 27 European Union nations that will remain in the organization following the United Kingdom's forthcoming exit met Saturday in Rome on the occasion of the 60-year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome that established the European Economic Community, an EU forerunner. "Europe as a political entity will either be united, or will not be at all," said EU President Donald Tusk. "Only a united Europe can be a sovereign Europe."
The conference adopted the Rome Declaration, a brief statement affirming mutual "pride in the achievements of the European Union," including "common institutions and strong values, a community of peace, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, a major economic power with unparalleled levels of social protection and welfare."
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who did not attend the meeting in Rome, is expected to begin the formal Brexit process Wednesday by triggering Article 50. For more on how that process will work, see this explainer from The Week. Bonnie Kristian
Two men remain in custody Saturday for questioning in connection to the deadly attack at Westminster Bridge in London on Wednesday. The attacker, a 52-year-old English native born Adrian Russell Ajao but known as Khalid Masood, was fatally shot by police at the scene of the crime.
Police are now investigating whether Masood "acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him." The two men currently detained were among 11 people arrested so far; of the others, seven have been released without charges and two women have been released on bail.
Londoners meanwhile have deluged the area where the attack occurred with a veritable sea of flowers. "You will always be in our hearts," said a note from London Mayor Sadiq Khan to Masood's victims. "Londoners will never forget the innocent people who lost their lives." Bonnie Kristian
An armed robbery left the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas in chaos around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, and police have confirmed three suspects were involved in the break-in attempt at a Rolex jewelry store in the casino complex.
Where the story gets weird is in a photo snapped by an eyewitness and posted on Twitter: The image shows what appears to be one of the robbers wearing a rubber pig mask.
— Kira (@Kir_kamil) March 25, 2017
The Trump administration is ready to move on to addressing tax policy after the downfall of the health-care plan it supported, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Friday. Trump is "disappointed" by the loss, Spicer conceded, but is now motivated by "a desire to do fundamental tax reform, something we haven't seen since 1986," Spicer told Fox News. "The agenda moves on."
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chair of the House tax committee, affirmed he is prepared "to work with the administration to get this done." The health-care bill failure "made a big challenge more challenging," he said, "but it's not insurmountable."
Spicer also echoed President Trump's suggestion that ObamaCare will now fail of its own accord, leading to a future replacement project. "Democrats will crawl back once the system fails on its own," he said. "The people that stood with Nancy Pelosi today understand the system is going down and the higher costs are on their shoulders, not ours." Bonnie Kristian
After lagging behind Wisconsin for the first half of the game, the Gators pulled ahead for much of the second half. A concerted comeback by the Badgers produced a tied game with just four seconds left on the overtime clock when Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes scored two points. The game seemed finished — until Florida's Chris Chiozza sprinted down the court to make a running 3-pointer just as the buzzer rang out in Madison Square Garden.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 25, 2017