Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz got into a heated discussion about Israel and peace efforts with the Palestinians at Thursday's big GOP debate, with each one trying to prove they were the most pro-Israel candidate on stage.
Trump said as president, "there's nothing I would rather do than bring peace to Israel and its neighbors, generally. I think it serves no purpose to say you have a good guy and a bad guy." Trump acknowledged he may not be successful ("it's probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world"), and said that while he is pro-Israel, "it doesn't do any good to start demeaning the neighbors." Cruz accused Trump of having the same stance as Hillary Clinton, with both wanting to be "neutral," and said he stands "unapologetically with the nation of Israel."
Rubio pounced, saying Trump might not realize it, but "the position you've taken is an anti-Israel position. You cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides, in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith." Rubio said the Palestinian Authority has "walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israelis," and the next president of the United States "needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel, the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East."
Trump shot back, telling Rubio he's not a negotiator and bringing up a previous back-and-forth between Rubio and former candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. "I watched him melt down and I tell ya, it was one of the saddest things I've ever seen," Trump said. "These people may even be tougher than Chris Christie." Rubio sputtered that "the Palestinians are not a real estate deal," but Trump stood firm: "A deal is a deal." Catherine Garcia
The official National Parks Service (NPS) Twitter account retweeted two posts critical of President Trump during his inauguration yesterday, one unfavorsbly comparing the crowd size at Trump's event to President Obama's 2009 inauguration and one noting changes to the White House website's issue pages.
The Trump team seems to have noticed, and in an email obtained by Gizmodo, grounded the Parks Service from Twitter "until further notice." Parks that use Twitter for emergency announcements were ordered to "alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement" because the "expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to Twitter."
The "Twitter stand down means we will cease use of Twitter immediately," the email summarized. "However, there is no need to suspend or delete government accounts until directed." The note does not mention the two critical retweets, both of which have been deleted, but a park ranger told Gizmodo agency employees believe those posts are what prompted the directive.
Saturday morning, the main NPS account posted an apology tweet, seen below, suggesting the ban may be temporary. Bonnie Kristian
We regret the mistaken RTs from our account yesterday and look forward to continuing to share the beauty and history of our parks with you pic.twitter.com/mctNNvlrmv
— NationalParkService (@NatlParkService) January 21, 2017
After initially opting for an art museum visit instead of tuning in to President Trump's inaugural address, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised Saturday to seek opportunities for cooperation with the new American administration.
"First, I believe firmly that it is best for all of us if we work together based on rules, common values, and joint action in the international economic system, in the international trade system, and make our contributions to the military alliances," said the de facto leader of the European Union. "And second, the trans-Atlantic relationship will not be less important in the coming years than it was in past years. And I will work on that. Even when there are different opinions, compromises and solutions can be best found when we exchange ideas with respect."
Also on Saturday, Marine Le Pen, leader the French National Front, predicted a coming shift in Europe in favor of her nationalist populism. "2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up," she said, referencing Brexit and Trump's win. "I am sure 2017 will be the year the people of continental Europe wake up." Bonnie Kristian
President Donald Trump will spend his first morning in office at the National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral, following a longstanding tradition that dates to the United States' first president.
The interfaith ceremony will host 26 religious leaders representing the Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, and Baha'i traditions. Among notable attendees are Dr. Alveda King, a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King; Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center; and Cissie Graham Lynch, the granddaughter of evangelist Billy Graham.
The event "will be in keeping with the uniting and uplifting inaugural events, demonstrating President-elect Trump's commitment to be president for all Americans," said a statement from the inaugural committee before the inauguration. Bonnie Kristian
About 200,000 women are expected to descend on the capital on Saturday for the Women's March on Washington, an organized protest of the new Donald Trump administration anticipated to contrast both with Trump's inauguration Friday and the smaller and occasionally violent protests that attended it.
"The Women's March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights," says the march website, which includes a mission statement as well as guiding principles for the event. "We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us."
Initially suggested by a grandmother from Hawaii, the march has ballooned into a national movement with celebrity support and sister marches scheduled Saturday in state capitals around the country. See some early photos of the gathering protesters below. Bonnie Kristian
— Rachel (@Rachel18930) January 21, 2017
— SteveKoff (@SteveKoff) January 21, 2017
— BlackGirlTaughtYa ® (@BlackGirlTY) January 21, 2017
Hours after he was sworn in on Friday, President Trump signed an executive order making it his administration's official policy "to seek the prompt repeal" of the Affordable Care Act, though he can't repeal it without a bill from Congress. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the order's goal is "minimizing the economic burden" of "ObamaCare," giving the Health and Human Services Department and other federal agencies authority to try and ease the "fiscal burden" the law purportedly places on states, health care companies, and individuals. A Fox News poll on Thursday found that 50 percent of Americans view ObamaCare favorably and 46 percent unfavorably, a notable improvement in the law's standing from previous Fox News surveys.
Trump "has been told that he needs to comply with the law," Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, tells CNN, "but is directing the agencies to begin taking steps towards reducing regulatory requirements and giving more discretion to the states." Priebus also issued a memo telling all executive agencies to freeze pending regulations and delay enacting ones already approved. Such memoranda are pretty common for incoming administrations — former President Barack Obama's chief of staff issued a similar one in 2009.
Right after his inauguration, featuring a speech that scorched the do-nothing politicians in Washington, Trump had officially nominated his Cabinet choices in an office just off the Senate floor, surrounded by congressional leaders from both parties. It involved a lot of pen-swapping awkward jokes about who likes which Cabinet nominee. Watch below. Peter Weber
When WhiteHouse.gov abruptly switched over from the Obama administration to the Trump administration on Friday afternoon, President Trump's biography immediately popped up, with a technically correct and very Trumpian recounting of his business career and presidential victory. First lady Melania Trump's biography touted her modeling career — including her "major layouts" in "the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Allure, Vogue, Self, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Elle" — plus her "numerous television commercials and television programs" ("including co-hosting The View with Barbara Walters") and her own business acumen.
"Melania is also a successful entrepreneur," the bio says. "In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection, ‘Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry,’ on QVC" — or at least it originally included that plug, according to The Washington Post. By Friday night, Melania Trump's bio just said that "in April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection." The Post gives some context: "It is not uncommon for the White House to note the accomplishments of the first lady in her official biography, but Trump's decision to include a detailed list of her media appearances and branded retail goods is unusual."
In any case, QVC told The Washington Post it no longer carries Trump's jewelry. Trump's biography also notes that her "penchant and passion for the arts, architecture, design, fashion, and beauty... can only be surpassed by her dedication to helping others, and her generosity has been noted." Her focus as first lady will be "issues impacting women and children," the bio concludes, "and she has focused her platform as first lady on the problem of cyber bullying among our youth." You can read more about Melania Trump and her life and work at WhiteHouse.gov. Peter Weber
At the Freedom Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., on Friday night, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump took the stage for their first dance to the song "My Way," made famous by the late Frank Sinatra and written by Paul Anka based on a French song by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. Trump had refused to rehearse the dance, CNN reports, and he set it up by talking about his victory in the presidential race, promising action and not talk, and marveling that the rain only poured once he was done with his inaugural speech. "My Way" was performed by a trio of vocalists:
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, came out halfway through — the Pences looked like they had rehearsed, or like dancing together — and Trump's children came out for the end of the song. Sinatra's daughter, Nancy Sinatra, wasn't necessarily impressed with Trump's selection for his first dance, saying on Twitter, “Just remember the first line of the song." Though, honestly, Anka's opening lyrics — "And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain" — is no less inappropriate an inauguration song than The Rolling Stones' "Heart of Stone." Peter Weber