Trump apparently felt nudged to scrap the Paris accord by the French president's aggressive handshake
President Trump was always inclined to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement to fight climate change, and he announced Thursday he will do so, after months of contentious White House debate that didn't even really take into account "the environmental and public health consequences of climate change," according to Axios. Case in point:
In briefing just now, White House official responds to question about whether Trump thinks climate change is real: "Can we stay on topic?"
— Amy Harder (@AmyAHarder) June 1, 2017
Instead, business leaders, economic adviser Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and daughter Ivanka Trump spoke of the economic and diplomatic problems of quitting the global accord. They were outmaneuvered by chief strategist Stephen Bannon, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and budget chief Mick Mulvaney, who brought in reams of charts and statistics dismissed as "either erroneous, scientifically dubious, misleading, or out of date" by opponents of ditching the Paris Agreement, The Washington Post reports.
Trump's "final, deliberative verdict was the same as his initial, gut-level one," the Post says, basing its "account of Trump's decision-making process" on interviews with "more than a dozen administration officials, Trump confidants, Republican operatives, and European diplomats." Kellyanne Conway said that Trump "stayed where he's always been, and not for a lack of trying by those who have an opposite opinion." Some of that trying came from European leaders, who marshaled economic, moral, environmental, and global power arguments to persuade Trump to keep the U.S. in the agreement during the G7 summit in Sicily.
That might have backfired, The Washington Post says. "One senior White House official characterized disappointing European allies as 'a secondary benefit' of Trump's decision to withdraw." And there was one "nudge" to quit Paris in particular, from French President Emmanuel Macron:
Macron was quoted in a French journal talking about his white-knuckled handshake with Trump at their first meeting in Brussels, where the newly elected French president gripped Trump's hand tightly and would not let go for six long seconds in a show of alpha-male fortitude. ... Hearing smack-talk from the Frenchman 31 years his junior irritated and bewildered Trump, aides said. A few days later, Trump got his revenge. He proclaimed from the Rose Garden, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." [The Washington Post]
Republicans have another short-term spending bill to avert a shutdown, but they may not have the votes
House Republican leaders proposed a fourth stopgap spending measure to their caucus on Tuesday night, betting that a few popular sweeteners and opposition from Democratic leaders would drum up enough GOP support to send the measure to the Senate, with or without Democratic votes. The continuing resolution would finance the government at current levels through Feb. 16, delay several ObamaCare-related taxes for a year or two, and finance the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years. The third and current short-term spending package expires at midnight Friday.
The spending bill needs 218 votes in the House, and most Republicans reportedly backed the measure Tuesday night, sometimes unenthusiastically. But House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) balked. "Based on the number of 'no' and undecided votes, there is not enough votes for a Republican-only bill," he said, dismissing the ObamaCare tax delays as a "gimmick." In the Senate, nine Democrats would have to vote with every Republican to pass the resolution, and Democrats are threatening to withhold their votes unless Republicans include a solution for DREAMers, the 700,000 young immigrants who are already losing their work permits and face deportation starting in March under President Trump's executive order.
Trump and Republicans are banking on Democrats folding, arguing that not voting to avert the first government shutdown since 2013 would harm the military (a decision that appears to rest at least in part with Trump, who can exempt "essential" personnel). Government shutdowns when one party controls both Congress and the White House are rare. "We don't need any Democrats in the House," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). "And I don't think the Democrats in the Senate have the nerve to shut down the government." Lawmakers are working to salvage a bipartisan plan to protect DREAMers, but are pessimistic they would have it ready by Friday, especially with the White House calling it dead on arrival. Peter Weber
While riding on a Red Line train in Chicago Friday night, passenger Jessica Bell watched as an act of kindness quietly took place next to her.
Across from Bell was an older homeless man, whose feet were bleeding through his socks and his tattered sneakers. Maurice Anderson, in Chicago to visit his daughter, sat near him, wearing boots "built for a Chicago winter," Bell wrote on Facebook. Anderson asked the man what size shoe he wore, and when he replied "12" — the same size as Anderson — he didn't hesitate to take his boots off and hand them to the man. Having just arrived from Kentucky, Anderson dug into the suitcase he had with him, pulled out socks for the man, and changed into a different pair of shoes he brought.
"He's already in distress, he's out in the cold, riding the train," Anderson told ABC Chicago. "If I'm not reaching out to help someone, I can't say anything." Anderson and Bell said the homeless man was in shock by Anderson's gesture, and so appreciative, telling them he believed he had frostbite from the cold. Bell took a few pictures of the exchange, feeling compelled to share the simple but important moment. "I think that's what really resonated with me," she said. "It was a really selfless and quiet act, no fanfare. It just happened." Catherine Garcia
If you were, for whatever reason, excited about the "Most Dishonest & Corrupt Media Awards Of The Year" that President Trump promised for Jan. 8, then postponed until Wednesday, well, don't get your hopes too high. There's nothing about the "Fake News Awards" on Trump's schedule for Wednesday, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump's awards were merely "a potential event."
Arizona's two Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, are using Trump's promised/threatened awards to criticize the president's frequent attacks on the free press, with Flake making comparisons to Joseph Stalin. But late-night TV appears to believe that laughter is the best disinfectant. On Tuesday's Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon's President Trump presented "Fakeys" to CNN, The New York Times, and himself, aided by Melania Trump (Gina Gershon) and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (Rachel Dratch).
Still, nobody will be more disappointed if Trump bails than Late Show host Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee at Full Frontal, all of whom are in full-on campaign mode for "Fakeys" of their own. "Personally, I'm excited for the Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year, or as we call them in the biz, the Fakeys, because nothing gives you more credibility than Donald Trump calling you a liar," Colbert said, kicking off the late-night jockeying. "And I, of course, don't want to be snubbed." He took out a For Your Consideration ad in "Failing New York Times Square."
The Daily Show shot back, claiming that Colbert's Late Show and Bee's Full Frontal were were too fact-based.
Not to be outdone, Bee's decidedly NSFW retort leaned heavily on the F-bombs. If that doesn't bother you, watch below. Peter Weber
They lost their home and all of their possessions in the devastating Montecito mudslides, but Lindsey and Woody Thompson said they held out hope they would be reunited with their cat, Koshka.
The Thompsons didn't know if they were going to survive the mudslide earlier this month, and they said their goodbyes to each other, ABC Los Angeles reports. Because the road outside their house was wiped out, they had to be airlifted to safety, and once they were settled they immediately asked for help finding Koshka. "We knew that she was alive and we knew that she was smart and she would find a safe spot to be and she did," Woody Thompson said.
It still wasn't safe to access the house, but a fire team told Santa Barbara County Animal Services that they saw muddy paw prints. Starting Jan. 9, the property was checked by animal services every day, and on Monday, after officers entered the house through a window, they found Koshka in the rubble "with mud-caked fur ... thankful to see her rescuers." The Thompsons were overwhelmed when they got to hold Koshka again."We needed this," Lindsey Thompson said. "Thank you. You're our heroes." Catherine Garcia
It might not have impressed Brian Wilson's high school music teacher, but "Surfin'" was good enough to launch The Beach Boys to stardom.
Brian’s high school music teacher Fred Morgan: “Brian wrote a composition for me and it turned out to be ‘Surfin.’ That composition got an F, but it made a million dollars.” Brian’s failing grade has now been changed to an A on this assignment by Dr. Landesfeind! pic.twitter.com/ICANT605Kx
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) January 15, 2018
While a student at Hawthorne High School 58 years ago, Wilson composed "Surfin'" and received an "F" from his teacher, Fred Morgan. On Twitter Monday, Wilson shared that he went back to visit his alma mater, and a new teacher changed his grade to an "A." Morgan used to say the composition earned an "F," Wilson wrote, "but it made a million dollars."
"Surfin'" was The Beach Boys' first hit off of their debut album, Surfin' Safari, and although Wilson was known for writing song ("Surfin' USA") after song ("Catch A Wave") about surfing, the 75-year-old wrote in his autobiography, I Am Brian Wilson, that he failed miserably at the sport. "I tried once," he wrote, "and got conked on the head with the board." Catherine Garcia
President Trump appears remarkably healthy for a 71-year-old man who doesn't eat well or exercise, and he aced a rudimentary cognitive ability test (you can take it yourself here), according to Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2013. But not everyone is buying Jackson's assessment that Trump is 6-foot-3 and weighs 239 pounds, giving him a barely sub-obesity body mass index (BMI) of 29.9. MSNBC's Chris Hayes came up with the name:
Has anyone coined "girther" for those who belive the president weighs more than his doctor reports?
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 16, 2018
The main argument seems to be that since muscle weighs more than fat, Trump can't possibly weigh the same as professional athletes of roughly the same build. One example of many:
Colin Kaepernick is 6'4 230
Trump is supposedly 6'3 235
Something isn't adding up. pic.twitter.com/AEBIwmbFsg
— Matt Rogers (@Politidope) January 16, 2018
Sports Illustrated compiled many other Trump vs. athlete visual comparisons. Did the commander-in-chief order Jackson, a two-star Navy admiral, to tip the scales, so to speak? Some "girthers" are putting their money where their doubts are.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 17, 2018
Others doubt that Trump is actually 6-foot-3.
Reminder that earlier physicals decades ago put Trump height at 6’2”. The 6’3” height makes a difference on his BMI from overweight to obese https://t.co/iHIsJjustT
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 16, 2018
According to Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, Trump is 75 inches tall. That's 6'3".
Obama is listed as 6'1". pic.twitter.com/1SAq7keoBP
— Alamo_on_the_rise (@AlamoOnTheRise) January 17, 2018
The "girthers" already have counter-girthers, including Fox News analyst Brit Hume.
Because he was listed as an inch shorter earlier. Please. BTW, I’m the same height and am a bit overweight at 190. He looks to me about 50 pounds heavier than I am.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) January 17, 2018
For the first time since she left the Today show after just a year as co-anchor, Ann Curry is talking about the pain she felt upon her departure, and why she's proud of how she handled her very public exit.
"Experience has taught me, as a journalist, the No. 1 thing you have to be is humble," she told People. "It's not about you." Curry left Today on June 28, 2012, and it was hinted she was fired because she didn't have "chemistry" with her co-host, Matt Lauer, who was fired from the show last November over allegations of sexual misconduct. "It hurt like hell," Curry said. "It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I've done nothing wrong. I've been honest and true. I've tried to stay pure. I've tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I've stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I'm also proud of myself."
The Emmy winner said she had to "let it go," and is "stronger now. I'm smarter. I'm happier, as happy as I've ever been. And my compassion has only grown. When you go through the pain and learn the lessons, you will be changed for the better." Read more of Curry's interview at People, and watch her first live interview since leaving Today Wednesday on CBS This Morning. Catherine Garcia