President Trump spent much of last week taking swipes at the news media, and CNN was a major target of Trump's ire on Twitter and at a closed-door campaign fundraiser, after the network retracted an article about one of his advisers and a Russian investment fund. But at the end of the week Trump drew more attention for personal attacks against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski.
"Some White House advisers said they were frustrated that the Brzezinski feud," The Washington Post reported late Friday, "overtook the president's fight with CNN, which seemed in their eyes to have clearer villains and heroes." Early Sunday, Trump tweeted a gif of himself body-slamming a man whose head was replaced by the CNN logo, drawing statements of concern from CNN and the Committee to Protect Journalists about promoting violence against journalists.
On Monday, CNN's Andrew Kaczynski tracked down the identity of the Reddit user who claimed credit for creating the original gif, he reported Tuesday, and right after he tried to contact him, the user, "HanA**holeSolo," posted an apology on the pro-Trump subgroup /The_Donald. The user told his fellow Redditors he is sorry for his "racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic" posts, called internet trolling an addiction and "nothing more than bullying a wide audience," and said the Trump-CNN "meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation."
"HanA**holeSolo" then called and confirmed his identity, Kaczynski says, and he "sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family." Not everyone was sympathetic.
Guy who posted this is now "worried for his safety" &asking not to be identified. You couldn't ask for a better lesson in troll psychology. pic.twitter.com/EJkmQcyTdD
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 5, 2017
But CNN is honoring the request because the guy "is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again," Kaczynski said, adding that "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." The White House won't say where Trump found the gif, but insists it wasn't at Reddit. Peter Weber
Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert on Sunday defended President Trump's tweet depicting himself physically beating "CNN." Trump is "the most genuine president and the most non-politician president we've seen in my lifetime," Bossert said in an appearance on ABC News, and "no one would perceive [the tweet] as a threat. I hope they don't. I do think that [Trump is] beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to."
CNN did not share Bossert's take. The network's response said the tweet "encourages violence against reporters":
CNN response to Trump tweet about beating up a the CNN logo pic.twitter.com/pk5tN6aKus
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) July 2, 2017
The tweet depicts Trump whaling on Vince McMahon in a staged fight at Wrestlemania XXIII in 2007. McMahon's face has been covered with the CNN logo. Bonnie Kristian
On Sunday morning, the president of the United States posted this tweet:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2017
President Trump may be asked to subject his tweets to legal scrutiny before posting them, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday night in a story covering changes to White House procedure Trump will entertain upon his return home from his tour abroad Saturday evening. The tweet vetting would be designed to avoid unforced errors as the Trump campaign and administration undergo scrutiny in federal investigations concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election:
One major change under consideration would see the president’s social media posts vetted by a team of lawyers, who would decide if any needed to be adjusted or curtailed. The idea, said one of Mr. Trump's advisers, is to create a system so that tweets "don't go from the president's mind out to the universe."
Some of Mr. Trump's tweets — from hinting that he may have taped conversations with Mr. Comey to suggesting without any evidence that former President Barack Obama wire-tapped Trump Tower — have opened him to criticism and at times confounded his communications team. Trump aides have long attempted to rein in his tweeting, and some saw any type of legal vetting as difficult to implement. [WSJ]
Many of Trump's critics and supporters alike have repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) urged the president to curtail his tweeting habits, as his posts often come back to bite him politically. Bonnie Kristian
Foreign leaders who meet with President Trump this week during his first tour abroad since taking office have been encouraged to tailor their conversation to his personal preferences and knowledge base, The New York Times reports. The big three bullet points to remember: Praise him for winning; don't talk history; and keep it brief.
After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged: Keep it short — no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory. [The New York Times]
Leaders and diplomats who do not speak English must cut their comments especially short, said Peter Westmacott, former British ambassador to the United States. Trump is "a guy with a limited attention span," Westmacott told the Times. "He absolutely won't want to listen to visitors droning on for a half-hour — or longer if they need an interpreter."
Trump is scheduled to make stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, Belgium, and the Vatican. Pope Francis, with whom Trump will meet for the first time, learned English as an adult and is not confident in his mastery of the language, so he often uses a translator. Bonnie Kristian
President Trump celebrated his 100th day in office with a cheering rally crowd in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Saturday evening, skipping the White House Correspondents' Dinner in favor of a return to the campaign trail.
"I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people," he told supporters in a speech ranging from North Korea to ObamaCare to Hillary Clinton. "The media deserves a very big, fat, failing grade."
Trump reiterated his trademark promise to build an enormous wall along the southern border — "Don't even worry about it," he assured his audience — and mocked the "fake news" people "trapped" at the "very, very boring" dinner in Washington. Watch an excerpt of his comments below. Bonnie Kristian
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 30, 2017
Donald Trump wishes Happy New Year to everyone, including 'those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do'
President-elect of the United States of America Donald J. Trump sent out his well-wishes for the new year via Twitter Saturday morning, expressing his hope that even the haters will have a good 2017.
Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2016
Trump's holiday magnanimity toward his enemies was previously in evidence on the 2013 anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in which he tweeted his "best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date." Bonnie Kristian
President-elect Donald Trump sent out two tweets Saturday morning strongly criticizing any suggestion — specifically from CNN — that his ongoing role as executive producer of The New Celebrity Apprentice will in any way detract from his presidency.
I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2016
Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue - FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2016
As executive producer, Trump will be paid for each episode by MGM, the company of series creator Mark Burnett, and not by NBC, which airs the show. Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway defended Trump's decision to remain a producer on Friday by comparing the role to President Obama's golf hobby. Bonnie Kristian