Talking Points from the DNC ~ April 12, 2017

Spicer

Background

  • First Spicer said Hitler did not use poison gas – which he did, to kill millions of people.
  • When Spicer tried to explain that, he said Hitler didn’t use gas against his own people – which he did, killing tens of thousands of German Jews.
  • When Spicer tried to explain that, he coined the term “Holocaust center,” apparently a euphemism for “death camp.”
  • Eventually he managed to write an apology that covered the whole mess.
  • Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats called for Spicer to resign or be fired.

Messaging
So Spicer flailed around and mistakenly said some dumb things that minimized Hitler’s crimes and the suffering of his victims. Spicer later apologized. People make mistakes. Why call for Spicer’s resignation?

  • It’s not good for a spokesman to say dumb, false things like this.
  • Especially one after another after another.
  • It’s especially painful during the Jewish high holiday of Passover.

But the real problem here is the larger record of the Trump administration.

  • Sean Spicer is the same guy who defended the Trump administration’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that did not even mention the experience of the Jewish people.
  • The administration’s chief strategist Steve Bannon is a white supremacist sympathizer and ran a website, Breitbart, that intentionally appealed to white supremacists.
  • The President’s Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka is affiliated with a Hungarian anti-Semitic militia with Nazi ties.

The pattern here is too much to ignore. Getting rid of Bannon and Gorka would be a good step towards solving it.

Nunes + Trump Accusations

Background
  • Trump tweeted that he thought President Obama had him wiretapped, which we were then told to interpret as having had him illegally surveilled.
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was later briefed by White House staff on information that involved Trump associates’ communications being intercepted and their names being revealed to Obama administration officials, but which Nunes said involved no illegal surveillance and nothing relating to Russia.
  • President Trump accused Susan Rice of committing a crime by requesting the “unmasking” of names of Americans in intelligence reports she received who turned out to be Trump associates.
  • Susan Rice has confirmed that unmasking happened routinely in her job, and denied leaking any information. There is no evidence at all that Rice did anything improper.
  • The House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Chairman Nunes, who stepped aside from running the investigation in favor of Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas.
  • House Intelligence Committee members from both parties reviewed the intelligence cited by Nunes and concluded there was nothing illegal, unusual or troubling about it.

Messaging
There is absolutely zero evidence that Susan Rice or anyone else in the Obama administration did anything improper.

  • His accusation against Susan Rice is just like his earlier accusation against President Obama (which Republicans, Democrats and the intelligence Chiefs all confirmed was not true). It’s baseless.
  • This is just his latest desperate distraction from the snowballing story of his campaign’s ties to the hostile foreign country that helped elect him.

Susan Rice was President Obama’s National Security Adviser. Reviewing and analyzing intelligence information is the National Security Advisor’s job.

  • Only the FBI and intelligence agencies, can determine whether unmasking is appropriate and unmask a name.
  • The National Security Adviser is one of the people who can request it, but it’s not up to them whether the unmasking happens.

President Trump’s false accusation against Susan Rice can now take its place with his other more memorable lies, including his birther lie, his lie about millions of phantom voters voting for Hillary, and his lie about the size of his inaugural crowds.

Chairman Nunes will now have to explain his stunt to the Ethics Committee. Unfortunately, that leaves the House Intelligence Committee investigation in the hands of Republican Mike Conaway of Texas, who has actually publicly belittled the seriousness of the Russia allegations.

  • Conaway equated Russia’s massive secret operation with the “foreign influence” of Democrats hiring popular Mexican entertainers to appear at an American campaign event with Mexican-American fans.
  • At the first public hearing, he devoted his questions to accusations of wrongdoing against Democrats and raising doubts about whether the intelligence community was correct about Putin’s intent to help Trump.

This only highlights once again why we so desperately need independent investigations into the connections between Russia and the Trump campaign.

  • We need both a special prosecutor and a 9-11 style independent commission.
  • We not only need to know what happened to our elections last year, we need to know what we need to do to prevent foreign interference in our elections going forward.
Carter Page
This is just the latest piece on the pile of evidence that Russians were in communication with the Trump team during the campaign.

Carter Page was one of the first people Trump claimed was advising him on foreign policy. Not only did he go to Russia personally in the summer of 2016 for meetings, the FISA warrant application asking permission to intercept his communications cited his contact with Russian intelligence dating as far back as 2013.

Please note the difference: President Trump suggested President Obama had him wiretapped for political reasons. That did not happen. What did happen was the FBI had one of Trump’s advisers surveilled – because he had been talking to Russian spies.

Syria
Donald Trump has some explaining to do.
  • Does Donald Trump have a strategy for moving forward? Is there a diplomatic strategy?
  • Trump has done a complete turnaround on this issue. His position against intervention in Syria was one of his strongest and longest-held foreign policy views.  Just last week, the administration clearly signaled to Assad that the U.S. had no intention of interfering in Syria’s future – a comment that at least one Republican Senator has tied to Assad’s brazen chemical weapons attack.
  • The administration’s response has been full of rapid reversals and mixes messages. This raises serious questions about whether the administration has a long-term plan.
  • Secretary of State Tillerson said an eventual political solution to the Syrian conflict would require Assad’s participation…
  • … while U.N. Ambassador Nikki Hailey said there could be no political solution until Assad was thrown out of power.

Trump also needs to get Congressional input for military action – just as he said President Obama needed to.

If Trump cares about Assad’s victims, why is he trying to ban them from the US?

  • Trump is the same person who compared child refugees to terrorists and said, quote, “I can look in their faces and say ‘You can’t come.’”

Republicans have reversed their positions – and owe Americans an explanation.

  • Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and others have supported Trump’s strike – but opposed President Obama’s request for authorization to retaliate against Assad after a 2013 chemical weapons attack that killed 1,400 Syrians.

Background

Through years of Syrian attacks on civilians, Trump defended Assad and recommended ignoring Syria.

Assad has been systematically massacring Syrians for years, and these aren’t the firstimages of it. Where was Donald Trump last August, when this photo went viral of a Syrian child traumatized in an ambulance after his home was destroyed by bombs?

  • TRUMP in September: “Forget Syria – FIX THE USA”
  • TRUMP in October: “We should not be focusing on Syria.”
  • TRUMP: “It’s really rather amazing, maybe Syria should be a free zone for ISIS, let them fight and then you pick up the remnants.”
  • TRUMP, 2015: “[Assad] looks a lot better than some of our so-called friends.”

Experts and Assad anticipated Trump and Assad would be allies.

  • Politico: “Trump’s praise of Russia, Iran and Assad regime riles GOP experts.”
  • ASSAD: “Bashar Assad and President-elect Donald Trump will be ‘natural allies’ so long as Trump ‘will fight the terrorists,’ the Syrian leader said.”
  • Trump has refused to allow Syrian children to take refuge in our country – even comparing them to the Boston marathon bombers.
  • Trump on bringing in child refugees: “You mean children like we took in Boston, the two brothers that did so much damage during the Boston Marathon. They were very young when they came here and you see what happened to them.”
Trump So Far

In less than 100 days, Trump has already shown himself to be not just a failure, but a fraud.

Trump has failed to accomplished anything legislatively or diplomatically.

  • “Trump’s first 100 days has lacked sweeping victories and has been most defined by the stinging legislative defeat.” [CNN, 4/10/17]
  • Trump has “sold himself as a man of action while doing little other than promote an image of himself as someone who gets things done.” [Politico, 2/13/17]
  • Trump’s central promise to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it has already fallen apart
    • March: “Trump’s discretionary budget plan set to be released Thursdayreportedly includes a request for $2.6 billion in funding to begin planning and building a ‘physical wall’ along the border with Mexico along with security funding.” [FOX News, 3/16/17]
    • “The paper reported that even if Trump’s request is granted, the amount of money would not even come close to the amount of money needed to complete the project. The Department of Homeland Security estimated that a border wall would cost $21 billion.” [FOX News, 3/16/17]
  • Trump failed to repeal Obamacare, which he said would be very easy.
  • Trump did not label China a currency manipulator or take tough measures against their exports to us.

But what Trump has done – with his appointments and proposals and rule changes — shows his promises to regular working American were a fraud. From health care to retirement to students and veterans, Trump’s actions stand in stark contrast to his promises.

  • Trump’s healthcare plan broke his promise that he would provide better care for less money to everyone
    • Kaiser Family Foundation: The GOP plan would push people towards less-generous plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles and out of pocket costs [The Hill, 3/22/17]
    • The increase in the number of uninsured people under the AHCA relative to the number under current law would rise to 21 million in 2020 and then to 24 million in 2026 [Congressional Budget Office, 3/13/17]
    • The AHCA’s the AHCA’s changes affecting Medicaid would decrease direct spending by $880 billion over the 2017-2026 period. [Congressional Budget Office, 3/13/17]
    • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The 400 highest-income taxpayers would get annual tax cuts averaging about $7 million each, we estimate. These taxpayers, whose annual incomes average more than $300 million, would receive tax cuts totaling about $2.8 billion a year” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/20/17]
  • Trump’s budget breaks his promises to the people who put him in office and is a slap in the face to working families, the poor, seniors and veterans
    • “Rural voters who turned out in droves to elect President Donald Trump would be some of the biggest losers under the new white house budget.” [Politico, 3/17/17]
    • “President Donald Trump’s budget proposal to Congress calls for eliminating social programs dating to President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty and would cut spending on assistance to needy counties in Appalachia and the Mississippi delta.” [Bloomberg, 3/16/17]
    • Trump’s proposed “budget would eliminate the legal services corporation”, which “represents poor Mainers in 4,500 cases a year.” [Portland Press Herald, 3/17/17]
    • Trump’s budget would cut funding for Boys and Girls Clubs, Meals on Wheels, and shelter for homeless women [Daily Press, 3/16/17]
    • Trump’s hiring freeze would hit veterans, for whom federal jobs are critical sources of employment. [CNN, 3/16/17]
  • Trump said he would drain the swamp in Washington but has filled his administration with Wall Street and DC insiders
    • “Taken together, the appointments and the executive action suggest that Mr. Trump, despite having struck a populist tone during the campaign, is working to accommodate Wall Street and other large corporations.” [New York Times, Dealbook, 3/14/17]
      • “Mr. Trump’s selection of Mr. Giancarlo — and before that, his selection of Walter J. Clayton, a corporate lawyer with a Wall Street client list, to run the Securities and Exchange Commission…. The White House announced on Tuesday [3/14/17] that it would nominate James Donovan, a managing director at the bank, to be deputy Treasury secretary, joining Mr. Mnuchin, himself a former Goldman employee.” [New York Times, Dealbook, 3/14/17]
    • “Trump’s much-hyped ban on administration officials becoming lobbyists removed some of President Barack Obama’s ethics rules instead of strengthening them. Trump’s ethics pledge, issued as an executive order on Saturday, includes a five-year ‘lobbying ban’ that falls short of its name, preventing officials from lobbying the agency they worked in for five years after they leave, but allowing them to lobby other parts of the government.” [Politico, 1/29/17]
Trump’s Job Lies
Trump keeps trying to take credit for jobs he had nothing to do with creating.

Over and over again, Trump has claimed credit for job-creating projects that were greenlighted by companies before he was even elected.

  • Trump touted Exxon bringing 45,000 jobs to the United States that were part of an investment that began in 2013 [BuzzFeed, 3/6/17]
  • Trump touted 20,000 jobs created by Charter Communications that were first announced in 2015 [Daily Beast, 3/24/17]
  • Trump touted a Ford investment to create or retain 130 jobs in American plants that were part of a plan first announced in 2015 [CNBC, 3/28/17]
  • General Motors announced it was planning to add approximately 900 new jobs in Michigan because of the overall positive outlook for the auto industry and noted the jobs were not related to any policies proposed by Trump [Detroit Free Press, 3/15/17]

Trump recently claimed he had created jobs that were never actually created – phantom jobs.

  • Trump claimed he has created 600,000 jobs already. In his first two full months on the job 317,000 jobs were created.
  • Trump has made very little economic policy at all so far. By this point in his presidency, President Obama had passed and signed the stimulus bill that saved our economy from collapse by reinvesting in American jobs.

Trump noticeably does not take any blame for job losses on his watch.

Posted in Talking Points.