Things That Matter

Here’s President Trump’s Super Defensive Arizona Speech In A Nutshell

Last night, President Donald Trump arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, to give a speech at an event that amounted to a political rally. The previous night, he spoke about his strategy in Afghanistan (although many people did not tune in). He did not address any of the controversies looming over his presidency.

Before we get into what Trump said in Phoenix, here’s some background:

  1. This would be the first time Trump would speak since the backlash over his Charlottesville comments. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton even wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post urging Trump not to come to Arizona, saying it was too soon after Charlottesville and tensions had not eased. Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey did not attend Trump’s rally.
  2. Which brings us to this second point: Several people in Trump’s GOP party have reportedly turned on Trump. They’re saying he’s not fit to be president.
  3. Many were also wondering if Trump would pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty for criminal contempt for “defying a judge’s court order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants” on July 31.

With Charlottesville and the recent resignations of senior staff, it appears the rally in Phoenix was Trump’s way to get encouragement from his supporters.

As The Washington Post states: “When he finds himself under attack or slipping in popularity, he often holds a rally in a place like this: a diverse blue city that’s home to liberal protesters but surrounded by red suburbs and rural towns filled with Trump supporters who will turn out in droves.”

So, what did Trump say in Phoenix? The president first went on an insane rant against the media.

“…But the very dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras,” Trump said pointing at the cameras in front of him, which garnered boos from the audience. “I mean, truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up stories. They have no sources in many cases. They say ‘a source says’ — there is no such thing. But they don’t report the facts. Just like they don’t want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the White Supremacists, and the KKK.”

Then Trump began to talk about Charlottesville. Not about what happened there, but about his own statements.

Trump pulled out a paper and proceed to read out his initial statement about Charlottesville. But the interesting thing about it is that he never said the words that caused him so much backlash: .

Trump talked about his social media habits and claimed he doesn’t go on “Twitter storms.”

If I don’t have social media, I probably would not be standing,” Trump said. “And do you ever notice, when I go on and I’ll put, like, out a tweet or a couple of tweets, ‘He’s in a Twitter-storm again!’ I — I don’t do Twitter-storms. You know, you’ll put out a little tweet: ‘I’m going to be with the veterans today.’ They’ll say, ‘Donald Trump is in a Twitter-storm.’ These are sick people.

Trump hinted that he will pardon Arpaio, despite his press secretary saying otherwise.

But Sheriff Joe can feel good,” Trump said. “The people of Arizona know the deadly and heartbreaking consequences of illegal immigration, the lost lives, the drugs, the gangs, the cartels, the crisis of smuggling and trafficking.”

When talking about immigration, Trump went back to MS-13, again.

Trump, described again, a fictitious tale of how MS-13 gang members prey and kill their victims.

You’ve seen it,” Trump said. “You’ve lived it, and you elected me to put a stop to it. And we are doing a phenomenal job of putting a stop to it. That I can tell you.”

Trump also took a time out to say that he’s in good shape.

When speaking about being in Yuma, Arizona with ICE, Trump mentioned (several times) about the extreme heat in the area. But noted that he could handle it because he’s in a shape.

This wasn’t an off-the-cuff comment, but a straight jab at many political pundits that say Trump isn’t physicially fit to be president.

Before ending his speech, Trump said that one way or another, the U.S.-Mexico border wall would be built.

“Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it,” Trump said. “But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

Trump went on to talk about possibly ending NAFTA, how it was good for him to get out of the Paris Agreement, and about beautiful clean coal.

One of the weirdest moments from his speech was this Trump supporter who was plugging a conspiracy website.

Trump also mentioned that the group of protesters outside the rally was very small, but his crowd wasn’t exactly massive:

This is how CNN’s Don Lemon described Trump’s speech:

READ: President Trump Is Touring Around The World And Social Media Is Eating It All Up

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Donald Trump Refused To Condemn His White Supremacists Pals And In fact, Told Them To ‘Stand By’

Things That Matter

Donald Trump Refused To Condemn His White Supremacists Pals And In fact, Told Them To ‘Stand By’

Spencer Platt / Getty

Last night’s first presidential debate of the 2020 election gave us about as much optimism and assurance of safety as his past four years in office. Particularly because when it came to the moments when our current president was given a chance by moderator Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacists and “militia” groups while also demanding that they stand down as opposed to inciting violence, he refused.

Even if you’ve yet to watch Tuesday night’s debates, you’ve undoubtedly heard that throughout the night Donald Trump acted like a child who had never once been taught by a teacher to wait his turn to speak. Or, to simply answer a question. Shockingly, Trump stuck to this approach in one of the most critical aspects of the debates that could have gained him followers or at least assuaged Americans and their fears about his leadership and morality.

When it came to the moment when he was asked to condemn white nationalists and militia groups Trump pussyfooted around then gave a pretty damning response.

During last night’s debate when asked to denounce those groups, Trump gave non-committal answers.

When asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace asked if he was willing and ready to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and tell them to stand down during the current and ongoing demonstrations taking place across the country, Trump told one group to “stand back and stand by.”

What’s more, he asserted that violence at the protests was not being instigated by conservatives.

“Sure,” Trump responded. “I’m willing to [tell them to stand down] but I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right wing. I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”

“Say it. Do it. Say it,” Biden urged Trump in response to his non commital answers.

“Who would you like me to condemn?” Trump shot back, turning his attention to Wallace. “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what. Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem.”

The Proud Boys are a far-right men-only organization that has been spotted at multiple 2020 Trump campaign rallies wearing black and yellow polo shirt uniforms.

The group promotes and often engages in political violence.

This is why Trump’s non-committal responses like “Sure” to requests from Wallace and Biden to condemn these groups are worrisome. Even more so why, when pressed by Wallace and Biden who pointed out repeatedly that “sure” is not the same as actually doing so was so troubling as well. Moreover, it’s important to note that Trump’s response to “I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing” is another “all lives matter” kind of way to denouncing white supremacist groups.

Of course this is not the first time the president has defended the actions of white supremacists.

In August, Trump refused to condemn the actions of his supporters in Portland, Oregon, and Wisconsin who used pepper spray to attack demonstrators. In the past, Trump has also defended Kyle Rittenhouse, a shooter who attempted homicide in Kenosha, Wisconsin at a BLM protest, saying that he had been “very violently attacked.”

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Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

Things That Matter

Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

BILL PUGLIANO / GETTY

After four long years, we finally know why Trump didn’t want to release his tax returns: abominably, he thought his terrible haircuts and adult age children were worthy of write-offs. Oh yeah… and the year he was elected he only paid $750.00.

Long before his 2016 presidential election bid, Trump dodged calls to reveal his tax returns. At the time of his bid, however, he refused to take part in a 40-year tradition carried out by presidential nominees to release tax returns to the public. During his initial run, Trump falsely claimed that he was unable to release his returns publicly while they were under audit, and throughout his presidency, he has avoided sharing them despite grand jury subpoenas. Fortunately, thanks to a piece published by The New York Times, they’re finally getting a chance to see the light of day.

On Sunday, The New York Times published the first of several reports examining Trump’s tax information.

In 2016, Trump became the first president since 1976 to not release his tax records. The decision promptly roused dismay and questions about whether the records carried “undisclosed conflicts of interest that may impair his ability to make impartial policy decisions.”

According to NYT’s latest exposé, Trump (a man who has long boasted about his wealth and has also claimed a net worth of billions of which he has also declared to be self-acquired) paid a mere total of $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

While the Times report did not cover 2018 and 2019 tax filings, the newspaper looked into 18 years of Trump’s tax returns. They also looked into his business dealings as far back as 2000 and found that in 10 of those years, the president of the United States failed to pay any income taxes “largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”

The Times also revealed that Trump “racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes” despite millions in income and property. In a statement for the piece, Alan Garten an attorney for the Trump Organization claimed to the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts, appear to be inaccurate.” NoteL the Times underlined that Garten appeared to be “conflating income taxes with other federal taxes.”

According to the article, beginning in 2010, Trump had been given a $72.9 million tax refund from the IRS.

The Times article explains in detail how Trump has managed to handle his business and categorize his wealth. The paper found that most often, Trump claimed his expenses as deductions from his tax bill chalking them up to business expenses. These include nearly $70,000 in hairstyling costs for his time on NBC’s “The Apprentice” over $300,000 for landscaping of the Mar-a-Lago Club and $95,000 written off for hair and makeup done for his daughter Ivanka. That’s right, the president wrote off his own adult children.

Addressing the report, the Times noted that they would not include the actual tax documents in its coverage to avoid outing its sources.

“We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances,” Times editor Dean Baquet wrote in an editor’s note. “Every president since the mid-1970s has made his tax information public. The tradition ensures that an official with the power to shake markets and change policy does not seek to benefit financially from his actions.”

In response to the reports, Trump called the story “fake news” during a White House press conference on Sunday.

Speaking about the piece, Trump bemoaned that the IRS “does not treat me well.” “It’s totally fake news. Made-up, fake,” he continued. “We went through the same stories, people you could’ve asked me the same questions four years ago. I had to litigate this and talk about it. Totally fake news… Actually, I paid tax, and you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns — it’s under audit,” Trump went onto explain. “They’ve been under audit for a long time. The IRS does not treat me well. … They don’t treat me well; they treat me very badly. You have people in the IRS, they treat me very, very badly…But they’re under audit. And when they’re not, I would be proud to show you, but that’s just fake news.”

It’s important to note that even an audit could not prevent Trump from releasing his tax records to the public.

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