Trump celebrates 100-day mark by railing against the media — and seeking to steal spotlight from D.C. gala Holly Bailey 3 hours ago President Trump leads a rally marking his first 100 days in office in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)HARRISBURG, Pa. — President Trump was here to celebrate the achievements of his first 100 days in office, but first, he had a few words to say about the news media — more than a few words, actually.Taking the stage at a farm expo center here before a packed crowd of several thousand people in a key swing state he won last November, Trump spent the first quarter of his speech — nearly 15 minutes — railing against the “incompetent, dishonest” media that he claimed had been “purposely negative” about his first months in office.“If the media’s job is to be honest, they deserve a big, fat failing grade,” Trump declared in a scathing rant that prompted his supporters to turn around and boo reporters on the scene to cover his remarks.What seemed like every grievance Trump has held against reporters spilled forth. He called CNN and MSNBC, two of his favorite targets, “fake news.” The “failing New York Times,” a paper that Trump has given repeated interviews to since he won the election last November, was struggling so badly it was “starting to look like a comic book,” he insisted — though the paper has reported a jump in subscriptions since he took office.He repeatedly attacked the media as “out of touch” with the concerns of everyday Americans and questioned why any reporter had any right to judge him. After three months of speeches in which Trump had continued to relive last year’s election and rail against onetime rival Hillary Clinton, the president had finally settled on a new foe: reporters.Saturday’s rally was Trump’s latest attempt to offer counterprogramming to his perceived opponents, a card he regularly played during the 2016 campaign. In this case, Trump’s target was the hundreds of political journalists gathered in Washington for the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. On Saturday, Trump became the first president in 36 years to skip the dinner, eschewing reporters he has regularly attacked as “fake media” and even the “enemy of the American people” amid his constant complaints of unfair coverage.(The last president to skip the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981, when he was recovering from an assassination attempt, though he still managed to call in and deliver a few jokes. “If I could give you just one little bit of advice,” Reagan said from Camp David, the presidential retreat, “when somebody tells you to get in a car quick, do it.”)Back in Washington, D.C.: Attendees take their seats at the start of the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)Speaking to supporters here, Trump bragged about ditching the dinner, which funds scholarships for journalism students, describing it as a gathering of “Hollywood actors and Washington media … consoling each other in a hotel ballroom.”“I could not possibly be more thrilled to be more than 100 miles away from Washington spending my evening with all of you, a much larger crowd and better people,” Trump declared, adding that the dinner was probably “very, very boring.”It wasn’t the first time the TV-savvy politician has tried to split-screen another prominent event. In January 2016, just days before the Iowa caucuses, Trump abruptly scheduled a “fundraiser” for veterans to run at the same time as a Fox News GOP primary debate he boycotted over a feud with the network’s Megyn Kelly. And last July, he held rallies during the Democratic National Convention, including on the night of Clinton’s acceptance speech, in an attempt to draw away viewers.The WHCA dinner, which is also attended by a mix of politicians, celebrities, lobbyists, advertisers and others in the news, has long been viewed as a light-hearted night where the president can roast reporters and vice versa. But for the thin-skinned Trump, it was also the scene of a eviscerating takedown in 2011, when then-President Barack Obama openly mocked the New York billionaire’s political ambitions.Trump, who at the time was the leading voice on conspiracy theories that Obama was not born in the U.S., was visibly furious. And though Trump has repeatedly denied that he was embarrassed or angry, the episode is said to have cemented the businessman’s determination to seek the presidency and avenge his critics, including Obama.That desire to prove those who underestimate him wrong has been a driving force for Trump for his entire adult life — from his entry into the gilded world of Manhattan real state to his unlikely path to the presidency. And perhaps it’s why Trump continues to live in the past — spending at least part of his remarks Saturday night, as he often does in public speeches, re-litigating the 2016 election in what seems to be an infinite desire for credit for stunning the world with his surprise victory last year. “Their predictions were so bad,” Trump said of the media, accusing them of pulling for Clinton last year.President Trump at his 100-day rally in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)While the president delivered a full throated defense of his early months in office, insisting again and again he is making progress, Trump’s rally in Harrisburg also called attention to what has been a surprising element of his early days in office. For a candidate who rose to power on what he has described as his “movement” and who thrived from the adulation he felt from the massive rallies he held all over the country, Trump has spent little time on the road trying to activate those supporters to advance his political agenda in Washington.Unlike other presidents who have spent a large part of their early days in office on the road giving speeches and making the case for their political priorities, Trump has spent much of his first months in office at the White House or at Mar-a-Lago, his lavish Florida retreat.Trump has made just a handful of public appearances outside Washington — including visits to Michigan, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin, where he held small policy events largely to tout job creation. On Friday, he addressed the National Rifle Association convention in Georgia, where he mostly relived his campaign glories. Though aides said he would hit the road to sell his agenda after a speech to Congress in late February, that swing never materialized.By comparison, Obama had visited roughly 10 states, largely to sell policy initiatives like his economic stimulus package, and traveled overseas three times by this point his presidency. In his first 100 days, George W. Bush was on the road even more, hitting roughly 25 states to sell his push for tax cuts and education reforms like “No Child Let Behind.” He had also traveled to Mexico on his first overseas trip.For Bush and Obama, their domestic trips weren’t just to friendly territory. Both presidents traveled to states during their first 100 days to target members of the opposing party in hopes of winning bipartisan support for their policy agendas. For Bush, that included trips to Michigan and Montana. Obama traveled to Arizona, home to his political rival, John McCain.Perhaps most surprising to those who closely followed Trump’s campaign is that, until Saturday’s appearance in Pennsylvania, he had held just three rallies — in Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky, all states that he won easily. That’s less than many expected, given Trump’s obsession with rallies, which were such a source of energy and life for him during his run for the White House that many within his campaign wondered if he would be able to give them up and focus on governing.The scene from the New Holland Aren as President Trump leads a rally in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)White House press secretary Sean Spicer has told reporters that Trump’s lack of travel in support of his agenda is because he is focused on matters in Washington. But others within the president’s party point to other reasons, including a policy agenda that has lacked clarity and focus and a commander in chief who often struggles to stay on script.“When you are president, you travel to make a point,” one Republican party official who declined to be named critiquing Trump’s style. “And if the campaign is any guide, maybe the determination has been that he would step on that point, and it’s just not worth it.”While Trump has mastered the ability to whip up his supporters through other means like Twitter, his ability to truly activate his supporters in support of his political agenda remains untested.And much of that agenda remains in limbo after a rocky first 100 days in office. During the campaign, he set his own 100-day “contract” with voters, but he has carried out fewer than half of those promises according to the Associated Press. Trump, visibly frustrated at times, has lashed out at the courts for blocking his executive orders and at congressional factions for their alleged disloyalty.On Saturday, Trump went through a litany of campaign promises that he said he’s delivered on, pointing to executive orders aimed at helping the coal industry as well as stepped up enforcement of immigration laws. He glossed over his failed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, insisting it would fail on its own eventually. And he again insisted, despite setbacks, that his proposed wall along the U.S. Mexico border would be built.“We are keeping one promise after another,” Trump said, touting “historic progress.”As further proof, Trump motioned to back to the press corps on hand to cover his speech. “They are exhausted,” he declared. “They’ve never seen anything like it.”Read more from Yahoo News’ coverage of Trump’s first 100 days:
World Experts: North Korean nukes can defeat even the world’s most advanced missile defense system Daniel Brown,Business Insider Fri, Apr 28 11:21 AM PDT(Missile Defense Agency)„If it flies, it dies,” Adm. Harry Harris told Congress on Wednesday, referring to the US’s ability to knock down whatever missiles North Korea could throw their way.But according to an expert, the same cannot be said of ground-based missile defenses.South Korea started installing the US’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) on Wednesday, a powerful missile defense system that has China spooked.Harris, the commander of US Pacific Command, said it should be operational within days.The US has successfully tested THAAD 12 times, but never used it in actual combat, which can play out much differently than controlled tests. „Things that work well at home on the test range don’t always go as smoothly when deployed,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told the Associated Press.”It’s a fairly new system,” Mark Wright the deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency told Business Insider. „However the operation tests have been robust and under combat-like conditions. Our testing is pretty realistic.”Another scientist, David Wright, co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program, said that a salvo of North Korean short-range missiles could overwhelm THAAD.The 10 million people living in Seoul will also not be protected by THAAD, since it is being installed 125 miles south of the city. „It cannot engage missiles fired at Seoul, so it offers no additional protection of the city,” David Wright told the Associated Press.„We have a layered defense systems, which is shared with the Republic of South Korea and Japan,” Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Business Insider in response to whether or not Seoul was protected. „But we don’t discuss specific weapons systems.”As it stands, US Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile defenses provide protection for Seoul, though it has similar limitations to THAAD.One scientist was even more wary of THAAD’s capabilities. Harris’ statement about THAAD is „technically incorrect,”Theodore Postol, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.”The THAAD interceptor is very easily defeated by either causing a missile to tumble end over end or by intentionally fragmenting a rocket into pieces.”In the case of a saturation attack, or a large volume of missiles as Postol described, THAAD’s defense capabilities „can be expected to be very low, probably zero or close to that,” Postol said.But hopefully THAAD’s abilities will never be contested.US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview with NPR on Friday that direct talks with the Kim regime „would be the way we would like to solve this,” giving the US an option to solve the North Korean crisis without bloodshed.NOW WATCH: Here’s what $1 billion worth of cocaine looks like
France, Japan, the U.K. and U.S. Send China And North Korea A Tough Message Forbes 8 hours agoI worked in military intelligence for five years, including on nuclear weapons, terrorism, cyber-security, border security, and counter-insurgency. I covered and visited Asia and Europe, and worked in Afghanistan for one and a half years. I have a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University, and a B.A. and M.A. in international relations from Yale University (Summa cum laude). My company, Corr Analytics, provides political risk analysis to commercial, non-profit, and media clients, and publishes the Journal of Political Risk. I am editing a series on the South China Sea conflict, and have covered and visited Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions …The U.K. and French presence shows that NATO, including the U.S., is strongly behind South Korea. The effect of these international allied naval forces is to pressure North Korea to abandon its self-destructive drive for ever more powerful nuclear weapons atop long-range missiles capable of reaching North America.The Mistral-class assault warship Sevastopol is docked on November 26, 2014 in the French port of Saint-Nazaire. Credit: GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty ImagesThe naval forces gathering in East Asia is an alliance of democracies making a point against autocracies like North Korea, and its allies, China and Russia. While North Korea is building nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the continental U.S., China is making more complaints about the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system emplacement in South Korea than it is about North Korea’s offensive buildup. This is a strong indicator that China remains firmly on the side of its ally North Korea in the current crisis.Russia supports China and North Korea, by calling for de-escalation to the status quo which allows for North Korea to periodically increase its nuclear development without significant consequences. Russia stated that THAAD, which protects South Korea, erodes China’s deterrent. Why does China need a “deterrent” against non-nuclear South Korea? To me it appears more of a threat.President Trump flattered President Xi in recent days, no doubt buttering him up in case the U.S. needs to launch a pre-emptive strike on China. But giving China a good trade deal or concession on Taiwan in exchange for pressuring North Korea, which China should have done long ago, would go too far. Russia and China’s vague calls for peace and negotiation at this point are far too little, far too late. Trump’s tough approach now has China’s nationalist state-owned media, the Global Times, defending economic sanctions on North Korea.Trump should keep up the pressure. It worked in Syria, and it will work with North Korea. That is peace through strength.Please follow me on Twitter @anderscorr, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
US Marines return to Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand AFP 12 hours agoLashkar Gah (Afghanistan) (AFP) – US Marines returned to Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Saturday, where American troops faced heated fighting until NATO’s combat mission ended in 2014, as embattled Afghan security forces struggle to beat back the resurgent Taliban.The deployment of some 300 Marines to the poppy-growing southern province came one day after the militants announced the launch of their „spring offensive”, and as the Trump administration seeks to craft a new strategy in Afghanistan.Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson attended a handover ceremony marking the return of the prestigious force, the first Marines in Afghanistan since 2014, an AFP photographer said.Part of a regular troop rotation announced in January under the Obama administration, they will arrive in stages, eventually numbering some 300 who will take part in NATO’s train, assist and advise mission.Helmand for years was the centrepiece of the US and British military intervention in Afghanistan — only for it to slip deeper into a quagmire of instability.”In those days Afghan security forces were tiny and just got started,” Brigadier General Roger Turner told AFP. „With the leadership in place now they… are poised to do much better.”The Taliban effectively control or contest 10 of Helmand’s 14 districts, blighted by a huge opium harvest that helps fund the insurgency.Around 30,000 people fled fighting in the province in 2016, mostly seeking refuge in provincial capital Lashkar Gah, with the city at times practically besieged.The US has some 8,400 troops in Afghanistan with about another 5,000 from NATO allies, mostly taking part in the training mission.Pentagon chief Jim Mattis warned of „another tough year” in Afghanistan when he visited Kabul this week as part of the Trump administration’s review of Afghan policy. Nicholson has called for a few thousand more troops to help break the „stalemate”.Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, a retired Afghan general based in Kabul, was optimistic.”If the Afghan forces and the US Marines jointly fight the phenomenon of the terrorism in southern Helmand, we will have tangible results,” he told AFP.But former Marine James Clark, who served twice in Helmand and now writes for military website Task & Purpose, called the deployment „half-measures”.”What lasting gains can our small military presence accomplish in Afghanistan that we couldn’t achieve during the height of the troop surge?” he told AFP.- ‘Butcher of Kabul’ returns -The Helmand ceremony came as one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords, ex-prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, returned to public life Saturday after more than 20 years in exile.Hekmatyar, white-bearded and clad in his trademark black turban, called on the Taliban to lay down their weapons and join a „caravan of peace” as he spoke at a rally in Laghman province.Known widely as the „Butcher of Kabul”, Hekmatyar is chiefly remembered for his role in the bloody civil war of the 1990s, in which he stands accused of killing thousands of people in the capital Kabul. He is set to return there on Sunday.His comeback following a landmark peace agreement with President Ashraf Ghani in September has been hugely controversial in Afghanistan, sparking revulsion from human rights groups and residents of the capital.Afghanistan has seen intensified Taliban attacks across the country, leaving Afghan forces — already beset by killings, desertions, and vacuums in leadership and morale — stretched on multiple fronts and facing soaring casualties.Last week the Taliban delivered a stinging blow as militants dressed in Afghan army uniforms slaughtered at least 135 young recruits at a northern base, according to official figures — though multiple sources say the death toll is much higher.The Marines were among the first US forces sent to Afghanistan after the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.Several thousand were deployed in Helmand, the deadliest province for US and British forces, where they engaged in bitter combat with the Taliban insurgency.The US is also targeting Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, earlier this month dropping its largest non-nuclear bomb on the jihadist group’s hideouts.Two US troops were killed Wednesday while fighting IS militants near the blast-site in eastern Nangarhar province in an incident potentially involving friendly fire, the Pentagon has said, adding an investigation has been launched.
EU leaders unite ahead of Brexit divorce talks with UKRaf Casert and Lorne Cook, Associated PressFrom left, EU Chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk make their way to a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Saturday, April 29, 2017. EU leaders met on Saturday for the first time as the formal European Council of 27 to adopt guidelines for the upcoming Brexit negotiations. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders vowed Saturday to stand shoulder-to-shoulder behind their negotiating team during the divorce proceedings with Britain and warned that demands from British Prime Minister Theresa May will be dealt with „firmly.”The 27 EU leaders in Brussels finalized the cornerstones of their negotiating stance within four minutes of starting a short smooth summit, a month after the British leader triggered two years of exit talks on March 29. The negotiations themselves are to open shortly after Britain holds an early election on June 8.”We now have unanimous support from all the 27 member states and the EU institutions, giving us a strong political mandate for these negotiations” under chief negotiator Michel Barnier, EU Council President Donald Tusk said.Tusk said there can’t be any discussions on the future relationship between the EU and Britain until there has been major headway on key issues.”We must first achieve sufficient progress on citizens’ rights, finances and the border issue in Ireland. It is too early to speculate on when this might happen,” Tusk said Saturday.He said the 27 leaders would unanimously have to say there was „sufficient progress” to allow the talks to go to the next phase. That would give any EU country with a dispute with Britain, like Spain over Gibraltar, major influence over the timetable of the talks.The negotiating guidelines also halted British hopes of having future trade relations being discussed concurrently through the talks.”Before discussing the future, we have to sort out our past. We will handle it with genuine care — but firmly,” Tusk said.Some at the summit were already considering how to deal with possible British negotiating tactics.”Maybe the British government will do its utmost to split the 27 nations. It is a trap we need to avoid,” said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.Ever since the June 23 referendum last year in which Britons narrowly voted to leave the bloc, the unity of the remaining 27 EU nations „has been really exemplary,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.In contrast, citizens in Britain have been divided because of the momentous changes looming.The EU is also intent on making Britain pay a divorce bill, which some EU officials have put as high as 60 billion euros ($65 billion). The money aims to pay for everything from pensions to financial commitments already made in the EU’s 7-year-budget, which runs until 2020.French President Francois Hollande said the leaders agreed on „a simple principle,” applicable to Britain or any other country that might want to quit the bloc in the future, „that they must not be in a more favorable situation on the outside than they were on the inside.””There is always a price, a cost, a consequence from quitting the Union,” Hollande said at his farewell European summit.To kick off the negotiations with Britain, Tusk wants to center on the millions of people living in each other’s nations who would be immediately affected.All sides „need solid guarantees for all citizens and their families who will be affected by Brexit on both sides. This must be the No. 1 priority,” Tusk said.Some 3 million citizens from the 27 nations live in Britain while up to 2 million Britons live on the continent, all facing massive uncertainty on such issues as health benefits, pensions, taxes, employment and education.Tusk said the sustained unity of the 27 will help May since she will have political certainty throughout the talks.”Our unity is also in the U.K.’s interest,” he said.Over the past years, the bloc has often been bitterly divided over issues like the financial crisis, the euro debt crisis, bailouts to financially-strapped members like Greece and how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have been entering the bloc.The 27 EU leaders also acknowledged that Northern Ireland could join the bloc in the future if its people vote to unite with EU member Ireland. The two share the same island, and the difficulties of re-establishing a land border once Britain leaves the EU are immense and politically fraught.Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny said if a Northern Irish referendum to break away from the United Kingdom is approved „at some time in the future, EU membership is assured, and is unanimously accepted by the European Council.”Kenny stressed that such a referendum was not in sight at this stage.Future relations between Ireland and Britain, including how the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would work with the U.K. outside the bloc, have emerged as a key problem.Kenny conceded that EU unity will be tested once negotiations start, given the challenge of accommodating the sometimes-competing interests of the countries involved.”It won’t all be as calm and as measured as today,” he said.EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker already complained Saturday that „Britain currently blocks the decision-making” on a review of the EU’s long-term budget.”It would be good and it would make the start of the talks easier if Britain could lift its objection,” Juncker said.British officials say the government prefers to postpone the decision on such an important matter as the EU budget until after the election is over.__Frank Jordans in Berlin, Jan Olsen in Copenhagen, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw and John Leicester in Paris contributed.