Donald Trump denies border wall changes

John Kelly told Fox News that President Trump’s views on the construction of the Mexico Border wall have changed from the original deal he had made. The statement he made was “Campaigning is very different from governing”. He was appointed by Trump in July as the chief of staff who these comments to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The Retired General, John Kelly told openly that the there were many more facts the President was yet to know.”He was not fully informed” Kelly says.  


It was minutes later that Donald Trump had tweeted denying the fact. He expressed his view informing that he may directly or indirectly pay for the border wall. Trump’s moves are supposedly going as per the plan is what was portrayed in his tweet. “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” informs Donald Trump.  


During the election campaign, Trump said he is expecting that Mexico would pay entirely for the border wall. The New York Times had published a piece which said that Mr Kelly appears to be saying he thinks “that it is his job to tutor a sometimes-ill-informed president who has never served in public office before”. 


Sources – BBC, The Telegraph  

In a shake-up, Anthony Scaramucci removed from White House

The White House seems to be grappling with a major attrition problem. After Sean Spicer’s resignation from the post of Communications Director at the White House, Anthony Scaramucci was appointed to the post, with much celebration. Not 11 days later, US President Donald Trump has fired Scaramucci.

This dismissal comes just hours after Trump appointed former secretary of Homeland Security and a decorated Marine general, John Kelly as his Chief of Staff. With firing Scaramucci, also popularly known as ‘The Mooch’, Kelly has firmly shown that the current untoward functioning of the Oval Office will be brought to line.

Scaramucci’s dismissal was imminent after he gave a controversial television interview, comparing himself and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to Cain and Abel, where as the story goes, the latter is killed by the former in an attempt to gain favour in God’s eyes. However, if the television interview wasn’t damaging enough, in a phone call with a reporter from the New Yorker, he verbally abused Priebus and Trump’s strategist Stephen Bannon, even threatening to oust them from the White House. “I’m not Steve Bannon. I’m not trying to suck my own cock”, said The Mooch.

In an engagement with the media, White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said, “The president certainly felt that Anthony’s comments were inappropriate for a person in that position”.

Sources- The New York Times, The Washington Post

Indian American chosen as OIRA head

The White House has appointed Indian American lawyer Neomi Rao to lead the office of Information and Regulatory Affairs(OIRA). The senate made this announcement, as there was a vote of 54-41 in her favour. She will now lead the White House overseeing regulations.

The OIRA reviews the requests it receives from the federal agencies to collect information from the public. The office has a total of five branches. Food, health and labor branch, information policy branch, natural resources and environment branch, statistical and science policy branch and transportation and security branch.

According to The Hindu, this decision has come at a time when the Senate is divided on party lines and the opposition Democrats have blocked several nominations. Neomi Rao has also worked under the Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas. She worked on Senator’s staff couple of years ago. Right now she is a public member of Administrative Conference of the US. Rao served in all three branches of the federal government. She has received her JD from University of Chicago ad her BA from Yale University. Rao has practiced public interest law and arbitration at Clifford Chance LLP in London.

Sources: The Hindu, India Today

Iraq excluded from US travel ban list

According to American president Donald Trump’s new immigration order, Iraq will be removed from the list of countries who face a temporary travel ban to the US. Trump will sign the executive order on Wednesday.

The Independent reported that four US officials told Associated Press, the decision was an outcome of pressure from the Pentagon and the State Department which triggered the White House to think about excluding Iraq given its significant role in fighting the ISIS.

Citizens of six other Muslim countries, namely Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will remain on the list. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to reveal anything before the order is signed. The ban stands effective for 3 months.

The new order will include other changes as well such as the categorisation of the Syrian refugees under an indefinite ban will now include them under a general, 120-day suspension of new refugee entries.

The original order was signed in January which sparked outrage and caused panic and confusion among travelers. Some of them were sent back after being detained at U.S airports and others barred from boarding flights at foreign airports.




3. IMAGE SOURCE- Alaraby

Lt Gen HR McMaster named Trump’s national security advise

The President of United States of America, Donald Trump, named an army lieutenant general, HR McMaster, as his next national security advisor. Trump announced his decision on February 20 and called McMaster a man of tremendous talent and experience.

The Guardian reported that after the announcement at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, the newly appointed national security advisor, McMaster, thanked the President. He also said that he looks forward to joining the team and will do everything that he can to protect the people of the country.

This decision came out after spending the weekend interviewing several generals. The retired general Keith Kellogg, the former UN ambassador John Bolton, McMaster and the West Point superintendent, Lt Gen Robert Caslen, were considered.

The selected McMaster is a military official known for his outspoken behaviour. He tends to speak his mind and challenge the superior authorities. The observers were surprised by the selection. They wondered how a person like McMaster who is often stalled for his questioning behaviour can work in a White House which has not welcomed any kind of criticism.

News source: Reuters, BBC

Image Source: Reuters

Mistrust, Insults, Media and Trump

He tweets. He ridicules. He insults. Donald Trump does every-thing possible and he refuses to be questioned for it. As a public figure, Trump has always been involved in controversies either grabbing headlines or allegedly, women’s dignity.

Trump will become the first President to be sworn in office at the age of seventy. Apart from being the first in matters of age, he will also be the first President to tweet his views rather than communicate with the White House correspondents unlike his predecessors. Such is his mistrust in the media; that he continues to tweet even in his position as the President-Elect of America.

On January 11 Trump held his second press conference after six months. The conference soon became a confrontation arena when Trump refused a question from a senior CNN White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.  It was no surprise that this incident was not a first.

In August 2015, a journalist was ejected from an Iowa press conference. The reason? Jorge Ramos, the journalist challenged Trump when the latter labelled Mexicans as rapists. In November 2015, at a rally in South Carolina, Trump made an apparent impression of a disabled New York Times reporter. Trump’s performance was no surprise to the reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from a condition that affects his joints. Trump heavily indulged in tweeting insults to individual reporters and journalists calling them names or berating them. During a debate in January 2016 moderator Megyn Kelly, a Fox journalist questioned Trump over his statements about women. Trump later tweeted his anger by calling her a lightweight reporter because the term ‘bimbo’ in his world, would be politically incorrect. For Megyn Kelly, Trump’s idea of an apology came after a whole nine months and for others, it never arrived. All of these are just a few of the instances of Trump’s confrontation with media that gained larger attention.

Throughout his campaign, Trump openly lashed out at the press and insulted several journalists. He has made public, his mistrust in the press and further strained the relationship with his comments and behaviour. Routinely he has called the press as ‘dishonest’ and ‘scum’. In his recurring tirades against ‘the dishonest media’, Trump made worrisome statements triggering concerns for the safety of journalists. He warned at various rallies, his plans to broaden libel laws and keep a check on the press. He ensured that journalists were treated with utmost hostility at his rallies.

Unsurprisingly, in the October of 2016, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) passed a resolution declaring Trump as a threat to journalist’s rights. The chairman of CPJ board in a statement said, “Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for the President of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values,” and further added, “Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has vilified and insulted the press and has made his opposition to the media a centrepiece to his campaign.”

At a press conference held in June 2016, when was asked if he would continue such behaviour if he became the President, Trump’s astounding reply was, “You think I’m gonna change? I am not gonna change.”

Most sections of media have called out Trump on his comments and criticised his behaviour but it has had slight impact. After the confrontational exchange of January 11, 2017 between Trump and CNN White House correspondent Acosta, it is clear that the President-Elect has not sobered down on his open hostility towards the media even after his win.

It is wishful thinking to hope that Trump’s bullying of the media does not escalate to intimidation and detention by use of terror or insult laws for which Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan is infamous.

Lack of unity among the journalism fraternity will come with heavy costs and if Trump’s behaviour as a President goes unchecked, the damage will be heavier. Now more than ever, the media must stand together and stand against any-one who in any capacity becomes a threat to democratic values and freedoms of the press. Silence and cowering in fear are not the answers which the media should choose. Fragmented voices of dissent are also not enough. The times call for a stronger response, and hopefully the media will collectively rise to respond accordingly.

Trump’s behaviour towards the media suggests that he is insecure and afraid of it. But the question begs to be asked, is the Media afraid of Trump?

Trump appoints Indian-American as his Deputy Assistant

Raj Shah, an Indian-American has been appointed to a key White House position by the US President-elect Donald Trump on January 4, 2016. He actively headed the Republican party’s anti-Clinton campaign throughout the polls.

The position of Deputy Assistant to the President, Deputy Communication Director and Research Director has been appointed awarded to Shah, as per an announcement made by the Presidential Transition Team.

Shah’s appointment to the key White House position was announced by Reince Priebus who is designated as the White House Chief of Staff. “These individuals will be key leaders in helping to implement the President elect’s agenda and bring real change to Washington,” Priebus said.

Shah, who is in his early 30’s, currently heads the Opposition Research in the Republican National Committee. He led a team of experts to scrutinise against the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. He is said to be behind all the campaign against Clinton during the presidential election.

According to the NDTV, Shah’s parents are from Mumbai having their roots in Gujarat. His father moved to the US for his education in the 1970’s and had later returned to India. He moved back to the US after his marriage. Initially, they lived in Chicago but later shifted to Connecticut, where Shah was born and brought up.


Image Source: REUTERS