7 of Trump’s fa­vorite hits

Obama, loy­alty, au­di­ences and other sub­jects en­gross pres­i­dent’s fo­cus

Los Angeles Times - - NEWS - By Kur­tis Lee kur­tis.lee @la­times.com

He’s been in of­fice for more than six months, but it of­ten seems he’s still cam­paign­ing.

For Pres­i­dent Trump, who in re­cent weeks has used speeches be­fore the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica and po­lice of­fi­cers to de­liver overtly po­lit­i­cal re­marks at non­po­lit­i­cal events, continues to be con­sumed by the same is­sues.

On so­cial me­dia, dur­ing in­ter­views, while speak­ing be­fore Cab­i­net mem­bers, Trump homes in — ob­ses­sively — on a hand­ful of top­ics and peo­ple.

Will that change? Well, at least for now, it seems un­likely.

Here are his re­marks on seven fa­vorite top­ics in re­cent months.

Pres­i­dent Obama

Even be­fore Trump en­tered the pres­i­den­tial race, he reg­u­larly cas­ti­gated Pres­i­dent Obama’s lead­er­ship and floated false­hoods about Obama’s back­ground. In 2011, Trump was a vo­cal spokesman for the fringe con­ser­va­tive “birther” move­ment, sug­gest­ing in tele­vi­sion in­ter­views and on so­cial me­dia that the na­tion’s first black pres­i­dent might have been born in Kenya. Those claims were de­bunked, and many viewed Trump’s rhetoric as racially charged.

Now, in of­fice, Trump has jabbed the for­mer pres­i­dent on health­care and trade, among other is­sues. He’s also al­leged, without ev­i­dence, that Obama wire­tapped his Trump Tower phones last year. In his words:

“How low has Pres­i­dent Obama gone to tapp my phones dur­ing the very sa­cred elec­tion process,” Trump tweeted in March. “This is Nixon/Water­gate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

Loy­alty

Loy­alty is what Trump com­manded as a busi­ness­man and a re­al­ity tele­vi­sion star, and has now trans­ferred to his ad­min­is­tra­tion. When he views peo­ple as dis­loyal, it’s sim­ple: They’re fired.

In May, Trump fired FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey be­cause, he said, Comey was not do­ing a good job. But weeks later, Comey of­fered writ­ten tes­ti­mony to a Se­nate panel, which noted that Trump had asked him for loy­alty — some­thing Comey, as head of the law en­force­ment agency, said he could not give the pres­i­dent.

“I need loy­alty, I ex­pect loy­alty,” Trump told Comey, ac­cord­ing to writ­ten tes­ti­mony by the for­mer FBI di­rec­tor. Trump has de­nied he asked Comey for loy­alty. In his words:

“As Scout Law says, a Scout is trust­wor­thy, loyal,” Trump said in a speech be­fore the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica last month. “We could use some more loy­alty, I will tell you that.”

Elec­tion win

In­deed, as many po­lit­i­cal ob­servers have said, Trump’s up­set vic­tory over Hil­lary Clin­ton was re­mark­able. He ap­pealed widely to work­ing-class white vot­ers with a pop­ulist mes­sage fo­cused on trade, jobs and im­mi­gra­tion. States such as Wis­con­sin and Ohio — which Obama won in 2008 and 2012 — flipped to Trump. (Even though Trump won the elec­toral col­lege, he lost the pop­u­lar vote to Clin­ton by about 3 mil­lion votes.)

In re­cent months, while talk­ing to law­mak­ers and dur­ing in­ter­views, he’s brought up his elec­toral col­lege vic­tory. In his words:

“We won and won. … They said, there is no way to vic­tory; there is no way to 270,” Trump said be­fore the Boy Scouts. “But then Wis­con­sin came in . ... Michi­gan came in.”

Rus­sia

Trump has de­nied that his cam­paign col­luded with Rus­sians dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion. In May, the De­part­ment of Jus­tice ap­pointed Robert S. Mueller as spe­cial coun­sel to head an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Trump’s cam­paign and Rus­sia.

Even with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­der­way, Trump reg­u­larly talks about Rus­sia, some­times un­prompted. In his words:

“Again, the story that there was col­lu­sion be­tween the Rus­sians & Trump cam­paign was fab­ri­cated by Dems as an ex­cuse for los­ing the elec­tion,” Trump tweeted in May.

‘Fake news’

If Trump does not like a story, he’ll la­bel it “fake news.” His Cab­i­net mem­bers and al­lies out­side the White House have reg­u­larly called crit­i­cal sto­ries “fake news,” tak­ing a page from the pres­i­dent’s play­book.

For Trump, ques­tions about his cam­paign’s pos­si­ble col­lu­sion with Rus­sians dur­ing last year’s elec­tion are “fake news.” Some of his fa­vorite tar­gets in what he calls “the fake news me­dia” have been the New York Times, the Wash­ing­ton Post and CNN. Check Trump’s Twit­ter feed ev­ery few days and you’ll prob­a­bly see the phrase. In his words:

“Only the Fake News Me­dia and Trump en­e­mies want me to stop us­ing So­cial Me­dia (110 mil­lion peo­ple). Only way for me to get the truth out!” the pres­i­dent tweeted Tues­day.

Hil­lary Clin­ton

Through­out the cam­paign Trump and Clin­ton traded vit­ri­olic barbs that, at times, be­came ex­tremely per­sonal. But for Trump, the emails Clin­ton deleted from a per­sonal server while sec­re­tary of State has been his main fo­cus. He would talk about them at great length, elic­it­ing boom­ing shouts of “lock her up” from sup­port­ers at his ral­lies. Af­ter the elec­tion, Trump said he did not want his ad­min­is­tra­tion to in­ves­ti­gate Clin­ton. How­ever, in re­cent weeks, Trump has changed his rhetoric as

ques­tions about his cam­paign’s po­ten­tial ties with Rus­sia con­tinue to cloud his ad­min­is­tra­tion. In his words:

“My son Don­ald openly gave his e-mails to the me­dia & au­thor­i­ties whereas Crooked Hil­lary Clin­ton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!” Trump tweeted last month.

Crowd size

On the cam­paign trail, Trump of­ten boasted about the size of his crowds. He’d also as­sail the me­dia for not pan­ning cam­eras to show the full size of the crowds. Days af­ter Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, his then-press sec­re­tary, Sean Spicer, said the crowd “was the largest au­di­ence to ever wit­ness an in­au­gu­ra­tion — pe­riod.” (Poli­tiFact gave the com­ment a “pants on fire,” and la­beled it as false.)

Al­though Trump has been in of­fice about six months, he’s al­ready pre­par­ing for the 2020 elec­tion. He’s held sev­eral ral­lies — funded by his cam­paign — of­ten rem­i­nisc­ing about his elec­tion win. In those speeches, he’s also cas­ti­gated the me­dia for not show­ing his crowds. In his words:

“I’m wav­ing to peo­ple back there so small I can’t even see them. Man, this is a lot of peo­ple. Turn those cam­eras back there, please. That is so in­cred­i­ble,” he said while speak­ing to the Boy Scouts at their an­nual jam­boree, which of­ten draws thou­sands. “By the way, what do you think the chances are that this in­cred­i­ble mas­sive crowd, record set­ting, is going to be shown on tele­vi­sion tonight? One per­cent or zero?”

Evan Vucci As­so­ci­ated Press

PRES­I­DENT TRUMP, speak­ing to Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 sum­mit, reg­u­larly def lects at­ten­tion from the Rus­sia elec­tion in­quiry.

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