Scarborough to Trump: ‘Poor leadership’ is golfing while Americans die

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough lashed out at President Trump on Saturday, saying the president was wrong to attack the mayor of San Juan for “poor leadership” amid hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

“Poor leadership would be hiding at a country club golfing while fellow Americans are suffering and dying,” Scarborough said. “She’s not doing that. You are.”

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Scarborough, a vocal Trump critic, also shared tweets from fellow “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski on Saturday saying that Trump is “not fit.”

Trump went after San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz in tweets early Saturday after she criticized the federal government for its delayed efforts to provide aid to the suffering U.S. island territory.

Trump’s tweets appeared to be in response to criticism from Cruz the previous day.

“We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy,” Cruz said at a Friday news conference, demanding more assistance from the federal government.

“So I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell.”

A number of Democratic lawmakers on Saturday slammed Trump for targeting the Puerto Rico official while spending the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Trump was slated to hold a series of phone calls from his golf club on Saturday related to the hurricane response, including with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and resident commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón.

At least 16 people had died in Puerto Rico as of Friday, according to officials, though the number was expected to climb as recovery efforts continued.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda slams Trump for Puerto Rico attacks: ‘You’re going straight to hell’

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda fired back at President Trump’s attacks against Puerto Rico officials Saturday morning, saying the president will “go straight to hell.”

“You’re going straight to hell, @realDonaldTrump. No long lines for you. Someone will say, ‘Right this way, sir.’ They’ll clear a path,” Miranda tweeted.

Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, defended the mayor of San Juan after Trump fired off a series of tweets attacking her “poor leadership” following devastation from Hurricane Maria.

“She has been working 24/7. You have been GOLFING. You’re going straight to hell. Fastest golf cart you ever took,” Miranda wrote.

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Trump, who is spending the weekend at his golf club in New Jersey, was slated to hold a series of phone calls on Saturday related to relief after Hurricane Maria.

The president was set to talk with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Brock Long, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, Puerto Rico resident commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón and the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kenneth Mapp, the White House said.

But his tweets Saturday morning attacking the “poor leadership” of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and other Puerto Rican officials prompted backlash online.

“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” Trump tweeted. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

Miranda fired back at Trump.

“Did you tweet this one from the first hole, 18th hole, or the club?” he wrote. “Anyway, it’s a lie. You’re a congenital liar.”

Trump also accused Puerto Rican workers of not helping in the relief efforts.

“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” Trump said. “10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

Miranda, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico, has previously criticized Trump’s response to the crisis in the U.S. territory, warning that “there will be a lot of American deaths on your watch” if aid was slow to reach the island.

Miranda has urged his nearly 1.7 million Twitter followers to donates to relief efforts via the Hispanic Federation and said last weekend he was reaching out to “every famous Puerto Rican singer I know and several I don’t” to raise money for Puerto Rico.

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Trump attacks mayor of San Juan: ‘They want everything to be done for them’

US President Donald Trump speaks to the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, DC, September 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

At 7:09 a.m., Trump wrote: “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.” | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

President Donald Trump attacked the mayor of San Juan in early morning tweets Saturday, citing “poor leadership” and saying she “has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.”

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Friday hit back at federal officials’ upbeat assessment of the federal response to devastation on Puerto Rico wrought by Hurricane Maria.

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“Damn it, this is not a good news story,” Cruz told CNN on Friday. “This is a people are dying story. This is a life or death story. This is a there’s a truck-load of stuff that cannot be taken to people story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water.”

Ten days after Hurricane Maria knocked out the island’s power, communications system and some roadways, Americans there are still struggling to get supplies and phone service.

At 7:09 a.m., Trump wrote: “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.”

Seven minutes later, he wrote: “…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They….”

“…want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

He added: “The military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an amazing job. Puerto Rico was totally destroyed.”

“Fake News CNN and NBC are going out of their way to disparage our great First Responders as a way to “get Trump.” Not fair to FR or effort!”

“I will be going to Puerto Rico on Tuesday with Melania. Will hopefully be able to stop at the U.S. Virgin Islands (people working hard).”

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Trump slams Puerto Rico: ‘They want everything to be done for them’

President Trump on Saturday criticized Puerto Rico’s “poor leadership” and defended his administration’s response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation on the island in an early morning series of tweets that earned immediate backlash from Democrats and other critics.

Following a plea for aid on Friday by San Juan’s mayor, Trump said the mayor was being “nasty.” 

“The mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” Trump tweeted. “Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” he continued. “10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz held an emotional press conference Friday ripping the Trump administration’s efforts to assist the island.

“I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency,” she said.

On Saturday, following Trump’s tweets about her, Cruz said her No. 1 goal is “saving lives.”

“Actually, I was asking for help. I wasn’t saying anything nasty about the president,” Cruz said on MSNBC following the tweets. “It’s not about politics, it’s not about petty comments, it’s about moving forward, putting boots on the ground and saving lives.”

Democrats slammed Trump’s response to Cruz and Puerto Rico’s relief efforts. 

“Is your ego so fragile & your heart so cold that you’d attack a leader in the midst of a humanitarian crisis because she needs your help?” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) tweeted at Trump on Saturday.

“You watch TV & tweet insults at their leaders from your golf club,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted.

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Cruz, who is a member of the island’s Popular Democratic Party, is just one element of the active pressure on the Trump administration over what critics are saying is a slow response to the hurricane devastation. Numerous officials in Puerto Rico are warning it could be a humanitarian disaster. 

The island has been without water or power since Hurricane Maria hit a week ago.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent airplanes and ships with food, water and generators and 10,000 federal employees have been deployed to help in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands, which were also hit.

The three-star general recently put in charge of U.S. military relief operations in Puerto Rico said Friday that there are as many as 4,600 troops on the ground in Puerto Rico — including members of the National Guard and Reserves — and the Pentagon would be sending more troops and vehicles to the island, where residents could be without power for six months.

Trump also temporarily lifted the Jones Act, which requires American-made and -operated vessels to transport cargo between U.S. ports such as Puerto Rico, in order to bolster relief by ship to the island.

Trump has not acknowledged anything lacking in his administration’s response to the crisis, but this week blamed the media for allegedly trying to “get Trump” by disparaging first responders to the crisis.

He also blamed the distance between the island and the mainland U.S. for hampering relief.

Trump insisted Friday that his administration is doing an “incredible job” with relief efforts.

“We have done an incredible job, considering there’s absolutely nothing to work with,” Trump told reporters at the White House. 

“And a very big question is, what are we going to do with the power plant? Because the power plant is totally wiped out,” he said. “There is nothing. The power grid is gone.”

He also said on Friday that Puerto Ricans are “unable to get involved” in relief efforts.

“They’re taking care of their families and largely unable to get involved, largely unable to help,” he said. “Therefore, we’re forced to bring in truck drivers, security and many, many other personnel by the thousands. And we’re bringing them onto the island as we speak. We’ve never seen a situation like this.”

However, Cruz has taken the media spotlight to warn that not enough is being done to help her city and the island.

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday night, Cruz wore a shirt emblazoned with the words “help us, we are dying.”

– Alicia Cohn, Melanie Zanona and Mike Lillis contributed. Updated 10:45 a.m.

http://thehill.com

Silicon Valley all in on tax reform

Silicon Valley is racing to support and shape President Donald Trump’s multitrillion-dollar tax proposal, despite months of distancing itself from his policies on everything from immigration to climate change.

The Republican proposal to slash corporate tax rates and ease taxation of companies’ overseas earnings has vast implications for the tech industry, which counts the wealthiest companies on earth among its ranks. The companies have responded by marshaling an army of lobbyists, some with connections to a Trump administration that many of their customers and liberal employees loathe.

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Tech companies tapped 546 tax lobbyists in the first half of 2017, more than during any of the previous six years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

No other policy issue facing tech companies in Washington — and there are many of late — stands to have as great an impact on their businesses as an overhaul of the tax code. Tech giants want Congress not only to chop the corporate tax rate but to allow them to pay less tax if they bring back home the cash they hold abroad. Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Google’s parent Alphabet and Oracle top the list of U.S. companies with the biggest overseas cash piles, according to Bloomberg data compiled in June. Apple alone has a staggering $246 billion in cash outside the U.S.

Those numbers help explain why the tech sector — despite its frequent fractures with Trump — has resisted calls to fully disengage from the administration: It needs to keep a foot in the door as Republicans draft and usher through their plans for a major tax overhaul.

“There are also times where we disagree with their point of view and where they want to take policy, and we speak up at that point,” said Linda Moore, the CEO of TechNet, an industry advocacy group. But she added: “We do want to support them on tax reform. That is a great example where: ‘We’re behind you 100 percent. What can we do to help you get that done?'”

That stance doesn’t sit well with liberal activists who have been urging Silicon Valley to abandon Trump since the earliest days of his administration.

“Tech companies like to paint themselves as innovative, ethical and inclusive institutions. However, when it comes to tax reform, many are tempted to follow their bottom line in a corporate free-for-all,” said Reem Suleiman, a senior campaigner with the progressive group SumOfUs.org. “So Silicon Valley has a dilemma: Stand up for the values it touts, or take advantage of Trump’s corporate coup over our democracy.”

On the lobbying front, tech firms have sought out Trump-connected lobbyists for tax and other issues. Amazon tapped Trump transition staffer Dan McFaul and Trump campaign fundraiser Brian Ballard, both of Ballard Partners, at the start of the year. Microsoft worked for a time with Navigators Global’s Andy Keiser, who also worked on the transition, and brought on Sextons Creek’s Bill Smith, a longtime aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

Tech CEOs have also been their own advocates. Tax reform was one of the topics discussed in June at closed-door meetings between senior White House officials and tech executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Industry leaders made a separate appeal directly to National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a private meeting earlier this year.

That behind-the-scenes influence building has ramped up even as tech companies publicly condemn the president’s actions on a range of other issues. With each controversial decision emanating from the White House — banning travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries, abandoning the Paris climate deal and responding to racist violence in Charlottesville, Va., by blaming “many sides — tech CEOs have blasted the policies as bad for the economy and American competitiveness.

The decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program this month drew a particularly strong reaction from industry players, including the chief executives of Google, Apple, Facebook and many other firms. Microsoft President Brad Smith even said Congress should make legal protections for DREAMers a greater priority than tax reform — a bold stance that turned out to be an outlier in the tech industry.

The tech sector has resisted pressure to cut all its ties with the president, with some executives like Cook explaining their decision as a patriotic or moral duty to provide counsel to whoever is in the White House. “I feel a great responsibility as an American, as a CEO, to try to influence things in areas where we have a level of expertise,” Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek in June.

Those efforts may be bearing fruit if the Republican tax framework released Wednesday is any indication. Though devoid of many details, the proposed plan would drop the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, preserve research and development tax credits, effectively eliminate U.S taxes on future overseas revenue and allow corporations to bring home trillions of dollars they have stashed abroad at a one-time low tax rate — all provisions the tech industry has fought for.

Tech companies, like other big corporations, assert that money brought back to the U.S. could be used to hire workers or build factories, an argument that dovetails with Trump’s America-first economic agenda. In May, when Cook announced plans for a $1 billion fund to invest in U.S advanced manufacturing projects, he said Apple would borrow the money because the “bizarre” U.S. tax code makes it financially painful to repatriate its overseas cash.

The issue has also taken on greater urgency as foreign regulators start raising questions about companies’ offshore tax strategies, lobbyists said. The European Commission in 2016 slapped Apple with a 13 billion euro penalty for allegedly accepting a sweetheart tax deal from Ireland.

While tech’s vocal opposition to Trump during the election and on recent social policies leaves a “bitter taste” for some Republicans, ultimately GOP leaders want Silicon Valley involved in the tax reform effort, said Keiser, the principal at lobby shop Navigators Global who served on Trump’s transition team.

“Getting tax reform right and encouraging broad economic growth is far more important to the policy and the politics than trying to extract a pound of flesh against tech, one of America’s most important industries,” Keiser said.

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