I Dont Know How You Recover from That: The Cruel, Unusual Fate of Mira Ricardel

I Don\t Know How You Recover from That: The Cruel, Unusual Fate of Mira Ricardel
I Dont Know How You Recover from That: The Cruel, Unusual Fate of Mira Ricardel
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Ricardel, who joined the Trump administration in April as National Security Adviser John Bolton’s deputy, quickly developed a reputation for being more abrasive than her famously abrasive boss, racking up enemies and making few allies. Bolton had been granted an exemption of sorts from Chief of Staff John Kelly’s bureaucratic regime, with all its attendant hierarchies, so perhaps Ricardel had felt empowered to act in kind. Among those who have crossed paths with her, Ricardel’s dustup with the East Wing came as little surprise. “She’s one of the meanest people I have ever dealt with,” the former administration official said.

Melania Trump displays slim physique in figure-hugging dress at online safety conference

While Melania and Ricardel have never met, tensions between their offices flared ahead of the First Lady’s trip to Africa last month. One issue was who would fly with Melania, a source familiar with the situation said. Ricardel had requested seats aboard the plane for herself and other N.S.C. staff, which would have taken away space reserved for press. When the East Wing decided there wasn’t room for N.S.C. staffers, Ricardel grew angry, according to the source, and threatened to withhold N.S.C. resources from the trip.

Both President Trumps spokeswoman and National Security Adviser John Bolton issued glowing statements about Ricardel. The White House insisted she would move into a new administration role, though it was not clear what that position would be. Privately, insiders acknowledged that there was no way for Ricardel to stay in the West Wing once the first lady made her feelings known.

Ricardel made a critical miscalculation, N.S.C. veterans told me. “It was just expected that you would be a full service provider to the First Lady’s office in terms of making sure that they were substantively prepared in the way that they felt they needed for that travel. And that would include sending staff along at whatever level the First Lady’s office wanted,” the former N.S.C. official said. “It is almost like a one-way relationship, like a customer relationship, which is like ‘the boss is always right here,’” the former official continued, describing the traditional interplay between the two offices. “If there was conflict, it would seem to me that it would fall upon the N.S.C. staff to make it right. . . . Ordinarily, you would bend over backwards to make sure that the First Lady’s office had literally whatever it needed.”

Ultimately, the contretemps garnered the attention of Kelly, Bolton, and Donald Trump. The First Lady reportedly expressed concerns that Ricardel and other members of the N.S.C. staff were leaking negative stories to the press. (Perhaps most notably, Melania was criticized over reports that her hotel bill in Cairo cost taxpayers nearly $100,000—and the First Lady didn’t even stay the night. On Friday, another report noted that she had incurred an even heftier hotel bill in Toronto last year.) No public action was taken for weeks. Then, on Tuesday, the First Lady’s office issued its astounding decree. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham, Melania’s communications director, said in a statement. Of the dustup, a senior White House official said,“Both the president and staff across the West Wing were embarrassed and frustrated by the actions of the First Lady’s staff.”

The statement from Mrs. Trumps office caught some senior White House officials by surprise. A White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly said there was a widespread feeling that the highly public spat reflected poorly on the West and East wings, reinforcing the idea that the administration is volatile and making the first lady look vengeful.

Ricardel praised the First Lady, the president, and Bolton in a statement on Friday. “It’s been an honor to serve the President as Deputy National Security Adviser. I’m proud of my tenure helping Ambassador Bolton build and lead a diverse team while working across the interagency to implement the President’s national security agenda,” she said. “I admire the President and First Lady and have great respect for my colleagues who are dedicated to supporting the President’s policies, and I look forward to working with them in the months ahead.”

She has also taken pains to set herself apart from the rest of the White House and her husband. She launched an education campaign focused on bullying, despite the fact that the president is famed for verbal combat. She took an ambitious trip to Africa, not long after her husband was pilloried for labeling African nations as “s—hole countries.”

But it remains unclear what Ricardel’s next act will be. In a statement, President Trump said, “Mira Ricardel will continue to support the President as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the Administration,” and said that he was “grateful for Ms. Ricardel’s continued service to the American people and her steadfast pursuit of his national security priorities.”

“There have been similar activities on a less publicized scale, but it came out after the fact. Weve never seen a first lady have her office make a public statement like that,” said Katherine Jellison, chair of the history department at Ohio University and an expert on first ladies. “It will be interesting to see if this is the new Melania.”

Melania Trump: The First White Woman

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Ricardel had been offered the role of U.S. ambassador to Estonia, but that she turned down the far-flung opportunity. The senior White House official told me Friday, “The president wants to find her a good position,” and said Ricardel has “been presented nearly a dozen positions from which to choose.” Of course, Ricardel’s choices will likely fall far short of her previous gig. Some suspect she could merely end up as another piece of Trump administration jetsam. The former administration official posited that another White House role was off the table and that Ricardel’s tarnished reputation and very public firing would likely bar her from landing a Senate-confirmed position. “So what’s left? A low-level political job at an agency?” this person said. “Don’t think she would take that.”

With a bombshell public statement this week, it was first lady Melania Trump who revealed her ability to carry out a political hit. Her extraordinary call for the removal of a top administration official forced the president to banish a top aide, exacerbated tensions within the White House and provided fresh insight into the first marriage.

— Bill Browder—Putin’s public enemy No. 1—on his Russia investigation and running for his life

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It was as brutal and public as a West Wing conflict can be. “Whatever the circumstances—fair or unfair, I don’t know how you recover from that,” a former National Security Council official said to me on Wednesday, the day after the office of First Lady Melania Trump issued a stunning statement calling for the departure of Mira Ricardel, the deputy national security adviser. As of now, it appears that Ricardel can’t recover. By Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Ricardel would no longer be the No. 2 official on the N.S.C. and the president later said he wanted to get her a good job elsewhere in the administration. But by Friday afternoon, it was still unclear where she would end up in the administration. “I can’t imagine her landing anywhere,” a former administration official who worked with Ricardel told me.

Ricardel, who joined the Trump administration in April as National Security Adviser John Bolton’s deputy, quickly developed a reputation for being more abrasive than her famously abrasive boss, racking up enemies and making few allies. Bolton had been granted an exemption of sorts from Chief of Staff John Kelly’s bureaucratic regime, with all its attendant hierarchies, so perhaps Ricardel had felt empowered to act in kind. Among those who have crossed paths with her, Ricardel’s dustup with the East Wing came as little surprise. “She’s one of the meanest people I have ever dealt with,” the former administration official said.

While Melania and Ricardel have never met, tensions between their offices flared ahead of the First Lady’s trip to Africa last month. One issue was who would fly with Melania, a source familiar with the situation said. Ricardel had requested seats aboard the plane for herself and other N.S.C. staff, which would have taken away space reserved for press. When the East Wing decided there wasn’t room for N.S.C. staffers, Ricardel grew angry, according to the source, and threatened to withhold N.S.C. resources from the trip.

As the week closed, it appeared clear that the situation had heightened already fraught tensions between the two wings of the White House, with senior officials from Chief of Staff John Kelly and Bolton on down unhappy with how Ricardel, a Trump loyalist, was treated.

Ricardel made a critical miscalculation, N.S.C. veterans told me. “It was just expected that you would be a full service provider to the First Lady’s office in terms of making sure that they were substantively prepared in the way that they felt they needed for that travel. And that would include sending staff along at whatever level the First Lady’s office wanted,” the former N.S.C. official said. “It is almost like a one-way relationship, like a customer relationship, which is like ‘the boss is always right here,’” the former official continued, describing the traditional interplay between the two offices. “If there was conflict, it would seem to me that it would fall upon the N.S.C. staff to make it right. . . . Ordinarily, you would bend over backwards to make sure that the First Lady’s office had literally whatever it needed.”

Ultimately, the contretemps garnered the attention of Kelly, Bolton, and Donald Trump. The First Lady reportedly expressed concerns that Ricardel and other members of the N.S.C. staff were leaking negative stories to the press. (Perhaps most notably, Melania was criticized over reports that her hotel bill in Cairo cost taxpayers nearly $100,000—and the First Lady didn’t even stay the night. On Friday, another report noted that she had incurred an even heftier hotel bill in Toronto last year.) No public action was taken for weeks. Then, on Tuesday, the First Lady’s office issued its astounding decree. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham, Melania’s communications director, said in a statement. Of the dustup, a senior White House official said,“Both the president and staff across the West Wing were embarrassed and frustrated by the actions of the First Lady’s staff.”

“Mrs. Trump is a strong and independent woman who has been navigating her role as first lady in her own way,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham wrote via email. “When she needs advice on any issue, she seeks it from her professional team within the White House.”

Trump Offered Mira Ricardel Estonia Ambassador. She Said No.

Ricardel praised the First Lady, the president, and Bolton in a statement on Friday. “It’s been an honor to serve the President as Deputy National Security Adviser. I’m proud of my tenure helping Ambassador Bolton build and lead a diverse team while working across the interagency to implement the President’s national security agenda,” she said. “I admire the President and First Lady and have great respect for my colleagues who are dedicated to supporting the President’s policies, and I look forward to working with them in the months ahead.”

The first lady this week also made it clear she doesnt need outside help carving out her role in the White House, after her predecessor Michelle Obama said that Mrs. Trump had never called her for advice or help in the job.

But it remains unclear what Ricardel’s next act will be. In a statement, President Trump said, “Mira Ricardel will continue to support the President as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the Administration,” and said that he was “grateful for Ms. Ricardel’s continued service to the American people and her steadfast pursuit of his national security priorities.”

“Teaching children the importance of being safe and positive online is crucial to creating a better future for the next generation,” said the First Lady. “We must give children the tools needed for success at a very young age, and this includes helping them grasp online responsibility, and the importance of their overall well-being in the online world.”

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Ricardel had been offered the role of U.S. ambassador to Estonia, but that she turned down the far-flung opportunity. The senior White House official told me Friday, “The president wants to find her a good position,” and said Ricardel has “been presented nearly a dozen positions from which to choose.” Of course, Ricardel’s choices will likely fall far short of her previous gig. Some suspect she could merely end up as another piece of Trump administration jetsam. The former administration official posited that another White House role was off the table and that Ricardel’s tarnished reputation and very public firing would likely bar her from landing a Senate-confirmed position. “So what’s left? A low-level political job at an agency?” this person said. “Don’t think she would take that.”

Critics have highlighted past comments from President Donald Trump to poke at Melanias choice initiative. In a video from The Washington Post, for example, clips of Trump hurling insults at political opponents and reporters alternate with clips of the First Lady calling for respect and the end to cyberbullying.

— Bill Browder—Putin’s public enemy No. 1—on his Russia investigation and running for his life

“I remain committed to tackling this topic because it will provide a better world for our children,” she told critics. “And I hope, that like I do, you will consider using their negative words as motivation to do all you can to bring awareness and understanding about responsible online behavior.”

Im really rich, Trump declared while announcing his candidacy in June 2015. To prove it, he released a Summary of Net Worth balance sheet, indicating a net worth of $8,737,540,000. A month later he upwardly revised that figure to in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS. (The caps are his.)

Speaking at the Family Online Safety Institute conference in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump addressed those who have criticized her for choosing to tackle cyberbullying via the “Be Best” initiative.

Since then, a cottage industry of spreadsheet-diving journalists has worked itself into a lather trying to peg his real net worth. But without tax returns to go on, its really anybodys guess. Despite the all-caps figures Trump has dispensed, most estimates from the established financial-media outlets have been lower, FAR LOWER. Forbes put his net worth at $4.5 billion. Fortune postulated $3.7 billion, and later upped it to $3.9 billion. Bloomberg guessed it was closer to $2.9 billion.

White House Aides Ouster Indicates Melania Trumps Power Play

In response to these wanton guesstimates, Trump instinctually fired back at the guesstimators. Forbes is a bankrupt magazine, doesnt know what theyre talking about. Fortune has no idea what my assets are and has totally lost its way. But the real sulfuric acid was reserved for the lowballers over at Bloomberg. As usual, Trump made it personal, even suggesting his friend, the former New York City mayor, might be jealous. Maybe Michael told them to do it, Trump speculated in the Daily Mail, because he always wanted to do what Im doing. Perhaps wisely, The New Yorker—even with its legendary phalanx of persnickety fact-checkers—wouldnt venture any closer than just a back-of-the-envelope calculation of $2.56 billion, which shouldnt be taken too seriously.

“I dont really care, do you?” he jabbed. The First Lady wore a jacket with that quote during a visit at the Texas/Mexico border. She later revealed that it was a message directed at the media.

In November, Trump was elected president of the United States in a shocking turn of events. He lost the popular vote by some two million ballots.

“As I have said before, it is not news or surprising to me that critics and the media have chosen to ridicule me for speaking out on this issue, and thats okay,” Mrs. Trump said.

Donald Trump joined fellow world leaders in France this weekend for a series of events to mark the century anniversary of the end of World War I, a global conflict catalyzed by nationalist mindsets in Europe that cost millions of lives.

At a ceremony on Sunday morning in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron used the opportunity to decry the rising tide of exaggerated national pride currently washing over the continent—and elsewhere. At a Houston rally in late October ahead of the midterms, Trump himself said Im a nationalist, O.K.? Im a nationalist. Nationalist. Use that word.

Following Melanias remarks on Thursday, CNNs Don Lemon, right on cue, went after Mrs. Trump, calling her initiative irrelevant.

Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism, Macron said. By saying, Our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.

The first lady, 48, spoke at the Family Online Safety Institutes annual conference on Thursday, according to the White House. During her speech, she addressed the backlash shed received for choosing this issue as her passion project — largely because critics say her husband, President Donald Trump, uses name-calling to harass his critics online.

Midterm blues at the White House

Macron continued: I know there are old demons which are coming back to the surface. They are ready to wreak chaos and death. History sometimes threatens to take its sinister course once again.

The first lady continued: I remain committed to tackling this topic because it will provide a better world for our children. And I hope that, like I do, you will consider using their negative words as motivation to do all you can to bring awareness and understanding about responsible online behavior.

The French president gave his speech in front of about 80 other heads of state, just feet from Trump. As Macron finished his words, Trump appeared to grimace and delayed his applause for Macrons statement. Later, Trump stuck to his script in a speech that focused on honoring those who died in war.

Her speech comes at the end of a history-making week for the first lady. In a seemingly unprecedented move, she made an announcement through her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham that she was calling for the resignation of a top National Security Council official, Mira Ricardel.

The only surprise about Donald Trumps response to the death of Jamal Khashoggi, The Washington Post columnist who was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate earlier this month, was how little Trump pretended to care. For decades, a succession of U.S. presidents have disguised the brutal realpolitik of Americas relationship with Saudi Arabia under a patina of moral superiority and willful ignorance. Trump dispatched with the illusion entirely. This took place in Turkey, and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen, he told reporters, computing the value of Khashoggis life in real time. Hes a permanent resident. On the phone with Fox News, when asked about the possibility of canceling an arms deal with Riyadh, Trump was similarly forthright regarding the hard economic calculus. I think that would be hurting us, he said. We have jobs. We have a lot of things happening in this country.

In May 2018, Mrs. Trump launched an awareness campaign — with the slogan Be Best — around the challenges Americas children face, promising to dedicate the remainder of her term as first lady to helping kids combat online bullying and the opioid epidemic.

Small funeral for Lee – World News

Inside Washington, foreign-policy experts hoping for a reset swiftly downgraded their expectations. And as the Khashoggi affair has played out, disappointment has morphed to cynicism within the diplomatic community. Its fairly clear that this administration is hoping this will blow over in some respect or another, Peter Juul, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, sighed in an interview. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had made a perfunctory concession to critics by revoking the visas for some of the Saudi officials linked to Khashoggis death. But it was largely an empty gesture—18 of the 21 Saudi suspects were already under arrest, and likely fated to die in a Saudi prison. (At least one of the men involved in the hit team had already [died in a mysterious traffic accident upon returning to Riyadh.) This was a perfect moment for Trump to step out and say, We Americans reject this, because we believe in what we believe, former U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns, said, incensed. He missed it, because he doesnt think about these things . . . I think were seeing the hollowness of his presidency. Truly. Theres no moral center to it.

It is not news or surprising to me that critics and the media have chosen to ridicule me for speaking out on this issue, and thats okay, she said at the event, where the theme was Creating a Culture of Responsibility Online, according to TIME.

Notably, many are sympathetic to the bind the Trump administration has found itself in. To be fair, any administration of either party—Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton—would have found this challenging, Burns told me. I dont think theres anybody out there, a senior person whos worked in government, saying we should end our relationship with Saudi Arabia over this. After all, Saudi Arabia is a critical U.S. ally—from both a strategic and economic standpoint. The Saudis serve as an imperfect ally of Israel, and are seen as a check on Iranian hegemony in the Middle East. To be honest, when it comes to tangible policy, another administration may not have been all that different than Trump, John Glaser, the director of foreign policy at the Cato Institute, told me. A typical administration would almost certainly have been more critical of the Saudis following the Khashoggi murder, but probably gently so. With the exception of some symbolic penalties—formal condemnations, calls for investigation, possibly a temporary suspension of arms sales—the U.S.-Saudi relationship would probably not be fundamentally altered.

The statement, which came in response to reports that Trump had sought to have Ricardel removed, read, It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.

Melania Trumps Moment: first lady flexes muscles in big way

It is too early to tell whether Khashoggis murder has brought the U.S. establishment to a tipping point. Over the past weeks, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have voiced frustration with Saudi Arabia, its war in Yemen, and the Saudi regimes apparent disregard for Americas multi-billion-dollar patronage. But Washington is also awash in Saudi money, which funds dozens of think tanks, P.R. and consulting firms, and provides sinecures for all manner of Swamp creatures. The Trump administration, certainly, has yet to telegraph any interest in altering its relationship with Riyadh, let alone with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has a close personal connection with Jared Kushner. If there was a window for Trump to exert his leverage over Saudi Arabia—a desert economy with a singular, but depleting, natural resource—he missed the opportunity. Nor did he bother to engage with the European Union or NATO allies, as past administrations likely would have done, signaling the extent to which America First has also come to mean America Alone. Meanwhile, Juul lamented, the Saudis are very much all in on Trump. Theyre trying to see what they can get away with in however long hes in office. Theyre trying to run the table.

Thomas Lippman, who served as the Middle East bureau chief for The Washington Post, put it more succinctly. The crown prince is clearly going to brazen it out. There is not going to be any fundamental rupture in relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, he said. I am not saying that people are not upset about it. I am saying that on the scale of grievances that Saudi Arabia and the United States have had over the past 75 years, this too shall pass. Lippman, the author of Saudi Arabia on the Edge, noted with dismay the limits of Americas historical memory, and the sins that are excused in the name of global stability. Nothing that happened to Jamal Khashoggi is in the same ballpark as the death of the collective outrage in the United States over 9/11. And it did not lead to even a temporary rupture of economic and strategic relations with Saudi Arabia.

According to CNN, reports had been circulating for most of Tuesday that Ricardel was being pushed out of the position just seven months after her hiring.

As the White House attempts to move on, the diplomatic community has turned to Congress. I think if theres going to be any movement on it, its going to come from Congress, Juul said. Outrage on Capitol Hill quickly eclipsed the White Houses glacial response as grisly details of Khashoggis death became public in the week since Khashoggi disappeared inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. We deal with bad people all the time, but this is in our face, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a traditionally staunch defender of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, said during an interview with Fox & Friends, urging the president to sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia. Such indignation spans the aisle. As one congressional aide told me last week, Across the Hill, there is just absolute disgust at what seems to have taken place.

RELATED VIDEO: Michelle Obama Says She Stopped Even Trying to Smile During Donald Trumps Inauguration

What Congress will do, if anything, remains unclear. Sending a strong bipartisan message to the White House, 22 senators released a letter that triggered the Global Magnitsky Act, requiring the administration to open an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Khashoggis murder and issue a report on whether it will sanction the individuals involved. But Congress cannot force Trump to sanction anyone under the act. All they can do is call for a report from the executive, and kind of potentially embarrass the executive if they choose not to impose those sanctions, said Jarrett Blanc, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment who previously served in the State Department. That is certainly what they are doing so far.

There are other areas, however, where Congress has greater leverage. For instance, any future U.S. arms deals with the Saudis will require congressional sign-off, and lawmakers have broad authority over funding U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabias war in Yemen. We could, bluntly, really end their war, depending on how far we want to push in terms of the different kinds of support that we provide, and not providing it, Blanc said. They could radically change policy in that area if they choose to. To that end, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Congressman Jim McGovern have introduced a bill that would ban all arms sales and military cooperation with Saudi Arabia, effectively ending U.S. support for the war in Yemen. Last week, Senator Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should block all offensive arms sales to Saudi Arabia and that the U.S. military should stop refueling Saudi aircraft fighting in Yemen.

Because the first lady seems acutely unaware of irony and how fucking ridiculous she sounds preaching to the choir, CNN notes that lady Trump had the audacity to wax about the destructive and harmful uses of social media in August. Trumps spokeswoman told CNN: Shes addressed this before. She is well aware of the criticism, but that will not deter her from doing what she feels is right.

Criticizing the war in Yemen, a proxy battle with Iran, is not necessarily new ground for some members of Congress, but the Khashoggi affair could catalyze change. As a second Congressional aide explained to me, There is a sort of backlash around this—based on the media coverage and, sort of, the interest in Congress—that is unusual, and would seem to be sort of pushing the needle a little bit, maybe.

On Thursday, in an unprecedented move, the first lady publicly called for the president to get rid of deputy national security adviser, Mira Ricardel, because Melania was beefing with her. According to CNN, the White House announced Wednesday that Ricardel would be leaving her current role and would take a different position in the administration.

But with Congress on recess until after the November midterms, there is a concern that any momentum could fade. The timing is unfortunate. The lame duck is unfortunate, the second Congressional aide said. But I do think that the level of public pressure on the administration is important. Hopefully, if for no other reason than its the right thing to do. People should be outraged about this.

It sounds as if Trump created a grammatically incorrect initiative that would address cyberbullying so that everyone could laugh at the irony of her stupidly-named program and then claim that she is, in fact, being bullied but will rise above it. I know this move well, in fact, I perfected it when I was a single man to get out of arguments.

For now, the White House is stuck with Mohammed bin Salman, a monster of its own making. He has been really successful in doing one thing, I think that may be his only real success. He has eliminated all competition and gave no other alternative to himself, Ali Al-Ahmed, a Saudi dissident and founder and director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, told me. That is reality. You like him or not, that is a fact. There is no one. The big question for the Trump administration is what will its relationship with Saudi Arabia look like moving forward, knowing that M.B.S. isnt going anywhere anytime soon. That is, to me, the long-term question we have to ask ourselves, a former high-ranking State Department official told me. Regardless of how this story plays out, regardless of how the narrative eventually evolves. Do we have a partner in Saudi Arabia on whom we can depend to conduct himself and the affairs of his nation in that mature, thoughtful, careful way?

I remain committed to tackling this topic because it will provide a better world for our children, she continued, and I hope that like I do, you will consider using their negative words as motivation to do all you can to bring awareness and understanding about responsible online behavior.

On Saturday, the White House announced that Donald Trump will award the nations highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to seven people next week.

The celebrity honorees will include Elvis Presley, for defining American culture and noting his service in the Army; Babe Ruth because, as the White House noted in its announcement, he remains the personification of Americas Pastime; former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach; and former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page, who later served as the first African-American judge on the states Supreme Court.

The cyberbullying portion of Trumps dumb-ass campaign has been a joke every since she swaggerjacked and then chopped and screwed forever first lady Michelle Obamas motto. Soon, shell be trying to get on the cover of Essence to announce the release of her book, Becoming Best.

Trump will also bestow the honor on philanthropist Miriam Adelson, who founded research centers committed to fighting substance abuse and co-founded the Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which does research on life threatening illnesses. Shes the wife of casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The couple gave $112 million dollars to G.O.P. super PACS during the midterms alone, according to CNN. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia are among the other conservative figures receiving the medal.

Two years after meeting Trump, Melania was granted an EB-1 visa, reserved for people with extraordinary abilities, called the Einstein Visa. Then her parents got to skip the citizenship line using chain migration as Trump railed against the policy.

University of Dayton assistant political science professor Christoper Devine, who has studied Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, told CNN that the group was notable for both its number of former athletes (three) and its number of posthumous awardees (three, as well). He also noted its totally up to the president who gets picked.

I would hope most people in this country are proud that they have a strong and independent first lady who only has the best interests of children at heart—I know I am, read the statement from East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham, CNN reports.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 600 points, the NASDAQ fell 2.78 percent, and the S&P dropped almost 2 percent. Here are some of the reasons why: signs of weak demand for the iPhone, which led to a broad sell-off of tech companies; concerns Theresa Mays Brexit deal is in shambles; the pummeling of Goldman Sachs on account of its little Malaysian sovereign-wealth-fund scandal; anxiety about global trade; and the fear that Donald Trump will go full crazy and slap tariffs on foreign cars. One thing that had absolutely no impact on the market downturn? Worry about Democrats investigating Trump, or as the current president of the United States characterizes congressional oversight, harassing him. But that didnt stop him from claiming the two were totally connected:

While the newly blue House has vowed to hold the president accountable in a way that Republicans led by Speaker Paul Ryan would sooner die than even contemplate, promising such horrors as making sure Robert Mueller is allowed to do his job, investors say Trumps claims are characteristically bulls–t. Donald Trump is getting anxious now, Daniel P. Wiener, chairman of Adviser Investments, told The Washington Post. He is getting nervous. And so he will lash out and grab on to any disruption in the economy, in the market, and in politics to try to deflect from the issues that are really critical to the country.

We all know that President Trump is trash but if you still believe that the woman who benefits from his privilege is any better, then you too, have been drinking the Kool-aid. I mean this with all possible respect when I say, Melania Trump aint shit either.

Obviously, taking credit when the market is up and spreading the blame when its down is nothing new for President Buy and Sell, who, in his first two years in office, has taken a victory lap virtually every time the Dow has had a positive session. In the run-up to the midterm elections, he began warning via tweet that if Democrats flipped the House, Americans could kiss their beautiful 401(k)s goodbye, and it would be only a matter of time before the U.S. economy resembled that of Venezuela. That fear-mongering didnt work out so well, but with the prospect of, among other things, his tax returns going public, hes apparently decided that doubling down is the best way to go. Its also another way to lay the groundwork to blame Democrats when the next recession hits.

But yes, lets keep talking about how Melania is going to rise above the naysayers and acting like shes not complicit in the presidents bullshit. Lets keep acting like the insensitive jacket she wore to visit migrant children was an accident.

As for presidential harassment, Trump seemingly got the concept in his head after reading a week-old quote from Mitch McConnell, who offered Democrats the historical data point/threat that going after Bill Clinton in the 90s actually helped the president and hurt Republicans, just in case anyone was getting any ideas about probing Trump. (Incidentally, Post reporter Dave Weigel points out that the Dow rose 20 percent between the first vote to impeach Clinton and his Senate acquittal.

Melania Trump: First Among White Women, Ruler of Mar-a-Lago, Queen of the Orange Men, Stealer of Mottos, Mother of Drabness, Queen of the Unbothered, Protector of Privilege, Breaker of Grammar Rules, The Undocumented, Khaleesi of the Great White Tears.

The White House is circulating a draft report by the U.S. Commerce Department over whether to impose tariffs on automobile imports to protect national security, three people familiar with the matter said. . . . At public hearings in July, companies and governments from Europe to Asia warned that duties on car imports would hurt the U.S. economy, disrupt the global automotive industry, and widen the rift between America and its closest allies.

In fact, shes not just a white woman. Shes the white woman. And like many white women, Melania has inexplicably found a way to twist the narrative of her role in the racist, xenophobic administration and somehow make herself an innocent martyr.

In May, Cody Lusk, president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, told Bloomberg: To treat auto imports like a national security threat would be a self-inflicted economic disaster for American consumers, dealers, and dealership employees. John Bozzella, chief executive of Global Automakers, told NBC News, [This is] a bad day for American consumers. . . . no one is asking for this protection. And Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the whole thing appeared to be less about national security and more about a tariffs junkie getting his next hit. After the steel and aluminum high, President Trump has now become addicted to tariffs, Bown told The New York Times. He is now clearly abusing this national security law simply to get his tariff fix. And this law is the easiest access he has found.

For a second straight year, much of the industry will get moderately higher incentive payouts in coming months, according to a closely watched annual report released Monday by compensation consultant Johnson Associates Inc. Its projections for raises of as much as 20 percent show jittery markets can be hard on people who help companies execute takeovers, but not so much for stock traders and investors making long-term bets.

According to the report, equities sales and trading professionals can expect a 15 to 20 percent increase to their bonuses, with private equity, investment banking underwriting, corporate management, and hedge funds all seeing a not-terribly-shabby 5 to 10 percent bump. Those in investment banking advisory, on the other hand, will be lucky if their bonuses are unchanged, with a potential for a 5 percent drop, over which tears are presumably already being shed.

On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Ricardel was expected to be fired by President Donald Trump after some sort of altercation with First Lady Melania Trump. The issue was compounded later that day when the first ladys spokesperson issued a statement declaring it is the position of the Office of the First Lady that [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.

Venezuelan inflation approaches 150,000 percent as Maduros efforts to curb huge price increases fail (CNBC)

Such a statement from the first ladys office, unusual both in its tone and the fact it called for the firing of a top national security official, sent shock through Washington and led to Ricardel — in a key spot but generally unknown outside of national security circles — being featured heavily cable news channels.

Donald Trump is preparing for the 2020 election the only way he knows how: workshopping the mean nicknames hell lob at his Democratic opponents.

WASHINGTON — After a tumultuous week that included calls for removal from office by the First Ladys spokeswoman, Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel is leaving the NSC — but not the administration as a whole.

Since Trump wont have Lyin Ted or Little Marco to work with this time, the New York Post reports that hes focusing insulting names on Joe Biden, who said he will decide on his candidacy by January.

And hes even done some of this workshopping in public—since, after all, theres no audience he loves more than the devoted throngs at his rally. He never had more than 1 percent, he said at a Nevada rally last month, a reference to Trumps claim that Biden never had more than 1 percent of support in his previous presidential runs. (He dropped out in 2008 after receiving less than 1 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucus.) So we call him either Sleepy Joe Biden or 1 Percent. Revealing this was all essentially market research, he then asked the crowd, Which is better?

The Post says that Creepy Joe is also in the running, tied to whats been described as Bidens touchy-feely nature. Don Trump Jr. used the nickname in a tweet, proving this focus group is getting bigger; he also condemned Biden for calling Trump supporters the dregs of society.

No word yet on what hes got figured out for the other potential candidates, though hes clearly still fond of his pick for Elizabeth Warren. Among the other potential contenders, theres Little Michael Bloomberg, Lightweight Kirsten Gillibrand, and Crazy Bernie—none feeling like automatic winners, but who expected Pocahontas to stick? Jerry Moonbeam Brown has still been the weirdest by far, but hey, its only 2018; theres plenty of time to crowd-source at rallies, and bullies arent supposed to be creative.

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Could Donald Trump be afraid of rain? It seems likely. On Saturday, the White House announced that Trump would no longer be making his scheduled trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, France, a town under 60 miles from where he was staying in Paris. The cancellation, according to the statement, was due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather—it was raining and windy in Belleau. Many were quick to criticize the president for the last-minute scheduling change, but should they have been surprised? Based on Trumps history with precipitation and umbrellas, probably not.

In July, the White House claimed that Trumps helicopter had been grounded due to bad weather, and he would be traveling by motorcade to Andrews Air Force Base—conveniently also allowing him to avoid the traditional walk to the helicopter on the White House lawn, where reporters are often able to ask questions. White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said at the time that the helicopter ride had been canceled due to fog, despite many reporters tweeting out photos of a perfectly sunny day in Washington.

Trump also faced off against the fog during a trip to South Korea in November 2017. Trump had decided to make a surprise visit to the Korean demilitarized zone, but Marine One faced challenges yet again when the fog became too dense for a safe landing. (Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the time he was pretty frustrated, which might prove that the one thing he values more than his fear of weather is his love of a good spectacle.)

Then theres Trumps notorious history with umbrellas. Last month, he seemed to leave his wife in the rain, carrying an oversize umbrella over his head as he went over to chat with reporters. Just a couple weeks later, a clip of him ditching an umbrella as he boarded Air Force One went viral. His recent cancellation in France suddenly makes all the more sense: who would want to re-stage a battle with such a worthy foe?

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Donald Trump has never needed a reason to lie, considering alternative truths just come so naturally to him. But with less than a week until midterm elections that Republicans are expected to lose, hes gotten increasingly brazen about his methodology of mistruth, specifically as it relates to a migrant caravan made up of asylum seekers moving toward the U.S. In the past month, the president has claimed with no evidence that criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in with the group; suggested that a caravan of mostly women and children fleeing violence and planning to surrender at a port of entry is such a grave threat that it necessitates dispatching thousands of U.S. troops to the border; and spread the quite obviously false rumor that liberal financier George Soros is paying these people. And in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday night, he trotted out some new gems, telling chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl that:

Contrary to reports that the caravan is mostly made up of women and children fleeing violence and poverty, Its actually mostly men . . . mostly young men. And a lot of rough people. Theyre pushing the women right up into the front—not good—and theyre pushing the few kids right up to the front, and making them pose for the cameras;

The caravan is much bigger than has been reported, which the president says he knows, because Im pretty good at estimating crowd size (fact-check: hes not), and I will tell you: they look a lot bigger than people would think;

A group of people planning to surrender at the border and ask for amnesty through the proper legal channels is no different than a hostile invasion from a foreign country. They cant invade our country, Trump told Karl. You look at that, it almost looks like an invasion. It really does look like an invasion . . . When you look at some of the people within the caravan—yeah, I think it could be considered an invasion of our country. We cant have it; and

Sending the military to the border, where they cant make arrests, will serve a purpose other than a giant political stunt.

Mysteriously, the number of troops that Trump insists are very, very necessary keeps shifting every time the president opens his mouth. As recently as Tuesday, the Air Force general running the show shot down reports that as many as 14,000 troops will be deployed, saying the number was not consistent with whats actually being planned. But the military was caught by surprise again after Trump told reporters on Wednesday that the number could be anywhere between 10 [thousand] and 15,000. (Thats about how many U.S. troops are currently in Afghanistan.) The Pentagon released a statement saying the number of troops deployed will change each day as military forces flow into the operating area, but the initial estimate is that the DOD will have more than 7,000 troops supporting DHS across California, Arizona, and Texas—about half the number Trump suggested. (Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the man who is supposedly in charge of this stunt, told reporters on Wednesday, We dont do stunts.)

Oh, and just for a little comedic relief, the man who tells so many lies his staff cant keep up with them added: Well, I try [to tell the truth]. I do try . . . and I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth. Sometimes, it turns out to be where something happens thats different, or theres a change. But I always like to be truthful.

Still smarting from his ill-received trip to France, Donald Trump marked the three-year anniversary of the November 13 terrorist attack that killed 130 people in Paris by launching into a tirade against Emmanuel Macron, the charismatic young French president with whom Trump has enjoyed a physical, but tempestuous, relationship. Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China, and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars I & II—How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along, he wrote, adding that Europe should pay more for NATO, taking a shot at the French for not drinking more American wine, needling Macron for his very low approval rating, and, finally, calling to make France great again.

The proximate cause of Trumps outburst was Macrons remark last week, during an interview with Europe 1 Radio, that Europe should have its own military to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia, and even the United States of America. Macron apparently misspoke: he immediately followed up by clarifying that Europe would defend itself better without just depending on the United States. Nevertheless, Trump—then en route to Paris for the World War I armistice centennial—was incensed. The two leaders appeared to make up after Air Force One touched down at Paris Orly Airport, but on Sunday, Macron used his centenary speech to take another dig at Trump. Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism, he said. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.

Trump looked sullen throughout the event. When he returned to Washington, the aggrieved tweeting began in earnest. Never easy bringing up the fact that the U.S. must be treated fairly, which it hasnt, on both military and trade, he wrote, over the course of several posts. It is time that these very rich countries either pay the United States for its great military protection, or protect themselves. It is somewhat curious, then, that Trump should be so triggered by the thought of a European army. Macron, after all, is hardly the first European leader to propose such a thing. On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the French president in calling for the formation of a common European army to serve as a complement to NATO. The time when we could rely on others is over, Merkel said in an address to the European Parliament. As she noted, European countries currently employ a vast, uncoordinated network of weapons systems, which cannot be easily integrated. A centralized military would also be a more efficient military. (No wonder the Germans are on board.)

Perhaps it is this possibility that has gotten under Trumps skin. While he rails about the costs associated with protecting Macron and Merkel—the U.S. currently has about 60,000 troops stationed in Europe—America also benefits from billions of dollars in weapons sales to Europe. In the 2018 fiscal year alone, European countries accounted for $37.4 billion of U.S. defense companies sales—the most of any region in the world, beating out the Middle East ($22.1 billion), which was previously the biggest spender in the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. The Macron-Merkel pivot away from the U.S. could jeopardize all that. In an interview taped Sunday, before the centenary event at the Arc de Triomphe, Macron told CNNs Fareed Zakaria that he wants Europes increased military spending to go to European companies—not American ones. What I dont want to see is European countries increasing the budget in defense in order to buy Americans and other arms or materials coming from your industry, Macron said. I think if we increase our budget, its . . . to build our autonomy and to become an actual sovereign power. As Politico notes, France happens to have one of Europes biggest defense manufacturing industries. Make France great again, indeed.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump, along with Melania, Ivanka, and Jared, traveled to Pittsburgh following Saturdays mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. A visit by a sitting president in the wake of a devastating event is, of course, fairly standard and often welcomed—Barack Obama, for example, spoke at a vigil in Newtown, Connecticut, two days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school, comforting the families that had just suffered an unthinkable tragedy. In this case, however, things were a little different! On Monday, Mayor Bill Peduto said he had tried to get a message out to the White House that it would be better if the president stayed in Washington, while thousands of people signed signed a letter written by a Jewish group based in Pittsburgh telling Trump he wasnt welcome. That probably had something to do with the fact that the president blamed the victims following the attack, insisting that the shooting had nothing to do with gun laws and that If they had some kind of a protection inside the temple maybe it could have been a very much different situation. That the president has refused to disavow white nationalist and anti-Semites, and, some say, emboldenedthem, may also have been a contributing factor.

Unfortunately, Trump has never been one to take a hint, and chose instead to ignore the pleas of a grieving community. That resulted, unsurprisingly, in protests, at least one victims family refusing to meet with him, and dismay on the parts of local officials who said the community didnt think this was the time for a political photo shoot, especially given the divisive nature of [the presidents] rhetoric. But as far as Trump is concerned, the visit was a rousing success! Because from his vantage point, he was treated with the deference and respect he thinks he deserves, and didnt have to personally witness anyone telling him to GTFO, which happened often enough.

The president did not give any formal remarks—as you can see in the bizarre highlight reel produced by the White House above—but if he had, presumably theyd involve the words, Remember, Pittsburgh, at the end of the day, its all about me.

The man who smashed Donald Trumps Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame has been sentenced to brief jail time and probation. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Austin Mikel Clay, 24, was ordered to spend one day in jail, 20 days doing community labor, and three years on probation by the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office on Wednesday.

Clay has also been ordered to go to psychological counseling and pay restitution of $9,404.46 to to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the body that oversees the maintenance of the Walk of Fame, per T.H.R.

Clay destroyed the star over the summer, leaving the scene before officers arrived around 3:30 A.M. local time on July 25. He was arrested by the police a few hours later and was placed on $20,000 bail. He did not make a statement about why he destroyed the star.

He was far from the first person to destroy or vandalize Trumps star, which was placed on the Walk in 2007. In 2016, a 53-year-old man named James Otis destroyed the star with a jackhammer, then picked out the letters with a pickax. He pled no contest to one felony count of vandalism, T.H.R. notes. After his arrest, he later told the Los Angeles Times that he vandalized the star because he was tired of Trumps aggressive language toward women and alleged sexual misconduct against women. (Trump has denied all accusations of sexual misconduct.)

I just sort of had enough with Mr. Trumps aggressive language toward women and his behavior, his sexual violence with women and against women, Otis said. Ive had personally in my own family four people who have been assaulted or have had sexual violence happen to them. It all became very personal.

Trumps star has also been vandalized in other ways. People have spray-painted swastikas onto it, or scrawled the word racist. Performance artist Plastic Jesus placed a small concrete and razor-wire wall around it, a statement against Trumps repeated calls for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. But despite the vandalism, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has said that it will not seek to remove the star. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, said Leron Gublerm, the head of the chamber, back in 2016. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk.

The window for Emmanuel Macron to forestall the rise of the far right in France may now be closing. When he was elected over Marine Le Pen in May 2017, Macron won the opportunity to prove that his program of radical centrism could unite the country, turbocharge a sclerotic labor market, cut red tape, slim the national budget, and reform the European Union. But the politics of Le Pen, a populist-nationalist in the mode of Donald Trump, were not defeated, merely quiescent. The electoral turnout had been low, for France, at 75 percent, and many voters punched their ticket for Macron only to block Le Pen. While Macron won the runoff election with two-thirds of the vote, political observers predicted that voters would not be patient with the 40-year-old bankers newly formed party, En Marche. The countdown began.

Some 18 months later, a new poll confirms that the battle for the French republic, torn between nativism and globalism, is trending in Le Pens favor. According to an Ifop survey published Sunday, Frances far-right Rassemblement National Party has moved ahead of En Marche for the first time in polling ahead of the May 2019 European Parliament elections. About 1,000 French people were asked how they would vote if the parliamentary election were held next Sunday: 19 percent indicated they would support Macron, down from 20 percent at the end of August, while 21 percent signaled support for Le Pen, up from 17 percent. With a further 9 percent delineating support for smaller populist and so-called Frexit parties, the far-right vote totaled 30 percent—a substantial five-point gain since this summer.

Le Pens creeping resurgence mirrors Macrons sagging popularity, which has hit record lows amid accusations that he is arrogant and out-of-touch, and that his reform packages, intended to juice the French economy, have solely benefited the rich. The latest gripe the French have with Macron is over rising gas prices; truckers and drivers plan to block traffic across the country as part of nationwide protests on November 17.

Macrons loss of domestic support should not effect the implementation of his increasingly controversial reforms, for now. It will, however, impact the upcoming parliamentary elections, which, morphing into a proxy war between pro-Europeans and nationalist-populists, may well determine the future of the European Union, especially now that the bloc is set to lose its de facto leader, Angela Merkel. Aware of the elections grave stakes, Macron has been hoping to bolster his support by styling himself as the arbiter of innovative centrism. As Politico reports, this week he is discharging party officials to the Madrid congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), to try and broker a joint platform with the group that would echo the vision he had for France by undercutting established forces on both sides of the political spectrum, and championing integrated globalism.

If Macron succeeds in forging this alliance, and then manages to drum up the support of voters to establish the second-largest group in European Parliament, his influence in Brussels would enjoy a symbolic spike. But if French voters fail to get on board, he risks alienating potential allies in Brussels, and emboldening the march of Le Pen and Europes populists, who are also eyeing the elections as an unprecedented opportunity to shape, or destabilize, the E.U. over the next five years.

The looming battle over the E.U. comes at an augural moment for Europe, as the continent prepares to mark the centenary of the close of the First World War, and reflects on the forces that tore it asunder. In a timely interview with Ouest-France, published last Wednesday, Macron encouraged voters to resist incendiary politics that recall the crucible of the 1920s. Europe is facing a risk: that of dismemberment through nationalist leprosy and being pushed over by external powers, and therefore to lose its sovereignty, he said, warning that a fractured Europe would risk having its security dependent on American choices and changes, a growing presence in China on essential infrastructures, a Russia that is sometimes tempted by manipulation as well as big financial interest.

For those French voters who have not experienced the uplift they were promised, Macrons bold rhetoric will ring hollow. Clearly, Macron needs to shed his elitist image, and get them back on his side. To do so, he should look toward the resurgence of Le Pen. Her triumph in the poll proves her appeal did not dissipate with the ascendance of Macron. But, more important, it shows that the French president has not made the necessary efforts to understand the economic and cultural alienation that have fueled far-right movements across Europe and the Americas while he has been in power. Its not enough to urge voters not to stray from the center—Macron must also offer reassurance beyond polished speeches. Otherwise, in his efforts to stop the far right, he looks fated to slip into the same patterns as his counterparts in the U.S., and seed its continued rise.

Over the past few weeks, in the run-up to midterm elections that will likely see Republicans lose the House, Donald Trump has worked diligently to convince voters that they are in grave danger. Not from, say, job-killing trade wars, or domestic terrorists, but something much scarier: a caravan of migrants traveling north toward the U.S. border. Earlier in the month, the president claimed, with zero evidence, that criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in with groups of Central Americans seeking refuge in America. Over the weekend, he attempted to heighten the drama by ordering thousands of troops to the border—a wildly transparent political ploy, considering the caravan is weeks away and those in it plan to surrender and apply for amnesty. Now, with exactly a week until the election, Trump has lobbed a Hail Mary that he clearly hopes will convince voters that Republicans like him are the only thing standing between them and a United States in which every undocumented immigrant gets to kick an American out of their house: a bald-faced lie about how hes going to issue a (likely unconstitutional!) executive order to end birthright citizenship.

In a promo for Axios on HBO, Trump said, Were the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States . . . with all of those benefits, which is only the first lie of the two-minute clip (More than thirty countries provide birthright citizenship.) Telling host Jonathan Swan that the concept is ridiculous, Trump added that while it was always told to me that you need a constitutional amendment [to get rid of it] (true), in turns out you dont (false), and claimed the president has the power to end the practice via executive order. Out here in reality, though:

In the U.S., birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which says: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

Trump has zero authority to amend the Constitution through executive fiat, and he certainly cant do it with a tweet, Matthew Kolken, an immigration attorney in Buffalo, New York, told Business Insider on Tuesday. Kolken added that it would be virtually impossible to amend the Constitution in todays political climate. Amendments require either a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of State legislatures.

While some conservatives like to claim that the 14th Amendment was only supposed to provide citizenship to babies born in the U.S. to lawful permanent residents—an argument Vice President Mike Pence articulated on Tuesday morning—experts predict that not even a Supreme Court stocked with two judges handpicked by President Law and Order is likely to go for such an argument. I think the 14th Amendment is clear in enshrining birthright citizenship in the law, and there is interpretive case law from the Supreme Court supporting this, Greg Siskind, an immigration lawyer, told Business Insider. Even with a conservative Supreme Court, I have faith the Court will reject this extremist act.

Still, others predict that there could be some wiggle room. Constitutional scholar John Eastman told Axios that the amendment originally referred to green-card holders and citizens. If Trump follows through on his threat, he said, the courts would have to weigh in in a way they havent. For Trump, though, actually having the power to end birthright citizenship and convincing the base he does are two very separate things. It doesnt much matter if hes lying through his caps, as long as they believe him, which they often tend to do.


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