THERESA May would lead the Conservative Party to victory if there was a general election today, according to a new poll.
Trump says he’s losing as much as $5B being president
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday that being president will personally cost him billions of dollars, due in part to the lawyers he has had to hire to defend him in various lawsuits.
“This thing is costing me a fortune, being president,” Trump said during a speech at the Shell Petrochemical plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
“Somebody said, ‘Oh, he might have rented a room to a man from Saudi Arabia for $500,’” Trump said, referring to reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and members of his delegation booked multiple nights in a Trump hotel.
“What about the $5 billion that I’ll lose?” Trump asked, noting his high cost of lawyers “cause everyday they sue me for something.”
“It’s probably costing me from $3 to $5 billion for the privilege of being — and I couldn’t care less—I don’t care. You know if you’re wealthy, it doesn’t matter. I just want to do a great job,” Trump added.
These figures are virtually impossible to check; the president has not released his tax returns, and has been found in the past to exaggerate his own wealth.
Trump also took aim at former President Barack Obama. “I got sued on a thing called ’emoluments,’” Trump said. “Now nobody looks at Obama getting $60 million for a book. That’s OK, even though nobody in history ever got that much money for a book. … But with me, it’s everything.”
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama signed a joint book deal for $65 million in 2017, after Obama had left office. The emoluments clause applies to federal officeholders, not private citizens.
Speaking to a room full of factory workers in a state that he narrowly carried in 2016, Trump joked about how easy re-election would be if he “got a fair press.”
“Can you imagine if I got a fair press? I mean we’re leading without it,” Trump said. “The election would be over. Have they ever called off an election before? Just said, ‘Look, let’s go, go on, four more years.”
Trump then made light of creating a joke twitter hashtag that he said would disturb reporters, telling the crowd if “you really want to drive them crazy, go to #ThirdTerm, #FourthTerm.”
Although the Shell Plant was an official White House event, not a campaign event, Trump launched his usual trail attack against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who is running for president and has recently surged in primary polls.
“We will have to hit ‘Pocahontas’ again if she does win,” Trump said, using his favored nicknames for both the Massachusetts senator and former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the polls whom Trumps refers to as “Sleepy Joe.”
The White House had looked to showcase the massive construction project the president was there to tour as a symbol of the Trump economy in a key swing state. When complete, the facility is projected to employ about 500 workers who will make plastic pellets from ethane, a byproduct of fracking, that can be turned into a range of plastic goods, from food packaging to car parts.
The visit gave Trump an opportunity to get back on the offensive after a week of defending his divisive rhetoric and approach to gun control policy after the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.
Shell began preparing the site for construction in 2015 and officially started construction in November 2017.
Shannon Pettypiece and Jane C. Timm contributed.
Top Democrat urges foreign governments to stop paying Trump’s businesses
The head of the House Foreign Affairs committee is directing the panel’s staffers to warn foreign governments not to patronize President Donald Trump’s businesses.
Rep. Eliot Engel — one of about 200 lawmakers who sued Trump in 2017 charging he’s violating the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause by making money from foreign governments while in office — issued the memo to the panel’s Democratic staffers on Monday.
“When meeting with officials from a foreign government, please inform them that by providing any form of payment or benefit to a Trump-owned property their government is facilitating the president’s apparent violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause,” Engel’s memo says.
Staffers should “urge those foreign officials to transmit to their governments that the House Foreign Affairs Committee requests that they cease and desist payments to the Trump Organization unless and until Congress approves the emolument, as provided in the Constitution.”
The emoluments clause says “[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
Engel, a New York Democrat, noted in his memo that federal courts have ruled that emolument mean “any profit, gain or advantage, including profits from private transactions.”
Foreign governments have rented a number of suites and held large events at Trump properties since the President took office, and some othershave rented luxury condos at other Trump properties.
Trump’s lawyers have contended he is not violating the emoluments clause because the properties aren’t related to his duties as president.
A federal appeals court dismissed a suit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C. over the alleged violation last month, but the congressional lawsuit is still pending.
Speaking at a petrochemical company in Monaca, Pa. earlier in the day, Trump mocked the case against him, and denied he’s been profiting from the presidency — baselessly claiming his position will cost him $3-$5 billion.
“I got sued on a thing called ’emoluments.’ Emoluments. You ever hear the word? Nobody ever heard of it before,” Trump said. “And what it is is presidential harassment. Because this thing is costing me a fortune, and I love it, okay? I love it because I’m making the lives of other people much, much better.”
“This thing is costing me a fortune being president. Somebody said, ‘oh he might have rented a room to a man from Saudi Arabia for $500,'” he said. “What about the $5 billion I’ll lose?”
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