White House Sends Out Preview of State of the Union Address

Photo courtesy White House.

Previewing tonight’s State of the Union 

Tonight at 9 p.m. ET, President Donald J. Trump will deliver his first State of the Union Address before Congress. The speech will outline the record-setting accomplishments of his first year and lay out the Administration’s vision for the next 12 months: building a safe, strong, and proud America.

A few important issues that you’ll certainly hear about tonight:

  • Tax cuts and the economy: The biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in at least three decades is already fueling an economic boom.
  • Infrastructure: President Trump will outline a $1 trillion investment for a large-scale, fast rebuild of America’s depleted infrastructure.
  • Immigration: The President will explain his framework on immigration reform, including border security, DACA legalization, protecting the nuclear family, and replacing the visa lottery with a skills-based approach.
  • Trade: Building on the President’s address at Davos last week, America will insist on trade deals that are fair and reciprocal.
  • National security: America is returning to “peace through strength” in world affairs, making our stances clear to friends and enemies alike.

 

Watch the State of the Union Address live at 9 p.m. ET.

Milo Briefly Comments on Uncle Steve and Daddy Trump; Trump Coins Nickname Sloppy Steve

Courtesy Milo Yiannopoulos, Facebook:

January 3, 2018

Sad to see Trump and Bannon at each others’ throats today. I expect the interviews Michael Wolff did happened a long time ago and are tumbling out in to the press unexpectedly. (It’s worth noting that Wolff has a very long history of being called out by his sources for fabricating quotes, including this book already.) I don’t suppose Steve or DJT saw this coming or planned it. Steve has a bit of a temper (he has said bad things about me in the heat of the moment, too — about everyone! — you learn not to take it too seriously unless it’s a pattern) and he might just have been on a tear that day. The statement from the President has left Steve will little choice though. Expect to see Breitbart bigging up Pence in the months to come. As I say, very sad. Two men I admire, one of whom I adore. I don’t feel the need to choose.

Steve Bannon vs. Donald Trump: Best of Grudge Match on Twitter

Today, publisher Henry Holt acknowledged receipt of a cease and desist letter from Trump’s lawyers demanding that “Fire and Fury” not be published as planned on January 9, 2018. The publisher said the book will proceed, even pushing the date up to January 5, 2018.

The book’s promo reads as follows:With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our timeThe first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous—and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.

In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office. Among the revelations:
— What President Trump’s staff really thinks of him
— What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama
— Why FBI director James Comey was really fired
— Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn’t be in the same room
— Who is really directing the Trump administration’s strategy in the wake of Bannon’s firing
— What the secret to communicating with Trump is
— What the Trump administration has in common with the movie The Producers

Never before has a presidency so divided the American people. Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion.

 

Statement by President Trump on Jerusalem Courtesy White House

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. Old challenges demand new approaches.

My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.

Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.

I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

It was 70 years ago that the United States, under President Truman, recognized the State of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem — the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the Prime Minister and the President. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.

For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of state, and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.

Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.

But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement. Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.

In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.

Above all, our greatest hope is for peace, the universal yearning in every human soul. With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region.

There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation.

This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity, lifting our sights to what it is possible; not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable. Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach.

So today, we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts.

I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud, and diverse, vibrant and strong. But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance, and terror.

Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.

It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst. It is time for all civilized nations, and people, to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate –- not violence.

And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.

So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities. And finally, I ask the leaders of the region — political and religious; Israeli and Palestinian; Jewish and Christian and Muslim — to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians. And God bless the United States. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(The proclamation is signed.)

President Donald J. Trump’s Proclamation on Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel

For Immediate Release

“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” – President Donald J. Trump

RECOGNIZING JERUSALEM: President Donald J. Trump is following through on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and has instructed the State Department to begin to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

  • Today, December 6, 2017, President Trump recognized Jerusalem, the ancient capital of the Jewish people, as the capital of the State of Israel.
    • In taking this action, President Trump fulfilled a major campaign promise of his and many previous Presidential candidates.
  • The Trump Administration is fully coordinated in supporting this historic action by the President, and has engaged broadly with both our Congressional and international partners on this issue.
    • President Trump’s action enjoys broad, bipartisan support in Congress, including as expressed in the Jerusalem Recognition Act of 1995.  This Act was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
  • President Trump has instructed the State Department to develop a plan to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  • Departments and Agencies have implemented a robust security plan to ensure the safety of our citizens and assets in the region.

STATUS OF JERUSALEM: President Trump recognizes that specific boundaries of sovereignty in Jerusalem is highly sensitive and subject to final status negotiations. 

  • President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly-sensitive issue, but he does not think the peace process is aided by ignoring the simple truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, supreme court, President, and Prime Minister.
  • President Trump recognizes that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.
  • President Trump reaffirms United States support for the status quo at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Sharif.

COMMITTED TO THE PEACE PROCESS: President Trump is committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

  • President Trump remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, and he is optimistic that peace can be achieved.
  • Delaying the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has not helped achieve peace over the past two decades.
  • President Trump is prepared to support a two-state solution to the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians, if agreed to by the parties.

First Lady Melania Trump Unveils Christmas at the White House 2017

The First Family will celebrate their first Christmas in the White House with a nod to tradition. This year’s theme, “Time-Honored Traditions” was designed by First Lady Melania Trump to pay respect to 200 years of holiday traditions at the White House.

In the East Wing, visitors find a tribute to our service members and their families with the Gold Star Family Tree, which has been decorated with gold stars and patriotic ribbon. Visitors are encouraged to write a message to their loved ones who are on duty or abroad on the digital tablets provided.

After passing through the East colonnade, visitors will see the China Room, which honors the holiday traditions of dining and hospitality. The room is set up for a family Christmas dinner, with the table displaying the china from President Ronald Reagan. Then, visitors will see the Library, which features President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1866 edition of “A Christmas Carol,” as they recall the time-honored custom of reading Christmas stories to loved ones.

 

On the State Floor of the White House, the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall celebrate the first themed White House Christmas, which was the “Nutcracker Suite” in 1961. The Green Room honors the festivities of crafts, paper, and classic design.

The Blue Room holds the official White House Christmas tree, which is decorated with glass ornaments depicting the seal of each State and territory.

The Red Room hosts delightful holiday treats, and has been decorated with peppermints, candy, and cookies. The State Dining Room holds a traditional gingerbread house, which depicts the South facade of the White House and features Mrs. Trump’s signature Christmas wreaths.

“The President, Barron, and I are very excited for our first Christmas in the White House,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “As with many families across the country, holiday traditions are very important to us. I hope when visiting the People’s House this year, visitors will get a sense of being home for the holidays. On behalf of my husband and Barron, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and joyous holiday season.”

Throughout the month of December, the White House will host more than 100 open houses and many receptions. More than 25,000 visitors will walk the halls taking part in public tours.

Pardoning the Thanksgiving Turkey: Official History

Photo courtesy Sarah Sanders, Twitter.
Story by Betty C. Monkman, Courtesy The White House Historical Association
Thanksgiving: President Kennedy Pardons a Turkey

President John F. Kennedy pardoned a turkey on November 19, 1963, stating “Let’s Keep him going.”John F. Kennedy Presidential Library/NARA

Reports of turkeys as gifts to American presidents can be traced to the 1870s, when Rhode Island poultry dealer Horace Vose began sending well fed birds to the White House. The First Families did not always feast upon Vose’s turkeys, but the yearly offering gained his farm widespread publicity and became a veritable institution at the White House. At Thanksgiving 1913, a turkey-come-lately from Kentucky shared a few minutes of fame with the fine-feathered Rhode Islander. Soon after, in December, Horace Vose died, thus ending an era.

 

By 1914, the opportunity to give a turkey to a President was open to everyone, and poultry gifts were frequently touched with patriotism, partisanship, and glee. In 1921, an American Legion post furnished bunting for the crate of a gobbler en route from Mississippi to Washington, while a Harding Girls Club in Chicago outfitted a turkey as a flying ace, complete with goggles. First Lady Grace Coolidge accepted a turkey from a Vermont Girl Scout in 1925. The turkey gifts had become established as a national symbol of good cheer.

President George H.W. Bush Pardons a Turkey in the Rose Garden

With animal rights activists picketing nearby, President George H.W. Bush quipped “‘Reprieve,’ ‘keep him going,’ or ‘pardon’: it’s all the same for the turkey, as long as he doesn’t end up on the president’s holiday table.” George Bush Presidential Library and Museum/NARA

Recently, White House mythmakers have claimed that President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of “pardoning” a turkey. However, the Truman Library & Museum disputes the notion that he was the first to do so. The focus on Truman stems from his being the first president to receive a turkey from the Poultry and Egg National Board and the National Turkey Federation. From September to November 1947, announcements of the government encouraging “poultryless Thursdays” grabbed national headlines. Outrage from homemakers, restaurant owners, and the poultry industry was palpable in Washington. This came to a head when the poultry industry pointed out that the upcoming Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, the three big turkey holidays, happened to fall on Thursday.. The effort was deflated in time for Thanksgiving, but not before poultry growers had sent crates of live chickens— “Hens for Harry”— to the White House in protest. The turkey they presented to President Truman that December promoted the poultry industry and established an annual news niche that endures today.

While 1947 was the beginning of the official turkey presentation from the poultry industry, the turkey pardon remained a sporadic tradition. In December 1948, Truman accepted two turkeys and remarked that they would “come in handy” for Christmas dinner. There was clearly no plan for these birds to receive a presidential pardon. The Washington Post used both “pardon” and “reprieve” in a 1963 article in which President Kennedy said of the turkey, “Let’s keep him going.” During the latter years of the Nixon presidency, Patricia Nixon accepted the turkeys on behalf of the President and in 1973 sent the bird to the Oxon Hill Children’s Farm. The 1978 turkey, presented to Rosalynn Carter, met a similar fate when it was sent to Evans Farm Inn to live in a mini zoo.

After 1981 the practice of sending the presentation turkey to a farm became the norm under Ronald Reagan. The turkey ceremony also became a source of satire and humor for reporters. The formalities of pardoning a turkey gelled by 1989, when George H. W. Bush, with animal rights activists picketing nearby, quipped, “But let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy — he’s granted a Presidential pardon as of right now — and allow him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here.”

Rat spotted at White House? Be Careful Kellyanne Conway!

Kellyanne Conway is surprised by a passing rodent during an interview. Expressing hope that it’s a squirrel and not a rat, she has good reason to fear rats: during World War II it was hoped rats could be weaponized. Read the plans from Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) below.

Courtesy National Archives, United Kingdom

From 1939 to late 1942 Germany and its allies had the upper hand in the war. During this period it was difficult for Britain and its allies to take any direct action against German forces. To tackle this problem British Prime Minister Winston Churchill set up the Special Operations Executive (SOE). SOE’s job was to go into occupied countries and spread propaganda, collect information and attack important targets.

From the Descriptive Catalogue of Special Devices and Supplies used by the SOE, compiled and issued by the War Office:

Transcript Instructions for creating an exploding rat Catalogue ref: HS 7/49

RATS, EXPLOSIVE WESTERN EUROPE 1939-1945: RESISTANCE & SOE

A rat is skinned, the skin being sewn up and filled with P.E. [plastic explosive] to assume the shape of a dead rat. A Standard No. 6 Primer [this sets off the explosion] is set in the P.E. Initiation is by means of a short length of safety fuse with a No. 27 detonator crimped on one end and a copper tube igniter on the other end, or as in the case of the illustration above, a PTF with a No27 detonator attached. The rat is then left amongst the coal beside a boiler and the flames initiate the safety fuse when the rat is thrown on to the fire, or as in the case of the PTF a Time Delay is used.

Sadly, the project was ultimately abandoned.