Fact Check: Trump Falsely Claims Obama Support for Wall

With the deceptive use of a video, President Donald Trump on Thursday heartily thanked his White House predecessor for supporting his policy at the Mexican border. Barack Obama has offered no such support; only criticism. 

Trump also denied that he ever expected Mexico to make a direct payment for his border wall, despite a call in a campaign policy paper for a “one-time payment” from Mexico of $5 billion to $10 billion, with options for Mexico to contribute in alternative ways. Mexico is refusing to contribute at all.

A look at Trump’s statements Thursday as he traveled to Texas to make his case for what he calls a security and humanitarian crisis, a possible precursor to declaring a national emergency at the border:

Obama video 

Trump: “President Obama, thank you for your great support — I have been saying this all along!’’— tweet, accompanied by video of Obama speaking as president in 2014.

Trump: “Obama used to call it a crisis at the border, too.” — remarks before departing the White House for Texas.

The facts: Obama’s remarks in the short video clip do not support Trump’s proposal for a border wall or endorse the path Trump is considering now: declaring a national emergency that might enable him to circumvent Congress and unilaterally spend money on the wall. Instead, Obama was asking Congress to approve an emergency appropriation to deal with a surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and youth, mostly from Central American, trying to cross the border from Mexico.  

“We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border,” Obama said at the time, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden. He was referring specifically to the surge of minors that year.

That crisis eventually eased as the U.S. stepped up border enforcement, surveillance and resources for the waves of unaccompanied children. Now, a sharp increase in the number of families at the border, coupled with the Trump administration’s hard-line stance, is overwhelming border resources, worsening a backlog in the asylum system and leaving migrants to live in abysmal conditions on the Mexican side. 

Trump, however, has been unable to convince Congress that the border poses a national security risk. He has made a series of statements falsely claiming that terrorists are pouring in from Mexico, that a wall would choke off shipments of illicit drugs, which actually come mainly through legal ports of entry, and that people who get in the country illegally commit a disproportionate share of violent crime.

Late in his presidency, Obama was repeatedly critical of Trump’s immigration stance and the wall specifically. In May 2016, for example, he said: “Suggesting that we can build an endless wall along our borders, and blame our challenges on immigrants — that doesn’t just run counter to our history as the world’s melting pot; it contradicts the evidence that our growth and our innovation and our dynamism has always been spurred by our ability to attract strivers from every corner of the globe.”

Mexico and the wall 

Trump. on Mexico paying for the wall: “I never meant they’re going to write out a check.” — remarks before departure to Texas.

Trump: `”Mexico is paying for the wall indirectly. And when I said Mexico will pay for the wall, in front of thousands and thousands of people, obviously they’re not going to write a check.”— remarks before departure.

Trump: “They’re paying for the wall in a great trade deal.” — remarks in Texas.

The facts: Actually, a Trump campaign policy paper envisaged an explicit payment from Mexico: “It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion,” the paper said.

The plan also outlined various ways for Trump to compel Mexico to pay for the wall, such as by Washington cutting off billions of dollars in remittances sent back to Mexico by immigrants living in the U.S., or by recouping the money through trade tariffs or higher visa fees. None of that has happened.

Instead, Trump is arguing that the updated trade agreement with Canada and Mexico will pay for the wall because of economic benefits he predicts will come from the deal. Nothing in the trade agreement would cover or refund the construction cost or require a payment from Mexico. Instead, he is assuming a wide variety of economic benefits will come from the agreement that can’t be quantified or counted on. For example, he has said the deal will dissuade some U.S. companies from moving operations to Mexico and he credits that possibility as a payment by Mexico.

The agreement preserves the existing liberalized environment of low or no tariffs among the U.S., Mexico and Canada, with certain improvements for each country. The deal has yet to be ratified in any member country and there is no assurance it will win legislative approval.  

Although his campaign left open the possibility that Mexico might somehow contribute to the cost indirectly, Trump roused his crowds with the straight-ahead promise: “I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”

Again and again at his rallies, Trump asked his crowds dramatically who would pay for the wall.

“Mexico,” they responded.

“Who?” he’s asked again.

“Mexico,” they roared.

Now he is saying his words were not meant to be taken literally.




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Texas Republicans Poised to Vote on Muslim Vice Chair Ouster

Republicans in one of Texas’ most populous counties are scheduled to decide Thursday whether to remove a Muslim doctor as a party vice chairman amid infighting over some members’ claims about his beliefs.

 The executive committee of the Tarrant County Republican Party is voting on a post held by Shahid Shafi, a surgeon and City Council member in suburban Fort Worth.

A party precinct chairwoman, Dorrie O’Brien, had led the call to oust Shafi on claims that he may be more loyal to Islamic law or connected to a terrorist group. Shafi denied both claims and other Republicans have called them bigoted.

“Religious freedom is at the core of who we are as a nation and state,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Wednesday, “and attacks on Dr. Shafi because of his faith are contrary to this guiding principle.”

Cruz supports Shafi

Other top Republicans, such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Land Commissioner George P. Bush, also had condemned the effort to oust him.

Cruz tweeted at one point that discriminating against Shafi because of his religion was “wrong.” The First Amendment protects religious liberty for every faith, Cruz said on Twitter.

Former Tarrant County GOP leader William Busby earlier told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that some large corporate donors “don’t want to be associated with a party that’s going in the direction of excluding people based upon their religious beliefs.”

Long-time involvement

Shafi is one of two party vice chairmen and has worked for the party for about 10 years, including as a delegate to the state party convention. He’s serving a two-year term as vice chairman and his election in July drew one lone dissenting vote among the approximately 250 precinct chairmen who voted that day. That lone dissenter was O’Brien.

A handful of others have joined her in opposing Shafi. O’Brien did not respond to a request for comment by The Associated Press.

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Rosenstein’s Departure Raises Concerns About Russia Investigation

The upcoming departure of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is raising questions about the future of a special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Rosenstein is seen as the protector of the probe, which has been vilified by U.S. President Donald Trump, whose nominee as attorney general, William Barr, has criticized the probe but said he has a high opinion of Mueller. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports Barr could be confirmed next month.

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Frustrations Run High in Third Week of Shutdown

Efforts to end a 19-day partial government shutdown stalled Wednesday when President Trump walked out of White House talks with congressional Democrats. Trump’s request for nearly $6 billion in funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall triggered what is now the second longest government shutdown in U.S. history. VOA’s congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson reports on what’s next on Capitol Hill.

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As Shutdown Drags On, Fears of Air Travel Disruptions Grow

U.S. airport security workers and air traffic controllers working without pay warned that security and safety could be compromised if a government shutdown continues beyond Friday, when some workers will miss their first paychecks.

On the 19th day of a partial government shutdown caused by a dispute over funding President Donald Trump wants for a border wall, the president stormed out of talks with Democratic congressional leaders, complaining the meeting was “a total waste of time.”

As the effects of the shutdown began to ripple out, the Trump administration insisted that air travel staffing was adequate and travelers had not faced unusual delays.

TSA workers quitting

But union officials said some Transport Security Administration (TSA) officers, who carry out security screening in airports, had quit because of the shutdown and others were considering quitting.

“The loss of (TSA) officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires,” American Federation of Government Employees TSA Council President Hydrick Thomas said.

“If this keeps up there are problems that will arise — least of which would be increased wait times for travelers.”

Aviation unions, airport and airline officials and lawmakers will hold a rally Thursday outside Congress urging an end to the shutdown.

TSA says delays within reason

TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said the organization was hiring officers and working on contingency plans in case the shutdown lasted beyond Friday, when officers would miss their first paycheck since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

“There has been no degradation in security effectiveness and average wait times are well within TSA standards,” he said.

He added that there had been no spike in employees quitting and that Tuesday 5 percent of officers took unscheduled leave, up just slightly from 3.9 percent the same day last year.

It screened 1.73 million passengers and 99.9 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes, the TSA said.

But U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, questioned how long adequate staffing at airports could continue.

“TSA officers are among the lowest paid federal employees, with many living paycheck-to-paycheck,” Thompson wrote. “It is only reasonable to expect officer call outs and resignations to increase the longer the shutdown lasts, since no employee can be expected to work indefinitely without pay.”

​Airports urge end to shutdown

Airports Council International-North America, which represents U.S. airports, urged Trump and congressional leaders in a letter to quickly reopen the government.

“TSA staffing shortages brought on by this shutdown are likely to further increase checkpoint wait times and may even lead to the complete closure of some checkpoints,” the group said.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) noted that the number of controllers was already at a 30-year low, with 18 percent of controllers eligible to retire.

If a significant number of controllers missed work, the Federal Aviation Administration could be forced to extend the amount of time between takeoffs and landings, which could delay travel, it said.

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said controllers often must work overtime and six-day weeks at short-staffed locations.

“If the staffing shortage gets worse, we will see reduced capacity in the National Airspace System, meaning more flight delays,” Rinaldi said.

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Курс гривні продовжує падіння – НБУ

Гривня продовжує падіння до євро і долара, свідчать дані на сайті Національного банку України.

На 10 січня офіційна вартість одного долара встановлена на рівні 28 гривень 12 копійок, що на 10 копійок більше, ніж попереднього дня.

Євро зріс на 16 копійок – до 32 гривень 21 копійки.

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У 2018 році інфляція становила 9,8% – Держстат

У 2018 році інфляція на споживчому ринку становила 9,8%, свідчать дані на сайті Державної служби статистики України.

За цією інформацією, у 2018 році базова інфляція становила 8,7%.

У Національному банку України прогнозували, що у 2018 році інфляція складе понад 8%.

За даними Держстату, у 2017 році споживча інфляція становила 13,7%.

Індекс споживчих цін є показником зміни в часі цін і тарифів на товари та послуги, які купує населення для невиробничого споживання.

Базовий індекс споживчих цін показує стійку динаміку цін з мінімізацією короткострокових нерівномірних змін цін, викликаних шоками пропозиції та адміністративним регулюванням.

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У 2018 році міжнародні резерви України зросли до п’ятирічного максимуму – НБУ

«Збільшити міжнародні резерви вдалося насамперед завдяки отриманню Україною зовнішнього фінансування та купівлі НБУ надлишку валюти на міжбанківському ринку»

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