Nation

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

Trump takes to Twitter to blast NBC report he calls ‘fake news’

WASHINGTON — President Trump appeared to threaten to use the federal government’s power to license television airwaves to target NBC on Wednesday in response to a report by the network’s news division that he contemplated a dramatic increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

In a story aired and posted online Wednesday morning, the network reported that Trump said during a meeting last summer that he wanted what amounted to a nearly ten-fold increase in the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, stunning some members of his national security team. It was after this meeting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly said Trump was a moron.

Trump objected to the report in two messages on Twitter later Wednesday and threatened to use the power of the federal government to retaliate.

Advertisement

“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our US nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” he wrote. “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License?” he added. “Bad for country!”

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The comments immediately drew criticism that the president was using the power of his office to undermine First Amendment guarantees of free speech and free press. And, in fact, the networks themselves — and their news departments — do not hold federal licenses, though individual affiliates do.

“Broadcast licenses are a public trust,” said Tom Wheeler, who until January was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, appointed by Barack Obama. “They’re not a political toy, which is what he’s trying to do here.”

new york times

Trump taps Kelly aide to head Homeland Security

WASHINGTON — President Trump will nominate his deputy chief of staff, Kirstjen Nielsen, as his next secretary of Homeland Security, the White House announced Wednesday.

Nielsen formerly served as John Kelly’s chief of staff when he held the position of Trump’s first DHS secretary. She moved with Kelly to the White House when Trump tapped him to serve as his own chief of staff, and was quickly named principal deputy.

Advertisement

Nielsen, an expert in homeland and national security policy, previously served as a special assistant to former president George W. Bush and worked for the Transportation Security Administration.

The White House said in its announcement that Nielsen ‘‘has extensive professional experience in the areas of homeland security policy and strategy, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, and emergency management.’’ She is also the first nominee for the position to have previously worked for DHS, they said.

Nielsen, however, has drawn some resentment in her current position, as she and Kelly have tried to impose order on a chaotic White House. That has included limiting access to the president to some who had formerly enjoyed nearly unimpeded access.

associated press

Bloomberg foundation gives $64 million to Sierra ClubWASHINGTON — The foundation of former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating $64 million to a Sierra Club program seeking to phase out coal-fired power plants and reduce planet-warming carbon emissions.

The billionaire media mogul announced the gift in Washington on Wednesday, two days after the Trump administration said it would dismantle the Clean Power Plan. The Obama-era air pollution rules were intended to cut US carbon emissions by about one-third below 2005 levels by 2030.

Advertisement

Bloomberg’s donation will continue his foundation’s support for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, which works to close coal-fired power plants and promote clean energy.

associated press

Eminem has harsh words
for Trump in new video

Eminem has unleashed a profane lyrical tirade against President Trump, saying he came to stomp and taking aim at Trump’s Twitter habits, policy, appearance, and supporters.

The rapper on Tuesday unveiled ‘‘The Storm,’’ a 4½-minute freestyle rap video recorded Friday in a Detroit parking garage that aired as part of BET’s Hip Hop Awards on Tuesday.

Eminem slammed the president as ‘‘a kamikaze who will probably cause a nuclear holocaust’’ before criticizing Trump’s campaign against NFL national anthem protests.

‘‘But this is his form of distraction, plus he gets an enormous reaction when he attacks the NFL, so we focus on that instead of talking Puerto Rico or gun reform for Nevada. All these horrible tragedies and he’s bored and would rather cause a Twitter storm with the Packers,’’ he rapped.

Eminem also criticized Trump’s recently unveiled plan for tax cuts, questioning: ‘‘then who’s going to pay for his extravagant trips back and forth with his fam to his golf resorts and his mansions?’’

At one point he called Trump, who’s 71, a ‘‘racist 94-year-old grandpa’’ and compared the president’s appearance to the Marvel Comics character ‘‘The Thing.’’

The 44-year-old rapper closed out his rant with a message to his fans who support Trump, saying ‘‘I’m drawing in the sand a line, you’re either for or against.’’

associated press