Donald Trump this week: Mr. Trudeau goes to Washington, U.S. can’t help Puerto Rico ‘forever’
U.S. President Donald J. Trump continued to lash out at Puerto Rico, currently in the middle of a staggering humanitarian crisis, sat down for a face-to-face chat with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and continued his war of words with North Korea.
Here is what you missed this week in the world of Donald Trump.
Oct. 12: Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico
As Puerto Rico struggles to recover following Hurricane Maria, Trump reminded the U.S. territory of 3.4 million people that federal relief workers won’t be around “forever.”
“Congress to decide how much to spend,” the president Tweeted Thursday morning. “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”
Puerto Rico officials and Democrats in Washington were outraged over Trump’s repeated attacks against the island, which has been reeling since the hurricane struck, killing at least 45 people.
“Mr. President, you seem to want to disregard the moral imperative that your administration has been unable to fulfil,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said in a statement.
Also Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that could create massive changes in health insurance, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers than those under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for,” the president told reporters, “and they’re going to be very happy. This will be great health care.”
WATCH: Trump’s latest attempt to repeal Obamacare promises lower-premium plans
And it was reported Thursday evening that U.S. negotiators have increased tensions during this round of NAFTA talks by insisting that any new deal be allowed to expire after five years. Canada and Mexico are strongly opposed to the concept of a “sunset clause.”
Oct. 11: Trump threatens to kill NAFTA
During a face-to-face meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said he would be “fine” if the trade deal died.
WATCH: Trump says it’s possible ‘fair’ deal can’t be done with NAFTA
“I think Justin understands this, if we can’t make a deal, it will be terminated, and that will be fine,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “They’re going to do well and we’re going to do well. But maybe that won’t be necessary. But it has to be fair to both countries.”
Trudeau was in Washington Wednesday to speak personally with Trump who has both previously threatened to tear up NAFTA or just simply tweak it.
For his part, Trudeau put Trump on notice in the ongoing trade spat between Boeing and Bombardier, saying if the U.S. president goes ahead with the nearly 300 per cent tariffs on Bombardier, it will “block” the Canadian Armed Forces from purchasing Boeing fighter jets.
“The attempt by Boeing to put tens of thousands of aerospace workers out of work across Canada is not something we look on positively and I certainly mentioned that this was a block to us purchasing, making any military procurements from Boeing,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau has remained optimistic that a deal can still be reached with the U.S. and was scheduled to visit Mexico on Thursday and Friday. Former prime minister Stephen Harper also weighed in on the subject stating that while he supports NAFTA, Trump’s rhetoric over its destruction shouldn’t be dismissed.
Also on Wednesday, after Trump tweeted a threat against NBC News, two FCC commissioners had to remind the president that he could not strip the broadcaster of its license.
“Mr. President: Words spoken by the President of the United States matter,” GOP Sen. Ben Sasse said in response to Trump’s threat against NBC. “Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?”
Oct. 10: U.S. will be punished with ‘hail of fire’
North Korea accused Trump of having “lit the wick of war” and will punish the U.S. with a “hail of fire” according to a report from a Russian news agency.
Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported Wednesday that North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Trump’s “belligerent and insane statement” to the UN General Assembly last month “lighted the fuse of war against us.”
WATCH: Trump’s tough attitude towards North Korea ‘the one that matters’
“Now it is the United States’ turn to pay, and all of our military servicemen and our entire people insistently demand that final scores be settled with the Americans only with a hail of fire, and not with words,” the minister said in an interview with TASS.
READ MORE: What happens to North Korea’s aid money
The statement from Ho is the latest in the sabre rattling between Trump and Pyongyang. Over the weekend, Trump said “only one thing will work” in dealing with North Korea, stating that diplomatic efforts have failed.
The Trump administration also denied a report that it was seeking to increase the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Oct. 9: Trump setting U.S. ‘on the path to World War III’
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker warned that Donald Trump is setting the U.S. “on the path to World War Three” in an interview with the New York Times, while he also accused Trump of acting like a toddler, as part of his public feud with the president.
“It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center,” Corker Tweeted on Sunday. “Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
Corker, who is not running for re-election in 2018, has traded barbs with the president following Trump’s comments on Charlottesville and other statements, while Trump has attacked the senator for threatening to vote against his tax plan.
Meanwhile, a report from Politico based on interviews with senior White House staff and other officials claims Trump’s aides repeatedly try to distract and delay him from enacting far-reaching and potentially disastrous policy decisions on a whim.
The report said White House staff had to handle Trump, who is volatile and easily irked, by refraining from using the word “no.”
“You either had to just convince him something better was his idea or ignore what he said to do and hoped he forgot about it the next day,” Barbara Res, a former executive in the Trump Organization, told Politico.
— With files from Adam Frisk and Reuters
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