Good Monday morning. (If that’s not an oxymoron…)
Liz Sheld is traipsing around Europe and Donald Trump is traipsing around Singapore, so let’s get to it!
The Kim summit.
On Sunday morning (evening in Singapore), President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un for what even CNN was forced to describe as an “historic” summit.
President Donald Trump touched down in this Southeast Asian city-state Sunday evening, 36 hours before his highly anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to kick off.
Trump arrived on Air Force One at Singapore’s Paya Lebar Air Base at 8:21 p.m. local time, where he was greeted by Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Kim arrived at Singapore’s commercial airport on an Air China Boeing 747 just more than five hours earlier.
Trump, asked by reporters as he arrived in Singapore how feels about the summit, said “very good” before climbing into his limousine and heading to the hotel.
The US President flew to Singapore from Canada, where he participated in an especially contentious G7 summit that came after he triggered a trade dispute with several of the US’ closest allies.
Speaking of Canada…
Remember the testy phone call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in which Trump blamed the Canadians for burning down the White House in the War of 1812? Trudeau remembered.
After Trump had departed Canada for Singapore, Trudeau announced that he would be imposing “equivalent” retaliatory tariffs in response to the tariffs America has “unjustly” applied to them. The Canadian PM declared that Canada “will not be pushed around.”
Trump responded on Twitter, remarking that Trudeau “acted so meek and mild during our G7 meetings” only to make forceful remarks after Trump had left. “Very dishonest & weak! Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!” he tweeted.
PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
Canada has a long tradition of tariffs and production quotas designed to help dairy farmers, and this government involvement drives up the price of milk — and the profits of the farmers. The dairy trade between the U.S. and Canada is small, but Trump intends to send the message that America will not be taken advantage of, even by a historic ally and partner.
Free market advocates would call a pox on both houses, but Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow argued that Trudeau had “stabbed us in the back.” Specifically, he suggested Trudeau was “pouring collateral damage” on the upcoming summit with Kim Jong-un. “He ought to come out today and wish President Trump well in the negotiations instead of taking pot shots at him.”
On the subject of pot shots…
Actor Andrew Garfield won “Best Actor in a Play” at the Tony Awards, for his performance in “Angels in America.” Garfield took the opportunity to get a dig in at Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who just won the Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
“We are all sacred and we all belong, so let’s just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked,” Garfield quipped.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) June 11, 2018
His comments not only made light of Phillips’ religious beliefs on marriage, but they also suggested that anyone who disagrees with same-sex marriage does not “belong.” Furthermore, his remark suggested that LGBT “belonging” outweighs an American’s right to free speech, to opt out of making a product that would express a message with which he or she disagrees.
Why do some celebrity’s remarks matter? So many LGBT activists and well-meaning Americans think bakers like Phillips refuse to serve same-sex weddings because they have an animus against gay people. This is far from the case — Phillips gladly served gay people at his bakery, and even in the act of refusing a same-sex wedding cake for the two gay men who came to request it, he immediately offered to sell them anything else in his shop.
Phillips’s case, and those like it, are about free speech, not discrimination against gay people. This is even clearer when contrasted with a shop that hung a “No Gays Allowed” sign — something the Supreme Court ruling explicitly forbids and American law excludes as discrimination.
Garfield’s pot shot at Phillips only solidifies the argument that Phillips was engaged in discrimination, not free speech. It is important for Americans to understand that this is wrong.
The daily spygate update.
On Friday, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, gave the Justice Department a deadline to provide documents concerning the FBI’s alleged informant looking into Russian ties to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The documents must be handed over by Tuesday, Fox News reported.
In a letter sent Friday to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Nunes said the records should be provided to all committee members “and designated staff” rather than just the so-called “Gang of Eight” — which refers to Republican and Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress as well as top lawmakers from the intelligence panels.
“DOJ continues to obfuscate and delay its production using an array of tactics, such as incorrectly categorizing the requested documents as Gang-of-Eight-level material in order to limit access,” wrote Nunes, referring to an April 30 subpoena for the documents. “Such conduct by DOJ is unacceptable because the Gang-of-Eight is a legal fiction that has no basis outside of the confines of Presidential approval and reporting of covert actions.”
“I will not relent in my duties on behalf of the American public to discover all the facts in this matter,” Nunes wrote in his conclusion to the letter. “Any response falling short of this request will be considered an effort to conceal material information from Congress — a dangerous precedent that threatens the core of our democracy.”
Photo of the day.
On June 11, 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) captured key northern parts of the city of Mosul, Iraq. Four years later, ISIS is on the run. While sporadic terror attacks still plague the world, the Islamic State aimed to conquer territory, and it has lost nearly all the territory it gained.