Trump opposes Puerto Rico statehood due to feud with mayor

By John Wagner | Washington Post

President Donald Trump said in a radio interview broadcast Monday that he is an “absolute no” on statehood for Puerto Rico, citing his running feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a critic of the federal response to Hurricane Maria.

“With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing,” Trump told host Geraldo Rivera in an interview conducted Sunday with WTAM Radio in Cleveland, later calling Cruz “a horror show.”

Trump’s assessment brought a rebuke from Ricardo Rosselló, the governor of the commonwealth, who has been making a stepped-up effort to persuade Trump and Congress to support statehood in the wake of the first anniversary of the storm.

“This is an insensitive, disrespectful comment to over 3 million Americans who live in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico,” Rosselló said in as statement in which he also lamented “the unequal and colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.”

In the aftermath of Maria, Cruz made repeated public pleas for more immediate aid from the federal government, which angered Trump.

The two have continued to spar.

Earlier this month, when Trump characterized the federal response to Maria as an “incredible, unsung success,” Cruz pushed back on Twitter, writing: “If he thinks the death of 3,000 people [is] a success God help us all.”

Speaking of Cruz on Monday, Trump said that “with people like that involved in Puerto Rico, I would be an absolute no” on statehood.

“If you had people like the mayor of San Juan, whatever her name may be, she is a horror show,” Trump said. “She was so bad and so disrespectful to our military, to our first responders, and to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Kavanaugh vows to fight ‘character assassination’

By John Wagner | Washington Post

President Trump and fellow Republicans dug in Monday in their support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as the Supreme Court nominee vowed to fight back against additional allegations of sexual misconduct, which he called a coordinated smear campaign.

In a defiant letter to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh said he would “not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process.”

“The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out,” said Kavanaugh, who will testify Thursday before the committee. “The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed.”

Kavanaugh reiterated that he won’t bow out in an interview with Fox News scheduled to air Monday night. Speaking with his wife, Ashley, at his side, the nominee said, “I’m not going anywhere” and dismissed what he called “false accusations.” The network released excerpts in advance.

“The truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise,” Kavanaugh said. “I am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. (Christine Blasey) Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone at some place, but what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

Trump and other Republicans loudly echoed that assessment Monday, with the president saying he is looking forward to a confirmation vote.

In comments to reporters, Trump vowed to support his nominee “all the way,” calling Kavanaugh “a man with an unblemished past” and characterizing the allegations swirling around him as “totally political.”

“There’s a chance that this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen for a candidate for anything,” Trump said.

His comments, made as he entered United Nations headquarters in New York, were his first since a report Sunday night on a second allegation of sexual …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Opinion: Save old San Jose City Hall annex to house the homeless

Some months ago, Jim Salata, a well-respected, long-time San Jose businessman and owner of Garden City Construction, and John A. Sobrato, a well-known philanthropist, started a movement to oppose the proposed demolition of the old City Hall Annex building now owned by Santa Clara County. The county wants it demolished for 178 parking spaces. Salata and Sobrato instead propose renovating it for approximately 160 much-needed temporary housing units for the homeless. They are asking for a 10-year lease on the building while the county designs and commences the master plan for the site.

The county has resisted and challenged Salata with every possible obstacle it can put in his path. Salata has spent countless hours of his time to research and budget the project. Sobrato has committed to the funding for at least half the project, which would come in at half the county’s estimate of $70 to 100 million. Salata and Sobrato’s preliminary proposal of $32 million would include all union trades at prevailing wages and be completed in one-fourth the time it would normally take the county to build.

The proposal would demonstrate that public-private projects can work. The county wants no part of it. It is an opportunity for the county to be bold, to think out of the box, to save a viable building from demolition and, most of all, to provide desperately-needed housing for the homeless in a timely manner. But the county is saying “not in my backyard”. How many homeless individuals over the 10-year proposed plan would benefit from this opportunity? It can be a win-win for everyone concerned and a project that would benefit the community. Yet, our county Board of Supervisors is turning its back on this unique offer.

Housing cannot be …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

Trump says second meeting with N. Korea ‘soon’

By Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller | Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — President Donald Trump praised North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as “very open” and “terrific” Monday and announced he likely will hold a second summit with Kim “quite soon,” striking a far less ominous note at the United Nations about the nuclear threat from the North.

Twelve months after Trump stood at the rostrum of the U.N. General Assembly and derided Kim as “Rocket Man,” the push to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula is a work in progress, although fears of war have given way to dreams of rapprochement. The president’s bellicose denunciations of Pyongyang have largely given way to hopeful notes, as Trump praised Kim as “very open” and “terrific.”

“It was a different world,” Trump said Monday of his one-time moniker for the North Korean leader. “That was a dangerous time. This is one year later, a much different time.”

He added that preparations are underway by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a second presidential meeting with Kim “quite soon.”

The meeting would come despite U.S. officials assessing that the North has not followed through on its commitments to take steps toward denuclearization. Pompeo defended Trump’s decision to seek another meeting despite the slow progress.

“We’ve been at this the other way an awfully long time and failed,” he said.

He added: “We tried to do details. We tried to do step for step. We tried to do trade for trade. Each of those failed.”

Pompeo said, “We’re bringing the two senior leaders, the individuals who can actually make the decisions that will move this process forward,” in hopes they can make a breakthrough.

Trump arrived at the U.N. on Monday morning for a meeting on the global drug trade, ahead of a sit-down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who delivered a personal message to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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