The Latest: Trump wishes China a prosperous new year

February 9, 2017
White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):

8:40 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump has written Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) to wish the “Chinese people a happy Lantern Festival and prosperous Year of the Rooster.”

The White House says Trump wrote Xi to thank him for a congratulatory letter and to express his hopes of developing “a constructive relationship that benefits both the United States and China.”

Before taking office, Trump questioned the “one-China policy” that shifted U.S. recognition from self-governing Taiwan to China in 1979. He said it was open to negotiation.

Trump also wants to pressure Beijing to narrow its trade surplus with the U.S.


6 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump has named Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd as White House social secretary, putting her at the helm of the White House’s social events, state dinners and other high-profile gatherings.

Mrs. Trump says Niceta Lloyd — who goes by Rickie — brings “solid diplomatic, political and social entertaining experience” to the job.

The White House says Niceta Lloyd has worked with both Republicans and Democrats in planning events for the last five presidential inaugurations. She’s also assisted the State Department’s Office of Protocol with events with several secretaries of state.

Mrs. Trump has yet to move to Washington, but she is starting to fill out her staff. She’s said she plans to stay in New York while the president’s 10-year-old son, Barro, finishes the school year.


5:30 p.m.

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has told a Democratic senator that he found the president’s attacks on the judiciary “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut disclosed the comments from Judge Neil Gorsuch after meeting with the nominee Wednesday.

Trump referred to a Seattle judge who put a stay on his immigrant travel ban as a “so-called judge.” Gorsuch’s confirmation team confirmed that Gorsuch was referring to that comment and described it as disheartening.

Gorsuch is making the rounds in the Senate, drawing praise from Republicans but skepticism from many Democrats, including Blumenthal.


4:30 p.m.

Republican Sen. John McCain isn’t budging from his assessment that the U.S. raid in Yemen wasn’t a success after he was criticized by the White House.

McCain says any operation where a $75 million airplane is lost, a Navy SEAL is killed, and there are multiple casualties, including women and children, “cannot be labeled a success.”

His remarks came after White House spokesman Sean Spicer said anyone who questions the success of the Yemen operation is doing a “disservice” to the life of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.

McCain recalled a failed 1970 mission to rescue U.S. service members held in North Vietnam.

He says, “Any connection between success or failure and the heroism of men and women who serve, there is none.”


2:50 p.m.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says those who question the success of a deadly U.S. raid in Yemen are doing a “disservice” to the life of a Navy SEAL who was killed in the raid.

The comments come after Arizona Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that he wouldn’t describe the raid as a success, given the loss of American life.

Spicer says the action taken in Yemen was a “huge success” and that any other characterization does a disservice to the life of Ryan Owens, the Navy SEAL who was killed in the assault.

Innocent civilians, including children, were also killed in the raid. Three other U.S. service members were wounded.


2:15 p.m.

A White House spokesman says President Donald Trump was standing up for his daughter when he posted a tweet criticizing Nordstrom.

Trump tweeted that Ivanka Trump was treated “so unfairly” by the department store, which decided to stop selling her clothing and accessory line.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer says Trump was responding to an “attack on his daughter.”

Spicer says Trump is president — and “for people to take out their concern about his actions or executive orders on members of his family, he has every right to stand up for his family and applaud their business activities, their success.”

Nordstrom did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment about Trump’s tweet.


1:10 p.m.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is at the White House and bringing the kind of economic news that President Donald Trump likes to trumpet: a $7 billion investment in an Intel factory in Arizona.

The CEO says in an Oval Office visit with Trump that Intel will be completing the factory and making “the most advanced” chips on the planet.” The CEO says the factory will employ about 3,000 workers directly — and 10,000 workers in Arizona in support of the factory.

Krzanich says the announcement comes partly in response in part to Trump’s tax and regulatory policies.

Trump calls the product that Intel will be making is “amazing.”


12 p.m.

The U.S. military is looking to rent space at Trump Tower for use when President Donald Trump is working in New York City.

Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. J.B. Brindle says the Department of Defense is looking for the space “in order to meet official mission requirements.”

It’s not immediately clear how much it would cost the Pentagon to rent space in the 58-story midtown Manhattan tower owned by the Trump Organization.

Trump lives in the three-story penthouse. He hasn’t returned to New York since taking office on Jan. 20. His wife, Melania, and their young son, Barron, are living there for now.

It’s customary for the military to obtain space near a president’s residence.


11:50 a.m.

Organizations opposed to President Donald Trump’s executive order on government regulations are suing to block it.

The order required federal agencies to identify at least two existing regulations to repeal for every new regulation proposed or issued.

The suit contends the order exceeds the president’s constitutional authority — and directs agencies to unlawfully repeal rules intended to protect the health and safety of Americans, and the environment.

Filing suit are Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, the Communications Workers of America and the Natural Resources Defense Council.


11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump isn’t happy about Nordstrom’s decision to stop selling Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories — and he’s tweeting his criticism.

Trump says his daughter has “been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom.” The president says she’s “a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”

Nordstrom said last week that it would stop selling Ivanka Trump merchandise. The Seattle-based department store chain said the decision was based on the sales performance of the first daughter’s brand.

Nordstrom hasn’t immediately responded to an email seeking comment.

Ivanka Trump has formally stepped down from her leadership role with the brand.


9:57 a.m.

President Donald Trump is promising “zero tolerance” for violence against law enforcement officers.

He tells a group of police chiefs that his administration will give their departments the resources to recruit and retain officers.

Trump also says “no one in America should be punished” simply for growing up in a place where violence may be prevalent.

And as he has done before, he’s singling out Chicago, saying the level of violence in the city cannot be allowed to continue. He says “we’ve allowed too many young lives to be claimed.”

When it comes to people who may be living illegally in the United States and involved in criminal activity, the president wants law enforcement and the public to report them to the Department of Homeland Security.

In his words — “I want you to turn in the bad ones.”


9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is asserting that had the right to enact his travel ban.

He tells a group of police chiefs that his immigration order was “done for the security of our nation.” He says the provision supporting the order was written “beautifully” and was within his executive authority.

Trump says “a bad high school student would understand this.”

A federal judge has put the ban on hold, and an appeals court is considering an appeal from the Trump administration. The order includes a temporary travel ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

While awaiting a decision, Trump says “courts seem to be so political.”


7:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is expected to have lunch Thursday with a group of moderate Senate Democrats who could play a key role in his legislative agenda.

The lunch is expected to include Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Jon Tester of Montana.

Trump faces a narrow Republican majority in the Senate and hopes to secure some support among Democrats for his agenda and the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch. All four Senate Democrats face re-election in 2018.

The lunch was first reported by USA Today and confirmed by the Senate offices. The White House did not immediately provide details on the lunch, which is also expected to include Republican lawmakers.


7: 24 a.m.

President Donald Trump is tweeting that if he loses the pending court case over his travel ban, the country “can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing the appeal of Trump’s executive order on immigration, including a temporary travel ban on those from seven Muslim-majority countries. The appeals court challenged the administration’s claim that the ban was motivated by terrorism fears, but it also questioned an attorney’s argument that it unconstitutionally targeted Muslims.

The president tweeted early Wednesday, “If the U.S. does not win this case as it so obviously should, we can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled. Politics!”