The Latest: Trump to skip dinner with Washington elite
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):
The White House says President Donald Trump is skipping the annual Alfalfa Club dinner Saturday.
His decision is a break with presidential tradition. Every White House occupant since Ronald Reagan has shown up at the black-tie affair to rub elbows and share laughs with Washington’s elite.
The Alfalfa Club has a few hundred members. Its sole purpose is to hold the annual dinner.
President Donald Trump has scheduled telephone conversations with two more of his world counterparts.
The White House says Trump will speak separately Saturday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
That brings to five the number of foreign leaders Trump plans to speak with.
The White House had already said telephone conversations have been scheduled with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday became the first foreign leader to meet with Trump at the White House since he took office a week ago.
President Donald Trump is indefinitely suspending the United States’ Syrian refugees program.
Trump signed a presidential executive order Friday that declares the entry of “nationals of Syria as refugees” is “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Trump is suspending the program until he says their admission to the country is “consistent with the national interest.”
Trump’s order also appears to be capping the number of refugees from other countries at 50,000 people in in fiscal year 2017.
Trump had promised to scale back refugee admissions during his campaign, arguing that they posed a potential risk to national security.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is worried that President Donald Trump will go too far in his crackdown on immigration.
In a Friday post on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg is urging Trump to keep the U.S. borders open to refugees who need a safe haven.
Trump signed an executive order Friday imposing new guidelines aimed at keeping “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the U.S.
Zuckerberg is also urging Trump not to deport millions of “undocumented folks” who don’t pose any security threats.
Immigration is an important issue for Zuckerberg for several reasons.
Like most technology companies, Facebook employs highly skilled immigrants as engineers who help create the company’s products. The parents of Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, are ethnic Chinese who fled to the U.S. on a boat from Vietnam.
House Speaker Paul Ryan is sidestepping an opportunity to embrace President Donald Trump’s goal of “insurance for everybody.”
Republicans are trying to replace President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. In an interview Friday with Politico, the Wisconsin Republican was asked if the GOP aim is to cover everyone, as Trump told The Washington Post this month.
Ryan says the objective is “universal access.”
Congressional Republicans have been using that phrase to describe their goal. It suggests a more modest number of people would be covered than Trump’s more expansive term.
Ryan says Republicans want to give people “the ability and the resources to buy affordable health care coverage.” He says if they don’t, “We’re not going to have the government make you do something.”
President Donald Trump has signed an executive action implementing “new vetting measures” that he says are aimed at keeping “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the United States.
Trump says, “We don’t want them here.”
The president says he only wants to admit people to the United States who will support the country. His comments echoed his campaign pledge to implement “extreme vetting” programs, particularly for people coming from countries with ties to terrorism.
The president signed the executive action at the Pentagon, where he met with the joint chiefs of staff and participated in a ceremonial swearing-in for Defense Secretary James Mattis.
President Donald Trump says Defense Secretary James Mattis is a “man of total action.”
He says Mattis has devoted his life to serving the country and is a man of honor and devotion.
Trump spoke at the Pentagon after a ceremonial swearing-in for the retired Marine general. Vice President Mike Pence presided over the ceremony.
Mattis says Trump has been clear about his commitment to a strong national defense.
The defense secretary says the men and women serving in the U.S. military have been tested after a decade of war, “our longest war,” in Afghanistan.
Mattis tells Trump he can “count on us all the way.”
President Donald Trump says he is signing an executive action aimed at “rebuilding” the U.S. armed forces.
Speaking Friday at the Pentagon, the president says the action includes plans for new planes, new ships and new resources for the men and women in uniform.
Trump announced the plans following a ceremony honoring his new Defense Secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis.
House Speaker Paul Ryan won’t say if it was appropriate for a top aide to President Donald Trump to say the press is “the opposition party” and should “keep its mouth shut.” And the Wisconsin Republican added a criticism of his own.
Steve Bannon is White House chief strategist. He’d criticized the press in The New York Times.
Ryan was asked about Bannon’s comments in a Friday interview with Politico.
The Wisconsin Republican said, “I’m not going to get into that stuff.” He said he doesn’t care about “distractions.”
Ryan said “the media has over time had a bias against conservatism.” He offered no examples.
Trump echoed his adviser Friday on CBN News. He accused the press of “dishonesty, total deceit and deception” and called it “partially the opposition party.”
The head of JPMorgan Chase says he has met with one of President Donald Trump’s top economic advisers.
Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chairman and CEO, said as he was leaving the White House grounds Friday afternoon that he had been talking with Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs chief operating officer who is now director of the National Economic Council.
“I offered my help,” Dimon told CNBC. “Most people are trying to do things that get the country to grow faster and get more jobs for Americans. We want to do our part to do that.”
Dimon says he could help on trade, tax and employment policies, as well as financial regulations.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he supports retaining sanctions on Russia.
The Wisconsin Republican made the remark as President Donald Trump has been unclear about whether he might lift them. Trump plans a phone conversation Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ryan said Friday in an interview with Politico that he thinks the sanctions that President Barack Obama imposed were overdue. Ryan says, “So I think they should stay.”
Obama issued the sanctions because of Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine and because American intelligence agencies say Moscow interfered in November’s U.S. elections to try to help Trump win.
Trump has spoken about possible improvements in relations with Russia. His nominee to become secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has questioned the wisdom of sanctions on Russia.
President Donald Trump says that his pick for Supreme Court justice will be someone “Christians will love.”
In an interview with CBN News, the president said he’s been vetting candidates from his original list of potential judges to fill the seat vacant since the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February.
Trump says that that “Evangelicals, Christians will love my pick and we’ll be represented very, very fairly.”
Trump has said he will name his choice for the nation’s highest court on Thursday.
President Donald Trump is joining his chief strategist in the assessment that the media is the country’s “opposition party.”
Echoing comments made by Steve Bannon earlier this week, Trump told CBN News that he believes “the dishonesty, total deceit and deception. It makes them certainly partially the opposition party.”
He continues, “I think they’re much more capable than the opposition party. The opposition party is losing badly. Now the media is on the opposition party’s side.”
But he says, “The fortunate thing about me is I have a big voice. I have a voice that people understand. And you see it now.”
The Veterans Affairs Department says it will be able to hire staff for public health and safety, despite a federal hiring freeze announced this week by President Donald Trump.
Trump signed a memorandum on Monday freezing hiring for some federal workers as a way to reduce payrolls. There were exceptions to the freeze, including for the military.
The VA said in a statement Friday that the memo allows it to keep filling essential positions that provide public safety services to veterans.
Trump has nominated VA undersecretary David Shulkin to head the agency. He would be the only Obama administration official named to Trump’s Cabinet. His confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The White House says President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (PAYN’-yuh nee-EH’-toh) agreed to work out differences on a border wall “as part of a comprehensive discussion” on their bilateral relationship.
The two leaders spent about an hour on the phone Friday. In a statement following the call, the White House said the leaders recognized their “clear and very public differences” on the issue of who will pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump campaigned on a pledge to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. But Pena Nieto has repeatedly said his country won’t pay for the wall.
The two leaders were supposed to meet in Washington next week, but the Mexican president announced Thursday that he was scrapping the visit.
President Donald Trump continues to maintain that torture works, but he says he’s giving his defense secretary power to “override” his views.
Trump says during his first press conference as president that Defense Secretary James Mattis doesn’t believe torture, or a technique called waterboarding that stimulates drowning, is an effective tool for obtaining information.
Trump says, “I don’t necessarily agree,” but he says Mattis “will override, because I’m giving him that power.”
The Senate’s highest ranking Democrat says he’ll vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York questions whether Rex Tillerson would back new sanctions against Russia.
The Senate minority leader also says Tillerson would not definitively rule out creation of a Muslim registry in the U.S. during his confirmation hearing. And Schumer says Tillerson wouldn’t “lift a finger to fight climate change.”
The former Exxon Mobil CEO Tillerson said he doesn’t support “a blanket-type rejection of any particular group of people.” He said climate change does exist and that the risk is great enough to warrant action.
Despite opposition from Schumer and other Democrats, the GOP-led Senate is expected to confirm Tillerson.
Republican Sen. John McCain is warning President Donald Trump against any attempt to lift sanctions against Russia.
The chairman of the Armed Services Committee has taken a hard line against Moscow. Trump is scheduled to speak by phone Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
McCain says if Trump does not “reject such a reckless course,” he will work to pass legislation that would require the president to get approval from Congress before sanctions can be lifted.
The Arizona senator takes a dim view of trying to reset relations with Moscow. McCain says Trump should remember that Putin is “a murderer and a thug who seeks to undermine American national security interests at every turn.”
For Trump to think otherwise, McCain says, “would be naïve and dangerous.”
President Donald Trump and the president of Mexico have spent one hour talking on the phone amid rising tensions over Trump’s proposed wall along the border.
Two administration officials confirmed Friday’s call.
Trump and Enrique Pena Nieto (PAYN’-yuh nee-EH’-toh) were supposed to meet in Washington next week, but the Mexican president said Thursday that he was canceling the visit.
He canceled after Trump moved forward with plans to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and have Mexico pay for construction.
The two administration officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the call publicly.
-By Vivian Salama and Julie Pace
President Donald Trump is pledging to do everything in his power “to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good” in a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In a White House statement, Trump is honoring victims and survivors of the Holocaust and those who risked lives to save people.
Trump pledges to “do everything in my power throughout my presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good.”
Trump, who ran what many saw as a divisive campaign, adds that together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”
The White House says President Donald Trump has set up a manufacturing jobs initiative and plans to consult with business leaders.
According to the White House, the group includes executives from Ford, Dell Technologies, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Campbell Soup, Boeing, Tesla and U.S. Steel, as well as the AFL-CIO.
Trump met with some of these corporate heads at the White House on Monday. The White House says one of those leaders — Dow Chemical’s Andrew Liveris — has organized the first series of meetings.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive action Friday temporarily halting the flow of refugees into the U.S. and stopping all entries from some majority-Muslim nations.
Spokesman Sean Spicer says Trump will sign the order during a visit to the Pentagon. A draft order obtained by The Associated Press also shows Trump may indefinitely ban all refugees from Syria.
Spicer says Trump will also sign orders focused on military readiness and the national security council, though he did give details about those orders.
While at the Pentagon, Trump will meet with the joint chiefs of staff and attend a ceremonial swearing-in for Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Besides his call Saturday with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the White House says President Donald Trump has calls scheduled with the leaders of France and Germany.
With all the foreign contacts, White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted Friday that Trump is getting the most out of the his first week in office.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is the first foreign leader to meet with Trump since he took office. The two are to hold a joint press conference later Friday.
President Donald Trump is continuing to hammer Mexico over trade and border security.
The president wrote on Twitter early Friday that “Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough.”
He adds that “massive trade deficits & little help on the very weak border must change, NOW!”
Mexico’s president cancelled an upcoming visit Thursday after Trump signed an order jump-starting construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Trump has also ordered cuts in federal grants for immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities” and a boost in the number of border patrol agents and immigration officers, pending congressional funding.
President Donald Trump says he’s looking forward to the results of a study into voter fraud.
The president tweeted Friday, citing a claim by Gregg Phillips, who says he created VoteStand, a mobile app to report election fraud.
Trump tweets, “Look forward to seeing final results of VoteStand. Gregg Phillips and crew say at least 3,000,000 votes were illegal. We must do better!”
Trump also has claimed that at least 3 million people voted illegally in the election, denying him a popular vote majority. There is no evidence to support this claim.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer says Trump will sign an executive action to commission an investigation into widespread voter fraud.
—This item has been corrected to clarify that Phillips has made a claim but not provided statistics and to add that there is no evidence to support the claim.
While President Donald Trump and Mexico’s president have cancelled an upcoming meeting, that doesn’t mean relations between the countries have “imploded.”
That’s according to the president’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Conway tells Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” that the two leaders mutually agreed to cancel their meeting next week because the Mexican president didn’t want to talk about paying to build a wall along the border.
Conway says the U.S. spends billions of dollars defending the borders of other nations, and it’s time for the U.S. to do that at home to stop a flow of drugs and people into the United States.
The rift between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (PAYN’-yuh nee-EH’-toh) capped days of increasingly confrontational remarks on Twitter and in dueling public appearances.
President Donald Trump’s senior adviser says U.S. sanctions against Russia and other issues will be on the table when the president talks by phone Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” on Friday the president will be receptive if Putin wants to have a serious conversation about how to defeat Islamic extremists.
Barack Obama’s administration and the European Union slapped Moscow with sanctions for its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Relations have plunged to post-Cold War lows over Ukraine, Putin’s backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad and allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox says President Donald Trump’s push for his country to bankroll a new southern border wall has “brought back a very strong Mexican spirit.”
Fox says on NBC’s “Today” that tensions between the two countries are “at the vey lowest point since the war between Mexico and the United States.”
He was interviewed the day after a planned meeting in Washington between Trump and President Enrique Pena Nieto (PAYN’-yuh nee-EH’-toh) collapsed amid arguments over the wall. Trump insists it will be built at Mexico’s expense on the border between the two countries to curb illegal immigration.
Fox says, “I think Trump is playing around with everybody. He has now faced his first defeat and he cannot digest a defeat. His ego does not allow him to do that.”
Congressional Republicans left their annual policy retreat divided over paying for President Donald Trump’s border wall, one of several thorny issues looming to trip them up as the GOP adjusts to full control of Washington.
Lawmakers welcomed a speech from Trump endorsing their goals on repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama’s health care law and overhauling the loophole-ridden tax code. But the president’s comments on paying for the wall, and subsequent clarification and walk-backs from the White House, sowed widespread confusion Thursday.
After the White House press secretary announced a 20 percent border tax on imports from Mexico, House Republicans felt certain the administration was describing a central plank of their own tax plan — so-called border adjustment that taxes imports instead of exports. But White House press secretary Sean Spicer backed away from that later Thursday, saying it was only an option for funding the project.