All posts by MPolitics

Trump Orders Justice Department to Ban Bump Stocks

The U.S. administration is looking to tighten some regulations involving guns, with President Donald Trump formally recommending the banning of devices that turn firearms into more lethal weapons.

The White House is also saying age restrictions are on the table for the most popular semi-automatic rifle in the country. The administration indicated it is open to universal background checks for gun owners.

 

“Just a few moments ago, I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,”  Trump said Tuesday, adding that such regulations will be finalized “very soon.”

The president made the announcement from the White House during the Public Safety Medal of Valor Awards ceremony honoring law enforcement officers.

The ban would include bump stocks — attachments that allow semi-automatic guns to be fired faster — which were used in the shooting in Las Vegas Last October in which 58 people were killed and 851 wounded.

Text of the memo also includes criticism of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

“Although the Obama Administration repeatedly concluded that particular bump stock type devices were lawful to purchase and possess, I sought further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machine guns,” Trump said in the document.

“Although I desire swift and decisive action, I remain committed to the rule of law and to the procedures the law prescribes,” the memo added. “Doing this the right way will ensure that the resulting regulation is workable and effective and leaves no loopholes for criminals to exploit.”

Tomorrow, the White House is hosting a “listening session” that is to include students, parents and teachers who have been victimized by mass shootings in America, Also participating in the session will be students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student last Wednesday killed 17 people, which Trump on Tuesday termed “an evil massacre.” 

The president, making his first extensive remarks since the Florida killings, declared “school safety is a top priority for my administration,” adding he will meet with state governors next week to discuss the topic.

“We’re working very hard to make sense of these events,” Trump said to law enforcement members and other first responders during the White House ceremony. “We’re going to come up with solutions. It’s been many, many years, and there have been no solutions.”

The Trump administration and lawmakers are facing a backlash — including from some of the student survivors of the latest school mass shooting — that they are too focused on the mental health of gunmen rather than the weapons they carry.

It has been noted by gun control advocates that many teenagers in America can legally purchase an AR-15 type assault weapon before they’re eligible to vote or drink alcohol. Twenty-eight of the 50 states have no minimum age requirement for owning a rifle.

“I think that’s certainly something that’s on the table for us to discuss and that we expect to come up over the next couple of weeks,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded at the first press daily briefing in a week, when asked if Trump believed there should be an age limit for the purchase of assault rifles like the one used in the Florida school shooting.

“The president has expressed his support for the efforts to improve the federal background check system, and in the coming days, we will continue to explore ways to ensure the safety and security of our schools,” added Sanders.

Millions of gun owners, who support the National Rifle Association and other organizations that fight against restrictions on such weapons, believe that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees unfettered access to guns.

In the 2016 elections, the NRA gave $54 million in political donations, much of that during the presidential race.

It is not unusual for some members of Congress to have individually received hundreds of thousands of dollars — even millions — from the NRA. While some Democrats are also recipients of the association’s money, the top benefactors currently are from Trump’s Republican Party.

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Trump Orders Justice Department to Ban Bump Stocks

The U.S. administration is looking to tighten some regulations involving guns, with President Donald Trump formally recommending the banning of devices that turn firearms into more lethal weapons.

The White House is also saying age restrictions are on the table for the most popular semi-automatic rifle in the country. The administration indicated it is open to universal background checks for gun owners.

 

“Just a few moments ago, I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,”  Trump said Tuesday, adding that such regulations will be finalized “very soon.”

The president made the announcement from the White House during the Public Safety Medal of Valor Awards ceremony honoring law enforcement officers.

The ban would include bump stocks — attachments that allow semi-automatic guns to be fired faster — which were used in the shooting in Las Vegas Last October in which 58 people were killed and 851 wounded.

Text of the memo also includes criticism of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

“Although the Obama Administration repeatedly concluded that particular bump stock type devices were lawful to purchase and possess, I sought further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machine guns,” Trump said in the document.

“Although I desire swift and decisive action, I remain committed to the rule of law and to the procedures the law prescribes,” the memo added. “Doing this the right way will ensure that the resulting regulation is workable and effective and leaves no loopholes for criminals to exploit.”

Tomorrow, the White House is hosting a “listening session” that is to include students, parents and teachers who have been victimized by mass shootings in America, Also participating in the session will be students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student last Wednesday killed 17 people, which Trump on Tuesday termed “an evil massacre.” 

The president, making his first extensive remarks since the Florida killings, declared “school safety is a top priority for my administration,” adding he will meet with state governors next week to discuss the topic.

“We’re working very hard to make sense of these events,” Trump said to law enforcement members and other first responders during the White House ceremony. “We’re going to come up with solutions. It’s been many, many years, and there have been no solutions.”

The Trump administration and lawmakers are facing a backlash — including from some of the student survivors of the latest school mass shooting — that they are too focused on the mental health of gunmen rather than the weapons they carry.

It has been noted by gun control advocates that many teenagers in America can legally purchase an AR-15 type assault weapon before they’re eligible to vote or drink alcohol. Twenty-eight of the 50 states have no minimum age requirement for owning a rifle.

“I think that’s certainly something that’s on the table for us to discuss and that we expect to come up over the next couple of weeks,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded at the first press daily briefing in a week, when asked if Trump believed there should be an age limit for the purchase of assault rifles like the one used in the Florida school shooting.

“The president has expressed his support for the efforts to improve the federal background check system, and in the coming days, we will continue to explore ways to ensure the safety and security of our schools,” added Sanders.

Millions of gun owners, who support the National Rifle Association and other organizations that fight against restrictions on such weapons, believe that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees unfettered access to guns.

In the 2016 elections, the NRA gave $54 million in political donations, much of that during the presidential race.

It is not unusual for some members of Congress to have individually received hundreds of thousands of dollars — even millions — from the NRA. While some Democrats are also recipients of the association’s money, the top benefactors currently are from Trump’s Republican Party.

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Florida Lawmakers Reject Ban on Assault Rifles

Florida high school students say they will not let state lawmakers’ rejection of a bill to ban assault rifles stop them from taking their fight to the state capital.

 

With the gallery filled with students Tuesday, the Republican-led Florida House turned down a Democratic proposal to ban the guns. Republicans accused the Democrats of forcing the issue after Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly used an AR-15 to kill 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school last week.

Lizzie Eaton, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the shootings, called the legislature’s vote “heartbreaking.” But she said, “We’re not going to stop. We’re going to keep fighting for what we believe in. We’re not going to let this bring us down.”

About 100 other Parkland students are expected in Tallahassee on Wednesday, and President Donald Trump will host parents, teachers and students that day for what the White House calls a “listening session” on school safety.

WATCH: Florida High School Students Board Bus to Tallahassee

Survivors from the shootings at Parkland; Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012; and Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, in April 1999 have been invited.

Students from Florida and across the country have expressed anger, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, at what they see as politicians’ failure to take steps to stop mass shootings.

Before boarding their bus for Tallahassee, Douglas student Ariana Ortega told VOA that the students “are the ones most involved in this. We are the ones who lived through this whole tragic experience, and we are going to be the future leaders of America.”

WATCH: Inside the Bus to Tallahassee

Students are planning a March 24 rally in Washington and other major cities called “March for Our Lives.” Music stars Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Cher have thrown their support behind the march. Actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal, a human rights attorney, said they are donating $500,000 to help pay for it.

“Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country,” Clooney said.

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried Tuesday to smooth over the fallout from Trump’s controversial tweet Saturday about the FBI, in which he said agents missed signs about the Parkland shooter because it was busy trying to look for election interference collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia.

Sanders said a “deranged individual” was the cause of the killings.

The FBI admitted it did not act on a January 5 tip about Cruz. According to an FBI statement, someone with a close relationship to Cruz called with information about his “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”

Police said Cruz confessed to killing 14 students and three adults at the high school he was expelled from last year. He was able to buy an AR-15 rifle after clearing a background check. 

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll said 86 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Democrats said stricter gun control laws could have prevented the Florida shooting, while 67 percent of Republicans said stricter laws could not have prevented the massacre.

More than three-quarters of both groups, however, said more effective mental health screening and treatment could have prevented the attack.

Overall, 77 percent of respondents said Congress was not doing enough to prevent mass shootings in the United States, while 62 percent said Trump was not doing enough.

In Washington, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn and Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy have drafted legislation to improve compliance with background checks. The revisions are still being negotiated.

The Cornyn-Murphy legislation has drawn support from Democrats and Republicans, although passage of gun legislation has often stalled in Congress. Democratic lawmakers often call for tighter controls on gun purchases, while Republicans often oppose them, saying they would violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution sanctioning gun ownership.

The Cornyn-Murphy background check measure would not impose new restrictions on gun purchases, but rather attempt to make sure information about mental health and criminal conviction records that legally bar individuals from buying weapons is consistently sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

U.S. authorities have frequently learned in the aftermath of a shooting rampage that the shooter should not have been allowed to buy a weapon because of mental health issues or a criminal conviction, but the information was never forwarded to the national database.

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Florida Lawmakers Reject Ban on Assault Rifles

Florida high school students say they will not let state lawmakers’ rejection of a bill to ban assault rifles stop them from taking their fight to the state capital.

 

With the gallery filled with students Tuesday, the Republican-led Florida House turned down a Democratic proposal to ban the guns. Republicans accused the Democrats of forcing the issue after Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly used an AR-15 to kill 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school last week.

Lizzie Eaton, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the shootings, called the legislature’s vote “heartbreaking.” But she said, “We’re not going to stop. We’re going to keep fighting for what we believe in. We’re not going to let this bring us down.”

About 100 other Parkland students are expected in Tallahassee on Wednesday, and President Donald Trump will host parents, teachers and students that day for what the White House calls a “listening session” on school safety.

WATCH: Florida High School Students Board Bus to Tallahassee

Survivors from the shootings at Parkland; Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012; and Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, in April 1999 have been invited.

Students from Florida and across the country have expressed anger, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, at what they see as politicians’ failure to take steps to stop mass shootings.

Before boarding their bus for Tallahassee, Douglas student Ariana Ortega told VOA that the students “are the ones most involved in this. We are the ones who lived through this whole tragic experience, and we are going to be the future leaders of America.”

WATCH: Inside the Bus to Tallahassee

Students are planning a March 24 rally in Washington and other major cities called “March for Our Lives.” Music stars Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Cher have thrown their support behind the march. Actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal, a human rights attorney, said they are donating $500,000 to help pay for it.

“Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country,” Clooney said.

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried Tuesday to smooth over the fallout from Trump’s controversial tweet Saturday about the FBI, in which he said agents missed signs about the Parkland shooter because it was busy trying to look for election interference collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia.

Sanders said a “deranged individual” was the cause of the killings.

The FBI admitted it did not act on a January 5 tip about Cruz. According to an FBI statement, someone with a close relationship to Cruz called with information about his “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”

Police said Cruz confessed to killing 14 students and three adults at the high school he was expelled from last year. He was able to buy an AR-15 rifle after clearing a background check. 

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll said 86 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Democrats said stricter gun control laws could have prevented the Florida shooting, while 67 percent of Republicans said stricter laws could not have prevented the massacre.

More than three-quarters of both groups, however, said more effective mental health screening and treatment could have prevented the attack.

Overall, 77 percent of respondents said Congress was not doing enough to prevent mass shootings in the United States, while 62 percent said Trump was not doing enough.

In Washington, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn and Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy have drafted legislation to improve compliance with background checks. The revisions are still being negotiated.

The Cornyn-Murphy legislation has drawn support from Democrats and Republicans, although passage of gun legislation has often stalled in Congress. Democratic lawmakers often call for tighter controls on gun purchases, while Republicans often oppose them, saying they would violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution sanctioning gun ownership.

The Cornyn-Murphy background check measure would not impose new restrictions on gun purchases, but rather attempt to make sure information about mental health and criminal conviction records that legally bar individuals from buying weapons is consistently sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

U.S. authorities have frequently learned in the aftermath of a shooting rampage that the shooter should not have been allowed to buy a weapon because of mental health issues or a criminal conviction, but the information was never forwarded to the national database.

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Trump Denounces Women Who Accused Him of Sex Abuse

U.S. President Donald Trump Tuesday denounced Rachel Crooks, one of 19 women who have accused Trump of sexual assault, and the Washington Post, for publishing an article about her allegations.

The Post story offers her detailed account of how Trump allegedly forcibly kissed the then 22-year-old on January 11, 2006 while the two were waiting for an elevator in Trump Tower in New York. The article also describes how nothing has come of the allegations from her and the other women, despite repeating her story, which she first described to The New York Times several months prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Like other allegations, Trump has denied them — as he did Tuesday on Twitter.

“A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security……

 

…cameras running. Another False Accusation. Why doesn’t @washingtonpost report the story of the women taking money to make up stories about me? One had her home mortgage paid off. Only @FoxNews so reported …doesn’t fit the Mainstream Media narrative.”

In response to the Republican president’s tweets, Crooks, who is running as a Democrat for a seat in the Ohio State House of Representatives, challenged Trump to release video of their alleged encounter.

“Please, by all means, share the footage from the hallway outside the 24th floor residential elevator bank on the morning of January 11, 2006. Let’s clear this up for everyone. It’s liars like you in politics that have prompted me to run for office myself.”

Most of the sex abuse accusations from the other women were made after Trump began campaigning for president in 2015, describing experiences spanning five decades.

Trump has consistently denied the allegations, calling them “total fabrications” and tweeting once that “Nobody has more respect for women than me.”

 

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Trump Again Blames Obama for Russia Meddling Response

U.S. President Donald Trump is again blaming former President Barack Obama for mishandling Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?” Trump said on Twitter Monday. The attack on his predecessor was the latest in a series of presidential tweets.

It’s been a common complaint from Trump, who has alternately downplayed the extent of Russian interference and blamed his predecessor for failing to stop it.

In December 2016, Obama issued sanctions against nine Russian individuals and entities for election meddling and harassing U.S. diplomats in Moscow, including Russia’s GRU and FSB intelligence services. Obama also ordered 35 Russian government officials in Washington and San Francisco to leave the country for “acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status and consular activities” and ordered the closure of two waterfront compounds the administration said were used for Russian intelligence activities.

Earlier Monday, the Kremlin denied involvement in election meddling. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the allegations are baseless. 

The comments come days after U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities with conducting an illegal “information warfare” campaign to disrupt the election to benefit Trump.

Mueller’s indictment of the Russian interests contended that the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based social media company with Kremlin ties, 12 of its employees, and its financial backer orchestrated the effort.

The 37-page charging document alleges the Russian conspirators sought to coordinate their effort with Trump campaign associates, but it does not accuse anyone on the Trump campaign of colluding with the Russians.

Trump has long insisted his campaign did not collude with Russia, even as the U.S. intelligence community, and now Mueller, have concluded that Russia conducted a wide campaign to meddle in the election to help Trump win.

The indictment marks the first time Mueller’s office has brought charges against Russians and Russian entities. 

Mueller’s sprawling investigation has led to the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates on money laundering charges in connection with their lobbying efforts in Ukraine that predates Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Former National Security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russian officials and are cooperating with Mueller’s probe.

In addition to investigating Russian meddling in the election, Mueller is probing whether Trump has in several ways obstructed justice to undermine the investigation, including his firing of former FBI director James Comey, who was leading the agency’s Russia probe at the time Trump ousted him. Mueller, over Trump’s objections, was then appointed to take over the Russia probe.

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Trump Again Blames Obama for Russia Meddling Response

U.S. President Donald Trump is again blaming former President Barack Obama for mishandling Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?” Trump said on Twitter Monday. The attack on his predecessor was the latest in a series of presidential tweets.

It’s been a common complaint from Trump, who has alternately downplayed the extent of Russian interference and blamed his predecessor for failing to stop it.

In December 2016, Obama issued sanctions against nine Russian individuals and entities for election meddling and harassing U.S. diplomats in Moscow, including Russia’s GRU and FSB intelligence services. Obama also ordered 35 Russian government officials in Washington and San Francisco to leave the country for “acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status and consular activities” and ordered the closure of two waterfront compounds the administration said were used for Russian intelligence activities.

Earlier Monday, the Kremlin denied involvement in election meddling. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the allegations are baseless. 

The comments come days after U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities with conducting an illegal “information warfare” campaign to disrupt the election to benefit Trump.

Mueller’s indictment of the Russian interests contended that the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based social media company with Kremlin ties, 12 of its employees, and its financial backer orchestrated the effort.

The 37-page charging document alleges the Russian conspirators sought to coordinate their effort with Trump campaign associates, but it does not accuse anyone on the Trump campaign of colluding with the Russians.

Trump has long insisted his campaign did not collude with Russia, even as the U.S. intelligence community, and now Mueller, have concluded that Russia conducted a wide campaign to meddle in the election to help Trump win.

The indictment marks the first time Mueller’s office has brought charges against Russians and Russian entities. 

Mueller’s sprawling investigation has led to the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates on money laundering charges in connection with their lobbying efforts in Ukraine that predates Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Former National Security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russian officials and are cooperating with Mueller’s probe.

In addition to investigating Russian meddling in the election, Mueller is probing whether Trump has in several ways obstructed justice to undermine the investigation, including his firing of former FBI director James Comey, who was leading the agency’s Russia probe at the time Trump ousted him. Mueller, over Trump’s objections, was then appointed to take over the Russia probe.

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Trump Endorses Romney in Run for US Senate Seat in Utah

President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s run for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah, despite Romney often being critical of Trump.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney excoriated Trump as a “fraud” who was “playing the American public for suckers.” Trump responded that Romney had “choked like a dog” in his 2012 campaign against President Barack Obama.

Trump said on Twitter that Romney “will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!” Romney announced Friday he would run to replace retiring Senator Orrin Hatch.

Romney thanked Trump for the endorsement in a Tweet posted soon after the president’s statement.

“I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah,” Romney said.

Despite Romney’s prior criticism, after Trump won the presidency in November 2016, he briefly considered picking Romney as secretary of state.

Republicans hold 51 of the Senate’s 100 seats but many legislative issues require getting the support of 60 senators.

Trump has repeatedly said that he needs more Republicans elected during the 2018 congressional elections to win approval of more of his agenda.

Romney said last week he generally approved of Trump’s agenda, but would not hesitate to call out the president if needed.

“I’m with the president’s domestic policy agenda of low taxes, low regulation, smaller government, pushing back against the bureaucrats,” Romney said. “I’m not always with the president on what he might say or do, and if that happens I’ll call’em like I see’em, the way I have in the past.”

Trump had lobbied Hatch to run for re-election in 2018, in what was viewed as an effort to prevent Romney from getting into the Senate. Trump and Romney spoke in January after Hatch announced his retirement, a White House official said.

Romney, the son of former Michigan Governor George Romney, helped found the buyout firm Bain Capital and gained prominence after stepping in to lead the organizing committee for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics after a bribery scandal. He served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

Romney first sought the presidency in 2008 but lost the Republican nomination to Arizona Senator John McCain. Four years later, Romney won the party’s nomination but was defeated by incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama.

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Trump Endorses Romney in Run for US Senate Seat in Utah

President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s run for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah, despite Romney often being critical of Trump.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney excoriated Trump as a “fraud” who was “playing the American public for suckers.” Trump responded that Romney had “choked like a dog” in his 2012 campaign against President Barack Obama.

Trump said on Twitter that Romney “will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!” Romney announced Friday he would run to replace retiring Senator Orrin Hatch.

Romney thanked Trump for the endorsement in a Tweet posted soon after the president’s statement.

“I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah,” Romney said.

Despite Romney’s prior criticism, after Trump won the presidency in November 2016, he briefly considered picking Romney as secretary of state.

Republicans hold 51 of the Senate’s 100 seats but many legislative issues require getting the support of 60 senators.

Trump has repeatedly said that he needs more Republicans elected during the 2018 congressional elections to win approval of more of his agenda.

Romney said last week he generally approved of Trump’s agenda, but would not hesitate to call out the president if needed.

“I’m with the president’s domestic policy agenda of low taxes, low regulation, smaller government, pushing back against the bureaucrats,” Romney said. “I’m not always with the president on what he might say or do, and if that happens I’ll call’em like I see’em, the way I have in the past.”

Trump had lobbied Hatch to run for re-election in 2018, in what was viewed as an effort to prevent Romney from getting into the Senate. Trump and Romney spoke in January after Hatch announced his retirement, a White House official said.

Romney, the son of former Michigan Governor George Romney, helped found the buyout firm Bain Capital and gained prominence after stepping in to lead the organizing committee for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics after a bribery scandal. He served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

Romney first sought the presidency in 2008 but lost the Republican nomination to Arizona Senator John McCain. Four years later, Romney won the party’s nomination but was defeated by incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama.

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Healthiest Presidents Ever? New Compilation Doesn’t Place Trump Among Fittest  

Despite Donald Trump’s recent official clean bill of health and an assertion from his personal physician that he would be the “healthiest president ever,” the current officeholder ranks 26 out of 44 U.S. presidents, according to a new assessment released to coincide with Presidents Day. 

At the top of the list of the overall health rankings is Rutherford B. Hayes, president from 1877 to 1881, who “had a healthy diet, was not obese and abstained from any tobacco use or alcohol abuse,” according to the report, published on a website that provides consumers with information about Medicare supplemental insurance policies. 

Runner-up is Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, who left office at the relatively young age of 55. But Obama’s base score was lower than Hayes’ because of Obama’s “smoking and poor sleep habits,” according to the ranking.

Obama and Trump are the only two presidents “to not lose a point for health issues,” but the intensively competitive Trump may be chagrined to know he merits only a “C” compared to Obama’s “A” health grade. 

“I think he should probably accept that with good grace,” Iowa State University history professor Stacy Cordery told VOA News.

“Former President Obama was significantly younger than President Trump when he took office. Even though President Obama smoked for a big part of his life and President Trump does not, Obama is much more physically active.” 

Trump also totally abstains from alcohol, while his meal choices have been known to lean toward fast-food fare. 

Cordery says “any armchair physician” can observe Trump’s borderline obesity and his high stress level in a White House deemed chaotic. 

Only two presidents received an “F” health grade: William Taft (who tipped the scales at around 155 kilograms or  341 pounds), and at the bottom of the list, Grover Cleveland, due to a “very unhealthy diet, a complete lack of physical exercise and a penchant for both tobacco and alcohol abuse.” 

Cleveland, regarded as the second-heaviest president and the only one to serve a pair of nonconsecutive terms, also covered up a surgery for oral cancer at the beginning of his second presidency. 

Somewhat surprisingly, William Henry Harrison, earned a B grade and is considered the 26th healthiest president, despite serving only 32 days in the White House. After delivering the longest inaugural address recorded — one hour and 45 minutes — on a bitterly cold morning of March 4, 1841, the new president immediately took to bed with a bad cold that developed into a fatal case of pneumonia.

“Harrison’s premature death is certainly notable and was very severe (he received a large13-point deduction in health score for his pneumonia and subsequent complications), but our rankings took into account other factors such as diet,” according to study organizer Ryan Shevin of TZ Health Media, a division of Tranzact, which funded the report.

Some medical professionals and others may question how it can be fair to compare early presidents to more recent leaders, considering the vast improvements in medicine (as well as the once swampy climes of malarial Washington, D.C.) since the early days of the United States.

Founding father George Washington suffered from a long list of ailments, including malaria, smallpox, tuberculosis, dysentery, boils, tooth loss, hearing loss, infertility, tonsillitis complications, pneumonia, inflammation of the windpipe, throat infection and depression during illnesses.

“The overall quality of medicine/health care has clearly improved over time, but attempting to normalize or adjust for these differences would be a difficult task,” Shevin told VOA, explaining the study “chose a tally of health issues, rather than eliminating historically contextual illnesses such as smallpox.”

Relying on “bits and pieces in the archives” for most presidents “do not and cannot make a complete picture,” said Cordery, who has authored two books about President Theodore Roosevelt (who earns a “D” grade as the 36th healthiest president). “Anything like this where you’re trying to diagnose back in history is partly guesswork.”

The rankings were compiled after emailed answers were received from 27 presidential historians and doctors who were given general questions but not asked to rank the presidents, according to Shevin.

Tranzact researchers then considered a number of leading health indicators, including diet, exercise habits and sleep data, and tallied more than 58 health conditions that ultimately put Hayes on top and Cleveland at the bottom. 

While some may regard the rankings as subjective and thus open to argument, there is one common point of agreement among the historians and physicians: Being president of the United States is not good for one’s health.

Robert Watson, a professor of American studies at Lynn University, noted: “It is often said that a president ages at twice the normal rate while in office” due to holding “the most demanding office imaginable.” 

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