web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 30)

Pence Will Control All Coronavirus Messaging From Health Officials

Westlake Legal Group 27dc-virus1-facebookJumbo Pence Will Control All Coronavirus Messaging From Health Officials United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pence, Mike Health and Human Services Department Fauci, Anthony S Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Azar, Alex M II Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — The White House moved on Thursday to tighten control of coronavirus messaging by government health officials and scientists, directing them to clear all statements and public appearance with the office of Vice President Mike Pence, according to several officials familiar with the new approach.

President Trump announced Wednesday evening that Mr. Pence would coordinate the government’s response to the public health threat even as he played down the immediate danger from the virus that is spreading rapidly across the globe. Mr. Pence was scheduled to lead a meeting of the government’s coronavirus task force on Thursday.

In turn, Mr. Pence said on Thursday that he had selected Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the director of the United States effort to combat H.I.V. and AIDS, to serve as the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House, enlisting an experienced scientist and physician to manage the response to the potential spread of the virus.

The announcements from the White House were intended to show that Mr. Trump and those around him are taking the potential threat to the health of Americans seriously. Aides said the president wanted governors and members of Congress to have a single point-person to communicate with, eliminating any jockeying for power in a decentralized situation.

But with Mr. Pence’s announcement, Dr. Birx becomes the third person to be designated as the administration’s primary coronavirus official.

Mr. Trump said that “Mike is going to be in charge, and Mike will report back to me.” Mr. Pence said it will be Dr. Birx. Meanwhile, Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, remains the chairman of the government’s coronavirus task force.

The vice president’s first move appeared to be aimed at preventing the kind of contradictory statements from White House officials and top government health officials that have plagued the administration’s response. Even during his news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Trump rejected the assessment from a top health official that it was inevitable that the coronavirus would spread more broadly inside the United States.

  • Answers to your most common questions:

    Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • What is a coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world was not ready for a major outbreak.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, one of the country’s leading experts on viruses and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases, told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance.

The new White House approach came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Thursday that a California woman with coronavirus was made to wait days before she was tested for the disease because of the agency’s restrictive criteria about who may get tested.

And despite Mr. Trump’s efforts to calm the nation’s jittery investors, stock markets plunged again Thursday morning, opening about 2 percent lower amid concerns about the potential affects of the virus on the global economy. Earlier, European and Japanese stocks fell as well, closing more than 2 percent lower.

The president’s decision to appoint Mr. Pence to lead the coronavirus response came after several days in which his aides grappled with whether to name a “coronavirus czar” to coordinate the alphabet soup of federal health and security agencies that have roles to play in protecting the country.

Mr. Trump said at his news conference that he was pleased with Mr. Azar’s performance, calling the team that he has led “totally brilliant.” But White House aides, led by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, have been debating for days whether the administration needed a point person to be the face of the response.

The decision to put Mr. Pence in charge was made on Wednesday after the president told some people that the vice president didn’t “have anything else to do,” according to people familiar with the president’s comments.

Dr. Birx has spent more than three decades working on H.I.V./AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health, according to the White House, which said in a statement that she would “bring her infectious disease, immunologic, vaccine research and interagency coordinating capacity to this position.”

The president’s selection of Mr. Pence — and the decision to name Dr. Birx as the coordinator for the response — further erodes Mr. Azar’s traditional role as the nation’s top health official in charge of directing the government’s response to a medical crisis. Mr. Trump has told people that he considers Mr. Azar to be too “alarmist” about the virus.

Mr. Azar denied reports that he was not consulted about the decision or told before the announcement Wednesday evening. He told lawmakers during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Thursday that when he was informed of Mr. Pence’s selection to head the coronavirus task force, “I said, quote, ‘that’s genius.’”

Aides to Mr. Pence are aware that there are political risks for the vice president if the response to the virus falters in the days and weeks ahead.

Critics of the vice president quickly pointed to Mr. Pence’s record on public health issues when he was governor of Indiana as evidence that he was not the right person to lead the government’s response to a health crisis. Democrats noted that Mr. Pence was blamed for aggravating a severe AIDS outbreak among intravenous drug users when he opposed calls for a clean needle exchange program on the grounds it would encourage more drug use.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday morning that she had told Mr. Pence directly that she questioned his new role given that he had “slashed” the public health budget when he was governor of Indiana.

“I spoke with the vice president this morning, made some of these concerns known to him,” she said. “We have always had a very candid relationship and I expressed to him the concern that I had of his being in this position.”

Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador who has kept herself in the news as a possible rival to Mr. Pence as the president’s running mate on the 2020 re-election ticket, was rallying Trump supporters at a gathering of conservative activists on Thursday.

“President Trump brought capitalism back,” Ms. Haley told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference as she kicked off the four-day meeting. Mr. Pence is also scheduled to speak at the gathering.

But Mr. Pence’s allies played down the political risks to the vice president and said it was a good idea to put him in charge.

“He’s been actively involved already,” Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina, said. “He, with Secretary Azar, have been really engaged for weeks. It’s good to have someone that ultimately can be an addition to the team, although he’s been a part of it. They have Azar and some on his team on the technical side of the virus, but making sure we have a proper response is key.”

Mr. Meadows minimized concerns that being the position put Mr. Pence in a precarious position. “I think the response will go well,” Mr. Meadows said. Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence, he said were “both committed to making sure they get a number of data points and communicate it efficiently.”

Annie Karni and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Has a Problem as the Coronavirus Threatens the U.S.: His Credibility

Westlake Legal Group 26dc-assess1-facebookJumbo Trump Has a Problem as the Coronavirus Threatens the U.S.: His Credibility United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sebelius, Kathleen Obama, Barack Hurricane Dorian (2019) Health and Human Services Department Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Azar, Alex M II

WASHINGTON — When Hurricane Dorian crashed into the Atlantic Coast in September, President Trump assumed a take-charge role in response. But he undermined his own effectiveness after it became apparent that before displaying a map in front of the television cameras in the Oval Office, he had altered it with a Sharpie pen to match his inaccurate forecast of where the storm was headed.

For years, experts have warned that Mr. Trump has been squandering the credibility he could need in a moment of national emergency, like a terrorist attack or a public health crisis.

Now, as the coronavirus races across the globe and has begun to threaten the United States, Mr. Trump could face a moment of reckoning. Maintaining a calm and orderly response during an epidemic, in which countless lives could be at stake, requires that the president be a reliable public messenger.

“I think the president has a unique opportunity to dispel fears and calm the situation — if people believe he is telling the truth,” said Kathleen Sebelius, who served as secretary of health and human services in the Obama administration. “And I think that’s really where a great disconnect occurs.”

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Trump delivered an almost casual account of the administration’s response to the coronavirus, leaving it to the experts appearing with him to relay the real information and assure a jittery public. Still, he kept trying to suggest the risk was low.

“We will see what happens,” the president said as he addressed the nation. “But we are very, very ready for this, for anything.”

Mr. Trump said that Johns Hopkins University rated the United States “No. 1 for being prepared,” holding up a chart printed on an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper.

“This will end,” he said, comparing the coronavirus to the everyday flu. “We really have done a very good job.”

During a crisis, presidents are looked to for direct and honest assessments of threats and for reassurance to the public about their impact.

During the swine flu outbreak of 1976, President Gerald R. Ford announced at a news conference that the government planned to vaccinate “every man, woman and child in the United States.” Mr. Ford himself was photographed receiving the vaccine in the White House as part of a public awareness campaign.

  • Answers to your most common questions:

    Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all non-essential travel to South Korea and China.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      The World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world is not ready for a major outbreak.

Responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, President Barack Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to announce that the administration would send as many as 3,000 people to the region.

Mr. Trump, in contrast, contradicted his own health experts in a news conference Wednesday evening, insisting that the spread of the virus was not inevitable, and excoriating two of his favorite foils, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, for “trying to create a panic.”

For three and a half years, Mr. Trump has repeatedly proved an unreliable narrator on a range of subjects.

At times, he has exaggerated threats, like talking up the caravans of migrants he claimed were storming the southern border before the 2018 midterm elections. Other times, he has minimized potentially serious dangers that could be politically damaging, like the renewed nuclear threat posed by North Korea after the failure of his talks with its leader, Kim Jong-un, and now, the global spread of the coronavirus, which he has persistently tried to play down.

In his response to the coronavirus, Mr. Trump has made inaccurate or questionable claims, twice misstating the number of Americans infected with the virus and insisting that it “miraculously goes away” when warmer spring weather arrives — a prediction that health experts have said is premature.

He based that prediction on a comment made at one of his briefings, when an expert noted that temperatures can affect the spread of viruses. Mr. Trump has used that data point as evidence in saying in public and in private to guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., that the global outbreak will be behind him by April.

The president, as he often does, has also focused on coverage of his response, complaining that he is being treated unfairly and blaming the news media. “If the virus disappeared tomorrow, they would say we did a really poor, and even incompetent, job,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “Not fair, but it is what it is. So far, by the way, we have not had one death. Let’s keep it that way!”

Before he took office, Mr. Trump was an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the Ebola outbreak, arguing that infected people should not be allowed back into the United States.

Current Trump allies said the fact that the president chose to address the growing public health crisis quickly after returning from a trip to India showed how seriously he was taking the outbreak.

But privately, they say he has been reluctant to give in to what he has called an “alarmist” view of the virus’s potential to cause damage as he warily watches the effect of the outbreak on the stock market. He has been rattled by the Wall Street reaction to the spread of the virus in places like Italy, lashing out at the news media in tweets and accusing journalists of intentionally trying to harm the stock market.

And polls show that Mr. Trump’s credibility with much of the United States is low after an impeachment inquiry in which a majority of voters said they did not believe that he was telling the truth about his actions involving Ukraine.

Federal health officials had been bracing for the arrival of the virus in the country with minimal intervention by the White House.

As Ebola presented both a health and political threat to his administration in 2014, Mr. Obama carefully hewed to proven science, which he repeatedly invoked in his carefully calibrated public messages.

“We have to be guided by the science. We have to remember the basic facts,” he said in an October 2014 radio message.

Mr. Trump, in contrast, has not been focused on scientific detail. The secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, has told officials they should give the notoriously impatient president simple, paint-by-numbers briefings on coronavirus.

But a larger fear among experts in the field has been that he would contradict scientific experts. “That’s where Trump is most pernicious, potentially,” said Ron Klain, who served as Mr. Obama’s “Ebola czar,” and now is an adviser to the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “When he contradicts those experts, when he suggests they have biases, or when he intimidates them not to be straight, that’s when the risk really grows.”

As Mr. Trump faces this emergency, his history of issuing false claims could make it harder to sell the public on any plans to address coronavirus.

“When you’re trying to build trust in the government’s response, people have to have trust,” said Leslie Dach, a senior counselor at health and human services during the Ebola outbreak.

“Making false promises and them turning out not to be true undermines people’s confidence,” Mr. Dach said. He pointed to Mr. Trump’s claim this month about the virus that, “We did shut it down, yes.”

As recently as this week, the president appeared to simply want to put the coronavirus response in his rearview mirror. “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away,” he said in remarks on Tuesday to a group of business leaders in New Delhi.

On Wednesday, before Mr. Trump’s news conference, his allies on television and radio appeared to be speaking to the proverbial “audience of one” as they sought to give their unsolicited advice to the president.

Jason Miller, a top adviser to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign who hosts a podcast that is currently focused on the coronavirus, tweeted that the president had to “make clear full Administration working around the clock on this, and explain in everyday, layman’s terms what we need to both do and avoid to remain safe.”

On Fox News, daytime hosts noted the news conference presented an “opportunity for him to act presidential.”

Mr. Trump, however, chose to conduct the news conference his own way.

“It is what it is,” he said of the potential for a virus with a higher fatality than the flu to spread through communities. “We’ve got the greatest people in the world.”

Noah Weiland contributed reporting from Washington, and Donald G. McNeil Jr. from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Campaign Sues New York Times Over 2019 Opinion Article

Westlake Legal Group 26trumpsuit-facebookJumbo Trump Campaign Sues New York Times Over 2019 Opinion Article Trump, Donald J Suits and Litigation (Civil) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 News and News Media New York Times Libel and Slander

President Trump’s re-election campaign sued The New York Times on Wednesday, alleging that an Op-Ed article published by the newspaper falsely asserted a “quid pro quo” between Russian officials and Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Mr. Trump often threatens to sue media organizations but rarely follows through. The lawsuit, filed in New York State court in Manhattan, is the first time his political operation has taken legal action against an American news outlet since he took office.

The lawsuit concerns an essay published by the Opinion section of The Times in March 2019. The article, headlined “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo,” was written by Max Frankel, who served as executive editor of The Times from 1986 to 1994. (The Opinion section of The Times operates separately from its newsroom.)

In the essay, Mr. Frankel wrote about communications between Mr. Trump’s inner circle and Russian emissaries in the lead-up to the 2016 election. He concluded that, rather than any “detailed electoral collusion,” the Trump campaign and Russian officials instead “had an overarching deal”: “the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy.”

The Trump lawsuit argues that this conclusion “is false” and that The Times published the essay “knowing it would misinform and mislead its own readers.” The suit also accuses The Times, without evidence, of harboring “extreme bias against and animosity toward” Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign.

The Times responded shortly after the suit was filed on Wednesday. “The Trump campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable,” Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, said in a statement.

“Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance,” Ms. Murphy added. “We look forward to vindicating that right in this case.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Trump campaign by Charles J. Harder, a lawyer with a reputation for waging aggressive legal battles against prominent news organizations.

Mr. Harder is best known for representing Terry G. Bollea, the former professional wrestler known as Hulk Hogan, in a lawsuit against Gawker Media that was secretly underwritten by the tech investor Peter Thiel. The suit, which concerned the publication of a sex video, resulted in a $140 million decision that led to Gawker Media’s bankruptcy and forced the site’s sale.

Mr. Harder also represented Melania Trump, Mr. Trump’s wife, when she sued The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, in 2016, over what she said were “false and defamatory statements,” including that a modeling agency she worked for in the 1990s was also an escort service. The Daily Mail ultimately apologized, retracted the article and paid damages in a settlement.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Nicole Hong and Alain Delaqueriere contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Hits Media on Coronavirus as He Prepares an Evening News Conference

Westlake Legal Group 26DC-virus-facebookJumbo Trump Hits Media on Coronavirus as He Prepares an Evening News Conference United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Health and Human Services Department Epidemics Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WASHINGTON — President Trump blamed the media on Wednesday for “doing everything possible” to make the coronavirus “look as bad as possible,” even as he said his administration was “doing a great job” with a virus that the Centers for Disease Control said would inevitably hit American shores.

Mr. Trump set a 6 p.m. White House news conference to discuss the virus with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But his reassurances have not calmed global markets, which were down sharply overseas Wednesday morning. A day after its worst one-day slide in two years, the S&P 500 closed down 3 percent on Tuesday, a decline that put the index deeper in the red for 2020.

With cabinet secretaries fanning out on Capitol Hill, Wednesday promised more sharp questioning about the administration’s preparedness for a virus that has now infected more than 81,000 people globally and killed more than 2,700.

Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, told lawmakers on Wednesday morning that the C.D.C. has already exhausted the $105 million rapid response fund that the federal government had been using in its initial response efforts. He has proposed shifting $136 million from other health programs to the coronavirus to replenish the government’s efforts.

“It’s a very fast-moving process,” he said.

Representative Rosa DeLauro, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that handles health care, blasted the White House’s funding proposals as “unacceptable.”

“We want to be supportive,” she said.

The White House has requested $1.25 billion in new funds to prepare for coronavirus, but Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, proposed on Wednesday to increase that dramatically, to $8.5 billion in new emergency funds.

The politics of coronavirus shifted drastically on Tuesday when Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the C.D.C.’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters that “it’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”

  • How Is the U.S. Being Affected?

    Updated Feb. 25, 2020

    • An Omaha hospital that drew attention for treating Ebola patients is now playing a key role again.
    • The outbreak has left some Asian-Americans feeling an unsettling level of public scrutiny.
    • There was a race to contain the disease after one man’s cough became confirmation of America’s first case.
    • Most experts agree: To protect yourself wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
    • Affected by travel? Or do you know someone who is? Please contact us at coronavirus@nytimes.com if you are willing to be contacted by a reporter or have your comments used for a coming story.

She said that hospitals and schools should begin preparing for an outbreak, and that she had even spoken to her own family about “significant disruption of our lives.”

On Wednesday, Moody’s Analytics said it now sees a 40 percent chance that the virus will break containment in China and grow into a global pandemic that would push the United States and the world into a recession. Its chief economist, Mark Zandi, said in a research note that he expected the virus to reduce American economic growth by 0.2 percentage points this year — and that a “black swan” recession now looked uncomfortably possible.

“The economy was already fragile before the outbreak and vulnerable to anything that did not stick to script,” he wrote. “Covid-19 is way off script.”

Mr. Trump’s attempts to calm the American public have also occasionally been laced with a degree of alarm.

“There’s a very good chance you’re not going to die,” Mr. Trump said about the outbreak at a news conference in India on Tuesday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, responding to Mr. Trump’s assurances that the virus was under control, told CNN, “I don’t think the president knows what he’s talking about — once again.”

Mr. Trump has in recent days been frustrated by the threat of the virus, expressing it to a number of advisers. He is looking for someone new to manage the administration’s response efforts, which have so far been overseen by a task force led by Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, according to a person familiar with the effort.

Lawmakers have expressed alarm that the Trump administration has yet to appoint a czar-like position at the White House, which President Barack Obama did in 2014 to handle the Ebola virus. That role, and a global health expert slot on the National Security Council, have been vacant for years.

“I’m not sure who’s on the task force,” Senator Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, said on Tuesday as she left a briefing with federal health officials.

She added: “This is why we do need somebody that’s like a coronavirus czar as we had during the Ebola situation. And so far we don’t have such a person to work across the departments.”

Ronald Klain, who held the Ebola position in the Obama White House, said, “One cabinet secretary cannot run an interagency response. Azar has the biggest civilian job in the American government. Is he doing this in his spare time?”

On Tuesday, Mr. Azar told a Senate panel that medical supplies were badly needed for the nation’s emergency stockpile, including 300 million masks for health care workers alone, he said.

Mr. Azar was visiting the House on Wednesday, where he was met by bipartisan concern over the Trump administration’s response so far.

At a morning hearing on his department’s budget, lawmakers questioned him about public health-related cuts the Trump administration has proposed, in addition to his plans to fund the coronavirus response, for which the White House has sought billions of dollars from Congress.

A chart obtained by The New York Times on Tuesday shows that Mr. Azar is proposing shuffling money from key health programs to fund the administration’s response, including some that are central to Mr. Trump’s agenda, like H.I.V. and AIDS prevention, rural health and cancer research.

When he announced his coronavirus proposal Wednesday morning, Mr. Schumer pointed to the $6 billion Congress appropriated for a 2006 flu pandemic and the $7 billion it carved out for the H1N1 flu in 2009. His new plan includes $3 billion for a public health emergency fund, $1.5 billion for the C.D.C., $1 billion for vaccine development and $2 billion for reimbursing states and cities for efforts they have so far made to monitor and prepare for potential new cases of the virus.

Mr. Azar will most likely defend broader public health cuts separate from the White House’s plans to transfer money to handle coronavirus efforts. The president’s budget request for the fiscal year that begins in October would slash the C.D.C.’s budget by almost 16 percent, and the Health and Human Services Department’s by almost 10 percent. Tens of millions of dollars would come from the department’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and its Hospital Preparedness Program, which helps hospitals handle surges of patients during disease outbreaks.

Maggie Haberman, Jim Tankersley and Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

As Trump Visits India, a Trade Deal Remains Elusive

Westlake Legal Group 25DC-TRADE-01-facebookJumbo As Trump Visits India, a Trade Deal Remains Elusive United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Modi, Narendra milk International Trade and World Market India Customs (Tariff)

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s visit to India includes a state dinner, tens of thousands of cheering onlookers and even a marching band on camels — but a long-awaited trade deal between the United States and India is notably absent.

For the second time since September, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India visited the United States, the two countries have failed to reach even a limited “mini-deal” that would increase trade for focused groups of goods, like dairy products, medical devices and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Negotiators from both countries have been working since 2018 on a deal that would lower Indian barriers to some American products, and restore India’s access to a program that allows goods to enter the United States tariff-free.

But the breakdown in negotiations illustrates the steep challenge in reaching a trade deal between two countries headed by populist leaders who harbor suspicions of multilateral arrangements. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi want to protect jobs in their own countries by fending off foreign competitors — shared attributes that make it even more difficult to strike a comprehensive agreement that would roll back trade barriers more broadly.

“Both sides are attuned to their own political imperatives and not where the other side might have an area of accommodation,” said Nisha Biswal, president of the U.S. India Business Council, who served as assistant secretary of state for Central and South Asia during the Obama administration. “It is hard, then, to find where the common ground is where a deal could be struck.”

In appearances alongside Mr. Modi on Tuesday, Mr. Trump touted an agreement by India to purchase more than $3 billion of American military equipment, as well as other purchasing agreements related to commercial airlines and natural gas.

He said the two sides had made “tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement” and that he remained optimistic they could reach a deal.

But urgency toward a deal appears to have faded, with both leaders appearing content for trade barriers to continue. Mr. Trump has said he is focused on a larger agreement that could be reached at the end of this year, if the two sides can find common ground.

That may not be easy. During his visit, the president reiterated his previous complaints about India’s high tariffs on American products, including Harley Davidson motorcycles and other goods.

“We’re being charged large amounts of tariffs, and you can’t do that,” Mr. Trump said. “I just said that’s unfair, and we’re working it out.”

He added that “the money you’re talking about is major, but the United States has to be treated fairly. And India understands that.”

Since trade talks began, both the United States and India have escalated tensions by ratcheting up tariffs and trade barriers, rather than lowering them.

In March 2018, Mr. Trump included India in the list of countries that would be hit by his steel and aluminum tariffs. India responded with retaliatory tariffs on American almonds, apples and other goods. Last May, the Trump administration stripped India of a special status that exempted billions of dollars of its exports into the United States from tariffs.

The two sides were close to reaching a modest agreement in early January that would remove barriers for American farmers and medical device makers and strengthen India’s intellectual property protections, among other issues. But new demands — like a U.S. request for India to buy more walnuts and turkeys — kept popping up, delaying an agreement.

India then surprised the Trump administration in February by pledging to raise import duties on more than 100 items, including medical devices, furniture, electronics, cheese and shelled walnuts — a move that became a major stumbling block to the pact’s conclusion.

Mr. Trump’s trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, responded by reopening previously settled issues. Then he canceled a planned trip to work out everything in person with Mr. Modi’s commerce minister, Piyush Goyal.

An Indian official briefed on the talks said that India would not be bullied into making an agreement with the United States, especially if those concessions might ultimately hurt Indian interests.

For both India and the United States, the trading relationship is an important one. India was the United States’ ninth-largest trading partner in goods in 2018, while the United States edged ahead of China to become India’s largest trading partner last year.

Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the outcome showed the limitations of Mr. Trump’s truculent approach to trade, in which he tries to ratchet up pressure on trading partners to force them into making a bilateral deal.

With smaller countries that count the United States as a major market — South Korea, Japan, Canada and Mexico — Mr. Trump has signed a series of small or revised deals. But with bigger economies, Mr. Trump’s one-on-one approach “has really run into roadblocks,” Mr. Alden said.

With China, it resulted in a limited trade deal, but not one that addressed the biggest economic issues between the countries. Negotiations with the European Union have so far failed to progress. And with India, Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign may have backfired, he said.

Alyssa Ayres, also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said India had gradually been moving toward greater economic openness since experiencing a financial crisis in 1991. But in recent years, the Trump administration’s trade tactics may have pushed India in the opposite direction.

“Given that the Trump administration has brought tariffs back as a policy tool, we are setting the wrong example ourselves for these trade moves,” she said.

But Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society and a former trade negotiator, said the United States was hardly alone in its inability to get India to sign a trade deal.

India has yet to sign a deal with Europe despite years of talks and has fought efforts by the World Trade Organization to update its trade rules, Ms. Cutler said. Progress that the United States and India were making toward a deal “was overshadowed by new tariff and nontariff measures that India was erecting, seriously complicating the talks.”

The Trump administration’s biggest carrot is the restoration of India’s tariff-free status for industries under the Generalized System of Preferences. But that carrot, which waived $200 million a year in tariffs on Indian exports, hardly has the Indian side salivating.

Since Mr. Trump revoked that status, India’s exports of preferential goods like leather handbags, certain metal and plastic products and furniture have increased 5.5 percent, compared with a 1.9 percent increase in overall exports to the United States. That suggests Indian companies are facing little pain from the change in trade status.

“The U.S. needs the trade deal more than India does,” said Mukesh Aghi, the chief executive of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a business group whose members include PepsiCo, Cisco, Mastercard, Boeing and Disney.

The battle over milk and vegetarian cows has been another example of how the two sides can’t seem to find a middle ground.

India produces more milk than anyone else in the world, yet it’s still not enough to meet demand. But India is worried that cheap imported milk from the United States will wipe out many of its 80 million small farmers, who typically tend just a few cows each.

“If our farmers go out of business, there is no one to feed us,” said Ashwani Mahajan, a leader of Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a business group affiliated with India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Then there’s the matter of what those cows eat. In the United States, cattle are typically fed ground-up parts of other animals. That does not pass muster with Hindus, most of whom are vegetarian.

Some American farmers are willing to keep cows on a purely vegetarian diet for 90 days before their milk is sent to India, said Tom Vilsack, the chief executive of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the U.S. agriculture secretary under President Obama.

However, “the Indian government is not willing to accept that,” Mr. Vilsack said. “I don’t see any path forward.”

Ana Swanson reported from Washington, and Vindu Goel from Mumbai, India.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Hails ‘Special’ Ties With Modi, but Complains of Tariffs

Westlake Legal Group 25prexy-1-facebookJumbo Trump Hails ‘Special’ Ties With Modi, but Complains of Tariffs Trump, Donald J New Delhi (India) Modi, Narendra International Trade and World Market India Exxon Mobil Corp

NEW DELHI — President Trump said on Tuesday that he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India had made progress toward what he hopes will be a landmark trade agreement between the two economic giants. But there was no breakthrough to announce after formal talks on the second and final day of the president’s visit, as Mr. Trump complained about steep Indian tariffs.

A joint public appearance by the two leaders was long on florid language about the strength of their relationship and short on concrete results. While Mr. Trump had said before departing the United States that “we may make a tremendous deal there,” the two sides appeared far apart on major points of a trade pact.

“Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement, and I’m optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries,” Mr. Trump told reporters, without elaborating.

Speaking at a news conference a few hours later, he diverged from the sunny rhetoric that had characterized his appearances with Mr. Modi over the past two days, saying that India maintained unfairly high tariffs on American goods, including Harley Davidson motorcycles.

“We’re being charged large amounts of tariffs, and they can’t do that,” Mr. Trump said. “I want reciprocal. The United States has to be treated fairly.”

Such complaints were absent earlier in the day when the two leaders appeared before reporters in the lush garden of Hyderabad House, the iconic building typically used to host foreign leaders, and spoke in front of a backdrop of flags, flowers and fountains.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi celebrated a series of modest agreements that were set before the visit, including a $3 billion arms purchase and a letter of cooperation between Exxon Mobil and India’s energy sector. They agreed to create a joint counternarcotics working group to reduce opioid abuse.

“We think we’re at a point where our relationship is so special with India, it has never been as good as it is now,” Mr. Trump said. “We feel very strongly about each other, and we have done something that is very unique.”

As the two leaders spoke to journalists, smoke was rising into the sky in a different part of New Delhi, where Hindu and Muslim mobs were battling each other in another day of violence over a new citizenship law, backed by Mr. Modi, which eases the way for migrants of all South Asian faiths other than Islam. The day before, at least seven people were killed in the fighting in the Maujpur district of Delhi, including a police officer.

The clashes are the latest example of sectarian tensions that have swelled in recent years as Mr. Modi pursues policies that his critics say are aimed at turning India’s secular democracy into a Hindu state, in which its 200 million Muslims are consigned to second-class status.

All of that went unmentioned as the two leaders made a show of Indian-American relations alongside each other. But when a reporter asked Mr. Trump later, at his solo news conference, about the citizenship law and resulting violence, the president glossed over the issue in rosy terms.

“We did talk about religious freedom, and I will say that the prime minister — it was incredible what he told me,” Mr. Trump said. “He wants people to have religious freedom, and very strongly.”

“They have really worked hard on religious freedom,” Mr. Trump said. “We talked about it for a long time, and I really believe that’s what he wants.”

The two leaders took no questions at their joint appearance before the news media. Although Mr. Modi has taken questions from reporters while overseas next to other world leaders, he is the first prime minister in recent memory to not have held any news conferences in India.

Mr. Modi treated Mr. Trump to a rally of 125,000 people at a giant cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday, an event meant to appeal to the American president’s love of crowds and spectacle, and welcomed him to the presidential palace on Tuesday with the roar of guns and an honor guard of red-uniformed soldiers on horseback.

At his news conference, Mr. Trump was basking in the glow of that event. “Nobody else that came here got the kind of reception that I got,” Mr. Trump said in response to a question about American limits on H-1B visas for Indians.

“Someone said it was greatest greeting ever given to any head of state of any country,” Mr. Trump added, even though it was not even the largest crowd ever to welcome an American president to India.

He did gently urge Mr. Modi’s government to respect freedom on the internet, which the Indian government has shut down repeatedly. Talking about the need for secure 5G wireless, the president added that it should be “a tool for freedom, progress, prosperity, not to do anything where it could be even conceived as a conduit for suppression and censorship.”

A trade deal with India has been a priority for two years for Mr. Trump, who would like to have another economic agreement to take onto the campaign trail before the November election. But the two sides have been divided over farm products, medical devices, digital trade and new tariffs. Mr. Trump has complained that India treats the United States unfairly and called Mr. Modi a “tough negotiator.”

In his news conference, Mr. Trump also addressed growing alarm over the coronavirus and the return of 14 Americans infected with coronavirus to the country last week. He defended that action, even though he was privately furious about it.

“I felt we should bring them back,” he said. “They’re Americans — we should bring them back.”

During the 2014 ebola epidemic in Africa, Mr. Trump tweeted in outrage that Americans infected with that virus should not be allowed into the country. Asked whether his current view clashed with his prior one, he rejected the comparison.

“There’s a vast difference” between the two epidemics, Mr. Trump said, nothing that Ebola was nearly always fatal while the death rate among those infected with the new coronavirus has been relatively low. “At that time nobody had ever even heard of Ebola or had conceived of something where people would disintegrate.” (Ebola was widely known by 2014.)

Mr. Trump also vowed not to accept foreign assistance during his re-election campaign and rejected American intelligence assessments that Russia was already working to help him.

“I want no help from any country, and I haven’t been given help from any country,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Reports Progress Toward India Trade Deal but No Breakthrough

Westlake Legal Group 25prexy-1-facebookJumbo Trump Reports Progress Toward India Trade Deal but No Breakthrough Trump, Donald J New Delhi (India) Modi, Narendra International Trade and World Market India Exxon Mobil Corp

NEW DELHI — President Trump said Tuesday that he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India had made progress toward what he hopes will be a landmark trade agreement between the two economic giants. But there was no breakthrough to announce after formal talks on the second and final day of the president’s visit.

A joint public appearance between the two leaders was long on florid language about the strength of their relationship and short on concrete results. While Mr. Trump had said before departing the United States that “we may make a tremendous deal there,” the two sides appeared far apart on major points of a trade pact.

“Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement and I’m optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries,” Mr. Trump told reporters without elaborating.

The two leaders appeared before reporters in the lush garden of Hyderabad House, the iconic building typically used to host foreign leaders, and spoke in front of a backdrop of flags, flowers and fountains.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi celebrated a series of modest agreements that were already set before the visit, including a $3 billion arms purchase and a letter of cooperation between Exxon Mobil and India’s energy sector. They agreed to create a joint counternarcotics working group to reduce opioid abuse.

“We think we’re at a point where our relationship is so special with India, it has never been as good as it is now,” Mr. Trump said. “We feel very strongly about each other and we have done something that is very unique.”

While an administration official told reporters before Mr. Trump left Washington that the president would raise issues of religious freedom with Mr. Modi, he made no mention in their public comments about a wave of policies that have stirred sectarian divisions in India. Among other moves, Mr. Modi’s government has revoked statehood for Kashmir, the majority-Muslim territory, and passed a new citizenship law easing the way for migrants of all South Asian faiths other than Islam.

As the two leaders spoke to journalists, smoke was rising into the sky in a different part of New Delhi, where Hindu and Muslim mobs were battling each other in another day of violence over the citizenship law. The day before, at least seven people were killed in the fighting in the Maujpur district of Delhi, including a police officer.

All of that went unmentioned as the two leaders made a show of Indian-American relations.

Mr. Modi treated Mr. Trump to a rally of 125,000 people at a giant cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday, an event meant to appeal to the American president’s love of crowds and spectacle, and welcomed him to the presidential palace on Tuesday with the roar of saluting guns and an honor guard of red-uniformed soldiers on horseback.

Mr. Trump did gently urge Mr. Modi’s government to respect freedom on the internet, which the Indian government has shut down repeatedly. Talking about the need for secure 5G wireless, the president added that it should be “a tool for freedom, progress, prosperity, not to do anything where it could be even conceived as a conduit for suppression and censorship.”

The president and the prime minister took no questions at their joint appearance before the news media. While Mr. Modi has taken questions from reporters while overseas next to other world leaders, he is the first prime minister in recent memory to not have held any news conferences in India.

Mr. Trump, by contrast, regularly takes questions, and planned to hold a news conference with reporters by himself later in the day.

A trade deal with India has been a priority for two years for Mr. Trump, who would like to have another economic agreement to take onto the campaign trail before the November election. But the two sides have been divided over farm products, medical devices, digital trade and new tariffs. Mr. Trump has complained that India treats the United States unfairly and called Mr. Modi a “tough negotiator.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump’s Doctor Thought He Had a Ticket to Congress. It Hasn’t Been So Easy.

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-Jackson-6-facebookJumbo Trump’s Doctor Thought He Had a Ticket to Congress. It Hasn’t Been So Easy. Veterans Affairs Department United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Texas Jackson, Ronny L Elections, House of Representatives

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Dressed in cowboy boots and jeans, with an American flag pin on his lapel, Dr. Ronny L. Jackson rolled up at the Red River Harley-Davidson outpost to make his pitch to voters.

“I just came from the White House,” Dr. Jackson, the former White House physician, told the small crowd gathered upstairs from the Harley showroom. “I’ve been working side by side with the president. I know all the cabinet secretaries. I have their cellphones. I know the chief of staff, the national security adviser. I can pick the phone up and I can call them. They’re all friends of mine.”

Dr. Jackson left the West Wing in December after rising from President Trump’s physician to his unlikely pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs to Trump administration roadkill when he was forced to withdraw his name from consideration amid allegations related to his professional conduct.

Now he’s running for Congress in Texas’ 13th District, one of the most conservative in the country, and his argument is simple. In a primary field of 15 anti-immigrant, anti-abortion Republicans, Dr. Jackson is betting his personal connection with the president is enough to win the Republican nomination tantamount to election.

Standing alongside other candidates wearing cowboy hats and “Make America Great Again” caps at the forum on Thursday, Dr. Jackson pitched himself as the only one “who can walk in the Oval Office unannounced and say, ‘Sir, I need you to stop what you’re doing and listen to me,’ and he will stop what he’s doing and listen to me.”

That access, he said, would make him an unusually powerful replacement for Representative Mac Thornberry, the Republican who announced last fall he would not seek re-election after representing his district for more than a quarter of a century.

But it is not clear if that connection, combined with his background as a Navy rear admiral, will be enough to help Dr. Jackson overcome some rookie mistakes as a candidate. There have been more than a few.

His campaign organization, for one thing.

Dr. Jackson’s campaign manager, he said, is “a horse doctor” with a full-time job. He has one full-time staff member, a recent college graduate who is also working for free, and he has relied on his wife, Jane, to drive him around the enormous Panhandle-encompassing district, which spans 41 counties. And despite having a power Rolodex, he has never reached into it to ask the right people for help.

On Friday, Dr. Jackson spent the afternoon knocking on doors in Wichita Falls, only to realize that it was a relatively futile exercise since most people weren’t home. In the evening, he mingled in the bleachers at the Monarch Motor Speedway only to report back to his wife that most of spectators had driven in from Oklahoma.

While waiting for the stock car race to begin, Dr. Jackson laughed when a hunk of mud spun up from the dirt track and landed in his coffee cup, a fitting end to another long day on the campaign trail where it wasn’t clear if he’d made any progress.

Dr. Jackson, who grew up in Levelland, Texas, returned to the Panhandle after leaving the White House and retiring from the Navy, settling in the district in Amarillo. He thought his connections to Mr. Trump and the extended Trumpworld would make him a shoo-in for the seat, people who spoke to him at the time said.

But Mr. Trump, who now generally adheres to rules put in place by his political shop about whom he endorses and what races he weighs in on, has been silent about Dr. Jackson’s campaign. Donald Trump Jr., whom Dr. Jackson considers a close friend, has no plans to get involved in his race or officially endorse him, an aide said. And even Rick Perry, the former energy secretary and Texas governor who encouraged him to run and then endorsed him, has not campaigned for him.

Dr. Jackson is now facing an uphill battle against two well-funded and connected opponents — Chris Ekstrom, a Dallas millionaire who recently moved to the district to run and is self-funding his campaign, and Josh Winegarner, a lobbyist who has the backing of the cattle industry he represents and Mr. Thornberry.

But Dr. Jackson’s connections to the Trump administration as well as the president and his family are real, even if they have not translated into much support.

Eric Trump has tweeted a supportive message, and Mr. Trump has privately encouraged Dr. Jackson to run. And Dr. Jackson is benefiting, if belatedly, from Trump allies and aides who have only recently realized he needed help and have pitched in, setting him up with a real online fund-raising and phone prospecting operation, which helped to finally get him on air with a commercial — a 30-second spot made up entirely of old clips of Mr. Trump praising his character.

At the candidates forum, Dr. Jackson, 52, conceded that he had “never really considered running for office.” But, he said, “Trump is getting re-elected. That’s a done deal at this point.”

“I thought this is the unique opportunity for me to get in the game,” he added. “I have an opportunity to get in the fight and do something for our country.”

Dr. Jackson, who served in the White House medical unit under the past three presidents, grew close to Mr. Trump after delivering the results of a presidential physical in a briefing at which he promoted Mr. Trump’s “incredible genes,” said he did “exceedingly well” on a cognitive test and claimed that if he had adhered to a better diet over the past 20 years, he could have lived to be 200.

His hourlong news conference transformed Dr. Jackson into an inner circle Trump favorite, and a candidate, in Mr. Trump’s mind, for a cabinet post. It also changed how he was perceived outside the building.

“That was the day I got the Trump stamp on me completely,” Dr. Jackson said during an interview last week at a coffee shop in Wichita Falls. “I was no longer viewed as a nonpartisan physician on military orders, even though I still technically was. What I didn’t realize was that it made people much more aggressive toward me when the V.A. nomination came up.”

At the time of the allegations against him — which included loosely dispensing strong drugs to lawmakers and political aides — Dr. Jackson was not allowed to respond because he was an active-duty military officer.

The experience took a toll on Dr. Jackson and his family.

“I tell people now that I got Kavanaugh-ed before Kavanaugh did,” he said, referring to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who he believes was falsely accused of sexual assault during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “I was the pregame but I didn’t know it. I was the warm up.”

Dr. Jackson called the allegations against him “complete garbage” and hinted at behind-the-scenes plotting from both parties to remove a Trump loyalist from contention.

“I saw the ugly side of Washington,” he said. He noted that despite the scandal, “I got promoted in the White House, I maintained my clearance, I stayed in the military, I retired as a Navy admiral. Come on.”

Mr. Trump mounted an aggressive defense of Dr. Jackson, even as a bipartisan group of Senators expressed concerns over his record. The president called for Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, to resign for his lead role in releasing details of the allegations against Dr. Jackson.

Mr. Trump called Dr. Jackson “one of the finest people that I have met” while elevating him to the role of assistant to the president. And in the 13th District, those words may be more important than any accusation.

“I’m leaning toward Ronny because I have to look at who’s electable,” said Danny Breegle, a business owner in Wichita Falls who attended the Thursday night forum. He said he was impressed with his résumé and “wanted to make sure he’s not of the swamp, and now I think he’s independent.”

But for Dr. Jackson, the question will be whether the last-ditch help from Trumpworld has come too late — by Friday, over half of the vote will already be in because of early voting in the March 3 primary.

In the interview, Dr. Jackson admitted that he had not been aggressive in calling in favors, especially from the president. “He had so much on his plate. He was going through impeachment,” Dr. Jackson said. “I thought, I’m not going to put ‘Ronny Jackson in the 13th Congressional District’ on his plate.”

If he wins the seat, Dr. Jackson will be back on a government salary. If he loses, he said, he plans to make enough money to buy his wife any house in Amarillo she wants.

That is, if he doesn’t go back into the Trump administration. Dr. Jackson appeared to leave himself open to the possibility, but said his wife was committed to staying in Texas.

For now, Dr. Jackson said, he has put a cabinet post in his rear view mirror, calling the Veterans Affairs Department a “massive bureaucracy” and asserting that “my ability to impact things will actually be better if I’m a congressman, even for the veterans.”

One of his regrets was moving on from his post as White House physician before he could help institute the diet and exercise regimen he had planned for the president.

During his infamous news conference, Mr. Jackson said his goal was to help Mr. Trump lose 10 to 15 pounds and that he planned to bring an exercise bike or elliptical machine into the White House residence.

Mr. Jackson said those plans never came to pass. (Mr. Trump had gained four pounds by his following physical.) “The exercise stuff never took off as much as I wanted it to,” he said. “But we were working on his diet. We were making the ice cream less accessible, we were putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump’s Doctor Thought He Had a Ticket to Congress. It Hasn’t Been So Easy.

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-Jackson-6-facebookJumbo Trump’s Doctor Thought He Had a Ticket to Congress. It Hasn’t Been So Easy. Veterans Affairs Department United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Texas Jackson, Ronny L Elections, House of Representatives

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Dressed in cowboy boots and jeans, with an American flag pin on his lapel, Dr. Ronny L. Jackson rolled up at the Red River Harley-Davidson outpost to make his pitch to voters.

“I just came from the White House,” Dr. Jackson, the former White House physician, told the small crowd gathered upstairs from the Harley showroom. “I’ve been working side by side with the president. I know all the cabinet secretaries. I have their cellphones. I know the chief of staff, the national security adviser. I can pick the phone up and I can call them. They’re all friends of mine.”

Dr. Jackson left the West Wing in December after rising from President Trump’s physician to his unlikely pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs to Trump administration roadkill when he was forced to withdraw his name from consideration amid allegations related to his professional conduct.

Now he’s running for Congress in Texas’ 13th District, one of the most conservative in the country, and his argument is simple. In a primary field of 15 anti-immigrant, anti-abortion Republicans, Dr. Jackson is betting his personal connection with the president is enough to win the Republican nomination tantamount to election.

Standing alongside other candidates wearing cowboy hats and “Make America Great Again” caps at the forum on Thursday, Dr. Jackson pitched himself as the only one “who can walk in the Oval Office unannounced and say, ‘Sir, I need you to stop what you’re doing and listen to me,’ and he will stop what he’s doing and listen to me.”

That access, he said, would make him an unusually powerful replacement for Representative Mac Thornberry, the Republican who announced last fall he would not seek re-election after representing his district for more than a quarter of a century.

But it is not clear if that connection, combined with his background as a Navy rear admiral, will be enough to help Dr. Jackson overcome some rookie mistakes as a candidate. There have been more than a few.

His campaign organization, for one thing.

Dr. Jackson’s campaign manager, he said, is “a horse doctor” with a full-time job. He has one full-time staff member, a recent college graduate who is also working for free, and he has relied on his wife, Jane, to drive him around the enormous Panhandle-encompassing district, which spans 41 counties. And despite having a power Rolodex, he has never reached into it to ask the right people for help.

On Friday, Dr. Jackson spent the afternoon knocking on doors in Wichita Falls, only to realize that it was a relatively futile exercise since most people weren’t home. In the evening, he mingled in the bleachers at the Monarch Motor Speedway only to report back to his wife that most of spectators had driven in from Oklahoma.

While waiting for the stock car race to begin, Dr. Jackson laughed when a hunk of mud spun up from the dirt track and landed in his coffee cup, a fitting end to another long day on the campaign trail where it wasn’t clear if he’d made any progress.

Dr. Jackson, who grew up in Levelland, Texas, returned to the Panhandle after leaving the White House and retiring from the Navy, settling in the district in Amarillo. He thought his connections to Mr. Trump and the extended Trumpworld would make him a shoo-in for the seat, people who spoke to him at the time said.

But Mr. Trump, who now generally adheres to rules put in place by his political shop about whom he endorses and what races he weighs in on, has been silent about Dr. Jackson’s campaign. Donald Trump Jr., whom Dr. Jackson considers a close friend, has no plans to get involved in his race or officially endorse him, an aide said. And even Rick Perry, the former energy secretary and Texas governor who encouraged him to run and then endorsed him, has not campaigned for him.

Dr. Jackson is now facing an uphill battle against two well-funded and connected opponents — Chris Ekstrom, a Dallas millionaire who recently moved to the district to run and is self-funding his campaign, and Josh Winegarner, a lobbyist who has the backing of the cattle industry he represents and Mr. Thornberry.

But Dr. Jackson’s connections to the Trump administration as well as the president and his family are real, even if they have not translated into much support.

Eric Trump has tweeted a supportive message, and Mr. Trump has privately encouraged Dr. Jackson to run. And Dr. Jackson is benefiting, if belatedly, from Trump allies and aides who have only recently realized he needed help and have pitched in, setting him up with a real online fund-raising and phone prospecting operation, which helped to finally get him on air with a commercial — a 30-second spot made up entirely of old clips of Mr. Trump praising his character.

At the candidates forum, Dr. Jackson, 52, conceded that he had “never really considered running for office.” But, he said, “Trump is getting re-elected. That’s a done deal at this point.”

“I thought this is the unique opportunity for me to get in the game,” he added. “I have an opportunity to get in the fight and do something for our country.”

Dr. Jackson, who served in the White House medical unit under the past three presidents, grew close to Mr. Trump after delivering the results of a presidential physical in a briefing at which he promoted Mr. Trump’s “incredible genes,” said he did “exceedingly well” on a cognitive test and claimed that if he had adhered to a better diet over the past 20 years, he could have lived to be 200.

His hourlong news conference transformed Dr. Jackson into an inner circle Trump favorite, and a candidate, in Mr. Trump’s mind, for a cabinet post. It also changed how he was perceived outside the building.

“That was the day I got the Trump stamp on me completely,” Dr. Jackson said during an interview last week at a coffee shop in Wichita Falls. “I was no longer viewed as a nonpartisan physician on military orders, even though I still technically was. What I didn’t realize was that it made people much more aggressive toward me when the V.A. nomination came up.”

At the time of the allegations against him — which included loosely dispensing strong drugs to lawmakers and political aides — Dr. Jackson was not allowed to respond because he was an active-duty military officer.

The experience took a toll on Dr. Jackson and his family.

“I tell people now that I got Kavanaugh-ed before Kavanaugh did,” he said, referring to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who he believes was falsely accused of sexual assault during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “I was the pregame but I didn’t know it. I was the warm up.”

Dr. Jackson called the allegations against him “complete garbage” and hinted at behind-the-scenes plotting from both parties to remove a Trump loyalist from contention.

“I saw the ugly side of Washington,” he said. He noted that despite the scandal, “I got promoted in the White House, I maintained my clearance, I stayed in the military, I retired as a Navy admiral. Come on.”

Mr. Trump mounted an aggressive defense of Dr. Jackson, even as a bipartisan group of Senators expressed concerns over his record. The president called for Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, to resign for his lead role in releasing details of the allegations against Dr. Jackson.

Mr. Trump called Dr. Jackson “one of the finest people that I have met” while elevating him to the role of assistant to the president. And in the 13th District, those words may be more important than any accusation.

“I’m leaning toward Ronny because I have to look at who’s electable,” said Danny Breegle, a business owner in Wichita Falls who attended the Thursday night forum. He said he was impressed with his résumé and “wanted to make sure he’s not of the swamp, and now I think he’s independent.”

But for Dr. Jackson, the question will be whether the last-ditch help from Trumpworld has come too late — by Friday, over half of the vote will already be in because of early voting in the March 3 primary.

In the interview, Dr. Jackson admitted that he had not been aggressive in calling in favors, especially from the president. “He had so much on his plate. He was going through impeachment,” Dr. Jackson said. “I thought, I’m not going to put ‘Ronny Jackson in the 13th Congressional District’ on his plate.”

If he wins the seat, Dr. Jackson will be back on a government salary. If he loses, he said, he plans to make enough money to buy his wife any house in Amarillo she wants.

That is, if he doesn’t go back into the Trump administration. Dr. Jackson appeared to leave himself open to the possibility, but said his wife was committed to staying in Texas.

For now, Dr. Jackson said, he has put a cabinet post in his rear view mirror, calling the Veterans Affairs Department a “massive bureaucracy” and asserting that “my ability to impact things will actually be better if I’m a congressman, even for the veterans.”

One of his regrets was moving on from his post as White House physician before he could help institute the diet and exercise regimen he had planned for the president.

During his infamous news conference, Mr. Jackson said his goal was to help Mr. Trump lose 10 to 15 pounds and that he planned to bring an exercise bike or elliptical machine into the White House residence.

Mr. Jackson said those plans never came to pass. (Mr. Trump had gained four pounds by his following physical.) “The exercise stuff never took off as much as I wanted it to,” he said. “But we were working on his diet. We were making the ice cream less accessible, we were putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘America Loves India,’ Trump Declares at Rally With Modi

AHMEDABAD, India — President Trump began a two-day visit to India by joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a campaign-style rally in a 110,000-seat cricket stadium that illustrated the populist bond between the two men and impressed a president who revels in spectacle.

“America loves India. America respects India,” Mr. Trump said. “And America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people.”

The “Namaste Trump” rally, a daylong affair featuring popular singers, dancers and pounding music, took place under a blazing sun in the city’s Motera Stadium, which India calls the largest of its kind in the world. It was an unabashed homage to Mr. Trump, whose name and image appeared in dozens of banners and billboards throughout the stadium.

Mr. Trump looked out with satisfaction at the grand display, and said it had made a lasting impression on him.

”We will always remember this remarkable hospitality. We will remember it forever,” Mr. Trump said to loud cheers, as his wife, Melania, sat nearby. “From this day onward, India will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

But even as he name-checked famous cricket players and Bollywood stars, Mr. Trump betrayed unfamiliarity with the country — and even his immediate location — when he stumbled over several pronunciations, including those of Ahmedabad itself, as well as Gujarat, the state it anchors and Mr. Modi’s political home base.

And although Mr. Trump said with satisfaction that 125,000 people had turned out to see him, more than one third of the crowd appeared to leave before the end of his nearly 30-minute remarks, and another third was gone by the time Mr. Modi spoke after him.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_169442373_744b69d1-265b-4beb-a3fa-3fdded961f3d-articleLarge ‘America Loves India,’ Trump Declares at Rally With Modi United States International Relations Trump, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald J Taj Mahal Stadiums and Arenas Muslims and Islam Modi, Narendra Kushner, Jared Indian-Americans India Houston (Tex) Gujarat State (India) Ahmedabad (India)

Spectators packed the 110,000-seat cricket stadium where the rally was held.Credit…Atul Loke for The New York Times

The event was the mirror image of a “Howdy, Modi!” rally the two men held at a football stadium in Houston last September, and catered to Mr. Trump’s taste for a giant crowd. It also made vivid an image the leaders are jointly cultivating as larger-than-life, unapologetically brash figures leading their countries to bright new futures — even as critics call them mutual enablers in parallel assaults on democratic and religious freedoms.

“Two dynamic personalities, one momentous occasion,” declared one billboard in Ahmedabad, highlighting a personal dynamic that, for now, overshadows more substantive hangups in the U.S.-India relationship. Those included Mr. Trump’s efforts to strike a peace agreement with the Taliban and slow progress toward a trade deal.

Mr. Trump said that he and Mr. Modi would eventually be making “very, very major” trade deals, but added that they are in the “early stages of discussion.” Mr. Modi was “a very tough negotiator,” he joked.

But that was about as critical as Mr. Trump got in remarks that hailed Mr. Modi for his “landslide” 2019 re-election, which Mr. Trump noted was the largest democratic election on Earth. Making no mention of a growing backlash against what critics call Mr. Modi’s anti-Muslim Hindu nationalism, Mr. Trump praised India for its unity and echoed the Indian leader’s own stump speeches by noting anti-poverty efforts that have provided more electricity, cooking gas and toilets to rural Indians.

It was further evidence that Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi have developed a personal bond, or at least a political partnership, one Mr. Modi has skilfully created with the glue of flattery. Before departing from Washington on Sunday, Mr. Trump told reporters that his appearance here would be “the biggest event they’ve ever had in India. That’s what the prime minister told me.” (The rally was likely not even the biggest Indian turnout for an American president: Dwight D. Eisenhower drew a crowd of one million during a 1959 visit to New Delhi, according to an Associated Press report at the time.)

Onstage, the two men hugged repeatedly, and Mr. Modi lavished his guest with praise.

“President Trump thinks big, and the world knows what he has done to realize the American dream,” Mr. Modi said to the cheering crowd.

Although Ahmedabad did not deliver the 10 million well-wishers that Mr. Trump has also said Mr. Modi promised to turn out — the entire city’s population is less than 6 million, and television images suggested tens of thousands, not millions in the streets — the city feted him with costumed musicians and dancers, and even a marching band on camels.

Motera Stadium — formally known as Sardar Patel Stadium, and still partly under construction — was full at the outset of Mr. Trump’s remarks, with tens of thousands sitting for hours in temperatures well above 80 degrees. Some Indians wore Modi masks and waved American flags while they danced to the popular Indian musicians who warmed up the crowd.

Mr. Trump departed from the event for Agra and a sunset tour of the Taj Mahal. From there he heads to New Delhi, where he will meet with Mr. Modi before attending a state banquet.

Major roads in the three cities were teeming with giant posters and billboards of Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi, along with inspiring slogans trumpeting the U.S.-India relationship.

“World’s oldest democracy meets world’s largest democracy,” proclaimed one. But skeptics of the two men say they have each undermined democratic traditions by demonizing immigrants, promoting nationalism and seeking to suppress media freedoms.

Mr. Trump has shown little public concern for actions by Mr. Modi that have drawn international condemnation, including abruptly revoking the statehood of predominantly Muslim Kashmir and backing a law establishing a religious test for new migrants that critics call evidence of plans to turn India into a Hindu-centric state whose 200 million Muslims would be second-class citizens.

Sectarian-themed clashes erupted in northeast New Delhi on Monday, as people for and against Mr. Modi’s new immigration law fought in the streets. A policeman was killed amid rising tensions between Hindus and Muslims in that area, officials said.

Still, those contentious issues went unmentioned during Monday’s event, although Trump administration official told reporters on Friday that Mr. Trump would talk during his visit “about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom both in his public remarks and then certainly in private.” Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi are scheduled to hold a news conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Mr. Trump drew some of the day’s loudest cheers when he mentioned India’s rival and neighbor, Pakistan, saying that he was working with that country “to crack down on the terrorist organizations” that operate along its border with India, and which New Delhi sees as a mortal threat”Every nation has the right to secure and controlled borders. The United States and India are committed to working together to stop terrorists and to fight their ideology,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump, who tweeted good wishes to India in Hindi before and after his arrival, was joined on his flight there by his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. Before arriving at the stadium, Mr. Trump removed his shoes and donned a traditional scarf for a visit to an ashram where the former Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi once lived.

Ahmedabad is the biggest city and the main business hub in Gujarat, Mr. Modi’s home and political base. Many of the most influential Indian-Americans are also originally from Gujarat, and a growing source of political and financial support for Mr. Trump as he heads toward re-election. Mr. Trump said on Monday that four million Indian-Americans live in the United States, including “titans of business” and “pioneers of science.”

Gujarat is also the place where Mr. Modi’s critics say that he, as chief minister of the state, played an unforgivable role during a wave of sectarian violence in 2002 that left more than 1,000 people dead — almost 800 of whom were Muslims killed by Hindu mobs.

Mr. Modi has been widely accused of at least tacitly supporting the violence. Much of the killing was done by members of his political party and other Hindu nationalist groups. Many witnesses said police officers did not intervene and in many cases joined in the killing.

Mr. Modi denies those accusations. But the George W. Bush administration was suspicious enough of Mr. Modi’s role to ban him in 2005 from visiting the United States.

When he became prime minister in the spring of 2014, the travel ban was lifted, and later that year, Mr. Modi made his first triumphant visit to the United States, where he had a private dinner with President Obama.

Mr. Trump is popular in India, where 2019 polling by the Pew Research Center found 56 percent of citizens expressed confidence in him to handle world affairs — one of just a half-dozen nations to register a majority on that question. In many other countries, he is more apt to draw crowds of protesters than admirers. Attendees at Monday’s rally seemed dazzled.

“If they don’t make any deals, that’s fine,” said Mahesh Banker, a 50-year-old doctor who attended the rally with friends. “But India is shining, and America recognizes that, and that’s all that matters.”

Another attendee, Harsh Patel, a 21-year-old from Gujarat who now lives in Canada, drew comparisons between the two leaders. “Modi is a strong leader, passionate about his people, and he works for them,” he said. “He’s unorthodox, and doesn’t care what people think. Kind of like Trump.”

In addition to hanging hundreds of banners and billboards, India’s government hurried in recent days to make cosmetic improvements to all three of the cities Mr. Trump is visiting. In Ahmedabad, a new wall appeared that happened to conceal a slum.

And in Agra on Sunday, a day before Mr. Trump’s arrival, workers were busy paving streets in and around the Taj Mahal compound. “Trump is coming!” volunteered one worker filling cracks in a sidewalk leading to the famous structure.

Local media reports chronicled efforts by officials to chase away the hundreds of monkeys who perennially roam around the structure and which can be hostile to people. No monkeys were visible on the grounds during Mr. Trump’s visit.

Reporting was contributed by Maria Abi-Habib and Hari Kumar from Ahmedabad, India; and by Jeffrey Gettleman, Shalini Venugopal and Suhasini Raj from New Delhi.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com