Now we don’t need to wait for controversies to tail US President Donald Trump when most of them are his own creation. And they are aplenty – even if it is just six months for Trump in the White House – he brought presidential order to block people from Muslim majority countries in the US; he withdrew the US from global trade and climate deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris Climate Deal; he has tried hard but has failed so far in repealing his predecessor Barack Obama’s healthcare act; he has cracked down on immigrants and introduced an immigration bill this week to slash down the number of legal immigrants; and his campaign pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.

The 45th US President is writing the newest chapters of the book on few controversial US Presidents so far. A CNN analysis few days back, in fact, had found a term to describe Trump – The Most Un-presidential President. Ever since Trump’s inauguration, his popularity has been rapidly coming down and new survey has found 61 per cent of registered American voters disapproving his way of governance.

Now another major US publication, The Washington Post, that has already done its series of revelations and expose on Trump’s misadventures and has been in Trump’s firing line of his vitriolic wit and tweets, has come out with another bombshell. The Post has released leaked transcripts of Trump’s phone conversations with his Mexican and Australian counterparts. And like said, they are so un-presidential that the White House did not release them in first place.

When we go through the entire transcript, we can easily look into the mind of Donald Trump, that why he is so – someone who believes he is the greatest person on the earth and then goes on to boast it.

There is no denying to this established fact that the US President is the most powerful person on the earth – but he is certainly not the greatest one. That is a human virtue that doesn’t need the power corridors of the White House. By virtue of being the US President, Donald Trump, indeed could have been the most powerful person in the world. But the irony is, he is not even the most powerful one in America, owing to the spate of controversies around him and his family. The robust system of checks and balances in the US administration cannot allow him to be so. What can be a better testimony to this than his failed attempts to repeal Barack Obama’s healthcare act that he so vehemently detests or wide criticism in the US that his travel ban plan from Muslim majority nations attracted.

The transcript shows him fighting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull like some small time, factional politician and not the President of the United States of America, an office that is most powerful in the world and is also supposed to be the most dignified one. But how can it be dignified when its inhabitants are not.

This one ‘I am the greatest person on the earth’ is a perfect example of it. While discussing with his Australian counterpart an already agreed deal to take in Nauru and Manus islands refugees who were trying to enter Australian through sea route but were caught and imprisoned, he can be seen using un-parliamentary words not just for human lives but also for his predecessor Barack Obama who had signed the deal with Australia. Trump declares the deals signed by Obama stupid and rotten.

Portions of this Trump-Turnbull conversation were leaked earlier which had created tension between the US and Australia. Reportedly, after the 20-minute conversation had ended, Trump had described Turnbull, who is considered a moderate, a brawler and not a shrinking poppy, something that Trump had expected before the call.

But what shocks is the utter disregard for human lives that Trump has. During the course of conversation with Turnbull on January 28, Trump says, “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.”

Even if Turnbull assures that they are not bad people but economic refugees and Australia has full knowledge of their backgrounds, Trump keeps on repeating his scorn for the refugees as if he is not hearing what Turnbull is saying, “I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.”



Time magazine has put Donald Trump Jr. on its cover page with an aptly curated tag – ‘red-handed’ and the Twitter handle of the magazine has tweeted an interesting video about it.

The video highlights words like ‘Russia – Clinton – private and confidential – info – Trump Jr. writing I love it – very high level and ultra-sensitive information’ – from Trump Jr. email conversation to on possibility of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton that he himself had tweeted after the New York Times story about his meeting with a Russian lawyer with Kremlin connection in June 2016 that promised compromising and sensitive information about the democratic rival of his father Donald Trump Sr.

While releasing the email chain, Trump Jr. had claimed that he was doing so in order to be totally transparent. Trump Sr. appreciated it saying his son Donald did a good job and he was open, transparent and innocent. Trump Sr. then went on to add his routine line about the ongoing FBI probe into Russian meddling into last year’s US presidential election – ‘this is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!’

But the New York Times immediately hit back saying that Trump Jr. was forced to do so as he was aware that the Times was going to release the email conversation. Trump Jr. act has brought a storm in America as it has effectively shut down all those tall claims by Donald Trump, his family and his associates that the whole story about Russian collusion was fake and phony and they had nothing to do with Russians.

Both, Trump Sr. and Trump Jr. used to claim in past that there could not be a bigger lie than the alleged Russian help for the Trump campaign. But the email conversation clearly proves that the Trump campaign team was in touch with Russians irrespective of the fact the email chain doesn’t prove that the Trump team indeed colluded with the Russians. And it has changed the whole discourse about the affair in the American political and media circles with experts even asking if Donald Trump Jr. can go to jail for it.



The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Taking his criticism of US President Donald Trump’s stand on climate change to the next level, French President Emmanuel Macron has launched a website inviting US scientists and research scholars to live in France and do research there on climate change. Earlier this month, after the US exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, he had assured the US scientists that France was like a second homeland for them.

The website ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ (, an apparent dig at Donald Trump’s favourite slogan ‘Make America Great Again (#MAGA), says it is an initiative of President of France Emmanuel Macron who launched it to invite American scientists to “come work in France after facing the climatic skepticism of the new government of the United States.”

Macron says “he wants to make our planet great again” and appeals to the scientists that “the planet needs their innovative skills” and asks “if they you IN to change (literally) our daily lives and make our planet great again?” While terming the US decision unfortunate, he says “it has only reinforced our determination. Don’t let it weaken yours. We are ONE planet and together, we can make a difference.”

On June 1, US President Donald Trump had pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a global climate pact to deal with emission of greenhouse gases. 195 countries signed the agreement document in December 2015 and 147 countries have ratified it so far and the agreement came into effect on November 4, 2016. Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President.

After Trump’s announcement, according to France 24*, while slamming Trump for making a historic mistake, Macron said the US scientists and entrepreneurs “disappointed” by Trump’s decision “will find in France a second homeland: I call on them, come and work here with us.”

It was unprecedented when he chose to address the world in English from Elysee Place, the official residence of the French president, after Trump’s no to Paris Accord. It was, in fact, a first for a French president, The Telegraph** said. Also, the press release sent to French journalists from the Elysee Palace on the website launch was in English, again “an unprecedented move by a French president”, the France 24 report said.

Macron, in fact, had released a video statement in English on Twitter on February 10, while he was campaigning for the French presidential polls, calling the US scientists and entrepreneurs working on climate change to relocate to France after Trump had decided to curtail the climate change research budget.

US withdrawing from the Paris Accord is certainly a bad news as the country is the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases. China, the European Union and the US account for more than half of the global greenhouse gas emissions, an analysis from the World Resources Institute says. The US exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the Paris Accord even if other large emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China have reiterated their commitment.



US President Donald Trump has reacted on former FBI chief James Comey’s public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In a tweet, he has said that Comey’s testimony completely vindicates him and he didn’t forget to add that Comey, who he fired last month, is a leaker.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Deputy Press Secretary of the White House, rebutted Comey’s claims saying President Trump was not a liar. Trump’s private lawyer Marc Kasowitz released a statement after Comey’s testimony ended which said that President never said to Comey that “he needs loyalty, he expects loyalty”. Kasowitz statement further said that the President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that that Mr. Comey “let Michael Flynn go”, Trump’s former National Security Adviser. Flynn was forced to resign in February after it emerged that he had misled the US Vice-President Mike Pence on his communication with the Russian Ambassador.

Fired FBI chief James Comey in his hours long testimony yesterday had termed Trump a liar some five times, had said that Trump had asked him for loyalty, had directed Comey to drop investigations on Flynn and had said that he intentionally leaked memo on his conversation with Trump to build pressure to appoint special counsel in the case. Comey’s strategy worked after the US Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller special counsel to probe Russian meddling into the last year’s US presidential election.



It seems US President Donald Trump has just got up from a deep slumber of three months to realize that the reworked Travel Ban plan that bears his signature has been watered down to the extent that it is worthless and its original and a much tougher version is needed to be restored. Donald Trump had signed the “watered down” version on March 6. And like his earlier attempt to enforce a nation-wide travel ban plan targeting a particular community, this, too, was stayed by the US courts.

After the London Bridge terror attack on June 3 that left seven dead and dozens injured, Trump has slammed the re-drafted version of his administration’s Travel Ban order an attempt to be “politically correct”, in a series of tweets, he has said that “the US Justice Department should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to the US Supreme Court and the Justice Department should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court – and seek much tougher version!”

It raises a pertinent question then – why Donald Trump allowed this watered down version to go through? Did he not study it before putting his signature or was he convinced that the modified version of Travel Ban kept his idea of travel ban intact, as the US courts later concluded?

On March 15, a Hawaii court blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt to reintroduce the controversial Travel Ban plan saying it was biased and discriminatory. The ban was upheld by a Circuit Court of Appeals on May 25. Trump had signed the new executive order on March 6, weeks after the first futile attempt to ban immigration from some Muslim majority countries.

In the new executive order on Travel Ban, that, according to Trump is a watered down and politically correct version, three months after he signed it, the Trump administration had made some minor changes to the first version of the executive order which was issued on January 27 so that it could evade the courts. For example, the second order excluded Iraq from the list of countries facing the ban, i.e., Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, and featured exemptions for green card holders, permanent US residents and for those already having a US visa.

But the courts weren’t satisfied. Comparing both versions of the Travel Ban executive order, the judge of the Hawaii found “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the executive order and its related predecessor.”

Trump had termed the decision of the Hawaii court an “unprecedented judicial overreach.” When his first Travel Ban executive order was stayed, he had slammed “the opinion of the so-called judge which essentially took law-enforcement away from their country” and claimed that the “decision was ridiculous and would be overturned!” He has continued his tirade against the US judiciary which he finds is rigged and compares it with that of the third world countries.

While alleging the courts to be “slow and political”, he claims that in order to help keep the US safe, his administration is “extreme vetting” people coming into the U.S.



The article originally appeared on India Today. 

As it was widely expected, US President Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a global climate pact to deal with emission of greenhouse gases under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 195 countries signed the agreement document in December 2015 and 147 countries have ratified it so far and the agreement came into effect on November 4, 2016, days before the US presidential election on November 8, 2016.

US withdrawing from it is certainly a bad news as the country is the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases. China, the European Union and the US account for more than half of the glbal greenhouse gas emissions, an analysis from the World Resources Institute says. And the US exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the Paris accord even if other larger emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China has reiterated their commitment.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. Trump and his associates would refer to the Paris deal “a bad idea” that would be detrimental for the US economy and therefore for the US jobs. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, Trump behaved on the issue like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it.

During his recent visit to European countries and to the Vatican, European leaders and Pope Francis urged him stay with the climate pact. During the G7 Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal. But his final decision says he had already made up his mind.

It is the second occasion when the United States has walked out of a global climate deal after endorsing it and on both occasions, it was a decision by a Democrat president that was overturned by his Republican successor.

In 2001, then US President George W Bush, a Republican, had withdrawn from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, that was accepted by his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton. The agreement document was signed by former US vice-president Al Gore but could not be ratified by the US Senate. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was also aimed at reducing emission of greenhouse gases that are chiefly responsible for global warming. Like Trump says about the Paris Accord, Bush would say the same about the Kyoto Protocol that it “would have wrecked the US economy”.

This time also, it is a Republican president who has overturned a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama. The Republican controlled US Senate would never ratify the deal and therefore the agreement document signed by Barack Obama is considered an executive agreement as a traditional international treaty would require ratification by the US Senate, media reports in the US said. Under the Obama curated deal, the US had agreed to cut its 2005 emission levels by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025. Since the Paris Agreement was not ratified by the US Senate, its many provisions were not binding on the US. And since it is an “executive agreement”, Trump is well within his authority to withdraw from it.



The article originally appeared on India Today. 

According to a report in German publication Der Spiegel, US President Donald Trump has charged Germans for cornering business and jobs in the US. While blasting Germans, Trump said, “The Germans are bad, very bad. See the millions of cars they are selling to the U.S. Terrible. We will stop this”. Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of trade imbalance between Germany and America that is largely tilted in German favour.

In January, he had targeted German carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz comparing their high sale volume in America with low sale volume of Chevrolet in Germany and had threatened to impose 35 per cent import tariff on BMW on its cars imported from its Mexican plant. But it is not only about German carmakers. In fact, data from the Wall Street Journal shows that apart from General Motors, with a market share of 17.1 per cent in April 2017 and Ford with market share of 15.1 per cent, the two largest automakers in the US, most other automakers in the top ten are foreign companies. i.e., Japanese Toyota has a market share of 13.5 per cent, German Chrysler has a market share of 12.4 per followed by Nissan’s 9.9 per cent, Honda’s 9.2 per cent and Hyundai’s 4.2 per cent.

In response to Trump’s criticism, German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, Angela Merkel’s deputy, quipped that the US automakers needed to come up with better cars. He termed products of American automakers “worse, weaker and more expensive”, an Associated Press report said.

According to a Reuters report, the US has a trade deficit of $65 billion with Germany, its third largest negative trade balance. The top slot goes to China with which the US has a trade deficit of $349 billion. Japan accounts for $69 billion deficit, coming in at the second spot. And going by Trump’s assessment of Germans in context of running trade deficit, China and Japan should be even bigger headaches for the US economy then.

In fact, according to a Financial Times report, Trump signed an executive order days before Chinese Xi Jinping’s US visit in April 2017 authorizing a study to look into the $500 billion annual trade deficit of the US. The study has a mandate of 90 days to analyze the issue country country-by-country and product-by-product, the report said. Also, Trump tweeted before the meeting that ” it will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses”.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits…
3:46 AM – 31 Mar 2017

After Trump-Jinping Summit, the Trump Administration hailed it as a historic meeting with a breakthrough trade deal that would cut the US trade deficit with China as China agreed to open its market for certain US companies and product categories. But experts are not satisfied. According to a Forbes report, “the deal might actually increase America’s bulging trade deficit with China”. To support its point of view the Forbes analysis further says, “China over the last decade has been progressively closing off its market, and this trend is now proceeding faster than ever under current supremo Xi Jinping”.

Trump would often talk about “unfair economic ties” with Japan. He blames Japan of currency manipulation and unfair trade practices and went on to the extent to say Japan a “drag on the US economy’. He made the comment days before his White House inauguration on January 20 that drew sharp criticism from Japan.

Trade deficit was one of the central campaign themes of Donald Trump. He, in fact, has blamed trade deficit for slowing down the US economy. When the GDP data came out in April, he tweeted his displeasure, “The U.S. recorded its slowest economic growth in five years (2016). GDP up only 1.6%. Trade deficits hurt the economy very badly”.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
The U.S. recorded its slowest economic growth in five years (2016). GDP up only 1.6%. Trade deficits hurt the economy very badly.
4:21 PM – 26 Apr 2017



The article originally appeared on India Today.

It’s proving to be a bad day for US President Donald Trump. A federal US court has upheld a lower court ruling which blocked Trump’s ambitious but highly divisive travel ban plans targeting travellers from six Muslim majority nations.

In March, a Hawaii court had blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt to reintroduce the travel ban, and said it was biased and discriminatory.

Trump signed a new executive order on March 6, weeks after the first futile attempt to ban immigration from some Muslim majority countries.

The Trump administration made some minor changes to the first version of the executive order, which was issued on January 27, so that it could evade the courts. For example, the second order excluded Iraq from the list of countries facing the ban, and featured exemptions for green card holders, permanent US residents, and for those already having a US visa.

But the courts weren’t satisfied.


Earlier in the day, it was widely reported that Trump’s proposed speech in the Israeli parliament – Knesset – had been cancelled.

An Associated Press report quoting Israel’s parliament speaker said “a proposal that Donald Trump would speak before the Knesset during his visit to Israel was scrapped over fears that the American president would be interrupted and heckled by some lawmakers”.

And the day began with a news break that left Trump embarrassed.

Furious British authorities warned that they would stop sharing information with the United States, after it surfaced that intelligence on the Manchester Arena bombing which they’d shared with the US had been leaked to the US media.

British PM Theresa May said she would raise the issue with Donald Trump when she meets him at the NATO Summit in Brussels.

In damage control mode, Trump asked the US Department of Justice to find the culprit and “prosecute the person to the fullest extent of the law”.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

US President Donald Trump has indicated that he may do something unthinkable again, after trying to ban Muslims from some countries and immigrants from the US in which he miserably failed. He has threatened to stop the White House Press briefings all altogether, a tradition that has been in place since 1929 when the first White House Press Secretary George Akerson was appointed by President Herbert Hoover.

With a barrage of tweets, he is doing his favourite pastime again, i.e., media bashing. But what is important that he has gone a step further and has suggested that he may stop the White House press briefings all together and would instead prefer to send written handouts.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
The Fake Media is working overtime today!
5:23 PM – 12 May 2017

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!….
5:29 PM – 12 May 2017

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
…Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???
5:37 PM – 12 May 2017

His latest flashpoint with Media is the way his press office has dealt with his unexpected firing of James Comey, the FBI Director. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy Press Secretary of the White House, first said that Comey’s firing would not affect at all the investigation into the Russian meddling in the US presidential election. Then she said that Comey’s removal would hasten the investigation and the White House decision was shaped by it.

But all this has been dumped by Donald Trump himself who has said he fired Comey to ensure that the Russian meddling investigation is done “absolutely properly” and Comey’s firing may, in fact, ‘lengthen the investigation’. Also, before it, several White House officials sent out messages that Comey’s firing was for mishandling the email leak issue of Hillary Clinton and was, in no way, related to the investigation into Russian hacking.

Now that is a lot of fodder for any country’s media and the way Trump’s White House mishandled the James Comey firing affair, it has swept the US media. Many US senators have vocally criticized the decision, terming it an attempt by Trump to affect the FBI investigations as it may prove that Trump was benefitted from the Russian meddling in the US presidential election last year. The White House’s moment of humiliation was further added by the comments of the acting FBI Director who praised Comey and said the agency had full faith in him.

Donald Trump’s press wing, under his Press Secretary Sean Spicer has seen wide criticism and therefore humiliation because of its inaccurate briefings and the harsh language used by its spokespersons including Sean Spicer.

Spicer, in fact, began on a wrong note in his very first press briefing when he termed Donald Trump’s inauguration as the most watched of all US presidential inaugurations so far, something that he was forced to retract very soon. The list of his controversies is long including the one where he messed up his wisdom with inaccuracies and misplaced comparisons when he said that ‘even Nazi Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons while speaking about Syrian chemical attack’, something for which he had to issue public apology.

And this White House press wing and its Press Secretary and other spokespersons have to speak for a president who himself has given rise to series of controversies ever since his inauguration on January 20 this year, be it his divisive rhetoric, his immigration and travel ban order or the Mexican border wall or Obamacare repeal or pulling US out of international trade deals or threatening strategic military alliances like the NATO.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is modified and extended.

That may be the case if the US puts into place one of many ideas that the Donald Trump administration is working on to introduce the extreme vetting measures for visiting foreign nationals as Donald Trump had promised during his presidential campaign.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, that has widely echoed in the US media and has started a debate, the Trump administration is considering, among many other things, to ask the travellers to hand over their mobile phones and the passwords of their social media accounts to see who they are ‘communicating with’ and if they are following an ideology that is hostile to the US interests.

How seriously the Trump administration is thinking about implementing these harsh vetting measures can be gauged from the fact that the US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly talked about it during a Congressional hearing in February. “We want to say for instance, ‘what sites do you visit? And give us your passwords,’ so that we can see what they do on the internet”, the Wall Street Journal report quoted him saying. Mr. Kelly added, “If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come’, a favourite campaign promise of Donald Trump.

The extreme vetting process that the Trump administration is working on is going to be designed to start at the application level where one would be asked to share one’s phone contacts so that it can be probed against the information available in the US database and the changes are expected to apply even to people from friendly countries and allies like Japan, the UK, France and Australia, the report says.


Thorough vetting on airports is common, especially on the US airports after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, at times it raises controversies when some important person of a country is detained on the US airports merely on the suspicion raised by his name, like it happened with Shahrukh Khan.

Extreme vetting that is Donald Trump’s favourite phrase, intends to take the existing vetting process to the extreme level. He always uses it to convey his viewpoint on how to regulate entry of foreigners in the United States. During an interview last year, he had said that he didn’t care what people called it but, if elected, he would see to it that people from suspicious territories are subjected to ‘deep scrutiny’.

An NBC News report quoted Donald Trump saying, “We’re going to have a thing called ‘extreme vetting.’ And if people want to come in, there’s going to be extreme vetting. We’re going to have extreme vetting. They’re going to come in and we’re going to know where they came from and who they are.” He reiterated this in his speeches and tweets.

After becoming the US president, he introduced his highly controversial immigration and travel ban plan targeting people from some Muslim majority countries. In defense, he tweeted that the US needed ‘strong borders and extreme vetting.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!
6:38 PM – 29 Jan 2017

The US courts found both the versions of his travel ban discriminatory and in bad taste and blocked them. But extreme vetting was part of Trump’s executive order on travel ban that the court didn’t put a hold on.

The proposed move has already created a big debate in the US with civil society groups and advocacy groups raising their concerns. One of their main logics is what if other countries decide to do the same with the US citizens. Also, the concern is about its effectiveness. Terrorists who are plotting something against the US will try to enter the US with a clean slate to thwart these extreme vetting measures. And then the all encompassing issue of the ‘right to privacy’, that may again take the whole extreme vetting issue to the courts.