As it happenedended1565990543

Trump news: Impeachment support swells as president forced into rare apology after hurling abuse at overweight supporter

Follow the latest updates from Washington, as it happened

Clark Mindock
New York
,Joe Sommerlad
Friday 16 August 2019 11:26 EDT
Donald Trump fat shaming person at rally

Donald Trump has apologised to a supporter he fat-shamed at his latest 2020 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday night, after mistaking the MAGA fan for a protester and telling him to “go home and start exercising”.

​On a typically wild evening, the president inspired new chants of Lock her up! and Send her back!, directed at Hillary Clinton and Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar respectively, took credit for an Obama-era law, pledged to cure AIDS and praised state representative Al Baldasaro, who once called for Mrs Clinton to be shot.

Mr Trump has meanwhile expressed an interest in buying Greenland, the world’s largest island, according to The Wall Street Journal, prompting Denmark to tell him: We are open for business, but we’re NOT for sale.

The president's desire to buy Greenland has sparked considerable ridicule for Mr Trump, and one presidential candidate — Montana governor Steve Bullock — even went so far as to buy the website "", and is using it to fundraise his long-shot campaign.

Mr Trump was slated to hold a meeting with his top foreign policy officials on Friday, where they were to discuss a potential peace agreement with the Taliban.

That deal, if it is managed, could allow the US to officially end its presence in Afghanistan after nearly 18 years of conflict.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent's rolling coverage of the Donald Trump administration.

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 08:55

Donald Trump staged his latest 2020 campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday night, a state he lost three years ago, taking credit for the Veterans' Choice Act introduced under his predecessor (for, by some counts, the 80th time) and making veiled threats against beaten rival Hillary Clinton, not least by praising state representative Al Baldasaro, who once called for her to be shot. 

On a typically wild evening, Trump inspired new chants of “Lock her up!” and “Send her back!”, the latter directed once again at Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and mocked a protester who disrupted his address, telling him: “Go home and start exercising.”

After walking on stage to "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, Trump quickly whipped his crowd into a frenzy of boos over the "fake news media", brandished a new "Keep America Great" cap before launching into a crude impersonation of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden and warning that "You have no choice but to vote for me. Everything's going to go down the tubes" if he doesn't win next year.

He offered up another baseless conspiracy theory by suggesting that voter fraud had cost him New Hampshire in 2016 and falsely claiming "every leading Democrat has pledged to abolish the American oil, coal, and natural gas industries that are fueling our economic boom."

And he wasn't done there. The president said Democrats support the execution of babies, promised to cure AIDS once again and claimed: "It's not the gun that pulls the trigger, it's the person holding the guy."

The punchline? “Our movement is a movement of love.”

Here's Andrew Buncombe's report.

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 09:00

On Twitter afterwards, Trump boasted of beating Elton John's record attendance levels for the venue. 

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 09:10

A selection of scenes from in and around the Southern New Hampshire University Arena last night.

Check out that QAnon rag.

(Spencer Platt/Getty)

(Scott Eisen/Getty)

(Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty)

(Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty)

(Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

(Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

(CJ Gunther/EPA)

(Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 09:20

Trump has meanwhile repeatedly expressed an interest in buying Greenland, the world’s largest island, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The president is thought to have raised the prospect of purchasing the vast, autonomous Danish territory on numerous occasions with staff, after hearing about its natural resources and geopolitical importance.

Britain, take note. Greenland is the only country to have left the European community.

Tom Barnes has the full story.

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 09:40

"Oh please God no."

Tom Embury-Dennis has Greenland's reaction to Trump's interest in its acquisition.

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 09:55

Conservative talk show host and right-wing pundit Joe Walsh has called slammed Trump as an "unfit conman" and a "racial arsonist" and called for him to face a Republican primary challenger. So far only Bill Weld has thrown his hat into the ring.

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 10:05

There was more bad news for Trump at the polls, with Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris all on course to beat him according to this one conducted for Fox News between 11 and 13 August.

This follows the president's favourite broadcaster risking upsetting him yesterday with another survey of registered voters that found his disapproval rating has jumped to 56 per cent, a five per cent month-on-month increase and just one percentage point short of the all-time high it reached in October 2017.

On job numbers, 43 per cent of the 1,013 respondents to the Fox survey said they approved of his performance, down three percent on last month. Of his response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, earlier this month, only 37 per cent approved. Perhaps most interestingly, a record number of men disapproved of Trump - 53 per cent. Among white men specifically, the disapproval rating was 46 per cent.

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 10:20

Trump was busy touting Corey Lewandowski in New Hampshire yesterday, who greeted him upon his arrival in Manchester and was present for his rally speech, as his former campaign manager mulls a run for the Senate in his home state.

(Patrick Semansky/AP)

Trump praised Lewandowski as "a very outstanding guy" in an interview on the New Hampshire Today radio show before his evening rally. The president said he thought Lewandowski would be hard to beat if he decides to challenge Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen.

"Well, first of all, I have to tell you that I think he would be fantastic. He's got great energy. He's terrific on television .. He's a really good guy," Trump said in the interview. While he said he didn't think Lewandowski had made up his mind yet, Trump said that, "If he ran, he would be a great senator" and "hard to beat." 

Meanwhile in DC, the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for Lewandowski and another for ex-White House aide Rick Dearborn as part of its investigation into Trump's conduct in office. 

Chairman Jerrold Nadler says he committee wants to hear publicly from Lewandowski and Rick Dearborn on 17 September "as part of its efforts to hold the president accountable." 

Lewandowski and Dearborn were both "prominently featured" in former special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Trump's possible obstruction of justice. The report says Lewandowski and Dearborn were aware of Trump's efforts to have Mueller fired. 

The Trump administration has been blocking former aides from testifying before Congress, setting off a legal battle that is expected to deepen in the fall. It is now considering the possibility of invoking executive privilege to shield Lewandowski from having to comply with the subpoena, according to CNN, despite his never having worked for the president at the White House.

The administration did the same to prevent ex-White House counsel Don McGahn from having to appear before the same committee earlier this year.

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 10:35

A little more reaction from New Hampshire and Trump's alarmingly totalitarian insistence that the locals have "no choice" but to vote to him.

Joe Sommerlad16 August 2019 10:50

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