Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Esme

President Donald Trump on Sunday continued his Twitter tirade against negotiating with “Rocket Man,” his moniker of choice for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now?” Trump tweeted.

Kim is in his early thirties, though dates vary depending on the record, and has been in power since December 2011, for less than six years.

Earlier Sunday, Trump tweeted that he told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to “save his energy” rather than negotiating with Kim.

“Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Trump tweeted.

Tillerson on Saturday told reporters that the United States has “lines of communication to Pyongyang.”

“We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout,” he said. “We can talk to them, we do talk to them.”

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Sunday said President Donald Trump should “roll up his sleeves and get to work” on the disaster relief effort on Puerto Rico instead of tweeting attacks on the mayor of San Juan.

“The President, instead of tweeting against the mayor of San Juan, who’s watching her people die and just made a plea for help, ought to roll up his sleeves and get to work here,” Schumer said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“The bottom line is, at least for the first week and a half, the effort has been slow-footed, disorganized and not adequate,” he added. “We need more help.”

Schumer said the response to hurricane devastation on Puerto Rico “has not been a good response.”

“It needs the President to stop calling names, stop downgrading the motives of people who are calling for help, but roll up his sleeves and get to work,” Schumer said. “And by the way, he should have gone to Puerto Rico earlier than two weeks — he’ll go Tuesday, that’s good, but two weeks — after it hit.”

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Sunday said he hopes Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore does not represent the Republican Party’s future.

“I certainly hope not,” Kasich said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I mean, we have to look at his whole record and a number of the things that he said,” Kasich added. “I can tell you for me, I don’t support that. I couldn’t vote for that. I don’t know what the heck I would have to do, but I don’t live in that state.”

Among his more controversial comments, Moore in 2005 said homosexual activity should be illegal and compared it to bestiality, in 2006 said Muslims should be barred from serving in Congress, and suggested earlier this year that the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks happened because America turned away from God.

Kasich said that if the Republican Party “can’t be fixed” then he will not “be able to support the party, period, that’s the end of it.”

“What do you mean, you’re going to give up on the party?” Tapper pressed. “Are you talking about possibly becoming an independent?”

“No, not at this,” Kasich said. “What I’m saying to you is, we need to fix it.”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Sunday said he thinks President Donald Trump is “learning” when it comes to race issues in the United States.

“I think, like I said before, he’s learning. I know his heart’s in the right place,” Ryan said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“How do you know that?” John Dickerson asked.

“I’ve had some candid conversations with him about this, especially during that time,” Ryan said, referring to the aftermath of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent. “I’ve had some very candid conversations, and so I do really believe his heart’s in the right place.”

Asked about Trump’s ongoing attacks on NFL players and coaches who protest by kneeling during the national anthem, often to call attention to the treatment of minorities in the United States, Ryan said he thinks Trump has “got a point.”

“What I think a lot of people who are protesting on that don’t necessarily see is that other people see it as disrespecting the country, what it stands for, the flag, and the people who died to protect it,” Ryan said.

He said people “clearly” can “express themselves under the First Amendment however they want to.”

“But what so many Americans — I see this at home — see is you’re disrespecting the idea of America, that we want to make this free country a more perfect union,” Ryan said, “and that people have died and fought and survived to protect it, so they don’t see the point that they’re trying to make.”

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who announced last month that he will not run for reelection, on Sunday said he stands by his criticism of President Donald Trump’s response to violence that broke out at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Corker in August said Trump had “not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”

“He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today, and he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that,” Corker said at the time.

“Look, I stand by those comments,” Corker said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Corker said he does not “make comments like that without thinking about them.”

He praised White House chief of staff John Kelly for introducing an “air of discipline.”

“You know I don’t. I chose the words, I stand by those words,” Corker said. “When I met with the President a week ago Friday, I said, ‘Mr. President, I stand by what I said.'”

“What did he say to you?” Chuck Todd asked.

“Oh, it was kind of humorous. I mean, it was. We spent about five minutes on this topic,” Corker replied.

“He remembers any slight,” Todd said.

“Oh, he remembered it. He said, ‘you called me incompetent,'” Corker said. “I knew it was coming. I said, ‘Here is what I said, and I stand by these comments, okay? I stand by what I said.'”

“In five minutes, we moved on to the other topic,” Corker added.

Trump in August lashed out at Corker for his criticism, which the President called a “strange statement.”

“Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18. Tennessee not happy!” Trump tweeted.

Corker in September announced that he would not run for another term in office.

Of his decision to retire, Corker told Todd, “I told people, if I knew they were going to say so many nice things about me, I would’ve retired earlier.”

“I mean, it’s been wonderful,” he said. “Look, I think I’m going to have more impact over the next 15 months than I’ve had in the last ten years.”

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday refused to explain how President Donald Trump will support his claim that he won’t personally benefit from the outlined tax proposal the White House released last week.

“How are Americans going to know if the President gets this benefit if he doesn’t release his tax returns?” George Stephanopoulos asked Mnuchin on ABC News’ “This Week,” referring to part of the proposed policy that would cut taxes on certain high-earning businesses that currently pay individual rates.

“That’s just not fair, because, again, we haven’t published the rules as to what’s going to apply to the pass-through rates, so you’re making certain assumptions that I don’t think are correct,” Mnuchin replied.

“I wouldn’t need to make the assumptions if we had the President’s tax returns,” Stephanopoulos said. “The President himself has said publicly he’s not going to get a benefit from this tax plan. My question to you is, how are the American people going to know that if he’s not releasing his tax returns?”

“I think the American public will be comfortable with the information they have,” Mnuchin said. “We’re going to make sure that there’s the proper rules. There’s going to be full transparency, as we go through the legislative process, what those rules are so that rich people can’t take advantage of it.”

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday had a different explanation for why he could not provide a more specific defense of the Republican plan: It isn’t finished yet.

“I’ve seen the criticisms, and all I can tell you is that no one can make real detailed analysis of the plan yet,” Mulvaney said. “Because it’s not finished.”

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President Donald Trump on Sunday said he told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to “save his energy” when it comes to negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and that the United States will “do what has to be done” instead.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump tweeted, using his favorite moniker for Kim. “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”

Tillerson on Saturday said the United States has direct channels of communications with North Korea, despite Kim’s and Trump’s publicly escalating rhetoric.

“We have lines of communication to Pyongyang. We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout,” Tillerson said. “We can talk to them, we do talk to them.”

Later Saturday, he said “the whole situation” was “a bit overheated.”

“I think we need to calm them down first,” Tillerson said. “Obviously it would help if North Korea would stop firing off missiles. That would calm things down a lot.”

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Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said he cannot give specific details about President Donald Trump’s much-touted tax plan because it isn’t finished yet.

“Can you tell us what percentage of the tax benefit goes to the people in the top one percent?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Mulvaney on “State of the Union.”

“No, in fact I don’t think anybody can, and anybody who says they can is simply lying to you. Why is that? It’s because the bill is not finished yet,” Mulvaney replied.

He said the proposal introduced to much fanfare last week “was the framework, was sort of the basic agreement between the White House and House and Senate leadership.”

“What’s missing from that, and it’s not being hidden, it just doesn’t exist yet, are things like details on the deductions, details on the brackets,” Mulvaney said.

He said it would be “impossible” to give specific details of the plan’s “impact on this wage earner or this family at this particular time.”

“These are things that get done during the ordinary course of business in Congress, which I understand will start in the House this week,” he said, and pushed back on criticisms of the bill on the same basis.

“I’ve seen the criticisms, and all I can tell you is that no one can make real detailed analysis of the plan yet,” Mulvaney said. “Because it’s not finished.”

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Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long on Sunday swiped at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and others he claimed “spout off” about relief efforts in Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“What I don’t have patience for is the fact that what we’re trying to do and what we have successfully done is we have established a joint field office within San Juan,” Long said on “Fox News Sunday.”

He said the agency is “having daily conversations with all of the mayors” and “working with the governor and his leadership to be able to create unified objectives.”

“If mayors decide not to be a part of that, then the response is fragmented,” Long said. “And the bottom line is, is that we’re pushing everybody, we’re trying to push her, in there.”

“Is Mayor Cruz not participating in the FEMA effort?” Fox News’ Chris Wallace pressed Long, who did not answer.

“You know, we can choose to look at what the mayor spouts off or what other people spout off, but we can also choose to see what’s actually being done, and that’s what I would ask,” Long replied.

President Donald Trump attacked Cruz on Saturday and Sunday after she criticized Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke’s description of relief efforts on Puerto Rico as a “good news story.”

Trump accused Cruz of “poor leadership ability” and continued to attack “politically motivated ingrates” on Sunday.

For her part, Cruz said she has “only one goal, and it’s saving lives” and said she has “been quite complimentary of the people from HHS and FEMA.”

“Their heart is in the right place. But we have to cut the red tape,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”

On the same show, Long said island residents are “pulling their weight,” contrary to Trump’s accusation that Cruz and other Puerto Rican leaders “want everything to be done for them.”

“I believe the Puerto Ricans are pulling their weight. I mean, I think they’re doing what they can,” he said. “The bottom line is, the question is, a local mayor’s job is to push commander’s intent down to his or her troops.”

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who weathered attacks from President Donald Trump after she criticized the White House’s rhetoric about relief efforts on Puerto Rico after the island was battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, on Sunday said her only goal is “saving lives.”

“There’s only one goal, and it’s saving lives. So any dialogue that goes on just has to be able to produce results,” Cruz said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“All I did last week, or even this week, was ask for help,” she added. “It has to happen in a sustained manner. It has to happen quickly.”

Cruz on Friday pushed back on Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke’s characterization of relief efforts on Puerto Rico as a “good news story.”

Her remarks drew Trump’s ire. The President, previously fixated on what he called Puerto Rico’s “tremendous amount of existing debt,” accused Cruz of “poor leadership ability” and criticized her and other Puerto Rican leaders he claimed “want everything to be done for them.”

He continued to attack “politically motivated ingrates” on Sunday.

“If he asks to meet with me, of course I would meet with him,” Cruz said of Trump. “I mean, you know, anything that can be done and anyone that can listen.”

Cruz said she has “been quite complimentary of the people from HHS and FEMA.”

“Their heart is in the right place. But we have to cut the red tape. That’s the one message,” she said. “And number two, let us not talk about the debt. Let us not talk about the cost of reconstruction. Let us just talk about saving lives right now, putting back the power grid as soon as we can, because that has an immediate effect on our ability to recover financially.”

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