Trump In Palm Beach: Tweets, Sanctions, Summit Mark Busy Day At Mar-a-Lago

By By Christine Stapleton and George Bennett, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.

Within three hours of landing at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday, President Donald Trump had cancelled sanctions imposed a day earlier against North Korea, imposed sanctions against a Venezuelan bank, cautioned would-be followers of ISIS, appointed a long-time supporter to the Federal Reserve Bank and met with the leaders of five Caribbean nations.

The frenetic paced afternoon began moments before the president stepped off Air Force One, when the president posted a two-part Tweet that warned would-be followers of ISIS.

“ISIS uses the internet better than almost anyone, but for all of those susceptible to ISIS propaganda, they are now being beaten badly at every level….” Trump wrote in the first tweet.

“….There is nothing to admire about them, they will always try to show a glimmer of vicious hope, but they are losers and barely breathing. Think about that before you destroy your lives and the lives of your family!” Trump wrote in the second tweet.

With ISIS fresh in mind, Trump approached a group of supporters and reporters on the PBIA tarmac with two maps of Syria. He said one showed ISIS’ extensive strongholds in Syria in November 2016 and the other he said showed the vast rollback and recapture of those areas under his administration.

“You guys can have the map,” Trump said, handing it to reporters.

At 12:47 p.m., about 15 minutes after arriving at Mar-a-Lago, Trump tweeted that he had offered a position on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors to Stephen Moore, a conservative economic adviser who helped draft Trump’s tax proposals in the 2016 campaign.

Moore, an economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation, has been an outspoken critic of the Fed’s interest-rate policy and, as a nominee, will likely face intense criticism in the U.S. Senate from Democrats.

Trump took a short break but was back on Twitter at 1:22 p.m., announcing that he was cancelling sanctions against North Korea that the Treasury Department had imposed on Thursday.

“It was announced today by the U.S.Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!” Trump tweeted.

The Treasury Department on Thursday imposed new sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies that it says have been helping North Korea evade international sanctions. The sanctions came less than a month after a summit meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, collapsed in Hanoi, Vietnam, without a deal.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said the decision to reverse the sanctions was a favor to Mr. Kim, according to the New York Times.

At Mar-a-Lago, Trump and first lady Melania Trump appeared outside one of Mar-a-Lago’s arched entrances for photos with leaders of the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic and St. Lucia.

The president did not take any questions from reporters, who were then escorted to Mar-a-Lago’s Gold and White Ballroom to view the beginning of talks with the Caribbean leaders. Trump was joined by National Security Adviser John Bolton, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and John Sullivan of the State Department.

“We look forward to spending a lot of time together this afternoon and discussing ways that we can be beneficial to you and you can be beneficial to us,” Trump told the other heads of state.

While the leaders met, the White House released a statement announcing sanctions against a Venezuelan bank and four subsidiaries that it said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his regime had used as “slush funds to evade United States sanctions and to move money out of Venezuela.”

“The United States will continue to take steps to pressure Maduro, his regime, and those who support him, until they step out of the way and allow a democratic transition to occur under Interim President Guaido and the National Assembly of Venezuela,” the statement read.

About 90 minutes later, the Caribbean leaders emerged and spoke briefly to reporters.

“I think in summary, the essence of the meeting was the United States expressing great support for the region, which was not expressed in awhile,” said Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. “We are very appreciative of that. We believe it will benefit the entire region.”

Although trade and investment were on the agenda, the leaders did not say whether China’s burgeoning trade and investment in the region came up during their discussions. In a statement released on Wednesday, the White House said Trump intended to address China’s “predatory economic practices.”

“We focused on trade, we focused on investment, we focused on disaster recovery and we focused on national security issues,” Holness said. “Speaking for all the members here, that is a good message for us to take back to the people of the Caribbean. I think it’s a great day for the Caribbean.”

In a statement released after the meeting, the White House said the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, an agency that helps U.S. businesses invest in developing areas, would give priority status to the five countries and send a high level delegation in the next 90 days.

Asked about Venezuela, St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said it was not a focus of discussion but said: “I think we all recognize there’s a problem in Venezuela. Most people recognize the need for new elections.”

This article provided by NewsEdge.