defense

Trump Says ‘Obstructionist Democrats’ Undermining National Security
President sends mixed messages before leaving for Camp David security summit

President Donald Trump, here aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford in March, lashed out at Democrats over what he says is their intent to "delay" his national security policies. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump began the last workday of yet another chaotic week of his presidency by accusing Democrats of hindering the country’s security — while also sending some mixed signals.

About 90 minutes before his scheduled departure for a Camp David summit with his national security team on North Korea and related issues, the president took to Twitter with contradictory messages about the state of American security.

Trump Approval Rating Dips to Lowest Point of Presidency
Poll shows drop in support for president among Republicans from June to August

President Donald Trump's approval ratings among Republicans fell from 91 percent in June to 79 percent in a poll released Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has sunk to its lowest point since he took office, with only 35 percent of Americans saying they viewed the job he’s done favorably, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The new Marist poll found that 55 percent disapprove of Trump after seven months on the job.

Pence Tamps Down Trump’s Military-in-Venezuela Talk
In region, VP talks up American economic and diplomatic tools

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers a joint press conference with Argentina's President Mauricio Macri (out of frame) after a meeting at the Olivos Presidential residence in Olivos, Buenos Aires on August 15, 2017. (JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence continued his attempts to cool fears in South America that President Donald Trump will plunge the U.S. military into Venezuela’s ongoing political unrest.

At just about every turn since Pence landed on the continent Sunday evening, the vice president has been quick to deploy two very different words: economic and diplomatic.

Podcast: Why You Shouldn’t Be Alarmed Over North Korea...Yet
The Week Ahead, Episode 65

President Donald Trump speaks during a security briefing on Thursday at his Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump’s fiery rhetoric over North Korea’s nuclear program should not be taken seriously just yet, says CQ Roll Call’s foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald, adding that Congress may take further action against Pyongyang in September.

Show Notes:

Trump Thanks Putin for Expelling U.S. Diplomats
President later says he was ‘absolutely’ being sarcastic

President Donald Trump arrives for a working session at the G-20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images file photo)

Updated Friday, 8:15 p.m. | President Donald Trump thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to expel hundreds of American diplomats based in Moscow, saying it will help reduce the U.S. government’s payroll.

The Kremlin’s decision to expel 755 U.S. diplomats by Sept. 1 came after Congress overwhelmingly passed a measure aimed at imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. Trump, who signed the bill on Aug. 2, expressed his appreciation Thursday for Putin’s move.

Trump: North Korea Should Be ‘Very Nervous’ if Threats Continue
President says his earlier threats could have been tougher

People at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea watch a television showing President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Trump issued an apocalyptic warning to North Korea on Tuesday, saying it faces "fire and fury" over its missile program. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump doubled down Thursday on warnings to North Korea, saying comments he made earlier in the week implying the U.S. would hit the country with “fire and fury” could have been harsher.

“Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said from his golf club in New Jersey. “They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country.”

Franks Blames Democrats for North Korea Nuclear Threat
Congressman says ‘there won’t be enough left of their country for a dog to find if they do attack us’

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said President Donald Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” will deter North Korea. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona blamed former Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for nuclear threats from North Korea.

Speaking on the KTAR News show “Mac & Gaydos,” Franks said that President Donald Trump’s remarks that North Korea will be met with “fire and fury” was a sign of change from Democratic presidents.

Trump Implies Nuclear Strike on North Korea is Possible
Meantime, Tillerson tries to cool tensions in the region

People at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea watch a television showing President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Trump issued an apocalyptic warning to North Korea on Tuesday, saying it faces "fire and fury" over its missile program. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump issued an implicit warning to North Korea Wednesday morning, tweeting the U.S. nuclear arsenal is “far stronger and more powerful” than it ever has been.

A day after warning the United States would hit the North with “fire and fury” if Pyongyang repeated threats that it would strike American targets, Trump took to Twitter and appeared to signal he is prepared to use nuclear weapons against North Korea if conflict breaks out.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Not Thrilled With Trump’s 'Drug-Infested Den' Comments
State’s all-Democratic delegation blasts president for January remarks

President Donald Trump on the phone in the Oval Office on June 27. During a call with his Mexican counterpart that day, Trump said “drug lords in Mexico” are “knocking the hell out of our country.” (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Hampshire lawmakers are criticizing President Donald Trump over reports that he referred to the Granite State as a “drug-infested den” to his Mexican counterpart.

“No, Mr. President, you’re wrong about New Hampshire — but you have failed to help us fight the opioid crisis. We need recovery facilities NOW. Stop attacking health care and make the investments you promised,” Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said in a Facebook post about transcripts of a Jan. 27 telephone call between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that were published by The Washington Post on Thursday.

Defense to Get Historically High Share of Research Budget
Congress likely to resist cuts to nondefense R&D programs

The Pentagon and related security agencies would see big boosts in research and development funding under the proposed fiscal 2018 budget from the administration . (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Pentagon and other security agencies’ outsize consumption of federal research money would grow further under Republican plans, while nondefense research spending would drop, sometimes dramatically, a new congressional report shows.

The Defense Department’s research and development budget would consume 56 percent of the federal R&D total in President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal, according to the Congressional Research Service report. That’s an 18 percent increase above the fiscal 2016 enacted level. When military research at the National Nuclear Security Administration and other agencies is included, the defense share of the federal research budget is closer to 61 percent.