Trump plans prime-time address, border visit as shutdown fight continues

Trump plans prime-time

President Donald Trump will seize the power of the bully pulpit this week amid the ongoing government shutdown, making his case for border wall funding in a prime-time Oval Office address that he will quickly follow up with a visit to the southern border.

The back-to-back events reflect a new attempt by the President to cast the deadlock over immigration as a national security crisis, a characterization that Democrats reject but which the President’s aides believe will bolster support for a border wall.

The President tweeted he will “address the nation” Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET “on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern border,” two days before he is scheduled to visit the border. Trump indicated to aides over the weekend that he was interested in delivering a prime-time address to call attention to the issue, but it was not immediately clear whether TV networks had agreed to clear airtime for a presidential address.

Bill Shine, the deputy chief of staff for communications, was set to meet with aides Monday afternoon to discuss the address. The New York Times first reported Trump’s desire to address the nation.

Two days later, Trump will head to the US-Mexico border to “meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Monday morning on Twitter.
The President’s decision to deliver a prime-time address and visit the southern border came after some of his allies warned him his arguments about immigration aren’t resonating, according to two people familiar with the matter.

In conversations over the past two weeks, some of the President’s advisers have told him that simply tweeting and speaking off-the-cuff wouldn’t alone suffice in convincing Americans a border wall is necessary. Inside the White House, some view the quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s Day as a lost opportunity that could have been used to drive home an urgent message about the necessity of a border wall while Congress was out of town.

Trump plans prime-time

Some of Trump’s aides view his “build the wall” slogan as no longer having the same impact it once did during the campaign because Trump has used it so frequently. The phrase lacks the urgency needed to break the shutdown impasse, some of Trump’s advisers have told him.

That’s prompted an effort inside the White House to develop plans for higher-profile messaging events that would allow Trump to underscore what he says is a border crisis.

Trump sought to begin executing a new strategy when he appeared in the White House briefing room with border patrol officials last Thursday, believing the setting would lend some authority to his message. But afterward some aides viewed the event as a dud that didn’t have the breakthrough effect that was desired.

Trump administration officials have pointed to a surge in migrant families crossing the border to make their case that the situation at the southern border is reaching critical proportions.

But Trump and his top officials have also pointed to misleading statistics to suggest terrorists are attempting to enter the United States through the southern border. Sanders, for example, falsely claimed on Sunday that “nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally,” even though the overwhelming majority of those individuals are blocked from entering the US at airports.

Pressed about the terrorism claims during an impromptu Rose Garden news conference last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed to another statistic: that more than 3,000 “special interest aliens” have tried to enter the US through the southern border, suggesting those individuals “have travel patterns that are identified as terrorist travel patterns or they have known or suspected ties to terrorism.”

But those individuals could also simply be coming from countries “where terrorism is prevalent, or nations that are hostile to the United States,” as Nielsen’s predecessor John Kelly previously defined the term.

Kim Jong Un makes 4th trip to China, Chinese state media reports

Kim Jong

Hours after a mysterious North Korean train was spotted crossing into China late Monday, Chinese state media confirmed that leader Kim Jong Un was making his first visit of the year to see Chinese President Xi Jinping. The visit comes amid talks of a possible second U.S.-North Korea summit.

Rumors about Kim’s visit to China began late Monday local time when a North Korean train painted green carrying a “senior North Korean official” was described crossing over the North Korea-China border, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported. Heavy security was spotted in the train station in the Chinese border city of Dandong just after 10 p.m.

North Korea rarely confirms visits until they have been completed.

This is Kim’s first foreign trip of the year and his fourth overall to China. The despot made his first visit last year in March — which officials first confirmed days after a mystery train was spotted arriving and leaving a train station in the Chinese capital of Beijing. Kim met with Xi again in May prior to the historic U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore.

NORTH KOREA’S TOP DIPLOMAT IN ITALY DEFECTED, EMBARRASSING KIM JONG UN

The reported meeting Monday came a day after President Trump told reporters a second location for the second U.S.-North Korea summit is in negotiations.

“It will be announced probably in the not too distant future,” Trump said Sunday about the location of the second summit. “They do want to meet and we want to meet and we’ll see what happens.”

Trump said there’s “very good dialogue” between the U.S. and North Korea despite the recent stalemate in denuclearization talks.

North Korea and China have worked to maintain friendly ties amid thawing tensions between the Hermit Kingdom and South Korea and the United States. The North Korean leader also met with Xi after the June summit with Trump.

It’s not just Apple — Samsung is hurting, too

Apple Samsung

Samsung is the latest tech giant to warn that its business is suffering.

The South Korean company said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter operating profit is set to plunge nearly 30% from a year earlier, well below analysts’ forecasts. It blamed the sharp drop on “lackluster demand” for its memory chips and “intensifying competition” in the smartphone industry.

Samsung’s guidance comes after Apple (AAPL) set off alarm bells last week by warning that it will sell fewer iPhones than previously expected, mainly because of disappointing demand in China amid an ongoing trade war with the United States.

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, didn’t mention China specifically in its earnings guidance on Tuesday, but it said “mounting” macroeconomic uncertainties are affecting its business.

Shares in Samsung ended the day down about 1.7% in Seoul. The stock lost nearly a quarter of its value last year.

China, the world’s largest smartphone market, is experiencing a deepening economic slowdown that’s affecting businesses around the world.

As well as selling its own phones, Samsung supplies key parts like chips and display screens to other major device manufacturers. Apple’s latest iPhones use Samsung’s OLED screens.

The South Korean company said it expects operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2018 to come in at 10.8 trillion won ($9.6 billion), compared with about 15.2 trillion won ($13.5 billion) in the same period a year earlier. It predicted sales will drop about 11% to 59 trillion won ($52.5 billion).

It warned the weak performance is likely to continue, predicting its earnings will “remain subdued in the first quarter of 2019 due to difficult conditions for the memory business” before improving later in the year.

Apple Samsung

The company is also hoping that the introduction of new technology like 5G services and foldable smartphones will help boost its mobile division.

Analysts weren’t entirely surprised by Samsung’s bleak statement.

“There is obviously the competition from the Chinese players that is limiting the growth of Samsung in many markets including the high-growth ones like India and South East Asia,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, a Singapore-based analyst with research firm IDC.

According to IDC’s latest report, Samsung still sells the most devices globally, but experienced a 13% decline in sales in the third quarter of 2018, compared with the same period a year earlier. Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, meanwhile, posted 33% growth.

And while many smartphone makers still use Samsung as a supplier, memory chip prices have “passed their peak days,” Kaur added.

Samsung will report full fourth-quarter results at the end of this month.

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