Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Trump voices doubt about ‘horror show’ policy

AP, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump on Sunday expressed more doubts about a new policy allowing trophies of African elephants shot for sport to be imported, appearing to question whether “this horror show” would actually aid in the conservation of any animal.

The trophy policy was among issues Trump cited in a series of tweets.

He also insulted US Senator Jeff Flake and branded as ungrateful the father of one of the UCLA basketball players jailed in China, but freed after Trump’s intervention.

The death of a US Customs and Border Protection agent in Texas brought a message of condolence.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has argued that encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs.

On Thursday, it announced that it would allow such importation, drawing criticism from animal rights advocates, environmental groups and some Republican lawmakers.

Trump on Friday decided to delay the policy until he could review it with US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

However, on Sunday night, Trump tweeted that he would announce a decision in the coming days “but will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service said in a written notice issued on Thursday that permitting parts of elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia to be brought back as trophies will raise money for conservation programs.

The change would override a 2014 ban imposed by the administration of former US president Barack Obama.

The new policy applies to the remains of African elephants killed between January and December 2018.

In another tweet on Sunday, Trump said he thinks Flake will not support the Republican tax overhaul in the US Congress as he insulted the Arizona Republican two days after Flake criticized him.

Flake’s spokesman responded that the senator was “still reviewing the tax reform bill on its merits. How he votes on it will have nothing to do with the President.”

Flake, who last month announced that he was not seeking re-election, was caught on an open microphone on Friday saying the Republican Party is “toast” if it follows Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

It was not a surprising sentiment given Flake’s previous criticism of Trump.

Moore’s refusal to drop out of a special Senate race in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls has divided Republicans.

In the Sunday tweet, Trump fired back: “Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls) was caught (purposely) on ‘mike’ saying bad things about your favorite President. He’ll be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is ‘toast.’”

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