Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta on Friday warned the U.S. is now closer to entering a conflict with Iran than it has been for decades following the President Donald Trump-authorized airstrike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
Panetta, who headed the Pentagon under President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2013, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer “the real question” about the killing was not about if he agreed with the strike but “whether or not this action has given us less of a chance of going to war or increases the chances of war.”
“And I think right now we are closer to war with Iran than we’ve been in the last 40 years,” he said in video shared by Mediaite. “And that is a danger that we have to pay attention to that was not dealt with with one act.”
Congressional Democrats have also warned the attack may spark a war.
Panetta described Soleimani as “a bad actor” whose death should not be mourned. He also explained why the general’s name was not, during the Obama administration, on a list of direct targets that included al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“I think the reason was that he was a general in Iran who, along with the leadership of Iran and other generals that were involved in Iran, all were involved in planning what Iran was doing,” said Panetta.
“And it was difficult to say that we ought to pick one general to go after and try to execute in some way when you’re dealing with the entire country as a threat to the United States,” he added. “That’s what the United States needed to focus on, was the threat from Iran, not just one particular individual.”
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The assassination of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani ordered by President Donald Trump is the most aggressive escalation yet in the conflict between the United States and Iran, risking violent retaliation and volatility across the Middle East. While U.S. officials now warn of a potential Iranian response, analysts say there are a variety of forms that such a reprisal may take.
As head of Iran’s Quds Force elite military unit, Soleimani was the central figure in Iran’s foreign clandestine operations and its network of military proxies. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council held an emergency meeting on Friday following the U.S. airstrike that killed Soleimani, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei attending in a show of how important Soleimani’s death is to the Iranian government.
Khamenei has vowed “forceful revenge” against the U.S. for Soleimani’s death, while other Iranian officials condemned the attack and similarly promised retribution. Already backed into a corner by Trump’s maximum pressure campaign of economic sanctions, analysts expect that Iran will retaliate but say a traditional military conflict isn’t something Tehran considers advantageous.
“Iran has known for a very long time that it can’t win in any kind of conventional military warfare with the United States, but it has proven to be very sophisticated at asymmetric warfare,” Ellie Geranmayeh, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told HuffPost.
Iran’s conventional military forces lag behind those of the United States and Israel, another adversary, and it’s much more adept at relying on insurgent-style attacks and proxies to exert its influence. Iran cultivated a wide network of pro-Iranian militias under Soleimani’s leadership, and it’s possible that after his death those become the primary actors in responding to his killing.
The U.S. has a wide range of interests, assets and allies that could all become targets for an Iranian response. These range from embassies and consulates to shipping routes and oil facilities, according to Naysan Rafati, Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group. Iran may additionally target U.S. partners in the Middle East, which would threaten to draw more actors into the conflict. The U.S. and other nations have already put embassies on security alert, and on Friday, American defense officials announced the deployment of over 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.
Iran and its proxies could also seek to target U.S. personnel in the region or carry out their own assassinations, an extreme option that would almost certainly lead to further escalations in the conflict.
With “the U.S. president coming out in a tweet to publicly condone the assassination of an Iranian official, you are now basically opening up space for a huge range of possible targeted killings and retaliation from Iran,” Geranmayeh said. “The very public nature in which the U.S. is boasting about the assassination is cornering Iran into a position where they have to respond in kind.”
But Iran is also wary that an overt attack against the U.S. or its interests abroad could result in airstrikes on Iranian soil, experts say, and could opt for a more indirect approach. Many of the attacks against American-affiliated entities in the past year have come from Iranian-linked militias and allowed Tehran a degree of plausible deniability. These militias also have varying degrees of independence, and given that the leader of the Iranian-linked Popular Mobilization Forces was also killed in Thursday’s airstrike, they may seek reprisal on their own that may further complicate the situation.
“Some of these groups have their own reasons now to act with or without instruction from Tehran,” Rafati said. “You have a wide array of possible actors, either acting on guidance from Iran or on their own initiative, across a very fragile regional chessboard.”
Military action is also not Iran’s only avenue for responding to Soleimani’s death. Since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018 and has since imposed harsh economic sanctions, Iran has continually threatened to no longer comply with the agreement to curb its nuclear program and has taken provocative but largely reversible steps to increase its uranium enrichment. Prior to Soleimani’s death, Iran was expected to issue a statement on its nuclear plans next week and may use the opportunity to announce a more aggressive move away from the nuclear deal and towards weapons-level enrichment.
There is also the potential for Iran to carry out cyber attacks against the U.S. as a means of avoiding conventional conflict, although the country likely lacks the capability to carry out a large scale operation against infrastructure or heavily secured targets.
Whatever Iran’s response, analysts warn that the assassination of Soleimani creates a situation where deescalation is unlikely. Although the U.S. intended the killing to be a deterrent against Iran’s foreign influence operations, in the short term it may bring increased threats to Americans abroad, heighten the possibility of open conflict with Iran, and draw the U.S. further into foreign entanglements.
“In the past week things have moved so fast,” Geranmayeh said. “It’s not clear to me how we have a cooling off period.”
Another Strike On Pro-Iran Convoy Reported North Of Baghdad >Chuck Schumer Says Trump Doesn’t Have The Authority To Go To War With Iran >Legality Of Trump’s Order To Kill Iran General Depends On Threat Download
President Donald Trump read a statement Friday afternoon declaring that the previous night’s deadly airstrike, a major escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, has made the world “a safer place.”
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” he said haltingly from his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida.
“I have deep respect for the Iranian people,” Trump added. “They are a remarkable people with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential. We do not seek regime change.”
The president’s order to strike a convoy en route to Baghdad International Airport, killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani ― one of the most powerful people in the Middle East ― sent shockwaves through the U.S. and abroad.
Trump stressed that as commander in chief, he takes “whatever action is necessary” to ensure the safety of all Americans, and “that in particular refers to Iran.”
“America will always pursue the interest of good people, great people, great souls, while seeking peace, harmony and friendship with all of the nations of the world,” Trump said.
WATCH: Complete statement from President Trump on Soleimani: “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.” pic.twitter.com/MewjkQrWP5
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 3, 2020
Read his full statement below.
Thank you very much and good afternoon. As president, my highest and most solemn duty is the defense of the nation and its citizens. Last night, at my direction, United States military successfully executed a flawless precision strike that killed the No. 1 terrorist anywhere in the world, Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him. Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous to terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American. We will find you, we will eliminate you, we will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans and our allies.
For years, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its ruthless Quds Force under Soleimani’s leadership has targeted, injured and murdered hundreds of American civilians and servicemen. The recent attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq, including rocket strikes that killed an American and injured four American servicemen very badly, as well as a violent assault on our embassy in Baghdad, were carried out at the direction of Soleimani. Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London.
Today we remember and honor the victims of Soleimani’s many atrocities, and we take comfort in knowing his reign of terror is over. Soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilize the Middle East for the last 20 years. What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved. Just recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protesters in Iran where more than 1,000 innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government.
We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.
I have deep respect for the Iranian people. They are a remarkable people with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential. We do not seek regime change. However, the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors, must end and it must end now. The future belongs to the people of Iran, those who seek peaceful co-existence and cooperation, not the terrorist warlords who plunder their nation to finance bloodshed abroad.
The United States has the best military by far anywhere in the world. We have the best intelligence in the world. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary. And that in particular refers to Iran. Under my leadership, we have destroyed the ISIS territorial caliphate and recently American special operations forces killed the terrorist leader known as al-Baghdadi. The world is a safer place without these monsters.
America will always pursue the interests of good people, great people, great souls, while seeking peace, harmony and friendship with all of the nations of the world.
Thank you, god bless you. God bless our great military, and god bless the United States of America.
>Anti-U.S. Protests Break Out After Qassem Soleimani Assassination >Legality Of Trump’s Order To Kill Iran General Depends On Threat >Who Was Iranian Maj. General Qassem Soleimani? Download
A “Project Runway” contestant was not happy with host Karlie Kloss’ opinion of the garment he created, dishing back a sassy remark about the model’s marriage to the brother of presidential aide Jared Kushner.
Contestant Tyler Neasloney was eliminated from Bravo’s fashion competition series after judges panned the outfit he designed for Kloss to wear to a fashion event in Paris. Neasloney said the look was inspired by former U.S. first ladies, but the judges weren’t feeling it ― particularly Kloss, who said it missed the mark.
When judge Brandon Maxwell said he couldn’t imagine Kloss wearing the garment anywhere, Neasloney snapped: “Not even to the dinner with Kushners?”
one of the #ProjectRunway designers invoked “The Kushners” last night while defending his design and this is the face Karlie Kloss made.
He was then eliminated from the show pic.twitter.com/KefAGTV0v5
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) January 3, 2020
Kloss is married to businessman Joshua Kushner, who’s the younger brother of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser.
The dig seemed to shock fellow cast members and Kloss herself, whose reaction was similar to Kombucha Girl’s:
Neasloney later said he didn’t mean anything by the comment. Many, however, suspected the ill-timed joke was part of the reason he was sent home.
Tyler was already on thin ice, but dude doomed himself with the wildly unprofessional mention of the Kushners. #ProjectRunway
— Kathryn Brightbill ✒️ (@KEBrightbill) January 3, 2020
Former Fox News reporter Courtney Friel says that Donald Trump propositioned her before he was elected president while both were married, and that the come-on compromised her reporting on his presidential campaign.
Friel wrote in her new memoir “Tonight At 10: Kicking Booze and Breaking News” that Trump called her “the hottest one at Fox News,” according to the New York Daily News, which reported it viewed an excerpt.
Trump, in a phone call, complimented Friel’s work and asked about career goals before getting more personal, she wrote. “Out of nowhere, he said: ‘You should come up to my office sometime, so we can kiss.’”
Friel said she pointed out that both were married and “quickly ended the call.”
“This proposition made it difficult for me to report with a straight face on Trump running for president,” she wrote, per the Daily News. “It infuriated me that he would call all the women who shared stories of his bold advances liars. I totally believe them.”
Courtney Friel says she quickly rejected Donald Trump’s advances when she was working at Fox News.
“At least now I can joke that I could have banged the President — but I passed,” she added.
The White House did not immediately reply to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Friel worked six years at Fox News as a New York correspondent, headline anchor and fill-in host for Trump favorite “Fox & Friends” before joining Los Angeles station KTLA in 2013, according to her station bio.
Dozens of women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct from the early 1980s to 2016. He denies all of the claims.
In 2017, then-press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House believed all of the Trump accusers who came forward during the 2016 campaign were lying.
Gen. Qassem Suleimani, a senior Iranian commander and one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East, was killed in an airstrike on the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq at the direction of President Donald Trump, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday. The assassination marks a monumental escalation toward Iran.
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a pro-Iranian militia leader who was a senior figure in Iraq’s government-linked Popular Mobilization Forces, was also killed in the Iraq attack, according to reports from The Associated Press and Reuters.
The incident will have mammoth implications for the Middle East because Suleimani was the central figure in Iran’s significant network of influence across the region. It’s likely to seriously affect the U.S. position there ― with Tehran’s allies already blaming Washington for the death, a greater escalation between U.S. and Iranian forces and their partners appears inevitable. Thousands of U.S. forces are currently within rocket range of Iran’s military and in close proximity to Iran-backed fighters, chiefly in Iraq and Syria, as part of deployments in the ongoing fight against the self-described Islamic State (ISIS).
The U.S. launched strikes against targets linked to Iran on Friday, officials told Reuters.
At least five people died in the flare-up, according to The New York Times, including Suleimani and Muhandis.
“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for the Iraqi militia coalition to which Muhandis belonged, told Reuters.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, was not given any advance notice of the airstrike, according to an aide.
Trump administration officials did not immediately provide information on their plans to manage the fallout from the strike.
“I worked the Iran account for years at the [White House] under two presidents. I’m honestly terrified right now that we don’t have a functioning national security process to evaluate options and prepare for contingencies,” Kelly Magsamen, a vice president at the Center for American Progress, wrote on Twitter. “God help us.”
The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Suleimani, attends celebrations marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in 2016 in Tehran.
The U.S. and Iran both work closely with the Iraqi state and tacitly cooperated in the country for years to combat ISIS. Both have major presences in the country. Experts worry that if their relationship deteriorates further ― and if Baghdad becomes wary of the U.S. because of Iranian pressure or Iraqi anger about American violations of the nation’s sovereignty ― America could face a new national security risk and lose crucial gains in the counterterrorism fight.
Demonstrators connected to Iran besieged the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week after Trump ordered strikes on a pro-Iranian militia in Iraq last weekend. Analysts expected some kind of American pushback, but most appeared surprised by how far Trump went. Though hawks like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) celebrated the news, their messages didn’t extend to commentary on the long-term effects of the killings.
It’s also unclear what degree of military action Washington will now choose to engage in, and scholars dispute the legal interpretations it will base them on. Suleimani and Muhandis were both members of organizations that the U.S. designates as terrorist groups, but American decision-makers have not in recent years made a habit of targeting their forces or leaders of their rank in this way.
Suleimani’s absence could reshape Mideast politics. Local power brokers saw him as a highly capable operative who could cause serious damage ― including to American interests ― yet managed to largely do so in ways that served his and Iran’s overall strategy. His country’s leadership is likely to feel it must react strongly and loudly, and could do so in a variety of contexts.
“Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote on Twitter. “The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”
Trump did not issue a public statement on the attacks. Instead, he tweeted a photo of the U.S. flag and did not include any text.
This article has been updated with Trump tweeting a U.S. flag but offering no White House response.
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More than 200 members of the U.S. House and Senate signed on to an amicus brief Thursday decrying the “unworkability” of current abortion rights and asking the Supreme Court to reconsider some of its key decisions on the issue.
Those comments were made in a brief filed with the court ahead of it hearing June Medical Services v. Gee, which concerns a Louisiana law passed in 2014 requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital ― something abortion rights activists say would leave the state with a single doctor able to perform the procedure if it were enacted.
Lawmakers behind the brief include 39 senators and 168 members of the House from a total of 38 states. The signatories are nearly all Republicans, but there are a few Democrats too, including Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.). The effort was led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
A discrepancy across the judicial system about what defines an undue burden on a large fraction of women seeking abortion, which is the standard upheld by Roe v. Wade in 1973, “illustrates the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe v. Wade … and the need for the Court to again take up the issue of whether Roe and Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled,” the brief states.
Casey is a reference to Planned Parenthood v. Casey, another landmark Supreme Court case that upheld Roe v. Wade in 1992.
Much of the brief is dedicated to enumerating clinic protocol violations at various Louisiana abortion clinics, something Scalise highlighted in a statement he issued Thursday.
“I urge the Supreme Court to uphold this law which ensures the health and safety violations meant to protect Louisianans from the very abortionists who don’t want high standards,” he said.
But doctors and reproductive rights activists say that narrative is highly misleading. With a less than 1% rate of major complications, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures offered. In fact, there’s a higher rate of hospitalization for wisdom tooth removal than there is for abortion.
The Abortion Law Heading To The Supreme Court Is Based On A Lie >Hundreds Of Law Professionals Tell Their Abortion Stories Ahead Of SCOTUS Case >Warren, Sanders Wouldn’t Rule Out Supporting Anti-Abortion Democrats Download
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative law firm on Thursday asked a judge to find the Wisconsin Elections Commission in contempt and fine its members $2,000 a day until it immediately purges more than 200,000 voters from the rolls, a move Democrats are fighting in the key battleground state.
A judge last month ordered the purge of voters who may have moved and didn’t respond within 30 days to notification sent by the elections commission in October. The bipartisan commission has deadlocked twice on attempts by Republicans to do the purge immediately while an appeal to the court order is pending.
Rick Esenberg, leader of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty that brought the lawsuit, said the commission must purge the voters now. The judge in December ruled that the commission was breaking state law by not removing voters who did not respond to the October mailing asking that they confirm their address.
“Court orders are not suggestions,” Esenberg said on WISN-AM. “They are not rendered inoperative by the fact that you filed an appeal.”
Esenberg filed a motion Thursday in Ozaukee County Court asking the judge to fine five of the six commissioners $2,000 a day for being in contempt of the order. The motion does not name one of the three Republicans on the commission who was not on the panel when the legal fight began. Commission spokesman Reid Magney had no immediate comment. Gillian Drummond, spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, which is defending the commission, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The affected voters come more heavily from Democratic areas of Wisconsin, a key state in the 2020 presidential election. President Donald Trump narrowly won the state in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes and Wisconsin is expected to again be one of the most hotly contested states this year.
Democrats fear forcing voters whose registration was nullified to re-register would create a burden on them and hurt turnout. Republicans argue that removing the voters would ensure that the rolls are not full of people who shouldn’t be voting.
Esenberg’s group has asked that the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court immediately take the state’s appeal of the case. The case is currently before a state appeals court. The commission has asked the appeals court to put the original ruling on hold, but it has not yet acted. The Supreme Court has not said yet whether it will take the case.
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin also has filed a federal lawsuit to stop the purge. That lawsuit argues that it would be a violation of constitutional due process rights to deactivate the registrations of the voters without proper notice.
The elections commission in October mailed about 232,500 voters to tell them records indicated they had moved and they needed to verify that the address where they were registered to vote was current. Of those, about 209,000 have not requested continuation at their current address or re-registered at another one.
ShareTweetEmailShare District Police Chief Peter Newsham said that a trans woman’s body was found in a vacant building on Dec. 30. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)D.C. police say they are investigating a Dec. 29 incident in which a private security guard is believed to have fatally shot a transgender woman in a vacant apartment building in Southeast Washington after the woman allegedly began to shoot at the guard and another guard with him.
District Police Chief Peter Newsham announced at a Dec. 31 news conference at police headquarters that the woman’s body was found in the vacant building on Dec. 30, one day after an exchange of gunfire between an unidentified suspect and one of two security guards employed by the Metropolitan Tactical Elite Protective Services security company.
“The suspect fled and it was initially believed that the suspect had fled the vacant building,” Newsham said at the news conference in referring to the Sunday, Dec. 29 incident.
But the next day, on Dec. 30, Newsham said, the security company called D.C. police to report an unconscious person had been found in the same building.
“D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and determined the victim displayed no signs of life,” Newsham said. “The decedent was carrying an identification card indicating she was an adult male,” he said. “However, we have received information through our investigation that the decedent identified as a transgender female.”
Newsham said the woman’s identity was being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Police had not disclosed the transgender woman’s name or other information about her such as her age or where she lived as of late New Year’s Day.
According to Newsham, because the incident involved the use of force by a private security guard, the D.C. police Homicide Branch and the department’s Internal Affairs Division was conducting an investigation into the woman’s death.
D.C. police also announced that they found a handgun near the trans woman’s body at the time they arrived on the scene after being called by the security company.
“The case remains under investigation,” a police statement says. “Anyone with information is asked to contact MPD at 202-727-9099.”
Transgender rights advocate Earline Budd, who works for the D.C. sex worker advocacy and support group HIPS, told the Washington Blade sex workers are believed to sometimes engage with clients at the vacant building where the trans woman’s body was found. Budd said she is skeptical about the D.C. police assumption, which Newsham called a theory, that the woman found dead is the same person who exchanged gunfire with the security guard.
Budd said she has heard from police sources that the woman found in the building had been shot in the chest and suffered significant bleeding. Budd said she also heard reports, confirmed by Newsham at the news conference, that police used dogs to try to track down the location of the suspect that exchanged gunfire with the security guards, but the dogs could not locate the suspect on the day of the gunfire on Dec. 29.
According to Budd, there is a “good possibility” that the trans woman found dead the following day was not the person who exchanged gunfire with the security guard and that she was shot and killed by someone else in the building, possibly a client seeking to engage in sex for money.
When asked at the news conference if police believe the transgender woman found dead in the vacant building was the person shot the previous day by one of the security guards, Newsham gave this response:
“That is what we believe at this time through the investigation, yes. We haven’t determined that conclusively but the facts and circumstances and the evidence we’ve recovered suggests that that’s the case…That’s the theory we are working with right now, yes.”
Police spokesperson Karimah Bilal on Thursday declined to say whether an autopsy found one or more bullets in the trans woman’s body and whether the bullets match those fired from the security guard’s gun. Bilal would only say the investigation remains active and police have not yet released the name of the deceased trans woman.
A D.C. police report on the incident identifies the building where the incident took place as the Belmont Crossing Apartments at 4273 Barnaby Road, S.E. The report does not say why the building was vacant. A real estate site says the three-story building has 11 apartments.
Budd said the trans woman’s death in the vacant building became the fifth death of a transgender woman in D.C. in the month of December. She said the four other deaths were due to either natural causes or a suspected drug overdose.
Among them was the death of former homeless trans woman Alice Carter, who died at a hospital after being found unconscious on Dec. 17 on the 1600 block of 17th Street, N.W., where she hung out and sometimes slept on the sidewalk near a McDonald’s restaurant for many years.
Police and the city’s Medical Examiner’s office have yet to disclose a cause of death for Carter, but people who knew her and provided services for her said she struggled with mental health and addiction related issues.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard didn’t mince words when asked why people in his industry tend to oppose President Donald Trump.
Howard, whose 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind” won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, said many of his colleagues know Trump from the president’s own career in the entertainment industry. Trump starred in the long-running reality TV show “The Apprentice” and has made multiple cameos in television and movies.
So when asked why Hollywood tends to oppose the president, Howard tweeted:
In the entertainment industry many who have known/worked w/ Trump think that while his reality show was fun and ran a long time, he’s a self-serving, dishonest,morally bankrupt ego maniac who doesn’t care about anything or anyone but his Fame & bank account & is hustling the US https://t.co/Ep8ggvquMY
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) January 1, 2020
While Howard is known for his Democratic politics ― even resurrecting some of his old characters in a 2008 campaign spot for former President Barack Obama ― that hasn’t always been the case. Howard said his first presidential vote was for President Richard M. Nixon in 1972.