Melania Trump Wears $1,380 Shirt While Gardening And People Online React


Initial news coverage focused on the event itself, with reporters commenting on Trump continuing former First Lady Michelle Obama’s gardening traditions. But after First Lady fashion-watcher Kate Bennett noted the shirt’s price on her Twitter, the media exploded.

According to Net-A-Porter, the online designer store that stocks it, Trump’s shirt is meant to have a “rebellious ’80s attitude,” and draws its inspiration from counterculture icons David Bowie, George Michael and Prince. It’s a part of their “grunge” collection, meant to be worn with distressed jeans to emphasize its “laid-back feel.”

Trump isn’t the first First Lady to make waves for the cost of her outfits.

Harper’s Bazaar


Obama was famous for her gorgeous-yet-affordable J. Crew chic, and her “sartorial diplomacy” helped define her role as the administration’s approachable “mom-in-chief.”


And as Obama drew criticism for “not looking like a First Lady,” and showing her scandalously-gorgeous upper arms, Trump is currently under fire for wearing a shirt worth almost half the average monthly American salary.


Reactions online were split evenly; some deriding the First Lady’s expensive fashion choices, others calling the focus on it “typical liberal fake news.”


While some lashed out at Bennet for what they saw as a partisan tweet, Bennett pointed out that she had given the exact same coverage to former FLOTUS Obama, including the pricing research.

oh wo

And while some frustration about Melania’s outfit focused on the shirt’s political optics, other Twitter users expressed bafflement that Trump’s thrift-store-chic tartan had been that much, to begin with.

i'm gonna fucking KERMIT

Finally, some opined that, given Trump’s obvious discomfort getting up close and personal with the dirt, the fact that she was wearing such an expensive outfit to do so was unsurprising.


Implications about the Trump family’s “out-of-touchness” aside, the story gave people a chance for a few bipartisan laughs. In a month when the world faced nuclear woes, mass shootings, monster storms and political crises, the moment of levity was well-needed.


Donald Trump reportedly axes loyal aide over patchy crowd at Phoenix rally

George Gigicos reportedly told he would never manage a Trump rally again after president voiced displeasure at visible gaps in the audience

Donald Trump once used a presidential primary debate to offer assurance that there was no need to worry about the size of his hands or, indeed, his manhood. “I guarantee you there’s no problem,” he told the audience.
But there is a problem over the size of his crowds.

The US president has reportedly dispensed with a loyal aide after his campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Arizona, last week was less than full.

With TV cameras showing gaps on the concrete floor of the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump watched on a backstage monitor with growing displeasure, the Bloomberg agency reported.

Quick Guide
In fact, as speakers including vice-president Mike Pence and housing secretary Ben Carson fired up the audience, most of those gaps were plugged, even though supporters had to run the gauntlet of protesters outside the venue.

“Wow, what a crowd,” Trump began. “What a crowd.” There were 10,000 people in attendance, according to city officials, although some did filter out before the end.

George Gigicos, a former White House director of advance who had organised the event as a contractor to the Republican National Committee (RNC), bore the brunt of Trump’s wrath, according to Bloomberg. He was told he would never manage a Trump rally again by the president’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller, who in May hand-delivered a letter from the president firing FBI director James Comey.

The president made headlines at the Phoenix rally with his fierce attacks on the media, threat to shut down the government over funding for his border wall and tease about a pardon for sheriff Joe Arpaio, which he delivered three days later.

Trump lashes out at ‘truly dishonest’ media reporting of Charlottesville
Bloomberg reported that Gigicos has organised all of Trump’s signature campaign events and occasional rallies since entering office. Gigicos left his White House job as director of advance on 31 July to return to his consulting business. But he continued to work for Trump’s re-election campaign and the RNC.

But CNN suggested that Gigicos may not be finished, reporting: “’George will be back,’ one source familiar with the matter said, noting that Trump’s angry tirades are ‘not uncommon’. ‘This is what (Trump) does. He tries to get under your skin.’ ‘It wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t the worst thing I had ever seen,’ another source said.”

Trump appears to feed off the energy of rallies and the roar of the crowd. He has already held eight, in eight different states, since becoming president, a rate of more than one month.

Analysis Why Trump still needs the love of the crowd: ‘This is like medicine to him’

As storm clouds gathered over the White House, the president retreated to his safe space: a stadium rally to rile his base and celebrate Trump the showman

Read more
Like a diva with a list of demands for their dressing room, he insists that every detail is just right. In Pensacola, Florida, in January last year, he complained about the “son of a bitch” who installed a faulty microphone, adding: “Do you hear that George? Don’t pay him. Don’t pay him. And you gotta be tough with your people because they’ll pay, they don’t care. They’ll pay.”

On Tuesday, surveying the havoc wreaked by tropical storm Harvey in Texas, Trump emerged from a fire station in Annaville, Corpus Christi, between two fire trucks and got up on a ladder. There were some cheers and chants of “USA! USA!” and he could not resist remarking: “What a crowd, what a turn out.”

He then held up the Texan flag to loud cheers. Most of the crowd were supporters, but not all, according to a pool report. One banner read, “Liar, cheat, racist” another read “Latinas against Trump”, and another “You pardoned Joe, what about Jose?”

Should a dispute arise over the size of this crowd, Trump will no longer be able to deploy Sean Spicer, who as press secretary in January berated reporters over their coverage of his inauguration, claiming it had the biggest turnout ever, even though photographic evidence showed otherwise. Spicer quit last month.

Trump restores police surplus military equipment scheme

Image captionAttorney General Jeff Sessions argued it is important for police to have the right gear they need to do their job
US President Donald Trump has lifted restrictions imposed by Barack Obama on the transfer of surplus military-style equipment to the police.

An executive order provides police with items including bullet-proof helmets and armoured vehicles.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the aim was to enhance public safety.

Mr Obama barred the military from handing over some types of military equipment to police after unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The story of Ferguson
The ban followed criticism that police were too heavy handed in dealing with the protests that followed the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in 2014.

The former US president was concerned about public reaction to images of heavily militarised police on the streets, saying it was important that police were perceived to be part of the community than being seen as an occupying force.

‘We have your back’

But Mr Sessions argued that Mr Obama’s restrictions went “too far”.

“We will not put superficial concerns above public safety,” he told a meeting of police officers.

Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Obama argued that it was important police were not seen to be occupying powers
“The executive order… will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal.

“We have your back and you have our thanks,” he told the police convention.

Under the terms of the executive order, government agencies are compelled to take prompt action to reverse President Obama’s rules.

But the order has been criticised by civil rights groups and some Republicans in Congress.

“It is one thing for federal officials to work with local authorities to reduce or solve crime, but it is another for them to subsidise militarisation,” Senator Rand Paul said in a statement.

Mr Paul said that he would work to introduce legislation to ensure there was transparency in relation to such transfers so that law enforcement agencies do not to gain possession of equipment which remains prohibited.

Washington and Moscow Must Embrace Détente—Despite Trump

An honor guard opens the door as Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) enters a hall to attend a meeting with members of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 1, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool

U.S.-Russia relations are in a perilous state. Any wisp of hope coming from Donald Trump’s “summit” with President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 was dispelled by breaking news on potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, this time implicating Donald Trump Jr., among others. William Perry, a former secretary of defense under Bill Clinton, terms the situation “worse than the Cold War.” Sober realism about U.S. policy towards Russia has seldom been more imperative and less evident. Instead of the characteristically hyperbolic “fantastic relationship” Trump anticipated with Russia, or the “fundamentally adversarial” relationship that Obama’s National Security Council deemed inevitable, we need clear thinking on how to rebuild a viable détente with this nuclear power.

On January 26 of this year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset the Doomsday Clock from 11:57 to 11:58:30 (midnight represents nuclear apocalypse). The Bulletin considers these days more dangerous than the Cuban Missile Crisis, and for good reason. The new cold war between Russia and the United States is punctuated by perilous military face-offs in three arenas: in Syria; in the skies over the Baltic Sea, on Russia’s western border with three hundred thousand NATO troops on high alert and both Russia and NATO ramping up deployments and exercises; and in Ukraine.

The rising tensions express totally contradictory perspectives. In the United States, across the political spectrum, Putin is seen as a merciless autocrat with expansionist designs. He’s denounced for aggression in Georgia and Ukraine, and for propping up a brutal dictator in Syria. Investigations on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election—and possible collusion with the Trump campaign—have generated a continuing media frenzy that poisons any discussion.

In Russia, the United States is seen as the aggressor, asserting itself as the global unipower. When Bill Clinton trampled upon repeated promises and began expanding NATO towards the Russian border, George F. Kennan, the architect of containment, warned of a “tragic mistake.” NATO expansion helped convince Russians that the West regards it as a permanent enemy. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency recently reported that the Kremlin apparently believes the United States seeks regime change in Russia.

In fact, each perspective holds more than a grain of truth. Putin does want to reassert Russia’s influence on the international stage, and challenge what he sees as America’s unipolar delusion. The United States has seen itself as the global arbiter, the “indispensable nation,” dismissing the legitimacy of any other nation’s sphere of influence. The Pentagon does designate Russia as its leading adversary. The United States has encouraged the “color revolutions” in Georgia and the coup in Ukraine. Both countries have mucked about in the others’ internal and electoral politics.

Despite all this, two countries possessing over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons urgently need a working relationship. A working détente requires persistent efforts to find areas of agreement and to settle disputes, rather than a willingness to freeze relations, deepen sanctions and escalate military posturing.

The first priority for the United States should be reengaging Russia in efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals, and to deny terrorists access to nuclear materials. They should be working together—as they did in the P5+1 negotiations over Iranian nuclear-weapons capacity—to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

The United States and Russia also have a shared concern about the terrorist threat posed by ISIS, Al Qaeda and their offshoots. In Syria, cooperation with Russia may be the only way to stabilize the nation so it can eventually recover from its horrific war. The United States has no intention of committing the troops and resources needed to overthrow Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. Washington would do well to increase cooperation with Russia in the war against ISIS, and seek joint guarantees of a cease-fire that gives the Syrian people a respite from six years of brutal warfare, and begins to slow the refugee flows destabilizing Europe.

At the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia could have joined in building and strengthening a zone of peace in Europe. Instead, the United States expanded NATO right up to Russia’s border. That expansion will be virtually impossible to undo, but the United States and Russia could reverse the buildup of troops and stand down the military exercises on both sides of the Russian border without any formal agreement. An agreement guaranteeing Georgia and Ukraine’s independence, committing them to remain nonaligned, outside of NATO and free to join both the EU and the Russian economic bloc, would greatly reduce tensions. Russia and the United States might join in pushing for the full implementation of the Minsk II Accords, providing for an end to violence and greater autonomy for eastern Ukraine. Sanctions relief might be combined with an agreement for an internationally monitored referendum on Crimea’s status, under the UN’s auspices.

‘What do you actually do?’: Ivanka Trump showed off her fan mail and got ruthlessly roasted for it

Ivanka Trump took to Twitter to share pictures of her fan mail and the Internet swiftly roasted her for it.Win McNamee/Getty Images
President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter and White House adviser Ivanka proudly shared a picture of her fan mail on Thursday (24 August) and the Internet is ruthlessly mocking her for it. The 36-year-old took to Twitter and Instagram to share photos of herself going through a pile of colourful, handwritten letters and drawings from children covered with hearts and smiley face.

“Overjoyed by these beautiful letters,” Trump tweeted. “Reading them is one of the highlights of my week.”

thanked for? Seriously.”

“And for this nonsense you get a top security clearance?” one person chimed. “You’re a hypocrite.”

Many also joked that the letters were probably from her father.

“Your dad’s handwriting has improved greatly!” one Twitter user wrote. Another person added: “I wish your dad would spend more time studying policy and less time writing you all these letters.”

Other social media users speculated that the letters were written by White House staffers and pinpointed various details in the letters saying they seemed to be written by an adult using different markers. Keen observers zoomed in on one smiley face that showed a smiley face with dollar signs for eyes.

“Whatever staffer made these fake letters to Ivanka Trump, I loved this little touch – was it a commentary on being blinded by greed?” one person wrote.

Another person suggested: “Sarah Huckabees part time job is writing cards to Ivanka.”

Many people also seized the opportunity to share fan letters of their own to Ivanka.

Donald Trump Jr. Insists New Budget Hotel Chain Isn’t About Politics

The Trump International Hotel & Tower owned by President-elect Donald Trump is seen in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. November 9, 2016.

The Trump Organization is intentionally breaking the mold from its 5-star luxury accommodations, and is now launching a chain of 3-star budget-friendly hotels.

The organization announced Monday via a conference at Trump Tower that it is opening a chain of 3-star hotels that will be located in small towns across America. The chain, called American Idea, will debut with three properties in the Mississippi Delta, according to a press release.

The hotels will be owned by a partner, Chawla Hotels, and could open in as soon as seven or eight months, according to Bloomberg. The New York Times reports the hotels’ lobbies and rooms will feature nostalgic American items, such as old Coca Cola machines.

“Its properties will be places to relax, to have fun and to experience gracious hospitality,” a press release from Trump Hotels said Tuesday. “Guests will enjoy local flavor and genuine service in an environment that pays respect to the unique culture of each destination.”

“It has nothing to do with politics,” Donald Trump Jr. said in an interview with ABC News. “We’re trying to make money off of a hotel brand that we feel there’s an underserved market to. I think more companies could probably do better by being a little bit more patriotic.”

Donald Jr.’s statement is conflicted by the fact that the idea for the new chain reportedly came about on the campaign trail, when Donald Trump’s kids stumped for their father in small towns with less-than-ideal hotel accommodations.

Chawla Hotels, which is partnering with The Trump Organization on this venture, also has a direct connection to President Trump. According to the Times, Suresh Chawla, one of the brothers that runs the company, met Trump on the campaign trail after writing a pro-Trump letter in 2015. Chawla later donated $50,000 to Trump’s campaign and is now a partner for American Idea hotels as well as another Trump hotel venture, called Scion.

In January, President Trump placed his eldest sons, Eric (R) and Donald Trump Jr. (L), in charge of the multi-billion dollar Trump Organization.
Though Donald Jr. and Eric Trump are technically in charge of The Trump Organization, the president still has an ownership stake in the business. Before his inauguration in January, Trump announced that he would not be divesting from his business, which opened the door to many potential conflicts of interest.

Later that month, Trump Hotels chief executive officer Eric Danziger announced that Trump Hotels planned to triple its number of U.S. properties.

“There are 26 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., and we’re in five,” Danziger said at the time, via Bloomberg, at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles. “I don’t see any reason that we couldn’t be in all of them eventually.”

But not all cities are interested. San Francisco, Austin and Seattle city council members have all said they wouldn’t welcome Trump hotels.

It seems areas like Mississippi, which voted for Trump, have clearly been more open to accommodating the president’s business expansion efforts.

The HuffPost Lifestyle newsletter will make you happier and healthier, one email at a time. Sign up here.

Is It Safe To Travel Abroad In The Donald Trump Era?

Heather Gorawski says she never lied about her nationality when she visited Nicaragua recently. But she didn’t go out of her way to reveal she was American, either.

“When I struck up a conversation with a local, I would use a Canadian reference,” she says. Later, though, the truth would come out: Gorawski is from New Hampshire.

And that’s when Donald Trump comments would start: The president is a liar, a racist, and a con-man. And what’s with you Americans, anyway? How could you elect someone like that?

“I was never met with hate or anger,” says Gorawski, who works for an organic cosmetics company in Keene, N.H. “Just a distaste for our elected choice.”

She’s afraid the disapproval could suddenly boil over into danger — a worry that is shared by many Americans with plans to travel abroad, regardless of their political affiliation. It’s a legitimate concern, particularly now, as many question whether Trump can last an entire term. Has America’s commander-in-chief already burned too many bridges abroad, they wonder, and how will that affect travelers?

“President Trump has created a complex perception of American and anti-American sentiment,” says Carlos Portillo, a regional intelligence officer in Latin America for Pinkerton’s Global Risk Group. “In terms of security, this can certainly affect American travelers, mainly the ones traveling to countries that have an opposite approach to Mr. Trump’s declarations, policies, and positions.”

While the politics may be complicated, the issue really comes down to a simple question: Is it safe to leave the country in the Trump era? For now, at least, if you’re going to one of the usual tourism destinations, the answer is a qualified yes. But it can’t hurt to take a few extra precautions.

Experts say several destinations may have become a little more dangerous, now that Trump is in power. For example, some Middle East countries are more prone to targeting certain American travelers based on religious issues, according to Portillo. In Latin America, Venezuela can be a dangerous country to travel to for American travelers thanks to the political situation and rising anti-American sentiment.

The U.S. State Department maintains a list of travel warnings. Since the inauguration, the government has issued alerts for El Salvador, Honduras, Iraq, Libya and North Korea. None of them directly mention the change in administration as a possible cause of concern.

There’s a practical reason for that, says Christopher Fettweis, an associate professor of political science at Tulane University.

“Rarely do locals hold tourists responsible for the actions of their government,” he says. “There have been times in the past where Americans were targeted for their ransom value — such as in Colombia in the 1990s — or by terrorists. But to say this is uncommon would be an understatement.”

That’s good to know if you’re planning a vacation off the beaten path. But what about the usual places that Americans visit? Is there any evidence that a controversial president has also created problems for tourists?

Scott Hume, the director of security operations for Global Rescue, a provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services, says there’s no indication that Americans are in any greater danger now than before the change in administration.

“There have been a series of protests against the Trump administration policies around the world, particularly in Europe, and some have taken place at U.S. Embassies and US Consulates,” he says. “But these have largely remained peaceful.”

Hume says there’s simmering opposition to certain Trump administration policies around the world, but as of now, no evidence exists that Americans are specifically being targeted any more so than before Trump’s inauguration. That hasn’t stopped travelers from worrying. In a recent poll of its own members, Global Rescue found people worried the most about security in Europe, followed by Africa and the Middle East.

There’s a perception, sometimes correct, that American travelers are seen as ambassadors of U.S. foreign policy, says Laura Mandala, the CEO of a research firm that specializes in tracking travel sentiment. Confrontations are likeliest to result from the president’s early executive orders, which some have referred to as a travel ban.

“Will U.S. travelers be subject to retaliatory gestures of foreigners who are disgruntled by the ban or who may have been affected by it?” she asks. “We don’t know, and that is enough to keep some travelers from venturing abroad.”

And what’s the view from the ground? Adryenn Ashley, an online entrepreneur, was at a conference in Lisbon during the presidential election and recalls the “sheer shock” of the people she met. “Everyone I spoke to asked me how I felt,” she says. Although she never felt as if she was in any danger, she quickly adapted.

“Whenever someone asked me what I thought about Trump, I would say, ‘It’s an interesting time, for sure,’” she says. “And then, ‘What do you think?’”

That’s a common thread in the many interviews with travelers like her who have visited Europe, Canada and Mexico since the inauguration. There’s shock, curiosity, but nothing more — at least not yet.

But Nicole Filiatrault, a doctor from West Palm Beach, Fla., isn’t waiting for the “yet” to happen. She recalls traveling abroad after 9/11, during the early days of the George W. Bush presidency. Anti-American sentiment was running high. In Canada, she says she was treated rudely and cut off in traffic because of the American license plate. Then, when she crossed the border to Mexico a few months later, a border guard issued a stern warning: “I was told that Americans were not liked and to be careful and it could get very dangerous.”

She’s rethinking her plans to travel abroad now. “I’m scared,” she says.

If you’re planning to go abroad, you can take a few common-sense precautions. Cori Dossett, a conference planner based in Dallas, is visiting Russia in May, and she’s made detailed evacuation plans just in case things take a turn for the worse. “I check the State Department website for accurate reports, warnings, registries and general information,” she says.

Experts also recommend signing up for the State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a service that allows U.S. citizens traveling abroad to register their location with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

And now, more than ever, try not to stand out. Wear darker colors and avoid T-shirts with logos, particularly those with flags or political statements. “Also take care with how you present yourself,” adds Michael Montgomery, a former American diplomat who now runs a Huntington Woods, Mich.- based company that consults with nonprofit organizations.

“And if you own a ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball cap,” he adds, “Definitely leave that at home.”

President Trump pardons controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio

US President Donald Trump has pardoned ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of criminal contempt.

Mr Arpaio, 85, was found guilty after he defied a court order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected immigrants. He was due to be sentenced in October.

The president had hinted at the pardon at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Thanking the president, Mr Arpaio said his conviction was “a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department”.

“Thank you…. for seeing my conviction for what it is,” tweeted Mr Arpaio.

“I’m not going away,” he said, while declining to say whether he would run for sheriff again.

Mr Trump has frequently praised the former sheriff, who is known for his controversial hard-line stance on immigration.

Who is Joe Arpaio?
Arizona sheriff ‘profiled’ Hispanics
What Trump’s Phoenix rally taught us
Mr Arpaio appeared on the campaign trail with Mr Trump in 2016 – describing him as “the law-and-order candidate”.

In a statement announcing the pardon, his first, Mr Trump said: “Arpaio’s life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War, exemplify selfless public service.

Image copyrightREUTERS
“Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is a worthy candidate for a presidential pardon.”

Joe Arpaio, who styled himself as “America’s toughest sheriff”, rose to national prominence for his sweeps of undocumented immigrants in Hispanic communities, and for detaining Spanish-speakers under suspicion of being undocumented migrants.

In July 2017, he was found guilty of violating a 2011 order to stop detaining migrants.

The decision to pardon the former policeman was condemned by Democrats and civil rights groups.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said it was “disheartening that [the president] set the bar so very low for his first pardon”.

Greg Stanton, the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, called the move a slap in the face for the Latino community and those who had been victimised.

Skip Twitter post by @ACLU

End of Twitter post by @ACLU

Mr Arpaio, born in Springfield, Massachusetts, could have faced six months in jail at his sentencing in October.

He served in the US military before he became a police officer – where he quickly acquired a reputation for his anti-immigration stance and tough enforcement tactics.

The former sheriff lost a bid for re-election in Arizona’s Maricopa County in November 2016, after 24 years in office.

Mr Arpaio famously forced the prisoners to wear pink underwear and socks and old-fashioned black-and-white striped prison jumpsuits. The inmates lived outdoors while enduring sweltering Arizona desert temperatures.

He also revived chain gangs, including a voluntary one for female prisoners.

People in Bali are threatening to demolish a planned Trump resort

An island at high tide and flanked by sheer cliffs, it’s among Bali’s most photographed sites, particularly for the mesmerising sunsets that transform the waters into a shimmering orange vista.

It’s getting a new neighbour, described as “Trump International Hotel and Tower” in the Trump Organization’s promotions for what will be its first resort in Asia.

They promise breathtaking views, a supersized golf course overlooking the temple and an “enchanting and unrivalled getaway from the current luxury hotels” in Bali. For those weary of mere five-star opulence, it offers six.

Nothing that could be considered a tower is going to fly on Bali though, where height restrictions prohibit structures higher than the island’s plentiful coconut palms — about 15 meters.

Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s most picture-perfect spots, but a big new neighbour could be coming.

Locals welcome new investment in the popular Indonesian resort island but are determined to preserve their unique traditions. Neighbours are resisting efforts to expand the Trump site.

And if a tower ever starts rising, local authorities are ready to flatten it.

“If suddenly they build an unapproved tower, of course we will stop them and demolish it,” said Ida Bagus Wiratmaja, head of the district’s development and planning agency.

“There are special rules for the temple and the temple area.”

Tanah Lot and other temples dotting the cliffs are more than a lure for tourists. They’re the heart of life in the surrounding Beraban village, where tradition and spirituality are woven into daily living.

Nirwana Bali Resort will be redeveloped into the six-star resort, managed by the Trump Organization. Picture: AP/Firdia LisnawatiSource:AP

The Balinese are proud that their island’s Hindu culture has flourished for centuries even as later arrivals — Islam and Christianity — supplanted it elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago.

The height restriction is the key regulation the Trump hotel must contend with, since the 100 hectares where it will rise is already occupied by a golf course and ageing resort owned by President Donald Trump’s Indonesian business partner Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who also harbours presidential ambitions.

At a cost of about $405 million, Tanoesoedibjo’s conglomerate MNC will redevelop the site. The Trump Organization will manage the new property under an agreement made with MNC in 2015. That was before Trump was elected, so it does not conflict with his pledge not to make new business deals as president.

Locals are weary of structures that are too tall, due to a traditional beliefs governing height. Picture: AP/Firdia LisnawatiSource:AP

The two groups are also working together near the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to build a super-luxury “Trump Community” in a 3000-hectare mini-city alongside a national park that is one of the area’s last refuges for endangered species.

MNC and the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment on the Bali project. MNC in March reportedly promised to respect height restrictions and says it is still designing the new resort despite plans to shutter the existing one around the middle of the year. Still, the Trump Organization continued to bill the project as a hotel and tower as recently as Thursday. MNC will also have to work around a temple on the site, leaving it completely undisturbed.

“Whatever they build should not deviate from our Hindu culture because it is the soul of the Balinese people,” said Made Rumawa, the religious leader of Beraban.

Farmers harvest green beans near the site which will be developed into the six-star resort. Picture: AP/Firdia LisnawatiSource:AP

“As a priest, I insist they comply with the rules because they have been set out clearly,” said Rumawa, a towering man clad in white from head to toe.

“So, whoever comes, whatever their intention, do not be blind and walk in the darkness.”

Plans to expand the land available to the resort, in part to accommodate a larger golf course, are struggling.

Villagers said MNC has had an offer on the table since 2015 to buy adjacent land, which is mostly used for growing rice and other crops. Wayan Surata, a former resort worker who helped MNC compile a list of landowners several years ago, said about 80 per cent of the owners have rejected it.

Ketut Sukarjaya, who works at the old resort and is close to retirement, said land belonging to him and his brother has been in their family for several generations and they had no financial need to sell it.

Balinese women attend a prayer at a Hindu temple near the site of the planned resort. Picture: AP/Firdia LisnawatiSource:AP

Surata said he was one of the few who has agreed to sell. Pointing to a verdant stretch of land bordering the resort, he said he sold with a “heavy heart” because he urgently needed money for a garment business he had started. MNC’s offer of 150 million rupiah ($15,200) per a Balinese measure of land that is equal to about 100 square meters is far below what villagers believe is fair given the prime location, Surata said. Most think it’s worth three to seven times that.

Selling is also a fraught issue because the island’s farmland is gradually being depleted, increasing a lopsided reliance on tourism. In Beraban, about 40 per cent of arable land already is being used for housing and tourism.

“We are optimistic it will be more difficult to buy land because the people are now more aware that land cannot be created,” said Made Sumawa, the village’s stern-faced guardian of custom and tradition.

“The investors wanted to expand the area but after they learned of the people’s character here, they realised it’s difficult to buy the land from them.”

Trump signs directive banning transgender military recruits

© JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/AFP/Getty Images A protester displays a placard during a demonstration against US President Donald Trump, in front of the US Army career center in Times Square, New York, on July 26, 2017.

President Donald Trump on Friday directed the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban transgender people from serving.

The presidential memorandum also bans the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.

Trump also directed the departments of Defense and Homeland Security “to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant,” the White House official said.

The White House official who briefed reporters on the memo on Friday evening declined to say whethercurrent transgender troops would be allowed to remain in the military under those policy guidelines.

The official signaled that the administration was returning to the military’s pre-2016 policy under which no transgender individuals were allowed to serve openly in the armed forces,but said Trump was giving the secretaries of defense and homeland security leeway to determine the policy on currently serving transgender troops.

The official rejected any notion that Trump’s directive amounted to discrimination against transgender individuals, and insisted that Trump was not walking back his rhetoric from the 2016 campaign when he vowed to fight for LGBT Americans.

“The President is the President for all Americans, and during last year’s campaign he was the first GOP nominee to talk about LGBTQ issues at the GOP convention, but he also was critical of the Obama administration’s change in that longstanding DOD policy,” the official said.

“He’s going to continue to ensure that the rights of the LGBTQ community, as well as all Americans, is protected,” the official added. “This policy is based on a series of national security considerations.”

The guidance comes a month after Trump said on Twitter that he would reinstate a ban on transgender troops, an announcement that took many in the military’s leadership — including the joint chiefs of staff — by surprise.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

“Thank you,” he added.

The White House offered no guidance at the time as to how the ban would be implemented, leaving transgender service members wondering about their future in the military.

Trump’s decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review, that would have allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the military. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced in June that he was delaying a decision on whether to allow the military to recruit transgender individuals.

Trump’s July announcement was met with widespread rebuke by members of both parties and civil rights advocates, who argued that Trump’s decision reversed years of progress for LGBT rights and flew in the face of studies showing minimal impacts on the military.

A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force.

The study put the number of transgender people in the military at between 1,320 and 6,630. Gender-change surgery is rare in the general population, and the Rand study estimated the possibility of 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members annually. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year, an amount that would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditures, the study found.

CNN’s Elizabeth Landers contributed to this report.