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How to Share Extra Bounty from Your Garden with the Community

You?ve frozen, dried and canned all the fruit and vegetables you can use over winter. But your garden keeps on producing. Now what?

Your extra fruit and veggies can easily find a loving home. And there?s good reason to make sure your entire harvest makes it to someone?s table.

About 50 percent of all fruits and vegetables grown worldwide go to waste. This staggering number is especially tragic considering that one in nine people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment, including one in approximately 650 people in developed countries.

You can make a difference in your community by using some of the following suggestions to share the food you grow.

Donate to Charitable Organizations

Many different organizations will welcome your extra fruit and vegetables, such as food banks, homeless shelters, community or seniors? centers, spiritual groups and churches, or home-delivered meal programs.

AmpleHarvest.org has an extensive listing of different organizations throughout the United States that will accept extra produce. You can search for one near you on their website.

FeedingAmerica.org also has a searchable listing of food banks throughout the U.S.

Contact Your Local Gleaners

Gleaning is the act of collecting fresh foods from farms, gardens or other sources to share it with those in need. Many communities have a gleaning group that can come to your home and collect your excess produce.

Food Rescue has a listing of groups you can contact in the U.S., or you can search the internet for groups in other countries.

Can?t find any gleaners near you? The United States Department of Agriculture has published a good guide on how to start your own gleaning program.

Put Up a Stand

A simple table on your front lawn with some veggies and a ?Free? sign on it should encourage most of them to find a new home.

A more elaborate option is to build a stand or booth to shade your fruit and vegetables. You could also add a basket or lockbox for donations to your favorite charity in exchange.

Feed It to Your Pets and Livestock

Your animal friends don?t need to miss out on your harvest. Many pet birds, rodents, horses, goats, reptiles and other animals would appreciate your extra produce. It?s even been shown that some vegetables are healthy for dogs.

Related: Best & Worst Fruits and Veggies for Pets

Advertise Your Bounty

RipeNear.Me is a great site designed for home growers to share their overabundance with others. You can choose to give away your produce or charge a fee for it.

You can also advertise to trade, give away or sell your extra fruit and veggies in your local newspaper, community newsletter or online at sites like Freecycle.org, Kijiji.ca, EbayClassifieds.com, or Craigslist.org.

Community sites like Nextdoor or your community Facebook page are other excellent places to post.

Organize a Group Cook-off

Cooking big batches of food is a fun excuse to get together with friends and try making something new. And the best part is, everyone has some healthy meals to take home for later.

Check out MamaBake.com for suggestions on organizing group cooking and some big batch recipes.

It?s also a great idea to donate extra prepared food you make to a neighbor in need.

Host a Meal

This can be as basic as inviting a few friends over for a meal featuring lots of your home-grown fruit and vegetables.

If you?re interested in something a bit more ambitious, try hosting a pop-up restaurant. You can register on sites like EatWith.com that matches up hosts and diners to share meals worldwide.

Swap with Other Gardeners

Ask your friends, neighbors and around your community to find people interested in trading their excess fruit and veggies with yours.

You can also throw a produce swapping party and invite guests to bring their overabundance to be redistributed.

Check out programs like Food Is Free that helps communities grow and share fresh food.

Donate to Animal Rescue Organizations

Certain animal shelters can use excess fruit and veggies to feed plant-eating animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, parrots, iguanas and turtles. Check with your local shelters to see if they have these types of animals before bringing over your produce.

Save Your Seeds

It?s not a loss if your crops have become over-mature or gone to seed. That?s a great time to keep them for harvesting seeds for next year.

You can also give your seeds to organizations like Seed Savers Exchange or Seedsave.org, who work towards saving and distributing non-GMO, heirloom and organic seeds for now and into the future.

Another option is to start a seed library for your local community. Shareable has detailed instructions on how to create your own seed lending library.

Recycle Your Produce

There?s no shame in rounding up your bolted lettuce and the zucchinis that somehow grew 3 feet long, and tossing them on your compost pile. All their goodness will go towards nourishing next year?s bountiful crop.

Related
9 Mistakes to Avoid When Planting a New Vegetable Garden
10 Hot Ideas for a Drought-Resistant Garden
Edible Landscaping: A Delicious Way to Garden

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How to Share Extra Bounty from Your Garden with the Community

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The Impossible Burger wouldn’t be possible without genetic engineering

The Impossible Burger has had a charmed honeymoon period. Crowds of foodies surged into fancy eateries to try it. Environmentalists and animal rights activists swooned. So did investors: Impossible Foods brought in $75 million during its latest investment round.

Now the backlash is here. The activist organizations Friends of the Earth and the ETC Group dug up documents which they claim show that Impossible Foods “ignored FDA warnings about safety” — and they handed them over to the New York Times.

The ensuing story depicted Impossible Foods as a culinary version of Uber — disrupting so rapidly that it’s running “headlong into” government regulators. In reality, Impossible Foods has behaved like a pedestrian food company, working hand in hand with the FDA and following a well-worn path to comply with an arcane set of rules.

So why isn’t this story a nothingburger?

In a word: GMOs. You see, soy leghemoglobin, or SLH, the key ingredient that makes the Impossible Burger uniquely meaty, is churned out by genetically modified yeast. “This is a protein produced with genetic engineering; it’s a new food ingredient,” Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told me when I asked why they’d singled out Impossible Foods.

The company has never exactly hidden the fact that they used genetic engineering, but they haven’t put it front and center either. You have to dig into their “frequently asked questions” to catch that detail — and that’s a recent edit, according to Perls. “When I first looked at the Impossible Foods website, maybe back in March, there was no mention of genetic engineering,” she said. (An Impossible Foods spokesperson disputed Perls’s claim, saying the FAQ has included references to genetic engineering for at least a year, since before the burger’s launch in restaurants.*)

By tiptoeing around this issue, Impossible Foods set themselves up for a takedown by anti-GMO campaigners. These groups monitor new applications of genetic engineering, watch for potentially incriminating evidence, then work with journalists to publicize it. In 2014, Ecover, a green cleaning company, announced it was using oils made by algae as part of its pledge to remove palm oil — a major driver of deforestation — from its products. When Friends of the Earth and the ETC Group figured out the algae was genetically engineered, they pinged the same Times writer. Ecover quickly went back to palm oil.

When I asked Impossible Foods’ founder Pat Brown about the GMO question, he said he didn’t think that battle was theirs to fight. After all, the SLH may be produced by transgenic yeast, but it isn’t a GMO itself. He also pointed out that this isn’t unusual: nearly all cheese contains a GMO-produced enzyme.

But now, Friends of the Earth and the ETC Group have brought their battle to Impossible Foods’ doorstep. (In a blistering series of responses to the New York Times article, the company charged it “was chock full of factual errors and misrepresentations and was instigated by an extremist anti-science group.”) The FDA documents handed over to the Times include worrying sentences like this one: “FDA stated that the current arguments at hand, individually and collectively, were not enough to establish the safety of SLH for consumption.”

If FDA officials say your company hasn’t done enough to convince them that a new ingredient is safe, aren’t you supposed to pull it off the market?

That’s not how it works, said Gary Yingling, a former FDA official now helping Impossible Foods navigate the bureaucracy. In the United States, it’s up to the companies themselves to determine if an ingredient is safe. Impossible worked with a group of experts at universities who decided that the burger was safe in 2014. SLH, it turns out, grows naturally in the roots of soy plants, and the proteins in the burger look a lot like animal proteins — a good indicator of safety.

Impossible could have stopped there: Companies, however, can ask the government to weigh in on their research. Sometimes, the FDA asks for more information, which is what happened with Impossible Foods. It’s not unusual for the FDA to determine it can’t establish the safety of a new ingredient — it’s happened more than 100 times, with substances like Ginkgo biloba, gum arabic, and Spirulina. The FDA has called for more information in about one in every seven of the ingredients companies have asked it to review.

In the case of SLH, the FDA suggested more tests, including rat-feeding trials. Impossible Foods has finished these tests, and academics who have studied the new data confirmed that it’s “generally recognized as safe.” Next, Impossible Foods will bring the new evidence back to the FDA, Yingling said.

Each new innovation creates the potential for new hazards. We can block some of those hazards by taking precautions. But how high should we put the precautionary bar?

Impossible Burger could indeed pose some unknown hazard. We just have to weigh that against the known hazards of the present — foodborne diseases in meat, greenhouse gases from animal production, the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in farms, and animal suffering. These are problems which Impossible Foods is trying to solve.

There are other companies trying to solve these problems. (Friends of the Earth notes that “the success of non-animal burgers, like the non-GMO Beyond Burger, demonstrates that plant-based animal substitutes can succeed without resorting to genetic engineering.”) But it’s not yet clear that any of these companies — including Impossible Foods — will be successful in just generating a profit, let alone in replacing the global meat industry. No one knows which startups will pan out. And we’ll probably need to try and discard lots of new things as we shift to a sustainable path.

Trying new things can be risky. Not trying new things — and staying on our current trajectory — is even more risky.

*This story has been updated to include a response from Impossible Foods about when references to genetic engineering first appeared in its FAQ.

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The Impossible Burger wouldn’t be possible without genetic engineering

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Trump’s Tweets Threaten His Travel Ban’s Chances in Court

Mother Jones

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President Donald Trump began the week with a barrage of early-morning tweets blasting the courts for blocking his travel ban executive order. But in doing so, he may have just made it more likely that the courts will keep blocking the ban.

These tweets followed upon several from over the weekend about the ban and the terrorist attack in London, including this one from Saturday evening:

In January, Trump signed an executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, as well as halting the refugee resettlement program for 120 days (and indefinitely for Syrian refugees). When the courts blocked it, rather than appeal to the Supreme Court, Trump signed a modified version of the order. The new ban repealed the old one, reduced the number of banned countries from seven to six, and added exceptions and waivers. Still, federal courts in Maryland and Hawaii blocked it, and now the Justice Department has appealed to the Supreme Court to have this second version of the ban reinstated.

The biggest question in the litigation over the ban is whether the courts should focus solely on the text of the order or also consider Trump’s comments from the campaign trail, and even during his presidency, to determine whether the order uses national security as a pretext for banning Muslims from the country. The president’s lawyers argue that the courts should focus on the text of the order and defer to the president’s authority over national security. Trump’s tweets Monday morning and over the weekend make it harder for the courts to justify doing that.

The travel ban is supposed to be a temporary remedy until the government can review its vetting procedures. But Trump’s tweets make it appear that the ban itself is his goal. Trump repeatedly and defiantly uses the word “ban” when his administration has instead sought to call it a pause.

The tweets “undermine the government’s best argument—that courts ought not look beyond the four corners of the Executive Order itself,” Stephen Vladeck, an expert on national security and constitutional law at the University of Texas School of Law, says via email. “Whether or not then-Candidate Trump’s statements should matter (a point on which reasonable folks will likely continue to disagree), the more President Trump says while the litigation is ongoing tending to suggest that the Order is pretextual, the harder it is to convince even sympathetic judges and justices that only the text of the Order matters.” And once the courts start looking at the president’s statements, it’s not hard to find ones that raise questions about anti-Muslim motivations.

Even the president’s allies acknowledge his tweets are a problem. George Conway, the husband of top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, responded to Trump on Twitter by pointing out that the work of the Office of the Solicitor General—which is defending the travel ban in court—just got harder.

Conway, who recently withdrew his name from consideration for a post at the Justice Department, then followed up to clarify his position.

Trump may soon see his tweets used against him in court. Omar Jadwat, the ACLU attorney who argued the case before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, told the Washington Post this morning that the ACLU’s legal team is considering adding Trump’s tweets to its arguments before the Supreme Court. “The tweets really undermine the factual narrative that the president’s lawyers have been trying to put forth, which is that regardless of what the president has actually said in the past, the second ban is kosher if you look at it entirely on its own terms,” Jadwat told the Post.

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Trump’s Tweets Threaten His Travel Ban’s Chances in Court

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Some Actual Good News After Trump’s Paris Agreement Fiasco

Mother Jones

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Just hours after President Donald Trump announced that he intends to withdraw the United States from Paris Climate Agreement, three state governors announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a union that will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even as national leadership on climate change falters.

For now, the alliance includes California, New York and Washington State. The governors of those states, Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo, and Jay Inslee, respectively, released a statement on Thursday describing how the new alliance will build state-level partnerships to continue aggressive American action on climate change and uphold the goals and standards of the Paris Agreement.

“The president has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” said Governor Brown in the statement. “I don’t believe fighting reality is a good strategy—not for America, not for anybody. If the president is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.”

Governor Cuomo echoed that sentiment. Trump’s “reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet,” he said. “This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change.”

California, New York, and Washington combined are home nearly 70 million people, about 20 percent of the US population. And their governments have already begun to take action. For example, the California State Senate passed legislation on Wednesday that mandates California to develop 100 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2045.

So far, no other states have signed on to the alliance, though 61 American mayors also pledged on Thursday that their cities will uphold the tenets of the Paris Climate Agreement.

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Some Actual Good News After Trump’s Paris Agreement Fiasco

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Trump Railed Against China While Abandoning Paris. His Views Are Wildly Outdated.

Mother Jones

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President Donald Trump announced Wednesday afternoon that the US will abandon the historic Paris climate agreement—promising to “begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States.”

In doing so, Trump characteristically railed against China—labeling it an economic foe and arguing it got the best end of the deal. “They can do whatever they want in 13 years, not us,” he said of China’s emissions plans. Casting the deal as an erosion of US sovereignty, Trump added that “the rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris agreement. They went wild. They were so happy. For the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage.”

But here’s the reality: In the Paris agreement, China, for the first time, set a date at which it expects its climate emissions will “peak,” or finally begin to taper downward: around 2030. That goal came about after the US and China finally brokered a landmark bilateral climate deal in 2014 to work together. China has always argued it’s unfair for developed countries—who have already enjoyed the economic growth that comes with spewing carbon into the atmosphere—to curtail the growth of developing countries like China. So getting China to agree to “peaking” emissions was a major diplomatic break-through that turned out to be the secret sauce the world needed to come together in Paris.

The president’s view of China is outdated. Here’s what Trump left out:

China is already ahead of schedule. As we reported in March 2016, Chinese emissions may have actually peaked in 2014, and if those emissions didn’t peak in 2014, researchers say, they definitely will by 2025, years ahead of China’s official 2030 goal. Chinese coal consumption dropped 3.7 percent in 2015, marking two years in a row that coal use in the country declined. That meant 2015 was the first year in 15 years that carbon emissions dropped in China, according to the World Resources Institute.

China is far surpassing the US on investment to create clean energy jobs. In February, China announced that it would spent $361 billion over the next couple of years to create 13 million green jobs, according to the country’s National Energy Administration.

China is winning on clean energy technology. In 2016, a Chinese firm topped a global ranking for wind energy production for the first time, beating America’s General Electric. China leads the world in solar energy production—and has done so for some time. (Go inside one of the world’s biggest solar manufacturing plants with me, here.)

This year China is slated to launch the world’s biggest national carbon trading marketstitching together seven pilot carbon trading markets which have been up and running since 2013.

China overtook the US as the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles in 2015—and has a big plans for expansion. “We are convinced China will become the leading market for electro-mobility,” said Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess at a recent Shanghai car show.

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Trump Railed Against China While Abandoning Paris. His Views Are Wildly Outdated.

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A crucial crack in an Antarctic ice sheet grew 11 miles in only 6 days.

Some highlights:

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Pittsburgh’s votes went mostly to Hillary Clinton. She won 55.9 percent of votes in Allegheny County. Note that the Paris Agreement encompasses people from nearly 200 countries, not just the city where it was drafted.

“The bottom line is the Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.”

Other countries think U.S. involvement is extremely fair. The United States blows every other country away in terms of per capita emissions.

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining an economic advantage over the United States.”

Actually, the economic advantages of combating climate change are well documented. Companies like Exxon, Google, and even Tiffany & Co. asked Trump to stay in the agreement.

And, just for fun, a comment from Scott Pruitt:

“America finally has a leader who answers only to the people.”

Nearly 70 percent of Americans were on board with the Paris Agreement. Only 45 percent voted for Trump.

This story has been updated.

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A crucial crack in an Antarctic ice sheet grew 11 miles in only 6 days.

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The Secret Life of the Forest – Richard M. Ketchum

READ GREEN WITH E-BOOKS

The Secret Life of the Forest
Richard M. Ketchum

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: March 1, 2017

Publisher: New Word City, Inc.

Seller: New Word City


In any given year, millions of people visit one or more of the 154 national forests in the United States, not to mention the hundreds of thousands who spend some time in the private forests of the nation. All of them – hikers, hunters, fishermen, campers, and canoeists – are drawn to the woods for some special reason. Yet few of them see the forest as a whole, as the web of life it truly is. Here, from New York Times bestselling author Richard M. Ketchum, is the extraordinary story of forests and the trees that comprise them.

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The Secret Life of the Forest – Richard M. Ketchum

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The Washington Post Just Published an Explosive Report About Jared Kushner and Russia

Mother Jones

Shoes continue to drop in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia. Yesterday, speculation that the FBI was looking into the Trump family was confirmed by reports that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, is under scrutiny. More details are emerging about the investigation.

Enter the Washington Post:

Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, then President-elect Trump’s son-in-law and confidant, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.

This story hasn’t been confirmed by other publications, so take it with the weight of a single report based on anonymous sources, but having said that: Yikes.

Go read the whole thing.

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The Washington Post Just Published an Explosive Report About Jared Kushner and Russia

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American Health Care Is Expensive. It Will Take Years to Change That.

Mother Jones

A couple of days ago I tossed off a late-night post pointing out that health care is expensive, so it’s hardly surprising that estimates of California’s proposed single-payer plan have clocked in at a net additional cost of around $200 billion. That was pretty much my only point, but this post caused quite a…stir…on Twitter from the usual suspects, who were outraged that I hadn’t assumed single-payer would radically slash medical costs. Today, Jon Walker provides a more measured version of the argument:

It is critical to address this weird claim from Drum because the idea that single-payer would cut health care costs isn’t some optimistic liberal talking point. It is a near universal assumption and the main reason achieving single-payer has politically been so difficult. It is the heart of the whole debate.

Again, this is not a liberal idea. The Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm owned by UnitedHealth Group, has repeatedly concluded that single-payer would cut health care costs. For example, they analyzed a single-player plan for Minnesota and concluded, “that the single-payer plan would achieve universal coverage while reducing total health spending for Minnesota by about $4.1 billion, or 8.8 percent.” It reached the same basic conclusion looking at a national single-payer plan in years past.

As it happens, I’ve found Lewin Group estimates in the past to be a little optimistic, but set that aside. I put the ballpark additional cost of national single-payer health care at $1.5 trillion, but if someone wants to assume it would be $1.36 trillion instead, that’s fine. That’s still in the ballpark. More important, though, is this chart, which accompanies that Lewin report on Minnesota:

This is basically right. As I mentioned in the original post, “If we’re lucky, a good single-payer system would slow the growth of health care costs over the long term, but it’s vanishingly unlikely to actually cut current costs.” And that’s pretty much what Lewin shows. The initial cost saving is small, but the cost containment measures inherent in a government-funded plan push the cost curve down over time. Their estimate is that within a decade Minnesota’s proposed plan would have been a third less expensive than business-as-usual. This is roughly what I’d expect for a national single-payer plan too.

Is it technically possible to cut initial spending more? Sure. We could nationalize the whole medical industry, cut nurse and doctor pay by a third across the board, and create a mandatory formulary for drugs at a tenth of the price we currently pay. When the revolution comes, maybe that will happen—and doctors and pharma executives will be grateful we didn’t just take them out and shoot them. In the meantime, I’m more interested in real-world movements toward single payer. Obamacare was a good start. Adding a public option would be another step. Medicare for all might be next. And something better than Medicare would be the final step. That will be hard enough even if we don’t make mortal enemies out of every single player in the health care market.

Roughly speaking, if we adopted national single-payer health care today it would cost us an additional $1.5 trillion in taxes. That’s reality, and as a good social democrat I’m fine with that. In theory, after all, my taxes might go up 30 percent, but Mother Jones will also increase my salary 30 percent because they no longer have to provide me with health insurance. Roughly speaking, this would be a good deal for half the country, which pays very little in income taxes; a wash for another third; and a loss for the top 10 percent, whose taxes would go up more than the cost of the health insurance they currently receive. If we decide to tax corporations instead of individuals, the incidence of the tax would pass through to individuals in a pretty similar way.

So that’s that. I don’t believe in Santa Claus, and I don’t believe that we can pass a bill that slashes health care costs to European levels. They’ve had decades of cost containment that got them to where they are. We, unfortunately, haven’t, so we have to start with our current cost structure. One way or another, that’s what we have to deal with.

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American Health Care Is Expensive. It Will Take Years to Change That.

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Trump Appears to Shove NATO Leader Aside for Better Position in Photos

Mother Jones

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During a meeting with fellow NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday, President Donald Trump appeared to shove Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic of Montenegro aside in order to position himself front and center for photographers.

The gesture was swiftly mocked on social media. Trump’s first visit to the Belgian capital, a city the president previously described as a “hellhole,” was already fraught with anxiety. Trump vowed to pull the United States out of NATO and repeatedly described the group as “obsolete” during the presidential campaign. Although he appeared to reverse course after meeting with the group’s secretary general in April, Trump’s commitment to NATO remained unsure.

Those apprehensions were reaffirmed Thursday: Shortly before appearing to push Dukanovic, Trump delivered a speech chastising NATO countries for failing to “meet their financial obligations”—a popular refrain from his campaign days. Keep a lookout for the faces of European leaders as Trump lectures them in the clip below:

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Trump Appears to Shove NATO Leader Aside for Better Position in Photos

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