With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA:
BALTIMOREâEvery leading contender to take over the Democratic National Committee believes Hillary Clinton focused too much on attacking Donald Trump at the expense of articulating an affirmative case for holding the White House. During their final showdown before the chairmanâs election in Atlanta on Feb. 25, there was consensus that the partyâs problems derive mainly from subpar organization and communication â not anything fundamental.
âWe forgot to talk to people,â said Tom Perez, who was secretary of labor until last month and a finalist to be Clintonâs running-mate last summer. âIâm a big believer in data analytics, but data analytics cannot supplant good old fashioned door knocking. â¦ We didnât communicate our values to people. When Donald Trump says, âIâm going to bring the coal jobs back,â we know thatâs a lie. But people understand that he feels their pain. And our response was: âVote for us because heâs crazy.â Iâll stipulate to that, but thatâs not a message.â
Many Democratic leaders remain in a state of denial about the lessons of the election. They have only been in the wilderness for a few weeks now, and Clinton won the popular vote. The mass protests of the past four weekends and Trumpâs sagging popularity have added to their overconfidence that theyâll easily win again in 2020.
It was striking during a two-hour forum here in Charm City that not one of the 10 candidates for chair suggested the party should moderate in response to last yearâs losses. Indeed, there was no substantive discussion about policy at all during the Saturday evening event. It was taken as a given that all the aspirants are committed liberals. This is a stark contrast to the ideological debates that enveloped the party following similar setbacks in 2004, 1988 or 1972. It reflects the degree to which the Bernie Sanders wing is ascendant, and Blue Dogs have left the party.
Perez is the clear frontrunner, but he still does not have the votes locked up. With backing from key figures in Barack Obamaâs orbit (Joe Biden) and the Clinton machine (Terry McAuliffe), he is the establishment favorite. But his progressive bona fides are beyond question, from his tenure as a Montgomery County councilman to helming the Justice Departmentâs civil rights division. That makes it hard for Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who won an early endorsement from Sanders and Chuck Schumer, to get too far to Perezâs left. That is part of the explanation for why the chairâs race lacks much ideological tension.
Pete Buttigieg, the 34-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has tried to position himself as a consensus candidate who is not part of the Clinton or Sanders wing. Because the winner must get support from a majority of the 447 eligible voters, the election may go into two, three or even four rounds.
Buttigiegâs goal is to be the second choice for as many Perez and Ellison supporters as possible. But his diagnosis of what went wrong in 2016 sounds a lot like Perezâs. âWe spent so much time talking about the politicians, like thatâs what really matters,â he said. âI was guilty of it. I had a button when we were campaigning for Hillary â¦ that said âIâm with her.â It was all about her. Then when we realized who the opponent was going to be, it was all about him. We said, âIâm against him because he is terrible.â He is terrible. But the people at home were saying, âWho is talking to me? Who is talking about me?â Everything we talk about has to be explained in terms of how it directly touches peopleâs actual lives.â
Ray Buckley, the longtime chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, likened the DNC to a car thatâs broken down on the side of the road but really only needs a tune-up. He said heâd reallocate money from television advertising toward field organizing. âWe need someone who can lift up the hood and fix the damn car,â he said.
âWhile many of you know that Iâm openly gay, many of you donât know â¦ that I come from the lowest of the white working class,â he added later. âWe ran hundreds of millions of dollars of commercials telling the voters that, âOh, our opponent if offensive.â When youâre worried about your damn paycheck, about your job, about where youâre going to live and if your kids are going to go to school, you donât really give a crap if the president is insulting. The reality is we didnât have a positive message for anyone Iâm related to. We didnât offer a message to my neighbors. We didnât offer a message to the people in Indiana or Ohio or Pennsylvania or Kentucky.â
âThe Clinton campaign treated this organization with disrespect,â said Jehmu Greene, another long-shot candidate for chair and a regular liberal commentator on Fox News.
Ironically, every person who complained about how the party was too focused on attacking Trump in 2016 also tried to out-do the other candidates in promising to go after the new president. Ellison called Trump âthe most misogynistic person to ever become president.â Perez called him âthe most dangerous and destructive person to ever hold the presidency.â Buttigieg described the new commander-in-chief as âa chicken-hawk.â
Because rural, red states have relatively outsized influence in the DNC voting process, all the candidates for chair are talking a great deal about re-embracing what Howard Dean called the 50 state strategy. âWe got into this mess because we didnât win about a thousand elections,â said Ellison. âI gave five grand to the Louisiana state party. Iâve been out to Nebraska. â¦ You are where the votes are.â
Perez called for more intensive candidate training and the creation of a Center for Best Practices: âSo that we can go and say, âHey, Alaska, you flipped your House Democrat. How did you do it? Hey Kansas, you won 14 seats in the state House. How did you do it?â The answer is: Without any help from the DNC! Weâve got to change that.â
None of the candidates for chair, however, wanted to argue that national Democrats have lurched too far to the left to consistently compete in these rural places. The closest anyone came was when Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, complained that the Democratic National Committee has increasingly become the Democratic Presidential Committee. âAll weâve focused on was the presidency and nothing else. We cannot leave any Democrat or Democratic Party behind,â he said. âI got into a Twitter fight yesterday. Somebody said, âDo you support (Joe) Manchin Democrats? I said, I support anybody who is a Democrat! â¦ I support anyone who will give the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi.â
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— Adele swept the Grammy Awards last night, beating out BeyoncÃ© for the nightâs heaviest prizes: song, record, and album of the year. Chris Richards recaps the evening: âHaving swept every category she was nominated in back in 2012, the British balladeer pulled off a repeat Sunday, also winning best pop solo performance and best pop vocal album earlier in the night. Accepting her statuary for album of the year at the close of the show, the 28-year-old singer tearfully deferred to BeyoncÃ©. âThe âLemonadeâ album was so monumental, and so well thought-out, and so beautiful, and soul-baring,â Adele said. âYou are our light.ââ So classy. Other big awards of the night were given to Chance the Rapper for best new artist (though his breakout album landed all the way back in 2013), BeyoncÃ©âs for the best urban contemporary album, and the Twenty One Pilots for best pop duo/group performance. (See a complete list of winners here.)
GET SMART FAST:ââ
- Some 130,000 California residents were ordered to evacuate on Sunday after a hole in one of the Oroville Damâs emergency spillways threatened to flood the surrounding area. Officials predicted the structure would fail early Sunday evening â warning nearby residents of âimminentâ damage. (Samantha Schmidt)
- A protest camp in North Dakota, which once housed thousands of demonstrators against the Dakota Access pipeline, is melting. Activists say unseasonably warm weather has turned the camp into a pit of mud, forcing many to pack up and flee. (Joe Heim)
- The United States Tennis Association apologized after it played a Nazi-era version of Germanyâs national anthem before a match between the two countries in Hawaii. One German athlete said of the gaffe, âIâve never felt more disrespected in my whole life.â (Des Bieler)
- The Hamburg airport was evacuated and briefly closed after dozens of people were affected by an irritant gas. German authorities believe the substance was pepper spray, distributed through the air-conditioning system, but they ruled out terrorism. (Stephanie Kirchner)
- Former German foreign minister and vocal Trump critic Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected as president, becoming the 12th person to assume the countryâs largely ceremonial post. The Social Democrat, who served two stints as foreign minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel, made headlines last year after referring to Trump as a “hate preacher.” He succeeds Joachim Gauck, a 77-year-old former pastor who did not seek a second five-year term because of his age. (AP)
- Many passengers fled a United Airlines plane minutes before departure when their pilot arrived in a baseball cap and street clothes â and began ranting over the intercom about her recent divorce. She was eventually escorted from the airport, but not before trying to make nice with alarmed travelers: one shaking passenger said she gave him a hug and suggested the two write a book together. (Avi Selk)
- Greece evacuated more than 70,000 residents from its second-largest city after discovering an intact World War II-era bomb buried next to a gas station. The 500-pound bomb was successfully deactivated and moved to a shooting range to be destroyed. (Max Bearak)
- Yale University announced that Calhoun College will be renamed. Grace Murray Hoppe, a pioneering mathematician and computer scientist, will be the new namesake. John C. Calhoun was an outspoken proponent of slavery and nullification. (Monica Wang and Susan Svrluga)
- A 29-year-old woman fell to her death from a World Trade Center escalator this weekend after she attempted to retrieve a hat her twin sister had dropped â and tumbled nearly 30 feet down to the concourse floor. (Kristine Guerra)
- A man who identified himself as the leader of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Missouri was found dead this weekend, several days after he was reported missing. His body was found in a river bank in a rural part of the state, and police are continuing to investigate several conflicting accounts of his disappearance. (Amy B Wang)
- A famous conman who once lied his way into Princeton University with a fabricated backstory has now pleaded guilty after he was found living in an illegal shack atop a Colorado mountain. Police believe he fashioned the structure himself out of materials and tools stolen from nearby construction sites. (Samantha Schmidt)
WEST WING INTRIGUE:
— National security adviser Michael Flynn is under increasing political pressure â and at risk of losing the confidence of his colleagues — following reports that he misled senior Trump officials about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian envoy. Philip Rucker, Adam Entous and Ed O’Keefe report: âAs White House aides scramble to get their stories straight about the exact nature of those communications and as Democrats (like Elijah Cummings) call for Flynnâs security clearance to be suspended or revoked, neither Trump nor his advisers have publicly defended Flynn or stated unequivocally that he has the presidentâs confidence. Privately, some administration officials said that Flynnâs position has weakened and support for him has eroded largely because of a belief that he was disingenuous about Russia and therefore could not be fully trusted going forward. âThe knives are out for Flynn,â said one administration official.“
— In a series of Sunday show appearances, a top White House official declined to say whether Trump stands behind Flynn: Asked whether the president has confidence in his national security adviser, senior adviser Stephen Miller said he did not know. âI donât have any news to make you today on this point,â Miller said on ABCâs âThis Week.â (In response, host George Stephanopolous asked: âThen why are you coming on? If you canât answer the questions being posed about the White House?â)
— Todayâs Wall Street Journal also leads with the internal deliberations over whether to fire Flynn: âMr. Flynn has apologized to White House colleagues over the episode, which has created a rift with Vice President Mike Pence and diverted attention from the administrationâs message to his own dealings â¦ âHeâs apologized to everyone,â (a White House) official said of Mr. Flynn. Mr. Trumpâs views toward the matter arenât clear. In recent days, he has privately told people the controversy surrounding Mr. Flynn is unwelcome â¦ But Mr. Trump also has said he has confidence in Mr. Flynn and wants to âkeep moving forward,â a person familiar with his thinking said. â¦ Steve Bannon had dinner with Mr. Flynn over the weekend, according to another senior administration official, and Mr. Bannonâs view is to keep him in the position but âbe readyâ to let him go â¦ Trumpâs son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, as of Sunday evening hadnât yet weighed inâ¦â
— Bigger picture, turmoil has ricocheted through the entire National Security Council, where staff members are struggling to make policy that aligns with Trumpâs Twitter rants and are often kept in the dark about what Trump tells foreign leaders. The New York Timesâ David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Peter Baker report: â[While] Mr. Obama liked policy option papers that were three to six single-spaced pages, council staff members are now being told to keep papers to a single page, with lots of graphics and maps. âThe president likes maps,â one official said. Paper flow, the lifeblood of the bureaucracy, has been erratic. A senior Pentagon official saw a draft executive order on prisoner treatment only through unofficial rumors and news media leaks. He called the White House to find out if it was real and said he had concerns but was not sure if he was authorized to make suggestions…
âTwo people â¦ said Mr. Flynn was surprised to learn that the State Department and Congress play a pivotal role in foreign arms sales and technology transfers. So it was a rude discovery that Mr. Trump could not simply order the Pentagon to send more weapons to Saudi Arabia â¦. [And] several staff members said that Mr. Flynn, who was a career Army officer, was not familiar with how to call up the National Guard in an emergency â for, say, a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina or the detonation of a dirty bomb in an American city.â
— The CIA rejected a security clearance application for a top deputy to Flynn, effectively ending his tenure on the NSC and ramping up tensions between Flynn and the intelligence community. (Politico)
— Longtime Trump friend Christopher Ruddy made headlines after publicly calling on White House chief of staff Reince Priebus to resign. Philip Rucker reports: âA lot of people have been saying, âLook, Donald has some problems,â and I think he realizes that heâs got to make some changes going forward,â the Newsmax CEO said on Friday, shortly after talking privately with the president over drinks. âItâs my view that Reince is the problem. I think on paper Reince looked good as the chief of staff â and Donald trusted him â but itâs pretty clear the guy is in way over his head. Heâs not knowledgeable of how federal agencies work, how the communications operations work.â
Ruddy insisted that he was speaking only for himself and not for the president, and he would not reveal whether Trump had confided in him about Priebus. Early Sunday evening, he attempted to soften his remarks â saying in a tweet that he had âjust spokenâ to Priebus. âReince just briefed me on new WH plans. Impressive!â he tweeted. âTold him I have âopen mindâ based on his results.â
— Trump has asked confidants whether he should keep press secretary Sean Spicer behind the podium, per Politicoâs Josh Dawsey and Alex Isenstadt: âDuring conversations with Spicer, the president has occasionally expressed unhappiness with how his press secretary is talking about some matters â sometimes pointing out even small things heâs doing that he doesnât like. Others whoâve talked with the president have begun to wonder about the future of â¦ Priebus. Several Trump campaign aides have begun to draft lists of possible Priebus replacements, with Kellyanne Conway, Rick Dearborn and lobbyist David Urban among those mentioned.â POTUS is also ramping up contact with people outside the White House â a move some said signals his unhappiness with the current state of affairs. “There will definitely be a change by the end of the summer, if not sooner,” one source said.
— Many people inside the White House assume that Kellyanne is playing a “long game” and maneuvering behind the scenes so that she can replace Reince as chief. Politicoâs Tara Palmeri reports: âMedia snarked, ethics watchdogs barked and even White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Conway had been âcounseledâ on her behavior â¦ [but] for Conway, the prize for loyalty is eventually landing a spot as chief of staff, becoming the first woman ever to hold the role and cementing her spot at the center of Trumpâs inner circle. Currently, Conway is seen within the White House as a âQueen without an Army,â according to a former campaign official. Conway has a vague title of âcounselor,â and she recently hired her own chief of staff and an assistant to support her on her quest to dig into the ânext phase of issues,â according to Conway. She has taken ownership of opioid-abuse and veterans affairs, a portfolio that Trump cares deeply about. Conway says she plans to turn her office into a war room, and was quick to mention that she has top-security clearance.â
— President Bannon? Neil Gorsuch acknowledged in a questionnaire submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee over the weekend that Steve Bannon interviewed him for the Supreme Court job on Jan. 5. (Read all 68 pages here.)
— On the same questionnaire, Gorsuch scaled back his description of the work he did for a pro bono organization in college. The walk-back comes after questions mounted and Harvard alumni questioned his stories. (Wall Street Journal)
PALM BEACH INTRIGUE:
— Trump faced one of his first foreign policy crises on Saturday night when North Korean fired a missile while he was eating dinner at Mar-a-Lago. CNNâs Kevin Liptak reports: âThe iceberg wedge salads, dripping with blue cheese dressing, had just been served on the terrace … when the call to [Trump] came in: North Korea had launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile … Sitting alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with whom he’d spent most of the day golfing, Trump took the call on a mobile phone at his table, which was set squarely in the middle of the private club’s dining area. As Mar-a-Lago’s wealthy members looked on from their tables, and with a keyboard player crooning in the background, Trump and Abe’s evening meal quickly morphed into a strategy session, the decision-making on full view to fellow diners…
âThe patio was lit only with candles and moonlight, so aides used the camera lights on their phones to help the stone-faced Trump and Abe read through the documents. Even as a flurry of advisers and translators descended upon the table carrying papers and phones for their bosses to consult, dinner itself proceeded apace. Waiters cleared the wedge salads and brought along the main course as Trump and Abe continued consulting.”
After Trump delivered a set of short public remarks — in which he vowed support for Japan but did not mention the launch itself â he could not resist dropping in on a wedding reception in the Grand Ballroom. He posed for pictures before grabbing a microphone: “They’ve been members of this club for a long time,” Trump said of the newlyweds. “They’ve paid me a fortune!”
— Not fake news: Trump has reportedly selected one of his friends to be our ambassador to Austria, in part, because he loves âThe Sound of Musicâ so much. From The Palm Beach Daily News: âPatrick Park is an avid fan of âThe Sound of Music.â You might say heâs obsessed with it. âReally, Iâve seen it like 75 times,â the concert pianist/industrialist said. âI know every single word and song by heart. Iâve always wanted to live in the Von Trapp house.â Well, if he canât live there, at least heâll be close enough to visit. Park has received unofficial word from President Donald Trump â well, as unofficial as a handwritten note saying âon to your next chapter, Ambassador!â can be â that he is the presidentâs choice to be U.S. ambassador to Austria. The president said he thought it would be a good match for Park because it is steeped in musical cultureâ¦
âPark said heâs already started boning up in order to be ready if and when the call comes. âI had a chance to talk to the Swiss and Hungarian ambassadors at the Red Cross Ball and at the diplomatsâ dinner the night before,â he said. âThey want me to visit them in Washington, and the Austrian ambassador in Washington said he wants us to go for lunch. See? Iâm already working!â First thing on his unofficial to-do list? âIâm flying to Vienna to check out the embassy, and then Iâm going to Salzburg to see if the Von Trapp house is for rent,â he said, laughing. âAnd then Iâm going to learn to like schnitzel and sachertorte.ââ
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, preparing for meetings at the White House this week, faces stark division within his right-wing government as he considers what message to deliver in Washington. William Booth reports: âHis education minister and coalition partner, Naftali Bennett â¦ has pressed him to abandon his tentative commitment to the two-state solution. â¦ Calling the upcoming visit to the White House âthe test of Netanyahuâs life,â Bennett warned the 67-year-old prime minister that there were two words he could not utter at the meeting: âPalestinian state.â Inside Netanyahuâs own Likud party, activists have been circulating a letter calling for the prime minister to jettison the two-state paradigm. [And] Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Trump meeting should have one overarching goal. âThe greatest threat to Israel is Iran, Iran and Iran,â he said.â
— Thousands of Mexicans took to the streets of their capital and other cities on Sunday to march against Trump â seeking to denounce his depictions of them as rapists and robbers, and to demand âthe respecting of Mexico.â Still, others gathered to express discontent with the countryâs unpopular leader, Enrique PeÃ±a Nieto, whose approval now hovers at 12âpercent. Such a balance proved difficult to maintain, as some protesters held signs comparing Trump to Hitler, chanting âNo wall!â while others shouted âPeÃ±a out!â in protest of the Mexican president. (David Agren)
— A public school board in Ontario has cancelled all upcoming student field trips to the U.S., citing what it called an âunsafeâ political climate in this country. The National Post reports on the eve of Justin Trudeauâs visit to Washington: âParamount for us is student safety â¦ we really donât know what will happen to our students at the border,â superintendent Clara Howitt said. Meanwhile, a Windsor MP said it is âironicâ that some of the cancelled trips had been for school classes planning to attend the Holocaust Memorial Center: âIf ever there was a point in which the world needed to learn about racism and prejudice and the unspeakable truths that need to be spoken, [now is the time],â he said.
— âIndia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam have largely escaped [Trumpâs] glare on trade, but he may yet come looking,â Bloombergâs David Tweed reports. âThe U.S. runs trade deficits with all of them, in some cases quite big ones. Trumpâs exit from the [TPP], his attacks on the trade policies of Japan, China and South Korea, and a Republican push for tax reforms that would impose a levy on U.S. imports from all countries are contributing to concerns that a protectionist era will hurt growth. Countries that the U.S. runs trade deficits with may be particularly vulnerable to attack. Peter Navarro, the head of Trumpâs National Trade Council, and Commerce Secretary-nominee Wilbur Ross last year wrote a paper where they pinpointed Americaâs trade gaps as a cause for what they described as its âslow growth plunge. âAlmost every country in Asia exports somewhere between an awful lot and a lot to the United States,â said Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre. â¦ âTrade deficits are a problem. At any moment there could be an angry Donald Trump in your face or a Twitter coming your way. Have other countries woken up to this problem? Perhaps not.ââ
TRUMP’S HOSTILE TAKEOVER:
— DJT is undertaking the most ambitious regulatory rollback since President Reagan, joining with GOP lawmakers to roll back rules already on the books and limit the ability of federal regulators to impose new ones. Juliet Eilperin reports: âThe campaign has alarmed Âlabor unions, public safety advocates and environmental activists, who fear losing regulations that have been in place for years, along with relatively new federal mandates. Business groups, however, are thrilled, saying Trump is responding to long-standing complaints that a profusion of federal regulations unnecessarily increases costs and hampers their ability to create jobs. Before Trump took office, the Congressional Review Act had been successfully used only once, to overturn a Clinton administration ergonomics rule in 2001. So far this year, the House has moved to nullify eight new rules and is considering dozens more. The fallout is already rippling across the federal Âbureaucracy and throughout the U.S. economy, affecting how dentists dispose of mercury fillings, how schools meet the needs of poor and disabled students, and whether companies reject mineral purchases that fuel one of the worldâs bloodiest conflicts.“
— The D.C. region is bracing for shock at the hands of Trump. Robert McCartney reports: âOfficials and analysts expect sharp cuts in federal nondefense spending, which would strain local budgets nationwide and pose a particular threat to economic growth here. In addition, proposed tax changes risk stalling the Washington areaâs high-priority efforts to provide more affordable housing. And business leaders say President Trumpâs demonization of the capital â¦ has hurt the regionâs reputation as a good place to work. No one knows what the full impact will be â¦ And since the White House does not release details of its budget proposal for several weeks, local jurisdictions are making plans for next year with no specific information on how much federal support theyâre going to lose. But the region is widely expected to fare worse than most because of steps to restrict the size and cost of the federal workforce â an effort already begun with the presidentâs early freeze on federal hiring.â
— Fear and panic have spiked in Americaâs immigrant community after reports that hundreds of immigrants were arrested in a wave of raids by U.S. authorities across at least six states. Janell Ross, Aaron C. Davis and Joel Achenbach report: âFederal officials insist they have not made fundamental changes in enforcement actions, and they deny stopping people randomly at checkpoints or conducting âsweepsâ of locations where undocumented immigrants are common.â While officials acknowledged that as a result of Trumpâs executive order, authorities had cast a wider net than they would have last year, it is unclear how many of the arrests would have also taken place under President Obama. Trump defended the crackdown in a Sunday tweet: âThe crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise,â he wrote. âGang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!â
— The list of companies dropping Trump-branded products continued to grow this weekend, with Sears and Kmart discontinuing online sales of 31 items from the Trump Home collection. A spokesman for the company that owns both chains said the decision was made âamid a streamlining effort,â and noted that neither store carries Trump Home products in their retail stores. (Kristine Guerra)
— President Trump is considering reducing the number of jobs in the office of the first lady, targeting the number of staffers who will serve under Melania as he seeks to cut costs in the White House. (McClatchy)
— âTrumpâs plan to revive US steel industry faces barriers,â by the Boston Globeâs Annie Linskey: The appeal of mandating that American steel be used in new pipelines is obvious to a president whose protectionism seems like a throwback to another era. âBut scrutiny of Trumpâs demand shows that his simple-sounding âBuy Americanâ sloganeering runs headlong into actual economic conditions, legal barriers, and basic requirements of governing. â¦ Industry analysts say the idea of forcing the Keystone and Dakota pipelines to be made from American steel is, well, a pipe dream. The Dakota pipeline is almost complete, so its developers donât need to buy much, if any, additional pipe. As for Keystone, just drive a few miles east of Scranton in North Dakota, where hundreds of miles worth of 36-inch pipe â already purchased for the project â is stacked in a field and waiting for construction to begin. Add to that the fact that few American steelmakers make the type of steel required for the pipelineâ¦
âAll told, it looks as if Trumpâs pipeline declaration is another example of facts and details getting in the way of the presidentâs original wishes â like finding a quick fix for the Affordable Care Act. â¦ Gordon Johnson, a steel industry analyst with Axiom Capital Management, noted that few American steelmakers make the type of steel required for the pipeline, and there is skepticism they will retool their plants to make it in part because margins are low. â¦ âSomebody at the White House doesnât have a clue,â said Charles Bradford, the president of Bradford Research Inc. â¦ International trade rules and other legal barriers pose another problem, especially on a privately financed project like Keystone. â¦ The World Trade Organizationâs Government Procurement Agreement â¦ bans members from granting preferred treatment to domestic companies.â
— Trumpâs ambitious infrastructure plan is likely to face a number of speed bumps â including environmental regulations and neighborhood opposition that have routinely constrained White House ambitions in the past. The Wall Street Journalâs David Harrison reports on Page One: “Many lawmakers and economists agree with [Trump] that America needs to fix a backlog of infrastructure needs, which the Transportation Department pegs at $926 billion. There’s a similar agreement that conservation and preservation laws have helped mitigate damage on neighborhoods and the environment. A tour through of the nation’s thorniest infrastructure struggles shows how these two goals are often in conflict. As a result, long, costly reviews and legal battles will likely confront Mr. Trump’s efforts, just as they delayed much of President Barack Obama’s 2009 economic-stimulus efforts. â¦ It can take decades to bring such investments to fruition. … Completing the process took an average of almost 10 years for major highway projects that received their final review in 2015, up from about five years in 2005.”
MORE SUNDAY SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:
— Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller said the White House is pursuing several options to reinstate Trumpâs âtravel ban,â days after an appellate court ruled unanimously against reinstating the policy. Philip Rucker reports: âMiller said that officials are considering appealing with the 9th Circuit and having an emergency hearing âen banc,â or before a larger panel of judges on the court; seeking an emergency stay at the Supreme Court; taking the case to trial at the district level; or writing a new executive order for Trump to sign that would withstand legal scrutiny.â In a series of Sunday show appearances, Miller said the courtâs decision represents a âusurpation of powerâ by the judicial branch. âI want to say something very clearly, and this is going to be very disappointing to the people protesting the president and the people in Congress, like Chuck Schumer, who have attacked the president for his lawful and necessary action: The presidentâs powers here are beyond question,â Miller said on Fox News Sunday.
— The Postâs Fact Checker gives Miller “Four Pinocchios” for the âbushelsâ of false claims he made on-air about voter fraud. âItâs pretty ridiculous to cite research in a way that even the researcher says is inappropriate, and yet Miller keeps saying 14 percent of noncitizens are registered to vote,â Glenn Kessler writes. â[And] the Republican governor of New Hampshire has admitted that he was wrong to say buses of illegal voters voted in the election, and yet Miller shamelessly suggests that is the case. Miller cites a supposed expert on voter fraud, [Kansas Secretary of State Kris] Kobach, who has been mocked for failing to prove his own claims of voter fraud. Miller also repeats a claim about people being registered to vote in two states, even though that is not an example of voter fraud. Miller earns Four Pinocchios â over and over again.â
— Al Franken said âa fewâ Republican senators think Trump has mental health issues. “It’s not the majority of them, it’s a few,â the Minnesota senator said on CNN. “We all have this suspicion that he â¦ that he lies a lot, that he says things that aren’t true. That is not the norm for a President of the United States, or actually for a human being.â
— Bernie Sanders called Trump a âpathological liar.â âWe have a president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar,â he said. âThose are strong words,â Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd interjected, asking Sanders whether he can work with a liar. âIt makes life very difficult. It is very harsh, but I think thatâs the truth,â Sanders replied. âWhen somebody goes before you and says that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally â¦ nobody believes that. There is not a scintilla of evidence to believe that, what would you call that remark? Itâs a lie. Itâs a delusion.â (Ed OâKeefe)
— âAfter angry demonstration in Utah, Chaffetz returns to more wrath in D.C.,â by Paul Schwartzman: âRep. Jason Chaffetz is not yielding. When he gavels in his House committee Monday night, the Utah Republican will begin the rare act of dismantling a D.C. law â one that allows for assisted suicide â despite the wrath of District residents who are planning a massive âHands off D.C.â rally and accuse him of bullying the city to pander to his conservative base. Chaffetz â¦ faced another horde of protesters at a town hall in his Utah district last week, though they were irate [for his failure to investigate] Trumpâs financial dealings â¦ In both cases, Chaffetz said, he would not be swayed by angry crowds, phone calls, emails or tweets. âIt doesnât faze me,â the 49-year-old congressman said at an In-N-Out Burger in his Utah district last Thursday, where he devoured a cheeseburger and french fries moments after his security detail whisked him away from the town hall meeting filled with protesters chanting âDo your job!â âItâs a very, very small minority,â he said between sips of a chocolate shake. âItâs a very vocal, very frustrated, scorched-earth mentality thatâs not representative of the average person, certainly not in Utah.ââ
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Itâs not just the White House that has a problem with spelling. “Someone at the U.S. Education Department, now led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, does, too,” Valerie Strauss writes. “At 8:45 a.m. on Sunday morning, the departmentâs official Twitter account misspelled the name of W.E.B. Du Bois, a black sociologist, historian, civil rights activist and co-founder of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the United States. Du Bois was misspelled as DeBois â an error that might be understandable from a young student, but the U.S. Education Department?”
Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life. â W.E.B. DeBois pic.twitter.com/Re4cWkPSFA
â US Dept of Education (@usedgov) February 12, 2017
Hours after the tweet was posted â and after the error was lampooned by a number of people on Twitter, it was corrected, with an apology:
“Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life.” â W.E.B. Du Bois pic.twitter.com/hSg4R1rLHH
â US Dept of Education (@usedgov) February 12, 2017
Post updated – our deepest apologies for the earlier typo.
â US Dept of Education (@usedgov) February 12, 2017
More egregiously, meanwhile, the RNC tweeted out a made-up Lincoln quote:
His leadership brought us together; his legacy inspires us still. Happy Birthday, President Lincoln! pic.twitter.com/W2rXcKHVpu
â GOP (@GOP) February 12, 2017
Many Republicans were befuddled:
.@GOP Dudes, when I was acting research director at RNC, we checked our facts.
â Jack Pitney (@jpitney) February 12, 2017
â Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 12, 2017
This Bernie tweet went viral:
I disagreed with President Bush all the time. I never called him a pathological liar. He was just conservative. But Trump lies all the time.
â Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 12, 2017
Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tried repeatedly to get the president’s attention via his favorite medium: Twitter.
Whoever monitors twitter at WH for Pres Trump get on subject of my immediate tweet and stop overclassification & start declassifying
â ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 11, 2017
Whoever monitors twitter at WH for President Trump read my previous 2tweets and hv this businessman understand TRANSPARENCY=ACCOUNTABILITY
â ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 11, 2017
Whoever monitors twitter at WH tell Pres Trump to ask Putin”What do u hv agst ElectionOpponents bc they are killed/imprisoned/poisoned?”
â ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 12, 2017
Whoever monitors twitter at WH for businessman president Trump “when is WH going to be opened for public tours?” Mrs G wants to know
â ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 12, 2017
Secret agreement between Obama&Australia 4US to take Aussie refugees shld b declassified/If can’t be tell me why/WH:ANSWER MY LETTER
â ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 12, 2017
Many compared Trump’s tough talk about North Korea’s ICBM program from before the inauguration to his relatively tepid response on Saturday night:
After N. Korea’s missile test, Trump said the USA “stands behind Japan, its ally, 100 percent.”
Will GOP say Trump is leading from behind?
â Walter Pincus (@walterpincus) February 12, 2017
Stephen Miller’s Sunday show appearances were widely panned as disastrous (including, privately, by West Wing colleagues):
I can’t even begin to list the number of weird statements that Stephen Miller offered on Fox and ABC this morning. And his style? Oh my.
â Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) February 12, 2017
From the NYT TV critic:
Maybe it’s time for producers to think about how to do a Sunday show without administration guests. https://t.co/VSyFWaZqal
â James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) February 12, 2017
The Steven Miller interviews this morning on all the Sunday shows were frightening! Sorry Mr President. No..
A really bad sign…
â Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) February 13, 2017
Whose idea was it to put Steven Miller on all the Sunday shows? What a disaster…
â Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) February 12, 2017
From a top Kasich adviser:
Hey @PressSec I challenge you, Miller & Trump to produce a shred of evidence re: massive NH fraud in tomorrow’s briefing. Put up or shut up!
â John Weaver (@JWGOP) February 12, 2017
In the face of such criticism, the president insisted that he was pleased:
Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!
â Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017
Trump also complained that the media was not covering his well-wishers:
Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!
â Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017
Critics noted that the people Trump was describing as supporters were actually protesters:
At around 5:15p ET, our simple President didn’t realize the people lining his motorcade route were mostly protesters. pic.twitter.com/xU8D5F2EpP
â southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) February 12, 2017
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) published tips in Spanish and English for immigrants if ICE shows up at the door:
I know this is a time of fear and uncertainty for many. If you or someone you love is concerned about ICE, remember that you have rights pic.twitter.com/bsEQRAiCyu
â Mike Thompson (@RepThompson) February 12, 2017
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) expressed solidarity with Ukraine:
â Rob Portman (@senrobportman) February 12, 2017
Chuck Schumer trolled Trump:
Stephen Colbert made fun of Trump’s small hands:
â The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) February 11, 2017
Ivanka Trump posted this snap of her kids:
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) praised his dad:
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) did drill duty:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— AP, âThe new civics course in schools: How to avoid fake news,â by Carolyn Thompson: âTeachers from elementary school through college are telling students how to distinguish between factual and fictional news â and why they should care that thereâs a difference. As Facebook works with The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and other organizations to curb the spread of fake and misleading news on its influential network, teachers say classroom instruction can play a role in deflating the kind of âPope endorses Trumpâ headlines that muddied the waters during the 2016 presidential campaign. âIt hasnât been a difficult topic to teach in terms of material because thereâs so much going on out there,â [says New Jersey professor Pat Winters Lauro], âbut itâs difficult in terms of politics because we have such a divided country and the students are divided, too, on their beliefs. Iâm afraid sometimes that they think Iâm being political when really Iâm just talking about journalistic standards for facts and verification, and they look at it like âOh, youâre anti-this or -that.ââ
— A new report from a Washington think tank rebuts Russiaâ claims of restraint in Syriaâs bombing campaign. The New York Timesâ Michael R. Gordon reports: âRussian military officials have vociferously denied that their airstrikes have killed civilians in Syria, going so far as to say that eyewitness accounts that a major hospital was bombed last year in the brutal fight to retake Aleppo were mere fabrications. But a new analysis that draws on satellite images, security camera videos, social media and even footage from the Kremlin-backed Russian television network has challenged Moscowâs claims that its airstrikes on behalf of the Syrian military were an exercise in prudent restraint. The analysis shows that the hospital, contrary to claims by a Russian general, was bombed multiple times. It indicates that Russian aircraft used incendiary munitions and cluster bombs, despite the Kremlinâs denials, and concludes that Syrian forces used chlorine gas on a far greater scale than is commonly believed.â The analysis is published in a report by the Atlantic Council, and comes as Trump has signaled an interest in forging better connections with Putin and potentially working closer with the Russian military in Syria.
HOT ON THE LEFT:
âWatch The Anti-LGBTQ Bullying Video That Got A Teacher Suspended,â from HuffPost: âA North Carolina teacher was suspended from her job after parents were reportedly angered by an anti-LGBTQ bullying film she played for students. Kimberly Fernetti, who is a teacher at North Lincoln High School in North Carolinaâs Lincoln County, presented Kim Rocco Shields and David Tillmanâs âLove Is All You Need?â to her class as part of a lesson on bullying â¦ Released in 2012, the short film is set in a sort of alternate universe where homosexuality in the norm, and straight people are ostracized. The 19-minute film, which has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube, concludes with a young girl slashing her wrists in a bathtub in a suicide attempt after she is bullied at school for being straight. While it isnât entirely clear from the complaints were focused on the filmâs pro-LGBTQ message or its depiction of suicide, [students] â¦ defended Fernettiâs decision to present it.â
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
âThereâs An Alt-Left, And Itâs Trying To Make America Ungovernable,â from the Daily Caller: â[Trumpâs] White House staff may be longing for the random acts of vandalism committed against the early George W. Bush team by the Clinton White House staff in 2001, including taking the Ws off many White House computer keyboards. Instead, today, a subversive alt-government is emerging, in line with the alt-leftâs growing resistance to use any means necessary to slow, stop and obstruct Trumpâs agenda, from inside the government, to make America ungovernable. Christian Adams, a lawyer and the author of âInjustice,â has witnessed ideological battles inside the Department of Justice. In this exclusive video interview, he condemns the intolerant left wing, with its violence, fire, riots and âtotalitarian tendenciesâ â¦ As for the ideologically-hostile bureaucrats left in place from the Obama administration, Adams says âthere are not enough Donald Trumps in the administration.ââ
At the White House: Trump will speak with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma separately by phone. Later, Trump will host Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House, where the two will have a working luncheon and participate in a roundtable discussion on the advancement of women entrepreneurs and business leaders. Following, Trump will meet with top RNC chairs and participate in a pinning ceremony for Major Ricardo (Rick) Turner.
Mike Pence will meet with staff at the White House before joining Trump and Trudeau for their afternoon meetings and luncheon. Later, he will travel to the Capitol for a series of meetings with lawmakers.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate will convene at noon and proceed to an executive session to consider Steve Mnuchin as Treasury secretary.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— A high wind warning is in effect until this evening â and the winds will be accompanied by some chilly temps as well. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: âThe big story today is the wind, which could gust over 50 mph. They wonât be quite as intense as overnight (when they gusted from 60-70+ mph between 10:30 p.m. and midnight), but we may still have some issues with downed trees and power outages. The highest winds are likely in the morning, but theyâll remain strong into the afternoon, with gusts over 40 mph still possible. Despite the winds, weâll have plenty of sunshine, with highs 45-50.â
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Watch Kellyanne Conway go Fatal Attraction on Jake Tapper:
Alec Baldwin is back as Trump in the People’s Court:
Melissa McCarthy is back as Sean Spicer, with a cameo from Kate McKinnon as Jeff Sessions:
McKinnon does a mean Elizabeth Warren:
A source provided cell phone video of Trump playing golf on Saturday (reporters were barred from tagging along):
Here’s a video with more about that United flight which passengers fled after the pilot ranted about Trump, Clinton and her divorce:
A viral video imagines what life has been like for despondent liberals since the election.
Trump is awkward when he shakes hands:
if you ever meet donald trump do NOT try to shake his hand pic.twitter.com/rFUEhUBEya
â MÐ´ÑÑ ÐegÑiÐ¸ (@MattNegrin) February 10, 2017
[Trump and Abe hold hands for 19 seconds]
Trump: âStrong hands.â [golf swing] pic.twitter.com/ytPGgwlI3W
â Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 10, 2017