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Support for Trump’s trade-off bid for China help on N. Korea

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that China is

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that China is working with the United States on the "North Korean problem." Credit: AP / Wong Maye-E

Few fault Trump China flip

President Donald Trump Sunday morning defended his willingness to trade away a big trade issue in exchange for help in defusing the North Korean nuclear threat, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.

“Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

That’s fine with some senators from both parties who have been Trump foreign-policy critics.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said China’s “key role in North Korea potentially can’t be sort of jeopardized by going after them as currency manipulators.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “China is the key” to the U.S. effort and the currency issue “may be part of the overall relationship.”

A dissent came from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who like Trump has pointed to China’s history of keeping its currency’s value artificially low to boost exports. Trump shouldn’t abandon the position so readily, Schumer said in reply to Trump’s tweet:

“You have it backwards. If you’re tough on China on trade it’d help American workers & they’d be more willing to help with North Korea.”

‘All options’ on table

The failure of North Korea’s latest missile test provided no respite from tensions.

National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week” that “this problem is coming to a head” and “all of our options are on the table, undergoing refinement and further development.”

But he emphasized the United States hopes not to use military force. Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland, on Fox News Sunday, said the United States needs to give China “some time” to pressure North Korea.

The swamp is a waive pool

The Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers of ethics rules so it can fill jobs with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who, in many cases, are working on policies for the same industries they just came from, according to reporting by The New York Times and ProPublica.

The president already had eliminated an ethics provision that prohibits lobbyists from joining agencies they lobbied in the prior two years. Trump White House officials had over 300 recent corporate clients, according to an analysis of financial disclosures.

Regulations in the bull’s-eye

At Trump’s invitation, American manufacturers have submitted scores of suggestions for ways the government could cut regulations and make it easier for companies to get their projects approved, The Washington Post reported.

Administration officials said many of the ideas are likely to get approved. The proposals include easing environmental and worker-safety rules.

For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce The Chamber also wants to jettison a requirement that employers report their injury and illness records electronically to the Labor Department so they can be posted “on the internet for anyone to see.”

Point of no returns

Trump tweeted that “someone should look into who paid for” the demonstrations in dozens of cities Saturday calling upon him to release his income tax returns. The marches were sponsored by a coalition of 69 organizations, The Washington Post said.

He also said it should be a dead issue because “The election is over!” Those who disagree say Americans deserve to know about his business ties and potential conflicts of interest. On Long Island, more than 200 protested outside IRS offices in Hauppauge, Newsday’s Joan Gralla reports.

Trump bends to reality

Much of Trump’s abrupt policy changes have occurred against the backdrop of nationalist Steve Bannon losing internal White House battles with more moderate voices such as Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Gary Cohn.

But a bigger factor, says an analysis in The Atlantic, is that Trump is following a path of less resistance.

While his campaign agenda resonated with his voters and some in right-wing media, it hasn’t swayed the more powerful GOP institutions — think tanks, interest groups, business and many in Congress.

What else is happening:

  • Trump attended Easter Sunday services at Bethesda-by-the-Sea the Palm Beach church where he was married to Melania Trump in 2005. It was Trump’s first known Sunday in church since his inauguration.
  • Vice President Mike Pence, visiting South Korea amid the nuclear tensions, reminisced with U.S. troops and their families about his dad, who fought in the Korean War and received a Bronze Star for heroism.
  • In its first week with Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch on the bench, the Supreme Court will hear a religious rights case that could make it easier to spend state money on private, religious schooling in many states.
  • Trump’s divided senior advisers aim to try to find a consensus this week on whether the United States should stay in the Paris climate change agreement, Politico reports.
  • Grassroots donors provided the bulk of the $7.1 million raised between January and March for Trump’s 2020 campaign, The New York Times reported.
  • The U.S. tourism industry sees increasing signs that would-be foreign visitors are avoiding the United States by the millions because Trump’s policies toward travelers are seen at not unwelcoming, The Washington Post reported.

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