President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Monday.

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Monday. Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

We're the Wimp-ire State?

It started as an attack on Democratic New York State officials for an investigation that threatens his friends, the NRA. But in midtweet, Donald Trump rambled off-topic to taunt his home state for failing to preserve a break important to many of its taxpayers in his 2017 tax overhaul.

"They didn’t even put up a fight against SALT — could have won," Trump wrote.

The president was referring to the $10,000 cap slapped on state and local tax deductions for federal income taxes, which took effect for the 2018 tax year. Trump didn't make clear exactly who he thinks gave up too easily, but offense was taken by New York Democrats and Trump-allied Republicans alike.

"Infuriating, frustrating and wrong," said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley). "The change that was made to the SALT deduction was horribly flawed policy that put the screws to states like New York in order to pay for deeper tax cuts elsewhere," Zeldin said.

Trump is "rewriting history," said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford). "He's from New York, but he did more to hurt New York than what's ever been done before. That's the reality and he's trying to pass the buck to us." Or take the buck away from us, but you get King's point.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo pushed back at Trump: "If you knew it was bad for New York, why did you do it?" Cuomo has joined other states in a suit seeking to rescind the cap.

Trump's original message was to accuse Cuomo and state Attorney General Letitia James of "illegally" investigating the National Rifle Association. He wasn't clear what he thought was illegal about the probe, which is reportedly focused on the gun group's finances and tax-exempt status. For more, see Newsday's story by Laura Figueroa Hernandez with Robert Brodsky.

Biden kicks Trump in kickoff rally

In the first rally of his campaign, Joe Biden accused Trump of abusing the powers of his office and governing as "the only president who has decided not to represent the whole country." Said Biden: "We need a president who will work for all Americans."

Addressing a union audience in Pittsburgh, Biden began a rollout of policy positions. He called for a $15-an-hour national minimum wage. Setting himself apart from Democrats on his left pushing Medicare-for-all plans, Biden instead favored a "public option" that would let people voluntarily buy into Medicare.

Biden also received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Its president, Harold Schaitberger, said, "I’m very concerned about a Democratic Party lurching too far to the left." He said Biden "has the voice and the connection with the workers in middle America that abandoned the Democratic candidate in 2016."

Trump spits fire at union

Smoke must have billowed from Trump's ears over the endorsement of Biden by the firefighters' union.

"The Dues Sucking firefighters leadership will always support Democrats, even though the membership wants me," he tweeted. "I’ll never get the support of Dues Crazy union leadership, those people who rip-off their membership with ridiculously high dues, medical and other expenses while being paid a fortune," the president wrote. "But the members love Trump. They look at our record economy, tax & reg cuts, military etc. WIN!"

Same crisis, different memo

The refugee crisis at the southern border prompted the solution-strapped president to issue another executive order on Monday.

This time he proposes charging asylum-seekers a first-ever fee to process their applications, but didn't name a cost. He also proposed tighter controls on work permits and faster application processing. 

Other unilateral orders included his wall funding which is the subject of court challenges. On Sunday Trump blamed the most recent surge of refugees on his withdrawal of his own policy separating children from their families at the border while overstating the influx numbers.

Warning signs for Trump 2020

The strong economy should be the best thing Trump has going for him in his re-election bid. But the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll finds a 60 people majority believes the nation's economic system benefits those in power rather than all people, a level of dissatisfaction that could help a Democratic opponent.

A 55 percent majority of voters say they definitely won't support Trump, compared with 30 percent who say they definitely will.

But only a third of those saying no to Trump are a definite yes for the Democratic candidate, while two-thirds say they're waiting to see who that is.

Bill chills off-LI drilling

Cuomo, joined by Long Island native Billy Joel, signed legislation Monday at Jones Beach banning offshore drilling in New York's waters, reports Newsday's Brodsky. The measure is aimed at thwarting the Trump administration's hopes of opening the Eastern Seaboard for oil and gas exploration.

"Today's bill says no how, no way are you going to drill the coast off Long Island and New York," Cuomo said.

Federal judges have already frustrated many of Trump's efforts to boost fossil-fuel production by opening up more federal land to oil drilling and coal mining, according to Bloomberg News. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said last week his department has suspended plans to expand offshore drilling because of a federal court ruling.

Cuomo warned that the administration has not permanently abandoned its plan for East Coast drilling. "They are going to keep coming one way or another," he said.

From fixer to fall guy

Former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen is due to report to prison May 6 for his role in the Stormy Daniels hush-money payoff, along with other crimes including tax evasion, and he doesn't see the justice in that.

Noting how others — Trump included — were involved in the scheme to keep Daniels quiet without facing such consequences, Cohen told The New Yorker: "How come I’m the only one? I didn’t work for the campaign. I worked for him. And how come I’m the one that’s going to prison? I’m not the one that slept with the porn star.”

Rod casts himself out

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sent Trump his long-expected resignation, effective May 11, and expressed gratitude for, among other things, "the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations."

Rosenstein frequently faced Trump's ire for appointing special counsel Robert Mueller to run the Russia investigation after the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Last fall, the president retweeted a meme depicting Rosenstein and others behind bars "for treason."

What else is happening:

  • Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declined to carry out certain orders from Trump that would have risked escalating tensions with North Korea, Iran and Syria, according to the New Yorker. “The President thinks out loud,” said a senior official — and by not taking his commands as gospel, “we prevented a lot of bad things from happening.”
  • The question of whether black Americans should receive reparations to atone for slavery in America's past has become part of the 2020 Democratic debate. Newsday's Emily Ngo takes a look at why the issue has gained more attention, what candidates are saying, whether it's politically realistic and what form reparations could take.
  • Democratic 2020 contender Pete Buttigieg had an audience with the Rev. Al Sharpton at Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem, discussing issues facing black Americans and a controversy that arose when, as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, he dismissed a black police chief. See Ngo's story for Newsday.
  • Beto O'Rourke unveiled a plan to combat climate change, calling for $5 trillion to be spent over the next decade with the goal of zeroing out carbon emissions in the United States by midcentury. It's not specific on how to get there.
  • The White House says it is now reviewing writings by Stephen Moore, Trump's pick for a Federal Reserve seat, which include ridiculing women involved in men's sports and suggesting it's socially disruptive when women out-earn men. The New York Times notes Moore also joked when Trump succeeded Barack Obama about kicking "a black family out of public housing." Some GOP senators have begun voicing misgivings, the Times reported.
  • Hillary Clinton performed a faux-dramatic reading of an excerpt from the Mueller report for Jordan Klepper's show on Comedy Central. See it here.
  • It's a milestone of mendacity: The Washington Post Fact Checker's tally of Trump's false or misleading claims since becoming president has surged past the 10,000 mark, and the pace of prevarication is accelerating. It took him 601 days to reach 5,000, but only 226 more days to push past five figures of fibs.
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