Party of one
Sure, they’ve gotten on President Donald Trump’s nerves, and vice versa, but neither Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor House Speaker Paul Ryan saw this one coming.
Meeting at the White House on two urgent matters — Hurricane Harvey disaster aid and raising the nation’s debt limit — Trump sided with a plan offered by the Senate and House minority leaders, Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, Newsday’s Tom Brune reports.
The Capitol Hill Republican chiefs and Trump’s treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, argued in vain against the short-term debt measure, which Ryan had called “ridiculous and disgraceful.”
But McConnell and Ryan caved. McConnell said of Trump’s reasoning: “His feeling was that we needed to come together, to not create a picture of divisiveness, at a time of genuine national crisis.”
So was it a one-off, or is Trump — frustrated by GOP failures to advance his agenda — now looking to woo Democrats instead of bashing them as “obstructionists?” Stay tuned.
Trump offered more confounding comments on DACA, suggesting after moving to kill it that he would be happy to see it resurrected — and welcomes Democratic help, Newsday’s Emily Ngo reports.
“Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. He called for Congress to come up with a solution for the 800,000 immigrants without documentation brought to the U.S. as children “where everybody is happy.” And if Congress fails, we’re going to see what we’re going to do,” he said.
The tone was far different from talking points circulated by the White House to political allies Tuesday, which said the Dreamers should start preparing to leave the country.
Exemption for another Democrat
Trump went to North Dakota to pitch his tax-overhaul drive, and his tone was partly partisan.
“If Democrats don’t want to bring back your jobs, cut your taxes, raise your pay and help America win, voters should deliver a clear message,” Trump said.
But he also brought the state’s Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp, to the stage, calling her a “good woman” and saying, “I hope we have your support.”
The take-away: Poor me
Hillary Clinton’s new book, “What Happened,” finds much to blame besides herself for losing the election. A partial list: misogyny, alleged Russian hackers, news media practices, WikiLeaks and former FBI Director James Comey.
What’s unusual, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison, is the competing claim to victim status from the winner.
In his first 24 hours as president, he complained about reports on the size of his inauguration crowds. He repeatedly decries the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt.” And as for the media, “No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly,” he said.
Play to play
At least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts, and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials are paying for memberships at private Trump golf clubs, according to an investigative report by USA Today.
Two-thirds of them played on one of the 58 days the president was there, according to scores they posted online, offering the potential for personal access to the president.
Trump marked his 100th day in office by visiting a factory owned by a company run by a member of his New Jersey golf club.
One lobbyist mentioned to Trump at a White House meeting in February, “I’m a member of your club, by the way.” Trump replied, “Very good, very good.”
Fed up with Cohn
Chief economic adviser Gary Cohn was once a top contender to be Trump’s choice as the next Federal Reserve chair. Now, not so much, since Cohn criticized Trump’s response on Charlottesville, The Wall Street Journal (pay site) reported.
How poor are his chances? CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted: “GOP source close to WH tells me: Cohn ‘more likely to get electric chair than Fed Chair.’ ”
What else is happening
- New York and 14 other states are suing the Trump administration over its plan to reverse DACA, Newsday’s Matthew Chayes reports.
- Former Sen. Jim DeMint called the Trump-Democrat front a "betrayal."'
- 'Freedom Caucus' leaders met with Ryan to vent frustrations with the handling of Republican legislation, and Steve Bannon may have a background role.
- First Daughter Ivanka Trump was introduced under unusual circumstances from the rostrum by her father in North Dakota.
- Trump has chosen recipients for his promised $1 million in personal donations for Harvey relief. There are 12 groups in all, with the Red Cross and Salvation Army getting the biggest checks — $300,000 each.
- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who bucked Trump and GOP leaders by voting no on an Obamacare repeal bill, said he would consider an alternative offered by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). The White House says Trump would sign it. But it’s still a long shot.
- Trump and family members stand to make tens of millions of dollars from the planned sale of the Starrett City housing development in Brooklyn, and that raises potential conflicts of interest, The New York Times reported. The deal requires approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet privately with Donald Trump Jr. on Thursday to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, The Washington Post reported.
- After a series of calls with world leaders, Trump warned on Wednesday that the United States would no longer tolerate North Korea’s actions, but said the use of military force won’t be his “first choice.”