Self-profile in courage
There’s no story of it happening in real life, unless you count going out on rent collections for his dad, but Donald Trump wants to think of himself as someone who would run toward danger, not away from it.
Meeting with governors at the White House, the president voiced contempt for the deputies who didn’t enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to confront the shooter.
“They weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners. All right? The way they performed was, frankly, disgusting.”
No one asked Trump what he would have done, but he decided to tell them anyway.
“You know, I really believe — you don’t know until you test it — but I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon. And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too.” (Video here.)
Later, questioned at her briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to give Trump cover.
“He was just stating that, as a leader, he would have stepped in and hopefully been able to help,” Sanders said. “He ... would want to take a courageous action. And a lot of the individuals that helped protect others that day weren’t carrying firearms.”
Long a professed “true friend” of the NRA, Trump told the governors, “They are doing what they think is right. But sometimes we’re going to have to be very tough and we’re going to have to fight them.”
Trump revealed he met with NRA leaders at the White House over the weekend. “I said, ‘Fellas, we got to do something. It’s too long now. We got to do something.’ ”
Though not locked in to detailed proposals yet, Trump has indicated he favors stronger background checks. “We don’t want to have sick people having the right to have a gun,” he said. Trump also spoke favorably last week about calls for raising the minimum age for purchasing a rifle from 18 to 21, but CNN reported Monday night he was backing away from that, according to its sources.
See Laura Figueroa Hernandez’s story for Newsday.
Listening to the kids
Trump-allied right-wing commentators, conspiracy theorists on social media and Donald Trump Jr. have been among those seeking to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Stoneman Douglas students who turned into activists seeking tougher gun laws.
It’s clearer than ever that they are out of step with the Trump White House, which isn’t about to tell those kids to pipe down.
“I have been heartened to see children across this country using their voices to speak out and try to create change. They’re our future, and they deserve a voice,” first lady Melania Trump told the governors’ spouses at a luncheon.
Sanders said the president agreed. “That’s the reason that he had a number of them here at the White House just last week, and why we’re going to continue having those conversations,” he said.
Even as Trump stays engaged on responding to the school shooting, he sometimes falls a beat behind.
One of his first tweets after the massacre seemed to chide neighbors and classmates for not sounding alarms about the shooter. Turns out they did.
Then he went to the Broward County sheriff’s office to praise the first responders. Now the actions of deputies on the scene and the head of the department are in question.
Now, after praising the “great people” and “patriots” of the NRA, Trump may end up in conflict with them. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.
Rail, road safety in reverse
The Trump administration has put the brakes on — and in some cases reversed — U.S. Department of Transportation rule-making meant to improve safety, The Associated Press reported.
Among the scrapped rules: screening rail engineers for sleep disorders. Sleep apnea was found to have played a role in a Metro-North crash that killed four people in 2013 and two subsequent accidents in Brooklyn and Hoboken, New Jersey.
A rule for speed-limiting software for heavy trucks has been delayed indefinitely, along with a requirement that states conduct annual inspections of commercial bus operators.
Her trust belongs to Daddy
Ivanka Trump said she stands by her father’s denials of sexual misconduct: “I know my father. So I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.” She also took offense at being asked about the subject during an NBC News interview.
“I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated that there’s no truth to it. I don’t think that’s a question you would ask many other daughters.”
The president’s 36-year-old daughter is also a White House senior adviser who touts her work for empowering women. See Newsday’s story by Figueroa.
A yelp for help?
One of Trump's early-Tuesday tweets said simply: "WITCH HUNT!"
What else is happening
- The U.S. Supreme Court refused to let the Trump administration skip past lower courts that have blocked cancellation of DACA, Newsday’s Víctor Manuel Ramos reports. That means the Dreamers will be able to continue renewing their legal protections from deportation, at least for now.
- Despite recent stock-market turmoil, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell says, the U.S. economy "remains strong."
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been dispatched to Saudi Arabia as part of the Trump administration's efforts at a deal to build reactors in the kingdom, Bloomberg reports.
- The Trump administration says it is “actively exploring” ways to help states expand inpatient mental health treatment using Medicaid funds. A decades-old law bars Medicaid from paying for treatment in mental health facilities with more than 16 beds.
- The Trump Organization said it has made good on the president’s promise to donate profits from foreign governments spending at its hotels to the U.S. Treasury. It wouldn’t disclose the amount, or how it was calculated.
- Panama’s government said it was formally investigating a complaint that executives for the Trump family business were illegally occupying a luxury Trump-branded hotel amid a dispute with the owners.
- Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) would rather Trump didn’t nominate his longtime personal pilot to head the FAA. “I’d prefer that they send somebody up that we can confirm easily,” Thune told Politico.
- Stephen Miller, the Trump aide who at times comes across as over-caffeinated, was caught by a photographer dozing off during the president’s meeting with governors.
- Trump in mid-March will make his first visit as president to California, the nation’s biggest state by population and a very blue one — he lost it by 4 million votes, The Washington Post reports. He plans to see prototypes for his border wall and attend a Republican National Committee fundraiser.
- Top Republicans on Capitol Hill have turned back Democratic efforts to dig into the finances of Trump and family as part of their Russia inquiries, CNN reports. “Isn’t that what Bob Mueller is doing?” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.)