Is Donald Trump so frustrated over Democrats claiming some wins in the just-negotiated spending bill that he would threaten to shut down the government this fall?
Yes. Yes he did.
Even as he tried to spin the deal as a win for his priorities, Trump’s morning tweets tacitly acknowledged there were compromises — and he didn’t like that.
“The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there!” he tweeted. “We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”
Later, Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, came to the White House briefing room to carry on the boss’ venting.
“The president is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the Democrats, and they went out to try and spike the football and make him look bad,” Mulvaney said.
See Emily Ngo’s story for Newsday.
They won’t go changing
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was unmoved by Trump’s call to change Senate rules. “That will not happen,” he said.
Other Republicans recalled when Democrats were in the majority, and the GOP used the 60-vote threshold to its advantage. “The rules have saved us from a lot of really bad policy, even when we were in the minority,” said Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas).
The take-away: Tuned out
When Bloomberg News reported Trump’s comment about a campaign pledge to break up the big banks — “I’m looking at that right now” — bank stocks briefly dipped. They quickly recovered.
On CNBC, an investment executive warned: “Please don’t make any changes to your portfolio based on things that get blurted out.” In other words, be careful about taking Trump’s words seriously. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.
Trump is anxious for the House GOP to get its health care bill passed. “I think it’s time now, right?” he said Tuesday.
But the effort is lagging. An influential moderate, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), sided with critics who said it would gut coverage protections for pre-existing conditions.
Democratic leaders including Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi shared on social media a viral video from ABC late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel, who on his Monday night show tearfully told of his newborn son’s fight for life from a heart defect.
Before Obamacare, Kimmel observed, “If you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there was a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition.”
“Well said, Jimmy,” former President Barack Obama commented in his retweet of Kimmel’s video.
Trump spoke by phone with Vladimir Putin on Tuesday for the first time since the U.S. missile strike in Syria that outraged Russia.
The White House called it a “very good” discussion in which they agreed to seek more cooperation in trying to end Syria’s civil war. They also agreed to try to set up their first in-person meeting in July, on the sidelines of an international summit in Germany.
Trump has continued to hold out the prospect of a stronger relationship with Russia.
Hillary points fingers
Hillary Clinton, in her most extensive public comments ever on the election, took “absolute personal responsibility” for losing, but shared a long list of others to blame, including Russian hackers, WikiLeaks, FBI Director James Comey, misogynists and news media unfairness.
“If the election were on Oct. 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said at a New York City luncheon. That’s the day before Comey disclosed he had reopened the investigation into her State Department emails.
Late Tuesday night Trump tweeted: "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?"
What else is happening
- Sen. John McCain said on MSNBC that Trump’s compliments of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un are “very disturbing” and undermine America’s moral authority around the world.
- Loyal Trump ally Rudy Giuliani had a court affidavit on behalf of an Iranian-born money-laundering defendant called "disingenuous" -- by a federal judge he appointed long ago to Family Court in New York City.
- Prospects of a health-bill agreement remain very dicey.
- Trump’s new Agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, is putting the brakes on federal school lunch standards championed by Michelle Obama, including sodium-reduction and whole-grain requirements.
- Trump’s musings about Andrew Jackson aren’t his first venture into Civil War fantasy. A plaque at his northern Virginia golf club commemorates a fake battle site, “The River of Blood,” in which “the casualties were so great that the water would turn red.”
- Trump’s first nominee for Army secretary had to withdraw and his second is in jeopardy, CNN reports. Mark Green, a Tennessee state senator, is facing backlash over controversial statements on LGBT issues, Islam and evolution.
- CNN refused to air the Trump campaign ad lauding his first 100 days because of a graphic labeling mainstream media as “fake news.” CNN called that “false.” The campaign complained of censorship.
- Jared Kushner’s disclosure forms failed to note $1 billion in loans and a stake in a real estate finance startup whose other investors include Goldman Sachs, pro-Trump billionaire Peter Thiel and George Soros, a perennial target of conservatives for funding liberal causes, The Wall Street Journal (pay site) reported.