May 1, 2017

Highlights from Spicer's Monday briefing

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Spicer said the Republican health care bill will "hopefully" pass the House this week, and contended that the government spending agreement reached Sunday night was a win for Trump despite the lack of funding for the border wall. Other highlights:

  • Invitation to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte despite his human rights record: Right now "North Korea is our top priority" said Spicer. Added that Trump is "well aware" of his controversial history.
  • Potential meeting with Kim Jong-Un: The administration would have to see North Korea's provocative behavior "ratcheted down immediately" for a meeting, said Spicer. "Clearly conditions are not there right now... but if the circumstances present themselves, we will be prepared to."
  • Does Trump have a thing totalitarian leaders? "Unfortunately, those are the neighbors in the region" who can help contain North Korea, said Spicer, before avoiding follow-ups about Trump's comments about Erdogan, Putin and Sadaam Hussein.
  • Changes on banking policy and the gas tax: "He has an open mind," said Spicer. "There was no endorsement of it or support for it, he was just relaying what another group said to him out of respect."
  • Disconnect over Trump's wiretapping claims: Trump this AM: "I don't stand by anything." Spicer this PM: "He clearly stands by that."
  • On reports that controversial terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka is leaving the WH: "I have no belief that he is currently leaving the WH at this time."

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