Apr 13, 2017

Key takeaways from Spicer's Thursday briefing

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Today was a day of few answers from Sean Spicer. He would not say whether Trump personally ordered the use of the largest non-nuclear bomb ever dropped today in Afghanistan, or explain why the president had flip-flopped on labeling China a currency manipulator and supporting the Export/Import Bank. More highlights:

  • Details of MOAB bomb: "We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters use to move around freely," said Spicer, adding, "in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did."
  • Reversals/shifts in Trump policies: Spicer argued that it's not so much that Trump has shifted on issues so much as that the issues have shifted toward him, citing NATO as an example.
  • Syria/North Korea: When asked whether the U.S. might drop a MOAB bomb on Syria or North Korea, Spicer said that all questions should be directed to the Defense Department.
  • Italy visit: Trump will welcome Italy PM Paolo Gentiloni to the White House on April 20 to discuss the upcoming G7 summit, and a range of other issues.

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse for mostly after curfews were in force in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — where police used pepper spray and flash bangs on a group throwing projectiles at them during an "unlawful assembly," per KATU. Portland police said this group was separate to the thousands of demonstrators who protested peacefully elsewhere in the city.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.