May you live in interesting times ...
A 26-year-old who created disappearing messages for kids filed for an IPO that could top $20 BILLION , despite losing $500 million last year. This was days after Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel agreed to invest $2 billion in Google's "cloud," which until a few years ago was something that blocked the sun, but now houses our digital secrets and creates vast riches for tech titans.
Thanks in part to this money cloud, Google knocked off Apple as the world's most valuable brand. Elon Musk, who builds private rocket ships and mass-consumer electric cars for the rich, agreed to keep his meeting with Donald Trump this morning, so he can push for, among other things, making "humanity a multi-planet civilization."
Oh, and CNBC says Bill Gates may become the world's first trillionaire.
Meanwhile, the sector where all of the companies reside seemed ready for war with Trump over restricting the foreign-born talent that helped bring them to life and property.
On the other coast, President Trump, at the National Prayer Breakfast, literally prayed for a former action movie hero who now stars in "The Apprentice," the reality show our president created AND still technically produces.
Trump's remarks took on separation of church and state: "I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment [banning political endorsements by churches] and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that -- remember."
Perhaps Trump's quote of the week: "The world is in trouble, but we're going to straighten it out. OK? That's what I do. I fix things. We're going to straighten it out."
Soon after, Nancy Pelosi, the voice of House Democrats, called Trump's top strategist, Steve Bannon (on the cover of the new TIME as possibly "the second most powerful man in the world"), a "white supremacist." And Trump, two weeks after threatening NATO and China, one week after threatening foreign visitors from select Muslim-majority nations, and one day after threatening Mexico and Australia, prepared a new threat to Iran in the form of renewed sanctions.
As New York Timesman Jonathan Martin so often says: Ya can't make it up!
Happy Friday ....
I'm told that Homeland Security Security Secretary John Kelly now will join Trump's awkward 10 a.m. meeting with CEOs, several of whom lead workforces who are overwhelmingly opposed to him. The addition of Kelly is an effort by the White House to show it's paying attention to criticism of its migrant restrictions. But executives tell us they want softening, not just listening.
Organizers expect the meeting in the State Dining Room will be less confrontational now that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick won't be there. Under inside and outside pressure, Kalanick yesterday announced he was quitting the President's Strategic and Policy Forum, led by Blackston'e's Stephen A. Schwarzman.
Only major changes are going to defuse this collision between the new White House and the new economy. A sweeping WashPost front-pager led by Silicon Valley correspondent Elizabeth Dworkin points to "[r]ising alarm along the West Coast's tech archipelago from Silicon Valley to Seattle."
The Post reports that tech companies "are preparing themselves for a high-stakes confrontation with the president." Three juicy points:
Trump's flurry of executive orders is partly a hedge against slow action or headwinds on the Hill. This calendar, prepared by House Republican leadership staff and leaked to me by a lobbyist, shows the slog ahead.
The biggest sign of lowered expectations is the new GOP lingo about "repairing" instead of "replacing" Obamacare. Two pieces this morning capture the new reality:
"At least he's DOING something. Washington never DOES anything."
Rock-solid support from Trump's base is likely to keep his national numbers from collapsing even as he weathers withering coverage on the coasts. Newspapers, trying to make up for their pre-election blind spots, are sending reporters to obscure datelines to talk to Trump voters, and three front-pagers in three days tell an identical story:
In a move that White House economic adviser Gary Cohn calls "a table setter for a bunch of stuff that is coming," Trump today will sign an executive order to scale back the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law "in a sweeping plan to dismantle much of the regulatory system put in place after the financial crisis," per the Wall Street Journal's lead story.
The N.Y. Times explains a disruptive foreign-policy day by leading the paper with "Trump Reverts to Pillars Of Obama Policies Abroad: A Contrast With Campaign Vows on Israeli Settlements, Ukraine and Iran," by Mark Landler Peter Baker and David Sanger: The three-act play:
Filing to go public, Snapchat's parent, Snap Inc., says it plans to raise $3 billion. Axios' Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva explain: "This may be just a placeholder figure that changes later" -- could raise much more. The key numbers:
The L.A. Times points out this is expected to be "the biggest initial public offering ever for a Los Angeles [area] company and one of the highest valued in U.S. history."
With Trump's "running war with the media," as he calls it, the White House Correspondents' Association, which will hold its annual dinner April 29, was already in a tricky position. And now ...
"New Yorker and Vanity Fair Pull Out of Correspondents Dinner Parties," by N.Y. Times Michael Grynbaum and Katie Rogers: "The New Yorker is canceling the kickoff party that it usually holds at the W Hotel ... Vanity Fair is pulling out of co-sponsoring the dinner's most exclusive after-party ... Vanity Fair's co-sponsor, Bloomberg L.P., is proceeding with its plans for the party, but no final decision has been made on the event."
WHCA President Jeff Mason, of Reuters, wrote members yesterday: "This year, as we do every year, we will celebrate the First Amendment and the role an independent press plays in a healthy republic. We will also reward some of the finest political reporting of the past year while using our scholarship program to highlight and support up-and-coming journalists who are the future of our profession."
Super Bowls are known for blowouts, but Vegas and sports pundits see Sunday's Brady Bowl in Houston as being close: