Axios AM

An analog clock with only two symbols instead of twelve: the symbols read 'AM' and 'PM'.

January 22, 2017

​The 1 thing: "A new era of protest"

The overwhelming size of yesterday's peaceful women's marches against Trump in 50-plus countries stunned even the organizers, drawing more than 1 million people and dominating global attention on President Trump's first day in office. In Washington, a huge column marched past Lafayette Park, across from the White House, and women with pink hats and signs screamed and chanted at Trump's motorcade. Hundreds of thousands turned out in L.A. AP called it "a global exclamation of defiance and solidarity."

  • How it came together: Jenny Backus, a veteran Dem organizer, emails us: "[O]ne of the biggest winners of this whole thing is Facebook and Zuckerberg. This was pretty much a testimony of what the Internet can do right … after an election which was an example of what the Internet can do wrong — fake news."
  • Backus says the untraditional organizing showed up in good and bad ways. Good: "reaching folks who had never done something like this — looking and feeling truly organic." Bad: "lack of traditional organizers and advance folks to help on staging, crowd movement."
  • The big picture: A front-page analysis by the L.A. Times' Cathleen Decker, who has covered 10 presidential campaigns, says marchers talked about trying to form a lasting opposition: "Not for decades, since 1960s protesters took to the streets against the Vietnam War, has a chief executive faced such visible opposition."
  • The crowd math: N.Y. Times graphics editors Tim Wallace and Alicia Parlapiano quote crowd-counting experts as saying that the D.C. march was roughly triple the size of the inauguration — 160,000 on the National Mall and vicinity in the hour leading up to Trump's speech on Friday, and 470,000 at about 2 p.m. yesterday.
  • Just asking: Did anyone notice the irony of the crude, discriminating language and signs used by some to lambaste a president they condemn as crude and discriminating?

Spotted … Josh Kushner — investor and entrepreneur, and Jared's younger brother — at the anti-Trump women's march in D.C. Sources close to Josh Kushner tell Axios' Dan Primack that he's in D.C. supporting his brother, and that he was taking a walk near his hotel when a photo was taken. He also wanted to observe what the source referred to as "a peaceful form of self expression."

Clicker … Axios' Sara Fischer: saturation coverage around the country.

​2. Day 3

Reince Priebus on "Fox News Sunday": "There is an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president, and we are not going to sit around and let it happen."

Kellyanne Conway on "Face the Nation": "[I]t's disappointing to get into this argument about crowd control."

Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are to speak today.

​3. Trump tweets this AM

  • "Had a great meeting at CIA Headquarters yesterday, packed house, paid great respect to Wall, long standing ovations, amazing people. WIN!"
  • "Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly."
  • "Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views."
  • "Wow, television ratings just out: 31 million people watched the Inauguration, 11 million more than the very good ratings from 4 years ago."

Chaser … Hollywood Reporter headline, "TV Ratings: Trump Inauguration Sinks 18 percent From Obama's in 2009."

​4. The lead he could have had

President Trump, on his first full day in office, praised the intelligence community during a solemn trip to CIA headquarters and announced a state visit and trade talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, reaffirming the skittish United Kingdom as a top U.S. ally.

Instead ...

​5. Game on! #Sad

President Trump introduced a new manifestation of the permanent campaign on his first full day in office when he traveled to the CIA's most hallowed ground to deliver remarks that included rally-style digressions, boasts and inaccuracies.

What Trump said:

  • He started with a dig at "the dishonest media," then briefly got down to business, saying there is "nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There's nobody. Nobody. … I am so behind you." Trump talked of getting rid of ISIS and eradicating radical Islamic terrorism.
  • Then he turned to himself: "I feel young. I feel like I'm 30, 35, 39." And the "good reviews" of his inaugural address. He lambasted coverage showing a smaller crowd on the Mall than Obama drew for his first inaugural: "I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks and they show an empty field. … But it's a lie. … So we caught them, and we caught them in a beauty. And I think they're going to pay a big price."
  • Then TIME magazine: "I have been on their cover, like, 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of TIME magazine."

The facts: Nixon had 55 TIME covers, and Hillary Clinton had 19 before this campaign began. On the crowds, decide for yourself, based on these two pictures, 45 minutes before each oath of office. (The article notes: "Attendees were still entering the National Mall up until Mr. Trump's speech.") The reaction: John Brennan, who had been CIA director until the day before, said through an aide's tweet that he was "deeply saddened and angered at Trump's despicable display of self-aggrandizement … in front of CIA's Memorial Wall of Agency heroes."

​6. Spicer's podium debut

Hours later, Sean Spicer stepped into the press room and read a blast at the press: "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period. ... There's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable. And I am here to tell you that it goes two ways. We are going to hold the press accountable as well."

Look how two former Republican White House officials responded:

  • Ari Fleischer: "This is called a statement you're told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching."
  • Nicolle Wallace, communications director for George W. Bush, in response to a query from Mark Halperin about "costs of untruths from WH podium": "Credibility they don't value, goodwill they don't think they need, professionalism they aren't capable of, humility they wouldn't recognize."

BUT, in Trumpland, it's mission accomplished:

  • Ron Bonjean, an adviser to the Trump transition, tweeted: "Interesting how the narrative shifted away from the marches after @PressSec briefing today. Like it or not, it's dominating our attention."

​7. Trump buries his own big news

Overshadowed by crowd-size nonsense: Trump will meet British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday — sooner than anyone thought — AND his aides are already working on a trade deal with the U.K.

  • Our own Jonathan Swan reported midday yesterday that Steve Bannon, the architect of the Inaugural speech, and Jared Kushner were instrumental in expediting the meeting. They also spent time with Boris Johnson, the U.K. Foreign Minister.
  • Bloomberg: "The Trump administration will lay the groundwork this week for a trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K. that would take effect after Britain leaves the European Union, … as … May becomes the first foreign leader to visit the new president."
  • Earlier stop: The British Prime Minister will speak late Thursday afternoon to a Republican congressional retreat (House and Senate) in Philly. Trump and Pence will speak separately to the retreat.

​8. Who rides in the limo?

Caption for this AP pic by Andrew Harnik: "The crowds from the Women's March on Washington can be heard audibly as Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, fourth from left, and Senior Counselor to the President Steve Bannon, third from left, arrive at the South Lawn … after visiting the CIA."

​9. To tell your kids: Roots of greatness

Sports Illustrated's cover story goes back to talk to Tom Brady's receivers in high school and college: "It was at Serra High [in San Mateo, Calif.] where Brady's hypercompetitiveness first took root, where he first started banging helmets with teammates in celebration of big plays. It was at Michigan where he decided he would work from dawn until nighttime to improve himself.

  • Wolverines teammate Tai Streets: "Before he was the starter, we would all be walking off the field after practice and Tom is out there throwing balls into a trash can … We'd be like, Come on, man, practice is over. Wasn't over for Tom. Work, work, work.'"
  • "He is an international celebrity with a famous wife and vast resources, yet he unfailingly returns [former receivers'] calls, texts and emails."

​10. 1 fun thing

No Alec Baldwin on "SNL" last night, but Kellyanne morphs from Jake Tapper interviewee to the Broadway star of "Conway." The chorus: "'Meet the Press,' Anderson, Hannity, 'Fox & Friends.'" "Conway": "And if they call, I'll do 'The Chew.' Oo! I'm a star, and the audience LOVES me, and I LOVE them. … That's show biz!" The posterThe video

A shirtless Vladimir Putin opens the show with an address to Americans: "You are worried that your country is in the hands of this unpredictable man. But don't worry [fiendishly]: It's not. Relax. I've got this! … I promise that we will take care of America: It's the most expensive thing we've ever bought. … Many Russians were skeptical of ME at first, too. But today, nobody ever seems to hear from ANY of them."

Pootie Poot has this advice for the new president about crowd counts: "If you're going to lie, don't make it so obvious. You know: Say you are FRIENDS with LeBron James, not that you ARE LeBron James."

ENJOY THE REST of the weekend. Just reply to this email to send me your thoughts, links and tips.