Aug 16, 2017

Axios PM

Trump's awful day

According to an executive who was involved in today's decision to disband President Trump's top outside business board, the CEOs decided they "couldn't justify the capital they were spending, hoping that this guy can function in a somewhat mature and statesmanlike way."

Trump used a tweet to preemptively shut down his top two business councils as soon as word leaked about the coming snub by the members of the President's Strategic and Policy Forum, chaired by Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman.

The executive told me: "Everyone knew, going in, that this was the way the guy was. They were just hoping that if he got the right people and decisionmaking processes in place, he could grow into the job. He proved he has no capability to do that." Yesterday's presser about Charlottesville was the last straw.

Why it matters … Axios CEO Jim VandeHei just told Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC: "Today is an awful day for the presidency – an awful day. … He did have those business leaders, who he needs: He's about to do tax reform! He's about to ask them to spend money, to spend political capital, to spend time to go get tax reform done."

  • "Now he has a massive public rebuke, in a way that we have not seen at any point in the Trump reign. So there's no way for them to spin it. And I think it gets worse: These CEOs are under so much pressure – internally, at home – in their own households."

Go deeper: Full recap on Trump's councils shutting down.

Just posted: Jonathan Swan on what Steve Bannon thinks of Trump's Charlottesville reaction

What you missed
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  4. Inside the so-called "Jihadi Pill": Scientists have figured out how Captagon, the popular stimulant in the Middle East, actually works. Details.
  5. Since you read AM: A quick guide to Trump's tweets from today. List.
1 thing to watch

Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, spoke at her daughter's funeral today.

Top quote: "We don't all have to die. We don't all have to sacrifice our lives. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what, you just magnified her."