It isn't clear if there was a plan for last week. Some consequential things went down: The U.S. sanctioned Iran's top diplomat, revved up the trade war with China, and signed off on a spending bill that will spike the national debt.
But all that got largely lost by the wayside as the president went to war with a Baltimore icon. Nobody knew it was coming, nobody knew how to handle it, and a week later, senior White House officials have their fingers crossed that the president won't turn their week upside-down once again with another tweet about a "Fox and Friends" segment.
As the week has unfurled, people inside and outside the White House described to me how a few pokes of a keyboard by the leader of the free world sent some of Washington's most powerful political players scrambling for cover.
Driving the news: Inside the White House, the conversation about Baltimore last week moved into a brief discussion of policy solutions.
- In at least one conversation with senior aides and another discussion with an outside ally, Trump entertained the idea of declaring a state of emergency in Baltimore — an extraordinary action that would potentially open up new federal powers and funding, according to four sources familiar with the conversations.
- The idea, one of these sources said, would be to say that the living conditions in Baltimore were unacceptable and that people were suffering because their Democratic representatives let them down. So Trump would take action to fix things.
- Trump also discussed declaring a state of emergency in other cities controlled by Democrats, including San Francisco and Detroit, a White House official told me.
Between the lines: The emergency idea appears to have been a brief conversation and no more than that. And by Thursday, White House officials had concluded it was too difficult, logistically, for the president to visit Baltimore next week — another idea they had tossed around. So we're back where we started, a week and a day after Trump's inflammatory tweets.
The bottom line: Baltimore Week illuminates how things often work inside the Trump White House: The president watches TV, he tweets, and the machinery of government scrambles into action to deal with an emergency of the president's own creation. Then everyone moves on.
Go deeper: Read the inside story of the week spurred by Trump’s Baltimore tweet.