Aug 2, 2019

Nikki Haley calls Trump's tweet about Elijah Cummings robbery "so unnecessary"

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called President Trump's Friday tweet referencing a robbery at House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings' Baltimore home "so unnecessary" in a Twitter response.

Why it matters: Haley is the rare top former Trump administration official who left both on her own terms and in the president's good graces. Additionally, because she is often viewed as a potential GOP presidential contender in the future, her decision to directly respond to Trump — complete with an eye roll emoji —  is significant in a party that often chooses not to do so.

The backdrop: Trump tweeted this morning, "Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!"

  • A break-in was reported at Cummings' home early Saturday morning, per CBS Baltimore — hours before Trump unleashed a barrage of Twitter attacks against the senior House Democrat. It's yet not known if anything was taken.
  • On Saturday morning, Trump called Cummings' majority-black district a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess," the latest in a series of attacks against congresspeople of color who directly oppose the president's agenda.
  • As head of House Oversight, Cummings has been a leading Trump critic, issuing subpoenas against top administration officials in the process and blasting the state of Border Patrol facilities at the southern border.

Go deeper: Trump plants racial explosives in the urban-rural divide

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Scoop: Trump considered declaring state of emergency in Baltimore

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

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.

The big picture: 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.

Go deeperArrowAug 4, 2019

Nikki Haley will be Trump-Pence "special guest" at 2020 fundraiser

Then-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Vice President Pence at the UN Security Council in 2017. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Nikki Haley is marked as a "special guest" at a Trump-Pence fundraising retreat in the fall, according to an invitation obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor is now publicly attached to President Trump's re-election campaign.

Go deeperArrowAug 28, 2019

Trump suggests tying gun background checks to immigration reform

President Trump said in a pair of Monday tweets that Republicans and Democrats should "come together and get strong background checks" after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend, suggesting the policy could be tied to immigration reform.

The big picture: The Democratic-led House passed a series of bills addressing gun reform, including the Bipartisan Background Checks Act in February. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to take up those bills for debate, though it's unclear whether Trump supports the House proposal — or something else entirely.

Go deeperArrowAug 5, 2019