Apr 27, 2017

The one big thing to understanding Trump

Mike Allen, author of AM

Seth Wenig / AP

In a whirlwind of White House leaks, prods and announcements leading up to Saturday's 100-day milestone, one unifying characteristic explains everything President Trump is doing. Aides say he is still the dealmaker — pragmatic and practical, rather than ideological.

Buzz: Axios' Jonathan Swan tells me after a visit to the West Wing yesterday that aides think Trump now understands the system better and how to work it, with the revival of health reform as a shining example of a classic Trump move.

His dealmaker roots have surfaced repeatedly this week:

  • He announces a tax "plan" that's one page, so he has plenty of room to negotiate details with the Hill, and give lots of wins.
  • Aides debate renouncing NAFTA but say it'll be a process, not something sudden. The N.Y. Times reports: "Trump told the leaders of Mexico and Canada on Wednesday that he would not immediately move to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, only hours after an administration official said he was likely to sign an order that would begin the process of pulling the United States out of the deal."
  • Rather than playing heavy-handed broker on health care, the White House pushes toward a House vote as soon as tomorrow by letting conservatives and moderates work out internal differences on terms that are partly self-initiated. Swan explains that instead of bullying holdouts, Trump let the air drain out of the initial attempt, then let the factions start again themselves.

Get smart fast: "Revival of unpopular health care plan divides GOP," by Axios' David Nather: "They're closer to the goal of fulfilling a campaign promise, but they're about to take a vote that will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as abandoning sick people."

The narrative: N.Y. Times' striking 5-column (out of 6) lead headline: "TAX OVERHAUL WOULD AID WEALTHIEST."

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Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 8th day

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: The National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday that while it "is committed to the peaceful expression of First Amendment rights," it "cannot tolerate violence to citizens or officers or damage to our nation’s resources that we are entrusted to protect."

American carnage

Protesters race up a hill to avoid tear gas in Philadelphia, June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The list of victims has swiftly grown since George Floyd died in police custody just eight days ago.

The big picture: Protests against police brutality have turned into a showcase of police brutality, with tear gas and rubber bullets deployed against crowds. The police have the arsenals at their disposal, but we're also seeing law enforcement officers becoming targets.

McConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump's actions against peaceful protesters

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked a resolution introduced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday that would have condemned the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday in order to allow President Trump to walk to St. John's Church.

What they're saying: "Justice for black Americans in the face of unjust violence, and peace for our country in the face of looting, riots, and domestic terror. Those are the two issues Americans want addressed," McConnell said on the Senate floor.