Mar 20, 2017

The White House looks for a trifecta

Mike Allen, author of AM

Alex Brandon / AP

It's the first day of spring, and the White House hopes that a trifecta this week of trade, health care and the Supreme Court will be the start of a points-on-the-board phase — after a spate of tempests that helped push Trump's Gallup approval rating to a low of 37%, down 8 points from the week before:

  • White House officials tell me that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago this weekend to walk POTUS through an aggressive trade agenda for the coming weeks, including five executive orders that are slated to begin rolling out this week.
  • Thursday night is the epic House vote on health care. The votes aren't there yet, but a Republican lobbyist tells me Speaker Ryan had to be The Gambler: "It was either call the hand, or fold."
  • And today at 11 a.m. is the start of an expected four days of Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. Opponents admit it was a savvy pick that already looks like a win for the White House.

What it means: Trump has a new runway for showing capacity to lead, govern and cut deals — a chance for the Art of the Donald to prevail over the self-inflicted din. Allies pray that past performance is not an indicator of future outcomes.

Go deeper

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.