May 27, 2017

This week in Trumpland: Mr. Trump leaves Washington

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Trumpland escaped the swamp and went global this week. POTUS is wrapping up his big foreign trip that's encompassed nine days, five countries, three major world religions, and two key alliances. It's been a really busy week, especially if you haven't been able to catch up on your favorite cable news! So take our hand — don't swat it away — for the highlights of the White House's week abroad.

Saudi Arabia: POTUS became the first president to kick off his first foreign trip with a stop in the Middle East. His Saudi stop was mostly built around a surprisingly subdued speech to the Muslim world about combatting extremism, but he told the heads of the EU later in the week that his time there was "beyond anything anyone's ever seen." And that's true. He bowed to the king for a necklace! He sword danced! He put his hands on an orb! It was pretty meme-worthy even for Trumpland.

Israel: Built around the dream deal of "trying hard for PEACE," POTUS spent his time in Jerusalem with a quick jump to Bethlehem to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Still, this stop seemed designed to foster the budding bromance between POTUS and his best foreign pal, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu — except it was a little awkward after Trump's disclosure of Israeli ISIS intel to Russians in the Oval Office. Then POTUS seemingly confirmed it all to the international press in front of Bibi. Could it really be a week in Trumpland without a minor international incident?

Vatican City: After POTUS called Pope Francis "disgusting" on Facebook during the campaign last year, speculation swirled that their meeting could be an awkward one. The pictures were a little awkward but things seemed to go pretty well overall. Then the most heartbreaking news of the week: devout Catholic Sean Spicer had been kept out of the papal audience.

Belgium: POTUS got a little testy with NATO, publicly calling out 23 of our 28 closest allies for not paying their share into the military alliance — then, controversially failing to explicitly endorse its collective defense pact. (Don't worry: Sean Spicer said he "wasn't being cutesy.") There was not onebut two — awkward Emmanuel Macron encounters. And a kinda-shove of the Prime Minister of Montenegro. And a serious Germany diss. NATO is far from obsolete in Trumpland when it can generate headlines like that!

Italy: Trumpland's trip to the G7 summit — the cool kids of liberal democracies — was kept mostly under wraps as the leaders kept their negotiations to themselves. The big stuff: talking North Korea with Japan's Shinzo Abe, upping a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.K.'s Theresa May, and being the odd one out on climate change. One thing everyone agreed on? Russia's still not welcome at the table as long as it stays in Crimea…

Giphy

Go deeper

George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

4 takeaways from the Nevada Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

Klobuchar squares off with Buttigieg on immigration

Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."