This week in Trumpland: where to begin?
Lazaro Gamio / Axios
Seriously, where do we even start with week 11 in Trumpland? It's been so crazy that even POTUS himself has lost track of time, calling his time in office so far "one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency" on Thursday. You can't blame him for getting confused because it sure feels like 13 weeks. Or maybe 13 years? After all, Chuck Todd did joke this week at an Axios event that Trump might still be president in 2032…
Striking Syria: In a week filled with absolutely massive stories, this one was by far the biggest: President Trump launched an airstrike against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime against its own people. (And he did it from Palm Beach!) Reactions in Washington were all over the place — though largely positive from the foreign policy establishment. Not surprisingly, Russia was not a fan in the slightest. Even the Donald Trump of 2013 didn't like the idea at all. Stay tuned because this decision is likely to be one of the defining features of Trumpland for some time to come.
Going nuclear: In retrospect, Thursday was not the best time for Twitter to break out the bomb GIFs, but we had no way to know what was coming. In any other week, the Senate casting aside tradition to invoke the nuclear option and get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees would have been the story. It even might have been the story of the month. It could have been the story of the year. But this is Trumpland, where nothing can be so simple. And Neil Gorsuch will soon be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. If you see Merrick Garland in DC this week, won't you buy him a beer?
Mar-a-China: While all of that was going on, Trump was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago for a bilateral summit and a not-quite-a-state-dinner. Trump's talked big on China for months now, saying they manipulate they're currency and that we're in the midst of a trade war, but he was surprisingly quiet after the summit. POTUS simply said that "tremendous progress" was made and branded his relationship with Xi as "outstanding." That's good news, but we now know that Trump's mind was likely elsewhere as he and Xi tucked into their New York strip steaks on Thursday night.
The gunfight: Long-simmering tensions in Trumpland finally boiled over this week — and the whole world got to learn what the word "cuck" means! First came news of Steve Bannon getting banished from the National Security Council. Then came the tales of the Bannonites in the White House pushing back against the more moderate Javankans (that's Jared and Ivanka, for those not keeping score at home). And yesterday had the biggest twist yet: Trump's apparently searching for a new chief of staff and considering a demotion for Bannon. Pick your sides, Trumpland. This is gonna get messy.
We hardly Nunes you: There was a time on Thursday morning when it seemed certain that House Intel Chair Devin Nunes recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 was going to be the surprise story of the week. Especially when we all found out that the House Ethics Committee had launched an internal investigation surrounding his potential reveal of classified information. And that was after reports emerged earlier this week that Obama national security advisor Susan Rice had unmasked the identity of Trump associates who had communicated with foreign officials! But you'd forgotten all about Susan Rice hadn't you? That's just how Trumpland rolls.