Oct 17, 2017

Trump's alternative reality

Trump in the White House Rose Garden yesterday. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump "goes there, on just about every topic imaginable," as NBC's Brian Williams put it, during a pair of Q&As, two hours apart yesterday — one in the Cabinet Room and one with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Rose Garden.

Why it matters: It's almost impossible for the media to cover these press conferences — or for Republicans to discern what he wants and how he plans to get it — because Trump spreads fake news while calling real news fake. This isn't new. And, yes, 35% of voters don't seem to care. But that doesn't make it any less dangerous.

A look at Trump's alternative reality:

  • Trump says he and McConnell are "closer than ever before." Both men and their staffs have been trashing each other in public and private for months.
  • Trump says other presidents "didn't make calls" to families of soldiers killed in duty. They did.
  • Trump says Obamacare is "dead." His repeated efforts to repeal it failed.
  • Trump says it's been established that "no collusion" took place with the Russians. Bob Mueller is interrogating the president's associates and advisers on this very point in real time.
  • Trump says he's on a historic pace of accomplishment. He's not.
  • Trump says he "already" has "the votes right now" for a bipartisan health care fix. He doesn't.

Sound smart: The damnedest thing is not a single bullet point I just wrote is disputable — while every one of those things the president said was.

Yesterday's keepers:

  • On GOP senators: "I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest. They are not getting the job done."
  • "Obamacare is finished. It's dead. It's gone. It's no longer — you shouldn't even mention. It's gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore."
  • On Steve Bannon's war on McConnell and the Republican establishment: "Steve is ... a friend of mine ... I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from. ... I know how he feels. ... There are some Republicans, frankly, that should be ashamed of themselves."
  • On whether he's considering firing Mueller: "No, not at all."
  • "Oh, I hope Hillary runs. Is she going to run? I hope. Hillary, please run again."

P.S. Bannon tells me by email: "McConnell and the GOP Establishment have sown the wind — now be prepared the reap the whirlwind."

Go deeper

Nikki Haley poaches top conservative from Heritage Action

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Nikki Haley has hired Tim Chapman, the head of Heritage Action, to run her conservative policy group Stand For America, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the hire. Haley and Chapman confirmed the hire, which was first reported by RealClearPolitics' Philip Wegmann.

Why it matters: Chapman is among the most influential conservative policy leaders in the country. His hire is Haley's highest-profile outside recruitment since leaving her job as UN ambassador under President Trump.

Situational awareness

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren supporters form super PAC
  2. We may be on "the brink" of coronavirus pandemic
  3. Pentagon policy chief resigns
  4. National polls show Bernie in control ahead of Nevada
  5. How a Chinese think tank rates all 50 U.S. governors
  6. Sanders and Bloomberg battle over heart health

Trump has declared war on sanctuary cities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Armed with subpoenas, lawsuits and immigration SWAT teams, the Trump administration has declared war on sanctuary cities.

The big picture: President Trump and his administration have used every available tool to try to crack down on local governments that refuse to hold immigrants in criminal custody, block immigration agents from working in county jails or deny federal authorities access to immigrants' records.