Mar 9, 2017

Trump's art of the schmooze

Andrew Harnik / AP

With wiretapping, WikiLeaks and a rebellion on the right over Trumpcare specifics, the president has mostly had a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad week in the media. But even Democrats who have visited the White House tell us that behind the scenes, he's coming into his own with the art of the schmooze:

  • Trump played Good Cop in a meeting yesterday in the Roosevelt Room (which friends say he calls "the Board Room") with conservative groups that have been skeptical or critical of the House GOP repeal-and-replace package. Some participants issued more positive statements afterward.
  • A White House official said: "There's a big change in tone from a day or two ago. I think we're getting there."
  • Trump loves building things, and attendees at a Cabinet Room lunch on infrastructure yesterday said that while he's still learning many policy subjects, he talked confidently about airports, roads and rural broadband as components of the public-private package he plans to push (probably next year, for reasons of both calendar and politics).
  • The Boston Globe's lead story today is "Former Trump foes get charm treatment: Senators invited to meals, flights," by Annie Linskey: Marco "Rubio scored a seat on Air Force One Friday, [Lindsey] Graham shared a private lunch with the president Tuesday, and [Ted] Cruz, along with his family, accepted an invitation to dine with Trump at the White House" last night.
  • This morning, Trump welcomes the CEOs of community banks from as far as Missouri, Texas and New Mexico "to discuss how excessive regulation has adversely impacted their businesses."
  • Vice President Pence is holding weekly dinners with senators, and hosted five Republicans last night at his residence at the Naval Observatory.

Chaser: It'll take more than charm ... Lead story on WSJ.com, "Opposition Mounts as GOP's Health Bill Undergoes Review: Groups representing hospitals, doctors and seniors are urging House GOP leaders to put the brakes on their plan to overhaul Obamacare."

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