It’s a fact of Trump’s brand of leadership that all politics is personal. It comes through in shifting loyalties, the bestowing of nicknames, and the still-raucous rallies.
Trump’s response to Roseanne Barr’s firing is about apologies he’s not getting. His critique of Attorney General Jeff Sessions is about loyalty he feels like he’s not receiving.
And while Trump has praised Kim Jong Un for his conduct – and his leaving the door wide open for a summit, a week after announcing it was off – he is railing against “MS-13 lover Nancy Pelosi” when referring to the House Democratic leader.
White House aides have gone out of their way recently to point out how busy the president is with big challenges – suggesting that he can’t be distracted with smaller matters.
For his part, Trump is showing he’s not too busy to focus on himself.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
On two heavy-hitting questions yesterday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had light answers.
When asked how the White House could square the president’s claim that law enforcement wrongfully spied on his campaign, with comments from top Republicans, who have had access to classified information, now saying they’ve seen nothing that seems out of place, Sanders said that there’s still “cause for concern,” but again offered no additional evidence as to why.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, FILEWhite House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducts the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, May 17, 2018, in Washington, DC.
And when a young child stood in a suit and tie and asked an adult question about being scared for his life in American schools, Sanders choked up. Not making light of the problem, she said the administration was doing everything it could, but gave few examples.
She mentioned the Federal Commission on School Safety, which will have its first field visits this week. Three of the four cabinet secretaries who make up the commission will not be in attendance. They all opted out of an earlier May meeting, too.
Principals, psychologists, and PTAs have been urging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to “meaningfully engage stakeholders,” and President Trump will meet with families of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting today. So, maybe next time there will be more to say.
The TIP with Christopher Donato
Tuesday evening, at a campaign rally in Nashville to support GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s run for U.S. Senate, President Trump said he had “never heard of” the likely Democratic nominee in the race, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.
The president even asked the crowd: “Who is he?” referring to Bredesen.
Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesDemocratic candidate for U.S. Senate and former governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen attends a groundbreaking event for a new Tyson Foods chicken processing plant, May 30, 2018, in Humboldt, Tennessee.
However, just hours before the rally at a closed-door fundraiser for Blackburn, Trump called Bredesen “tough” and said that the Senate race is “close. It’s very close,” according to an audio recording of the president’s remarks obtained by The Tennessean.
Trump’s comments and rally come as Blackburn and Bredesen are battling to win to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker, who is retiring at the end of his term.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I wrote in the name of a person who I admire deeply, who I think would be an excellent president.” — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney to Deseret News and KSL-TV, revealing that he voted for his wife Ann in the 2016 presidential election.
NEED TO READ
Pompeo to meet top North Korean official in New York as summit plans continue. President Trump “canceled” the Singapore summit with North Korea last week in a dramatic letter, but the two countries have since scrambled to make it happen again, and now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to meet with senior North Korea official Kim Yong Chol for the third time Thursday in New York. (Conor Finnegan) https://abcn.ws/2IYtU79
Energy Department spent $63,500 on upgraded flights for Rick Perry in first 6 months. Energy Secretary Rick Perry took a dozen premium-class flights during his first seven months in office, spending extra on airfare for what he argued were security concerns, according to travel logs obtained by ABC News. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2JjUFCc
Former FBI deputy director wrote memo detailing discussion with deputy attorney general: Source. Acting Director Andrew McCabe, in the days after FBI Director James Comey was fired, wrote a confidential memo documenting a discussion he had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: Rosenstein told McCabe that President Donald Trump wanted him to include a reference to Russia in his memo criticizing Comey, though Rosenstein’s May 9, 2017 memo ultimately made no mention of Russia. (Mike Levine and Jack Date) https://abcn.ws/2xqxfXq
Top US diplomat for Asia on ropes ahead of North Korea summit. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to withdraw the nomination of Susan Thornton for Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, two weeks ahead of the expected historic summit with North Korea. (Tara Palmeri and Conor Finnegan) https://abcn.ws/2IYCjYk
Top Republicans dismiss President Trump’s ‘Spygate’ claims. Two top Republican allies of President Donald Trump have thrown cold water on his claims that the Obama administration used a spy to infiltrate his 2016 presidential campaign. (Alexander Mallin) https://abcn.ws/2spt0Wg
Michael Cohen’s legal team racing to review materials seized in FBI raids. Cohen’s lawyers said they have about 3.7 million files to sift through, but they are only about a third of the way to completion. Judge Kimba Wood set a deadline of June 15. (Aaron Katersky) https://abcn.ws/2J1bLpu
‘Long time friends’ of Manafort set up legal defense fund. Facing “tremendous legal costs” amid proceedings brought by the special counsel Robert Mueller, “longtime friends” of Manafort have set up a legal defense fund for the former Trump campaign chairman, though it was not immediately clear when the fund was started or by whom. (Lucien Bruggeman) https://abcn.ws/2Jib8a1
It’s Sports and Fitness Day at the White House but questions abound about the president’s own fitness. Trump, 71, prefers hitting the golf links over hitting the gym, though he was reportedly an accomplished athlete in his younger days. It’s a shift from President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, who both made time for daily workouts. (Meridith McGraw and Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2H4uTNl
FBI suggests rebooting your wireless internet router as soon as possible. Hundreds of thousands of home and office routers have been compromised by foreign cyber actors using malware called VPNFilter, according to the FBI, who say that a reboot can disrupt the threat and help identify infected devices. (Luke Barr) https://abcn.ws/2LKZmDv
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to be replaced by longtime traditional politician. Missouri’s lieutenant governor Mike Parson will be sworn in to lead the state at the end of the week. Unlike Greitens, who was brand new to politics and governing when he took the helm, Parson is a seasoned Republican politician. (MaryAlice Parks) https://abcn.ws/2IXT7yD
60-40 chance that North Korea summit succeeds: Richardson on Powerhouse Politics. They don’t negotiate like we do. They don’t believe in quid pro quos…If we get some kind of negotiating process that might lead long-term to a substantial denuclearization…with full inspections, with timelines, that would be a good result of the summit,” said Richardson, a former U.S. Ambassador to the UN who has been to North Korea eight times. (Elizabeth Brown Kaiser) https://abcn.ws/2ssBsE3
A record 42 Republican and Democratic women are running for 19 U.S. Senate seats, according to the Associated Press, but “the biggest hurdle for female candidates is the electoral map.” https://bit.ly/2LK9jkL
FiveThirtyEight is out with new pollster ratings—based on each firm’s historical accuracy and methodology—for the first time since the 2016 presidential primaries. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver: “But here’s a stubborn and surprising fact…Over the past two years…the accuracy of polls has been pretty much average by historical standards.” https://53eig.ht/2jL6BiZ
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