Impromtu Diplomacy

Tuesday, May 2, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 3.13.59 PM

Good Tuesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump expressed an openness to meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Kim Jong-un of North Korea. But Mr. Trump may have left himself open to being snubbed by Mr. Duterte, and allies on the Korean Peninsula are unsettled by his overture to the North.
  • The president’s comments about the Civil War underlined what seems to be a tenuous understanding of the events that preceded his ascension to power.
  • The president, using an obscure law, has signed 13 bills that erased Obama-era rules in areas like the environment, financial protections, internet privacy and gun rights.
  • After two false starts on Mr. Trump’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, administration officials ratcheted up pressure on the House to vote on a revised version of the Republican repeal bill this week, even as support may be eroding.
  • Congress alloted $120 million in additional funding for the Trump family’s security, part of a spending deal that could pass this week, reflecting the extraordinary costs associated with the family’s lifestyle.
  • Despite the president’s musings, breaking up the giants of banking would be bad policy and an unwelcome distraction, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes.
 The First Draft Team

Which Obama-Era Rules Are Being Reversed in the Trump Era

In his first 100 days, President Trump and congressional Republicans have repeatedly employed a once rarely used power granted to Congress to nullify rules recently adopted by federal agencies.
Enacted in 1996, the Congressional Review Act gives Congress 60 ​legislative ​days to ​revoke rules with the help of the president. ​Before this year, it had only been used once; since Mr. Trump took office, lawmakers have used it to reverse 13 rules established under the Obama administration.
See the rules being challenged »
Senator Joe Manchin III, center, Democrat of West Virginia, at a rally outside the Capitol in support of coal miners last week.

Winners and Losers of the Spending Deal (Spoiler Alert: Trump Lost)


The deal reached by congressional leaders was a rare act of compromise, and some parties — coal miners, Planned Parenthood — clearly came out ahead.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, at a conference on Monday, said that President Trump had abandoned the idea of combining tax and infrastructure legislation into one package.

G.O.P. Likely to Go It Alone on Tax Overhaul Legislation


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Trump had abandoned the idea of combining tax and infrastructure legislation into one package.

President Trump leaving Air Force One on Friday. In an interview, he resurfaced allegations made in early March that Mr. Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower.

Trump Abruptly Ends CBS Interview After Wiretap Question


The testy exchange was at odds with the image of competence and message discipline White House officials have labored to show over the past week.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines touring a Chinese naval ship in port in his hometown, Davao City, on Monday. The Philippines and China have longstanding territorial disputes, but he has pivoted toward Beijing.

Rodrigo Duterte Says He May Be Too Busy for White House Visit


The Philippines leader, who is accused of ordering extrajudicial killings, has said he “cannot make any definite promise” to accept President Trump’s invitation.

From left, Rupert Murdoch and the Fox News co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine leaving a Manhattan restaurant last month. Mr. Shine was let go on Monday.

With Fox News in Tumult, Another Executive, Bill Shine, Is Ousted


The removal of a co-president, a holdover from the Roger Ailes era, continued a housecleaning prompted by a sexual harassment scandal.

Diana Falzone in 2016.

Diana Falzone of Fox News Files Discrimination Lawsuit


The contributor said she was banned from more work after disclosing her health issues in an op-ed column for the network’s website.

Caitlyn Jenner, right, was given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYs after coming out as transgender.

Claims of Liberal Bias in Media Now Include Sportscasters, Too


Some conservative critics have celebrated ESPN’s struggles, saying its coverage of some issues reveals a left-leaning sensibility.

Michael Moore, who is planning to star in a one-man show, “The Terms of My Surrender,” on Broadway this summer. His agenda is loud and clear on an early poster for the show: “Can a Broadway show bring down a sitting president?”

Michael Moore to Take Aim at Trump, on Broadway


A (mostly) one-man show, “The Terms of My Surrender,” will run eight times a week for 12 weeks, starting in July, at the Belasco Theater.

The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, left, and Senator Patrick J. Leahy met with reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday. The budget compromise put Democrats in a celebratory mood.

Why Congress’s Bipartisan Budget Deal Should Make Trump Worried


The compromise prevented the White House from delivering on President Trump’s priorities and may serve as a blueprint for circumventing him in the future.

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California at a news conference last week. In an interview, she said she “could be helpful” to the president.

‘You’re the Best,’ Trump Once Told Pelosi. Can They Deal Again?


The president and the House minority leader have a common goal: proving their deal-making clout in a city where each has a history of being underestimated.

Walter M. Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics, is pressing President Trump for more information on former lobbyists or employees of corporations working for the White House.

Top Ethics Officer Challenges Trump Over Secret Waivers for Ex-Lobbyists


Walter M. Shaub Jr., the chief of the Office of Government Ethics, is trying to use his limited powers to force the president to broadly honor ethics rules.

Michelle Obama joined students for lunch at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., in 2012.

Trump Takes Aim at School Lunch Guidelines and a Girls’ Education Program


Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that school lunches would no longer have to meet some of the Obama administration’s dietary guidelines.

Lt. Col. Brian S. Middleton, center, the commanding officer of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, of the United States, during Anzac Day in Darwin, Australia, last week. The American unit just moved into Darwin for six months of training.

Trump’s Volatility in Asia Distresses a Longtime U.S. Ally: Australia


Some in Australia worry about the risk of being drawn into a conflict that forces it to side with either the United States, its military ally, or China, its biggest trading partner.

May Day demonstrations on Monday in Chicago. There is a long tradition of protest around the world on May Day, known in most other countries as International Workers’ Day.

On May Day, Protesters Take to the Streets Nationwide


A day of protest for those who oppose the administration has turned into a one-day-fits-all schedule of demonstrations, as well as a day that the president has proclaimed to be “Loyalty Day.”

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
• Oren Cass in National Review:
“The ad hominem ‘denier’ criticism places arguments and their purveyors beyond the pale, unworthy of response.
Oren Cass criticizes activists who broadly apply the term “climate denial” to positions that don’t precisely match their policy goals. Those who affirm the existence of climate change (and the role that humans play in it) but fail to reach the same legislative recommendations are dismissed out of hand. Mr. Cass argues that “science is but one input to a difficult policy question,” and that extreme voices from both sides of the aisle drown out what could be a “reasoned policy debate” about risks and cost-effective responses to climate change. Read more »
From the Left
• Lawrence Torcello in The Guardian:
“I’m a climate alarmist because there is no morally responsible way to downplay the dangers that negligent policies […] pose to humankind.”
Lawrence Torcello is a professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology and an unabashed “climate change alarmist.” Urging his readers to recognize the “moral gravity” of the current environmental situation, he finds no room for civility to disastrous policies that threaten all life on the planet. Read more »
More selections »