What did George W. Bush really think of Trump’s inauguration? As Yashar Ali tweeted, referring to his new piece in New York Magazine (24,000+ shares), “Want to know what George W Bush said as he left Trump's inauguration? Read my story.” (Spoiler alert. We’ve quoted the former president in the headline.) Says @KevinMKruse: “Whenever historians write about Trump's inauguration, we *will* quote Pres. Bush's take.”
“Turns out you can have it all,” Scott Bixby tells us. New scoop from Rachel C. Abrams and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times reveals that Ivanka Trump is shifting plans and will become a federal employee. In other words, “Area daughter officially hired,” as Mark Berman puts it. Yep, “creating jobs,” tweets Jake Grovum. Courtney Norris notes, “Ivanka Trump’s title will be special assistant to the president. Her husband, Jared, has the title of senior adviser.” Says Maxwell Strachan, “at least ivanka admits that her role in the white house is ‘unprecedented.’” And Kyle Spencer tweets, “From accessories 2 foreign policy...leaning in Ivanka style.”
Steve Dool says "’Shifting Plans’ is basically the subtitle to the story of this administration at this point.” And speaking of...“Oh, goody. Another hotel,” says Benjamin R. Freed. Jonathan O'Connell reports in the Washington Post, President Trump’s company pursues second Washington hotel. “Then: ‘No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.’ Now: Trump’s company pursues second Washington hotel,” Charles Ornstein explains. Also: “#InIt4the$” tweets George Leopold.
“Work for DOE's Office of International Climate and Clean Energy?” asks Nick Juliano. Then “don't say ‘climate change’ anymore.” As Eric Wolff reports in POLITICO, the Energy Department climate office has banned the use of phrase “climate change.” Hannah Northey elaborates, “DOE workers warned climate references would trigger a ‘visceral reaction’ @SecretaryPerry and top staff. Serious?” Thom Dunn forecasts, “Next up: the Department of Education bans ‘books’ ‘knowledge’ and ‘words.’” Until then, Kevin W. Smith offers us these words: “When humanity clings to the last lands not ravaged by droughts & famine, at least @ENERGY's vocabulary had refuge.”
Over at the EPA, Eric Lipton reports in The New York Times that the agency’s chief, Scott Pruitt, moved late on Wednesday to reject the scientific conclusion of the agency's own chemical safety experts and chose not to ban an insecticide linked to mental problems with farmers and children. Why? Lipton explains: “Dow Chemical objected.”
And then there’s this: “Oh hey, nothing much to see here, just the US government deciding civilian deaths in war aren't all *that* bad,” says Jeff Spross. In their New York Times exclusive, Trump Is Said to Ease Combat Rules in Somalia Designed to Protect Civilians, Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt report, “Trump declares Somalia a war zone, lifts Obama's civilian protection rules for airstrikes, commando raids,” tweets Savage. Paul Szoldra clarifies, “Trump just lifted restrictions that will mean more civilian casualties in Somalia…” And as Jesse Walker puts it, “Trump finds another war to escalate.”
Also, If you read one thing today, Natasha Khan recommends the new piece by Ben Hubbard and Michael Gordon in The New York Times, U.S. War Footprint Grows in Middle East, With No Endgame in Sight. The Times tweets that “The U.S. military is becoming more involved in a string of complex wars in the Middle East.” Josh Noel explains: “A mess.”
So to sum up so far: Shifts, rollbacks, pushback and change. What’s not expected to change so much? NAFTA. Yes, that NAFTA, the one that, as Bradd Jaffy points out, Trump called “the worst trade deal in history.” Phil Nobile tweets, “Despite calling Nafta a ‘disaster,’ the Trump administration is seeking mostly modest changes to the agreement.” As reported by Bob Davis and William Mauldin in The Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration is signaling to Congress it would seek mostly modest changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement in upcoming negotiations with Mexico and Canada. Says Josh Greenman, “Hate the TPP? You might be surprised to learn that many Trump NAFTA revisions are basically borrowed from it.”
But back to war. While we’re at it, “Trump declares war on conservative Republicans,” tweets Anthony De Rosa, referring to Glenn Thrush's piece in The New York Times, ‘We Must Fight Them’: Trump Goes After Conservatives of Freedom Caucus. Notes Maggie Haberman, “Scoop by @GlennThrush - Trump White House gets earful from head of Judicial Watch on need for transparency re Russia.” Says Matt Welch, “Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton used his access to the president commendably.” Haberman adds, “Also tucked into this @GlennThrush piece - @DanScavino has moved into Bannon's office, tweets are being monitored.” Jordan Fabian points to this “Intriguing nugget”: “Mr. Trump’s message on Twitter was not impulsive: Mr. Bannon and his staff have been closely monitoring the president’s posts and using them as leverage in negotiations.”
And in the Washington Post, Philip Rucker writes that, with his “we must fight” tweet, the president effectively declared war Thursday on the House Freedom Caucus. Steve Chapman questions the strategy: “When you're short on allies in Congress, it may not be smart to be making enemies.”
In light of all this, be sure to check out Rich Lowry’s new opinion piece in POLITICO, The Crisis of Trumpism, which Jonah Goldberg says is an “Excellent column.” Adds Jonathan Martin, “.@RichLowry on course for the Strange New Respect Pulitzer and i don't think he can be slowed down.” Matthew Yglesias comments, “What @RichLowry's smart analysis is missing is that Trump's corruption gravitationally pulls him toward orthodoxy.” But Timothy Sandefur says, “Lowry nails it: in the end it's ideas that matter & trying to govern without them is a doomed enterprise.”
Saladin Ahmed is talking about Who is ‘Source D’? The man said to be behind the Trump-Russia dossier’s most salacious claim, the new piece by Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger in the Washington Post. As Will Sommer reveals, “The source for the prostitutes claim in the Trump dossier was in touch with a Trump foreign policy adviser.” Says Derek Walter, “It's just crazy that day after day there's another bombshell story. This thing goes deep.” Doug Saunders points to this “plutonium-samovar level burn” from the piece: “He’s too small of a fish to deal with Russian people,” she said. “They will smell his smallness from miles away.”
At Bloomberg, Billy House and Sahil Kapur bring the scoop that the House GOP is weighing another try on an Obamacare vote next week. The piece wraps up with this quote from Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee: “We’re approaching the Easter season," he said. "Some things rise from the dead.” “Like vampires,” tweets Harris Meyer.
“Sweet Jesus. The IT trailer, mixing The Goonies with Freddy Krueger.” Jeff Labrecque links to the official teaser trailer for IT, New Line Cinema's horror thriller, which is based on the Stephen King novel and will be in theaters September 8. George Knapp predicts, “This will not be good PR for clowns.” “Ohmygodohmygodohmygooooooood,” tweets Chris E. Hayner. Jeremy Ross says, “Holy tap dancing nightmare factory of TERROR.” Thomasena Farrar says, “So I might need a counseling session after this one!!” Aaron Jay Ledesma is “Having a minor anxiety attack at work thanks to @ITMovieOfficial,” and John Moltz’s review: “this looks great i will never ever go see this.” “Sleep tight!” says Lance Turner.