President Donald Trump questioned why the Civil War— which erupted 150 years ago over slavery — needed to happen. He said he would be “honored” to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the violent North Korean dictator who is developing nuclear missiles and oppresses his people, under the “right circumstances.”
The president floated, and backed away from, a tax on gasoline. Trump said he was “looking at” breaking up the big banks, sending the stock market sliding. He seemed to praise Philippines strongman President Rodrigo Duterte for his high approval ratings. He promised changes to the Republican health care bill, though he has seemed unsure what was in the legislation, even as his advisers whipped votes for it.
And Monday still had nine hours to go.
It was a bewildering day of bizarre interviews. (Note: Yesterday was the first day of Mental Health Awareness Month)
This morning, on Morning Joe, Mika and Joe admitted that Trump’s behavior is pathological, saying the President is literally unfit to serve. “Beyond bizarre.” “Erratic.” “A confused mental state.” Interesting assessment, since Mika and Joe have done a lot over the past year to normalize Trump. Also on Morning Joe, Jon Meacham said Trump told him last year that he could’ve done a deal to stop the Civil War.
If it was a White House plan to flummox the press and the country, it is hard to see the purpose. On one hand, it was more of the same. On the other hand, it was just too much, especially as he embarked on his post-100 presidency.
Let’s sum up yesterday:
1/ Congress reached a deal to keep the government open through September. The plan would add billions for the Pentagon and border security, but it doesn’t allow the money to be spent on building Trump’s wall. There is no money provided for a deportation force and there are no cuts of federal monies to so-called sanctuary cities. Votes in both chambers are expected by the end of the week. (CNN)
2/ North Korea said it will continue its nuclear weapons tests and bolster its nuclear force “to the maximum.” The North called US sanctions and its show of force – sending an aircraft carrier to the Korean peninsula and joint drills with South Korea – aggression and hysteria. (Reuters)
3/ Trump said he would be “honored” to meet with Kim Jong Un if the circumstances were right. “I would be honored to do it,” he said amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. (Bloomberg)
- Trump calls Kim Jong-un a “a pretty smart cookie” for managing to hold on to power after taking over at a young age. (The Guardian)
4/ Trump doesn’t know what’s in his health care bill. The Republican health care plan Trump described on Face the Nation is at odds with his health care goals. He said that people with preexisting conditions will be protected, but the latest amendment says they won’t be. Trump also said deductibles will go down under the Republican plan, but a nonpartisan analysis expects deductibles to go up. (Vox)
- GOP faces a make-or-break moment on Obamacare repeal. This week may be the last, best chance to get it done in the House. (Politico)
5/ The administration ends Michelle Obama’s girls education program. The “Let Girls Learn” program comes to an end as Melania Trump begins to define her own platform as first lady. (CNN)
6/ The Department of Agriculture is relaxing Obama-era school lunch standards. The new rules suspend the sodium reduction and whole-grain requirements, as well as allow 1% fat chocolate milk back into school cafeterias nationwide because of “palatability issues.” (ABC News)
7/ Trump claims Andrew Jackson was upset about the Civil War and wonders why that the issues “could not have been worked out.” Jackson died 16 years before the war began. Trump suggested that if Jackson had been president “a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War.” (Associated Press)
Here’s Trump’s full answer on “swashbuckler” Andrew Jackson and the Civil War: “Why could that one not have been worked out?” pic.twitter.com/Zb8OQaDqyq
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) May 1, 2017
8/ Trump abruptly ended an interview after being pushed on his claims that Obama ordered surveillance of him. He said his allegation that he was illegally surveilled has “been proven very strongly” and that he is entitled to his own “opinions.” (Politico)
- Trump’s interview with “Face the Nation.” (CBS News)
9/ Trump invited Duterte to visit him at the White House after their “very friendly conversation.” The authoritarian leader is accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines, which has drawn criticism from human rights groups. The State Department and the National Security Council were both caught off guard by the invitation and raised objections internally. (New York Times)
- Rodrigo Duterte says he may be too busy for a White House visit. (New York Times)
10/ Reince Priebus said the Trump administration has “looked at” changes to libel laws that would curtail press freedoms. Trump has frequently slammed the press for its coverage of him and has suggested changing libel laws. Libel is when defamatory statements about someone are published. But the American press enjoys some protection from lawsuits claiming libel because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech rights. (ABC News)
11/ Trump says his rally crowd broke records despite empty seats at his 100-day rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Journalists pointed out rows of empty seats at the expo center. (The Hill)
Trump says “we have a lot of ppl standing outside” and he “broke the all time record” in this arena. There are rows of empty seats here pic.twitter.com/ixbErKjrQu
— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) April 30, 2017
Just insane. Most of the focus was on Trump’s comments regarding Andrew Jackson, which he tried to clean up in a tweet saying that Jackson was dead 16 years before the Civil War (see everyone, I knew that!) but he saw it coming and was angry about it.
No, he didn’t see it coming, and he wasn’t angry about it. Trump just made that up.
Trump’s idolatry of racist Andrew Jackson is no gaffe. Jackson is lionized by white supremacists. He’s dog-whistling to his base. Sickening. https://t.co/1x9ExaYH4P
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 1, 2017
Anyway….. Seth Meyers puts it together
This morning, we get two more tweets. Clearly he was tweeting in response to the show he was watching, but we don’t know what that is:
JUST IN: In morning tweets, Pres. Trump advocates for a gov’t shutdown: “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” pic.twitter.com/v6pfrNZfTV
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) May 2, 2017
Uh…. he WANTS a government shutdown? Interesting, seeing as he blamed Democrats four days ago for almost bringing on a government shutdown. Remember this?
As families prepare for summer vacations in our National Parks – Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2017
Government shutdowns are bad, Mr. President. Here’s what happened in 2013 when we did that:
- $2.5 billion in compensation costs for furloughed workers (whose lack of pay for two weeks hampered consumer spending);
- 120,000 fewer private-sector jobs created in the first half of October;
- $500 million lost in visitor spending because of closed National Parks ;
- $11 million in lost National Parks and Smithsonian Institution revenue;
- Interest accrued on billions of dollars of payments owed to third parties that the government was unable to pay during the shutdown;
- Resources spent on putting activities in standby or maintaining them in an idle mode;
- 1.2 million Internal Revenue Service identity verification requests that couldn’t be processed, causing a delay in private-sector lending and other activities;
- Stalled approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration delayed moving products to market.
Yyyyeah. Of course, as President, he COULD just veto what he doesn’t like. Does he know that yet?
Look, when Trump was a businessman and failed, he simply declared bankruptcy. I think, in Trump’s mind, “shutdown” is the political equivalent of bankruptcy. I think he saw the morning shows and saw that his Trumpcare was failing (again). He wants a “shutdown”, a clean slate (in his mind).