Wake Up To Politics - April 10, 2017
wakeuptopolitics.com | firstname.lastname@example.org/@WakeUp2Politics | facebook.com/WakeUpToPolitics
I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It's Monday, April 10, 2017. 575 days until Election Day 2018. 1,303 days until Election Day 2020. Per presidential proclamation, it is Pan American Week, marking the First International Conference of American States, which took place in April 1890. The Jewish observance of Passover begins tonight. Tell your friends and family to sign up to recieve Wake Up To Politics at wakeuptopolitics.com/subscribe!
The President's Schedule At 10:30am, President Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office.
At11am, President Trump will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Neil Gorsuch as the 101st Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on Friday, 54-45, nearly fourteen months after Justice Antonin Scalia's death spurred a divisive partisan battle that lasted during two presidencies and produced two nominees for the seat. The addition of Gorsuch - an "originalist," like his predecessor - ensures a return to the Court's ideological balance before Scalia's passing, with 5-4 control by conservatives.
Gorsuch will be formally sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts at9am in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court; the White House swearing-in, to be administered by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, will be ceremonial. Gorsuch clerked for Kennedy from 1993 to 1994, making him the first Justice to serve with a Justice he clerked for.
At 4pm, President Trump will meet with Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney in the Oval Office. Axios reported Sunday that Mulvaney will be continuing his effort to cut down on the cost of federal government this week, sending a letter to federal agencies in the coming days directing them to "create plans to make themselves significantly smaller and less costly."
--- ALSO tonight: President Trump will host a Seder to mark the first night of Passover, according to Jewish Insider and the Times of Israel. The White House Seder will continue a tradition began by President Barack Obama and his aides in 2009; tonight's dinner will likely include Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (both are Orthodox Jews), and other Jewish officials in the Administration, such as Senior Advisor Stephen Miller, NEC Director Gary Cohn, and U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
Reports: Bannon, Kushner Reach Truce After weeks of fighting with each other in the open, warring White House aides Steve Bannon (the Chief Strategist to the President) and Jared Kushner (a Senior Advisor to the President, and Trump's son-in-law) reportedly met in Mar-a-Lago over the weekend to hash out their differences.
Kushner, a former Democratknown to serve as a moderating force for Trump, has reportedly expanded his profile in recent weeks, a seeming victory over Bannon, the leader of the Trump Administration's populist/nationalist wing. Multiple news outlets reported at the end of the last week that Trump ordered his two aides to "cut it out" after days of articles reporting on their escalating divide. "Work this out," he reportedly told them.
The Mar-a-Lago summit (convened by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus) seems to have been at least a temporary success - but it remains to be seen if the truce can last. Rumors persist of a White House staff shakeup that could include Bannon or Priebus, or both.
--- Bloomberg reported on Sunday that Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland has been reassigned from the National Security Council and will likely be nominated for Ambassador to Singapore in the coming weeks. McFarland's move is another sign of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster's taking control of the NSC, coming after Bannon was removed from the council's Principals Committee last week.
McFarland, a former Fox News analyst, was appointed by McMaster's predecessor, Michael Flynn, who served atop the NSC for less than a month before resigning. Her style is much more similar to the radical Flynn's than that of McMaster, who is favored by the GOP national security establishment.
The move is the latest in a series of recent personnel changes, including Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh's resignation, Bannon's exit from the NSC, and the addition of Kushner ally Dina Powell as a second Deputy National Security Advisor.
Congress Heads Home Both houses of Congress are on recess this week, leaving town for a two-week Easter break. The recess means that Republican lawmakers will return home to their districts, and many will face criticism for their support of President Trump's failed replacement of Obamacare, at town halls or over the airwaves.
According to the Washington Post, progressive alliance Save My Care is dropping $1 million+ on ads in seven districts held by some of the most vulnerable GOP members. Five of the members supported the replacement plan, the other two did not commit either way. The targeted lawmakers hail from Colorado, Florida, California, New Jersey, and Arizona; the ads will rely on data from the Congressional Budget Office showing the increase in premiums and uninsured individuals that the GOP plan would have caused.
Recent polls have found that the Trump-backed health care bill was widely unpopular, while Obamacare's approval ratings are increasing to a higher level than ever before.
When Congress returns from recess, Republicans will be looking to rebound from their inability to unite around a health care plan, possibly moving on to other planks of the Trump agenda, such as ta reform and infrastrcture, which could pass with bipartisan agreement. One thing's for sure: both chambers will need to pass a stopgap measure to extend government funding, which is set to expire on April 28. The Senate returns on April 24; the House returns on April 25.
The fractured Republican Party may have difficulty agreeing on a spending plan, with the conservative House Freedom Caucus insisting on defunding Planned Parenthood, the Trump Administration calling for funding of the proposed border wall, and hawks like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) threatening a shutdown if military spending isn't increased. If the GOP majority can't muster the votes, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) may need an assist from congressional Democrats, who would oppose a measure including any of those policy changes.
Daily Data A new poll released this morning finds that a majority of Americans support President Trump's Syrian airstrikes. The CBS News survey found that 57% supported the strikes, although 70% said that Trump should seek congressional approval before taking more action (including 50% of Republicans). In addition, 45% called Syria's reported use of chemical weapons "immoral"; still, only 18% said they would support ground troops in Syria.
The poll also found a slight improvement in President Trump's approval rating: 43% now approve of his job performance, while 49% disapprove. Late last month, the same survey found that 40% disapproved of Trump's performance and 52% disapproved.