Thursday, January 26, 2017
649 Days until Election Day 2018
1,377 Days until Election Day 2020
Good morning! Reporting from WUTP world HQ (in my bedroom), I'm Gabe Fleisher: this is your wake up call.
White House Watch
- The President's Schedule President Donald Trump huddles with congressional Republicans in Philadelphia today.
- At 9 AM, Trump will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing, for just the second time this week.
- At 10:20 AM, he will depart the White House for Philadelphia, his first trip on Air Force One as president. Trump will touch down in the "City of Brotherly Love" at 11 AM.
- At 12 PM, the President will address House and Senate Republicans' "Congress of Tomorrow" retreat, an annual three-day event that allows the GOP to map out their agenda for the following year. Vice President Mike Pence will also speak to the retreat today, as will former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, who will speak about "renew[ing] the special relationship for this new age" ahead of a scheduled meeting with President Trump tomorrow.
- According to Politico, House Speaker Paul Ryan opened the retreat Wednesday by announcing the planned timetable for the year: repealing and replacing Obamacare by April, then funding the southern border wall proposed by President Trump, with a tax reform package approved by August.
- Trump's participation in the GOP retreat is an important opportunity for him to get on the same page as rank-and-file congressional Republicans and ensure unity on issues such as his border wall and planned voter fraud investigation, both of which some in the party have criticized.
- Then, at 2:10 PM, he will depart Philadelphia, arriving back at the White House at 3 PM.
- At 4 PM, President Trump meets with Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) to discuss tax reform.
- Finally, after the Hatch/Brady meeting, the President will sign an executive order. According to the Associated Press, the order will be a "notice to Congress that he plans to start bilateral trade negotiations with most of the countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact." One of Trump's first actions as President was to withdraw from the 12-nation trade deal, which he did on Monday; today, he announces plans to negotiate agreements with many of the individual nations involved.
- Numerous media outlets have reported President Trump's plan to order a temporary refugee ban; that order is not expected to be signed today. According to Reuters, Trump will soon by signing a months-long ban on all refugees entering the United States (except for those escaping religious persecution) as he pushes for "extreme vetting." In addition, the President plans to suspend visas for citizens from seven majority-Muslim nations: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
- Also today: the President will tape his first cable-news interview since taking office, sitting down with Fox News host Sean Hannity. The interview will air at 10 PM.
- Immigration Orders Review President Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday, "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States" and "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements," cracking down on illegal immigration to the U.S.
- The centerpiece of the immigration action was one of Trump's main campaign-trail promises: the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The latter order he signed Wednesday directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to "immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border," defining a "wall" as a "contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier."
- The President also ordered the Secretary to "identify and, to the extent permitted by law, allocate all sources of Federal funds" that could be used for the wall, and to produce a study in the next six months on the best "strategy to obtain and maintain complete operational control of the southern border."
- The source of funding for the wall will have to come through congressional appropriations; Speaker Ryan told MSNBC on Wednesday that "we're going to pay for it and front the money up," confirming that the cost would be between eight and fourteen billion. According to CNN, a special budget bill to fund the wall is expected to be passed in the spring. Not all GOP lawmakers are on board with that plan: Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) declared Trump's plan to be "the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border," one of multiple members of Congress to announce opposition to the border wall.
- President Trump, of course, claims that Mexico will ultimately pay for the border wall. "I'm telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form," Trump said Wednesday. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto responded in an address to his people later that night, assuring the country that "Mexico won't pay for any wall."
- Other actions ordered by the President on Wednesday:
- a review of U.S. federal aid to Mexico, which could be a negotiating tactic for the border wall
- an increase in law enforcement officials (5,000 more border patrol agents and 10,000 more immigration officers)
- construction of additional detention facilities for detained illegal immigrants
- a declaration that any "sanctuary jurisdiction" (a city, county, or state protecting undocumented immigrants) will be ineligible for federal grants
- Other White House news from Wednesday
- In an interview with ABC's David Muir, President Trump confirmed his plans to change the U.S. interrogation policies, saying that torture "absolutely" is effective. "We have to fight fire with fire," the President said. According to news reports, Trump is drafting an executive order to reverse President Obama's directive to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and opens the door for the return of CIA "black site" prisons.
- Trump also announced on Wednesday that he will be "asking for a major investigation" into voter fraud, in keeping with his incorrect belief that those who are registered in multiple states and dead people on the voter rolls (two groups of individuals he singled out in a tweet on Wednesday) are linked with any cases of voter fraud, despite evidence to the contrary. The President told ABC that millions of people registered in two states "vote twice" and that "of those votes cast, none of them" were for him. It was reported later in the day that a number of people close to the President - his daughter Tiffany, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and Tresaury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin - are all registered to vote in two states.
- 70%: The average gap between Democratic and Republican approval of Barack Obama during his time as President, according to Gallup. The poll found Obama's job approval had averaged 83% among Democrats and 13% among Republicans, the largest party gap in approval of any president Gallup has polled on.
- 49%: The number of voters who watched President Trump's Inaugural address and thought it was "excellent or good," compared to 39% who said it was "fair or poor," according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll. 65% responded positively to the "American First" message. 61% agreed with the "buy American and hire American" promise.
Quote of the Day
"I don't want to change too much."
- President Donald J. Trump, to ABC's David Muir
- Many Presidents have spoken about how serving in the office has changed them. In his first television interview as President, Donald Trump was asked Wednesday by ABC's David Muir if he had changed since being sworn in. Trump responded, saying he didn't want to change. Then, he proved that he hadn't: "I've had a wonderful life and wonderful success. I want to make this a great success for the American people and for the people who put me in this position," the President said. "So I don't want to change too much. I can be the most presidential person ever, other than, possibly, the great Abraham Lincoln, all right?"
- The President offered a number of classic Trumpian quotes in the interview with Muir. A sampling:
- On the magnitude of the office: "It has periodically hit me. And it is a tremendous magnitude. And where you really see it is when you're talking to the generals about problems in the world. And we do have problems in the world. Big problems. The business also hits because the -- the size of it. The size."
- On receiving the nuclear codes: "When they explain what it represents and the kind of destruction that you're talking about, it is a very sobering moment. It's very, very scary in a sense...But I have confidence that I'll do the right thing, the right job. But it's a very, very scary thing."
- On potentially allowing DREAMers (who were brought by parents illegally when they were young) to stay in the country: "I do have a big heart. We're going to take care of everybody."
- On voter fraud: "Let me just tell you, you know what's important, millions of people agree with me when I say that. If you would’ve looked on one of the other networks and all of the people that were calling in they're saying, 'We agree with Mr. Trump. We agree.' They're very smart people."
- On his speech at the CIA: "That speech was a home run. That speech, if you look at Fox, OK, I'll mention you -- we see what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches... I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal."
- On the potential of Muslims being angered by a refugee ban: "The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What? You think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place."
*All Times Eastern
For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.