With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump won more votes than Paul Ryan in the House Speaker’s home county last fall, partly by making inroads with traditionally Democratic autoworkers who have struggled to adjust since losing their jobs when the General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, closed in 2008.
-- The president is traveling to Ryan’s congressional district this afternoon for an event at Snap-on, which manufactures hand tools. Trying to show his blue-collar base that he’s following through on his promises, Trump will sign a “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. The White House says it will make it harder for tech companies to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor and strengthen rules barring foreign contractors from bidding on government projects. (More details here.)
-- Today also happens to be the publication date for Amy Goldstein’s terrific new book, “Janesville: An American Story.” It is a close-up look at what happened after G.M. shut down the assembly line two days before Christmas, as the company sought to survive and the country tried to fend off another depression. In a city of 63,000, as many as nine thousand people lost their jobs.
Amy, a staff writer at The Washington Post for three decades, has doggedly pursued this project for six years now. She took a two-year leave from the paper to conduct research, immersing herself in the lives of a handful of people in the community. With 55 vignettes, some as short as a page, she weaves a powerful narrative about their struggles and their perseverance from 2008 to 2013. Throughout the story, as she writes at one point, “The carcass of a 4.8-million-square-foot cathedral of industry still sits in silence on the river’s edge.” (Read an excerpt about three of the families she followed here.)
-- Trump’s name does not appear until page 292 of “Janesville,” but this really is one of the best books to understand how he could become the first Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan to carry the Badger State.
To this day, most Washington elites don’t fully grasp just how painful the Great Recession was for tens of millions of Americans. Government spending increased, and the military-industrial complex prospered, so D.C. denizens were mostly insulated from the economic crisis.
-- Importantly, Janesville is not part of the Rust Belt. Places like Youngstown, Ohio, and Pittsburgh have been decaying for decades. But this area was faring relatively well until the 2000s. Generations of Janesville kids, going back to 1923, grew up excited to follow their dads onto the assembly line so they too could make Chevys. They saw a union card, not a college degree, as the ticket to a respectable middle-class livelihood.
So the plant closure was a profound shock to the system: Not only did it accelerate the decline of manufacturing and organized labor, it created a sense among many working-class whites that they were being left behind – harmed by trade and globalization. With full recovery still elusive nearly a decade later, some began to look for a new kind of savior.
Historically Janesville has been a Democratic stronghold. While there was significant local excitement when Mitt Romney tapped a favorite son to be his running mate, Barack Obama nevertheless carried the county by 23 points. Last November, Hillary Clinton carried Rock County by just 10 points -- and with about 10,000 fewer votes than Obama. That doesn’t seem like much until you consider that Trump only won Wisconsin by 22,000 votes. In Rock County, Trump received 31,488 votes and Ryan got 21,879. (The Speaker's district, which does not include all of the county, stretches to Lake Michigan, including the conservative Milwaukee suburbs.)
-- Ryan is a major character in the story. The book opens with the congressman’s cell phone ringing. It’s the CEO of GM calling to give him a heads up that the company will stop production in Janesville. Ryan is caught off guard. As they talk, he looks through his kitchen window at two houses. One belongs to a couple where the husband and wife both work at the plant. The other belongs to a family dependent on wages from a seat-making factory that is the plant’s largest supplier. Ryan realizes their jobs will vanish and pleads with the CEO to switch from making gas-guzzling SUVs to smaller models, or pickup trucks, that consumers might actually want to buy. He’ll soon travel to Detroit to plead that cases with other executives, but to no avail. GM would declare bankruptcy, even with massive federal loans.
This all happened before Ryan ever chaired a House committee, back when the GOP establishment saw him and his budget blueprints as a nuisance. In keeping with the convention for how she refers to all the other locals in the book, Amy refers to the Speaker of the House simply as “Paul” in her story.
Ryan, who refused to campaign with or defend Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tape came out last October, will miss Trump’s event in Kenosha today. He’s leading a congressional delegation in Europe, focused on reassuring NATO allies about the U.S. commitment to the alliance.
-- In many ways, the town is a useful microcosm to understand the broader trends Trump capitalized on:
Union power has dramatically dissipated. The United Auto Workers local shrank from 7,000 active members to 438 by 2012, with 4,900 retirees. To make money, the union started renting out its hall – once a heart of the community. A major festival over Labor Day weekend has gotten smaller. In 2014, Labor Fest went from three days to two. Then it was canceled altogether in 2015 on short notice. It managed to resume in 2016, but the future is precarious.
The civil war in Wisconsin after Scott Walker took on public employee unions also divided Janesville. Some of the civility that the town had really prided itself on was lost during the recall fight in 2012.
Jobs have finally come back to Janesville, but they don’t pay as well. And they’re not in manufacturing. The unemployment rate recently slipped below 4 percent, but many who are working again are not earning enough for the comfortable lives they had a decade ago. Rock County had about 9,500 manufacturing jobs in 2015 – about half as many as in 1990.
Dollar General decided to put a distribution center on the south side of town, thanks to generous incentives offered by the city. But most of the jobs will pay $15 an hour – compared to the $28 a lot of guys earned at GM before the plant closed. But people will take what they can get: A Dollar General job fair not long before Amy’s book went to press drew three thousand people.
Many folks who lost jobs never fully regained their confidence. Working with the University of Wisconsin Survey Center, Amy conducted a major survey of Rock County residents. She includes the results in an eight-page appendix: More than one in three who responded had lost work or lived with someone who had. Economic pessimism lingered years after the recession itself. Attesting to the financial and emotional pain that losing work caused people, half said they have had trouble paying for food and nearly two-thirds reported strain in family relationships. Three-quarters of the people who responded, in 2013, said that the U.S. economy was still in a recession. Slightly more than half said their financial situation was worse than before the recession. (Buy Amy’s book here.)
-- What POTUS wants you to read: “Trump spurs small-business optimism in Milwaukee area” is the headline of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story the president just tweeted out. “That may not seem surprising; business generally favors Republicans,” the paper says. “But there was no comparable surge in small-business optimism when George W. Bush won in 2000 after eight years of Democratic incumbency.”
ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON 2016:
-- “ Shattered,” a narrative of Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, is also out this morning. Campaign manager Robby Mook comes across especially poorly in their account. “As we dive into the Clinton apparatus in Brooklyn, we discover a somewhat different picture of Mook, who was largely portrayed as an affable, modern-age data whiz during the campaign,” Steven Ginsberg, The Post’s senior politics editor, writes in a review of the new book. “In ‘Shattered,’ he is depicted as a ‘professional political assassin’ who pushes aside anyone who threatens his control-freak grip on power. He fights with (John) Podesta. There’s tension with chief strategist Joel Benenson (who appears to have been almost completely sidelined months before Election Day). Mook has little regard for communications director Jennifer Palmieri. He thinks the old-style politics of Bill Clinton are relics of a bygone time. Some of the criticism of Mook rings true — his celebrated voter modeling, for instance, turned out to be catastrophically off — but his portrait also carries the stench of bitter co-workers conveniently tossing after-the-fact blame his way.”
-- The book has some fresh details on how hard Obama pressed Clinton to concede. From Ginsberg’s review: Around 7:45 on election night, when Clinton and her aides still thought they were headed to the White House, troubling news emerged from Florida. Steve Schale, the best vote-counter the Democrats had in the state, told campaign officials they were going to lose the biggest battleground in the country. “As fear gave over to dread in the Peninsula Hotel, the Clinton campaign reacted as you might expect: Bill became furious, Hillary turned stoic, and their cocksure aides started to blame one another. It wasn’t long into the night before Bill Clinton called his old pal, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and told him not to bother coming to New York. There would be no victory to celebrate…
“Shortly after 11:00 p.m., after Wisconsin was called by Fox News, Allen and Parnes report that the campaign fielded a series of calls from the White House pushing Clinton to concede, even though the margins in many states were extraordinarily close. Obama thought it was over and did not want a messy recount. First came a call from White House political director David Simas to [Mook]. ‘POTUS doesn’t think it’s wise to drag this out,’ Simas said. But Clinton was dragging it out. So then she got a call from POTUS. ‘You need to concede,’ urged Obama, who repeated the message in a follow-up call to [Podesta]. At last, Clinton said, ‘Give me the phone.’ And then the first woman who was going to be president got her opponent on the line and said two words she never expected to say: ‘Congratulations, Donald.’
“Moments later, Obama was back on the phone, this time making a consolation call. ‘Mr. President,’ Clinton said softly. ‘I’m sorry.’”
-- After a joint appearance in Green Bay with Obama was canceled, Clinton never went to Wisconsin. “Our failure to reach out to white voters, like literally from the New Hampshire primary on, it never changed,” one campaign official told the authors. From the New York Times’s review: “In chronicling these missteps, ‘Shattered’ creates a picture of a shockingly inept campaign hobbled by hubris and unforced errors, and haunted by a sense of self-pity and doom, summed up in one Clinton aide’s mantra throughout the campaign: ‘We’re not allowed to have nice things.’”
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- In a surprise announcement Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May called for an early election to be held on June 8 – seeking to cement her backing amid politically-tense “Brexit” negotiations and moves by Scotland to possibly carve its own independent path to remain in the European Union. Karla Adam reports from London: “‘I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I have to make,’ [May] said. Part of the election call by May is to seek her own political mandate and shrug off the image as [David] Cameron’s replacement. … Still, May is taking something of a political gambit with elections set for just two weeks before the anniversary of the Brexit referendum: If her Conservative party wins the snap elections, she will have the mandate to pursue her own agenda as she heads into negotiations … not the one set out by her predecessor Cameron. But a loss — considered unlikely at the moment — would throw deep uncertainly into the complex talks ahead between Britain and the other 27 E.U. members, and would reflect important shifts in the British sentiment since last year’s referendum.”
-- “Arkansas blocked from carrying out scheduled execution after Supreme Court denies late challenge,” by Mark Berman: “Despite a late challenge mounted by Arkansas officials hoping to carry out the state’s first execution in 12 years, the U.S. Supreme Court early Tuesday morning declined to step in, preventing the lethal injection from taking place as scheduled. The high court’s decision not to act, coming with just minutes to spare, leaves in place a stay preventing Arkansas from carrying out an execution that was originally set to be one of eight taking place this month. The Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday afternoon had stayed two executions scheduled for that night, and state officials quickly challenged one of those two stays, appealing to Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who is assigned cases from the federal circuit covering Arkansas. In a one-sentence order released 15 minutes before the execution warrant expired, the court said that Alito referred the application to the full court and that it was then denied. No explanation was given and no dissents were recorded.”
-- Trump called to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a referendum granted him sweeping new powers, breaking in tone with the State Department, whose carefully-worded statement noted reports of voting irregularities and urged the country to respect citizen’s rights. Carol Morello reports: “According to accounts by both Trump and Erdogan, the two also discussed the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base in response to the April 4 chemical weapons attack on civilians in Idlib province. Trump thanked Erdogan for Turkey’s support of the retaliatory action. The leaders agreed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be held accountable for the chemical attack that killed at least 70 people, and they talked about the ongoing campaign to counter the Islamic State."
- State’s statement urged Turkey to respect the basic rights of its citizens and noted the election irregularities witnessed by monitors with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. (The United States is a member of the OSCE.) “We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens,” said the department’s acting spokesman, Mark Toner, noting the objections of the Turkish opposition and the monitors.
- "The juxtaposition of the differing responses underscored the awkward situation faced by many U.S. and European officials in responding to the disputed results of the referendum, which changed Turkey from a parliamentary democracy to one led by an executive president with strong central powers," Carol explains. It passed by a slim margin, 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent. The package of constitutional amendments eliminates the position of prime minister and expands Erdogan’s power to appoint judges and prosecutors.
- But Turkey’s strategic importance means that the referendum, even if voting irregularities are proved, is unlikely to affect U.S. policy. “Both the U.S. and E.U. are in a bind,” said Michael Werz, a Turkey analyst with the Center for American Progress. “They can either [disagree with] the OSCE findings, or they can say the truth: It was not a free and fair election.”
-- Erdogan vigorously defended his victory, strongly dismissing all criticisms of the results: “Debate about this issue is now over,” he said during an occasionally combative speech at his sprawling presidential palace. “We are not going to stop,” he added. His remarks came just hours after Turkey’s main opposition party demanded the vote be annulled. (Kareem Fahim)
-- “Capitals fail to ‘Own the big moments,’ fall behind in first-round series vs. Toronto,” by Isabelle Khurshudyan: “There’s an emblem the Washington Capitals have stuck onto a door in their locker room. It’s a smiling skull with ‘Own the big moments’ written around the edge of it. The phrase was taken from forward Justin Williams, who repeatedly said Washington didn’t do just that in its disappointing postseason run a year ago. They had it printed on the back of their team shirts before the season. The logo traveled with the Capitals to Air Canada Centre, staring back at them in the visiting locker room as a third straight game in this first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs went to overtime. Less than two minutes into the extra period, it was Toronto who owned the moment after Tyler Bozak’s power-play goal lifted the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win and a 2-1 series lead.”
GET SMART FAST:
- A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed Monday afternoon on a golf course in southern Maryland, killing one crew member and injuring two others. The aircraft was on a routine training flight when it went down. (Arelis R. Hernández, Dan Lamothe and Justin Wm. Moyer)
- A rapidly expanding manhunt for Steve W. Stephens -- accused of killing an elderly man in Cleveland and posting a video of the murder to Facebook -- stretched into its second day as authorities offered a $50,000 reward for information regarding his whereabouts. Stephens is considered armed and dangerous, and authorities urged residents in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be on “alert.” (Lindsey Bever, Peter Holley and Drew Harwell)
- For the first time on record, human-caused climate change has rerouted an entire river. According to a team of scientists, the retreat of a large glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory shifted the flow of its meltwater from one river to another – cutting down flow to the Yukon’s largest lake, and channeling freshwater to the Pacific Ocean rather than to the Bering Sea. (Chris Mooney)
- South Korean prosecutors indicted ex-President Park Geun-hye on a spate of high-profile corruption charges, including bribery, extortion, and abuse of power -- which could potentially carry a sentence of life in prison. It’s the latest in a string of humiliations for Park, who was stripped of power last month and has since been detained at a facility near Seoul. (AP)
- Gov. Susana Martinez (R) vetoed all higher education funding in New Mexico, defunding all state universities and potentially ratcheting up tuition prices for students as part of a $6.1 billion spending bill for the next fiscal year. Meanwhile, funding is so tight for K-12 education that Albuquerque has decided to eliminate sports programs in every middle school. The move has prompted intense criticism from education professionals and university presidents. (Valerie Strauss)
- United, Delta, and American Airlines have all announced changes to their policies on overbooked flights – moving to respond to last week’s “dragging incident” and the maelstrom of outrage and criticism that followed. (Luz Lazo)
- United removed a couple from a flight to their own wedding. The airline says the two “repeatedly attempted” to sit in upgraded seats that they did not pay for – but the bride-and-groom-to-be have a very different version of the story. (Kristine Phillips)
- New York City is weighing a proposal that would require Uber to add an in-app tipping option. If the new rules are approved, a host of other cities could adopt similar requirements – forcing significant changes to the ride-hailing company, which has avoided past calls to add electronic tipping options. (Steven Overly)
- A doctor who saw Prince in the days before he died had prescribed him oxycodone under a friend’s name in order to “protect the musician,” according to a newly-unsealed affidavit, which comes as part of the continued investigation into his death. Autopsy reports show the artist died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl -- a synthetic drug 50 times more powerful than heroin. (AP)
- Workers from an oil service company wrested control of the leaking BP well in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay area, stopping the natural gas leak after three days. Officials said the responders must still fix a mechanical plug in a damaged portion of an underground pipe before the well can be considered completely stable. (Steven Mufson)
- A 17-year-old girl died after being attacked by a shark while she was surfing with her father, with her mother and sisters looking on, off the southern coast of Western Australia. News of her attack comes after several great white shark sightings were reported in the area in the past week. Surfers have been advised to avoid the waters for the next 48 hours. (Cindy Boren)
- For hundreds of years, scientists searched in vain to locate the “giant shipworm” – a mysterious, near-mythical species of mollusk that was never seen alive, but whose mere shell fragments were enough to fascinate scientists dating back to 18th-century taxonomist Carl Linnaeus. The hunt is finally over! Scientists have discovered the so-called “unicorn of mollusks” in the Philippines, where they spend their lives submerged face-down in muddy lagoon water, and can grow up to five feet long. (Ben Guarino)
- Glenn Beck and his network, The Blaze, are counter-suing conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, who claims her show was permanently suspended because she came out as pro-choice. But according to the newly-filed brief, the network did not suspend Lahren for her pro-choice comments, but because of a “pattern of bad behavior” including being “inappropriate and unprofessional” and complaining about lighting, shooting, room temperature, and editing. (New York Magazine)
GEORGIA’S SPECIAL ELECTION, ROUND ONE:
-- Voting kicks off today to fill the seat of HHS Secretary Tom Price – a closely-watched race that could turn the district blue for the first time since 1978, should Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff break the 50 percent mark. That outcome is unlikely, however. A far more plausible scenario is that he will emerge with support in the low-to-mid-40s, thus triggering a June 20 runoff with the next-highest candidate, likely Karen Handel, Bob Gray, or Dan Moody.
-- “This suburban swath north of Atlanta resembles the cracked mirror of the GOP’s national identity crisis, with 11 candidates bitterly feuding over what it means to be a Republican in the age of [Trump],” Robert Costa reports from Chamblee, Ga. “That crowded field is roiled by nerves about Trump and lingering internecine dramas over ideological purity. And with next year’s midterm elections beginning to take shape, the race’s currents could reverberate far beyond the white college-educated professionals along Interstate 285, regardless of which candidate emerges from the scrum Tuesday. ‘You’ve got a miniature civil war going on there,’ said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), an ally of House GOP leaders. ‘We’re all paying attention, since anything can happen in a special.’”
“The health-care episode has particular resonance in this district since Price, a physician, was its representative from 2005 until February, when he joined the Cabinet. Republicans’ failure to pass their plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system has sown doubts among some suburban GOP voters about Trump’s effectiveness in cutting deals with lawmakers in Washington, as well as the party’s promises.”
“At the White House, the president is paying close attention and has been briefed by aides about the race. Political director Bill Stepien is working with the state party and the congressional committees. Chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon is involved in discussions about how to encourage Republican turnout.
“Interactions with Trump’s political brand have veered from hearty embrace (Dan Moody, Bob Gray, Bruce LeVell, Amy Kremer) to support but not always rah-rah (Karen Handel, Judson Hill) to flat-out defiance (David Abroms). Most of the leading candidates have bounced between those poles depending on the day or the latest controversy. Handel, a favorite of antiabortion activists who has the highest name recognition and once served as Georgia’s secretary of state, said in an interview Monday that she is concentrating on doing her ‘level best to represent the interests of the 6th District’ in her positions rather than linking arms with Trump. ‘Obviously I’m a Republican and support the president,’ Handel said. ‘But being in Congress is not the same as being an extension of the White House. I’m more than willing to step up and speak out when the circumstances demand that.’
“Endorsements from prominent Republican players have been scattered to the point of muddying the field. David Perdue has backed Moody. Newt Gingrich supports Hill, as does Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.). Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski endorsed LeVell. Former senator Saxby Chambliss is for Handel. But the conservative Club for Growth has opposed Handel and boosted Gray. To counter the club, the Ending Spending advocacy group, which is backed by the billionaire Ricketts family, has poured millions behind Handel’s candidacy.”
“Having 11 people on our side is like eating our young,” Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), a friend of Trump, said in an interview, comparing the infighting to the “nightmare” of his own 2014 statewide primary. “You risk letting the Democrat slide through without a runoff.”
-- The president recorded a robocall that doesn’t offer support for any individual candidate but just urges Republicans to go vote for anyone but Osoff:
Trump robo call on GA-6 pic.twitter.com/LMDfNuwL7T— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 18, 2017
-- Trump also tried to manage expectations with two tweets last night:
With eleven Republican candidates running in Georgia (on Tuesday) for Congress, a runoff will be a win. Vote "R" for lower taxes & safety!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressioal race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2017
-- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein has a list of things to watch for tonight:
- Turnout: “Nearly 55,000 voters have already cast ballots, and the national attention, the Trump factor and the enthusiasm around Ossoff’s campaign could lead to a dramatic uptick in Election Day voting. [Pollster Mark Rountree] said his research found that there are 77,000 voters in the district who cast ballots in the past two GOP primaries. On the Democratic side, that number is just 17,000: ‘It tells you that Republicans have a huge potential upswing,’ he said. ‘But so far Democrats are battling hard to get their votes out and are having reasonable success.’”
- The Trump factor: “Trump’s late tweets could boost Republican turnout — and aggravate Democrats looking for a late edge. Trump won the district with 48 percent of the vote, and the Republicans running as his loyalists hope to land a runoff spot by locking up much of that bloc. And polls show despite his struggles in the district in November, a majority of GOP voters give the president sound approval ratings.”
- A county-by-county fight: “The district encompasses only a chunk of north DeKalb County, but it’s also the bluest part of the territory. Ossoff is hoping to run up the score in this part of the district, so long as he can consolidate votes from the other four Democrats in the race. North Fulton County is home to some of the district’s most conservative turf, but it’s also the headquarters of three top contenders feuding for the same slice of the electorate.”
- Changing the electorate: “Ossoff’s staggering fundraising haul has allowed his campaign to target beyond a smaller base of traditional Democratic voters — an essential task if he aims to win long-held GOP turf. Democrats who rarely vote in primaries or special elections are getting personalized flyers; some are receiving multiple mailers a day.”
-- Ossoff isn’t doomed if he can’t crack 50 percent. As NBC’s Mark Murray and Carrie Dann note, “While Republicans' odds of holding on to this seat increase in a two-person race, the polling — which hasn't been of the greatest quality, mind you — shows Ossoff running competitively against the top-tier Republicans in a runoff. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report is designating the overall contest as a Toss Up.”
-- FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver agrees: “We’re in a somewhat Democratic-leaning environment right now, given Trump’s poor approval ratings, a modest Democratic advantage on the generic congressional ballot and the results of last week’s special election in Kansas. That should mitigate some of Georgia 6’s Republican lean. For another thing, a couple of polls … have tested prospective runoff matchups, and they’ve usually shown Ossoff a percentage point or two ahead of Handel and other Republicans. It’s not much of a ‘lead,’ but it suggests that a runoff might at least be a toss-up for him.”
-- Bernie Sanders and DNC Chairman Tom Perez traveled to Portland, Maine, last night, for the first stop in a unity tour. Dave Weigel reports: “Portland, the bluest dot in a state that has trended Republican in recent years, is the launchpad for a week-long Perez-Sanders campaign tour. The team-up came last month, but last week, when Democrats lost a closer-than-expected House race in Kansas, the reasons for doing it became clearer. While energy on the left has risen since November, the party’s base can still tumble into debates about whom to blame for its defeats, with the left doing most of the talking. The Perez-Sanders tour will not go through any state holding a congressional election soon, though it will boost Heath Mello, the Democrat running for mayor of Omaha. In an interview Monday … Perez praised Mello and said that Democrats had contributed to the Kansas race in ways that perhaps had gone unseen. ‘We invested in the following ways: When people were out there knocking on doors, they were using the DNC’s voter file,’ he said. ‘We were monitoring the election very closely with the state party. We did robo-calls at their request.’ Pointing to the 20-point swing toward Democrats, Perez said that ‘if we replicate that success everywhere, we will flip the House in 2018.’”
-- As Trump continues to roll back Obama’s regulatory legacy with a series of executive orders and the help of a formerly-obscure law to nullify his predecessor’s actions, administration officials are also using a third tactic: Going to court to stop judges from ruling on a broad range of regulations that are being challenged by Trump’s own conservative allies. Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin report: “These cases were filed long before the election. Now, Trump administration officials, eager to flip the government position, want judges to put the cases on hold and give federal agencies time to revise or shrink the Obama-era regulatory regime. Much is at stake. The [EPA] persuaded an appeals court to give it a chance to revise existing limits on street-level smog. The EPA also wants a court to let it rewrite the Clean Power Plan that Obama showcased at the 2015 Paris climate conference. And the Justice Department has sought to review a Department of Health and Human Services regulation that prohibits health-care providers from discriminating against people on the basis of gender identity, sex stereotyping or the termination of a pregnancy. For the Trump administration, getting the regulations back for reconsideration is also the surest way to stave off court rulings — especially those from liberal-leaning benches — that could hinder its ability to unwind rules adopted by the previous administration.”
-- “The great dairy trade war that will test President Trump,” by Caitlin Dewey in Sheboygan, Wis.: “Seven generations of Gartmans have birthed calves in this barn … But the bull that Luke Gartman, 36, pulled into the world … [could be one of the last born on their farm]. The family has two weeks to find a new dairy processing company to buy their milk and sell it into the market. The contract with their existing buyer was just canceled, the latest casualty of an increasingly acrimonious trade war with Canada over the price of ultrafiltered milk, an ingredient in cheese. The dispute … illustrates the enormous complexity of fulfilling [Trump’s] promise to renegotiate [NAFTA]: While NAFTA is often portrayed as a single trade agreement, it has specific provisions affecting thousands of products in hundreds of industries. Reworking many of these, experts say, will involve not just complex technical discussions but a fight between powerful political interests on both sides of the border.”
-- Bloomberg, “Exxon, Shell Join Ivanka Trump to Defend Paris Climate Pact,” by Jennifer A. Dlouhy: “As [Trump] contemplates whether to make good on his campaign promise to yank the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, an unlikely lobbying force is hoping to talk him out of it: oil and coal producers. A pro-Paris bloc within the administration has recruited energy companies to lend their support ahead of a high-level White House meeting Tuesday to discuss the global pact to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions, … The industry campaign to stick with the Paris accord comes amid deep divisions in the Trump administration over the carbon-cutting agreement. Both [Ivanka Trump] and her husband, Jared Kushner … have urged the president to stay in the deal, along with [Rex] Tillerson. On the other side are senior adviser Stephen Bannon and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who on Friday said ‘we need to exit’ the pact.”
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST:
-- Was Ivanka Trump, who has extensive business interests in China, a factor leading Donald Trump to change his previously tough approach to Beijing? Walter Pincus connects the dots in his Cipher Brief column today: “On Fox News and in mid-January during a Wall Street Journal interview, Trump suggested that the U.S. long-standing acceptance of Beijing’s ‘One China’ policy … could be changed. This led to a sharp rebuke from the Chinese government, and a frigidity in relations set in. After Trump was inaugurated president, almost two weeks went by and there was no phone call between him and Chinese President Xi Jinping, although he had spoken to more than a dozen other leaders. Enter Ivanka Trump. On February 1, she and her five-year-old daughter, Arabella Kushner, showed up as surprise guests at the Chinese Embassy near the end of its evening New Year’s reception celebrating the year of the rooster. The next morning, Ivanka posted a video of Arabella, playing with a traditional Chinese marionette, while she was singing a song in Mandarin she had learned … Seven days later, on February 8, a letter from President Trump was hand delivered to the Chinese wishing China ‘a prosperous Year of the Rooster’ and adding that he looked forward to ‘develop a constructive relationship’ with President Xi. The next day, February 9, in a late evening phone call to Xi, Trump walked back his previous comments and said the U.S. would continue to honor the ‘One China’ policy.”
-- A coincidence? The AP reports that, on April 6, Ivanka's company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world's second-largest economy. That same night, the first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat next to the president of China and his wife for a steak and Dover sole dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
- “Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and Jared appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy. I would never have allowed it," said Norman Eisen, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under Barack Obama. “For their own sake, and the country's, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters.”
- Ivanka’s attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement to the AP that the first daughter would steer clear of specific areas that could impact her business, such as duties on clothing, but she and Jared are under no legal obligation to step back from trade or China policy generally.
-- Two new plaintiffs – an association of restaurants and restaurant employees, and a woman who books banquet halls for Washington hotels – plan to join a lawsuit alleging that Trump has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause because his properties do business with foreign governments. David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell report: “The new plaintiffs will be added to the case on Tuesday morning, according to a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a D.C.-based watchdog group. CREW had originally filed suit against Trump in federal court in January, alleging that — by continuing to own his business … Trump had violated the constitutional provision that bans ‘emoluments’ from foreign powers. Legal experts had said that the case faced a serious hurdle: It wasn’t clear that the watchdog group actually had standing to sue in the first place. What harm had it suffered, specifically, because of Trump’s actions? The new plaintiffs are intended to offer an alternative answer to that question[:] Both say that, as direct competitors of Trump’s restaurants and hotels, they may lose foreign clients, who may book with Trump properties to curry favor with the president.”
SECRECY WATCH – WHAT DOES TRUMP HAVE TO HIDE?
-- A day before the deadline for most Americans to pay their 2016 taxes, White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed that Trump's most recent taxes are being audited and said they will not be released. From Abby Phillip: “Presidents and Vice Presidents are automatically subjected to tax audits by the IRS as a matter of routine practice — a fact that has not stopped previous holders of those offices from publicly releasing their returns. Such an audit does not prevent Trump from automatically releasing his returns. The White House has also declined to provide proof of audits of current and past tax returns. Asked whether the president would authorize the IRS to confirm the existence of audits involving his returns, Spicer did not answer. Later, Spicer was asked whether the White House would say that Trump would never release his tax returns. ‘We’ll have to get back to you on that,’ he said.”
-- Spicer also defended Trump’s decision to keep visitor logs to the White House complex under wraps, saying his predecessor’s disclosure policy amounted to “faux” government transparency. Sean apparently thinks no transparency is better than faux transparency. (John Wagner)
-- The narrative --> “Trump’s no populist. He’s a swamp monster,” by Dana Milbank: “Last year, Mark Meckler, one of the founders of the tea party movement, had concerns about Trump but gave the Republican nominee the benefit of the doubt, because Trump ‘at least says he’s going to attack’ the crony-capitalist system. Now the conservative activist has revised his opinion. Trump ‘said he was going to D.C. to drain the swamp,’ Meckler said in a recent Fox Business interview, but ‘now it looks like we’ve got the Creature from the Black Lagoon in the White House.’ For everybody else who believed Trump’s populist talk about tackling a rigged system, it’s time to recognize you’ve been had. … The billionaire has embraced a level of corporate control of the government that makes previous controversies involving corporate influence — Vice President Dick Cheney’s attempt in 2001 to keep secret the names of industry officials who participated in his energy task force, for example — seem quaint by comparison.”
-- A growing credibility gap: The number of people who think Trump keeps his promises has plummeted 17 points since February, according to a Gallup Poll, falling from 62 percent to 45 percent. The president also lost ground on several key characteristics, falling seven points among voters who see him as a “strong and decisive leader” and a president who “can bring about changes the country needs.” The percentage of people who said they see him as “honest and trustworthy” also dropped by six points.
-- Meanwhile, public dissatisfaction with Washington is weighing on the GOP more broadly, according to a Pew Research Center survey: While the new Congress is viewed about as unfavorably as the last Congress, and while both parties have been viewed more negatively than they were in January, Republican numbers have taken a sharper dip. Some key takeaways: While Republican lawmakers are seen as better-equipped to deal with terrorism (48 to 36 percent) and both parties break about even on handling the economy, Democrats have gained an advantage in several notable areas: They’re now seen as the party better-equipped to deal with foreign policy (46 to 38) and hold a 50 to 39 percent lead on handling immigration.
- Fewer than half of voters (46 percent) say they are “very or somewhat confident” in Trump’s ability to work with Congress, down from a 60 percent majority in December.
- The approval rating for Paul Ryan has dropped to 29 percent, with 54 percent disapproving.
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN:
-- Neil Gorsuch participated in his first session as a Supreme Court justice Monday, immediately embracing his new role and emerging as an extremely active questioner. Robert Barnes reports: “There is no expectation at the high court that new justices are to be seen and not heard, but the 49-year-old rookie seemed to push the envelope a bit. Gorsuch asked more questions at his first oral argument — 22 — than did any of his fellow justices at their first appearances, according to [Supreme Court scholar] Adam Feldman. ... In short order, Gorsuch showed he could be polite and still deliver a jab reminiscent of the justice he replaced, the late Antonin Scalia. ... As Gorsuch first emerged from behind the court’s maroon velvet curtains with his colleagues, he seemed to pause for a moment to take in the scene. His silver hair looking recently trimmed, and he wore a dark red tie under his black robe. He shared a laugh with his seatmate, Sonia Sotomayor, and sat ramrod straight in his high-backed chair all the way to Roberts’s left. He rarely stopped smiling.”
-- New York Times, “Chris Christie Heads for the Door, Minus the Earlier Throngs,” by Nick Corasaniti: “This is not how [Christie] thought it would end, running out the calendar with largely dutiful tasks. ‘Well, one, I thought I might be president,’ he said in an extended interview in his office this month, ‘so that’s a fairly material change.’ But as he travels the state promoting his initiative against the opioid epidemic plaguing the country, the energy seems different[:] Gone are the nearly daily outrages and television clips of him berating an opponent or dressing down a lawmaker. In their place is a man keenly aware of his legacy, evident in the battles he chooses and in the reflexive defense against criticism. ... He has recently supplanted his small-government conservatism with populist rants against corporate America … perhaps as a way to rehabilitate his image as he ponders his future. To be sure, he still believes that there may be a place for him in the Trump administration … and still boasts of a close relationship with [Trump]." He says the two have at least one “extended” phone conversation weekly, and not always to talk policy. “It will be purely just a friendly conversation," he says of their talks. "And then at the end he might say: ‘So how do you think I’m doing? How do you think it’s going?’”
-- Politico, “The $1 million upside for an RNC digital guru,” by Shane Goldmacher: “The Republican Party’s top digital strategist in 2016 got a nearly $1 million payout from a firm he co-founded that collected online contributions to the party and its nominee, Donald Trump — despite earlier claims that the strategist had severed his ties to the company. Gerrit Lansing’s joint roles, while legal, have raised questions of cronyism and profit-making at the Republican National Committee — and now sparked an internal review ‘to prevent a situation like this from happening again,’ the RNC [said]. … Republican operatives representing multiple GOP presidential and Senate campaigns said that Lansing pushed them to use the company he co-founded, Revv, to collect their online donations after he was hired for the top RNC job — and that he used the fact that the RNC was using his platform as a selling point. ... Lansing’s stake is so valuable that he was unwilling to cut financial ties to the company in order to clear White House ethics requirements, which was one of the reasons he left the administration in February, after a month (in a senior role)."
The controversy puts Spicer in an awkward spot: “As the RNC’s chief strategist, Spicer denied … in mid-2016 that Lansing had any financial stake in Revv. ‘He has zero connection to Revv,’ Spicer said then. ‘He had to sever the ties.’ In fact, Lansing never did. He received a $909,000 payout from the company last year.” Asked about the inconsistency, Spicer said this week: “The statement that was issued last year was based on information provided by Gerrit.”
-- Financial Times, "Former Trump aide advises Chinese tycoon on building contracts," by Lionel Barber, Gabriel Wildau, Yuan Yang and Demetri Sevastopulo: "[Paul] Manafort met Yan Jiehe, the billionaire founder of Pacific Construction Group, in Shanghai last Tuesday. Ahead of the meeting, Mr Yan told the Financial Times that Mr Manafort - who has represented leaders from the Philippines to Angola to Ukraine - would help him navigate what is expected to eventually be a US infrastructure boom. … Speaking in a conference room decorated with Chinese classical paintings and overlooking Shanghai's financial district, Mr Yan pointed to a US map, as he outlined his ambition to win infrastructure deals in the world's largest economy. 'The map that we've hung up here is for Trump's special envoy, Paul,' Mr Yan said."
PENCE CONTINUES ASIA TOUR:
-- Mike Pence warned North Korea not to test U.S. military might by pursuing its nuclear weapons program, citing strikes in Syria and Afghanistan as proof of American “strength and resolve.” The stark warning, delivered in Seoul after Pence visited the military demarcation line separating North and South Korea, could revive speculation that the White House is considering military action against the Kim regime. Anna Fifield reports:
In Washington, Trump told reporters that North Korea has “got to behave" while Sean Spicer said the president will not be “drawing red lines in the sand” with Pyongyang: “He holds his cards close to the vest, and I think you’re not going to see him telegraphing how he’s going to respond to any military or other situation going forward,” Spicer said. “I think that the action that he took in Syria shows that when appropriate, this president will take decisive action.” (Later, though, he cautioned reporters not to “make too much” of an analogy between Syria and North Korea.)
Still, any U.S. military action would likely bring the U.S. into a diplomatic crisis with China: In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called for international talks with North Korea to ease tensions. Russia, too, warned that the Trump administration was on what Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called a “very risky path.” “I hope there will be no unilateral actions like those we saw recently in Syria,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.
A State Department official said the U.S. will continue trying to further isolate North Korea “economically, politically and diplomatically” – ratcheting up pressure until they stop conducting missile tests and demonstrate willingness to engage in negotiations. “We’re looking for some kind of signal that they realize the current status quo is unsustainable,” the official said.
-- “South Koreans are dealing with a new wild card — in Washington,” by Yoonjung Seo and Anna Fifield: “For decades, South Koreans have lived in a technical state of war with a hostile brother country that considers them traitors and imperialist lackeys. Throughout verbal attacks and periodic military ones, this nation of 50 million people has brushed off tensions, much as one might ignore a combative uncle at Thanksgiving. It’s similar this time around, as North Korea launches missiles and fires off increasingly incendiary threats, and as the U.S. responds with stark warnings and the strategic placement of an aircraft carrier. But now, there is one new wild card that South Koreans haven’t had to factor in before: President Trump. In the three months he has been president, Trump has proved himself quick to hit the send button on his early-morning tweets and willing, in Syria and Afghanistan, to order surprise airstrikes.” Some in South Korea say Trump's tough talk adds to their concerns: “Both Trump and Kim Jong Un are escalating the tensions by speaking about a possible war,” said one IT worker in Seoul. “So the situation has become more serious under Trump. We know he does not stop at talking. … He showed that by bombing Syria for using chemical weapons.”
-- The real test of whether China is serious about working with Trump to hem in North Korea is whether they stop resisting installation of the THAAD system in South Korea, the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald F. Seib writes. He explains that it appears to be a case of the Chinese being “long-term wise and short-term foolish”: “The North Korean nuclear genie already is out of the bottle, in the sense that it has working nuclear explosive devices. The trick now is to contain that threat and, if possible, roll back the steps the North Koreans are taking, in a considerable hurry, to complete the transition from mere nuclear devices to nuclear weapons. That is going to require convincing the North Koreans that the price they will pay for continuing down this path outweighs any strategic advantage they will gain, which is where escalating economic pressure from China is key. Eventually—though perhaps not at the moment— the strategy also probably will require a diplomatic component to give the North Koreans a face-saving escape route if they want to back away. But a complete strategy also will require steps to convince the North Koreans that their new military toys won’t have the power that [Kim Jong Un] hopes they do. That’s where Thaad comes in—and where China is still standing in the way."
THE FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BEGINS SUNDAY:
-- “France’s presidential race is entering its final stretch with no clear winner in sight, as the main contenders scrap for votes in a flurry of campaign rallies," Bloomberg’s Geraldine Amiel and Vidya Root report: “‘Everyone is petrified,” said Edouard Lecerf, head of the political department at polling firm Kantar Sofres. ‘The challenge for each of the four candidates is to seek new votes without alienating their base. French voters are like fish, like eels -- very slippery.’ With almost a third of the electorate still undecided, and the front-runners clustered around 20 percent in the polls for the first round on April 23, the race is the most unpredictable the country has seen in recent history. With two of the four candidates also hostile to the institutions of the European Union, the result of the runoff two weeks later will have far-reaching implications not just for France but for the region as a whole."
-- Bloomberg, “Here's How Bernie Sanders Is Playing a Role in France's Election,” by Helene Fouquet: “Sophia Chikirou was a secret emissary of France’s Communist-backed presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon to the U.S. last year, embedded in Bernie Sanders’s campaign. The 37-year-old crisscrossed the country, going to Miami, Brooklyn and Pennsylvania between March and June. She bought a ‘Join the Political Revolution Today’ t-shirt, campaigned door-to door, filmed her experience and wrote a diary on her Tumblr blogging account about her time as a volunteer for the U.S. Democratic Party candidate. Her mission: learning how to run a campaign on a shoe-string budget with an army of volunteers, using the Internet and other state-of-the-art technologies. [Now], back in France, Chikirou, the Melenchon campaign’s communications director, is putting it all to work for the candidate, who has seen the biggest surge in the polls in the last month. Her efforts have helped bring the admirer of Cuba’s Fidel Castro and former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez closer to the presidency than ever before.”
-- New York Times, “Stripped Village Homes Expose a Hollowing Out of France’s Heritage,” by Alissa J. Rubin: “Throughout the French countryside, especially in less visited rural areas of eastern and central France, some homes have fallen victim to speculators who strip their architectural treasures and sell them, often abroad, leaving once graceful historic structures little more than empty shells behind gaily painted facades. In other cases, the owners themselves sell the architectural elements to raise some cash. The sales are for the most part legal, but the phenomenon is an element in the gradual depopulation of many of France’s villages, and what some fear is an ebbing away of French traditions and culture. The issue of French identity and heritage is at the heart of the presidential campaign, and it is among the issues that have helped propel the right-wing populist Marine Le Pen to the status of a front-runner.”
-- “Trump has spent one out of every five minutes of his presidency in Palm Beach,” by Philip Bump: “On seven of the 13 weekends he has been president, he has spent time at the resort, usually slipping away from Mar-a-Lago to head to one of his nearby golf courses to play a round. That includes each of the past two weekends, when he arrived on Thursday and stayed through most of Sunday. Trump has spent … 424.5 hours there and 1,663.5 hours everywhere else, including on Air Force One headed to Mar-a-Lago. (That trip takes about an hour-and-a-half, so that’s an additional 21 hours spent flying there and back.)”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump was up early, tweeting about immigration at 5:39 a.m.:
The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
Trump also promoted a book called "Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A comprehensive guide (it has 266 blank pages) after seeing its author on Fox & Friends:
A great book for your reading enjoyment: "REASONS TO VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS" by Michael J. Knowles.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2017
Some 21,000 people attended the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, compared to 35,000 last year. "But despite concerns, all seemed to go off without a hitch," Moriah Balingit reports. "It was lower key and less flashy than in years past."
“We're right on track. You see what’s happening,” President Trump tells a crowd of children while standing with the Easter Bunny pic.twitter.com/cclnDyNxcm— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 17, 2017
My favourite part of this is the caption saying the President (left)— James Doleman (@jamesdoleman) April 17, 2017
A fake CNN chyron went viral (this never actually appeared on the air):
If this is the closest Bannon gets to important policy matters, I'm fine with it. pic.twitter.com/dqZdBSq95a— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) April 17, 2017
The Internet went nuts when Melania had to gently remind the president to put his hand on his heart during the National Anthem:
america first, right pic.twitter.com/i1cEjY1m5s— Jordan Uhl (@JordanUhl) April 17, 2017
More photos from the event:
No lines at the Egg Roll pic.twitter.com/eoNXF080Yj— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) April 17, 2017
One take on the event:
Because First Lady has still hired almost no staff, Easter Egg roll run by 400 Obama admin volunteer holdovers https://t.co/74Rvtp3Vym— David Frum (@davidfrum) April 17, 2017
And seriously: the people who f—ed up the White House Easter Egg roll are asking America to follow them into war without allies in NE Asia— David Frum (@davidfrum) April 17, 2017
Things got rowdy at Tom Cotton's town hall:
Audience chanting “lock him up” at Tom Cotton town hall— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) April 17, 2017
This congresswoman trolled Trump's...budget:
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is happy Neil Gorsuch is talkative:
Good. https://t.co/bN5HBSdLNT— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) April 17, 2017
The official White House Snapchat page just called Betsy DeVos 'Secretary of Educatuon'. pic.twitter.com/XKD18VvLyq— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 17, 2017
This is unusual:
Greta goes to Iraq:
Bob Corker visits a refugee camp in Uganda:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- The Democrat running to unseat Rep. Steve King in Iowa is a former professional psychic known as “the Spirit Weaver.” The Des Moines Register’s Jason Noble reports: “Before she got into politics, congressional hopeful Kim Weaver was a professional psychic. Weaver, a Democrat from Sheldon … operated an array of psychic services websites, hosted an internet radio show and participated in online discussions of the supernatural … Known as ‘Kimberanne’ — a portmanteau of her first and middle names — and ‘the Spirit Weaver,’ Weaver charged customers as much as $3.99 per minute for readings online and over the phone and dispensed advice on matters ranging from romance to careers to real estate. In one recording obtained by the Register, Weaver performed a tarot card reading to reassure a distraught woman that her missing husband was not dead.” In responding to the Register’s article, a spokesman for Weaver said: "Kim does not actually believe she has psychic abilities, but she does foresee Steve King being unemployed after 2018."
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“‘Extraordinary, good man’: A Utah judge’s description of a former Mormon bishop convicted of rape,” from Kristine Phillips: “Last month, Judge Thomas Low allowed a former Mormon bishop who was just convicted of nearly a dozen sexual assault charges to go home while he waited to be sentenced. Criticisms snowballed after Keith Robert Vallejo’s sentencing hearing last week. Although Low sentenced Vallejo to prison, he also praised the defendant[:] ‘The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinary, good man,’ Low said … ‘But great men sometimes do bad things.’ Low became emotional as he uttered the words and took a long pause mid-sentence … Advocates say the statement compromised Low’s independence as a judge and left an impression that the former county prosecutor had no regard for people who have been raped. It’s even more critical in a state that advocates say has one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the country.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Haitians get word of Trump crackdown, slow flow to border by 97%,” from the Washington Times: “Sometime around November, word began to trickle back down the spine of Latin America: The U.S. was getting stricter about letting in Haitians at the border. Not only had the Obama administration begun deporting Haitians after a six-year humanitarian pause, but [Trump] also had just been elected, presaging an even tougher policy. Many of those en route … figured they had gone that far and had little to lose by trying to finish the journey north. But for the tens of thousands of Haitians in Brazil, Chile and elsewhere in South America who had been planning to journey north, the news was devastating. In a matter of weeks, the northward stream of people dried up. It is one of the biggest among a plethora of success stories from the southwestern border, where illegal immigration appears to have nearly dried up in the two months since Mr. Trump took office."
At the White House: Trump will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he will tour and deliver remarks at Snap-On Tools. Later, Trump will sign the Buy American, Hire American Executive Order before traveling back to D.C.
Mike Pence is in Asia: Pence will deliver remarks and participate in a business listening session with U.S.-based companies in Seoul, before departing to Tokyo, where he will participate in a bilateral meeting and working lunch with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Later, Pence will participate in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Tarō Asō, and participate in a cultural visit.
Meanwhile, Obama will attend the funeral of former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, an early supporter of his presidential campaign who later became ambassador to Ireland.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Just like any other damn president,” sighed Trump voter Theresa Remington, 44, a home-care worker and the mother of two active-duty Marines, scraping at an unlit cigarette as she gambled at a casino outside Philadelphia. She supported the president because she expected him to improve conditions for veterans and overhaul the health care system. Now? “Political bluster,” Remington said, before making another run at the quarter slots. She wondered aloud how Bernie Sanders might have fared in the job. (New York Times)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- The Capital Weather Gang gives today’s forecast an official “Nice Day” rating (10/10): “Sunny and comfortable, with afternoon highs in the lower to middle 70s. Light breezes from the north in the morning shift to come from the southeast in the afternoon. Humidity remains relatively low, which is great for comfort but more challenging for us allergy sufferers, unfortunately.”
-- A Metro passenger was robbed and beaten on a Red Line train approaching the Wheaton station in Montgomery County. Authorities said a group of three or four people approached the seated victim, and one sat beside him. “I need you to give me the password for that phone and look the other way, otherwise it will not end well for you,” the man was told, according to Metro officials. When he refused, they began punching him in the face and head, removing his credit and debit cards from his pockets as he tried to shield himself from the blows. The robbers then fled at the next station. It happened around 5:40 p.m. on Easter Sunday. (Marty Weil)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Jimmy Kimmel does a sketch on the Easter egg roll:
Watch Stephen Colbert try to high kick his way into the North Korean army:
Stephen also talked to Chris Hayes:
Trump tossed an autographed hat into the crowd at the Easter egg roll:
Sean Spicer read a book to kids:
Here's how Facebook says it polices live content: