POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Trump Draws Praise For Not Arresting Keith Ellison

Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!

President Trump is riding high after a well-received speech, a high that will last until tomorrow when, we assume, he’ll brag about his friendship with the Archduke of Antarctica. Even though Trump’s speech didn’t scale back any of his extreme policy proposals, some observers said it represented a “softer” Trump ― which is a bit like saying Sean Spicer is healthier because he *only* ate 32 pieces of gum yesterday. And both Oprah Winfrey and Bob Iger have floated trial balloons about presidential runs, possibilities that will no doubt be discussed at the DNC’s next listening session at the next Bilderberg forum. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 1, 2017:

NO, TRUMP’S ADDRESS WASN’T A PIVOT - Michael Calderone: “The speech to Congress on Tuesday night was similar to a State of the Union address in its delivery, and carried with it the ceremonial pomp and circumstance that comes with the job. Trump read his prepared speech off a teleprompter without veering off script to lob attacks on opponents and air grievances with ‘enemies’ in the media. But the hour-long shift in style doesn’t change the substance of his remarks. Trump again promised to build a wall on the southern border of the United States and stoked fears of out-of-control immigrant crime, as he did when he launched his presidential campaign 21 months ago by saying Mexican “rapists” and drug dealers were streaming into the country…. During Tuesday night’s speech, Trump also uttered several false or misleading statements, including a claim that 94 million Americans are out of the labor force. That sensational number includes students, the disabled and elderly. CNBC reported last month that only 5.4 million are actively looking for work.” [HuffPost]

Trump hoodwinked congressional Republicans last night, HuffPost’s S.V. Date writes.

Ahhh, nothing quite like the great, refreshing taste of the memory hole: “House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sat behind Trump…. But it was just months ago that Trump lashed out at Ryan, calling him ‘a man who doesn’t know how to win’ and ‘very weak and ineffective.’ … Looking out into the crowd, a few rows in, Trump could easily spot Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the target of some of his nastiest attacks on the campaign trail. Among other things, Trump fueled a conspiracy theory that ‘Lyin’ Ted’s’ father was an associate of President John F. Kennedy’s murderer. Trump also tweeted an unflattering photo of the senator’s wife, Heidi Cruz, with a warning that he would ‘spill the beans’ on something about her. A couple of seats over from Cruz sat Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), aka ‘Little Marco,’ who Trump accused of being corrupt. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) also sat up front during Tuesday’s speech. Trump has called Graham ‘one of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever seen,’ and criticized McCain’s status as a war hero because he got captured and spent five and a half years in a North Vietnamese prison.” [HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery]

DEMS TOTALLY WEIRDED OUT - Laura Barron-Lopez and Michael McAuliff: “Democrats left President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress feeling less like they’d watched a presidential speech and more like they’d wandered into an alternate universe…. For freshman Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)...it was unlike anything he’s ever heard. ‘To me, it actually felt a little bit like The Hunger Games at points. There was something kind of dystopian, science fiction about the experience,’ he said.” [HuffPost]

What Trump said didn’t match what he’s doing. “[K]ey assertions Trump made were patently false. America is neither crime-infested nor still mired in a recession, as he portrayed. Moreover, some of his bold rhetoric on issues like the environment, immigration, civil rights, women’s rights and child care are directly undercut by the policies he has pursued or promised to pursue since taking office on Jan. 20.” [HuffPost’s Igor Bobic, Amanda Terkel and Kate Sheppard]

VITALLY IMPORTANT MUSLIM BAN DELAYED FOR P.R. - By Trump’s logic, hordes of terrorists will enter the U.S. in the meantime but, hey, people are excited about that speech. Marina Fang: “President Donald Trump will sign a revised travel and immigration ban ‘in the next few days,’ Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday…. The revised order was previously slated to be released Wednesday. However, a Trump administration official told CNN late Tuesday that it had been delayed in order to maximize positive coverage of Trump’s first address to Congress and to allow the executive order ‘to have its own “moment.”’” [HuffPost]

CONWAY CLEARED BY WHITE HOUSE, GO FIGURE - The only crime are the low, low prices on Ivanka’s Monday Embellished Lace Up sandals at Bloomingdale’s! Josh Gerstein: “The White House’s top ethics lawyer held two meetings with Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway to instruct her on ethics rules after she used a Fox News interview to urge viewers to purchase products from Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. However, White House officials decided that Conway’s endorsement was inadvertent and lacked any ‘nefarious motive,’ according to a letter sent to a government ethics oversight office and members of Congress. ‘We concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again,’ Deputy White House Counsel Stefan Passantino wrote to Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub. ‘It is noted that Ms. Conway made the statement in question in a light, off-hand manner while attempting to stand up for a person she believed had been unfairly treated and did so without nefarious motive or intent to benefit personally.’” [Politico]

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to eliot@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

ANSWER ME THESE RIDDLES THREE - Congratulations to House Republicans, who may also get to learn a lot about Charles Foster Kane. Billy House and Arit John: “House Republican leaders have a new version of their major Obamacare repeal and replacement bill. They just don’t want you to see it. The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept. It is expected to be available to members and staffers on the House and Energy Commerce panel starting Thursday, but only in a dedicated reading room, one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide said. Nobody will be given copies to take with them. The unusual secrecy is a reflection of the sensitivity ― and the stakes ― surrounding the GOP effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, a top priority of President Donald Trump, who has yet to offer his own plan.” [Bloomberg]

ADIEU, EPA -  Alexander C. Kaufman: “The White House wants to cut one-quarter of the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding and eliminate 1 in 5 EPA employees, three sources with knowledge of the proposed budget told The Huffington Post. The fiscal year 2018 budget proposes axing funding for a vast array of programs, including those aimed at low-income people, minorities and indigenous groups…. The reductions target the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, the sweeping Obama-era regulation aimed at slashing carbon emissions from the utility sector, the country’s biggest emitter by far. The initiative has been stalled since the Supreme Court granted a stay last year in a lawsuit spearheaded by then-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whom President Donald Trump named EPA administrator.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP LOOKING TO STACK REGULATORY PANELS - Ryan Grim and Sam Stein: “The Trump administration has begun pulling pending nominees from various federal commissions in a manner that has left Hill Democrats concerned that the practice of bipartisan inclusion on regulatory panels will be upended…. By statute, these five- and six-member commissions can have no more than three members from the majority party. For six-member commissions, that assures bipartisan cooperation ― or, as has happened at the FEC, utter gridlock…. But Democratic sources on the Hill worry that the Trump administration has conceived of a way to get around these norms. Although it can’t stack commissions with more Republicans, it can replace Democrats with registered Independents who are ideologically conservative. One counsel to a Senate Democrat said the administration ‘may actually be able to do this legally.’ Others cautioned that it’s not yet clear if Trump will go down this path.” [HuffPost]

MILLENNIAL ACTS LIKE MILLENNIAL, GOP APOPLECTIC - We, for one, welcome our future Mormon overlords. Alex Roarty: “A Republican super PAC will spend $1.1 million on television ads against the Democrat trying to turn a special election in Georgia into America’s first referendum on President Donald Trump. The ads lampoon Jon Ossoff, using clips from videos that show the 30 year old dressed as ‘Star Wars’ character Han Solo in college that were made as part of a protest against strict drinking rules at his school. The criticism is meant to undercut Ossoff’s assertion on the campaign trail that he worked as a national security staffer in Congress when the videos were shot. ‘It is sad that the hope of the Democratic Party rests on a 30-year-old frat boy who has spent his adult life living outside of Georgia’s 6th district playing dress-up with his drinking buddies,’ said Corry Bliss, executive director of the GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund.” [McClatchy]

That sound you hear is thousands of GOP staffers who got a little too into “Golf Bros and Tennis Hos” night at DKE simultaneously deleting their Facebook history.  

It’s %*&$ed-up that the cherry blossoms are blooming already. “Thanks to February’s exceptionally warm weather, cherry blossom trees in Washington, D.C., could hit peak bloom earlier than has previously been recorded. As temperatures soared to nearly 80 degrees in the nation’s capital Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that this year’s bloom is expected to be in full swing between March 14 and 17 ― potentially edging out March 15, 1990, as the earliest peak bloom on record.” [HuffPost’s Haley Miller]

*YOU* GET TO MAKE SPECULATIVE CONTENT ABOUT MY FUTURE! *YOU* GET TO MAKE SPECULATIVE CONTENT ABOUT MY FUTURE! - Cavan Sieczkowski: “The media queen [Oprah Winfrey] sat down for an interview on the Season 2 premiere of ‘The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations’ on Bloomberg Television, and revealed she’d maybe consider running for president. Rubenstein wondered if Oprah could be the one to break the glass ceiling and be elected the first female president of the United States. The 63-year-old mogul replied, ‘I never considered the question even a possibility. I just thought, “Oh.” I thought, “Oh, gee, I don’t have the experience. I don’t know enough.” And now I’m thinking, “Oh.”’” [HuffPost]

So goes Davos, so goes no one: “Disney CEO Bob Iger already runs the world’s most successful media company. But could his impeccable mogul credentials carry him to the Oval Office? Sources say Iger has told friends he is considering their nudges that he make a run for president in 2020 as a Democrat. There’s a hitch. Any political future would hinge on Iger, 66, finding a Disney successor, of course. (Complicating matters, in February, he told financial analysts he would be ‘open’ to remaining as CEO after his contract ends in June 2018.)” [Hollywood Reporter’s Tatiana Siegel]

It’s almost like Trump is doing the things he said he’d do: “The Sacramento church of an evangelical pastor who led a prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration is offering beds for congregants who need a safe haven from immigration raids or domestic violence. Pastors at New Season Christian Worship Center set up thirty cots in two large rooms just days after the president issued his January executive order that expanded federal deportation policy. Congregants spread the word that they were available for anyone who was afraid of the immigration policies’ potential effect. Half a dozen families showed up in the past month. Most stayed just a couple of days. About half came with fears over immigration and half with fears of domestic abuse, according to church officials. New Season Christian Worship Center is led by Sam Rodriguez Jr., the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), who prayed at President Trump’s inauguration ceremony in January.” [Time’s Elizabeth Dias]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a baby squirrel discovering snow.

NORTH CAROLINA MAKING A STRONG PLAY TO BE AMERICA’S NEW FLORIDA - Abbie Bennett: “A bill filed in the N.C. Senate would require massage therapists to speak English. Senate Bill 158 was filed by Republican Sen. Bill Cook. The bill would add ‘English proficiency’ as a requirement for massage and bodywork therapist licensure. The bill does not say whether or not therapists would be required to be proficient in both speaking and writing in English. The line, ‘The applicant demonstrates satisfactory proof of proficiency in the English language’ would be added to a list of requirements for massage therapy licensure, according to the bill.” [News and Observer]

COMFORT FOOD

- An American took out a newspaper ad claiming to be the rightful king of England.

- Why cats’ tongues feel like sandpaper.

- The best SCOTUS reaction faces from last night’s speech.

TWITTERAMA

TRUMP: duuhhhh fAsCi$m r00lz
MEDIA: we are at a uniquely dangerous moment in history
TRUMP: Friends, fascism is good.
MEDIA: oh we’re ok now

@markgongloff: Weather is not climate, but also we are doomed

@NYTMinusContext: inept at self-analysis and pretty ineffectual at most everything else

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com)

 

CONVERSATIONS