The Week on Planet Trump: Celebrating Singapore Summit with Praise for “Tough Guy” Kim

Monday: Trade War Hurts Trump Voters

Voters who supported President Donald Trump in 2016 can be expected to cheer his tough stance on trade policy with Canada.

But a closer look at U.S. trade data suggests that Trump supporters in states that sent him to the White House are the last ones who should be rejoicing over the prospect of a trade war with Canada.

A CNBC analysis of 2016 voter turnouts and trade flows with Canada shows that states such as Ohio, Texas and Indiana that supported Trump generally enjoy a surplus in goods trade with Canada. By contrast, the biggest goods trade deficits with Canada are in states such as California and Illinois that voted for Clinton.

The major exception is Michigan, which runs a large trade deficit in goods with Canada and voted for Trump by a slim margin in 2017.

Trump's trade complaints also include a fundamental misreading of the overall U.S. trade position with Canada.

Trump insists that trade relations are unfair because of a large U.S. trade deficit in goods with Canadian producers, suggesting that Canada is "winning" on trade.

John W. Schoen, CNBC

Tuesday: Outcome of Summit Unclear

Nearly five hours of unprecedented and surreal talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un culminated on Tuesday with fulsome declarations of a new friendship but just vague pledges of nuclear disarmament.

Whether nuclear disarmament is indeed the final outcome of Tuesday's summit won't be known for years, if not decades. But the dramatic act of extending his hand to one of America's longtime adversaries will forever illustrate Trump's gut-driven, norm-shattering tenure.

The document he and Kim signed said the North Korean leader "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." In exchange, Trump agreed to "provide security guarantees" to North Korea.

Trump insisted during a news conference the agreement went further than many people expected. But he acknowledged the effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear arsenal was in its early stages.

"We will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done," he said.

Kevin Liptak, CNN

Wednesday: POTUS Dominates Party

President Trump wasn’t on the ballot or even stateside for Tuesday’s primary elections in Virginia and South Carolina. But he loomed over both states, just as he has in nearly every nominating contest this year, underscoring how the Republican Party has become the party of Trump and that its politicians cross him at their peril.

Mr. Trump’s harsh attacks, including describing the news media as “the country’s biggest enemy” Tuesday, draw muted responses or silence from most Republicans these days. The party’s lawmakers have seen what he can do to their campaigns, having witnessed how Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee saw their standing with conservative voters plummet after they tangled with him. Neither is seeking re-election.

That means Republican lawmakers are going to be further bound to Mr. Trump in the midterm elections, less likely to raise doubts about his impulsive policymaking and, perhaps most consequential for a president facing scrutiny by a special counsel, more inclined to refrain from criticizing his personal conduct and use of executive power.

Jonathan Martin and Michael Tackett, The New York Times

Thursday: Foundation Sued for Corruption

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D) alleges in a lawsuit filed Thursday against President Trump, the Donald J. Trump Foundation and members of the Trump family that the charity violated federal and state law and was illegally used to help the president's campaign.

The lawsuit alleges that Trump used the foundation to illegally support his 2016 presidential bid, and that the charity made an illegal in-kind donation of more than $2.8 million to his campaign.

The complaint seeks the dissolution of the foundation, and for Trump and his children to be temporarily blocked from serving in other charities in New York state. Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., in addition to President Trump, comprise the foundation’s board of directors.

President Trump hit back at the lawsuit in a pair of tweets shortly after it was filed on Thursday, slamming it as “ridiculous” and saying he won’t settle the case.

Jacqueline Thomsen, The Hill

Friday: “Good Chemistry” with “Tough Guy” Kim

President Trump declared in a spur-of-the-moment interview with "Fox and Friends" Friday morning that he wants people to sit at attention for him like they do for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Kim stands accused of leading a murderous regime that starves its own people. But Mr. Trump has heaped praise on Kim since meeting with him in Singapore, saying repeatedly that the two have "good chemistry."

Mr. Trump was also pressed about his past claim that Kim loves his people. "How can Kim love his people if he's killing them?" a reporter asked.

"I can't speak to that," the president responded.  

"You know you call people sometimes killers, he is a killer. He's clearly executing people," Fox News' Bret Baier told Mr. Trump.

"He's a tough guy," the president responded.

Kathryn Watson, CBS News

Saturday: Faith Leaders Condemn Separations

A Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents on the U.S. border has prompted a crescendo of criticism among religious leaders.

They span different faiths, denominations and ages. Some of them have also helped the president gain support for his base.

About 11,000 children are in shelters, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Nearly 2,000 children were removed from the care of their parents and taken into federal custody between April 19 and May 31, an immigration official said Friday.

The president attempted to cast the blame away from his administration Friday morning, tweeting, "The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda."

No federal law requires family separation. The policy is part of the Justice Department's clampdown on immigration.

Sasha Ingber, NPR

Sunday: Campaign Manager Jailed

When prosecutors in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation presented convincing evidence of witness tampering, a federal judge decided to jail Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager. Manafort on Friday became the first Trump campaign staffer to be locked up.

Manafort now joins Richard Nixon’s John Mitchell in earning the dubious distinction of being a former presidential campaign manager charged with obstruction of justice. In addition to tampering with two witnesses — an indictment he shares with a suspected Russian intelligence agent and business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik — Manafort’s charges range from tax and bank fraud to conspiracy against the United States. If he is found guilty as charged, Manafort may go to prison for the rest of his life.

With dozens of criminal charges against 20 individuals and three companies already filed, Mueller deserves the time to continue his work draining the swamp. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has not only resulted in the multiple charges against Manafort, but it also led to guilty pleas for serious crimes by Trump’s former national security adviser and deputy campaign manager.

Caroline Fredrickson, USA Today

 

 

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