It's 50 days into President Donald Trump's presidency. Here's just some of what we've learned.
- The White House didn't change Donald Trump, he's changing the presidency. Shattering norms and breaking with tradition at almost every turn, the constantly tweeting Commander-in-Chief has shown little restraint in using the bully pulpit of the White House to attack his enemies—real or perceived. Since the day he took office, Trump has taken his unconventional style to everything from foreign policy to mourning the loss of a sailor killed in a military operation. And he's shown resistance to adopting the more ceremonial duties—at least without adding his own flair.
- His policy agenda is still a work in progress: In his first 50 days, former President Obama had already pushed through several pieces of massive legislation. Donald Trump is still waiting on confirming his whole Cabinet, to say nothing of the array of other senior government jobs that are unfilled. The capstone of the vaunted first 100 days, which mark the apex of a president's political capital, would be the passage of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. And the prospects of that are not looking great, to say nothing of making progress on agenda items like infrastructure and tax reform, which appear likely to slip until later this year, if they are taken up at all.
- But his efforts to shake-up the government are well on their way: Trump is making his mark at all levels of government, particularly the so-called "administrative state," where his aides are at work rolling back a conservative wish-list of regulations and making other procedural changes. Meanwhile, his Supreme Court nominee appears likely be swiftly confirmed.
- He doesn't like taking responsibility: Time and again Trump has punted responsibility for legislating to Congress, crafting policy to his Cabinet Secretaries or the military, and even suggested that his generals were the ones responsible for the death of the Navy SEAL killed in Yemen.
- But voters are watching: Ultimately, this is Trump's Administration and he'll be the one held accountable by voters. Trump has worked to maintain his connection with his base while his office (he'll hold his second campaign rally since taking office next week in Nashville), and he'll always have his die-hards. And while many others are willing to look past some of the more outlandish antics to "give him a chance," the patience of everyone else may expire if Trump can't deliver on some of his campaign promises.
The border residents on the border wall. Trump's EPA pick ignores science. And more legal scrutiny for the travel ban.
Here are your must reads:
President Trump Wants to Build a Wall on the Border
These Border Residents Think It's a Bad Idea [TIME]
EPA Chief Says Carbon Isn’t a ‘Primary Contributor’ to Climate Change
Science Says He’s Wrong [TIME]
White House: Trump Unaware of Flynn's Foreign Agent Work
What vetting? [Associated Press]
After Halting Start, Trump Plunges Into Effort to Repeal Health Law
White House launches an organized effort on high-stakes bill [New York Times]
Budget Referee May Call Foul on Obamacare Repeal
A market-oriented Republican economist could prove to be a formidable obstacle for the GOP lawmakers who appointed him [Politico]
Mexican Foreign Secretary Goes Straight to the White House
Skips usual channels [LA Times]
The Political Lexicon of a Billionaire Populist
A secret of his success [Washington Post]
"Uh, no." — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Politico on whether Mexico will pay for Trump's southern border wall
"He was a private citizen at the time." — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on why it wasn't inappropriate for Trump to tap former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn for the job, despite his work for foreign governments
Bits and Bites
Women's Health Services Face Cuts in the GOP's Obamacare Replacement Bill [Associated Press]
Palantir’s Man In The Pentagon [BuzzFeed]
With Trump in White House, His Golf Properties Prosper [New York Times]