77 Minutes With President Trump

4 minute read

Every hero needs a villain. Every victim needs an aggressor. One hundred days after he shocked the world in winning the presidency, Donald Trump made clear he believes Presidents need foils too. In a marathon 77-minute press conference Thursday the new president sought to regain control of the narrative after a tumultuous four weeks. Trump is his own best advocate and that was on display as he bantered with and berated the press for their coverage. Trump clearly enjoyed the back-and-forth, which was reminiscent of his press conferences and campaign rallies as a presidential candidate. Over on Capitol Hill, Republicans were puzzled and dismayed by his performance, but really, what did they expect? This was peak Trump in his element. He’s going to keep doing press conferences like this one because they work. Trump just overwhelmed the press, and in doing that, he comes out ahead.

Trump is traveling to South Carolina Friday to help unveil the newest Boeing 787-10 in Charleston. It’s the latest example of how the president seeks to use the power of the presidency to boost businesses he believes are doing right by American works—and sometimes ridicule those he believes are not. Afterward he will continue to Palm Beach for another weekend respite at Mar-a-Lago, punctuated by a campaign rally Saturday afternoon.

The president is having difficulty filling the post vacated by fired National Security Advisor Mike Flynn as the leading candidate, Vice Admiral (ret.) Robert Harward turned down the post after clashing with the White House over his ability to control the staffing of the National Security Council. But the president has hired a Communications Director, veteran GOP operative Mike Dubke, to ease the burden on Press Secretary Sean Spicer and to handle long-term message planning.

Fact-checking the president’s press conference. Pence’s first trip overseas. And Donald Trump has stopped tweeting 5 words since becoming president

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

President Donald Trump Tries to Reset His Presidency
POTUS picks a foil in the media [TIME]

Republicans Have Big Plans. President Trump’s Problems Are Stalling Them
TIME’s Sam Frizell with the view from Capitol Hill

Trump Family’s Elaborate Lifestyle Is a ‘Logistical Nightmare’ — at Taxpayer Expense
Unprecedented burden [Washington Post]

Vice Admiral Robert Harward Turns Down National Security Adviser Job
Trump’s top pick to replace Flynn backs out over staff concerns [CBS]

As Tax Debate Heats Up, Lawmakers Struggle to Think of a Plan B
Border adjustment faces widespread criticism, but finding alternatives proves a tall order [Wall Street Journal]

Sound Off

“I mean, they fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people our that representatives are representing.” — President Donald Trump on protests at GOP lawmaker town halls

“Tomorrow, they will say, “Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.” I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people. But — but I’m not ranting and raving. I love this. I’m having a good time doing it.” – Trump in his Thursday press conference

Bits and Bites

Officials: Mike Dubke to be named as White House communications director [CNN]

President Trump Said His Win Was the ‘Biggest Since Reagan.’ It Wasn’t [TIME]

President Trump Asked a Black Reporter to Set Up a Meeting With Black Lawmakers [TIME]

No, President Trump Isn’t Going to Eliminate the EPA. But He Might Do This [TIME]

Donald Trump Has Stopped Tweeting 5 Words Since Becoming President [TIME]

Read a Transcript of President Trump’s Combative Press Conference [TIME]

White House dismisses 6 over failed background checks [Politico]

Mike Pence Hopes to Reassure Skeptical Allies Over Trump, Putin and the U.S. Commitment to Europe [Associated Press]

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