While Republicans continue to modify the way they interact with President Trump, “it is not clear what a meaningful, sustainable divorce” from the president “could even look like.”
“The most extreme remedies, like impeachment, remain nonstarters in Republican circles. The party has likewise declined to embrace any formalized censure against the president, an option pushed Wednesday by House Democrats — though last month’s sanctions on Russia, passed against the administration’s wishes, were a notable bit of bipartisan defiance.
“Among Republicans, though, the next steps are complicated by the president’s ramshackle legislative strategy: The White House has effectively outsourced its agenda to its partners in Congress.” (New York Times)
AND SENATORS AREN’T HAPPY. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that Trump “lacks an understanding of the character of the nation and that the White House needs to make ‘radical changes’—otherwise, he fears for the country.
“‘The president has not been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,’ Corker told members of the media after speaking to Chattanooga’s Rotary Club Thursday. ‘And we need for him to be successful; our nation needs for him to be successful. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat … The world needs our president to be successful.’” (Nooga)
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “is not prone to outspoken outbursts and thinks carefully before delivering his analysis. So his critique that the President has not shown sufficient stability, competence or understanding of the character of the country that he leads was devastating.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) “was another Trump ally who had been wrestling with a painful political and moral dilemma. But he also broke ranks Thursday, saying he could not defend the ‘indefensible’ in the wake of Trump’s comments about the alt-right rallies in Charlottesville.”
Adding fuel to the fire, “James Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox CEO and son of Rupert Murdoch, who is one of Trump’s close informal advisers, wrote a withering email denouncing the President’s reaction to the White Supremacist rally and the violence it sparked.” (CNN)
OBSERVING ALL THIS. “Journalists and analysts have fallen in the habit of declaring almost every week in this presidency the worst yet. Perhaps befitting a president unlike any of his predecessors, this is a journalistic trend never seen before.
“This is the 30th week since Trump was sworn into office. A neutral ranking of those weeks would show that 20 have been bad for the president, while only four weeks have been positive for him. The other six weeks were neither good nor bad.” (National Journal)
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"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.