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June 13, 2017
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With little fanfare, first lady Melania Trump moved into the White House on Sunday along with her and President Trump's 11-year-old son, Barron. The president has reportedly spoken with his wife frequently during her five-month absence from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and some Trump friends suggest that having the first lady in the White House will steady the Trump presidential ship. "She is the president's never-ending barometer of reality, and she delivers candor and honesty blended with selfless love for him and his family in equal doses," said Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a close friend of the Trumps. "She is the immovable rudder to an ever-changing sea."

But Trump supporters and White House aides who view in Melania Trump "a ray of hope as the person who will finally be the one to tame the untamable president," especially when it comes to early-morning, potentially self-destructive tweeting, should hold their breath, says Maggie Haberman at The New York Times. "Those expectations are unrealistic, unfairly raise expectations, and are unlikely to be met, people close to Mrs. Trump point out."

"President Trump has been steadfast in making his own decisions about social media, overruling advice from aides," notes Krissah Thompson at The Washington Post. Thompson points to an interview Melania Trump gave to the luxury magazine Du Jour last year, in which she said he gives "a lot of advice to my husband and tell him how it is and how I see it." Trump's kids from his previous two marriages would call her after a speech, she added. "They know I would talk to him and put him in the right direction. Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn't. He will decide what he does." Haberman recalled Melania Trump's comment to CNN's Anderson Cooper not long after her husband's Access Hollywood video surfaced: "Sometimes I say I have two teenage boys at home — my young son and my husband." Peter Weber

June 6, 2017

"Some people with a propensity for self-destructive behavior can't seem to help themselves, President Trump apparently among them," The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote in Tuesday's newspaper. They were referring, with more toughness than love, to Trump's "cycle of Twitter outbursts and pointless personal feuding" over the weekend and into Monday, starting with his response to the London Bridge terrorist attack, in which, the editors said, Trump managed "to convert the mass murder into a referendum on his favorite subject, Donald J. Trump."

Specifically, Trump made himself "look small" by assailing London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, the WSJ editorial board said, and "in a humiliating coup de grace, the mayor's office put out a statement saying he 'has more important things to do than respond' to Mr. Trump's social-media insults. The U.S. commander in chief also has better uses of his time than making himself look foolish." But Trump's "more consequential eruption" was against his own Justice Department, tweeting out comments about his "travel ban" that are "reckless on multiple levels," the editorialists continued:

If Mr. Trump's action is legal on the merits, he seems to be angry that his lawyers are trying to vindicate the rule of law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be justified if he resigned, and this is merely the latest incident in which Mr. Trump popping off undermined his own lawyers. ... Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has also suggested that the temporary visa shutdown is not an "immigration ban." If this pattern continues, Mr. Trump may find himself running an administration with no one but his family and the Breitbart staff. [The Wall Street Journal]

The editorial notes that Trump appears to tweet in response to what he views on cable news, and it ends by tallying the tweetstorms as "further evidence that the most effective opponent of the Trump presidency is Donald J. Trump." You can read the entire argument at The Wall Street Journal. Though if the Journal really wants Trump to curtail his self-destructive tweeting, its editors might have a conversation with the folks over at sister company Fox News, as CNN details in the report below. Peter Weber

June 1, 2017

While President Trump was still in Europe, the White House floated the idea that all of his tweets would be vetted by lawyers before being sent out into the Twitterverse, and maybe they were encouraged by his lack of tweeting while abroad. When he came back to the White House, however, the id-tweeting started back up immediately, and despite growing pleas from his legal team, the idea of prescreening Trump's tweets has obviously not covfefe yet. Despite orders from his lawyers and begging from his aides, Trump has made clear "that he fully intends to stick to his favorite means of communication," The New York Times reports. Nevertheless, they persist:

Mr. Trump's aides, especially his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, have long implored the president to cut down on his tweeting, especially about the Russia investigations. But Mr. McGahn is not perceived as a peer by Mr. Trump, unlike [outside lawyer Marc E.] Kasowitz, whom the president respects for building a successful business. White House aides hope that Mr. Kasowitz, who has advised Mr. Trump for years, can get through to the president — and that if Mr. Kasowitz leads a vigorous public defense, the president may not feel the need to do it himself. ...

The best way to keep Mr. Trump off Twitter, advisers said, is to keep him busy. During his foreign trip, he was occupied 12 to 15 hours a day, seldom left alone to fulminate over the Russian investigation, and given less unstructured time to watch television — although he did tune in to CNN International and fumed privately that it was even more hostile to him than the domestic network. It helped, aides said, that Melania Trump, a sometimes moderating force who has largely remained in New York since the inauguration, accompanied him on the trip. [The New York Times]

During the presidential campaign, Trump's tweeting was a political liability at times, but now it's a legal problem. You can read more about Trump's 140-character self-imposed legal jeopardy at The New York Times. Peter Weber

May 31, 2017

People sometimes tweet out gibberish, for whatever reason — they sat on their phone, put it in their pocket mid-tweet, or perhaps they were tackled while typing out a 140-character critique of the media. Usually, they delete the tweet and start over. So far, President Trump has left this up for more than two hours, which is forever in Twitter time:

Nobody is sure what's going on here, and of course everybody is hoping that the president is all right. But come on. "Covfefe"? Lots of people had theories:

There were some suggestions as to how Team Trump would explain this away:

But then real Trump surrogates stepped in, complicating the joke:

The "left" was mostly laughing, though:

And showing off their Photoshop skills:


"Covfefe" already has its own Twitter account, of course. More than one, actually.

That's the "Urban" dictionary. The real dictionary was stumped.

No, really.

And that is probably the right response. We hope all is well, Mr. President. Peter Weber

May 2, 2017
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

It took him a good nine or so hours to react, but President Trump finally responded — in the third person — to comments Hillary Clinton made about the 2016 presidential election on Tuesday afternoon.

At the Women for Women International event in New York, Clinton told the moderator, CNN's Christiane Amanpour, that while she takes "absolute personal responsibility" for her loss, she also believed her campaign's momentum came to a screeching halt when FBI Director James Comey wrote in a letter to Congress on Oct. 28 that the bureau was reopening its investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server. That, and WikiLeaks releasing emails stolen from her campaign chairman, John Podesta, "raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off," she said.

Trump does not agree with Clinton's assessment. Shortly before 11 p.m. ET, he tweeted: "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony…" Trump finished his thought in a second tweet 15 minutes later, switching to the third person: "…Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?" Perhaps it's just time to go to bed. Catherine Garcia

April 11, 2017

President Trump on Tuesday promised China a "far better trade deal" with the U.S. if it steps up to help address the ongoing situation in North Korea:

But if China isn't willing to help, Trump made clear the U.S. can handle North Korea's nuclear threat with or without China's assistance:

Trump's offer came on the heels of North Korean state media's warning Tuesday that Pyongyang would respond with a nuclear attack on the U.S. if there was any sign of aggression from the approaching U.S. Navy strike group. The U.S. deployed the ships to the Korean peninsula over the weekend to conduct joint exercises with the South Korean Navy amid growing concerns over North Korea's nuclear weapons activity in violation of U.N. resolutions. Becca Stanek

March 20, 2017

President Trump on Monday dismissed widespread reports of Russia's meddling in the presidential election as "FAKE NEWS." In a series of tweets, Trump alleged Democrats "made up and pushed the Russian story," seemingly referring to the FBI- and CIA-backed reports that Russia interfered in the election to dash Hillary Clinton's chances, thus helping Trump.

Trump claimed Democrats fabricated the story "as an excuse for running a terrible campaign":

Trump then noted former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's remark earlier this month that a paper compiled by the DNI, NSA, FBI, and CIA included "no evidence" of Trump associates' collusion with Russia. Clapper said neither he nor the agencies had uncovered any "evidence of such collusion."

Top House Intelligence Committee Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) later said he was "surprised" by Clapper's comment because he did not think that claim could be made "categorically." "I would characterize it this way: At the outset of the investigation, there was circumstantial evidence of collusion," Schiff said. "There was direct evidence, I think, of deception."

Later Monday, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers will testify before Congress about possible connections between Trump's campaign and Russia. Becca Stanek

February 16, 2017

In a series of tweets Thursday morning, President Trump combined a few of his favorite talking points: his huge win in the presidential election, fake news, and leaks. Trump, apparently still seething over The New York Times' report that his campaign aides were repeatedly in contact with senior Russian intelligence officials, started out by demanding an apology from the "failing" newspaper, and slamming the "low-life leakers" responsible for passing the information along:

Then, he brought the Democratic Party into it. Still raging about the "FAKE NEWS media, which makes up stories and 'sources,'" Trump tweeted that at least the media is "more effective" than the "discredited Democrats":

Trump claimed the stories emerging about his aides' alleged contact with Russia were fabricated by Democrats, who are still reeling from their loss in the presidential election that he won with "(306)" electoral votes. The reports are nothing but "fake news!" Trump insisted — just like "any negative polls." Becca Stanek

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