An upbeat State of the Union address can be expected from President Obama on Tuesday, according to aides who spoke with The New York Times. The speech offers Obama both a last chance at bullet-pointing his own legacy as well as to counter the negative narratives spun by Republicans on the campaign trail:
As a preview, [Obama] sent his White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, to most of the Sunday talk shows to counter the Republicans, citing the 292,000 new jobs created in December and the 2.65 million in all of 2015.
The Republicans are "seeming to run down America," Mr. McDonough said on NBC. "I don't really get it. What I see is an America that's surging."
"We feel very optimistic about the future," he added. "That's a big difference between us and what's going on in this public debate right now and that's what you'll hear about on Tuesday night." [The New York Times]
Even while as many as 68 percent of Americans believing the nation to be on the wrong track, Obama will likely continue to highlight positives such as job creation numbers as well as push his presidency's lingering policy issues like gun control and climate change.
"This year, he'll be speaking more to the American public," White House communications director Jennifer Psaki said. Jeva Lange
The Trump administration released a plan Saturday night to reunite migrant families who were separated before President Trump signed his executive order reversing his own policy of splitting up children and parents at the border.
The plan ties reunification to deportation proceedings: Parents will have to request their children share the result of their deportation hearings. Once the process is complete, the children will either be deported with their parents or, if the family is permitted to stay in the U.S., parents can apply to sponsor their children upon release.
Some parents may not elect to use this process to protect their children from violence in their home countries. It is unclear how many parents of separated children may have already been deported before this plan was implemented and how long this plan will take. Children awaiting the results of their parents' proceedings will remain in detention at least for several weeks.
Administration officials said 2,053 separated children remain in detention and their locations around the country are documented. Reunification will primarily happen at the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Brownsville, Texas. Parents trying to determine if a child is held by the Department of Health and Human Services have been directed to contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center at 1-800-203-7001 or information@ORRNCC.com. Bonnie Kristian
Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant, and its online reviews are now predictably political
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday became the third member of the Trump administration to have trouble dining out this week.
Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was heckled while eating at a Mexican restaurant. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen left a different Mexican establishment after about a dozen protesters surrounded her table yelling "shame." And Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by its owner.
The incident was first noted online by a social media user claiming to have been her server and later confirmed by Sanders herself:
— Brennan Gilmore (@brennanmgilmore) June 23, 2018
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
Since the story broke, The Red Hen's Facebook and Yelp pages have been flooded with predictably political reviews both for and against the owner's decision. "I live in the Midwest and have already heard what you did to Mrs. Sanders and her party," wrote one reviewer. "What a total disgrace you are! Talk about Nazis!!"
Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee posted a tweet Saturday morning in which he suggested House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is in league with the MS-13 gang, a favorite subject of President Trump and his allies when talking immigration policy:
Nancy Pelosi introduces her campaign committee for the take back of the House. pic.twitter.com/yKDhkVubck
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) June 23, 2018
Huckabee's comment appears to come in response to Pelosi's pushback on Trump's repeated use of the word "animals" to describe gang members: Pelosi said she believes the label is inappropriate because it ignores the basic human dignity and "spark of divinity" in every person. Trump has said this means she "loves MS-13."
The tweet promptly came under fire on Saturday:
The punchline of this "joke" from the Republican former governor of Arkansas is that Latinos are bad and scary and also Democrats. pic.twitter.com/I0vDDnvtLq
— Adam Serwer (@AdamSerwer) June 23, 2018
Reactions to this @GovMikeHuckabee dog whistle:
Normal people: He once seemed a decent man. This is sick.
Trump rationalizers: a) c'mon, lighten up, b) liberals are tasteless too, & c) you know, Pelosi really is soft on crime.
Elected Republicans: Tax cuts.
The dogs: Woof! Woof! https://t.co/d6C2Akp8T3
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 23, 2018
As The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is actually responsible for electing Democrats to the House, and its "chairman (Ben Ray Lujan) and executive director (Dan Sena) are both Hispanic." The president will be a guest on Huckabee's TV show Saturday night. Bonnie Kristian
The Trump administration is reportedly in chaos trying to figure out how to implement the order reversing family separations
Implementation of President Trump's hastily crafted executive order reversing his administration's policy of separating families at the border reportedly has the executive branch in chaos. "It was policy based on a PR-messaging impulse," light on detail and heavy on speed, a source familiar with administration discussions told Politico.
Trump originally wanted to make comprehensive immigration law by fiat, a Friday night Washington Post story says, but was told by government attorneys that was not possible (or, as one unnamed official put it, "a pretty insane idea"). He then demanded the order on family separation be crafted in less than one day to quell public uproar, a quick solution Politico reports has left the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Defense unsure of how to proceed.
Especially uncertain, says ABC News, is how to reunite families already separated. All migrant children in the care of Customs and Border Protection have been returned to their families, but up to 3,000 are still held by the Department of Health and Human Services, and some have been shipped clear across the country.
"It's devastating because I already know when I meet [clients] for the first time, and they start telling me that they are [a] parent, that I'm not gonna have the answers that they want in any time that they should have," Texas immigration lawyer Erik A. Henshaw told ABC. "I don't know if I'll find them during their case. I don't know if it'll happen when you get to immigration proceedings. I don't know if you're going to be deported or removed and have never actually found and/or had contact with your child." Bonnie Kristian
Katie Arrington, the South Carolina state representative who defeated Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in his GOP primary race this month, has been seriously injured in a car crash, her campaign announced Saturday.
Arrington was riding with a friend when their vehicle was struck by another driver going the wrong way on the highway. The driver of the other car did not survive. Arrington is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks to undergo multiple surgeries.
Katie sustained a fracture in her back and several broken ribs, as well as injuries that required Katie to undergo major surgery including the removal of a portion of her small intestine and a portion of her colon.
— Rep. Katie Arrington (@karringtonsc) June 23, 2018
Additionally, the main artery in her legs has a partial collapse and will require a stint. Additional surgeries will be required including one likely today; and it is likely that Katie will remain hospitalized for the next two weeks.
— Rep. Katie Arrington (@karringtonsc) June 23, 2018
"My thoughts and prayers are with Representative Katie Arrington of South Carolina, including all of those involved in last nights car accident, and their families," President Trump tweeted Saturday morning. Bonnie Kristian
A.J. Baker, the adult son of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who shared a flight with him Wednesday.
"On June 20, the crew of flight 1354 were notified of an incident between customers shortly before landing in Boston," said the airline, JetBlue. "The aircraft landed at approximately 11 p.m. local time where it was met by local authorities."
The "matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office," said Massachusetts State Police. Baker's attorneys said he "is fully cooperating and looks forward to a resolution of this matter." Bonnie Kristian
The Pentagon announced Friday it has come to an agreement with South Korea to indefinitely suspend two more joint training exercises. The two countries previously announced the suspension of "large-scale" military exercises following President Trump's promise to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to stop "provocative, inappropriate, and expensive" war games.
"To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally, Secretary Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises" that were scheduled for this summer, said chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White.
"This includes suspending Freedom Guardian, along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months," she continued. "In support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK [North Korea] continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith." Bonnie Kristian