John Oliver explains how Trump's budget would, ironically, turn red states into literal 'flyover country'
Last week, President Trump unveiled his first budget. On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver ran through why that does and doesn't matter. "This budget is simply a blueprint, what's known in Washington as a 'skinny budget' — which sounds like a line item that Trump might have included in one of his pre-nups," he said. But while it's "very unlikely to pass in its current form, it is worth taking just a few minutes to look at it — partly because it gives us a clear sense of our president's priorities, but also because it gives us chance to get to know yet another one of the Trump administration's key characters," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.
Mulvaney said he came up with the budget figures by going back through Trump's speeches — essentially treating "Trump's past statements the way Trump treats women: randomly singling out a few of them and then reducing them down to numbers," Oliver said. But "translating the noises that come out of Trump's face into hard policy prescriptions is almost impossible," he added, playing some of Trump's relevant musings, describing the language as "toddler psychopath."
"Look, there is nothing wrong with cuts in principle, but with budgets, as with haircuts, it's where and how you cut that matters," Oliver said. For example, you don't slash the EPA, State Department, USAID, public broadcasting, and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities as a cost-cutting measure — together they make up 1.62 percent of the federal budget — you cut them as a proffered middle finger. "It is the budgetary equivalent of inviting Mitt Romney out to dinner at Jean-Georges before not offering him a Cabinet position — and I will say, that was awesome, by the way," Oliver said, appreciatively. "Trump is so consistently monstrous, sometimes out of sheer coincidence he happens to do something amazing."
But "the weirdest thing of all here: Some of the cuts in Trump's budget heavily impact groups that voted for him," Oliver said, noting in particular the proposed existential cuts to rural airport subsidies. "Think about that," he said. "Trump's rise was fueled by people in red states who were justifiably irritated that liberals sometimes refer to them as 'flyover country.' But this budget could literally turn some of them into flyover country, because there would be no other option." Watch below — with the caveat that there is NSFW language throughout. Peter Weber
Republicans are hopeful about the chances of CIA Director Mike Pompeo getting confirmed as secretary of state later this week, although he does not appear likely to get a favorable recommendation from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when it votes Monday, NPR reports. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been a vocal "no," and no Democrats on the panel support Pompeo's nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can still push Pompeo's nomination to a full Senate vote, though it would be unprecedented.
In the full Senate vote, there is still a chance Pompeo might not get confirmed due to the narrow 51-49 Republican majority. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) remains on the fence, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is absent. As Axios notes: "If Paul and Flake vote no, [Republicans will] need two red state Democrats to vote yes." Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is already on board and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) are expected to also potentially swing.
President Trump expressed his frustration Monday morning on Twitter, writing: "Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!"
Pompeo was confirmed as CIA director last year by the Senate in a 66-32 vote. Jeva Lange
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a baby boy Monday morning. The baby, the third child of the duchess and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, will be fifth in line to the British throne, behind his sister, 2-year-old Princess Charlotte; brother, 4-year-old Prince George; father, William; and grandfather, Prince Charles. The baby will nudge uncle Prince Harry back to sixth in line to the throne.
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 1101hrs.
The baby weighs 8lbs 7oz.
The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.
Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 23, 2018
While the baby's name has not yet been shared, bookmakers expect a traditional name like "Arthur," "Albert," or "Philip." As royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told the BBC, "You want a name that resonates, a name that's got family links, and is popular." Jeva Lange
The latest version of President Trump's travel ban faces a showdown in the Supreme Court this week. The justices will hear oral arguments on Wednesday in a challenge to the policy. The first two versions of the ban targeted people from only a handful of predominantly Muslim countries. The third version also includes restrictions on certain travelers from North Korea and Venezuela, although those restrictions were not challenged. The lead plaintiff, the state of Hawaii, argues that the policy still violates the Constitution by favoring people of other faiths over Muslims. The Supreme Court in December ruled that most of the ban could take effect while the legal challenge was working its way through the courts. Read more at Reuters. Harold Maass
CNN's Chris Cuomo and Times reporter Maggie Haberman analyze Trump's Twitter attacks on Haberman, drug addicts
President Trump attacked New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman on Twitter Saturday — which happened to be Haberman's daughter's birthday, she told CNN's Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota on Monday's New Day. Trump was reacting to an article Haberman co-wrote about Trump's reportedly abusive treatment of lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen and speculation on whether Cohen would flip on Trump if prosecutors threaten him with a long jail term.
Trump's tweets drew special scrutiny because of the bizarre Haberman attack and because it wasn't clear who he was calling a "drunk/drugged-up loser" — Haberman guessed it was Sam Nunberg, not Roger Stone, because Trump is "too aware of what Stone could do to him to be that direct" and has been scared of Stone "for years." The topic is clearly "hitting a nerve" with Trump, and he and his lawyers "are very anxious" about the Cohen investigation, Haberman told CNN.
"The story was really not about destroying their relationship — the president has destroyed their relationship pretty handily on his own over a long period of time," Haberman said. Trump "is abusive, according to almost everybody I speak to, to most people in his orbit, and family not excepted from that. But he is particularly abusive to Cohen over the years, and then the question becomes, does that come back to haunt him?" Cuomo jumped in to point out that nobody knows what charges, if any, Cohen faces, but "everybody knows" Trump's description of Haberman's skills and sources "is silly. There are few reporters that he's given more access to."
— New Day (@NewDay) April 23, 2018
Cuomo and Haberman went on to analyze the "drugged-up loser" part of Trump's tweet and how it fits in with his compassionate campaign rhetoric about the opioid crisis. "This is how he really feels about addicts," Haberman said. "We know that he had a brother who died of alcoholism, we know that he considers addiction to be weak." Peter Weber
"We should" hold President Trump to account for tweeting about a "drunk/drugged up loser" after campaigning on a platform to fix the opioid epidemic, @maggieNYT tells @ChrisCuomo.
"This is how he really feels about addicts," she says. pic.twitter.com/metlyhoG9Z
— New Day (@NewDay) April 23, 2018
Prince died two years ago from an accidental overdose of fentanyl-spiked ersatz Vicodin, but right after prosecutors in Minnesota said there was not enough evidence to charge anyone in his death last week, Prince's estate reminded everyone why people are still mourning him two years later, cracking open the vault to release his original 1984 recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U." Prince wrote the song for his side project, The Family, formed with the remnants of The Time, but he did not release any of his recordings of the song until a live duet with Rosie Gaines in 1993 — three years after Sinead O'Connor made the song famous with her No. 1 version.
Prince's original recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U," accompanied by previously unreleased rehearsal footage from 1984, is different than either subsequent version, starting off with an "I Am The Walrus" keyboard riff and ending with a saxophone. You can listen below. Peter Weber
If you don't know who Ryan Zinke is, don't feel too bad — President Trump pretty clearly isn't sure what his interior secretary does, John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, kicking this off with a NSFW analogy. "Zinke's job is to serve as a steward of America's public lands, although so far he's overseen the largest reduction of federal land protection in the nation's history," he noted. Also, Zinke is a serial exaggerator or outright fabulist and, "it turns out, may well be an extremely weird man,"
As evidence of his quirkiness, Oliver cited the fact that like Queen Elizabeth II, ZInke flies his own special flag when he's at the Interior Department headquarters, plus his minting of a special coin and, most persuasively, his decision to grab Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen Pence, for a dance during a political rally. "You might not have even heard of him before tonight, but he is an important, deeply strange man," Oliver said. "If I may sum him up in the way he would sum himself up in a campaign ad, Zinke is an oil-friendly, coin-commissioning, non-bin-Laden-killing weirdo who throws second ladies around, and he is not a f---ing geologist — America." Watch below — yes, there is NSFW language. Peter Weber
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Washington on Monday as guest of honor for the first state visit hosted by President Trump. Macron has suggested he will try to use his carefully cultivated relationship with Trump to steer him away from ripping up the Iran nuclear deal, pulling out of Syria, and raising tariffs against European nations on May 1. Trump will host Macron and his wife for a dinner Monday at Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic residence, and a state dinner at the White House on Tuesday; no Democratic members of Congress were invited, in a break from tradition.
Macron will also meet one-on-one with Trump, hold a town hall at George Washington University, and give an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, the anniversary of a 1960 address by French President Charles de Gaulle.
Macron, universally seen as the European leader with the best rapport with Trump, hosted Trump last July and clearly impressed him with French hospitality. By cultivating a warm relationship with Trump, reportedly including near-weekly phone conversations, "Macron has made a gamble, given Mr. Trump's unpopularity, that he can court him but not be tarnished by him — or even that he can burnish his own reputation as a leader who is so psychologically astute that he can gain the ear of an American president who is in many respects his polar opposite," The New York Times reports. So far, Macron has little to show for his efforts — Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and appears poised to kill the Iran nuclear deal, for example. But aides say he feels he needs to try. "Sometimes I manage to convince him, sometimes I fail," Macron told the BBC in January. Peter Weber