President Donald Trump has grown used to creating his own realities. That’s part of what makes this a jarring political moment: The president is in danger of being taken neither literally nor seriously, even inside his own party.
As Trump heads back to the campaign trail Wednesday in Minnesota, and work continues on an immigration solution that is nowhere close to being resolved, the realities of the world he’s sought to reshape come into stark view.
The stock market is sliding as a trade war moves out of the realm of the hypothetical. The United States has removed itself from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
And the images of America, now being consumed both home and abroad, continue to be of children separated from their families indefinitely.
Trump is raging at Democrats. But Republican lawmakers — the ones from the party that actually controls Washington — aren’t listening.
He claims his hands are tied. But prominent members of his own party demand that he untie them.
The focus will turn, inevitably and surely regrettably, to partisan finger-pointing about competing proposals. Yet at this moment, and not by design, Trump stands virtually alone.
While most eyes are glued on the southern border, up north in Alaska the Trump administration is quickly ticking through steps to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas production.
Rewind to last fall: Republicans included in their tax bill not only a green light to open up the refuge to drilling, but a mandate for the administration to do so.
Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management closed a 60-day public comment period, its first step in what seems to be a fast-moving process to write a mandated environmental impact assessment.
The agency got hit with serious blowback for holding only limited public hearings, exclusively in Alaska and Washington, D.C. Last week, stakeholders protested outside the BLM offices in the nation’s capital.
Dozens of big brand retail and tourism companies (as well as tens of thousands of concerned citizens) submitted written comments opposing the plan.
Congressional Democrats wrote to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, arguing the department has a “statutory obligation” to protect the biological integrity of the refuge.
But the native Alaskans who live in the area say any development of the prized coastal plain will severely impact, among other wildlife, crucial caribou herds that breed there and provide subsistence to residents.
The immigration crisis has moved beyond the southern border and into the battleground state of Florida.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott — in a competitive midterm race for a U.S. Senate seat — sent a letter Tuesday to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar about the reopening of the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in South Florida.
About 1,000 migrant children are now housed at the heavily guarded emergency shelter near the Homestead Air Reserve Base – but it’s not clear how many were separated from their parents or crossed into the U.S. on their own.
In the letter, Scott takes a stand against the separation of families at the border. “I have been very clear that I absolutely do not agree with the practice of separating children from their families,” Scott writes. “This practice needs to stop now.”
But in a press release Monday, Scott didn’t push back on the Trump administration policy that causes the separations and instead said, “Washington is to blame for this by being all talk and no action, and the solution is to secure the border.”
Also on Tuesday, Scott’s opponent, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, was denied entry into Homestead after saying he had been granted permission to visit the detention facility.
Criticized for not doing more to reach out to Hispanic voters since the midterm Senate race started, Nelson announced his visit to Homestead in a tweet Monday night, calling Trump immigration policy “inhumane.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
- President Trump heads to Duluth, Minnesota, for a roundtable discussion on protecting American workers at 6 p.m. ET.
- The president later hosts a Make America Great Again Rally in Duluth at 7:30 p.m. ET.
- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testifies before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs at 9 a.m.
- The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence holds a hearing on the policy response to Russia’s interference in U.S. elections at 10 a.m.
- House Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., hold a press conference on the newly introduced “Keep Families Together Act” at 1 p.m.
- Family members of four people currently in Immigration Customs and Enforcement detention meet with members of Congress to demand their release at 1:30 p.m.
- Secretary of Defense James Mattis hosts German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Pentagon at 2 p.m.
- Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., hold a press conference on family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border at 3:30 p.m.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“That’s just a load of crap.” — Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., on Tuesday, in reaction to the president’s claim that Congress needs to make the decision on the immigration enforcement policy that leads to separated families.
NEED TO READ
US withdraws from UN Human Rights Council. The decision to exit comes after more than a year of threatening to do so, calling for reform, and accusing it of an anti-Israel bias — but it also follows one day after its High Commissioner criticized the U.S. over President Trump’s immigration policies, especially separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border. (Conor Finnegan) https://abcn.ws/2M6cClE
Trump charts immigration strategy with House GOP amid family separation uproar. House Republicans leaving a meeting on with President Donald Trump Tuesday evening said he endorsed the more moderate of two immigration bills being voted on Thursday, although the White House was less definitive in its characterization of Trump’s support. (Ali Rogin and John Parkinson) https://abcn.ws/2MGHvOK
Trump faces GOP rebellion on immigration as midterms loom: ANALYSIS. It was a signature issue of President Donald Trump’s election in 2016 – get-tough calls for a border wall, a crackdown on undocumented immigrants, even raising the prospect of mass deportations. It’s now back in force in advance of the 2018 midterm elections. Only this time, add some jarring imagery that threatens quite the political twist. (Rick Klein) https://abcn.ws/2tn3Zvd
First ladies issue ‘damning’ denunciation of Trump separation policy: COLUMN. Barbara Bush must be stomping around heaven, frustrated that she cannot add her voice to the chorus of first ladies horrified at what’s happening at our nation’s border. The travesty of separating children from their parents would have her steaming mad, just as it has the five living wives of presidents. (Cokie Roberts) https://abcn.ws/2M52jOF
Congress agrees on need to end family separation practice, but still divided on how. Right now House Speaker Paul Ryan appears focused on two bills, both written by congressional Republicans, that would address other aspects of the immigration system in addition to the family separation policy. Here’s a look at some of the legislation on the table. (Ali Rogin) https://abcn.ws/2tfUqya
Senate Republicans call for narrow fix on border family separations. In a firm rebuke to President Donald Trump, all Republican senators in Congress want to halt the separation of immigrant families at the border, and they plan to work on legislation as soon as this week to stop more separations from happening, the Senate’s top Republican said Tuesday. (Mariam Khan) https://abcn.ws/2MJ1DzQ
Advocacy groups mobilize supporters to end ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy. Advocacy groups and social justice leaders have responded in force in the wake of the Department of Homeland Security disclosing that thousands of children have been separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Karolina Rivas) https://abcn.ws/2I4RtWB
Facebook campaign tops $6 million to reunite immigrant families separated at border. The fundraiser page “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child” was launched on Saturday by three Facebook employees. As of Tuesday morning, more than 100,000 people had donated to the fund, which was fetching more than $50,000 an hour. (Bill Hutchinson) https://abcn.ws/2K3sEMJ
Senate votes overwhelmingly to reverse White House deal with Chinese telecom ZTE, moves to House. The vote, 85-10, is a sharp rebuke to President Donald Trump and sets Washington up for a rare showdown between Republicans and the White House. (Mariam Khan) https://abcn.ws/2tm9aM6
Audio recording emerges of ‘orchestra’ of crying children in migrant detention center.Young migrant children, fighting through tears, can be heard crying “Mami” and “Papa” in an eight-minute audio clip first obtained by ProPublica. (M.L. Nestel) https://abcn.ws/2K2JDid
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen heckled at Mexican restaurant over immigration. A group calling itself the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America camped out next to Nielsen’s table and chanted slogans and hurled loaded questions at Nielsen, who on Monday stood with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders at a briefing and praised the administration’s handling of illegal immigrants coming into the country. (Mark Osborne) https://abcn.ws/2JTdsFR
If I’d kept quiet I would have been criticized: Comey on DOJ inspector general’s report. In his first remarks since the Justice Department’s inspector general’s report was released, former FBI Director Jim Comey said Tuesday he doesn’t regret the way he handled the Hillary Clinton email case – despite the report’s harsh criticism. (Luke Barr) https://abcn.ws/2K58OAn
The Associated Press learned that the youngest children forcibly separated from their parents by Trump administration officials at the U.S.-Mexico border are being held in at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas. https://bit.ly/2MEoWdX
This is the tale of Big John Fetterman, the giant who lives in an abandoned car dealership beside a steel mill. And, now, he’s Pennsylvania’s Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, the Washington Post reports. https://wapo.st/2K5ARmI
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.
Source: ABC News RICK KLEIN MARYALICE PARKS
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