New York Times: “Nine days in spring offered a case study in Mr. Trump’s approach to some of the most daunting issues confronting him and the nation: When the goal seems frustratingly out of reach through traditional means, threaten drastic action, set a deadline, demand concessions, cut a deal — real or imagined — avert the dire outcome and declare victory.”
“If nothing else, he forces attention on the issue at hand. Whether the approach yields sustainable results seem less certain. These are often dramas of his own making, with him naturally the hero. He stakes out maximalist positions and issues brutal ultimatums to compel action, arguing that extreme problems demand extreme tactics. At times, though, it can seem like little more than smoke and mirrors substituting for serious policymaking, a way of pretending to make progress without actually solving the underlying problem.”
Wall Street Journal: “President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico was met with alarm from business leaders and many in his own party, who responded with corresponding relief when the threat was withdrawn Friday. No one, however, should have been surprised.”
“President Trump boasted of ‘large’ agricultural sales to Mexico as part of a deal reached Friday on border security and illegal immigration that averted the threat of U.S. tariffs, but the deal as released had none, and three Mexican officials say they’re not aware of any side accord,” Bloomberg reports.
“Trump told his 61 million Twitter followers in an all-caps message that Mexico had agreed to ‘immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product from our great patriot farmers.’”
After his supposed deal was revealed to be fake, the concessions the Mexicans made were items agreed to before Trump made his tariff threat two weeks ago, Trump warned on Sunday that his “very profitable” proposed tariffs on Mexican imports are still on the table if there isn’t “great cooperation” between Mexico and the U.S.
New York Times: “The move illustrates Mr. Barr’s swift rise in the pantheon of President Trump’s most prominent and loyal allies — and in the eyes of Mr. Trump himself. In a cabinet stocked with government neophytes and placeholders, the deeply experienced Mr. Barr is quickly emerging as the most influential figure in the second half of Mr. Trump’s term.”
“But his rising power over the intelligence community has been accompanied by swelling disillusionment with Mr. Barr among former national security officials and ideological moderates. When he agreed late last year to take the job, many of them had cast him as a Republican straight shooter, steeped in pre-Trump mores, who would restrain an impetuous president.”
“Now they see in him someone who has glossed over Mr. Trump’s misdeeds, smeared his investigators and positioned himself to possibly declassify information for political gain — not the Bill Barr they thought they knew.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “downplayed climate change as a longstanding trend, suggesting that that modern societies could adapt to a changing environment, possibly with people moving to different places,” CNN reports.
Said Pompeo: “The climate’s been changing a long time. There’s always changes that take place.”
He added: “Societies reorganize, we move to different places, we develop technology and innovation. I am convinced, I am convinced that we will do the things necessary as the climate changes.”
Beto O’Rourke told Yahoo News that his tepid support in polls of the Iowa electorate will not alter his strategy in the state.
Said O’Rourke: “There is a lot of time before the Iowa caucuses. We’ve never been guided by a poll before.”
He added: “If you were to look at the Texas Senate race, the first couple of months after we were in, no poll was going to say that we were going to win. When I first ran for Congress in 2012, against an incumbent and against some very long odds no poll at any point said that we were going to win. And yet yet we did. And if I am lucky enough to to be the nominee and then to become the president of the United States, no poll will guide the decisions that I make.”