Donald Trump: 28 Days Later – Politico

Donald Trump will hit the four-week-mark Friday on a presidency that has begun like no other — full of big promises, constant controversy, the ever-present encroaching of major scandal, and zero regard for the previous norms of American politics.

Beneath the noise, however, there has been a march, however halting and disorganized, toward Trump’s promised radical remaking of American policy, foreign and domestic. The border wall his critics said he’d never build has been ordered, his promised rollback of regulations is in full swing, his Supreme Court pick that will likely sit on the bench for decades, and even the “Muslim ban” he promised during the Republican primary was put in place, however briefly, in altered form.

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The dual track is familiar to those who watched his campaign, during which a series of controversies and scandals garnered mass attention while few foresaw Trump’s success in building a winning coalition. But a presidency is a longer race than even the campaign, and it remains to be seen whether Trump can outrun his missteps the way he did last fall.

So far, Trump has signed at least 23 executive actions, signed five bills into law, seen 12 members of his Cabinet confirmed, nominated one justice to the Supreme Court, sent 168 (undeleted) tweets, fired one acting attorney general and demanded one resignation: that of his own national security adviser.

It has been 28 days. Here they are.

Inauguration Day: Jan. 20
Where things went according to plan:
The speech: In a short address, Trump stuck to the themes that won him the election, painting a scene of current “American carnage” — claims of economic decay and rising crime that are contradicted by a considerable volume of statistical evidence — as well as his own promise to usher in a new American glory.
First executive actions: Trump signed an executive order that allowed for the delay or waiver of certain Affordable Care Act provisions, and another that froze pending regulations until they won approval from the White House or a newly appointed agency head — early moves toward core promises of his campaign.
Cabinet confirmations kick off: Two of Trump’s best-received Cabinet picks, retired Marine Gens. James Mattis for Defense Secretary and John Kelly for Homeland Security, both won easy confirmation in the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence swore them in that evening.
Where things went off the rails:
The crowd size: The crowds for the inauguration and ensuing parade were bested by the audience that attended former President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, a disparity unveiled both by Metro rail ridership numbers and, more immediately, by aerial photographs.

Day 2: Jan. 21
According to plan:
First foreign leader visit is announced: Press secretary Sean Spicer announced the first visit from a foreign leader, with the Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom scheduled to visit Trump at the White House during his first week in office.
Off the rails:
The Women’s March: Hundreds of thousands of protesters descended on Washington and cities around the nation (as well as internationally) in massive numbers to demonstrate against the new president, opening questions about whether his election would galvanize progressives into a more politically effective resistance.
The CIA speech: Trump visited the CIA headquarters to show his support for their work, but while standing before the Agency’s wall honoring the 117 CIA officers who died in service, he delivered a campaign-style address that stepped on his message.
Sean Spicer: The new press secretary called a news conference, but instead of taking questions, he offered a searing critique of the news media’s accuracy while delivering no fewer than five demonstrably (at times even obviously) false statements in five minutes. The appearance won Spicer widespread mockery as his inaccuracy became the subject of a short-lived but widely shared meme.

Day 3: Jan. 22
According to plan:
Conversation with Netanyahu: Trump spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, extending the invitation for him to visit the United States in February and taking an early step toward a promise of warmer U.S.-Israeli relations.
Trump’s second response to the Women’s March: After initially complaining about the protests (see below), Trump took a more measured tone in a follow-up tweet: “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”
Off the Rails:
“Alternative facts”: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer’s Saturday night falsehoods by telling NBC’s Chuck Todd that Spicer was simple presenting “alternative facts.” The phrase was widely mocked and cast further doubt on White House credibility just days into the administration.
The beginning of the end of Flynn: Sunday night, The Wall Street Journal published an article with an eyebrow-raising lede: “U.S. counterintelligence agents have investigated communications that President Donald Trump’s national security adviser had with Russian officials, according to people familiar with the matter.” The problem would not go away quietly.

Day 4: Jan. 23
According to plan:
More executive actions: Trump signed three more executive actions aimed at fulfilling campaign promises on what the White House billed as the first work day of the administration. The orders officially withdrew the U.S. from negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, froze federal hiring (except for the military and in certain security situations) and barred federal funds from going to international groups that provide abortions. The move on trade was the final nail in the coffin for U.S. participation in TPP, which had been slowly careening toward doom during the presidential campaign in which Trump and Clinton both voiced opposition to it. The hiring and abortion orders represented two more boxes checked on the conservative wish list.
Spicer, take 2: Spicer’s much-anticipated Monday briefing was mostly drama-free, and the press secretary pledged the administration’s “intention is never to lie to you.”
Tillerson on the move: Rex Tillerson won a party line vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to advance his nomination for secretary of state. His prospects were uncertain after a rocky confirmation hearing and doubts voiced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who ended up supporting the former ExxonMobil CEO nonetheless.
Off the Rails:
Trump’s meeting with lawmakers: In a meeting with bipartisan congressional leadership at the White House, Trump repeated his false claim that widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote in the general election.
Conway on tax returns: Conway walked back a claim she made Sunday — in which she seemed to indicate Trump never had any intention of releasing his tax returns — and returned to the line repeated throughout the campaign, that his returns would be released after the completion of an audit.

Day 5: Jan. 24
According to plan:
More executive orders: Trump signed five more executive actions: Two encouraged the construction of pipelines, one sought to expedite the approval of infrastructure projects, one called for material used to build pipelines to be made in America “to the maximum extent possible,” and another called for swifter permitting for domestic manufacturers.
Nikki Haley: Trump’s pick for ambassador to the United Nations, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, was confirmed by the Senate 96-4.
Off the Rails:
Spicer on voter fraud: Spicer defended Trump’s voter fraud claims by incorrectly citing a widely debunked study. He did not say whether he agreed with Trump’s claim, though he claimed that Trump had based his belief on “studies and evidence.”

Day 6: Jan. 25
According to plan:
Immigration orders, Part 1: Trump signed two orders on immigration. One included a call for the beginning of planning and construction of the border wall and the hiring of 5,000 more border patrol agents, another pushed for the hiring of 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and aimed to cut off federal funding to “sanctuary cities.”
Paul Ryan’s Philly speech: In a speech at congressional Republicans’ retreat in Philadelphia, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the Republican-led Congress would replace Obamacare, cut taxes and fund Trump’s border wall by August. It’s usually the White House making grand predictions and Congress coming in with the cold water, but Ryan’s statements represented a show of unity.
Off the Rails:
Voter fraud tweet: While his administration worked to steer the conversation toward Trump’s policy, the president himself — possibly still upset over focus on his loss in the popular vote — couldn’t resist relitigating the election. “I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and…. even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”

Day 7: Jan. 26
According to plan:
Bannon bashes the press: From the campaign trail into the White House, Trump and his team have grown fond of attacking the news media — a move that seems always to rile up their base. Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon added his voice to the chorus, telling The New York Times that the media is “the opposition party” and that the press should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile.” Trump would later repeat the “opposition party” phrase to describe the press.
Off the Rails:
Spicer, again: On a flight back from Philadelphia, where Trump addressed the Republican congressional retreat, Spicer suggested a 20 percent tax on imports from countries “like Mexico” could be used to pay for the border wall. But Spicer quickly walked back the proposal, saying it was not a policy proposal but rather “one idea” for how the wall could be paid for. The idea was out there long enough to get panned by some Republicans, including Sens. Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham.
Mexico responds: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a planned visit to the U.S. in response to Trump’s Jan. 25 executive actions.

Day 8: Jan. 27
According to plan:
March for Life: The March for Life came to Washington with anti-abortion activists feeling a sense of renewed vigor now that Trump has been elected. Pence, in particular, won plaudits by being the first sitting vice president to address the annual event — a hometown crowd for him if there ever was one.
First presidential presser: Donald Trump welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May, an event that went smoothly and showcased a tight partnership between the two nations. Trump answered his first questions from reporters as president.
Off the Rails:
Refugee executive order stumbles out of the gate: Trump signed a far-reaching executive order that temporarily halted the admission of new refugees into the United States, imposed an indefinite ban on the entry of refugees from Syria, and suspended the entry of citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. The executive order, signed late on a Friday afternoon, prompted immediate confusion about its enforcement, including chaos at points of U.S. entry. And, within hours, it met resistance in court, including legal challenges that would eventually succeed in putting the order on ice.
Holocaust Remembrance Day statement: The White House released a statement to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but made no explicit mention Jewish people. Later in the weekend, two Republican groups joined in criticism of the statement. The White House later called criticism of its statement “pathetic.”
Senate pushback: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell felt compelled to warn Donald Trump not to lift sanctions on Russia, ahead of a scheduled Saturday morning call between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Day 9, Jan. 28
According to plan:
Executive orders: Trump signed three executive actions — a reorganization of the National Security Council; a five-year ban on lobbying for administration appointees and a lifetime ban on lobbying the government for other countries; and an order tasking the Department of Defense with coming up with a plan to defeat the Islamic State within 30 days. The NSC order proved the most significant, as it moved Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, onto the principals committee of the National Security Council.
Putin on the line: Trump’s first phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin was “positive,” the White House said, and involved discussions of how the nations could cooperate to combat terrorism. The White House made no announcement regarding election interference-related sanctions after the call, assuaging the fears of some who worried Trump would roll back the sanctions.
Off the Rails:
Travel ban fallout rulings: A series of rulings from federal courts Saturday night significantly curtailed Trump’s order. A judge in Brooklyn suspended deportations, a Boston judge issued a temporary restraining order on the action and a Virginia judge blocked the deportation of green-card holders.
Travel ban fallout optics: As some travelers from the seven affected countries found themselves detained at American airports — even if they had valid visas — and government officials scrambled to make sense of the order, civil liberties lawyers, protesters and Democratic politicians descended on airports. The backlash marked a spontaneous rebuke to Trump’s order and raised questions about how much planning went into the sweeping action.
Australia calling: Trump’s phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull went off the rails after Trump bragged about his election win, expressed anger over a deal to take refugees from Australia and told Turnbull it was his “worst call by far” of the day. Details of the contentious conversation emerged in a Washington Post report a few days later.

Day 10, Jan. 29
According to plan:
Order rewrite: The Department of Homeland Security attempted to modify the travel order by saying it no longer applied to green-card holders from the seven targeted countries. That portion of the ban had been especially troubling to the courts.
Clarification: Trump posted a statement on Facebook defending his travel ban, saying the order was “not a Muslim ban,” and stressing the temporary nature of it.
Off the Rails:
Yemen raid: A special operations raid ordered by Trump in Yemen resulted in the death of a U.S. service member, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, the wounding of three others and significant civilian casualties. The White House argued that the raid, which targeted fighters from a branch of Al Qaeda, was successful because 14 militants were killed and intelligence was gathered.
Continued protests: Protesters continued to rally against the travel ban with protests in cities and at airports around the country, and at a large, impromptu march from the White House to the Capitol.
ACLU money haul: The American Civil Liberties Union, a nonprofit spearheading legal challenges to Trump’s immigration ban, raised more than $24 million in online donations over the weekend — about six times what they typically receive annually in online donations.

Day 11, Jan. 30
According to plan:
One in, two out: Rolling ahead with executive orders to fulfill campaign promises, Trump signed an order decreeing that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be repealed. Conservative groups cheered the move.
You’re fired: Trump took authoritative action Monday night in defense of his travel ban, firing acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend it. Trump also swiftly replaced Yates, an Obama administration appointee, with Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney in Alexandria, Virginia, ensuring essential functions of the Justice Department remained intact.
Off the Rails:
‘Betrayal’ attack: The White House statement on Yates’ firing was inflected with personal attacks and sounded less like a presidential statement than a piece of campaign rhetoric. “”The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel. Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”
Spicer vs. State: As State Department employees registered dissent with the travel ban, Spicer announced from the White House that career employees who disagree with the new administration “can go.”
Behind the scenes: A Monday night report revealed Hill staffers had aided the drafting of the controversial immigration order — but without informing party leadership, explaining some of the initial confusion and crossed wires after the order dropped.

Day 12, Jan. 31
According to plan:
LGBT order: Making good on another campaign theme, Trump pledged to keep in place an Obama order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Trump ran as the most outspoken supporter of LGBT rights to win the Republican nomination.
Gorsuch for SCOTUS: In a crowning moment for Trump and the conservative movement — not to mention Sen. Mitch McConnell, who made it possible — the president announced Neil Gorsuch as his pick for the Supreme Court in a prime-time unveiling from the White House. For many Republicans who disliked Trump but voted for him anyway with the Supreme Court in mind, this was a moment of vindication. The announcement went off without a hitch, and Gorsuch was quickly the recipient of praise, at least some of it bipartisan.
Off the Rails:
A ban, or not a ban?: Spicer told the press that the travel ban — which both he and the president had referred to previously as a “ban” — was not, in fact, a ban. His attempted explanation would later be mocked on “Saturday Night Live.”
Wisconsin trip nixed: Trump’s planned trip to the Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee was canceled in part over concerns about protests, CNN reported. Trump ended up hosting Harley-Davidson executives at the White House later, instead.

Day 13, Feb. 1
According to plan:
Tillerson gets in: Rex Tillerson, among the more controversial of Trump’s Cabinet picks due to allegations of excessive coziness with the Putin regime, was confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate in a 56-43 vote.
Saber rattling: Trump ran on taking a tougher stance against Iran, and his White House made good on the pledge. National security adviser Michael Flynn announced the White House was officially putting Iran “on notice” for recent provocative behavior, and senior officials later would not rule out military action in response.
Getting to know you: Paul Ryan and Trump’s son-in-law/senior adviser Jared Kushner dined together at the Capitol Hill Club.
Off the Rails:
DeVos by a thread: Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, announced they would oppose Trump’s pick to lead the Education Department, Betsy DeVos. With Democrats unanimously opposed to the Michigan billionaire, that left DeVos headed for a 50-50 vote if the status quo held. The White House voiced confidence that she would be confirmed, which she later was with Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.

Day 14, Feb. 2
According to plan:
On message: Trump told the National Prayer Breakfast that he would “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which restricts political activity by religious groups. The message was one he and Pence trumpeted often on the campaign trail, and it went over well with the Prayer Breakfast crowd.
Off the Rails:
Bowling Green outrage: Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway cites a fictitious “Bowling Green massacre” in an interview on on MSNBC’s “Hardball” as she presses the case for Trump’s immigration ban, an attack she said “most people” weren’t aware of “because it didn’t get covered.” The next day, after the Internet had a lot to say about it, Conway apologized saying she got her facts scrambled.
Talking Arnold: In a move that struck some as tone deaf, Trump used a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast to mock the ratings of The Celebrity Apprentice ratings with its new host, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Uber out: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quit Trump’s business council after some questioned whether his presence with the group represented an endorsement of Trump’s policies.

Day 15, Feb. 3
According to plan:
Dodd-Frank pull back: Trump signed an executive order that backed sweeping changes to U.S. financial regulations, in what was viewed as a first step toward undoing Obama’s signature financial regulatory reforms. Trump also moved to revamp a controversial conflict-of-interest rule for financial advisers.
Court victory: Trump’s travel ban won a legal battle — albeit a fleeting one. A 21-page decision from U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton offered preliminary backup for the ban, concluding that Trump’s executive order was legally sound.
Off the Rails:
Judge halts ban: Late Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, granted a temporary restraining order that halted Trump’s travel ban and restrictions on a nationwide basis, setting up a protracted legal fight. Robart rejected arguments from Justice Department attorneys who said the ban was within the president’s national-security powers.
Viola drops out: Vincent Viola, Trump’s pick serve as Army secretary abruptly quit, saying he was concerned he couldn’t disentangle extensive financial ties. Viola, who had been nominated in mid-December, said he concluded he couldn’t clear all of his conflicts. He is the founder of trading firm Virtu Financial and owner of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers.

Day 16, Feb. 4
According to plan:
Ukraine promise: In a call with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Trump promised that the U.S. would work to restore peace on the border between the Ukraine and Russia, according to a readout released by the White House. “We will work with Ukraine, Russia, and all other parties involved to help them restore peace along the border,” Trump said during the 5 p.m. call, which was described by the White House as “a very good call.”
Off the Rails:
Judge assault: Reacting to a court ruling late on Friday night, Trump assailed a federal judge who issued a broad block on his executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. In a series of tweets, Trump called the ruling from Robart “ridiculous” and lashed out at him. “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump tweeted.
Saturday Night Live’ hits: A pair of skits that focused on the Trump White House quickly went viral with their scathing portrayals of Trump’s relationship with world leaders (and top aide Steve Bannon) and White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Spicer, played by Melissa McCarthy, is lampooned as a combative, inarticulate press basher. In another skit, Trump, portrayed by Alec Baldwin, calls world leaders as Steve Bannon, dressed as the Grim Reaper, coaches him — before relegating Trump to a child’s desk.

Day 17, Feb. 5
Off the Rails:
Putin problem: Trump shook up an otherwise quiet day when, in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he seemed to equate Russian President Vladimir Putin with American leadership. O’Reilly said to Trump: “Putin’s a killer.” And Trump responded, “A lot of killers. We got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?” Critics, including GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, pounced on Trump’s apparent moral equivalence.
More judge attacks: Trump took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon to rip a federal judge and warn that he would be at fault if the U.S. was attacked. “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

Day 18, Feb. 6
According to plan:
Hearing set: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Trump administration hope — ultimately short-lived — that the travel ban could resume. The court agreed to hear arguments for and against a stay on Trump’s executive action that temporarily halted entry by refugees, including those from Syria, and banned travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.
Off the Rails:
Media cover-up speech: Speaking to U.S. troops at Central Command in Tampa, Florida, Trump delivered an overtly political address that accused the news media of covering up terrorist attacks. Later, Spicer told reporters on a flight back to Washington that Trump was merely suggesting some attacks don’t receive the coverage they deserve, and that things like protests receive too much coverage.
Terror pushback: The White House released a list of 78 terrorist attacks later that night that it said had been underreported by the U.S. media. The list was riddled with misspellings and typos, and included dozens of attacks that received significant, in some cases, blanket U.S. media coverage. Among the “under covered” attacks cited: A shooting at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub that left dozens dead; an attack in San Bernardino, California, and large-scale attacks in Paris and Brussels.
Bowling Green continued: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway came under fire after news emerged she cited the fictitious “Bowling Green massacre” in at least two previous interviews. In interviews with Cosmopolitan and “TMZ” Conway made reference to fictitious events in Bowling Green.
Melania lawsuit: A lawyer for first lady Melania Trump argued in a lawsuit filed Monday that an article falsely alleging she once worked for an escort service hurt her chance to establish “multimillion dollar business relationships” during the years in which she would be “one of the most photographed women in the world.”

Day 19, Feb. 7
According to plan:
DeVos confirmed: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos won Senate confirmation by the narrowest possible margin, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote. Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted against DeVos, who faced criticism for past comments and lack of background in public education, and had a rocky confirmation hearing. Pence’s vote was the first time a vice president was called upon to help confirm a member of the Cabinet.
Off the Rails:
Teleconference in court: The Trump administration was able to argue the merits of the travel ban on a teleconference with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A Justice Department lawyer argued that presidents have broad authority when it comes to decisions involving national security.
Murder claims: Trump held two listening sessions at the White House to kick off the day, one with county sheriffs and one with veterans’ advocates. But the message was stepped on by Trump’s false claim that the U.S. murder rate is at its highest level in more than four decades and by his offer to help “destroy” the career of a Texas state lawmaker who opposes asset forfeiture.
Kelly regrets: Testifying on Capitol Hill, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he should have delayed the implementation of the travel ban.
Yemen fallout: Yemen withdrew permission for American special operations forces to conduct ground operations in the country, The New York Times reported. The move came in the aftermath of a U.S. raid — the first commando raid ordered by Trump — that resulted in the death of one U.S. service member and significant civilian casualties.
Faux pas avec la France: Word leaked of a rocky phone call between Trump and French President Francois Hollande, with Trump veering into rants about the U.S. getting shaken down by other countries.

Day 20, Feb. 8
According to plan:
Sessions in: Trump’s pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, won confirmation by a 52-47 vote.
Off the Rails:
Nevertheless, she persisted: In another galvanizing event for Democratic critics of Trump and Republicans, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was reprimanded and told to sit down and be quiet during debate on Sessions after reading a letter critical of sessions written by Coretta Scott King. Mitch McConnell said that Warren was warned but “nevertheless, she persisted,” a phrase that spawned thousands of Facebook posts and tweets, T-shirts and more.
Supreme discontent: In a meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch lambasted the president’s pointed criticisms of a federal judge who put a stay on his travel ban. Gorsuch said Trump’s remarks were “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” The comments marked an extraordinary break between a top White House nominee and the president.
Nordstrom attack: President Trump used Twitter to blast luxury retail store Nordstrom for dropping the clothing line of his daughter Ivanka Trump from its stores. Ethics experts and others immediately criticized Trump for using his Twitter account (and the bully pulpit) to attack an individual business. Nordstrom had previously announced it was dropping Ivanka Trump’s clothing line due to poor sales numbers.

Day 21, Feb. 9
Off the Rails:
Flynn in free fall: The Washington Post published a report citing nine sources stating Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions in a phone call with the Russian ambassador, contrary to Flynn’s and the administration’s statements about the call.
Ban on ban upheld: A federal appeals court unanimously rejected the Trump administration’s request to reinstate a travel ban that blocked refugees from entering the U.S. as well as citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump responded to the ruling by tweeting, in all caps, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”
Nordstrom problems: House adviser Kellyanne Conway came under fire for encouraging people to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, a likely violation of ethics rules that bar such advocacy from White House officials.

Day 22, Feb. 10
According to plan:
Diplomatic display: Trump held a joint news conference and met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Keeping options open: After legal setbacks for his travel and refugee ban, Trump alluded to future action on the issue: Twice during the day, Trump suggested that the White House would try to redraft the order in order to strengthen it against legal challenges.
Off the Rails:
Flynn fallout: Vice President Mike Pence became entangled in reports that national security adviser Mike Flynn discussed sanctions with Russia before President Trump was sworn in. Pence had denied on national television that sanctions had been discussed. The Pence camp insists Pence was speaking based on what Flynn told him — raising the possibility that Flynn had lied to the vice president.
Abrams tanked: President Trump blocked Elliott Abrams’ appointment to a top post at the State Department because of his criticisms of Trump during the campaign. Newly sworn-in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had favored Abrams, a veteran Republican foreign policy hand, for the role because of his breadth of knowledge.
Conspiracy theorist: Reports emerged that Trump once again espoused conspiracy theories about illegal voters — with no evidence. In a closed-door meeting with congressional leaders, Trump asserted that he, and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, would have won in New Hampshire without illegal votes.

Day 23, Feb. 11
According to plan:
Getting in a round: Trump continued a diplomatic visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by hitting the links with him in Palm Beach, Florida.
Diplomatic partnership: Trump and Abe showcased a tight, on-message partnership in the face of an apparent missile test by North Korea. The two worked closely together to craft a denunciation of the launch. Appearing with Trump at a hastily called news conference at in Florida, Abe called the attack “intolerable.”
Off the Rails:
North Korea problem: North Korea’s decision to test the missile is another implicit challenge to Trump — and seemed designed to rattle Trump and Abe’s otherwise feel-good meeting.
Public diplomacy: Trump and Abe came under fire for apparently reacting to the launch in public view at Mar-a-Lago. Members took pictures of the two world leaders, huddled over documents lit by cellphone flashlights, in plain view of diners at the Trump-owned property. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called for a review of the security protocols at Mar-a-Lago after images popped up on Facebook and elsewhere.

Day 24, Feb. 12
According to plan:
Quiet-ish day: After a day of golf and a night of diplomatic crisis the night before, Trump avoided much spectacle. He met with his Treasury nominee, Steve Mnuchin, and casino magnate Steve Wynn at Mar-a-Lago before flying back to Washington.
Miller impresses the boss: White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller did a round of Sunday shows — which Trump cheered on, via Twitter.
Off the Rails:
But Miller fails with others: Miller was ripped as shaky and dissembling on Twitter and faced sharp questions from his Sunday-morning show inquisitors, including this back-and-forth with NBC’s Chuck Todd about national security adviser Michael Flynn: TODD: “Let me ask you this, if you were caught misleading the vice president of the United States, would that be considered a fireable offense in the Trump White House?” MILLER: “It’s not for me to answer hypothetical. It wouldn’t be responsible. It’s a sensitive matter.” But Trump was satisfied with the performance.
Tweeting the morning away: Trump started his Sunday with a rapid-fire string of tweets targeting critics and got into a back and forth with fellow billionaire Mark Cuban. “I know Mark Cuban well,” Trump tweeted. “He backed me big-time but I wasn’t interested in taking all of his calls. He’s not smart enough to run for president!” Notably, Cuban campaigned for former Secretary of State Hillary Clintonand aided her campaign.

Day 25, Feb. 13
According to plan:
Welcome, neighbor: Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a productive meeting, reaffirming the warm relations between the U.S. and Canada. Trudeau talked about the two nations’ common ground and avoided talk of Trump’s controversial travel ban. Trump said that U.S. trade issues with Canada are less egregious than those with Mexico.
Growing Cabinet: Trump’s pick for Veterans Affairs secretary, David Shulkin, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. His pick to lead the Treasury Department, Steven Mnuchin, was confirmed in a 53-47 vote.
Off the Rails:
Out like Flynn: As night fell in Washington, so did the ax on Flynn, who resigned over reports he misled Pence about his discussions of sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Lingering questions: Flynn’s ouster didn’t end the story. There were an array of questions: Who knew what, and when? Why did Trump wait weeks after he learned about his calls with the Russian ambassador to relieve him of his post? And will Flynn eventually be asked to testify to Congress about his tenure?
Pudzer problems: Problems continued to emerge for Trump’s embattled Labor nominee, Andy Puzder. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey gave the Senate committee considering his nomination a 1990 tape of a show in which Puzder’s wife, in disguise, discussing allegations of domestic violence.

Day 26, Feb. 14
According to plan:
Regulatory blow: In a tangible strike at regulations, Trump signed a bill that killed SEC regulations requiring companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments.
Off the Rails:
Bombshells: The New York Times reported that members of Trump’s campaign staff had regular contacts with Russian security officials. About an hour later, CNN largely matches the development. The stories come hours after Spicer denied that Trump’s campaign had any contact with Russians.
Conway conflict: The Office of Government Ethics said it wanted White House lawyers to investigate Conway after she called on people to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing line during a television appearance.

Day 27, Feb. 15
According to plan:
Netanyahu’s visit: Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had an amiable meeting and a joint news conference. Trump also seemed to affirm his commitment to the Jewish State’s conservative governing coalition by abandoning the U.S. commitment to the two-state solution.
Shifting the conversation: Trump took to Twitter in response to allegations his associates had been in contact with the Russians during the campaign, writing: “The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy. Very un-American!” Conservative media outlets added their voice to the argument, slamming leakers within the government.
Off the Rails:
Puzder pulls out: Andy Puzder, Trump’s pick for Labor secretary, withdrew from consideration after POLITICO published a tape of his ex-wife discussing abuse allegations on “Oprah” and a number of Senate Republicans urged his withdrawal.

Day 28, Feb. 16
According to plan:
The accomplishment-touting part of the presser: At his first solo news conference as president, Trump ticked through his accomplishments so far, touting his first four weeks in the White House as the most productive of any presidency.
The media-bashing part of the presser: Trump’s base loves when he attacks the media, and he served up the red meat at his news conference, deploying his favorite insults for the press: “fake news” and “dishonest people.”
Signing a bill into law: Trump signed into law a bill nullifying a Department of Interior rule, much loathed by Republicans, aimed at protecting streams.
Off the Rails:
The rest of the presser: Trump warned about the dangers of “nuclear holocaust.” He asked a black reporter if she was “friends” with the Congressional Black Caucus, and if she could set up a meeting with its members. He bragged, falsely, about the historic margin of his election win, only to be corrected on the spot — then blamed his staff for giving him bad information. And he said never instructed Flynn to talk about sanctions with the Russian ambassador but said that he would have.

At one point in the presser, Trump said he didn’t think “there’s ever been a president who in a short period of time has done what we’ve done.”

Zach Montellaro and Diana D’Abruzzo contributed to this report.

Donald Trump: 28 Days Later – Politico

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