THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK: Monday: Trump meets with the president of Nigeria. Tuesday: The president presents the Commander in Chief’s trophy to the Army football team, meets with the crew of Southwest Flight 1380 and meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Wednesday: Trump speaks at the National Teacher of the Year reception. Thursday: Trump participates in an event for the National Day of Prayer.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT … MICHELLE WOLF took it too far. Make fun of someone’s politics. Make fun of their quirks. Don’t make fun of them as a person. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is supposed to be a light-hearted affair that honors good journalism and raises scholarship money. Sure, it’s gotten a bit out of hand. But there’s no reason to be mean. Mean isn’t funny. As John Boehner used to say, it costs nothing to be nice.
-- @maggieNYT: “That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.”
-- “Wolf routine stuns White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” by Brent D. Griffiths: “Members of the Trump administration walked out of the White House Correspondents' Dinner Saturday night after comedian Michelle Wolf ripped into White House staffers including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the absence of the president himself. ...
“Footage broadcast live on cable TV networks showed Sanders sitting at the head table on stage stone-faced, wincing and at times raising her eyebrows as Wolf compared her to a character on the dystopian ‘Handsmaid’s Tale’ and to an ‘Uncle Tom’ for white women.” https://politi.co/2I2KrWA
-- “Journalists distance themselves from Correspondents’ Dinner after Wolf routine,” by Brent D. Griffiths: https://politi.co/2FqGeGw
-- WAPO’S PAUL FARHI: “The annual social rite of spring in Washington was less the government-meets-Hollywood-meets-the-press glitzfest of yore and more like a dressed-up Kiwanis Club dinner, albeit one televised live by CNN, MSNBC and C-SPAN.” https://wapo.st/2FqqfZ2
TRUMP’S REACTION -- @realDonaldTrump at 7:45 a.m.: “While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust...the so-called comedian really ‘bombed.’ @greggutfeld should host next year! @PeteHegseth” ...
… at 7:54 a.m.: “Just got recent Poll - much higher than President O at same time....Well, much more has been accomplished!”
-- THE PRESIDENT’S SATURDAY NIGHT: “Trump vilifies ‘dishonest’ press at Michigan rally,” by Quint Forgey: “For the second consecutive year, President Donald Trump vilified the American press at a campaign-style rally orchestrated to effectively counter-program an annual dinner in Washington, D.C., celebrating White House journalists’ work over the past year.
“‘These are very dishonest people, many of them. They are very, very dishonest people,’ Trump said at a boisterous event in Washington, Mich., speaking in front of a blue banner emblazoned with the president’s campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again.’ ‘Fake news. Very dishonest,’ he added. ‘They don’t have sources. The sources don’t exist in many cases.’” https://politi.co/2vVOXBd
Good Sunday morning. THE NATIONALS stink. They have lost seven of their last nine games.
SUNDAY BEST -- ABC’S JON KARL got the first interview with SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO. At the CIA, Pompeo didn’t have to do many of these interviews, so this is somewhat new. Although, he did talk to reporters as a member of Congress.
KARL: “Did you really think he had a change of heart on this? I mean if you look at Kim Jong Un this is somebody who assassinated his uncle right after coming into power, poisoned his half-brother. Did more to advance North Korea’s nuclear facilities, its missile capabilities. And his father did more to advance the military than his grandfather. Do you really think that he had a change of heart on this issue? And that he is ready to give up the pride of that country right now: their nuclear program?”
POMPEO: “Kim Jong Un’s going to have to make a decision. He’s going to have to make a big decision. Does he want the pressure campaign to continue? Does he want President Trump to continue to place him in the location that he finds himself today? Or is he looking for something big and bold and different, something that hasn’t happened before? I don’t know which way it will go.
“As the president has said, only time will tell. But we have a mission set – we have an obligation to engage in diplomatic discourse to try and find a peaceful solution so that Americans aren’t held at risk by Kim Jong Un and his nuclear arsenal. That’s the mission. That’s the goal. Only time will tell if we’re going to be able to achieve it.”
-- POMPEO said the administration has its eyes “wide open” when it comes to North Korea.
CHRIS WALLACE spoke to JOHN BOLTON on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”: WALLACE: “OK. So, let’s talk about your position, the U.S. position going in, what the U.S. wants from Kim. Will President Trump insist that Kim give up, ship out, all of his nuclear weapons, all of his nuclear fuel, all of his ballistic missiles, before the U.S. makes any concessions?”
BOLTON: “Yes, I think that’s what denuclearization means. We have very much in mind the Libya model from 2003, 2004. There are obviously differences. The Libyan program was much smaller, but that was basically the agreement that we made.
“And so, we want to test North Korea in this first meeting for evidence that they have made that strategic decision, and we have -- we have history to give us some assistance on it. And at 1992, the joint North-South denuclearization agreement had North Korea pledging to give up any aspect of nuclear weapons and to give up uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing. Now, we got other things to talk about as well -- ballistic missiles, chemical and biological weapons, the American hostages, the Japanese abductees.”
AP: “Seoul: North Korea’s Kim vows to shut nuke test site in May,” by Kim Tong-Hyung in Seoul: “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to shut down his country’s nuclear test site in May and disclose the process to experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States, Seoul’s presidential office said Sunday.” https://bit.ly/2r3CQfI
BUT, BUT, BUT -- “Talk of peace with North Korea has the South wondering: Will this time be different?” by WaPo’s Anna Fifield in Seoul: “After 65 years in a technical state of war that has periodically descended into real conflict, Koreans on both sides of the divide woke up Saturday to a mind-boggling prospect: Could they finally, finally, be on the brink of a cold peace? Newspapers in South Korea and — astoundingly — in North Korea were plastered with photos of the South’s Moon Jae-in and the North’s Kim Jong Un meeting on the tense border that cleaves this peninsula in two. ‘No war on Korean Peninsula, complete denuclearization, formal end to Korean War this year,’ the Seoul Shinmun blared Saturday morning, summarizing the key points of the declaration that Moon and Kim signed after their historic meeting Friday.
“In Pyongyang, the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers’ Party and a paper not known for being fast with breaking news, devoted four pages to the summit, complete with full-color photos. ‘Historic summit opens new history of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity,’ the paper declared. The North’s Korean Central Television brought out its most authoritative anchor, Ri Chun Hee, to read the news of the agreement, complete with a half-hour of footage from the summit. She even uttered the words ‘complete denuclearization.’” https://wapo.st/2HzQGS7
MORE SUNDAY BEST … CHUCK TODD spoke with JAMES COMEY on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS”: TODD: “The House Republicans put out the House Intelligence Committee Report. I’m just curious if you believe it proves what the president says it proves. He claims that this report proves there’s no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia, and that it was all a big hoax by the Democrats based on payments and lies. Is that your interpretation?”
COMEY: “That is not my understanding of what the facts were before I left the F.B.I., and I think the most important piece of work is the one the Special Counsel’s doing now. This strikes me as a political document.”
TODD: “And did the House Intelligence Committee at all serve a good investigative purpose during all this, in your observations?” COMEY: “Not that I can see.” TODD: “Just totally got too politicized?” COMEY: “Yeah, and it wrecked the committee, and it damaged relationships with the FISA Court, the intelligence communities. It's just a wreck.”
JAKE TAPPER spoke to MICHAEL AVENATTI on CNN'S "STATE OF THE UNION": TAPPER: "So, you're suggesting that President Trump saying that Michael Cohen represented me in this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, or the language that he used, is an acknowledgement -- that's him acknowledging that he knew Michael Cohen was doing it. Is it not possible that he just meant, Michael Cohen represents me, and now he knows because of media coverage about that?"
AVENATTI: "No, I don't -- I don't think that's possible and I don't think it's probable. And I think, at the end of the day, we're going to be able to prove that the president knew about the agreement and knew about the $130,000."
NYT’s JONATHAN MARTIN, ALEX BURNS and MAGGIE HABERMAN, “Trump’s Role in Midterm Elections Roils Republicans”: “President Trump is privately rejecting the growing consensus among Republican leaders that they may lose the House and possibly the Senate in November, leaving party officials and the president’s advisers nervous that he does not grasp the gravity of the threat they face in the midterm elections.
“Congressional and party leaders and even some Trump aides are concerned that the president’s boundless self-assurance about politics will cause him to ignore or undermine their midterm strategy. In battleground states like Arizona, Florida and Nevada, Mr. Trump’s proclivity to be a loose cannon could endanger the Republican incumbents and challengers who are already facing ferocious Democratic headwinds.” https://nyti.ms/2FqB39J
-- WAPO’S PAUL KANE: “Democrats were looking at suburban districts. Now they’re glancing toward rural ones too” https://wapo.st/2HCDNHb
ARIZONA REPUBLIC A1: “State GOP jittery after narrow win by Lesko” http://bit.ly/2HE3OS4
DAILY MAIL: “That’s tree-son! Mystery as sapling French President Macron gifted Trump during his state visit DISAPPEARS from the White House South Lawn just five days after they planted it together” https://dailym.ai/2vTevPy
WHCD PARTY CIRCUIT -- SPOTTED at the NBC News and MSNBC after party, held at the Art Museum of the Americas (pix http://bit.ly/2Fq5PiY): Jordan Klepper, Andy Lack, David Cohen, Noah Oppenheim, Phil Griffin, Andrea Mitchell, Peter Alexander, Nicolle Wallace, Hallie Jackson, Kasie Hunt, Kristen Welker, Geoff Bennett, Chris Matthews, Dana Bash, Hans Nichols, Michael Calderone, Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Jonathan Capehart, Jeremy and Robyn Bash, Tom Bossert, Preet Bharara, Don Lemon, Jose Andres, Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle posing for a pic with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Heidi Przybyla posing with Kathy Griffin, David Hogg, Jim Sciutto, Michael Avenatti, Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Doug Jones (D-Ala) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) ...
... Marc Short, Gary Cohn, Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, Tammy Haddad, Jeff Zucker, Dina Powell, Dave McCormick, Jacob Soboroff, Carol Lee, Yamiche Alcindor, Jonathan Wald, Elise Jordan, Adam Verdugo, Bob Costa, Ken Strickland, Phil Mattingly, Patrick Steel and Lee Satterfield, Mark and Sally Ein, Ryan Lizza and Olivia Nuzzi, Michael Grynbaum, Howard Fineman, Marc Adelman, Maria Teresa Kumar.
-- TAMMY HADDAD hosted her 25th annual garden brunch on Saturday at Mark and Sally Ein’s house in Georgetown. Co-hosts also included Greta Van Susteren and John Coale, Hilary Rosen and Megan Murphy, Kevin Sheekey, Fred Humphries, Franco Nuschese, and Fritz Brogan. SPOTTED: Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, Hogan Gidley, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and John Delaney (D-Md.), Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans, Jordan Klepper, Bob Woodruff and Juju Chang, Stephanie Ruhle, Brian Stelter …
… Don Lemon, Heidi Przybyla, Bob Costa, Margaret Talev, Peter Alexander and Alison Starling, David Chalian, Jeff Zeleny, Jim Acosta, Rick Powell and Emily Shippee, Phil Rucker, Jonathan Karl, Steve Clemons, Jeremy and Robyn Bash, Ali Velshi, Kevin Baron, Dr. Carla Hayden, Charles Rivkin, Maddy and Paul Grayson, Fred Humphries, Patricia Harrison, Ted Olson and Lady Booth Olson ...
... Abbe Lowell, Valerie and Laura Jarrett, Amb. Lloyd and Ann Hand, Sally Quinn, Audrey Gelman, Katherine Marler, David Adler, Robert and Elena Allbritton, Ryan Williams, Jackie Rooney, Alice Lloyd, Erin Egan, Rachel Whetstone, Zach Leonsis, Ed and Deborah Lerner Cohen, Tina Tchen, Fred Ryan, Craig Gordon, Sam Feist, Andrew Morse, Michael Avenatti, Frank Luntz, Heather Podesta, Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, Richard Schiff.
-- SPOTTED last night at the CBS/Atlantic Media pre-party: David Bradley, Jeff Goldberg, Steve Clemons and Andrew Oros, Sean Spicer, Omarosa Manigault, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Wilbur Ross and Hilary Geary Ross, Gidon Feen, Rod Rosenstein, Tim Mak, Alex and Caitlin Conant, Annie Linskey, Matt Viser, John McCarthy, Jackie Alemany, Kylie Atwood, Rob Gifford, David Nakamura, Jeh Johnson, Julia Hahn, Tim and Kiki Burger, Tom Perez, Tina Tchen, Jeff Zucker, Geoff Morrell, Jose Andres, Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Major Garrett, Gretchen Carlson, Yarden Golan.
-- SPOTTED: Solicitor General Noel Francisco chatting with former Bush 43 Administration Solicitor General Ted Olson after the dinner -- pic http://bit.ly/2KpEK35 ... Susan Rice wearing headphones at the DJ booth with DJ Ben Chang and Ashley Chang at the Thomson Reuters pre-party at the Washington Hilton – pic http://bit.ly/2FqB0uJ
YOU’RE INVITED ... We’ll sit down with HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI on May 8 in D.C. Six months ahead of Election Day, Democrats have as good of a chance as ever at taking back the House majority. Who better to talk to than the former speaker, who could be House Democrats’ next speaker. RSVP http://bit.ly/playbookpelosi
2020 WATCH -- “Kamala Harris builds an online army,” by David Siders in Los Angeles: “[Sen. Kamala] Harris recently became the latest potential presidential candidate to pledge to no longer accept money from corporate political action committees — a move adopted by an increasing number of progressive Democrats who calculate that they have more to gain than lose by forgoing corporate PAC money.
“But Harris’ decision also reflected a broader — potentially more significant — effort to fortify her small-donor fundraising strategy ahead of the 2020 election. She’s spending aggressively to bolster her digital campaign infrastructure and cultivate supporters online, creating a template that resembles the one that served Sanders so well against Hillary Clinton.” https://politi.co/2JCMf5A
BONUS GREAT WHCD WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:
-- “Man on Fire,” by Michael Hall in Texas Monthly – per TheBrowser.com’s description: “What led an 84-year-old preacher, the Reverend Charles Moore, to set himself on fire in a Texas parking lot? He died, in terrible pain, 45 minutes later. Moore had been a courageous and lifelong campaigner for civil rights, and later for gay rights. But if he intended his suicide as an act of protest, he did not announce it as such. Rather, he seems to have imagined it as an act of sacrifice or purification. Four times he prepared for death, then faltered. The fifth time, he went ahead.” http://bit.ly/2I4UbwY
-- “‘Organization Don’t Mean S***’: Inside the Beginning of the End of the Clinton Campaign,” by Amy Chozick in Vanity Fair: “In an excerpt from her new book, ‘Chasing Hillary,’ the author explains how a group of perspicacious—and pretty miserable—Clinton campaign reporters knew the candidate’s electoral hopes were imperiled all the way back in Iowa, in early 2016.” http://bit.ly/2Hx6TaR ... Elle excerpt http://bit.ly/2KjlV1z ... $16.79 on Amazon https://amzn.to/2Hz2jJf
-- “Have the Sciences Had a #MeToo Moment? Not So Much,” by Kathryn Clancy in NatGeo’s May issue: “In many fields, sexual harassers have lost their jobs. But in the sciences, they’re often still getting paychecks instead of punishment.” https://on.natgeo.com/2vSforA
-- “Where have all the pilots gone?” by Jon Evans in TechCrunch: “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, they say — but at first aviation alone seems to take more brainpower than you can allocate. You have rudders, ailerons, elevators, trim, and throttle to control. Sometimes you need to tweak the propellor, the mixture, and the active fuel tank. All this while watching your airspeed, altitude, heading, and vertical speed; maintaining awareness of your engine indicators; and keeping an eye out for other airborne traffic.” https://tcrn.ch/2r2ng50
-- “‘As an Added Bonus, She Paid for Everything’: My Bright-Lights Misadventure with a Magician of Manhattan,” by Rachel DeLoache Williams in Vanity Fair: “She walked into my life in Gucci sandals and Céline glasses, and showed me a glamorous, frictionless world of hotel living and Le Coucou dinners and infrared saunas and Moroccan vacations. And then she made my $62,000 disappear.” http://bit.ly/2HYWpQP
-- “Whose Story (and Country) Is This?” by Rebecca Solnit in LitHub: “On the myth of a ‘real’ America.” http://bit.ly/2HxBiBE (h/t Longform.org)
-- “From Game of Thrones to The Crown: the woman who turns actors into stars,” by Sophie Elmhirst in The Guardian: “Done right, casting is an invisible act. The choice of an actor should seem obvious in retrospect. No one but Eddie Redmayne could have played Stephen Hawking. No one but Claire Foy could have played the young Queen. Casting directors never have the final say on who gets what part – that goes to the showrunner in television, the director and producers in film. Their art involves delicate persuasion, applying pressure without appearing to do so.” http://bit.ly/2I2VDzJ
-- “The Excessive Vision of Donatella Versace,” by Molly Young in GQ: “The brand never breaks character. The clothes always radiate the same fantasy of f***-you money. There are hundreds of places to shop if you want to project intelligence or sophistication. But if you want to look rich, you go to Versace. The danger of looking like an idiot is significant. If you don’t inhabit your tiger-striped velvet with sufficient confidence, you will be severely defeated by your own clothes.” http://bit.ly/2HYiIpR
-- “Japan’s Rent-a-Family Industry,” by Elif Batuman in The New Yorker: “People who are short on relatives can hire a husband, a mother, a grandson. The resulting relationships can be more real than you’d expect.” http://bit.ly/2HUqotf
-- “Life on the Oil Frontier,” by Maya Rao, author of “Great American Outpost: Dreamers, Mavericks, and the Making of an Oil Frontier,” in Longreads: “For all the technological marvels of this great fracking boom, gender mores date to the nineteenth century. Men come here to pay off child support debts, leaving struggling single mothers across America.” http://bit.ly/2Fmso8l ... $25.24 on Amazon https://amzn.to/2Kk8TRf
-- “Shutdown of Texas Schools Probe Shows Trump Administration Pullback on Civil Rights,” by ProPublica’s Annie Waldman, in a story co-published with Mother Jones: “The U.S. Department of Education was investigating why black students in Bryan, Texas, are almost four times as likely as white students to be suspended. Then Betsy DeVos took over.” http://bit.ly/2HD4NSR
-- “Ed Miliband has reasons to be cheerful,” by Alastair Campbell in GQ: “No longer gagged by the weight of high office, Labour’s last ex-leader Ed Miliband is speaking freely. With a rampantly popular podcast and his wise-cracking Twitter feed laying body blows on opponents past and present, in this interview the backbench nearly-man has reasons to be cheerful.” http://bit.ly/2JAeJgh
-- “The Apology Tour” – Longreads: “Writer Jonny Auping tracks down people he’s wronged in the past to say he’s sorry.” http://bit.ly/2Fnl9Ne
WEEKEND WEDDING -- “Stephanie Rolin, Azi Paybarah” – N.Y. Times: “Dr. Rolin, 33, is a fourth-year psychiatry resident at New York State Psychiatric Institute in Manhattan. She graduated from McGill University, and received a master’s degree in public health and a medical degree, with honors, from Dartmouth. ... Mr. Paybarah, 39, is a senior reporter in the New York bureau of Politico; he has been on sabbatical while completing a journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan. He graduated with honors from the University at Albany.” With a pic https://nyti.ms/2Fup4Io … Wedding Instapic http://bit.ly/2JAJEJk
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Hallie Jackson, chief White House correspondent at NBC News and MSNBC anchor. How she got her start in journalism: “A summer stint in New York public television opened my eyes to the immediacy and storytelling possibilities of broadcast journalism. I landed a job after graduation in Rehoboth Beach, covering everything from the Jolly Trolley to Delmarva soybean farms. A couple moves later, I ended up in DC, where I started studying for my masters degree in government. I hit pause on that when NBC hired me and shipped me to Los Angeles. ... Now, I’m back in Washington covering the biggest story on the planet.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: https://politi.co/2HZgCWI
BIRTHDAYS: Jane Lee … Melody Barnes, co-founder and principal at MBSquared Solutions, senior fellow at UVA’s Miller Center and an Obama alum … Reggie Love, Obama’s former body man and partner/VP at Transatlantic Holdings, is 36 ... Nadeam Elshami, EVP at Signal Group … Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is 68 (hat tip: Miranda Margowsky) ... DCCC’s Anatole Jenkins ... AP’s Alexandra Villarreal ... Karen Dynan ... Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) is 64 ... Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) is 72 ... Jerome Davis … Peter Kiley of C-SPAN ... Quinn Bradlee, “son of the late Ben and very much present Sally, is celebrating his 36th at Café Milano with his fiancé Fabiola Roman and friends” (h/t David Ignatius) ... Jeannie Etchart (h/t Tracey Lintott) ... Eric Pierce of Lockheed Martin ... Julie Whiston ... Ari Isaacman Bevacqua, director of comms at the NYT (h/t Jordan Cohen) ... Damien LaVera ... Allison Zelman, co-founder of Citizen 44 … Michael Castine … Jeff Poor, editor of Breitbart TV, is 42 … Dawn Kopecki ... Gentry Collins … BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse ... Alex Wright ... former Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.) is 71 ... Courtney Chandler ... Josh Sharp, co-founder and managing director of advertising at Advoc8 ...
... David Gelber, founding executive producer of “Years of Living Dangerously” on Showtime ... Pat Shortridge is 51 ... Jennifer Nycz-Conner of Wash Biz Journal ... Holly Morris of WTTG-5 (h/ts Kelley McCormick) ... Nate Sandals, associate at Latham and Watkins ... Gail Hoffman ... WaPo photographer Melina Mara ... Geng Ngarmboonanant ... Meg Greenhalgh ... Kara Panzer of Goldman Sachs ... Kristen Day … Lynne Weil, comms director and senior policy adviser for Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) (hubby tip: Nils Bruzelius) ... Cara Morris Stern, co-founder and partner of New Paradigm Strategy Group … Nick Horrock ... Matt Onek ... Scott Shadian ... Ryan Buicko ... Evelyn Call ... Dan Bayens ... Rob Hoppin, president and CEO of Hillenby ... Alison Corwin ... Alexandria Hiponia of FleishmanHillard ... Rob Bassin, political director at AIPAC (h/t Juleanna Glover) … Jennifer Ford ... Rich Folkers is 59 ... John Gonsalves ... Jim Merlino.