Politico

Trump After Dark: Digging a Hole edition

Say what now?

President Donald Trump asked why the United States wanted to admit immigrants from “shithole nations” as he grew frustrated during a negotiating session with lawmakers, POLITICO’s Seung Min Kim and Matthew Nussbaum report. The comment came as lawmakers explained how immigrants from Africa could still get access to some visas under their compromise plan.

“Then, Trump asked, why does the United States want ‘all these people from shithole countries?’”

Trump added, ““We need more people from Norway,” according to the people familiar with the meeting.

The White House didn’t deny the remarks, originally reported by The Washington Post.

It’s the second time in about a month that has been accused of making racially-tinged comments. The White House denied a New York Times report that Trump declared immigrants from Nigeria would be forced to “go back to their huts.”

As has often been the case with Trump, particularly when he speaks about immigration, his comments prompted immediate disdain from Democrats, some Republicans and other immigration advocates. They also had the effect of distracting from what may, or may not, be a looming immigration deal.

Earlier today, a bipartisan group of six senators declared they had reached an agreement on an immigration deal that would shield Dreamers from deportation and make other changes to immigration laws and border security.

But the White House and Trump have yet to sign off on the deal.

Elsewhere in President Trump’s orbit:

STEEL AN ISSUE: President Trump is headed to southwestern Pennsylvania next week as he seeks to head off another potentially embarrassing special election defeat in a House race there.

NOTHING DOING: Despite declaring an opioid emergency, President Trump has yet to do much more than draw attention to the drug crisis and states say they want more than hopes and prayers.

NO-PRAH: Among the 2016 Clinton campaign’s laments — the lack of of a big, public endorsement event with Oprah Winfrey. The entertainment mogul’s eye-catching Golden Globe speech has caused some to ask what could have been.

MOUNTAIN OUT OF A NO HILL: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that no one at the White House talks about Hillary Clinton — just hours after President Trump tweeted about the 2016 Democratic nominee.

MEDICAID SHIFT: The Trump administration has signalled to states that it is open to a work requirement in order to qualify for Medicaid. (Washington Post)

HAM HANDED: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the “five white guys” negotiating a DACA compromise should open a “hamburger stand” comments that expressed her frustration with the process but also drew a rebuke from fellow Democrats.

HEZ PRIORITIZING: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has created a task force to focus on terrorist organization Hezbollah’s financing and drug running.

TAX AND SPEND: A wave of employee bonuses, and some wage increases, have raised hopes that the GOP’s tax bill will bring a new economic dawn, but others worry it’s just a sugar high.

FISA CAKE: Renewal of the government’s controversial online surveillance capabilities cleared a big hurdle in the House today, even as President Trump’s tweets — first condemning, then supporting the measure — caused confusion and appeared to mirror a debate on Fox News.

LAWYERING UP: Former White House senior strategist Steve Bannon has hired a lawyer to navigate part of the sprawling Russia investigation.

MELANIA’S MOVES: First Lady Melania Trump is staffing up, adding three aides including a director of policy, an advance and scheduling staffer and a communications aide.

There you have it. You’re caught up on the Trump administration. TGIT.

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