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Today is May Day, when we stop to honor the labor movement that gave us the weekend — or, as it’s known now, “prime surge pricing time.” The White House is gutting Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” program, presumably to reallocate resources to Melania’s anti-bullying campaign that is definitely still happening. And, on that note, President Trump appointed an anti-abortion and anti-contraception activist to run a family planning program for low-income Americans, reminding us — once again — how fortunate we all are to have Ivanka Trump’s moderating and staunchly feminist influence on his agenda. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 1st, 2017:
PRESIDENT IS VERY CORRUPT, PT. 681,733, 052 - We’re so excited for all the drapes in the White House to be replaced with a bunch of Trump ties stapled together. S.V. Date: “President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has sent $274,000 in rent to Trump’s office building during the first three months of this year, even though fewer than two dozen employees are on the payroll for an election more than three years away. That total works out to a monthly average of $91,000, which is more than half of what Trump’s campaign was paying Trump Tower each month at the height of the presidential race last year. Back then, though, the campaign had 168 employees with a New York City address on the payroll, compared with just 20 now, according to a HuffPost analysis of Federal Election Commission filings.” [HuffPost]
Steve Bannon once wrote a rap musical and it has finally been staged. Really.
RANDOM HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS YEAR’S WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ DINNER
- Seeing Jeffrey Lord picking at his teeth in the bathroom mirror.
- Axios, which purchased roughly 45,761 tables for its staff.
- Not having to hear Donald Trump bomb and instead writing his would-be bad jokes in our head (”A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar and half my senior staff walk out”).
- The moment when White House reporters were asked to stand and be recognized. Give or take, 12 people in attendance actually stood. Even when the president doesn’t speak, it’s not really about the First Amendment, it’s about Washington.
- The awesome student journalists who were HuffPost’s guests. At one point, they really wanted to talk to David Farenthold but were being buttonholed by Wolf Blitzer.
- Mike Allen, enjoying the comedy.
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AND WHAT’S REALLY GOOD WITH THE FIRST BARBARY WAR? - A house divided against itself cannot stand…unless there are deals. Great, great deals. Willa Frej: “President Donald Trump thinks the Civil War could have been prevented under different leadership. If President Andrew Jackson had still been in power, the Civil War wouldn’t have even happened, Trump told the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito last week. ‘I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War,’ Trump said. ‘He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening, with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’ ‘Why could that one not have been worked out?’ Trump asked. Trump may have been awkwardly alluding to the nullification crisis of the 1830s, while Jackson was president.” [HuffPost]
Read the transcript of the CBS News interview Trump walked out on when John Dickerson had the temerity to ask if POTUS believes what he said about Obama spying on him.
DEPARTMENT OF COLD SHOWERS - Poor women have ways of shutting that whole thing down. Laura Bassett: “President Donald Trump has appointed Teresa Manning, an anti-abortion activist who has argued that ‘contraception doesn’t work,’ to oversee a federal family planning program for low-income Americans. Manning, a former lobbyist with the National Right to Life Committee and legislative analyst for the conservative Family Research Council, will serve as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Population Affairs administers the Title X program, which subsidizes contraception, Pap smears and other preventive health care services for 4 million low-income Americans, roughly half of whom are uninsured.” [HuffPost]
LET GIRLS DO SOMETHING ELSE - But, didn’t they see the Fearless Girl statue? Kevin Liptak: “The Trump administration is discontinuing a signature girls education initiative championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, according to officials. The ‘Let Girls Learn’ program, which she and President Barack Obama started in 2015 to facilitate educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries, will cease operation immediately, according to an internal document obtained by CNN. While aspects of the initiative’s programming will continue, employees have been told to stop using the ‘Let Girls Learn’ name and were told that, as a program unto itself, ‘Let Girls Learn’ was ending.” [CNN]
Brett Stephens’ first NYT op-ed has been appended with a correction about the data he cited.
CAN’T WAIT TO GET OUR ATTACK HELICOPTERS - Amanda Terkel: “Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green (R), President Donald Trump’s nominee for Army secretary, strongly believes that citizens should be armed ― and not just with any ol’ guns. They should be able to possess whatever weapons the military has, because an armed citizenry is the ‘ultimate checks and balances’ against the federal government…. Green said at a pro-gun rally in 2013…. Green did not return a request for comment on when it would be appropriate for a citizen to take up arms against a federal official.” [HuffPost]
CASTRO WON’T SEEK CRUZ’S SEAT - We would love nothing more than a Kinky Friedman-Ted Cruz matchup. Who do we call to make that happen? Ed O’Keefe: “Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) will not launch a bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), likely clearing the field for another Democratic congressman to take on the first-term Republican incumbent…. The announcement caps several months of deliberations by the third-term lawmaker, whose twin brother, Julián Castro, is the former secretary of housing and urban development and is mulling a possible 2020 presidential campaign. While Joaquin Castro says he is not considering a Senate run now, he isn’t entirely ruling out such a campaign down the road. For now, Castro is preparing to run for reelection to his House seat but realizes that political developments could change his decision, said an aide familiar with the congressman’s thinking.” [WaPo]
TRUMP DOESN’T KNOW WHAT’S IN THE HEALTH CARE BILL - The White House is trying again to force a vote on it, even while Trump says it has to change, or something. Margaret Talev, Jennifer Jacobs and Jennifer Epstein: “President Donald Trump said Monday the Republican health-care bill being negotiated in Congress ultimately will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions as well as Obamacare does. ‘I want it to be good for sick people. It’s not in its final form right now,’ he said during an Oval Office interview Monday with Bloomberg News. ‘It will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.’ The latest version of the House GOP bill, which Republican leaders are trying to figure out whether they have the votes to pass this week, wouldn’t live up to that promise and would weaken those protections.” [Bloomberg]
REAL OFFICIALS WINNING OUT OVER FAKE ONES - Michael Grunwald, Andrew Restuccia and Josh Dawsey: “The White House is quietly starting to pull the plug on its shadow Cabinet of Trump loyalists who had been dispatched to federal agencies to serve as the president’s eyes and ears. These White House-installed chaperones have often clashed with the Cabinet secretaries they were assigned to monitor, according to sources across the agencies, with the secretaries expressing frustration that the so-called ‘senior White House advisers’ are mostly young Trump campaign aides with little experience in government…. ‘It’s like a roomful of Jonahs from “Veep,”’ one administration official said.” [Politico]
Welcome to the presidency as a “*record scratch* *freeze frame* yup that’s me you’re probably wondering how I ended in this situation” meme. “Last week, I learned a pretty great way to make the headlines. It’s sort of a two-step process. First, you become the president of the United States. Next, as you near your 100th day in office, you refer to your job ― out loud, to a room of reporters ― like so: ‘I thought it would be easier.’ And just like that, you’re going to be all anyone wants to talk about…. Oddly, he doesn’t seem to understand that it was inevitably going to be this way, because this is presidency of the United States we are talking about. Was he aware that one of the nicknames for ‘president of the United States’ is ‘leader of the free world?’ Ever seen the free world? Complicated place, it turns out.” [HuffPost’s Jason Linkins]
WEREN’T WE GOING TO WAR WITH NORTH KOREA, LIKE, A WEEK AGO? Margaret Talev and Jennifer Jacobs: “President Donald Trump said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un amid heightened tensions over his country’s nuclear weapons program if the circumstances were right. ‘If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,’ Trump said Monday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. ‘If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.’ [Bloomberg]
Trump sure does “consider” a lot of things he never actually does, WaPo’s Philip Bump observes.
LEAN FORWA— ER, BACK… MSNBC is turning away from its liberal emphasis but, sadly, this doesn’t include the return of Dr. Nancy. Ryan Grim: “Andy Lack, the NBC News executive who oversees MSNBC...has made quite clear his plan to move the cable news network away from its bedrock liberalism and toward a more centrist approach personified by Brian Williams — or even in a conservative bent, as typified by hosts like Megyn Kelly or Greta Van Susteren, who Lack brought over from Fox News. Noah Oppenheim, Lack’s new deputy who has a long history of provocative right-wing journalism, is shepherding in the changes — which have coincidentally made MSNBC look much whiter. But Lack, in seeking to make this vision a reality, has an unusual problem for a TV executive: sky-high ratings.” [HuffPost]
SENIOR FOX NEWS EXECUTIVE OUT AMID HARASSMENT SCANDALS - Michael Calderone and Michael McLaughlin: “Embattled Fox News Co-President Bill Shine resigned Monday following intense scrutiny about his stewardship of the network in the wake of the Bill O’Reilly scandal and amid growing sexual harassment and racial discrimination allegations. A veteran network executive, Shine was promoted to co-president just weeks after Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes’ downfall over widespread sexual harassment claims, and his departure comes two weeks after top-rated host O’Reilly left the network due to a similar scandal…. Fox News host Sean Hannity rallied around the executive on Thursday, following reports that his friend and former producer’s tenure appeared imperiled. On Twitter, he said that Shine is an ‘innocent man’ and that ‘this is the total end of [Fox News] as we know it’ if he were to be replaced.” [HuffPost]
Area government still does good, occasionally: “The massive government spending bill negotiated by lawmakers over the weekend includes a provision that would create an additional 2,500 visas for Afghan interpreters who worked alongside the U.S. military in the war in Afghanistan.” [HuffPost’s Jessica Schulberg]
KIDS NOW FREE TO DRINK A GALLON OF CHEEZ WHIZ FOR LUNCH - “Rolling back Michelle Obama’s signature initiative as first lady, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on Monday that school lunches would no longer have to meet some of Mrs. Obama’s dietary guidelines calling for healthy meals that include skim milk and whole grains.” [NYT]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a purring dog.
DIRTY HIPPIES RUIN LOYALTY DAY - Get a job, workers! Dave Jamieson: “Workers in cities from coast to coast took the day off Monday to hit the streets and protest the Donald Trump administration for what organizers hoped would be the largest May Day demonstration in the U.S. in years. The mass protest ― coordinated by labor, immigration and other progressive groups ― served as another early test of the grassroots momentum against the new White House and its right-wing policies. It came on the heels of a climate march that drew tens of thousands to Washington on Saturday.” [HuffPost]
- Your disappearing thumb trick is nowhere near as good as this guy’s.
- A really great introduction to the evolution of southern accents.
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