Author: Philip Rucker

Trump at a precarious moment in his presidency: Privately brooding and publicly roaring

In private, President Trump spent much of the past week brooding, as he often does. He has been anxious about the Russia ­investigation’s widening fallout, with his former campaign chairman standing trial. And he has fretted that he is failing to accrue enough political credit for what he claims as triumphs. At rare moments of introspection for the famously self-centered president, Trump has also expressed to confidants lingering unease about how some in his orbit — including his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — are ensnared in the Russia probe, in his assessment simply because of their ­connection to...

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Trump praises Kim’s authoritarian rule, says ‘I want my people to do the same’

President Trump on Friday complimented Kim Jong Un’s authoritarian rule in North Korea, observing with apparent envy that when the 35-year-old dictator speaks, “his people sit up at attention.” “He’s the head of a country, and I mean he’s the strong head,” Trump told Fox News Channel. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” It was unclear whether Trump was referring to the American people or only to his staff. His interview with “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy took place along the...

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‘Pure madness’: Dark days inside the White House as Trump shocks and rages

Inside the White House, aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility — with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center. These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much farther President Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover. As one official put it: “We haven’t bottomed out.” Trump is now a president in transition, at times angry and increasingly isolated. He fumes in private that just about every time he looks up at a...

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Companies that tie announcements to tax bill earn goodwill with Trump

By Philip Rucker, Moments before President Trump claimed his first legislative victory, he was notified that AT&T would be investing an additional $1 billion in U.S. networks and offering its employees a one-time bonus — thanks, the company said, to the Republican tax bill. Then, as if on cue, the president crowed about it at a celebratory photo opportunity Wednesday afternoon on the South Lawn of the White House. Soon came a string of similar pronouncements from other corporate behemoths. Comcast said it was offering its employees $1,000 bonuses. Boeing said it was making $300 million in new investments. Fifth Third Bancorp said it, too, was giving workers bonuses and raising its minimum hourly wage to $15. And Wells Fargo also said it was upping its minimum hourly wage to $15. Trump and his aides and allies were quick to seize on the corporate announcements as evidence that — even before the bill was signed into law, which could happen as early as Friday — good fortune was trickling down to workers. Trump tweeted Friday morning: “Our big and very popular Tax Cut and Reform Bill has taken on an unexpected new source of ‘love’ – that is big companies and corporations showering their workers with bonuses. This is a phenomenon that nobody even thought of, and now it is the rage. Merry Christmas!” A day earlier, White House press...

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Elizabeth Warren to call Donald Trump a ‘nasty, loud, thin-skinned fraud’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (AP/Timothy D. Easley) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who this spring has delivered some of the most effective and eviscerating criticism of Donald Trump, plans in a speech Thursday to uncork a new attack on the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee. Warren will call Trump “a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud” who used “racism” to attack the federal judge overseeing a Trump University lawsuit, according to excerpts of her prepared remarks. The liberal senator also will seek to saddle Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) with Trump’s racially divisive rhetoric. “Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell want Donald Trump to appoint the next generation of judges,” Warren plans to say in an address to the American Constitution Society. “They want those judges to tilt the law to favor big business and billionaires like Trump. They just want Donald to quit being so vulgar and obvious about it. Donald Trump chose racism as his weapon, but his aim is exactly the same as the rest of the Republicans. Pound the courts into submission to the rich and powerful.” Warren’s remarks come as Senate Republican leaders continue to block votes on a number of President Obama’s judicial appointments, including Merrick Garland, his nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Republicans believe the seat should remain open until next year, enabling the next president...

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