First Draft on Politics: A Massive Bomb

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The "mother of all bombs" was used by the United States in Afghanistan.
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Friday, April 14, 2017

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The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb is the largest conventional bomb in the American arsenal. A strike on Thursday in Afghanistan was the first combat use of the bomb.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb is the largest conventional bomb in the American arsenal. A strike on Thursday in Afghanistan was the first combat use of the bomb. Eglin Air Force Base, via Associated Press
Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • The United States dropped its most powerful nonnuclear bomb on an Islamic State complex in Afghanistan. The strike was the first use of the weapon and part of the Pentagon’s intense air campaign in Afghanistan against the militant group. Separately, the Pentagon said that an airstrike in Syria by the American-led coalition had killed 18 Syrian fighters allied with the United States.
  • President Trump has failed to get enough support from his own party to overhaul the health care law, but he hopes to get the Democrats’ help by forcing them to the negotiating table with hints about the chaos he could cause.
 The First Draft Team
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The Interpreter. In Your Inbox. Understand the world with sharp insight and commentary on the major news stories of the week. • Sign up »

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Trump’s Reversals, in His Own Words
By AUDREY CARLSEN AND JUGAL K. PATEL
President Trump has changed his position on several longstanding positions over the past week.
NATO
Mr. Trump has criticized NATO for not focusing on terrorism. Though little has changed about NATO since he became president, he has changed his perspective about the alliance.
March 23, 2016
“I think NATO may be obsolete.”
Interview with Bloomberg Politics
April 4, 2016
“He asked me about NATO. I said it’s obsolete.”
Campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wis., describing an interview with Wolf Blitzer
July 31, 2016
“I said NATO is obsolete, because it’s not taking care of terror.”
Interview with ABC’s “This Week”
Jan. 16, 2017
“I said a long time ago that NATO had problems. Number one, it was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago.”
Joint interview with The Times of London and the German newspaper Bild
April 12, 2017
“I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”
News conference at the White House
See more reversals »

U.S. Drops ‘Mother of All Bombs’ on ISIS Caves in Afghanistan

By HELENE COOPER AND MUJIB MASHAL

A new version of the most powerful conventional bomb in the American arsenal, so big it had to be dropped from a cargo plane, was used for the first time in combat.

For Trump, a Steep Learning Curve Leads to Policy Reversals

By PETER BAKER

For any new occupant of the White House, the early months are like a graduate seminar in policy crammed into every half-hour meeting. What made sense on the campaign trail may have little bearing on reality in the Oval Office.

News Analysis

President’s Previous View of NATO Is Now Obsolete

By PETER BAKER

After 82 days in office, President Trump pronounced NATO rehabilitated, taking credit for transforming it into a modern, cost-sharing, terrorism-fighting pillar of American and European security.

Trump Threatens Health Subsidies to Force Democrats to Bargain

By ROBERT PEAR

The president’s tone differs from that of Republicans in Congress, who have repeatedly promised a smooth transition away from the law they call Obamacare.

President Signs Law Taking Aim at Planned Parenthood Funding

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

The legislation nullifies a rule barring state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services, regardless of whether they performed abortions.

Mike Pompeo, Once a WikiLeaks Fan, Attacks It as Hostile Agent

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG

Mr. Pompeo’s attack on WikiLeaks was the latest sign that the Trump administration does not see itself beholden to past statements or stances.

Trump Plan Would Curtail Protections for Detained Immigrants

By CAITLIN DICKERSON

As the administration tries to find jail space for its crackdown on illegal immigration, it is moving to curtail rules regarding the health and safety of detainees.

The Legal Battle Over Arkansas’ Plan to Execute Seven Men in 10 Days

By K.K. REBECCA LAI

Death row inmates have argued that the state’s rushed execution schedule and the use of the drug midazolam are unconstitutional.

Secret Service Fires Two Officers Over White House Fence-Jumping Episode

By NICHOLAS FANDOS

The officers, who were not identified, were on duty last month when a California man scaled a fence and roamed the grounds for 17 minutes.

Trump Organization Drops Plans for Dallas Hotel With ‘Turkish Trump’

By BEN PROTESS AND STEVE EDER

The Trump Organization was considering teaming up with Mukemmel Sarimsakci, a Turkish-born developer who has extensive international ties.

Social Media Is Not Contributing Significantly to Political Polarization, Paper Says

By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

Researchers at Brown and Stanford Universities found that the growth in political polarization was most significant among the people least likely to be online.

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Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
 
From the Right
• Victor Davis Hanson in American Greatness:
“Trump must realize what won him the presidency and will keep it for him are the likes of the scruffy Bannon, the supermom Conway, the often weird and bothersome Freedom Caucus […]”
With rumors swirling that Stephen K. Bannon is falling out of favor with President Trump, conservative commentators like Victor Davis Hanson used their columns to write about why Mr. Bannon was so important to the Trump campaign and administration. Truly populist figures like Mr. Bannon, Mr. Hanson argues, connect the president to his base and ensure that the president does not slip into an easy centrism, as has been common in previous presidencies. “Cultural optics,” so important to Mr. Trump during his reality-television days, are equally important in the White House. Read more »
_____
 
From the Left
David Dayen in The Nation:
“Let’s learn a little about our new president, Gary Cohn.”
There is probably little that David Dayen and Victor Davis Hanson agree on apart from the importance of Stephen K. Bannon to President Trump’s popularity. By no means a fan of Mr. Bannon, Mr. Dayen finds the ascendancy of Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council director and former Goldman Sachs president, to be equally troubling. Mr. Cohn and his politics, Mr. Dayen argues, are responsible for Mr. Trump’s recent change of heart when it comes to the Federal Reserve chairwoman, Janet Yellen; the strength of the dollar; and China’s currency manipulation. These new policies reflect a “stodgy business Republicanism” befitting an establishment figure like Jeb Bush, and they may just cost President Trump his base. Read more »
_____
 
More selections »
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