Donald Trump is back in Washington. Here’s what we think he’ll say about Afghanistan.
Welcome to Mic’s daily read on Donald Trump’s America.
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This week in Trump’s America
Coming off one of the most tumultuous weeks of his presidency, President Donald Trump sought a middle ground on Saturday, thanking the thousands of protesters who turned out in Boston to shut down a far-right rally planned there.
It was a briefly conciliatory tone from a president under fire all week for doubling down on equivocating white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump now faces the question of whether he can sustain a shift away from the “bigotry and hate” he condemned this Saturday.
Trump is back in Washington. With his working vacation over, he will address the country at 9 p.m. Eastern on Monday to outline his approach to the war in Afghanistan. Generals have been calling for more U.S. troops in the country.
Other than the State of the Union, this is Trump’s first prime-time address to the country. During the campaign, Trump called for less U.S. intervention overseas. Now, he’s expected to announce an increase of soldiers in Afghanistan. This comes a few days after Trump fired Steve Bannon, his nationalist chief strategist, and empowered the military and globalist power centers in the White House.
Trump is traveling to a campaign rally Tuesday in Phoenix on Tuesday, where he is expected to make the case for his proposed border wall. Watch for whether he calls for wall funding as part of a deal in September to fund the government. Doing so could lead to a government shutdown.
Arizona is home to two of Trump’s chief opponents in the GOP Senate: John McCain and Jeff Flake. Flake has advanced a conservative brand antithetical to Trumpism. He recently penned a New York Times op-ed, for example, that called for immigrants who work hard to be let into the United States — and directly called out Trump. McCain shared that story as a “must read.”
Beyond Flake and McCain, how Republicans respond to Trump on Tuesday could be indicative of how closely they want to align themselves with him in the wake of his Charlottesville remarks. Trump’s approval ratings are low, but his base is still with him. And those voters, concerned about immigration, expect a wall.
Bonus: Trump may pardon Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, and an immigration hardliner. That would rile up the base and anger immigrant, minority and progressive groups.
Today’s question: Would a troop surge in Afghanistan contradict Trump’s campaign promise to scale back American intervention in the world? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
Monday in Trump’s America
Ten U.S. sailors are missing after a South Pacific collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker. Trump sent his “thoughts & prayers” to the missing sailors. McCain thanked search and rescue teams.
The White House is reading new NBC News/Marist polls that show Trump with about a 35% approval rating in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Those three states stunned in November and delivered Trump the presidency. This increases pressure on Trump to deliver a major win in the fall.
Upon leaving the White House, Bannon returned to Breitbart within hours. And he sees a major coverage opportunity “to the right of Fox News.” Trump praised Bannon, who is ready for “war,” with forces shaping Trump’s presidency.
CEOs who found themselves cautiously optimistic that Trump would be good for the economy — and their bottom line — are now worried he will not deliver.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin responded to criticism from former Yale classmates about why he continues to work for Trump.
A must-read after the events of the past week: How the far right is rapidly being pushed back to the fringes. And here are details on how thousands of protesters shut down a far-right rally in Boston on Saturday.
Inside Trump’s 2020 re-election machine.
Watch our interview with Al Munzer, a Holocaust survivor whose sisters perished in Auschwitz. He has a message for white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia.