Wed, Mar. 8, 2017: Trump meets with conservative groups on GOP healthcare bill

Leaders of conservative groups that oppose the House Republicans’ health-care bill met with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday night, part of a high-profile effort to quiet anger from the right. In the process, the conservatives heard the president and his team express some openness to tweaks to the bill that go further than House or Senate leaders might accept.

Trump and his team did not outright reject changes on at least three components of the GOP’s American Health Care Act, said some of the meeting’s attendees, speaking on the condition of anonymity. One idea was accelerating the timetable for key changes to Medicaid under the House GOP plan from 2020 to 2018.

Leaders of the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action for America, Americans for Prosperity, Tea Party Patriots, and FreedomWorks all participated in the meeting, joined by White House staff including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, chief strategist Steve Bannon, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and legislative affairs director Marc Short.

The White House did not comment directly the content of the meeting, but noted generally that it is reaching out to various coalitions as it works with Congress to repeal and replace the ACA. Shortly after the meeting ended, Trump’s social media manager tweeted out a black-and-white photo.

Click here to read more from The Washington Post.

Wed, Mar. 8, 2017: Trump, Interior Secretary Zinke meet with Sens. Murkowski, Sullivan

Alaska’s U.S. Senators spent about an hour Wednesday in the Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump and the New Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke.

“An hour of the President’s time is a lot,” said Senator Dan Sullivan, who described the meeting as productive and informative for the President about issues facing Alaskans.

Senator Lisa Murkowski said she brought maps of the 49th state to the meeting that she said allowed them to not only share the story of Alaska’s resources when it comes to oil and gas opportunities, but also talk about other issues facing the largest state in the union. Continue reading “Wed, Mar. 8, 2017: Trump, Interior Secretary Zinke meet with Sens. Murkowski, Sullivan”

Wed, Mar. 8, 2017: Trump discusses drug prices, black community with Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) said Wednesday that he used his meeting at the White House with President Trump on prescription drug prices to also address the president’s past rhetoric about black communities.

Speaking to reporters outside the West Wing after his meeting, Cummings — who is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus — said he told the president that his language about African-American neighborhoods and inner cities had been “hurtful.”

“I said I don’t know if anybody has ever said this to you, but most African Americans are doing pretty good,” Cummings said. “And when we hear those words about carnage and we’re living depressed situations, I told him that it was very hurtful to people.”

Click here to read more from ABC News.

Wed, Mar. 8, 2017: Trump talks immigration with Laurene Powell Jobs

President Donald Trump discussed immigration policy with Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs and a critic of Trump’s travel ban, at the White House on Wednesday, according to an administration official.

The meeting comes after the president issued a second executive order temporarily barring travel and immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries. The order also halts all admissions under the U.S. refugee program for the next four months and halves the number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. this fiscal year.

Critics of the president’s immigration policies often point to Steve Jobs as an example of how the U.S. has benefited by welcoming foreigners into the country. The former Apple chief executive’s biological father, Abdul Fattah Jandali, immigrated to the U.S. from Syria in 1952.

Click here to read more from Bloomberg.

First lady hosts International Women’s Day luncheon

Melania Trump is hosting a luncheon on International Women’s Day. It’s her first solo White House event as first lady.

The U.N.-designated day commemorates the push for women’s rights. Women across the U.S. are observing the day by skipping work and shopping, and attending rallies.

At the White House, the first lady welcomed about 50 women seated at tables adorned with floral centerpieces of pharaoh tulips and sweet pea flowers in shades of purple.

Attendees included her daughter-in-law, Ivanka Trump; Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen; White House counselor Kellyanne Conway; and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Continue reading “First lady hosts International Women’s Day luncheon”

First Lady’s approval rating is on the rise

The more Americans learn about first lady Melania Trump, the more they like her.

Her favorability rating is up 16 points since her husband was sworn-in as President, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday in CNN’s COVER/LINE newsletter.

About 52% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Melania Trump, an increase from 36% pre-inauguration. In February 2016, the former model’s favorable rating was a paltry 24%, her unfavorable was 31% and 23% had never even heard of her. Now, just 3% say they don’t know who the first lady is, and her unfavorable rate has held steady at 32%.

Most of the recent uptick in favorable results are due to those undecided Americans, or those who had yet to form an opinion. Pre-inauguration, 23% had no opinion about the first lady, compared with 12% now.

Click here to read more from CNN.

Wed, Mar. 8, 2017: Trump meets Steve Jobs’ widow, hosts strategy lunch on infrastructure, meets with conservative leaders on healthcare

10:30 am: Receives his daily intelligence briefing

11:00 am: Meets with Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs

12:30 pm: Hosts a strategic affairs lunch regarding infrastructure

2:30 pm: Meets with Congressman Elijah Cummings

4:00 pm: Meets with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Senator Dan Sullivan

5:05 pm: Meets with conservative leaders about healthcare

6:30 pm: Dinner with Senator and Mrs. Cruz