Fri, Mar. 31, 2017: Trump signs executive orders on reducing trade deficit (after walking out on Oval Office ceremony)

President Trump walked out on his own Oval Office signing ceremony without actually signing his two executive orders on trade.

Trump’s abrupt departure from Friday’s ceremony came after a reporter shouted questions about the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who has offered to testify before Congress on Russian involvement in the U.S. election in return for immunity from prosecution.

Flynn resigned from the job in February amid revelations he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Reporters reacted with surprise when Trump left the room without signing his orders. Brian Teff of ABC Action News in Philadelphia called it “a hugely awkward moment.”

Pence, also appearing surprised, picked up the orders and followed Trump out of the Oval Office, tweeted CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.

The White House said Trump later signed the orders in another room. The orders were aimed at reducing the nation’s trade deficit by cracking down on “foreign importers that cheat,” the president said.

–Erin Kelly , USA TODAY

Fri, Mar. 31, 2017: Trump makes announcement on economic confidence with National Association of Manufacturers

President Donald Trump announced that a new survey from the National Association of Manufacturers showed the highest level of economic confidence from business leaders in the industry.

In a White House meeting, Trump announced that 93% of manufacturing industry executives surveyed by NAM, a lobbying group for the manufacturing industry, said they were optimistic on the future of the economy. Additionally, Trump said that “just a few months ago” that number was at 56%.

“It’s a surge of optimism that is spreading all across our land,” Trump said. “These survey results are another vote of confidence in our plan that will bring back jobs, lower taxes, and provide a level playing field our workers.”

Click here to read more from Business Insider.

Fri, Mar. 31, 2017: Trump backs Flynn seeking immunity from ‘witch hunt’

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday supported the decision of his former national security adviser to seek immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony in congressional probes of possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Retired General Michael Flynn wants protection against “unfair prosecution” if he testifies before the intelligence committees of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, his lawyer, Robert Kelner, said on Thursday.

“Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!” Trump wrote in a tweet. Continue reading “Fri, Mar. 31, 2017: Trump backs Flynn seeking immunity from ‘witch hunt’”

Thur, Mar. 30, 2017: Trump meets with Denmark Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen at White House

President Donald Trump held his first meeting Thursday with Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, declaring that the two countries enjoy a “truly great relationship.”

Loekke Rasmussen is the latest wary European ally to visit the White House since Trump took office, looking to ease concerns that the new administration will honor multilateral agreements with Europe and take a firmer stance against Russian aggression.

Trump greeted Loekke Rasmussen at the entrance to the West Wing. The leaders shook hands before heading to the Oval Office for their talks. Continue reading “Thur, Mar. 30, 2017: Trump meets with Denmark Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen at White House”

Thur, Mar. 30, 2017: Trump meets with Mnuchin in ‘first stages’ of tax reform planning

President Trump on Thursday met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about tax reform, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, as the White House enters its “first stages” of tackling the issue.

Trump has said he wants to shift his focus to tax reform after efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare stalled. The president’s goal is cutting taxes for businesses and middle-class families.

Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and others in the White House “have been meeting with and hearing from stakeholders on all sides of the tax-reform debate,” Spicer said.

Trump and his advisers “will continue to meet with those who support and oppose the various the policy options as they all sit on the table,because the president is committed to delivering results that the American people and American businesses will be able to see and feel in their paychecks,” he added.

–The Hill

Thur, Mar. 30, 2017: Trump promises to ‘fight’ House Freedom Caucus in 2018 midterms

President Trump declared war on the conservatives of the House Freedom Caucus on Thursday, suggesting Republicans should “fight them” in the 2018 midterm elections if they do not back his agenda.

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast,” Mr. Trump said Thursday morning on Twitter, escalating a fight that began when the conservatives from the caucus blocked his Affordable Care Act repeal last Friday.

“We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” Mr. Trump wrote, apparently making good on suggestions that he would support Republican challengers to lawmakers in his own party who oppose him, a stance advocated by his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

Click here to read more from The New York Times.

Wed, Mar. 29, 2017: Trump attends Women’s Empowerment Panel

President Donald Trump spoke at a Women’s Empowerment Panel hosted by the White House on March 29.

He expressed a commitment from his administration to helping women succeed economically, “My administration will work every day to ensure that our economy is a place where women can work, succeed, and thrive like never before. That includes fighting to make sure that all mothers and all families have access to affordable childcare.”