Find Us

Are Trump's foreign policy risks paying off?

Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump with supporters during a campaign rally in Panama City, Florida, on May 8, 2019. Copyright Kevin Lamarque Reuters
Copyright Kevin Lamarque Reuters
By Chuck Todd and Mark Murray and Carrie Dann with NBC News Politics
Published on
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.


WASHINGTON — President Trump is increasingly being tested in international affairs. And those tests are largely self-inflicted.

  1. North Korea launched two rounds of missiles on Thursday - its second missile firing in a week. This comes after Trump has tried to strike a nuclear deal with the country, and after he's turned a blind eye to these kinds of provocations.
  2. Trump has threatened to prolong his trade war with China, as the two countries are trying to reach a deal. "I am very happy with over $100 Billion a year in Tariffs filling U.S. coffers," Trump tweeted yesterday. "Great for U.S., not good for China!"
  3. The Trump administration and Iran are flexing their muscles - with the United States imposing new sanctions on Iran and sending an aircraft carrier to the Middle East, and with Iran telling its proxy forces and surrogates that it can target U.S. assets in the region, per U.S. intelligence.
  4. And oh, in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro is still in power, despite the Trump administration's efforts to topple his regime. And now Trump is questioning his administration's strategy in the region, the Washington Post writes.

Trump has taken big risks — elevating Kim, imposing tariffs, scuttling the Iran nuclear deal, trying to topple Maduro — to get his desired results.

Sometimes taking risks is rewarded.

And sometimes they cause you even more problems.

Republicans turn on Burr after Don Jr. subpoena

Just one day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared "case closed" on the Mueller report, we learned that the GOP-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for Donald Trump Jr.

And that has some Republicans furious at the committee's chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

Here's Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.: "Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn't get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed..."

Here's the former communications director of Trump's 2016 campaign: "Such b.s. that @SenatorBurr (D-NC?) now taking marching orders from Democrats on the Senate Intel Committee & perpetuating Russia hoax."

And here's House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defending Don Jr: "@DonaldJTrumpJr has already spent dozens of hours testifying in front of Congressional committees. Endless investigations—by either party—won't change the fact that there was NO collusion. It's time to move on. It's time to focus on ISSUES, not investigations."

The significance of Burr's action — and remember the Senate Intel Committee has operated in a bipartisan manner — is that it undermines the GOP talking point that this is a Democratic witch hunt (even though Robert Mueller is a Republican).

Also, the Washington Post reports that the Senate Intel Committee issued its subpoena at least a WEEK AGO, meaning that McConnell likely knew about it before he delivered his "case closed" speech.

The governing wing of the Senate GOP is getting smaller

Speaking of the Senate… Last Saturday, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., announced he won't run for re-election in 2020, becoming the third Republican senator to retire this cycle.

The other two retirements: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Pat Roberts, R-Kansas. (Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is the Democrats' only Senate retirement so far.)

What all three men have in common is that they come from the "governing wing" of the Senate GOP.

That doesn't mean they're centrists. But on crucial, must-pass legislation, they're usually among those willing to reach across the aisle.

And it's possible — if not likely — that the Republicans who might replace them in these red states won't necessarily be members of the governing wing.

2020 Vision: Buttigieg is only 2020 Dem not offering staffers health care

NBC's Josh Lederman reports that Pete Buttigieg "isn't providing health care coverage to any of his own campaign workers, an NBC News review of his campaign spending disclosures shows."

"Instead," Lederman adds, "Buttigieg is providing a monthly stipend to workers to buy insurance on their own through the Obamacare exchanges, his campaign said, with plans to offer health care in the future."


More: "The practice stands in contrast to the other leading presidential candidates this year, as Democrats have made a point of aligning their internal practices with the policies and values they are emphasizing on the campaign trail."

On the campaign trail today

Beto O'Rourke and John Delaney both stump in New Hampshire… Pete Buttigieg, in California, attends an SEIU event with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti… And Kamala Harris, also in the Golden State, speaks at a San Francisco Black Newspaper anniversary celebration.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 29 percent

Twenty-nine percent.

That's the share of Americans who say that it would bother them either "some" or "a lot" to hear a foreign language spoken in public, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The share who say they wouldn't be bothered at all is 47 percent.


But there are major partisan differences, particularly among whites.

For white Democrats, just 18 percent say that they'd be bothered by hearing a foreign language spoken in a public place. But for white Republicans, it's nearly half.

ICYMI: New clips you shouldn't miss

A co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, is calling for government antitrust action.

Lawyers in Washington are weighing in onwhat's going on with Trump's executive privilege claim.

Democrats are trying to break an impasse on a bill to address Dreamers.


Beto O'Rourkehas hiredBarack Obama's 2008 delegate guru.

Republicans in the House and Senate are wooing Liz Cheney.

Other news that's out there…

Trump agenda: Questioning his own strategy

The presidentis questioning his administration's Venezuela strategy.

Here's the latest on the Trump trade talks.


Trumptold attendees of his rally in Florida that more disaster aid is on the way.

2020: Pete moves in on Harris' turf

Pete Buttigieg has captured the attention of Hollywood donors. That's bad news for Kamala Harris.

Beto O'Rourke got emotionaltalking about gun violence on the trail.

John Hickenlooper says his life experiences are what separate him from fellow Coloradan Michael Bennet.

Share this articleComments