The TAKE with RICK KLEIN
The “very stable genius” who happens to be president is digging in for a long 2018 by waging some familiar fights.
President Donald Trump is practically daring Democrats to engage in a fight over his mental state. He legitimized discussion of his mental capacity with his weekend tweets, but in so doing is pushing his opponents to go further than the public would prefer.
Trump is also egging on the media in a new and eye-catching fashion.
The White House dispatched a policy aide to spar with a Sunday host over “fake news” – and the president himself tweeted about victory for his side. Next Wednesday will (presumably) bring the “Fake News Awards,” a presidential creation designed to push media buttons in ways he knows well.
The president is fond of calling himself a counter-puncher. But it’s worth remembering that he only fights, or fights back, when he’s confident he can win.
The RUNDOWN with MARYALICE PARKS
The outline of a so-called “wall” is starting to come into focus. And by most accounts, it looks more like a fence.
A memo from the Department of Homeland Security indicates that the administration is preparing to ask Congress for $18 billion for increased barriers, including nearly double the amount of fencing along the border, from 654 miles currently to around 1,000 in total, and another approximately $15 billion for other, more traditional border security.
While that dollar figure is high, and is likely being treated as an opening bid, the concept and compromise isn’t hard to imagine.
Democrats, who have vowed to fight for protections for Dreamers could get to claim a win. After all, they’d say, the president didn’t get an actually bona fide, 3D wall. Likewise, the White House and the GOP would say they still won too.
A win-win like that takes a level of civility that was absent from D.C. in 2017, but it would keep the government’s lights on– with a possible Jan. 19 shutdown looming.
Striking a deal and governing may be the best argument the president could hope for quieting his critics and, right now, frankly, president has little or no leverage to throw a fit or ask for more.
Yes, the wall may have been a core part of the campaign, but with a minuscule Senate majority, approval ratings where they are, and questions of competence floating, Republicans may have more to gain by looking across the aisle– than looking to the White House– for a partner.
The TIP with JORDYN PHELPS
First it was the fake media, now it’s a fake book written by a “totally discredited author.”
That’s the “c’est la vie” attitude President Trump took Sunday as he prepared to head back to the White House amid the continuing fallout from Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury.”
The president again makes a Reagan comparison, saying that Reagan dealt well with a similar issue during his presidency and “so will I.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up,” Oprah Winfrey said while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes on Sunday.
NEED TO READ
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.