WASHINGTON — The White House hoped to spend the week talking about guns and opioids before President Trump departed for Billy Graham’s funeral this week.
But as often happens at the Trump White House, the week didn’t entirely go according to plan. Trump went off script Monday, telling governors that he would have entered a Florida school and engaged a mass shooter even if he didn’t have a gun.
The week also saw two high-profile staff departures, a growing feud with Trump’s attorney general and a surprise announcement on steel tariffs.
Here’s a look back at the week that was at the White House:
► Running towards danger: Trump continue to attack police officers for failing to enter a Parkland, Fla., high school last month to stop a shooting. “I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” he said. He singled out one deputy assigned to the school and said his failure to act was “frankly, disgusting.”
► “WITCH HUNT!” In an early morning tweet storm, Trump quotes Fox News pundits casting doubt about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians and suggesting that there’s a “treasure trove of evidence of Mrs. Clinton’s criminality at her own hands.” Trump wraps up with a two-word tweet: “WITCH HUNT!”
► Kushner clearance: Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, has his security clearance downgraded. The White House’s security housecleaning was part of a crackdown initiated by Chief of Staff John Kelly in the aftermath of a scandal involving Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary accused of domestic violence. Kushner’s problem: Amended security clearance forms acknowledging contacts with foreign agents.
► Sessions broadside: Trump launches an attack on his own attorney general, calling Jeff Sessions “disgraceful” for not launching a criminal investigation into alleged abuses of domestic spying power. Sessions later responds, saying, “As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor.”
► Graham service: Trump attends a memorial service for Graham at the U.S. Capitol, calling the preacher an “ambassador for Christ” and noting that his father, developer Fred Trump, was “a big fan.”
► Gun due process: At a roundtable on school mass shootings, Trump bucks the National Rifle Association by suggesting he would take guns away from mentally ill people — with or without a court order. “I like taking guns away early,” Trump said. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
► Beyond Hope: White House communications director Hope Hicks announces her departure from the West Wing, one day after testifying to Congress that she sometimes told “white lies” on behalf of the president. And it came just after word that deputy White House communications director Josh Raffel, who handled spokesman duties for Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, was also leaving.
► Steel tariffs: Trump surprises manufacturers — and even some in his own administration — by announcing that he plans to institute tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. The Dow Jones Industrial Index slides 420 points.
► Drug dealer death penalty: At an opioid summit at the White House, Trump suggests publicly that the United States should follow the example of regimes that execute drug dealers. “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty,” he said. “And, by the way, they have much less of a problem.”
► Graham funeral: Trump traveled to Charlotte, N.C. to attend the funeral of the evangelical preacher who died last week.
► Trade wars: Trump justifies his decision to institute tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, saying trade wars are “easy to win.”
► Porter epilogue: Kelly tells reporters that the White House “didn’t cover ourselves in glory” in handling of the Porter security clearance.
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