December 16, 2018

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's past criticisms of President Trump have received new attention over the weekend following Friday's news of Mulvaney's acceptance of his third role in the Trump administration.

After the 2016 discovery of Trump's lewd Access Hollywood remarks, Mulvaney wrote on his congressional Facebook page that Trump is "not a very good person," and his words were "disgusting and indefensible." In a debate with his Democratic rival for that year's election, Mulvaney similarly said he was supporting Trump despite thinking "he's a terrible human being" because "the choice on the other side is just as bad."

Despite this past antipathy, a Politico report late Saturday describes Mulvaney as an eager recipient of his new role. "He would have given up a very valuable appendage to get that job," an unnamed Republican close to the Trump White House claimed.

Politico's sources said Washingtonian assessment of Mulvaney's aims in rising through the ranks of the Trump administration varies. While "some conservatives on the Hill see him as a sellout, a ladder-climber who puts career advancement over principle," others "argue that he's done the best he can given the president he serves and advanced conservative priorities where he can." Read the full report here. Bonnie Kristian

September 25, 2018

President Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday, speaking directly to the gathered world leaders for the second time in his presidency. "One year ago, I stood before you for the first time," Trump said to begin his speech, explaining that he planned to update U.N. leaders on the "extraordinary progress we've made."

Rote introduction dispensed with, Trump's solemn tone forecasted a serious, on-message speech. That is, until his very next sentence. "In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country," he said — prompting laughter from his audience. Trump interrupted himself to say his declaration was "so true," which only evoked heartier laughter from the crowd.

After an awkward beat, Trump relented: "Didn't expect that reaction, but that's okay," he said with a half-smile. Again, the crowd laughed, this time with applause. Watch the stunning moment below. Kimberly Alters

September 23, 2018

A new ad for Democrat David Brill, who is challenging Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for his seat, features six people in diverse occupations arguing Gosar is "absolutely not working for his district." The twist: They're all Gosar's siblings, and they're encouraging Arizonans to vote their brother out of office.

Gosar responded on Twitter Saturday:

On a lighter note than linking his siblings to a genocidal dictator, Gosar joked he must be "Mom's favorite," as his mother supports his campaign. Thanksgiving is gonna be so awkward this year. Bonnie Kristian

July 11, 2018

Chief of Staff John Kelly has been rumored to be on the verge of leaving the White House practically since he got in, but the gossip has ramped up in recent months to what seems like a breaking point. "Kelly has referred to [President] Trump multiple times as an 'idiot,' and has grown frustrated with his policy ignorance," Vanity Fair wrote in April.

While it is always prudent to take such reports with a grain of salt, Kelly certainly looked wickedly uncomfortable on Wednesday as he listened to Trump go to town on Germany at the NATO summit breakfast. As the president defiantly told allies "Germany is totally controlled by Russia" and "you tell me if that's appropriate," Kelly squirmed in the background, looking like he wished he could be swallowed up by the floor.

To be fair to Kelly, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison doesn't look any more comfortable. Watch the extremely awkward moment below, and revisit Kelly's similar reaction at the United Nations last year here. Jeva Lange

July 7, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang was "regrettable," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday after Pompeo left.

"We had expected that the U.S. side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of" the Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, the statement said. "However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting" has led to a "dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm."

Pompeo did not meet with Kim during his trip, but spoke far more optimistically of the talks, saying earlier Saturday "we made progress in every element of our discussions." Bonnie Kristian

May 9, 2018

On Wednesday, the senators of the Senate Intelligence Committee have the opportunity to question Gina Haspel, President Trump's nominee to be the next CIA director, on her qualifications for the position. Each lawmaker has just a few minutes to bombard Haspel with questions, which will likely seek to suss out her stance on torture techniques previously used by the CIA and how she plans to navigate her relationship with President Trump.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) did not seem concerned about the time constraints, however. He opened his questioning with a soliloquy about the partisanship that has seeped into the nomination process under the Trump administration, specifically calling out "overwhelming Democratic opposition." He then asked Haspel how many votes she believes she would've received for confirmation under a hypothetical President Hillary Clinton — which prompted quite an awkward silence when Haspel declined to respond. Watch the deafening silence below. Kimberly Alters

April 16, 2018

Fox News was in the unusual position of reporting on one of its own hosts Monday.

An attorney for Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, revealed that a previously unnamed client of Cohen's was in fact Fox News host Sean Hannity. The revelation came in court Monday at the behest of a federal judge, as Cohen has been attempting to block investigators from reading documents they seized in a raid of his home and office last week. Hannity denied that Cohen has represented him "in any matter," saying he had merely had "brief discussions" about legal questions with the attorney.

After the news broke, Fox's Laura Ingle went on-air to report the latest, breezing quickly past the revelation that one of her own coworkers was now involved in the Cohen story. Cohen's attorney was told that the name of the third client didn't fall under attorney-client privilege, Ingle explained, so "he stood up, and named him as Sean Hannity. So moving on to the rest of what's happening today … "

Watch the attempted nonchalance below. Summer Meza

February 25, 2018

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto scrapped plans to visit Washington in February or March after an argumentative phone call with President Trump on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported Saturday night, citing officials from both countries.

Trump reportedly "lost his temper" in a discussion of his unrealized pledge to build an extensive wall along the United States' southern border with Mexican funding. "Trump believed it was unreasonable for Peña Nieto to expect him to back off his crowd-pleasing campaign promise of forcing Mexico to pay for the wall," American officials reportedly told the Post.

Also at issue, the Post story says, is Peña Nieto's dissatisfaction with Trump's refusal to commit to a meeting agenda that will avoid embarrassment. A column in Mexico's El Horizonte newspaper on Friday likewise said Trump's "volatility" and the "lack of certainty about his commitments and actions" makes the Mexican president wary of a public conversation.

Trump met with Peña Nieto in Mexico as a candidate. Since he took office, their relationship has been notoriously fraught. Bonnie Kristian

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