Awkward
December 20, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday formally invited President Trump to deliver his 2020 State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Per the White House, Trump accepted.

Pelosi's letter came just two days after she led the House of Representatives in impeaching Trump, and his SOTU speech could well take place in the middle of his Senate trial.

The entire month of January remains in limbo on the Senate's calendar, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told members to "be back and voting on Monday, Jan. 6." Further complicating matters is Pelosi's decision to delay naming the House's impeachment managers, who will act like prosecuting attorneys, until McConnell provides more information about his plans for the trial.

When former President Bill Clinton was impeached, his 1999 State of the Union likewise coincided with his Senate trial. He did not mention impeachment in his address, a show of restraint Trump may not be able to replicate. Bonnie Kristian

June 27, 2019

Spanish police arrested an unidentified Brazilian air force officer who was traveling on one of Brazil's presidential planes headed to the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, after finding 86 pounds of cocaine in the officer's carry-on bag during a layover in Seville, El Pais reports. Brazil's Defense Ministry confirmed the arrest, and in a tweet Wednesday, President Jair Bolsonaro vowed an "immediate investigation and severe punishment of the person responsible for the narcotic material found" on the plane.

"Bolsonaro was elected on a populist platform with a mandate to be tough on crime, vowing to take a hardline approach to drug traffickers," Axios notes. Bolsonaro was not on this presidential plane — it was headed to Osaka in advance, to be used as his reserve plane. Originally, Bolsonaro was supposed to also have a stopover in Seville en route to Osaka, but late Wednesday night his itinerary was changed and his layover was moved to Lisbon. "The president's press department did not explain the reason behind the change, or whether it was related to the discovery of the drugs being carried in the backup plane," El Pais reports. Peter Weber

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

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