The Note: Trump starts building own foreign policy

The TAKE with Rick Klein

What will the builder actually build?

After showing that he is more than capable of tearing things down, now comes time for President Donald Trump to put some things together that will be judged on their own merits.

Much of Trump’s first year-plus as president has been about a willingness – even an eagerness – to blow things up on the world stage. He has abandoned treaties, commitments, and foreign-policy norms, tiptoed toward armed confrontation, and has defined himself largely by what he has walked away from.

The opening of a new American embassy in Jerusalem on Monday marks the start of a new phase of the Trump presidency. That move, the upcoming summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, new engagements with China – these are proactive Trump steps that are already provoking responses from other world players.

Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images
An Israeli man wears the US national flag at Damascus gate in Jerusalem on May 13, 2018, as Israeli nationalist settlers celebrate the Jerusalem Day in the Old City.

On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, National Security Adviser John Bolton described Trump’s attitude toward the Kim meeting as “optimistic but realistic.” New realities are poised to confront his presidency at almost every turn.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Over the weekend, representatives of the Trump administration continued to be unapologetic and dismissive about those controversial comments made last week by a White House staffer regarding Sen. John McCain’s ailing health. There was some outrage about the fact that the comment was leaked, none from the White House about the words themselves.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said the remarks – made in a close-door meeting – were a sign that decency in politics had “hit rock bottom.” Arguably, the administration’s decision to dig in and refuse to concede any offense is a different rock bottom altogether.

PHOTO: In this Oct. 25, 2017, file photo, John McCain, pauses before speaking to reporters during a meeting of the National Defense Authorization Act conferees, on Capitol Hill in Washington. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
In this Oct. 25, 2017, file photo, John McCain, pauses before speaking to reporters during a meeting of the National Defense Authorization Act conferees, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

It is not new for this president to bulldoze ahead, regardless of who he may have offended or what facts he might have gotten wrong. This time, though, his staff, too, is saying that any “sorry” is beneath them, that steadfastness is the priority over understanding.

Perhaps there is a misconception that is what GOP voters and the president’s supporters crave: defiance and political incorrectness at all times. In fact, people across the country, including many who voted for President Trump, often say they are yearning for civility, frustrated by gutter talk and eager for productivity.

The Tip with Esther Castillejo

The California primaries are two weeks away — with ballots already making the rounds in the Golden state — and one of the Republican candidates hoping to replace Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in the state’s 49th district may be getting a boost from none other than the president himself.

President Trump last week invited San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Kristin Gaspar to the White House Wednesday to discuss immigration policies and California’s controversial “sanctuary state” law.

Last month, Gaspar’s board of supervisors voted to join the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary law. It followed Orange County and several Southern California cities in doing so.

Gaspar is a regular fixture on Fox News discussing immigration and has also hit the airwaves with ads close to the June 5 primary.

Sixteen candidates are jockeying for the Southern California seat — and while many have held local office, the race has become a battle to gain enough name recognition to get through the top-two primary, where the two most-voted candidates move on to the general election regardless of party.

The 49th district stretches from San Diego, up the coast to the city of Dana Point. Traditionally a Republican enclave in blue California, conservative candidates hope opposition to the sanctuary state law would rally voters this November. Democrats are banking on shifting demographics and anti-Trump sentiment, and point to the 2016 election, when Issa had to eke out a win.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • The President has no public events scheduled.
  • White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah holds a press briefing at 1:30 p.m.
  • Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebration hosted by the Ambassador of Israel H.E. Ron Dermer at 6 p.m.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein deliver remarks at a Drug Enforcement Administration Memorial Service at 11 a.m.
  • Sessions delivers remarks at the National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS Awards Ceremony to recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local and tribal police officers at 6 p.m.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    “I think one advantage of having this meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un so soon, in effect, without months and months and months of preparation, is that President Trump will be able to size Kim Jong Un up and see whether the commitment [to denuclearization] is real.” – National Security Adviser John Bolton to ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on “This Week.”

    PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks alongside National Security Adviser John Bolton (R) during a Cabinet Meeting in the White House, May 9, 2018. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
    President Donald Trump speaks alongside National Security Adviser John Bolton (R) during a Cabinet Meeting in the White House, May 9, 2018.

    NEED TO READ

    Meghan McCain still waiting for public apology for White House aide’s comment about her father. A White House aide who made disparaging comments about Arizona Sen. John McCain has yet to follow through on her reported promise to publicly apologize, McCain’s daughter told ABC News on Sunday. (Bill Hutchinson and Tara Palmeri) https://abcn.ws/2KWYJGF

    Trump will ‘size Kim Jong Un up’ in meeting on his commitment to ending nuclear program: John Bolton. National Security Adviser John Bolton said one advantage of President Donald Trump’s fast-approaching meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is that Trump will be able to “size Kim Jong Un up” on his commitment to ending his nuclear program. (Cheyenne Haslett) https://abcn.ws/2GbC8Tk

    Trump adviser says US could sanction European allies if they continue nuclear deal with Iran. resident Donald Trump’s national security adviser said the U.S. could impose sanctions on its European allies if they continue to deal with Iran under the nuclear deal. (ABC News) https://abcn.ws/2GdcQnv

    Giuliani walks back AT&T merger comments, says Mueller talks will have to wait. Giuliani, who joined Trump’s legal team April 19, told The Huffington Post Friday the president himself blocked the AT&T-Time Warner merger last fall. (Tara Palmeri) https://abcn.ws/2KkTdwC

    Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg summoned to meet with Senate panel. The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested that former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg turn over any communications with longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone that mention Julian Assange, Russia, Wikileaks, and hacking. (Tara Palmeri) https://abcn.ws/2I9kiGf

    New York Times: The federal tax cuts signed into law by President Trump have given states a tax windfall — now they must decide whether to give the money to citizens or spend it. https://nyti.ms/2rH5jYW

    The Washington Post takes a look at the Democrats preparing for possible 2020 presidential bids by “road-testing” their material on late-night TV and talk radio. https://wapo.st/2IdzDWt

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Check back tomorrow for the latest.