the very normal presidency
October 10, 2018

New York magazine's Olivia Nuzzi scored the interview of a lifetime Tuesday, when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders roped her in to the Oval Office for a private press briefing with President Trump, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In an account published Wednesday, Nuzzi details the many ways the top officials tried to convince her that there is no "chaos" in the White House. No, Trump insisted, "we have a very smooth-running organization ... There's no chaos." The president spent a substantial amount of time reassuring the reporter that he was not even considering firing Kelly, despite rumors to the contrary.

The officials, joined by other top staffers like communications chief Bill Shine and Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers, sequestered Nuzzi for a solo info-session. Trump, unsurprisingly, spoke the most, providing gems like "I've never lost an election in my life, okay? You know that, right? I've run one time. It was for the presidency." He also said that the GOP is going to fare "very well" in the midterm elections. Even "if we don't do okay," he said, "I think we'll be in great shape."

"Here's the thing," Trump told Nuzzi, who was completely blindsided by the private briefing, "I've given you, and without the regulations and without the taxes, I've given you the greatest economy in the history of our country or, at a minimum, close." Soon after that, Pence jumped in to remind the president that he was cutting into their scheduled lunch plans. Trump and the other officials tried to convince Nuzzi that she really should write "very, very wonderful things" about Kelly — and nothing else. Read the wild account at New York. Summer Meza

October 5, 2018

President Trump has such faith in Fox News that he once thought they got a huge scoop: news of a North Korean missile headed our way.

In an interview with The Washington Post published Friday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that Trump thought nuclear devastation was on its way shortly after he was elected. While discussing national security with the president at the White House, Graham said he was concerned about how to handle America's relationship with North Korea. Just then, footage of a missile launch came on the TV nearby.

Before Trump declared himself "in love" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he had less trust in the isolated nation's commitment to denuclearization. Despite the fact that Trump would be one of the very first people to know about a hypothetical nuclear attack, he thought that Fox News was reporting an incoming missile. In reality, it was an old clip the channel was using for a regular news segment.

"That's old footage, old footage!" Graham recalls telling Trump. The senator said he changed his mind about the president and became his ally for just this reason — to make sure Trump doesn't wrongly believe he needs to rush to his nuclear button. Read more at The Washington Post. Summer Meza

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