This column provides a daily update on key presidential actions as well as comments, whether spoken aloud or on Twitter, by President Trump. Like the stock market, the deadline for Trump Today action is 4 p.m. Eastern time, even as we acknowledge that substantive news can and does occur after hours.
President Donald Trump is using sweet talk and veiled threats to pressure China to help resolve a nuclear standoff with North Korea, but he’s downplayed rising tensions with Russia.
NORTH KOREA ‘WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF”
Trump is wooing China to help the U.S. resolve a standoff with North Korea over its effort to develop nuclear missiles that can reach America.
If China fails to make any headway, though, Trump continues speak loudly while brandishing a big stick. “North Korea is a problem,” he said Thursday. “The problem will be taken care of.”
In a show of strength, the U.S. has sent a large naval force to the Pacific Ocean.
‘A VERY SPECIAL MAN’
The key to the North Korean riddle might be China.
The U.S. and China are getting along better after some sticky moments following Trump’s election. The president has said he hit it off with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in a U.S. visit last week. On Thursday he called Xi a “terrific person” and a “very special man.”
As an apparent sop, Trump has reversed course on a campaign pledge to declare China a currency manipulator. He’s also said he’s open to better trade relations if China helps the U.S. deal with a related problem in Asia.
Read: Trump says ‘strong dollar’ may be too strong for its own good
The U.S. and Russia, on the other hand, both admit relations are poor after a week of heightened tensions over Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian airbase. The Syrian government used chemical weapons in its fight against rebels.
The president said in an early-morning tweet that the two nuclear powers will eventually work things out.
Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017
Read: Here’s how much it cost the U.S. to ‘Tomahawk’ a Syrian airbase
‘MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS’
The Syrians were the first to feel the lash from a new direction in American foreign policy. Now it’s the Islamic State.
The U.S. military on Thursday dropped for the first time ever its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on an area in Afghanistan honeycombed with caves and tunnels used by Islamic extremists.
The weapon, nicknamed “the mother of all bombs,” weighs 21,600 pounds and is 30 feet long. The bomb was dropped from a plan and guided to the target in a remote eastern region of Afghanistan.
Asked if authorized specific use of the bomb, Trump said he left such decision to the military.
“Everybody knows exactly what happened,” Trump said. “What I do is I authorize my military.”
PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEFUNDING
The president often likes to repeal Obama-era laws via White House signings surrounded by supporters and the media. Not so on Thursday. Trump privately signed a bill that gives states more leeway on how to use certain federal grants, paving the way for them to deny funding to Planned Parenthood.
Obama had signed a bill shortly before leaving office that would have prevented states from denying federal money to the controversial family-planning organization.
Trump has vowed to end all federal support for Planned Parenthood, but polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of that action.