FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — FORMER SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: TRUMP IS NOT A ‘DISASTER’ — John Boehner got a lot of attention last week when he said the president has been a “complete disaster.” The president himself wasn’t too happy with Boehner, a long time friend, confidant and golf partner. Here is a video of Boehner addressing the dustup from this morning at the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers Employee Leadership Forum in Colorado Springs. 2-minute clip http://politi.co/2snhTvf
— WHAT BOEHNER SAID: “Let me address this because some people have gotten carried away in their interpretation of what I said. Listen, Donald Trump is my friend. He was my supporter. I play golf with him and frankly I like the president. I voted for him. I want him and frankly I want the country to succeed. But I’ve seen some people write — I think they’ve gotten a little carried away in their interpretation of what I said. I did not say that the president’s policies were a disaster. I did not say that the president’s agenda was a disaster. What I was referring to was the execution of the president’s agenda and the president’s policies. And frankly I think there have been a number of missteps, unforced errors that the president has made and I think the White House would agree that they’ve had their share of mistakes as the president learns to be the president.”
Good Wednesday afternoon and happy last day of May. NAMES BEING BANDIED ABOUT for CBS’s now open evening anchor job: Anderson Cooper, John Dickerson and Norah O’Donnell. In fact, most of our readers suggested Norah! But it’s a wide-open situation.
CLIMATE DEAL TURMOIL — “Trump expected to withdraw from Paris climate deal,” by Andrew Restuccia and Josh Dawsey: “President Donald Trump is planning to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, a White House official said Wednesday morning — only to have Trump himself revive the suspense less than an hour later. The withdrawal would fulfill a Trump campaign promise but would be certain to infuriate America’s allies across the globe. It would threaten to destabilize the most comprehensive pact ever negotiated to blunt the most devastating effects of climate change.
“Trump declined to make it official, at least not yet. ‘I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’ he tweeted Wednesday morning. Trump was slated to continue discussing the issue with senior advisers on Wednesday. Axios first reported the news that Trump would withdraw.” http://politi.co/2snd6tR
— JUST A THOUGHT … — A few sources in and around Trump world tend to think that we haven’t heard the final word on pulling out of the Paris Accord. When we asked one senior administration official this morning whether Trump was pulling out of Paris, they told us: “No final decision yet”. Remember when Trump was pulling out of NAFTA and then said he was open to a better deal?
— BLOOMBERG DIGRESSES — via Jennifer Dlouhy, Jen Jacobs and Margaret Talev: President Donald Trump hasn’t yet decided whether to keep the U.S. in the landmark Paris agreement on climate change but is leaning toward exiting the accord, according to two people familiar with the matter.
“The administration is preparing for several different outcomes and is lining up experts to speak to the media when an announcement is made, according to another person familiar with the discussions who, like the others, requested anonymity ahead of a decision. Top administration officials are divided on what to do, with some, including Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, urging Trump to stay in the deal. Others, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, lead a faction that wants a U.S. exit.
“There is consensus in the administration that the terms of the Paris deal must change, and it’s exploring whether that requires a full exit or a scaled-back U.S. commitment to cut emissions, according to one of the people. Trump is scheduled to meet with Tillerson at the White House on Wednesday, and the president said he’d declare an outcome soon.” https://bloom.bg/2qB8509
KUSHNER INC. — “Kushner Co-Ownership Clouds Leasing of Brooklyn’s Iconic Watchtower Building,” by Fast Company’s Ainsley Harris: “[A]fter months of design work, the Watchtower complex has opened for leasing, promoted as a world-class technology hub for a world-class tenant. The project includes 25-30 Columbia Heights, which once served as the Witnesses’ headquarters, and three smaller adjoining buildings, all situated at the edge of Dumbo across from Brooklyn Bridge Park. When complete, the development will contain 635,000 square feet of office space and 35,000 square feet of retail. Kushner, LIVWRK, and CIM Group—the three firms behind the joint venture—have dubbed the project Panorama, for its striking views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline beyond. …
“Kushner stepped down from his role as CEO of Kushner Companies (now simply ‘Kushner’) in January, prior to Trump’s inauguration, and has agreed to divest himself of some assets. But he remains the beneficiary of more than 200 family-owned properties across the U.S., including 25-30 Columbia Heights. That arrangement puts the property’s prospective tenants in an unusual situation. However indirectly, they will be paying rent to a man with an office in the West Wing. … ‘It creates avenues by which people can influence you or appear to influence you,’ Larry Noble, general counsel at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, says of Kushner’s decision to retain many of his investments.” http://bit.ly/2roxMnT
REPLACING THE FLEET — “Pentagon Wants to Get Started on New Air Force Two and Doomsday Planes,” by Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber: “Tucked inside the Trump administration’s first federal budget request is $6 million to create a project office and start studies to determine what will replace the Air Force’s C-32As, the modified Boeing 757s that generally fly the vice president, other top-ranking cabinet officials, and members of Congress. The plane is also occasionally used by the president to travel to airports whose smaller runways cannot handle the VC-25A, the Boeing 747 that usually bears the Air Force One callsign.” http://bit.ly/2rodFXa
LABOR DISCONNECT? — Boston Mayor MARTY WALSH, a longtime union leader whose name was floated for a potential Clinton administration appointment, dished to our Massachusetts Playbook colleague Lauren Dezenski on the apparent disconnect between the labor movement’s national leadership and its base: “I think the labor movement — I just think just like the Democratic party, the Republican party, and the labor movement, everyone is looking for their identity. And where their identity is. And to some degree I think there’s a bit of a disconnect — this is where I’m going to get in trouble — there is a little bit of a disconnect between leadership in Washington and the rank and file, in the union stuff. And when I say the disconnect, from the bottom to the top, I think education has to happen to let people understand.
“‘When I see people driving around with Make America Great Again bumper stickers and a union sticker next to it, I kinda chuckle because I’m thinking like Trump at this point hasn’t done anything to take away people’s rights and benefits. But if they look at Mike Pence and what he stands for on right to work … they’ll see that a lot of what he stands for is very contrary to those numbers that are on the back of their cars." Walsh also told Lauren he’d vote for Biden in 2020 if he ran http://politi.co/2roevmD
INTERESTING MARITAL DECISION — “Honey, Is It Your Turn to Run for That Seat in Congress?: The Ashfords — former Congressman, Brad Ashford, and his wife, Ann Ferlic Ashford, a health-care executive — are debating which one of them should run for Congress; the children are undecided,” by WSJ’s Kristina Peterson: http://on.wsj.com/2rormFu
ICYMI — TRUMP TWEETS — @realDonaldTrump at 6:37 a.m.: “So now it is reported that the Democrats, who have excoriated Carter Page about Russia, don’t want him to testify. He blows away their….” … at 6:45 a.m.: “…case against him & now wants to clear his name by showing ‘the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan…’ Witch Hunt!” … at 7:14 a.m.: “Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!” … at 9:05 a.m.: “Hopefully Republican Senators, good people all, can quickly get together and pass a new (repeal & replace) HEALTHCARE bill. Add saved $’s.” … at 9:08 a.m.: “I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
MEDIAWATCH — THE NEW YORK TIMES has announced its buyout program, that’ll focus on “reducing layers of editors” in the newsroom. Some key excerpts from the memo by Dean Baquet and Joe Kahn, from Poynter’s Ben Mullin: “Our goal is to significantly shift the balance of editors to reporters at The Times, giving us more on-the-ground journalists developing original work than ever before. … [W]e should remember that while we have built a large and growing digital business, we still have a newsroom built on the giant profit margins and specific needs of the print era. …
“The buyout, which includes an enhanced cash payout, outplacement services and other benefits, is primarily focused on reducing layers of editors. But we will also accept buyout requests from reporters and others in the newsroom. Some desks — Business Day, Metro and Styles among them — are undergoing changes. In those departments there will be shifts in beats and emphasis. In some cases new department heads will have different expectations and different ideas about coverage. So some reporters no doubt will want to consider the buyout.” The full memo http://bit.ly/2ro5sC7
— “The New York Times Is Eliminating The Public Editor Role,” by HuffPost’s Michael Calderone http://bit.ly/2rohv2e
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — MARK SEIBEL is heading to BuzzFeed News to be its first national security editor, He is leaving McClatchy, where he was chief of correspondents. He previously directed two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting projects at The Miami Herald and anchored McClatchy’s coverage for the Iraq war. The BuzzFeed News national security team is also looking to at least make at least three more hires to track the Russia investigations, the military and other national security issues. From BuzzFeed News’ world editor Miriam Elder’s memo to staff: “Mark will bring a cohesive vision to our national security coverage in this crazy time … This will allow us to punch strongly on the biggest stories of the day, including the investigations into the current administration.” He starts June 20. Full memo http://politi.co/2sn1HKm
— Betsy Korona has been promoted to Senior Director of News at MSNBC. She has worked on MSNBC’s dayside team for the last eight years.
TODAY’S BEYOND THE BELTWAY — Illinois hits day 700 without a budget — Trump in-laws buy a Florida apartment http://politi.co/2roMZW8
ATTENTION TRAVELERS — “JetBlue will test facial recognition for boarding,” by CNN’s Aaron Smith http://cnnmon.ie/2roxlKe
K STREET FILES — “Anti-BAT coalition takes to the airwaves,” by POLITICO Pro’s Bernie Becker: “A coalition seeking to kill the controversial border adjustment provision in the House GOP tax reform blueprint is about to run an advertisement urging lawmakers to do just that, to make room for what it calls ‘real tax reform.’ Americans for Affordable Products, a collection of retailers and other business groups, is spending well into six figures on the spot,” which started airing on Tuesday. More for Pros http://politico.pro/2roNOht … The ad http://bit.ly/2roGbru
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION — @TasneemN (BuzzFeed news reporter Tasneem Nashrulla): “Bryan Moles of PA was arrested for possessing firearms without license at the Trump International Hotel in DC … DC Police Chief says arrest of man with firearms at Trump International Hotel ‘averted potential disaster in our nation’s capital.’ … Moles has not yet been charged with making threats but police chief says he was ‘very concerned by the circumstance’ of coming armed to DC”.
HAPPY 20th ANNIVERSARY to Bob Cusack, editor of The Hill and Joyce Cusack.
— Happy anniversary as well to Kelsey and Jay Lucas, two former Hill flacks who are celebrating two years of marriage. Kelsey is now the founder of VisualSey and Jay is a data scientist at WPA Intelligence. Instapic http://bit.ly/2roct5W