Enmeshed in crisis, the White House nonetheless seemed to freeze in place today as the horror of a school shooting unfurled in Florida.
A gunman killed 17 people are dead in Florida inside or near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. In Washington, the White House canceled its press briefing and President Donald Trump did not address the nation, POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima reports.
Trump tweeted his “prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting” adding, “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
The shootings came as the White House faced a number of lingering questions — about its handling of staffers with provisional security clearance, staff tumult over the handling of former staff secretary Rob Porter, and allegations of misuse of government resources by the EPA administrator and the secretary of Veterans Affairs.
All took back seat to the shooting, with White House press secretary Sarah Hucakbee Sanders attributing the canceled press briefing, an unusual step, to the shootings.
The White House said Trump had been in touch with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and was continuing to monitor the situation.
Elsewhere in President Trump’s orbit:
ANOTHER RESIGNATION: A third White House official has resigned today after being told he not receive permanent security clearance. George David Banks was a senior official on the National Economic Council.
ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES: The EPA at first said that Administrator Scott Pruitt had blanket approval to travel in first class accomodations — then retracted it and said any information about Pruitt’s travel would require a Freedom of Information Act request.
STUNNING REPORT: An inspector general report concludes that Veterans Administration Secretary David Shulkin’s chief of staff altered an email to create a pretext that allowed Shulkin’s wife to travel with him to Europe at taxpayer expense. It also concludes Shulkin accepted inappropriate gifts, including Wimbledon tickets, and used staff as personal travel concierges.
GRASS FIRE: Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley ripped Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not backing bipartisan criminal justice reform measures, saying he was “incensed” by Sessions preemptively attacking legislation.
LIKE NO UN THERE: Vice President Mike Pence said he deliberately chose to ignore Kim Jong Un’s sister at the Olympic Opening Ceremony because he didn’t believe giving her any attention would be appropriate.
PORTER PROBE: The GOP-led House oversight committee will investigate the White House’s handling of Rob Porter and his security clearance.
($30) MILLION DOLLAR MARCH: OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said that President Trump’s proposed military parade could cost between $10 million and $30 million dollars.
STORM COMING?: Porn star Stormy Daniels believes she can now tell her side of the story with Presiden Donald Trump after Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, negated a non-disclosure agreement by saying he personally paid her $130,000. (The Associated Press)
There you have it. You’re caught up on the Trump administration. Tuesday is in the books.