Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning complained that he had needed Democratic support for the deal to fund the government through September, and he suggested a government shutdown in September to fix the “mess” in Congress, hinting that he does not want to negotiate with Democrats on the next budget.

The President’s call for a shutdown is odd given that Republicans control Congress and the White House.

Trump’s public grousing about the spending deal struck between Democrats and Republicans on the Hill undermined efforts by the White House and GOP leaders to portray the deal as a win for him.

Trump also proposed that the Senate eliminate lawmakers’ ability to filibuster legislation to make it easier for Republicans to pass the next budget – and the Obamacare repeal bill still stuck in the House – without Democratic votes.

The spending deal agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats in Congress does not include funding for Trump’s signature campaign promise, a wall along the southern border. The measure also includes provisions opposed by the White House like Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and a $2 million increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health.

Read More →

Fox News host Sean Hannity closed his show on Monday night by saying that the “lies” about him are “not true” in an apparent attempt to push back on reports that he is planning to leave the network.

“By the way, special thank you to all our friends in the media that were tuning in tonight, maybe for the first time. And all the lies you’ve heard about me are not true,” he said just before ending his show.

Hannity’s comment follows a Daily Beast report that he is looking to leave Fox News now that Bill Shine is resigning as co-president. Hannity has also been accused of inappropriate behavior by a former Fox News guest who said Hannity did not invite her back on his show after she declined his invitation to his hotel room.

Fox News also pushed back on reports that Hannity is looking to leave the network on Monday, calling the report “completely untrue.”

The Fox host on Monday evening tweeted a link to a story reporting that he is not looking to leave Fox News. He said that the article was “true” and hinted he may address the matter on Monday night.

Read More →

After praising Andrew Jackson in a Monday interview with the Washington Examiner, President Donald Trump on Monday night repeated his claim that Jackson could have prevented the Civil War.

Trump made to sure to mention that Jackson died years before the Civil War began, perhaps because it was unclear from his initial comments that he knew Jackson was no longer alive when the Civil War began.

“Had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War,” Trump told the Washington Examiner earlier on Monday. “He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart.”

“He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this,’” Trump added. “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Read More →

President Donald Trump will speak over the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday afternoon, according to the White House schedule.

It is the first time the two leaders will speak since Russia denounced the United States’ missile strike on a Syrian airfield.

Trump praised Putin on the campaign trail, but following the gas attack in Syria that prompted the U.S. missile strike, Trump sang a different tune about Russia.

“We’re not getting along with Russia at all,” Trump said last month. “We may be at an all-time low.”

The FBI and congressional committees are also investigating whether there are any ties between Trump associates and Russia.

Read More →

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said that President Donald Trump was aware of the human rights concerns surrounding Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte when he invited him to the White House.

During the White House press briefing, journalists asked Spicer about Duterte encouraging the extrajudicial killings of drug users and his comment that journalists are not exempt from assassination.

That knowledge, Spicer argued, was balanced by Trump wanting to work with Duterte to prevent North Korea from becoming a nuclear power.

“The President gets fully briefed on the leaders that he’s speaking to, obviously,” Spicer said at his daily press briefing when asked if Trump was aware of Duterte’s human rights abuses. “The number one concern of this president is to make sure that we do everything we can to protect our people and specifically to economically and diplomatically isolate North Korea.”

“I’m not gonna tell you every single thing that’s in his brief, but he’s well aware of, when he speaks with a leader, he gets briefed on a lot about what they’re doing, what they’ve done,” Spicer added.

When asked earlier in the briefing about concerns that Trump was giving Duterte’s human rights abuses his stamp of approval, Spicer said the purpose of the White House invitation was to address North Korea.

“I think it is an opportunity for us to work with countries in that region that can help play a role in diplomatically and economically isolating North Korea,” Spicer replied. “And frankly, the national interest of the United States, the safety of our people, and the safety of the people in the region are the number one priorities of the President.”

Later in the briefing, the New York Times’ Glenn Thrush noted that Trump invited Duterte to the White House after praising Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Does the President have a thing with these totalitarian leaders? Does he admire something about the way these guys conduct themselves?” Thrush asked.

Spicer did not directly answer the question and instead repeated that the purpose of Duterte’s visit would be to discuss North Korea.

“The President, clearly as I’ve said, understands the threat that North Korea poses. Having someone with the potential nuclear capability to strike another country, and potentially our country at some point in the future, is something the President takes very seriously,” Spicer said, adding that the Philippines is just one of the neighbors that could help the U.S.

This post has been updated.

Read More →

President Donald Trump on Monday said that he is open to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under the right circumstances.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” he told Bloomberg News. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”

Trump acknowledged that “political people would never say that.”

“But I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news,” he told Bloomberg.

The President has warned that “major conflict” with North Korea is possible as the country continues to build its nuclear weapons program.

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” he told Reuters last week. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

Read More →

Karen Handel, the Republican candidate for a runoff congressional election in Georgia, said over the weekend that she welcomed President Donald Trump’s support after he held a Friday fundraiser for her.

That’s a shift from her earlier approach to the campaign, when she avoided invoking the President’s name at all.

During a Saturday interview on Fox News, host Neil Cavuto asked Handel if it’s an “indictment on all things Trump” if she were to lose the June runoff race to Democrat Jon Ossoff.

“Well, obviously I feel the pressure, but not so much for what it means for the President, but what it means for the people of the 6th district,” she replied.

Cavuto pressed further, asking if Trump’s controversies could hurt her in the race. Handel did not directly answer the question and instead said that she’s glad to have Trump’s help.

“He’s the president of the United States, so to be able to have the President’s support is a good thing, especially in a very solid Republican district,” she said. “With that said, it’s the press and the Ossoff folks and the Democrats who want to make this about the president. This is about the people of the 6th District.”

Handel shied away from Trump in the run-up to the April jungle primary, barely mentioning him on the campaign trail and leaving him out of her election night “victory” speech altogether. But since she advanced to the runoff, she has embraced Trump’s support.

Handel told Cavuto she would welcome Trump back to Georgia and said she expects House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to help out soon, too.

Trump raised about $750,000 for Handel’s campaign at a fundraiser in Atlanta on Friday. He also praised her during a speech at the National Rifle Association.

“She’s totally for the NRA and she’s totally for the Second Amendment. So get out and vote,” Trump said. “You know, she’s running against someone who is going to raise your taxes to the sky and destroy your healthcare.”

Read More →

Officials at the State Department and the National Security Council were caught off guard by President Donald Trump’s Saturday decision to invite Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

Per the New York Times:

Two senior officials said they expected the State Department and the National Security Council, both of which were caught off guard by the invitation, to raise objections internally.

Trump invited Duterte to the United States during a Saturday call with the leader of the Philippines.

Duterte’s leadership in the Philippines has led to a spike in extrajudicial killings, making Trump’s invitation to Duterte controversial. Democrats quickly criticized Trump for the move.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus defended the invitation on Sunday and said that the White House wants to “encourage” Duterte “to do better.”

Read More →

President Donald Trump’s campaign on Monday morning announced a $1.5 million ad buy to tout his first 100 days in the Oval Office.

The buy includes a 30-second television ad and digital ads, the Trump campaign said in a statement unveiling the ad buy.

The television ad promotes Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, claims that Trump has created jobs in the U.S., and touts his work to undo regulations passed under President Barack Obama.

“You wouldn’t know it from watching the news,” the narrator says in the ad as the screen flashes “FAKE NEWS.” “America is winning, and President Trump is making America Great Again.”

The ad buy promoting Trump’s first 100 days came after Trump repeatedly tried to downplay the 100-day mark. Trump also pushed for Congress to move forward on a bill to repeal Obamacare by the 100-day mark, but Republican leaders have still not been able to bring the bill to a vote.

Watch the television ad:

Read More →

Congressional leaders on Sunday night reached a deal to fund the federal government through September, setting Congress up to vote on the legislation this week and avoid a government shutdown.

Democrats appeared to be happy with the compromise funding measure, which will not include money to build a border wall.

“This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table. The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle-class relies on, like medical research, education, and infrastructure,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) noted that the funding deal eliminates certain Republican riders – unrelated policy measures tacked onto the funding measure.

“From the beginning, Democrats have sought to avert another destructive Republican Government Shutdown, and we have made significant progress improving the omnibus bill.  We have eliminated more than 160 Republican poison pill riders, ranging from undermining a woman’s right to reproductive health to dismantling Dodd-Frank’s vital Wall Street consumer protections.  The omnibus does not fund President Trump’s immoral and unwise border wall or create a cruel new deportation force,” Pelosi said in a statement.

She also said that the funding measure increases funding for the National Institutes of Health, secures health benefits for coal workers, adds money to fight the opioid epidemic, and includes Medicaid funds for Puerto Rico.

Congress is expected to vote on the funding package providing about $1 trillion early this week, according to the Washington Post.

The deal comes after Congress had to pass a one-week stopgap funding measure to avert a government shutdown while leaders from both parties hashed out a final agreement to fund the government through September. Initially, demands from the Trump administration that the bill include funding for a wall along the southern border threatened negotiations on the funding measure, but the White House ultimately dropped that demand.

Read More →