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Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is social media editor for TPM in New York City. She graduated from City College, where she was editor-in-chief of The Campus, and has previously interned and written for MSF and Contently. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Esme

Josh Earnest, formerly White House press secretary in President Barack Obama’s administration, said on Sunday that he does not “feel a ton of sympathy” for Sean Spicer, his counterpart in President Donald Trump’s White House.

“Sean’s not the victim of a bait and switch. It’s not like he met President Trump on his first day,” Earnest said in remarks at George Washington University, according to a report by CNN. “He knew what he was getting into.”

Earnest said that he doesn’t “feel a ton of sympathy” for Spicer as a result.

He also said that Spicer has a “very different set of responsibilities” to the ones Earnest had during his stint as top White House spokesman.

“He works for somebody who is famously thin-skinned and somebody who has demonstrated over and over again that he doesn’t care that much about telling the truth,” Earnest said. “And who, at least in some of his record, doesn’t appear to have much of an appreciation for how important independent journalism is in the success to our democracy.”

He noted that Spicer has to contend not only with his mercurial boss, but also with a deluge of internal leaks, many critical of him in particular.

“There have been number of times where Sean has been the center of some firestorm — where within 24 hours there are anonymous White House officials criticizing him,” Earnest said. “The job of being the White House press secretary is hard enough without having people that are supposed to be on your team criticizing you and undermining you in public.”

“I was very fortunate to be on a team of people that hung close together,” he added.

President Donald Trump on Monday joked that Nikki Haley could “easily be replaced” as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations if members of the organization’s security council don’t like her.

“Does everybody like Nikki? Because if you don’t like Nikki — otherwise she could easily be replaced,” Trump said at a working lunch with ambassadors on the U.N. Security Council, to laughter from Haley and others present. “No, we won’t do that, I promise.”

Trump went on to say the United Nations is “an underperformer but has tremendous potential,” according to a White House transcript of his remarks.

“I think that the United Nations has tremendous potential — tremendous potential — far greater than what I would say any other candidate in the last 30 years would have even thought to say,” he said. “I know it hasn’t lived up to the potential.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said he “can’t guarantee” the government won’t shut down on Friday when it’s set to run out of money. But he said White House aides are “very confident” that Congress will pass a spending bill to keep the lights on.

“How confident are you that there will not be a shutdown?”ABC’s Jon Karl asked Spicer at his daily briefing. “Can you, from that podium, guarantee that there will not be a government shutdown?”

“I can’t guarantee — but I think that the work that Director Mulvaney and others have made in these negotiations has been very positive,” Spicer replied, referring to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. “They feel very confident that that won’t happen.”

“So he won’t insist that his priorities get funded on the border, the wall, increased security?” Karl asked. President Donald Trump has pushed for funding for his proposed border wall to be included in the spending bill.

“That’s not what I said,” Spicer said. “Look, they’re currently negotiating. We feel very confident that they understand the President’s priorities and that we’ll come to an agreement by the end of Friday.”

The State Department on Monday announced the hiring of former “Fox and Friends” host Heather Nauert as the department’s official spokeswoman.

“Heather’s media experience and long interest in international affairs will be invaluable as she conveys the Administration’s foreign policy priorities,” the department said in a statement.

The “top-rated morning cable news show” Nauert anchored, as glowingly described by the State Department, is one of President Donald Trump’s favorites.

In 2011, before he launched his wild-card political career, Fox News announced plans to give Trump a regular branded segment on the show, called “Monday Mornings with Trump.”

Trump in January took a moment during a press conference that lasted more than an hour, during which he repeatedly lambasted the media, to praise the “very honorable people” at “Fox and Friends,” which he called “the most honest morning show.”

In February, Trump appeared to suggest he might not have won the election if he hadn’t called into the show.

“Remember those call-ins, right?” he said. “Maybe without those call-ins, someone else is sitting here.”

“I like that group of three people,” Trump said in March during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

And in April, he gave the show a shout-out on his favorite platform.

President Donald Trump bragged on Friday about giving CBS’ “Face the Nation” its highest ratings since the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

“I have, seem to get very high ratings,” Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press.

He said that his appearance on the CBS talk show “had 5.2 million people.”

“It’s the highest for ‘Face the Nation’ or as I call it, ‘Deface the Nation.’ It’s the highest for “Deface the Nation” since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down,” Trump claimed. “It’s a tremendous advantage.”

Trump previously used 9/11 as a prop to compare himself against when he claimed in October 2015 that he doubted the terrorist attacks would have taken place if he were President at the time.

“I would have been much different, I must tell you,” he said. “I doubt that those people would have been in the country.”

On Friday, Trump went on to brag that he’s learned to do something he “never thought” he could: stop hate-watching CNN.

“I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC anymore. I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability,” he said. “I always thought I’d watch.”

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) on Monday said he isn’t willing to risk a government shutdown by refusing to back down on President Donald Trump’s push to get his border wall funded in a spending bill Congress must pass by midnight Friday.

“I wouldn’t risk a $1 trillion funding bill for a $3 billion wall,” Cole said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

He said Republicans can try to get the funding “another way, another time.”

“There are some things Democrats want. There may be a possibility for a trade. But we can come back and get this at another point if there’s not,” Cole said. “The most important thing is to make sure the military’s funded, to make sure the critical institutions of government are funded and to make sure you don’t have a shutdown while you’ve got a Republican President, a Republican Senate and a Republican House.”

Top White House aides over the weekend were unclear as to whether Trump would sign a spending bill that didn’t include funding for his proposed wall.

“I would suspect he will be insistent on the funding,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Saturday.

“We don’t know yet,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday.

President Donald Trump on Monday said surveys released over the weekend by NBC and ABC are “fake news polls,” then he went on to praise them for “containing some very positive info.”

Trump tweeted that both polls “were totally wrong” in the 2016 presidential election, but appeared to praise some of the data they collected.

Trump on Sunday cited the ABC-Washington Post poll as “very good,” though the poll reflected that only 42 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s performance as he approaches his 100th day in office, while 53 percent disapprove.

According to ABC’s writeup, Trump therefore has the lowest approval numbers of any president at this point in their term since 1945.

According to the other poll Trump cited, by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, only 40 percent of respondents approved of Trump’s performance, while 54 percent disapproved and 6 percent were not sure.

A plurality of respondents — 45 percent — said that Trump’s presidency is off to a “poor start.”

Nineteen percent of respondents, meanwhile, said that Trump has made “only a fair start,” while 21 percent replied that Trump has made a “good start” and 14 percent called it a “great start.” One percent of respondents to that question were not sure.

The NBC-Wall Street Journal poll was conducted by landline and cell phone from April 17–20 among a sample of 900 adults, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday brushed off opposition to President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, saying that Democrats will “pass anything as long as it doesn’t work.”

“In 2006, 64 Democrats approved a bill to build a fence, a barrier,” Fox’s Brian Kilmeade said, referring to the Secure Fence Act of 2006. “What changed?”

“Let me tell you, be frank with you,” Sessions replied. “Whenever you come up with anything that actually fixed the problems, that is what does not pass. They’ll pass anything as long as it doesn’t work.”

Sessions said Democrats will “talk about fixing the border again and again and again, but when the chips are down they back off.”

The Secure Fence Act of 2006, signed by President George W. Bush, authorized the construction of about 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, a far less ambitious project than Trump’s proposed 1,000-mile-long “real wall.”

President Donald Trump on Sunday claimed that his approval numbers are “very good,” though a poll released the same day shows that Trump has the lowest approval rating of any president approaching their 100-day mark in office since 1945.

“New polls out today are very good considering that much of the media is FAKE and almost always negative,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon.

Trump cited an ABC News-Washington Post poll released on Sunday as proof of his standing. That poll found that 96 percent of respondents who voted for Trump in November said it was the right thing to do, while only 2 percent of Trump voters regretted their decision.

According to ABC’s writeup, however, Trump also has “the lowest approval rating at this point of any president in polls since 1945.”

Just 42 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s performance as he approaches his 100th day in office, according to the national survey, while 53 percent disapprove.

The ABC-Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone from April 17–20 among a national sample of 1,004 adults. Respondents were interviewed in both English and Spanish, and the margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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