Presidential climate change
About an hour-and-a-half before President Trump delivered his most presidential speech to date, Greater Boston host Jim Braude offered viewers a prediction based on New England weather.
“If you don’t like what you hear from the president tonight at 9,” Braude said, “Mark Twain might suggest, well, wait a few minutes then, too.”
Braude was making the easily foretold prognosis based on a swell of examples of Trump and his aides sending conflicting messages for months regarding foreign policy, media relations, and states’ rights, to name a few. But Braude was off the mark in timing. Even before Trump took to the podium before a joint session of Congress, there was already word that a key component of his address on immigration would include a walk-back by letting some undocumented aliens remain in the country.
That message came in a pre-speech, off-the-record (hey, what about the rant against anonymous sources?) chat with news anchors to preview the high points of what he intended to offer. When asked about his intent to deport 11 million illegal immigrants regardless of whether they committed serious crimes or not, Trump floated the idea of legislation to allow some to remain in the country, an about-face from his strident declarations before and since the election.
According to those in the room, Trump turned to his aide, Hope Hicks, and suggested his brand new idea should be included in his speech, setting off speculation, angst, and hope among all sides that the president was moving away from disrupter status to centrist pol. But when the 60-plus-minute speech was over, Trump stuck to his plan to round-up immigrants and ship them out, offering no compromise to those who waited with bated breath.
The big turnaround in the presidential address was in tone, if not substance. Contrasted with his dire “American carnage” inauguration speech and his administration’s careening from one self-created crisis to the next, Republican observers and media pundits gave Trump high marks for staying on script and appearing, well, presidential. And that, in itself, was a marked turnaround.
Trump kept to the same themes as his campaign and, in fact, the early part of the speech sounded like the “we won, you didn’t” approach he has fallen into as he ticked off what he considers the greatest hits of his six-week tenure, taking credit for things that happened before he took office, like jobs staying in the country, and shifting blame for less successful undertakings, such as the recent raid in Yemen that claimed the life of a Navy SEAL.
Earlier in the day, Trump went on his favorite morning show, Fox and Friends, and blamed the generals for the botched assault. But when it came time for his speech, he declared the mission a glowing success and basked in the prolonged applause for Carryn Owens, the widow of William “Ryan” Owens who was killed in the raid.
But the one constant of Trump was his penchant for hyperbole and misuse of facts, even ignoring them. There was nary a news site that didn’t have a fact check story on the presidential pronouncements. Unlike the New England weather, some things never change.
Brockton city councilors are mulling a proposal to enact more stringent hiring practices to thwart potential discrimination following a $4 million judgment against the city in a lawsuit brought by an aggrieved applicant for a DPW position. (The Enterprise)
Dartmouth officials settled a $4 million lawsuit against the town by the former police chief for $650,000 and a disability pension. Timothy Lee claimed he was defamed after a member of the Board of Selectmen leaked details of a meeting that included allegations of child exploitation against the ex-chief that were later found by the district attorney to be without merit. (Herald News)
Two-thirds of the Fall River City Council failed to show up at a special meeting called by Mayor Jasiel Correia to ratify a contract with Teamsters in the city’s maintenance unit. The contract includes a settlement payment with a March 1 deadline for workers who lost their jobs when Correia privatized trash pickup. (Herald News)
President Trump signs a bill revoking an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illness to purchase guns. (NBC)
With Trump’s tribute to fallen Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens drawing lots of attention, as his widow wept from the gallery, Vox has background on the raid that claimed his life and on Trump’s effort earlier in the day to lay blame with the military and not accept it himself as the commander in chief who gave the mission the go-ahead.
A Globe editorial calls for an independent prosecutor to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign Russian officials. The Herald issued a similar call yesterday.
Emerging trend? Two Springfield city councilors call for the shutdown of a store that is giving away free samples of marijuana to people who pay a $20 cover charge. (The Republican) A company in Boston called High Speed is giving away pot with the purchase of a $55 lemonade. (Boston Globe)
A new report says high housing costs are a major factor driving racial and economic segregation in Greater Boston. (Boston Globe)
A local state rep and a union official representing horsemen both say a deal has been reached to sell Suffolk Downs, but track officials were not confirming there is a sales agreement. (Boston Herald) Talk of a sale first surfaced last month. (CommonWealth)
YouTube is planning to launch a television service for $35 a month. (Recode)
Quincy police are warning businesses to be on the lookout for counterfeit bills after three incidents in the past several days of people trying to use bogus bills for purchases. (Patriot Ledger)
Mayor Marty Walsh will release a 10-year plan for the Boston Public Schools today — but it punts on the pressing and difficult questions of possible school closures, a move some see connected to the fact that Walsh faces reelection this fall. (Boston Herald)
Students at the University of Massachusetts Boston voiced concerns about changes at the school’s Africana Studies department, but administrators say a review found the quality of its academic programming was lagging. (Boston Globe)
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is coming under fire for her comments that historically black colleges and universities were “pioneers when it comes to school choice,” overlooking that most of the schools were created because segregation limited choice for blacks. (U.S. News & World Report)
Suicides in Massachusetts rose 40 percent between 2004 and 2014, driven largely by increases among middle-aged men. (Boston Globe)
The MBTA is expanding its on-demand service with Uber and Lyft for paratransit customers. (CommonWealth) Meanwhile, Uber takes another hit as video shows CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with a driver over slumping fares. Kalanick later says he needs to grow up. (Bloomberg News)
JetBlue announces plans to operate one flight a day from Worcester to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. (Telegram & Gazette)
A plane piloted by former Newburyport mayor Alan Lavender crashes into a Methuen condo complex near Lawrence Airport. Lavender was the only fatality in the crash. (Eagle-Tribune)
Dozens of people silently protest the proposed Access Northeast natural gas pipeline at a Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen’s meeting. (Telegram & Gazette)
The state granted the owners of a proposed controversial power plant in Brockton a fourth extension for time to seek a federal air permit. The extension comes despite the fact the facility did not come away with any commitments at the recent energy audit and the land where it plans to build is going back on the market. (The Enterprise)
With the EPA budget on the chopping block, the New York Times looks back at New York City in the years before creation of the clean air and water agency when the city had smog so thick, you had to wipe it off windshields.
Gov. Charlie Baker sidesteps the battle between Connecticut and Massachusetts over gambling revenues. Asked about a Connecticut plan to build a casino near the Massachusetts border to prevent the loss of gambling revenue to the MGM casino under construction in Springfield, Baker says MGM loves its location. (MassLive)
The Boston office of the US border patrol agency has asked local police departments to make room for temporary holding detainees, stoking fears among immigrant advocates that a crackdown on those in the country illegally is coming. (Boston Globe)
A son of suspended Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix Arroyo sends out a fundraising letter seeking donations for his father’s legal costs that invokes Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King and says of the court kerfuffle still shrouded in mystery, “our community is under attack.” (Boston Herald)
The Shirley Board of Selectmen placed Police Chief Thomas Goulden on paid administrative leave amid allegations a female sergeant on the force was mistreated. (Lowell Sun)MEDIA
The upcoming Disney movie Beauty and the Beast will feature the studio’s first openly gay character. (Time)