The Note: For whom the president saves his praises

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks in the Kennedy Garden of the White House in Washington, May 1, 2017, to the Independent Community Bankers Association. PlayEvan Vucci/AP Photo
WATCH Trump says he would meet with Kim Jong Un


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--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: The man likes his strongmen. From Vladimir Putin to Xi Jinping, to the heads of Turkey, Egypt, Thailand and now the Philippines, President Trump has broken with bipartisan tradition to offer praise and even a smattering of White House invites to a rogues’ gallery of despots, dictators and bad dudes. Now comes Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader whom Trump told CBS is a “smart cookie” and whom he told Bloomberg News he would be “honored” to meet “under the right circumstances.” This is shaking things up, big league – in ways that challenge Republican orthodoxy and comfort levels, and mark a break from longstanding U.S. policy of seeking to isolate bad actors on the world stage. Even the president’s history lessons are confounding. His contention that Andrew Jackson might have averted the Civil War – or “that one,” in Trump’s formulation – reveals something about Trump’s state of mind that may be worse to take seriously instead of literally. It is literally false that Jackson expressed horror about events that happened more than a decade after the former president’s death. It is seriously troubling to many who have a stake in Trump policies to think that a slaveholder who was also behind the Indian Removal Act and the “Trail of Tears” would have done a better job making history than Abraham Lincoln.

--TRUMP ADDS THE PHILIPPINES' DUTERTE TO LIST OF AUTHORITARIAN WORLD LEADERS HE'S PRAISED: President Donald Trump can add the name of another controversial, authoritarian leader to the list of so-called strongmen that he has praised: President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. Trump has also in the past praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And he recently congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the passage of a referendum that will greatly concentrate Erdogan's already-significant powers. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY has more:

--TRUMP 'WOULD BE HONORED' TO MEET WITH KIM JONG UN, DEFENDS DUTERTE WHITE HOUSE INVITATION: President Donald Trump said he "would be honored" to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, and defended inviting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House. Trump spoke to Bloomberg on Monday, saying, "If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him [Kim], I would, absolutely. I would be honored to do it." ABC's ADAM KELSEY has more:

--ETHICS OFFICE PUSHED WHITE HOUSE TO HIRE IVANKA TRUMP AMID CONCERNS ABOUT HER BEING INFORMAL ADVISER: The Office of Government Ethics encouraged the White House to hire Ivanka Trump as a government employee amid concerns that as an informal adviser she would not be bound by the standards that accompany an official position, explains ABC's ALI ROGIN, according to a new documents provided to ABC News.

--TRUMP SAYS HE'S 'LOOKING AT' BREAKING UP BIG BANKS: President Donald Trump says he's considering pushing for legislation that would break up big banks on Wall Street. “I’m looking at that right now,” Trump said about breaking up Wall Street banks in an interview with Bloomberg News. “There’s some people that want to go back to the old system, right? So we’re going to look at that.” ABC's RYAN STRUYK has more:

--THE PRESIDENT’S SCHEDULE: This morning, President Trump will participate in the departure ceremony for Lt. Col. Wesley Spurlock of the US Air Force, and take part in the USAF Academy Commander-in-Chief trophy presentation in the Rose Garden. He is scheduled to speak with Vladimir Putin by telephone at 12:30, his third call with the Russian leader. President Trump will also meet with national security adviser H.R. McMaster in the evening.


TRUMP QUESTIONS WHY THE CIVIL WAR COULD 'NOT HAVE BEEN WORKED OUT.' President Trump gave a series of revealing interviews this weekend as he marked the 100th day of his presidency, making some notable comments about the Civil War and his nonexistent relationship with former President Obama, notes ABC's MEGHAN KENEALLY. Trump gave an interview, set to come out in full later Monday with reporter Salena Zito for her SiriusXM POTUS show, "Main Street Meets the Beltway."

SPICER: TRUMP 'CLEARLY STANDS BY' DESCRIPTION OF OBAMA AS EVIL. After President Donald Trump was pressed Monday morning as to whether he stood by derisive descriptions of President Barack Obama, White House press secretary Sean Spicer affirmatively answered the question for him during the day's press briefing, writes ABC's ADAM KELSEY. In an exchange with CBS's John Dickerson, Trump was asked about his classification of Obama as "sick and bad" in a series of March tweets in which he accused his predecessor of ordering a wiretap of Trump Tower.

WHAT'S INSIDE CONGRESS' $1 TRILLION SPENDING BILL. Late Sunday night, Congress reached a bipartisan agreement on a massive $1 trillion spending bill that will fund the government through September. The bill that’s expected to pass later this week puts off a government shutdown and delivers victories for both parties. ABC’s ALI ROGIN, BENJAMIN SIEGEL and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI notes what’s included in the new spending bill, and what’s been left out:

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION RELAXING OBAMA-ERA SCHOOL LUNCH STANDARDS. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is easing school lunch regulations spearheaded by the Obama administration. Newly minted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue unveiled a new interim rule on Monday to suspend sodium reduction requirements and whole-grain requirements as well as allow 1 percent fat flavored milk back into school cafeterias nationwide, report ABC's MARIAM KHAN and STEPHANIE EBBS. "I wouldn't be as big as I am today without chocolate milk," Perdue said.

COULD LIBEL LAWS CHANGE UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP? White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on “This Week” that a change in the nation's libel laws "is being looked at" by the Trump administration, a move some legal experts said would be nearly impossible. Legally, libel is defined as making a false statement of fact while knowing it is false or having reckless disregard for the truth. ABC’s LAUREN PEARLE and MEGHAN KENEALLY has more:


@margarettalev: @POTUS spent 30 mins w me and @JenniferJJacobs at WH today. Here is the transcript.

@dcraiggordon: Donald Trump on Steve Bannon: a “very decent guy” who is getting a “bad rap.”

@realDonaldTrump: President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!

@jdawsey1: Trump's dizzying day of interviews had no strategy & left aides, allies and historians saying: What? Why? My story:

@bluestein: Jon Ossoff’s campaign readies a $5.2M ad blitz