The Note: Shutdown’s end in sight, with growing costs to Trump

President Donald Trump blinked this week -- twice.

January 25, 2019, 6:00 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

President Donald Trump blinked this week -- twice. Now, if you squint, you can see the light at the end of the shutdown's long tunnel.

Trump won't admit to having backed down, but rescheduling the State of the Union and now reconsidering a stopgap spending measure to fund the government, mark strategic shifts by the White House that reflect Washington's new realities.

It may have taken doses of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Lara Trump to provide some color, but the writing has been on the wall for days, if not weeks. The shutdown Trump said he would own has proven to be bad politics, in service of policies the public was never really on board for.

House Democrats are expected to put forward their border-security package soon, knowing that over in the GOP-controlled Senate, more Republicans broke Thursday to support the Democratic package than the competing proposal from the White House.

As Trump's concessions make clear, divided government means diminished possibilities for the president. As the race to replace him heats up, Democrats have made their presence known and then some.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Both former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg found themselves defending and answering this week for old tendencies of theirs to work across the aisle, have friends in both parties and get on board with more moderate, or even conservative, approaches to problems.

Neither has said definitively whether they are running for president, though they'd each change the field considerably and instantly by jumping in.

Both Bloomberg and Biden have been touring and giving speeches. The two men even spoke in Washington at the same Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast.

"Whatever the next year brings for Joe and me ... I know we'll both keep our eyes on the real prize, and that is electing a Democrat to the White House in 2020, and getting our country back on track," Bloomberg said.

Their past practices might make the two politicians particularly appealing to a general election audience, but the primary comes first. A willingness to play nice and compromise is feeling ever more foreign in a party lurching towards resistance.

PHOTO: Michael Bloomberg speaks at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network in Washington D.C., Jan. 21, 2019.
Michael Bloomberg speaks at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network in Washington D.C., Jan. 21, 2019.
Allison Shelley/Reuters

The TIP with Rachel Scott

As the campaign to run against Trump has begun, Republican leaders showed division on their strategy for supporting the president.

Meeting in New Mexico this week, Republican National Committee members were moving forward with an unprecedented pledge to give Trump their "undivided support." But the party stopped short of considering a resolution that would endorse the president as the party nominee in 2020.

One resolution backed by RNC member Jevon Williams looked to change the rules to prevent a GOP primary challenger. According to a photo on Williams' twitter account, Trump wrote to Williams thanking him for his support, but RNC members did not consider his resolution. Instead, they decided to move forward with an alternative submission that vowed its "undivided support" for Trump and his presidency.

"The members just wanted to underscore, underline, highlight that we are here to re-elect President Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot," the RNC's national press secretary Cassie Smedile said.

Now that the resolution has passed in the committee, all 168 members of the RNC will vote on it Friday. It's an interesting move for the party, which is looking to stand firm behind the president as the country continues to feel the effects of the government shutdown and amid growing concern over the special counsel's investigation. The step could also serve to discourage a potential GOP challenger from running against the president -- a stark contrast to the already crowded Democratic field.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News' Trish Turner, who examines the path forward after both government funding bills failed in the Senate. Then, ABC News' Quinn Owen explains the new migrant asylum policy going into effect today.


  • President Donald Trump participates in a discussion about economic growth with mayors from across the U.S. at 1:45 p.m. He then hosts a roundtable with Hispanic pastors at 2:45 p.m.
  • Three 2020 hopefuls make appearances Friday: Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be in Las Vegas; former Rep. John Delaney will be in Des Moines, Iowa; and Sen. Kamala Harris will be in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg participates in two Northern Virginia events Friday: He'll speak at the Democratic Business Council of Northern Virginia's January breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Then, he'll attend a Moms Demand Action gun safety event at 10 a.m.
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