The Note: Trump returns to a lonelier Washington after damage of Charlottesville

PHOTO: President Donald Trump walks across the tarmac before boarding Air Force One at Hagerstown Regional Airport, Aug. 18, 2017, in Hagerstown, Md.PlayPablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
WATCH The Note: Trump's return to Washington eclipsed by Charlottesville fallout

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  • Strategy, at last: President Trump makes his third primetime address to the nation as president tonight, outlining the path forward for the U.S. in Afghanistan.
  • Anything happen while he was gone? The president is back in Washington after a working vacation and has a busy week planned, including a campaign rally in Arizona Tuesday that could get political – and possibly explosive.
  • Speaking of shadows...where better to watch the total solar eclipse than the US Naval Observatory? Vice President Mike Pence will be hosting an event with students as a huge swath of the country watches the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the U.S. in 99 years.
  • THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein

    "Many sides" brought him fewer friends – and that's not all President Trump lost while capping his non-vacation with a wild week of self-created messes. In losing the confidence of Republican lawmakers and the business community, Trump is back in Washington where he's lonelier than ever. Steve Bannon and another top staffer are gone and emboldened to do more work that figures to damage the president's ability to actually do the job of president. It's a time where Trump needs confidence and authority, with major domestic and foreign challenges coming to simultaneous heads. Instead, he's back to work as a smaller figure than ever – diminished in ways that will only become clear over time. New headlines and fresh challenges roll in, as they always do. But the post-Charlottesville damage to the presidency is real.

    WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR TRUMP TONIGHT

    As a businessman, a political candidate and as president, Donald Trump has been consistently critical of the handling, cost and duration of America's longest war. Earlier this month he said the protracted American involvement in Afghanistan was "unacceptable," but until now, he has struggled to decide on a cohesive strategy of his own. Tonight, when the president finally announces his plan for Afghanistan, the war truly becomes his. We know Trump is leery about the price tag of open-ended conflict, but he also loves to win. He worries about being labeled the president who lost. Generals have reportedly told the president to stay the course and argued withdrawal now would create a vacuum. If Trump greenlights more troops, it would undoubtedly be the most consequential decision he has made as commander-in-chief in terms of impact on America's troops and their families. A decision like that would put thousands more American lives on the line. No doubt a sobering decision for any man, ABC News' Devin Dwyer writes.

    QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "That's too bad...that's too bad." --President Trump's initial response to the USS John S. McCain collision.

    NEED TO READ with ABC News' Daksha Sthipam

    Trump's military options in Afghanistan. Here is a look at the options being considered by the Trump administration for what is now being called the South Asia strategy. http://abcn.ws/2ib7vqg

    Steve Bannon: "No administration in history has been so divided." Steve Bannon told The Washington Post on Saturday: "No administration in history has been so divided among itself about the direction about where it should go." He added that the president's base is frustrated by a congressional agenda that meshes with traditional Republican priorities more so than the agenda Trump campaigned on. http://abcn.ws/2x2eapY

    Trump has "inside information" on who protested in Charlottesville, says Falwell Jr. in president's defense. Evangelical Christian leader Jerry Falwell Jr. defended President Donald Trump's comment that there were "very fine people on both sides" in Charlottesville. "He has inside information that I don't have," Falwell told ABC News' Martha Raddatz on "This Week" Sunday. http://abcn.ws/2fXuUL3

    Trump's generals "have to stay" in Cabinet to "right the ship": Obama official. The secretary of homeland security for President Obama, Jeh Johnson, said that despite recent talk of "whether people should resign from the White House," the military leaders now serving in top positions for President Trump need to stay to "right the ship." We need people like John Kelly, Jim Mattis, H.R. McMaster to right the ship," Johnson said. http://abcn.ws/2wfgBIo

    Mnuchin rebuffs calls from former Yale classmates to resign, defends Trump. Facing calls from members of his Yale graduating class to resign, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Saturday night defended President Trump's response to the Charlottesville violence and reaffirmed his commitment to remain in the Trump cabinet. http://abcn.ws/2vTwJgd

    Vice reporter: Charlottesville protesters "didn't talk about Robert E. Lee…They chanted about Jews." Independent Journal Review

    Sen. Tim Scott questions Trump's ability to lead if "moral authority remains compromised." CBS News

    Trump's approval rating stands below 40 percent in 3 key midwest states. NBC News

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.