The Note: A week of presidential flip-flops

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departing on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Washington.PlayAlex Brandon/AP
WATCH McConnell expects new gun legislation in September

The TAKE with MaryAlice Parks

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With this president it is easy to get swept up in conversations about personality over policy.

President Donald Trump's erratic governing style was on full display again the last few days.

He flip-flopped on , walking back his previous call for "meaningful" reforms in the wake of the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shootings.

"I don't think I've changed positions at all. We're working on background checks. There are things we can do. But we already have very serious background checks. We have strong background checks," Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departing on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departing on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Washington.

And he suggested ways to stimulate the economy while also arguing such plans were unnecessary.

But beyond the confusing press conferences, the administration this week moved on new rules and that, if enacted, would have serious consequences for families and children crossing the border. The new plan would allow the government to detain migrant families traveling with children indefinitely, effectively calling for an end to the federal government's agreement not to hold children for long periods of time because it's detrimental to their health.

More, Trump publicly insulted a NATO ally and postponed a trip to Denmark in a way that could have jeopardized the relationship in ways that reach beyond his tenure.

The week started with anxiety about a possible recession on the horizon. It's hard to imagine such unpredictable and even manic rhetoric from this White House could do anything to reassure markets or investors. In fact, businesses tend to appreciate stability and time to plan.

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema

Trump hasn't been the only Republican brought up by 2020 Democrats on the campaign trail -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also frequently appears in stump speeches.

Recently, most Democratic candidates have been slamming McConnell as the ring-leader responsible for blocking the passage of gun legislation.

But some Democrats also have tied their assertions of McConnell's political moves to preventing the end of the Senate filibuster. According to those Democrats, ending the procedure in the upper chamber would help facilitate the passage of policies that otherwise wouldn't have much Republican support -- provided Democrats maintain control of the House and gain control of the Senate in 2020.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been steadily leading the charge on ending the filibuster, while other Senate Democratic presidential candidates have been largely noncommittal.

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responds to a question from the news media during a press conference in the Ohio Clock Corridor of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, July 9, 2019. Shawn Thew/EPA via Shutterstock, FILE
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responds to a question from the news media during a press conference in the Ohio Clock Corridor of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, July 9, 2019.

That bubbling talk on the trail seems to have struck a nerve with the Senate majority leader, who issued a pointed rebuke of those White House hopefuls in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday.

"On this subject, like so many others, what was recently fringe nonsense seems to be rapidly becoming mainstream Democratic dogma," McConnell wrote.

What McConnell failed to mention in his staunch defense of the much-debated rule is that the president is another high-profile figure calling for its end. Although presidents do not set Senate rules, it seems the Senate majority leader will have to navigate his defense of the filibuster on both sides of the aisle.

The TIP with Benjamin Siegel

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has ended his climate change-centric presidential bid, but Democrats' focus on the environment isn't receding.

Activists are still pushing the Democratic National Committee to approve a climate-centric debate for the presidential candidates. Party officials rejected that motion in a committee vote on Thursday, and DNC Chairman Tom Perez and other officials have argued that approving a climate debate would effectively elevate one issue over others. The candidates, they have pointed out, are free to participate in climate change forums and town halls -- such as next month's event hosted on CNN. Advocates say they plan to bring the matter to the general session of the DNC's summer meeting for a vote.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a news conference at the Everglades Holiday Park, June 24, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Brynn Anderson/AP
Democratic presidential candidate Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a news conference at the Everglades Holiday Park, June 24, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Inslee, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other party figures and activists have argued that climate change is the most urgent issue facing the country -- a mounting threat that they say overshadows nearly every other matter facing Democrats and American voters. And though he's leaving the national campaign trail to pursue a third term as governor, Inslee said his mission will not end.

"It has been a profound honor to work with you on our mission to defeat climate change. I'm proud of what we've accomplished, both in the presidential race and in my role as governor of Washington -- where we have established a model of progressive action for the country," he wrote on Twitter Thursday. "The state of Washington has provided the nation a road map for climate action, innovation, and economic growth. And we're not done yet."

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features FiveThirtyEight Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver, who explains what Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's dropping out of the race tells us about the 2020 presidential field. And retired Marine colonel and ABC News contributor Stephen Ganyard talks about why there are no winners, including the U.S., in the trade war between Japan and South Korea. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND

  • President Donald Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then travels to France for the G-7 late in the day.
  • The following candidates are scheduled to participate in the Democratic National Committee summer meeting Friday: Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg campaigns in New Hampshire all weekend.
  • Harris campaigns in North Carolina all weekend.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday.
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock campaigns in San Diego on Friday.
  • Former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., campaigns in New Hampshire on Saturday.
  • Sanders campaigns in Kentucky and Minnesota on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Booker campaigns in Oregon on Sunday.
  • Bullock and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio participate in a CNN Town Hall on Sunday.
  • Moulton campaigns in New Hampshire on Sunday.
  • Sestak campaigns in Iowa on Sunday.
  • Warren campaigns in Seattle on Sunday.
  • Sunday on ABC News' "This Week": George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh. Plus: Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl speaks with Cindy McCain. And the Powerhouse Roundtable debates all the week's politics, with ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd, former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, former Chicago Mayor and ABC News Contributor Rahm Emanuel, and Democracy for America CEO and ABC News Contributor Yvette Simpson.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the sharpest political analysis every weekday.

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