■ President Trump will meet with airline industry executives over breakfast at 9:30 on Thursday.
■ Representative Tom Price could finally get a vote as soon as Friday to be confirmed as secretary of health and human services.
■ At 11 a.m., Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, and Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the labor committee, will go after Andrew Puzder, Mr. Trump’s embattled nominee for labor secretary.
Trump shoots the messenger, Senator Blumenthal
It was a bit of a kiss-and-tell moment when Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, told reporters that President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, had called Mr. Trump’s attacks on the judiciary “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”
But the account was readily confirmed on the record by a White House adviser, Ron Bonjean, working to advance the Gorsuch confirmation.
That wasn’t enough to stop the president from going after Mr. Bluementhal where it hurt:
The president was referring to 2010 news, broken in The New York Times, a media outlet he has openly criticized, that Mr. Blumenthal had exaggerated his Vietnam-era service. Of course, Mr. Trump did not serve in Vietnam either, with that bad foot of his.
He also might want to be making friends with the senators who need to confirm Judge Gorsuch, but diplomacy is not always the president’s strong suit.
The president did tip his hand to what news program he was watching Thursday morning, CNN, where Mr. Blumenthal was being interviewed. With his trademark subtlety, Mr. Trump registered his discontent.
It is unclear what was “fake” about a story that relied as much on the people shepherding the Gorsuch nomination through the Senate as on one of the senators who will cast a vote.
Mr. Cuomo also did not ask the senator about the president’s bone spurs.
Kellyanne Conway: “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff”
Even those who expressed concern that the Trump family would cash in on its status as occupiers of the most powerful position in the world probably thought it would be subtle.
It hasn’t been.
On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted mean against Nordstrom for ending its affiliation with the clothing line of his daughter, Ivanka Trump. On Thursday, senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway took the next leap and flat out resorted to salesmanship on Fox & Friends.
With the president already running for re-election, federal workers get guidance on office politics
The day President Trump took the oath of office, he filed paperwork to declare his candidacy for re-election, not so much because he was overeager but because money was still flowing into his campaign coffers, and any funds raised over $5,000 in 2017 would have had to be returned unless Mr. Trump registered as a candidate. And we know the president doesn’t like refunds.
So what’s a federal employee to do with a boss who was technically running for office the day he stepped into the Oval Office? The Office of Special Counsel has answers. It has told federal employees that they may not express a view about whether Mr. Trump should be re-elected or defeated in 2020 while on duty or in the workplace, but it assured them that they were otherwise free to express support or disapproval about Mr. Trump and his policies.
A new guidance document was issued on Tuesday after the office said that it had received numerous inquiries about the impact of Mr. Trump’s filing for re-election. In contrast, former President Barack Obama filed such paperwork more than two years after his inauguration.
The office — an independent agency that watchdogs civil-service protections — said that with the exception of expressly advocating Mr. Trump’s success or failure in the 2020 election, federal employees were still pretty free.
“Because the 2020 election is still more than three years away, at this time not all expressions of support or opposition to President Trump constitute political activity for purposes of the Hatch Act,” which prohibits federal employees from politicking, it said.
The office also developed a new answer to its list of frequently asked questions that spells out with greater detail the scope and limits of federal employees’ right to express their views while they are at work or on duty.
The new answer distinguished between expressing a view about current events, policy issues and matters of public interest — which federal employees are always free to do — and political activity, meaning advocating the success or failure of a particular political candidate or party.
For example, it said, federal employees on duty or in the workplace are free to say “I agree with health care reform,” but not, “If you disagree with health care reform you should support candidate X.”
Trump’s labor pick gets roughed up
Andrew Puzder, the chief executive of the fast-food corporation that gave the world Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, and racy ads of bikini-clad women eating large hamburgers, is finally getting his confirmation hearing (on Feb. 16) after multiple delays.
It seems Mr. Puzder was having a devilish time getting his considerable finances in order. And amid the delays, his nomination has taken on water. Democrats have attacked his record at CKE, the parent company of the fast-food chains. Opponents have moved to unseal divorce records, which may contain details of domestic violence accusations leveled by his ex-wife, then retracted.
And now conservatives — led by the White House adviser Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News — are attacking Mr. Puzder for employing an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper.
Well, if he doesn’t get confirmed, Mr. Puzder will have a nest egg to fall back on. Ethics documents released Wednesday night showed that he pulled in a $3.4 million salary last year, owns as much as $55 million in company stock that he must divest himself of, expects a bonus of $1 million to $5 million and even secured a relocation benefit worth between $250,000 and $500,000.
And he would not be nearly the richest member of the cabinet.
Ah, so now he trusts the polls
For a guy who famously — and rightly — rejected the polls that showed he would not win the presidency, Mr. Trump has suddenly become quite enamored with those pesky surveys.
Vexed by the federal courts and questioned by the press, the president has turned to public opinion to bolster his policies, especially his temporary ban on visas to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
And it’s not just polls of Americans. Hey, polls of Europeans back him up too.
And of course, polls also back up his feeling for the news media — which, as you might have noticed, he doesn’t like.