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Essential Politics: Trump’s Phoenix fury, and now on to Reno

It was the burning question among political observers: Would there be a noticeable shift in the tone and tenor of President Trump from Monday’s closely watched speech on Afghanistan to Tuesday’s campaign-style rally in Phoenix?

Not that we couldn’t guess the answer. Of course there was.

Good morning from the state capital. I’m Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers, and the president’s visit to Arizona was full of fury at those who he feels have wronged him.

A reminder that Trump will speak to the American Legion later today in Reno, and we’ve got a team of journalists in place and will offer complete coverage on our Essential Washington news feed.

Now, about last night…


There were many targets of the president’s anger on Tuesday night, a 76-minute critique — blistering at times — of all who he believes have tried to thwart his agenda.

Few were mentioned more than the news media and its coverage of the violent events in Charlottesville, Va. almost two weeks ago. He also kept hinting of anger at Arizona’s two U.S. senators, though he wouldn’t mention either of them by name.

And that wasn’t the only thing Trump told his supporters he couldn’t say right now, suggesting it’s all but certain that he’ll ultimately grant a pardon to former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio.


— Tuesday night’s speech struck a decidedly different tone from Monday, when he delivered a more measured address on the U.S. military’s presence in Afghanistan — one that was at odds with his campaign promises.

— The reviews of the military plan were mixed on Capitol Hill.

Defense Secretary James Mattis defended the proposal on Tuesday, likening it to efforts used to combat Islamic State.

— The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Russian and Chinese companies who it said are working with North Korea.

— The Navy is moving to replace the commander of the 7th Fleet after the latest collision between a destroyer and a merchant vessel.

— A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that Arizona’s ban on Mexican American studies is racially discriminatory.

— The Secret Service said Monday it’s running short on cash, partly because of the complexity of security logistics for the president and his family.


Trump’s statements about Charlottesville are among the reasons cited by dozens of staffers from former President Barack Obama’s campaign and White House as proof of why they must run for office, Seema Mehta reports.

Their campaigns, including several in California, are driven by the election of Trump, fewer opportunities in Washington and the desire to protect and build upon Obama’s legacy.


The University of California broke the rules that govern when it’s allowed to replace full-time employees with contract workers, according to a state audit released on Tuesday.

The second audit of UC President Janet Napolitano’s operations this year also found some of its campuses cut corners in awarding some contracts. Auditors said two contracts they reviewed that resulted in the replacement of full-time employees with contract workers did not fully adhere to the employee replacement guidelines in either contract.


California’s cap-and-trade program had a sold-out auction this month of carbon pollution credits, a sign of confidence in the future of the system.

Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers recently extended the program until 2030. The auction generated an estimated $640 million in revenue for the state.


— City officials in Los Angeles said Tuesday they’re ready to join the legal fight against the Trump administration’s effort against “sanctuary city” policies.

State Senate leader Kevin de León called for healing after the violence in Charlottesville and announced informational hearings examining California’s readiness for future white supremacist rallies and to look at the rise of such extremist ideologies.

— Orange County Rep. Lou Correa held a town hall focused on veterans’ issues Monday, and it was nowhere near as rowdy as his last one on immigration.

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