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Emmanuel Macron is discovering the limits of a bromance with Donald Trump.
The French president’s last-ditch appeal to salvage the Iran nuclear deal was met with intransigence, despite the personal bond he’s sought to cultivate with his U.S. counterpart.
Within minutes of the two leaders sitting down in the Oval Office, Trump ridiculed the existing agreement as “terrible,” “insane,” and “ridiculous.” One-on-one talks seemed to do little to change his mind. Trump must decide by May 12 whether to continue to waive U.S. sanctions lifted under the pact.
Macron is trying to convince Trump that the existing accord could serve as the cornerstone of an expanded agreement to address the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program.
Yet despite the effusive praise, smiles and hand-holding that have characterized the first state visit of Trump’s presidency, whatever rapport Macron has established with Trump may not be enough to overcome the U.S. president’s visceral aversion to a pact negotiated by his predecessor.
Plaudits for a dictator | Trump complimented Kim Jong Un as “very honorable” in efforts to plan a historic summit that he said he hopes will occur “very soon.” The praise for the North Korean leader is a dramatic shift for the U.S., which has long condemned the Kim dynasty for its brutality and deceit, and for Trump himself, who last year derided Kim as “Little Rocket Man.”
A Brexit concession | The European Union would be prepared to offer Britain a better trade deal than Turkey got, Ian Wishart reports — but only if it decides to stay in the customs union after it leaves the bloc. The U.K. would have to give up the right to strike its own trade deals and wouldn’t get a seat at the table when the EU is negotiating with other countries. Instead, the EU would set up a mechanism for the U.K. to submit its views.
Raking in the cash | Senate Democrats in this year’s toughest races raised more than twice as much as their Republican opponents during the first quarter of 2018. The fundraising haul by the 10 Democratic incumbents running in the November election in states Trump won gives the party an advantage in its long-shot bid to claim a Senate majority. Republicans, meanwhile, burned resources on primary fights in several of those states.
Prepared to fight | White House physician Ronny Jackson plans to pursue confirmation as Veterans Affairs secretary despite a Senate committee review into allegations of improper behavior and management lapses. Trump yesterday publicly advised Jackson — the president’s latest appointee to encounter difficulty — to withdraw from consideration, although he later defended him as a “great leader.”
What to watch:
* Apple CEO Tim Cook will meet Trump at the White House today as the company looks to head off a brewing trade war between the U.S. and China.
And finally … Nobody surfs the murky waters between politics and the media in Turkey better than Acun Ilicali, who’s emerged as a global force in reality television. He’s survived President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s media crackdown and produced hit shows on three continents, including tailored versions of “Survivor” and “The Voice,” proving how popular escapism can be in times of political turmoil.
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