It's another edition of the Midday News Wrap, our Friday discussion of some of the week's top news stories with a panel of journalists and commentators. Joining Tom Hall on this week's panel: reporter Jenna Johnson, who covered the 2016 Trump Campaign. Now, she covers the White House for The Washington Post, and she joins Tom on the line from The Post's radio studio. Also on the panel and with us in Studio A is Pastor Shannon Wright. She is the Third Vice-Chair of the Maryland Republican Party and the first Black woman ever elected to any party office in Maryland. In 2016, she was a Republican candidate for president of the Baltimore City Council. She is also the co-host of the Wright Way With Shannon and Mike morning show and a panelist on Roland Martin on News One.
Among the stories on this week's News Wrap agenda: The US Senate passed a budget blueprint that calls for big reductions to programs and big tax cuts. After taking a break while the Graham Cassidy health care bill took center stage, the bi-partisan effort by Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray resumed, resulting in a bill whose fate in both houses is uncertain. It’s also uncertain whether or not the President supports it.
Yesterday, in an extraordinary appearance in the White House briefing room, Chief of Staff John Kelly, a decorated Marine General and Gold Star Parent, offered a defense of President Trump, who had, earlier in the week, been criticized by Florida Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson for insensitive remarks to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed recently in Niger. Amid the public imbroglio that followed, the Washington Examiner's online newspaper published a video of a condolence call President Trump made last April to the clearly appreciative mother of a US soldier killed in Afghanistan.
And two former Presidents appeared in public yesterday and offered stinging rebukes of the Trump administration without ever uttering Mr. Trump’s name. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama decried the divisiveness of American politics. “Bigotry seems emboldened,” Mr. Bush said in New York.