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First Read's Morning Clips: About Last Night

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day.
Image: Rain falls outside the U.S. Capitol before Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington
Rain falls outside the U.S. Capitol before President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington on Feb. 28, 2017.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

TRUMP AGENDA: About last night

How it played:

The New York Times: “Before Congress, Trump Urges End to ‘Trivial Fights’”

The Wall Street Journal: “Trump Reaches for Higher Ground”

USA Today: “Trump Redefines Republicans”

The Washington Post: “Trump details vision in milder tones”

The Los Angeles Times: “A More Temperate Trump”

The Miami Herald: “A vision looking forward”

Daily News: “Don Hits Reset”

New York Post: “Dream Bigly”

From NBC’s Andrew Rafferty and Ali Vitali: “It was Donald Trump at his most presidential. In his first address to Congress, President Trump defended controversial policies pushed by his administration and optimistically outlined a bold agenda highlighted by immigration reform, an expansive infrastructure program and reform of the nation's health care system. While Trump advocated many of the hot-button issues he championed during the 2016 presidential campaign, he also struck a more conciliatory tone than the bombastic new president has done since entering the White House.”

The Washington Post: “In his 60-minute address Tuesday night, Trump sought to repackage his hard-line campaign promises with a moderate sheen, declaring what he termed “a new chapter of American greatness” of economic renewal and military might.”

And from the Wall Street Journal: “His speech largely avoided his signature attacks on his adversaries and the political establishment. While he once again highlighted the challenges of violent crime in some urban communities and drew attention to crimes committed by illegal immigrants, he didn’t repeat his denunciation of “American carnage” in his inaugural address. Although there were no major policy shifts—he called for reworking trade deals and cracking down on illegal immigration without using the controversial “America First’’ label to describe them—the edges of his most incendiary rhetoric were sanded off. It was the Trump doctrine with aspirational overtones.”

POLITICO: “President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress was remarkable for how unremarkable it was. Stately, scripted and subdued, Trump delivered perhaps the most traditional speech of his political career on Tuesday night. Sounding much like so many of the other presidents who have preceded him, he drew on history and the personal narratives of his hand-selected guests as he recited a prosaic laundry list of policy proposals, interrupted with spurts of soaring rhetoric and paeans to American exceptionalism.”

From Benjy Sarlin: “When it came to immigration, President Donald Trump's speech to Congress on Tuesday night was more notable for what it left out than for what it included. Just hours earlier, Trump had told reporters he would consider legalizing some undocumented immigrants — a massive shift in policy — as part of a bipartisan deal. But his address had no mention of the idea and instead included familiar passages denouncing crime by undocumented immigrants and celebrating recent moves to boost deportations.”

More, from the New York Times, on confusion over his immigration stance: “The speech was written, the rollout strategy was set. And then President Trump began talking and the plan went out the window. Unless that was the plan all along.” MORE: “Once again, the unlikeliest of presidents had torn up the script and thrown his young administration into upheaval. Once again, Washington was left trying to fathom what his strategy was. Was it mad genius, an improvisational leader proposing a Nixon-goes-to-China move to overhaul immigration after making a point of deporting “bad hombres”? Or was it simply madness, an undisciplined political amateur unable to resist telling guests what he thinks they want to hear even at the expense of his own political base?”

Jane Timm offers 12 fact checks of Trump’s address.

The Wall Street Journal: “In the first five weeks of his presidency, Donald Trump has left business leaders with a sense of cautious optimism—they’re optimistic because they like his message on taxes, infrastructure and regulations, but cautious because so many details are left to be filled in. On Tuesday night, optimism appeared to gain ground. Business leaders cheered the positive tone in the president’s speech to a joint session of Congress, even as they acknowledged a continued lack of specificity in many areas, such as taxes. But the executives said they hoped the president’s unifying message could ease current logjams on the issues they care most about and give him a better shot at eventual success in the current fractured Congress.”

The Associated Press: “President Donald Trump's new immigration order will remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a temporary U.S. travel ban, U.S. officials say, citing the latest draft in circulation. Trump is expected to sign the executive order in the coming days. Four officials told The Associated Press that the decision followed pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq's inclusion on the list given its key role in fighting the Islamic State group.”

From last night: “The FBI reached a deal in October to pay a former British spy who had compiled a dossier on Donald Trump's alleged ties with Russia, an indication of how seriously the bureau was taking the allegations, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

It’s a big day for health care, POLITICO notes: “Republicans are having a break-the-glass moment on Obamacare. After promising for years to upend the Democratic health care law the first chance they got — and with plans to hold a vote to repeal by early April — the party remains far from consensus. So far, in fact, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called a special all-members caucus meeting Wednesday to try and get his rowdy caucus in line.”