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(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

After two weeks of shifting musings on gun measures, President Trump is expected to miss a self-imposed deadline to produce specific proposals on Friday, according to aides — in the latest sign of how chaos in the White House is hampering policymaking.

Lawmakers from both parties have told Trump they can succeed in passing the comprehensive package of gun safety proposals he's asked for only if he leads the debate, and provides Republicans with political cover to stand up to the formidable gun lobbies in a perilous election year. Even so, many fear the president won't keep his word given his reversals in the past, notably on immigration and healthcare.

The difficulties the administration has had in forging and communicating a policy to respond to the shooting deaths of 17 students and staff members at a Florida high school two weeks ago highlight how, more than a year into his tenure, Trump has been unable to translate his impulses into actual legislative proposals, or stick to positions long enough to do so.

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(Mandel Ngan / AFP)

President Trump reassured the National Rifle Assn. in a Thursday evening meeting of his support for 2nd Amendment gun rights but stuck by his proposal to set a minimum federal age of 21 to buy long guns, his press secretary said on Friday. 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders also indicated that Trump does not support universal background checks for gun buyers, which would expand to include sales at gun shows and over the internet that are currently exempt. The president wants to improve the current system but is “not necessarily” in favor of background checks for all gun purchases, she said.

Trump’s Oval Office meeting with NRA lobbyist Chris Cox, which was not listed on his public schedule, came a day after he’d rattled his allies among gun rights groups by telling lawmakers to send him a bill with a number of limits on gun ownership, including the age limit to buy assault weapons like the one used last month in the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school and several others.

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  • Economy

President Trump on Friday morning brushed off concerns about the effect of his plans for steep new tariffs, tweeting that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”

His administration must “protect our country and our workers,” Trump said in apparent defense of his plans for a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminum, which he announced to his staff’s surprise on Thursday. Global financial markets fell significantly in response, and analysts attributed that to fears of a trade war between the United States and China. 

Trump seemed to single out China without naming it: When “a certain country” gets “cute,” he wrote, “don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”

Roberta Jacobson
Roberta Jacobson (Associated Press)

Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico and one of the State Department’s most experienced Latin America hands, said Thursday that she is quitting even as U.S. relations with Mexico appear to have nose dived.

Jacobson, who spent 31 years as a diplomat, becomes the latest veteran foreign service officer to step down in what has become an unusual exodus of departing senior talent under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Joseph Yun, special representative on North Korea, resigned earlier this week, and John Feeley, the U.S. ambassador to Panama, announced his decision to leave in January. Feeley said he could no longer advocate for U.S. policy in the Trump administration.

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President Trump on Wednesday threatened to delay building border barriers in California until his long-promised wall goes up elsewhere, seemingly slinging another arrow in his running battle with the nation’s most populous state.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump near the casket of Billy Graham.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump near the casket of Billy Graham. (Aaron P. Bernstein / Associated Press)

A casket bearing the body of Billy Graham lay in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday, but it signaled more than the death of a religious leader who had befriended and counseled presidents for decades.

It also marked two historic passages: the political activism by white evangelicals that has redefined the Republican Party, and the threat to that power as their numbers ebb in a changing America.

For a party halfway in the grave, the news thudded like another shovelful of dirt — thwack! — heaved atop its coffin: The Republican Party may soon slip into third place among registered California voters, trailing Democrats and self-declared independents.

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Take the guns first, go through due process second.

In a contentious White House meeting about guns Wednesday, President Trump suggested law enforcement officials should be able to confiscate people’s firearms without a court order to prevent potential tragedies. 

Trump also told lawmakers to send him “one terrific bill” on gun safety, including stronger background checks and restrictions based on one’s age and mental health.