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Week in politics: What to watch for in Washington as the president pitches tax reform

Steve Bannon addresses the California GOP 2017 Convention in Anaheim, California on October 20, 2017.
Steve Bannon addresses the California GOP 2017 Convention in Anaheim, California on October 20, 2017.

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President Trump is off to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for lunch with Senate Republicans and a discussion about passing tax reform, a goal both parties share.

The optics of the meeting suggest it should be interesting. The president will be in the room with several senators with whom he has publicly clashed, among them John McCain, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, so it should be worth watching how the discussion plays out, what questions the senators have for the president, and whether the two sides leave the table on the same page. President Trump tweeted Monday that his tax reform proposal would not change tax-deferred retirement plans,

Speaking of public clashes, the president continues to go back and forth with the widow of one of the four U.S. Marines who died earlier this month in Niger over a phone call the president made to her, and what and how the president said it. The woman, Myeshia Johnson, says the president couldn’t remember her husband’s name and that she was upset by his tone during the call. The president denied that he’d forgotten the Marine’s name in a tweet Monday morning and continues to push back on the idea that he was disrespectful during the call. The president’s chief-of-staff, General John Kelly, went to bat for the president on this issue last week during a White House press briefing. Kelly is, himself, a Gold Star parent.

We’ll also take a look at how much money Democrats are raising for 2018 and why it has some Republicans alarmed, what happened this weekend at the California GOP convention in Anaheim, where former chief strategist to the president Steve Bannon was keynote speaker, plus how the Virginia governor’s race is heating up and its national implications.


Caroline Heldman, associate professor of politics at Occidental College and author of the forthcoming book, "Protest Politics in the Marketplace: Consumer Activism in the Corporate Age" (Cornell University Press, 2017); she tweets @carolineheldman

Jack Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College; he tweets @jpitney