Be Best: Melania launches FLOTUS initiative in 11-minute Rose Garden speech

Tuesday, May 8 2018
President Trump greets first lady Melania Trump during the launch of her "Be Best" initiative event in the Rose Garden Monday. Credit: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Be Best: Melania launches FLOTUS initiative in 11-minute Rose Garden speech

What Washington is Talking About: "Govsters" tweeting about how uncool Washington is

The Only Thing That Genuinely Surprised Me at the Met Gala: The Romneys on the red carpet

Kate Bennett

What the White House is Talking About:
President Trump will announce at 2 p.m. his decision about America's participation in the Iran nuclear deal. 

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:
Trump's calls this morning with Chinese President Xi and French President Macron. 

More on Trump and Iran Deal:
While it is anticipated the President will announce his intention to go forward with sanctions against Iran, nothing is set in stone until Trump speaks. One thing is certain, he wants John Kerry to stop getting involved: 
Credit: @realDonaldTrump/Twitter 

Trump On Blankenship, "Guys, Don't.":
The President yesterday cautioned West Virginia Republicans against voting for Don Blankenship, who is running for the Senate and has been a, ahem, controversial candidate. His political ad using the term "China people" was one of the worst to ever hit the airwaves. However, Trump's concern is that a Blankenship win today means he'll go up against incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin, and Manchin will beat him. A bizarre circle-of-life irony of the Blankenship debate is that he is running in an extremely similar manner to the way Trump handled his 2016 campaign. 

Trump's Getting Annoyed with Rudy: 
We could kind of see this coming, am I right? Apparently the President is getting irritated by Rudy Giuliani's television appearances and the onslaught of negative opinions in their wake. The constant rehash of Giuliani interview material that has preoccupied cable news for the past several days has, for Trump, become annoying. 

Our Daily Melania:
ICYMI, here's my piece on Melania Trump's newly announced platform. It's basically what she's been doing for the past few months, focusing on helping children, only now with a branded name (Be Best), and streamlined categories (emotional and physical health and well-being, the opioid crisis and practicing kindness on social media). I was in the Rose Garden for the launch, and having been present for almost all of her public remarks over the past year and a half, I thought she handled the 11-minute speech well. She is getting less nervous with public speaking, and more comfortable with the teleprompter. The only critique I kept hearing over and over about the platform when I got back to the CNN bureau from the White House was about the slogan. "Be Best" seems like it's maybe missing a word. Like, it should be "Be The Best," or "Be Your Best." Probably a fair argument, but it did make for a good cookie

There was a controversial aftermath with a booklet that was released as part of "Be Best" collateral. It's complicated, but basically the booklet was very similar to a 2009 FTC booklet, so there was a rush to the "she plagiarized!" narrative, especially on Twitter. But the first lady's office worked in conjunction with the FTC, a government entity, to make a few small changes and add the "Be Best" branding -- totally consensual. It became a thing and this morning Melania's communications director sent out a pretty scathing admonishment of the media. Happy Tuesday! 
Ok, Let's Talk Met Gala:
Here's my thing: it's jumped the shark. I liked the Met Gala back when it reflected fashion. And fashion reflects the subtle influences of life as seen through the eyes of a designer. It is nuanced and subjective, and when done well, not obvious. The Met Gala doesn't represent any of those things anymore -- it's a costume party run amok. Like, we see you, Rihanna, we get it. In the same way her outfit didn't need the Pope hat, Katy Perry didn't need the angel wings, Madonna didn't need to rehash basically her entire 1990s period, Zendaya didn't need the full Joan of Arc situation, Sarah Jessica Parker didn't need a nativity scene on her head (what was that?), and Tom Brady didn't need any of it. Oh, the theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination? YOU DON'T SAY! I NEVER WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THAT, THANKS, CELEBRITIES.
Credits: top to bottom, left to right: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images, Neilson Barnard/Getty Images, Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images, Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images,Taylor Hill/Getty Images 

My two favorites, naturally, were Kate Moss (if you know me, you know I have an anchor tattoo on my forearm in homage to Kate's) and Sienna Miller. They understand fashion, and the theme, and were so perfectly dressed to reflect dark angel and celestial being. Bravo. 
Credit: (both) Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Dress Like the First Lady: 
Fun fact: Melania Trump has been to the Met Gala several times, including 2004, when Donald Trump proposed to her just before the couple left for the ball. Yesterday in the Rose Garden for her big announcement, Melania combined several things that have become her signature style statements: tailored leather, strong jacket silhouette, and the belted trench. Also, Ralph Lauren Collection. Her "Buffy" jacket is available here for $5,990
Credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images,

Hunter Schwarz

What Washington is Talking About:
The Caps became the first Washington team to reach the conference finals of one of North America's four major men's pro sports leagues since Bill Clinton was in office, embattled CIA director nominee Gina Haspel is on the Hill meeting with senators, and everyone's dunking on D.C. for being uncool after the Washington Post story that called us cool and coined the term "govster."

What America is Talking About:
It's Election Day, with primaries in Indiana (where Mike Pence's brother Greg is running), North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia (where Don Blankenship, a former coal company exec who served a year in prison in connection with a mine explosion that killed 29 men in 2010 and released the "China people" ad Kate mentioned, is running).

Poll of the Day:
Ahead of Trump's decision on the Iran deal today, a CNN poll found 63% of Americans believe the U.S. should not withdraw from the agreement.
Credit: CNN

Oliver North is the NRA's Next President:
Yes, that Oliver North. He's replacing current President Pete Brownell. NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre isn't going anywhere.

New York AG Resigns Following Abuse Allegations:
Eric Schneiderman, New York's Dem attorney general, is stepping down following allegations from multiple women of physical assault. The Manhattan District Attorney's office has opened an investigation.

Connecticut Joins Movement to Elect POTUS by Popular Vote:
The state's legislature passed a bill that would give the state's Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of who wins in Connecticut. It's part of an agreement that now includes 172 Electoral College votes, the group National Popular Vote, Inc. said. 

The Only Thing That Genuinely Surprised Me at the Met Gala:
As Kate mentioned, there was so much about last night's Met Gala that was boring and predictable -- Madonna dusting off something from her Rebel Heart Tour chief among them. The only moment I *actually* gasped was when I saw the Romneys on the red carpet. They were guests of Stephen Schwarzman, one of the gala's honorary chairmen, per the New York Times. True to his frugal ways, Mitt wore a Brioni tux he bought on sale on Amazon ("Don't you dare!" Ann said when he revealed where he got it) Ann's hair was done by hair and makeup artist Brittany Gharring, who posted some behind-the-scenes shots.
Credit: Dia Dipasupil/WireImage

Stormy Daniels Penthouse Cover Story is Out:
This is the story on Stormy I've been waiting to read, looking at her as a person, a porn star, a new, strange sort of Trump-era feminist icon, and not as a political figure. Writes Mitchell Sutherland:

"On Twitter, the leftist resistance has hailed her as a saving grace that might lead to impeachment. Leaders of the evangelical right have ignored Stormy -- if they acknowledged the scandal, how could they defend their beloved Trump? -- but atheists have used this reaction as proof of Christian hypocrisy. The only person who sees Stormy's story as not political is Stormy herself."

Seth Meyers Says Trump Wanted an Apology for Making Fun of Him:
Meyers said four years after mocking Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner, he tried to make amends with Trump by inviting him on his show, but there was one demand from Trump: he had to say he was sorry. Meyers told Politico's "Off Message" podcast that Michael Cohen made the demand, which he turned down. Here's what he said about how comedians joke about Trump:

"This is a case of judo, where you're using someone else's momentum against them. It's not like we're attacking. We're just sort of like steering his weight and letting him take himself down."

Lindsay Bluth is Running for Congress:
Netflix announced Season 5 of "Arrested Development," and in the trailer, Portia de Rossi's Lindsay Bluth says she's running for Congress ("I want to be part of the problem, Michael"), and her campaign sign is just Trump's with her name on it. Amazing.
Credit: Netflix

Street Art Sighting:
These posters of Trump as Evel Knievel reading "I Am Evil" were spotted Saturday in Dublin's Grand Canal area by photographer Artur Widak.
Credit: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you spot political street art, tweet me @hunterschwarz, tag me on Instagram @hunterschwarz, or email me at with your sighting so I can feature it in COVER/LINE.

Madonna performed "Like a Prayer" at the Met Gala, because how could she not? And Nicki Minaj announced her new album Queen on the gala's red carpet.
Correction: In Monday's issue I misspelled "Nats" at "Nets" when describing the team Bryce Harper plays for. I blame autocorrect and regret the error.
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COVER/LINE is where politics meets pop culture. From CNN's Hunter Schwarz and Kate Bennett, this daily newsletter is the must-read lunch date in Washington and beyond.


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