So much has rattled the world in the past several days that the removal of Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council feels like an eternity ago. That velocity can make the life cycle of any singular news event seem shorter, as people move on to the — because, invariably, there’s always a next thing. But the speed at which events fall from public consciousness doesn’t alter their implications. —
Inside the Syria strike. President Donald Trump was sharing a steak dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Thursday as his military prepared to fire dozens of cruise missiles into Syria. In the hours leading up to the attack, Trump had to depend on the expertise of the intelligence community and military apparatus that he and his aides belittled throughout the campaign and since. Less than three days after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad prompted the U.S. strike by attacking an insurgent-held town with sarin gas, Trump’s relationship with the world was altered.
The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court after Republicans triggered the “nuclear option.” With Vice President Mike Pence in the presiding officer’s chair, the Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Gorsuch who, at age 49, is likely to help shape the court for decades to come. Trump is counting on him to reinstate a conservative-leaning 5-4 court. Gorsuch will be sworn in Monday with a private ceremony at the court, followed by a public oath-taking at the White House.
A “terrible act of terror” in Stockholm. Swedish police were hunting the driver of a hijacked beer truck that slammed into a building in downtown Stockholm on Friday, killing at least three people and injuring many others in what the prime minister described as a terror attack. Officers said no arrests have so far been made and showed a man in a hooded sweatshirt they were pursuing. Much of the capital’s downtown has been cordoned off and rail services at the central station were suspended.
A burgeoning friendship. Trump said he forged a friendship with Chinese President Xi, striking a positive tone in the early hours of the first-ever meeting between leaders of the world’s two biggest economies. “I think, long-term, we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it,” Trump said. His remarks came shortly before the U.S. launched a cruise missile strike against Syria.
Retail stores are closing faster than ever. The rapid descent of so many retailers has left shopping malls with hundreds of slots to fill, and the pain could be just beginning. More than 10 percent of U.S. retail space, or nearly 1 billion square feet, may need to be closed, converted to other uses or renegotiated for lower rent in coming years, according to data provided to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, mall CEOs say the whole “malls are dying” thing is getting old.
A chilling effect for ICE. On Jan. 25, Trump signed an executive order calling for the creation of a department within ICE: the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, or Voice, office. The almost two dozen ICE community relations officers across the U.S. will now be responsible for highlighting crimes committed by members of the community they’ve spent years trying to strengthen.
L.L. Bean’s iconic duck boot finally gets a refresh. The limited-edition branding of the company’s new, more colorful spring collection mimics the hype of a sneaker launch, creating a looming sense of urgency that the boots will disappear forever if shoppers miss the rush. It's a first for the 105-year-old company, and likely a welcome distraction: The brand recently faced boycott threats after the political donations of part-owner Linda Bean came under scrutiny.