The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Trump's Puerto Rico Visit

The president assessed the damage left behind by Hurricane Maria.

Evan Vucci / AP

Today in 5 Lines

President Trump visited hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, where he compared the island’s death toll to that of “a real catastrophe like Katrina.” During a press conference addressing Sunday night’s massacre in Las Vegas, House Speaker Paul Ryan said “mental health reform is a critical ingredient” to preventing future mass shootings. The House voted on a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The United States expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the country in response to recent mysterious attacks on American embassy personnel in Havana. And the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a case on partisan gerrymandering.

Today on The Atlantic

  • In Republican Control: Less than two days after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the gun proposals with the best chance of passing Congress are still ones that expand, not restrict, gun rights. (Russell Berman)

  • Making Cuts: President Trump’s tax-reform plan would be more beneficial to the top 1 percent of Americans than to the middle class. Here’s what a real tax cut for the middle class would look like. (Derek Thompson)

  • A New Monologue: In the aftermath of the massacre in Las Vegas, late-night comedians ditched their jokes to talk about the growing normalcy of gun violence in America. (Sophie Gilbert)

Follow stories throughout the day with our Politics & Policy portal.


President Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

What We’re Reading

Total Non-Sequitur: Liberal lawmakers are pursuing universal background checks to prevent future mass shootings, argues Rich Lowry, but background checks wouldn’t have prevented the massacre in Las Vegas. (National Review)

Talking in Circles: The gun debate in America can only be constructive if gun-control advocates and gun-rights advocates speak honestly about the fears motivating them—fears “of losing life, or losing a way of life.” (Anne Helen Petersen, BuzzFeed News)

More Than 16: During his visit to Puerto Rico, President Trump pointed to the relatively low death toll to downplay the crisis on the island. The problem is, the death toll is likely much higher. (Eliza Barclay, Vox)

‘How the Elderly Lose Their Rights’: In 2013, a stranger knocked on Rudy and Rennie North’s front door and removed them from their home. The stranger turned out to be a professional guardian, who can control—and profit from—senior citizens without their consent. (Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker)

Will Trump Push for Gun Control?: The president’s allies said he won’t push for tighter gun laws. Why? It would be “the end of everything,” said former chief strategist Steve Bannon. (Jonathan Swan, Axios)

Staff Pick

By now, it's clear that the relief effort in Puerto Rico is encountering difficulties, but it's hard to determine specifically where the breakdowns are. Atkin's piece is the best explanation I've seen of why it appears that the military is the broken link—and why tight-lipped government officials make it so hard to tell for sure.

—Staff writer David A. Graham


What Do You Think About Guns?: These eight charts illustrate the gun divide in the United States, using polling data from Gallup and the Pew Research Center. (Chris Cillizza, CNN)

From Nevada to New York: Vigils were held on Tuesday for the victims of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, where 59 people were killed. See photos from across the country. (Alan Taylor)

Question of the Week

After the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, we asked you to share what you read to keep things in perspective and make sense of uncertain times. We return to that question this week in light of the mass shooting in Las Vegas: What books or readings do you turn to for comfort and reflection?

Share your response here, and we'll feature a few in Friday’s Politics & Policy Daily.

-Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)