This weekend's big story was North Korea's failed missile launch, which elicited a growl from a Trump administration ready to show off U.S. military might.
Within hours, Vice President Mike Pence, who traveled to Seoul this weekend to celebrate Easter with U.S. and South Korean troops, derided what he called a "provocation from the north." He assured a gathering of U.S. and South Korean troops that "President Trump's leadership our resolve has never been stronger, our commitment to this historic alliance with the courageous people of South Korea has never been stronger and with your help and God's help freedom will ever prevail on this peninsula."
Pence made an unannounced visit the next morning to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Monday local time. There he said of China that "we look for them to do more" to help solve the North Korea problem. "The era of strategic patience is over," he added.
Pence's Asia trip began shortly after North Korea had warned of a "big event" this weekend. Pentagon officials mobilized resources to hit back, even though Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly dismissed North Korea's capability to harm the U.S. as one that wasn't "kinetic" but rather a "cyber threat."
North Korea's missile, which military officials believe was a mid-range missile fired from the same navy base where a separate attempt took place on April 5, blew up immediately after launch, the U.S. military concluded. North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and about two dozen missile tests in the last year.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said how the current president handles relations with Kim Jong Un will be the "first test of his presidency."
Though the latest missile launch attempt seemed par for the course for a regime hell-bent, but far away from, perfecting a nuclear program that can attack U.S. and its allies, the Trump administration pushed back hard.
Hitting the Sunday morning talk show circuit a second weekend in a row, national security adviser H.R. McMaster was confident that Trump is ready to take action against any threats North Korea might pose to the U.S. "The president is determined not to allow this kind of capability to threaten the United States. And our president will take action that is in the best interest of the American people," he said on ABC's "This Week."
On a different station, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland said Trump wasn't the least bit concerned about the missile launch. "It's not a surprise, even in the last year President Kim of North Korea launched over 30 missiles. Most of them have failed," McFarland told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace when asked if he was "distressed." "We were expecting something particularly surrounding the birthday of his grandfather, so it wasn't a surprise," she added.
Trump himself has not commented specifically on the missile launch, though he did tweet Sunday that the U.S. has "no choice" but to build up its military. He spent a relatively quiet weekend staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Springs, Fla., near where he attended Easter Day services with his wife, Melania.
This weekend's focus on Asia marked a notable pivot away from the prevailing conversation surrounding Trump's decision to launch a missile barrage to wreck a Syrian regime airbase tied to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens. However, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., did implore Trump to not get sucked into a war in the Middle East.
On the domestic front, Tax Day on Saturday inspired more than 150 marches nationwide to call on Trump to release his tax returns, including one near the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Springs, Fla., and Washington, D.C.
Trump is the first president in 40 years to refuse to release his tax returns while in office.
It was in the nation's capital where some Democrats rallied, including Rep. Maxine Waters, who vowed to "fight every day" until Trump is impeached. Meanwhile a clash between Trump supporters and critics in Berkeley, Calif., led to the arrest of at least a dozen people.
This weekend also capped what was the first of a two-week recess for Congress. Like in recent recesses past some Republican lawmakers faced rowdy crowds at town hall events following repeated failed attempts by the Republican leadership and Trump administration to mount a repeal-and-replace effort for Obamacare.