[guest post by Dana]
Here are a few news items from the week for you to chew over. Please feel free to add anything that you think might interest readers in the comments. Make sure to include links.
First news item
A pair of Ohio representatives want to make June 14th a day to honor former President Donald Trump.
Republican Reps. Jon Cross of Kenton and Reggie Stoltzfus of Paris Township sent an email to their House colleagues Friday asking them to cosponsor an upcoming bill “to celebrate one of the greatest presidents in American history.”
“Let’s show the 3,154,834 Ohio voters who cast their ballot to re-elect Donald J. Trump that we as a legislature recognize the accomplishments of his administration,” according to the request for co-sponsors.
Second news item
On or about January 12, 2021, the FBI received a tip with a video purported to be filmed by BANCROFT. The video was a “selfie” video which depicted BANCROFT and another woman, later identified as SANTOS-SMITH, in the process of attempting to exit the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The video further captured a large mob of individuals who had become bottlenecked at a Capitol exit point. During the video, BANCROFT stated, “We broke into the Capitol…we got inside, we did our part.” BANCROFT continued, “We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin’ brain but we didn’t find her.” Your affiant believes that the “Nancy” BANCROFT was referencing is Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. BANCROFT was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” ski-cap style hat, and SANTOS-SMITH wore a red “Make America Great Again” baseball hat during the video.
Third news item
Kelli Ward, who was reelected party chair Saturday at a state party meeting, said the Arizona GOP lacked the “structure” to perform an audit, but said she welcomed input to improve elections.
Ward praised the party’s election process, saying “we had no complaints from anyone, from any state committeeman” or those carrying proxy votes. The party used paper ballots and machines from Gila County to run the race.
“Everything was above board,” she said. Ward said there was “no procedure, process, rule that allows for it to be done, and you certainly don’t allow a challenger who lost an election to demand something that they don’t have the right to, and we don’t have the responsibility for providing.”
…Ward also slammed media local and national media outlets for publishing stories about the controversy, saying they are “not friends of Republicans.” And she criticized Republicans who talked to the media about their concerns with potential irregularities.
Fourth news item
In fact, according to sources close to the campaigns, people in and around the White House, including the president’s lawyer former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, put near-constant pressure on the two Georgia Republicans, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, to shape their runoff campaigns around his demands.
“It was a hostage situation every day,” said one Republican strategist familiar with the campaigns who only agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.
“We were always trying to guard against the tweet [from Trump],” the strategist said.
“Every week we had some new sort of demand,” said another strategist involved with the campaigns. “Calling for the hand recount. The signature match. A special session. $2,000 [coronavirus relief] checks. Objecting to the electors.”
“It was, ‘If you do not do this, the president will actively work against you and you will lose,’ ” he recalled.
“In the president’s shadow”
“What was happening was obvious,” said Brian Robinson, a Georgia Republican strategist who did not work for either campaign. “It was obvious from the outside, not just the inside.”
“Our Republican candidates have been in this corner for a couple of years, having to run 100% unrelenting, un-independently mindedly supporting Trump,” he said. ” ‘Whatever [Trump] says, that’s my new position. If it contradicts something I said before, that’s fine. It’s my new position.’ “
Fifth news item
In the midst of his campaign for president, Joe Biden took his younger brother, Frank, aside to issue a warning.
“For Christ’s sake, watch yourself,” Biden said of his brother’s potential business dealings, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation. “Don’t get sucked into something that would, first of all, hurt you.”
Biden…seemed to know then what is becoming plainly obvious now: His family’s business ties threatened to undermine an administration whose messaging is centered on restoring integrity in the White House.
Relatives’ money-making ventures, most prominently his son Hunter’s overseas dealings, have long dogged Biden. But it’s taking on a new dimension now that he’s in the White House.
Only a week into his presidency, Biden already has had to answer for matters related to his family. A law firm ad promoting Frank Biden’s relationship with the president caused a stir when it ran on Inauguration Day. A federal investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter, has invited scrutiny of just how strict a firewall he’ll keep between the White House and the Justice Department. And another of the president’s brothers, James, has previously come under fire for his business dealings.
Sixth news item
With Republican opposition growing to the size of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal, President Joe Biden on Friday expressed his clearest support yet for Senate Democrats to use a fast-track budgetary tool that would allow the legislation to pass with a simple majority.
Asked by reporters as he left the White House, “Do you support passing COVID relief through budget reconciliation?,” Biden answered, “I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans if we can get it. But COVID relief has to pass. There’s no ifs, ands or buts.”
Biden had focused repeatedly on has repeatedly called for a bipartisan approach, reaching across the aisle to try to rally support only to be stonewalled by opposition. A few Republicans have expressed a willingness to consider a far smaller, “targeted” package, but none has come close to supporting the level of spending advocated by Biden and congressional Democrats.
Seventh news item
“What could they be thinking? Or is thinking too generous of a word for what they might be doing?” Pelosi said Thursday of the GOP’s decision to seat [Marjorie Taylor Greene] on that committee. “It’s absolutely appalling, and I think the focus has to be on the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the deaths of those children.”
Some rank-and-file Democrats, however, are taking the matter into their own hands and ratcheting up efforts to ex-communicate Greene. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) is introducing a privileged resolution to expel Greene from Congress, meaning it will receive a floor vote — potentially as early as next week.
But expulsion would require two-thirds support in the House, making it highly unlikely that it will succeed. Still, it will force every single lawmaker, including members of GOP leadership, to go on the record when it comes to Greene.
“Only today’s Republican party could pull off the public-relations coup of putting the dumbest person in Congress on the education committee.”
Eighth news item
Clearly, the definition of “health” is up for grabs, and if you have no voice because you are yet too small, too bad, so sad:
And it will be our policy to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the United States, as well as globally. To that end, President Biden will be revoking the Mexico City Policy in the coming days, as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.
Ninth news item
May she stay safe, be strong, and never, ever give up:
Anastasia Vasilyeva, an ally of Alexei Navalny, decided to play the piano while police raided her house along with other properties connected to the Kremlin critic pic.twitter.com/BkGOQVyVEK
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 28, 2021
Tenth news item
There cannot and will not be unity until there is trust. Trust cannot be rebuilt until Trump Republicans in Congress acknowledge and publicly condemn what happened at the Capitol *and* condemn Trump’s incitement of the Jan. 6 events. They also need to acknowledge their own tacit approval-by-association too. (And every Republican who stupidly refused to wear a mask when barricaded in the room with their Democratic colleagues should be publicly named and shamed.) Republican members who continue to enable these colleagues by remaining silent, need to speak up. Until said disapproval reaches Liz Cheney levels, even a normal range of “unity” (standard tension between Congressional Reps. and Dems.) cannot happen. There must first be remorse, regret, and restitution:
Some House lawmakers are privately refusing to work with each other. Others are afraid to be in the same room. Two members almost got into a fist fight on the floor. And the speaker of the House is warning that “the enemy is within.”
Forget Joe Biden’s calls for unity. Members of Congress couldn’t be further divided.
Just weeks into the 117th Congress, the bedrock of relationships hasn’t been on such shaky ground in more than a generation, with a sense of deep distrust and betrayal that lawmakers worry will linger for years. And those strains could carry long-term effects on an institution where relationships — and reputations — matter more than almost anything else.
“This is a real tension,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who was among the roughly two dozen Democrats barricaded into the chamber during the Jan. 6 riots and later contracted coronavirus after spending hours in a safe room with Republicans who refused to wear masks. “I don’t know if that’s repairable. It is certainly a massive chasm that exists right now between a large majority of the Republican caucus and all of us Democrats across the ideological spectrum.”
The friction is particularly intense in the House, where two-thirds of the GOP conference voted to overturn the election just hours after lawmakers were attacked by a mob that demanded that very action. The position of those 139 members is now threatening to upend decades of relationships in the House, forcing long-time colleagues to work through their raw emotions and palpable anger in the weeks since the attack.
Just for fun
Here is an absolutely brilliant clip from the Royal Ballet’s “Don Quixote”:
💃 This Christmas day, tune in to our YouTube channel at 7pm to watch @TheRoyalBallet's Don Quixote for free!@CAcostaOfficial's production brings the sunshine of Spain and the exuberance of the entire Company to the stage 😍https://t.co/5fDhY1STmT#OurHouseToYourHouse pic.twitter.com/Tf4beai3i4
— Royal Opera House (@RoyalOperaHouse) December 21, 2020
Have a good weekend!