Donald Trump reacts to a song during a campaign rally at the Indiana Theater in Terre Haute, Ind. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

THE BIG IDEA by Matea Gold:

James Hohmann is on vacation -- we'll have a series of guest writers from the Post political team sharing their analysis with you this week.

Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump may be financially outmatched in the general election by Hillary Clinton – and while it might not determine his fate, it could hurt the Republican Party.

Now crowned the presumptive nominee, Trump is turning his attention to financing a general election campaign, an endeavor that would run around $1 billion for any other candidate.

Trump, of course, is not like other candidates. One of his big distinctions -- until now -- has been his proclamation that he is self-funding his presidential bid. And he has laid out serious cash, giving or loaning his campaign $36 million through the end of March. (He also accepted $12 million in donations during that time.)

But the New York businessman acknowledged Wednesday that he cannot finance his bid for the next six months, unless he was willing to “to sell a couple of buildings,” as he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Instead, he told the Wall Street Journal, he plans to create a “world-class finance organization.”

That leaves a couple of options for Trump, who is scheduled to hold a fundraising strategy meeting this morning, he told my colleague Robert Costa. He could:

1)      Urge his base of supporters to turn on a gusher of small donations, a la Bernie Sanders

2)      belatedly form a traditional bundling operation

3)      tacitly bless a super PAC, the kind of big-money vehicle that he has repeatedly decried

If he is going to compete head-to-head with Hillary Clinton, Trump is going to need all three tactics. The former Secretary of State raised $217 million for her campaign through April, thanks to a four-decade-old network of donors that she and her husband Bill Clinton built and an aggressive online strategy to expand her small donor base. On top of that, Clinton has a well-funded array of allies ready to blitz Trump on the air and on the ground, including Priorities USA, a super PAC that has already raised $67 million, and advocacy groups such as Planned Parenthood and organized labor.

It’s very late in the game to be figuring out a fundraising strategy, Fred Malek told me. “Every presidential candidate in recent history has started his or her fundraising operation up to two years in advance of the election,” said Malek, who served as Sen. John McCain’s national finance chairman in 2008 and was a major fundraiser for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012. “By the time they got even close to sealing the nomination, let alone the convention, they had in place a well-organized group.”

Trying to assemble a traditional fundraising network would require Trump to seek support from a donor class he has repeatedly excoriated, as we wrote today. 

“It’s going to be very hard to bundle for someone who has basically vilified donors,” said political fundraiser Lisa Spies, who led Romney’s finance outreach to women and the Jewish community.

But does Trump need to match Clinton’s dollars? The former reality show host proved in the Republican primary contest that his ability to command free media attention undercuts the financial advantages of his opponents. He spent just $47 million through the end of March – while Ted Cruz shelled out $70 million, and the pro-Cruz super PACs tens of millions more.

“What if he gets enough value out of earned media that he doesn’t need $1 billion?” asked Robert Kelner, a veteran GOP campaign finance attorney. What if Trump could get by just raising small contributions from his loyal supporters, staying true to his pledge to be independent of (other) big donors?

Trump himself Wednesday raised the notion he would bring in at least $1 billion with the party – only to quickly question whether he needed that much cash. “I’m not even sure that’s necessary, because I have a big voice, I go on shows like yours, I explain the truth and people seem to go along with it,” he told NBC’s Lester Holt.

The one hitch: the Republican National Committee needs those wealthy contributors. Traditionally, the presidential nominee forms a joint fundraising committee with the party, a set-up that allows the candidate’s well-heeled supporters to write large checks to the national party and its state affiliates. That money is used to finance the quadrennial get-out-the-vote efforts, massive operations that lift not only the White House nominee, but down-ballot candidates.

Romney established such a fund in April 2012, and it ended up raising $493 million, thanks in large part to the expansive donor network he had cultivated. Clinton started a similar effort last fall called the Hillary Victory Fund, which accept checks as large as $356,100 a year.

Trump is now just beginning to negotiate the details of such an agreement with the party.

Even without a victory fund in place, RNC still in much better financial shape the DNC, having raised $135 million this cycle to the Democrats’ nearly $88 million. The party already has dispatched hundreds of staffers into the field around the country.

“We’re going to have a victory fund set up very shortly, and I think the Trump campaign has made it very clear they intend to do everything they can to help the team,” said RNC communications director Sean Spicer. He said the campaign will be able to provide a list of supporters “who have been very active in their campaign, and a vast network of business people and others who could very helpful to us.”

But some GOP financiers have already made it clear that with Trump at the helm, they will put their resources into congressional races, rather than the national party.

“The donors I have spoken with are all focused on the House and Senate,” Spies told me. “Do I think that is going to hurt the RNC victory [fund]? Yes. I still think they will continue to outraise the DNC…But I think donors are going to feel more comfortable giving to someone who actually asks for and appreciates them giving their money. I’m very nervous for the RNC.”

 

 

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

-- Canada declared a state of emergency after a massive wildfire worsened, forcing evacuation of 88,000 people from the oil-rich city of Fort McMurray. Officials said more than 1,600 structures have been destroyed as the blaze continues to grow, threatening to engulf the town. “Authorities said there had been no known casualties from the blaze itself, but fatalities were reported in at least one car crash among the evacuees. Thousands bunked down in arenas, hockey rinks and oil work camps, often short of fuel and food.”  (Reuters)

A helicopter flies past a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press/AP) 

GET SMART FAST:​                                                                                                               

  1. The Justice Department said North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act, giving the governor until Monday to confirm he will not implement the controversial legislation. (Matt Zapotosky and Mark Berman)
  2. Infamous Romanian hacker “Guccifer” claimed he gained access to Clinton’s “completely unsecured” server while she served as Secretary of State: "It was like an open orchid on the Internet," he said. Clinton’s camp has dismissed the claims as baseless. (NBC)
  3. An Army captain filed suit against Obama, claiming the president is engaged in an “illegal war” against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. (Niraj Chokshi)
  4. Kim Jong-un said he will present an “ambitious blueprint” of North Korean policies Friday at the once-in-a-generation Worker’s Party Congress. (New York Times
  5. A federal judge said he “may order” Hillary Clinton to testify in a lawsuit over her private email server, and has ordered top aides to give testimony over the next eight weeks. (Spencer S. Hsu)
  6. A MedStar doctor filed a legal complaint against her employer, saying the Washington hospital restricted her ability to speak out about abortion rights. (Sandhya Somashekhar and Lena H. Sun)
  7. The National Park Service added two properties commemorating LBGT history to the National Register of Historic Places, “including the Washington home of a separatist lesbian collective in the early 1970s.” (Juliet Eilperin)
  8. A Washington state food company ordered the recall of nearly 360 frozen fruits and vegetables following a multi-state Listeria outbreak. (Katie Mettler)
  9. The recall of defective airbags made by Japanese auto-parts supplier Tatkata has become the largest in U.S. history, as the company agreed Wednesday to recall an additional 35 to 40 million air bag inflators. (New York Times)
  10. Armed, non-government sanctioned groups have taken to patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes of curbing the influx of illegal immigrants. (WNCN)
  11. New CDC data shows Hepatitis C related deaths hit an all-time high in 2014, killing more Americans than 60 other infectious diseases combined. (Lena H. Sun)
  12. Detroit teachers returned to school Wednesday, ending a two-day protest over suspended summer pay. (Emma Brown and Vickie Elmer)
  13. YouTube is developing a paid television service that gives customers access to a bundle of cable TV channels online. The project is set to debut in 2017. (Bloomberg)
  14. Fox News’ chief White House correspondent Ed Henry is taking an unspecified leave to deal with “personal issues,” just one day after a tabloid reported the newsman was having extramarital affair. (Emily Heil)

NEGOTIATOR-IN-CHIEF?:

Trump addresses the media at the Trump Tower following Indiana's primary.(Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Trump assumed control of the Republican Party as its “presumptive presidential nominee,” pivoting quickly to general election mode after his Indiana primary win on Tuesday night and sketching out plans for the future.

--“Trump spent Wednesday holed up in his soaring New York skyscraper, plotting ways to repair his image and destroy the opponent he calls ‘Crooked Hillary,’” Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Jose A. DelReal  report. “He said he was shell-shocked by his sudden emergence as the Republican standard-bearer, having anticipated that his fight with [Ted] Cruz and [John] Kasich would continue until June’s California nominating contest …” “Who would have thought that I’d be here and we’d be waiting for Hillary?” Trump said.

  • Trump shifted his fundraising strategy: The businessman said he will accept donations going forward, and told The Post he will enter a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee. They will meet today to finalize the deal.
  • Trump-allied super PAC Great America could be involved in the efforts: The group, which Trump previously disavowed, has added a series of professional operatives and now “plans to court major contributors” with Trump’s apparent blessing. “The super PAC’s leaders held a donor conference call — which included retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a trusted Trump ally whose participation was seen as a de facto blessing — to signal it was now the go-to super PAC for wealthy Trump friends.”
  • More veepstakes: Trump told The Post he wants a running-mate with governing experience and “with whom he has a good rapport,” citing Obama’s choice of Biden as a model. He plans to launch the vetting process soon and will include Carson on the selection team.
  • On his future campaign plans: “Speeches and rallies will still be part of his routine but building ties by phone and in person is now critical, Trump said. ‘I don’t have to do seven speeches a day. I could do two or one. That’s the difference.’” (Robert Costa)

-- “While professing some surprise at his success, Mr. Trump increasingly sounds like a man who thinks he knows where he will be eight months from now...” The New York Times’ Patrick Healy writes. In a series of interviews, Trump sketched out his early plans for the White House, if he wins in November:

  • Trump’s first day would involve meeting with Homeland Security officers and others to begin talks about securing the border. Bilateral talks with Mexico would start “pretty quickly” on building the promised wall between U.S. and Mexico. As for which foreign leader he would call first as president, Trump said they would not necessarily be a priority.”
  • The businessman emphasized “negotiation” to describe his first 100 days in office: “He wants to put strong-willed people — business executives and generals are mentioned most often — in charge of cabinet agencies and throughout his senior staff,” said several friends and allies, “and direct them to negotiate deals and plans with congressional leaders and state officials …”
  • “...By the end of his first 100 days as the nation’s 45th leader, the wall with Mexico would be designed, the immigration ban on Muslims would be in place, the audit of the Federal Reserve would be underway and plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be in motion, Trump pledged. “I know people aren’t sure right now what a President Trump will be like,” he said. “But things will be fine. I’m not running for president to make things unstable for the country.

“Trump did seem aware that his early months could be consumed with trying to win confirmation for his cabinet and perhaps a new Supreme Court justice and with making appointments throughout the bureaucracy. Even jobs that might seem incidental in a Trump universe, like a United States ambassador to the United Nations, have apparently crossed his mind. “I think about a U.N. ambassador, about a secretary of defense and secretary of treasury, but I think more about winning first,” Mr. Trump said. “Otherwise I’m wasting time.”

GOP IDENTITY CRISIS, CONT.:

RNC Chair Reince Priebus speaks at a general session at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

--“Trump has demolished just about every pillar of Republican philosophy, leaving the party to grapple with an identity crisis deeper than anything it has seen in half a century,” report Karen Tumulty and Robert Costa.

From their story: “Trump is disdainful of free-trade agreements, leery of foreign intervention, less than strident on social issues and a champion of protecting entitlements ... Trump has also shattered Republican efforts to appeal to minorities and women … And has risen as the institutional powers of the party ... have seen their support and stature diminished and fragmented during the Obama era, leaving vulnerable both the party and the right overall ... The most optimistic among Republicans hope that Trump has the capacity to bring in new voters and expand the party’s reach. But they realize that could ultimately come at the cost of their identity and the coherence of their worldview. “It’s about to grow into a much bigger coalition than it has been in a long time,” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich … “And that will inevitably involve a lot of stress.”

--Pundits and analysts ask, how did we get here? From NYT’s Nate Cohn: “Was Mr. Trump’s victory a black swan, the electoral equivalent of World War I or the Depression: an unlikely event with complex causes, some understood at the time but others overlooked … Or did we simply underestimate Mr. Trump from the start? The answer, as best I can tell, is all of the above.”

Cohn argues the sheer number of early Republican candidates “created a huge collective action problem, in which none of [them] had a clear incentive to attack Mr. Trump — just their rivals for their niche of the Republican Party.” Trump had the advantage of “weak and factional opponents,” as well as a backing from “misunderstood” blue-state Republicans that put him over the top … “But perhaps all else,” Cohn concedes, “we were just overconfident.”

-- Around Washington, chatter about the possibility of an independent, third-party run by a traditional conservative is becoming louder. From HuffPost: “A traditional conservative on the ballot would 'virtually assure' Clinton of victory – giving business-minded conservatives who prefer Clinton a way to support her without having to support her directly.”

Top Republican operatives are open to the idea:

  • “…That would be good," said former Jeb Bush communications director Tim Miller and a key strategist in the stop Trump brigade … "To the extent that there is a conservative third-party candidate that would give Republicans who can’t stomach voting for Trump a person to vote for, and conceivably solve the depressed turnout problem, I think there is something to be said to that.”
  • Former Boehner aide Sam Geduldig says a Clinton victory is not necessarily a worst-case scenario for Republicans. “An independent conservative running could actually help the House and Senate…” he said.
  • The problem is not the certainty of the results – it’s simply making it happen: “There will certainly be some talk about it, especially for those who want a serious constitutional conservative to vote for,” said Doug Heye, a former top aide to Eric Cantor. “The challenge is that there is a high barrier to entry to making that a reality.”

-- Neither George W. Bush nor George H.W. Bush will endorse Trump, per a spokesman. (Texas Tribune)

-- Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said he plans to vote for Trump. Meanwhile, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said he “vehemently opposes” Trump, though he insisted he would not vote for Clinton.

-- At a private fundraiser in Arizona last month, Sen. John McCain warned that Trump as the GOP nominee could antagonize Latino voters and make his own reelection campaign "the race of his life.” From Politico: “'If Trump is at the top of the ticket, here in Arizona, with over 30 percent of the vote being the Hispanic vote, no doubt that this may be the race of my life,' McCain said, according to a recording of the event … 'If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I've never seen in 30 years.'"

-- The Rolling Stones told Trump to stop using their music at his campaign events. The band is not the first to protes Trump’s soundtrack: In February, Adele issued a statement distancing herself from the mogul, who used her hits as “warm up” music at rallies. (BBC)

 

MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:

 Sanders addresses the crowd during a campaign rally in Lexington, Kentucky. (Reuters/John Sommers II)

Who would have imagined that Trump would sew up the GOP nod before Hillary Clinton had officially put away the Democratic contest? Not many a year ago, or even months ago. But despite Sanders's Indiana win, the math -- yes, we're back to that -- just doesn't add up for the Vermont senator and his dedicated supporters. And it's all about the superdelegates.

--“It may not matter what Sanders meant when he promised to push for a 'contested' convention this summer … Even with [his] victory in the Indiana, it remains all but impossible for Sanders to win the nomination, write Ed O'Keefe and John Wagner:

  • Already, 520 superdelegates have publicly said they support Clinton, AND ONLY 39 have said they back Sanders. 160 have not publicly announced their choice.
  • Some party insiders were alienated by Sanders's earlier dismissal of them: Clinton superdelegate Ed Rendell  said he “is still upset by the senator’s suggestion at the start of the primary season that superdelegates would play a minimal role in the nomination process: 'You can’t trash us in February and then come back and tell us how much you love us  …” he said. ‘Remember, Bernie’s spent two months beating the hell out of superdelegates. We remember that. We remember how unworthy we were in February.’”
  • Other superdelegates were more open to the prospect: “If Sen. Sanders is close or is actually leading by the time we get to the convention, I think he definitely has a case to make that in at least the states that he won, those superdelegates should be backing his campaign,”said former Maine Senate majority leader Troy Jackson.
  • Even under the rosiest assumptions, Sanders would need a minimum of 159 superdelegates already publicly supporting Clinton to switch sides for him to win the nomination, according to a Washington Post analysis.

-- The Post’s Fact Checker gives Sanders’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver Four Pinocchios for his “highly misleading” claim that “more than 120 superdelegates” switched allegiances in 2008.

 “Weaver cast the 120 figure as happening ‘in the course of 2008’ and said it demonstrated ‘a lot of movement’ in allegiance to the two candidates,” writes Glenn Kessler. “But the record shows the opposite … It’s highly misleading to count delegates who switched after Clinton dropped out of the race – and she began to urge the party unity behind Obama.”

--Clinton launched a new anti-Trump on her Twitter and Facebook accounts, featuring a compilation of Republicans condemning his character and fitness for office. The former secretary called him a “loose cannon,” inviting Republicans and independents to join her instead.

See it for yourself:

KASICH OUT:

Kasich reacts while announcing he will end his campaign in Columbus, Ohio.

Less than 24 hours after Kasich’s campaign manager vowed he “wasn’t going anywhere,” the Ohio governor suspended his presidential bid, cementing Trump’s status as Republican standard-bearer. 

--Kasich entered the field as a pragmatic conservative that helped him stand out in a year when candidates scrambled to the right. “In polls, Kasich seemed like the most formidable general-election candidate," David A. Fahrenthold, David Weigel and Philip Rucker write. “But he never got there:"

  • Kasich made odd strategic choices: “He campaigned in Utah, even though rival Cruz was expected to dominate there, and did, as the slow-building #NeverTrump movement warned Kasich that he was splitting the vote. [And] Kasich campaigned in New York, the home turf of rival Trump …”
  • He was trounced in crucial East Coast primaries, where he was expected to do best. “In six primaries, he won just a single county: Manhattan.”
  • Fundraising was also a problem: Kasich raised less than $17 million in all by the end of March, forcing him to run a lean campaign. He began April with just $1.1 million in the bank. (Cruz, by comparison, raised nearly $80 million.)

“Here’s the preliminary autopsy,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported: “Kasich ran the wrong campaign at the right time … Kasich made clear he had visions of redefining conservatism in kinder, gentler tones. The message and messenger was an ideal fit for a GOP establishment that was eager to rebound, rebrand and reach out after a devastating loss in 2012.” 

  • Towards the end, Kasich loyalists were getting worried: “Their biggest fear: What happens when the guy who made a name for himself as the grownup in the race ends up looking like the child who had to be dragged away? Kasich's hard-headedness is well-established, but now it threatened to damage his reputation. Kasich had emerged as one of the presidential race's most likable candidates. But no one likes a sore loser.”
  • His final decision was abrupt: “[Kasich] had been scheduled to meet with reporters Wednesday morning in Washington before attending private fundraisers. But his plane never left Columbus. Just before takeoff … the governor had second thoughts, conferred with several of his longtime advisers, and pulled the plug.”
  • “Kasich went to the party. Few joined him. Then he never wanted to leave.”

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

Senate Minority Leader Democrat Harry Reid allowed Rutgers Prof. Ross K. Baker to serve as a "scholar-in-residence" in his office, offering a look behind-the-scenes at how he operates. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

-- “One professor got an inside look at how Harry Reid works," by Paul Kane: “Harry Reid almost never says no. ‘When he gets a new piece of information or a request or anything, he says — he uses this phrase all the time — he says: I’ll look at it,’ says Ross K. Baker, a distinguished congressional scholar at Rutgers University.” That’s just one of the insight that Baker, 77, has drawn as a “scholar in residence” on Reid’s staff. “Last week, he finished his final tour with the retiring Senate leader as an unpaid adviser and observer, a one-of-a-kind sabbatical for the Rutgers University professor. Over the past 41 years, Baker has done seven stints on Capitol Hill ... It’s provided history the chance to have an academic get an up close view of one of this era’s most influential figures, but also one of the most difficult to understand. ‘The panorama is breath-taking,’ Baker said. “Here is somebody who has his pulse on all the major policy areas …So the feelers are out, the sensors are everywhere, the neurons are firing constantly.’”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

The RNC caught flak for this tweet:

Here's how Ben Sasse responded:

Sasse then unleashed quite a tweet storm about his views on Trump and the state of American politics:

And finally, Sasse's open letter to the people:

Clinton is trying out this meme:

Sanders insisted it's not over:

Richard Burr backed Trump:

Spotted at the airport alone: Carly Fiorina:

A telling quote from the RNC's Sean Spicer:

And another telling passage from Mark Krikorian:

Republican recriminations started quickly:

Merrick Garland got another round of play on Twitter:

Jokes abounded:

Click for a quiz:

Michael Reagan weighed in:

An update from the #NeverTrump forces:

Newt Gingrich and Bill Kristol found themselves on opposite sides of the divide:

#OprahforPresident:

Off the campaign trail, Obama met Little Miss Flint:

Gary Peters hung out with a bear cub:

Here's a wrap-up of "May the 4th" content, starting with this gem from David Cicilline:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

-- National Review, “The Weakness that Dominated Ted Cruz,” by Eliana Johnson: “Cruz’s is the story of a disciplined candidate and a well-run campaign that couldn’t overcome their limitations. Since well before he officially launched his campaign, Cruz had worked to carve out a niche as the most conservative candidate on offer. He’d been eyeing a presidential bid from the time he was elected to the Senate, and his carefully-crafted anti-establishment brand carried a cost: He’d publicly flogged his Senate colleagues to build up a national fan base, earning the lasting enmity of his Senate colleagues. As the campaign dragged on, Cruz’s team came to believe that if he could emerge as the last man standing against Trump, even those who despised him would be forced to come on board. But his appeal remained limited and left him struggling to expand his support even as the field contracted, while the man who defeated him had a message for the masses and a platform to deliver it.”

-- New York Times, “When Can Fetuses Feel Pain? Utah Abortion Law and Doctors Are at Odds,” by Jack Healy: “Starting later this month, women in Utah seeking an abortion 20 weeks or more into a pregnancy will first have to be given anesthesia or painkillers — drugs that are intended not for them, but for the fetus. Those are the terms of a new law that has made Utah the first state in the country to require what doctors here are calling 'fetal anesthesia' for the small percentage of abortions that occur at this point in a pregnancy.” The law has opened a new front in the heated debate over fetal pain. Anti-abortion groups and lawmakers in Utah said they were acting out of concern for the fetus. But abortion rights activists and some obstetricians and maternal care doctors in Utah said the law was bafflingly vague and scientifically unsound.  “You’re asking me to invent a procedure that doesn’t have any research to back it up,” said Dr. Leah Torres …. “You want me to experiment on my patients.”

HOT ON THE LEFT: 

Foreign-Born Citizens in Louisiana Need Extra Paperwork to Vote,” from Mother Jones: “The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit against Louisiana's top elections officials Wednesday, accusing the state of violating the rights of naturalized citizens by requiring proof of citizenship before they can fully register to vote … according to the lawsuit, foreign-born citizens who register to vote are contacted within a short period of time and told they need to provide additional documentation to prove they're actual citizens, a requirement that does not appear on most state or online registration forms. 

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“Fetuses could be granted constitutional rights under measure approved by Missouri House,” from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Voters would get a say on whether fetuses should be given constitutional rights under a measure that won first-round approval in the Missouri House on ... Under the measure, voters would be asked if the state constitution should be amended to … [recognize] 'an unborn child is a person with a right to life which cannot be deprived by state or private action without due process and equal protection of law.'"

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Here's the rundown:

  • Clinton: Los Angeles
  • Sanders: Kimball, Charleston, Morgantown, W.Va.
  • Trump: Charleston, W.Va.

At the White House: President Obama hosts a reception for Cinco de Mayo. Later, Obama and Vice President Biden kick off the 5th anniversary of Joining Forces and the 75th anniversary of the USO at Joint Base Andrews.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets in pro forma session at 11:30 a.m. The House is not in session.

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- “Yet another cloudy day from start to finish,” The Capital Weather Gang forecasts, “and a chill to go with it. Fortunately, showers will be light and spotty. Highs are unlikely to do better than upper 50s to lower 60s.”

-- The Democratic Governor’s Association tagged Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) as a member of the “Silent 9,” a group of Republican governors who have declined to say whether they would support Trump in November. The group is pressuring him to declare his stance. (Ovetta Wiggins)

-- Meanwhile, Virginia gubernatorial candidates Ed Gillespie and Rob Wittman said they will support Trump in the upcoming election, setting off a wave of fresh attacks from Democratic rivals. (Laura Vozzella)

-- Fairfax County school board members are urging Virginia’s high school sports league to stop hosting events at Liberty University, citing “anti-Muslim comments” made by president Jerry Falwell Jr. (Moriah Balingit)

-- Faculty at George Mason University demanded the law school postpone its renaming in honor of Justice Scalia, citing concerns over private donor influence. (Susan Svrluga)

 

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Watch the story of Star Wars, told like Hamilton:

Kasich's campaign posted this Star Wars-themed video to Twitter on Wednesday:

Obama drank filtered water from Flint:

Biden joked about being Trump's running mate:

Watch the Sesame Street sketch inspired by Trump:

An alligator looked like it was trying to ring the doorbell of a South Carolina home:

Finally, check out a clip of Cruz elbowing Heidi you haven't already seen: