THE BIG IDEA:
Donald Trump yesterday announced the names of 11 judges he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if he is elected president. Based on a close study of the list and conversations with leaders in the conservative legal community, here are 10 takeaways:
1. Trump knows he continues to have a serious base problem and must reassure the Right that he’s not going to appoint someone like David Souter.
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer predicts that this gambit will succeed at getting more Republicans to fall in line. “The one thing holding back people from resisting Trump — or at least the major thing — is the fear of what a Clinton presidency would do to the Supreme Court,” he said on Fox News last night. “By doing something like this to assuage conservatives, he gives cover, he allows some conservatives to come out and support him and say, ‘Well, I’m not so worried as much about the Supreme Court.’ It starts this cascade of who is going to support Trump. And once that starts — it’s not going to stop.”
“I’ll forego quibbling over this or that pick … but want to emphasize that these are among the very best judges who are young and smart enough to be on the Court,” Ilya Shapiro added on the libertarian Cato Institute’s blog. “I’m no fan of the Donald … but he’s listening to the right advisers here. … Trump may not know originalism from origami, but there are better reasons to vote against him than judges.”
Trump announcement of conservative SCOTUS choices should help him with GOP right. Smart move.— Brit Hume (@brithume) May 18, 2016
The @realDonaldTrump SCOTUS list is phenomenal. Immensely talented jurists, thinkers faithful to the Constitution. Way to go!— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) May 18, 2016
2. Harriet Miers may not be on this list, but several of these guys, charitably, could not be described as intellectual heavyweights in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia. Still, Trump’s announcement takes a lot of pressure off both Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell to move on Merrick Garland before the lame duck.
The uncertainty over who Trump might pick–at one point, he floated his sister—has prompted some legal luminaries to privately encourage the Senate Majority Leader to back off his refusal to give Obama nominee Merrick Garland a hearing. The thinking is two-fold: First, Trump will probably lose to Hillary Clinton. Second, Obama could withdraw the moderate Garland after the election so that President-elect Clinton would get to appoint a vastly more liberal (and younger) alternative.
Now McConnell and Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, can point to Trump’s list as a reason to stand firm.
Grassley yesterday put out a statement praising Trump for “an impressive list of highly qualified jurists.” (Perhaps to pander to Grassley, one is from Iowa!)
The influential Judicial Crisis Network, which has spent $4 million on ads opposing Garland, gave them additional cover to do so. Carrie Severino, who runs the group, said she likes all 11 judges.
3. Trump cares little about diversity. Every person is white. Eight of the 11 are men.
4. In the tight-knit world of the Supreme Court bar, several of Trump’s picks (like Trump) are outsiders. Only six of Trump’s favored judges currently sit on the federal bench. The other five are on state Supreme Courts. This means they have never been vetted by the pros on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
All but one of the justices currently on the court studied law at Harvard or Yale. No one on Trump’s list went to Harvard, and only one attended Yale. Supreme Court beat reporter Robert Barnes and Trump beat reporter Jenna Johnson note that these jurists attended non-Ivies, such as Tulane and the University of Michigan.
In fact, for the experts who live and breathe this stuff, there are a few pretty random names on the list. John Hinderaker, who was a very influential lawyer in Minnesota, is a well-known figure in the conservative movement because of his popular Powerline blog. He’s generally happy with the “excellent” group, but this paragraph in his post is notable: “One of the judges on the list, David Stras, is on the Minnesota Supreme Court. He has stellar credentials, having clerked for Michael Luttig and Clarence Thomas. Prior to his appointment to the Minnesota court by Tim Pawlenty, he was of counsel to my law firm, but I didn’t know him in that capacity. Surprisingly, I don’t know him at all; that is probably because he is so young: 41.”
5. The list is most telling for who is not on it.
I’ve written before about how leading conservatives were pushing Trump to include Utah Sen. Mike Lee on the list. But Lee, who supported Ted Cruz in the primaries, said just last week that the presumptive GOP nominee “scares me to death.” He has not committed to support him, so maybe it shouldn’t be surprising to see him (and Cruz, for that matter) not on the list. Perhaps as an olive branch of sorts, though, Lee’s brother Thomas—a Utah Supreme Court Justice—appears.
Paul Clement, the young former Solicitor General under George W. Bush, was on the Heritage Foundation’s wish list. But the former Scalia clerk got snubbed. Perhaps it is because Trump hates the Bushes and ran so hard against them in the primaries.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg notes the absence of two other big names: “Brett Kavanaugh, a very conservative and respected judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the court that Scalia served on before being elevated to the Supreme Court” and “Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a beloved former Scalia clerk, now a highly respected conservative judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, based in Cincinnati. (Sutton was the author of two controversial opinions, one in which he upheld Obamacare based on previous Supreme Court rulings, and the other, upholding same-sex marriage laws.)”
6. Trump’s uncharacteristically nuanced announcement should alarm conservatives who fear his tendency toward expediency over principle.
The Donald stated explicitly in March that he would only nominate justices from the list that he was going to release. But his press release yesterday described the judges merely as “people he would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia.”
“I plan to use this list as a guide,” he now says.
Big picture, only someone who is naïve would trust Trump to follow through on all or even most of his campaign promises. Anyone who understands how government works recognizes that much of what he espouses is either infeasible and probably not what he really believes.
This scares the bejesus out of smart movement conservatives, who believe Trump has not demonstrated that he has a moral compass and that he lacks core principles to guide him on the issues. He flippantly flip-flops and refuses to apologize. He used to support abortion, for instance. What’s to say he won’t do so again in the future? Or that it won’t be a litmus test?
“I am thrilled by this list,” John Yoo, who drafted the infamous torture memos for the Bush Justice Department and now teaches law, writes in National Review. “But that being said, I cannot trust Trump to keep his word. He has already flip-flopped on so many issues, before, during, and after the primary campaign. How do we know he would not start wheeling and dealing on judicial appointments if he were to win the Oval Office?”
This is why conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, a Harvard Law grad who served in the Reagan Justice Department, says Trump now must name THE person he’d tap to replace Scalia:
Thre are many fully vetted people out there. A recent full field background investigation or prior confirmation good https://t.co/V1NLLikzbT— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) May 18, 2016
George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr writes that the list is “meaningless” and warns colleagues not to let Trump pull the wool over their eyes: “I assume Trump is counting on conservative and libertarian lawyers to look at the list, see at least one person they like, and decide to support Trump and just hope for the best. But if that happens, I think it will reflect wishful thinking rather than sound judgment,” he writes on the Volokh Conspiracy blog.
7. Many leading voices in The Republican Resistance to Trump are unmoved.
“The list is just fine, for what it’s worth: nearly nothing,” Ben Shapiro writes for The Daily Wire. “Did anyone truly think Trump incapable of having a lackey fill out a list of judges conservatives could get behind?”
“Like every clause of every sentence uttered in every breath Trump takes, this is all subject to change,” Erick Erickson writes on The Resurgent. “The moment a reporter or a Clinton highlights something potentially controversial, Trump will run from the person he has named. … Therein lies the ultimate problem with the Trump candidacy. He’s selling a gourmet sandwich and when you unwrap it, it’s just a turd between two slices of white bread.”
Don't worry, this SCOTUS list is just a suggestion. Everything is a suggestion. All of it.— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 18, 2016
8. Trump is still not ready for primetime.
One of his potential picks is, like him, a social media fiend. But he’s repeatedly tweeted anti-Trump messages.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett is a friend and former coworker of Cruz. “Can’t wait till Trump rips off his face Mission Impossible-style & reveals a laughing Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” he wrote in March.
Here is a sampling of Willett’s Twitter feed:
"We'll rebuild the Death Star. It'll be amazing, believe me. And the rebels will pay for it."— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) April 8, 2016
—Darth Trump pic.twitter.com/y25LADg15J
He wrote this 11 months ago:
The fact that Trump put this guy on his list raises profound questions about his due diligence and his team’s basic ability to vet potential appointees.
A resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute joined many in wondering exactly how involved Trump was in mulling over the names:
Would love to have someone ask Trump to name spontaneously the people on his short list. https://t.co/dh6Qz8y9cp— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) May 18, 2016
9. Access to legal abortion is in jeopardy if Trump wins.
The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List praises Trump for putting out “an exceptionally strong list of jurists with immense respect for our founding documents.”
The groups working to safeguard abortion rights are apoplectic. Planned Parenthood’s Dawn Laguens says the list proves Trump “is the GOP’s best hope to ban abortion.” NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Ilyse Hogue calls it “a woman’s worst nightmare.”
10. Trump’s list might help get the left more ready for Hillary. Liberal thought leaders are using the names to make the case that, while Hillary may not be progressive enough for some activists, the stakes are too high for progressives to stay home. Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta noted in a press release that the list includes a judge “who equated homosexual sex to ‘bestiality,’ ‘pedophilia’ and ‘necrophilia.’” That’s a reference to Pryor.
The White House, for its part, said these nominees would be dead on arrival. “I would be surprised if there are any Democrats who would describe any of those 11 individuals as a consensus nominee,” press secretary Josh Earnest said at the daily briefing.
-- You really can’t make this stuff up. Here is what Trump tweeted last night:
My list of potential U.S. Supreme Court Justices was very well recieved. During the next number of weeks I may be adding to the list!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2016
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off the Greek island of Crete early this morning. The plane disappeared from radar at 37,000 feet, raising fears of a possible sudden and catastrophic disaster minutes after the plane with 66 people aboard entered Egyptian airspace. It was about 45 minutes before the scheduled landing. French President François Hollande said the plane had "crashed," but gave no more details on what could have brought the plane down. "We cannot rule anything out," Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said. (Heba Habib, Sudarsan Raghavan and Yanan Wang)
-- Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson will today tap William Weld to be his running mate on the Libertarian Party ticket. The former two-term governor of Massachusetts met privately with Johnson in Vegas to finalize the agreement. As the New York billionaire's Republican critics struggle to recruit a credible third-party candidate, Johnson is trying to cast himself as the best — and perhaps only — alternative to Trump.
It's May 18. pic.twitter.com/EIkI6TIKy5— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) May 18, 2016
-- Trump brought up a decades-old rape accusation against Bill Clinton during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity last night. In the interview, the two discussed Sunday’s New York Times article that documented Trump’s dealings with women, with Hannity suggesting it was bias. “Are they going to interview Juanita Broaddrick? Are they going to interview Paula Jones? Are they going to interview Kathleen Willey?" Hannity asked, referring to women who accused Clinton of sexual misconduct. "In one case, it's about exposure. In another case it's about … touching against a woman's will,” Hannity explained. "And rape," Trump interjected. He later added: "And big settlements, massive settlements" and "lots of other things." (Sean Sullivan)
GET SMART FAST:
- Top Hillary aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin agreed to appear for depositions by Judicial Watch, as part of the conservative group’s civil lawsuit over Clinton's private email server. (Spencer S. Hsu)
- Paul Ryan and the Obama administration struck a tentative deal on Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring package. It's a legit breakthrough. (Politico)
- Two Chinese tactical fighters intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea, coming within 50 feet of the U.S. plane. The U.S. aircraft, flying a "routine patrol" over international airspace, was forced to descend to avoid collision. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership would marginally boost the U.S. economy and jobs over the next 15 years but would also erode employment in manufacturing sectors, according to a new analysis by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The conclusions are likely to be used by both sides in the ongoing debate over TPP. (David Nakamura)
- The dozen conservatives leaders who met with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg about political bias in the site's trending topics feature said the sit-down was "encouraging — for a first step." (Ben Guarino)
- The NAACP is suing several state officials and engineering firms in Flint, alleging they poisoned the Michigan city with toxic drinking water by failing to detect something was wrong, pretending existing issues did not exist and ignoring red flags. (Detroit Free Press)
- Charter Communications closed its $55.1 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and announced an aggressive rebranding campaign to improve the combined firm's image. (Bloomberg)
- Mexico’s president proposed legalizing gay marriage in the country, signaling a new milestone in Latin America’s gradual shift toward marriage equality. (Joshua Partlow)
- The United Methodist Church voted to delay a contentious vote on accepting gay members, opting instead to pursue a “new way of being” that will examine possibly rewriting church rules on human sexuality and restructuring to allow regional differences. (Michelle Boorstein)
- Top NATO commanders signaled support for keeping troops in Afghanistan, saying the U.S. forces are “essential to the stability of the Afghan state and a critical component in building the confidence of the Afghan people in their society.” (Dan Lamothe)
- Justin Trudeau issued a formal apology for a 1914 incident in Vancouver, in which Canada turned away a ship carrying hundreds of South Asian immigrants. Speaking to members of the House of Commons, the prime minister said the country “would have been richer” if the 376 passengers had been allowed to disembark. (Ishaan Tharoor)
- British Prime Minister David Cameron is exploring a potential Tinder campaign to rally opposition to “Brexit” among young people ahead of the upcoming referendum. (New York Times)
- Security forces in Venezuela fired tear gas at protesters on the third day of nationwide rallies demanding a referendum on President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist rule. (Alexandra Ulmer)
- Lawyers for an associate dean at the University of Virginia have submitted new evidence that “Jackie,” the student who told Rolling Stone she was gang raped on campus, created the fictional persona of the alleged ringleader of the attack. (T. Rees Shapiro)
- A grand jury indicted Georgia’s “Dr. Death” on three counts of murder, saying the psychiatrist illegally prescribed dangerous and addictive narcotics without medical purpose. Court documents allege 36 of Nagareddy’s patients died while he was prescribing them controlled substances. (Katie Mettler)
- California’s Water Resource board voted to suspend emergency conservation mandates across the state, lifting an order that requires each county to cut water consumption by at least 20 percent. (Katie Mettler)
- Florida police arrested a robbery suspect who threatened to inject his Uber diver with an HIV syringe. (Sarah Larimer)
- A Colorado elementary school suspended a 5-year-old kindergartener after she brought a bubble gun to class. (KDVR)
-- A Fox News poll puts Trump ahead of Clinton nationally by 3 points (45-42) in a head-to-head matchup. His lead is within the margin of error but reflects a shift from last month, when Clinton led by 7 points.
- Both are seen as deeply flawed candidates, viewed more unfavorably than favorably. Clinton has a net negative rating of -35 points, while Trump is at -17
- 58 percent of voters said Trump does not have "strong moral values," while 57 percent said the same of Clinton.
- "Who is more corrupt?" Voters give that distinction to Clinton by a 12-point margin (49-37), with 8 percent saying “both are the same.”
- Voters think Clinton (71 percent) and Trump (65 percent) will “say anything to get elected." A majority of voters think both candidates are running for themselves, rather than the country.
- Clinton leads among Hispanics (62-23), women (50-36) and African Americans (90-7). Trump, meanwhile, leads Clinton 55-31 among white voters and 61-24 among whites without a college degree.
- 1 in 10 Sanders supporters said they would pick Trump over Clinton in November.
-- New Hampshire is showing early signs of a competitive general election race, with Clinton leading Trump 44-42 in a WBUR poll. Both candidates are equally unpopular in the state, with identical unfavorable numbers of 58 percent.
-- The New Narrative: Trump is not as toxic in the Philadelphia suburbs as everyone expected. Dave Weigel reports from Bucks County that the billionaire continues to play offense in blue-leaning states like Pennsylvania, hoping to expand his base among independents and moderate voters. "Across the country, Trump has performed best in the sorts of places Democrats could afford to lose: landslides in Appalachia or in white counties of the deep South. To win the White House in November, he must extend his appeal to unlikely states and unlikely parts of those states."
What's going on? “Republicans here have embraced Trump faster than expected. They have adopted his nothing-to-see-here spin to explain his gaffes and scandals. In particular, [Democrats] view his apparent lack of interest in social issues as an opening in the suburbs where, since the 1990s, once-dominant Republicans often lose moderate voters … Trump seemed to be winning over even the people whose jobs were safe, or who were happily retired and enjoying their pensions.”
But, but, but: Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R) announced that he will vote for neither Trump nor Hillary. "With a bumper sticker approach to policy, his bombastic tone reflects the traits of a bully, not an American president and statesman," he wrote for U.S. News. "If he cannot unite Republicans, how can he unite America?"
-- Business has boomed in Trump’s financial empire since he launched his presidential bid, according to an analysis of his federal disclosure forms. From Drew Harwell, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger: The documents, released Wednesday and last July, show his revenue has increased by almost $190 million, with gains coming from golf courses to branded merchandise to book royalties:
Trump has invested – and profited – off multiple companies that he has slammed on the campaign trail. He holds stock in Ford, GE, Disney and Apple. A comprehensive list can be found here.
- Revenue nearly doubled at Mar-a-Lago, climbing from about $16 million in 2014 and the first half of 2015 to about $30 million since the start of his campaign.
Sales of his bottled-water brand, “Trump Ice,” increased from $280,000 to $413,000, and his newly published book, “Crippled America,” also made between $1 million and $5 million in royalties.
- The revenue jump was especially pronounced at his golf courses: “Trump National Doral, a four-course golf complex near Miami, was again the Trump empire’s largest gross moneymaker, with revenue exploding from $50 million to $132 million, according to Trump’s disclosures.”
- This week, Trump reiterated his past claim that he is worth more than $10 billion, but he refuses to release his tax returns or to provide independent evidence to back up the claim.
-- A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered Trump to come to Washington for a deposition on June 16. "Trump is to be deposed in the downtown law offices of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, the firm that represents chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Trump sued Zakarian after the chef terminated plans to open a restaurant in Trump’s new Washington hotel after the candidate railed against Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists." Trump filed suit against Zakarian for breach of contract, seeking $10 million in damages. (Keith L. Alexander and Jonathan O'Connell)
-- Mitt Romney is ending his efforts to recruit a third-party presidential candidate: The 2012 Republican nominee remains hopeful someone will emerge, allies told Yahoo News's Jon Ward, but he has become frustrated at the lack of Republican resistance to the bombastic tycoon. One Romney adviser compares Trump to Hugo Chavez in the piece.
-- Ex-Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) also ruled out the possibility of a third-party bid. "I’m am not in that race and won’t be,” he told the Daily Caller.
-- Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the House Republican Conference, endorsed Trump, writing on Facebook that she voted for him in the state's primary. “Did I cast my ballot with excitement? Not exactly,” she said, adding that she is “still getting to know” him.
-- Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson said he is willing to be Trump’s “spiritual adviser”: Appearing on “Fox and Friends,” the former Ted Cruz supporter said he is willing to take a chance on Trump and will do “everything he can” to help him.
-- Trump said some places in America are less safe than Iraq. In an interview with New York Times journalist Robert Draper, Trump said he had never been to Iraq, sounding “horrified” by the thought. When asked where the most dangerous place he traveled was, Trump laughed and said “Brooklyn.” “No,” he went on, “there are places in America that are among the most dangerous in the world. You go to places like Oakland. Or Ferguson. The crime numbers are worse. Seriously.” This is a stark reminder of "how little of the world he had seen beyond the archipelago of boardrooms, golf courses and high-rise hotels he inhabited," Draper writes.
Expect to hear more of this line: "It (has) become axiomatic in Trump World that wherever jobs (have) been lost (is) also where Trump’s voters could be found. ‘They’re great people,’ he murmured … ‘And they want help.’ His face crinkled in disgust. ‘They don’t want hope. They want help.’"
-- "This is how fascism comes to America," by Brookings senior fellow Robert Kagan (a contributing columnist for The Post): "To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today. ... This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac “tapping into” popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him."
-- Radio host Charlie Sykes, one of the most influential conservatives in Reince Priebus’s home state of Wisconsin, pleads with the RNC chairman to stop carrying water for Trump. It’s a potent reminder of how Priebus’s legacy, much to his chagrin, will be completely defined by decisions that enabled the rise of Trump. “You need not attempt to defend, minimize or rationalize every Trumpian embarrassment,” Sykes writes Priebus. “Trump is a cartoon version of every liberal stereotype of racist, sexist, xenophobic, know-nothing Republicans -- an image of old angry white men that we have spent decades denying. But now your embrace of Trump erases any daylight between that party and Trump, with all of the attendant consequences. … By clinging so tightly to your newly found role as Trump Enabler, you actually undermine that larger project of preserving your party … Have some pride.”
Ironically, Charlie is the ex-husband of Diane Sykes, one of the judges on Trump’s SCOTUS list. Here’s how he responded:
Diane would be an outstanding choice. Would make a great justice. But I simple don't believe Trump... https://t.co/v0mG9HqylL— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) May 18, 2016
-- Trump tapped lawyer A.B. Culvahouse Jr. to vet his vice presidential picks. He oversaw the process that led to John McCain picking Sarah Palin in 2008. The following is ironic, considering Trump's refusal to release his tax returns: “Writing in the Wall Street Journal in 2012, (Culvahouse) described how deep the vetting dive goes, demanding the potential picks hand over their "tax returns, medical histories, financial statements, court records" while answering very personal questions about "infidelity, sexual harassment, discrimination, plagiarism, alcohol or drug addiction, delinquent taxes, credit history, and use of government positions or resources for personal benefit." (Bloomberg)
-- Trump’s campaign is in talks with media outlets to finally form a press pool: Campaign officials met with the White House Correspondents Association to discuss the setup, traditionally formed after a candidate becomes the presumptive nominee. The pool would require more access and coordination between the campaign and reporters, who are typically confined to pens during Trump events. (Buzzfeed)
-- Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos fired back at Trump after the real estate mogul accused Bezos of using this newspaper to protect himself from higher taxes. Speaking yesterday at The Post's headquarters, Bezos said that “a company like Amazon deserves to be scrutinized and criticized. I have no worries about that.” But he gave a vigorous defense of freedom of the press, saying “it’s critical that we be able to carefully examine our leaders.” Trump accused Bezos of “getting away with murder, tax-wise” last week, though he provided no evidence for his assertion. (Paul Farhi)
THE DEMOCRATIC CIVIL WAR RAGES ON:
-- “As Sanders has fallen behind Clinton, more conservatives have looked for ways to exploit the angst,” Weigel writes. “On Tuesday morning, Fox News sent one of its morning show hosts onto the streets of New York to ask voters if the primary had been rigged for Clinton. Dan Backer, the conservative attorney and treasurer of the pro-Trump Great America PAC, has egged on Sanders supporters on Facebook with pep talks like 'Bernie will win the most primaries, and can still take the most pledged (elected) delegates while narrowing the total vote gap.' Trump himself has announced a kind of snarky solidarity with Sanders, telling voters and Twitter followers that the senator should bolt the party over his foul treatment.”
-- Sanders is playing right into their hands. He accepted a Fox News invitation for a Democratic debate in California. (Erik Wemple)
-- DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz responded to the Sanders campaign manager's charge that she has been “throwing shade” their way. "My response to that is ‘hashtag SMH,’" she said on CNN. "We need to focus on one thing: get through this primary and work to prepare for the general election."
-- "The way he’s been acting now is a demonstration of why he’s had no support from his colleagues," said former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank.
-- Joe Biden defended Sanders’s right to carry on his campaign, though he called on the Vermont senator to more aggressively denounce the behavior of his supporters. "I'm confident that Bernie will be supportive if Hillary wins, which the numbers indicate will happen," the vice president told reporters in Ohio. (Paul Kane)
-- The Post’s Editorial Board calls on Sanders “to be honest” with his supporters: “What is particularly galling about the Sanders camp’s complaints of disenfranchisement is that Mr. Sanders has benefited or tried to benefit from a variety of sketchy quirks of the nominating process. He has claimed support for his cause in caucuses, which are quite exclusive, but he complains about closed primary elections, which are more inclusive … Mr. Sanders denies reality when he tells supporters he still has a plausible pathway to the Democratic presidential nomination. But passion cannot trump reality. It also cannot excuse violence, threats and attempts at mob rule.”
-- As Clinton looks to recover from a pricey primary season, high-profile celebrities are helping refill her campaign coffers. John Legend and Christina Aguilera are holding a fundraising concert for Clinton on the eve of California’s primary contest, with Andra Day, Ricky Martin and Stevie Wonder also scheduled to perform. Bon Jovi will headline another area concert on June 1, according to a schedule obtained by Anne Gearan.
-- Poland’s prime minister called for Bill Clinton to apologize for saying that Poland and Hungary prefer “Putin-like leadership” over democracy: Speaking in New Jersey, the 42nd president said both countries “would not be free” if not for the United States, but “have now decided this democracy is too much trouble.” (AP)
-- “Eric and Don have the Trump name, the money, the genes. Here’s what makes them different,” by Dan Zak: “The children released their own statement from Colorado ski country. ‘In discussions among ourselves, we decided to stay in Aspen with our mother and grandmother.’ Don Jr. was 15, Ivanka 12, Eric 9. It was December 1993, their father was remarrying after a spectacular divorce from their mother, and the children had a public to answer to … By their father’s second wedding they were exercising self-determination in public, after a childhood headlined by corporate bankruptcy and marital discord.” “Statistically, my children have a very bad shot,” Trump once said. “Children of successful people are generally very troubled ...” And yet Trump produced at least three well-adjusted human beings. Why this gulf between a father who raised good kids and a nasty campaign persona suggesting the total opposite? “The answer may lie somewhere between the Czech countryside, where the children spent summers with their maternal grandparents, and the abandoned steel mills of Pennsylvania, near where they attended boarding school ... In spite of their gilded pedigree, they were guided by experiences and forces that helped keep them grounded.”
-- Trump’s deal with the RNC underscores just how much money is flowing back into the parties. After Donald announced his joint fundraising deal with Reince, Matea Gold crunched the numbers: “The Trump Victory fund will take donations of up to $449,400 that will be split between his campaign, the RNC and 11 state parties. A wealthy contributor who gives the maximum to both the victory fund and the RNC’s most-elite donor program can shell out as much as $783,400 this cycle.”
Clinton supporters can rack up even higher totals because of her decision to launch a 32-state joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee last fall. “Between that fund and the DNC’s top-tier convention package, an individual donor could give more than $1.1 million this cycle to support (Hillary’s campaign) and the party.”
How is this possible? A 2014 Supreme Court decision that took away certain caps and an expansion of party fundraising slipped into an appropriations bill later that year.
Three longtime GOP fundraisers yesterday signed on as vice-chairs of the joint victory fund with the RNC: Ron Weiser, who previously directed cash to anti-Trump groups; Ray Washburne, a bundler who formerly led fundraising for Chris Christie; and California venture capitalist Elliott Broidy. To get them on board, Trump committed not to repay himself for the “loans” he made to his campaign earlier in the year, according to CNN.
-- “Congress poised to pass sweeping reform of chemical law,” by Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears: “Congress is on the cusp of passing the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. chemical safety laws in 40 years, a rare bipartisan accord that has won the backing of both industry officials and some of the Hill’s most liberal lawmakers. The Toxic Substances Control Act, which has not been reauthorized since President Gerald Ford signed it into law in 1976, regulates thousands of chemicals in everyday products … The improbable deal, which both sides have pursued since President Obama first took office, gives the EPA the power to require companies to provide health and safety data for untested chemicals and to prevent substances from reaching the market if they have not been determined to be safe. Under current law, the agency must prove a chemical poses a potential risk before it can demand data or require testing, and these substances can automatically enter the marketplace after 90 days.”
-- “Veep staging ground? Policy moves put possible Latino picks in spotlight,” by Ed O'Keefe: “On Wednesday, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez stood with Vice President Biden in Ohio to formally unveil changes to overtime work rules long sought by the nation’s labor unions. In coming days, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro plans to announce changes to how the government sells ‘underwater’ mortgages — another key concern of liberal groups. Long touted as potential Democratic running mates with appeal to Hispanic voters, Castro and Perez are taking steps to boost their progressive credentials and prove they also have professional qualifications for the job as the formal vetting process nears. ‘They are not just one-trick ponies,’ said Henry Muñoz, finance chairman for the DNC and a co-founder of the Latino Victory Project. ‘They bring serious weight and diverse perspective. They’re symbolic and substantial.’”
VP tryout? Perez is holding a live Twitter chat today:
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
The Internet photoshopped photos of Kim Jong Un after Trump said he was willing to negotiate with him:
Trump lashed out at Alison Lundergan Grimes after she called the Kentucky primary for Clinton:
Why did Clinton supporter @AlisonForKY declare Crooked Hillary winner in KY when AP hasn't even called the race?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2016
Here was her response:
Van Jones made waves by saying that he thinks Reince Priebus would be a better chair of the DNC than DWS:
Here's how he followed up on Twitter:
Listen without prejudice. We need a Dem party chair who can unite the party. Do we have one? https://t.co/PJNnF1BhPE— Van Jones (@VanJones68) May 18, 2016
#NeverTrumpers are still posting signs outside of Trump's under-construction D.C. hotel:
Republican operative Michael Steel's stolen Boston terrier puppy was returned home yesterday, after a high-school senior said she found the dog in its carrier near Petworth Metro station. Steel and his wife had offered $10,000 for its return. (Arelis R. Hernández has the story.)
Thanks to all our friends, especially folks in the DC media who spread the word - MAGGIE IS HOME.— Michael Steel (@michael_steel) May 19, 2016
Gabrielle Giffords marked Trauma Survivors Day:
Bill Nye was on Capitol Hill:
Tom Cotton and his staff are very into running:
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) lost a game of Jenga:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- The Daily Beast, “Dying GOP Senator Apologizes to Muslims for Donald Trump,” by Tim Mak: “Former GOP senator Bob Bennett lay partially paralyzed in his bed on the fourth floor of the George Washington University Hospital. He was dying.” Between the hectic helter-skelter of nurses, doctors and well-wishers, Bennett faced a quiet moment with his family -- but it was not a moment for self-pity. Instead Bennett drew them close to express a dying wish: “Are there any Muslims in the hospital?” he asked. “I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump,” he said. Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from America had outraged the former senator, his wife said, triggering instincts to do what he could on a personal level. “In the last days of his life this was an issue that was pressing in his mind… disgust for Donald Trump’s xenophobia,” said his son. “He wanted to apologize on behalf of the Republican Party.”
-- GQ, “Bill Clinton’s Big Moment: His Health, His Battle Plan for Trump, and What He’ll Do if Hillary Wins,” by Jason Zengerle: “To be an ex-president is to live forever in the past. You write books and build museums to preserve your great moments, to commemorate a time when you led the free world. Crowds still gather and men in dark suits still hover protectively nearby. But mostly these are vestiges. You're a historic figure now, and that makes living in the present—or making the case for the future—a bit tricky. Bill Clinton knows this better than anyone. The extravagant, manic, globe-trotting nature of a post-presidency lived large—the $500,000 speeches, the trips aboard his billionaire buddies' private planes … has given way to a more quotidian life spent trying to get his wife into the White House. And this time around, more so than in 2008, Clinton is cast in what even he regards as a supporting role … On the trail and across Washington, already there is whispering ... Who is Bill Clinton these days? And who does he intend to be if he—er, if his wife—wins the White House?”
-- Huffington Post, “Robin Wright Demanded The Same Pay As Kevin Spacey For ‘House of Cards,’” by Emily Peck: “Robin Wright recently demanded to be paid the same as co-star Kevin Spacey for her work on ‘House of Cards,’ the 50-year-old actor [said] … ‘I was like, ‘I want to be paid the same as Kevin,’’ said Wright, who plays Claire Underwood, the sinister counterpart and co-conspirator to Spacey’s President Frank Underwood on Netflix’s popular show. Wright is a producer and occasional director for ‘House of Cards.’ ‘I was looking at statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on that moment. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public,’’ Wright said … ‘And they did.’ Spacey was reportedly making $500,000 per episode for his work on the series back in 2014, before season 3 of the show debuted. At the time, insiders said that number might move up to $1 million, making him one of the highest-earning TV or streaming actors.”
-- Los Angeles Times, “The dark side of trendy food trucks: A poor health safety record,” by Ben Poston, Caitlin Plummer and Michael Radcliffe: Food trucks have become a popular staple of the local culinary scene. But they have been lagging behind restaurants and even sidewalk food carts in one important category -- health safety. “About 27% of food trucks earned lower than A grades over the last two years, according to a Times review of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health data. By comparison, slightly less than 5% of brick-and-mortar restaurants and about 18% of food carts fell below that mark. More than 4% of food trucks inspected this year were forced to close -- a rate three times higher than regular restaurants.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“D.C. security guard arrested for blocking trans woman from using womens’ restroom,” from Raw Story: “A security guard was arrested on Wednesday after harassing a trans woman trying to use the womens’ restroom inside a Washington D.C. grocery store … The unidentified guard was charged with simple assault after allegedly pushing the woman out of the bathroom inside the store, which is part of the Giant grocery chain. While WRC reported that the guard in question is a man, WJLA-TV described them as a woman, saying that the guard is also being investigated for allegedly uttering a homophobic slur during the incident."
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“Steve King Calls For “Civil Disobedience” On Obama Restroom Guidance,” from Buzzfeed: "We should call for civil disobedience here," the Republican representative from Iowa told radio host Simon Conway. "And there’s no reason for us to follow an unconstitutional edict from the president, who is on his way out the door." King also said that he plans to hold hearings on the topic, adding that he believed that the root of the administration’s policy lay in new U.S. Commission on Civil Rights personnel needing "to find more things to do."
On the campaign trail: Sanders is off the trail. Here's the rundown:
- Clinton: Park Ridge, Chicago, Ill.
- Trump: Lawrenceville, N.J.
At the White House: President Obama awards the National Medals of Science and the National Medals of Technology and Innovation. Vice President Biden speaks at the National Urban League 13th Annual Legislative Policy Conference Closing Breakfast.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to resume consideration of the THUD/Milcon-VA appropriations bill.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Will [Trump] have some appeal to working-class Dems in Levittown or Bristol? Sure,” said Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania. “For every one, he’ll lose one and a half, two Republican women. Trump’s comments like, 'You can’t be a 10 if you’re flat-chested,' that’ll come back to haunt him. There are probably more ugly women in America than attractive women. People take that stuff personally." (He later apologized for the comments, which were made in an interview with The Post.)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- We're crossing our fingers for some possible sun today. “Clouds are in firm control to start the day," the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. "Little by little breaks should begin to appear and by midday partial clearing is likely. Breezes are minimal making the highs, mostly upper 60s, relatively comfortable.”
-- The Nationals beat the New York Mets 7-1.
-- A 74-year-old pedestrian died when a man intentionally drove a Hummer into McLean’s Silver Diner before setting himself on fire. The driver survived the incident and will be charged following his release from the hospital. (Justin Wm. Moyer)
-- A man was arrested in the Dupont Circle Metro station after drinking from an open container of cognac “like it was a glass at home,” and threatening an officer who asked him to dispose of it. Officers used pepper spray to subdue him. (Faiz Siddiqui)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Ivanka Trump said her father is "not a groper":
Seth Meyers took a closer look at the debate over transgender bathrooms:
Did you hear Jimmy Kimmel is running for vice president? Watch him discuss it with Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer:
He also discussed it -- and 2016 more generally -- with Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes:
Justin Trudeau has apologized for elbowing a female lawmaker during a parliamentary quarrel:
Watch a Virginia teenager break three world records for pull-ups:
Finally, check out how Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. remade "Walk This Way" 30 years ago:
This panoramic video of Alaska's Northern Lights may take your breath away: