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The Daily 202: Trump’s attacks on the GOP’s most prominent Latina, Susana Martinez, should alarm Republicans

Donald Trump speaks last night in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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During a 65-minute speech in Albuquerque last night, Donald Trump laced into New Mexico Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. He blamed her for the state’s economic problems, for the growing number of food stamp recipients and for not doing more to reject Syrian refugees. The billionaire even mused about moving to the state to run for governor himself.

“She’s got to do a better job,” Trump told thousands of supporters, per Jenna Johnson. “She’s not doing the job. We’ve got to get her moving. Come on: Let’s go, governor.”

Martinez’s press secretary, Mike Lonergan, responded with a blistering statement: “Apparently, Donald Trump doesn’t realize Governor Martinez wasn’t elected in 2000, that she has fought for welfare reform, and has strongly opposed the President’s Syrian refugee plan. But the pot shots weren’t about policy, they were about politics. And the Governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate.… Governor Martinez doesn’t care about what Donald Trump says about her – she cares about what he says he will do to help New Mexicans. She didn’t hear anything about that today.”

Here are seven reasons last night’s comments are deeply problematic —

1. The riff underscored the hollowness of Trump’s promises to unite the fractured Republican Party. He has routinely attacked GOP governors this year. Recall his criticisms of Scott Walker before Wisconsin’s primary or Nikki Haley before South Carolina’s. But this is the first time he’s done so as the presumptive nominee of his party. And this is not just any chief executive. Martinez chairs the Republican Governors Association, one of the party’s most important organs.

2. Attacking the most prominent Latina in his party will make Hispanic outreach even harder. There are many conservative Latinos who might be willing to hear Trump out, even if they are uneasy with his talk about the border wall and Mexican immigrants being rapists. But showing disrespect for conservative leaders in the community — mixed with tone-deaf outreach (taco salads!) — means that whatever else he may have to say will fall on deaf ears.

3. Last night’s rally further illustrates why Trump is on track to get clobbered among women. Martinez is not just Hispanic; she’s also the first female governor of New Mexico. Tellingly, she was not the only target of Trump’s ire. Several other women were in his crosshairs, as well, and his language was quite gendered.

Trump called Hillary a “low-life” and then went on to imitate the way she talks, raising his voice to a high-pitched yell. “I will never say this but she screams and drives me crazy,” Trump said. “I can’t listen.”

He once again referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as “Pocahontas,” a reference to her claims of Native American heritage. “She is probably the senator that's doing just about the least in the United States Senate,” he said. “She's a total failure. She said she was an Indian. She said because her cheekbones were high, she was an Indian.”

The most offensive language, though, came from one of the warm-up speakers. David Chavez, a former state lawmaker, compared voting for Clinton because she's a woman to drinking bleach because it looks like water. “I've heard people say: I don't know who to choose: Trump or Hillary. Even Bill Clinton chose other women. So you should, too,” Chavez said. (Jenna, our reporter in the room, says the crowd laughed and applauded…)

4. Even with the nomination wrapped up, Trump remains thin-skinned and lacks self-discipline.

Martinez has been publicly noncommittal about whether she will back Trump, repeatedly dodging the question by saying that she will not vote for Hillary. She told local press that she skipped last night’s rally because she’s “really busy.”

Privately, she’s been more critical. At a fundraiser in the Palm Beach mansion of billionaire David Koch last month, a donor asked about Trump. Martinez acknowledged being deeply offended by Trump’s language about immigrants. “Noting her years working as a prosecutor on the Mexican border and now as a border-state governor, Martinez said Trump’s plan to build a wall and force Mexico to pay for it was unrealistic and irresponsible,” sources told Matea Gold and Philip Rucker afterward.

Trump was obviously irked by these and other comments, which is the only plausible explanation for why he went after Martinez.

Having a stiff upper lip is required of politicians at this level. There are many Democrats whom the Clintons dislike, but they carefully avoid saying so in public. Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush all had to play nice with elements of the party that vociferously opposed them in the primaries. This is not just something you can do for a day or a week.

Trump wears his heart on his sleeve — which makes him attractive to some voters — but makes him an ineffective party healer in this moment.

A clear pattern has emerged: He shows flashes of self-discipline. Then he backslides.

That’s not the way to win.

5. Party unity is further out of reach than conventional wisdom suggests.

One of the reasons so many GOP elites have rallied around Trump is early polls showing he’s locked in a competitive horse race with Clinton. Those surveys lessen the trepidation. In this very vein, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tried to reassure GOP senators during a private lunch yesterday that Trump being at the top of the ticket won’t be so bad after all. But lashing out at Martinez offers a guttural reminder that the bottom really could still fall out from underneath Trump, and he could become a colossal drag.

Citing sources close to the House speaker, Bloomberg reported last night that “Paul Ryan has begun telling confidants that he wants to end his standoff with Trump in part because he’s worried the split has sharpened divisions in the Republican Party.” While Ryan aides say nothing has been decided about a possible endorsement, Bloomberg says Trump adviser Paul Manafort told a small group of Republican lawmakers that he expects Ryan to endorse as early as this week. You have to imagine the Martinez comments give him at least some pause or second thoughts.

Meanwhile, John Kasich said yesterday that “it may not be possible” for him to ever endorse Trump. The Ohio governor said he cannot support The Donald with his current negativity, scapegoating and willingness to “run people into the ditch.” “Unless I see a fundamental change in that approach, it’s really hard for me to do a merger,” he told the Columbus Dispatch in his Capitol office. “Think of it as a merger of two companies. If the values are not somewhat similar, if the culture is not somewhat similar, it’s pretty hard to do a merger.”

This is not just a disgruntled ex-opponent; he is the governor of a must-win swing state.

6. Trump’s willingness to go after Republicans who aren’t getting on board showcases the perils for GOP candidates who distance themselves.

Want to see a Republican senator duck and run? Ask them about Trump. Sean Sullivan tried to ask every vulnerable incumbent whether they’d campaign with their party’s nominee. The reactions and non-answers say as much as the quotes.

Republicans in the Capitol and on the campaign trail will today be asked whether they agree with Trump’s attacks on Martinez.

The risk they face is that Trump will begin attacking them in their home state if they, like Martinez, express discomfort with his controversial positions. And this could turn off base voters.

7. As Trump snipes at fellow Republicans, he continues to galvanize the left. Albuquerque police donned riot gear to disband a group of protesters who became violent. Rocks and bottles were thrown at officers. Several were injured in the fracas, and at least one rioter was arrested, per Kayla Epstein and Katie Mettler. While many progressives may not be enthused about Clinton at the top of the ticket, the scene outside offered another reminder of how much Trump gins up the Democratic grass roots.

— More broadly, there are festering doubts about whether Trump can get his act together. “The internal struggle for control of Trump’s presidential campaign is getting personal, with allies of feuding campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and chairman Paul Manafort increasingly turning to shadowy tactics to try to sully their rivals,” Politico reports this morning. “Supporters and opponents of Lewandowski say he and his allies have called Trump’s attention to articles chronicling lobbying work done by Manafort or his campaign associates for a gambling company, as well as politically problematic foreign clients.… [Meanwhile], an ally of Manafort's said Lewandowski ‘takes all the bad news up to Trump — 'Paul represented this person, Paul represented that person.’ … ‘It’s a total cage fight in there now,’ said an operative.… ‘Manafort tried to take out Corey, but he didn’t succeed. And now, everywhere Corey looks, he sees a threat, so he’s trying to neutralize those threats.’”

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
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-- The Justice Department will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, the white supremacist facing trial for massacring nine parishioners at a Charleston church. (Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky)

-- Ken Starr -- of Whitewater and Starr Report fame -- has reportedly been fired as Baylor's president and chancellor amid a widespread sexual assault scandal involving the Baptist school’s football team. The university released a statement last night saying the board of regents will not respond to rumors while it reviews a report from outside counsel. "We expect an announcement by June 3," it added. More from Cindy Boren: “On Starr’s watch, the school is accused of failing to respond to rapes or sexual assaults reported by at least six women students from 2009-2016. Although the problem of sexual assault at the university goes beyond the football team, at least eight former Baylor football players have been accused of violence against women over the last eight years … The reported move comes as the board is preparing to examine and address the findings of a law firm hired to review how the school handled the rape and assault allegations.” If you haven’t been following this saga closely, my former colleagues at The Dallas Morning News did a deep dive earlier this month. Read it here.


Bill Cosby returned to criminal court in Norristown, Pa., on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges. It's his first time appearing in court since his lawyers' failed attempt to have the charges thrown out. (Video: Reuters)
  1. A Pennsylvania judge ordered Bill Cosby to stand trial for criminal charges in a sexual assault case. (Manuel Roig-Franzia)
  2. Dozens of police officers raided Google’s French headquarters in search of details about the company’s tax practices. It is part of a broader crackdown by European regulators on international tax evasion. (AP)
  3. Republican Sens. Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa) called on VA Secretary Robert McDonald to resign, following his comparison of medical wait times for veterans to lines at Disneyland. (Joe Davidson and Paul Kane)
  4. Portland’s police chief was placed on leave amid an investigation into whether he inadvertently shot a friend on vacation last month and then lied to cover it up. (Mark Berman)
  5. Authorities arrested five IRS impersonators in Miami, believed to have targeted 1,500 people in a widespread phone scam that netted the criminals nearly $40 million. (Lisa Rein)
  6. Israeli-based startup Faceception claims it can use facial analysis tools to determine dangerous personality traits, raising ethical questions about the limits of such technological endeavors. (Matt McFarland)
  7. A sad milestone: For the first time on record, living with your parents is the most common housing arrangement for 18-to-34-year-olds, according to a new Pew report. (Tara Bahrampour)
  8. An American businessman announced a controversial, $1.5 million plan to “recreate” the 9/11 terrorist attacks by flying a plane into an abandoned building, to “prove once and for all” whether the attacks were a hoax. (Lindsey Bever)
  9. In a first-person piece for Cosmo, Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) describes her 15-point loss to Chris Van Hollen in last month’s Senate primary as hitting a “glass ceiling for black women with a concussion-worthy crash.” (Fenit Nirappil)
  10. The Taliban confirmed the death of leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, acknowledging he was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Saturday. His former deputy, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, has been appointed the group’s new leader. (New York Times)
  11. Louisiana lawmakers are poised to pass a “Blue Lives Matter” bill, becoming the first state to extend hate-crime protections to police officers. (Elahe Izadi
  12. An Ohio judge blocked Republican efforts to shorten the length of early voting, saying a new law imposes a “modest but disproportionate” burden on African Americans. (The Columbus Dispatch)
  13. High school football players in Idaho are being charged with using a coat hanger to rape a black, disabled teammate. Several players could face life in prison if they are convicted. (Michael E. Miller)
  14. Tens of thousands of bees chased a woman for nearly two days after she accidently captured the hives’ queen in her car. (The Telegraph)

HOW HILLARY PLANS TO WIN CALIFORNIA: Bernie Sanders has basically gone all-in because the June 7 primary is the final state where he can make a stand, and 475 pledged delegates are at stake. The senator has been on the ground almost non-stop for a week now, attracting tens of thousands of supporters to rallies in every major metro area. In response, Clinton is investing more time and energy in the state, worried about the terrible optics of losing the mega-state and fearful a loss would make party unity more difficult headed into the Philadelphia convention:

  • The former Secretary of State arrived yesterday for a four-day blitz of campaign and fundraising events. She opened eight field offices in California, deployed dozens of paid operatives and volunteers and is now running phone banks in seven languages. She also made an appearance on "Ellen." 
  • An army of surrogates is fanning out: Bill Clinton will barnstorm California throughout the final week, joined by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Gabrielle Giffords and labor leader Dolores Huerta.
  • She's focusing on running up the score in minority communities. Her campaign is putting particular emphasis on the state’s Asian-American population. Abby Phillip and Anne Gearan have more details.

Clinton, however, is not running TV ads. Sanders will spend $1.5 million this week to air a commercial customized for the state: “California, it’s a long way to Washington, but you can send them a message they can’t ignore,” the candidate says. Watch:

Bernie channels Bulworth: Speaking at a rally in the shadow of Disneyland last night, Sanders ripped Disney's business practices and accused the company of "exploiting people in China." He denounced its executives as emblematic of both the economic greed and media monopolization that he blames for America's exploding wealth gap. (David Weigel in Anaheim)

-- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe proclaimed his innocence amid a federal investigation into his campaign contributions, saying he was “shocked” to learn about the ongoing public-integrity probe. “No one had outreached to us,” he told reporters, maintaining that his donations were fully vetted by his legal team. “On a scale of one to 10 of things to be worried about, I’m at a minus-five on this,” he said. Later in the day, McAuliffe said he was “willing to talk to investigators” and instructed his attorneys to contact them, but no meetings have been scheduled. (Jenna Portnoy and Rachel Weiner)

The surprise news "has uncomfortable parallels to an FBI security review of his friend and political patron Hillary Clinton’s email system, but Clinton allies said it is unlikely to do her lasting harm," Anne Gearan reports“When you put the word FBI with anything or anyone, the optics aren’t good,” joked John Morgan, a longtime friend and donor to both Clinton and McAuliffe.


-- A Univision anchor got booed for decrying Trump and speaking in Spanish during a graduation ceremony at California State University, Fullerton. (Susan Svrluga)

-- The Post gets results --> “Almost four months after saying he would give $1 million of his own money to veterans' causes, Trump moved to fulfill that pledge on Monday evening -- promising the entire sum to a single charity. Trump said in an interview Tuesday that he pledged the $1 million to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. The mogul notified the group's chairman, retired FBI official James Kallstrom, in a phone call sometime Monday night.” The donation came hours after our David Fahrenthold began querying charities on social media for evidence that his pledged $1 million had been received by any veterans’ groups. As recently as last Friday, Trump’s campaign had -- falsely -- insisted the mogul had already given the $1 million away. 

  • Trump claims he delayed the donation for so long because he had “a lot of vetting to do.” But in this case, it seems he already knew the recipient well: “The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation had already received more than $230,000 in donations from the Donald J. Trump Foundation — a charity controlled by Trump but largely funded by others.” And last year, the group gave Trump its “Commandant’s Leadership Award” at a gala in New York.
  • He also said he “never actually promised” that the fundraiser raised $6 million. “I didn’t say six,” Trump said in an interview. But he did. We have it on video. In footage of the event, Trump tells the crowd, “We just cracked $6 million! Right? $6 million!”
  • Trump was told that he did, indeed, say “$6 million”: “Well, I don’t, I don’t have the notes. I don’t have the tape of it," he said. "Play it for me. Because I’d like to hear it." Before the video could be cued up, Trump had moved on.

-- At least six influential Republican financiers agreed to serve as vice chairs of the Trump Victory Fund, a sign that apprehension about the real estate developer among the party's money class continues to give way. Matea Gold reports that the team includes figures who previously served as major backers of Trump’s rivals: Jeb Bush backers Woody Johnson and Mel Sembler have come onboard, joined by former Scott Walker backer Diane Hendricks, and three previous RNC finance chairmen. The participation of some of the GOP’s best-connected bundlers shows how rapidly opposition to Trump is melting in the donor class. “Just a few months ago, Sembler expressed dismay at the thought of Trump as the party's nominee. ‘I kept telling myself that won't happen, that can't happen. ... I now fear it may happen,’ he told the Tampa Bay Times in February.”

-- Trump easily won Washington State’s Republican primary last night, moving him closer to officially securing the delegates needed to be the GOP nominee. And in Georgia, voters handed victories to five GOP congressman facing primary opponents, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Jim Barksdale won the Democratic primary for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat, pitting him against Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) in November. On the House side, freshman lawmaker Barry Loudermilk defended his seat from a crowd of Republican primary challengers, while investment banker Don Wilson won the Democratic nod. Rep. Tom Graves also successfully defended his seat, and will run unchallenged in the general election.

-- Seeking to assuage concerns about Trump’s convention influence, the RNC selected a trio of conservative stalwarts to head up the influential platform committee. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina will co-chair the panel in July. That will make it harder for Trump forces to water down the platform. (CNN)

-- Kasich formally instructed his 161 delegates to remain bound to him through the Republican National Convention. From Philip Rucker: “Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules.” Kasich, who has withheld his support from Trump, believes holding his delegates is a smart play in a “wild and unpredictable” campaign season, and believes they could serve as leverage to encourage Trump to be a more positive, unifying figure ahead of the Cleveland confab. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio issued similar directives after suspending their campaigns.

-- Rick Santorum hopped aboard the Trump Train, telling Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren he is “100 percent” supportive. 

-- The Post’s Fact Checker gives Trump “Four Pinocchios” for suggesting foul play in the 1993 suicide of Vince Foster: “There are hacks who believe that Foster died in the White House and that his body was moved. But there were also five official investigations into Foster’s death, conducted by professional investigators, forensic experts, psychologists, doctors and independent prosecutors with unlimited resources. There is nothing fishy or mysterious about Foster’s tragic suicide,” Glenn Kessler writes.

-- A group of more than 400 writers -- including Stephen King, David Eggers, and Cheryl Strayed -- released an online petition expressing their opposition to Trump, saying he is appealing to the “basest and most violent elements in society.”

-- North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr now says his party went too far when the state legislature passed its sweeping anti-LGBT “bathroom bill.” From HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery: “The legislature botched what they were trying to do,” Burr said of the law. “It was far too expansive.” “Burr has largely avoided talking about the law. He previously said he was out of the country when it passed; stated it’s up to the courts to decide if it’s valid; suggested it doesn’t actually discriminate; and declared it a state issue.” But on Tuesday, it was unclear he was unhappy with it. Burr also predicted that the law is going to be changed “one way or another,” so the question now is which branch of government does it. Why is he saying all this? More than half of North Carolina voters now want the law repealed, according to a PPP poll, compared with 38 percent who want to keep it.


-- Elizabeth Warren is stepping up as a Clinton surrogate, though she still has not formally endorsed. She gave a speech last night that closely echoed the Clinton campaign's talking points and message of the day (accusing Trump of profiting from the 2008 housing crash.) Abby Phillip and Karen Tumulty report that the speech shows a new level of coordination. "Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown — because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap," Warren said. "What kind of a man does that? Root for people to get thrown out on the street?"

This coordinated message was hammered by other potential HRC running-mates, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. Activists from an outside group rallying outside of Trump’s hotel in Washington even toted signs that repeated, verbatim, the messages delivered on the campaign's conference call.

-- Harry Reid, after ripping Sanders's response to the chaos at the Nevada convention, is now trying to make nice: 

-- Sanders called for a re-canvass of last week’s Kentucky’s Democratic primary, hoping to earn at least one more delegate after he narrowly lost the state to Clinton. The senator ordered the state-led recanvass just hours before the deadline – but, as David Weigel and Abby Phillip note, it is unlikely to change the math or the narrative.

-- Bernie also sent fundraising emails for eight state legislative candidates yesterday: He asked donors to split contribution between Sanders's campaign and these local contenders. “No president … can take on the billionaire class alone,” the email read. “And that’s because change never happens from the top down, it always occurs from the bottom up.”

-- “The Occupy movement has grown up — and looks to inflict real pain on big banks,” by Renae Merle: “Capitalizing on populist anger toward Wall Street, a coalition of more than 20 labor unions and activist groups on Tuesday launched a new campaign to reform the financial industry. The group, Take On Wall Street, plans to combine the efforts of some of the Democratic Party’s biggest traditional backers, from the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO to the Communications Workers of America. The group says it will aim to turn the public’s lingering anger at the financial sector into policy initiatives that could change the way that Wall Street works. Unlike previous anti-Wall Street campaigns such as Occupy Wall Street, the new group hopes to organize a campaign that will span state houses and as well as the halls of Congress, potentially forecasting a big fight on financial reform in 2017. ‘We are going to make this an issue in congressional races. No one will be able to run from this,’” said Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO president."

-- Not all television celebrities who run for office succeed: “Little House on the Prairie” actress Melissa Gilbert ended her bid for a U.S. House seat in Michigan last night, The Detroit Free Press reports. “Gilbert said injuries to her head and neck sustained in accidents in 2012 had worsened … denying Democrats what may have been their best chance to pick up what has been a reliably Republican district in recent years. … Her decision to leave improves the already strong odds that GOP Rep. Mike Bishop will get reelected.”

  • “As much as it breaks my heart to say this, my doctors have told me I am physically unable to continue my run for Congress,” the Democrat said.
  • “Gilbert, a popular child actress and former president of the Screen Actors Guild, moved to Michigan a few years ago … Her announcement last August for Bishop’s seat generated national headlines, but she quickly ran into problems, including reports that she owed more than $470,000 in federal and state tax liens. More recently, she was criticized for comments she made on ‘The View’ in 2009 in which she suggested that the U.S. effort to extradite Roman Polanski to be sentenced on charges involving unlawful sex with a 13-year-old in the 1970s was “excessive.” She recanted the statement.”
  • “Her finance reports have included stars such as Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Garner and many more.”

-- Battleground Texas: A federal appellate court questions whether the state's voter-ID law can offer accommodations: “Among the 15 judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit who heard oral arguments Tuesday (they took the case en banc), there did not seem to be much support for striking down the law or blocking its use in November’s presidential election,” Robert Barnes reports from New Orleans. “But several questioned why Texas did not have more fallback provisions — as other states do — for voters who lack the kinds of identification that the state requires. Three other courts have said the Texas law discriminates against African American, Hispanic and poor voters, who are less likely to have the specified ID documents. Despite those decisions, the appeals court has left the law in place. It is now under pressure from the Supreme Court to decide by July whether Texas’s approach is a responsible way to combat potential voter fraud or an impermissible Republican effort to discourage minority turnout. The appellate judges are considering a district court’s finding that 600,000 people, disproportionately minorities, lack the specific kind of identification required … and that it would be difficult for many to secure it.”


-- Leaders of the D.C. Metro system are under growing fire for covering up a horrific rape on the Red Line and for letting the alleged perp walk free when he could have been in jail. From Dan Morse, Paul Duggan and Faiz Siddiqui: “A week before John P. Hicks allegedly raped a woman on a Red Line Metro train last month, Transit Police identified him as a suspect in an indecent-exposure incident on the same line but did not immediately seek to arrest him, court records show. An eyewitness had captured the incident on video and reported it to police…

“After an outcry from public and elected officials Tuesday over why the rape was not announced to the public, Metro essentially acknowledged that its response was wrong. The agency said that from now on, Transit Police will publicize violent crimes in the system the same day they occur as long as doing so does not impede investigations.News of the April 12 rape surfaced publicly only this week — more than a month after the crime — when two reporters received a tip about Montgomery court records related to Hicks’s arrest.” Our team made a helpful timeline.


Clinton slammed Trump on his own turf -- Twitter -- for rooting for the housing crisis (links to a web video):

Trump is angry at the media -- presumably us here at WaPo -- for  questioning his account of how much he gave to veterans' groups:

View this post on Instagram

A suggestion for the dishonest media.

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

The Republican Jewish Coalition condemned anti-Semitic attacks on journalists covering the presidential race:

By declining to single out Trump supporters as the main offenders, the statement rang hollow to several journalists:

Trump talking about Vince Foster drew widespread condemnation:

Here's how Jake Tapper addressed it (click for video):

Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth, a former VA official, continued to slam the current VA Secretary: 

Paul Ryan criticized McDonald for his "Disney" comparison, but he stopped short of calling for him to resign:

Speaker Ryan criticizes Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald over his comments comparing VA wait times to Disney. (Video: Reuters)

Ryan got flak for this tweet:

For example:

Tight quarters for the press corps covering Obama's visit to Vietnam:

Meanwhile, this is the Trump traveling press corps ahead of their inaugural flight on a Trump campaign press charter:

It's the 55th anniversary of John Lewis's arrest in Jackson, Miss.:

Sheldon Whitehouse met young peregrine falcons:

The Congressional Women's Softball Team had its first practice:

Vicky Hartzler snapped this shot on the Capitol grounds:


-- Forbes, “This Silicon Valley Billionaire Has Been Secretly Funding Hulk Hogan's Lawsuits Against Gawker,” by Ryan Mac: “One of Silicon Valley’s best-known investors has been footing a former wrestler’s legal bills in lawsuits against a shared enemy. Peter Thiel, a PayPal cofounder and one of the earliest backers of Facebook, has been secretly covering the expenses for Hulk Hogan’s lawsuits against online news organization Gawker Media. The involvement of Thiel … adds another wrinkle to a case that has garnered widespread attention for its implications over celebrity privacy and First Amendment rights. During court proceedings, which ended in late March with a $140 million victory for Hogan, there had been rumors that a wealthy individual had funded Hogan’s case though there was never any hard evidence … Thiel, who is gay, has made no secret of his distaste for Gawker, which attempted to out him in late 2007 before he was open about his sexuality. In 2009, Thiel [said that] now-defunct Silicon Valley-focused publication Valleywag, which was owned by Gawker, had the ‘psychology of a terrorist.’”

-- New York Times, “Reeling From 2016 Chaos, G.O.P. Mulls Overhaul of Primaries,” by Jeremy W. Peters, “Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over what would be fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party. Party leaders are even going so far as to consider diluting the traditional status of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as gatekeepers to the presidency. Under one proposal, those states would be paired with others that voted on the same day as a way to give more voters a meaningful role much sooner. But in a move that would sharply limit who could participate in presidential primaries, many party activists are also pushing to close Republican contests to independent voters, arguing that open primaries in some states allowed Trump … to become the presumptive nominee. Given the dissatisfaction with the rules in both parties, officials say, some combination of changes for 2020 is almost certain.”

-- The Denver Post, “Gov. John Hickenlooper reveals secrets in book that puts him in national spotlight,” by John Frank: “Unbeknown to most, John Hickenlooper and his wife, Helen Thorpe, met with a therapist once a week as he served as mayor of Denver and campaigned for governor in 2010. The couple kept the marriage counseling a secret, gathering for more than two years in the basement of a Quaker meeting house to disguise the sessions before their public split.” The admission appears in the opening chapter of Hickenlooper’s new memoir, one of many candid moments the Colorado governor details in a book that serves as his introduction to the nation amid the 2016 election. “Hickenlooper recounts the first time he smoked pot at age 16. And his attempt to grow marijuana outside his bedroom window in suburban Pennsylvania. His love-sick depression as a freshman at Wesleyan University and the lithium capsules he needed to survive final exams. And the time in college he ‘got a little high’ and took a nude self-portrait in a bathtub.”


“Paul LePage Keeps Citing A Heroin Overdose That Police And School Officials Say Never Happened,” from HuffPost: Maine's governor has been on the defensive since he vetoed a bill last month that would have increased access to a lifesaving overdose medication. LePage has continued to insist that naloxone isn’t a solution, repeatedly pointing to the case of a student at Deering High School as an example of why it’s problematic.  But Deering High School has said flat-out that the governor’s story is made-up. ‘It’s not true. It’s absolutely not true,’ school principal Ira Waltz. ‘We don’t even possess the medication in the building …and we have no access to that medication.” But LePage continues to tell the story anyway.



Hawaii Could Be First to Put Gun Owners in Federal Database,” from the AP: “Hawaii could become the first state in the United States to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country. Others say gun owners shouldn't have to be entered in a database to practice a constitutional right."


On the campaign trail: Here's the rundown:

  • Clinton: Buena Park, Salinas, Calif.
  • Sanders: Cathedral City, Lancaster, Calif.
  • Trump: Billings, Mont.

At the White House: President Obama is in Japan. Vice President Biden attends meetings at the White House.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House meet at 10 a.m.


"He rooted for that bubble to burst," Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said of Trump on the House floor. "Well, the crash … devastated my hometown of Las Vegas. … We remember how awful it was, so we say to Mr. Trump: Keep your short fingers out of the Nevada housing market."


-- Mother Nature is treating us to our second warm, sunny day in a row. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “From too cool to too hot? Mostly sunny skies send morning temperatures rapidly rising through the 60s and 70s, with afternoon highs maxing out in the mid-80s to near 90. Humidity is still on the low side, so we don’t have to worry much about the heat index quite yet.”

But, but, but -- Don’t get too excited: Late this week, an area of low pressure is forecast to develop north of the Bahamas, with steering currents that may direct it towards our area just in time for Memorial Day. Yes, this means potentially cloudy and rainy conditions could move into the D.C. area sometime between Sunday and Tuesday. (Cue the groans.)

-- The Nationals beat the New York Mets 7-4.

-- Fairfax County is increasing bus service in areas affected by the Metro service disruptions, hoping to increase transit options for commuters impacted by partial rail shutdowns. (Luz Lazo)

-- Black students in Virginia were three times as likely as white students to get suspended last year, according to a newly-published report on racial disparity in school punishments. (Moriah Balingit)

-- Two Waldorf, Md., men were arrested in connection with a Fairfield jewelry store theft over the weekend that left a bystander wounded and involved a gun battle with police. (Justin Jouvenal and Dana Hedgpeth)

-- Virginia police are investigating a small plane crash in Rhoadesville that killed two people. (Justin Wm. Moyer)


Bryan Cranston imagined -- and acted out -- LBJ's reaction to Trump. Watch it here on ABC.

A Vietnamese woman rapped for Obama at a town hall meeting in Ho Chi Minh City. And the president did beat box. David Nakamura has a story and posted this short clip:

Chewbacca Mom, as she is now known, appeared on the Late Late Show and got a surprise note from Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew:

She also took James Corden to work -- with J.J. Abrams in the back seat:

Watch as newcomers to the Naval Academy scale a greasy obelisk:

Naval Academy 'plebes' scale greasy obelisk (Video: Reuters)

What do Canadians have to say about Trump? Check it out:

A web site spliced different clips of Trump together so that it appears he's talking through the lyrics of DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win."