For anyone who has watched Rubio over the past five-and-a-half years, that statement – and the straight face with which he said it – is farcical.
The 45-year-old has heretofore made no secret of his distaste for the world’s greatest deliberative body. His friends have said he “hates” the job. Rubio himself was unapologetic about missing more votes than any other senator during his failed presidential campaign, often complaining about how “frustrating” it is to serve as a member of Congress.
Rubio is congenitally impatient, an unhelpful personality trait in a chamber that was designed to move slowly. James Madison’s idea when he drafted the Constitution was that the Senate would “cool” House legislation, just as a saucer cools hot tea.
-- A series of comments suggesting that he’d given up on the Senate would dog Rubio if he chose to run. Here are just a few, which are all on videotape:
“We’re not going to fix America with senators and congressmen,” he said at a January town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when a woman asked him about a commercial from Jeb Bush’s super PAC that highlighted his absenteeism. “I have missed votes this year. You know why? Because while as a senator I can help shape the agenda, only a president can set the agenda.”
Watch the ad in question here:
When Donald Trump attacked him for missing votes at a debate in California last September, Rubio replied: “I am leaving the Senate, I'm not running for reelection, and I'm running for president because I know this: unless we have the right president, we cannot make America fulfill its potential.… If we keep electing the same people, nothing is going to change. … And you're right, I have missed some votes, and I'll tell you why, Mr. Trump. Because in my years in the Senate, I've figured out very quickly that the political establishment in Washington, D.C., in both political parties is completely out of touch with the lives of our people.”
“A lot of the work we're doing in the Senate isn't going to go anywhere unless we have the right president,” he told NBC in October.
The Rubio operation routinely refused to meaningfully engage with media inquiries about what the senator thought about measures coming up for a vote in the Senate, such as on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis or education reauthorization. His team saw these substantive issues as distractions from a mushier message about “a new American century.”
Rubio tweeted this exactly one month ago:
-- When it comes to the hard work of legislating, the senator has not been especially engaged — especially since his ill-fated push for immigration reform in 2013. Rubio chairs the Senate National Security Working Group, for example, but he's convened no meetings this Congress, including during the three months since he dropped out.
The Tampa Bay Times calculated in February that Rubio has missed 68 percent of all committee hearings since taking office in 2011: “Rubio is on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Commerce and Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees. The Florida Republican has missed … 407 of 598 for which records were available. His skipped 80 percent of Commerce hearings and 85 percent of those held by Small Business. He has missed 60 percent of Foreign Relations hearings since joining the Senate despite making his committee experience a centerpiece of his qualifications for president. He attended 68 percent of Intelligence Committee meetings, though that's based on 19 hearings for which records are available. The bulk, 245, were classified so records are unattainable.”
As the Sun Sentinel wrote in an editorial calling for Rubio’s resignation last October, “You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us.… You are ripping us off, senator. … And it is unconscionable that when it comes to intelligence matters, including briefings on the Iran nuclear deal, you said, ‘we have a staffer that's assigned to intelligence who gets constant briefings.’”
-- But Senate Republican leaders concluded that Rubio running is their only realistic chance of holding the open seat in the Sunshine State, so there’s been an intense — and apparently successful — campaign aimed at pressuring Rubio to stick around.
“Obviously, I take very seriously everything that’s going on — not just Orlando, but in our country,” he said as he went into a closed-door briefing with law enforcement and homeland security officials. “So I’ll go home later this week, and I’ll have some time with my family, and then if there’s been a change in our status I’ll be sure to let everyone know.”
-- Here are seven reasons jumping into the Senate race is a risky move for Rubio:
1. He risks being portrayed as a craven opportunist who is using the largest mass shooting in U.S. history to advance his own political career.
Rubio opposes any new gun-control measures, including closing the terrorist watch list loophole. While he was more tolerant on gay rights than some of his GOP rivals for president, he’s by no means been an ally of the LGBT community.
2. He will not clear the primary field, which means he would get attacked from his right until Aug. 30.
One of five credible candidates running in the Republican Senate primary, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, publicly announced yesterday that he would step aside for Rubio. The two have been good friends for two decades, and Rubio has been thought to favor Lopez-Cantera in the primary.
Another candidate, Rep. David Jolly, has scheduled a press conference for Friday to announce his plans. He said yesterday that he expects Rubio to run. Another congressman in the mix, Ron DeSantis, said it is “definitely a possibility” he will try to keep his House seat if Rubio gets in.
But two wealthy political outsiders, businessmen Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox, are adamant that they will not step aside for Rubio. Both have telegraphed a willingness to go after Rubio if need be. Beruff spokesman Chris Hartline told The Post’s Mike DeBonis that Florida voters “value real world experience more than political experience.” “They’re sick of career politicians and power-brokers in Washington who care about one thing: holding on to power,” Hartline said. “They don’t get to pick our candidates.”
Additionally, many Republicans close to Bush remain bitter about how the campaign played out. The former Florida governor’s criticisms of Rubio would be featured prominently in commercials.
3. He is not a shoo-in, and he could lose the general election to Patrick Murphy.
The Democratic congressman toppled tea party favorite Allen West in the 2012 election. He’s amassed a large war chest.
And recent polling shows that Rubio’s popularity is underwater. A Public Policy Polling survey earlier this month found Rubio and Murphy were statistically tied in a hypothetical race, but Rubio’s approval rating was just 32 percent.
4. Democrats would go after Rubio extra hard to thwart his presidential ambitions. Major donors on the left are enthusiastic about blocking him, fundraisers say.
“The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and other Democratic outside groups, including American Bridge and the Senate Majority PAC, are preparing to spend tens of millions in the expensive state against Rubio,” CNN’s Manu Raju reports. “The Democratic National Committee, which dug heavily into Rubio's record in the presidential campaign, has already been in contact with the DSCC to share opposition research.”
5. Ironically, Trump at the top of the ticket could be a drag on Rubio’s Senate hopes.
Rubio called his party’s presumptive nominee a con artist and said he shouldn’t be able to have the nuclear launch codes. He also might have said something about the size of his hands.
More recently, he’s said he’ll vote for Trump because he’s not as bad as Hillary Clinton.
Trump will spend lots of time in the perennial battleground this fall. He may even wind up picking Florida Gov. Rick Scott as his running mate. It will be awkward for Rubio to avoid all of his big rallies, and with less and less split-ticket voting, their fortunes may be inextricably tied.
Though there is not a sizable Mexican population in Florida, Trump will probably still galvanize record Latino turnout across the board. And Rubio’s Cuban heritage does not mean he can count on others in the Hispanic diaspora, such as the huge Puerto Rican population around Orlando, to vote for him.
Remember too that Trump whipped Rubio in the Florida GOP primary. The senator risks alienating The Donald’s many supporters every time he speaks out against the nominee’s divisive rhetoric.
6. If he loses twice in 2016, Rubio will not be regarded as a credible candidate for president in 2020. He will lack a rationale for running if he cannot carry Florida.
7. If he wins, staying in the Senate might not actually be the best stepping stone to run again in 2020.
Rubio wants to run for president again. The most important part of his political calculus is: What’s the best way to position himself for another bid?
Part of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pitch to Rubio has been that he is better off holding an elected office when he runs for president again, and that the Senate will give him a helpful platform, according to someone familiar with their conversations.
But being in the Senate brings with it baggage and tough votes, plus both Trump and Clinton won their party’s nominations this cycle without holding political office.
Chances are also pretty good that Democrats will retake control of the Senate in November, which means that Chuck Schumer (poised to succeed Harry Reid as leader) will devote floor time to issues that make life difficult for the Republicans who hope to run for president in four years.
If he leaves the Senate, Rubio can start a nonprofit foundation or do something safe — while making money for his family and weighing in occasionally on carefully-picked issues. Then he could reemerge as a helpful surrogate for GOP down-ballot candidates in the 2018 midterms before announcing his candidacy in early 2019.
Rubio allies who cares more about Marco’s future than the Republicans keeping their majority say that McConnell gets way more out of Rubio running than vice versa.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) ended a nearly 15-hour filibuster of the Senate floor around 2 a.m., saying a compromise had been reached with Republicans to allow votes on two Democrat-backed gun control measures. From Karoun Demirjian: “Murphy launched the filibuster at 11:21 a.m. Wednesday, with about 40 Democrats speaking on the Senate floor about the human costs of gun violence, demanding they pass measures to keep firearms and explosives out of the hands of potential terrorists. 'I've had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I've had enough of inaction in this body,' Murphy said." As he gave up the floor, he said there will be a vote on legislation proposed by Dianne Feinstein, which would let the government bar sales of guns and explosives to people on the terrorist watch list. There will also be a vote, he said, on a bill he co-authored to require background checks for firearms sold at gun shows and through online retailers.
-- Cracks emerged yesterday in the Republican opposition to new guns laws. Trump and several vulnerable Republican lawmakers signaled they are open to changes, an election-year conversion that reflects a recognition that the party is on the wrong side of public opinion. From Ed O'Keefe and Karoun: Trump announced that he would schedule a meeting with the NRA to discuss proposals to ban people on federal watch lists from purchasing firearms, reiterating a position he first expressed last year in the aftermath of the San Bernardino shootings. "Trump’s renewed focus on gun laws goes against GOP orthodoxy ... It also complicates the Republican response to the Orlando shootings, which had focused mostly on national security and concerns about home-grown terrorism.” Three Republican senators also tried to sound a conciliatory tone: Ohio's Rob Portman, Maine's Susan Collins and Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey.
-- Watch for the GOP to rally around some kind of alternative proposal that the NRA believes is weak enough to support and which Democrats will oppose because it is toothless.
GET SMART FAST:
- The body of a two-year-old boy snatched by an alligator at a Disney World resort was found, ending a desperate search that lasted more than 18 hours. Rescue divers found the toddler not far from where he was attacked. (Katie Mettler and Elahe Izadi)
- The Egyptian government said it has found the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804, which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last month. Wreckage was found in “several places,” though officials did not specify the size or location of the parts that were found. (CNN)
- Belgian counterterrorism police warned of possible, “imminent” attacks against France and Belgium. A group of “combatants” has apparently left Syria with the intent of carrying out assaults in both countries. The warning comes two days after a deadly knife attack in France that was apparently inspired by ISIS. (Michael Birnbaum)
- The Russian government denied hacking into the Democratic National Committee's servers, suggesting that perhaps “someone simply forgot the password.” “It’s always simpler to explain this away as the intrigue of enemies,” added a top Vladimir Putin adviser, “rather than one’s own incompetence.” (Andrew Roth)
- Michelle Obama said she intends to continue her global advocacy for girls education after leaving the White House. (Politico)
- A Chicago police review agency recommended firing an officer accused of making an “offensive racial remark” about President Obama while on duty. The allegation comes just months after a blistering task force report assailed the department for having “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” (Mark Berman)
- The World Health Organization announced that coffee is NOT a carcinogen after all, reversing itself after 25 years. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
- Former Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius removed his artificial legs during a sentencing hearing for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, tearfully hobbling across a courtroom as lawyers pleaded that he receive no prison time. His attorneys said the stunt was meant to “highlight the sense of vulnerability” he felt before fatally shooting the woman. (New York Times)
- Defense attorneys in the Bridgegate case filed a series of emails appearing to show Chris Christie being informed directly that a public office under his charge was engaging in political activities. The filings may undercut a central claim made in a report commissioned by the Christie administration. (Politico New Jersey)
- The FDA approved a new weight-loss device that drains predigested food directly from a patient’s stomach – allowing users to rid themselves of up “up to 30 percent” of a meal at a time. (Gizmodo)
- Merrick Garland gave a teary-eyed commencement address to a group of fifth-graders, peppering in references to both Beyoncé and Professor Dumbledore as he reminded students to “be the brave one.” The president’s Supreme Court nominee has tutored weekly at the school for nearly two decades. (Perry Stein)
-- The shooter posted Facebook messages on the day of his rampage, pledging loyalty to the Islamic State and vowing that the U.S. would face “more attacks in the coming days”: “America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state..I pledge my alliance to [Islamic State leader] abu bakr al Baghdadi ..may Allah accept me,” Omar Mateen wrote, according to a letter released by Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). Mateen then posted, according to the letter: “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west” and “You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” Mateen also apparently used Facebook in May to look for information on the terrorists behind the 2015 San Bernardino attack., according to Johnson’s letter. On June 4, 2016, he reportedly searched for “Baghdadi Speech.” (Kevin Sullivan, Ellen Nakashima, Matt Zapotosky and Mark Berman)
-- FBI officials confirmed they interviewed Mateen’s wife, Noor Z. Salman, as part of the ongoing investigation. “Salman reportedly urged her husband ‘not to do anything’ the night of the attack, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. Salman accompanied Mateen at one point to buy ammunition and went with him on at least one trip to Pulse described as ‘reconnaissance’ not long before the shooting … Whether or not she knew the purpose of the trip remains unclear. Investigators are still working to corroborate what Salman told them during interviews and will also try to determine if she suffered any abuse at the gunman’s hands. His first wife — Sitora Yusifiy, to whom he was briefly married in 2009 — said that he beat her repeatedly while they were married."
-- Mateen’s mother said she knew “nothing” of her son’s plans: “No. Nothing. Nothing,” Shahla Mateen said in a telephone conversation Wednesday, saying “we” – without specifying who else – were “out of town” and got back late last week. “Friday I didn’t see him and just Saturday,” she said, before she stopped talking and hung up the phone.
-- “Gunman's violent behavior dated to school days." From Treasure Coast Palm’s Andrew Atterbury: “Mateen’s elementary and middle school records paint the Orlando nightclub shooter as a disruptive student who struggled with English. His behavior — marked by constant outbursts and classroom insubordination — greatly contributed to his academic struggles … ‘The main factor prohibiting Omar from success in school is not that the work is too hard but rather his difficulties in conforming to class/school rules,’” according to a letter sent to Mateen’s father in 1999. Mateen “was disciplined 31 times between 1992 and 1999 for numerous disruptions, for striking a student and for disrespectful behavior.” And by fourth grade, Mateen’s grades in core subjects were almost all Cs and worsened to Ds and Fs in fifth grade. His Stanford Achievement Test scores, meanwhile, were below average in fifth grade and particularly low in reading, where he scored in the bottom 6 percent. By seventh grade, he was reportedly in danger of failing reading, language arts, math and science.
-- A 24-year-old Marine veteran is credited with saving “dozens” of lives during the Orlando massacre. From Peter Holley: Imran Yousuf, a Pulse bouncer who previously served in Afghanistan, was able to use his training to quickly identify the shooter and remain clear-headed as people died around him. “Everyone froze,” he recalled after the first few shots rang out. I’m here in the back, and I saw people start pouring into the back hallway, and they just sardine-pack everyone.” Yousuf said he knew there was a door behind the panicked crowd, but people were too overwhelmed to unlatch it. “I’m screaming, ‘Open the door! Open the door! … And no one is moving because they are scared.” He told reporters there was only one choice: “Either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance of getting shot and saving everyone else, and I jumped over to open that latch and we got everyone that we can out of there.” The simple act of heroism may have been one of the most decisive actions that took place that morning, with an estimated 60 or 70 people escaping through the exit.
-- Clinton maintains her lead over Trump in a CBS News poll (43-37 to percent):
- Clinton leads Trump 50-43 percent on who is better to handle terrorism and national security. Voters split (46 to 45 percent, with Clinton leading) on which candidate would do a better job on gun policy.
- Voters are turned off by the behavior of each candidate: Two-thirds of Americans believe Clinton did something wrong in setting up a private email server while Secretary of State, with 41 percent saying they believe her actions were illegal. Meanwhile, 70 percent of voters found Trump’s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel "offensive."
- A majority of voters expect Clinton to win in November (51 percent), while just 35 percent believe Trump will.
-- More than a third of Clinton supporters think she should pick Elizabeth Warren as her running-mate, according to a Bloomberg poll. Meanwhile, nearly a third of Trump supporters said Newt Gingrich was the best candidate to run alongside the presumptive Republican nominee.
- Warren held a strong first-place pick among Democratic voters, netting 35 percent support compared to Cory Booker at 17 percent and Julian Castro at 12 percent. On the Republican side, Gingrich held a five point lead over Rubio (24 percent) and John Kasich (18 percent).
- Americans are split on the idea of an all-women ticket: 46 percent said they think the U.S. is ready two elect two women as president and vice president, while 48 percent felt the opposite. Oddly enough, it’s women who are skeptical: Men support the idea by a 55 percent majority, while 59 percent of women saying the nation “isn’t ready.”
-- American opinions of the Republican Party have tanked, per Bloomberg survey: Just 32 percent of voters said they view the party favorably – an all-time low in the history of the poll. The Democratic Party, by contrast, is seen favorably by 49 percent. Congress, meanwhile, is viewed favorably by just 24 percent – also the lowest in poll history, and a response that found near bipartisan agreement.
-- In Wisconsin, a Marquette poll has Clinton up 7 points (42-35 percent), compared to 10 points (47-37) in March.
- Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator, leads Republican incumbent Ron Johnson by 4 points among registered voters (45-41) and 9 points among likely voters (51-42) in a rematch of their 2010 race.
-- A Politico Battleground analysis shows that Clinton is leading Trump in eight out of the 11 swing states: “Keep in mind that because of the advantage Democrats have in the Electoral College, all Clinton needs to do is win one state -- Florida -- along with traditional Democratic states, and she is the next president. Polls show Clinton and Trump currently tied in the Sunshine State,” notes the Boston Globe’s James Pindell.
TRUMP STRUGGLES ON FOREIGN POLICY:
-- Naïveté: Trump said yesterday that “there’s a 10 percent or a 20 percent chance” he could talk North Korea’s Kim Jong Un into ending his nuclear program. The Republican said he would “accept” a visit from the dictator to Washington and re-asserted his willingness to “open a dialogue." "Who the hell cares? I'll speak to anybody," he explained. "Who knows?” (New York Times; Weekly Standard)
It is hard to argue that there is not a double standard here. Can you imagine how outraged many of the Republican leaders who have endorsed Trump would be if Clinton or Obama said the same? Think about someone like Tom Cotton...
-- Just two days after Trump implied Obama sympathized with terrorists -- provoking harsh backlash from Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike – he called himself “right,” based on a published Breitbart report claiming administration “support” for the Islamic State. From Karen DeYoung and Jose A. DelReal: In a post to his Twitter account, Trump said “Media fell all over themselves criticizing what Donald Trump ‘may have insinuated’ ” about Obama. “But he’s right,” it said, linking to the story. The document in question, however, appears to be an initial intake of spot intelligence from the early days of the Syrian civil war. Labeled as “information report, not finally evaluated intelligence,” it refers to “the general situation” in Iraq and Syria in the early days of the armed insurgency against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. That intelligence had not yet been vetted or verified.
“Trump’s embrace of Breitbart’s interpretation of the cable fits a pattern of careless handling and circulation of facts, particularly in the realm of foreign policy,” DeYoung and DelReal explain. “Such missteps have piqued concerns among foreign policy experts and Republican strategists about Trump’s understanding of complicated policy issues and his fitness for office.”
-- Clinton mocked Trump’s national security ideas in a Virginia speech, arguing his proposals would put the country in greater danger and inspire more terrorist attacks: “A ban on Muslims would not have stopped this attack,” she told a small group of servicemen and veterans in Hampton, Va. “Neither would a wall. I don’t know how one builds a wall to keep the Internet out.” She added: “Not one of Donald Trump's reckless ideas would have saved a single life in Orlando.” (Abby Phillip)
-- The Post’s Fact Checker gives Trump Four Pinocchios for his claims that the Obama administration “actively supported” al-Qaeda in Iraq. “This is what happens when people with little understanding of policy or context choose to willfully misinterpret documents,” Glenn Kessler writes. “This is a relatively unimportant memo, with little information not in newspapers at the time. Rather than showing that the Obama administration is supporting terror groups, the information in the memo demonstrates why the administration was so reluctant to back rebel groups in Syria, often to the annoyance of Republican hawks. Moreover, the memo was not sent directly to Clinton’s office, as asserted by Breitbart. Trump really needs to rely on more accurate information when making factual claims.”
MORE SETBACKS FOR GOP UNITY:
-- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said emphatically that he will not vote for Trump, answering the question directly after weeks of demurring. Hogan, a close ally of Chris Christie, said he does not know he will vote for. “I guess when I get behind the curtain I’ll have to figure it out," he said. "Maybe write someone in. I’m not sure.” This puts more pressure on moderate Republicans in other states to follow suit. (Ovetta Wiggins)
-- Trump called on GOP leaders to "PLEASE BE QUIET" and said he may have to lead the GOP “ALONE." From Sean Sullivan, Jose A. DelReal and Abby Phillip: At an Atlanta campaign rally, Trump let loose a scathing attack on his fellow Republicans. “You know the Republicans, honestly folks, our leaders, our leaders have to get tougher,” he said. “This is too tough to do it alone, but you know what? I think I’m going to be forced to. Our leaders have to get a lot tougher. And be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don’t talk. Just be quiet to the leaders because they have to get tougher, they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter.”
He also referred to “The Gays” during his speech: "Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community. Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words? Ask the gays, 'Who’s your friend?'"
-- Rick Wiley, who got fired at Trump's political director, is now working as a consultant for the RNC, where he spent the 2012 cycle. Committee officials said Wiley will help build ground-game operations, as the RNC seeks to build out Trump’s meager campaign operation ahead of the general election. (Philip Rucker and Matea Gold)
-- Trump's relationship with the RNC is increasingly plagued by distrust, power struggles and strategic differences, Politico’s Kenneth Vogel, Eli Stokols, and Alex Isenstadt report. "In recent days, RNC chairman Reince Priebus has privately grumbled that his advice doesn’t seem welcome with Trump. Other party officials expressed frustration that Trump’s campaign is trying to take too much control over a pair of fundraising committees with the party while adding little to the effort. While Trump had promised Priebus that he would call two dozen top GOP donors ... he reportedly called only three before stopping. It’s unclear whether he resumed the donor calls later. Meanwhile, there’s deep skepticism on Trump’s team about the RNC’s commitment to his bid, with some campaign officials questioning 'how hard' the RNC is working to help Trump and to raise money for his campaign’s joint fundraising operation."
- “I don’t think we are going to take a lot of political advice from Priebus,” scoffed one Trump campaign official. “From my perspective, we should not be relying on the RNC for much, because I’m not sure they are fully supportive yet,” adding they “hope and expect” to be on the same page soon.
- Three operatives suggested Wiley’s new RNC gig may have been partly a power play by Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, amid long-rumored reports of infighting with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski reportedly pushed for Wiley to be fired from the campaign last month.
-- Trump is holding a fundraiser at Barry Goldwater's old home in Arizona. It's where he announced his 1964 campaign for president. We know how that ended... (The Arizona Republic)
THE TRUMP EFFECT:
-- Shot: Trump last night claimed that assimilation among American Muslims is close to “nonexistent”: “Assimilation has been very hard,” he told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “It’s almost, I won’t say nonexistent, but it gets to be pretty close. And I’m talking about second and third generation — for some reason there’s no real assimilation.” Polling from the past decade paints a starkly different picture, however, suggesting Muslim Americans identify strongly with the United States and are, by traditional measures, "roughly as religious as U.S. Christians," DelReal notes.
-- Chaser: “Trump keeps attacking Muslims. They plan to fight back at the ballot box,” by Robert Samuels: “My biggest motivation during this election is to stop Trump from becoming president,” said Dilawar Jaulikar, 42, before Ramadan prayers. “Now I am paying more attention to politics than ever before. We have to watch everything he is saying.”
-- Also not voting for Trump: Alicia Machado, the former Venezuelan beauty queen whom Trump allegedly called “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” after she won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996. Machado is days away from receiving official U.S. citizenship and has joined several pro-immigrant groups to register voters for Clinton. (Patricia Sullivan)
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:
-- Clinton is launching her first major television ad buy of the general election, purchasing air time across eight swing states as the campaign seeks to ramp up its general election efforts. She has purchased air time in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, John Wagner and Anne Gearan report. “The ad buy is one of the first signals that Clinton is aiming much of her general-election strategy at states that could be claimable by either party, and where Clinton sees an advantage in waging a frontal attack on Trump’s qualifications.”
-- Sanders’s key supporters have begun lining up behind Clinton, with the powerful liberal group MoveOn.org applauding the presumptive Democratic nominee in a Wednesday statement. "MoveOn.org is officially congratulating Hillary Clinton on her historic, hard-fought, and successful run and being the presumptive Democratic nominee for president," executive Ilya Sheyman wrote, praising her “glass-ceiling-shattering campaign.” (David Weigel)
-- Clinton will attack Trump as unfit to manage the nation’s economy in a second major policy address next week in Columbus. She previewed her speech in an interview with USA Today’s Heidi Przybyla: "The goal is to demonstrate how his rhetoric does not match his policies, which Clinton plans to claim 'disproportionately favor; wealthier Americans. The tax plan could be a ripe target since Trump initially indicated a willingness to raise taxes on the wealthy, then subsequently backed off those comments. Expect to hear this line: 'He's either completely incoherent or he hasn't thought one bit about his plan.'"
-- “These Iraqis dodged bombs and bullets to escape the Islamic State, but their misery hasn’t ended,” by Loveday Morris: “The family thought they had safely escaped Islamic State-held Fallujah, letting out cries of joy when they reached the outskirts of the city. But moments later, horror struck when someone accidentally triggered a roadside bomb placed by militants now barricaded in the city. As Iraqi forces attempt to recapture Fallujah … civilians face a gamut of dangers as they flee the city. For those who make it to safety, the hardship continues, with aid agencies and the Iraqi government so stretched that even drinking water is in short supply. More than 3.4 million Iraqis were displaced by the conflict with the Islamic State even before the operation to retake Fallujah began, and that number is expected to grow when Iraqi forces move on to attack the larger city of Mosul.”
Key quote, from an aide worker: “The way out is riddled with snipers and explosives. They come to find safety at great risk, but we are struggling to get them even the most basic assistance. We are completely overstretched.”
-- “Britain’s E.U. vote could bring Cameron’s government crashing down,” by Griff Witte: “British Prime Minister David Cameron’s high-stakes decision to let the British public decide whether the country stays in the E.U. looks increasingly like a bad bet, with his party veering into civil war, the polls pointing toward an exit and the Conservative leader’s job appearing ever more precarious. If Britain does vote for a … ‘Brexit,’ analysts say that Cameron would probably be forced to resign, perhaps within hours … Even if British voters heed Cameron’s call to stay in the E.U., a narrow victory could leave him vulnerable to a vengeance-fueled coup by pro-Brexit politicians in his party who think the prime minister has played dirty in his no-holds-barred campaign to keep Britain in. The fragility of Cameron’s position marks a stunning turnabout for a politician who won a commanding electoral victory just a year ago, and who called the E.U. referendum as a way to unify his fractious party behind his leadership.”
Key quote: “This has turned out worse for Cameron than he ever conceived it could have,” said political science professor Roger Mortimore.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
The Boston Globe devotes its front page to a three-word editorial:
From another Massachusetts Democrat:
Here's what Trump said:
And Justin Amash's reaction:
This Iraq war veteran's tweetstorm against Trump went viral:
The mogul is changing his tune on teleprompters:
A view toward the future:
And this memorable line:
Madonna made a valiant effort at legislative jargon:
A couple of anniversaries to mark:
Some shots from the congressional women's softball game:
HOT ON THE LEFT
“It Took Us Just 38 Minutes To Buy An AR-15 In Orlando,” from HuffPost: “It took us 38 minutes to walk out of a gun shop with a death machine. Just two days after Omar Mateen used a semi-automatic rifle to murder 49 innocent people and injure dozens more, we were able to purchase an AR-15 — a rifle similar to Mateen’s that has been used in several other mass shootings on American soil — in less time than it takes to buy a cart full of groceries. We would have been locked and loaded within five minutes, but the gun shop employee we spoke to said the queue on background checks was longer than usual because people were scrambling to buy AR-15s in the wake of the shooting.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“’Islamic Refugee’ With Gas Pipeline Plans Arrested in New Mexico Border County,” from Judicial Watch: “Police in a U.S. town bordering Mexico have apprehended an undocumented, Middle Eastern woman in possession of the region’s gas pipeline plans … Authorities describe the woman as an ‘Islamic refugee’ pulled over during a traffic stop by a deputy sheriff in Luna County, New Mexico which shares a 54-mile border with Mexico. County authorities alerted the U.S. Border Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) has been deployed to the area to investigate, sources with firsthand knowledge of the probe confirm.” The entire region is considered a “high-intensity drug trafficking area,” with several well-known cartels operating in the area.
On the campaign trail: Trump is in Dallas. Clinton and Sanders appear to be off the trail.
At the White House: Obama and Vice President Biden travel to Orlando to meet with victims' families.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Chris Murphy turned to his young son in the Senate gallery late last night, as he continued his filibuster for gun control. “I hope that you’ll understand someday why we’re doing this,” he told him. “Sometimes even if you don’t get everything that you want, trying hard, trying and trying to do the right thing is ultimately just as important as getting the outcome in the end.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Heavy rainfall is on the forecast for today – but a picture-perfect weekend awaits on the other side of the storms. The Capital Weather Gang reports: “Light scattered showers may greet the early risers but most activity quickly dies out. The sun is in and out much of the day. Depending on just how much sun, we get could help to fire up some isolated late day thunderstorms. Highs should top out in the upper 70s to lower 80s. Humidity, while not painful, is notable.”
-- The Nationals beat the Cubs 5-4.
-- Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order to restore voting rights to ex-felons in Virginia suffered another bizarre setback after 132 dangerous sex offenders were granted the right to vote. The felons – who have served out their respective sentences but have been deemed “too dangerous to release,” are now eligible to vote, run for public office, and serve on a jury. (Laura Vozzella)
-- A federal judge said it would make “common sense” for the Maryland Transit Administration to consider the “extraordinary” maintenance problems hampering D.C.’s Metro rail system before building a $900 million Purple Line to connect to it. Officials are considering requiring the state to analyze potential impact the beleaguered D.C. rail system could have on Purple Line ridership before beginning construction. (Katherine Shaver)
-- “With Forbes’s defeat, Virginia’s delegation to Congress grows less experienced,” by Jenna Portnoy: “Virginia’s own Eric Cantor is Speaker of the House. Two Virginia congressmen sit on the appropriations committee. Another heads Armed Services. This was the future that many political observers envisioned for Virginia two years ago.” Instead, voters ousted Cantor, foretelling a wave of retirements that left the delegation flush with backbenchers but no seasoned leaders. And U.S. Rep J. Randy Forbes’s double-digit defeat in the state’s Republican primary intensifies Virginia’s declining cachet in Washington. A 15-year incumbent and subcommittee chairman, Forbes had seniority to bring home funding and projects that a freshman lacks. Now, the 11-member House delegation could find itself further adrift, with Rep. Rob Wittman (R) planning a gubernatorial bid and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) facing a competitive reelection fight. “If some of these things had not happened, think about where we’d be,” said former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, (R). “The inescapable truth is that because of the defeat of people like Forbes and Cantor … Virginia’s influence in the House of Representatives is tremendously diminished.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Watch Utah's GOP lieutenant governor deliver an amazing -- and sometimes surprising -- speech in honor of the Orlando victims:
Who is Noor Salman, wife of the Orlando shooter?
Maya Rudolph talked about Obama borrowing her dressing room:
Jimmy Fallon walked through the pros and cons of Father's Day: