With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA: Barack Obama has deluded himself with the misguided hope that Donald Trump will not even try to follow through on many of his biggest campaign promises. He is consoling himself with the hope that, if he does, the new president will be measured, self-restrained and respectful of custom. That he will “study … deeply” and “look at the facts.” That logic and reason, not emotion or ideology, will drive him above all else.
The lame-duck president has convinced himself that Republicans probably won’t go through with repealing Obamacare when they realize just how hard it will be. Ditto with the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord. “Reality has a way of asserting itself,” Obama reasoned. “I also think that he is coming to this office with fewer set hard-and-fast policy prescriptions than a lot of other presidents might be arriving with. I don't think he is ideological. I think ultimately he’s pragmatic in that way.”
-- Is Obama really that naïve? Probably not. He is just wallowing in a state of denial and has resorted to wishful thinking as a coping mechanism. It is a natural psychological condition that afflicts most human beings grieving a major loss, at least for a time. Presidents are not immune.
For a little over an hour yesterday afternoon, Americans saw a 55-year-old who has not come to grips with just how big a blow Trump’s victory is to his legacy and his party. He rationalized. He downplayed. He justified. He minimized. With all the trappings of the presidency still his, it hasn’t fully sunk in yet. And it might not for 66 more days, when Trump gets sworn in on the West Front of the Capitol — and Obama begins living as a civilian in Kalorama.
-- Trying to project reassurance, circumspection and a sense of continuity, Obama came across at times as both nonchalant and almost ambivalent about the results. He expressed confidence in how hard it is to move the levers of power. “The federal government and our democracy is not a speedboat. It’s an ocean liner,” he said. But with the stroke of a pen Trump could instantly undo much of what Obama has pushed with through executive action during the second term. And the new president will have Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress.
-- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying,” identified the five stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Obama is clearly still in stage one.
-- Other Democrats have already progressed further along in their recovery over the past seven days.
The protesters chanting “not my president” in the streets every night are angry (stage two).
The liberals who won’t stop talking about how Hillary Clinton won the popular vote are in the bargaining phase (stage three).
Many more went right into depression (stage four), almost to the point of being inconsolably paralyzed by it. A bunch of Democratic groups and lobbying firms scheduled parties around Washington this week, assuming folks would be in a mood to celebrate. But several events that took place last night were sparsely attended, since so many movers and shakers just want to sit in their basements and drink alone.
Meanwhile, the intensifying debate over who should chair the Democratic National Committee has forced acceptance (stage five) in some quarters.
-- The Republican establishment already had to work through this grieving process vis-à-vis Trump in the spring. Pretty much everyone in the GOP reached the acceptance phase by Election Day.
-- Obama is a textbook case of denial right now. The president allowed himself to hear what he wanted to hear during his 90-minute sit-down with Trump last Thursday. His successor somehow managed to both reassure and flatter him. Perhaps Trump privately told him that he was not serious about many of his priorities and stressed that they are merely opening bids in a negotiation.
It is also possible that the same confirmation bias that caused so many in the mainstream media to tune out all the signals that Trump was on the verge of pulling off the biggest political upset since at least “Dewey defeats Truman” has now apparently convinced Obama that his successor is not actually about to massively roll back many of his proudest achievements, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (Trump may not be ideological, but his administration will be full of committed movement conservatives who are focused on systematically unwinding the regulatory state that Obama built up. And Trump’s advisers are already sketching out plans to use the budget reconciliation process to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act.)
Taking questions from reporters for the first time since the election, before boarding Air Force One for his flight to Athens, Greece, Obama declared that he will reassure U.S. allies that Trump never actually believed what he said about NATO. Never mind that, in the hours before he said this, the president-elect was on the telephone with Vladimir Putin — the single biggest threat to the transatlantic alliance — pledging to improve “unsatisfactory” relations and agreeing that their aides will set up a face-to-face meeting.
-- What a difference a few days makes.
Last week, making his closing argument against Trump, Obama told audiences: “Who you are [and] what you are does not change once you become president. It magnifies who you are. You have more power … so folks will enable you to be more of who you are. It will shine a spotlight on who you are.”
Yesterday, he took the opposite view: “This office has a way of waking you up. My advice to the president-elect when we had our discussions was that campaigning is different from governing. I think he recognizes that.”
“Of course I’ve got concerns,” Obama allowed later, when another journalist asked basically the same question that had already been asked three times. “There are going to be certain elements of his temperament that will not serve him well unless he recognizes them and corrects them.”
But he pointedly declined to say whether he still believes Trump is unqualified to be president. In fact, when pressed, Obama praised his “gregarious” successor whom — behind the same podium in the same briefing room — he once called “a carnival barker.”
-- The outgoing president spoke as if a guy who channeled Jean-Batiste Colbert on the campaign trail will become an Adam Smith-like acolyte of open markets once he gets briefed on how “a global supply chain” actually works. “When it comes to trade, I think when you’re governing, it will become increasingly apparent that … it’s not as simple as it might have seemed,” Obama said.
On the Iran deal, he explained: “My suspicion is, is that when the president-elect comes in, and he’s consulting with his Republican colleagues on the Hill, that they will look at the facts.… When you’re not responsible for it, I think you can call it a terrible deal. When you are responsible for the deal and preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, you’re more likely to look at the facts. That is going to be true in other circumstances. For example, the Paris agreement.”
“Do I think that the new administration will make some changes? Absolutely,” he continued. “But these international agreements, the tradition has been that you carry them forward across administrations, particularly if, once you actually examine them, it turns out that they’re doing good for us and binding other countries into behavior that will help us.”
As Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere notes, “This is precisely the kind of argument that Republicans in Congress have felt so patronized by over the last eight years, and one that is completely out of whack with the shake to the system delivered by Trump’s campaign, which racked up few political debts to anyone as he claimed victory.”
-- Many thought leaders on the left are upset about the president’s demeanor, as well. In his column, Dana Milbank rips Obama for “cool detachment” and “happy talk”: “Why is this man smiling? … Obama’s post-election remarks seemed utterly at odds with the national mood. Half the country is exultant because Trump has promised to undo everything Obama has done over the past eight years. The other half of the country is alarmed that a new age of bigotry and inwardness has seized the country. … This has been Obama’s pattern. At times when passion is called for, he’s cerebral and philosophical and taking the long view — so long that it frustrates those living in the present.”
-- Obama conveyed a similar message during two conference calls with supporters after the news conference. “I’ve always said, progress doesn’t follow a straight line. It zigs and zags, and sometimes it moves forward and sometimes it moves backwards or moves sideways,” he said. “So, as a consequence, I think it is fine for everybody to feel stressed, sad, discouraged for a while, but I’m giving you like a week and a half to get over it.… By next week and Thanksgiving … you’re going to have to be in a more positive place.… So don't mope.”
Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is the leading candidate for secretary of state, the Wall Street Journal says on A1. "I will NOT be attorney general," Rudy said at an event last night. Trump aides have also considered former U.S. ambassador John Bolton as a contender, but the close relationship between Giuliani and Trump was a “major consideration," per Damian Paletta. "For Mr. Trump, it is a choice between a longtime friend and ally in New York, Mr. Giuliani, and a hawkish conservative diplomat, Mr. Bolton, who called last year for the U.S. to bomb Iran. A final decision could be several weeks away … and other candidates could still emerge." Personnel deliberations are likely to quicken today, when newly installed transition team chairman Mike Pence arrives in New York from Orlando, where he met last night with Republican governors.
The former New York mayor said last night that Trump will likely focus much of his early foreign policy strategy on destroying the Islamic State, setting aside more vexing problems in the Middle East and elsewhere to focus on the militant group. “ISIS, short-term I believe, is the greatest danger and not because ISIS is in Iraq and in Syria, but because ISIS did something al-Qaeda never did — ISIS was able to spread itself around the world,” Giuliani said, speaking during a Monday evening appearance at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council gathering. He also signaled strong interest in potentially serving as Trump’s secretary of state, going into “great detail” about how his foreign policy views overlap with those of the president-elect. (Paletta)
-- Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is the leading choice to be defense secretary, Politico reports. “It is a choice that would reward the president-elect’s most outspoken congressional loyalist but offer few olive branches to a Trump-wary Republican national security establishment,” Jeremy Herb and Connor O’Brien note. “The two men haven’t seen eye to eye on everything: Sessions is a budget hawk who favors caps on defense spending, while Trump has called for an arms and troops buildup that could cost $55 billion or more per year."
"Establishment Republican defense officials may still try to push back against a Sessions nomination as Pentagon chief," Politico adds. "The main alternative is Stephen Hadley, one of George W. Bush's former national security advisers, who unlike many other Bush alums shrewdly refrained from criticizing Trump during the campaign. Other possibilities include Bill Clinton's hawkish CIA director, Jim Woolsey, who endorsed Trump in September, as well as former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri and outgoing Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.”
-- More signs of disarray and dysfunction: Former House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers abruptly left Trump’s transition team. “Rogers’ abrupt departure came at the request of team officials, said two people familiar with the matter,” per Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs. “The Michigan Republican, who’d also worked for the FBI, had been tapped to help guide the new administration on national security issues.”
-- And then a respected Republican foreign policy hand just tweeted this:
After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They're angry, arrogant, screaming "you LOST!" Will be ugly.— Eliot A Cohen (@EliotACohen) November 15, 2016
For those who don't know Eliot, this is noteworthy.He's a military strategist& vet.Someone I often disagree w/but always take seriously. https://t.co/yRweA5Gkep— Heather Hurlburt (@natsecHeather) November 15, 2016
-- Former Goldman Sachs partner and Trump campaign finance chairman Steven Mnuchin is the top candidate for treasury secretary, according to Bloomberg.
-- A short list has emerged for the next RNC chair, including deputy Trump campaign manager David Bossie, RNC state party liaison Matt Pinnell, and Michigan GOP chair Ronna Romney McDaniel (Mitt’s niece). “Of the group, Trump knows Bossie the best. But party insiders see Bossie setting his sights higher — perhaps the role of White House political director, a behind-the-scenes post with a direct line to Trump, and a position where he could be delivering orders to the next RNC chair,” Politico’s Shane Goldmacher and Kyle Cheney report. “A wild-card pick that members are discussing among themselves could be [Kellyanne] Conway — a constant presence on television who Trump trusts fully and who could continue to operate her polling business while running the party, something she would have to give up if she joined the administration.” Other names being circulated include Pence adviser Nick Ayers, South Carolina GOP chairman Matt Moore, Virginia GOP chairman John Whitbeck and Mississippi GOP chairman Joe Nosef.
-- The 2018 campaign has begun: GOP Rep. Kristi Noem announced that she will run for governor of South Dakota. It makes sense for Noem, who has no real upside for staying in D.C. She's stuck in the lower chamber. John Thune just got reelected to a six-year term, and Mike Rounds is not up for at least four years and could hold onto the seat as long as he wants. Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard is termed out. Noem, the instant front-runner, would be the state’s first female chief executive. ( KELO)
GET SMART FAST:
- Facebook announced it is banning fake news sites from its advertising network, seeking to prohibit misleading and deceptive information from generating revenue on the site. The decision came hours after a similar move from Google. (Wall Street Journal)
- The FAA temporarily restricted flights over New York City until Trump is sworn in as president at the behest of the Secret Service. (Mark Berman)
- Columbia University announced it is suspending its wrestling season after discovering sexually explicit, homophobic and racist text messages sent by members of the team. In a statement, Obama’s alma mater said team members will not compete until an investigation on the incident is complete. (Scott Allen)
- Hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. spiked by 67 percent in 2015, according to new FBI data, reaching their highest levels since the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. (New York Magazine)
- Former Army private Chelsea Manning is petitioning Obama for clemency after she was convicted in 2013 of leaking a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Manning, who pleaded guilty to the charges, has served more than six years in federal custody – longer than any other convicted leaker in U.S. history. (Ellen Nakashima)
- Meanwhile, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s court-martial trial has been delayed for a second time, as the defense team grapples with how to review “reams” of classified case information. Bergdahl, who faces charges of desertion and misbehavior after walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, will now be tried in May. He could face life in prison if convicted. (Dan Lamothe)
- The International Criminal Court is considering launching a war-crimes investigation in Afghanistan, after a prosecutor said there is “reasonable basis” to believe U.S. soldiers committed war crimes, including torture. (New York Times)
- A federal judge ordered the release of Brendan Dassey, the Wisconsin man featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” after his homicide conviction in the 2005 death of Teresa Halbach was overturned. (WTMJ-Milwaukee)
- New Zealand rescue workers are using military helicopters and a navy ship to evacuate tourists and residents from a coastal town, after a powerful earthquake Monday night left thousands stranded. Officials said the 7.8-magnitude quake killed at least two people and triggered a small tsunami. (AP)
- Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained overnight for bribery charges, following accusations that he received $2 million in connection with a huge oil deal. Ulyukayev is the highest-level Russian official arrested since the country’s failed 1991 coup. (Reuters)
A Russian fighter jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea while trying to land on an aircraft carrier stationed off the Syrian coast. Officials said the crash was a result of “technical malfunction” during training and said the pilot ejected safely from the plane. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
Russia deported a 29-year-old U.S. citizen who reportedly sneaked into the country “for a better life.” Authorities sent him back to New York with a slap on the wrist and a small fine, noting he seemed extremely dejected by the experience: “He had been hoping for Russian hospitality, but he failed to get it and was deeply disappointed.” (Adam Taylor)
- Chinese authorities executed a farmer who murdered a local official responsible for tearing down his house just days before his wedding ceremony. Authorities ignored impassioned clemency pleas from legal and academic experts, who said the so-called nail gun killer’s case typifies deep property injustices faced by many poor people in China. (Simon Denyer)
TRUMP'S CHILDREN GETTING OUTSIZE ROLES:
-- Trump wants top-secret security clearances for his children, CBS News reports. "Logistically, the White House must designate them as national security advisers to their father before they could receive top secret clearances. However, once Trump is sworn in, he will be able to place the request himself. And while his children would need to go through the requisite background checks before being cleared, the issue raises another layer of questions about the unique role his children are playing and conflicts of interest as they continue to run his businesses."
It is already happening: Trump Family Sees President of United States--as a Marketing Opportunity. pic.twitter.com/fa7AthLoBr— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) November 15, 2016
-- New York Times, “Trump’s Far-Flung Holdings Raise Potential for Conflicts of Interest,” by Eric Lipton and Susanne Craig: “Just a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House sits the Trump International Hotel, one of the newest luxury additions to [Trump’s] real estate empire, and perhaps the most visible symbol of the ethical quandary he now confronts. The Trump International operates out of the Old Post Office Building, which is owned by the federal government. That means Mr. Trump will be appointing the head of the General Services Administration, which manages the property, while his children will be running a hotel that has tens of millions of dollars in ties with the agency. He also will oversee the [NLRB] while it decides union disputes involving any of his hotels. A week before the election, the board ruled against Mr. Trump’s hotel in a case in Las Vegas. The layers of potential conflicts he faces are in many ways as complex as his far-flung business empire.”
-- Obama said during his news conference that he urged Trump to hire a really good White House Counsel. “I am very proud of the fact that we will -- knock on wood -- leave this administration without significant scandal,” he said. “We've made mistakes, there have been screw-ups, but I will put the ethics of this administration and our track record in terms of just abiding by the rules and norms, and keeping trust with the American people -- I will put this administration against any administration in history. And the reason is because, frankly, we listened to the lawyers. And we had a strong White House Counsel’s Office. We had a strong Ethics Office. We had people in every agency whose job it was to remind people, this is how you're supposed to do things. It doesn't mean everybody always did everything exactly the way it’s supposed to -- because we got 2 million people working in the federal government … and so we had to just try to institutionalize this as much as we could. And that takes a lot of work.”
-- SEC Chairman Mary Jo White announced that she will step down in January, leaving two years before the end of her term and clearing the way for Trump to massively reshape the way Wall Street is regulated. From Renae Merle: “White was widely expected to step down no matter who won the election to allow the next president to appoint their own chair. Trump has already indicated he would usher in a period of deregulation, including dismantling ... the Dodd-Frank Act. He appointed Paul Atkins, an industry veteran, who has called Dodd-Frank a ‘calamity,’ to lead the agency’s transition. … Atkins served as an SEC commissioner for six years during the President George W. Bush administration. ... In addition to replacing White, Trump will be able to fill two openings on the five-member commission. Trump could also choose to ignore the more than 20-year-old tradition of allowing the opposing political party to pick its own representative on the commission, one industry official said, further bolstering his influence over the agency. ... Also, Thomas Curry, the head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, another important Wall Street regulator, has less than six months on his term."
-- Mike Pence is going to court to argue for email secrecy. The Indianapolis Star’s Fatima Hussein reports on the irony: “Now that the presidential campaign and most of the furor over Hillary Clinton's email scandal are behind us, the Pence administration is going to court to argue for its own brand of email secrecy. The administration is fighting to conceal the contents of an email sent to Gov. Mike Pence by a political ally. That email is being sought by a prominent Democratic labor lawyer who says he wants to expose waste in the Republican administration. But legal experts fear the stakes may be much higher than mere politics because the decision could remove a judicial branch check on executive power and limit a citizen's right to know what the government is doing and how it spends taxpayer dollars. ‘It comes down to this — the court is giving up its ability to check another branch of government, and that should worry people,’ said Gerry Lanosga, an Indiana University media professor specializing in public records law.”
-- When Trump first launched his presidential campaign in 2015, he told Chris Christie he “didn’t expect to make it past October” – at which point he’d throw his support behind the New Jersey governor, CNN’s Thomas Lake, Jodi Enda, and Susan Baer report in an excerpt from their forthcoming book, “Unprecedented,” which covers the 2016 race. "I think they always had an understanding that the first one out would probably endorse the other," a Christie adviser said.
THE WORLD REACTS TO TRUMP:
-- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is paying a visit to Trump in New York on Thursday, becoming one of the first world leaders to meet with the next president-elect. Abe said he will use the meeting to “build a trusting relationship” with Trump, and on that front, they reportedly have plenty in common. From Anna Fifield in Tokyo: “For one, Trump sets a tone that Abe, a strong nationalist in his own right, will be comfortable with … Trump promised to ‘make America great again,’ while Abe is set on turning Japan back into a ‘beautiful country.’ For another, they both have a bromance going on with Vladimir Putin, the unequivocally nationalist Russian leader whom Trump has praised and whom Abe will welcome to Japan next month.” “The point of this meeting is to develop trust and chemistry on a personal level, to reassure people in both countries that everything is fine,” said Michael Green, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who has strong ties to Abe’s team.
-- Right-wing Israeli leaders are pushing assertive new legislation to legalize Jewish settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land, seizing on the timing of Trump’s election to force passage of the controversial law. (William Booth and Ruth Eglash)
-- Where does Breitbart end and Bannon’s role in the Trump White House begin? Neither camp has spelled out the details of their future relationship, Paul Farhi writes. “But even if Bannon and the website sever all ties, they will face an unusual, and awkward, situation: Bannon would be the former executive of a media organization that openly supported his political patron who will serve the president in a senior capacity while his media organization continues to cover him and his new boss.” Adding yet another layer of entanglement: one of Breitbart’s primary financial backers is billionaire hedge-fund manager Robert Mercer, whose daughter, Rebekah, is part of Trump’s presidential transition team. “They were the house organ for Trump and will obviously remain so,” said Ben Shapiro, former Breitbart editor at large.
- Trump officials quickly pushed back on criticism, with spokesman Jason Miller saying Bannon has done a “fantastic job” since joining Trump’s inner circle. “If you’ve seen the president-elect since the election, he’s taken a very measured tone,” Miller said on CNN’s “New Day.”
- Former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway praised Bannon as a “brilliant tactician” and the “general of this campaign": Asked whether Bannon should explain his connections to the alt-right movement, Conway said: “I’m personally offended that you think I would manage a campaign where that would be one of the going philosophies. It was not — 56 million-plus Americans or so saw something else.”
-- Congressional Republicans scrambled to avoid criticizing Trump’s future senior aide before the new administration begins. From Karoun Demirjian: “The former head of Breitbart news, Bannon has published stories taking aim at Muslims, Jews, women and African Americans, as well as making his own allegedly anti-Semitic statements. But Republicans seem unwilling to judge Bannon on that track record — or even accept that he bears responsibility for the more incendiary headlines …”
- “Did he write it? Give me something that he wrote,” said Rep. Dave Brat. “I hear a lot of innuendo of this, but I haven’t seen it.”
- House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy also suggested the reported information could be untrue: “I’ve seen things said about me that I know are not true, but because they’re on the Internet, ‘they must be true,’ ” McCarthy said.
Others said they didn’t expect the racist and sexist headlines approved under Bannon to have any bearing on his future role as a White House adviser. “Of course I’d have serious problems with anti-Semitic statements coming out of the White House, but I don’t expect that,” said Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. Rather, he said Bannon’s appointment “symbolizes tremendous loyalty” and that Trump understands a system of “checks and balances is appropriate even within his own shop.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan sought to assuage fears about Trump’s election in a Wisconsin radio interview, saying "there is a lot of hysteria and hyperbole.” “I would tell people to just relax — things are going to be fine,” he said. (Viebeck, Markon, DeYoung)
-- Many Republican lawmakers claimed they “don’t know” Bannon, feigning ignorance. From Buzzfeed’s Tarini Parti: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said he’ll continue to be a “champion for religious freedom,” but he doesn’t have “the bandwidth” to go through what every staffer he hires has said in the past. Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers praised Priebus’ appointment as evidence Trump has “done a good job of an inclusive pick so far.” Pressed on Bannon, Stivers said: “I don’t know a lot about Steve Bannon, so I don’t care to be an expert on him.”
-- HOW WILL HE HELP SHAPE A TRUMP WHITE HOUSE? “If Bannon’s past is prologue, he will not care about criticism,” Dave Weigel writes. “Under his leadership, Breitbart became an anti-‘globalist’ news site clearly aligned with the European far right. Under the site’s founder, the late Andrew Breitbart, accusations of ‘racism’ were dismissed as ‘cultural Marxism.’ The attacks lobbed at Bannon, one plumbing [a] 2007 divorce record for evidence of anti-Semitism, resemble the ones that failed to stop Trump’s rise. There is even talk of more Breitbart reporters joining Bannon at the White House, in roles that do not require Senate confirmation.” “Bannon will answer directly to Trump and focus on the big picture, and not get lost in the weeds,” white nationalist thinker Richard Spencer wrote last night on Twitter. “Bannon is not a ‘chief of staff,’ which requires a ‘golden retriever’ personality. He'll be freed up to chart Trump's macro trajectory.”
-- In an interview with the New York Times, Bannon rejected what he called "ethno-nationalist” tendencies of some in the movement, saying he believes his enemies are misstating his views and the views of many Trump supporters: “These people are patriots,” he said. “They love their country. They just want their country taken care of. ... It’s not that some people on the margins, as in any movement, aren’t bad guys — racists, anti-Semites. But that’s irrelevant.”
-- The over-the-top praise for Priebus is a sign of how far the media has lowered the bar for Trump, Vox’s Matthew Yglesias argues. “Trump’s elevation to the presidency has people worried about everything from the collapse of America’s democratic institutions to the spectacle of violence in the streets. But it’s worth recalling that any presidency also features a range of more or less banal crises in which the fate of the nation and the world is nonetheless at stake. Can Trump really tear up the nuclear agreement with Iran without completely destablizing the Persian Gulf, for example? I’m not sure, I’m sure that Trump is not sure, and I’m frankly skeptical that Priebus is the right person to figure it out. It’s great that Trump has decided to make the premier digital popularizer of white nationalism the second most important person in his White House rather than the first. But the presidency is still a really big job that Trump has no relevant experience for. More to the point, the country needs people who can help Trump actually run the government.”
-- Analysis: Less than a week into Trump’s transition, and The New Yorker’s John Cassidy argues that he has already pulled a “bait-and-switch” from rhetoric espoused during his populist campaign: “To sum up, this is the prospect we are facing. A populist but semi-engaged President who is less interested in governing than in soaking up adulation at big rallies. (He might hold more of them even though the campaign is over...). Meanwhile, his cronies and members of the permanent establishment make many of the actual decisions, which will largely benefit the already rich, including the ruling family. Debt mushrooms as El Presidente approves prestige construction projects but not the taxes needed to pay for them. And skilled propagandists, like Bannon, whip up nationalist fervor to keep the masses diverted from what is really going on. We’ve seen this movie before, many times. But not here in the United States."
AMERICA IS DIVIDED:
-- A Michigan police officer is under criminal investigation after he was spotted barreling by a “Love Trumps Hate” rally in a pickup truck adorned with Confederate flags. He was suspended and has now resigned. (Lindsey Bever)
-- Chaos erupted on the sprawling greens of Brown University after students began tearing up and snapping in half American flags that were set up for a Veterans Day ceremony. The move prompted a counter protest from other students, who staged a sit-in to protect the remaining flags. (Susan Svrluga)
-- More than 300 students at Baylor University gathered to walk to class with a girl who said she was shoved off the sidewalk and called the n-word by a fellow student, who declared he was “just trying to make America great again.” (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
-- A United Airlines pilot was forced to mediate a heated political argument – via intercom – after a dispute broke out over the results of the presidential election. Footage from the flight shows the pilot urging passengers to “let cooler heads prevail,” before eventually banning all political discussion on the plane completely. (Faiz Siddiqui and Lori Aratani)
-- Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said his department will not help deport immigrants under a President Trump. “We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status," he said. "We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.” (LA Times)
-- A social studies instructor who teaches at a school for recent immigrants shared some of the heartbreaking letters he received from students after Trump’s victory in a Post op-ed. “I’m worried that this country is not going to be any better than my country,” said one female student from Afghanistan. “Nobody listens to women in my country, and now the president will do the same here?” Said another student from El Salvador: “All my dreams can fall down because of a decision that people made last night. I don’t understand how a person who says bad things, that hurt people, is the head of a country … I have faced many troubles in order to come here. I don’t know how but I have to continue.”
-- Trump’s proposed deportation plans could have potentially severe consequences for the U.S. economy, according to a newly-published National Bureau of Economic Research analysis, which offers the first detailed estimates of how a mass deportation policy would affect specific industries. From Wonkblog’s Max Ehrenfreund: “Unsurprisingly, the greatest number of undocumented workers — 1.3 million — were employed in leisure and hospitality, followed by the construction sector, which employed 1.1 million. These two sectors were followed by professional and business services, which … included nearly 1 million undocumented workers. If all undocumented workers were immediately removed from the country, [researchers] forecast a decline of 9 percent in agricultural production and declines of 8 percent in construction and leisure and hospitality over the long term.” And relative to the overall economy, the effect would be a decline in manufacturing output of $74 billion over the long term.
-- Hundreds of high school students in Montgomery County, Maryland, staged a walkout to protest Trump’s election, a march that gained strength as peers from nearby schools streamed out to join them. Officials estimate that 1,000 students attended the march, which remained peaceful. (Donna St. George, Perry Stein and Alejandra Matos)
-- “Are we in an age of intolerance?” by the Boston Globe’s Nestor Ramos: “Racist taunts ring out at a Cambridge gas station. Slurs and swastikas appear spray-painted … Letters arrive at a Natick home espousing a townwide ban on black people. Even in Massachusetts, a locus of progressive politics, the days surrounding [Trump’s] victory on Tuesday have seen reports of incidents grounded in racial, ethnic, and religious bias. Even before the election, ugly graffiti appeared at the top of Mount Tom, a rocky peak on the Connecticut River. On Friday, after reading about the anti-Semitic and racist messages on the mountain, a small group climbed to the top with buckets and brushes to scrub away the hateful messages. Tom Peake, who lives nearby and can see Mount Tom from his window, said he had the day off … and decided to spend it ‘scrubbing away some swastikas.’ He declined to speculate about why someone might deface a small Western Massachusetts landmark. ‘I’ve been speculating all year’ he said, ‘and I’ve been wrong about everything.’”
-- News of anti-Trump demonstrations seemed to infiltrate every corner of the web this weekend – including on the children’s game site “Club Penguin,” where users gathered to hold a virtual protest. (Buzzfeed)
THE DEMOCRATIC CIVIL WAR:
-- Rep. Keith Ellison formally kicked off his bid to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Ellison, a prominent progressive and country’s first Muslim lawmaker, netted 40 endorsements – including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. Several other Democrats have put their names forward as possible contenders, including former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison and the DNC’s national finance chairman, Henry R. Muñoz III and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. (Abby Philip and John Wagner)
-- Jaime Harrison, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a protégé of Jim Clyburn, also announced that he will run on Rachel Maddow’s show last night.
-- Dozens of House Democrats are urging Nancy Pelosi to postpone their scheduled leadership elections on Thursday, saying they need more time to grapple with their party-wide wipeout – and potentially elect new House leadership. From Politico’s Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan: While Pelosi herself has years of party loyalty to fall back on, anger within the Democratic Caucus “is real” – and she faces a possible long-shot challenge from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who hails from the kind of working-class Rust Belt district in which Democrats got trounced. "This was not my thing. I never had any intention of running for a leadership position," Ryan said in an interview on Monday, He said he began considering a challenge after hearing from a couple of dozen other members over the weekend who urged him to launch a bid. Meanwhile, Kevin McCarthy on Pelosi (another Californian) said at his pen and pad: "If I'm being selfish, I truly believe as long as she's leader we keep the majority.”
Quite a moment from the halls of Congress, via Politico's Capitol bureau chief:
Just ran into @NancyPelosi. Me: "How are you?" Pelosi: "Terrible."— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) November 14, 2016
-- Hillary Clinton is being honored tonight at a Children’s Defense Fund event in Washington, making her first public appearance since conceding the presidential election. President Marian Wright Edelman praised Clinton’s work for the group in a statement, calling her a “tireless voice for children.” (Bloomberg)
-- Hillary was declared the winner of New Hampshire on Monday, edging out Trump in a (belated) 2,700 vote victory. Trump’s edge in the Electoral College now stands at 290 to 232, with only Michigan still to be called. (AP)
-- Sanders, trying to promote his new book, unleashed a storm of tweets:
The Democratic Party can no longer be led by the liberal elite. We have to stand up to Wall Street and the greed of corporate America.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 14, 2016
The Democratic Party has to stand with working people, feel their pain and take on the billionaire class, Wall Street and drug companies.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 14, 2016
I come from the white working class, and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 14, 2016
This was the scene as Sanders kicked off his book tour last night:
One of the Bernie Sanders fans who turned out for his book signing in Manhattan. pic.twitter.com/bGat8eY8Xc— John Wagner (@WPJohnWagner) November 15, 2016
REPUBLICANS RE-CORONATE RYAN:
-- Paul Ryan is poised to secure another term as House Speaker today, continuing in his leadership role and serve as chief legislative partner to President-elect Donald Trump. From Mike DeBonis: "Trump and Ryan met last week on Capitol Hill and appeared before cameras together for the first time since the campaign began. Both men have said in the past week that action to repeal the Affordable Care Act, secure the southern U.S. border and cut taxes are among their shared priorities. That show of unity has mostly quieted two groups of Republicans that have been vexed by how Ryan has handled Trump.”
Several members made clear that, although Trump’s victory may have eased the internal party tensions that threatened Ryan’s speakership, it has not eliminated them entirely: “I haven’t heard from him what he wants to change — what’s going to be different the next two years…?” said Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Raúl R. Labrador. “Labrador is in a clear minority among House Republicans — Ryan enjoys broad support among the GOP rank-and-file — but his qualms reflect ongoing discomfort over how Ryan’s brand of Republican politics will meld with Trump’s."
-- But fierce competition has emerged over the chairmanship of the NRCC, with Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio and Rep. Roger Williams of Texas battling it out to lead the House GOP campaign arm. From Politico’s Rachel Bade: "Multiple sources Stivers appears to have the votes to succeed Rep. Greg Walden as chairman, with about 150 lawmakers committed to voting for him. But Williams is making a last-ditch effort to win the job, running on a platform of capping the widely-loathed annual dues requirements."
-- South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy are said to be considering a joint bid for governor and lieutenant governor in 2018, per The Post and Courier. The popular Republican lawmakers could probably clear the rest of the prospective GOP field, which would otherwise include Attorney General Alan Wilson, the son of a congressman, and Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster. This theory does not make sense to us, but it's getting buzz in the Palmetto State, so we're flagging.
-- “John Kerry wanted to see how Antarctica was changing. When he returned, the entire world had,” by Chris Mooney: “As the United States neared election day, Secretary of State John Kerry announced he would take a historic trip to the massive, frozen seventh continent: Antarctica. The goal was to see firsthand the place that perhaps more than any other has climate scientists worried about melting ice and rising sea levels. The idea was that the secretary, being the highest ranking U.S. official ever to visit Antarctica, would then take that experience back to the international climate meetings now underway in Marrakech, Morocco, where he is slated to speak this week on the dangers of a warming planet. Somewhere along the way, though, the election of [Trump] sort of shattered that thought glacier — leaving Kerry with a more complicated message, by any stretch. When Kerry reaches Marrakech this week and addresses the world, he will indeed have seen firsthand what few others ever will. But the political ground will have entirely shifted since he left.”
-- Gwen Ifill, a groundbreaking reporter who spent more than three decades covering politics in print and on broadcast television, and who shattered gender and racial barriers along the way, died on Monday of cancer. “NewsHour” co-anchor Judy Woodruff called Ms. Ifill a consummate communicator who exuded “the rare combination of authority and warmth. She came through the screen as a friend to people who watched her, but she also displayed the authority for people to believe you, to have credibility.” PBS president Paula Kerger praised Ifill as “one of America's leading lights in journalism and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world …” "She often said that her job was to bring light rather than heat to issues of importance to our society," Kerger added. (Read Adam Bernstein's obituary.)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Many mourned Ifill's passing, especially women in the media:
I told Gwen Ifill that since HS, I like to stay home on Fridays to watch @washingtonweek. She was horrified & told me to be social & DVR it— Abby Livingston (@TexasTribAbby) November 14, 2016
Gwen made young black journos like me feel like we belonged in DC. When we met she was warm, full of advice & joy. I'll never forget it.— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) November 14, 2016
Many people in Washington are smart & passionate about their jobs; some are unfailingly kind & generous. Gwen Ifill was all of these things.— Juliet Eilperin (@eilperin) November 14, 2016
The extraordinarily timed and intelligent Gwen Ifill has passed away from cancer. I will so miss her impeccable character and friendship.— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) November 14, 2016
I hope news organizations choose to honor & carry on Gwen Ifill's legacy by committing resources to cultivating more women of color in media— Meredith Shiner (@meredithshiner) November 14, 2016
So did many barrier-breaking women in politics:
Saddened by the passing of Gwen Ifill – a true trailblazer in her field and a role model for young women journalists across the nation.— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) November 14, 2016
Gwen Ifill was an outstanding journalist who reported with courage and integrity. We will all miss her.— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) November 14, 2016
Saddened by passing of Gwen Ifill, a renowned journalist who told stories of peoples lives across America w grace & integrity.— Barbara Mikulski (@SenatorBarb) November 14, 2016
Gwen Ifill was one of our nation’s finest journalists and she will be deeply missed. My prayers are with her family & loved ones. https://t.co/xCkZ165sqy— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) November 14, 2016
Gwen Ifill was a friend, trailblazer & a “leading light” in journalism who taught us all how to be better. She will be deeply missed.— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) November 14, 2016
From congressional leadership:
I am saddened to learn about the passing of Gwen Ifill—an incredibly talented and respected journalist.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 14, 2016
Deeply saddened to learn of @gwenifill's passing. A wonderful journalist, fantastic role model & daughter of Queens. She’ll be sorely missed— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 14, 2016
And many others:
I'll believe that right now @gwenifill and my father are grilling James Madison on the need for the Electoral College in '16. Love ya Gwen.— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) November 14, 2016
We have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. I’m am heartbroken that we must do it without Gwen Ifill. Wonderful journalist and person.— jelani cobb (@jelani9) November 14, 2016
On the topic of John Bolton as a potential Secretary of State:
Secretary of State John Bolton seems rather unlikely to talk President Donald Trump out of ill-considered acts of bellicosity.— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) November 14, 2016
John Bolton’s most important backer & mentor is Dick Cheney. Emergence of Bolton name suggests that Trump & Cheney are talking— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 14, 2016
If anti-Trump Republicans would prefer their friend Bob Corker be Secretary of State over a lunatic, they have the power to make it so. https://t.co/cJEZHDoeJk— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) November 14, 2016
For anyone who thought Trump was the anti War guy, Bolton prolly biggest warmonger in DC https://t.co/8mANxMSxYd— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 14, 2016
New York's junior senator lamented the rising number of hate crimes:
Truly disturbed by acts of hatred & bigotry in #NY & around the U.S. since the election. We must stand up to bigotry in every form.— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) November 14, 2016
Democratic lawmakers continued to pile on Trump over Bannon:
Steve Bannon ran a website that trafficked in anti-Semitism & misogyny. He is an unacceptable choice to advise a U.S. president.— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) November 14, 2016
There's no place in US society, let alone the @WhiteHouse, for purveyors like Steve Bannon of hate & violence against any group of Americans— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) November 14, 2016
A former Obama White House adviser wondered when Republicans were going to criticize Bannon:
Has any Republican elected criticized appointment of anti-Semite to the White House senior staff? How many have called to congratulate him?— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) November 13, 2016
Mike Huckabee said the criticism of Bannon, especially by Muslims, was a good sign:
Critics of Steve Bannon know he's smarter and tougher than they are. When CAIR doesn't like you that is a good thing. Bannon a good guy— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) November 14, 2016
From Harry Reid's communications director:
NV was only battleground Dems swept. Why was it different here?— Kristen Orthman (@KristenOrthman) November 15, 2016
“The Reid machine, of course,” said its namesake.https://t.co/Z7GmmgV1Kh
J Street said AIPAC removed the two-state solution from its talking points:
Check out this supermoon photo from Pete Souza:
The Bushes of Dallas got a new dog:
We were honored to welcome President George W. Bush & Mrs. Laura Bush to Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center where they adopted Freddy Bush! pic.twitter.com/Gw129cCMio— SPCA of Texas (@spcaoftexas) November 15, 2016
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“‘Ape in heels’: W.Va. officials under fire after comments about Michelle Obama,” from Lindsey Bever: “A nonprofit group’s director and a mayor in a small town in West Virginia have been swept up in a firestorm surrounding comments about Michelle Obama that have been perceived as blatantly racist. After [Trump’s election], Pamela Ramsey Taylor, who was director of Clay County Development Corp. … reportedly posted about the move from Michelle Obama to Melania Trump on Facebook, saying: ‘It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.’” The town’s mayor than reportedly replied, “Just made my day Pam.” The comments were later deleted, but images of the post were shared widely online. As of Monday, an online petition calling for the women’s terminations had garnered more than 14,000 signatures.
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Professors ask Sullivan to stop quoting Jefferson,” from Cavalier Daily: “Several professors on [University of Virginia] Grounds collaborated to write a letter to University President Teresa Sullivan against the inclusion of a Thomas Jefferson quote in her post-election email Nov. 9. In the email, Sullivan [quotes Thomas Jefferson and encourages] students to unite in the wake of contentious results, arguing that University students have the responsibility of creating the future they want for themselves. [But some] professors from the Psychology Department — and other academic departments — did not agree with the use of this quote. Their letter to Sullivan argued that in light of Jefferson’s owning of slaves and other racist beliefs, she should refrain from quoting Jefferson in email communications.” “For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey,” the email said.
At the White House: The president has arrived in Athens, Greece. He will meet with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Later in the afternoon, Obama will arrive at the Maximos Mansion and hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Afterward, he will hold a press conference with Tsipras. In the evening, the president will host a state dinner. The President will remain overnight in Athens.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 4 p.m. for speeches, then moves at 5 p.m. to consider the Gold Star Families Voices Act. The House meets at noon for legislative business.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
On a conference call with congressional Democrats, Hillary Clinton said: “No one is sorrier than me. Heartbreaks don’t heal overnight, and this one won’t.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Partly sunny and some warm temps in the afternoon. Today’s Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Early-morning showers are possible, but then skies turn partly sunny and highs reach 60 degrees. Breezes blow from the northwest at 5 to 10 mph, which dries out remnant moisture from last night.”
-- Virginia schools have grown increasingly segregated in the past decade, according to a new report: The number of students attending schools that are considered to be “racially and economically isolated” has doubled from 2003 to 2014, rising from 36,000 to more than 74,000. (Moriah Balingit)
-- Attendees at Clinton and Trump’s Manhattan election parties may have pulled a late night partying (or mourning), but new Fitbit data shows it was actually those of us in Washington who lost the most shut-eye on Election Night. Researchers said this year’s election night marked the greatest sleep loss numbers since it began tracking patterns in 2009. (Keith L. Alexander)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
These Ukranian lawmakers got into a fist fight during a government meeting:
Watch Ifill talk about race and American life:
Here is Gwen Ifill talking about how race affected her work and how she saw America. pic.twitter.com/ERhP4h5VnJ— Media Matters (@mmfa) November 14, 2016
Check out what Michelle Obama said to someone who yelled she should run for president (click to watch):
Bernie went on Colbert to promote his book. Part one:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg played her small part at the Washington National Opera:
Robert DeNiro and Danny DeVito responded to Trump's win:
An anti-Trump protester was tackled at Ohio State University: