CNN invited Jones on last night to discuss this further:
Twenty minutes after his appearance, the man who will be the 45th president of the United States began attacking him on Twitter:
Half an hour after Trump’s first tweet, the union leader's phone began to ring and kept ringing. “Nothing that says they’re gonna kill me, but, you know, ‘You better keep your eye on your kids. We know what car you drive.’ Things along those lines,” he explained.
“My first thought was, ‘Well, that’s not very nice.’ Then, 'Well, I might not sleep much tonight,’” he told our Danielle Paquette in between the threatening calls to his flip phone.
-- Trump’s latest tweetstorm came at the end of a day in which he refused to take any responsibility for the consequences of his rhetoric. “When you say ‘divided states of America,’ I didn’t divide them,” he said on the “Today” show, complaining about the Time Magazine story that crowned him Person of the Year. “They’re divided now. I’m not president yet, so I didn’t do anything to divide!” Trump then claimed that he is actually “very restrained” on social media.
-- The truth, of course, is that the incoming president often uses a bazooka when a scalpel or a toothpick would do. Since January, the New York Times has kept a running list of the people, places and things that he has attacked on Twitter alone. It is up to 289 entries, including the aides of his ex-rivals, from Jeb Bush communications director Tim Miller to Hillary Clinton body woman Huma Abedin.
-- Trump has said that, by his nature, he is “a counterpuncher.” Fair enough. But it is one thing to pick on a multibillion-dollar corporation like Boeing or a cable host who has 30 minutes of airtime a night to respond or a newspaper that buys ink by the barrel. It’s something else entirely to go after individuals, whether it is Alicia Machado, Khizr Khan or, now, Chuck Jones.
-- Idle talk happens in every campaign. When you actually hold power, though, it starts wars and moves markets. Pharmaceutical stocks, for example, dropped yesterday as soon as Time published the Person of the Year story. Trump was quoted saying, “I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.”
-- All 44 of our presidents have had a Herculean learning curve in this regard. Nothing can fully prepare you for holding the most important job in the world, and you cannot possibly appreciate how much weight your words carry until an offhand joke creates an international incident.
Remember the “beer summit”? In the summer of 2009, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested by a Cambridge cop as he tried to get into his home because the front door had gotten jammed. Someone had seen an African American man and called 911. During a news conference, Obama was asked about the incident and said that the police had “acted stupidly.” Then he mentioned “that there's a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately." This led to a massive outcry from law enforcement. The new president tried to settle the firestorm by inviting the cop and the professor to the White House for beers. Obama internalized a valuable lesson from what he’s called a “teachable moment,” and from then on he watched his words more carefully.
-- Growing up out West, I was taught that baby rattlesnakes are much more dangerous than mature ones because they don’t yet know how to control their output of venom. Right now, the president-elect is still a baby rattlesnake. Like Lennie in “Of Mice and Men,” he doesn’t know his own strength.
-- The haters are always going to hate. The trolls are always going to troll. Our best presidents have been the ones who don’t let the bastards get them down. True leadership is the ability to turn the other cheek. True strength is being the bigger man. True wisdom means, to borrow from the first lady, going high when your critics go low.
-- After Trump attacked the Gold Star Khan family in August, conservative host Bill O’Reilly offered the following commentary on Fox News. His points are more relevant today than ever. “Lesson number one for Donald Trump: Commenting on regular folks is fraught with danger, no matter what they say,” O’Reilly said. “All powerful people have to know that calling folks out has to be done surgically. If a family has lost a son fighting for America, you simply cannot hit them with a broadside — no matter what they say. You have to let it go. If you punch down, as the saying goes, the media will label you a bully or worse.… Not always fair, but that's the reality.… Final lesson: … If he fights everyone who comes after him, he will lose.”
-- From Trump’s perspective, he punched down repeatedly throughout the campaign. And he won. So why stop now?
Feuds often worked to his advantage during the nominating process. He likes to have foils. Often it’s symbiotic, as with Megyn Kelly, Joe Scarborough or countless lesser-known TV pundits. He believes that his supporters like that he’s not politically correct and operates outside traditional norms.
-- Remember when he was at the top of the polls, and he’d pointlessly kick primary rivals at the bottom?
-- From a practical political standpoint: Trump doesn’t appear to fully grasp how much he elevates his opponents by attacking them. His criticisms of “Hamilton” might have ginned up his base, but they also meant that way more people heard the statement that the cast read aloud to Mike Pence than would have otherwise. His attack on “Saturday Night Live” last weekend guaranteed that millions more people watched the skit mocking his use of Twitter than would have otherwise.
The truth is that relatively few people actually watch CNN. Very few caught Jones’s interview with Erin Burnett. But every news organization in the country today will cover the back-and-forth and ensure that more voters hear the message that Trump exaggerated how many jobs he saved at Carrier.
Perhaps Trump thinks that this is good for him because the headlines will still be about jobs being saved at Carrier, but he also just handed a small-time union leader in the Hoosier State a megaphone and a national platform to make the case against him. As an unintended early Christmas gift, the president-elected just gave Jones his 15 minutes of fame.
-- The hashtag #ImWithChuck is trending on Twitter, as rank-and-file union members who have been dispirited by the election results find a cause célèbre to rally around. There are thousands of tweets like this:
-- Labor groups are also showing solidarity and fired back at Trump:
-- And many are circulating this tweet from March, which suggests Mike Pence doesn’t share his running mate’s view of Jones (or at least he didn’t used to):
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
GET SMART FAST:
- South Korea’s parliament introduced an impeachment motion against Park Geun-hye, setting up a vote that will likely be delivered by the end of the week. (AP)
- Syrian government forces swept through the Old City of Aleppo, expanding Assad’s control to some three-quarters of east Aleppo. The push comes as John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Germany to discuss a last-ditch agreement that would allow the city to be evacuated. (Louisa Loveluck and Karen DeYoung)
- Ohio lawmakers passed a “heartbeat bill” that would prohibit abortion at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat – drastically reducing the legal time for abortion to just six weeks (before many women even realize they are pregnant). Many GOP lawmakers say they are energized by the promise of a more conservative Supreme Court that could actually overturn Roe v. Wade. (Sandhya Somashekhar)
- Life expectancy for Americans has declined for the first time in more than two decades, according to brand new health statistics, with a spike in fatalities caused by heart disease, strokes, diabetes, drug overdoses and more. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death. (Lenny Bernstein)
- The surgeon general calls the skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes among young people a “major public health concern,” urging policymakers to help keep the nicotine products away from young people as health officials continue to research possible detrimental effects. (Brady Dennis)
- The Koch political network is laying off 81 people, a move that comes as the billionaire brothers seek to reorganize their advocacy network. (Politico)
- Two juveniles have been charged with arson in the deadly Tennessee wildfires, leaving 14 dead and more than 1,700 buildings damaged or destroyed. (J. Freedom du Lac, Sarah Larimer and Lindsey Bever)
- A Michigan appeals court rejected Jill Stein’s recount effort as unlawful, saying state canvassers should have never let her proceed because she had no chance to overturn the results and is thus “not an aggrieved candidate.” The decision essentially ends the recount. (Detroit Free Press)
- Emotional testimony began in the Dylann Roof trial. One survivor recounted her harrowing tale of the Charleston church shooting, in which Roof sat in on a Bible study for nearly an hour – “chuckling” when the pastor said something funny – before gunning down both her son and aunt. By the time the judge ordered a short recess, even the sketch artist was in tears. (Kevin Sullivan)
- A Florida woman was charged with making death threats against the parent of a child who died in the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings because she thought the massacre was a hoax. Her arrest comes after years of conspiracy theories, with some claiming the tragic massacre was staged to prompt support for gun control legislation. (AP)
- Members of the House Transportation Committee approved plans for a new FBI headquarters, advancing plans to fully fund the 2.1 million square-foot facility next year. (Jonathan O'Connell)
- Pope Francis spoke out against fake news, comparing the spread of disinformation to a fascination with feces. “Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do, as opinion is guided in one direction, neglecting the other part of the truth,” the pope said in an interview. (Ishaan Tharoor)
- Meanwhile, the Vatican formally reaffirmed its policy that gay men should never be priests in the Catholic Church. (Julie Zauzmer)
- The giraffe is at risk of extinction. Scientists voted the lanky mammal onto the official watch list of threatened and endangered species, upping its status by two levels on a “danger ladder” of species at risk of disappearing. (AP)
- Actress Sofia Vergara is facing a right-to-live lawsuit filed on behalf of her own embryos. The bizarre suit was filed by Vergara’s ex-fiancé Nick Loeb, who claims the embryos – reportedly named “Emma” and “Isabella” – are being deprived of their right to live and receive a trust fund that was set up for them. (Bryanna Cappadona)
- Sadly, sexism is alive and well across the pond too: British Prime Minister Theresa May came under heavy fire for wearing a pair of $1,200 leather pants for a photo shoot, drawing outrage among some who suggested the item puts her “out of touch” with the common man. But male politicians, such as predecessor David Cameron, often donned outfits that cost nearly four times as much. And no one complained. (Adam Taylor)
- A North Carolina mother is demanding that a mall Santa Claus be fired after he “body shamed” her son, telling the nine-year-old to “lay off the burgers and french fries” and driving him to tears. (ABC-WLOS)
- A Muslim-owned restaurant in Britain is offering a free three-course meal to the homeless and elderly on Christmas, declaring on a simple white flier, “No one eats alone on Christmas Day! … We are here to sit with you.” (Amy B Wang)
TRUMP STOCKS HIS CABINET WITH GENERALS AND BILLIONAIRES:
-- Trump selected retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly as secretary of homeland security, recruiting a third former member of the military’s brass to serve at the highest levels of his administration. From Philip Rucker and Mike DeBonis: “Trump’s choice of Kelly — and his continued deliberations about tapping as many as two more military figures for other posts — has intensified worries among some members of Congress and national security experts that the new administration’s policies may be shaped disproportionately by military commanders. Despite making regular remarks on the campaign trail disparaging the nation’s generals, Trump has long shown an affinity for them. In shaping his administration, Trump has prioritized what one adviser described as ‘can-do, no-bull types,’ which the president-elect sees as a deliberate contrast from the personnel choices President Obama has made.”
If confirmed, Kelly and defense secretary nominee James Mattis, a retired Marine general with the nickname “Mad Dog,” would join retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s pick for White House national security adviser. Meanwhile, retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus is under consideration for secretary of state, and Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers is a contender for director of national intelligence. Other figures with military backgrounds are populating the administration as well, including Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who graduated from West Point and served in the Army in the Gulf War, is Trump’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, while Stephen K. Bannon, a former naval officer, will serve the president in the West Wing as chief strategist and senior counselor.
-- A chorus of Senate Democrats decried the reliance on former brass:
- Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee: “I’m concerned. Each of these individuals may have great merit in their own right, but what we’ve learned over the past 15 years is that when we view problems in the world through a military lens, we make big mistakes.”
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.): “For a guy who got four or five deferments from the draft, he seems pretty impressed with the military.”
- Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.): “It’s the G&G cabinet. It does seem to be fairly limited to Goldman Sachs and generals.”
-- But William A. Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Democrat who served as a White House policy adviser to former president Bill Clinton, said the concerns about generals “charging ahead” with no regard for legal or constitutional constraints — or without a willingness to challenge the president’s decisions — are misplaced. He told Rucker that modern-day generals are trained to navigate a minefield of potential conflicts and legal concerns. “They’re schooled to believe that if they or any subordinates receive an unlawful order, it’s not to be obeyed,” Galston said. “If you asked me, would I prefer a government of generals or a government of lawyers, that’s not an easy choice. We’ve experimented with a government of lawyers, and that hasn’t been so fantastic, has it? Maybe it’s time to give the generals a chance.”
-- Trump will nominate wrestling magnate and twice-failed Senate candidate Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration. “Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognized as one of the country’s top female executives advising businesses around the globe,” Trump said in the announcement. “And while McMahon won’t have a ‘titantron,’ or video package that plays as wrestlers enter the ring, when she steps into the White House for the first time, if she did, it probably would not look all that different from the one she used at WWE,” WaPo sports reporter Marissa Payne notes.
-- “Meet Wilbur Ross, who once bailed out Trump in Atlantic City and is now his pick for Commerce secretary,” by the Los Angeles Times’s Chris Megerian: “Wilbur Ross became rich investing in faltering businesses like steel mills and coal mines, finding a fortune in blue-collar industries that others dismissed as beyond saving. But before he was scooping up Rust Belt factories, the banker was sizing up another troubled asset: [Trump]. More than two decades ago, Ross represented bondholders who were gunning for Trump after he failed to pay back the high-interest loans he had taken out to build his casino empire. [When Ross arrived in Atlantic City], he found a throng of journalists and curious onlookers eager to catch a glimpse of Trump.… For the quiet Ross, the scene inspired a revelation: Trump’s flashy image had resilience. [Now], a Palm Beach, Fla., resident who owns an art collection valued at nine figures and is worth an estimated $2.5 billion.… Ross earned a reputation as a so-called vulture investor for finding profits in dying businesses. Ross described himself differently in an interview with New York magazine: ‘We’re a phoenix that rebuilds itself from the ashes.’”
-- Trump’s transition team is considering Silicon Valley investor Jim O’Neill, close with Peter Thiel, to head the FDA. From Bloomberg: “[Jim O’Neill] is a managing director at Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management, and last served in government during the George W. Bush administration as principal associate deputy secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s also a board member of the Seasteading Institute, a Thiel-backed venture to create new societies at sea, away from existing governments. He would be an unconventional pick, since he doesn’t have a medical background. The head of the FDA for the last five decades has either been a trained physician or a prominent scientific researcher.”
-- Garrison Keillor, the Minnesota radio personality, has a funny line: “Voters in high dudgeon against Wall Street manipulators and the Washington aristocracy vote for the billionaire populist who puts tycoons in power.... If Billy the Kid had been smart, he’d’ve run for sheriff."
AL GORE DIDN'T BREAK THROUGH:
-- Trump has tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, a move signaling a full frontal assault on Obama’s environmental legacy. From Chris Mooney, Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson: “Pruitt, who has written that the debate on climate change is 'far from settled,' joined a coalition of state attorneys general in suing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, the principal Obama-era policy aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. He has also sued … over the EPA’s recently announced regulations seeking to curtail the emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from the oil and gas sector. On his LinkedIn page, Pruitt boasts of being ‘a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.’ ... In an interview with The Post in September … Pruitt (said) ... agencies such as the EPA should not be trying to ‘pinch hit’ for Congress."
-- Leonardo DiCaprio and the head of his eponymous foundation said they met with Trump last night after he picked Pruitt to discuss clean jobs and renewable energy. DiCaprio Foundation CEO Terry Tamminen, who was secretary of California’s EPA under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said Trump was receptive, and suggested they meet again next month. (AP)
-- Trump also confirmed that ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is under consideration for secretary of state. “We have a great, great gentleman, the head, the boss over at Exxon, and, you know, he’s built a tremendous company over 30 years with great style,” Trump said on the "Today" show, adding that he is likely to announce his nominee for Foggy Bottom next week. He also stressed that Mitt Romney is still in the running. “I’ve spoken to him a lot, and we’ve come a long way together. We had some tremendous difficulty together, and now I think we’ve come a long way,” Trump said. “It’s not about revenge. It’s about what’s good for the country. And I’m able to put this stuff behind us.”
HOW TRUMP ROLLS:
-- “[Trump] is considering formally turning over the operational responsibility for his real estate company to his two adult sons, but he intends to keep a stake in the business and resist calls to divest,” Maggie Haberman and Jo Becker report in the Times: “The Trumps are exploring what was described by one person briefed on the discussions as a ‘legal structure’ that would give Mr. Trump and his daughter separation from the company. Under a plan now being considered by the Trump family and its lawyers, Ivanka Trump … would also take a leave of absence from the Trump Organization, in the surest sign that she is exploring a potential move to Washington with her husband, Jared Kushner. Mr. Kushner is discussing an as-yet undetermined role advising his father-in-law, and Ms. Trump plans on being an advocate on issues in which she has a personal interest, like child care. Before deciding how to separate from her father’s business, Ms. Trump is also assessing how to disentangle from her apparel and licensing brands … She plans on appointing a president of her company to run the day-to-day operations."
-- The RNC is holding this year’s Christmas party at the new Trump Hotel, another signal that groups which want to curry favor with the new administration are expected to spend money at establishments owned by the president-elect. Mike Pence spoke at a fundraiser hosted by the Heritage Foundation there on Tuesday night. (HuffPost)
-- “Trump raises millions for transition while swiping at Boeing and joking about ‘Apprentice’-style inaugural stunts,” by Matea Gold: “He took another shot at Boeing on Wednesday morning, telling hundreds of donors packed into a Manhattan restaurant that he refuses to allow the costs of a new Air Force One jet the manufacturer is helping outfit to soar to $4 billion. Trump told the crowd at Cipriani that his fellow real estate developers could have negotiated a better deal for the Air Force One program … At Wednesday's over-capacity fundraiser, which was expected to raise at least $4 million for the nonprofit running Trump's transition effort, the president-elect indicated that he will continue to use his post to put pressure on individual corporations. Trump told the audience that he urged Apple chief executive Tim Cook to build his next factory in the United States instead of overseas, saying that would make him happy.” Attendees said Trump appeared cool to a suggestion that he kick off his inauguration with a Fifth Avenue parade before boarding a Trump-branded helicopter to Washington, noting how much a parade would snarl Manhattan traffic.
-- “Trump’s deal to create 50,000 jobs in America looks a lot different on Day Two,” by Ana Swanson: “When [Trump] announced Tuesday that Japanese corporate giant SoftBank had agreed to invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs, he presented it as a triumph for American workers. But economists and analysts … suggest it might be a bigger win for the Japanese telecom and Internet conglomerate, SoftBank, and its billionaire founder, Masayoshi Son. Analysts said the Japanese company could be angling for lucrative benefits, including the regulatory approval to carry out one of the largest telecom mergers in recent history, between Sprint, which SoftBank owns, and rival carrier T-Mobile. It could also be cultivating a friendly environment for further technology investments Son is seeking to make in the United States. Shares of SoftBank Group rose 6.2 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday to close at their highest level in more than a year. [And] shares of Sprint Corp. rose nearly 9 percent …’I think Son must have thought how to use Trump and this opportunity’ for his business, said analyst Mana Nakazora."
-- “CEOs turn to a top Wall Street banker, JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon, to lead outreach to Trump administration,” by Jim Tankersley: “Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase and one of the most influential links between Washington and Wall Street, will become chairman next year of the Business Roundtable, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country. Dimon is a self-described Democrat and a member of [Trump's] economic advisory team. He appears likely to push the group to embrace the opportunities of the shifting political landscape, including possible cooperation with Trump … on lowering corporate taxes and rolling back environmental, financial and other regulations issued by the Obama administration. He also appears set to push the business community, and Trump, to work together on issues meant to help working-class Americans, such as investing in job-training programs. Dimon’s champions inside the Roundtable say he is also likely to steer the group to confront Trump on several issues, most notably trade and immigration, where his campaign promises have broken with long-standing goals of the business lobby.”
THE APPRENTICE, POTUS EDITION:
-- “The interviews amount to a ‘little bit of a testing,’ … with Mr. Trump trying to gauge how people react under pressure and whether they think quickly and show confidence,” Peter Nicholas, Michael C. Bender and Carol E. Lee write in the Wall Street Journal. “A case in point: The continuing quest to hire big names to run the sprawling Interior and Energy departments. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin was considered a top choice to head the Interior Department until she sat across from Mr. Trump inside Trump Tower last month. Pressed on details of selling off public lands, she struggled to offer the specific answers Mr. Trump wanted. … She is still in contention, but after she left Mr. Trump asked his team whether he should expand the search. Illustrating the difference a successful interview makes, Mr. Trump came away impressed after a session in New York last month with ... Rick Perry, who is now considered the leading candidate to head the Energy Department."
-- “What It’s Like to Apply for a Job in Trump’s White House,” by New York Times’ Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “Mr. Trump’s interview style in the real world is direct but conversational, according to people who have sat opposite him. He did not take notes or appear to refer to a set list of questions, but he did have dossiers on his visitors and often displayed intricate knowledge of their backgrounds and experience. In New York, he liked to show off the sweeping views of Central Park visible over his shoulder. Job seekers must parade before the news media in the marble and bronze lobby of Trump Tower. ‘It was almost like walking the red carpet in Hollywood,’ said Representative Lou Barletta … He said that the president-elect often asked open-ended questions and had little patience for meandering answers."
-- Tiffany Trump toured Harvard Law School this week. The 23-year-old U Penn grad, who was praised by her father in a 2014 interview for getting straight A’s at the university, was seen walking though campus with Secret Service agents on Tuesday. (Politico)
CONGRESS WRAPS UP THE SESSION:
-- “Joe Biden, on valedictory tour, mixes emotional farewell with lingering ambition,” by Paul Kane: “The vice president tribute tour reached a crescendo Wednesday in the rarest possible fashion: He barely said a word on the Senate floor. Biden, who for 36 years filled the chamber with voluble oratory, sat in the presiding officer’s chair … as a bipartisan collection of colleagues poured out tributes for the outgoing vice president. The senators mixed personal and professional stories, highlighting how often Biden overcame family tragedy and kept on serving, first in the Senate and then the nation as vice president."
- Harry Reid wiped tears from his eyes as Mitch McConnell quoted a favorite Biden line regularly attributed to his father: "Champ, the measure of a man is not how often he is knocked down, but how quickly he gets up."
- John McCain … told the story of being a Navy officer helping lead a congressional delegation overseas that included a night in which McCain drank too much and ended up dancing on a table — with Jill Biden. "We’ve both been privileged to know members of this body who were legends in their own time, and are remembered as important historical figures. But I haven’t known one who was a better man than you," the Arizona senator said.
-- Congress passed sweeping legislation that boosts funding for medical research, eases the development and approval of experimental treatments and reforms federal policy on mental health care. From Mike DeBonis: "The 94 to 5 Senate vote Wednesday followed a 392 to 26 House vote last week. The bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, now heads to the desk of President Obama, who praised the bill Wednesday and said he would sign it. It provides for $4.8 billion in new funding for the National Institutes of Health; of that, $1.8 billion is reserved for the “cancer moonshot” launched by Biden to accelerate research in that field. Another $1.6 billion is earmarked for brain diseases including Alzheimer’s. Also included are $500 million in new funding for the Food and Drug Administration and $1 billion in grants to help states deal with opioid abuse."
-- Chuck Schumer drew a red line, promising lockstep Democratic opposition to any GOP replacement plan if Obamacare is repealed: “We’re not going to do a replacement,” Schumer said of the Senate Democratic caucus in an interview with Greg Sargent. “If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs.” Asked directly if Democrats would refuse to support anything that falls significantly short of the ACA in terms of expanding social welfare, Schumer said: “The odds, after they repeal without any replacement, of us sitting at the table to do something that will chop one arm off instead of two is very small.”
-- “House spending bill would limit visas for workers at places like Trump’s golf courses,” by Kelsey Snell and Karoun Demirjian: “House Republicans are set to approve a must-pass spending bill Thursday that would dramatically reduce the number of visas available next year for seasonal workers like the ones who have been hired at [Trump’s] golf courses in Florida. The measure does not renew a one-year, one-time expansion of the H2B seasonal worker visa program that effectively increased the number of visas available in 2016. It was championed by lawmakers who represent cyclical tourist hubs in places such as the Colorado mountains, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and at Trump’s golf courses at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., and in Jupiter, Fla. ‘I’ve hired in Florida during the prime season — you could not get help,’ Trump said at a 2015 primary debate … ‘Everybody agrees with me on that.’ But the program drew the ire of labor leaders, who excoriated Congress for expanding a program they believe exploits foreign workers, and conservatives who favor keeping the number of available visas in check, which is in line with Trump’s hard-line immigration stance.”
-- Keith Ellison relented and announced that he’ll resign from Congress if he is elected as DNC chair: “Whoever wins the DNC chair race faces a lot of work, travel, planning and resource raising,” the Minnesota Democrat said in a statement. “I will be ‘all-in’ to meet the challenge.” His refusal to do so has complicated his bid for chair. (CNN)
-- Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) jumped into the 2018 Senate race, seeking once again to unseat incumbent Sherrod Brown (D). (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
-- Paul Ryan continued to dodge questions about Trump’s conflict of interest problem in a CNBC interview, telling the host that Trump should handle the issue “however he wants to.” “You know, this is not what I'm concerned about in Congress,” Ryan said, When pressed, he continued: “I have every bit of confidence he's going to get himself right with moving from being the business guy that he is to the president he's going to become. I'm focused on getting this agenda passed so that we can turn around and tackle this country's big problems before they tackle us. That is what I'm focused on. And not the legal details of how he divorces himself from his business, which I know he will.”
PIZZAGATE FOLLOW-UPS, DAY 4:
-- “In home town of alleged Pizzagate gunman, shock and disappointment,” by Rachel Weiner in Salisbury, N.C.: “When a man from this small city was arrested [on Sunday] … the incident quickly became national news. But most people here were focused on crimes closer to home. Hours earlier in Salisbury, a city of about 34,000, three people were killed. One longtime local reporter called it ‘Hell night,’ the worst he had seen in 25 years. … For locals, the news is especially painful because they believe Salisbury, about 50 miles north of Charlotte, should stand out not for violence, but for tolerance and creativity. The small and vibrant downtown boasts theaters, independent bookstores and a string of artist studios set up in an old railroad depot. When the Ku Klux Klan announced plans to hold a victory rally in North Carolina last weekend, city residents responded with a ‘March for Love.’ 'You never hear Salisbury,' said Don Vick, who owns a candy store downtown. 'And then all of a sudden — ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.'"
-- Edgar Welch spoke to the New York Times’ Adam Goldman in his first interview since opening fire at a D.C. pizzeria last weekend. “I just wanted to do some good and went about it the wrong way,” he said. Some highlights from their exchange:
- What was his original plan: “Mr. Welch, the father of two daughters, said he woke up Sunday morning and told his family he had some things to do. He left ‘Smallsbury,’ a nickname for his hometown, for the 350-mile drive to Washington with the intention of giving the restaurant a ‘closer look’ and then returning home. Once he got to the pizzeria, there was an abrupt change of plans.”
- What was he like?: “Mr. Welch was soft-spoken and polite, and said he liked the outdoors. He said he did not believe in conspiracy theories, but then added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks needed to be re-examined. … He said he did not like the term fake news, believing it was meant to diminish stories outside the mainstream media, which he does not completely trust. He also said he was not political.”
- What did he think when he discovered there were no children at the pizzeria?: “’The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent,’ he said. However, he refused to dismiss outright the claims in the online articles, conceding only that there were no children ‘inside that dwelling.’”
-- The Los Angeles School District started a hotline and opened several extended support sites to counsel its majority-Latino students who are worried about the future under Trump. Shortly after the election, the city’s board of education also approved a resolution upholding its policy that federal immigration agents cannot enter a school campus without permission. (Valerie Strauss)
-- Chicago tore down its Trump street signs this week because local leaders are angry about the "caricature" of their city that Trump presented throughout the campaign. It’s unclear what city officials plan to do with the placards, though some have suggested possibly melting them down and refashioning them into signs "for somebody who deserves an honor." (Chicago Tribune)
-- Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri follows up on last week’s Harvard shouting match in a Post op-ed, explaining that Trump’s team must “own up to how he won”: “A good bit of the post-election analysis has centered on what our campaign should have done differently. That’s appropriate. We should think long and hard about why we lost. Trust me, we have. But it’s also important for the winners of this campaign to think long and hard about the voters who rejected them. I haven’t seen much evidence of such introspection from the Trump side. That’s concerning. The Trump team likes to tell Clinton supporters ‘hashtag ‘he’s your president.’ ” But this isn’t a one-way street. If Trump expects the Americans who did not vote for him to accept him as president, he needs to show that he accepts all of them as Americans. He needs to show that he understands their concerns and hears their fears. … We all have a role to play here. But it’s the winner who carries the burden of taking the lead in uniting the country.”
-- Hillary is hosting her first political event since last month’s election to thank campaign megadonors – but the exclusive gathering has left some grumbling that they didn’t make the cut. From Anne Gearan: “The Dec. 15 evening gala at the Plaza Hotel will be held in the iconic ‘grand ballroom,’ one of New York's most opulent spaces. It is also small by mega-party standards, holding a few hundred people. The columned 4,800-square-foot ballroom built in 1907 is apparently too small to accommodate the entire group of Clinton campaign ‘bundlers,’ or people who solicit and collect donations from others in keeping with federal limits on individual donations. Invitations to the party went out last week, and the remaining staff of the Clinton campaign has been fielding complaints ever since from donors who were not included … The Plaza's storied history includes a period of ownership by Trump, who had coveted the five-star historic property for years before buying it for more than $400 million in 1988. The businessman lost the hotel in bankruptcy several years later.”
PUNDITS WEIGH IN:
-- New York Times columnist Frank Bruni rips Ryan for his “dangerous silence” on the president-elect: “On the subject of Trump, Ryan has spoken out of so many sides of his mouth that it’s less an oval than an octagon at this point. Last spring he even affirmed his endorsement of Trump while calling him out for racism. … Behold leadership at its most gelatinous. Discussing Trump on ‘60 Minutes,’ he had a manner that was borderline coquettish. He said that Trump, with his tweets, was ‘basically giving voice to a lot of people who have felt that they were voiceless.’ Sometimes, yes. But many times, Trump is giving a green light to kooks and the finger to the dignity that Americans rightly expect of a president and that Ryan should demand of him. Ryan is sacrificing too much for too little, and it’s time he rummaged through his wobbly endoskeleton and made fresh acquaintance with his spine. Until that happens, this sadly groveling Boy Scout will be lost in the woods."
-- George F. Will says Trump’s Carrier deal is the opposite of conservatism: “So, this is the new conservatism’s recipe for restored greatness: Political coercion shall supplant economic calculation in shaping decisions by companies in what is called, with diminishing accuracy, the private sector. This will be done partly as conservatism’s challenge to liberalism’s supremacy in the victimhood sweepstakes, telling aggrieved groups that they are helpless victims of vast, impersonal forces, against which they can be protected only by government interventions. Although the president-elect has yet to dip a toe into the swamp, he practices the calculus by which Washington reasons, the political asymmetry between dispersed costs and concentrated benefits. … What formerly was called conservatism resisted the permeation of society by politics, and particularly by the sort of unconstrained executive power that has been wielded by the 44th president. The man who will be the 45th forthrightly and comprehensively repudiates the traditional conservative agenda and, in reversing it, embraces his predecessor’s executive swagger."
-- New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait says Trump has proven liberals right about the Tea Party movement: "When the tea party appeared on the scene in 2009, an intense partisan dispute broke out as to just what this movement represented. Conservatives insisted that what spurred protesters into streets and town halls were the timeless principles of conservative movement thought: advocacy of balanced budgets, adherence to a strict constructionist version of the Constitution, opposition to 'crony capitalism,' and skepticism of Keynesian economics. Liberals suggested a different explanation. The tea party was an expression of ethno-nationalist rage centered around a black president and the belief that his coalition stood for redistribution from older, white America ... One could not have devised a sequence of events more perfectly designed to prove the liberal theory of the case than the election of Trump. It’s one thing to suspect tea-party rhetoric was phony, quite another to believe the entire GOP could disregard every single putative principle of the movement even before it had its hands on power. Why is anybody pretending these notions ever really mattered?”
THE DOMINO EFFECT:
-- “How Branstad to Beijing could reshape Iowa's political landscape,” by the Des Moines Register’s Jason Noble: “The six-term Republican’s appointment would spark a shakeup without precedent in Iowa history. It would remove from the state’s political equation the longest-serving governor in American history and the head of its dominant political party. It would install a new governor, two-term Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, amid a legislative session in which Republicans are expected to pursue major reforms on a range of issues, and endow her with a substantial advantage heading into the 2018 campaign season. 'This is potentially the biggest political domino in Iowa history,' said former Branstad aide Jake Ketzner."
-- “Their Tube: When every moment of childhood can be recorded and shared, what happens to childhood?” by Jessica Contrera: “Mark Adam adores watching other little boys who do nothing but open eggs with plastic toys inside. Max would rather watch another kid play Minecraft than play it himself. Annie doesn’t aspire to meet celebrities but the girls who get millions of views for braiding hair. Kids have always learned by mimicking their peers. Now, the children watching YouTube are seeing role models who don’t just play — they perform. For the youngest members of the next generation, sometimes called Generation Z, the distinction between the online world and real life is fading. [Now], parents are having to explain to their toddlers that the children whose whole lives they see on the screen aren’t actually their friends. They’re finding their kids methodically ‘unboxing’ their toys, as if they’ve been paid to review them for an audience. ‘Who are you talking to?’ a parent will ask. ‘The viewers,’ their children reply.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump's EPA pick drew a wave of criticism from the left:
Jeb Bush was among those defending Pruitt:
Was this intentional? Only the editors at Time know:
Trump tweeted this three years ago when he got passed over for the Time 100:
Ben Carson was on Capitol Hill:
Newt Gingrich's way of marking the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack struck some as odd:
A thought about all the generals in Trump's cabinet:
Tom Cotton and his wife welcomed a new baby:
As a farewell, Chuck Schumer posted this old photo with Barbara Boxer:
Here's what Tim Scott received:
Susan Collins posted this tribute to Barbara Mikulski:
Trump supporters staged this display on the West Lawn:
The Arkansas and Texas senators had a cheese dip vs. queso competition:
The New Democrats gathered for a picture:
Check out this view of the Capitol Christmas tree:
From one of our legal affairs correspondents:
Three remarkable data points from the election results, via the Cook Political Report:
Finally, a cheering report from Comet Pizza in D.C.:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- “Sextortion: The U.S. military's dirty little secret is a growing national security concern,” by Meghann Myers: “You're scrolling through Facebook like any other day when a friend request pops up from a pretty girl. You accept, and she sends you a picture. You send one back, just to be polite, or maybe because she asked nicely. But then she demands money, hundreds of dollars, and threatens to send your (illicit) photo to your friends, your family and — worst of all — your employer. Law enforcement officials have dubbed the scam ‘sextortion,’ and it happens all over the world. But American military personnel are particularly vulnerable … Hundreds of service members every year are falling into this trap, and many are handing over thousands of dollars with hopes the problem will go away — often to no avail. And now U.S. officials fear that foreign enemies could exploit the same tricks to obtain sensitive information and compromise national security.”
-- The Hollywood Reporter, “The Tina Fey Interview, by David Letterman,” as told by Stephen Galloway: “[The Hollywood Reporter’s] Sherry Lansing Leadership Award honoree confesses to a fellow late-night pioneer her fear of bombing onstage (his response: ‘It's like I have a twin’) as two comedy greats talk Trump's feud with Alec Baldwin (‘dignity of a seventh-grader’), the ‘endless anxiety’ of parenting and why TV is ‘better than movies.’”
- Quote du jour, on Trump demanding an apology from the cast of “Hamilton”: “Immediately, my brain went to Lorne Michaels. I thought, our president-elect is a chump of a manager because don't put yourself in a position where you're asking for something and you're going to be told no. I learned that from Lorne. You're the president. You demanded an apology that you can't get … Bad management skills.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Members quit Tufts sorority as transgender student’s application is delayed,” from the Boston Globe: “When a transgender student from rural Maine arrived at Tufts University in fall 2015, joining a sorority was the last thing on her mind. But in September, the 19-year-old sophomore decided to rush the Tufts chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, believing that it was an accepting group where she would feel welcome. But her bid for membership has divided the sorority and focused attention on how mainstream Greek organizations, typically seen as bastions of traditionalism, are increasingly confronted with the issue of transgender inclusion. In September, more than half of the sorority’s 79 members, including the president and the transgender student, left the chapter in protest after a representative from the national sorority hesitated to approve the student’s membership bid.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Denzel Washington blasts media for selling 'BS,’” from The Hill: “He was at the center of a fake news story, but Denzel Washington says it's the mainstream media that's selling ‘BS.’ ‘If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you do read it, you're misinformed,’ Washington, the star and director behind the new film ‘Fences,’ told ITK at the Wednesday premiere inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture. One of the effects of "too much information," the 61-year-old Oscar winner says, is ‘the need to be first, not even to be true anymore.’ ‘So what a responsibility you all have — to tell the truth,’ Washington exclaimed to the pack of reporters gathered on the red carpet. ‘We don't care who it hurts. We don't care who we destroy. We don't care if it's true,’ Washington continued. ‘Just say it, sell it. Anything you practice you'll get good at — including BS.’”
In Trump's world: Trump meets with retired Adm. James Stavridis, then travels to Columbus to meet with the victims and first-responders of the Ohio State knife attack. In the evening, Trump holds a rally in Des Moines with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
At the White House: The Obamas attend the Congressional Ball. Biden speaks at the Sidley Austin Forum at the NYU Global Academic Center and at Harry Reid's portrait unveiling on Capitol Hill. Later, Biden travels to Ottawa, Canada, to speak at a dinner hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. to resume consideration of the conference report to accompany the NDAA, post-cloture. The House meets at 9 a.m. for legislative business, with last votes taking place by 2 p.m.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Trump expressed sympathy for DREAMers, the children of undocumented immigrants. “We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” he said, without providing details. “They got brought here at a very young age. They’ve worked here. They’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- “In a nod to Game of Throne fans, ‘winter is coming,’ and quickly.” Today’s Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Clouds are likely to obscure the late sunrise and a few sprinkles are possible early in the day. The sun should break through by midday and become more dominant as the day goes on. West winds are still light much of the day but pick up late in the day. Highs are mainly in the upper 40s.”
-- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will propose legislation requiring companies with at least 50 employees to provide five days a year of paid sick leave, triggering a likely standoff with Democratic lawmakers who tried to pass a more expansive law this year. From Ovetta Wiggins and Josh Hicks: "Hogan, who owned a real estate company before taking office, described his bill as a 'common-sense' approach ... Businesses with fewer than 50 employees would be eligible for a tax break if they offer paid sick leave. Hogan’s proposal would make Maryland just the eighth state, along with the District of Columbia, to require paid sick leave for a significant proportion of employees."
-- “Tiny office, minority party and little power? It’s all terrific to Va. representative-elect,” by Jenna Portnoy: “A. Donald McEachin has the third-worst office on Capitol Hill — and he couldn’t be happier. The newly elected representative from Virginia fared poorly in the lottery for congressional office space last week, drawing number 48 out of 50. There’s nothing glamorous or even desirable about the cramped room on the third floor of the Rayburn House Office Building that McEachin will call his own. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the third-ever African American to represent the Old Dominion in the House of Representatives. ‘Any office is better than the office that your opponent got,’ chirped McEachin … who was so dazzled by his first official visit to the Capitol that he alternated between high-fiving his fellow freshmen and tearing up. At once goofy and cerebral, McEachin, 55, is a Star Trek fanatic who hails fellow freshmen with a ‘Hey, man.’” “He’s sort of a big teddy bear of a man,” said Steny Hoyer, who tapped him as regional whip. “What a wonderful smile and great welcoming personality.”
-- The Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 4-3.
-- The Washington Nationals parted with three top prospects to acquire low-cost center fielder Adam Eaton on Wednesday. “We’ve got ourselves a good, young, skillful player that we control at below market values for five seasons,” said Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, who has never given up a prospect package like this before. “Again, you have to give to get. We certainly got what we wanted.” (Chelsea Janes)
-- Police are investigating a collision involving a Metrobus and vehicle that injured 10 people in Southeast Washington. Emergency responders had to extricate one person from the vehicle, officials said, and reportedly took several others to the hospital. (Victoria St. Martin)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Seth Meyers criticized media coverage of the so-called alt-right:
Carolina Herrera said she will dress future first lady Melania Trump:
Watch file footage of Trump and Vince McMahon, the husband of his pick to run the SBA, smack talk:
Trump even body-slammed him in 2007:
Cruz shared his deep appreciation of queso with a reporter (click to watch):
He also awkwardly joked about why Cotton couldn't be there (click to watch):
Philippine President Rodrigo Duerte did an impression of Trump:
Stephen Colbert taped this post-election "family meeting" segment with Joe Biden:
Biden discussed the cancer moonshot and its goal of finding a cure in 10 years:
Colbert talked about Al Gore at Trump Tower, Trump's tweet about Air Force One and a faithless elector who will not cast his vote for Trump:
ABC's Brian Ross confronted Bahrain diplomats at the Trump hotel during an event the embassy held there:
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who wants Trump to consider him for secretary of state and Vladimir Putin's best friend in Congress, got testy during an interview with Yahoo's Bianna Golodryga. Outrageously, he denied Moscow's human rights abuses. "That's baloney," he said. Bianca noted that she immigrated from Moldova, to which he responded that this makes her biased. Watch here.
One final Biden clip -- here he is outside the Senate after his tribute on the chamber floor (click to watch):