With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA: Ivanka Trump’s new book unwittingly reveals just how out of touch she is with the lives of the working women who she believes she speaks for.
-- President Trump dubiously claimed during the campaign that he was a self-made man. “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars,” he told NBC during a 2015 interview, which he insisted he paid back with interest. “A million dollars isn’t very much compared to what I built!” During a primary debate, when Marco Rubio claimed that he had received a $200 million inheritance from his father, Trump replied angrily: “I took $1 million and I turned it into $10 billion.”
Every fact checker faulted Trump for not giving his father enough credit, for downplaying the connections and the resources he received from the family business. Court documents revealed that the candidate was omitting vastly larger loans and gifts he received over the years. His pop also bailed him out when his Atlantic City casinos went bankrupt.
-- The first daughter (now a White House official) also talks at times as if she is a self-made millionaire. “It wasn’t until I built my own business from the ground up that I understood the vastness of launching your own enterprise,” Ivanka Trump, referring to her fashion brand, writes in “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success.” “Undeniably, one factor in my success has been the doors that my family’s name and privileged upbringing have opened … But they alone didn’t guarantee my success. … Curiosity, passion, hard work and perseverance have enabled me to prove my value to myself and others beyond my surname. … Anyone who knows me knows that I will outwork anyone…
“My father has always said, if you love what you do, and work really, really hard, you will succeed,” she adds. “This is a fundamental principle of creating and perpetuating a culture of success, and also a guiding light for me personally.”
-- For millions of folks in the Rust Belt – the people who delivered the White House to the Trumps – it is not a matter of “curiosity, passion, hard work and perseverance.” Working hard was not enough to keep the General Motors plant open in Janesville, Wisconsin. Being passionate isn’t enough to keep coal mines churning in West Virginia. Curiosity is not going to bring back manufacturing jobs to Ohio. (Those people also don’t have government employees promoting their products on cable and Twitter.)
-- Ivanka’s 243-page manuscript, written before the election, has an ambitious goal. She sees herself as a role model who can help others navigate the difficulties of raising children and climbing the corporate ladder. “The time to change the narrative around women and work once and for all is long overdue; in fact, it’s become my life’s mission,” she declares in the introduction.
Some may welcome this. But in dispensing advice for how working women can succeed, the 35-year-old often relays anecdotes that unintentionally highlight all the special breaks she’s gotten along the way. These are advantages average Americans could never even dream of.
-- Encouraging people to pursue jobs that they’re passionate about, Ivanka recalls receiving a cold call from the editor in chief of Vogue Magazine when she was a senior at the University of Pennsylvania: “Early one morning during finals, the phone rang. … I answered, groggy, knowing that no one would call a college student at 8 a.m. unless it was really important. It was Anna Wintour … Anna is someone I have always admired; we met when I’d done modeling as a teenager. … She heard I was graduating soon. … She wanted to offer me a job … I knew working with Anna at Vogue could positively influence my career in a big way … But I’d already given my word to (another employer).”
Ivanka turned down the job, then called her dad. She became mad when he told her she should consider it: “I was shocked that he would encourage me to consider anything other than real estate; for so long, it was all we discussed. I was unnerved by the conversation and started to wonder if my father didn’t want me to eventually join the family business. I worried that he doubted my abilities as a developer. On the day of my graduation, I grilled him on his response. He said he didn’t doubt me. He only wanted me to carefully consider the job at Vogue to be sure that I was, in fact, serious about real estate.” The point of this story is not to reveal how crazy it is that Wintour offered her a job this way but to encourage readers not to let themselves get distracted from what they are most passionate about.
-- She planned to work outside the family business for “a while” after college. But Ivanka made it just 12 months before going to work for Donald at Trump Tower. In a subsequent chapter on “seizing opportunities,” she recounts her decision to launch a fine jewelry collection in 2007.
Giving advice about how to start a business, Ivanka reveals how she got help from all the most powerful players in the industry: “When I had the idea for my brand, I realized I was going to have a much steeper learning curve in fashion than I did in real estate, which I had been exposed to my whole life. So I was proactive and met with people in the industry who had created or worked at companies I respected – Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein, of the established players; Warby Parker, Reformation, and Everlane, of the new guard, to name a few. I sought out their wisdom and experience in trying to understand a business that I had never planned on entering and pepped them with questions about design, product, teams, business models, and infrastructure.”
I don’t think it is going too far out on a limb to speculate that most would-be entrepreneurs reading Ivanka’s book probably couldn’t schedule sit-downs with Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein to pick their brains about starting a fashion label. She also offhandedly notes that the whole thing started with a connection she made through her dad’s company: “I had been at The Trump Organization for about two years when I met a potential partner in real estate who had long-standing ties to the jewelry industry.”
-- Her attempts to humanize herself only reinforce the degree to which Ivanka is part of the 0.1 percent. Encouraging women to regularly bring their kids with them to work, for instance, the author nonchalantly reveals that that she has two offices: “I had a standing lunch date every Wednesday with Arabella every Wednesday before she started Kindergarten. She came into the office – she prefers my Ivanka Trump office to my real estate one, in part because it has a kids’ desk that folds out of the wall, complete with treats, toys, colored pencils, and markers. We’d play for a bit … Then we’d go downstairs to the Trump Grill for lunch.”
“In a traditional setting,” she adds, “I might feel uncomfortable if my boss heard me FaceTiming with my son or saw him in my office, eating ice cream midday.”
But she works for her dad and has her own “brand,” so it’s no big deal. “I remember at the beginning of my career I would feel self-conscious if I had to leave work early,” Ivanka admits later. “I’d say I had a meeting when really I had a doctor’s appointment. I’ve stopped doing this, in part because I’ve achieved a higher level of seniority...”
-- The first daughter repeatedly dishes out guidance on subjects it’s not clear she has meaningful experience with, such as how to ask for a promotion, “resign gracefully” and negotiate a good severance package. She has a whole section advising females to hire recruiters to help them find jobs: “A recruiter can also be a valuable advocate in breaking through the glass ceiling, which, unfortunately, still exists. It’s far better here in America than in much of the world, but we’ve still got a long way to go.” (Hillary Clinton would probably say amen to that.)
After offering five pieces of advice for women who take maternity leave, she opens up about her own struggle – with whether to post pictures of her children on social media: “I didn’t share a single picture of Arabella publicly until after her first birthday, at which point the paparazzi snapped a photo of us at the airport. I didn’t want the first photo of my daughter to be sold to the press, so I posted an image myself on one of my social media accounts. … Knowing my family was in the spotlight, I decided I was going to embrace it.”
This is a problem most women would prefer to the ones they deal with every day. It is certainly less nerve-wracking than working two jobs as a single mother, depending on spotty public transportation, worrying about being able to pay the daycare bill and stressing that legislation moving through Congress may mean your child cannot get health insurance because of a preexisting condition.
To be sure, Ivanka faces other challenges that some of these women may not: She confesses that her guilty pleasure is eating a giant bowl of pasta while drinking wine and watching “Real Housewives.” “But if I’m honest with myself, it’s kind of counterproductive,” she laments. “It is in these moments especially that we should meditate, soak in the tub, exercise or take a long walk. … Prioritize the appointment with yourself as if it were with your boss, client, child, or partner.”
-- Ivanka is tone deaf in other ways, as well:
She quotes Nelson Mandela talking about apartheid in South Africa (“It always seems impossible until it’s done”) to urge women to request flextime from their supervisors.
Then she quotes Toni Morrison writing about an enslaved woman in the novel “Beloved” to tee up some very conventional advice for improving time management skills so that working women are no longer slaves to their schedules: “Bit by bit … she had claimed herself. Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
But at least Morrison and Mandela uttered the words attributed to them: On page 179, Ivanka opens a section on how to “Lead with purpose from any level” with a fake quote from John Quincy Adams. She claims our sixth president said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” Anyone who has read even a single letter by JQA knows that this neither captures his worldview nor sounds anything like him. Ironically, the president tweeted this same fake quote two years ago:
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." – John Quincy Adams— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2015
-- A good writer she is not. If you are actually thinking about buying this book or giving it as a gift to someone, check out the turgid sentences below for a taste of what trying to read Ivanka is like. Note the use of “architect” as a verb (she does this repeatedly):
- From the introduction: “While I believe every woman should thoughtfully architect a life she’ll love and actively work toward achieving her goals, we must also be flexible, adaptable, and realistic about the fact that our passions, interests, priorities and relationships shift. Along with cementing the critical skills that are essential for any leader to thrive, in the pages that follow, I’ll guide you through a framework for constructing a blueprint for your life that uniquely reflects what matters most to you, and is yours to modify as often as you feel the need. … The value of rest, the importance of creating mental space, and the brain-boosting benefit of hobbies are explored, as are the concepts of connecting with and centering yourself so that you learn to maximize your efficiency and boost your productivity, leaving time for what you really love to do.”
- Chapter one: “I personally love the word ‘curious.’ I identify with it quite a bit because I am deeply curious, and that’s how I develop my interest in the things that ultimately turn into passions for me. … TED Talks and podcasts are another way I diversify my own information bias and expose myself to bite-sized, snackable bits of information on topics --- like, say, neuroscience – that I’m never going to read a whole book on but are mind expanding and may trigger an idea.”
- Chapter three: “At Ivanka Trump, my team and I are striving to create the lives we want to live.”
- Chapter six: “I am enormously proud of the success of my brand, but apparel, accessories, and footwear are more the ‘what’ to the ‘why’ of my mission – to inspire and empower women to create the lives they want to live. … Purposefully creating an authentic, meaningful narrative enhances employee engagement and customer commitment; those who are clear about their company’s mission feel they are a part of something important, something larger than themselves, and something they deeply believe in. This is what provides the foundational passion – the quintessential building blocks – for inspiring leaders at every level of your organization, who will together help to disrupt the dialogue around women and work.”
-- The bottom line: People like Ivanka have always had a leg up. The system has always been rigged to tilt the playing field toward the privileged and the well-connected. But reading this book and watching her wield such immense influence in a powerful West Wing role that she could never have landed if her dad was not the president, we cannot escape the hard truth that the United States is becoming less of a meritocracy than it used to be.
As she boasts about the Trump International in D.C., Ivanka expresses hopes that her six-year-old daughter eventually follows her into the family business. “I can envision Arabella overseeing this hotel someday,” she writes in the book. “If she chooses!”
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- First in the 202: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a digital ad campaign against 10 House Republicans who voted for the health care bill. It’s part of a six-figure buy that will be spread out over the next two weeks, including radio ads. The message is a preview/test for broadcast buys down the road. The 15-second web videos (YouTube pre-roll) will target Martha McSally (AZ-02), Jeff Denham (CA-10), David Valadao (CA-21), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Kevin Yoder (KS-03), Bruce Poliquin (ME-02), Jason Lewis (MN-02), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), Claudia Tenney (NY-22) and John Faso (NY-19). Display ads will also target anyone who Googles the names of these lawmakers. The DCCC is also going on the radio in the Los Angeles market today with spots targeting the Southern California House Republicans who voted for the bill. “The passage of this repeal and ripoff bill was a defining moment for every single House Republican,” said DCCC Spokesman Tyler Law. (Keep reading for everything you need to know on the bill's state of play in the Senate.)
-- Barack Obama last night called on members of Congress to show “political courage” in protecting Obamacare. From Greg Jaffe: “The former president was speaking in Boston after receiving the Profile in Courage Award, presented on the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth … In the course of a 45-minute speech … Obama praised the courage of freshman lawmakers who voted for the Affordable Care Act … knowing that it might put their seats and political careers at risk. ‘These men and women did the right thing,’ he said. ‘They did the hard thing ... and most of them did lose their seats. … This great debate is not settled but continues, and it is my fervent hope … that regardless of party, such courage is still possible. … I hope that current members of Congress recognize that it takes little courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential. But it takes great courage to champion the vulnerable, the sick and the infirm’ and those with ‘with no access to the corridors of power.’”
-- Emmanuel Macron overwhelmingly defeated anti-E.U. firebrand Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election Sunday, bringing Europe’s populist tide to a crashing halt as voters selected the centrist political neophyte by a nearly 2-1 margin. At just 39, Macron will be France's youngest head of state since Napoleon Bonaparte. Griff Witte, James McAuley and Isaac Stanley-Becker report: “The result brought to a close a tumultuous and polarized campaign that defied prediction at nearly every turn, although not at the end. Pre-election polls had forecast a sizable Macron victory, and he delivered — winning some 66 percent of the vote."
“In a pointed endorsement of European unity, Macron strode to the stage at his raucous [victory party] to the strains of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ theme, the European Union’s anthem. Alluding to the deep divisions laid bare by the campaign, he said Le Pen backers had ‘expressed an anger, a dismay, and I respect that. I will do everything possible in the five years to come so that they have no reason to vote for the extremes.' At her own gathering at a Paris restaurant and events center, a downcast Le Pen conceded defeat, telling her demoralized supporters that the country had ‘chosen continuity’ and that the election had drawn clear lines between ‘the patriots and the globalists.' The repudiation of Le Pen by French voters will soothe Europe’s anxious political establishment. But the outcome instantly puts pressure on Macron to deliver on promises made to an unhappy French electorate, including reform of two institutions notoriously resistant to change: the E.U. and the French bureaucracy."
Trump, who declined to formally endorse but clearly favored Le Pen, tweeted his congratulations to Macron: “I look very much forward to working with him!” he posted.
-- Macron's unlikely path to the presidency --> "His story is of a highly improbable ascent in a system that typically rewards entrenched political dynasties," James McAuley writes. “Macron, who has never held elected office, has now been elected to one of the most powerful executive positions in the Western world and will be the leader of Europe’s second-largest economy. He did it, analysts say, through a combination of luck and a campaign message attuned to a new political moment. In France, 2017 proved an ideal year to run as an independent candidate. A rare political vacuum emerged, and Macron — a former Socialist economy minister who stepped down from his post in July — was able to take full advantage. Macron perceived that the ‘new divide’ among French voters was not between left and right but rather between an open and closed society [and] defending an open, multicultural society was a central component of En Marche, the movement Macron launched in 2016. 'Globalization can be a great opportunity,' he said at one point on the campaign trail. 'There is no such thing as French culture,' he said at another. 'There is culture in France, and it is diverse.'"
France’s new president will face a considerable challenge as he attempts to form a government: "Given that he has no party structure behind him, he will be deeply affected by the results of the parliamentary elections, scheduled for June."
-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) quietly signed a controversial ban on “sanctuary cities” last night – making legal what is the toughest crackdown on immigrants in the country, even as opponents of the measure vowed to challenge the legislation in court. The AP’s Paul J. Weber reports: “Every major police chief in Texas, which includes some of the largest cities in the U.S., opposed the measure that allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation. It also requires police chiefs and sheriffs — under the threat of jail and removal of office — to comply with federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation. The timing of the signing caught Democratic lawmakers flatfooted. Abbott signed the bill on a Facebook livestream with no advanced public warning. Protests over the Texas bill have been intense for months and about 20 people were charged with criminal trespassing last week after staging a daylong sit-in at a state building where some of Abbott’s staff works."
-- The Washington Wizards thrashed the Boston Celtics In the third quarter last night, devastating their opponents on the defensive end and scoring at will — 26 straight points in all. By the end, it was a 121-102 blowout. (Candace Buckner has the mainbar, Jerry Brewer calls it the most lopsided 2-2 series ever and Scott Allen runs through the best and worst parts of the game.)
GET SMART FAST:
- North Korea detained another American who worked for a private university in Pyongyang on Saturday, bringing to four the total number of U.S. citizens being held by the Kim regime. His detainment comes two weeks after North Korea arrested another U.S. national, also an instructor, as he waited to board a flight out of the country. (Anna Fifield)
- Pakistan claimed it killed 50 Afghan troops and wounded 100 others in sporadic clashes near a major border crossing this weekend. Afghan officials disputed the high death toll, but the recent skirmishes highlight the tense and persisting relations that persist between the two Muslim-majority countries. (Pamela Constable)
- Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls were released from Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday – capping a months-long negotiation process as Nigerian authorities fought to free the famous victims, whose 2014 kidnapping inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement. (Kevin Sieff)
- A Penn State student whose fraternity brother died after a hazing incident said members of the organization ignored his pleas to call for medical help, leaving the pledge unconscious for some 12 hours before agreeing to call authorities. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Susan Svrluga)
- Authorities have located the body of an 18-month-old girl who, along with her four-year-old brother, was ripped away from their mother’s arms by powerful floodwaters in rural Arkansas last week. Officials believe at least 20 people have been killed by the massive storms, which slashed through areas of the South and the Midwest. (Kristine Phillips and William Wan)
- Two people were killed and eight wounded in Chicago after gunmen opened fire on a group of people gathered to remember a 26-year-old, who had been fatally shot just hours earlier. Authorities released few details about the shooting or any suspects, but described it as “another brazen act of gang violence on Chicago's streets.” (Travis M. Andrews)
- The Dallas police officer who opened fire at a car full of teenagers leaving a party last weekend – fatally shooting 15-year-old Jordan Edwards -- turned himself in on Friday after being charged with murder. If convicted, he could spend life in prison. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Peter Holley, Wesley Lowery and William Wan)
- The percentage of children ages 5 to 17 who are hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions has more than doubled from 2008 to 2015, according to an alarming new report. Children between the ages of 15 to 17 accounted for slightly more than half of the incidences, and researchers noted a slight increase in hospitalizations coinciding with the beginning and the ending of the school year. (Travis M. Andrews)
- Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge became the fastest person to ever run a marathon, smashing the previous record by a full 2 minutes and 32 seconds, and coming just 25 seconds shy of breaking the world’s first-ever sub-two-hour marathon time. (Bonnie Berkowitz)
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST:
-- A highly-criticized “investor visa” program that allows foreigners to win fast-track immigration in return for investing $500,000 in U.S. properties was extended in a bill signed by Trump, just one day before Jared Kushner’s sister pitched the program to Chinese investors. Michael Kranish reports: “Trump extended the EB-5 investor program without long-promised changes as part of a massive federal spending bill. The program has offered wealthy foreigners a way around complicated U.S. immigration rules, allowing them to live in the U.S. States seek permanent residency in return for substantial investments. [On Saturday] … Nicole Kushner Meyer delivered a sales presentation in Beijing at which she urged Chinese citizens to invest in a New Jersey project being managed by the Kushner family. Meyer’s relationship to her brother was mentioned as part of the presentation. ... 'Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,’ one speaker said. A brochure put it even more plainly: ‘Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.’”
- In an email Sunday, Kushner Companies said it “apologizes” if the mention of Jared was “in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors,” and stressed that he stepped away from the company in January.
- Democrats slammed Meyer’s presentation, with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) saying Sunday that it was “pretty sketchy” given that the program’s continued existence is in doubt, and the backlog of applications from Chinese investors may add five years to the process. “The fact that she is the sister to the top adviser to the president makes it even worse,” Lofgren said.
THE RUSSIA CONNECTION:
-- Former acting attorney general Sally Yates will testify before Senate lawmakers today about a conversation she had with the White House counsel in January regarding Michael Flynn. Devlin Barrett and Sari Horwitz report: “People familiar with that conversation say she went to the White House days after the inauguration to tell officials that statements made by [Mike Pence] and others about Flynn’s discussions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were wrong, and to warn them that those contradictions could expose Flynn or others to potential manipulation by the Russians. Yates’s testimony … is expected to contradict public statements made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who described the Yates-McGahn meeting as less of a warning and more of a ‘heads up’ about an issue involving Flynn. People familiar with the matter say both statements understate the seriousness of what Yates told McGahn — that she went to the White House to warn them that Flynn could be compromised — or blackmailed — by the Russians at some point if they threatened to reveal the true nature of his conversations with the ambassador.” Still, it is unclear what new information her testimony will reveal, largely because many of the details of that probe remain classified. Former director of national intelligence James Clapper is also scheduled to testify.
-- Trump pre-butted the testimony this morning with two tweets:
General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration - but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
THERE'S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- “Putin uses the Soviet defeat of Hitler to show why Russia needs him today,” by David Filipov: “A takeout sushi place offered a Victory Day roll, covered in black and orange roe … Superstores stocked balloons, coffee mugs, T-shirts and flip flops, all decorated in orange and black. The Soviet Union lost more than 20 million people in World War II … And some Russians are turned off by the way the holiday is taking on aspects of a [great celebration]. … But getting people to rally around the orange and black is something that comes straight from the top. The Soviet victory in World War II — called the Great Patriotic War here — is central to [Vladimir Putin’s] effort to portray his regime as the logical outcome of the country’s history. What some in the outside world may describe as Russian adventurism in Syria, occupation in Crimea and interference in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin and its news outlets portray as Russia’s continuing effort to protect the world from the forces of chaos and fascism. In this view, criticism of Russia today is tantamount to criticizing the Soviet Union for saving the world from evil. ‘War is one of the things that legitimize the Putin regime: It names itself the inheritor of the victory that is sacred for all Russians, and therefore, the government is above all criticism,’ said Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior associate at Carnegie Moscow Center. ‘If you criticize the government, you are criticizing Russia.’”
-- Eric Trump allegedly told a reporter in 2014 that the funding stream for his family’s golf courses comes from Russia. The Hill’s Paulina Firozi reports: In an interview with Boston’s WBUR Friday, golf reporter James Dodson recalled meeting Donald Trump in in 2014 and being invited to play golf at his property in Charlotte. When Dodson asked Donald Trump how he was paying for the courses, he says Trump “sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million.” He then questioned Eric Trump, who was along for the day: "I said, 'Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks — because of the recession … have touched a golf course. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years,'” he recalled. "And this is what he said. He said, 'Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.' I said, 'Really?' And he said, 'Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’"
THE DECONSTRUCTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE:
-- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt dismissed half of the scientific advisers from one of the agency's key review boards, the first step in a broader effort by Republicans to change the way the agency evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report: “The move could significantly change the makeup of the 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors, which advises EPA’s key scientific arm on whether the research it does has sufficient rigor and integrity. All of the members being dismissed were at the end of serving at least one three-year term, although these terms are often renewed instead of terminated. ‘We’re not going to rubber-stamp the last administration’s appointees,’ [spokesman J.P. Freire said in an email]. ... But the move came as a surprise to members of the board, who had been informed both in January, before [Obama] left office, and then more recently by EPA career staff members, that they would be kept on for another term."
-- Trump will announce a list of 10 federal court nominees today, the first in a set of monthly recommendations as the White House moves to fill more than 120 vacancies on the federal bench. The New York Times’ Adam Liptak reports: “The administration continues to draw on lists of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees, put together with the help of the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, that Mr. Trump issued during the campaign. But it is looking at other sources, too, the White House official said. (Don) McGahn, who has supervised the selection of the nominees, is looking for scholarly credentials and ‘intellectual boldness,’ among other qualities.”
Part of Trump's play here is to groom conservatives currently on state Supreme Courts in hopes that they can eventually be elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court: He is going to nominate Michigan Justice Joan L. Larsen to the Sixth Circuit (in Cincinnati) and Minnesota Justice David R. Stras to the Eighth Circuit (in St. Louis).
-- Reince Priebus said that Trump remains committed to fighting the nation’s opioid crisis, despite reports that he is considering slashing the budget of the White House “drug czar” by 95 percent. “I would always tell people, judge him by his actions, not leaked documents and hypotheticals,” the chief of staff said on “Fox News Sunday." But an email sent to employees by the acting director of the office, Richard Baum, said the cuts that the Trump administration is trying to push below the radar are “at odds” with the president asking the office to support a new commission that is seeking to combat the opioid crisis. Baum called the proposed cuts “drastic” and, “frankly, heartbreaking.” (John Wagner)
-- Leaders of historically black colleges and universities are slamming Trump after a White House signing statement suggested that some of their funding may be unconstitutional. People in higher education circles worried over the weekend that a statement signals that the president is planning to get rid of a capital financing program that helps historically black colleges repair, renovate and build new facilities. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Susan Svrluga)
THE ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE:
-- “Democratic lawmakers such as Amy Klobuchar start making 2020 moves — and the base starts making demands,” by Ed O’Keefe and David Weigel: “Like others who spoke at a Democratic Party fundraiser (in Iowa), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said that so much has changed nationwide since [Trump] took office. ‘Trump kind of likes it when we talk about him, right? But here in Iowa, you pride yourself on being first,’ [she said]. ‘Let’s be the first Democratic Party dinner where the rest of the night we don’t even mention his name.’ That line earned strong applause from about 300 Democrats and independents who showed up Sunday night to hear a little-known senator from a neighboring state who may one day compete in their presidential caucuses. The last time she came to Iowa was as a [Hillary Clinton] campaign surrogate … Now, she’s willing to share gentle criticism of what she thinks went wrong — starting with [Clinton’s] campaign slogan. ‘The phrase ‘Stronger Together’ … for a lot of the people in my state — iron ore miners who are out of work — it didn’t feel to them like they were into that. It felt like it was a response to Trump,’ she said."
HEALTH CARE STATE OF PLAY:
-- A group of GOP leaders fiercely defended the merits of their health-care proposal this weekend, rallying around the legislation that narrowly passed the House last week, even as Senate Republicans remained downright dismissive of the measure. Robert Costa and John Wagner report: “The Republican split screen on health care revealed the frothing debate within the party about how to gut aspects of the Affordable Care Act … A growing number of Senate Republicans are recasting [Trump’s] Rose Garden celebration after the House vote as a mere starting point due to anxiety over how the House bill would affect Medicaid recipients in their states, insurance costs for people with conditions such as diabetes or cancer, or the breadth of health benefits in states that would be able to jettison current federal insurance requirements.”
- “The House bill is not going to come before us,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that the Senate would be “starting from scratch.”
- Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said he and his colleagues would “come up with what the Senate thinks the Senate can do.” The Mitch McConnell ally said on "Meet the Press" that Senate Republicans will review the CBO score before advancing any measure.
Yet Trump and many of his allies continue to doggedly talk up the House bill, resisting the suggestion that the Senate could discard major items in the proposed legislation: "The seemingly divergent political positioning on display Sunday underscored the fragility of the Republican Party on an issue that has galvanized it for years. Senate Republicans, generally more centrist in their politics, do not feel compelled to herald the House bill. But House Republicans and White House advisers, who are more skittish about fraying the relationships they have cultivated with House conservatives and activists, do not want to shelve or play down the bill that just passed. And many of them remain defiant amid the barrage of attacks from Democrats, who have insisted that the House bill would make acquiring coverage more difficult for people with serious ailments and disrupt insurance markets — and see in the Republicans’ efforts a chance to reclaim the House majority next year."
- “We will want to make sure people who have bad health-care status, who have a preexisting condition, get affordable coverage,” Paul Ryan said on ABC’s “This Week,” responding to questions about the possibility of sharp premium increases for people with preexisting conditions. “That’s not happening in Obamacare.” He also pushed back against criticism that lawmakers rushed to pass the replacement legislation, telling George Stephanopoulos such claims were “kind of bogus attacks from the left.”
- Reince Priebus argued that concerns about people with preexisting conditions are “overblown,” stressing that nothing would change for people with coverage through their employer, Medicare and Medicaid. “We’ve put billions … into high-risk pools to buy down any premiums," the White House chief of staff said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If you have a preexisting condition, this president is not going to let you down.” Priebus added that he talked Saturday with six Republicans who are part of the working group on the Senate version of the bill, called them ‘mature’ and said he is confident in the changes they may make.
-- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he is “distressed” that no Democrats have been asked to work on the bill in the Senate: “I’m the most centrist Democrat willing to work and fix things,” he said on “Face the Nation," adding that people in his rural, working-class state would be “completely slammed” by the House bill.
-- Bernie Sanders called the GOP bill “one of the most disgusting pieces of legislation ever passed” and a “death sentence” for thousands of Americans. Speaking to a sold-out audience in Beverley Hills Sunday, the Vermont senator pledged to help make sure the plan is “dead in its tracks.” "Let me tell you," he said, "That legislation is never going to pass the United States Senate." (LA Times)
-- The Health 202 launches tomorrow! Want more smart insights on the politics and policy of health care? Our new email, anchored by the incredibly plugged-in Paige Winfield Cunningham, launches Tuesday. Sign up here.
CONDI’S NEW BOOK DROPS TOMORROW:
-- “More than four years ago, former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began writing a book about the challenges to democracy, especially in nations that only recently have moved toward free elections. Now ‘Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom,’ is being published Tuesday ... in the wake of the unexpected passage of Brexit ... and the surprise election of Trump," USA Today’s Susan Page writes on the front page. "The 486-page book is at its core a push-back to the America First ideology advocated by candidate Trump, the sense that the United States should be less engaged in international affairs and less concerned about advocating human rights outside its borders. Rice argues that the United States is essential in protecting and expanding democracies, an approach that she says ultimately safeguards American interests.”
In an interview with Susan, Rice warned against feeling too reassured by Le Pen’s defeat in the French presidential election: "I really do believe that these populists are changing the character of the politics just by being there, so even mainstream candidates are having to respond to their agenda. You see fewer people talking about free trade. It's hard to defend immigrants almost any place in the world today. ... The rise of nativism is having an impact on the politics, even if the candidates aren't winning.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Lots of jokes and commentary about Macron's win in France--
I've been a stubborn hold-out but after today I'm gonna start calling Freedom fries French fries again.— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) May 7, 2017
Justin Trudeau has called Emmanuel Macron to concede in the race for Sexiest G7 Leader.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 7, 2017
Just so unfair pic.twitter.com/GWntjs0MeI— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) May 7, 2017
From the left:
One crucial difference between USA & France is in France center right (Fillon) acted responsibly & endorsed Macron. GOP rallied to Trump.— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) May 7, 2017
Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 7, 2017
Defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can't talk about that)
Winners:— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 7, 2017
Congratulations to France for just now accomplishing something America failed at last November.— Robert Reich (@RBReich) May 7, 2017
Congratulations to the people of France for rejecting racism, xenophobia, and the politics of fear!— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) May 7, 2017
Thankfully the French election is behind us and Russian interference—which has been a concern for months—was not successful.— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 8, 2017
From the right:
Being enormously relieved by the election of a French socialist feels odd.— Tim Miller (@Timodc) May 7, 2017
Americans can take pride that their example still shapes the world. pic.twitter.com/ah8SezOQoL— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 7, 2017
Going to be awkward at 5/25 Nato summit when Merkel, May, & Macron have to switch to non-classified topics when the US president joins them— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 7, 2017
Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron. We look forward to working with him to build on the strong relationship between the U.S. and France.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) May 7, 2017
There was lots of pushback to Ryan's statement on the Sunday shows that his bill will not deny coverage to any people with preexisting conditions:
Ha! I also can't be denied the right to purchase a Caribbean island. I just can't afford it. Just like a cancer patient w $145,000 premium. https://t.co/Tc3DoppPGT— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) May 7, 2017
The former Obama gang was out in full force trolling Ryan too:
If Paul Ryan was a true wonk with the courage of his convictions, he'd defend these cuts. Instead, he's lying about them. https://t.co/8RfO90g2yG— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) May 7, 2017
The Jimmy Kimmel war continues:
I wish Jimmy Kimmel well, and especially his son. But think twice before you accept "facts" about government policy from a comedian. https://t.co/uWB4gpPyV7— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) May 7, 2017
Republican Senators will not let the American people down! ObamaCare premiums and deductibles are way up - it was a lie and it is dead!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2017
John Cornyn warned his followers not to listen to perceived hysteria from the left:
You know that ppl have lost all objectivity and are pursuing a propaganda campaign who rail against a law that hasn't been enacted yet.— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) May 7, 2017
No, it has to be written before you can read it https://t.co/jZoaM2HbLw— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) May 7, 2017
And for those who saw John Wall's incredible streak in the Wizard's beat down of the Boston Celtics to tie the series:
John Wall could pass a bipartisan health-reform bill. https://t.co/12bGphDRv5— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) May 8, 2017
The owner of the Wizards showed solidarity with Kelly Oubre Jr., who was suspended from playing in last night's game:
Kell's presence was felt other ways:
the queen driving herself home from church today is currently my favorite internet photograph pic.twitter.com/uPLFb8H2cz— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) May 7, 2017
Back to Nature:
Another great sign of spring in Wyoming -- we were joined by these two this morning on Togwotee Pass. pic.twitter.com/4wj6XRYLey— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) May 7, 2017
Martha Stewart posed with a portrait of Trump at an art show:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- The New Yorker, “Is the gig economy working?” by Nathan Heller: “’There are so many clients, I rarely get bored,’ [Seth F.] told me. He was feeding cord through the molding hooks to level my pictures. Sometimes, he confessed, his jobs seem silly: he was once booked to screw in a light bulb. Other work is harder, and strange. Seth F. has been hired to assemble five jigsaw puzzles for a movie set, to write articles for a newspaper in Alaska, and to compose a best-man speech to be delivered by the brother of the groom, whom he had never met. As we talked, his tone warmed. I realized that he probably visited strangers several times a day, meting out bits of himself, then moving on, often forever, and I considered what an odd path through professional experience that must be. ‘These are jobs that don’t lead to anything,’ he said, without looking up from his work. ‘It doesn’t feel’—he weighed the word— ‘sustainable to me.’
“The American workplace is both a seat of national identity and a site of chronic upheaval and shame. Gigging reflects the endlessly personalizable values of our own era, but its social effects, untried by time, remain uncertain. Yet what does democratized capitalism actually promise a politically unsettled generation? At a moment when the nation’s electoral future seems tied to the fate of its jobs, much more than next month’s paycheck depends on the answers."
-- The New Yorker, “The Far-Right American Nationalist Who Tweeted #MacronLeaks,” by Andrew Marantz: “Jack Posobiec, who spread the news of the cyberattack on the French Presidential candidate, describes his strategy as ‘activism tactics mixed with traditional journalism tactics.’”
-- Wall Street Journal, “Chinese-North Korean Venture Shows How Much Sanctions Can Miss,” by Jeremy Page and Jay Solomon: “For most of the past decade, a Chinese state-owned company had a joint venture with a North Korean company under sanctions for involvement in Pyongyang’s atomic-weapons program, Chinese corporate and government records show. China’s Limac Corp. and North Korea’s Ryonbong General Corp. set up a joint venture in 2008 to mine tantalum, niobium and zirconium, minerals that are useful in making phones and computers but also nuclear reactors and missiles. …. The partnership of nearly a decade, not previously reported, shows how easily North Korea has skirted sanctions to do business with Chinese firms … Some current and former U.S. officials who have worked on North Korea … said the Limac case shows China’s role as by far the weakest link in the international campaign to pressure Pyongyang. ‘It’s stunning that a Chinese company involved in the nuclear trade would so openly cooperate with North Korea and that the U.S. didn’t sanction the Chinese parent and legally pursue the U.S. affiliate,’ said North Korea expert and former Bush staffer David Asher.”
-- The Intercept, “White Fear in the White House: Young Bannon Disciple Julia Hahn Is a Case Study in Extremism,” by Peter Maass: “Not long after [Hahn] was appointed to the White House at the age of just 25, one of her college friends reacted by writing on Facebook, ‘It’s weird because she was always very nice and it’s disappointing when seemingly nice people turn out to be Nazis/Nazi-adjacent.’ Another friend asked, ‘WTF happened???’… In a way, Julia Hahn is the Patty Hearst of the far right, a daughter of privilege who veered wildly off the expected course. While she has said almost nothing about her journey to the virulent corners of white nationalism … the puzzle of her journey to the alt right can be assembled. [And] it turned out that I didn’t need to search far, because I grew up less than a mile from Hahn’s home, and attended the same high school."
-- The Atlantic, “There's Something About Mitch,” by Michelle Cottle: “[There] is something about Mitch McConnell that, through all the internal GOP fights and melodrama of the past year-plus, has enabled him to avoid becoming a target of the infamously cantankerous Trump. This despite McConnell’s having declined to pucker up for Trump during the election. And McConnell’s open criticism of Trump’s Twitter tantrums. And McConnell’s repeatedly rebuffing Trump’s griping about how the Senate does business. … McConnell’s gift for managing the high-strung Trump has become a source of amusement and wonder around Washington—particularly in contrast with [Ryan’s] perilous tango with the president. So how does Mitch do what he does? … ‘He keeps everybody at distance,’ said [one House member].’Nobody sees his cards but him.’”
-- Los Angeles Times, “Silicon Valley is 'officially a retirement community for D.C. political vets' starting fresh outside the nation's capital,” by Seema Mehta: “A graying man — once the baby-faced press wrangler for Sen. Barack Obama’s nascent presidential campaign — nursed an absinthe cocktail as he mingled near a former spokesman for [Bush’s] 2004 reelection bid. The scene could have taken place over oysters at the Old Ebbitt Grill, a mainstay for politicos in the nation’s capital. But it unfolded in an exposed-brick bar in [San Francisco] … Veterans of high-profile political campaigns and White House administrations … who in years past would have turned their public-service resumes and connections into jobs as lobbyists on K Street, advisers at Fortune 500 firms or leaders of nonprofits — are increasingly heading west, attracted by the opportunities to put their political skills to use in the technology industry. Beyond healthy six-figure salaries and better weather than Washington, D.C., the moves make sense — skills developed in politics are in critical demand in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. It’s a new gold rush — to social media companies, tech start-ups, incubators and key players in the sharing economy.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Black Student Confronts Teacher Who Insists He Can Use Racial Slur,” from HuffPost: “A white teacher at a New Orleans high school is under fire after telling his students it was OK for him to say the word ‘n****r.’ The incident, which happened Thursday at Benjamin Franklin High School, has since gone viral after a video of his heated discussion with a black student was posted on Twitter. The 2:20 clip shows the teacher, who has only been identified as Coach Ryan, in the middle of an argument with the student. [When the student said his remarks were racist], the teacher … said that [it is] ‘a commoditized word’ that no longer has its original meaning after being used so many times. ‘It’s used by black people,’ the student said. ‘It’s used by everyone,’ the teacher countered, causing the student to shout back, ‘No! No! You use it! Don’t say everyone.’ He then told the student, ‘You cannot go through life and act like a word can affect you.’”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Quincy Woman Sues Donald Trump for 'Loss of Enjoyment of Life,’” from Patch: “It’s no secret that Trump isn’t the most popular guy around Massachusetts, and concern from residents over his policies and political actions is expected in a state known for voting blue, but one Quincy woman is taking her worry to federal court. Rossi Wade … recently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston against the United States Government and Trump, accusing the commander in chief of discrimination, mental anguish, and mental cruelty against her. The lawsuit additionally states that she suffered a loss of enjoyment of life and emotional damage. ‘I am a mother rearing my child, trying to maintain a level of respect and teach my child to respect authority. It is straining after hearing [Trump] disrespect authority all the while I am trying to explain he is not above the law,’ Rossi wrote. Rossi is demanding $1 billion in compensation for the alleged damages against her.”
At the White House: Trump will meet with H. R. McMaster and have lunch with Mike Pence. Later in the day, Trump will meet with Rex Tillerson. Pence will give opening remarks at a meeting about biomedicine with HHS Secretary Tom Price and VA Secretary David Shulkin. Following that, he will participate in a meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili of Georgia and join Trump for lunch. Later, Pence and Shulkin will host Honor Flight veterans for an event honoring Public Service Recognition Week and National Military Appreciation Month.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Do Corey Stewart’s Confederate antics help Ed Gillespie or hurt the GOP brand?” by Laura Vozzella in Richmond: “Stewart says defending Confederate symbols against ‘political correctness’ is not just a cause, it’s a winning strategy in an off-year primary. ‘It’s a very small turnout election — we’re talking maybe 4 or 5 percent of the entire voter base,’ he said. ‘So you’ve got a certain percentage of the electorate who are going to vote on abortion. You’ve got a certain percentage of the electorate who are going to vote on illegal immigration. And then there’s going to be a percentage who will vote on the historical-monuments issue. Pretty soon, you add them all up and it’s a significant portion of people.’”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- “Pass the hot cider – as it feels like a crisp late October morning.” The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “We awaken to crisp temperatures in the 40s (and even a few 30s in our coldest spots), but a full dose of sunshine boosts them into the low 60s during the afternoon.”
-- A woman was sexually assaulted in an apartment in Rosslyn yesterday morning, police said. The assailant entered an apartment house off Key Boulevard and began knocking on doors under the guise of being a maintenance worker. The victim says after opening the door, she attempted to fight him off before he assaulted her and fled. She was taken to a hospital after suffering significant injuries. (Martin Weil)
-- The Nationals lost to the Phillies 6-5.
-- Maryland Democrats elected former Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews as state party chair this weekend. Matthews, 63, has served as interim party chair since March, and was the “overwhelming choice” of members who gathered for a vote this weekend. She is married to Chris Matthews. (Bill Turque)
-- “How Md. Republicans plan to break the state Senate’s supermajority in 2018,” by Josh Hicks: “Maryland’s Republican Party is trying to break the veto-proof majority Democrats have held in the state legislature for nearly a century, hoping to use the popularity and fundraising prowess of Gov. Larry Hogan to oust a handful of Senate incumbents and increase the governor’s ability to block legislation he opposes. Republicans are targeting six seats representing Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Frederick counties and the Eastern Shore, all areas Hogan (R) won by wide margins in 2014. An increase of five GOP seats in the 47-person chamber would mean Democrats would lack the 29 votes needed to override vetoes, which are one of the main ways a Republican can influence lawmaking in a deep-blue state with strong Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers. Party leaders have dubbed the effort ‘Drive for Five’ and are recruiting candidates, raising money and counting on Hogan, who plans to seek a second term, to campaign in down-ballot races as well."
-- An ex-Marine who lives in the District has been charged with federal firearms offenses, U.S. prosecutors said, after his military training and Facebook posts expressing pro-Islamic State and extremist-racist ideologies made him an object of an undercover FBI investigation. Clark Calloway, 38, a divorced construction worker, was arrested Thursday after buying an AK-47 automatic rifle and ammunition for $250 in two installments from a paid FBI informant who had posed as an Islamic State sympathizer. (Spencer S. Hsu)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Luke Russert remembered his father -- and made this request:
Today my dad would have turned 67. In '99 he interviewed Trump for MTP. He'd be honored if you gave it 20 min. Thx. https://t.co/XKGHliQEK9— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) May 7, 2017
Saturday Night Live's cold open was about Joe and Mika getting engaged:
SNL wonders: "Where in the world is Kellyanne Conway?"
The Handmaid's Tale, SNL style:
Stephen Colbert says that House Republicans drank your sorrows away:
See Mike Pence in space:
See Conan challenge Alec Baldwin to a Trump-off:
Debra Messing criticized Ivanka Trump while accepting an award from GLAAD:
A conservative Republican congressman from Idaho is drawing criticism for his response to a town-hall attendee’s concerns about how his party’s health-care bill would affect Medicaid recipients. “You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying,” the woman said. “That line is so indefensible,” said Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, a member of the influential House Freedom Caucus. “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” The boos instantly drowned him out. Kristine Phillips has the story. Here's the video: