Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a 28-year-old activist who organized for Bernie in 2016, identifies as a socialist and was a bartender just last year — toppled New York Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent who chairs the House Democratic Caucus and controls the political machine in Queens.
It was not just the most surprising result across the seven states that held primaries yesterday but the biggest upset of 2018 thus far. It foreshadows fights to come over what it means to be a Democrat in the age of President Trump.
In many ways, Crowley’s defeat is analogous to then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s unexpected fall in a Virginia GOP primary four years ago this month. Republicans fared well in the midterms that year, just as Democrats almost certainly will this November, but Cantor’s downfall was a clear harbinger of the mass disruption to come, including Trump’s takeover of the GOP.
Just like loathing of Barack Obama kept Republicans united in 2014, disgust with the president will keep Democrats together going into the fall elections. But make no mistake: The party’s identity crisis will be front and center after November, especially if Nancy Pelosi steps down or gets dislodged as the leader of House Democrats. The internecine conflict could become all-consuming in the free-for-all nominating contest to take on Trump in 2020 and cause a leftward lurch that helps the president win reelection.
Like Cantor, Crowley got distracted by his national ambitions. He was much more focused on preparing for a future leadership race than his own reelection. All the time on the road made him more susceptible to become the first Democratic congressional incumbent to lose a primary since 2016.
With all the votes counted, it wasn’t even close. Ocasio-Cortez beat Crowley by 15 points, 57 percent to 42 percent.
“She took on the entire local Democratic establishment in her district and won,” Sanders said.
-- Tip O’Neill is dead, and so is his adage that all politics is local. Ocasio-Cortez spent the final weekend of the campaign not in New York — but in Texas, protesting outside a child-detention center. She made abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a centerpiece of her campaign, along with other progressive dreams like Medicare for all, tuition-free college and a federal jobs guarantee.
Crowley, a proud backslapping Irishman, is no moderate. He was the first member of House Democratic leadership to endorse Bernie’s “Medicare for all” plan. He recently described ICE as “fascistic” but said that “simply abolishing the agency doesn't take it out of the hands of Jeff Sessions or this president.” The base didn’t want to hear this kind of pragmatic pushback.
Few voters cared about what Cantor had done for his constituents in central Virginia — or the bacon Crowley brought back for Queens and the Bronx.
-- Ocasio-Cortez personifies several trends we’ve seen this election cycle: She’s a woman. She’s young. She’s a first-time candidate. Her mother moved to New York from Puerto Rico. She won despite being outraised more than 10 to 1 because energetic activists were on her side. “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office,” she said in a campaign video that went viral. “I wasn’t born to a wealthy or a powerful family.” (More than half the district’s residents, 54 percent, are Latino. Another 26 percent are black and 5 percent are Asian. Trump received less than 20 percent of the vote there in 2016.)
-- The traction she got highlights, in part, how hungry the progressive grass roots are for generational change. Pelosi, 78, has now been atop the Democratic caucus for 16 years. A Gallup poll published yesterday showed that only 55 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of the Californian.
Steny Hoyer, 79, has been Pelosi’s No. 2 that whole time.
James Clyburn, 77, has been No. 3 in leadership for 12 years.
Crowley is a relatively spry 56, but Ocasio-Cortez was an 8-year-old when he was elected to Congress in 1998. As a candidate, she resisted committing to support Pelosi for leader.
-- Tuesday was perhaps the best day yet of 2018 for the progressive wing of the party:
Ben Jealous, 45, a former NAACP president who campaigned with Sanders, decisively defeated Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, 59, for the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Jealous, who will now face Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, ran on raising taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent, closing corporate tax loopholes and shrinking prisons to pay for better health care, more college tuition and a stronger safety net. Baker, who campaigned with Hoyer over the weekend, warned that these positions are too far left to win in the general.
Down the ballot, it was a very rough night for other entrenched incumbents in Maryland. Younger challengers knocked off state Senate President Pro Tempore Nathaniel McFadden in East Baltimore and Senate Finance Chairman Thomas “Mac” Middleton in Charles County. Delegate Joseph Vallario, an 81-year-old who has chaired the state House’s Judiciary Committee since 1993, lost in Prince George’s County. State Sen. Joan Carter Conway, the chair of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee in Annapolis, is trailing her challenger with almost all the precincts reporting.
Out west in Colorado, Rep. Jared Polis — who is openly gay and one of the more outspokenly liberal members of the House — won the Democratic primary for governor, beating a former state treasurer who was backed by organized labor. Now Polis will face state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a cousin of the Bush family, who won the GOP primary on Tuesday.
Back in New York, in Brooklyn, another liberal insurgent almost took down Rep. Yvette Clarke. A few days ago, Clarke flippantly told reporters that she was “laughing” at the primary challenge from community organizer Adem Bunkeddeko. With all the votes counted, she won by just four points, 52 percent to 48 percent.
In upstate, the Navy veteran who was favored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to take on Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) in a Syracuse-area district that was carried by Clinton lost to Dana Balter, a leader of the local Indivisible chapter. This will make it harder to win in November.
-- Crowley’s defeat creates a power vacuum in the House. When Cantor went down, there were many Republicans ready to carry the torch. Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Patrick McHenry and many others — including Paul Ryan, who had been the GOP’s 2012 nominee for vice president — were ready to move up the leadership ladder.
Paul Kane explains why that does not exist for Democrats right now: “One younger Democrat, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal caucus politics, noted that upon his arrival several years ago, he was told to watch four players: then-Reps. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Steve Israel (N.Y.), Xavier Becerra (Calif.) and Crowley. ‘Now all are gone,’ the Democrat said Tuesday night. Van Hollen is a senator, Israel retired (and) Becerra returned to California to serve as attorney general … Other members of past House leadership included Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is now a senator, and Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who went on to become White House chief of staff and is in his second term as mayor of Chicago. … One by one, the others decided that it wasn’t worth trying to wait out Pelosi or Hoyer, who have been rivals for decades within the caucus.”
As a result, there is no obvious person from the next generation to step up:
- “Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) is a widely respected junior member of Pelosi’s leadership team, savvy in her messaging to a working-class district. But it is also a district that went for Trump in 2016 and could leave her in political trouble in the next few years.
- “Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) is leading the campaign effort in what could be a banner year that sweeps Democrats into the majority, but he is considered tentative and in need of seasoning before a top spot opens up.
- “Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) has emerged as a favorite surrogate for Democrats on the campaign trail, even in conservative districts, with a family lineage that is a big draw for liberal donors. But Kennedy is just 37, less than half the age of the current party leaders, and has never held a true leadership position with any clout.”
“Crowley’s defeat could put pressure on other members of the caucus to declare their ambitions now,” adds Politico’s Heather Caygle. “Chief among them is Rep. Linda Sanchez, vice chairwoman of the caucus and No. 5 behind Crowley. The California Democrat had been seen as the most vulnerable member of the leadership team after publicly calling last fall for Pelosi, Hoyer and [Clyburn] to move on … Sanchez could declare her intentions to run for House Democratic Caucus chair now that Crowley is no longer in the picture. But the opening could also prompt other younger, ambitious members to vie for the post. Lawmakers including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) … were being floated by Democratic members and aides Tuesday night.”
GOP trolling: “House Democrats, hoping for a post-Pelosi era, are now left leaderless,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorman. “The only person happier tonight than Nancy Pelosi is the NRCC."
-- Ocasio-Cortez will now almost certainly coast to victory in the general election, becoming the first woman elected to Congress in her 20s from either party in American history. Like Dave Brat, the tea partyer who slew Cantor, she will become a rock star with her base and have an unusually large platform for a freshman.
David Weigel has a good primer on her long shot bid: “In the spring of 2017 … Ocasio-Cortez was working behind a bar. She had helped launch Flats Fix, a tacos and craft cocktail spot in Manhattan, while pondering what to do next. … She’d rallied at Standing Rock, the site of Native American protests against a natural gas pipeline that would cut through their North Dakota land. She’d worked with Bronx Progressives and the Democratic Socialists of America to lobby Crowley’s office … Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, among the progressive groups that had urged her to run, ended up staffing her campaign …
“Why challenge Crowley? She would explain: He was a ‘corporate Democrat,’ who received more money from corporate PACs than from local donors — and from the developers who were driving up housing costs. He had voted to create the Department of Homeland Security. He’d voted for the war in Iraq. He’d voted for PROMESA, the bill that created a hated bankruptcy board to handle Puerto Rico’s debt. ‘My grandfather died in the storm,’ Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last month. ‘Your acts shut schools and starved public services when we needed them most.’”
In a tweetstorm last night, she explained that she won by reaching out to people who don’t typically vote – especially in primaries. “I have touched the hands of people who have felt ignored and invisible for a long, long time. And they felt seen,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “I saw people voting that are almost never seen in an off-year midterm primary. … [Two years] ago, the ‘experts’ told me not to bother with them. But I knew that in refusing to engage with non-voters, we were churning a cycle of neglect and cynicism. So I reached out.”
She remains an active, card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America, which congratulated her:
Asked “what about socialism appeals to you,” she told Vogue magazine last week: “To me, what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity. … And it’s also to say that we need to really examine the historical inequities that have created much of the inequalities — both in terms of economics and social and racial justice — because they are intertwined. This idea of, like, race or class is a false choice. Even if you wanted to separate those two things, you can’t separate the two. They are intrinsically and inextricably tied. There is no other force, there is no other party, there is no other real ideology out there right now that is asserting the minimum elements necessary to lead a dignified American life.”
-- Class act: Crowley, who loves to play the guitar, conceded to his young challenger by dedicating a song to her. Then he performed Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”
“In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream,” the song goes. “We gotta get out while we're young ‘cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run … The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive. … Everybody's out on the run tonight but there's no place left to hide. … Oh, someday girl, I don't know when, we're gonna get to that place where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun. But ‘till then, tramps like us: baby we were born to run.”
-- Andrew Cuomo should be scared. Cynthia Nixon, the former “Sex and the City” star who is challenging the Democratic governor in a primary, endorsed and campaigned with Ocasio-Cortez. “This is a victory for the people over the powerful, for the grass roots over the establishment, for progressive Democrats over corporate Democrats,” said Nixon, who was at her victory party in a Bronx cafe. “This is what happens when you give people a choice. They show up and they reject the status quo.”
One oddity of the Empire State is that congressional primaries are held on a different day than primaries for state offices, so Cuomo does not face the base until Sept. 13. He’s moved left on almost every issue to fend off Nixon. Watch for that to accelerate even more after Crowley’s defeat.
-- How the news is playing:
- New York Daily News: “The King of Queens has been dethroned.”
- New York Post: “Nixon says Crowley shock shows she has path to Albany.”
- New York Times editorial board: “[V]oters delivered a message to Democrats and Republicans across the country, and perhaps in Albany: The liberal base is fired up, showing up at the polls, and may be ignored only at great political risk.”
- In These Times: “A Socialist Woman of Color Just Turned the Entire Democratic Party Upside Down.”
- HuffPost: “Ocasio-Cortez Will Be The Leading Democrat On Climate Change.”
- USA Today: “Ocasio-Cortez wins an upset and her supporters want the media to say her name.”
- BuzzFeed News: “A Young Progressive Woman Just Beat One Of The Most Powerful Democrats In Congress.”
- CNN: “A 28-year-old Democratic Socialist just ousted a powerful, 10-term congressman in New York.”
- Talking Points Memo: “In Stunning Upset, DSA-Backed Candidate Crushes Top House Dem.”
OTHER NOTABLE PRIMARY RESULTS —
In Utah: Mitt Romney easily won the GOP primary to succeed retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
In New York: Rep. Daniel Donovan won the GOP primary after Trump endorsed him over former congressman Michael Grimm, who was waging a comeback bid after serving time in federal prison for tax fraud in 2014.
In South Carolina: Gov. Henry McMaster, boosted by Trump at a rally on Monday night, won the Republican runoff to keep his seat, which he got when Nikki Haley resigned to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
State legislator Lee Bright — who was one of the few Republicans to oppose the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse — lost the runoff to another state legislator, William Timmons, in the race to replace retiring Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
In Maryland: David Trone, the Potomac tycoon who owns Total Wine & More, won the Democratic primary for the House seat being vacated by Rep. John Delaney (D) by pumping in more than $10 million of his own money. Trone will face Republican defense contractor Amie Hoeber in November. Two years ago, Trone lost the Democratic primary in another congressional district to Rep. Jamie Raskin even after spending $13 million.
Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D) easily beat back a primary challenge from Chelsea Manning, the former intelligence analyst who served time in prison for leaking classified intelligence information.
Longtime Montgomery County council member and staunch progressive Marc Elrich and wealthy Potomac businessman and political newcomer David Blair are locked in a neck-and-neck battle for the Democratic nomination to be Montgomery County executive.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks won the Democratic nomination for county executive, making her the overwhelming favorite to become the first woman to lead the suburban area.
-- Happening tonight: The Daily 202 Live with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. I’m interviewing the Louisiana Republican at The Post from 6 to 7 p.m. (More details here.)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- A federal judge barred family separations at the border and ordered immigration officials to reunite migrants already affected by the policy within 30 days. Isaac Stanley-Becker reports: “Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California granted a preliminary injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union. He said all children must be returned to their families within 30 days, while children under 5 must be reunited with parents in half that time. All parents must be entitled to speak with their children within 10 days. … The government had urged Sabraw not to grant the injunction, saying [the executive order Trump signed last week] had resolved the concerns animating the suit.” Sabraw, a George W. Bush nominee, said this of Trump's “zero-tolerance” policy: “The unfortunate reality is that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property.”
-- National security adviser John Bolton plans to meet with Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin today to help coordinate a summit between Trump and the Russian president. Anton Troianovski reports: “Bolton is also meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov, and members of Russia’s Security Council, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. … The meeting is expected to take place while Trump is in Europe in mid-July. He is scheduled to attend the summit meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization July 11 and 12 and to visit Britain on July 13. Peskov declined to comment on news reports that a Trump-Putin meeting could take place in Vienna or Helsinki.”
-- Some European governments are pressing the White House to push the potential Trump-Putin meeting until after the NATO summit. Karen DeYoung and John Hudson report: “A warm and effusive Trump meeting with Putin could expose cracks in the alliance, which is divided over whether the West should further isolate Russia or open more dialogue and business dealings with it. … But worries are so high that one senior European diplomat, in a recent conversation, halted mid-sentence to muse about whether it was worse for the two to meet before the NATO summit — when many alliance leaders fear the U.S. president might make big concessions to Putin without input from them — or after, when they would be unable to mop up a mess. Both options are bad, concluded the diplomat … ”
-- Helsinki has emerged as a strong contender to host the summit. Vienna had previously been floated, but one U.S. official said that option has largely been ruled out. (Bloomberg News)
GET SMART FAST:
- A panel of federal judges struck down 11 state legislative districts in Virginia, citing racial gerrymandering. Democrats have argued for years that the districts were drawn unfairly after the 2010 census. Republicans said they intend to appeal the panel’s decision to the Supreme Court. (Rachel Weiner)
- A congressional intern who yelled an obscenity at Trump was suspended. The intern who shouted at the president during his visit to the Capitol last week was identified as Caitlin Marriott, who has been working for Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). Her suspension will last one week. (Amy B Wang and Sean Sullivan)
- A federal judge threw out two massive lawsuits brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland that sought to hold major oil companies responsible for damages caused by climate change. The judge ruled the issue would be best solved by the federal government. (San Francisco Chronicle)
- A British court granted Uber a 15-month probationary license to operate in London, giving the company a second chance — at least temporarily — to compete in one of the largest global markets. The ride-sharing service was barred from renewing its license in September. (NBC News)
- Fair housing groups filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Bank of America. The plaintiffs argue that the bank unfairly exposed minority communities to higher crime rates, poor quality of life and economic harm by “failing to maintain and market its foreclosed homes in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods.” (Lynh Bui)
A federal audit found women are still underrepresented in key jobs at the FBI, DEA, ATF and Marshals Service. Of all the agencies’ criminal investigators, only 16 percent were women, according to the report. (Devlin Barrett)
- An Air Force veteran set himself on fire at the Georgia state Capitol to protest VA. Officials said the 58-year-old man set himself on fire while “wearing a vest lined with fireworks and flammable devices.” A Georgia State Patrol trooper was able to put out the fire, and the man was transported to a hospital. (Erin B. Logan)
- GE announced plans to shed its health-care division and its ownership stake in an oil-services company. The move will allow the company to focus on its two biggest remaining divisions, which make jet engines and power turbines. (Wall Street Journal)
- Flight attendants are more prone to getting uterine, thyroid and other forms of cancer than the rest of the population. A new study adds to existing research that the group is at increased risk for breast cancer and melanoma. Researchers said chemical exposure and regular disruption of employees' circadian rhythms could be to blame. (CNN)
- The parents of former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski said he was suffering from CTE before his suicide in January. Medical examiners also determined that the 21-year-old “had the brain of a 65-year-old” at the time of his death, his parents said. (ESPN)
- A 14-year-old was killed at a Boy Scout camp in Atlanta after a tree collapsed onto a platform tent where he and another boy sought shelter from a storm. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
A BIG DAY AT SCOTUS:
-- The Supreme Court voted to uphold Trump’s travel ban, delivering a major victory to the administration as justices ruled 5 to 4 that Trump has the authority to ban travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries over national security concerns. Under the third and current iteration of the ban, travel restrictions will be imposed on five Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen — as well as North Korea and Venezuela (which were not part of the challenge).
“[Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts] tried to play down the political aspects of the case, writing that the presidential proclamation that led to the ban ‘is squarely within the scope of presidential authority,’” Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow report. “He said that authority has not been undermined by ‘this President’s words’ and rejected arguments that the order was biased because of the predominant religion of most of the affected countries. He added: ‘We express no view on the soundness of the policy.’ [Tuesday’s decision] was the first time the high court had considered the merits of a policy that has consumed the administration since its start [and] raised questions about the judiciary’s role in national security issues usually left to the political branches.”
But Justice Sonia Sotomayor repeatedly called out Trump by name in a searing and lengthy dissent, arguing that the court’s decision “repeats the tragic mistakes of the past” and “tells members of minority religions” in the United States that “they are outsiders.” The government is essentially “replacing one gravely wrong decision with another,” she wrote. “But this repackaging does little to cleanse Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 of the appearance of discrimination that the President's words have created.” She was joined in her dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
-- The Supreme Court also ruled that California's crisis pregnancy centers do not have to post notices or talk to patients about state abortion services. In the 5-to-4 decision, the conservative majority said a law requiring such communication probably violates free speech rights. Robert Barnes reports: “Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the 5-to-4 decision. He said that the ‘government-drafted script’ specifically mentions abortion — ‘the very practice that petitioners are devoted to opposing.’ ‘Requiring petitioners to inform women how they can obtain state-subsidized abortions, at the same time petitioners try to dissuade women from choosing that option . . . plainly alters the content of petitioners’ speech,’ Thomas wrote. … Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the dissent for the court’s liberals, and read parts of it from the bench. He said the court has repeatedly upheld state laws that provide a script for doctors when they are counseling women seeking abortions. ‘If a state can lawfully require a doctor to tell a woman seeking an abortion about adoption services, why should it not be able, as here, to require a medical counselor to tell a woman seeking prenatal care or other reproductive healthcare about childbirth and abortion services?’ Breyer wrote.”
-- Inside the West Wing: The travel-ban ruling could embolden Trump as he seeks to further remake the immigration system. “Aides described an air of vindication and even elation in the West Wing just days after Trump acceded to an about-face over his family separation policy in the face of an international uproar,” David Nakamura writes. “Immigrant rights advocates said the [ruling] is bound to fortify Trump’s conviction to accelerate the administration’s efforts to choke off legal avenues for refugees, foreign students and temporary workers, all of whom have been confronted with new hurdles for entry. ‘If you can issue an outright ban, there’s no end to what you can accomplish,’ said Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney who served as an aide to [Chuck Schumer] … ‘You can turn it on any country at any time for any reason.’”
-- Among Muslims: In the U.S., Muslims spent much of the day grappling with the travel ban ruling — which they believe “redefines their place in America,” Abigail Hauslohner reports: “Activists made plans for more than a dozen rallies across the country Tuesday night … with the slogans #NoMuslimBanEver and #StandWithMuslims. But all the fiery outrage, the planned protests and the outpouring of sympathy and condolences from concerned friends, colleagues and politicians felt suddenly obsolete to [many, including U.S. citizen Ramy Almansoob, whose wife and daughters remain stuck in war-torn Yemen]. What mattered now was the question that Almansoob’s wife was asking through tears over the phone from 13,000 miles away …. ‘She asked that question that I don’t have an answer to,’ he said. ‘What’s next? I don’t see any solution except trying to find another country for myself and my family to live in,’ he said.”
-- Among religious liberty groups: “Many prominent legal and advocacy groups who describe themselves as focused on religious liberty put out no statements Tuesday . . . despite the arguments raised in the case about religious discrimination,” Michelle Boorstein reports. “'Compared with other recent federal rulings about religious liberty, ‘I would have said we were in a period when the court was caring more about religion,’ said Noah Feldman, a constitutional law scholar at Harvard University who focuses on law and religion. ‘But this makes it look like what the court cares about is the religion of evangelical Christians, not Muslims. It makes it look like the Supreme Court doesn’t have a general concern for religion. It looks badly motivated.’”
-- For checks and balances: “The [travel ban decision] came with a number of interesting wrinkles,” University of Michigan law professor and former Supreme Court clerk Richard Primus writes in Politico Magazine. “It contained an implicit rebuke of Trump’s motives in signing the order, even though it let the order stand. And it repudiated Korematsu vs. United States, a discredited 1944 decision that allowed the U.S. to send Japanese-American citizens to internment camps during wartime, even as it upheld a policy with a discriminatory motive on grounds similar to that 70-year-old ruling. … But the decision’s most important takeaway is the one articulated between the lines of a short concurrence by Justice Anthony Kennedy: When a real threat to the American constitutional order comes — when a president decides to act contrary to fundamental constitutional values — we cannot count on the courts to save us.”
-- On citing tweets in court: The justices’ writings on the significance of Trump’s tweets could set an important precedent, Brian Fung writes. “Whether a president’s tweets carry meaningful force in the eyes of the law is a significant issue, not least because Trump remains embroiled in separate litigation over whether he violated the Constitution by blocking his followers on Twitter. But as officials move more of their communications online, the demands on the judiciary to interpret those statements for public policy will increase. … In Roberts’s view, so long as there is a clearly articulated and legal purpose for using a power granted to the president, then presidential tweets should not be a factor.”
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN AND WOMEN:
-- Trump’s VA secretary nominee Robert Wilkie is preparing for his Senate confirmation hearing today, where Democrats will press him on the decades he spent working closely with polarizing figures and defending their views on everything from the gender pay gap to the Confederate flag. Paul Sonne and Lisa Rein report: “Wilkie, 55, has impeccable credentials: Three decades at the center of the country’s most important military policies. The son of an Army artillery commander … and a reserve officer in the Air Force himself. But Wilkie, a cerebral, modest policy wonk, is no apolitical public servant . . .
“Throughout his career, Wilkie — a former member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the group primarily known for its defense of Confederate symbols — has shown “a willingness to fight on the front lines of his bosses’ culture wars,” Paul and Lisa report. “Earlier this year he led efforts to justify Trump’s near wholesale ban on transgender troops. In 1997, he rebutted a Democratic proposal to ensure equal pay for working women. And in 1993, he publicly defended a failed push by [ex-Sen. Jesse] Helms to support an organization whose logo included the Confederate flag."
-- Sarah Huckabee Sanders will begin receiving Secret Service protection outside her home as early as today. It is unclear how long it will last, though it is believed to be temporary. CNN’s Elizabeth Landers and Jim Acosta report: “The news comes days after Sanders was asked to leave a small Lexington, Virginia, restaurant because of her role with the Trump administration.”
-- Gregory S. Schneider has this dispatch from Red Hen, the restaurant Sanders was asked to leave: “America broke out Tuesday afternoon in this small Shenandoah Valley town. … The quaint red restaurant … was scheduled to open for dinner service at 5 p.m. Protesters began showing up around 3. At first, it was just two guys holding Trump banners, a Confederate flag and a Corey Stewart for U.S. Senate sign. … More protesters joined the Confederate guys, who had moved onto the sidewalk in front of the still-dark Red Hen restaurant. ‘Don’t eat at the commie cluck,’ read one woman’s hand-lettered poster. … A man in a green hat and black shirt went up to the Confederate guys and yelled in their faces: ‘Trump is a chump!’ Asked by a reporter to identify himself, the man declined — and offered a business card for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.”
-- The owner of the Red Hen resigned from her role as executive director of Main Street Lexington, a volunteer-based organization. “Considering the events of the past weekend, Stephanie felt it best that for the continued success of Main Street Lexington, she should step aside,” the organization’s president said. (WSLS)
THE IMMIGRATION WARS RAGE ON:
-- Democratic lawmakers rejected a narrow GOP plan aimed at outlawing Trump’s former family separation policy, dimming prospects for a quick fix on the issue (especially right before a 10-day congressional recess). Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim report: “Republicans are struggling to pull together targeted legislation to address the legal implications of the policy during a public outcry five months before midterm elections with congressional majorities at stake. Draft GOP legislation would change existing law to allow the Department of Homeland Security to hold families together indefinitely in custody, extending a 20-day limit on child detentions established under a 1997 court settlement known as the Flores case. … One proposal endorsed by most Senate Republicans would move those families to the front of the line for adjudication, which, they say, would result in the families being deported or released into the United States within weeks.”
Both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said they could not endorse a plan that would extend family detention. “Everybody in our caucus understands that the Flores decision is not improved by extending the length of time; it is weakened,” Pelosi said, calling it a “cynical attempt” by the GOP. And Schumer said it remains the responsibility of the Trump administration, not Congress, to reverse the “zero tolerance” enforcement policy. “The president created this problem,” Schumer told reporters. “The quickest way to fix it is administratively.”
-- The administration is trying to punt: HHS Secretary Alex Azar told the Senate Finance Committee yesterday that it is “up to Congress” to overturn the Flores agreement. Colby Itkowitz reports: “[Azar said] that if lawmakers find a legislative fix … then the families could be reunited immediately. Otherwise, he said, those children will need to wait for their parents to be either granted entry to the United States or deported.” “I cannot reunite them … while the parents are in custody because of the court order that doesn’t allow the kids to be with their parents for more than 20 days,” Azar said. “We need Congress to fix that.”
Azar declined to answer a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who asked about the number of migrant parents who know the location of their child. Instead, he made the vague assertion that the Office of Refugee Resettlement has a “portal” that could locate migrant children “within seconds.” That response was rebuffed by Wyden, who argued Azar’s claims don’t line up with many firsthand accounts he’s heard from parents. “The American people are getting lots of deception, lots of rosy answers and not a lot of facts,” said Wyden.
-- Trump once again demanded more funding for a border wall during a meeting with Republican lawmakers. Seung Min Kim and Erica Werner report: “But unlike other times when he called for more wall funding, Trump did not explicitly threaten to shut down the government if he didn’t get the extra funding, according to attendees and others briefed on the midday meeting inside the Cabinet Room at the White House. … Yet the divide over how much to spend on Trump’s prized border wall remains a serious point of contention until September because of Democratic resistance and a GOP that needs their help with passing spending bills, particularly in the Senate.”
THE HUMAN TOLL:
-- Trump’s plan to detain families together for longer stretches of time would cost ICE billions of dollars it doesn’t have, HuffPost’s Roque Planas reports. “Family detention centers are vastly more expensive [because by] court order, they must be less secured than typical immigrant detention facilities [since] they house children. The federal government takes on the expense of educating the migrant kids they lock up, along with providing medical care, casual clothing, child care supplies including diapers and high chairs … All of that inflates the cost of the average family detention center bed to around three times the $134 per day that the federal government currently pays to detain a single adult. … A back-of-the-napkin estimate for the cost of adding 15,000 new family detention beds puts the total cost at roughly $2 billion annually ― a figure that amounts to more than a quarter of ICE’s total budget for this year.”
-- Foster-care advocates say it's unlikely the government will be able to reunite all of the immigrant children with their parents, pushing many kids into a system they say is “stacked against” Latinos and minorities. “With few Spanish-speaking caseworkers, it’s a challenge tracking down family members of the children … and other relatives living in the states might be afraid to step forward to claim them because of fears of being detained or deported themselves,” the AP’s Jesse Holland reports.
-- “‘When will I see you, Mama?’: A family split throughout the country waits to be reunited,” by Lori Rozsa: “They didn’t know about Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy. Now they’re separated in Georgia, Florida and Michigan.”
-- A U.S. Customs and Border agent allegedly threatened to put up for adoption an immigrant’s daughter unless she agreed to give up her asylum claim and return to Guatemala, according to a senior ACLU attorney. The Daily Beast’s Michael Hardy reports: “Because Maria had committed a misdemeanor offense by crossing the border, she and her daughter were sent to a processing center where a CBP officer allegedly gave Maria a stark choice. If she gave up her asylum claim …. she and her daughter would remain together. If she applied for asylum, on the other hand, Maria would be thrown in jail for a year and her daughter would be put up for adoption. Maria would never see her daughter again. … Under Texas law, a child may only be put up for adoption if the biological parents consent to the adoption or a judge terminates their parental rights.”
-- The first lady plans to visit additional immigration facilities later this week. CNN’s Kate Bennett notes: “It is not known where exactly Trump plans to go but it is likely the first lady will see first-hand an immigration processing detention center as had been part of her plan in McAllen, Texas, last Thursday, before flooding conditions prevented her from going.”
-- Threats against DHS employees are escalating, officials say. Nick Miroff reports: “Over the weekend, a charred, headless rodent carcass was left on the doorstep of a senior DHS staffer in the Washington metro area, according to an official at the agency. ‘This is the most threatening environment for DHS employees since Trump took office,’ the DHS official said.”
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- The House Judiciary Committee approved a nonbinding resolution demanding the Justice Department furnish more documents for its Russia investigation. Karoun Demirjian reports: “The measure, which the panel adopted by a vote of 15 to 11, was promoted by some of the House’s most conservative Republican members as a precursor to more punitive steps they have advocated taking against [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein, such as holding him in contempt of Congress, or even impeaching him, over complaints about the Department’s response to several document requests related to its Russia probe. … But despite the judiciary committee’s support for their resolution, [the panel’s more conservative members] do not seem to have the full support of GOP leadership in their efforts.”
-- A federal judge in Virginia ruled that Robert Mueller’s prosecution of Paul Manafort on bank and tax fraud charges may advance. Rachel Weiner reports: “If there are no further delays, the July 25 trial in U.S. District Court in Alexandria will be the first case brought by Mueller’s team to come before a jury. [U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III] made waves when he grilled prosecutors from the special counsel’s office last month, questioning whether the crimes Manafort is accused of committing while working for a Russia-backed political party in the Ukraine were outside the scope of their investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The judge concluded that while he is, in general, skeptical of special counsels, this one was legally created and followed its mandate in prosecuting Manafort.”
THE REST OF THE TRUMP AGENDA:
-- The Congressional Budget Office says the ratio of federal debt to U.S. gross domestic product will soon hit its highest point since 1950. Jeff Stein reports: “The debt is projected to grow to 96 percent of GDP by 2028 before eventually surpassing the historical high of 106 percent it reached in 1946. … The 1946 high was prompted by a spending push to fund World War II, and other spikes in the debt have been driven by economic downturns. But the current bump comes amid a relatively healthy economy, suggesting a structural gap between how much the country collects in taxes and how much it spends.”
-- Trump aides say he feels betrayed by Harley-Davidson’s decision to move some of its production overseas because of European tariffs. David J. Lynch and Philip Rucker report: “His aggrieved tweetstorm — echoed in subsequent comments at the White House — made it clear that he took Harley’s action personally. But the outburst also reflected a president grappling with the effect of policies he expected to produce a more favorable outcome, say trade experts. … Trump’s sudden feud with Harley — an American manufacturer he feted at the White House just last year — pitted a company driven by financial calculation against a businessman president who takes a deeply idiosyncratic and emotional view of global commerce. … While the president complained Tuesday about Europe’s trade barriers, he has not pursued negotiations toward a new treaty that might have eliminated those facing Harley.”
-- Trump thinks the Senate should function more like it does in the fictional 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” From Politico’s John Bresnahan, Burgess Everett and Sarah Ferris: “Trump had a simple message for Senate Republicans during a meeting at the White House Tuesday: Kill the filibuster now, before [Schumer] and the Democrats do. Trump told more than 15 House and Senate GOP appropriators that Schumer, the Senate minority leader, would get rid of the legislative filibuster if Democrats took over the chamber in November. According to several lawmakers, Trump suggested that a mutual friend he shares with Schumer heard this from the New York Democrat and then passed the tidbit onto the president. In Trump’s view, Senate filibusters should only take place when a senator stands up and holds the floor. Trump mentioned ‘Mr. Smith Goes To Washington’ … as an example of how the process should operate.
- “Trump said during the meeting that keeping the filibuster in place could mean ‘the end of the party,’ according to several lawmakers who attended. Senate Democrats will block much of the GOP agenda, he said, but voters will see Republicans failing to get things done and turn against them at the polls.
- “Trump received pushback from some lawmakers, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who says historically that Republicans are far less likely to control all of government than Democrats. But other senators, such as Steve Daines of Montana and Richard Shelby of Alabama, did not defend the filibuster.
- “According to a senior GOP senator who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Schumer has privately reassured Republican senators in recent weeks that he would not change the rules and is committed to keeping the filibuster.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- U.S. officials are pushing allies to cut oil imports from Iran in the coming months — with State Department aides warning that it will grant “no waivers” on secondary sanctions levied against foreign companies that continue to do business with Tehran. Carol Morello reports: “Britain, France and Germany … say they intend to uphold their commitments and still do business with Iran. They have asked the administration to grant waivers to protect their companies in key sectors such as energy, banking, aviation and pharmaceuticals. But the administration says that door is closed … ‘We’re not granting waivers,’ [one] State Department official said. ‘What we’ve been telling them in bilateral meetings is they should be preparing now to go to zero’. … The official has already traveled to several European and Asian capitals outlining U.S. expectations, and will visit China and India next.”
-- Syrian government forces advanced into a rebel enclave, raining down airstrikes on civilians alongside Russian troops — and forcing an estimated 45,000 Syrian civilians to flee deeper into rebel-held territory. “With violence escalating, diplomats and experts warn that the pocket could become a geopolitical tinderbox capable of destabilizing neighboring Jordan and triggering a wider conflict between Israel and Iran,” Louisa Loveluck and Asma Ajroudi report. “A cease-fire agreement between the United States, Russia and Jordan had largely kept the peace for months while the Syrian army focused on rebel-held regions closer to [Damascus]. But with those conquered, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have turned their attention to Syria’s southwest.”
-- Joe Biden told The Post’s Josh Rogin that Trump’s presidency is having a devastating effect on U.S.-European alliances. “The things that are the most debilitating from the perspective of most of the Europeans is the way he conducts himself when he is with allies,” Biden said. “Several of them have said to me the degree of disrespect shown is debilitating.” The former vice president added that Trump’s actions raise skepticism about the liberal world order. “It lends itself to charlatans who take two isms — nationalism and populism — and use them to open up space to be able to abuse power,” Biden said. Asked whether those troubling trends make him want to run for president in 2020, Biden said, “It makes me feel guilty about not wanting to [run for president]. But it doesn’t make me want to. I’m not looking to live in the White House, I’ve seen it up close.” He then added: “But all kidding aside, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
-- During his visit to Brazil, Mike Pence called on Latin American countries to respect U.S. borders. Felicia Sonmez reports: “The remarks by Pence came in a joint appearance with Brazilian President Michel Temer. Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen are expected to meet with the presidents of Guatemala and Honduras and the vice president of El Salvador on Thursday in Guatemala to discuss the immigration crisis at the U.S. southern border. ‘To all the nations of the region, let me say with great respect, that just as the United States respects your borders and your sovereignty, we insist that you respect ours,’ Pence said during the appearance in Brasilia. … The remarks by Pence represent the most direct public statement to date by a member of the Trump administration to Latin American leaders on the immigration crisis.”
-- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani penned a New York Times op-ed entitled, “I Will Negotiate With the Taliban Anywhere:” “For the first time in nearly four decades of fighting, the Afghan government announced a unilateral cease-fire for eight days. The Taliban reciprocated shortly after with a cease-fire for three days over the Eid holiday. … For three days, it made no difference whether you were a Talib or an Afghan soldier; a woman or a man; a Tajik, a Pashtun or a Hazara. For three days, Afghans were united and elated by the possibility of peace. We rediscovered tolerance and acceptance within us. … The celebration was brief, as the Taliban did not reciprocate our decision to extend the unilateral cease-fire for 10 more days. But those three days showed that we must challenge our assumptions about peace in Afghanistan.”
-- “Three China Labor Watch activists arrested last year while investigating abuses at Chinese suppliers for Ivanka Trump's fashion brand were released from bail Tuesday … but questions remain about their ability to live and work freely in China,” the AP’s Erika Kinetz reports. “Last May, the activists were arrested and detained for a month as they gathered evidence of low pay and excessive overtime, as well as physical and crude verbal abuse at a Huajian Group shoe factory in the southeastern Chinese city of Ganzhou. Huajian has dismissed those allegations as false and said the men were conducting industrial espionage."
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump went after Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) again in a morning tweet:
Reversing himself again, Trump encouraged House Republicans to approve their compromise immigration bill:
Last night, Trump celebrated Crowley's primary defeat:
(In fact, many Democratic voters felt like Crowley was not tough enough in his attacks on Trump. No political operative in either party believes being nicer to Trump would have helped him win.)
Trump also expressed hope of welcoming Mitt Romney, who he once called a “choke artist,” to Washington:
And he congratulated Rep. Dan Donovan in his primary victory over Michael Grimm, who cast himself as a more ardent supporter of Trump's agenda:
Civil-rights icon John Lewis condemned the travel ban decision:
From a Senate Democrat:
A House Democrat, the first Muslim American elected to Congress, compared the decision to Japanese internment:
From an NPR correspondent:
From a former senior adviser to Barack Obama:
A former CIA director advised the GOP to find its “Watergate heroes”:
One House Republican backed Trump's repeated calls to change Senate rules:
Ivanka Trump visited Capitol Hill:
Chelsea Clinton argued against the confirmation of Robert Wilkie as VA secretary:
Trump's campaign has started fundraising off administration officials' recent encounters with protesters:
And an ABC News intern won this year's “running of the interns” at the Supreme Court:
-- “Trump comes to town, and Republicans hope he creates a red wave,” by Jenna Johnson: “Presidential visits are a big deal, no matter who is in the White House — but Trump’s arrival in a community can often feel as if he has cannonballed into a small pool, soaking anyone who is anywhere close by and leaving ripples that remain long after Air Force One has departed. Those affected are often giddy about being swept up in something so big or angered to have such a thing happen in their community.”
-- New York Times Magazine, “Jonathan Franzen Is Fine With All of It,” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner: “[To] avoid digital interaction these days is to not participate in life. If you are going to position yourself as a public intellectual, if you’re going to write novels about our modern condition, don’t you have to participate in it? But his answer was no. No. No, you absolutely don’t. You can miss a meme, [Franzen said], and nothing really changes. You can be called fragile, and you will live … People can think something about you that isn’t true, and it isn’t necessarily your job to correct them. And if you do correct them, the corrections will eat up your entire life, and then where is your life? What did you do? You don’t have to answer criticism of yourself. You don’t even have to listen to it. . . . Has anyone considered that the interaction is the fragility? Has anyone considered that letting other people define how you fill your day and what they fill your head with — a passive, postmodern stream of other people’s thoughts — is the fragility?”
-- InStyle, “16 Espressos and a 5 a.m. Call Time: A Day In The Life of NBC's Andrea Mitchell,” by Faye Penn: “Mitchell, who’s about to celebrate 40 years at NBC, remains one of Washington’s most dogged reporters, literally outrunning — and scooping — colleagues, many of whom are decades her junior. At 71, she has covered seven presidents, the nuclear arms race, and such events as the Jonestown massacre and the Three Mile Island accident, and she’s as busy as ever now as the chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News and the host of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Michael Bloomberg Considering 2020 Presidential Run,” from CBS News York: “Bloomberg considered running in 2016 as an Independent, but sources [said] that if he runs in 2020, he would run as a Democrat. … A source close to the former three-term mayor says the move is fueled in part by regret that he didn’t stay in the race in 2016, because he feels he could have either won outright or prevented [Trump] from winning. Political consultants point out the 76-year-old is making a number of key moves, including spending $80 million to help Democrats win Congressional races and collecting a lot of political IOUs in the process. But, they also say it could be an uphill battle because of his liberal policies.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“GOP congressman says he received more death threats in 2017 than in every other year combined,” from the Daily Caller: “Republican Arizona Rep. David Schweikert says he received more death threats in 2017 than every other year he’s been in office combined. ‘My fear is this is the playbook of a lot of our brothers and sisters on the left — they’re going to get fringier and fringier, louder and louder, angrier and angrier, and as you and I know, we sometimes have some folks in our society who aren’t completely healthy,’ Schweikert said while appearing on ‘Plaidcast,’ a podcast hosted by Republican Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. ‘And we had more death threats last year, in my office, even one towards my little girl, than we’ve ever had in all the other years combined,'" he said.
Trump will give a speech at a “Face-to-Face With Our Future” event and then have lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He will meet with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the White House in the afternoon and later travel to Fargo, N.D., for a rally.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Rep. Steve King said he didn’t realize he had retweeted a self-described Nazi sympathizer, but the Iowa Republican refused to apologize for sharing the tweet and said he would not delete it: “Because then it'd be like I'm admitting that I did something, now I'm sorry about it. I'm not sorry. I'm human.” (CNN)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Washingtonians could see some light showers and possibly an afternoon thunderstorm today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “We’re on the cooler side of a warm front, with highs topping out near 80 to the low 80s under partly to mostly cloudy skies. Winds from the south-southeast around 10 mph bring increasing humidity, with a few light showers possible and maybe an afternoon thunderstorm.”
-- The Nationals lost to the Rays 1-0. (Chelsea Janes)
-- Virginia State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D) leads Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) by 10 points in a new poll. The Monmouth University poll is the first released since Wexton won the primary to face off against Comstock. (Jenna Portnoy and Scott Clement)
-- Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed an executive order expanding paid family leave for state employees. Laura Vozzella reports: “Until Tuesday, Virginia provided parental leave only to employees who had given birth. And they had to use vacation time, sick time and then short-term disability, which provided only a fraction of their normal pay. The new benefits, which took effect immediately, provide eight weeks of leave at full pay to mothers and fathers alike. Workers who become parents through adoption or foster placement are also eligible.”
-- The leadership at Mount Vernon is fighting a proposed natural-gas facility to be constructed near George Washington’s former estate. Teo Armus reports: “Chet Wade, Dominion’s vice president of corporate communications, said the Charles Station compressor project would be invisible from across the river, powering a proposed electric plant and bringing natural gas to Washington Gas Light customers in the D.C. region. Still, that’s not enough to justify the project’s location to Mount Vernon President Doug Bradburn, who said the Fairfax County site tries to re-create U.S. history for more than a million visitors each year.”
-- District housing advocates delivered a petition to Congress calling on lawmakers to reject HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s plan to raise rents on those in subsidized housing. The petition, which garnered over 100,000 signatures from people across the country, was delivered to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.). (Hannah Natanson)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Late-night hosts weighed how to respond to Trump's criticisms:
Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star and Putin ally who helped broker the infamous meeting at Trump Tower, is out with a new music video with strong allusions to the Steele dossier:
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told off protesters attempting to confront her husband, Mitch McConnell, about the family separation policy:
Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre endorsed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) in a new campaign ad:
The French president met with the pope at the Vatican: