With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro
THE BIG IDEA:
LAS VEGAS — A forum for Democratic presidential candidates to discuss their plans to reduce income inequality wound up delving deeply into immigration.
The two themes are so inextricably intertwined that this was probably inevitable, especially in a state with as many Latinos as Nevada, before a crowd of union members and during the Trump era — when immigration has become such a dominant issue.
“Millions live in the shadows, working some of the toughest jobs, lucky to make a minimum wage, some not even making that. Kept in modern-day bondage, their immigration status is used as leverage to keep them down,” said former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who emphasized his roots in the border town of El Paso. “Not only have we not made progress, we've actually slid back in so many ways. Women in this country are making 80 cents on the dollar for what men are making. African American women make 61 cents on the dollar. Latinos make 53 cents on the dollar.”
O’Rourke was one of half a dozen candidates who spoke Saturday at the day-long forum sponsored by the Service Employees International Union and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The campaigns scheduled several additional events in Nevada around the forum, and immigration was at the forefront during all of them.
-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who got the most enthusiastic reception of the candidates during the SEIU cattle call, highlighted the long history of housing discrimination that Latinos have faced during a Saturday night town hall. She accused banks and other lenders of targeting immigrant communities. Warren touted a housing plan that would give government assistance to people who live in formerly redlined neighborhoods, so that they could become first-time homeowners.
“They looked at Latino neighborhoods and said, ‘Ooh, lots of people own their own homes. Let’s target them with the worst of lying, cheating subprime mortgages.’ They stripped wealth out of communities of color,” Warren told a crowd of nearly 500 people at Bonanza High School. “I don’t have to tell people in Nevada how that worked out. You were at the epicenter of this! Then, just to twist the knife one more time, these big financial institutions used the worst foreclosure practices against Latinos and African Americans. What did our government do during all of this? They couldn’t hear it. They didn’t want to hear that this was happening. Some lawsuits ultimately got settled.”
-- Speaking after the event, Warren told me that she thinks it was inappropriate for federal prosecutors to indict a Massachusetts state court judge and a former court officer last week on obstruction-of-justice charges after they allegedly prevented an ICE officer from arresting an undocumented immigrant at a courthouse. “I want to see all of the facts around it, but this is someone who’s trying to carry out the law and make sure that in her courtroom she's got people who will come and who will testify. I think that's important,” she said. “I believe that law enforcement should be carried out in a way that makes people feel safe to report a crime, to testify against those who have committed crimes, and right now in some areas that's not happening with our immigration system.”
Asked whether she supports “abolishing” ICE, Warren replied that it needs to be “reorganized significantly.”
-- One of the most powerful questions during the SEIU forum came, in Spanish, from a Guatemalan immigrant who was concerned about just that. Anabella Aguirre, a janitor in Los Angeles, said that she was raped while working and that her boss threatened to call immigration to have her deported if she reported what happened. “They think they can abuse us because we are immigrants and because we are women and because we are vulnerable,” she said. “We cannot fight this by ourselves.”
Julián Castro, who served as Barack Obama’s housing secretary, told her that his immigration plan would make it easier for victims to come forward by treating illegal immigration as a civil matter rather than a criminal problem. The former mayor of San Antonio has put out the most detailed and comprehensive immigration plan of the 20 Democratic candidates, though he’s struggled to generate grass-roots excitement.
“Lo siento. I’m sorry,” Castro told Aguirre. “We need to ensure that immigrants are no longer vulnerable in the ways that they are. People feel like they can take advantage of them because they can do whatever they want, and the person won’t go to the authorities because they don’t want to risk deportation. We should decriminalize people who are crossing the border and make that a civil penalty and not a criminal one.”
Castro leans hard on his Hispanic identity as he pitches himself, much more so than Bill Richardson did 12 years ago when he was also the only Latino candidate in the Democratic field. “The lesson of 2009 and 2010 on immigration reform is don’t wait,” said Castro. “We’re not going to wait this time, and, when we act, we will create a sense of security and protection for women.”
-- Many factions of the labor movement, specifically the AFL-CIO, have changed their tune on immigration over the past decade as immigrants came to make up more of their membership and potential recruits. The AFL-CIO, with the help of allies like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), torpedoed a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration laws during George W. Bush’s second term because of concerns about immigrants driving down wages for native-born workers, something many Latino activists have still never forgiven them for. By contrast, the SEIU was founded in Chicago by immigrant janitors and broke away from the AFL-CIO in 2005.
About 55 percent of the SEIU’s 1.9 million members are people of color, and the union represents more immigrants than any other union. SEIU’s members include foreign-born U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and immigrants who are authorized to work in the United States. Many of SEIU’s members, though, come from mixed-status families.
Miriam Pineda, a janitor from Maryland who is active in her SEIU local, came to the United States from Honduras 22 years ago through the temporary protected status program. She was a union leader at a banana boxing facility and says she was threatened with physical violence for her efforts to organize. She said one of her co-workers was killed because of the unionization activities. Pineda asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) what she’d do to make sure she never needs to go back to Honduras.
Klobuchar emphasized that, right now, it is the courts that are protecting TPS recipients from being deported en masse by Trump and that’s why it’s imperative a Democrat win the White House. “The Trump administration, when we’re at a time when we actually need workers like yourself, when we need workers in our airports, in our nursing homes and in our hospitals, they have decided in a very mean-spirited way and in a way that’s not good for our economy to turn their back on these workers,” she said. “It’s wrong. As president, I would create a permanent status.”
-- “People are woke,” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said at the forum. “The challenge will be to harness that energy … One of the biggest challenges we have right now is not the enthusiasm. … It’s about reminding people that they matter.”
Harris promised that addressing inequality of opportunity would be a top priority if she’s president. “There’s a false assumption that they’re trying to sell that everybody is starting out on the same base,” she said, referring to the Trump administration. “Well, that ain’t true! So let’s not buy what they’re trying to sell. Let’s understand that we’re trying to level the playing field.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- A milestone: Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims since taking office, and they’ve all been documented by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker team. It took the president 601 days to top 5,000. But it took him only 226 days to cross the 10,000 mark. That’s an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period. Trump was especially prone to making such claims during the rallies before the midterms, the partial government shutdown and in the wake of Bob Mueller’s report.
“In the first 100 days, Trump averaged less than five claims a day, which would have added up to about 7,000 claims in a four-year presidential term. But the tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger and larger,” Glenn Kessler, Sal Rizzo and Meg Kelly report this morning. “As of April 27, including the president’s rally in Green Bay, Wis., the tally in our database stands at 10,111 claims in 828 days. In recent days, the president demonstrated why he so quickly has piled up the claims. There was a 45-minute telephone interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News on April 25: 45 claims. There was an eight-minute gaggle with reporters the morning of April 26: eight claims. There was a speech to the National Rifle Association: 24 claims. There was 19-minute interview with radio host Mark Levin: 17 claims. And, finally, there was the campaign rally on April 27: 61 claims.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Dick Lugar, the six-term senator from Indiana who was a leading voice in U.S. foreign policy, died Sunday at 87. The Republican, defeated in a 2012 primary challenge from his right, helped stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction after the Cold War. (Michael H. Brown)
- Boeing didn’t alert Southwest Airlines and other carriers when they began flying its 737 Max jets about the deactivation of a safety feature from earlier models that warns pilots about malfunctioning sensors. FAA safety inspectors and supervisors responsible for monitoring Southwest, the largest customer of the Max jets, were also unaware of the change. Southwest found out after the Lion Air crash last October. (Wall Street Journal)
- A crane fell from a Seattle roof, killing four people and injuring four others. The crane, which was working on a new Google campus, also landed on six vehicles. (Seattle Times)
- Eight people were shot, one fatally, in Baltimore. The gunfire erupted after 5 p.m. in the city's western district. (AP)
- A Guantanamo Bay prison commander was fired weeks before he was expected to leave the job because of a “loss of confidence in his ability” to lead. Rear Adm. John C. Ring took over the role last April and was responsible for 40 detainees and 1,800 troops and civilian employees. (New York Times)
- “Avengers: Endgame” broke box-office records with a $1.2 billion debut. An estimated $350 million of that came from Canada and the U.S., where about half of the nation’s screens were dedicated to the latest blockbuster from Marvel Studios. (Wall Street Journal)
- Sean Escobar confronted and secretly recorded the man he accuses of sexually abusing him, Sundance Film Festival founder Sterling Van Wagenen. Escobar’s recording led to Van Wagenen being charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, not because of anything he did to Escobar, but because prosecutors said he molested a girl. (New York Times)
HATE IN AMERICA:
-- “The Chabad synagogue shooting victims: A rabbi, two Israelis and a ‘Woman of Valor,’” by Katie Mettler: “Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was preparing for his sermon during services Saturday morning, a series of ceremonies on the final day of Passover, when he walked into his synagogue’s banquet hall and heard the deafening bang. … Soon there were more bangs moving in his direction, which Goldstein said he realized were gunshots. The rabbi raised his hands and bullets badly mangled his fingers. Shrapnel injured two others, both Israeli nationals, before the shooter’s gun ‘miraculously jammed,’ the rabbi said. A 19-year-old man, identified by authorities as John Earnest, was chased from the synagogue and fled in a car, witnesses said. He was eventually arrested. …
“The third shooting victim, Almog Peretz, was visiting from Israel. He was attending the Chabad synagogue with his family, who moved to San Diego eight years ago from the town of Sderot, along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, to escape the onslaught of rocket fire there. Peretz, who still lives in Israel, told the local TV station Channel 12 that dodging rocket fire has become instinctual — and that those instincts helped him flee the bullets Saturday morning. One of Peretz’s nieces, Noya Dahan, 9, was injured in the face and leg by shrapnel and was treated at a hospital, her father told CNN. … The family moved to the United States nearly a decade ago to escape violence and worship in peace. Then, a few years ago, their home was spray-painted with swastikas … Dahan told CNN that his children asked him Saturday, ‘Why are we staying here?’”
-- The nature and frequency of the recent attacks on religious institutions around the world has raised troubling questions about how to fight extremism in a time of political polarization and unregulated social media use. Marc Fisher, Roxana Popescu and Kayla Epstein report: “The suspect in the Poway shooting ... apparently published a manifesto online, an increasingly common way for assailants to spread their ideologies and offer their versions of an explanation for the unthinkable. This one is a lengthy, rambling document markedly similar to the one posted by the avowed white supremacist who was charged with killing 50 people in New Zealand last month. ... Much of the statement is a litany of conspiracy theories about Jews that have been at the heart of anti-Semitism for the past two millennia: killing Jesus, controlling finance and the media, 'promoting race mixing.' ... In Poway, a suburb of 50,000 people northeast of San Diego that bills itself as 'the city in the country,' the shooting seemed to many on Sunday like a violent injection of the political poison they had so far experienced mainly through the news media.”
-- “Rise of white nationalist violence becomes an issue in 2020 presidential race,” by Felicia Sonmez and Ashley Parker: “First came Joe Biden’s campaign announcement video highlighting Trump’s ‘very fine people on both sides’ comment about the 2017 white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville that left a counterprotester dead. Then Trump dug in, arguing that he was referring not to the self-professed neo-Nazi marchers, but to those who had opposed the removal of a statue of the ‘great’ Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Less than 24 hours later came another act of violence described by authorities as a hate crime: Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue … Those events have pushed the rising tide of white nationalism to the forefront of the 2020 presidential campaign, putting Trump on the defensive and prompting even some Republicans to acknowledge that the president is taking a political risk by continuing to stand by his Charlottesville comments. ...
“According to the most recent annual report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has long tracked extremist activity, 39 of the 50 extremist-related murders tallied by the group in 2018 were committed by white supremacists, up from 2017, when white supremacists were responsible for 18 of 34 such crimes. Trump has previously played down the threat posed by white nationalism. After a gunman last month killed 49 Muslims in two consecutive mosque attacks in New Zealand, Trump was asked by a reporter whether he thought white nationalists were a growing threat around the world. ‘I don’t, really,’ Trump replied.”
-- White nationalists interrupted author Jonathan M. Metzl as he tried to talk about his book “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland.” Tom Jackman reports: “Metzl’s book explores how some lower- and middle-class white Americans are drawn to politicians who promise to improve their lives but who promote policies that place white Americans at greater risk of illness and death. His research found that people in states that rejected Medicaid expansion and blocked the full Affordable Care Act lived shorter lives and states that made it easier to buy guns saw hundreds more firearm deaths. About 10 white protesters walked into Politics and Prose shortly after Metzl began his talk at 3:30 p.m., videos posted on Twitter show. They gathered in front of Metzl, and an unidentified man with an electric megaphone declared, 'You would have the white working class trade their homeland for handouts.'”
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- Trump sees the Supreme Court as an ally and said last week the Republican-appointed justices could protect him from impeachment, sowing fresh doubts about the high court's impartiality. Robert Barnes and Josh Dawsey report: “Trump’s confidence in the high court seems borne of the fact that he’s nominated two of the five conservative justices that make up the court’s majority — Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. The president said this week he was pleased with Kavanaugh’s questioning in the census case, an adviser said. The president and the first lady are friendly with Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, having shared dinner at the White House. … Trump has referred to Supreme Court justices as Democrats and Republicans, current and former aides say, and has bragged that he thinks he may get one or two more chances to remake the court.
“Trump has told White House aides that he would take the battle over his tax returns to the high court, where he believes he would win. … And two legal advisers to the president said the White House is going to fight most subpoenas issued by House investigators and they think they will have a receptive audience at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and at the Supreme Court. … His administration’s lawyers have tried to leapfrog the legal process to seek the high court’s quick review of adverse rulings and nationwide injunctions by lower courts.”
-- Democrats and the Justice Department are in a standoff over the terms of Attorney General William Barr’s upcoming testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, raising the possibility that he may not show up at all. Karoun Demirjian and Ellen Nakashima report: “A senior Democratic committee aide said Sunday that Barr risks being subpoenaed if he refuses to testify over his objections to the lawmakers’ desired format for the hearing. … Justice Department officials have objected to Democrats’ plans to permit extended questioning, including by the committee’s lawyers, and threatened that Barr may withdraw.”
-- Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are set to meet with Trump in the Oval Office tomorrow to gauge the potential for bipartisan legislating on issues including infrastructure and reducing prescription drug prices. Congress returns today from its two-week recess, with House Democrats still split over whether to impeach the president. The president's refusal to cooperate with oversight will make it hard for him to advance his agenda through the chamber. (Mike DeBonis and Erica Werner)
-- Last month, Trump reportedly told Richard Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who is trying to access the president’s tax returns, that he wants to spend close to $2 trillion on infrastructure. (Axios)
-- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pushed back against Jared Kushner after the president's son-in-law downplayed Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying Moscow’s actions outlined in Mueller's report merit a new round of sanctions. Rachael Bade reports: “Graham said Sunday that although ‘I like Jared a lot,’ he’s ‘leaving out a big detail’ — namely that the Russians hacked the emails of the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign manager and the Democratic National Committee. ‘Can you imagine what we would be saying if the Russians or the Iranians hacked into the presidential team of the Republican Party?’ Graham asked. ‘So, no — this is a big deal. It’s not just a few Facebook ads. They were very successful in pitting one American against the other during the 2016 campaign.’” The senator, who golfed with the president on Sunday, said he still believes Trump did nothing wrong.
-- Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, fired by the president for refusing to enforce his travel ban, said Trump would probably be indicted for obstructing justice if he weren’t in the Oval Office. “I think special counsel Mueller did a very fair job in going through all 10 instances and laying out both the facts that established he had committed the crime of obstruction, but also pointing out the defenses, both legal and factual. But there are several incidents that he described to which special counsel Mueller really couldn't point to any significant factual or legal defenses,” she said during a “Meet the Press” interview.
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- The father and brothers of the suicide bomber believed to be the mastermind of the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka were killed in a battle with police. Pamela Constable and Joanna Slater report: “On the first Sunday since the attacks on three churches and on luxury hotels, Catholics watched Mass from home, as Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, broadcast services. He has suspended all Sunday Masses indefinitely in the wake of the Easter blasts. … Police said Sunday that 48 people had been arrested in the previous 24 hours in connection with the Easter bombings, which left at least 250 people dead. Among them were two men whose photos had been distributed to the public and who were discovered hiding in a shoemaking shop.”
-- Spain’s Socialist party won the country’s general election, taking control of the legislature with 123 of 350 seats. Pamela Rolfe and James McAuley report: “The win was seen as a strong endorsement of [Prime Minister Pedro] Sánchez’s unapologetic left-wing policies, which have included a pension overhaul and raising the minimum wage by 22 percent in 2019. … The Socialist party will, in theory, be able to form a governing coalition with the far-left, anti-austerity Podemos faction, and it will probably gather the necessary 176 seats by joining forces with a number of Basque regional parties. Podemos signaled its willingness to work with Sánchez, a social democrat, however reluctantly.”
-- Chinese spies, in an attempt to uncover more government secrets, are increasingly recruiting American intelligence officers. The Wall Street Journal’s Aruna Viswanatha and Dustin Volz report: “While the Trump administration has sought to emphasize the damage of Beijing’s economic espionage — an area of focus in bilateral trade talks — current and former U.S. officials say China has also grown bolder and more successful in traditional spy games, including targeting less conventional recruits. The effort is being abetted by an ocean of hacked personal data that may help pinpoint who is vulnerable to inducements … [like] former CIA case officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, [who] faces charges of conspiring to provide classified information to China and mishandling classified information. … Lee was accused last year by federal prosecutors of communicating through secret email accounts with two people he knew to be officers of China’s state security ministry.”
-- More than 270 election workers in Indonesia died mostly because of overwork and fatigue-related illnesses caused by long hours of counting millions of ballots by hand, according to the country’s election commission spokesman. Another 1,878 workers have fallen ill, he added. (The Guardian)
-- Jakarta will no longer be the capital of Indonesia. President Joko Widodo decided to relocate the capital away from the crowded city. The government has yet to pick a new location. (abc.net.au)
-- A South Korean school is enrolling illiterate grandmothers as it runs out of children to teach. The New York Times’s Choe Sang-Hun reports: “South Korea’s birthrate has been plummeting in recent decades, falling to less than one child per woman last year, one of the lowest in the world ... Like other rural schools, Daegu Elementary … has seen its students dwindle. … This year, the worst calamity of all struck the district. ‘We went around villages looking for just one precious kid to enroll as a first grader,’ said the principal, Lee Ju-young. ‘There was none.’ So Ms. Lee and local residents, desperate to save the 96-year-old school, came up with an idea: How about enrolling older villagers who wanted to learn to read and write?”
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN AND WOMEN:
-- Betsy DeVos has emerged as the unlikely survivor of Trump’s Cabinet. Laura Meckler, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey report: “Trump has privately complained about her, insulting her intelligence on several occasions, according to a former senior administration official who worked closely with Trump and another senior official who is still at the White House. Yet the president shows no signs of asking her to resign, reflecting in part his lack of interest in the issue of education and the department responsible for it. And DeVos has no interest in departing. Advisers say she is excited by the tasks ahead. After two years of mostly undoing the work of her predecessors, she has shifted to advancing her own agenda. Topping her list is a proposal for a $5-billion-a-year tax credit that would reimburse taxpayers and corporations dollar for dollar for donations to scholarship programs.”
-- Will John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser and one of the GOP’s most militant foreign policy thinkers, be able to sell an isolationist president on military force? The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins writes in a new profile of the former diplomat: “When I asked Bolton about the contrast between his views and Trump’s, he said, ‘The President knows where I stand on all the issues, because he watched me on Fox News. You have to know in advance the President’s views are not always yours. When you enter government, you know that you aren’t going to win everything.’ … Trump’s foreign policy, to the extent that he has one, tends toward isolationism, while Bolton’s is expansive but heavily unilateral, spurning allies when necessary. At times, though, unilateralism can sound a lot like America First. Both Bolton and Trump are dismissive of the international architecture of treaties and alliances, which was largely constructed by the United States following the Second World War.”
-- Stephen Moore, the president’s pick for the Federal Reserve Board, apologized for some of the offensive comments he's made about women. Heather Long reports: Moore recently came under scrutiny for columns he wrote in the National Review arguing that female athletes were seeking “equal pay for inferior work” and that only good-looking women should be allowed to be referees or sports reporters. “Moore was adamant that he didn’t think his past statements about women should disqualify him from the Fed. He called articles about his past a ‘character assassination,’ likening it to what [Kavanaugh] went through during his confirmation process. Conservative firm CRC Public Relations is helping to promote Moore and craft his messaging, much as it did for Kavanaugh last year. ‘I’m not saying I’m an angel, but I’m just saying that these kinds of things don’t have a lot to do with whether I’m qualified to be on the Federal Reserve Board and setting interest rates,’ Moore [said].”
-- The Environmental Protection Agency published a 150-page document telling communities to start planning for increasingly damaging natural disasters strengthened by climate change. “The language, included in guidance on how to address the debris left in the wake of floods, hurricanes and wildfires, is at odds with the rhetoric of the EPA’s own leader, Andrew Wheeler,” Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. “Just last month, Wheeler said in an interview with CBS that ‘most of the threats from climate change are 50 to 75 years out.’ … The document published Wednesday in the Federal Register repeatedly makes the link between climate change and more-severe floods, wildfires and storms. While the White House struck one phrase attributing extreme weather events to climate change, the document still refers to ‘climate change’ and ‘a changing climate’ 22 times. … The guidance is directed toward ‘communities at increased risk from natural disasters due to climate change,’ according to the document, which included a section titled ‘Incorporate Climate Change Adaptation into Debris Management Planning.’ Asked about the document Friday, the EPA declined to comment.”
-- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to hike the smoking age to 21 may actually hand a big win to Big Tobacco. Politico's Renuka Rayasam, Rachana Pradhan and Sarah Owermohle report: “McConnell pledged last week to introduce legislation to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, calling it a 'top priority' when the Senate returns from recess in late April. The move quickly drew surprising enthusiasm from cigarette and vaping manufacturers, who pledged to throw their considerable weight behind his initiative. But in some states, legislation to raise the age to buy tobacco-related products has supplanted flavor bans, which would cut into the profits of industry giants like Altria and Juul. The industry-backed bills also have halted broader pushes to bar menthol cigarettes or boost state taxes enough to dissuade potential smokers. Some would even exempt tobacco products that aren't yet on the market.”
MORE ON 2020:
-- New this morning: “Trump’s strongest case for reelection remains the country’s healthy economy, but the potency of that issue for him is complicated by a widespread belief that the economy mainly benefits people already in power, a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds,” per Seung Min Kim and Scott Clement. “This sentiment runs the deepest among Democratic and independent registered voters, but also exists among a significant slice of Republicans. About 8 in 10 Democrats and more than 6 in 10 independents say the country’s economic system gives an advantage to those already in power, while nearly a third of Republicans share that view. The survey finds broad dissatisfaction with the country’s economic and political systems. Overall, 60 percent of all voters say the country’s economic system mainly benefits those in power, while 72 percent say the same for the nation’s political structures. …
“Of four issues that were at the core of Trump’s first presidential campaign — the economy, illegal immigration, health care and trade — only the economy appears to be a clear asset for the president. The survey finds that 42 percent of registered voters say Trump’s handling of the economy makes them more likely to vote for him in 2020, while 32 percent say it makes them less likely to support him. Independents similarly give Trump a positive grade on his management of the economy by a 10-point margin. Among Republicans, the economy is the clearest positive motivator to reelect Trump, with 78 percent of GOP voters saying it makes them more likely to back him.”
-- There is no clear front-runner, and this race is wide open. Asked in our poll to name the candidate they support, 54 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents did not volunteer anyone. Despite everything that’s happened over the past three months, this is basically unchanged since January. Only 13 percent of Democrats said they back Joe Biden, followed by 9 percent who support Sanders.
-- The International Association of Fire Fighters endorsed Biden this morning. No surprise there.
-- Klobuchar, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said she was captivated by Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings and said that episode will follow Biden throughout the 2020 primaries. Klobuchar told Andrea Mitchell, guest hosting for Chuck Todd, that she’s sure Biden will have to continue addressing Hill. Klobuchar said she watched “every moment of that hearing” as a young lawyer. “It was actually the first letter I ever wrote to my senator, and I wrote a letter saying, ‘I want you to vote against Clarence Thomas, I believe Anita Hill.’ I sent that letter and my senator ended up voting for Clarence Thomas, but it motivated me to get involved in politics, as it did so many other women.”
-- Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) also urged Biden to apologize directly to Hill for how she was “terribly treated” during the donnybrook. (Politico)
-- Democrats in Wall Street are having a meltdown over their 2020 candidates, as they are having trouble settling on a candidate to throw money behind. New York magazine’s Gabriel Debenedetti reports: “The candidates who had long cultivated relationships with Wall Street — such as Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand — were struggling to gain traction and had grown more hostile to finance as their party had, too. Biden, leading in early polls, had a comforting history in the Obama White House and a reputation as an Establishment Democrat but had never, until a few months ago, maintained any meaningful relationship with Wall Street, hadn’t even announced his candidacy yet, and struck many bankers as a dubious bet to beat Trump. Nearly everyone else in the field, the financiers felt, was being pulled leftward by Bernie … and Elizabeth Warren (less crazy, Democrats on Wall Street think, and way more competent). ‘She would torture them,’ one banker told me.”
THE TRADE WARS:
-- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said trade negotiations with China are in their “final laps” as an American delegation heads to Beijing this week to try to finalize the deal. The New York Times’s Alan Rappeport reports: Mnuchin “said that while the two sides are closer to an agreement, more work remains to be done, and that the talks are nearing a point where they would either produce a deal or end with no agreement. … Mr. Mnuchin declined to predict whether the negotiations would be wrapped up by the end of June but said he believes that both countries want to reach a deal. He also would not say if a breakdown in the talks would lead Mr. Trump to impose more tariffs.”
-- Trump’s new NAFTA — the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — faces mounting resistance in the House. The Wall Street Journal’s William Mauldin reports: “Democrats said they want to make it easier to enforce new rules designed to strengthen labor rights in Mexico, saying a lack of worker protections there is hurting wages and job prospects for U.S. workers. Trump administration officials said these concerns can be handled in follow-up legislation that would implement the [USMCA] … In an interview with Canada’s Global Television Network on Sunday, Bank of Canada Gov. Stephen Poloz said business confidence in that country remains uncertain. … In general, Mexico is reluctant to reopen USMCA to changes, fearing a ‘Pandora’s box’ of demands from businesses and interest groups in all three countries.”
-- In an op-ed for today’s Wall Street Journal, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says Congress won’t approve Trump’s deal if constituents have to pay for any Mexican or Canadian retaliation: “A significant roadblock is the administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum and retaliatory Canadian and Mexican tariffs on U.S. products. These levies are a tax on Americans, and they jeopardize USMCA’s prospects of passage in the Mexican Congress, Canadian Parliament and U.S. Congress. Canadian and Mexican trade officials may be more delicate in their language, but they’re diplomats. I’m not. If these tariffs aren’t lifted, USMCA is dead. …Mexican tariffs on U.S. pork, to take one example, have lowered the value of live hogs by $12 an animal. Iowa is the top pork-producing state in the country. That means jobs, wages and communities are hurt every day these tariffs continue—as I hear directly from Iowans. It’s time for the tariffs to go.”
THE CULTURE WARS:
-- Oliver North was ousted as president of the NRA after he was confronted by board members about outlandish payments to a law firm, a lawsuit against the group's PR firm and reports on alleged financial mismanagement. Katie Zezima and Colby Itkowitz report: “The announcement by North, who said he created a committee to look into the organization’s finances, came a day after NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre issued his own letter to the NRA’s board claiming North had attempted to extort him ... Much of the internal strife within the organization appears to stem from a lawsuit the NRA filed against Ackerman McQueen. The firm is largely responsible for the NRA’s image, helping push the organization toward its current, divisive tack on gun ownership.”
-- Calling into Fox News on Sunday morning, Trump said that ending the practice of separating children from their parents at border crossings has been “a disaster” because the threat to break up families had served as an effective “disincentive” to enter the country illegally. “Now you don’t get separated, and while that sounds nice and all, what happens is you have literally you have 10 times as many families coming up because they’re not going to be separated from their children,” Trump told Maria Bartiromo, who was reporting from the border.
“Although U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows a significant rise in illegal immigration since the family separation practice ended this past June amid a public outcry, it shows the number of illegal crossings is now six times as high rather than 10 times as high,” per Kimberly Kindy, Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti.
-- During a rally in Wisconsin, Trump falsely claimed that doctors “execute babies” and admonished the state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, for vetoing a Republican bill that could imprison doctors if they fail to give medical care to a child born alive after an abortion attempt. The New York Times’s Chris Cameron reports: “The comments are the latest in a long string of incendiary statements from the president on abortion … In Wisconsin, only 1 percent of all abortions in 2017 occurred after 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the most recent annual report from the state’s Department of Health Services. The numbers are similarly low at the national level. … The Times found that infants are rarely born alive after abortion procedures … Moreover, The Times reported, doctors do not kill the infants who survive, although families may choose not to take extreme measures to resuscitate them.”
-- Trump also praised the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, Nick Bosa, who is white and supports him, but did not mention the No. 1 pick, Kyler Murray, who is black. Cindy Boren reports: “Trump had earlier tweeted his support for Bosa, the former Ohio State defensive end who had previously called Colin Kaepernick ‘a clown’ and Trump and Ronald Reagan GOATs (greatest of all time) in tweets. … Ahead of the draft, Bosa had sought to downplay the political tweets, noting to ESPN that ‘I might end up in San Francisco,’ playing for Kaepernick’s former team and in a city known to be politically liberal. Trump probably complicated his arrival in the Bay Area, but Bosa had sought to downplay his leanings when he met with reporters who cover the Niners.”
-- Some anti-vaxxers are citing a 1969 “Brady Bunch” episode to defend their views against vaccinations, and some of the show’s stars are not happy about it. On the fictional show, the whole family gets sick with measles, stays home without going to the doctor and survives, a story line anti-vaxxers have circulated online. Maureen McCormick, who played one of the Bradys, said this is not an accurate portrayal of what it's like to be sick with the disease. (NPR)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
A CNN reporter compared presidential approval ratings at this point in a term:
Average presidential approval ratings through this point in term via ABC/Post and Gallup polling:— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) April 27, 2019
W Bush 71%
HW Bush 70%
Trump supporters at his Wisconsin rally weren’t too happy when he suggested celebrating Canada in song:
LOL -- Trump's fans boo after he suggests they sing "Oh Canada" together pic.twitter.com/WuTldeIL67— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 28, 2019
Trump said he spoke to the rabbi who fell victim to a shooter in California:
I spoke at length yesterday to Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Chabad of Poway, where I extended my warmest condolences to him and all affected by the shooting in California. What a great guy. He had a least one finger blown off, and all he wanted to do is help others. Very special!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2019
Bernie Sanders lashed out against Trump’s false antiabortion claims:
This is completely false, and what a pathological liar and misogynist sounds like when he talks about abortion. Together, we must respect a woman’s right to control her own body. https://t.co/KQZ9JHgPbE— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 28, 2019
Pete Buttigieg mourned the death of his home state’s longtime senator:
He was never too important to make time for a young Hoosier public servant of either party. And I have never seen a Senator’s office so filled with books.— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) April 28, 2019
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) spent the day golfing with the president:
Presidential candidate Julián Castro made fun of his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.):
Julián Castro at a Vegas house party for his campaign, joking about how @JoaquinCastrotx shaved his beard. “His approval ratings were plummeting because he didn’t look like me anymore.” pic.twitter.com/OlFf8pMMER— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) April 27, 2019
Elizabeth Warren's new merch assures voters that she has a plan:
A Post reporter shared this Kellyanne Conway moment:
A Democratic senator from Hawaii gave some advice:
Nazis are very bad and if you are unsure who to vote for in 2020 figure out which way they are going and go in the opposite direction.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 28, 2019
A New York Daily News columnist pointed out that a ceremony Trump is expected to skip, breaking years of tradition, will celebrate a black man:
This year's National Teacher of the Year is a black man https://t.co/Dap3ZdHCrQ— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) April 28, 2019
National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson is an educator at Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. (Debbie Truong and Perry Stein)
A Post reporter noted that Maryland's Republican governor — who is looking into a 2020 run — had previously said “no” to the White House Correspondents Association dinner:
And a Post reporter shared this memory of the late senator Lugar (R):
July ‘08, an Obama ad touted his diplomatic work with Lugar, who was backing McCain.— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) April 28, 2019
I raced to an unrelated presser & shouted Q to Lugar, expecting him to denounce the ad.
“I’m pleased we had the chance to work together,” Lugar said.
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Atlanta Magazine, “Why are so many people getting rare cancers in this small Georgia town?” by Joshua Sharpe: “In late 2015, the Georgia Department of Public Health said it could find no link among the children’s cancer cases. Then it backtracked and said more investigation was needed. In December, the federal government stepped in. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it would work alongside state officials in evaluating contamination at the railroad yard as well as an Atlanta Gas Light property that once held a power plant, which was torn down after closing 60 years ago. At the heart of the inquiry was a simple question: Had toxins on the properties contaminated nearby land, and, if so, could they be dangerous to the public? But the implications of the investigation were vast. It forced the community to consider whether the industries that gave it life could now be taking lives back.”
-- Texas Monthly, “Faith, Friendship, and Tragedy at Santa Fe High,” by Skip Hollandsworth: “Joleen and Jason assumed that their daughter would have trouble adjusting to life at a public high school with 1,500 students. Instead, Jaelyn came home on that first day of school, a smile on her face, talking excitedly about meeting a girl from Pakistan. As Joleen began fixing dinner, Jaelyn retreated to her bedroom, where she kept five Bibles on her bookshelf. She googled Pakistan and learned that it is in South Asia, bordered on one side by India and China and on the other by Afghanistan and Iran. She also read that almost all of Pakistan’s 200 million residents are Muslim. Jaelyn returned downstairs, walked into the kitchen, and told Joleen that Sabika was likely a Muslim. 'You know, Mom,' she said, 'I’ve never met a Muslim.' 'Well, maybe God has put you together for a reason,' Joleen said. 'Who knows? Maybe the two of you will become friends.'”
-- The New Yorker, “The Airbnb invasion of Barcelona,” by Rebecca Mead: “The growth of Airbnb and the rise of such budget airlines as Ryanair have coincided with Barcelona’s increasing popularity. ... One neighborhood of Barcelona that has been particularly affected by the phenomenon is the Raval, a section of the old town west of La Rambla, the famed pedestrian thoroughfare. The Raval, which is less than half a mile square, was historically poor and densely populated, its narrow streets lined with tall tenement-style buildings. .. On an Airbnb map, however, the area could be presented as chic: it was close to the best bars and restaurants in the Raval, and it was a ten-minute walk to the Boquería food market, which has been so swamped by visitors that venders have resorted to planting 'not a tourist attraction' signs among their unintentionally photogenic displays of fruit and vegetables. 'If you put a tourist apartment there, you can rent it quite easily,' Quaglieri went on. 'And once there is one, or two, or three, or four, it changes the street.'"
HOT ON THE LEFT
“New group launches to harness political power of women,” from the AP's Julie Pace: “Three of the nation’s most influential activists are launching an organization that aims to harness the political power of women to influence elections and shape local and national policy priorities. Dubbed Supermajority, the organization is the creation of Cecile Richards, the former head of Planned Parenthood; Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; and Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The group, which describes itself as multiracial and intergenerational, has a goal of training and mobilizing 2 million women over the next year to become organizers and political leaders in their communities.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“AOC accuses Kellyanne Conway of trying to 'stoke suspicion' about her faith,” from Fox News's Nicole Darrah: “In a back-and-forth exchange on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez asked why Conway would note that she didn't tweet about the bombings, which left more than 250 people dead. 'Are you trying to imply that I am less Christian? What was the point of you bringing this up on national TV?' the lawmaker asked, alongside a jab about how she was visiting her grandmother in Puerto Rico, 'which continues to suffer from the White House's incompetent disaster response.' ... In her response, Conway said it was 'good' that Ocasio-Cortez condemned the attacks, as she 'found it odd a prolific tweeter was silent' on the topic. The Trump confidante said that both women agree on the idea that places of worship should remain unharmed.”
Trump and Pence will have lunch together before the president welcomes the Baylor Lady Bears, this year's NCAA Division I women’s basketball national champions, to the White House.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“The fact of the matter is, Robert E. Lee was a great tactician — [but he] was not a great person. Robert E. Lee was a slave owner and a brutal slave master. Thankfully, he lost that war. And I find it kind of interesting that the president is now glorifying a loser. He always said that he hated losers. Robert E. Lee was a loser.” — House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Trump’s praise for the Confederate general. (Felicia Sonmez)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- It’s a little chilly for April, but the sun will still shine. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “As we exit April and enter May this week, spring and summer tug back and forth. Today it’s more springlike, but Tuesday and Thursday present a taste of summer. Because fronts are frequently moving in and out of the area, showers are possible from time to time — and perhaps a few storms.”
-- The Nationals beat the Padres 7-6. (Jesse Dougherty)
-- A rare Guam kingfisher, a bird considered extinct in the wild, was hatched at a Virginia facility. “The Smithsonian’s National Zoo said only about 140 of the kingfishers exist in human care, so 'every chick is extremely precious.'" (Martin Weil)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Jordan Klepper got Hillary Clinton to read portions of the Mueller report:
Samantha Bee held an alternate White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and roasted the president:
Trevor Noah took a look at McDonald's AARP initiative: