Four moments put the left’s ascendency in stark relief and showcased the degree to which this is not your parents’ Democratic Party:
1) Elizabeth Warren advocated for a government takeover of health care.
NBC anchor Lester Holt asked all 10 candidates: “Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?” Warren, the only candidate on stage who has been polling in double digits nationally, and Bill de Blasio, the mayor of the nation’s largest city, raised their hands. This set the tone for the night.
“I’m with Bernie [Sanders] on Medicare-for-all,” Warren said, referring to the democratic socialist who still polls above her. “I understand there are a lot of politicians who say, ‘Oh, it’s not possible.’ … What they’re really telling you is they just won’t fight for it.”
Others, including Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke, said it does not make sense to take away private health insurance from people who want to keep their doctors and the status quo. Looking to get attention from the left end of the stage, de Blasio went after the former Texas congressman: “Private insurance is not working for tens of millions of Americans. Why are you defending private insurance?”
Everyone running advocates for ideas that go beyond the Affordable Care Act. Though only two of the 10 candidates raised their hands when it came to the idea of abolishing private insurance, the others advocated for some version of universal coverage that goes beyond what Obamacare offers. Remember, passing the ACA was by no means an easy lift. It cost Democrats the House in 2010 and, nine years later, continues to be litigated in the courts.
“One hundred million Americans say they like their private health insurance,” said John Delaney, the former Maryland congressman, who has been struggling to get traction in the race. “We should give everyone in this country health care as a basic human right for free. Full stop. But we should also give them the option to buy private insurance. Why do we have to stand for taking away something from people? I think we should be the party that keeps what’s working and fixes what’s broken.”
2) Julián Castro ripped O’Rourke for not supporting the decriminalization of illegal immigration.
The former housing secretary and San Antonio mayor challenged his rivals to join him in supporting the repeal of Section 1325 of the decades-old Immigration and Nationality Act. He would change the law so that crossing the border illegally is not a federal offense subject to criminal penalties. “Don’t criminalize desperation,” Castro said.
“I agree with Secretary Castro,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio.)
Cory Booker also endorsed the idea of ending criminal penalties for illegally crossing the border, as Warren did the day before. “Our country has made so many mistakes by criminalizing things, whether it’s immigration, whether it’s mental illness, whether it’s addiction,” the New Jersey senator said.
Asked what he’d do, O’Rourke – who represented a House district on the border, including El Paso – began to explain that he introduced legislation in Congress so asylum seekers and refugees would not face criminal penalties.
But Castro cut him off. He attacked his fellow Texan, whom he campaigned for last fall along the Rio Grande, as out of his depth. “I think that you should do your homework on this issue,” Castro told him. “If you did your homework on this issue, you would know that we should repeal this section.”
Klobuchar dodged when asked if she agrees with Castro, promising to study the proposal. “I don’t make all the promises that everyone up here makes,” the Minnesotan said later.
Since they’re already in Miami, many of the 2020 candidates are visiting a children’s migrant shelter that’s about 20 miles from the debate site. Warren and Klobuchar went yesterday. So did Jane Sanders. O’Rourke will go today. Kamala Harris said she’s planning to visit Friday. Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand and Castro also announced visits for the remainder of this week.
3) Booker chastised his rivals for not supporting a proposal to require licenses for all gun owners.
The candidates tried to outdo one another in calling for stricter gun controls. “There's one thing we don't all agree with when it comes to guns, and I think it's common sense,” Booker said, not naming names, after a chorus of candidates called for steps like strengthening background checks. “If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and own a firearm.”
Anyone who has engaged extensively with voters in red states understands that calling for a registry of guns, which a licensing system would necessitate, is a political nonstarter. With the National Rifle Association struggling, the specter of such a system could be a surefire way for the gun lobby to reanimate its membership. Democrats who have been involved in the gun control wars of the last several decades privately grumble that Booker’s ideas could cause a backlash and motivate the GOP base.
Asked about confiscating guns from people who already have them, Warren was noncommittal either way. She said she wants the federal government to study what makes sense. “Guns in the hands of a collector who has had them for decades … is very different from guns that could and do turn over very quickly,” she said, adding that gun violence should be treated like a national health emergency.
For her part, Klobuchar boasted about advocating an assault weapons ban, even though she represents “a proud hunting and fishing state.” She said she looks at proposals like that and asks herself: “Does this hurt my Uncle Dick and his deer stand?”
4) No one advocated for any limits on abortion rights.
Abortion came up, but there really was no debate. The kerfuffle that prompted Joe Biden to flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment earlier this month and endorse taxpayer funding for abortions underscores the polarization in each party around reproductive rights. Would Bob Casey Sr. be welcomed in today’s Democratic Party?
Warren was asked what limits she’d put on abortion and made clear that her answer is none. The former Harvard law professor said women should have the ability to obtain the “full range” of services.
“It stood in contrast to one of the most memorable moments of the 2016 presidential debates, when Hillary Clinton endorsed abortion through the end of the third trimester of a pregnancy,” Emma Green notes in the Atlantic. “These are the policy areas where most abortion fights actually happen at the federal level.”
Castro called for “reproductive justice,” a concept he said goes beyond reproductive rights: “What that means is that just because a woman — or let's also not forget someone in the trans community, a trans female – is poor does not mean they shouldn't have the right to exercise that right to choose.”
“I am the only candidate here who has passed a law protecting a woman’s right of reproductive health in health insurance,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
“I just want to say,” Klobuchar replied, “there’s three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose.”
-- “At times the evening carried whiffs of the 1970s, with promises to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and several references to ‘industrial policy,’ a phrase that was in vogue then but less so these days,” John Harris observes in Politico. “But the debate seemed almost entirely to skip over the 1990s, when Bill Clinton stood for a brand of progressive centrism that often blurred ideological edges, emphasized free trade and fiscal discipline, and took a more supportive stance toward business. … At times, NBC moderators seemed to be exploring for ideological friction, and several questions seemed on the theme of, Are you worried your opponent is too far out there? But they often had trouble getting takers.”
-- “It’s very clear the candidates understand the so-called Overton window on policy has shifted, and they’re all tripping over themselves to get through it,” said Robert Hockett, an expert in public policy at Cornell University, referring to a term about the range of ideas considered acceptable. Even Delaney, considered the most centrist candidate in the race, emphasized liberal ideas such as raising the minimum wage and enacting paid family leave. Jeff Stein flags several additional examples of "the arms race to the left" from last night’s debate:
- Klobuchar was asked why she opposed plans from Sanders to make public colleges tuition-free. She confirmed her opposition but emphasized in her response that her education policies would dramatically expand Pell Grants while making it much easier for students to pay off their loans.
- O’Rourke was twice asked by the debate moderators whether he would support a 70 percent top marginal tax rate on the highest-income earners. That rate would have been unthinkable even to Democratic policymakers a few years ago but has been brought to the forefront of the liberal debate by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). O’Rourke did not answer the question.
- Booker deflected when asked about his prior remarks that politicians should avoid demonizing corporations by name. “I feel very strongly about the need to check the corporate consolidation,” the senator from New Jersey replied. “I will single out companies like Halliburton or Amazon that pay nothing in taxes, and our need to change that.”
-- Even Sanders, who will appear in tonight’s debate, has moved leftward to catch up with the restive base of the party. The plan he unveiled on Monday to forgive all student loan debt goes much further than what he proposed in 2016. The Vermont independent helped torpedo the liberalization of the immigration laws when George W. Bush was president, siding with labor unions who were concerned about cheap labor over Latinos who wanted to work in this country, but he’s spent the last few years trying to atone with Hispanics for this apostasy.
Hailing from a rural state, Sanders benefited from the National Rifle Association attacking his Republican opponent when he ran for Congress in 1990. He voted against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1993 and to give immunity to gun manufacturers from lawsuits in 2003 and 2005. These were major liabilities in 2016. Since launching his second bid for the White House, he’s emphasized his support for an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and ending gun show loopholes.
WAPO TEAM COVERAGE:
-- Booker walked away with the most airtime (10.9 minutes), while O’Rourke was on his heels (10.3). Warren clocked in third with just over nine minutes. “Unlike Booker and O’Rourke, among others, Warren refrained from interrupting fellow candidates,” our colleagues who kept track noted. Inslee spoke only 5.0 minutes, less than everyone else. Castro got 8.8 minutes, Klobuchar got 8.5, Ryan got 7.7 minutes, Tulsi Gabbard and Delaney got 6.6 apiece, and de Blasio spoke for 5.6 minutes. (Read the full transcript of the debate here.)
-- The Post's Fact Checker team says the 10 candidates rarely strayed over the line when it came to correctly citing statistics. “Only a handful of the stats were stretched past the breaking point. Instead, most ranged from mostly or partly true,” per Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Meg Kelly. They looked into 13 statements that caught their attention.
-- Lesser-known candidates struggled to claw their way into the conversation. Chelsea Janes reports: “Moderator Savannah Guthrie tried to move to a commercial, but a male voice interrupted. It was [de Blasio] trying to get in a word on about Iran. Guthrie smiled, pledging to return soon to the ‘very anxious candidates.’ It was one of several awkward moments. ... Delaney tried to elbow his way into discussions over and over, including at the end of a long back-and-forth on immigration, of which he had not been a part. ‘Can we talk about the conditions about why people are coming here?’ Delaney asked. The moderators moved on to other candidates. ‘My grandfather was actually separated from his family when he came to this country,’ Delaney called over the noise. ‘We’re going to talk about Iran now,’ Lester Holt said, and Delaney had to wait.”
-- Chief correspondent Dan Balz does not think there were any race-changing moments: The debate “offered a clear road map of a new Democratic Party, one that favors a series of ambitious and liberal domestic initiatives and that is more willing than some Democrats of the past to use the powers of the federal government to intervene in the economy,” he writes. “Whether the Democrats put their best face forward was another question, however. The debate was often marred by squabbling, interruptions, and candidates talking over one another and ignoring time limits. The often fractious tone highlighted the stakes for many of those on the stage who have struggled for attention during the first months of the campaign. … With 10 candidates, five moderators and answers limited to one minute, the opportunity for doing much beyond offering introductions was limited.”
-- “The first debate showed Democrats are far more in consensus than at odds,” writes columnist E.J. Dionne Jr.: “In truth, Democrats could feel good about this batch of candidates, the substance of the conversation, and the fact that — despite a lively divide on single-payer health care — the party is far more in consensus than at odds. It was impossible to watch this serious exchange of views and not ponder the 2016 Republican debates and their dominance by Donald Trump and his antics. No Democrat (and we can be thankful for this) tried to stand out in the ways Trump did. Their swipes at each other, such as they were, were mostly subtle, respectful and substantive. No talk of small hands or low energy. Perhaps that reflects a collective Democratic campaign promise: No more indecency, no more recklessness — and, it is not too much to say, no more idiocy.”
-- “NBC’s technical glitch was bad. But the debate’s overall chaos was far worse,” writes media columnist Margaret Sullivan: “Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow had barely taken their places for Hour Two of the first Democratic debate when things went horribly wrong. The wrong mics were on, strange voices seemed to pipe in from the great beyond, and a hugely important question about gun violence was repeated, to no avail, as the whole tableau of candidates onstage looked confused. … But soon the glitch was resolved, the question was asked a third time, and it was back to the real chaos, not the technical kind. With 10 candidates onstage and five moderators in two shifts, the debate offered way too much — and yet, somehow, not enough.”
-- Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) didn’t qualify to get onstage, yet he still showed up in Miami in search of the spotlight. But he said he won’t race to the left to win votes. Robert Costa reports: “’I’m not going around doing crazy things just looking for a viral moment,’ Moulton said. ‘The case I’m making to the American people is that I’m not a crazy leader. I’m someone that you can trust, and you’re not going to agree with me on everything.’ On immigration, for instance, Moulton took a more moderate position than [Warren]. ‘If you cross the border illegally, then that’s illegal,’ Moulton said. ‘I want a system that encourages them to come legally. I think that that plan would do the opposite.’”
OTHER MEMORABLE MOMENTS:
-- Three of the candidates broke into Spanish – to mixed reviews. “He’s either trying to lock up the Hispanic vote or he’s running for embarrassing dad at a Mexican restaurant,” Stephen Colbert quipped about O’Rourke. Booker has previously said that he learned the language during an immersion program in Ecuador. “He sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger learning Rosetta Stone,” Jimmy Fallon said on NBC. Castro, like fellow Texas Hispanic Ted Cruz, has been open about not being fluent in Spanish, but he still started his closing statement by introducing himself, “Me llamo Julián Castro,” and ending with “On January 20, 2021, we’ll say adios to Donald Trump.” (Allyson Chiu rounds up more reaction.)
-- NBC’s Chuck Todd asked each candidate to name the biggest geopolitical threat facing the United States: Interestingly, de Blasio was the only one who mentioned Russia. Delaney, Gabbard and Castro said nuclear proliferation. Klobuchar was the only person to name Iran. O'Rourke, Warren, Booker and Castro mentioned climate change. "China, without a question,” said Ryan. Inslee kept his answer short: “Donald Trump.”
-- The candidates spent less than 10 minutes talking about climate change. HuffPost’s Alexander Kaufman laments: “At an event in Miami ― a city already facing disastrous sea level rise and where a wildfire is raging just 30 miles northwest ― a handful of candidates raised the issue unsolicited. But NBC’s moderators waited an hour and 22 minutes to ask any questions about climate change. Only five of the 10 candidates onstage had a chance to respond to four questions on the issue directed at individual contenders, making it impossible to compare everyone’s stances. Discussion of a topic that only first came up 10:22 p.m. local time ended abruptly at 10:29 p.m.”
-- De Blasio used his son to address policing and race. USA Today’s Maureen Groppe reports: “‘For the last 21 years I’ve been raising a black son in America,” said de Blasio, who is white, referencing his son, Dante. ‘I have had to have very, very serious talks with my son including how to deal with the fact that he has to take special caution.’ … De Blasio also referenced the police shooting in South Bend, Indiana, of a black man by a white officer that Buttigieg – who is on stage Thursday – has been struggling with. ‘There have been too many tragedies between our young men and our police, as we saw recently in Indiana,’ he said.”
WHAT PUNDITS ARE SAYING ABOUT WINNERS AND LOSERS:
-- The Fix’s Aaron Blake names Warren, Castro and de Blasio as the winners of the debate. Other winners: raise-your-hand questions, Klobuchar’s one-liners, Biden (he didn’t get attacked in absentia) and the Spanish language. Blake’s losers are Gabbard and O’Rourke: “The whole thing reinforced the narrative that O’Rourke is somewhat out of his depth on policy.”
-- “Booker had a number of moments that came across powerfully on television. … Klobuchar managed the difficult trick of appearing both firm and likable,” writes the New Republic’s Walter Shapiro.
-- “Warren and Castro led the way,” according to the Associated Press’s Juana Summers and Nicholas Riccardi: “The question is whether Warren and Castro’s performances still stand out after night two of the Democratic debate on Thursday, when Joe Biden and nine other candidates take the stage.”
-- CNN analyst Chris Cillizza says Castro, Warren and Booker won. As for losers: Cillizza found O’Rourke “hard to watch,” thought Klobuchar “never really got started” and said de Blasio would win the Olympic gold medal for “interrupting as rudely as possible.”
-- Blogger Jennifer Rubin thinks Booker and Klobuchar won. Her losers are de Blasio, Gabbard, Ryan and O’Rourke.
-- “It felt like the women won. … Warren and Klobuchar were the stars of the night,” writes New York Times columnist Gail Collins: “Warren was very strong on the issues — her passionate attacks on big oil, big pharma and big private prison operators have really gotten sort of operatic. And Klobuchar had some of the best lines, including her critique on Donald Trump’s Iran agenda: ‘I don’t think we should conduct foreign policy in our bathrobe at 5 in the morning.’”
-- “Warren treaded water, Booker and Castro found their grooves, de Blasio vented his anger and may have created some buzz, O’Rourke had a terrible night, and everybody else on the bottom stayed on the bottom,” writes National Review’s Jim Geraghty. “Everyone expected Warren to be the big target of the evening, but it appears the rest of the candidates on the stage chickened out. … Beto is thoroughly underwhelming as a debater and wildly overrated as a public speaker. Answering the first question in Spanish, unprompted, looked like a pandering gimmick.”
-- Castro finally managed to break out from the pack, Insider’s Joe Perticone posits: “Castro became a massive trending topic, producing viral moments and pushing the rest of the candidates on stage on key issues. … During the debate, interest in Castro skyrocketed as he commanded the stage. According to Google Trends, search interest in the former Obama administration cabinet official exploded 2,400%.”
-- “Democrats began sorting wheat from chaff. Beto was chaff,” says the Guardian’s Moira Donegan: “O’Rourke delivered canned, non-specific answers that seemed passionless and rehearsed. He had the under-slept, over-anxious aura of a college kid who had stayed up all night cramming for an exam.”
-- O’Rourke was, by far, the biggest loser, Mediaite also argues: “O’Rourke was nervous. He swallowed too much. He was intimidated when challenged. And his early tactic of speaking Spanish to answer a tax question came off as pandering.”
-- Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight guesses that the debate won’t move the needle all that much, “other than maybe a modest bump for like Gabbard and Castro or something.”
MOST POST-DEBATE COMMENTARY IS ABOUT WARREN:
-- “Warren proved she’s ready for the big show,” argues Vox’s Matthew Yglesias on the left: “Warren skillfully hewed to a moderate course while still sounding like a solid progressive. It’s not easy to pull that off. And it’s what it takes to win a presidential election.”
-- “Warren stands alone,” says Slate’s Jim Newell: “While I think she got robbed by not landing on a stage with her equals in the first tier, she did the best she could with the card she had been dealt: She rose above the thirst.”
-- “Warren's Polished Progressivism Dominated,” Robby Soave writes for the libertarian magazine Reason. “The other candidates also pandered to the left—they just didn't sound as polished.”
-- “Warren won the debate. Trump should be happy,” argues Washington Examiner’s Tom Rogan on the right: “Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren. She might be the candidate that gets Democrats excited, but the senator from Massachusetts faces a sharp challenge in the general election.”
-- “Why I Was Wrong About Elizabeth Warren,” by the Times’s Nicholas Kristof: “As the Democratic presidential campaign began, I was deeply skeptical of Elizabeth Warren. My first objection was that she appeared to have parlayed possible Native American heritage to gain academic jobs … That offended me, and I knew it would repel huge numbers of voters. Second, I thought she shot from the hip and, with her slight political experience, would wilt on the campaign trail. Third, I thought she was a one-note Sally, eloquent on finance but thin on the rest of domestic and foreign policy. So much for my judgment: I now believe I was wrong on each count, and her rise in the polls suggests that others are also seeing more in her.”
-- “Democrats can do better than Warrenism,” counters WaPo editorial writer Stephen Stromberg: “Warren set the tone for the evening by railing against the drug companies, the oil companies and private prisons. She is right that some companies have behaved dishonorably. But she is wrong to make it seem as though, if there is a problem, some corporation somewhere must have caused it, and the only way to solve it is to find and break up that corporation.”
GET SMART FAST:
Today is the last day of the Supreme Court’s term, and the justices have yet to issue decisions related to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census or on allegedly partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina and Maryland. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberals yesterday to uphold a precedent about judges deferring to federal agencies’ expertise when ambiguous regulations are challenged. (Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow)
The NRA’s top lobbyist, Chris Cox, resigned days after he was accused in a lawsuit of participating in a scheme to oust chief executive Wayne LaPierre. The announcement came as the gun rights group shut down its television arm and severed all business ties with its longtime ad agency, plunging the organization deeper into chaos. (Katie Zezima and Beth Reinhard)
The Federal Aviation Administration found a new safety concern connected to the Boeing 737 Max flight control computer during a test of the jets. The potential problem could force the plane to dive in an uncontrolled fashion in rare circumstances. (Michael Laris)
The federal government and authorities in 18 states have awarded money from minority contracting programs to businesses with owners making unsubstantiated claims of Native American ancestry. More than $300 million has been awarded under such circumstances since 2000. (Los Angeles Times)
A pregnant woman was shot in the stomach in Alabama, and a grand jury indicted her for her baby’s death. The woman, Marshae Jones, was shot by Ebony Jemison, who was charged with manslaughter. However, the charges against Jemison were dismissed and police alleged that Jones started the argument and that Jemison shot her in self-defense. (Michael Brice-Saddler)
Drug-overdose deaths appear to have declined last year for the first time since 1990, according to provisional data from the CDC, but health experts warn that the opioid epidemic is far from over. (Wall Street Journal)
The CDC recommended HPV vaccination for people through age 45. The vaccine is recommended for preteens, as well as catch-up vaccinations through age 26, but the 10-to-4 vote from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices could expand the pool of people who will be covered by insurance to receive the vaccine. (Lindsey Bever)
The 2-year-old girl who was hit by a foul ball during a Houston Astros game last month suffered a skull fracture and a brain edema. Her family’s attorney said the girl, who has not been identified, suffered a seizure at the hospital and is on medication to prevent future seizures as she recovers from her injuries. The incident has reignited calls for the MLB to require more protective netting at ballparks. (CNN)
- Soccer player Ali Krieger, defender for the U.S. women’s national team, said Trump is angered by women he can’t “control or grope.” She made the comments after Trump tweeted that her teammate Megan Rapinoe, who said she didn’t expect to be invited to the White House after the World Cup, should “never disrespect our country.” (USA Today)
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- U.S. asylum officers urged a federal court to block Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program, warning that it is endangering the lives of migrants. Maria Sacchetti reports: “The labor union representing asylum officers filed a friend-of-the-court brief that sided with the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups challenging Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols program, which has sent 12,000 asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico since January. … The union argued that the policy goes against the nation’s long-standing view that asylum seekers and refugees should have a way to escape persecution in their homelands, with the United States embracing its status as a safe haven since even before it was founded — with the arrival of the Pilgrims in the 17th century. The union said in court papers that the policy is compelling sworn officers to participate in the ‘widespread violation’ of international and federal law — ‘something that they did not sign up to do when they decided to become asylum and refugee officers for the United States government.’”
-- The Senate passed a $4.6 billion package to address the situation at the border. But the legislation had threatened to get hung up in disputes over a different version of the bill passed by the House with mostly Democratic votes, even as leaders in both chambers insisted they would not head home for Congress’s Fourth of July recess before sending a final bill to Trump. Erica Werner and Mike DeBonis report: “A normally gridlocked Congress did appear poised to act, although the legislation under consideration is a narrow funding bill that does not address broader changes to asylum laws or base causes of migration that lawmakers of both parties say are crucial. The legislation would, however, pour billions into the coffers of undermanned and overwhelmed agencies that have buckled under the burdens of nearly unprecedented levels of migration from Central America.”
-- Trump's next big target? The president wants to withdraw deportation protections for the family members of active-duty troops, according to attorneys familiar with those plans. NPR’s Franco Ordoñez reports: “The attorneys are racing to submit applications for what is known as parole in place after hearing from the wives and loved ones of deployed soldiers who've been told that option is ‘being terminated.’ The protections will only be available under rare circumstances, the lawyers said they've been told. ‘It's going to create chaos in the military,’ said Margaret Stock, an immigration attorney who represents recruits and veterans in deportation proceedings. ‘The troops can't concentrate on their military jobs when they're worried about their family members being deported.’ … The original objective of the policy was to minimize disruption to the life of a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine whose family member might have been subject to deportation.”
-- The migrant father and daughter who drowned at the border were desperately looking for a better life, their family said. Reis Thebault, Luis Velarde and Abigail Hauslohner report: “Valeria was a cheery child. Not even 2 years old, she loved to dance, play with her stuffed animals and brush her family members’ hair. Her father, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, was stalwart. Nearly always working, he sold his motorcycle and borrowed money to move his family from El Salvador to the United States. Martínez and his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, wanted to save up for a home there. They wanted safety, opportunity. ‘They wanted a better future for their girl,’ María Estela Ávalos, Vanessa’s mother, told The Washington Post. …
“Before they started their journey to the border, Vanessa called her mother to say the family was heading for the United States, and Estela was worried. ‘I told them to pray as much as possible,’ Estela said. ‘I asked God for nothing to happen to them, and for everything to go well. She assured me that they didn’t have far to go.’ The next time her daughter called, Estela could hardly understand her. She was screaming. Now the family in Tonacatepeque, El Salvador, is expecting the bodies of Martínez and Valeria to return home, Estela said.”
-- While visiting several border facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, Department of Homeland Security inspectors found migrant children and families locked in unhygienic and cramped facilities. BuzzFeed News’s Hamed Aleaziz reports: “The inspectors compiled a draft report ... that described the conditions as dangerous and prolonged. Some adults were held in standing room–only conditions for a week. There was little access to hot showers or hot food for families and children in some facilities. Some kids were being held in closed cells. There was severe overcrowding. … ‘Specifically, we are recommending that the Department of Homeland Security take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley,’ wrote Jennifer Costello, acting inspector general.”
-- Hundreds of Wayfair employees walked out in protest after they found out the company sold $200,000 worth of furniture to a Texas detention center that houses migrant children. Abha Bhattarai reports: “The Boston-based retailer, which has not publicly addressed the employees’ concerns, made a $100,000 donation to the Red Cross on Wednesday. The Red Cross confirmed the donation and said it would put the funds toward its efforts ‘helping with the border crisis in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.’ Employees said the donation was not enough and called on the company to create new ethics guidelines that would prevent future business with contractors overseeing detention camps for immigrants. Protesters held signs that said ‘a prison with a bed is still a prison’ and ‘supplying is supporting.’”
-- This is a global struggle: The captain of a ship with 42 rescued migrants aboard defied Italy’s orders and headed to port after being stuck in limbo for two weeks because no country had stepped forward to accept the boat. Chico Harlan reports: “The German humanitarian group operating the boat said it had run out of options. The captain turned the boat toward the Italian island of Lampedusa and headed to port. ‘I know what I’m risking,’ the captain, Carola Rackete, said on Twitter, ‘but the 42 survivors I have on board are exhausted. I’m taking them to safety.’ As of late evening, the Sea-Watch 3 had stopped just outside an Italian harbor, awaiting further instructions. … Italy’s hard-line anti-migration interior minister, Matteo Salvini, vowed fines, arrests and a boat seizure — and said other European countries should take responsibility for the migrants.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Trump arrived at the G-20 summit with a full agenda — and a list of grievances. Seung Min Kim, Damian Paletta and Simon Denyer report: “Trump touched down in this port city shortly after 6:40 p.m. local time and will later head to a dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison — the first of nine world leaders Trump is scheduled to meet with during the two-day summit. But as the annual gathering began, some foreign leaders signaled they would push back on Trump’s constant defiance. President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker called climate change an ‘existential threat’ in a letter ahead of the summit and urged other countries to act. In the letter, they restated their commitment to the Paris climate accord Trump has taken steps to withdraw from … Still, Trump rode into Osaka in trademark Trump fashion — using the days and hours before his visit to ratchet up his rhetoric against allies and even his hosts, although the president levels attacks against world leaders ahead of global gatherings only to scale them back once he meets them in person.”
-- As he prepared to leave Washington yesterday, Trump questioned the U.S.-Japanese military alliance and slammed other allies he will soon encounter. “If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III,” Trump said during a Fox Business interview. “We will go in, and we will protect them, and we will fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs. But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They should watch it on a Sony television, the attack.” Anne Gearan, Damian Paletta and John Wagner report: “In the interview, he berated China over stalled trade talks and falsely claimed that it is bearing the full brunt of U.S. tariffs imposed this year, despite the impact they also are having on Americans. … Trump also criticized or insulted European leaders he will see at the meeting, renewed a tariff threat against Europe, denounced his handpicked Federal Reserve chairman and complained that Vietnam is ‘almost the single worst abuser of everybody.’ … The comments fit with his habit of criticizing or mischaracterizing his counterparts before global summits, remarks that often put U.S. allies on edge and scramble the potential for progress.”
-- Trump also said during the Fox Business interview that a war with Iran would not involve ground troops or “last very long.” The president reiterated his desire to avoid such a conflict but added that “we’re in a very strong position if something should happen.” “I’m not talking boots on the ground,” Trump added. “I’m not talking, we’re going to send a million soldiers. I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long.” (John Wagner and Dan Lamothe)
-- Trump is reportedly prepared for a tariff truce with China, according to details laid out in a press release in advance of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The agreement would avert the next round of tariffs. (Politico)
-- But Trump brought his top China critic with him: senior adviser Peter Navarro. Damian Paletta reports: “Navarro was a last-minute addition to the White House’s travel team … Chinese officials are wary of Navarro because of his long-standing criticism of their country and their government. He co-authored the 2011 book ‘Death by China: Confronting the Dragon — A Global Call to Action.’ … Navarro has argued for years that China steals U.S. intellectual property, unfairly subsidizes its businesses, manipulates its currency and takes steps that give it an unfair advantage over U.S. companies. These actions, he has said, have had a devastating impact on U.S. communities, particularly in the South and Midwest, where many manufacturing jobs have dried up.”
-- The Kremlin confirmed that Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet for at least an hour on the sidelines of the summit. Anton Troianovski reports: “Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Iran would probably all be on the agenda, according to the Interfax news agency. The presidents will be joined by four or five officials each, Ushakov said. While the meeting is scheduled to last an hour, ‘many things will depend on the leaders themselves,’ Ushakov said.”
-- A cargo of cocaine was found aboard the Brazilian presidential plane. The Times’s Ernesto Londoño reports: “President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has vowed to pursue drug traffickers relentlessly. So he was hard-pressed to explain how a presidential plane ended up carrying 86 pounds of cocaine across the Atlantic during an official trip. A Brazilian airman on that aircraft was caught with the shipment on Tuesday during a brief stop in Spain en route to the Group of 20 summit in Japan, Brazilian and Spanish officials said Wednesday. … Mr. Bolsonaro said in a statement that he had instructed the defense ministry to ‘collaborate immediately’ with the authorities in Spain. He added that if the airman is implicated in a crime, he will be ‘judged and convicted under the law.’”
-- Germany’s Angela Merkel was seen trembling once again during a ceremony in Berlin, eight days after a similar incident. From the BBC: “Video showed Mrs Merkel, 64, gripping her arms as her body was shaking on Thursday. After about two minutes, she looked steadier and shook hands with the new justice minister. She was offered a glass of water, but did not drink it. … Last time, Mrs Merkel trembled while standing next to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in the hot sunshine. She said she had felt revived after drinking some water.”
-- Venezuela accused the country’s former top spy of collaborating with the U.S. and opposition leaders not only to overthrow the government but also to kill President Nicolás Maduro and some in his circle. Anthony Faiola reports: “Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez said authorities had foiled a plot this month that would have involved an invasion by Israeli, Colombian and North American agents, the seizure of military bases, a raid on the central bank and the assassination or kidnapping of several senior officials. Rodríguez made the claims less than 48 hours after The Post published an article based on hours of exclusive interviews with Gen. Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, the former head of Maduro’s feared SEBIN intelligence agency. … Figuera, now in the United States, rejected Rodríguez’s claims on Wednesday. ‘They are trying to paint us as criminals and not as heroes,’ he said. He added that Rodriguez is ‘trying to discredit me and make me look like a mercenary, because they know that I have morals and that I cannot be accused of the atrocities committed by this criminal enterprise and the bad governance of Maduro and his band of outlaws.’”
-- Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader rejected the notion of negotiating with Washington as he vowed to fight U.S. sanctions. William Branigin reports: “‘Pressures by cruel enemies do not affect Iranians,’ Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told judicial officials Wednesday, according to the supreme leader’s website. Calling the United States ‘the world’s most vicious regime,’ he said that ‘Iranians have been wronged by oppressive sanctions but not weakened and will remain powerful.’ He said the nation ‘won’t give up’ and asserted that the Trump administration’s calls for negotiations reflected its failure to achieve its goals through pressure. ‘They said, ‘Negotiate with us in order to progress.’ Yes! We do progress but without you,’ Khamenei said. ‘Negotiations are their way of deceiving’ Iran to get what Washington wants, he added. ‘If you surrender to them, you’re done!’”
-- The Dalai Lama said Trump has a “lack of moral principle.” “His emotions [are] also a little bit,” he said, making a gesture waggling his finger near his temple. “One day he says something, another day he says something. But I think [there is a] lack of moral principle. When he became president, he expressed America first. That is wrong. America, they should take the global responsibility.” (BBC)
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- One of the president’s former business partners told House investigators that he suffered personal and financial consequences because of his connection to Trump. Tom Hamburger and Karoun Demirjian report: “Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a native of Georgia who is a U.S. citizen, was quizzed Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee’s staff during a day-long closed-door interview about his role in several Trump projects, including his interest in a short-lived Trump Tower Moscow development in 2015. … [Rep. Adam Schiff] has said he sees Trump’s potentially lucrative projects in Russia as ‘a counterintelligence problem of the first order’ … In an interview following his appearance on Capitol Hill, Rtskhiladze presented an alternative view, noting that seemingly lucrative Trump projects overseas were problematic, in part, because they mixed business with politics. ‘I am collateral damage,’ he said.”
-- The House Oversight Committee voted to authorize a subpoena of Kellyanne Conway to compel the White House adviser to testify about her alleged Hatch Act violations. Rachael Bade reports: “The House Oversight Committee voted, 25 to 16, for the subpoena after special counsel Henry Kerner said she blatantly violated the Hatch Act, a law that bars federal employees from engaging in politics during work. Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), who has backed impeachment of [Trump], was the only Republican to cross party lines and join Democrats. … It is unclear, however, what Democrats will do if Conway ignores the subpoena, which is expected to be issued soon. She could be held in criminal contempt of Congress. … The hearing created an awkward dynamic on the GOP side: Kerner is a former Oversight Committee staffer who worked for Republicans and spent years investigating [Barack Obama]. … But as Kerner returned as the Democrats’ star witness, Republicans immediately challenged his credibility.”
-- The president alleged without evidence that Bob Mueller had illegally deleted text messages of two anti-Trump FBI employees as Capitol Hill prepared for the special counsel’s public testimony next month. Matt Zapotosky, Mike DeBonis, Rachael Bade and John Wagner report: “The president’s comments foreshadowed what’s expected to be a rancorous hearing July 17 … The appearance will be bifurcated, lawmakers said, with Mueller first testifying before [the House Judiciary Committee], then moving to a second room for testimony before the Intelligence Committee. In total, Mueller is expected to talk publicly for about four hours.”
-- Weeks of phone calls and meetings between Mueller’s associates and House Democratic staff led to Mueller’s reluctant “yes.” The Times’s Nicholas Fandos and Eileen Sullivan report: “Mr. Mueller was so averse to being pulled into the political arena that he never spoke directly with lawmakers or their aides … Democrats were insistent that he had a responsibility to testify, though they agreed to combine questioning from two panels on one day. … Talks about his testimony had begun after Mr. Barr released a redacted version of Mr. Mueller’s report in April. They slowed after Mr. Mueller left his post as special counsel and no longer had easy access to a coterie of staff and official government channels for negotiating … Democrats ultimately turned to Jonathan R. Yarowsky, a partner at Mr. Mueller’s former law firm of WilmerHale who also previously worked for the Judiciary Committee, to serve as an intermediary … WilmerHale also made office space available to Mr. Mueller as he negotiated.”
THE DOMESTIC AGENDA:
-- The House included a provision in a $24 billion appropriations bill that would bar the White House from doing business with Trump-affiliated establishments. Mike DeBonis and Jonathan O'Connell report: The bill “passed on a 224-196 vote largely along party lines. The Senate has not acted on its corresponding bill, and the Republican majority there is unlikely to agree to include it in any spending legislation that ultimately becomes law. But the amendment sponsored by Democratic Reps. Steve Cohen (Tenn.), Jamie B. Raskin (Md.), Mark DeSaulnier (Calif.) and Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) sends a message to the White House over the propriety of taxpayer funds going to Trump’s businesses.”
-- A federal appeals court questioned whether the House and Democratic states have standing to appeal a lower-court ruling striking down Obamacare. Yasmeen Abutaleb reports: “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which is scheduled to begin hearing oral arguments about the constitutionality of the law on July 9, said it needed more information as to whether the House and Democratic states had standing to intervene in the lawsuit and whether their interventions were timely. Some legal experts said the request did not bode well for the future of [Obama’s] signature domestic policy achievement.”
-- The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a bipartisan bill to raise the country’s smoking age from 18 to 21. “I’m grateful to my colleagues for advancing our legislation to help curb the spike of youth tobacco use,” said Mitch McConnell, one of the bill’s sponsors. From Felicia Sonmez and Jenna Portnoy: “It remains unclear when the measure will be brought to the Senate floor. The measure would make it illegal to sell a tobacco product to any person under 21 years old in all states. It would include military personnel, a category that is exempted in some states that have raised the legal age.”
-- Former FEMA administrator Brock Long repaid taxpayers only 2 percent of the $151,000 in federal funds he spent on personal travel. Politico’s Daniel Lippman and Ian Kullgren reports: “That’s because then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who oversaw FEMA, did not require Long to reimburse the government fully for his misuse of an expensive program. Nielsen told Long in a Jan. 15 letter that the DHS chief financial officer ‘determined that the reimbursement amount calculated by the [Office of Inspector General] is in excess of the cost of providing personal transportation services, and would have required you to reimburse costs of the program execution unrelated to any personal benefit gained.’ The $2,716 bill, Nielsen wrote, was calculated based on a rate of 81.7 cents per mile for 3,324 unauthorized miles driven.”
MORE ON 2020:
-- Survivors of clergy sex abuse accuse Kamala Harris of ignoring their allegations while she was serving as San Francisco’s district attorney and later as California’s attorney general. The AP’s Michael Rezendes reports: “After Harris took office as DA in 2004, attorneys representing abuse survivors in civil cases asked her office to release church records on abusive priests that had been gathered by her predecessor, Terence Hallinan. Harris refused, a decision her office said was intended to protect the identities of clergy abuse victims. … Victims and their attorneys scoffed at the explanation, contending it would be a simple matter to avoid identifying the victims. … Victims’ lawyers said Harris’ office also resisted informal requests to help them with their cases, at a time when other district attorneys or their staff members were making themselves available.”
-- Trump has raised $36 million since officially launching his reelection bid last week. (CNBC)
-- Howard Dean predicted Democrats would lose next year “if we have two old white guys at the top of this ticket.” The former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate made the comments during a Post Live event alongside former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile. “I am looking forward to seeing a woman on the ticket — top, bottom, I don’t care,” Brazile agreed. “We are ready for the change.” (Felicia Sonmez)
-- “Trump is the worst kind of socialist,” Bernie Sanders writes in an op-ed for today's Wall Street Journal: “The time is long overdue for the U.S. to end corporate socialism for Mr. Trump and the rest of the billionaire class. Instead, those resources should be put to work to ensure shared prosperity by enhancing Social Security and Medicare and investing in roads and bridges, public schools, clean water and clean air. Mr. Trump believes in corporate socialism to protect the wealth and power of the rich. I believe the U.S. must end corporate socialism and instead fulfill President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vision of enshrining basic economic rights for all Americans. These include the rights to health care, a living wage, a decent job, a quality education, a secure retirement, affordable housing and a clean environment. We can make this 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights a reality with initiatives like Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, a Green New Deal, student-debt cancellation and legislation to expand Social Security.”
-- “Joe Biden will never give up on the system. Because it never gave up on him,” by Vox’s Ezra Klein: “Biden knows something, or thinks he knows something, the cynics don’t. Consensus is possible. Compromise is admirable. The Senate is composed of 100 complex, decent individuals, most of whom are susceptible to his charms. … But sometimes, the inside of an institution can deceive you as to its true nature. It can lead you to explain away the compromises and abuses, to ignore the larger forces constraining decisions. When you work every day with individuals, when you hear their rationalizations and sympathize with their decisions, you can lose sight of the structures shaping their behavior. … So this, then, is the question: Has Biden’s experience taught him how American politics can work, or deceived him as to why it doesn’t?”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Here are the candidates who were most searched for during the debate, per Google:
A reporter for Inside Defense explained why her mother thought Klobuchar prevailed:
The president weighed in during the first commercial break:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) replied:
From a Cook Political Report editor:
He also mocked NBC and MSNBC for their technical issues at the top of the second hour:
O'Rourke's and Booker's Spanish-speaking got a lot of Internet attention. From another presidential candidate:
The liberal group Latino Victory responded to Williamson:
An NPR reporter took note of Booker's facial reaction as O'Rourke spoke Spanish — shortly before Booker did as well:
Julián Castro shared his review of the debate:
Tulsi Gabbard's sister took over her Twitter account and lashed out against Warren in the middle of the debate:
From a former senator who tried to make the debate stage:
Samantha Bee's show tweeted this:
An NPR reporter shared this moment from the debate site:
A former BuzzFeed News reporter highlighted this aspect of Trump's tweet:
Trump dismissed a reporter's question about his upcoming meeting with Putin:
Mitch McConnell's campaign hit back against a "Parks and Recreation" actor who asked not to be connected to the Senate majority leader:
-- “Books for the ages,” by The Post’s Book World staff: “Books are a portal to our personal histories. Pick up a worn copy of a childhood favorite and you might be transported to the warmth of a parent’s arms or a beanbag chair in a first-grade classroom or a library in your hometown. Avid readers could build autobiographies around their favorite books and come to the realization that what they have read is almost as meaningful as when they read it. A high schooler poring over ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ for a summer reading assignment encounters a different book than someone who reads it decades later, closer in age and outlook to Atticus than Scout. In light of that reality, we took a stab at picking the best book for every age. … Here are our picks for worthwhile books to read during each year of life, from 1 to 100, along with some of the age-appropriate wisdom they impart.”
-- The Atlantic, “The Gangs of Kalorama,” by Caitlin Flanagan: “Private-school kids used to have an expectation of fairly stress-free placement at top colleges. That’s what prep schools were preparing you for—from Milton to Harvard, end of story. But now, as the top colleges seek increasing diversity of race and socioeconomic background in their student bodies, they hold fewer and fewer spaces for modestly rich white kids with strong but not dazzling records. And their parents aren’t taking it. … They are especially unsuited to the fact that an elite-college education is one of the few expensive things that is for sale, but that not everyone is allowed to buy.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“New White House press secretary yanked Arizona reporters’ access after critical coverage,” from Antonia Noori Farzan: “On April 5, 2016, Hank Stephenson checked his email and saw that he had a new message from Stephanie Grisham. ‘Attached please find the form that you requested for the cursory background check we have discussed,’ Grisham, then the press secretary for the Republican majority in the Arizona House of Representatives, wrote. ‘Really appreciate everyone’s willingness to work with us.’ … Reporters quickly came to suspect the policy was, in fact, specifically designed to retaliate against Stephenson, whose reporting had revealed how Republican House Speaker David Gowan used state-owned vehicles to travel thousands of miles while running for Congress, and ultimately forced the lawmaker to return more than $12,000 to the state. Under the new rules, reporters would be barred from the floor for violent felony convictions such as assault and rape — as well as, oddly, misdemeanor trespassing. Stephenson, perhaps not coincidentally, had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing in 2014 after an incident at a bar in rural Arizona.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Pro-Trump message board ‘quarantined’ by Reddit following violent threats,” from Drew Harwell and Craig Timberg: “The biggest forum for supporters of President Trump on Reddit has been ‘quarantined’ following months of incitements to violence and other offensive behavior, the tech giant said Wednesday, in a move that could further inflame conservatives’ claims of social-media bias. The forum, called ‘r/The_Donald,’ has long served as a highly trafficked and controversial gathering place for supporters of Trump and Republicans on Reddit, the United States’ fifth-most popular website. … Created in 2015, ‘The_Donald’ counts roughly 750,000 followers and advertises itself as ‘a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.’ Reddit officials said on Wednesday that the ‘r/The_Donald’ board had allowed or encouraged months of ‘rule-breaking behavior,’ including the ‘encouragement of violence towards police officers and public officials in Oregon.’ ‘We are clear in our sitewide policies that posting content that encourages or threatens violence is not allowed,’ Reddit spokeswoman Anna Soellner said.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“We needed 60 votes, and we had 51 votes. And sometimes, you know, we had a little hard time with a couple of them, right? Fortunately, they’re gone now. They’ve gone on to greener pastures — or perhaps far less green pastures. But they’re gone … I’m very happy they’re gone.” — Trump on senators who have left the chamber since he took office. The president made the comment during a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition, in which he earlier alluded to the late senator John McCain. (Aaron Blake)
-- Former Republican senator Jeff Flake appeared to respond to Trump in a tweet:
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- The Nationals beat the Marlins, 7-5 (Jesse Dougherty)
-- Some Virginians say that stemming gun violence in the state requires more than the new laws Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is proposing. Gregory S. Schneider reports: “Elected leaders have to address the accumulated neglect of ailing communities of color. … That message was delivered forcefully and repeatedly this week in Hampton at the largest of six statewide roundtables hosted by Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security. Residents and officials from the Hampton Roads region told Moran that the governor’s proposals are not enough. LaTonya Wallace, who runs a community organization for children in an impoverished section of Newport News, told Moran the real issue is what she called unaddressed trauma. ‘Low access to jobs, little to no access to quality health care,’ she said, and ‘inequitable education systems.’”
-- Gay rights or women’s rights? Eva Freund, a pioneering lesbian activist, refused to take a side. Samantha Schmidt reports: “Freund became one of the first women to join the District’s first gay advocacy group — the Mattachine Society of Washington. Now, at 81, she is one of the few surviving early members. And as the Stonewall anniversary approached, she looked back on how far the movement for equal rights has come and the challenges that remain. … It was shortly after moving to the District that a neighbor who knew she was gay told her about the D.C. chapter of the Mattachine Society, recently co-founded by Frank Kameny, an Army veteran who had been fired from his federal government job for being gay and who would become one of the leading figures of the ‘homophile movement,’ as it was called at the time. … She soon realized that there was just as much sexism in the Mattachine Society as there was elsewhere. … But she learned how to play by the men’s rules.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez poked fun at Beto O'Rourke's and Cory Booker's Spanish skills:
Stephen Colbert called the first debate a “dress rehearsal” for today's “actual debate”:
Seth Meyers joked that all the candidates for today's debate who don't speak Spanish will spend the whole day cramming:
A House Democrat opened up about the loss of her partner to suicide:
The attorney general played the bagpipes during an event with U.S. attorneys at the Justice Department: