THE BIG IDEA:
— In the short term, Donald Trump’s call for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States may actually pay political dividends by galvanizing his base.
The Republican front-runner has a keen sense of what his supporters want to hear. He’s merely tapping into the very palpable fear that already exists in the heartland. The politically correct crowd has loathed The Donald for some time, and being condemned by the Republican establishment has played into his hands over the past six months. It is an undeniable fact that Trump supporters tend to be less educated and crave easy answers to complex problems.
Trump’s statement about Muslims was not some offhand comment during a rambling, late-night speech or a “sure, that’s a good idea” answer to a question from a fringe supporter, or a retweet from “a misguided intern.” The Monday afternoon rollout was timed for maximum impact: announced in a press release, defended by surrogates and elaborated on during a rally in South Carolina that was televised live on cable.
It is also important to note that, as media and political elites along the Acela Corridor decried the rhetoric as hateful, the crowd down South gave Trump a standing ovation when he brought it up. “We have no choice,” he said to cheers.
The proposal should also not be surprising to anyone who has been listening to Trump in recent weeks. In an interview with Time Magazine published this morning, he said he hates the idea of interning the Japanese during World War II but added that he cannot say he would not have done it. “It’s tough,” he said. “War is tough, and winning is tough.”
Here is a taste of some of the favorable reaction that Trump received from the right-wing of the Republican Party:
And many on the left also predicted he will only rise in the polls:
— But, but, but: Trump’s move is myopic. It’s like adding to a sugar rush. It only ensures a harder crash down the road. The billionaire has made it as untenable as ever for mainstream Republicans to support him in a general election. He’s increased the likelihood that a serious third-party candidate would materialize if he won the nomination. And this rhetoric may undercut his standing with evangelicals who care deeply about religious freedom.
— The new narrative: Trump’s proposal has created a test of leadership and character for Republican leaders. After New Hampshire GOP chair Jennifer Horn said the plan was “un-American” last night, Trump supporters began signing an online petition calling for her resignation. State Rep. Al Baldasaro of Londonderry, a co-chair of Trump’s veterans coalition who is circulating the petition, told the local TV station WMUR that Trump is “100 percent right”: “What he’s saying is no different than the situation during World War II, when we put the Japanese in camps. The people who attacked innocent people in Paris came through open borders. From a military mind standpoint, all Donald Trump is saying is to do what needs to be done until we get a handle on how to do background checks.”
Here are notable condemnations from Republican rivals and other thought leaders:
— Democrats have already used Trump’s position on Muslims to raise money and activate their own base. Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent an email last night from top aide Huma Abedin with the subject line: “I’m a proud Muslim.” The message warned that he could still win the nomination.
TRUMPQUAKE: He’s like a professional wrestler in his ability to say things that keep him at the center of attention. Trump accounted for 81 percent of all social media mentions about the 2016 GOP candidates yesterday, according to our analytics partners at Zignal Labs. Including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, it was still 66 percent. Even for Trump, who has dominated the online conversation since getting into the race, these were record-breaking numbers. He received more mentions in the hour after his statement went out than any of his rivals received all day long. Of the 630,000 Trump-related Tweets on Monday, more than 148,000 mentioned Muslims or Islam. Here is a chart of Trump mentions compared to the rest of the field:
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— The FBI said yesterday that the San Bernardino terrorists had been radicalized for “some time,” but investigators still don’t know if they were drawn into violent extremism by someone they knew or developed those beliefs on their own. The bureau added that it has yet to uncover any indication that the attack was plotted with help from overseas and still does not know whether anyone in this country other than the shooters took part in the planning. Two new revelations emerged overnight:
- Fox News reports that a $28,500 deposit was made to Syed Farook’s bank account from WebBank.com on or about Nov.18, about two weeks before the massacre.
- The Los Angeles Times says the male shooter brought his AR-15 to a Riverside gun range for target practice. The wife never came with him. The owner of the range described him as “a normal guy” and said the range has turned over surveillance footage and sign-in logs to the FBI.
— More on the fallout related to the attack and the climate of fear gripping the country:
- A naturalized U.S. citizen was charged in Virginia with attempting to arm a Syrian rebel group that fights alongside al-Qaeda. (Matt Zapotosky)
- Utah is assigning a detective to watch over Syrian refugees in the state. Not only will he help them with tasks like getting a driver’s license and acquiring housing, but he’ll monitor them for possible radicalization. (CBS)
- DHS will unveil a new terror alert system, with a “less serious” category added to the existing “imminent” and “elevated” levels. (Jerry Markon)
- Obama and national security adviser Susan Rice discussed the fight against ISIS with the U.N. ambassadors of the 15 Security Council members and the ambassadors of the five countries who will begin their terms on the council in January. (Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson)
- House Democrats are trying to use a discharge petition to force a vote on banning people who are on the no-fly list from being able to buy guns. It’s a futile effort, after Republicans blocked the effort in the Senate last week, but they should be able to score some political points, especially against vulnerable GOP incumbents. (Mike DeBonis)
- A Muslim cab driver in Northern Virginia was awarded $350,000 after a civil jury concluded that a passenger attacked him because of his religious beliefs. (Matt Zapotosky)
GET SMART FAST:
- The Supreme Court declined to review a Chicago suburb’s ban on assault weapons, which lets the ordinance stand and represents a blow to the NRA’s hope of striking down similar bans in seven states. It will also embolden other blue states to pass their own versions. (Robert Barnes)
- The justices will hear oral arguments in a case to determine whether “one person, one vote” means all residents or just eligible voters. (New York Times)
- Three years after the Sandy Hook shootings prompted calls for more funding for mental health, the number of states that increased funding dropped from 36 in 2013 to 23 this year. (Lena H. Sun)
- The president of the University of Maryland recommended dropping segregationist Curley Byrd’s name from the football stadium because, when he led the school, he refused to admit African Americans until forced to do so by the courts. (Susan Svrluga)
- A Yale lecturer who was criticized by students after she advocated for people wearing whatever Halloween costumes they want, including those that might be obnoxious or offensive to others, resigned her teaching post. (New York Times)
- Iran apparently violated U.N. Security Council resolutions by testing a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon last month near Chabahar. (Reuters)
- The U.S. blamed Russia for an an airstrike on a Syrian army camp that killed three soldiers. (Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe)
- The Navy’s largest destroyer headed into the sea for the first time off the coast of Maine. (AP via NBC News)
- If uninsured people don’t get health insurance by the end of the open enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31, they won’t be able to avoid paying a penalty fee this year. (Wall Street Journal)
- Greenhouse gas emissions unexpectedly dropped 0.6 percent in 2015, but scientists say that it is probably only a temporary lull. (Joby Warrick)
- Millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the largest share of the U.S. voting-age population. (Bloomberg)
- Only one-third of Secret Service agents are happy with their jobs and would recommend a career there, down from two-thirds in 2011, according to an annual survey of federal worker morale. (Lisa Rein)
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- The Army said that David Petraeus shouldn’t face any more punishment for leaking top-secret documents to his biographer/mistress. (Adam Goldman and Craig Whitlock)
- Hillary Clinton will unveil a plan for an “exit tax” designed to deter corporate inversions on Wednesday, the AP scoops. And Elizabeth Warren yesterday praised Clinton’s promise to bulk up regulation on the banks, per Anne Gearan.
- John Kerry has surpassed Clinton for most miles traveled as secretary of state. With a year to go, he’s at 957,744 miles. She logged 956,733 during her four years. (Politico)
- Hillary and Obama had an unannounced, 90-minute lunch yesterday at the White House. Josh Earnest says it was mostly social. (AP)
- Ben Carson will travel to Zambia, Kenya and Nigeria at the end of the month to bolster his foreign policy experience. (Jose A. DelReal)
- Adding to his New Hampshire momentum, Chris Christie won the endorsement of former congressman and current New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley. (NBC)
- The FEC dismissed a complaint that Rick Santorum paid prominent Iowan Bob Vander Plaats for his endorsement before his victory in the 2012 Iowa caucuses. (Des Moines Register)
- Republican Matt Bevin has taken office as the governor of Kentucky. (The Lexington Herald-Leader lays out his five biggest challenges.)
- Louisiana GOP Rep. John Fleming jumped into the Senate race to succeed David Vitter. (Times-Picayune)
- Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy was elected chair of the Democratic Governors Association at the organization’s annual meeting in New York. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will serve as vice chair.
- Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson are the official finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented Saturday night. (USA Today)
- Oscar Pistorius was granted bail and will be on house arrest while he awaits his April sentencing date for his murder conviction. (BBC)
- The star of the zombie hit “The Walking Dead,” Norman Reedus, was bitten by a fan at a convention. (New York Daily News)
— “Being Jeb Bush these days means coping with a series of petty humiliations,” by Ed O’Keefe: “At a weekend conference in Miami, fundraisers questioned the direction of the campaign and worried it’s too late for a rebound. During a foreign-policy speech in Washington, people slipped out of the room to go see rival Chris Christie instead. The jebbush.com website domain was just taken over by pro-Donald Trump forces because the Bush campaign failed to lock it down. And on the campaign trial, the press pack following the former Florida governor is dwindling and focused mostly on his terrible polling numbers, now mired in the low single digits…. No presidential candidate named Bush has been in this position before. George H.W. Bush lost his 1980 bid for president, but never slipped as low as his youngest son. After an early setback in the 2000 New Hampshire primary, George W. Bush rebounded and cleared the GOP field.” Jeb’s super PAC is up with a new ad attacking his main rivals as unprepared. Watch here.
— “How the foreign policy is and isn’t shifting for GOP candidates,” by Karen Tumulty and David Weigel: “The San Bernardino shooting has exposed a homeland vulnerability — and given the GOP candidates a new, unanimous rallying cry.… The number of the leading GOP candidates remain advocates of muscular U.S. engagement abroad. But others — notably Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have combined tough-talking rhetoric about defeating the Islamic State with less clearly defined particulars about how they would go about doing it.… The Republican candidates who claim to represent the party’s mainstream, including Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio, offer a variable and, in some cases, vague set of positions on how to engage internationally. All three have argued for American ground troops in the fight against the Islamic State, and all have blamed Obama for the new aggressiveness of Vladimir Putin. Only Christie has proposed shooting down a Russian plane if it crosses an American no-fly zone.”
— “Admiral reprimanded for drunken, naked escapade at Florida hotel,” by Craig Whitlock: “Rear Adm. David F. Baucom, the director of strategy and policy at the U.S. Transportation Command, became so intoxicated at an upscale beachfront resort in April that he struck his head on a barstool, wet his pants and needed an escort back to his room, according to an investigative report by the Naval Inspector General. A few hours later, still in a haze, Baucom reemerged from his room without any clothes on — as his door automatically locked behind him, the report states. As the admiral stumbled around the grounds of the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club desperately looking for a towel to wrap around his waist, he was spotted by two alarmed female guests who reported him to hotel security. After a disciplinary hearing, the Navy found Baucom guilty of disorderly conduct and conduct unbecoming an officer. He has since been transferred from his post at U.S. Transportation Command and reassigned to the Pentagon, Navy officials said.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— Pictures of the day, Congress-parties-at-the-White-House edition, curated by Elise Viebeck:
Holiday spirit is bipartisan in Washington, and that was apparent Monday night as lawmakers attended the White House Congressional Ball. Here’s Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) in their tuxes ahead of the event (Lankford is presiding over the Senate floor):
A couple of lawmakers were extra-diligent in capturing photos of the evening. Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) called Bernie Sanders the “star” of the night. The Vermont senator was spotted just ahead of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in the line to get in:
While Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) snapped a photo with colleagues Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.):
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) attended with his family:
Pollster Frank Luntz was caught (jokingly) stealing gifts:
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) rounded out the Instagram coverage with photos of the decor and the band:
— Tweets of the day:
Twitter announced that this June post from President Obama was the most retweeted political tweet of the year:
Trump also insulted Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post:
Bezos hit back by offering a seat on his rocket:
Senate Republicans wished a happy birthday to two members:
— Instagrams of the day:
Lawmakers across the political spectrum marked the 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack:
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) showed his copy of an Oahu radar plot from the day of the attack. “It hangs on the wall as a reminder of the challenges that we as a country have faced and overcome,” he wrote on Instagram:
Did you know Hillary won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for “It Takes a Village” in 1997? She congratulated the 2015 award nominees by posting this throwback photo:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— New York Times, “U.S. strategy seeks to avoid ISIS prophecy,” by Rukmini Callimachi: “As the debate on how best to contain the Islamic State continues to rage in Western capitals, the militants themselves have made one point patently clear: They want the United States and its allies to be dragged into a ground war…. The Islamic State’s propaganda is rife with references to apocalyptic prophecy about the last great battle that sets the stage for the end times. Terrorism experts say it has become a powerful recruiting tool for the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which sells potential fighters on the promise that joining will give them the most direct chance to battle Western interests and will bring ancient Islamic prophecies to fruition. The specific scripture they are referring to describes a battle in Dabiq as well as al-Amaq, small towns that still exist in northern Syria…. Last year, when Islamic State militants beheaded the American hostage Peter Kassig, a former United States Army Ranger, they made sure to do it in Dabiq.”
— Baltimore Sun, “Prior back injury alleged as officer’s trial in Freddie Gray case moves forward,” by Kevin Rector and Justin Fenton: “Prosecutors failed to disclose information that Freddie Gray told a police officer about a prior back injury the month before he was arrested in the incident that led to his death. Judge Barry Williams declined Monday to declare a mistrial, as the defense requested, but ruled that the prosecution had committed a discovery violation and that the information could be introduced by Officer William G. Porter’s defense, as the trial entered its second week…. The state medical examiner who performed Gray’s autopsy took the stand and stood by her finding that Gray’s death was the result of a homicide, even as Porter’s attorney suggested it was simply a ‘theory’ that is unsupported by evidence. Dr. Carol Allan testified that while officers might not have intended to kill Gray, his death resulted from police actions and wasn’t purely accidental. She and a second medical expert for the prosecution — Dr. Morris Marc Soriano, an Illinois neurosurgeon — both testified that Gray’s life could have been saved had Porter called for a medic when Gray first told him he needed one.”
— Chicago Tribune, “Emanuel: Chicago needs Justice Department help with police department,” by Bill Ruthhart, Timothy M. Phelps and Hal Dardick: “The U.S. Justice Department announced a civil rights investigation Monday into the use of deadly force by Chicago cops, prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make what just days ago would have been considered a stunning admission: He needs the federal government’s help to clean up his police department. ‘The Department of Justice is coming in,’ Emanuel said. ‘We welcome it, accept it and need it. It’s in our self-interests as a city.’ The mayor’s blunt assessment that the Chicago Police Department’s ‘long history’ of problems — excessive force, poor oversight and lax discipline — is so deep-seated that City Hall can’t fix it alone came just hours after U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced she has launched a wide-ranging civil rights investigation into the department. Emanuel’s remarks also completed his 180-degree turnabout on a federal investigation, which he had called ‘misguided’ just five days earlier.”
— Politico, “Dynasties thrive on campaign staffs,” by Isaac Arnsdorf: “The payrolls of Republican and Democratic candidates are already brimming with relatives of the politically well connected. From the staffs of Bush, Hillary Clinton and (briefly) Scott Walker to one of the super PACs supporting Ted Cruz, political scions are filling every kind of job from low-paying grunt work to senior adviser. Since donors pay the bills, campaigns can hire anyone they want and don’t have to play by the nepotism rules that govern taxpayer-funded jobs. And there are some logical reasons why relatives of the connected make good campaign hires. Politics often runs in families, and relatives understand the turbulent game and grueling schedules better than anyone. Presidential campaigns offer a way for up-and-comers to cut their teeth.… But they may also offer strategic advantages and give candidates a way to return favors to their most loyal supporters.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Fox suspends contributors for profane on-air comments about Obama. From Callum Borchers: Ralph Peters and Stacy Dash were suspended Monday after using expletives when describing President Obama. Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer, called the president “such a total pussy, it’s stunning” on Fox Business Monday morning…. Stacey Dash, a contributor on the Fox talk show “Outnumbered” … said it seemed the president “could give a shit” during his Oval Office speech the night before.
HOT ON THE RIGHT
How Trump just punked Jeb, again. From the Daily Caller: “Trump has been trying to get under the skin of Jeb Bush since the campaign started, and in his latest effort, Trump re-directed a seemingly Bush-related website to his own campaign website. The website JebBush.com now re-directs to Trump’s campaign website, DonaldJTrump.com, where viewers see Donald holding up a peace sign and his campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again.'”
— What’s happening today on the campaign trail: In New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton attends a town hall in Salem, and Jeb Bush hits events in Manchester and Hooksett. In Iowa, Carly Fiorina stops in Des Moines and Martin O’Malley campaigns in Iowa City, Keota and Willamsburg. Ben Carson holds a rally and fundraiser in Atlanta. Bernie Sanders visits the late Freddie Gray’s neighborhood in Baltimore, where he’ll meet with African-American community leaders, before going to New York for an evening TV hit.
— On the Hill: The Senate meets at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of the conference report to accompany the Deployed Troops Support Act. The House meets at 12 p.m. for legislative business, including consideration of a bill to crack down on visa-free travel to the United States. First and last votes are expected between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
— At the White House: President Obama meets with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and then speaks at a DNC roundtable/fundraiser. Vice President Biden is in Ukraine.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Back in July, we announced our decision to put our coverage of Trump’s presidential campaign in our Entertainment section instead of our Politics section,” Arianna Huffington wrote in an editor’s note last night. “Since then Trump’s campaign has certainly lived up to that billing. But as today’s vicious pronouncement makes abundantly clear, it’s also morphed into something else: an ugly and dangerous force in American politics. So we will no longer be covering his campaign in Entertainment.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— “Mostly sunny with warmer than normal temperatures by midday and afternoon peaking in the middle 50s,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “Light breezes from the northwest blow at about 5 to maybe 10 mph at times. Low humidity keeps this air mass fairly dry today, too.”
— The Dallas Cowboys beat the Redskins 19-16 on Monday Night Football with a field goal as time ran out. (Liz Clarke)
Though Kirk Cousins recovered his own fumble, this picture pretty much sumps up the Redskins season:
— The Wizards knocked off the Miami Heat, 114-103. (Jorge Castillo)
— D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is moving from the modest Riggs Park neighborhood to the upscale Colonial Village. (Perry Stein)
— Emily’s List will endorse Maryland state Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk in the open House race to succeed Donna Edwards, who is running for Senate. Glenn Ivey, a former Prince George’s county state’s attorney, has led in the polls. (Arelis R. Hernandez)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
GoldieBlox, a toy company that seeks to inspire girls to become engineers, created a video “celebrating today’s role models and the generation of girls they’ve inspired,” including Clinton and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
The YouTube channel Auralnauts took classic scenes from Star Wars and replaced Darth Vader’s quotes with actual soundbites from Donald Trump:
A duo of Dutch pranksters, trying to show that many average people don’t know the Bible from the Koran, read Old Testament verses to people on the street but claimed they were from the Koran and then asked for reactions:
Jon Stewart returned to “The Daily Show” to campaign for more public support for 9/11 first responders. Watch here.