- “The victim’s family identified him as 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Hours after the shooting, hundreds of protesters surrounded the police headquarters and clashed with officers in riot gear, who fired flash bangs and tear gas. The Minnesota National Guard, which is deployed to the Twin Cities for the Chauvin trial, later arrived to assist police as numerous businesses in the area were broken into.”
CIRCLE OF LIFE: John A. Boehner ended the first week of his book tour by lamenting the rise of “hucksters” and “legislative terrorists” and describing his House speakership as like being the “mayor of Crazytown.” But things seem to have only deteriorated six years later, as a former president trained his fire over the weekend on the current Senate minority leader.
During a Republican National Committee gathering at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump called Mitch Connell (R-Ky.) a “dumb son of a bitch,” our Josh Dawsey reports, and blamed McConnell for opposing his bid to overturn the 2020 election.
In his book, Boehner recounts his decision to resign from Congress after four years as speaker under growing pressure from far-right Republicans who questioned whether he was sufficiently conservative to lead the party. Over the weekend, the RNC's spring donor retreat served as yet another reminder of the bitter GOP split that threatens to weaken McConnell's grip on the Senate.
Republican senators have so far stayed out of the food fight between Trump and the McConnell. But whether McConnell can continue to corral restive Trump Republicans and lead his caucus back to power in 2022 is a very Boehner-like problem.
- “Anything that's divisive is a concern and is not helpful for us fighting the battles in Washington and at the state level,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.), who has also drawn Trump's ire in recent weeks, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked about the former president's speech. “In some ways, it's not a big deal, what he said, but, at the same time, whenever it draws attention, we don't need that. We need unity.”
- “I don’t even think I could get elected in today’s Republican Party anyway. I don’t think Ronald Reagan could either,” Boehner writes in the “On the House,” according to Paul Kane, Colby Itkowitz, and Aaron Blake.
Boehner argued during an interview with CBS News's John Dickerson that Trump doesn't have complete control of the GOP at the moment: “ … he's still got a pretty big soap box. But you know, there's clearly been some pushback. And I think Mitch McConnell has laid out the case, if you will, for the traditional Republican Party.”
But few have continued to push back against Trump on the record.
McConnell's No. 2, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) — or “Mitch's boy,” as Trump has called him — glossed over Trump's rhetoric and attributed his attacks to his “style and tone” on Fox News Sunday.
- “I think a lot of that rhetoric is, you know, it's part of the style and tone that comes with the former president, but I think he and [McConnell] have a common goal, and that is getting the majority back in 2022,” Thune said. “Hopefully that'll be the thing that unites us because if we want to defeat and succeed against the Democrats and get that majority back, that's the best way to do it.”
- Thune also claimed he isn't “afraid of a fight” if Trump campaigns against him next year. However, he has yet to announce that he's running for reelection.
It's personal: Trump also attacked McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, who served as Trump's transportation secretary for resigning after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. And he told the crowd he was “disappointed” in his former vice president Mike Pence for certifying the election after his supporters led an insurrection on the Capitol to block Biden's formal victory, Josh reports.
- “I wish that Mike Pence had the courage to send it back to the legislatures … I like him so much. I was so disappointed,” Trump said.
- Shot: “The speech was light on his actual presidency, which some aides had wanted the former president to address, and delivered more of a familiar litany of grievances that seemed to animate the crowd. Many of his claims were false or misleading,” per Josh.
- Chaser: “There's an allure there to be a noisemaker instead of a policymaker,” Boehner told Dickerson.
The noisemakers and the policymakers will all be returning to Washington today to resume work after a two-week recess. President Biden will be hosting a bipartisan group of senators to discuss his infrastructure plan — even as Republican leaders “are beginning to mount fierce opposition to those plans, even as a subset of GOP centrists share rising frustration about a lack of meaningful outreach from Biden, who has billed himself as a bipartisan dealmaker,” our colleagues Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim report.
- “With lawmakers returning Monday from a two-week Easter recess, those crosscurrents could turn the coming weeks into a make-or-break moment for some of Biden’s biggest initiatives — and perhaps a final chance to demonstrate whether bipartisan cooperation will be possible.”
- Not just Republicans: Biden will have to deal with key members of his own party — like Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — if he wants to pass the bill through the budget reconciliation process to circumvent the filibuster.
On the Hill
THEY'RE BA-ACK: The Senate is expected to hold a key procedural vote this week on legislation from Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) addressing the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes during the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson for Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Power Up.
- “The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act aims to increase Justice Department oversight of coronavirus-related hate crimes, provide support for state and local law enforcement agencies, and make hate crime information more accessible to Asian American communities,” per CNBC's Hannah Miao.
- Biden last month urged Congress to “swiftly pass” it: “While we do not yet know motive, as I said last week, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing crisis of gender-based and anti-Asian violence that has long plagued our nation,” Biden said in a statement.
“A group of Democratic senators will have another meeting with Schumer as soon as Wednesday about reaching a compromise on increasing the minimum wage,” a Democratic aide told CNN's Ted Barrett, Daniella Diaz, and Manu Raju.
- “Hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour — a progressive priority — did not make it into the final coronavirus relief package. Besides Manchin, Sens. [Sinema], Thomas R. Carper and Christopher A. Coons of Delaware, Jon Tester of Montana, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Patty Murray of Washington and Angus King, an independent from Maine, were all invited.”
“On gun legislation, Schumer has committed to putting the House-passed bill that would expand universal background checks on the Senate floor for a vote despite there not being enough votes for it to pass,” per Barrett, Diaz, and Raju.
- “The vote is designed to pressure Republicans to back a response to a spate of recent mass shootings. But Manchin and [Sen. Jon] Tester (D-Montana) — both red-state Democrats — have been skeptical of the House Democrats' approach, meaning two House-passed bills could fail to even win support from 50 Democratic senators.”
At the White House
NEW THIS A.M.: “The White House is facing diverging pressure from two powerful allies — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — over whether to use an upcoming spending package to strengthen the Affordable Care Act or expand Medicare eligibility,” our colleague Jeff Stein reports.
- “Pelosi’s office is pushing the White House to make permanent a temporary expansion of [ACA] subsidies that were included in the $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation last month, according to a senior Democratic aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations.”
- “Sanders said in an interview that he is arguing for lowering the age of Medicare eligibility to 55 or 60 and expanding the program for seniors so it covers dental, vision and hearing care.”
BIPARTISAN-WHAT?: “President Biden is expected to meet in person with Republican and Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate on his $2.25 trillion [infrastructure] proposal,” the Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and Amie Parnes report.
- New GOP strategy … wait: “While [the GOP] had little success at making the covid-19 relief bill less popular, they may be more successful turning voters’s minds against the infrastructure bill if it languishes in Congress. GOP strategists think voters can be convinced the Biden package is a liberal wish list.”
- “If you’re talking to voters, when they hear infrastructure, they think bridges, tunnels, roads. Climate change isn’t infrastructure. The Green New Deal isn’t infrastructure,” Doug Heye, former communications director for the Republican National Committee told Chalfant and Parnes.
- Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg disagrees: “I very much believe that all of these things are infrastructure because infrastructure is the foundation that allows us to go about our lives,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
- Our Ashley R. Parker with the view from the White House: “'If you looked up ‘bipartisan’ in the dictionary, I think it would say support from Republicans and Democrats,' said Anita Dunn, a senior Biden adviser. ‘It doesn’t say the Republicans have to be in Congress.’”
- Key quote: “Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago and chief of staff to former president Barack Obama, put it bluntly: ‘What’s become crystal clear is that Biden has redefined bipartisan.’”
In the agencies
FED’S POWELL WARNS OF REOPENING RISKS: “Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell warned in an interview broadcast Sunday that reopening the economy too quickly could lead to another worrisome jump in coronavirus cases, arguing that the country has not completely turned the corner and that the pandemic continues to pose major risks to any recovery,” our colleague Rachel Siegel reports.
- “Powell, speaking in a ‘60 Minutes’ interview, also said that the coronavirus pandemic had exacerbated economic disparities in the United States and that this could take time to address during an uneven recovery.”
- “We’ve got to remember there’s in the range of 10 million people who were working in February of 2020 and lost their jobs because of covid-19,” Powell said. “And they’re still not working. So, for them, it’s not over. And we’re going to keep those people in mind.”
- “The economy is a long way from healed. But Powell said the depths of the recession could have been much worse. He credited Congress’s swift, unanimous action through the Cares Act as being ‘a big feature of the landscape when people look back.’”
Bye, bye inflation! “More than a year into the global pandemic, Fed officials have repeatedly stressed that the U.S. economy continues to need aggressive monetary policy support as it recovers from the pandemic, even as the outlook brightens amid widening vaccinations,” Bloomberg’s Alister Bull and Craig Torres report.
- “Their latest forecasts show officials don’t expect to raise interest rates from near zero before the end of 2023, even as they sharply upgraded projections for growth and employment this year.”
- “Powell declined to put a date on it but said it was ‘highly unlikely we would raise rates anything like this year.’”
In the media
‘LIKE THE TIGER KING GOT ELECTED TAX COLLECTOR’: “Long before the F.B.I. began to scrutinize a tax collector in Florida named Joel Greenberg — and long before his trail led them to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) — he amassed an outlandish record in the mundane local public office he had turned into a personal fief of power,” the New York Times’s Patricia Mazzei, Michael S. Schmidt and Katie Benner write.
- “Though the sex trafficking charge against Greenberg and the ensuing Justice Department examination into Gaetz have received the most attention, the array of schemes that Greenberg is suspected of are broader and altogether show an astonishing disregard for the law by an elected official.”
- “A few months into office, Greenberg was already bored. Four complaints about his actions as tax collector were made to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement from August 2017 to August 2018, including accusations that he had asked a contractor to hack the county’s computers.”
- “He pulled over a woman in 2017 while wearing shorts, a backward baseball cap and his tax collector’s badge around his neck. She said he had yelled at her for supposedly cutting him off and driving ‘like a bat out of hell.’”
- When “a music teacher named Brian A. Beute, decided he wanted to run for office against Greenberg … an anonymous letter was sent to the school where Beute worked, falsely accusing him of having a sexual relationship with a student. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office found Greenberg’s fingerprints on the letter. Deputies called in federal agents.” And the rest is history.
Outside the Beltway
CORPORATE AMERICA DOUBLES DOWN ON VOTING RIGHTS: “More than 100 chief executives and corporate leaders gathered online to discuss taking new action to combat the controversial state voting bills being considered across the country, including the one recently signed into law in Georgia,” our colleague Todd C. Frankel reports.
- “Executives from major airlines, retailers and manufacturers — plus at least one NFL owner — talked about potential ways to show they opposed the legislation, including by halting donations to politicians who support the bills and even delaying investments in states that pass the restrictive measures.”
- “Leaders from dozens of companies such as Delta, American, United, Starbucks, Target, LinkedIn, Levi Strauss and Boston Consulting Group, along with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, were included on the Zoom call.”
- “Kenneth Chenault, the former chief executive of American Express Co., and Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co., asked CEOs to sign a statement opposing what they view as discriminatory legislation on voting,” the Wall Street Journal’s Emily Glazer, Chip Cutter and Te-Ping Chen report. “A statement could come early this week.”
The bipartisan brawl. “The fast-moving drama reveals just how powerful and combustible the issue of voting has become in U.S. politics — and how fraught it appears to be for Republicans contending with the legacy of Trump's false attacks on the 2020 election,” our colleagues Amy Gardner and Mike DeBonis report.
- “Voting access now looms as one of the defining battles between the parties as they prepare for the 2022 midterms.”
- “Some Republicans fear the issue will end up costing the GOP in the long run because, rather than change its messaging to appeal to the younger and minority Americans who voted in droves for Biden, the party is embracing hurdles to voting in the name of a falsehood.”
- “Democrats hope Georgia’s drama will grow support for a far-reaching voting-rights bill making its way through Congress that would prohibit many of the restrictions under consideration in the states.”
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA MAKES MASTERS HISTORY: “Hideki Matsuyama has become the first Japanese player to win the Masters, and he is the first men’s player from his country to win any of golf’s majors,” our colleague Des Bieler reports.