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Mike Pence Announces 2024 Bid, With No Mention of Man Who Wanted Him Hanged

Pence is attempting to win the Republican nomination without talking about Donald Trump, apparently.

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Mike Pence is running to become the presidential candidate for the party that almost led to his execution.

The former vice president made it all official Wednesday with a video announcement that did not once mention Donald Trump or January 6.

Instead, he warned about the Biden administration and the dangers of the “radical left.”

It’s hard to pin down exactly why so many Republicans think they can win this primary, but the more Republicans who run, the more Trump can coast through a divided primary. As with Ron DeSantis, or Chris Christie, or Vivek Ramaswamy, or Tim Scott, or Nikki Haley, or Insert Former Trump Fan Afraid to Criticize Here, it’s difficult to understand the case for most of the candidates. And Pence is really no exception.

Pence is not exactly the most charismatic type; like DeSantis, Pence has had his robotic moments. His big plan to overcome this, and to win the election, is to reportedly put together a “Reagan coalition” consisting of the Christian right, fiscal conservatives, and national security hawks. How those numbers can grow to any substance is hard to say.

The Christian right, if they are to be distinguished at all by one issue alone, may very well vote for the president who has already stacked a court that banned abortion. Fiscal conservatives, if their only real concern is cutting taxes for the wealthy, will have their pick of Republican candidates. And the same goes for national security hawks, who have a whole roster of candidates ready to make them feel warm inside about selling more bombs and destabilizing more of the world.

The math just doesn’t math.

If there is a story for Pence to embrace, at least to potentially rise above the slew of candidates who will likely remain at 5 percent or lower, it’s of actively resisting Trump’s efforts to subvert democracy. But if his campaign announcement Wednesday is any indication, that isn’t in the cards.

Pence hasn’t completely shied away from condemning Trump for his role in inciting the January 6 attacks on the Capitol in the past. “President Trump was wrong; I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day. And I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable,” he said in March.

In his memoir released last year, Pence attacked Trump for his handling of the 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, the investigations into Russian election interference, and both impeachments he faced.

Still, Pence also wrote of a heartwarming moment in which he told Trump he was “never gonna stop praying” for him. Trump, Pence wrote, smiled back, saying, “That’s right—don’t ever change.” And it seems that nonconfrontational strategy is the one Pence is choosing to lead his campaign with.

Pence’s trepidation about fully committing to going full-steam on a man he is actively trying to beat in an election won’t hold for much longer. There are two roads ahead: one where Pence will certainly lose if he sticks to being wishy-washy on Trump (e.g., by calling his indictment “political persecution”) or one in which he will probably lose, by claiming his own lane as the man who actually stood up to Trump when it counted. Few, if any, candidates in the race can say that.

Give it a go, Mike! One might suggest you have nothing to lose but your pride, but pretty much every Republican running for president has already lost that too!

Democratic Congresswoman Rips Anti-Trans GOP Witness: “Do You Actually Believe This Garbage?”

Becca Balint is tired.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Congresswoman Becca Balint

Vermont Representative Becca Balint absolutely destroyed a witness for unnecessarily bringing up transgender rights during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Tuesday.

The committee held a hearing on the effects of environmental, social, and corporate governance, or ESG, one of Republicans’ latest manufactured culture wars. ESG is a framework that helps investors understand how an organization manages risks and opportunities regarding sustainability issues, including environmental protection, impact on society, and aligning corporate and stakeholder goals.

At one point, Balint asked witness Mandy Gunasekara about her claim that ESG promotes forced gender transition for children. “I want to know, do you really believe that garbage?” asked Balint, who is the first woman and openly LGBTQ lawmaker to represent Vermont.

Gunasekara, who served in the Environmental Protection Agency under Donald Trump, insisted that her claim was “fact” and accused people who support gender-affirming care of “beating up on children.”

Balint hit back, saying that not 30 minutes prior, she had heard from parents of trans children who live in states that have banned gender-affirming care for minors. “They literally said, ‘When you leave this room, could you please—the next time you’re in a room with someone bringing up, yet again, our children and our families as some kind of bogeyman, that you actually stand up for us?’” Balint said. “I didn’t know I would have such an opportunity!”

“It feels like every single hearing that I am in, whether it is in Oversight, or whether it is in Budget, or whether it is in a subcommittee, somehow the witnesses find a way to bring in trans children into whatever conversation we’re trying to have here.”

While trans health care and ESG have nothing to do with each other, both are important policies that have become unnecessarily politicized. ESG is beneficial for both the environment and corporations, and gender-affirming care is proven to help reduce levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts in LGBTQ people.

House Conservatives Cut Off GOP Bill to Spite Their Own Speaker

A symbolic bill on gas stoves flamed out because of conservative anger at McCarthy over the debt ceiling deal.

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Representative Matt Gaetz

A crew of conservative Republicans, still stewing over debt ceiling legislation negotiated by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden, demonstrated their ire on Tuesday by blocking a Republican bill from a full House vote.

“We warned them not to cut that deal without coming down and sitting down to talk to us,” Representative Chip Roy told reporters after the vote. “So this is all about restoring a process that will fundamentally change things back to what was working.”

Twelve Republicans voted against the rule that would have established the terms of the floor debate for a bill to prevent gas stoves from being banned, joining all Democrats in voting against it. The House cannot consider a bill without first adopting a rule, which establishes the terms of the floor debate, including how long it will transpire and whether and how the bill being considered can be amended. House rules are generally party-line votes (the rule for the debt ceiling bill was a rare exception), meaning that with such a narrow GOP majority, a few recalcitrant Republicans could gum up the works. The last rule vote that failed occurred in 2002. (The good news for gas stoves’ would-be defenders is that leadership may bring up a motion to reconsider the rule to allow floor debate and a vote on the bill.)

The conservative dissenters griped that Republican leadership backtracked on bringing up an unrelated bill by Representative Andrew Clyde, a Freedom Caucus member, which would repeal an administration regulation on pistol braces. (Clyde himself did not vote against the rule, and told Politico that he believed his bill would come to the floor next week.) But while their frustration over the apparent snub to Clyde may have been the precipitating factor, the conservative anger with McCarthy and Republican leadership traces to their debt limit deal opposition.

“We’re concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal,” Representative Matt Gaetz, who voted against the rule, told reporters.

Conservatives insist that McCarthy violated promises he made when courting them to become speaker in January, when he underwent 15 grueling votes to earn the position. “I need him to abide by the promises he made when he was first elected speaker,” Representative Ken Buck said. Buck said that while McCarthy had promised to cut government spending to fiscal year 2022 numbers, the debt ceiling agreement capped it to fiscal year 2023 numbers. Although that bill has been signed into law, Buck insisted that spending cuts should be addressed in upcoming appropriations legislation.

It was initially unclear whether conservatives will block future rules. Representative Dan Bishop said that he didn’t see any “particular pattern” going forward. “There’s no decision about rules [yet], but the problem that has been precipitated entirely by the speaker’s approach to the debt ceiling package is going to have to be dealt with,” Bishop said.

The debt ceiling deal’s success last week, including conservatives backing down from a threat to try to topple McCarthy, appeared to indicate that the speaker had a firm grip on his conference. The rule failure, however, demonstrates that there are still ways for hard-liners to make trouble for McCarthy. He may not lose his position, but his inability to control the fate of a slam-dunk GOP messaging bill is a loss in itself.

No One Watched Nikki Haley’s CNN Town Hall

The ratings are in, and they’re embarrassing for someone who says she’s a strong contender to Trump.

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CNN continues to let Republicans come on the air and push extreme views and falsehoods. And people continue not to watch.

The network hosted presidential hopeful Nikki Haley for a town hall on Sunday. During the 90-minute event, she advocated for the use of “bulletproof tape” to tackle gun violence, said women who get abortions shouldn’t be executed, and called transgender girls playing girls’ sports “the women’s issue of our time.”

But no one was interested in what she had to say. Just 562,000 people tuned in to watch Haley. In comparison, when CNN had a town hall with Donald Trump—whom Haley says Americans are tired of—nearly six times as many people watched, for a total of 3.3 million viewers.

And that audience size pales in comparison to what Trump could bring in at his peak. Almost 71.5 million people watched him win the 2016 election. In 2020, an average of 21.6 million viewers watched the Republican National Convention—far fewer than the previous election, but still miles away from his CNN event.

It’s an embarrassingly low number for Haley, who is trying to position herself as a new direction for the Republican Party, away from Trump. But it would seem that people are still more interested in him than they are in her.

Of course, neither of them could beat the viewership record at CNN. The network hosted a town hall with President Joe Biden in 2020, which brought in 3.47 million viewers—the most for a single-candidate town hall to date.

Chris Christie Launches 2024 Run in Bridge to Nowhere

The former New Jersey governor seems to think he can be president.


Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday formally filed paperwork for his presidential run, hoping that he can bridge the gaping political divide in the United States.

Unfortunately, we’ve been here before, and it’s unlikely that Americans are going to want to go any further down this bridge to nowhere.

Christie ran for president in 2016 but flamed out spectacularly in the New Hampshire primary. He had taken multiple attacks from Donald Trump up until that point, but apparently it was all water under the bridge, as Christie threw whatever clout he had behind Trump.

Christie worked fairly closely with Trump throughout his presidency and on his failed 2020 reelection campaign. He finally broke with Trump when the former president refused to accept the election results, which was apparently a bridge too far. Christie has since been vocal in opposing Trump and may make that criticism a central tenet of his campaign, though it remains to be seen.

During his two terms as New Jersey governor, Christie seemed to take nothing but political beatings. The trouble began in 2012, when fellow Republicans accused him of getting too close to then-President Barack Obama during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The following year, two of the three lanes of the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey were shut down for several days. Christie was accused of ordering the lane closure, which came to be known as Bridgegate, to create traffic jams and punish a local Democratic mayor who didn’t support him.

All of these scandals took a real toll on Christie’s popularity. By 2016, he had the lowest approval rating of any Garden State governor in 20 years. That wasn’t helped when, the following year, New Jersey suffered a government shutdown. State parks and beaches were closed as a result of the shutdown, but Christie took his family to the beach for July 4, an outing that came to be known as Beachgate.

And of course, there is Christie’s bizarre and unrequited fanboy love for Bruce Springsteen, who called out Christie for his financial policies and for Bridgegate, and reportedly said Christie was not allowed to use any Springsteen songs on his campaigns.

Christie is, to his credit, one of the few Republican lawmakers actually willing to call Trump out for his actions. But it’s unclear whether Christie actually has enough political pull to do some damage during the race. You could say let’s cross that bridge when we get there, but a Monmouth University poll published at the end of May found that only 21 percent of voters have a favorable view of him, while 47 percent view him negatively.

GOP Representative Cuts Off Jamaal Bowman as He Talks About Racist Bill

Representative Virginia Foxx banged the gavel nine times as Bowman tried to discuss the problems with the bill.

Representative Virginia Foxx
Samuel Corum/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Two weeks ago, Representative Virginia Foxx demanded Representative Maxwell Frost’s comments on student debt be removed from the record. And now, this week, the North Carolina Republican is at it again, interrupting Representative Jamaal Bowman and forcing him to suspend his comments on racism in House proceedings.

In a meeting for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday, representatives were debating House Resolution 461, which condemns “the use of elementary and secondary school facilities to provide shelter for aliens who are not admitted to the United States.” The resolution, introduced by Republican Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Brandon Williams, comes in response to lawmakers in New York and Maine merely exploring options to consider unoccupied student housing buildings as temporary options for migrants, certainly nothing that would impede students’ safety or education.

Republican Representative Bob Good, however, went further, offering an amendment to the bill to strip federal funding from public schools that shelter undocumented people.

The suggestion prompted Bowman to speak in opposition, detailing how essential federal funding is for New York City schools (especially given the federal government’s history of racist redlining policies that left many schools underfunded). He argued that Good’s amendment “seeks to double down on prior racist policy by implementing present-day racist policies.” Bowman also took issue with the suggestion that migrants are part of an “invasion,” noting its white supremacist origins and associations with the racist great replacement theory.

“Now I know none of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will admit to being racist—and I don’t think they are,” Bowman said. “But when you look at the rhetoric, and you hear the talking points, and look at the legislation that’s put forward, what are we to say?”

In the middle of Bowman’s comment, Foxx slammed the gavel nine times, demanding Bowman suspend his remarks, saying he cannot “engage in personality characterizations.”

“Thank you Madam Chair, it’s just very frustrating because it seems like the legislation itself engages in personalities, when it refers to a group of people that is derogatory,” Bowman countered. “So if the legislation is doing it, and we’re using words on the other side of the aisle like ‘invasion,’ as if it’s an army coming to our country, is that not personalities? Thank you, and I yield back.”

Foxx’s reaction to Bowman’s comments echoed her interruption of Frost’s comments two weeks ago, which also referenced racist policies. The Florida representative argued against the conservative logic surrounding student debt, “that because there was an injustice, we can’t fix it because it’s unfair to those who never had it fixed, means we would never progress on any issue in this country.”

“If we legislated using the logic that you bring to this issue today, women and Black folks wouldn’t have the right to vote because it would be unfair to those who never got to vote before them… Why do you bring that bigoted logic to this issue as it relates to students, but not any other issue?” Frost asked.

The “bigoted logic” remarks prompted Foxx to “demand his words be taken down.” Frost, like Bowman, generously heeded Foxx’s outrage towards his coolly reasoned argument, before proceeding.

House Republicans Think They Deserve “Unredacted” Memo on Special Counsel’s Trump Investigation

Representative Jim Jordan is once again leading the charge (impeding an investigation).

Representative Jim Jordan
Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan has demanded the Justice Department hand over internal documents showing the extent of the investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Special counsel Jack Smith is investigating the former president for keeping classified material and for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Jordan, a staunch Trump ally who has tried to interfere in other Trump investigations, has decided that he needs to step into the fray.

Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting “an unredacted copy of the memorandum outlining the scope of Mr. Smith’s probes regarding President Trump and any supporting documentation related to his appointment as special counsel,” NBC reported Tuesday. He gave Garland until June 20 to submit the papers.

The letter comes a day after Trump’s legal team met with the Justice Department to argue that the former president should not be charged for keeping classified material after leaving office. They gave no indication of how the meeting went, but Trump melted down on Truth Social shortly after, demanding to know “HOW CAN DOJ POSSIBLY CHARGE ME, WHO DID NOTHING WRONG.”

Smith has been circling ever closer to Trump, and many experts speculate that he will issue criminal charges soon.

This isn’t the first time Jordan has attempted to intervene in one (of many) investigations into Trump. It isn’t even the first time he’s gotten involved in this one. Last week, Jordan asked for details on the FBI employees involved in Smith’s investigation.

Jordan complained about the “institutional rot that pervades the FBI,” a favorite bugbear of his, and demanded to know which FBI personnel were working on the investigation and whether any had previously investigated Trump. (Trump is reportedly looking to purge all employees involved in investigating him.)

In March, after Trump was criminally indicted for his role in paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, Jordan also attacked the Manhattan district attorney for that investigation. Jordan, House Administration Chair Bryan Steil, and House Oversight Chair James Comer alleged Alvin Bragg had a political agenda and demanded he testify in Congress about the investigation.

Bragg hit back, calling the attacks “baseless and inflammatory” and accused them of “acting more like criminal defense counsel trying to gather evidence for a client than a legislative body seeking to achieve a legitimate legislative objective.”

GOP Senator Says January 6 Was Just “Pockets of Rioting”

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has an interesting interpretation of the attack on the Capitol.


It’s been more than two years since hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And Republicans are still busy trying to downplay the outcome of their own conspiratorial, inciteful rhetoric. On Monday, for instance, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said the whole ordeal just consisted of mere “pockets of rioting.”

“We’ve seen people staying within the rope lines, we’ve seen the Shaman, we’ve seen video of him calling for you know, everybody staying peaceful,” Johnson said. “So, we just don’t hear that in the mainstream media, though. They want to paint a picture of just a mass riot all over the place—there were definitely pockets of rioting, but by and large, the vast majority of people there in Washington were just there to exercise their First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble, and that’s what most of them did.”

Yes, it was the mainstream media that “painted” this picture:

Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Last year, Johnson insisted the riot was not an “armed insurrection.”

In March 2021, Johnson told a radio host that the rioters who attacked the nation’s Capitol in an attempt to overturn an election “were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law.” Nearly 150 officers were injured from the riots, but Johnson said that he would only have been concerned if they were Black Lives Matter or anti-fascist protesters.

Johnson’s desperate revisionism isn’t surprising. 

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attacks revealed that Johnson tried to personally give then–Vice President Mike Pence “alternate” electors for Michigan and Wisconsin (two states Joe Biden won). Such electors were indeed found to have been fraudulent; Pence’s team rejected them.

Last year, Johnson hired Pam Travis, one of 10 Wisconsin Republicans who signed fraudulent paperwork claiming to be a Donald Trump elector, to work on his reelection campaign.

Johnson was also one of 45 Senate Republicans who voted to declare Trump’s second impeachment trial unconstitutional, and one of 35 who voted against creating a commission to investigate the Capitol riots at all.

Florida Judge Blocks Extreme Anti-Trans Law: “Gender Identity Is Real”

The law banning gender-affirming care for minors has been temporarily blocked.


A Florida judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a law banning gender-affirming care for minors, ruling there was “no rational basis” for the measure.

In addition to banning care for children, the law, which Governor Ron DeSantis signed last month, also makes it significantly harder for trans adults to access care. Medical facilities could lose their license if they offered health care to trans or nonbinary children.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction against the law on Tuesday, meaning it is blocked while lawsuits against it play out in court. Hinkle cited multiple doctors who testified against the law that “denial of this treatment will cause needless suffering for a substantial number of patients and will increase anxiety, depression, and the risk of suicide.”

“There is no rational basis for a state to categorically ban these treatments,” he wrote.

This detail gets at the heart of the main Republican argument for blocking gender-affirming care. They argue they are protecting children, but these laws actually put LGBTQ people of all ages at risk of more harm, both physical and mental.

While the injunction only applies to the three immediate plaintiffs in the suit, legal principle would prevent the law from being applied to other people, legal expert Alejandra Caraballo explained. The injunction should also ensure adults can access care, although Florida may argue otherwise because the plaintiffs are all minors.

Hinkle’s injunction does not block the most horrifying part of the law, though. The measure allows the state to take custody of a child if they are being “subjected to or threatened with” gender-affirming care, which was categorized as a form of “physical harm.” Caraballo explained to The New Republic that technically, a state cannot be sued, so state officers in charge of enforcement are sued, instead.

Since there is no state officer in charge of enforcing custody, that particular provision cannot be addressed in this lawsuit. It can only be blocked once it is challenged directly during the legal process.

Tuesday’s ruling “would provide a lot of persuasive basis for challenging it if it comes up in actual family court,” said Caraballo, but people might not have the means or resources to use this as a defense.

“It creates a chilling effect” that could scare people away from seeking their still-legal care, she added.

In his 44-page ruling, Hinkle systematically dismantled all arguments that had been made in favor of the law, starting with the fact that “gender identity is real” and trans people do not choose to identify a certain way. That is who they are.

Hinkle’s decision also called out a Florida Republican legislator who called trans people “demons,” as proof of the bigotry the community faces. 

Hinkle pointed out that the state could not overrule parental rights in deciding what medical care was appropriate for their child, nor could they remove an adult patient’s right to make their own decision about treatment, especially since Florida had not proved that gender-affirming care is dangerous. “There are well-established standards of care for treatment of gender dysphoria,” he wrote. “Not a single reputable medical association has taken a contrary position.”

Florida had provided “nonexistent” evidence to the contrary and argued that the medical professionals who testified against the bill were acting out of “good politics, not good medicine.”

“If ever a pot called a kettle black, it is here,” Hinkle wrote. “The statute and rules were an exercise in politics, not good medicine.”

This post has been updated.

Atlanta City Council Approves $67 Million for Cop City, Dismissing Mass Opposition

The funding approval for the gargantuan police facility comes after police killed a Cop City protester and arrested others en masse.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images
Environmental activists march through a preserved Atlanta forest that is scheduled to be developed as a police training center, on March 4.

More than 15 hours of public comment and protesting. More than 230 comments against Cop City, just four in favor of it. And still, at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the Atlanta City Council voted 11–4 to approve $67 million in taxpayer money to raze down forest land and build a gargantuan police facility for a force that has killed a protester in cold blood and arrested dozens more on the grounds of having muddy shoes.

Police accountability: the unicorn of American society.

Only four city councilmembers, Liliana Bakhtiari, Jason Dozier, Keisha Waites, and Antonio Lewis, had the stones to heed the will of thousands of their constituents and vote against the funding.

The vote approved $31 million in public funds for construction, while green-lighting a provision that requires the city to pay $36 million over a 30-year period ($1.2 million per year) for the facility. The vote came after nearly 16 hours of hundreds of residents insisting the city reject the project’s bloated funding package. Chants of “Stop Cop City!” and “Vive vive Tortuguita!” rang off the walls of Atlanta City Hall.

The latter chant was in reference to Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, known as Tortuguita, who was shot and killed by Atlanta police in January. Contrary to the police’s claims that the officers only shot after being shot at first, an independent autopsy found Tortuguita’s hands were raised during the shooting. Even worse, police shot Tortuguita at least 57 times.

Fifty-seven times.

Then in March, dozens of people were indiscriminately arrested at a music festival organized by protesters, many of them charged with domestic terrorism. The protesters were detained on accusations of participating in vandalism and arson at a construction site that was over a mile away from where the music festival was being held. Many were arrested and denied bond on the grounds of having muddy shoes (they were all in a forest, where it had rained), or being “part of the team” because they were wearing black.

And last week, Atlanta police used a heavy-duty police truck and hordes of riot police to arrest just three individuals who had been helping organize bail funds and legal support for protesters. The trio were arrested on charges of “money laundering” and “charity fraud,” though there has been no public evidence of any mishandling of funds raised to support arrested protesters.

While granting bond for the organizers, the judge did not appear compelled by the prosecution. “I don’t find it very impressive,” he said. “There’s not a lot of meat on the bones.”