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Gallego’s Newest Recruit to Retire Kyrsten Sinema: Nancy Pelosi

Sinema was once a member of Pelosi’s caucus. But those were different times.

Nancy Pelosi
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nancy Pelosi may not be speaker anymore, and she’s not constantly flying here and there to raise money like she once was. But that doesn’t mean she’s out of the game totally. The New Republic got a copy of an invitation to an event she’s doing Wednesday, which is interesting both for who it’s for—Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego—and who it’s obviously against—Kyrsten Sinema, who was a Democratic member of the House when Pelosi led the Democratic caucus.

Sinema, of course, left the Democratic Party earlier this year and is now a registered independent. She has not said whether she plans to run for reelection. But Sinema has held meetings laying out her potential battle plans should she run for reelection.

It’s far from clear how competitive Sinema would be should she run, however. Her most recent fundraising filings indicate anemic support among small-dollar donors. And while there isn’t much public polling, what’s out there doesn’t look good for her. A PPP poll from April had Gallego in the low 40s, three different GOP candidates in the mid-30s or high-20s—and Sinema dead last, around 15.

Pelosi’s presence at a Gallego fundraiser is a stark statement. It means she is directing her donor community, built over decades in Congress and congressional leadership, toward Gallego rather than either tacitly or overtly directing them to stay neutral.

Senate Democratic leadership has stayed fairly mum on the race. In an interview with The New Republic on Monday, Democratic Senatorial Committee Chairman Gary Peters did not signal whether his committee, the campaign arm for Senate Democrats, plans to endorse in the primary. That’s possibly because an enraged Sinema could be a legislative headache for Democrats if she feels they have unfairly abandoned her in 2024. Sinema, it’s important to note, still caucuses with the Democratic Party. But Peters did not throw out the possibility that the DSCC could back Gallego at some point in the cycle.

Donald Trump Fantasized About Having Sex With Ivanka, New Book Says

An ex-Trump staffer details the lewd comments Trump regularly made about his daughter’s body.

Donald Trump shakes hands with his daughter Ivanka
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump regularly made lewd comments about his daughter Ivanka and fantasized about what it would be like to have sex with her, according to a former Trump administration official.

Trump’s comments were part of a general culture of misogyny and sexism in the White House during his administration, Miles Taylor details in his upcoming book, Blowback: A Warning to Save Democracy From the Next Trump, which was first reported on by Newsweek on Wednesday.

“Aides said he talked about Ivanka Trump’s breasts, her backside, and what it might be like to have sex with her, remarks that once led [former Chief of Staff] John Kelly to remind the president that Ivanka was his daughter,” Taylor, who served as a Department of Homeland Security chief of staff under Trump, wrote in his book.

“Afterward, Kelly retold that story to me in visible disgust,” Taylor writes. “Trump, he said, was ‘a very, very evil man.’”

Taylor was the author of an anonymous (and infamous) 2018 New York Times op-ed claiming several Trump staffers were part of a “resistance” to stop the president from within his own administration. Taylor said in 2020 that he would be voting for Joe Biden for president, and he officially quit the Republican Party last year.

Taylor’s allegations should not come as a huge shock, given the other disturbing things Trump has publicly said about his daughter.

In 2004, he told radio host Howard Stern that it was perfectly fine to refer to Ivanka as “a piece of ass.

In 2006, Trump engaged in another conversation with the radio host about the size of Ivanka’s breasts. “She’s actually always been very voluptuous,” Trump said, telling Stern that she had not gotten breast implants. “She’s tall, she’s almost six feet tall and she’s been, she’s an amazing beauty.”

That same year, in an interview on The View, Trump was asked what he would do if Ivanka posed for Playboy.

“I don’t think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure,” Trump replied. “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.

“Isn’t that terrible? How terrible? Is that terrible?”

In 2013, Trump made yet another disgusting comment about his daughter on the Wendy Williams Show. When asked what the two have in common, Trump replied, “Well, I was going to say sex, but I can’t relate that to her.”

In 1997—when Ivanka was just 16 years old and hosting the Miss Teen USA pageant—Trump reportedly asked the then Miss Universe, “Don’t you think my daughter is hot?”

This is not even close to a comprehensive list of comments he has made about his daughter’s body, or about what it would be like to have sex with her.

Taylor’s book details other allegations of Trump behaving inappropriately toward women, including Kirstjen Nielsen, who was secretary of homeland security from 2017 to 2019.

“He’s setting a very vile tone within the Republican Party, and in a sense has normalized pretty derisive views towards women in general,” Taylor writes.

Republicans Are Taking Credit for Infrastructure Bill They All Voted Against

Amazing about-face from the members of Congress who tried to stop the bill in the first place

Senator John Cornyn
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Senator John Cornyn

One of President Biden’s hallmark achievements thus far is his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law. Even though Biden compromised with Republicans, and even though the law was so beneficial for their constituencies, a majority of Senate and House Republicans still voted against it in 2021. And now these same Republicans are suddenly trying to take credit for the historic investment they actively tried to stop.

Biden’s law is distributing upward of $42 billion across America to expand internet access and help bring rural and isolated communities into the increasingly digital world. The White House on Monday released estimates of what that means for each state—and Republicans who voted against the bill were quick to claim the victory.

Senator Tommy Tuberville lauded the news Tuesday, celebrating the law’s impact on Alabama’s rural communities:

Senator John Cornyn also tweeted an article boasting about Texas receiving a whopping $3.3 billion for broadband, more than any other state in the nation.

Of course, the spanning infrastructure package includes other popular provisions as well.

Representative Nancy Mace on Wednesday hosted a press conference celebrating the law’s allocation of nearly $26 million to a Charleston, South Carolina, regional bus hub featuring electric buses. Mace has previously called the bipartisan infrastructure law “absurd” and a “fiasco,” and specifically derided funding electric mass transportation as “socialism.”

If it is socialist, so be it: Perhaps Mace’s celebration of the project shows how popular socialist policies might actually be!

Tuberville and Cornyn are among the 30 Republican senators who voted against the bipartisan infrastructure law. Mace is among the 200 House Republicans who voted against it.

For his part, Biden appears to be looking forward to more celebration:

John Bolton, of All People, Calls Out Republicans Who Want to Pardon Trump

“I think that disqualifies those people from being president,” said the ex–Trump adviser.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
John Bolton

John Bolton, who served as national security adviser to Donald Trump, said his former boss “flouted” the law by hoarding classified documents and that any 2024 Republican candidate who believes otherwise doesn’t deserve to be president.

On CNN Tonight on Tuesday, Bolton was asked what he thinks of the candidates who say Trump should not be prosecuted. “I think that disqualifies those people from being president, and I think I would say the same for any of them who have said he should be pardoned,” he replied.

Bolton added:

You know, part of the equal application of the law is that everybody has to be held to the same standard, and frankly, I’ll just show my biases here, when it comes to national security information—I can’t think of a higher duty for the president, a higher example of leadership to sit, for everybody below him in the executive branch who deals with classified information, than to handle it carefully. Which Trump has flouted. He did for four years in office, he’s done it since then, and I think there’s something to be said to show to people that you’re held to the highest standards because everybody else is, including the president, and when you fail to uphold those standards, you pay the penalty.

The fact that Bolton—an Iraq War architect, radical nationalist and neocon, and former Trump staffer—is calling out Republican 2024 candidates for their meekness speaks volumes. Most of the candidates have been wary of criticizing Trump, even after he was charged with 37 criminal counts for willful retention of national security documents, for fear of alienating his followers. They’re either promising to pardon him or toeing the line by expressing some concern about the allegations while not forcefully condemning him. Only Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson have been unapologetically critical of the former president.

Bolton also addressed a recently leaked audio recording revealing that Trump bragged about keeping a classified Pentagon document detailing a potential attack on Iran. “As this unfolds,” Bolton said, “I think the public will get a more profound sense of the danger potentially caused to American national security by Trump’s obsession with having these things because, as he says in that excerpt, it’s just ‘cool’ to have it.”

Yusef Salaam, of Central Park Five, Wins NYC Council Primary

The exonerated member of the Central Park Five said of his election victory: “I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.”

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Stonyfield
Yusef Salaam

Thirty-four years after being indicted by both the media and the criminal justice system, and sent to jail for a crime he never committed, Yusef Salaam of the Central Park Five has won the New York City Council primary elections, almost guaranteeing he will serve for the same city government that oversaw his unjust imprisonment.

Salaam was one of five Black and Latino teenagers falsely accused of assaulting and raping a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989. Now, decades later, after spending nearly seven years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Salaam is poised to represent his home district of Harlem, one of the most historic neighborhoods in New York City, and one that overlooks the north end of Central Park itself.

“This campaign has been about our Harlem community, who has been pushed into the margins of life and made to believe they were supposed to be there,” Salaam said on election night. “Having to be kidnapped from my home as a 15-year-old child, to be launched in the belly of the beast, I was gifted to turn that experience into the womb of America. I was gifted because I was able to see it for what it really was: a system that was trying to make me believe that I was my ancestors’ wildest nightmare. But I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.”

Running for the city’s ninth district, which includes Harlem, Salaam far outpaced a field that included two elected officials currently representing the neighborhood. The race was the only one in which Mayor Eric Adams made an endorsement, backing state Assembly member Inez Dickens, who currently trails Salaam by over 25 points.

While the election was a primary race, Salaam is all but guaranteed to be elected to the council come November.

Since being released from his false imprisonment, Salaam has become a motivational speaker and board member of the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to fighting against wrongful convictions and bettering the criminal justice system.

In 1989, amid the apprehension of the Exonerated Five, former President Donald Trump bought full-page advertisements in all four of New York City’s major newspapers, including The New York Times, calling to “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY.” He has still not apologized for doing so, even while all five of the individuals wrongfully arrested have been proven innocent.

In March, after twice-impeached Trump faced his first of now two criminal indictments, Salaam released a one-word response: “Karma.”

This article has been updated.

Trump Incriminates Himself Further in Absurd Reaction to Classified Docs Tape

Asked about his voice on the recordings, he replied, “My voice was fine. What did I say wrong?”

Donald Trump
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Getting away with crimes is difficult enough, but it’s even harder when you compulsively say out loud in very clear terms that you did them. Such is the lesson Donald Trump is learning, after the release of an audio recording corroborating the federal accusations the twice-impeached former president faces for stealing classified government information and flippantly showing them off to an array of non-cleared individuals.

Indeed, though the twice-indicted and liable for sexual abuse former president has the right to remain silent, he’s never really exercised that, has he? And the pattern continued during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday.

“I had a whole desk full of lots of papers, and mostly newspaper articles, copies of magazines, copies of different plans, copies of stories having to do with many, many subjects,” Trump said. “And what was said was absolutely fine, and very perfectly, we did nothing wrong. This is a whole hoax.”

As a reminder, Trump was indicted on 37 counts for mishandling classified documents, and is accused of even being “personally involved” in packing up boxes full of classified information as he departed the White House for Mar-a-Lago, where the boxes were then hidden everywhere from the ballroom to the bathroom. He allegedly showed the documents—sourced from agencies including the CIA and NSA—to staff members, writers, and even a representative of his PAC.

Court documents cited one recording in particular in which Trump allegedly showed individuals without security clearance “highly confidential” and “secret” documents related to a Pentagon plan for a potential attack on Iran. He notes in the recording he “could have declassified” them had he still been president. CNN released the recording in full on Monday, corroborating what the indictment already detailed: Trump is heard showing “a big pile of papers … off the record … [from] the Defense Department” to individuals without clearance.

Pretty straightforward, yes? You’d think. Yet Trump’s defense now involves doubling down, saying indeed he had tons of papers, copies of different plans, and it was all “absolutely fine, and very perfectly.”

That wasn’t enough though. Asked about his own voice on the recordings, Trump’s ego still somehow activated against the logic of the actual question. “My voice was fine. What did I say wrong?” he asked, before addressing the actual stakes of the question: whether he’s a criminal.

“We have a lot of papers, a lot of papers stacked up. In fact, you hear the rustle of the paper,” Trump assures us. Why, exactly, he’s reminding the public that he had “a lot of papers” and encouraging them to wonder what those “papers” were is unclear.

If it’s all to be performance art, Trump’s conclusion that “nobody said I did anything wrong other than the fake news, which of course is Fox too,” is a nice cherry on top.

GOP Presidential Candidate Tries to Save Face After Asking “What’s a Uyghur?”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez admitted he’s never heard of the Uyghur people or the Chinese government’s crimes against them—then tried to take it back.

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez

Republican presidential candidate Francis Suarez is so qualified for the job, with such an extensive foreign policy repertoire, that he has simply never heard of a Uyghur before.

The Miami mayor declared his 2024 bid for president earlier this month, prompting nearly everyone to ask, “Who’s that?” And he only embarrassed himself further on Tuesday, during a radio interview with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

Hewitt asked the GOP candidate about his campaign’s stance on China’s human rights violations against the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority. China has built mass internment camps in the Xinjiang province, where most Uyghurs live, and more than a million Uyghurs (as well as other religious minorities) have been detained in the last few years. The United States has classified the mass persecution and targeting as genocide.

But Suarez seems to have no idea about any of it, or even about “what” a Uyghur is.

When asked about the Uyghurs during the radio show, Suarez was completely stumped. The exchange went like this:

Hewitt: Will you be talking about the Uyghurs in your campaign?

Suarez: The what?

Hewitt: The Uyghurs.

Suarez: What’s a Uyghur?

Hewitt:  OK, we’ll come back to that. Let me, you won’t be, you’ve got to get smart on that.”

Later in the interview, Suarez said, “You gave me homework, Hugh. I’ll look at a—what’s it called, a weeble?”

“The Uyghurs,” Hewitt repeated yet again. “You really need to know about the Uyghurs, mayor.”

“Uyghurs, I’m a good learner, a fast learner,” Suarez responded, seemingly making a joke of it all.

The mayor later tried to do damage control, blaming the mishap on lack of familiarity with the pronunciation Hewitt used.

“Of course, I am well aware of the suffering of the Uyghurs in China. They are being enslaved because of their faith. China has a deplorable record on human rights, and all people of faith suffer there. I didn’t recognize the pronunciation my friend Hugh Hewitt used,” Suarez said in a statement.

Hewitt, of course, used the common English pronunciation of the word.

Again, none of this should be a surprise to a presidential candidate. Both of the last two presidential administrations have accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs. The Chinese government has been accused of physical and mental torture, mass sexual assault, mass sterilization, and mass detention with the goal of changing people’s identities and religious beliefs.

Minnesota Republican Absurdly Blames Global Warming on Pride Month

Minnesota state Senator Eric Lucero would like to turn back the clock on LGBTQ rights.

Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

There are an estimated 24 million people who identify as LGBTQ in America—a likely undercount, as more and more people grow comfortable embracing themselves. And yet, despite that progress, Republicans like Minnesota state Senator Eric Lucero are working overtime to turn back the clock.

“GLOBAL WARMING,” Lucero began in a tweet on Monday. “Our Creator hates PRIDE, and each of us as the creation will be held to account for our choices, eventually.”

“The 7-color natural rainbow is a reminder of His promise to never again enact worldwide judgment by WATER. The next worldwide judgment will be by FIRE.”

Neither the Bible nor any ancient religious text says anything about Pride Month, a modern-day celebration dedicated to people’s ability to love and live freely and wholly.

Deep theology aside, if there is a God or gods, they would likely be less concerned with their creations feeling the warmth of love, than, say, their creations degrading other creations around them.

As in, Lucero’s invocation of climate change as some sort of threat promised by God in response to “PRIDE,” might (shocker) be missing the mark of what God (or gods) is (or are) actually concerned with. Maybe, just maybe, the idea that global warming is spurred by relentless greed (an actual universally accepted sin) is more convincing than the idea that God is making the globe hotter because people are loving freely.

Lucero’s foolishness ought not be lost as Minnesota hosts some of the worst air quality in the world at this very moment due to wildfires made worse by climate change.

Not to be seen as an aberrant comment, Lucero’s tweet adds to a growing pathetic and creepish track record.

Last year, Lucero tried spreading fake rumors that schools were harboring litter boxes in bathrooms and uniforms with tails to accommodate kids who identify as cats.

On January 6, 2021, Lucero spoke at a “Storm the Capitol” rally in St. Paul, in support of the riots on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. seeking to overturn the 2020 election results. “We are at the threshold of a Civil War … we need to purge. We need to pull the weeds,” one of Lucero’s fellow speakers said to the crowd.

Lucero, if nothing else, is a robotic outrage automaton, like many of his contemporaries. A day after Chaya Raichik posted a tweet displaying her complete lack of reading comprehension:

… Lucero tweeted essentially the exact same thing, showcasing his blithering desperation to be just like the other cool kids who see understanding words as a suggestion for, not a necessity to, daily life:

The Right Is Weirdly Hyperfixated on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Muscles

A video of the presidential candidate has sent the far right into a tizzy.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Over the weekend, videos of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. exercising circulated the internet. Groaning and glistening while donning tight jeans and no shirt, the presidential candidate earned the approval of an interesting array of people, namely far-right media and Twitter’s blue-check army.

“Getting in shape for my debates with President Biden!” Kennedy tweeted alongside a video of him squeezing through nine non–fully extended pushups.

“That’s a fit boy,” a voice said behind the camera.

Another video showcased Kennedy struggling through a similarly lackluster set of inclined bench presses at what appears to be a whopping 115 pounds—certainly nothing to dismiss on its own, but maybe not a performance to so excitedly cheer for if Kennedy’s body was as herculean as some have made it out to be (this was “his last drop set of the day,” the video tweeter assured the public).

Anyhow, the lovefest ensued.

The posts have also been part of a smear campaign against a prominent scientist who has been targeted for his support of vaccines. The implication being: Why trust a normal-looking scientist who supports vaccines when you have this red, meaty anti-vaxxer (who definitely doesn’t instead inject himself with steroids) right in front of you?

RFK Jr. prides his campaign on being health-centered in a way that no other candidate is, hence his latest strategy to showcase himself as uniquely fit relative to Biden (curiously, the comparison to the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, has not been made by RFK Jr. or many of his ogling fans). But having a balanced diet and embracing physical activity certainly do not preclude someone from also taking rigorously studied vaccines against diseases that have killed millions of people.

Such revolutionarily basic logic unfortunately might not penetrate the force field humming around the freethinkers who have been led to believe that freethinking means free of thinking.

The sweaty Kennedy content was imposed so forcefully onto people’s Twitter timelines, it would not have been surprising if Elon Musk himself was juicing the numbers. And that might not be the only juicing relevant here. While Kennedy has prided himself on standing against vaccines researched and scrutinized by thousands of scientists around the world, one might not be out of bounds to question the particular puffiness of his stature.

It’s not bad for someone to take steroids, especially if they are proven to support one’s physical or mental health, or longevity. If only that logic would be extended to the millions of transgender people in this country, instead of for instance, Kennedy insinuating that chemicals in water are turning them trans.

FBI Knew Proud Boys Were Prepping to “Kill People,” Did Nothing

A new Senate report savages the FBI and DHS for ignoring pre–January 6 intel.

Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A new report out Tuesday morning from a Senate committee rips the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for ignoring “a massive amount of intelligence information” in the weeks leading up to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

In one egregious example, the report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee charged that the bureau overlooked a December 2020 tip that members of the Proud Boys were gearing up to be in Washington on the day Congress voted to certify Joe Biden’s victory and that their “plan is to literally kill people,” in the report’s language. Numerous social media posts warned of violence erupting, including some that used language like “burn the place to the ground” (with respect to the Capitol) and, from a member of the Oath Keepers group: “There is only one way in. It is not signs. It’s not rallies. It’s fucking bullets!”

In addition to that, the social media company Parler, a platform favored by MAGA-land, directly sent the FBI a number of posts that it found alarming. According to the report, one read: “This is not a rally and it’s no longer a protest. This is a final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill.… Don’t be surprised if we take the #capital [sic] building.”

And yet, with all those warnings and more, on the very morning of January 6, as Donald Trump was preparing to give his “fight like hell” speech, the FBI announced that there were “no credible threats at this time,” as the AP reported Tuesday morning.

“Our intelligence agencies completely dropped the ball,” said Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan and committee chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “Despite a multitude of tips and other intelligence warnings of violence on Jan. 6, the report showed that these agencies repeatedly—repeatedly—downplayed the threat level and failed to share the intelligence they had with law enforcement partners.”

FBI officials have previously testified that they knew of no such intel. The report seems to contradict that completely. Maybe people just found it hard to believe that armed citizens would storm their Capitol building with the literal intent of killing members of Congress (and the vice president).

And, of course—maybe some people in the FBI suspected it might happen but didn’t disagree with the mob that the election was stolen. Whatever’s behind the failure, it’s a historic and humiliating one.