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MAGA Candidate Says He’s Worried About Babies Who Might Get an Abortion

Bill Eigel, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Missouri, may not realize, but this is physically impossible.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of demonstrators march in support of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 30, 2019.

A gubernatorial candidate in Missouri is arguing against abortion access for rape victims on the basis that it would technically allow babies to gain access to the medical procedure.

Republican Missouri State Senator Bill Eigel took the draconian (and idiotic) stance during a debate last week, over an amendment to the state’s already restrictive abortion ban. Missouri has only allowed abortions in the event of medical emergencies since shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. The new amendment, proposed by Democratic state Senator Doug Beck, would permit abortions for children aged 12 and under if they are victims of rape or incest, raising health concerns for child rape victims if their pregnancies were carried to term.

“You want to bring back the institution of abortion so that kids can get abortions in the state of Missouri. A 1-year-old could get an abortion under this,” Eigel said, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

The uneducated response immediately called for a fact-check from Beck.

“I don’t know that a 1-year-old could get pregnant, Senator,” he retorted, before asking if Eigel was “OK” with the “forced birth of a child being raped.”

“I don’t support the institutions of rape or of incest. But your amendment doesn’t address those,” Eigel replied.

But Eigel isn’t alone in his condemnation of the bill. Another Republican, Missouri State Senator Sandy Crawford, claimed the incest and rape provision shouldn’t pass because “God is perfect.”

“God does not make mistakes. And for some reason he allows that to happen, bad things happen,” Crawford said. “I’m not gonna be able to support the amendments because I am very pro-life.”

Also last week, GOP representatives in the state unanimously voted down another amendment to the ban, proposed by Senator Tracy McCreery, which would have legalized abortion in all cases of rape or incest.

John Bolton: Trump’s Just Totally Making Stuff Up Now

Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton believes Trump’s threat to abandon NATO is real—but the rest of the details are made up.

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While the world continues to reel after Donald Trump claimed he told a European leader that he’d allow Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to NATO allies if they didn’t “pay” their “bills,” some former members of his inner circle aren’t even sure he said it at all.

On Tuesday, Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton cast doubt on the incendiary story, claiming that it just didn’t sound real to him.

“I never heard him saying anything like that, and the way the conversation goes doesn’t sound real,” Bolton told Politico. “You know, he makes up a lot of conversations where people are always calling him ‘Sir.’ You know, maybe his subordinates are calling him sir, because that’s the right thing to do. But foreign leaders don’t call him sir. They either call him Mr. President or Donald, number one.”

“But number two, the fact that it’s an imaginary conversation that makes Trump look very good—as all of Trump’s imagined conversations do—doesn’t mean that he doesn’t believe what he’s saying,” Bolton continued.

To that end, Bolton believes that Trump’s desire to force the United States out of the strategic military alliance is very real.

“Look, I was there when he almost withdrew, and he’s not negotiating,” Bolton said. “His goal here is not to strengthen NATO, it’s to lay the groundwork to get out.”

Trump’s comments—even outside of the White House—may have the impact he’s looking for. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that Trump’s bombastic story may force what was once a quiet conversation out into the open: how the 75-year-old Western alliance might prepare for a world after America removes itself as the centerpiece.

Republicans unquestioningly have quickly fallen in line behind the GOP front-runner, brushing Trump’s veiled threats off as something not to be taken “literally” and claiming that Trump should not be considered a “traditional politician.”

“I think there are some Republicans who support Trump out there saying, ‘Oh, it’s, you know, it’s not a big deal. He’s not going to do it, so on and so forth.’ I’m telling you, I was there in Brussels when he damn near did it,” Bolton said, referring to the 2018 NATO summit.

According to Bolton, a policy hawk who also served under Ronald Reagan’s administration, the consequences of exiting the Cold War alliance could be dire, effectively resulting in the end of NATO, leaving behind a fractured and significantly weakened European alliance, while devastating America’s international credibility as an ally.

“If we’re willing to throw NATO over the side, there is no American alliance that is secure,” Bolton said, questioning if Trump would do the same to Israel while in office if it suited his political purposes.

Trump has long aggressed America’s relationship with the international military alliance, baselessly asserting that other NATO members have failed to pay their dues, which are determined by guideline rather than mandate, and even though the United States has never been shortchanged by other members. The Cold War organization has “no ledger that maintains accounts of what countries pay and owe,” according to former Obama staffer Aaron O’Connell, who explained to NPR in 2018 that “NATO is not like a club with annual membership fees.”

“When Trump complains that NATO allies are not spending enough on defense, he’s not complaining to get them to strengthen NATO. He’s using it to bolster his excuse to get out,” Bolton explained.

Lindsey Graham Is Losing It, Starts Yelling at a Poster

The Republican senator appeared to have a proper meltdown as the Senate debated a foreign aid bill.

Lindsey Graham yelling and pointing at something off camera
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Debate over the $95 billion foreign aid bill in the Senate reached the prime minister of Poland. Well, sort of.

On Monday night, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham lit into a poster of a tweet by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk castigating Republican senators for voting against giving aid to Ukraine. (Just a few hours after this meltdown, Graham would join 25 other members of his party in voting against the aid package to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.)

Graham seemed to take particular offense at Tusk’s invocation of Ronald Reagan, who, according to the prime minister, “must be turning in his grave” at his party’s turning a blind eye to Russian aggression. “Shame on you,” tweeted Tusk.

Addressing (and gesticulating at) the poster directly, Graham admonished Tusk’s Twitter avatar for suggesting that Republican senators had abandoned Reagan’s legacy.

“To the prime minister of Poland, if Ronald Reagan were alive today, we wouldn’t have this broken border.… How would you feel if seven million people came in illegally into Poland? Would you have this attitude: We’ve got to put Ukraine ahead of Poland?”

Graham has been supportive of military aid to Ukraine in the past. As recently as September, he called it a “good investment.” But he has recently changed his tune, parroting Donald Trump’s talking points that any aid to Ukraine should instead be a loan. Graham also seems more interested in attacking Democrats over the border, even after killing a draconian bipartisan “border deal” last week.

Adhering to a rapidly disintegrating GOP party line of theoretical support for Ukraine, Graham assured his piece of cardboard that he “[wants] to help Ukraine … and make a stronger NATO,” but claimed that before he could support an ally facing invasion, he needed to get a bill bundling aid to Ukraine with border security provisions—presumably a different bill from the one already rejected by Graham and his colleagues—through the House of Representatives.

The $95 billion aid bill eventually passed without Graham’s support, but it faces resistance from House Republicans. In the meantime, Graham claims he “could care less what” Tusk thinks about him. His red-faced poster routine suggests otherwise.

Ron Johnson Says Dumb Thing Before Casting Pro-Putin Vote

The Republican senator from Wisconsin had an unbelievable explanation for voting against a bill to send aid to Ukraine.

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Ron Johnson speaks and makes weird hand gestures.

The Senate early Tuesday morning passed a $95 billion aid package, which dedicated $60 billion of assistance to Ukraine—but not without objection from some Republican senators, including Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who filibustered through the night.

Johnson’s objection? Certainly not the $15 billion of aid to Israel also included in the bill, or the decoupling of border security funding after Senate Republicans killed the bipartisan border deal last week at Donald Trump’s behest. Instead, Johnson was apparently swayed to vote against the bill after Vladimir Putin’s interview with Tucker Carlson.

Johnson, in an interview on far-right news network Real America’s Voice, explained that, while Putin “is a war criminal [who is] obviously not telling you the whole truth,” his conversation with ousted Fox News host Carlson was “very interesting,” and that “an awful lot of what Vladimir Putin said was right … accurate, and obvious.”

“Putin won’t lose. He will not lose. He’s not gonna lose,” Johnson repeatedly warned in the interview, just hours before he voted against giving more aid to Ukraine.

Echoing Putin’s talking points, Johnson also baselessly claimed U.S. economic sanctions against Russia  threaten the supremacy of the U.S. dollar by forcing Russia to trade with foreign currencies.

Without referring specifically to the $60 billion earmarked for Ukrainian military aid, which has divided the Republican caucus for months, Johnson inveigled against “so many people in Washington ignoring [Putin’s comments] … making people believe that Ukraine can win.”

Twenty-two Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined 48 Democratic senators to pass the bill, where it will meet the continued opposition of House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has already attempted to eliminate Ukraine funding from a much smaller aid package exclusively for Israel. GOP holdouts in the Senate and House, including Johnson, have been locked in an intraparty battle over Ukraine for over a year now. Putin’s rambling, off-the-rails interview with Carlson seems to have convinced at least one senator to dig in his heels. Not that he needed another reason to back an authoritarian, anyway.

Immigrant-Bashing GOPer in Santos Seat Race Once Sang Very Different Tune

Republican Mazi Pilip appears to have completely revised her stance on immigration, now that she has a shot at a House seat.

Mazi Pilip speaks at a mic. She is wearing a red blazer and has her curly hair down.
Howard Schnapp/Newsday RM/Getty Images

The Republican candidate vying for George Santos’s House seat has suddenly changed her stance on immigration, as she apparently seeks to fearmonger her way to victory in Tuesday’s special election.

Nassau County legislator Mazi Pilip is running to fill the seat vacated by  serial fabricator Santos in New York’s 3rd congressional district. And in hopes of winning votes, she’s taking some hard-line positions on immigration, despite having emigrated from Israel and, before that, Ethiopia.

Campaign ads for Pilip warn about a “record invasion” of migrants and Democrats’ “open border agenda.” Just last week, she used the same language again, claiming the Senate’s bipartisan immigration deal “puts into law the invasion currently happening at our southern border.”

But only a few months ago, Pilip was singing a very different tune.

In an October interview with local outlet The Island 360, when Republicans hadn’t yet settled on Pilip as their replacement pick for the House seat, she was stressing the need for a humane immigration policy.

Steven Blank, the publisher of The Island 360, asked Pilip what should be done about the migrants coming to New York City.

“As you know, this country was founded by immigrants. I am immigrated twice,” replied Pilip, whose native language is Amharic. She then described migrants as simply “people coming for better life.”

“Right now the way the situation is, it doesn’t help the American people. And it doesn’t help the migrants as well. So I think this is time for the federal and the state to think better plan, how we can help them.”

Pilip went on to shoot down a proposal to use Nassau Coliseum as a shelter for asylum-seekers, urging more care for migrants.

“How you can bring people and put them in Nassau Coliseum? That’s not right. That’s not correct,” she said. “That’s not the way you welcoming migrants. That’s not the way we welcoming migrants, and I’m sorry that’s the plan. That’s not the right plan, not to the Americans, not to the migrants. So the federal government better come up with ideas, and ways, and policies how you are willing to absorb those migrant and give them, you know, the good life they was seeking.”

“Go back to the federal government … to come up with a plan to house those people,” she stressed.

Since then, a whole new Pilip seems to be running for the House.

Tuesday’s special election is so critical that Pilip, and her new anti-immigrant stance, has Nassau County’s entire Republican machine behind her. In fact, she has such strong backing that not a single person is shown on her campaign payroll, according to The New York Times.

Republicans Seem Completely OK With Trump’s Alarming Russia Comments

Republicans are defending Donald Trump’s terrifying remarks that Russia can do “whatever the hell it wants.”

Sam Wolfe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Conservatives once again fell in line behind Donald Trump on Monday, signing off on comments the GOP front-runner made over the weekend that read more like veiled threats against nations he deems are failing NATO’s guidelines.

“If we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?” Trump recalled a leader of a “big country” asking him.

“No, I would not protect you,” Trump told a crowd in Conway, North Carolina, on Saturday. “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills,” Trump said he replied.

By Monday, several GOP leaders, including Senators Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, and Lindsey Graham, defended incendiary remarks against America’s strongest allies.

“NATO countries that don’t spend enough on defense, like Germany, are already encouraging Russian aggression and President Trump is simply ringing the warning bell,” Cotton told The New York Times.

“Strength, not weakness, deters aggression. Russia invaded Ukraine twice under Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but not under Donald Trump,” he continued, seemingly ignoring the notoriously cushy—and sometimes subservient—relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Graham took the same stance, completely giving the bombastic former president the benefit of the doubt in a seemingly black and white scenario.

“Give me a break—I mean, it’s Trump,” Graham said. “All I can say is while Trump was president nobody invaded anybody. I think the point here is to, in his way, to get people to pay.”

Cornyn also brushed off the explosive comment, telling Politico that he doesn’t take Trump “literally.” Meanwhile, the Texas Republican uplifed comments by House Speaker Mike Johnson that the U.S. should not “allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there. It would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan.”

Representatives from NATO have slammed Trump’s remarks, condemning the presidential candidate for double-crossing the 31 member-state alliance by inviting violence from one of its largest and most vocal international adversaries.

“You can’t put enough adjectives on this to describe how treasonous such a comment is,” former NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark told CNN.

Trump has long aggressed America’s relationship with the international military alliance, baselessly asserting that other NATO members have failed to pay their dues, which are determined by guideline rather than mandate, and even though the United States has never been shortchanged by other members. The Cold War organization has “no ledger that maintains accounts of what countries pay and owe,” according to former Obama staffer Aaron O’Connell, who explained to NPR in 2018 that “NATO is not like a club with annual membership fees.”

Trump Said Dems Will Rename Pennsylvania—and Even Weirder Things

Donald Trump’s ramblings this weekend were truly deranged.

Donald Trump stands at a podium that reads "Text SC to 88022 Trump Make America Great Again 2024." He quints and makes an ok hand signal on both hands.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s gaffes are becoming more frequent and more indecipherable by the day.

At a National Rifle Association gathering in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Friday, Trump made plenty of strange blunders in front of his thousands of supporters, in his rambling, incoherent auctioneer style.

“I didn’t need this—I had a very nice life—nice Saturday afternoon,” Trump began the speech, apparently mixing up the days of the week.

He went on to claim he won Pennsylvania twice (he didn’t win in 2020) and warned voters that Democrats plan to “change the name of Pennsylvania” if Joe Biden wins this election.

“We have to win in November, or we’re not going to have Pennsylvania. They’ll change the name. They’re going to change the name of Pennsylvania,” Trump said.

There haven’t been any moves to change Pennsylvania’s name, and it’s not clear what he was referring to.

In the same speech, Trump said that if he wasn’t running for president, he wouldn’t be in Harrisburg and would instead be in a “very nice place,” a slight dig at the state capital. He then suddenly tried to walk back those comments, making mention of “beautiful columns” and “powerful tractors” and assuring he knows “all about the marbles—I can tell you every marble.”

He also appeared to suggest that Barack Obama is still in office, a mistake he has made repeatedly on the campaign trail.

The gaffes come amid rising concern about mental acuity of both party’s front-runners. Last week, a Department of Justice investigation by special counsel Robert Hur presented President Joe Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

According to the report, which Democrats have slammed as a “partisan hit job,” Biden could not recall key dates, like when his son Beau died or when he was vice president.

While Biden is 81 years old and Trump is 77, and as both seem to be stumbling on the campaign trail, notably, even the remaining third-party candidates in the race, Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., are over 70. This makes them older than Ronald Reagan was when he was elected as the oldest president at the time.

Over the past several months, Trump has confused fellow GOP candidate Nikki Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, mixed up countries and major world leaders, and described missile defense as “ding, ding, ding, boom, whoosh!”

It’s hard to say if the gaffes Trump continues to make are any worse than what he says with full cognition.

Also this weekend on the campaign trail, the Republican front-runner seemed to imply that Russia should attack NATO countries, encouraging Russia to “do whatever the hell they want.”

When The New York Times asked Senator Lindsey Graham about the former president’s statements, he replied, “Give me a break—I mean, it’s Trump.”

Spineless Marco Rubio Is Totally Unbothered by Trump’s Russia Remark

Republican Senator Marco Rubio claims he has “zero concerns” about Trump’s alarming comments on Russia and NATO.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio came to Donald Trump’s defense on Sunday, claiming he had “zero concern” about Trump’s recent threat against nations he deems are failing NATO’s guidelines.

“That’s not what happened, and that’s not how I view that statement,” Rubio told CNN’s State of the Union, when asked what he thought about Trump’s recent admission that he had told a president “of a big country” that he wouldn’t defend NATO allies from Russian invasion if they “don’t pay.”

“No, I would not protect you,” Trump said, recalling the conversation, once again, to a crowd in Conway, North Carolina, on Saturday. “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

“Donald Trump is not a member of the Council on Foreign Relations,” Rubio clarified. “He doesn’t talk like a traditional politician, and we’ve already been through this. You would think people would’ve figured it out by now.”

It’s an odd bump from Rubio, who, despite endorsing Trump in January, has recently worked to pass a bipartisan bill that he sponsored alongside Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, specifically designed to prevent presidents from withdrawing from NATO without congressional approval.

“He was talking about a story that … happened in the past,” Rubio said, brushing off the remark. “By the way, Donald Trump was president, and he didn’t pull us out of NATO. In fact, American troops were stationed throughout Europe as they are today.”

“What he’s basically saying is … NATO was broke or busted until he took over because people weren’t paying their dues, and then he told a story of how he used leverage to make people step up to the plate and become more active in NATO,” Rubio continued. “Virtually every American president at some point in some way has complained about other countries in NATO not doing enough. Trump’s just the first one to express it in these terms.”

But America’s Western allies did not feel similarly.

“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a statement. “I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election, the U.S. will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”

Trump has long aggressed America’s relationship with the international military alliance, baselessly asserting that other NATO members have failed to pay their dues, even though the country has never been shortchanged by other members. The Cold War organization has “no ledger that maintains accounts of what countries pay and owe,” according to former Obama staffer Aaron O’Connell, who told NPR in 2018 that “NATO is not like a club with annual membership fees.”

RFK Jr. Forced to Apologize to His Own Family for That Super Bowl Ad

A Super Bowl ad for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spotlighted some famous Kennedys—and the rest of the family is now pissed.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Super Bowl ad may have reached millions of Americans, but it also reached his family—who weren’t too jazzed to have their images leveraged as fodder for his dimming bid for the White House.

During Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, a super PAC supporting the independent candidate aired a familiar commercial: a 1960 John F. Kennedy campaign ad. Except the face behind the iconic “Kennedy for Me” jingle wasn’t JFK. Instead, it was his vaccine-rejecting, conspiracy-touting nephew, RFK Jr., hocking his dead uncle’s legacy and riding on the family name for 30 seconds of fame.

“My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces—and my Mother’s,” wrote Bobby Shriver, referring to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, in a statement that his brother signed off on. “She would be appalled by his deadly health care views. Respect for science, vaccines, & health care equity were in her DNA.”

“She strongly supported my health care work at @ONECampaign & @RED which he opposes,” Shriver added, referring to the nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations dedicated to the end of extreme poverty and finding a cure for AIDS.

RFK Jr., meanwhile, chalked the mishap up to a genuine mistake, claiming he wasn’t able to sign off on the ad due to Federal Election Commission rules.

“I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain,” RFK Jr. wrote late on Sunday night. “The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting with me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you.”

But that might not be all true. Even though federal law technically prohibits super PACs from coordinating with or donating to candidates and their campaigns, there aren’t exactly any super PAC cops preventing them from doing so. The FEC, in practice, remains unable to investigate claims of fraud thanks to extremely limiting parameters that fail as soon as “allied outside groups … simply converse with one another,” according to TNR’s Jason Linkins.

And his sentiment might not be all there, either. At the time of publishing, RFK Jr. still had the ad pinned to the top of his X profile, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

That one time RFK Jr. made a good point:

Ted Cruz Airport Security Bill Is Actually Moving Forward in Senate

With apparently nothing else going on in the world, Republican Senator Ted Cruz has introduced a bill on the urgent need for private security escorts.

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Ted Cruz is taking the law into his own hands to make sure he isn’t caught in another paparazzi snafu.

On Thursday, the Senate advanced a piece of legislation that would give politicians extra security to whisk them through airport security lines, minimizing their exposure to the U.S. public.

The language of Cruz’s proposal would require the Transportation Security Administration to offer lawmakers, federal judges, Cabinet members, and some of their family and staff the privilege of expedited screenings and security escorts—though other agencies, like local airport police, could also be called in to assist.

Unsurprisingly, the TSA responded that the task would be too much of a burden, while a nonprofit representing airport police said that it was already too underfunded to take on such an initiative. The effort would also, ultimately, pull police away from “crime suppression and security functions at airports, which is our fundamental duty,” according to the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network’s Kevin Murphy, who spoke with Politico.

“It has been a long road, with ‘delays’ and a little bit of ‘turbulence,’ but I am glad we have reached a compromise and are marking up this bill,” Cruz said before the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday.

“This bipartisan bill will help ensure the FAA can improve at its core mission of keeping the flying public safe,” Cruz noted in an emailed statement to The Hill. “With the aviation industry facing serious challenges, this legislation charts a course to address many of them while also modernizing and transforming the FAA’s operations.”

It’s probably not a stretch to assume that Cruz got the idea after he was caught catching a flight to Cancun, bailing on his constituents—and his dog—during a historic winter storm in 2021 that shut down power in large swaths of Texas.