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A White Supremacist Has Dinner With an Apparently Mentally Ill Man
Who shall call that out?
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1. Donald Trump’s Tuesday Mar-a-Lago dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West is rightly being denounced by Trump opponents, Trump friends, and the media.
These latest revelations turn what could have been a minor story into a major national narrative, where the GOP frontrunner for president in 2024 — the former president and as of now the only formal GOP candidate for the office in the next election — seems to have met with an open white nationalist, antisemite, and Holocaust denier in Fuentes.
Former president Donald Trump dined with far-right activist Nick Fuentes and hip-hop artist Ye at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., earlier this week, drawing intense criticism for associating with two figures who have promoted antisemitism and hate.
Advisers to Trump privately acknowledged that the decision to host the Tuesday dinner, just one week after Trump launched his reelection bid, was a significant concern. One adviser described it as “horrible” and another as “totally awful.” They and others in Trump’s orbit spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.
David M. Friedman, who served as his ambassador to Israel, publicly took Trump to task for consorting with the troublesome pair, tweeting that the former president was “better than this.”
Even taking at face value Mr. Trump’s protestation that he knew nothing of Mr. Fuentes, the apparent ease with which Mr. Fuentes arrived at the home of a former president who is under multiple investigations — including one related to keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago long after he left office — underscores the undisciplined, uncontrolled nature of Mr. Trump’s post-presidency just 10 days into his third campaign for the White House.
A handful of Republicans, including at least one close ally of Mr. Trump’s, castigated him over meeting both Mr. Fuentes and Mr. West.
“To my friend Donald Trump, you are better than this,” David M. Friedman, who was Mr. Trump’s longtime bankruptcy lawyer and then his appointee as ambassador to Israel, wrote on Twitter. “Even a social visit from an antisemite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable. I urge you to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong.”
“This is just another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump, which, combined with his past poor judgments, make him an untenable general election candidate for the Republican Party in 2024,” said Chris Christie, a former governor of New Jersey who is considering a candidacy of his own.
The Chris Christie Twitter feed:
HALPERIN SAYS/ASKS: This is when the Rob Portman-Tom Cole-Nikki Haley-Mitt Romney-Tom Cotton-Kay Granger wing of the Republican Party needs to stand up, speak out, and do what’s right. If past is prologue, most of them won’t. If they want a different future for the Republican Party, most of them will. And if Christie begins to get any traction with his relentless and direct criticism of Trump, will other GOP presidential candidates try to eat into his lane’s market share? And when does Trump clap back at Christie? And would that help or hurt Christie’s prospects?
2. The New York Times’ long overdue and unsurprisingly laudatory profile of Commerce Secretary (and future Something) Gina Raimondo includes this:
But she is under close watch by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and some other left-wing Democrats, who have criticized her as being too solicitous of corporate interests. Some progressive groups have accused Ms. Raimondo of being under the influence of big tech firms and not thoroughly disclosing those ties.
“Secretary Raimondo’s job is to help grow an economy that works for everyone, not to be the chief lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce,” Ms. Warren said in a statement to The New York Times. “I have real concerns about the department’s approach, whether it’s approving assault weapon sales, negotiating trade deals or supporting big tech companies.”
HALPERIN SAYS: The pressure on Joe Biden for a post-midterm Cabinet reshuffle has gone the way of the Red Tsunami. Now, more people want to stay in their jobs, making the prospects of meaningful change via musical chairs much more remote. But Raimondo (and her backers) will not be denied.
3. A Jeff Greenfield column on Republican state parties beginning to set their delegate rules for 2024 and a Washington Post story on the Democratic National Committee finally setting its 2024 nomination content calendar are both essential reading for those who wish to understand which hopefuls for the major party presidential nominations actually have a good chance to win.
HALPERIN SAYS: Spoiler alert I – Trump and Biden are the frontrunners. Spoiler alert II – beware the implications of unintended consequences when and if Iowa loses its #fitn place. Spoiler alert III – things can go haywire when the two parties set different calendars for their respective primaries and caucuses. Spoiler alert IV – there is a 95% chance that New Hampshire will hold the nation’s first primary. Spoiler alert V – if Chris Sununu runs for president, he will destroy the value and influence of the Granite State primary.
4. The Wall Street Journal’s roundup of the new House Republican majority includes this matter, which I have been amazed has not already been the subject of a lot of attention:
Resignations are typical in any Congress, and at least one House lawmaker has died during every two-year legislative session of Congress during the past two decades.
In 2022 alone, Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Don Young and Jackie Walorski died in office. Six other House members resigned, including to take other politically appointed positions. Since 1997, 37 House elected lawmakers have died either in or before taking office.
In one instance, Republicans won a slim majority of just one seat in the 1930 elections. But before the 72nd Congress could convene, 14 elected members died, according to House archives. Special elections held to replace them flipped the chamber in Democrats’ favor.
HALPERIN ASKS: Will the leaders of the new Democratic House minority have a Blue SWAT Team tasked with winning over enough party-switchers and special election contests to take back the majority in 2023? If so, who will be on it? Seems like it could be a good special project for backbencher Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.