Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!
Today we finalized what animated character will star in our “Schoolhouse Rock” remake: Donny the Fascist, Loofa-Faced Shit-Gibbon. Everyone is making a fuss about the lack of senatorial decorum, but we’re pretty sure Mitch McConnell just made a huge contribution to Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign ― what a great guy. And Ted Cruz congratulated a woman on her suffering, making it Cruz’s third-most embarrassing moment, right behind him eating that booger on live TV and the time he publicly campaigned for a man who maligned his family. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, February 8th, 2017:
GORSICH CRITICIZES TRUMP’S ATTACKS ON THE JUDICIARY -That Gorsuch’s handlers confirmed the remarks suggest this is exactly how they wanted this to play out. Now moderate Dems have cover to vote for Gorsuch and Gorsuch can say he thought the conversation was private. Everyone gets something. Even Richard Blumenthal can make an omelet with the egg on his face. Abby Phillip and Robert Barnes: “President Trump’s escalating attacks on the judicial branch drew denunciation Wednesday from his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who told lawmakers that the attacks were ‘demoralizing’ and ‘disheartening’ to the independence of the federal courts. ‘He certainly expressed to me that he is disheartened by the demoralizing and abhorrent comments made by President Trump about the judiciary,’ Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) told reporters after meeting privately with Gorsuch. Gorsuch’s comments to Blumenthal were confirmed by Ron Bonjean, a member of the judge’s ‘sherpa’ team, a group of aides tasked with helping him navigate the confirmation process.” [WaPo]
GOOD LORD, STEVE BANNON IS INSANE - Shout out to all of our homies in the fifth column. Steve is coming for us. Paul Blumenthal and J.M. Rieger: “In 2009, the historian David Kaiser, then a professor at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, got a call from a guy named Steve Bannon. Bannon wanted to interview Kaiser for a documentary he was making based on the work of the generational theorists William Strauss and Neil Howe…. Bannon pressed Kaiser on one point during the interview. ‘He was talking about the wars of the Fourth Turnings,’ Kaiser recalled. ‘You have the American Revolution, you have the Civil War, you have World War II; they’re getting bigger and bigger. Clearly, he was anticipating that in this Fourth Turning there would be one at least as big. And he really made an effort, I remember, to get me to say that on the air.’ … ‘This is the fourth great crisis in American history,’ Bannon told an audience at the Liberty Restoration Foundation, a conservative nonprofit, in 2011…. The ‘Judeo-Christian West is collapsing,’ he went on. ‘It’s imploding. And it’s imploding on our watch. And the blowback of that is going to be tremendous.’” [HuffPost]
WHITE HOUSE STAFFERS STARTING TO WORRY ABOUT THE BOSS - Rantings about precious bodily fluids to follow? S.V. Date and Christina Wilkie: “President Donald Trump was confused about the dollar: Was it a strong one that’s good for the economy? Or a weak one? So he made a call ― except not to any of the business leaders…. Instead, he called his national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, according to two sources familiar with Flynn’s accounts of the incident…. [H]e told Trump he didn’t know, that it wasn’t his area of expertise…. Trump was not thrilled with that response ― but that may have been a function of the time of day. Trump had placed the call at 3 a.m., according to one of Flynn’s retellings…. [W]hile leaks typically involve staffers sabotaging each other to improve their own standing…. Trump’s 2-week-old administration has a third category: leaks from White House and agency officials alarmed by the president’s conduct.” [HuffPost]
Then there’s this bit: “Small things can provide him great joy or generate intense irritation. Trump told The New York Times that he’s fascinated with the phone system inside the White House. At the same time, he’s registered a complaint about the hand towels aboard Air Force One, the White House aide said, because they are not soft enough.” [Ibid.]
Like HuffPost Hill? Then order Eliot’s book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government
Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
SENATE GOP DEFENDS SILENCING ELIZABETH WARREN - Literally nothing says snowflake quite like blowing up your party’s messaging because an old rich powerful white guy named Jefferson Beauregard Session III’s feelings are hurt. Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim: “The visual of GOP men silencing Warren unleashed a flood of outrage on social media. Democrats quickly began fundraising off of the spectacle. And people tuned into C-SPAN for a late-night Senate session that otherwise would have been ignored, as Sen. Sessions of Alabama plodded toward confirmation despite near-unanimous Democratic opposition…. Senators often come close to disrespecting their colleagues and breaking the arcane chamber’s rule book barring personal insults of their peers. Most notably, McConnell and Senate Republicans ignored Ted Cruz’s attacks on McConnell in 2015 for telling a ‘lie’ about the Export-Import Bank, preferring not to elevate a political opponent. But elevating an opponent is precisely what McConnell did on Tuesday — and the Kentucky Republican is not prone to strategic missteps. There was no grand strategy, Republicans said, just a burgeoning anger that Warren was destroying whatever vestige of comity that remains in the Senate. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the most senior GOP senator, said Democrats had treated Sessions like ‘dirt.’” [Politico]
Sessions is going to get confirmed anyway, of course. Remember when Tom Daschle’s nomination was scuttled? LOL
BEGUN, THESE MALL WARS HAVE - We lost a lot of good men at the Swatch kiosk. A lot. *looks off into distance* Christina Wilkie: “President Donald Trump launched a social media attack from the White House Wednesday against Nordstrom, after the retail chain decided this month not to carry his daughter Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. ‘My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom,’ Trump complained on Twitter Wednesday morning. ‘She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!’ Within minutes, @POTUS ― the president’s official White House Twitter account, previously used by President Barack Obama ― retweeted Trump’s complaint, sharing it with 15 million followers…. Nordstrom said the decision to stop selling Ivanka Trump’s brand was based on its poor sales, not politics. ‘In this case, based on the brand’s performance, we’ve decided not to buy it for this season,’ the company previously said in a statement. On Wednesday, it noted that ‘Ivanka was personally informed’ of the company’s decision ‘in early January.’” [HuffPost]
Heaven help any classmate who dares bully Barron Trump.
CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL LEADERS PROTEST REFUGEE BAN - Then Jesus said, “And vet unto them extremely, and then the kingdom of heaven shall be made great again.” Sarah Pulliam Bailey: “In a highly unusual move, several conservative evangelical leaders took out a full-page advertisement in Wednesday’s Washington Post to denounce President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees, saying they are ‘deeply concerned.’ The ad includes the signatures of evangelicals considered to be more conservative and represent large churches and institutions, including New York City Pastor Tim Keller and his wife, Kathy Keller, Southern Baptists Ed Stetzer and Daniel Akin and popular author Max Lucado.” [WaPo]
America not so sure about Trump’s agenda beyond trade. [HuffPost’s Grace Sparks]
LOOK, A MODICUM OF RESISTANCE TO TRUMP FROM CONGRESS - Checks and balances are so quaint. Daniel Marans: “Six senators from both parties introduced a bill on Wednesday that would prevent President Donald Trump from easing sanctions on Russia without congressional approval…. Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) joined Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) in co-sponsoring the bill.” [HuffPost]
GABBARD FACING SCRUTINY FOR SYRIA TRIP FUNDING/ACTIVITY - Bad news for Donald Trump’s favorite House Democrat. Tim Mak: “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s visit with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has already raised controversy. Now she’s in hot water yet again for failing to comply with House ethics rules. Gabbard hasn’t yet submitted the required disclosure forms which detail who paid for her trip, and who else she met while she was in Syria…. The Hawaii Democrat is required to show, in detail, where the money came from to pay for her trip, but her travel disclosures are missing the document which describes this. Gabbard lists as her sponsor a little-known group called AACCESS-Ohio, which has been in and out of existence since 1991 and does not have a functional webpage; its resources are unclear, at best. If AACCESS-Ohio received money from other sources to pay for her trip to Syria, these documents are supposed to show it.” [Daily Beast]
GOP HEROES GEAR UP TO LIBERATE AMERICANS FROM HEALTH INSURANCE - Jeffrey Young: “President Donald Trump and the Republicans who control Congress have a major problem to solve: The uninsured rate has never been lower…. Trump and congressional GOP stalwarts like House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) are hard at work devising a solution to the Affordable Care Act’s depressive effect on the uninsured rate. They also possibly will replace the law with a new health care reform plan that would ensure the United States once again stands as a bastion of individual liberty from having your medical bills covered.” [HuffPost]
ICYMI: That time Ted Cruz told a woman with M.S., “congratulations on your struggles.”
SPICER INVENTS NEW ‘ONE DEAD SOLDIER’ RULE - Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton would like this to be implemented retroactively, please. Eline Gordts and Jesselyn Cook: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer raised eyebrows Wednesday when he argued that anyone questioning the success of a controversial U.S. military raid in Yemen last month was dishonoring Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens, the Navy SEAL who died in the operation…. ‘Anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology to the life and service of Chief Owens.’ [Spicer said].” [HuffPost]
CONGRESSMAN PROPOSES WHAT SOUNDS LIKE THE PLOT OF A TERRIBLE TIM ALLEN MOVIE - From the people who brought you: “Ralph NAYder: Horse President,” comes the follow-up smash hit... Jennifer Bendery: “A Democratic congressman is introducing legislation as soon as next week that would require a psychiatrist at the White House, something he says is overdue but also urgent given his and other people’s concerns about President Donald Trump’s mental health. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that the president, any president, should have access to a mental health professional given the pressures of the job. Congress passed a law in 1928 requiring a physician at the White House, but stopped short of requiring a psychiatrist because of the stigma associated with mental illness.” [HuffPost]
BRAVE PATRIOT PROTESTS GOVERNMENT - Matt Bevin’s office can wire us $200,000 for that bit of message consulting. Linda Blackford: “Gov. Matt Bevin is more than a month late paying 2016 property taxes on his Louisville house, according to records of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. As first reported by WDRB-TV in Louisville, tax payments on Bevin’s nearly $700,000 home were due Dec. 31. Now his bill of $9,157.05 has grown to $11,080.03 because of late fees and interest. The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last summer, the governor said he was planning to move from Louisville to the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort with his wife, Glenna, and their nine children. Officials said they would keep their Louisville house.” [Herald-Leader]
GET MO GITMO - Read the draft text of Trump’s executive order on terror detainees. [NYT]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a baby hippo.
HERO GUY IS HERO - Philadelphians finally leveraging their rudeness for the greater good. Daniel Craig: “A Pennsylvania lawmaker had strong words for Donald Trump after the president reportedly joked he would ‘destroy’ a Texas lawmaker’s career. In a Facebook post, state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, linked to a Politico story about Trump’s meeting with several county sheriffs, including Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh. According to the website, Harold Eavenson, sheriff of Rockwell County, Texas, brought up the issue of civil asset forfeiture…. Leach, who has pushed for civil asset forfeiture reform in Pennsylvania, invited Trump to come after him as well. ‘Hey! I oppose civil asset forfeiture too,’ Leach wrote on Facebook and Twitter. ‘Why don’t you come after me you fascist, loofa-faced s***-gibbon!!’” [Philly Voice]
- Incredible drag-and-drop mashup generator.
- A hyperlapse made from 3,305 Google Map screencaps.
- We might finally get regular, hi-res images of Venus’ surface.
@emilynussbaum: The enemy of my enemy is my favorite outlet for discounted scarves.
@aedwardslevy: “Do you approve or disapprove of Donald Trump’s handling of the D?”
@michaelcrowley: old fear: president fields scary 3am phone call
new fear: president places scary 3am phone call
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (email@example.com)