Political media is buzzing with the news that former UN ambassador Nikki Haley will have the backing of the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity Action in the 2024 presidential primary. AFP Action says it will launch a multi-million dollar ad buy for Haley in early primary states and is prepared to deploy all of its grassroots resources to help Haley defeat former president Donald Trump.
Who told them to light their money on fire? Haley is the only GOP primary candidate who has gained significant ground in the polls since launching her campaign, but the reality is that Trump still leads her by at least twenty points in New Hampshire and by about thirty in Iowa and Haley’s home state of South Carolina. If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that no one in the Republican field is going to win a protracted battle against Trump. Haley would have to clean-sweep those three early primary states to build enough momentum to have a snowball’s chance in hell at securing the nomination. If the polls are even slightly close to correct, that is not going to happen, no matter how many millions AFP drops into the race over the next month and a half.
An AFP endorsement could even be more of a hindrance than a help in a GOP primary where the party base is still brimming with populist and nationalist sentiment. AFP opposed Trump’s trade war with China, wants to import more cheap laborers through immigration reform and supports a pathway to permanent residency for millions of illegal aliens, slammed union-led UAW strikes that ended with significant wage gains for workers and believes that the criminal justice system needs reform to address “racial disparities.” They represent the GOP from 2008, which helps to explain why they are supporting Haley.
Aside from the ideological issues, allow me to reiterate that it just doesn’t make sense to pour millions of dollars and resources into an unrealistic bid. When Haley launched her campaign, it was generally agreed upon in campaign world that she was either trying to secure another cabinet position from Trump and/or was building out her data operation ahead of a 2028 candidacy. She has received good reviews on her debate performances which is translating into more donor dollars and a rise in the polls, but nothing so far that presents a serious challenge to Trump.
The only person who should be worried by AFP’s endorsement is Florida governor Ron DeSantis. It’s become clear that he won’t be the savior for the Republican donor class that didn’t want Trump, but he is still battling it out for first loser. Haley with Koch money could knock him from that position.
On our radar
FUNERAL FAUX PAS? Social media users slammed former first lady Melania Trump for wearing a gray coat over a black dress to attend Rosalynn Carter’s funeral, accusing her of not following proper funeral etiquette.
BLACK LIVES VOTE Mark Fisher, co-founder of Black Lives Matter’s Rhode Island chapter, endorsed President Donald Trump. Fisher claimed the Democratic Party is a “racist party” and that “Trump has done more for the black community than any president I can think of in my lifetime.”
CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE First Lady Jill Biden unveiled this year’s White House Christmas decorations with the theme “Magic, Wonder and Joy.” The main attractions include Santa’s sleigh and flying reindeer suspended from the ceiling in the Grand Foyer and a candy cane lane as visitors enter through the East Colonnade.
Where’s Hunter? Congress, maybe!
Hunter Biden offered to testify publicly before Congress, defiantly responding to a subpoena from House Republicans as they probe the Biden family finances. Biden slammed the subpoena’s request for closed-door testimony, arguing that it is prone to manipulation and that he’d rather sit in an open session.
House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer said that Republicans expect “full cooperation” with their original demand for a private deposition. Still, Biden’s lawyer made it clear that they want to challenge the inquiry, which he called a “fishing expedition.”
Comer said, “Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else.”
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan said he would like to have Biden for a public hearing after the private deposition. “We’re happy he wants to talk,” he said.
–Juan P. Villasmil
Union Station could get a new owner
Amtrak is trying to seize control of Washington, DC’s Union Station, arguing that eminent domain dictates that it should be granted full power over operation of the historic train station. The property is currently owned by the US government, which outsources day-to-day management to a private investment company and leases a portion of the station to Amtrak to conduct its rail services.
Amtrak says that it needs control over Union “to ensure that the station is safely and effectively brought back to its full potential as a premier rail passenger station and multimodal transportation hub.”
In recent years, Union Station has been hollowed out as passengers cut back on travel during the pandemic and retailers left due to declining profits and rising crime. The National Park Service last year conducted a sweep of Columbus Circle, the park outside of the entrance to the station, to remove homeless encampments. Cockburn also saw beefed-up security during recent visits to Union Station, although passengers in line for coffee still found themselves harassed by panhandlers.