My Tuesday evening unexpectedly freed up when a much anticipated (just kidding!) joint Fox News interview with GOP presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie was scrapped. Why? The Republican National Committee threatened to exclude the pair from future RNC debates for violating an agreement they made not to appear in any unsanctioned debates.
Although Fox News avoided the term “debate” when advertising the planned special segment, the RNC was not convinced. Christie and Ramaswamy both lashed out at the RNC in response, claiming it was proof of a “broken” primary process and harmful to the party’s ability to have substantive “dialogue” about issues. But, they still opted to appear back-to-back on Fox rather than risk their standing on a future debate stage.
Maybe both parties are correct, but isn’t it a bit silly to try to gate-keep the GOP primary debates at this point? Donald Trump, the clear front-runner, won’t appear unless his lead is seriously challenged. Governor Ron DeSantis has managed to carve out his own spectacle by going one-on-one against Governor Gavin Newsom. Ramaswamy is running the podcast circuit. In a world where candidates are already overexposed, is one more Fox News interview really the problem?
On our radar
OFFICE SPACE One unexpected consequence of the McCarthy ouster? Previous Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer have officially been ejected from their hideaway offices in the Capitol. The new occupant of Pelosi’s space will be none other than… former Speaker McCarthy.
TRUMP GAGGED Judge Arthur Engoron ordered the former president to avoid “posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any members” of his staff. Trump is currently attending the civil trial in New York over claims that he committed fraud by artificially inflating his assets.
EMPTY SHELVES A video of the inside of a CVS in DC’s Columbia Heights neighborhood shows the store in disarray and remarkably empty of any products. According to Fox 5 DC, the store is being regularly “ransacked” by large groups of thieves, including many teens.
The Hill was alive with the sounds of drinking
For the most part, the question wasn’t whether people were drinking on the Hill, it was why they were drinking last night, after Democrats teamed up with eight House Republicans to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
As the vote to remove McCarthy went down, the offices of House Democrats in the Capitol rang out with jubilation as their entire caucus voted to throw the chamber into chaos and confusion.
“While Democrats misleadingly deploy the word ‘solemn’ and their phrase ‘people over politics’ in press releases and tweets, this was a politically fueled celebration at the expense of the American people,” a Republican staffer told me regarding Democrat behavior during the vote.
After the vote went down, the Hill took to Bullfeathers around the corner. Newfound McCarthy foe Nancy Mace sat outside with her chief of staff. Other, pro-McCarthy Republicans, were spotted singing a new version of “Piano Man”: “We’re all in the mood for a melody, and our conference is ready for fight.”
One local drinker described the scene to me as “very crowded, borderline suicidal vibes.”
Some offices worked late into the night; other staffers woke up in the middle of the night to text me their thoughts on how the day went down. But after Bullfeathers closed at 10, most of the usual haunts were empty. I ran into Congresswoman Ann Wagner on the sidewalk who lamented how “horrible, horrible, horrible” the day was to me as she headed home.
What comes next is anyone’s guess.
Hunter becomes the hunted
This Tuesday, Hunter Biden entered a not guilty plea to felony gun charges. As his father readies his reelection campaign, the plea suggests a high-profile trial is in the making.
In the Delaware courthouse where the infamous “sweetheart deal” was earlier ripped apart, Hunter Biden and his team announced that he would fight special counsel David Weiss’s three-count indictment. Hunter Biden attorney Abbe Lowell has signaled that he will try to get the case thrown out, arguing that one of the charges is incongruent with the Constitution. Biden could face up to twenty-five years in prison if convicted.
Of course, Weiss is the one who brokered the soft, plainly unjust and failed plea deal, which attempted to shield the president’s son from further prosecution. Weiss is also scheduled to appear in front of the House Judiciary Committee later this month to testify in the GOP’s impeachment inquiry into the president. It’s a busy time for the man accused of deliberately bungling an investigation into Hunter’s taxes in order to protect the president.
– Juan P. Villasmil
Youngkin’s big haul
Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin just posted another monster fundraising cycle, pulling in $7.45 million in the third quarter of 2023 ahead of the commonwealth’s General Assembly elections in November. More than half of that was raised in just 48 hours. In response to the DNC and DLCC dumping $1.5 million and $1 million into Virginia, respectively, Youngkin snagged $4.4 million for his Spirit of Virginia PAC on Monday and Tuesday of this week alone.
All eyes are on Virginia heading into this election. Will the outcome be a bellwether for 2024? Will Youngkin appease the GOP mega donors and throw his hat into the GOP primary? Whatever happens, there’s certainly a lot of money at stake.