A young man checks out merchandise at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention. (AP File Photo/Steve Ueckert)
THE BIG IDEA: The vast majority of Americans favor legislation being considered today in the Senate that would restrict people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. But the measure will fail because those who oppose stricter gun laws are, on the whole, more passionate and politically organized than the average voters who support them.
It can be hard to understand this after Democrats staged a 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor last week, but the intensity gap in the gun debate long predates the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It is why nothing got done after children were massacred at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., even with a newly reelected President Obama pushing for action and a Democratic majority in the Senate.
Democratic senators call for gun-control legislation. The Rev. Sharon Risher, a clinical trauma chaplain in Dallas, who lost her mother and two cousins in the Charleston church shooting, joined the Thursday news conference. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
— A look at the numbers: A Quinnipiac University poll conducted after the San Bernardino attack in December found 83 percent of registered voters supported banning gun sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list. It had support from 89 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans, as well as 80 percent in gun-owning households.
A separate Gallup poll in December found 71 percent of adults saying a ban on gun sales to people on the federal no-fly list would be “very” or “somewhat” effective in the U.S. campaign against terrorism. This action was seen as one of the more effective measures to combat terrorism — surpassed by increased airstrikes on the Islamic State (79 percent) and providing tighter screening for short-term travelers to the United States (79 percent) but far higher than blocking Muslims from entering the country (38 percent).
But, but, but: The Post’s in-house pollster, Scott Clement, flags a 2013 Pew Research Study, which found that people who prioritize gun rights over gun control are four or five times more likely to contribute money to advocacy groups, contact public officials, sign petitions and express their views on social media.
Donald Trump waves to supporters in Phoenix on Saturday. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
— This intensity gap is why Donald Trump has basically capitulated to pressure from the National Rifle Association. Phoning in to CBS’s “Face the Nation” yesterday, Trump seemed to walk back his support last week for meaningful action on this issue. Instead, he repeatedly praised the National Rifle Association and said that he’s working closely with it. “The NRA has the best interests of our country” at heart, he said. “These are great people.” Caving like that is rare for the headstrong candidate, but it reflects Trump’s continuing political education. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), his closest ally in the Senate, publicly chastised him last week for breaking with party orthodoxy.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
— All that said, the political dynamics of the gun debate are changing in significant ways:
— Republicans are actually offering alternative proposals. GOP leaders do not want their members to look obstructionist the way they did after Sandy Hook three years ago. The majority leader wants to reassure voters that his party is capable of governing. So rather than just blocking the Democratic bills, which procedurally would be easy, Republicans are making a big deal about how they, too, want to stop terrorists from getting guns and proposing measures of their own to do so, even if they are impractical in reality.
Democrats have rallied behind a bill from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would let the attorney general deny firearms to any suspected terrorist, congressional reporter Karoun Demirjian explains. The alternative from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) would let the attorney general do the same — but only if she could prove to a judge within three business days of the attempted sale that there was probable cause to suspect the buyer of ties to terrorism. “Republicans argue Feinstein’s bill doesn’t do enough to protect against situations where someone is mistakenly on a terror watch list,” writes Demirjian. “But Democrats maintain the time limitations in Cornyn’s alternative would make it functionally impossible to actually prevent suspicious individuals from purchasing firearms.”
“Democrats will also move a measure by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that would expand background checks for anyone trying to purchase a firearm at a gun show or online. It is similar to a compromise measure from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that sought to do the same in 2013 … but failed to gather enough support,” Demirjian adds. “Republicans are backing an alternative from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) that would increase funding for the agency that runs background checks, but wouldn’t expand mandatory background checks to gun shows and online sellers.”
The Cornyn and Grassley bills, which both senators know will never actually become law, are designed to help members in tough races defend themselves. The mainstream media and TV news reporters — who have a bad habit of pursuing false equivalency in the name of fairness — are already covering today’s debate as a “he said, she said” sort of situation, which muddies the water and makes it harder for Democrats to score political points.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) also spent part of last week in discussions with other Republicans to craft her own compromise proposal. Her measure is limited to the no-fly list, which is a subset of the terrorist watch list. “Collins’s proposal is the only attempt at striking a compromise that Democrats have not dismissed out of hand. But it is not scheduled for a vote on Monday, and Democrats are skeptical it would garner any Republican support,” per Karoun.
— Democrats are seizing on this terrorist watch list issue aggressively even in deep red states, a sign of its potency. In Kentucky, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is attacking Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for opposing the Feinstein measure. He released this web ad ahead of today’s vote:
— A Democratic polling firm says the terrorist watch list measure could sway voters in Florida. An automated poll published Saturday by Public Policy Polling found 83 percent of registered voters in the state support barring those on the Terror Watch List from buying a gun, and 74 percent say they’re less likely to vote for a Senate candidate opposed to that. Pollster Tom Jensen emails: “At the end of the poll we did a simple informed horse race, after telling respondents that [Marco] Rubio has opposed barring people on the Terror Watch List from buying firearms and that he’s opposed requiring criminal background checks for those wanting to buy firearms. [Democrat Patrick] Murphy’s initial 42/41 lead over Rubio ballooned all the way up to 47/32 based on his position on those gun issues. Those numbers are a pretty strong indicator that this year might be different when it comes to gun issues and the election if Congress once again fails to act.”
Ted Strickland, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio, campaigns at the Steel Trolley Diner in Lisbon earlier this month. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth)
— Gun control has increasingly become a litmus test issue for Democrats, just like it has been for Republicans over the past two decades.
Hillary Clinton was an unabashed supporter of tougher gun laws during this year’s Democratic primaries, a contrast to her more nuanced position in 2008. Bernie Sanders proved quite vulnerable on the issue, specifically his 2005 vote to limit liability for gun manufacturers.
In Ohio, the quintessential presidential battleground, Democrat Ted Strickland campaigned as pro-gun in 2010 when he was running for reelection as governor. He even got the NRA endorsement over John Kasich. Six years later, he’s his party’s nominee against Republican Sen. Rob Portman and sounding a different tune.
“I grew up in rural Appalachia, and I believe in the Second Amendment,” Strickland writes in a new Medium post. “My creator also gave me eyes and ears, a heart and brain — and the capacity to use all of them to assess the challenges facing our country. There is no denying that America is facing a pressing and heartbreaking epidemic of gun violence. The victims have been school children, moviegoers, parishioners and now dancers at a nightclub. … Our leaders in Washington like Senator Portman are not taking simple, commonsense steps to keep weapons out of the hands of those who would do us harm.”
Michael Bloomberg (L) and NRA chief Wayne LaPierre (R)
— Finally, the forces in favor of gun control are also trying to get their act together, and their efforts have benefited from Mike Bloomberg’s largesse. Catherine Ho looks this morning at a growing group of volunteer activists involved with Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation’s highest-profile gun control group. They have a “Survivor Network” with 1,000 activists in 46 states who are either survivors of gun violence themselves or who know or are related to someone who was killed that way. “Since its launch in April 2014, Everytown has skyrocketed from about a dozen employees to 130,” Cat writes. “Headquartered in midtown Manhattan, the group spent $37 million in 2014, the most recent year for which there are publicly available tax filings.” (By comparison, the NRA in 2014 spent $345 million, though only $20 million on that was on its lobbying arm.)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
LeBron James, center, celebrates. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
— The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The victory ends the city’s 52-year championship drought and makes the Cavaliers the first team to recover from a three-games-to-one deficit in NBA Finals history, Tim Bontemps notes. LeBron James was the series MVP.
GET SMART FAST:
Israel is constructing a deep underground wall around the Gaza Strip, attempting to counter the threat of assault tunnels built by Hamas militants who rule the coastal enclave. (Ruth Eglash)
Top U.S. cancer doctors are leading a campaign to increase the use of the HPV vaccine, which is stubbornly underused despite studies that show it could avert tens of thousands of cancer cases per year. (Laurie McGinley)
High lead levels have been found in roughly 3 percent of children across the country, according to a study which slams U.S. pediatricians for not doing enough to prevent lead poisoning. (USA Today)
Fourteen Nepalese security guards were killed in Kabul by a Taliban suicide bomber, one of the deadliest attacks on foreign contractors since the war began nearly 15 years ago. (Sayed Salahuddin)
One in every 113 people in the world is forcibly displaced from their home right now, according to a new global trends report from the United Nations. (Max Bearak)
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s push to give convicted felons the right to vote continues to be a mess. In the latest embarrassment for the close Clinton ally, state officials were forced to remove 132 sex offenders from the list of newly-eligible voters. (Laura Vozzella)
Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open, despite earning a penalty after his ball rotated slightly on the fifth green. (Dave Sheinin)
Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg faces a prison sentence of 15 to 25 years after being convicted of multiple charges stemming from a gang rape of an unconscious woman he had been dating. (Cindy Boren)
Actor Anton Yelchin was found dead outside his L.A. home after being struck by his own car. The 27-year-old “Star Trek” star was found pinned between his car and a gate on his inclined driveway. (Caitlin Moore)
Las Vegas police arrested a 19-year-old man after he tried to pull a gun from an officer’s holster during a Trump rally. “It’s not clear what Michael Sandford’s intentions were or whether he was attempting to harm Trump. The Secret Service says it has charged Sandford with violating two federal laws following the incident, including assault, and he could face up to a decade in prison if convicted,” per CNN.
A 64-year-old Ohio gun store owner was killed after a student in his concealed carry class accidentally set off his firearm. The bullet traveled through the wall from an adjacent room. (Peter Holley)
A New Hampshire car dealership unveiled a controversial “buy a car, get an AR” sales gimmick that offers buyers an AR-15 assault rifle with the purchase of a vehicle. (Peter Holley)
A woman was mauled by a bear while running a marathon through a New Mexico wildlife preserve. Other runners helped until emergency crews arrived. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries to her head and neck. Authorities are trying to find the animal to euthanize it and test it for rabies. (AP)
Barack Obama and Marco Rubio get off Air Force One at the Orlando airport last Thursday. (Loren Elliott/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)
— Marco Rubio is widely expected to announce he’s running for reelection to the Senate at some point before Friday. National Review’s Alexis Levinson looks at how he got here: “NRSC executive director Ward Baker first approached Rubio at the end of April. He also started calling senators and close confidants of Rubio, asking them to talk to him about running. … Several polls conducted by the NRSC starting the first week of May determined that not one of the five candidates then running to replace Rubio had broken out of the pack.”
A boat flying a large “In” flag, campaigning to remain in the EU, sails by the British Houses of Parliament to meet a flotilla of boats from the group “Fishing for Leave” on the river Thames in London last week. A Brexit flotilla of fishing boats sailed up the Thames with foghorns sounding. (Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images)
THE “BREXIT” VOTE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STORY OF THIS WEEK:
— Trump explained his support for Britain leaving the European Union in an interview with The Sunday Times of London: “I would personally be more inclined to leave, for a lot of reasons like having a lot less bureaucracy,” he said. “But I am not a British citizen. This is just my opinion.” He’s previously said he “thinks the country” should leave, though he has declined to comment further on the issue. “I respect David Cameron,” Trump offered in the interview. “I would imagine we will have a very good relationship if I am successful.”
— Two fresh polls suggest support has swung back toward the “remain” category following the Thursday assassination of British MP Jo Cox: 45 percent of voters said they planned to cast a vote to remain in the E.U., according to a Mail on Sunday poll, while 42 said they still wanted to leave. A YouGov/Sunday Times poll also reflected a shift, with “remain” voters edging out leave voters by a 44-43 point margin. (USA Today)
— Key insight: “Emotional ties to Europe likely won’t be on Brits’ minds.” From Griff Witte: “To beat back the marauding hordes of continental Europe, the medieval English built an immense stone castle atop the sheer white cliffs of Dover, with 21-foot-thick walls and royal soldiers on constant watch for anyone who dared trespass upon their blessedly detached isle. Eight centuries later, the modern English are still not quite sure whether the people across the water are friend or foe. That lack of emotional attachment to Europe — and indeed the hostility that some feel — helps explain why the country’s citizens might be eager to leave even amid the overwhelming consensus of experts that a departure could be economically, politically and strategically disastrous. But if the pro-E.U. forces are able to stop Brexit, as the U.K. departure is popularly known, it will not be for any love of Europe among the people of Britain. ‘European?’ asked [Derek] Beech, incredulous at the idea of counting himself as one. ‘I don’t even think there is such a thing.’”
— The generational divide is a major fault line. From Karla Adam: “A recent YouGov poll found that those between 18 and 24 were the least likely age group to vote, with only 51 percent saying they were absolutely certain they would cast a ballot. Youth turnout has long been a problem in Britain, and there are fears that it could be exacerbated this year with the referendum date clashing with soccer’s European Championship in France, as well as Glastonbury, a five-day music festival that attracts more than 170,000 people. … Political apathy has the potential to hurt the ‘remain’ side the most, with polls showing that younger voters are the most pro-E.U. of any age group.” Older people are less enthused about the European project. Voters over 65 are the most likely to vote for a Brexit.
— The prospect of the Brexit alarms our Baltic allies, especially Estonia, Max Boot writes: “With a total population of just 6.2 million and just 56,000 military troops, the Baltic states sit next door to Russia, with 142 million people and more than 3 million troops … Already Vladimir Putin has invaded Georgia and Ukraine. What is to stop him from marching into the Baltics? … The Balts are also members of the European Union, and they are convinced that a strong and vibrant E.U. is also necessary to maintain their prosperity and security. The E.U. enforces economic sanctions on Russia and provides the financial support needed for its more vulnerable members in Eastern Europe to withstand Russia’s economic pressure. … Their message for Britons is: ‘Lead, not leave.’”
Trump in Phoenix on Saturday (AP/Ross D. Franklin)
SUNDAY SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:
— Trump said it’s time for the United States to “start thinking about” racial profiling: “I think profiling is something we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” he said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “It’s not the worst thing to do. … Other countries do it. You look at Israel and you look at others; they do it and they do it successfully. And I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense and we have to use our heads.”
— The RNC’s new Hispanic media spokeswoman declined to say whether she’s comfortable defending Trump: “Everyone has to make their own decision in this campaign, and that isn’t different from any other year,” said Helen Aguirre Ferre, in her first media interview since taking the position. “The Republican Party, like I said, is united in defeating Hillary Clinton, and that is what unites all of us.” (Ed O’Keefe)
IS IT REALLY TOO LATE TO BLOCK TRUMP FROM GETTING THE NOMINATION?
— There were 1,000 participants on a Stop Trump conference call last night. Organizers announced plans to raise money for staff and a possible legal defense fund as they asked new recruits to help spread the word with less than a month until the Republican National Convention. From Ed O’Keefe: “Having started with just a few dozen delegates, organizers also said that they now count several hundred delegates and alternates as part of their campaign. … The group is led by convention delegates seeking to block Trump at the GOP convention next month in Cleveland by changing party rules so that they can vote however they want — instead of in line with the results of state caucuses and primaries. It is quickly emerging as the most organized effort to stop Trump.”
Reince Priebus is working to quash The Resistance. An RNC spokesman dismissed plans to undermine Trump on the floor as “silly” and “nothing more than a media creation and a series of tweets.”
Delegates are under intense pressure from the party establishment not to join anti-Trump efforts: In North Carolina, some have proposed fining delegates or kicking them out of the party if they vote against Trump. In other states, party leaders have threatened to strip delegates of their credentials if they buck primary results and vote against Trump. Some who have reached out to The Post have spoken on the condition of anonymity, saying that their spouses are fearful of physical threats if they speak publicly about their plans.
Paul Ryan prepares to address the Council on Foreign Relations. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
— Even so, leaders of the Stop Trump effort — which, to be clear, is still a HUGE long shot — were pleased by Paul Ryan’s interview on “Meet the Press” yesterday, in which the Speaker said it’s not his place to decide whether delegates should be bound or unbound at the convention. “It is not my job to tell delegates what to do, what not to do, or to weigh in on things like that. They write the rules. They make their decisions,” Ryan said. Though he maintained his endorsement of the presumptive nominee, he told Chuck Todd that Republicans should “follow their conscience.” Many perceived this as a green light to keep organizing against Trump.
— Big picture: The conversation about Ryan is completely dominated by Trump. Over the last seven days, there have been more than 198,000 tweets mentioning Ryan. More than 68,000 of them also mentioned Trump, according to our analytics partners at Zignal Labs. The connection was even greater in news articles: The Speaker was mentioned in 13,000 stories over the last week, and more than 10,000 also mentioned Trump.
Bernie in Burlington (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
THE DEMOCRATIC DENOUEMENT:
— Sanders could formally endorse Clinton before the Democratic convention in July, depending on the outcome of ongoing policy talks between the two campaigns. From John Wagner: Bernie’s manager Jeff Weaver said he has been “encouraged” by discussions over several policy issues important to Sanders — including a plan for tuition-free college — that Sanders would like to see as part of the Democratic legislative agenda going forward. Clinton and Sanders began talks in earnest over such issues during a meeting last Tuesday night in Washington. “The resolution of those issues are important to determining any timetable” for a potential endorsement, Weaver said, adding that the outcome could also determine “how closely the campaigns work together” heading into the fall.
— Meanwhile, taxpayers are spending more than $38,000 PER DAY for Sanders to continue receiving Secret Service protection. It’s an expensive reminder that the Vermont senator still hasn’t dropped out. From Wagner: “A team of agents still guards him at his home … They travel with him on commercial and charter flights and use a motorcade to whisk him through cities he visits. Such round-the-clock protection can cost taxpayers more than $38,000 a day. And with the potential for the Secret Service to be watching over Sanders through the convention in Philadelphia five weeks from now, the taxpayers may get stuck with a big security bill long after his campaign receded from the daily cable-news cycle.”
— The Congressional Black Caucus attacked Sanders over his effort to get rid of superdelegates. The group voted unanimously to put out a statement “vehemently” opposing any meaningful changes to the system. They say it guarantees minority representation at the convention. (Wagner has more.)
— But the proposal is getting traction at state conventions. The California Democratic Party yesterday, for instance, called for a broad overhaul of the nominating system, including the elimination of caucuses and most superdelegates. From the LA Times: “The California resolution calls for Democratic governors and members of Congress to lose their status as super-delegates and instead attend the nominating convention as nonvoting guests. Members of the DNC would remain super-delegates, but would be required to vote for the candidate who won their (state). The resolution also calls for replacing all state caucuses with state primaries. … The resolution, though only a symbolic statement, was unanimously approved at the state party’s executive board meeting.”
Clinton waves to the crowd during a Women for Hillary event in New York. (AP/Seth Wenig)
— The New York Times fronts a story today that says CHEMISTRY is the key consideration in HRC’s VP search. The paper suggests that she has it with Julian Castro and Sherrod Brown but not with Cory Booker. “Mrs. Clinton’s aides began collecting information last week on as many as 10 candidates. James Hamilton, a Washington lawyer who is overseeing the vetting, will begin meeting with candidates as early as this week,” Amy Chozick and Thomas Kaplan report. “Senior Democrats, thinking about both the fall election and a potential re-election in four years, said the right choice would stir up enthusiasm on the campaign trail, enhancing Mrs. Clinton’s strengths while not outshining her or overtaking events.”
Per the Times, “The contenders most frequently mentioned by her advisers and senior Democrats close to the campaign include Senator Michael Bennet, from the key state of Colorado; Thomas E. Perez, President Obama’s secretary of labor and a Hispanic civil rights lawyer; Representative Xavier Becerra of California; and Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both former governors from Virginia. Elizabeth Warren … is a favorite of liberal Democrats, though an all-female ticket is unlikely.”
— Becerra declined to say whether he is being vetted by Clinton’s team. “I can’t tell you I know,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I know I’m in constant communication with the [Clinton] campaign on a number of items, but I can’t tell you I know where they are on the vetting process.”
— Warner said he is not under consideration: “I’m not being vetted. I don’t expect to be vetted,” he told the Virginian-Pilot. The Virginia senator praised junior senator Tim Kaine, saying “there’s nobody” with better integrity and trustfulness. “Secretary Clinton and the country would do well by him,” Warner said.
— Perez was Clinton’s surrogate at the Virginia Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Richmond on Saturday night. When The Post’s Jenna Portnoy asked about the veepstakes, he replied: “I’ve been around politics enough to know all the swirl that’s fit to print, and so I focus on the reality of the here and now.” Leaning forward with clasped hands, he added, “It’s all about her, it’s not about me.”
— Warren visited the Clinton campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters for meetings on Friday. Then, on Saturday, she spoke at the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention. (Abby Phillip)
— The Boston Globe looks at how liberals are increasingly concerned that Warren would lose independence and power if she became Clinton’s #2: “Warren’s detractors call it grandstanding. But her habit of needling, and sometimes flat out taking on, her own party when it veers toward the political center is what Warren’s allies love about her. And it’s exactly the trait they worry she’d have to give up if she abandons her perch as a senator and becomes Clinton’s running mate,” Annie Linskey writes. “The example that liberals fear most: Hubert Humphrey. Like Warren a darling of the left, he was tasked by President Lyndon Johnson with defending America’s role in Vietnam, which put him in direct conflict with his former allies and hobbled him when he sought the presidency himself.” Three key lines from the story:
“When you’re vice president, it’s not your agenda, OK. It’s the president’s agenda,” said former vice president Dan Quayle. “That is something significant you are giving up. That independence.”
Barney Frank predicts that Warren as vice president would carve out a role for herself as the tsarina of financial rules in a Clinton White House.
She wants to be VP: “Two of Warren’s advisers have told the Globe that she’s intrigued with the idea.”
— Politico’s lead story is about how Wall Street donors are working behind the scenes to block Warren from getting the spot. “Most big donors don’t want Warren on the ticket because she is the most accomplished anti-Wall Street populist in the Democratic Party,” Ben White writes. “But many also think her presence would drive a potential Clinton administration too far to the left, poison relations with the private sector from the start and ultimately be damaging to the economy. A constant theme that emerged in the interviews is that executives in the financial industry believe the first 100 days of a Clinton administration could feature potential deal making with Republicans, who are likely to maintain their majority in the House of Representatives. ‘Clinton is going to face a divided government unless there is a total tsunami,’ said one moderate Washington Democrat with close ties to the banking industry. ‘What you want in a vice president is someone who can negotiate for you on the Hill, someone like Joe Biden.'”
— On the Republican side, Trump hired former Newt Gingrich adviser Kevin Kellems to oversee his surrogate operations. Newt has been getting more VP chatter again over the past 10 days, and this might add another data point. (New York Times)
Trump speaks at the Treasure Island casino on Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
MORE ON THE DONALD:
— Could Arizona go blue for the first time in 20 years? Philip Rucker notes that an estimated 350,000 Latinos are eligible to vote but not registered, and Trump might have awakened a sleeping giant. “There is no recent reliable public polling in Arizona, but Democratic and Republican strategists said private research shows the presidential race as a toss-up. Asked whether Clinton has a path to victory, GOP strategist Charles Coughlin conceded: ‘I believe it’s there if she wanted to do it. Everybody always says, ‘This is the election when Latinos turn out,’ and it’s never happened. But I can actually see that happening this time.’”
— Trump met with the Utah GOP chairman over the weekend, alarmed about a poll that shows Clinton polling neck-and-neck with him in the reliably red state. James Evans told The Salt Lake Tribune that Trump promised he’ll come back to Utah to campaign in the fall! The chairman said he encouraged Trump to tone down rhetoric that has turned off many Utahans, specifically his attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel and his proposed ban on Muslims (which is anathema to Mormons).
— Another Republican senator, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, twisted himself into pretzels as he explained how he will “support but not endorse” Trump. “To me, endorsement is a big embrace,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union. “It basically shows that I pretty well agree with an individual on almost everything … That’s not necessarily the case with our nominee.”
— “Trump Promised Millions To Charity, But Gave Little To His Own Foundation.” From BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski and Christopher Massie: In 1990, Trump said he gave away “millions to charity each year.” But records show he only gave $135,000 to his namesake foundation that same year. When asked about his lack of charitable giving in 2004, Trump said he actually intended to disburse his wealth after his death: “I do give millions of dollars a year, but I do it personally. I just write checks and give it away,” Trump told Playboy. “It’s not what you’d call a living foundation,” he said. “It’s set up for after I… when it’s no longer my time. The foundation will become very active at that point.”
— The Narrative is cementing, via Dan Balz: “November is fast becoming what the GOP fears – a referendum on Trump.”
— The Fix’s Philip Bump prepared three visuals to show how far behind Trump is at this point in the race:
“Looking at the window of time between 200 and 100 days before each of those elections, you can see that Trump has consistently polled worse than George W. Bush in 2004, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. He caught up briefly after clinching the GOP nomination — and then sank again.”
“There’s every reason to think that those numbers will get worse. Trump essentially has no campaign at this point; there’s no sign that he has started staffing up significantly.” On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Trump intends, in effect, to outsource his campaign to the Republican Party. As of right now, “the campaign estimates it currently has about 30 paid staff on the ground across the country,” according to the AP.
“NBC News’s Mark Murray shared numbers on ad spending by Trump and Clinton. In June 2012, the Romney campaign and PACs supporting it spent about $38 million on ads in battleground states — a bit behind the $44.6 million spent by Obama and his allies. This June? Trump is getting skunked.”
The Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, where Omar Mateen worshiped (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
— “After Orlando, some American Muslims are anxious about what comes next,” by Mary Jordan and Abigail Hauslohner in Fort Pierce, Florida: “In the Fort, as many call this old Army post, some Muslims last week prayed in an unmarked building, while others worshiped at another nearby mosque where some recent passersby yelled ‘Murderers!’ Sheriff’s and police cars have been patrolling outside both. Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, lived in the Fort, where other Muslims also raise families and work in hospitals and run businesses. Now, in the aftermath of last weekend’s mass shooting, they worry about what might come next … ‘We need to have Muslims and non-Muslims interact,’ said Bedar Bakht, a restaurant manager who has volunteered to cook the daily iftar meal for his fellow congregants at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. ‘We have to introduce ourselves to people — tell them, ‘Look, we are normal people. I watch movies. I listen to music.’”
— Trend: “Disdain for Trump and Clinton is so strong, even the dead are campaigning.” From Terrence McCoy: “A few weeks ago, a 68-year-old woman lay dying in Virginia. She said it beat the alternative. ‘Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton,’ her obituary said, ‘Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God.’ The dead have had an unusual amount to say this election cycle. They have looked back on their lives and said their ‘only regret is NOT being able to vote against Hillary Clinton. They have called [Trump] ‘Trumpypoo,’ who attracts ‘Angry Not Smart’ supporters. … One of the quirkier byproducts of a campaign season defined by vitriol and polarization has been a dramatic increase in the number of people whose last words are being used to campaign.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
The Clintons welcomed a grandson:
At 7:41 AM Saturday, our family and hearts expanded with Aidan’s arrival. We are blessed. pic.twitter.com/QKUMV3ls4N
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 19, 2016
And it brought back this memory:
One year later, lawmakers remembered the Charleston shooting victims:
Today we remember the nine lives lost in #Charleston one year ago, and vow to honor their memories with action. pic.twitter.com/iFgkaRsZ9S
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 17, 2016
Hillary supporter Barbra Streisand had this to say:
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) June 16, 2016
Another Clinton supporter unwittingly highlighted the generational divide that exists between HRC and Sanders backers:
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said this re: Sanders supporters: “Sometimes I thought these youngsters were going to Woodstock and having a party.”
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 19, 2016
Shots of the Obamas’ trip to Yosemite:
Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin drew intense mockery for this tweet:
What would happen if Trump picked a popular, qualified vp, started talking only abt need to change DC, middle class, Hillary=status quo?
— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) June 19, 2016
@MarkHalperin What would happen if you and I flew to Mars and opened a Bloomberg outpost?
— John Weaver (@JWGOP) June 19, 2016
@MarkHalperin What would happen if Le Cirque started serving bus station chili?
— Charles P. Pierce (@ESQPolitics) June 19, 2016
.@MarkHalperin would certainly make your job as White House press secretary easier
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) June 19, 2016
What would happen if all the houses of Westeros decided to get along? https://t.co/tSKtIg1bZk
— Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) June 19, 2016
What if – now hear me out, okay – Obama resigned to work as a Ronald McDonald impersonator. https://t.co/Kug4MwFru9
— andrew kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) June 19, 2016
Conservatives reacted strongly to Attorney General Loretta Lynch saying that the government will release only a PARTIAL transcript of Mateen’s conversation with hostage negotiators:
Whoa: FBI releasing partial transcript of Mateen calls to police this week, deleting parts referencing ISIS pic.twitter.com/4jE2WfvudO
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) June 19, 2016
Decision to manipulate killer’s transcripts is outrageous, makes govt complicit in propaganda and undermines confidence in govt generally
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) June 19, 2016
Not releasing audio.a wise thing. But censoring transcripts prevents a free people from understanding what happened and why. Unprecedented
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) June 19, 2016
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) posed with his AR-15:
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun – responsible AR-15 owner for 20 yrs #2A pic.twitter.com/AsGU51nTEv
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) June 18, 2016
You can count on Newt Gingrich to have a cake like this:
Thanks for all the birthday wishes & thanks to @grssrtsgourmet for the delicious dino cake! https://t.co/tck5QC6N4v pic.twitter.com/Plur8GqqG0
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 17, 2016
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) tried a different line of work:
So tall isn’t so tall? Learning a little different kind of service in Mt. Pleasant today. #HopeMyHandwritingIsOK pic.twitter.com/SObiQVJc3h
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) June 18, 2016
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tested the egg-on-the-sidewalk trick:
Myth busted… #118degrees pic.twitter.com/L8i0zMdsGS
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) June 19, 2016
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) shared this photo from the Denver Pride Fest:
Portapotty at #DenverPrideFest pic.twitter.com/rlPneQjR2n
— (((Jared Polis))) (@jaredpolis) June 19, 2016
Photos from the political world celebrating Father’s Day:
One of the best things about fatherhood is that it often leads to being a grandfather. https://t.co/LqbYxrMknd pic.twitter.com/7VAzMVenTG
— Al Franken (@alfranken) June 19, 2016
He gave me wings. At one of my first campaign events in 1982. Here’s to fathers who encourage daughters to be bossy. pic.twitter.com/lkF9lQA1Si
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) June 19, 2016
HOT ON THE LEFT
“Antarctica’s CO2 Levels Are Now the Highest in 4 Million Years,” from Mother Jones: “Oof. We just passed yet another climate change milestone, and it’s a particularly troubling one. Carbon dioxide levels in Antarctica recently hit 400 parts per million. … It’s the first time in 4 million years that the region has reached such levels. “The far southern hemisphere was the last place on earth where CO2 had not yet reached this mark,” Pieter Tans, the lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, said in a statement. “Global CO2 levels will not return to values below 400 ppm in our lifetimes, and almost certainly for much longer.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“The Pentagon’s controversial plan to hire military leaders off the street,” from the MilitaryTimes: “Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to open the door for more ‘lateral entry’ into the military’s upper ranks, clearing the way for lifelong civilians with vital skills and strong résumés to enter the officer corps … The idea is controversial, to say the very least. For many in the rank-and-file military, it seems absurd, a bewildering cultural change that threatens to upend many assumptions about military life and traditional career paths. …. [And] it suggests eroding the military’s tradition of growing its own leaders and cultivating a force with a distinct culture and tight social fabric, which many believe to be the heart of military effectiveness.”
At the Supreme Court: It’s a decision day. We’ll know a little after 10 a.m. whether any of the big rulings are coming.
At the White House: Obama speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit. Vice President Biden speaks at the Center For New American Security Annual Conference.
The LA Times previews Biden’s speech: He will call Trump’s approach to foreign policy “antithetical” to American values. The VP will hit Trump hard over his praise for Vladimir Putin, arguing that embracing the president “at a time of renewed Russian aggression could call into question America’s long-standing commitment to a Europe whole, free and at peace.” Biden will also emphasize the need to carefully manage the relationship with China, and offer a defense of the administration’s strategy against the Islamic State.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 3 p.m. for gun votes. The House meets at 2 p.m. in pro forma session.
The Justice Department will release redacted transcripts of the phone calls between Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and police. (Amber Phillips)
On the campaign trail: Looks like no one has public events.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Don’t screw this up.” – Elizabeth Warren’s pep talk to Clinton’s staffers during a Friday visit to her Brooklyn headquarters
GOOD READ FROM ELSEWHERE:
— GQ profile, “The Mystifying Triumph of Hope Hicks, Trump’s Right-Hand Woman,” by Olivia Nuzzi: “One day in late January of last year, Hicks was summoned to Trump’s office. On the speakerphone was Corey Lewandowski, a journeyman operative whom Trump had just hired for a purpose unclear to Hicks. To the assembled, Trump said simply: We’re going to Iowa. Hicks must have known that that meant jumping into a media circus that might change her life, though she wondered only one thing, half in jest: What do people wear in Iowa?” Soon she was fielding media requests and improvising in the role of real-deal political press secretary. “Hicks is a product not of Washington but of the Trump Organization, a marble-walled universe where one’s delightful agreeability and ferocious loyalty are worth more than conventional experience. She is a hugger and a people pleaser, with long brown hair and green eyes, a young woman of distinctly all-American flavor—the sort that inspires Tom Petty songs, not riots. And yet Hicks has, almost by accident, helped architect the strangest and least polite campaign in modern American history.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— “Summer arrives today in just the fashion you might expect,” say our forecasters from the Capital Weather Gang: “Skies are sunny and humidity is on the way up as we head back to work. It’s one of those days that feels hot rather early and keeps going for hours. Some puffy clouds probably form during peak heating in the midday and afternoon, although none are expected to deliver any rain.”
— Phase two of Metro’s SafeTrack program begins today, ushering in 16-day shutdowns to areas in D.C. and Prince George’s County: Until July 3, the Silver, Orange and Blue lines will be impacted, as the stops from Eastern Market to Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road are closed. (Will this impact you? Check out Dr. Gridlock’s complete guide to the shutdown here.)
— The Nationals lost to the Padres 6-3.
— Frequent flyers, rejoice! Reagan National Airport is getting a $1 billion renovation, complete with new congestion-relieving efforts and a new commuter concourse on the airport’s north side. (Lori Aratani)
— Coronation: Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam locked down leading Democratic support for his gubernatorial bid, securing formal endorsements from Terry McAuliffe, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine for the 2017 race. (Jenna Portnoy)
— Two people were injured on the National Mall after a large tree limb snapped, plunging to the ground near 9th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. Video posted online shows many people trying to lift the limb to extricate someone apparently trapped beneath. (Martin Weil)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Seth Meyers riffed on gun control and the Second Amendment:
And made Trump an “amazing offer”:
Ben Sasse posted a 3-minute message to “the flawed fathers (like me)”:
Watch this moving video of kids reading Father’s Day cards to their incarcerated dads:
The Pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA hits Trump as “dangerous to America” in a new ad. The 30-second spot features Trump saying he “loves” war and knows “more about ISIS” than the generals do. It will air in eight states:
College Humor tried to find Trump the perfect judge:
Campaigning in Arizona, Trump called former Gov. Jan Brewer “tough,” even though “it’s not nice to say about a woman.”
The head of the NRA said the Obama administration is “trying to cover their butts” by focusing on gun control, instead of ISIS:
A crowd in Orlando sang “Amazing Grace” while counter-protesting a group from Westboro Baptist Church:
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