A lot of things happened this weekend. Here are some of them.
A Worthy Adversary
The new governor of Virginia’s campaign picked a fight with a high school student on Saturday — even posting the 17-year-old’s photo online — after the student tweeted out a public radio report that the governor’s staff took issue with.
- Here’s how it started: A Richmond public radio station, VPM, reported last week that Governor Glenn Youngkin was reversing efforts by previous Virginia governors to teach about the history of enslaved people at the governor’s mansion.
- Youngkin’s staff didn’t take issue with VPM’s reporting until the news outlet, in a follow-up story, reported that a historian who worked at the mansion had resigned, according to a play-by-play in the Washington Post.
- A spokesperson for the governor then pushed back on a detail in the initial report, which had stated that Youngkin would be converting a classroom for teaching about the mansion’s history into a family room.
- In fact, a decision had not yet been made about what to do with that room, the spokesperson said.
- Here’s where it gets weird. High School senior Ethan Lynne tweeted the VPM report: “NEW: The historian tasked with teaching about slavery at the Virginia Governors Mansion just resigned after finding the Youngkins converted her classroom into a family room – and emptied her office,” he wrote. “Shameful.”
- When the report was corrected, Lynne even went so far as to correct his tweet as well.
- But Youngkin’s team was on the offensive. “Here’s a picture of Ethan with a man that had a Blackface/KKK photo in his yearbook,” the @TeamYoungkin account tweeted on Saturday, sharing a picture of Lynne standing with former governor Ralph Northam.
- “A governor’s campaign account has attacked a minor — to me that was a new low,” Lynne told the Washington Post Sunday. “And they just now took it down. It was up for over 12 hours. I received no apology, no communication, nothing.”
- UPDATE: On Monday morning, Youngkin tweeted out an apology.
‘Legitimate Political Discourse’
In case you missed it, that’s how the Republican National Committee characterized January 6 in voting to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on Friday.
- “From my front row seat I did not see a lot of legitimate political discourse,” Marc Short, a top advisor to Mike Pence, quipped to Chuck Todd during a Meet The Press appearance Sunday.
- Republicans were pressed on the “legitimate political discourse” assertion over the weekend. The usual handful of moderates denounced it.
- House Foreign Affairs ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), on ABC to discuss the Ukraine-Russia standoff, told host Martha Radditz the statement “pertains to the legitimate protesters that I saw that day.”
- Chris Christie offered up his political analysis: “First of all, they say that part of the reason for the resolution is they want to keep the focus on Joe Biden and the failures of the Democratic administration,” Christie told Radditz. “Well, how did that work for you? All anybody is talking about this weekend is this resolution rather than talking about the failures of the Biden administration.”
- RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel thinks everyone is getting it wrong — though it’s not super clear what part she takes issue with.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) showed up on CNN side-by-side this weekend to endorse one another.
- “It’s hypocritical to basically work with a person day-in and day-out, and then when they’re in cycle, you’re supposed to be against them because they have an R or D by their name,” Manchin said.
- Murkowski is facing a primary challenge from a Trump-backed opponent, Kelly Tshibaka.
Getting Out Of Hand In Canada
Ottawa’s mayor has declared a state of emergency as a protest by a small group of truckers against vaccine requirements has morphed into a rallying point for anyone upset by a wide spectrum of far-right, North American grievances, The Globe and Mail reports.
- Influencers involved with the protest have drawn parallels between the occupation of Ottawa and Jan. 6, optimistic that their demonstration might ultimately echo America’s insurrection.
- Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) last week shared online a conspiracy theory that Justin Trudeau had fled to the U.S. amid the protests. (Needless to say, it wasn’t true. The Prime Minister actually just had COVID, and was isolating — in Canada.)
- Trump, of course, has praised the protest.
John Durham’s probe into the origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties is now 1,000 days old, by Marcy Wheeler’s calculation.
- That, by the way, is significantly longer than the probe Trump world hoped Durham would undercut: The Mueller probe went on for 674 days.
- So what’s he up to? That’s anyone’s guess, but some DOJ alumni gave TPM’s Josh Kovensky their hypotheses late last year.
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is planning a “comeback,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
- The former governor’s aides and lawyers have been attempting to undermine the accusation against him, and have been calling former allies to complain about New York Attorney General Letitia James and to try to shore up their support, according to the Journal.
- Cuomo had a “lengthy dinner” with New York City’s new, controversy-courting mayor, Eric Adams, last week, Page Six reports.
Author, academic and cultural commentator Todd Gitlin passed away Saturday at 79. A key voice of the ’60s, Todd remained a prolific writer throughout his life (and was, at times, a contributor to TPM). A number of us had worked with him over the years.
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