A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
‘People Don’t Want You To Relitigate All Your Grievances In The Past’
As my colleague Josh Kovensky reported yesterday, Donald Trump’s weekend campaign stop in Waco, Texas was one for the books, particularly his decision to run the tapes honoring those who have been convicted or charged for actions related to the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6. The Trump campaign used the video to help raise money for the families of people jailed over their role in the attack, many of whom Trump and his allies in Congress like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have repeatedly referred to as patriotic or political prisoners over the last two years.
In the video, which was used as the opener for rally in Waco over the weekend, Trump was featured standing with his hand on his heart, citing the pledge of allegiance.
It was all a bridge too far for some of his sometimes-serious allies in the Senate. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) all made a point of speaking out against the move this week.
- “I think the best thing for President Trump to do is to focus on the problems people are facing today. There is no way you’re going to convince the American people that Jan. 6 was anything less than a horrible day,” Graham told HuffPost, arguing that Trump’s suggestion that the attack was “a walk through the park is offensive to me. It’s not reality. It was one of the worst days in American history, and it needs to be viewed that way.”
- “I never have seen somebody successfully get elected to office running on something that happened in the past…. I think people want a positive vision for the future,” Cornyn told HuffPost. He made similar remarks to NBC News: “I just frankly don’t understand this, you know, retrospective look,” he said. “When it comes to running for president or any other office, people don’t want you to relitigate all your grievances in the past. They want to know what your vision for the future is. And so I don’t think it’s a formula for success.”
- “I was disappointed to see the way that he utilized clips of that day. That was a bad day for this country,” Rounds told HuffPost. “What happened on that day was as close to an attempted insurrection as we’ve seen in a very long time, and I don’t think any of us should be proud of that day.”
While it is good and well for Republicans to speak out when Trump does the inappropriate things he will continue to do, it’s all feels a bit like too little too late. The backwards-looking, Trumpian airing of grievances has been and will continue to be the former president’s campaign strategy. It’s what he does best. Instead of focusing on actual policy proposals or engaging in serious debate about the issues plaguing American life, Trump feeds on perceived injustices, riling up the most far-right members of his base with an endless negative feedback loop that’s only fixed by keeping or returning Trump to power.
The substance of the grievances matter less than the end goal. And no amount of pearl-clutching or hand-writing will change how he intends to get there.
Another Dark Morning In America
Three children and three adults were killed yesterday when an alleged shooter entered a private Christian elementary school in Nashville and opened fire. Police fatally shot the suspect, who is believed to have previously been a student at the school.
New reports overnight suggest the alleged shooter intentionally targeted the elementary school, left behind writings and may have planned to attack a second location. Police believe at least two of the weapons used during the attack were obtained legally. One was an AR-style rifle.
These are the names of the six victims, the three children were all just nine years old: Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney; Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61, who all worked at the school.
The incident is the 19th shooting at a school or university so far this year in which at least one person was wounded, according to a CNN tally. Last week, two faculty members were shot and wounded by a student at a high school in Denver, and the student was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
With six victims, Monday’s attack is the deadliest school shooting since the heinous attack in Uvalde, Texas, last May that left 21 people dead.
Thomas Zimmer: America Is Sacrificing Its Children at the Altar of the Gun
Ogles Photo Surfaces
In the wake of the tragedy in his district, photos of Rep. Andrew Ogles’ (R-TN) family Christmas card glorifying guns have resurfaced.
“We are sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost,” Ogles said in a statement without addressing criticism about the photo. “As a father of three, I am utterly heartbroken by this senseless act of violence. I am closely monitoring the situation and working with local officials.”
Rick Scott’s Solution
More Grim News Breaking Overnight
AP: 39 dead in fire at Mexico migrant detention center near US border
Indictment Watch: David Pecker
The former publisher of The National Enquirer, who played a key role in the organization of the hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels before Trump was elected in 2016, reportedly testified before the Manhattan grand jury on Monday. This is the second time Pecker has gone before the panel.
The first time was in January, and, at the time, the sighting was seen as a sign that the inquiry was heating up. According to the New York Times, the grand jury didn’t vote on an indictment Monday, but is still expected to do so soon.
Kemp Follows DeSantis’ Lead
This idea is catching on among Republicans. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is taking a page from DeSantis’ book, and is reportedly set to sign off on the creation of a new board that will have the power to get rid of local district attorneys it decides have gone rogue, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Fani Willis, the Atlanta-area DA leading the Fulton County investigation into Trump, has been starkly critical of the bill. “I’m tired and I’m just going to call it how I see it,” she said earlier this year. “I, quite frankly, think the legislation is racist. I don’t know what other thing to call it.”
‘Locker Room Talk’
Wonder where he discovered this defense.
Proud Boy Fernando Alonso testified on Monday, attempting to downplay text messages he exchanged with and other members of the far-right militia group in the days leading up to the violent insurrection on Jan. 6.
In one message, an individual named Al messaged Alonso on December 24, 2020, asking: “When do we start stacking bodies on the White House Lawn?”
“Jan 7th,” Alonso wrote back, according to evidence presented at the trial.
Al responded: “The RINOs first, make the Democrats watch…”
Alonso answered: “yes.”
When asked about the message, Alonso testified it was all “‘locker room talk,’ if you will.”
Netanyahu Backs Down, For Now
“When there is a possibility of preventing a civil war through dialogue, I, as the prime minister, take a timeout for dialogue,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech announcing he would postpone his administration’s plan to overhaul Israel’s judicial system, a power grab which would solidify right-wing control by giving his government more power over the appointment of judges. The move has sparked fuming protests that have ground public life to a halt in Israel in recent days.
Rand Paul Staffer ‘Brutally Attacked’
The senator’s office released a statement Monday:
“This past weekend a member of my staff was brutally attacked in broad daylight in Washington, D.C.,” Paul said. “I ask you to join Kelley and me in praying for a speedy and complete recovery, and thanking the first responders, hospital staff, and police for their diligent actions.”
“We are relieved to hear the suspect has been arrested. At this time we would ask for privacy so everyone can focus on healing and recovery.”
Ivana Trump Examined By FBI In 1990s
After Ivana Trump’s death last year, Bloomberg News filed a Freedom of Information request with the FBI for any files it might have on Trump’s first wife. Bloomberg ultimately sued to speed up the release of the documents, the first batch of which the news outlet obtained on Monday. The details of the inquiry into Ivana Trump are unclear but appeared sensitive and potentially related to her home country of Czechoslovakia. Per Bloomberg:
The files were classified as “secret.” In one document dated Feb. 14, 1989, the FBI said it “recommended a preliminary inquiry be opened on Ivana Trump” based on information the bureau obtained from a confidential source. According to the document, “it is unknown if the allegations stem from jealousies of her wealth and fame. Investigation continuing.” The FBI redacted the contents of that inquiry.
While the nature of the FBI’s inquiry into Ivana Trump is unknown, it involved the bureau’s counterintelligence division and was highly sensitive, according to the documents, and spanned at least two years.
Leaning Into The Extreme
Anti-abortion groups like Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America are planning to pressure all of the Republicans who dare to toss their hat into the GOP primary election next year to sign a pledge to support a federal 15-week abortion ban.
“If any GOP primary candidate fails to summon the moral courage to endorse a 15-week gestational minimum standard, then they don’t deserve to be the president of the United States,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of SBA Pro-Life America, told the Washington Post.
While the activists may be trying to coalesce the Republican Party behind a unified stance on the issue ahead 2024 after their decades-long effort to get Roe v. Wade overturned was finally successful – the plan could be a misfire. If you remember, in the weeks and months leading up to the general election last year, many of the longshot, Trump-endorsed Republicans not-so-subtly engaged in a whiplashy pivot for the general. Many (Blake Masters was perhaps the most shameless about it) publicly softened their stance on abortion policy, with some scrubbing their campaign websites of their previous extreme beliefs and some even publicly walking back where they stood on federal bans or gestational-focused policy.
Signing a pledge might make that pivot to the general more difficult for the winning Republican who will be attempting to pull support from President Biden, or whoever the Democratic nominee is. Reminder: the majority of Americans support abortion access.
Trump Campaign Alum Joins Team DeSantis
Never Back Down is a super PAC backing DeSantis.
Do you like Morning Memo? Let us know!