A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Today’s Must Read
Last night we published Hunter Walker’s exposé on the digital trail connecting a series of right-wing extremist online personas with a staffer for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). With the help of former TPMer Nick Martin and AZ Right Wing Watch, Hunter was able to follow the bread crumbs left by since-deleted accounts, archived posts, and other fragments of online presence. It’s a remarkable story both in the particulars and in what it says about the current moment.
I’ve been struck in the two years since Jan. 6 by the fear and discomfort that especially members of Congress who are Black and brown feel from their colleagues in the House. It’s no longer a Republican Party that winks and nods at right-wing extremism. It’s soaked in it. One of the hallmarks of MAGA extremism is performative confrontation with enemies real and perceived. That potentially puts POC members of Congress on the frontlines, whether it’s aggressive displays of nonmasking during the pandemic or provocative defiance of the magnetometers set up outside the House chamber (one of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s very first acts was to remove the metal detectors).
In a previous story Hunter did on a top George Santos aide, we started to see the contours of the new GOP-controlled Congress, where aides are no longer the spic-and-span student body president overachievers, but their own emerging force of transgressive and extremist behavior.
Now his latest story sheds additional light on what the new generation of staffers looks like. Setting aside for a moment the right-wing extremism (if that’s even possible to do), there’s something remarkable in Gosar hiring kids barely out of high school to his staff. That’s a smaller sign of “this is not normal” than Gosar’s association with Nick Fuentes, but it’s telling in it’s own way.
Tuberville Aiming To Be The Senate’s Paul Gosar?
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) enhanced his extremist cred Wednesday with an interview in which he was asked whether white nationalists should serve in the military: “They call them that. I call them Americans.”
He tried doing – damage control? – with reporters on Thursday in the Capitol. It went great!
Via the WaPo:
“You think a white nationalist is a Nazi? I don’t look at it like that. I look at a white nationalist as a Trump Republican,” Tuberville said, placing himself within their camp. “That’s what we’re called all the time, a MAGA person.”
It’s All Totally Fine. Why Worry?
DeSantis Fundraises For Subway Choker Daniel Penny
Ex-Marine Daniel Penny, charged with second-degree manslaughter in the choking death of Jordan Neely on the NYC subway, has quickly become a cause célèbre on the right, conjuring up memories of Subway Vigilante Bernhard Goetz from a very different time (but maybe not all that different).
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has gotten in on the action (my catechism classes didn’t have the Good Samaritan choking anyone to death):
Whether you’re reference point is Bernie Goetz from the ’80s or Kyle Rittenhouse from the ’20s, we’re in a disturbing place:
‘Jews Scam, N****rs Rape, And I Mag Dump’
Accused `Discord leaker Jack Teixeira fixated on guns and envisioned a “race war,” WaPo reports.
LOL … Sob
A House Homeland Security subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for tomorrow on … wait for it … “violent far-left extremism.”
State Dems Succeed With Assault Weapons Bans
Incremental progress at the state level since Sandy Hook a decade ago has slowly added up to 10 blue states with assault weapons bans.
A Nation Within A Nation?
I’m a fan of Ron Brownstein’s framing of red states’ soft secession as a “nation within a nation.” But there’s a related corollary about the war red states are waging against their own bluer urban centers. We did a story last week on the GOP-controlled Texas statehouse targeting Harris County (Houston). Here’s another particularly egregious example (emphasis mine):
The Louisiana House on Thursday approved a bill to make some juvenile criminal records public, an effort that would apply to three of the state’s most-populous and majority-Black parishes.
Debt Ceiling Crunch Time Coming Sooner Than Expected
With another White House meeting between the President and congressional leaders on the debt ceiling expected Tuesday, the timeline for Treasury being unable to meet its obligations has accelerated. Here’s why.
New Round Of Subpoenas In Menendez Probe
A new round of federal grand jury subpoenas have gone out in the public corruption investigation of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). At issue is whether the senator and his wife improperly took cash and gifts from the owners of New jersey halal meat business. Menendez has denied any wrongdoing.
Hate To See ‘No Labels’ In Trouble
Maine has sent a cease and desist letter to No Labels, warning the group not to mislead voters into thinking they’re signing a petition when in fact they’re changing their party affiliation.
Is Durham’s Corrupt Probe Finally Over?
A new indication that Special Counsel John Durham’s bogus “investigate the investigators” probe has ended. The significance is that we might be closer to seeing the final report on his probe that Durham is required to provide to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
RIP Hodding Carter III
Hodding Carter III, a Mississippi journalist and civil rights activist who as U.S. State Department spokesman informed Americans about the Iran hostage crisis and later won awards for his televised documentaries, has died. He was 88.
A Historical Reckoning
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