The House GOP’s First Order Of Business Was Removing The Metal Detectors

INSIDE: Kevin McCarthy ... Matt Gaetz ... George Santos
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) shouts at journalists as she goes through security outside the House Chamber at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on January 12, 2021. - On the eve of his likely impeachment,... Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) shouts at journalists as she goes through security outside the House Chamber at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on January 12, 2021. - On the eve of his likely impeachment, President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied responsibility for the storming of Congress by a mob of his supporters, and warned of "tremendous anger" across the country. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

Everything You Need To Know

While it couldn’t manage to elect a speaker, the new GOP majority in the House did manage to remove immediately the magnetometers installed at the entrances to the chamber after the Jan. 6 attack:

What’s Next?

After he failed on three separate votes to win the speakership yesterday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will try again today when the House reconvenes at noon.

McCarthy did not consolidate support Tuesday. Punchbowl has a good rundown of the behind the scenes action.

We’re going to sidestep most of the inscrutable internal machinations because frankly there’s not much evidence that what’s happening behind closed doors is any more meaningful or less comical than what’s happening in public.

It’s So Bad That MTG Comes Off As Reasonable

Never thought I’d see the day:

  • Joshua Green: “Here’s how screwed up things are in the Republican race for House speaker: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a voice of reason.”
  • MTG herself: “Republicans are the party of ‘never,’ and it’s always ‘never’ when they don’t like somebody and that’s how we failed the country.”
  • Vanity Fair: “Greene, Boebert, Gaetz: The Worst People You Know Are Having A Fight”

AOC Lip-Reading Fun

Two different shots of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) chatting on the House floor with extremist Republicans caught of a lot of attention during the speaker vote:

  • TPM’s Hunter Walker nailed down the details of AOC’s convo with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ).
  • Jomboy, a baseball nerd with a knack for lip-reading players and umps, even got in on the action:

Did You Know?

A fun little bit of insider knowledge about how AOC’s convos were captured on camera:

What Was Trump Up To All Day?

The former president scored a trifecta:

  • declined to re-up his endorsement of Kevin McCarthy
  • attacked Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman all day on his fake Twitter platform
  • mocked Mitch McConnell, air-quoted Elaine Chao as McConnell’s “wife,” and re-used his favorite old racist tropes against Chao.

House Dems Gloating

They couldn’t help themselves and who can blame them. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) with the flavor of the day from the Democratic side:

This once-in-a-century humiliation of a party’s nominee for Speaker is chickens coming home to roost for McCarthy, who whitewashed right-wing insurrectionism on the House floor. Nobody’s getting killed now, but the House GOP now sleeps in the bed they made with Trump and Bannon.

Gaetz Trolls McCarthy

Everyone Got In On The Trolling

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who became the Senate first female president pro tempore, a role that is third in the line of presidential succession: “Well, today I’m second, because Kevin McCarthy’s not speaker.”

On A More Serious Note

Your occasional reminder that the House GOP majority’s inability and unwillingness to govern has real consequences:

Not Going As Planned

A Day In The Life Of George Santos

On any other first day of Congress, George Santos would have been the lead story. But as Kevin McCarthy foundered, Santos struggled to break through:

  • The NYT more or less followed Santos around all day.
  • So did the WaPo.

Still Poring Through The Jan. 6 Committee’s Work

As journalists continue to process the extraordinary volume of material released by the Jan. 6 committee, some more highlights:

  • Donald Trump called Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) six times on the day before the Capitol attack.
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) suggested that the GOP-controlled state legislature could choose presidential electors.
  • Former Michigan GOP chair slammed fake elector plan as ‘insane.’ 
  • Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, deplored how the military was dragged into partisan fights during the Trump years.
  • The most intriguing revelations from Jan. 6 transcripts
  • 5 examples of how militant, conspiratorial movements have gained a toehold in mainstream GOP politics
  • The best (meaning worst) of Sidney Powell

Jan. 6 Anniversary Approaches

Sweeping up a few related tidbits:

Crickets On Mar-A-Lago Case

The lack of any overt developments in the Mar-a-Lago documents case continues to heighten the suspense. The only new news is that Special Counsel Jack Smith has returned to the U.S. from the Hague.


Nicholas Confessore on the invention of Elise Stefanik.

A Quick Check In On Dobbs Fallout

A couple of developments to flag:

  • TPM alum Alice Ollstein: “The FDA on Tuesday updated a rule allowing brick-and-mortar pharmacies to dispense the abortion pill mifepristone — expanding access to the drug amid a wave of state efforts last year to impose restrictions.”
  • Alice again: The Justice Department has cleared the U.S. Postal Service to deliver abortion drugs to states that have strict limits on terminating pregnancy, and has offered limited assurances that a federal law addressing the issue won’t be used to prosecute people criminally over such mailings.
  • Texas Tribune: “Texas teens will now need their parents’ permission to get birth control at federally funded clinics, following a court ruling late last month.”

Arrests Made In Substation Attacks

Two men were arrested on federal criminal charges arising from the Christmas Day attacks on four power substations in Washington State.

If You Know, You Know

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