A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
Beware The Perils Of Schadenfreude
I want to return to what will be a recurring theme this year: Donald Trump’s total takeover of the Republican Party as a precursor to what he wants to do to America.
For the center-left, there’s an abundance of schadenfreude watching Trump humiliate, demean, and marginalize any Republican who opposes him. The ritualistic dignity loss carries an amusing undertone, especially when the target had already prostrated themselves at the altar of Trump, to no avail.
I enjoy it in a way, too, so I’m not scolding here. But the truth is that Trump’s consolidation of the GOP as a far-right party is already accomplished. He did that in his first term. What we’re witnessing now is his conversion of it from a political party into a tool of his personal political power. He wants it to be obedient to him, to serve him, to vanquish his enemies internal and external, to be an extension of himself. I’m not sure we’ve seen before the complete absorption of a major U.S. political party into a cult of its leader’s personality.
The WaPo has a story up this morning on Republican fears that they will be the targets of Trump’s promised retribution if he is re-elected. You should read it. It’s an important story. But what’s happening on the Hill right now is, in its own way, a far better measure of what Trump is doing to the GOP than the vague, contingent fears of what he might do to Republicans down the road.
Trump has demanded loyalty on the border issue that he is making a centerpiece of his campaign, and Republicans have fallen in line with remarkable speed, ditching months of negotiations in which they got much of what they asked for. Trump has humbled not just backbenchers or vulnerable incumbents, but Mitch McConnell himself.
To those who argue this isn’t new, that Trump has been doing this to Hill Republicans for eight years now, I can only say that all the reporting over the past few months points to a Trump demanding whole new levels of blind loyalty while amassing a coterie of sycophants to serve as enforcers within the party and ultimately within the federal government. A primary goal of Trump II is to eliminate the barriers that constrained Trump I.
Trump’s plan is to hitch this cult of personality to the powers of the office of the presidency and run roughshod over the rule of law and any person or thing that stands in his way, including the co-equal branches of government, the states, and our allies abroad. The fact that he’s doing it first to his ostensible allies in the GOP should be a bright red flashing light of what is to come.
Ukraine-Border Package Deal Collapses
Senate Republicans backed away from the Ukraine funding-border package so fast, it set a land speed record for crawfishing.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is desperate to pass Ukraine funding, gave the greenlight to filibuster the bill he had just allowed to be negotiated. It’s so bad that even the top Republican negotiator, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), said he would vote against proceeding to a vote on his own handiwork.
With Senate Republicans running for cover and the House GOP loudly proclaiming the bill DOA, the whole enterprise seems quite doomed.
I’m not sure it’s fair to call anything a “deal” when one side of the negotiation can’t deliver the support it purported to have. The whole exercise becomes surreal. And so here we are.
Bogus Impeachment Of Mayorkas Expected Today
In the absence of actual governing (see above), the House GOP gets back to its performative bullying with an expected impeachment vote today against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas – despite the absence of any high crimes or misdemeanors.
Trump Jan. 6 Trial Remains In Limbo
Still nothing on immunity from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan indicated in open court that she might still be able to try the case over the summer
With the March trial date gone now and the immunity appeal dragging on, squeezing the trial in before the election gets harder with each passing day. But the March trial date always had a little cushion, with the possibility it could be pushed back to the summertime.
For her part Chutkan yesterday sounded prepared to cancel an August trip abroad if necessary for a new trial date.
Four convicted Jan. 6 rioters are running for Congress this cycle.
Project Veritas Settles Lawsuit Over Bogus Voter Fraud Claim
NBC News: “Conservative provocateur James O’Keefe and his former organization Project Veritas have settled a lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania postmaster after the group spread a Postal Service worker’s false claims of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.”
- In the face of Trump’s vitriol, Nikki Haley seeks Secret Service protection.
- Democrats invoke George Santos in last-minute ad buy for his empty NY seat.
- Why Trump and Nikki Haley won’t appear on the same ballot in Nevada.
The Travails Of Lauren Boebert
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) granted a temporary restraining order against her ex-husband.
The Threat Of A Far-Right EU May Be For Real
In 2024, the right-wing surge in the polls seems bigger and bolder, with one predicting the nationalist right and far right could pick up nearly a quarter of seats in the European Parliament in June.
Even if the center right — currently tipped to come first in the election — refuses to form a governing coalition with ever more powerful firebrand fringe parties, there’s still a significant chance the far right will, for the first time, be able to influence Europe’s policy agenda. That will enable it to threaten the EU’s sacred values on rule of law and human rights, and block or even overturn major green and climate laws.
EU To Unveil Ambitious New Emissions Goal
Reuters: “The European Commission is poised to recommend on Tuesday the EU reduces its net greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040…”
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