Kate Riga

Kate Riga is a news writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Kate was the political reporter for The Southampton Press. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and a native of Philadelphia.

Articles by Kate

In a heated appearance on CNN Monday morning, American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp voiced harsh criticism for comedian Michelle Wolf after her monologue at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday, concluding that it is not her nor any journalist’s place to call out the President for lying.

“Just present the facts and let the American people if they think someone’s lying,” Schlapp said to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “Journalists shouldn’t be the one to say the President or his spokesperson is lying. What that does to 50 percent of the country is make them feel they are not credible to listen to.”

He stood by his words in a later tweet.

Schlapp and his wife, Mercedes, walked out of the dinner Saturday night after taking offense at Wolf’s monologue, saying that they had had “enough of the elites mocking all of us.”

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Over 60 current or former female NBC employees have signed a letter supporting retied anchor Tom Brokaw amid recent sexual harassment allegations against him, according to a Friday Deadline report.

The number reportedly includes prominent anchors Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, and Mika Brzezinski.

“Tom has treated each of us with fairness and respect,” the letter reportedly reads. “He has given each of us opportunities for advancement and championed our successes throughout our careers.  

“We know him to be a man of tremendous decency and integrity,” it continues.

Linda Vester, a former NBC correspondent, accused Brokaw this week of unwanted sexual advances in the 1990s. Another unnamed woman reportedly also told the Washington Post that Brokaw treated her inappropriately during that same period.

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Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) floated the idea Friday that Republicans are retiring from Congress in record numbers due to their fear of being assassinated, according to a Friday morning Roll Call report.

While speaking on the Dale Jackson Show, Brooks mentioned the shooting at the congressional Republican baseball practice last year, which left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) badly wounded.  

“You have to wonder with that kind of disproportionate retirement number whether what happened in June played a factor,” he reportedly said. “There are a growing number of leftists who believe the way to resolve this is not at the ballot box but through threats and sometimes through violence and assassinations.”

Brooks conceded that most of the retiring Republicans would likely not attribute their decision to fear for their lives, but added that the number of those leaving, especially those who play on the team, is “out of whack.”

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The Paralympic Games organization slammed President Donald Trump Saturday morning after he called the games “tough to watch” on Friday.

At a photo-op for Olympic and Paralympic athletes Friday evening, Trump seemingly deviated from his prepared remarks. “What happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me,” he said. “And I watched—it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.”

Some are criticizing the President for his remarks, while others have rushed to his defense, claiming that he meant that he lacks time to watch television.

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A spokeswoman for Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), chairman of the veterans’ affairs committee, voiced support Saturday for ranking member Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-MT) investigation into White House physician Ronny Jackson amid President Donald Trump’s growing rage at Tester, per a CNN reporter. 

A CNN reporter later clarified that the comments were not in direct response to a series of tweets Trump unleashed Saturday morning demanding Tester’s resignation and accusing him of running a smear campaign, but a reiteration of previously-voiced support.

Jackson withdrew his nomination to be secretary of veterans affairs this week after numerous allegations surfaced accusing him of drunkenness on the job, dangerous prescription practices, and abusive behavior in the workplace.

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MSNBC host Joy Reid addressed the homophobic posts on her now-defunct blog in the opening monologue of her show Saturday morning.

“I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things because they are completely alien to me but I can definitely understand, based on things I have tweeted and have written in the past, why some people don’t believe me,” she said. “I have not been exempt from being cruel or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for. I own that. I get it. And for that I am truly, truly sorry.”

She apologized for specific instances where she has been homophobic, adding that she was raised in a conservative household and that her views have evolved with age.

Especially for trans people I feel like I should have known better than to ever write in a way to make fun of or make light of that pain and experience even a decade ago when the country was in a very different place, but I cannot take any of that back,” she said. “I can only say that the person I am now is not the person I was then.”

Posts from Reid’s old blog were published on Monday, containing vitriolic homophobic comments. Reid has denied that she wrote the posts, even getting a cyber expert to investigate traces of hacking. Some have doubted her claims, citing old posts voicing homophobic sentiments that were unearthed in December.

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President Donald Trump continued his crusade against Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) Saturday, accusing him of slandering White House physician Ronny Jackson and calling for his resignation.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah reportedly echoed this line of attack on Friday. “Sen. Jon Tester engaged in character assassination against a decorated rear admiral in the United States Navy, and he didn’t have a shred of evidence to back it up,” he said according to a Saturday morning Washington Post report.

The White House’s reaction appears to be spurred by a statement sent out by the Secret Service on Friday denying that one particular allegation about Jackson—that he got drunk and pounded on the door of a female coworker, causing the Secret Service to intervene—was true.

“A thorough review of internal documents related to all Presidential foreign travel that occurred in 2015, in addition to interviews of personnel who were present during foreign travel that occurred during the same time frame, has resulted in no information that would indicate the allegation is accurate,” the statement reportedly reads.

The White House also contends that internal investigations have proven another Jackson allegation false, that he drunkenly crashed a government vehicle at a Secret Service going away party.

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Already embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that forced him to withdraw from a reelection bid, Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) abruptly announced his resignation Friday.

“While I do believe I would be exonerated of any wrongdoing, I also did not want to put my staff through the rigors of an Ethics Committee investigation and believed it was best for them to have a head start on new employment rather than being caught up in an inquiry,” he said in a statement. “And since I have chosen to resign, the inquiry will not become a burden to taxpayers and committee staff.”

“I recognize that there are constituents who are disappointed in the manner in which I handled the situation that lead to my decision not to seek reelection and wish I had done better by them,” he added.

Meehan was already under fire for reportedly using $39,000 of taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment claims from a former aide. He promised to pay back the money, though he refers to it as “severance,” denying any wrongdoing.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blasted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) Friday for abruptly dismissing House Chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy, calling the firing “unwarranted,” “hard to understand” and “impossible to support.”

“It is my hope that we will honor Father Conroy’s service by pursuing justice and making clear the true motivations of this unjust action,” she said in a statement. “I have expressed my forceful disagreement with this decision to the Speaker. It is truly sad that he made this decision, and it is especially bewildering that he did so only a matter of months before the end of his term.”

Ryan’s office reportedly disputes Pelosi’s claim that she was outraged by the firing when he made the decision in mid-April. A spokeswoman for Ryan said that Pelosi was passive when she first heard the decision. “While it was the speaker’s decision, she and her office were fully read in, and did not object,” AshLee Strong said to the Washington Post.

Pelosi denies that claim. In her statement, she also expressed support for the motion from Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) brought to the floor on Friday to establish a special committee to investigate the firing. The motion was killed by Republicans, with only two defecting to vote with the Democrats.

Early Friday morning, Ryan held a meeting with House Republicans where he assured them that the dismissal was not politically motivated, though some speculate that it was prompted by a prayer Conroy said on the day that the House was marking up the GOP tax bill. He prayed that the bill would not create “winners and losers” but that its benefits be “balanced and shared by all.”

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