Nicole Lafond

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Nicole Lafond is TPM’s associate editor, based in New York. She has also worked as the special projects editor and as a senior newswriter for TPM. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously covered education in central Illinois.

Where Things Stand: McCarthy Was Scolded For Showing GOP’s Hand On Benghazi. Today’s GOP Shows Its Hand And No One Cares.
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Back in another lifetime, now-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy upset a bunch of his Republican colleagues when he just straight-up announced on Fox News that the Select Committee on Benghazi was making then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton look bad, and suggested that, hey, that was probably just the goal all along??? 🙃🙃

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Where Things Stand: Save This Clip For Next Time They Pretend They Don’t Wanna Cut Soc Security, Medicare
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is seemingly trying to get a handful of far-right members of the Freedom Caucus to chill out and stop threatening to redo the speakership election. They’re not likely to successfully depose him, but no one is eager for a redo of the January spectacle as a few loud members seek to reassert their authority. And, so, in what is seemingly a half-hearted effort to throw them a bone, McCarthy went on Fox News and promised to create some vague “commission” that’ll review further cuts to next year’s budget.

The speaker then took it a step further. Instead of just promising that “this isn’t the end” and proposing some sort of additional amorphous cuts to quell a hardliner uprising, McCarthy doubled down, raising the possibility that this next step commission could look into gutting Social Security and Medicare. Music, in theory, to the ears of a salivating Freedom Caucus.

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Where Things Stand: Some 2024 Hopefuls Latch Onto Freedom Caucus Complaints. Trump Remains Silent.
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As my colleague Josh Marshall spelled out earlier, there is one very loud voice that is notably absent from this conversation.

Donald Trump has remained largely silent on the debt ceiling ever since the Biden White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) settled a deal over the weekend to ransom the debt ceiling hostage in exchange for some GOP legislative priorities, most notably work requirements for SNAP recipients.

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Where Things Stand: DeSantis Win Could Actually Help Trump’s Legal Woes, DeSantis Says
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A few hours after the janky roll out of his 2024 campaign, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis offered The Donald a compelling consolation prize if he were to beat the former president in the 2024 primaries.

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Where Things Stand: DHS Warns Of Attacks On Gov’t Buildings, Infrastructure If 2020-Level Disinfo Spreads In 2024
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The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin today warning that there is a “heightened threat environment” for violent attacks in the U.S. as we head into the 2024 election cycle.

Department officials specifically warned that “perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle” and “legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues” could be mobilizing issues for those wishing to carry out acts of violence. It also specifically warns of the potential for attacks on “individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+ community.”

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Where Things Stand: Match Made In Reactionary Chucklehead Heaven
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Two dudes who have advanced their careers, in recent years, by saying and doing things to rile people up as they curate their cult of personality points are teaming up to make an announcement that everyone already had on their 2023 bingo card.

You’ve got Elon Musk in one corner — a man who will say just about anything to elevate his brand as the free speech Messiah. And then you’ve got Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the other — Trump’s long-anticipated 2024 rival who has spent the last year using his Republican-dominated state legislature to pass outrageous, so-called “anti-woke” legislation packaged to appeal to the furthest-right MAGA voters and cushion his 2024 bid.

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Where Things Stand: Even At Anti-Abortion Gala, DeSantis Shied Away From Hyping His 6-Week Ban
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As he stood before one of the friendliest crowds imaginable this weekend, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was still hesitant to spend much time touting the passage of a strict six-week abortion ban in Florida, a law that he only briefly described as “a landmark piece of legislation for this state.”

DeSantis made a big show of signing his state’s 15-week ban into law last year. He televised the bill’s signing and dragged in a bunch of Republican state lawmakers, children holding pro-life signs and a packed crowd to applaud his signature. But when he signed his six-week ban into law in April, he did it privately. His office marked the occasion by putting out a press release in the middle of the night. When he gave a speech at Liberty University the next day, he didn’t even bring it up.

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Where Things Stand: Another GOPer Is Warning The Party Will ‘Suffer’ Over Abortion In 2024
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Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) is a rape survivor who has spoken out about her party’s egregious and restrictive stances on abortion before, specifically when red states pass legislation banning abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.

As it becomes increasingly clear that extreme Republicans positioning on abortion is, in actuality, helping Democrats win elections, Mace is begging her party to figure out how to position itself in a way that looks, at the very least, like cosplaying as compassionate toward women. Make no mistake, Mace is supportive of some restrictions on the procedure, but she tends to not get specific — like the rest of her party — beyond cautioning her colleagues away from “extremes.”

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Where Things Stand: McCarthy Pulls Off Hide-Behind-Due-Process Charade
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Whether or not Rep. George Santos (R-NY), with his 13-count indictment, should stay in Congress is not a matter Republicans are going to have to weigh in on — for now.

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