“Sen. Elizabeth Warren formally announced her candidacy for the White House on Saturday, and hours later President Trump weighed in on his newest campaign opponent, appearing to make a joke with reference to the Trail of Tears,” USA Today reports.
Tweeted Trump: “Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”
“The president’s use of the word trail in all caps is a potential reference to the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of Native Americans from their homelands in the Southern United States to reservations in Oklahoma in the 1800s.”
Mother Jones: “From the time the tax bill was first introduced on Nov. 2, 2017, until the end of the year, a 60-day period, dozens of billionaires and millionaires dramatically boosted their political contributions unlike they had in past years, giving a total of $31.1 million in that two months, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics found.”
“The Center’s analysis found that 144 wealthy donors, some household names and some behind-the-scenes, contributed at least $50,000 to Republicans and conservative groups in that time frame. For 87 of those, three out of five, the surge of giving at year’s end reflected a marked change in their giving behavior.”
“Most telling, say campaign finance experts, is that 25 wealthy donors gave all their 2017 money in the final two months of the year, the first time they did so during the previous four off-election years—2009, 2011, 2013, 2015.”
“A company owned by Keith Schiller, President Donald Trump’s former longtime bodyguard, has received $225,000 from the Republican National Committee for security consulting since he left his job as White House director of Oval Office operations in September 2017,” CNBCreports.
“Schiller was originally hired by the RNC to help select a site for the 2020 convention. But once the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, was announced in July, Schiller’s firm was kept on to ‘work on other security needs for the committee.’”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) told the Washington Post that he believes there is a higher reason for the “horrific” reckoning in the past week over a racist photograph in his medical school yearbook, and that the humbling experience leaves him better positioned to remain in office, explore the issue of “white privilege” and push an agenda of racial reconciliation.
“Northam seemed chastened and subdued as he described a week of grappling with what it means to be white in America, with the reality of African American history, and with the personal failing of growing up after desegregation and the civil rights era while somehow not realizing that donning blackface is offensive.”
A new Washington Post poll finds Virginians split over Gov. Ralph Northam’s fate, with 47% wanting him to step down and 47% saying he should stay on.
“Northam counts higher support among black residents — who say he should remain in office by a margin of 58% to 37% — than among whites, who are more evenly divided on whether he should resign.”
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) “had a message for fellow Democrats this weekend as two more White House contenders formally jumped into the 2020 presidential race: Don’t forget about me,” the Washington Postreports.
Said Bennet: “We’ve got a million people that are going to run, which I think is great. I think having one more voice in that conversation that’s focused on America’s future, I don’t think would hurt.”
President Trump blamed Democrats for what lawmakers described as stalled negotiations on border security funding.
Said Trump: “I don’t think the Dems on the Border Committee are being allowed by their leaders to make a deal. They are offering very little money for the desperately needed Border Wall & now, out of the blue, want a cap on convicted violent felons to be held in detention!”
Trump added that Democrats “want a shutdown” to change the subject after “a very bad week.”
Mike Allen: “Democratic campaigns are secretly shopping dirt on their primary rivals much earlier than usual, reflecting the high stakes of surging or sinking quickly with so many people running so early.”
“One reason this underground game has begun so quickly is that most of the announced Democratic candidates serve in the Senate together. So the open attacks may come later.”
“That leaves an opening for the campaign staffs to quietly stir mischief in the media about the records, foibles and biographies of their opponents.”
Washington Post: “No one in the billionaire’s coterie was more enthusiastic than Cohen about the prospect of a Governor Trump. Albany, Cohen believed, was a great opportunity not only for his boss but also, as it happened, for himself.”
“After the meetings, Cohen would adjourn to his office at Trump Towerto plan next steps with Michael Caputo, the Republican strategist plotting Trump’s gubernatorial campaign. But Cohen surprised Caputo by talking about his own political aspirations.”
“He told Caputo he had always wanted to run for mayor of New York City, a race he said he could win if Trump was governor. At one point, Cohen floated the idea of a Trump-Cohen statewide ticket, an idea Caputo considered as absurd as Cohen running for mayor.”
“Top Wall Street executives would love to be rid of President Trump. But they are getting panicked about the prospect of an ultraliberal Democratic nominee bent on raising taxes and slapping regulations on their firms,” Politico reports.
“The result is a kind of nervous paralysis of executives pining for a centrist nominee like Michael Bloomberg while realizing such an outcome is unlikely from a party veering sharply to the left.”
“Bipartisan talks aimed at resolving the border wall dispute and averting a government shutdown Friday have broken down and are at an impasse,” the Washington Post reports.
“Lawmakers had been trading offers, trying to finalize how much money could go to barriers along the border as President Trump demands money for his wall. Trump has called for $5.7 billion, but lawmakers were trying to find a number between $1.3 billion and $2 billion that would be acceptable to both sides.”
“At the same time, Democrats were trying to limit the number of detention beds that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency would have access to. Democrats want to cap detention beds as a way to limit aggressive detention activities by ICE.”
Politico: “Although lawmakers were optimistic going into the weekend about reaching a border security deal and funding the government past Feb. 15, negotiators are now discussing a stopgap Homeland Security bill.”
New York Times: “Justin Fairfax’s refusal to resign as lieutenant governor of Virginia in the face of two allegations of sexual assault has presented Democrats with an excruciating choice: whether to impeach an African-American leader at a moment when the state’s other two top leaders, both white, are resisting calls to quit after admitting to racist conduct.”
“The political turmoil for Democratic leaders this weekend is unfolding at the intersection of race and gender, and risks pitting the party’s most pivotal constituencies against one another.”