After an elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 19 kids and two adults dead, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (who’s speaking at the NRA’s convention this Friday) argued yesterday that the problem isn’t that there are too many guns out there, it’s that schools have too many doors–more specifically, more than one door. Schools need to “harden” by “having one door that goes in and out of the school [and] having armed police officers at that one door,” Cruz told reporters during his visit to Uvalde. The GOP senator pushed his “solution” again on Fox News later on Wednesday night.
Cruz made this point several times yesterday and retweeted clips of himself making it, so this wasn’t just some throwaway idea the GOP senator had. This is a spin he’s fully leaning into.
The ex-president announced on his dollar store Twitter social media site yesterday that he will still attend the NRA’s convention in Houston this weekend even after the Texas elementary school shooting, invoking the same bogus talking point conservatives whip out whenever there’s a mass shooting: Don’t make this about politics! It’s a classic: “America needs real solutions and real leadership in this moment, not politicians and partisanship,” Trump wrote.
The NRA will be banning firearms in the area for Trump’s safety, per the event’s website.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) wouldn’t say yesterday if he’s cancelling his scheduled appearance at the convention. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) office confirmed that she’s still going.
Like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is refusing to blow up or even reform the filibuster to allow the Senate to pass gun laws that would prevent another mass school shooting like the one in Texas this week.
“I don’t think that D.C. solutions are realistic here,” Sinema told reporters on Wednesday. Yeah, what kind of naive fool elects someone to D.C. and expects them to make it possible to pass laws??? Get real, kids!
William Walker, the House’s sergeant at arms, told House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in a letter on Wednesday that he believed “no one” should be carrying guns around the Capitol except for law enforcement, the Secret Service and other security detail–categories that don’t include Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Andy Harris (R-MD).
Former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) explains in The Hill: “In the elevator, a friend – a pleasant, reasonable, moderate Republican – complained that the votes were politically motivated — forcing members in swing districts to choose between their pro-gun bases and more moderate constituents. I argued that the polling in districts like his was clear: Nearly 80 percent support for the very measures he’d just voted against, including a majority (back then, at least) of Republicans.”
“Then came the news. He admitted that despite personally supporting the measures, he had no choice but to vote against them. In a heavily polarized House, where districts were increasingly ruby red versus bright blue, any vote for any gun safety would invite a primary opponent and ignite his likely defeat. No issue, he told me, motivated his base more intensely than guns. Moderates would forgive and forget that he voted against background checks; but his base would never forgive him for voting for them.”
The National Rifle Association said its “deepest sympathies” are with the families and victims of the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school massacre, CNBC reports.
David Frum: “Every other democracy makes some considerable effort to keep guns away from dangerous people, and dangerous people away from guns. For many years—and especially since the massacre at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School almost a decade ago—the United States has put more and more guns into more and more hands: 120 guns per 100 people in this country.”
“The years of the pandemic have been the years of the greatest gun sales in U.S. history: almost 20 million guns sold in 2020; another 18.5 million sold in 2021. No surprise, those two years also witnessed a surge in gun violence: the spectacular human butchery of our recurring mass slaughters; the surge of one-on-one lethal criminality; the unceasing tragic toll of carelessness as American gun owners hurt and kill their loved ones and themselves.”
“Most of us are appalled. But not enough of us are sufficiently appalled to cast our votes to halt it.”
“Shortly after the nation’s latest mass shooting, which killed at least 18 children at an elementary school in Texas, the California Senate passed a bill Tuesday to allow private citizens to file suit for at least $10,000 — a bounty-hunter provision modeled on a Texas abortion law — against makers or sellers of untraceable ghost guns or illegal assault weapons,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas this week was the 27th school shooting this year and the 119th since 2018, Education Week reports. The highest number of shootings, 34, occurred last year.
Dan Balz: “Think about what it means that the killings of children in their schools have become common enough to need such a list.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) attended a fundraiser for his reelection campaign Tuesday night in East Texas, hours after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school over 300 miles away in Uvalde, the Texas Tribune reports.
Ron Brownstein: “That’s because gun control is one of many issues in which majority opinion in the nation runs into the brick wall of a Senate rule—the filibuster—that provides a veto over national policy to a minority of the states, most of them small, largely rural, preponderantly white, and dominated by Republicans…”
“The practical implications of these imbalances were dramatized by the last full-scale Senate debate over gun control. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, the Senate in 2013 voted on a measure backed by President Barack Obama to impose background checks on all gun sales.”
“Again assigning half of each state’s population to each of its senators, the 54 senators who supported the bill (plus then–Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who opposed it only for procedural reasons) represented 194 million Americans. The remaining senators who opposed the bill represented 118 million people. But because of the Senate’s filibuster rule, which requires the backing of 60 senators to move legislation to a vote, the 118 million prevailed.”
Tyler Weyant: “Mass shootings have become America’s copy and paste tragedy. We change the place, the town, the number of dead and injured. But the constant is lives lost, people who cannot be brought back, and the nation is left in a numb daze.”
Charlie Sykes: “We are all tired. But a nation that was not shocked into action by the massacre of innocents at Sandy Hook is unlikely to be moved by the latest horror.”
Firearms were the leading cause of death for kids one and older for the first time in 2020, the most recent year for which CDC data is available, Axios reports.
Texas Tribune: “Just 30 minutes before morning mass began at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where dozens of residents gathered Wednesday morning to pray, Fatima Abraham, a community leader in the church, sat next to a woman weeping in the first pew and consoled her in her arms. The woman, Abraham said, was the mother of the shooter who opened fire at Robb Elementary, killing 19 children and two adults on Tuesday.”
Former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) wouldn’t answer a reporter’s question about voting against a 2013 background checks bill. Said Heitkamp: “I no longer have to answer your questions.”
The two Arizona senators had very different responses on doing something legislatively after the Texas school massacre:
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), when asked about reforming the filibuster: “You know, I don’t think that D.C. solutions are realistic here.”
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ): “It’s fucking nuts to do nothing about this.”
The House Jan. 6 Committee has heard testimony recounting that then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told colleagues in the White House that Trump had reacted approvingly to the Capitol insurrectionists’ “Hang Pence!” cries as they stormed the building, according to the New York Times, Politico and the Washington Post. Meadows told the colleagues that Trump had made a remark about how maybe Pence should be hung, at least one witness reportedly told the committee.
More than one person reportedly told the Jan. 6 committee about what Meadows said.
“Under pressure from the Jan. 6 select committee, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) issued a statement last week acknowledging that he had led a ‘constituent family’ through the Capitol complex on Jan. 5, 2021 — the day before a violent mob breached the Capitol and threatened the transfer of power,” Politico reports. “But he’s repeatedly adjusted his description of that group, raising additional questions about the circumstances of his tour — questions his office has so far declined to answer.”
“Notably, the Capitol had been closed to tours at the time because of Covid restrictions, and Loudermilk didn’t publicly acknowledge bringing in guests even after Democrats raised concerns about suspicious visitors inside the complex the day before the attack.“
“Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is pushing back on a subpoena issued to him by the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, contesting the constitutionality of the request and outlining a list of demands the committee must meet in order for him to even consider moving forward,” CNN reports.
“The Justice Department on Tuesday released new videos of a now-infamous meeting between Enrique Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes — the leaders of the two most prominent extremist organizations connected to January 6 — that took place in a Washington, DC, hotel garage just 24 hours before the attack,” CNN reports.
The Congressional Budget Office forecasts U.S. economic growth “will exceed 3% in 2022, while roaring inflation has topped and will cool each month to around 2% by some point in 2024,” CNBC reports. “The upbeat tone of the report appeared to include an implicit prediction that the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank in charge of managing inflation, will be able to raise interest rates throughout 2022 and 2023 without tipping the U.S. economy into a recession.”
“That translates to a 19 percent increase, the biggest one-year hike in more than 40 years, and it comes on top of an 18 percent increase last year.”
“Total receipts will amount this year to 19.6 percent of the nation’s economy, CBO says, which would be the most since 2000 when the Treasury Department was swimming in cash thrown off by the dot-com bubble.”
Sales of new U.S. homes plummeted in April by 16.6% — the most in nearly nine years, dented by the combination of high prices and a steep climb in mortgage rates, Bloomberg reports.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports the Fed will face a tough decision regarding “how far and how fast rates need to go up to make a dent in the housing market without triggering a painful economic slowdown.”
“Federal Reserve officials agreed at their last meeting that the central bank needed to move ‘expeditiously’ to bring down the most rapid pace of inflation in 40 years, with most participants expecting as many as three half-a-percentage point interest rate increases in the months ahead,” the New York Times reports.
Washington Post: “High inflation is expected to persist for the rest of the year, saddling Americans with higher costs as price hikes continue, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday.”
“The nonpartisan budget office estimated that key measures of inflation will show signs of easing this year relative to last year, but will remain uncomfortably high as demand continues to outstrip supply, putting upward pressure on prices.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin has appointed his ex-bodyguard, Alexander Kurenkov, to become Russia’s new “Emergencies Minister” after the last person to hold the office fell 90 feet to his death down a waterfall, the Daily Mail reports. Nicknamed “the man without a face,” little is known about Kurenkov’s past and background.
George Soros told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may have been the beginning of a Third World War “and our civilization may not survive it.”
“When a whistleblower sent a 34-page report to the Food and Drug Administration in October alleging a host of unsanitary conditions at an Abbott infant formula factory, the top official in charge of food safety didn’t see it,” the Washington Post reports. “In fact, Frank Yiannas, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for food policy and response, didn’t learn about the complaint until four months later.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “Indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) may not be the worst elected official in the US, but he’s perhaps the most embarrassing one.”
“He clobbered state Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a runoff Tuesday by a two-to-one margin. Really, Texas Republicans? Paxton’s been under indictment for years, and that’s for a different alleged crime from the one he’s currently under investigation for — that’s the one that drove much of his own staff to resign in protest of what they considered flat-out corruption.”
“There must be hundreds, maybe thousands, of extremely conservative lawyers in the state, perfectly capable of suing Democratic presidents and otherwise fighting for the Republican policy agenda, but who can also plausibly stand for the rule of law in the Alamo State. Why don’t Texas Republicans choose one of those?”
“Not many people charged with felony crimes go seven years without ever standing trial. One of them is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R),” the AP reports. “The twists and turns of how the Republican, who is on the cusp of winning the GOP nomination for a third term Tuesday, has yet to have his day in court after being indicted on securities fraud charges in 2015 has little comparison in American politics. And along the way, it has upended what it means to be a compromised officeholder in Texas.”
Paul Waldman: “There are few things that members of the American right emphasize more often about themselves than their deep commitment to protecting children — particularly when it comes to the threat of sexual abuse. In recent months, they’ve shown how intense that commitment is by labeling just about anyone who supports equality for LGBTQ people as ‘groomers’ who are preparing children to be sexually abused.”
“So when news broke this past weekend of a blockbuster report about sexual abuse (including of children) and a coverup within the Southern Baptist Convention, the GOP and conservative movement rose up in outrage. Republican politicians such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis demanded further investigation, QAnon adherents turned their focus to this conspiracy, and conservative media couldn’t stop talking about the story.”
“Actually, none of that happened.”
“If the first 16 months of Joe Biden’s presidency demonstrated anything, it was the limitations of Democrats’ razor-thin majority,” Politico reports. “Gun legislation has stalled, and Republicans heading into the midterms have every incentive to court the NRA.”
New York Times: “Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support some restrictions on firearms, but G.O.P. lawmakers fear they would pay a steep political price for embracing them.”
Politico: “The White House argues that it not only bears little responsibility for creating the confluence of crises but that it doesn’t necessarily have the tools to resolve them either.”
“But the job of president means shouldering the burden. And the pressure on Biden to act has grown more acute as the nation barrels towards the midterm election and the potential 2024 return of the former president who sparked the insurrection.”
“Though each president is tested in unique ways, few have seen a set of concurrent challenges materialize so early in a presidency.”
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed the strictest anti-abortion law in the nation, giving the country a preview of a possible post-Roe future, the Oklahoman reports. The law prohibits most abortions beginning at fertilization, with no exceptions for rape or incest unless they were reported to law enforcement. The law also encourages private citizens to sue anyone suspected of helping a person get an abortion.
New York Times: “As both parties have navigated their respective primary seasons, Republicans have been far more likely to use messaging around guns to galvanize their base in the midterms than Democrats — who are largely in agreement on the issue of combating gun violence, but have seen one legislative effort after another collapse.”
“More than 100 television ads from Republican candidates and supportive groups have used guns as talking points or visual motifs this year. Guns are shown being fired or brandished, or are discussed but not displayed as candidates tout the Second Amendment, vow to block gun-control legislation or simply identify themselves as ‘pro-gun.’”
Politico: “When Janet Yellen was tapped to join the Biden administration as Treasury secretary, she came with celebrity status — one of the world’s preeminent economists and the first woman to have led the Federal Reserve.”
“More than a year later, as Democrats are grappling with decades-high inflation, stock market turmoil and rising recession fears, Yellen is rarely on center stage. She has surprised supporters by wielding less influence in the West Wing than her recent predecessors did in the job, which is often considered an administration’s chief economic policymaking post.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says voters’ repudiation of two Trump-backed candidates in Georgia is proof that talking about the 2020 election is a loser for voters at the ballot box, Politico reports. Said McConnell: “The resounding message from the Republican voters in Georgia is: Quit talking about 2020. And make the fall election about the future and about the Biden administration.”
Jeff Greenfield: “If the question is whether Trump maintains all but total power over his party’s choices of candidates, the answer is ‘no.’ In some cases, at least, his endorsements have not and will not carry the day.”
“But if the question is whether the Republican Party has succumbed almost wholly to Trump’s canard that he was robbed of his presidency, and whether they are determined to ensure a different outcome to the next presidential election, the answer is a clear and compelling ‘yes.’”