Cup of Joe – October 6, 2023

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) has entered the race for speaker, setting up a contest with House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH).

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) “said he will run to be the next speaker, a move likely to prompt praise from House conservatives,” Politico reports.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) says he believes he’s “best equipped” to unite his conference after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) led seven other defectors in joining with House Democrats to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as House speaker, The Messenger reports. Said Jordan: “We got to bring them into the fold.”

“Members of Kevin McCarthy’s staff have been working the phones on behalf of Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan’s run for speaker,” Semafor reports.

“Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said Thursday that he has spoken about his bid to be the next speaker with Donald Trump and that he would not support ousting Rep. Matt Gaetz from the Republican caucus even amid anger by some lawmakers after he led Kevin McCarthy’s removal,” NBC News reports. Said Jordan: “I don’t think that’s warranted. We’ve got a four-seat majority, Matt’s a talented member of Congress.” He added: “I disagree with what he did … but he’s a great member of our committee … I think we gotta come together.”

“Hell, no… I think there’s scenarios where Patrick McHenry could be in this job for an extended period of time.”— Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), when asked if he’s confident Republicans will coalesce around a Speaker candidate Tuesday.

Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) was interviewed on CNN by Jake Tapper:

TAPPER: Do you agree with Congressman McHenry’s decision… to put a pause to let tensions settle?

GRAVES: Jake, I’ll be really candid. I think if we had stayed together in the meeting last night, I think that you would’ve seen fists thrown. And I’m not being dramatic when I say that. There is a lot of raw emotions right now. I think it was best to let folks go back home, decompress a little bit, and then come back together.

Punchbowl News: “It’s very possible that neither Scalise nor Jordan will be able to attract the support of 218 Republicans. At least that’s the buzz in the senior Republican ranks now. Both men are going to have difficulty in attracting the middle of the House GOP – which, to be clear, vastly outnumbers the hardline Republicans.”

“In other words, the question you should be asking yourself every time you hear some Republican is running for speaker is this: Will Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Nick LaLota (R-NY), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), Marc Molinaro (R-NY) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) vote for this person? If the answer is no, this person probably can’t become speaker.”

“Now we aren’t saying Jordan and Scalise can’t convince these Republicans to vote for them. But we’re a long way from there. We’d be surprised if this leadership race wraps up by next Wednesday, as planned.”

Playbook: “Given the conflicting dynamics in the House Republican Conference, it’s entirely possible that neither man gets 218 votes. If that happens, some Republicans have already whispered about whether we might see some sort of deal cut between Scalise and Jordan that would enable them to run as a ‘slate.’ Under such an idea, Scalise would become speaker, looking out for the more establishment and frontline members, and Jordan would become majority leader, to give leadership’s decisions credibility with the hard right.”

“To be sure, neither camp is talking about this at the moment. But the idea has actually come up before: When McCarthy has sought to climb the ladder in the past, conservatives made a similar pitch in return for support. But back then, given Jordan’s poor reputation with the conference, McCarthy refused.”

Politico: Scalise and Jordan’s battle for centrists.

REQIEUM FOR MCCARTHY. Susan Glasser: “The political-obituary writers will not be as kind to McCarthy as he was to himself. The fifty-fifth Speaker of the House turned out to be one of the weakest America has ever had, a man whose overriding ambition seemed merely to have been obtaining the job itself and whose willingness to make a bad deal to get it proved to be his predictable undoing.”

“By nature an accommodationist, McCarthy was brought down by the surging Trumpist forces within his caucus that he had sought for years to placate. His humiliation, in that sense, is the Republican Party’s writ large—the humiliation of bowing to Trump again and again, only to be met with more and more outrageous demands. McCarthy is modern proof that appeasement doesn’t work.”

“The record of his suck-uppery to Trump and the Trumpists is too long to recount in full. Perhaps it’s enough to recall that Trump nicknamed him ‘my Kevin,’ and that, during Trump’s Presidency, McCarthy was reported to have sent over to the White House a jar of Trump’s favorite Starbursts, carefully culled of all but his favorite red and pink candies.”

Charlie Sykes: “For the first time in the nation’s history, a sitting speaker of the House has been ousted; and Kevin McCarthy now has the historic distinction of having the shortest tenure with the gavel since the guy who died of tuberculosis in 1876.”

“McCarthy, who so desperately wanted that title and the portrait — and who made one surrender after another to get them — will now be remembered merely as an asterisk, if even that.”

“Indeed, Kevin would be a tragic figure, if he were not so utterly and clownishly pathetic. His tenure was marked by serial humiliations, each paving the way to his thoroughly undignified downfall.”

Jim Geraghty: “I didn’t think Kevin McCarthy was going to be ousted from his position of speaker of the House. I believed you couldn’t beat something with nothing.”

“Well, right now, America has Speaker Nothing. Matt Gaetz cobbled together enough Republican votes with Democratic votes to get rid of McCarthy, but at least for now, no one knows who, if anyone, could garner enough votes to become the new speaker.”

David Frum says Kevin McCarthy never had a functioning majority as speaker.

“Which left Plan B: Accept reality; acknowledge that the GOP had not won a functioning majority; and reach across the aisle, make deals, and do your business that way.”

“That’s what McCarthy did in May with the debt-ceiling deal and tried to do again with the budget this past weekend. The first foray wounded him. The second finished him.”

“The rules of contemporary Republican politics make it hard to accept reality. Reality is just too awkward.”

Karen Tumulty: “McCarthy’s leadership — if you can call it leadership — was notably rudderless and chaotic. On his watch, the country came to the brink of what could have been a catastrophic default on its debt. His hard-right members regularly humiliated him by blocking vital GOP-backed measures from even coming to a vote on the House floor — among them, recently, one to fund the Pentagon. It was only with the help of Democrats that he managed to muster enough votes Saturday to prevent a government shutdown.”

“And yet, he continued to try to appease the hard-liners, including by unilaterally opening an impeachment inquiry into President Biden based on allegations — but no evidence — that the president had benefited from the business dealings of his son Hunter.”

“In a grievance-filled news conference after he announced his decision not to try to get his job back, McCarthy said, with dark humor: ‘I made history, didn’t I?’ Indeed, he has left a mark — a scar on the institution and the office — that will be hard to erase.”

RETALIATION AGAINST THE DEMOCRATS. Matthew Yglesias: “I just reject the Republican establishmentarian spin that the real issue here is Democrats’ refusal to bail McCarthy out. My advice to Democrats was to not drive a hard bargain here — be a cheap date, want to get to yes. But if McCarthy wants Democrats to do something for him, he has to do something in return.”

“I understand he felt that he couldn’t offer any concessions for risk of further increasing the size of the rebellion, but that’s just another way of saying that the GOP caucus is dysfunctional. And people need to know that. Joe Biden is old, but he runs a competent professional administration. Republicans are running a shit show.”

“Importantly, the shit show is bigger than the handful of rebels. The rebels are absolutely part of it, but given that, the mainstream wing of the party has no choice but the cauterize the wound and make a deal with Democrats to keep McCarthy in the Speaker’s chair.”

“That means mainstream Republicans need to suck it up and offer Democrats something. They don’t need to like sucking it up, but that is the position the rebels put them in. And they just refused. That’s a top to bottom dysfunctional Republican caucus. People need to see and understand that.”

Kevin McCarthy was behind interim Speaker Patrick McHenry’s move to kick former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of her office space, CNN reports.

Greg Sargent: “With the forces unleashed by former president Donald Trump and the MAGA movement damaging the House GOP caucus, Democrats absolutely shouldn’t have stepped in, because so doing would help Republicans erase their own culpability for nourishing those forces for so long.”

Philip Bump: “This argument from McCarthy got some traction in the immediate aftermath of his ouster. Why wouldn’t Democrats side with the institution and defend the Republican speaker? Weren’t they the ones who liked to preen about being the defenders of democracy and good governance?”

“But this invites an obvious response: Why, particularly for the past decade or so, has it consistently been up to Democrats to be the line of defense?”

THE FUTURE OF THE MOTION TO VACATE. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “is not wading into the House speaker’s race. He does have one piece of advice, though,” Politico reports. Said McConnell: “I hope whoever the next speaker is gets rid of the motion to vacate.” He added that it makes the job “impossible.”

Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) told Semafor that “yes, absolutely” he wants to keep the rule allowing just one lawmaker to trigger a motion to vacate.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) told CNN he will not support a new speaker unless they commit to reforming the motion to vacate rules. Said Gimenez: “Nobody has my vote. I think the one-person motion to vacate, I think it’s actually a little bit insane.”

“Expectations are at rock-bottom among House Republicans that their civil war will be resolved by the speaker vote on Wednesday,” Axios reports. “Some moderates are threatening to tank any speaker if the rules aren’t changed to protect future speakers from single-member motions to vacate. That’s a deal breaker for conservatives.”

“Some conservatives are threatening to tank any speaker who’d support aid for Ukraine, or who wouldn’t push along an impeachment vote on President Biden. That’s a deal breaker for some moderates.”

“And some Republicans just have old scores to settle.”

EVERYONE HATES MATT GAETZ. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) told Punchbowl News that he’s “considering offering a motion to expel Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) from the House Republican Conference.” Lawler also said “he wants the eight Republicans who voted against McCarthy to lose their committee assignments.”

Said Lawler: “This isn’t a policy difference. This isn’t a bill that came to the floor… This is you decided, eight of you, that your interests were bigger than the conference and you were going to align yourself with AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, Hakeem Jeffries, Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, to remove a duly elected House Republican speaker. Are you out of your fucking minds?”

With Republicans holding a four-seat majority, there’s little chance any of these lawmakers will be punished.

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) told CNN that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) openly detailed his sexual experiences to fellow lawmakers.

Said Mullin: “He bragged about how he would crush E.D. medicine and chase it with energy drinks so he could go all night. This is obviously before he got married.”

Gaetz responded in a statement: “I don’t think Markwayne Mullin and I have said 20 words to each other on the House floor. This is a lie from someone who doesn’t know me and who is coping with the death of the political career of his friend Kevin. Thoughts and prayers.”

“Republicans couldn’t save Kevin McCarthy, but some are hoping to avenge him. They spent much of Wednesday promising to strike back against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)and the seven other GOP rebels who ousted the speaker on Tuesday,” Semafor reports.

Said Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) “I think Matt would be a great dictator in a small island nation in the Pacific or something, that’s probably the best next step for him. I do think there should be repercussions.”

CNN: House devolves into angry round of retribution following McCarthy’s ouster.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News that the eight Republicans who voted to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy were “traitors” and called for them all to be primaried and “driven out of public life.”

WHITE HOUSE REACTION. “This week, speeches by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on the House floor have offered a bounty of new ad material for the Biden campaign and Democrats to exploit ahead of the next election,” Axios reports. One example: “It is going to be difficult for my Republican colleagues to keep calling President Biden feeble while he continues to take Speaker McCarthy’s lunch money in every negotiation.” And another: “If this House of Representatives has exceeded all expectations, then we definitely need higher expectations.”

Politico: “Senior Democrats believe that the chaos enveloping House Republicans has the potential to further discredit the GOP as a party of incompetence and ideological extremism. But for all the apparent political upside for Democrats, the turmoil in the House also now presents perilous governing challenges.”

“The White House now has just 44 days to avert a November government shutdown and secure critical aid for Ukraine — and no earthly idea who will lead the House GOP. Last weekend, Biden and House Democratic leaders cited McCarthy’s support for Ukraine as a reason the funding would ultimately be approved quickly. With him gone, there were no immediate answers.”

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) announced he would consider crossing party lines to vote for a House Speaker who would “lead America to bipartisan higher ground.”

Jonathan Chait: “The last three decades have seen an endless succession of coups, scandals, and humiliations, at times reducing the position of Speaker of the House to a hollowed-out title hardly anybody of note even wanted to claim. By this point, the rituals of plotting and counterplotting are so deeply ingrained that every new Republican Speaker is greeted with built-in opposition and ready speculation as to who will take over as the next Speaker after the newly inaugurated one is inevitably deposed.”

“The congressional Republican fratricide era began with the rise of Newt Gingrich (more on him shortly). But its intellectual roots stretch back to the early 1960s, when the upstart conservative movement first crawled out of the primordial ooze and set out to seize control of the party.”

TRUMP & MCCARTHY. Washington Post: “For years, McCarthy prided himself on his close relationship with Trump, defending the former president through countless controversies and cajoling him to support the former speaker’s own political priorities. He challenged Trump’s 2020 election defeat and swallowed his objections to Trump’s conduct in the lead-up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He navigated around some of the former president’s congressional endorsements even when those candidates appeared destined for defeat. Within the past few months, he helped Trump’s team secure coveted changes to the California GOP’s primary rules. And in recent weeks, he had all but endorsed Trump’s nomination for the 2024 presidential race, an unusual move for a top congressional leader this early in a contested primary.”

“But as McCarthy’s speakership teetered on the brink Tuesday, Trump stayed resolutely on the sidelines as his acolyte, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), engineered a vote that ultimately ejected McCarthy from his leadership post.”

Donald Trump, quoted by NBC News: “A lot of people have been calling me about speaker. All I can say is we will do whatever is best for the country and other Republican Party and people.”

He added, however, that he is focused on winning back the presidency.

Rolling Stone: “According to those with knowledge of the matter, Trump’s hesitance to swoop in and rescue the now-former House Speaker — who for years has been one of the former president’s most pliable defenders and who went to great lengths to rehabilitate Trump mere weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — was just cold, pragmatic calculation.”

“Per Trump’s apparent calculation, he ‘has friends on both sides’ of the Gaetz-McCarthy conflict, as one person with knowledge of the matter puts it. And as another source who’s known both Trump and McCarthy for years describes it, the former president ‘just didn’t see anything in it for him’ if he were to stick his neck out, only to have McCarthy fall anyway.”

Daily Beast: “Trump’s been a little cagey on whether he supported removing McCarthy. But Matt Gaetz is suggesting Trump was behind his effort.”

Daily Beast: “The judge who doomed Donald Trump’s family business last week took an aggressive and preemptive step on Wednesday to ensure the former president can’t secretly shift assets to salvage his real estate empire.”

“In an order that was posted on the fourth day of the former president’s bank fraud trial, Justice Arthur F. Engoron commanded that the Trumps identify any corporations they have—and come clean about any plans to move around money in an attempt to hide or keep their wealth.”

Donald Trump claimed in a Truth Social post that his civil fraud trial is “the start of Communism right here in America.”

Donald Trump has dropped off Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest people.

Donald Trump asked for his classified documents trial to be delayed until at least November 2024 — after the presidential election. He says he hasn’t been able to access a swath of classified documents central to his case and that SCIF in Florida isn’t ready to handle them yet.

A play in three parts:

Act I: As part of its delay strategy, Trump’s legal team told the U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan it needed more time to obtain the necessary security clearances.

Act II: Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team responded that some of Trump’s lawyers still hadn’t turned in the necessary paperwork.

Act III: Chutkan ordered Trump’s legal team to get its shit together on security clearances by next week.

“Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell are moving forward on a major Ukraine aid package, even as there’s a very good chance the next speaker is even less receptive than Kevin McCarthy was,” Politico reports.

“The US will transfer thousands of seized Iranian weapons and rounds of ammunition to Ukraine, in a move that could help to alleviate some of the critical shortages facing the Ukrainian military as it awaits more money and equipment from the US and its allies,” CNN reports.

“Nadine Arslanian Menendez, federally indicted in a bribery scheme with her husband, Sen. Bob Menendez, struck and killed a man while driving her Mercedes-Benz… in December 2018,” the Bergen County Record reports.

“A month after the crash, according to an indictment brought by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Arslanian was texting Wael Hana, an Egyptian American businessman also indicted in the bribery scheme, about her lack of car. Hana later provided her with a 2019 Mercedez-Benz C-300 convertible, the indictment says.”

New York Times: “What happened that night… was not reported for years, leaving witnesses and Mr. Koop’s family to wonder if the fatal collision was deliberately kept quiet. But now, nearly five years later, the episode adds a startling dimension to a scandal that has shaken American politics, and raised new questions about the senator at its center.”

“A second lawyer for Rudy Giuliani is seeking to depart his legal team in Georgia, a move that would appear to leave the former New York City mayor without any local lawyers in the state,” ABC News reports.

“I do not have an alcohol problem. I have never had an alcohol problem… Nobody could have achieved that if they did… I was working 24 hours a day. It’s a big damn lie.”— Rudy Giuliani, quoted by Politico.

“President Biden announced student-debt forgiveness for another tranche of Americans on Wednesday, months after the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s most ambitious borrower-relief plan,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The string of politically advantageous announcements comes thanks to the administration’s use of existing programs that allow the government to waive debt for certain borrowers.”

“The moves are separate from the administration’s troubled attempt to cancel as much as $20,000 in student debt for any borrower who earns less than $125,000 a year. The Supreme Court struck down that executive action in June.”

“President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden’s 2-year-old German shepherd, Commander, has been involved in more biting incidents than previously reported at the White House,“ CNN reports.

“While the US Secret Service has acknowledged 11 reported biting incidents involving its personnel, sources who spoke to CNN said the real number is higher and includes executive residence staff and other White House workers.”

“House Oversight Chair Rep. James Comer is vowing the ouster of Kevin McCarthy won’t impact his impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,” Politico reports.

Asked if he believed the committee could legally continue its work without an elected speaker, Comer replied: “I think we can.”

In oral arguments Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority was less open to gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau than legal observers had expected.

The most conservative appeals court ended up doing what it screwed up trying to do last week in the big case against the Biden administration’s handling of misinformation on social media platforms.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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