The Confederate flag is seen flying on South Carolina’s Capitol grounds last June. Today it is gone. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
THE BIG IDEA: Watching the House floor on Thursday offered an instructive window into how quickly the flashpoints that divide society can change.
Last year, Southern Republicans brought the appropriations process to a halt in an effort to block a bill that would have restricted the display of Confederate flags in federal parks. But yesterday, an amendment to the defense reauthorization bill easily passed that prohibits taxpayer funds from being used to fly the flag at cemeteries operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Eighty-four Republicans supported it.
Last month, a Republican committee chair announced that the Mississippi state flag – which incorporates Confederate symbolism – will not return to the tunnel connecting a House office building with the Capitol. That flag was removed in the aftermath of last year’s massacre at a Charleston church. A white supremacist gunning down African American parishioners also prompted the GOP governor to remove the Confederate flag from above South Carolina’s Capitol.
Both the Mississippi flag announcement and yesterday’s vote about cemeteries generated virtually no press coverage and little protest. This reflects a remarkable sea change when you think back to what a huge issue the flag was in the not-so-distant past, such as South Carolina’s Republican primary in 2000. (It was a non-issue in the 2016 presidential contest.)
— In a moment when few elected Republicans are willing to stand up to Donald Trump, yesterday’s vote is also a potent reminder of how much principled leadership can make a real difference. Gov. Nikki Haley’s courageous willingness to touch what had been a third rail in her state changed the tenor of the whole conversation. Though a majority of his members opposed yesterday’s measure, Speaker Paul Ryan allowed it to come up for a vote on the floor (forcing them to take a tough vote) and signaled his personal support.
Also with little fanfare, the Florida legislature passed a bill to remove the statue of a Confederate general from the U.S. Capitol. (Each of the 50 states gets to put two statues of its choosing in the Statuary Hall Collection.) Yesterday, Marco Rubio – suddenly a prolific Tweeter — suggested that the Sunshine State replace Edmund Kirby Smith with quarterback Tim Tebow.
Rubio was probably joking, but the fact that someone with presidential ambitions can do so reflects how much the Confederate flag issue has been defanged.
— To be sure, some remain quite adamant about keeping the battle flag flying. The legislative director for Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) sent House staffers an email before the vote: “You know who else supports destroying history so that they can advance their own agenda? ISIL. Don’t be like ISIL.” (Read the whole email.)
An activist of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement named “Sister Dominique” stands in front of a rainbow flag in Potsdam yesterday. (EPA/Ralf Hirschberger)
— But, but, but: As the country moves on from fighting one battle, another erupts. Not long ago, few leaders spoke up for the rights of the transgendered community. Even many Democrats were uncomfortable with the “T” part of the LGBT acronym. What a difference a year makes. Like Haley, the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states—made possible because Anthony Kennedy, mindful of his legacy, provided the fifth vote—has dramatically changed the discourse.
Yesterday, around the same time as the Confederate cemetery vote, the House erupted when Republican leaders successfully whipped their members to vote down a Democratic amendment that sought to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to pay contractors that discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The proposal, authored by openly gay Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.), looked like it was about to pass. It had the votes on the big board. But then the Republicans kept the vote open longer, and six GOP members switched from yes to no, so it could be defeated on a 212-to-213 vote.
Watch this 2-minute video of the scene, as Democrats chanted “shame” at their Republican colleagues and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) went to a microphone to protest:
|House floor erupts after six Republicans switch votes to defeat LGBT amendment
My colleague Karoun Demirjian writes on how the House is becoming a battleground in the fight over LGBT rights. Other pending issues could also cause strife.
Here’s a sampling of the Democratic reaction:
— It’s not just Congress, of course. Take North Carolina. Republican strategists believed a so-called bathroom bill would help gin up social conservative turnout this fall. Most who voted for the legislation during a special session thought requiring people to use the bathroom of their birth gender was overwhelmingly popular among voters. They have been wildly caught off guard by the continuing backlash.
— The corporatist wing of the GOP continues to turn on the party establishment for siding with evangelicals over the business community. Their complaints are now prompting what might be called counter-backlash. American Airlines is now on “high alert” that North Carolina lawmakers will target tax breaks on jet fuel in response to the company’s opposition to House Bill 2, the Charlotte Observer reports. The paper obtained an email from the city of Charlotte’s lobbyist in Raleigh that relayed a conversation she had with an executive at the airline. American says the special break, which saves it millions a year and must be renewed, is a big part of why it keeps a hub at CLT.
— Elected Republicans, facing tough reelections, are siding with the grassroots over the donor class. At a debate last night, North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers declared her support for H.B. 2 and argued it is not discriminatory. Her two primary challengers, who may end her political career next month, also backed the law, Catherine Ho reports.
— Not all Republicans are on the same page. Just 25 of 54 GOP senators signed a letter that went out yesterday challenging the Obama administration’s new guidance on transgender students and bathrooms. Other members, watching the blowback in the Tar Heel State, don’t want to touch the issue with a 10-foot pole.
— Unlike the Confederate flag, transgender issues did break through in the presidential contest. Recall that only a few weeks ago Trump said he thought the bathroom law was a bad idea, and Cruz unsuccessfully tried to make it a major issue before the Indiana primary. John Kasich also said he would not have signed the North Carolina law before he dropped out.
The first gender-neutral restroom in the Los Angeles Unified School District has opened. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
— The fight over transgender protections is now breaking through in the local community. Just a few blocks from the Capitol, at the Giant Foods in the 300 block of H Street NE, a security guard told a woman that she could not use the grocery store’s restroom. The guard, Francine Bernice Jones, 45, allegedly pushed the customer while using a homophobic slur. D.C. Police called it a “suspected hate crime” and yesterday she was charged with assault. Giant apologized and released a statement saying “the choice of restroom is a personal matter.” We now see stories like this almost every day.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
Families of EgyptAir passengers who died wait for news at the Cairo airport. (AFP/Getty Images)
— Egypt’s military says it has found debris from missing EgyptAir Flight 804. FromHeba Habib and Erin Cunningham: “Egyptian naval ships scouring the Mediterranean Sea found passenger belongings and parts of the fuselage of an EgyptAir plane that crashed Thursday, killing all 66 people on board … The statement from Egypt’s military, which said the partial debris was discovered about 180 miles off the coast of Egyptian city of Alexandria, comes after authorities here were forced to retract earlier claims that the wreckage had been found on Thursday night.”
- Officials said Flight 804 swerved abruptly before plunging thousands of feet and losing contact with air traffic controllers, triggering concerns of terrorism. The disappearance marks Europe’s third major air incident since October, further eroding confidence in the safety of travel.
- “The possibility of a terror attack is higher than a malfunction, but again, I don’t want to hypothesize,” said Egypt’s civil aviation minister.
- France’s foreign minister said there is “absolutely no indication” about the cause of the crash, and no terrorist group has claimed responsibility.
- No Americans were on the plane. Among those on board: 30 Egyptians, 15 French nationals, two Iraqis, and one passenger each from Algeria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Chad, Kuwait, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
— At his first rally in almost two weeks, Donald Trump was flippant and dismissive about his plan to start a “trade war” that could wreak economic havoc upon the United States. “We’re losing $500 billion to China. Who the hell cares about a trade war? We’re like a big, big sloppy bully who gets punched in the face and gets knocked down,” the presumptive GOP nominee said in New Jersey at a $200-a-head event. “My trade deal is very simple, I am going to make great deals for our country. It might be free, it might not be free.” Time Magazine’s Zeke Miller says Trump also addressed the criticism of his plans from “these very conservative ideologues.” He said, “I’m a free trader, but I’m only a free trader if we make good deals.”
Wonder how Speaker Ryan and other conservatives who are getting aboard The Trump Train feel about that quote? Bet they’ll get asked today…
An economic model of Trump’s proposals, prepared by Moody’s Analytics last month at the request of The Post, found that the United States would fall into recession if Trump follows through on his promises of imposing a 35 percent tariff and withdrawing from NAFTA. “Up to 4 million American workers would lose their jobs. Another 3 million jobs would not be created that otherwise would have been, had the country not fallen into a trade-induced downturn,” Wonkblog’s Jim Tankersley writes of the Moody’s forecast. “The job losses would be halved if China and Mexico chose not to retaliate to the tariffs of 45 percent and 35 percent, respectively. In which case U.S. growth would flatline, but the country would not fall into recession.”
GET SMART FAST:
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr (Reuters/Stephen Lam/File Photo)
- San Francisco’s police chief was ousted hours after an officer shot and killed an unarmed black woman. The department has faced criticism for several fatal shootings, as well as a recent controversy involving bigoted text messages sent by cops. The mayor demanded his resignation and then held a press conference. (Mark Berman)
- Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill making it a felony for doctors to perform abortions. The sweeping measure, which opponents describe as “unconstitutional and unprecedented,” is now heading to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk for her signature. (Mark Berman)
- Meanwhile, the Sooner State’s lethal injection process has been muddled by “inexcusable failure,” according to a 106-page grand jury report that cites a “litany of failures and avoidable errors” committed by state employees. (Mark Berman)
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) slammed efforts to reduce mandatory minimum sentences, saying the United States is actually suffering from an “under-incarceration problem.” He’s definitely not getting on board with criminal justice reform. (Politico)
- A Houston-area pastor tried to block a Muslim man from serving as a Republican precinct chair, saying “Islam and Christianity do not mix.” (Julie Zauzmer)
- House Republicans and Democrats continued to finalize a deal with the White House over Puerto Rico’s financial rescue bill. (Mike DeBonis and Steven Mufson)
- Iraqi military forces have retaken the desert town of Rutbah from the Islamic State after a two-day battle during which commanders saw limited resistance from the militants. “Lying about 240 miles west of Baghdad deep in the desert, Rutbah sits on transit routes to Jordan and Syria. … Iraqi military and militia leaders say plans are in place to build on the momentum and attack Fallujah next.” (Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim)
- A top U.S. general says a long-term deal to have U.S. troops train Libya militiamen could be reached “any day,” adding that NATO wants a request from the new government in order to get involved. (Dan Lamothe)
- Ferguson-related charges were finally dropped against reporters from The Washington Post and Huffington Post, putting an end to a nearly two-year-long saga that unfolded in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. (Niraj Chokshi)
- Taiwan swore in its first female president: In her inauguration speech, Tsai Ing-wen called for economic revitalization and alluded carefully to challenges with Beijing. (Emily Rauhala)
- John Kerry announced that he will attend a Middle East peace conference in Paris in an attempt to revive peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, saying it could be a “helpful” pathway for the two countries. (Carol Morello)
- Federal authorities ordered Phil Mickelson to repay nearly $1 million for his role in an insider trading lawsuit. (Renae Merle and Dave Sheinin)
- A Texas teenager fatally shot his 3-year-old stepson because the toddler would not stop jumping on the bed. (Michael E. Miller)
- Another Texan, who killed his girlfriend’s parents and then celebrated by having intercourse with her, is being released from prison after just five years, raising questions about the sentencing rules for juveniles. (Michael E. Miller)
- Ex-Speaker Dennis Hastert will report to federal prison on June 22 for his 15-month term. (CNN)
- Apple is changing its Genius Bar stores to “Genius Groves,” a tree-filled redesign aimed at encouraging visitors to stay longer. (New York Times)
- Sony restored a canceled Billboard Music Awards performance by Kesha, saying the pop star can perform so long as she doesn’t mention her estranged producer Dr. Luke, whom she accuses of drugging and raping her. (Caitlin Gibson)
- Hoping to boost sagging sales, Gap announced it is shuttering 75 Old Navy and Banana Republic stores. Most of the closures will be overseas. (Sarah Halzack)
- Detroit’s population has shrunk by more than 3,000 residents since last year, putting the city at its lowest population rank since 1850. (Detroit News)
- New geologic evidence suggests Mars experienced at least two massive tsunamis during its wet days, about 3.4 billion years ago, just as life was first beginning to emerge on Earth. (Rachel Feltman)
DNC TRYING TO DEFUSE TENSIONS IN ESCALATING DEMOCRATIC CIVIL WAR:
Bernie supporters held a rally in downtown Los Angeles yesterday to draw attention to “voter suppression” in Nevada. (Frederic Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
— In an attempt to head off an ugly conflict at its convention this summer, the Democratic National Committee plans to offer some concessions to Sanders, allotting him more seats on a key convention platform committee. From Abby Phillip and Anne Gearan: “Earlier this month, in a letter to DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Sanders threatened to bring the fight to the floor of the convention if she did not appoint more of his loyalists to the each of three committees.” Clinton allies urged leaders to give Sanders the concessions he seeks — especially when it comes to the platform, which in the long run does not impact the Democrats’ electoral chances in November. Weeks of negotiations ensued, and while it is unlikely Sanders will get a completely even split of allies on the committee, it is likely a few more slots will be offered “by the end of the week.”
— Clinton declared that she basically has the nomination wrapped up – and warned that Sanders should tone down his rhetoric accordingly. “I won nine out of the last 12 contests back in ’08. So I know the intense feelings that arise, particularly among your supporters as you go toward the end,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “But we both were following the same rules just as both Senator Sanders and I are following the same rules … and I’m confident that just as I did with Senator Obama, where I said, you know what? It was really close. Much closer. Much closer than it is between me and Senator Sanders right now.”
— The Sanders campaign released an angry statement in response to the interview that makes clear the senator is not ready to wind things down: “In the past three weeks voters in Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon respectfully disagreed with Secretary Clinton. We expect voters in the remaining eight contests also will disagree. And with almost every national and state poll showing Sen. Sanders doing much, much better than Secretary Clinton against Donald Trump, it is clear that millions of Americans have growing doubts about the Clinton campaign.”
— Meanwhile, important voices on the left loudly decried Bernie’s scorched-earth tactics — including Jamelle Bouie in Slate, Joan Walsh in The Nation and Eugene Robinson on The Post’s opinion page.
Hillary on Monday in Kentucky (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
— Clinton’s lead over Trump has narrowed: The former Secretary of State now leads Trump by 6 points, down from 10 points last month, in a CBS/NYT poll.
- A majority of Americans say they are unsatisfied by a Clinton-Trump matchup and would prefer other options.
- And GOP unity continues to lag: While 66 percent of Trump supporters said they were hopeful about the future of the party, a majority of non-Trump supporters (also 66 percent) remain discouraged. 84 percent of Republican voters said they thought their party was divided. The numbers are a sharp reversal from 2008, when 61 percent said the party was unified.
— Voters trust Trump more than Clinton to handle the economy by a 12-point margin (53-41), according to Fox News’s national survey. Clinton tops Trump on foreign policy and nuclear weapons.
Gary Condit (File)
— “Two purported ex-lovers of former California congressman Gary A. Condit told the FBI that he had a penchant for bondage during sex, and one of the women said he was “aggressive” with her during a sexual encounter,” Keith Alexander reports. “The statements, made in 2001 to agents investigating the disappearance and slaying of federal intern Chandra Levy, were cited by defense attorneys representing the man facing retrial in the case. At a hearing in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday, the attorneys for Ingmar Guandique asked to depose the women in preparation for his trial. They said the accounts of the women, who were not publicly identified, could help their client and point to Condit as a ‘main suspect’ in the killing. Calls Thursday to Condit, who has returned to private life, were not immediately returned.”
— Male politicians really can be pigs, and the good ol’ boys club is alive and well in Baton Rouge: Republican state Rep. Kenny Havard, during a debate over a bill that would require strip club dancers in Louisiana to be at least 21, introduced an amendment that would require strippers to be no older than 28 and no heavier than 160 pounds.
He withdrew his tongue-in-cheek proposal when another Republican, Nancy Landry of Lafayette, took the floor to condemn him. The men in the chamber were laughing about it, which prompted another Republican woman to take the podium to speak about the mistreatment of women generally in the overwhelmingly-male legislature, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. After that, the paper reports, “the jovial attitude in the chamber lurched to a halt.”
Havard said his amendment was a joke, and that he was trying to make a point about government overreach. “It was a poke at overregulating everything — where are we going to stop?” he told the Times-Pic. “It was aimed at both men and women. I can’t strip either. I’m a little overweight.” Asked whether he agreed with his GOP colleague’s allegation that women are treated differently than men in the Legislature, he said: “I haven’t seen that at all. … That’s why I’m not going to go apologize. It would give credence to that comment.”
Showing just how out of touch some of these guys are, a reporter for the Baton Rouge Advocate relays that male legislatures were putting dollar bills on the podium during the debate:
— Jimmy Kimmel last night interviewed the Northern Virginia congressional candidate who posted a screengrab that showed various adult websites open on his computer. The 6-minute back-and-forth is both bizarre and hilarious:
|Jimmy Kimmel Interviews Congressional Candidate About His Embarrassing Screengrab
— Shifting demographic and the changing politics of immigration put John McCain in the hot seat: In 2010, trying to fend off a primary challenge from his right, John McCain ran as a hard-liner on border security. His 2016 Democratic challenger has resurrected one of his commercials from that year, in which he talks about the need to “complete the danged fence.” She added Spanish subtitles. The McCain campaign, which should be fine in the primary but could struggle in the general with Trump at the top of the ticket, responded by demanding that YouTube take it down, which the site did, according to The Hill.
Watch the original:
|McCain TV Ad: “Complete The Danged Fence”
Then this happened last night:
THE DAILY DONALD:
Donald Trump gets a hug from Chris Christie yesterday at the New Jersey National Guard Armory. At left are members of Christie’s family. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
— FADED STAR: Trump appeared last night at a fundraiser to help Chris Christie retire the debt from his failed presidential bid. Meanwhile, the governor’s popularity continues to plummet across New Jersey, Katie Zezima reports: A Quinnipiac University poll shows two-thirds of his constituents disapprove of Christie’s job performance — the worst approval rating for any governor in six years of the poll. The idea that Christie could put the Garden State in play if he’s on the ticket is a joke: 74 percent of residents say Trump should NOT pick Christie as his running mate. Even 64 percent of Republican voters disapprove of the idea of Christie being VP.
— One of Trump’s Maryland delegates was indicted yesterday on child pornography and explosives charges. Officials launched an investigation after intercepting a package of ammunition and explosives that the man had ordered, the Baltimore Sun reports. Trump’s campaign announced they’ll dump him from their slate. Read the DOJ releasehere.
— In 2005, Trump suggested a White-versus-Black season of “The Apprentice.” Trump floated the idea of a racially-segregated season on several radio shows, saying he was mulling “an idea that is fairly controversial — creating a team of successful African-Americans versus a team of successful whites. Whether people like that idea or not, it is somewhat reflective of our very vicious world.” (Buzzfeed)
— A former Miss Universe says Trump called her “Miss Piggy” after she gained weight. “For sure he is not a good person,” she said, telling Inside Edition that he bullied her “all the time.”
— William Weld invokes the Nazis when discussing Trump. Hours after signing on as Gary Johnson’s running-mate on the Libertarian Party ticket, the former Massachusetts governor slammed The Donald for his anti-immigrant rhetoric. “I can hear the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna when I hear that, honest,” he said in an interview with the New York Times. Asked if he believed Mr. Trump was a fascist, Mr. Weld demurred. “My Kristallnacht analogy does evoke the Nazi period in Germany,” he said. “And that’s what I’m worried about: a slippery slope.”
— The ACLU threatened to sue the city of Cleveland if it does not begin acting on applications for permits to assemble and hold marches during July’s Republican National Convention. (New York Times)
Paul Clement (R) argues in front of John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy about the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. (Reuters/Art Lien/Handout)
— Why did Trump keep Paul Clement off his Supreme Court short list? A plugged-in Republican lawyer/operative emailed a compelling theory in response to yesterday’s 202: The former solicitor general, who is on many conservative wish lists for SCOTUS, is the lead attorney for the NFL in its Deflategate case against Tom Brady. And Trump loves Brady.
— Trump’s willingness to suggest Bill Clinton “raped” Juanita Broaddrick makes clear nothing is off limits when it comes to attacking the Clintons in the fall.“That’s a stone-cold winner” when it comes to unifying the GOP, The Fix’s Chris Cillizza argues. “It isliterally impossible to be ‘too nasty’ to Hillary (and Bill) in the eyes of the Republican base. The more Trump amps up his rhetoric toward the former first couple, the more loyalty (and unity) he engenders from a party base badly in need of a rallying force.”
Paul Manafort at the Mayflower Hotel. (Reuters/Jim Bourg)
— Donald gave Paul Manafort the title of “campaign chairman”: The move allows the veteran strategist to focus on gearing up for the general election while leaving day-to-day campaign operations in the hands of manager Corey Lewandowski. (Jenna Johnson)
The New York Post reports on drama possibly related to the Manafort rollout: “Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks and [Lewandowski] were seen having a public screaming match on the street in Manhattan on Wednesday night,” Page Six’s Emily Smith reports. “Onlookers were stunned to see Hicks, 27, hollering at Lewandowski, 42, in plain view of passersby on 61st Street near Park Avenue. One witness told us, ‘Hope was screaming at Corey, ‘I am done with you!’ It was ugly, she was doubled over with her fists clenched. He was stood there looking shocked with his hands on his head.’ Other sources insist the street showdown was about how to handle the announcement that [Manafort] would be taking an even larger role in Trump’s campaign.
Manafort was in D.C. yesterday to work on shoring up party unity. He met with the conservative Freedom Caucus in the morning. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who was in the Freedom Caucus meeting, said “the first thing” Manafort said was, ‘Hey, we want to hear from you and we realize that you are a very important part of this House.’” Then he had a lunch with Senate Republican chiefs of staff and meetings. He also reportedly visited with Mike Lee, the Utah senator who has declined to endorse Trump.
Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole and Trent Lott in 1996 (AP Photo/John Duricka)
— A lot of congressional Republicans are talking privately about using 1996 as a model for dealing with Trump this fall. Back then, Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich launched a plan to save their congressional majorities by essentially throwing Bob Dole under the bus during the final weeks before the election. They told their members to run as a check on Bill Clinton in his second term. It allowed Mitch McConnell, then a relatively junior member, to get reelected in Kentucky. “The idea is, at its core, that Hillary Clinton is not popular and that candidates, especially those running in a state that tilts toward her over Trump, should present themselves as a curb on Clinton’s ability to run the executive branch,” Paul Kane explains in a good piece with more on the backstory. 1996 was the last modern version of a major ticket-splitting operation. “What’s unclear now is whether, in this hyper-partisan era, any candidate from one party can distinguish his or her campaign from that of the presidential nominee at the top of the ticket.”
THE TRUMP EFFECT:
— Univision has drawn 106,000 people to voter registration and citizenship drives aimed at increasing the Latino vote in November. “The effort is part of the media company’s push to expand its political reach in a year where the Latino vote could sway the outcome of the presidential race,” Catherine Ho writes. “The network has since rolled out an aggressive public service and advertising campaign, in English and Spanish, on its 126 television and radio stations across the United States and social media platforms. And it is partnering with several Latino civil rights, political and advocacy groups to host town halls, staff community call centers, and launch a new texting tool that about 130,000 people from all 50 states have subscribed to.” There have been 145 citizenship workshops, forums, voter registration drives and other community events across the country.
Austrian far right candidate Norbert Hofer during an election eve rally in Vienna. (Reuters/Leonhard Foeger)
— “Austria’s right-wing populism reflects anti-Muslim platform of Trump,” by Anthony Faiola: “He wants to build a fence on the southern border to keep migrants out. He is vowing to ‘stop the invasion of Muslims.’ And although few took his candidacy seriously at first, he has ridden to the cusp of power. Trump? Nope. Norbert Hofer. Analysts call Hofer, the front-runner in Austria’s presidential election this Sunday, part of the transatlantic rebranding of populism. By exchanging rabid speeches and hate-filled slogans for more disarming methods, a new breed of Western politician is making nationalistic rhetoric seem not only palatable but even entertaining. Like Trump and his presidential campaign, Hofer is getting a boost from less educated, white, working-class voters — including many who feel left behind and threatened by a fast-changing, multicultural society. … [But] his victory could upend the world of politics in this picturesque country formerly at the core of a formidable empire, offering a test case of what happens when populists rise to the top.”
|Great Horned Owl attacks Great Blue Heron in Sapsucker Woods
— “People love watching nature on nest cams — until it gets grisly,” by Karin Brulliard: “The osprey cam at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is trained on a nest near the Massachusetts seaside … But for the first spring in a decade, the camera is dark … ‘Regrettably, the cam will not be operating this season due to the increasingly aggressive actions of certain viewers the last two years,’ it begins. That is a staid reference to cam fans whose emotions about the nest morphed into vitriol — and fighting words. Bird-nest cams have become hugely popular, and spring is when they’re full of action. Millions of viewers log on to see live-streamed egg-laying, egg-incubating and chick-hatching. Along the way, many become attached … But nests are also nature, and nature can be nasty. ‘There’s a lot of wing-flapping going on,’ [said one former nest-cam operator]. ‘The younger of the two had worked its way to the edge, and the older one went for the kill. Shoved it out of the nest.’” The man said his viewers turned threatening: “It was definitely, if you can’t do something, we’ll do something for you — dot, dot, dot,” he said.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Some reaction to Oklahoma’s efforts to make performing an abortion a felony:
Hillary is urging action on Zika:
Danny DeVito had a message for Californians on behalf of Sanders:
Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior aide to President Obama, had this to say about Sanders supporters:
Scenes from outside the Trump and Christie event in New Jersey:
— Morley Safer died at 84 in his New York home. The CBS News correspondent’s coverage of U.S. military abuses in Vietnam helped shape opinion against the war and helped make “60 Minutes” television’s highest-rated news program during his 46 years filing investigative reports and whimsical cultural dispatches, Matt Schudel writes in his obituary. “The Canadian-born, ascot-wearing Mr. Safer had an urbane and unflappable manner, whether reporting from war zones, from museums or from French vineyards, where he was among the first to describe the supposed benefits of red wine in staving off heart disease.”
Friends and fans paid tribute:
James O’Keefe, the conservative agitator who uses undercover videos to embarrass liberals, embarrassed himself:
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) wished Mark Takai the best after he announced he won’t run for reelection to the House:
Here’s what Tulsi Gabbard posted:
Merrick Garland is still making the rounds in the Senate:
More selfies on the Capitol steps:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
|HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Neighboring students join Forest Grove High in walkout over ‘build a wall’ banner,” from The Oregonian:“Students from neighboring schools are showing solidarity with Forest Grove High students who walked out of class Thursday morning after a banner reading ‘build a wall’ was briefly hung in a school hallway … Hundreds of Forest Grove High students then walked out of the school Thursday morning and marched down Main Street to the school district office. The hashtag #StandUpFG has taken off on social media. [Paulina] Castro said students made posters and brought flags representing their nationalities. ‘This is bigger than us and this is bigger than the ‘build the wall sign’ that came up,’ Castro said.”
||HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Google devotes homepage to woman who ‘admired’ Osama bin Laden,” from the Washington Examiner: “Google celebrated what would have been the 95th birthday Thursday of Yuri Kochiyama, an Asian-American activist who in 2003 called Osama bin Laden a leader she ‘admired.’ Google Doodle, the search engine’s homepage logo, showcased an animated photo of Kochiyama on Thursday, which linked to a separate page that celebrated her life …” In an interview, Kochiyama took a strong stance against American capitalism and saluted bin Laden’s leadership, despite his leading role in planning the September 11 terrorist attacks: “To me, he is in the category of Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Fidel Castro, all leaders that I admire,” she told the interviewer.
On the campaign trail:
- Trump speaks at the NRA convention in Louisville.
- Clinton: Dallas, Austin, Texas
- Sanders: Santa Fe, Albuquerque, N.M.
At the White House: President Obama receives a briefing on the U.S. response to the Zika virus.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— A beautiful, sunny, low-humidity Friday – finally! The Capital Weather Gangforecasts: “We’ve got a beautiful start to the day with mostly sunny skies and morning temperatures in the 50s climbing into the 60s and reaching to around 70 by lunchtime. The balance of the afternoon is mostly sunny, though a few clouds will build overhead mid-to-late afternoon. Highs top off in the mid- to upper 70s.”
— Metro released a revised schedule for its long-term subway maintenance blitz, with three sections of the embattled system now set to be shut down temporarily, one at a time, for a total of 30 days starting in mid-June. From Paul Duggan and Lori Aratani:
- “Before that series of closures, the updated plan calls for 13 days of nonstop single-tracking, beginning June 4, on the Orange and Silver lines between the Ballston and East Falls Church stations.”
- The next project, starting June 18, will force a 16-day shutdown of service along the Orange, Blue and Silver lines from the Eastern Market station to the Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue stations. Blue line service will be limited to Virginia, and buses will replace trains in certain areas.
- Fom July 5 through July 11, service on the Yellow and Blue lines will be shut down between the Reagan National Airport and Pentagon City stations.
The Federal Transit Administration ordered the revised schedule last week, telling WMATA that “urgent” work is required at Eastern Market, Ballston, and East Falls Church. That also is the case with the work to be done between Ballston and East Falls Church, which originally was not going to happen until November. (More on what this all means for your line of choice here.)
— The Nationals beat the New York Mets 9-1.
— A federal judge upheld Virginia’s voter ID law, dealing a blow to Democrats in the state who have argued that it disenfranchises minority and poor voters. (Jenna Portnoy)
— Nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name, according to a Washington Post poll. The results show that a years-long effort to change public opinion have failed. (John Woodrow Cox, Scott Clement and Theresa Vargas)
— A D.C. fire department captain was placed on administrative leave after being arrested on drug and gun charges in Fairfax County. (Victoria St. Martin and Clarence Williams)
— Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill to limit civil asset forfeiture, or, the process allowing police to seize and keep property suspected of being connected to illegal activity. It is a stark reversal for the Republican governor, who vetoed a bill on the same subject last year. (Center for Public Integrity)
— Hogan also signed Noah’s Law, a measure that expands use of interlock ignition devices for drunk drivers. The bill was named for former Montgomery County police officer Noah Leotta, who was killed by a drunk driver earlier this year. (Ovetta Wiggins)
— Football season is coming…
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Senate Republicans spoofed a Wes Anderson movie in a web video touting their work:
A Post reporter attended mascot boot camp in Pennsylvania. Read her story. And watch a 1-minute video about her experience:
|Watch a Post reporter dance around at mascot boot camp
Robin Wright talked about her request for pay equal to Kevin Spacey’s on House of Cards:
|Robin Wright Opens Up About Being Paid Less Than Kevin Spacey
Justin Trudeau said he regrets his physical interaction in Parliament:
|Trudeau ‘regrets’ physical interaction in Parliament
Seth Meyers thinks there is something up with Trump’s latest Hillary attack ad:
|Something’s Up with Trump’s Latest Hillary Attack Ad
Senate Majority PAC will spend $1 million to run an attack ad against Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). It opens with cats scratching each other’s backs. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” the narrator says. “Toomey got rich working on Wall Street. Then he got elected and kept working, for Wall Street.”