On Wednesday, House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her position as GOP Conference Chair, and now challengers in Wyoming are lining up to oust her from her Congressional seat altogether.
As many as six people have already announced they will challenge Cheney for her House seat in the 2022 midterms. A defiant Cheney told reporters on Thursday that she “obviously welcomes” anyone who wants to throw their hat in the ring against her.
“There are millions and millions of Republicans out there who want us to be a party that stands for principles and who are very worried about the direction that the party is going and don’t want the party to be dragged backward by the former president.”
Cheney has been an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump, and has also spoken out about her concern with the direction of the Republican Party as influenced by Trump.
— All American Girl (@AIIAmericanGirI) May 14, 2021
Trouble For Cheney Started With Impeachment
Liz Cheney’s troubles began not long after her impeachment vote against Donald Trump. In February, Cheney was censured by the Republican parties of ten Wyoming counties. Some used phrases in their announcements of a censure like “betrayed the trust” of voters, and “devalued the political influence of the state of Wyoming.”
Cheney also survived an attempt in February to remove her from the Conference chair position, with even fellow Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida traveling to Wyoming to encourage voters there to remove her from office.
Last month at a GOP retreat in Florida, calls for her to be removed from the Conference Chair got louder as Cheney was at odds with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) over the scope of a commission that is investigating the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
She also said that anyone who challenged the 2020 election results should be disqualified from being the 2024 GOP nominee – a clear shot at Trump.
Cheney tells Savannah Guthrie: “I intend to be the leader, one of the leaders, in a fight to help to restore our party.”
On Trump-backed primary challengers, Cheney told Guthrie : "Bring it on.” https://t.co/FzlFMQQTEY
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) May 12, 2021
Who Are Cheney’s Challengers?
State Senator, gun rights activist, and Cheyenne-area business owner Anthony Bouchard was the first to announce he intended to challenge Cheney.
Another Wyoming legislator, a conservative radio host whose family owns Casper-area radio stations, State Rep. Chuck Gray has also announced he is running.
Retired Army Colonel Denton Knapp, who currently lives in California but grew up in Wyoming and plans to move back, has thrown his hat in the ring. He said what prompted him was, “What’s missing right now is trust in our elected officials. Wyomingites expected Cheney to vote a certain way and she didn’t. As a result, she’s going through consequences.”
Also in the running is Marissa Joy Selvig, former mayor of Pavillion, a small town of 200. Selvig said, “I’ve never been a Cheney fan.” She added, “She has been working more for herself and for the Republican Party than she has the citizens of Wyoming. That’s what I see.”
Businessman Darin Smith is the most recent challenger to announce his candidacy. He announced his intention to run last week.
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) May 9, 2021
Could Be An Uphill Battle For Cheney Opponents
Liz Cheney has a formidable track record when it comes to campaigning. She has beaten both Democrat and Republican opponents in the Cowboy state, and enjoys all the benefits of incumbency.
In the first quarter of this year, she raked in $1.5 million, her best fundraising quarter yet. Being the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, she enjoys universal name recognition and family legacy advantages, too.
Prior to being in the House, Cheney ran an ill-fated Senate campaign against then Senator Mike Enzi, but dropped out after only six months. Accusations of being a “carpet-bagger” dogged Cheney and claims that she had not spent much time in Wyoming until moving to affluent Jackson Hole in 2012.
Liz Cheney is free to do what she believes is right, but she might want to get home to see if the people in Wyoming agree with her.
WYOMING. Retired Army Col Denton Knapp (R) and paralegal Robyn Belinskey (R) enter race vs Cong Liz Cheney (R), bringing the field of her primary challengers to seven … with several more still looking at the primary race.
— Politics1.com (@Politics1com) May 10, 2021
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After months of foot-dragging and obstruction from Republicans to the forming an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a bipartisan deal has emerged. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had delegated Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson to work with ranking committee member John Katko of New York to find a solution. One, it should be noted, that has been greeted tepidly by Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Thompson and Katko have crafted legislation to create a commission modeled after the 9/11 panel. It would have 10 members, half of them appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, who would also appoint the chair. Republicans would appoint the other half, including the vice chair. Critically, if the chair and vice chair agree, the panel would have the power to issue subpoenas. So, problematically, they can veto each other's efforts to subpoena witnesses or documents. On the other hand, the chair is given sole power to get information from federal agencies and to appoint staff.
That, New York University law professor Ryan Goodman tells Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, gives the forces of truth a chance to prevail. "Thanks to powers invested in the Chairperson alone, the Democratically-appointed members would have significant control over the direction of the investigation," Goodman said, helping to prevent Republican appointees from "engaging in mischief." He added that the "Chairperson would be able to move ahead quickly with getting information from the government without needing a vote," saying that the chair can "appoint staff" who would "shape how the investigation and hearings unfold."
The bill specifies that those members cannot be "an officer or employee of an instrumentality of government"—i.e. there can be no currently serving government officials on the panel. They must have "national recognition and significant depth of experience in at least two" areas: previous government service; law enforcement; civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy; experience in the armed forces or intelligence or counterrorism; and a background in cybersecurity or technology or law. A final report, including recommendations for preventing future attacks, would be due at the end of this calendar year.
McCarthy told reporters Friday morning that he hadn't looked at the text yet (he's been too busy installing Trump's toady in leadership to pay attention, I guess), but continues to have concerns about the scope. Namely that "you got to look at the buildup before, and what went on afterward," meaning the BLM and antifa straw men.
The House is voting on the bill next week, along with a supplemental funding bill to beef up Capitol security. It will pass, and should get at least a handful of Republican votes, if not a few dozen, including one from Rep. Liz Cheney, who got a coveted Wall Street Journal quote Friday (take that, Stefanik). "I hope we'll be able to really have the kind of investigation we need about what happened on Jan. 6," Cheney said.
"As I have called for since the days just after the attack, an independent, 9/11-style review is critical for getting answers our [Capitol Police] officers and all Americans deserve," Katko said in a statement announcing the agreement. "This is about facts, not partisan politics." Thompson said in his statement. "I am pleased that after many months of intensive discussion, Ranking Member Katko and I were able to reach a bipartisan agreement. […] Inaction—or just moving on—is simply not an option. The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol."
As of this writing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn't reacted to the announcement that a deal has been struck, or that the legislation should advance in the House as soon as next week. In the past, he's been critical of the effort, casting it as "partisan" and demanding that the commission also encompass "the full scope of the political violence problem in this country," meaning those BLM and antifa straw men again.
One of the problems with McCarthy and McConnell potential foot-dragging is, of course, whether it would pass in the Senate with the filibuster. The other problem is that the two of them are responsible, along with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, for appointing half of the commission members. That gives them more opportunity to delay, with the clock ticking on the still-unformed commission's deadline for the end of the year for a report and recommendations.
On the other hand, McConnell has no love for Trump. Here's a pretty much hands-off way for him to damage Trump and to fight the Big Lie. He could make sure that at least some of the five Republican appointees aren't Trumpers. There are plenty of former Republican officials who would relish the opportunity to serve as his proxy.
It's also incumbent on someone in Republican leadership to acknowledge reality, especially as the lunatic fringe of the House Republicans have taken over and are in full denial mode. There was the truly ugly revisionism on display in this week's House Oversight hearing, where Republican Rep. Paul Gosar called even investigating the events of Jan. 6 an assault by the "deep-state" on "law-abiding citizens," and GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde said that day in the Capitol looked like a "normal tourist visit." The nation's dumbest man (yes, dumber than Sen. Ron Johnson) Rep. Louie Gohmert took to the floor Friday to flat-out lie about the events of that day.
Here's McConnell's chance to counter what's happening in his party in the House, including the ouster of Cheney in deference to Trump and the Big Lie. After Trump's acquittal on his second impeachment, McConnell excoriated Trump. He said that Trump was "practically and morally responsible" for the attack. "This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters' decision or else torch our institutions on the way out," McConnell said. "A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name," he said. "These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him."
Having said all that, it's now largely going to be up to McConnell to do something about it.
House Democrats on Friday unveiled long-awaited details on Congress’ response to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, including billions to address security flaws exposed by the siege and a bipartisan Sept. 11-style commission to investigate the root of the attack.
House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) released a $1.9 billion emergency funding bill that would provide tens of millions of dollars to the Capitol Police department, foot the bill for deploying National Guard soldiers at the complex and authorize funding for “future” security needs such as a retractable fence system, among other provisions.
“The needs are urgent, so it is imperative we swiftly pass this legislation to protect the Capitol and those who work and visit here,” DeLauro said in a statement.
The bill would set aside $200 million for a quick-reaction force to assist the Capitol Police, which will receive body cameras for the first time. The bill also includes millions of dollars for mental health assistance and overtime for a Capitol Police force long understaffed and still reeling from the deaths of several officers in the aftermath of the insurrection. One officer, Howard Liebengood, died by suicide in the days after the attack, and the bill would rename the Capitol Police’s wellness center for him.
Lawmakers are also moving ahead with a bipartisan commission to investigate the events leading up to the attack. That plan has the backing of the GOP’s top negotiator on the issue, though not House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is still arguing that the panel’s scope should expand beyond the Jan. 6 attack.
The two major developments cap an intense week in the House that ripped open unhealed wounds from the Capitol siege. Certain Republicans have downplayed the insurrection in public comments as lawmakers engage in bitter confrontations. Some Democrats are eyeing the commission and debate over the security bill as a test of whether House members have any chance of moving forward together after the attack, or if the partisan split will only worsen.
“It is imperative that we seek the truth of what happened on January 6 with an independent, bipartisan 9/11-type Commission to examine and report upon the facts, causes and security relating to the terrorist mob attack,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
The bill to establish the Jan. 6 commission could come to the floor “as soon as next week,” Pelosi announced Friday, noting that the panel is modeled after a bipartisan study of events leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. That floor vote will likely be followed by the emergency funding bill, as Democrats hope to pass both before leaving for the Memorial Day recess.
Democrats are powering ahead with their response to the Capitol attack after months of gridlock and partisan sniping that had stalled progress on the security funding and commission.
And while McCarthy said Friday he hadn’t formally signed off on the commission agreement, the deal between House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and ranking member John Katko (R-N.Y.) does include some key concessions to Republicans.
In changes sought by Republicans, the proposed 10-person commission includes an even split between members chosen by Republicans and Democrats. It also ensures members of the commission can only issue subpoenas in a bipartisan manner. The commission is only able to issue subpoenas through a majority vote, or by agreement between its chair and vice chair. Democrats choose the chair. Its report will be due by the end of the year.
McCarthy and other Republicans had wanted the commission to investigate left-wing violence, but its focus will be limited to the Jan. 6 attack and factors leading up to it.
The GOP leader told reporters Friday morning that he hadn’t seen details of the agreement, and therefore hasn’t formally signed off, reiterating that he doesn’t want the commission to only focus on the Jan. 6 siege.
“I know Nancy Pelosi played politics with this for a number of months. You've got to look at the build-up before, and what’s been going on after,” McCarthy said.
Katko, who led negotiations for the Republicans, was one of several GOP lawmakers who immediately pushed for this type of commission to learn how the mob was able to storm the Capitol. The New York Republican was also one of 10 House GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the attack.
In a statement, he appeared to address his fellow Republicans’ concerns that the commission address issues beyond Jan. 6.
“Unfortunately the Capitol remains a target for extremists of all ideologies, as we also witnessed during the April 2 attack that took a Capitol Police officer’s life,” Katko said. “That’s why we must do everything we can to ensure nothing like this can ever happen again.”
Democrats can still proceed without McCarthy’s explicit backing, as several other House Republicans — including those who voted for impeachment — are expected to back it on the floor.
"Inaction — or just moving on — is simply not an option. The creation of this commission is our way of taking responsibility for protecting the U.S. Capitol," Thompson said in a statement.
Democrats will also likely be able to pass the security funding bill even if they don’t secure support from any Republicans. But it could be tricky: Before the bill was released, some Democrats raised concerns with components of the sprawling bill.
That includes a small number of Democrats, such as Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), who have questioned whether Capitol Police should have more oversight requirements before receiving such a massive cash infusion.
Pelosi first announced plans for a commission in February, but Democrats and Republicans have spent months negotiating on the terms. The two parties had clashed repeatedly on what that commission should look like, from the makeup of its membership to subpoena power to whether it should expand the scope beyond Jan. 6.
Two decades ago, the exhaustive findings of the Sept. 11 commission became the basis for government-wide reforms in response to Al Qaeda’s 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But the appetite for such reforms after the Capitol attack in Congress is more complicated, with many GOP lawmakers lining up behind Trump and some now downplaying the violence at the Capitol that day. One lawmaker, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), this week compared the mob’s behavior to “a tourist visit.”
Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.
In her first interview since being ousted from leadership, Representative Liz Cheney continued to divide the Republican Party, calling for a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump.
Cheney (R-WY) made the statement in a discussion with Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s Today Show Thursday.
The Political Insider previously reported on Cheney’s comments creating a new conspiracy theory that Trump would “unravel the democracy to come back into power.”
But, as is typical of those Republicans afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, she took it a step further, calling for a criminal investigation into the former President.
Cheney accused Trump of having incited protesters at the Capitol in early January despite his statement to supporters that they “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
“For reasons I don’t understand, the leaders within my party have decided to embrace the former president who launched that attack,” Cheney claimed.
“I think the American people have to know,” she continued. “And certainly any president who did what we know this former president did has got to be investigated criminally.”
Liz Cheney Wants A Criminal Investigation Of Trump
Cheney’s obsession – and that’s just what it is, an obsession – with Trump is something truly remarkable to behold.
She may want to toss a picture of Rachel Maddow on her mirror and practice making statements like this beforehand. And if it sounds like something the MSNBC host would say when you’re practicing in the mirror, you’re no longer a Republican.
You’re a messenger for the corrupt mainstream media.
Any doubts about her being removed from leadership should no longer linger, if they were even there in the first place.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney is trying to warn Americans about “how committed Trump was to overturning the election, how determined some are to succeed next time,” says @JakeTapper. https://t.co/7PlWRHaKQC pic.twitter.com/6sCEWZpG08
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) May 13, 2021
Cheney has spent months focusing extensively on Trump and his supporters, rather than addressing party unity or shared conservative goals.
Rather than voting her conscience on impeachment and moving on, she has continued to eviscerate Trump and his millions of supporters. Those supporters being the very people who make up the Republican Party’s continued existence.
Just recently, Cheney accused Trump voters of believing “the big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and vowed to campaign on impeaching him “every day of the week.”
In an op-ed for the Washington Post last week, Cheney encouraged Republicans not to embrace Trump’s “cult of personality.”
Trump “must not ever again be anywhere close to the Oval Office,” she told Guthrie.
President Trump lives rent-free in Liz Cheney‘s head. It’s fascinating to watch her obsession on television.
— Kambree (@KamVTV) May 13, 2021
Her Own Big Lie
And while Cheney likes to reference ‘big lies,’ Fox News host Bret Baier had to call her out on one she helped promulgate as a useful idiot for the media last summer.
A major election-time story involving claims that Russia put bounties on American troops in Afghanistan imploded last month when the White House revealed that U.S. intelligence does not have conclusive evidence that the reports were ever true.
Cheney helped push that story.
NEW: U.S. intel walks back blockbuster ‘Russian bounties’ claim https://t.co/jtPzfALH1L
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) April 15, 2021
A Politico report at the time read, “in her latest rebuke of Trump, Cheney openly questioned whether the president was aware of reports that the Russians offered Afghan militants bounties to kill U.S. troops and demanded the administration take a more aggressive posture toward the Kremlin.”
Baier asked Cheney if she had any regrets about “taking part in spreading the story.”
FWIW, quite a few people in recent weeks who generally like Cheney — including those not on the Hill — were extremely disappointed with how she worked so hard to help the NYT spread its false anti-Trump story about Russia bounties. https://t.co/rM1dbnMI6U
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) July 21, 2020
“I said, if these reports are true, then the White House must explain why they did not brief the President or Vice President,” she replied in a tense exchange.
“So, you know, I remain concerned about the intelligence,” she added, unwilling to let the false news story go.
A Cheney Using BS Deep State Intel, Impossible!
Liz Cheney Grilled On Fox News For Pushing The Anti-Trump “Russian Bounties” Story
Bret Baier: “We’ve since learned that that intelligence was pretty shotty, poorly sourced. Do you regret taking part in spreading that story?” pic.twitter.com/xlb5DHc2XD
— The Columbia Bugle (@ColumbiaBugle) May 13, 2021
Cheney, who suddenly has a singular focus on the well-being of the nation, helped Democrats undermine the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief all to the benefit of our enemies.
Hardly somebody who belongs in Congress, much less a leadership role.
Following her ouster on Wednesday, Trump issued a statement blasting Cheney as “a bitter, horrible human being.”
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Elise Stefanik cruised to victory in a Friday vote to replace Liz Cheney as House Republicans' third-ranked leader, capping off a tumultuous month in the GOP conference sparked by its bitter divisions over Donald Trump.
Stefanik won in a 134-46 secret-ballot vote, defeating her sole challenger Rep. Chip Roy of Texas — an unsurprising outcome after she aggressively campaigned for the No. 3 spot, scooping up endorsements from top party leaders and Trump.
The 36-year-old New Yorker, known as a moderate turned Trump ally who's used her fundraising skills to help elect a new class of GOP women, is now the highest-ranking woman in elected Republican leadership. Stefanik’s star has steadily risen in the party, and her new role as conference chair could give her an even greater platform for her future ambitions.
After the vote concluded, Stefanik walked to speak to reporters with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other members of the leadership team by her side. Stefanik thanked Trump for his support and called him a “critical part of our Republican team” — a noted departure from her predecessor, Cheney (R-Wyo.), whose readiness to challenge the former president ultimately led to her demise.
In Stefanik, it is clear that McCarthy is getting a deputy who shares his vision on Trump and his role in the party, a critical litmus test in today’s GOP.
“I support President Trump ... he is an important voice in our Republican party and we look forward to working with him,” Stefanik said. “Republican voters are unified in their support and their desire to work with President Trump, and we are unified as Republicans.”
Stefanik, however, treaded carefully when she was pressed by reporters on whether there is room in the party for Trump critics like Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
"Liz Cheney is part of this Republican conference. Adam Kinzinger is part of this Republican conference,” Stefanik said. But she added: “We're unified in working with President Trump."
McCarthy and his top deputies, who have had a tense working relationship with Cheney since her vote to impeach Trump, vowed to have unity in their leadership ranks. They then quickly launched into an attack against the Biden administration and the Democratic “socialist” agenda — the exact type of messaging that Republicans have claimed Cheney was preventing them from being able to focus on.
“We're going to work on those problems every single day in an even more united way,” said Minority Whip Steve Scalise. “That's why we're proud that Elise got elected today.”
Stefanik’s victory is the culmination of a fast-paced effort by GOP leaders to remove Cheney, the party's top woman leader and frequent Trump critic, from the conference chairmanship and install a Trump loyalist in her place.
A handful of other Republicans interested in the position were waved off as the former president, McCarthy and other GOP leaders threw their support behind Stefanik — even before Cheney was voted out of the position.
Roy, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, launched an 11th-hour bid for the race after protesting the speed of the Cheney replacement vote and Stefanik’s moderate record. But ahead of a candidate forum on Thursday, where he and Stefanik sought to make their case to colleagues why they should be conference chair, Roy faced a setback as Trump called for the former top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to face a primary challenger.
In order to assuage conservative concerns about her voting record, Stefanik promised to not buck the party on big issues and put her personal ideology aside. She also told colleagues she will only serve in the role until 2022. After that, she's said she intends to seek the top spot on the House Education and Labor Committee.
She also deployed the power of dessert, sending her colleagues cupcakes imprinted with her PAC's logo before the vote.
But Stefanik may still have some work to do in winning over the right flank. When Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) formally nominated Roy for the No. 3 position, he complained about her voting record and compared it to that of the House's liberal “Squad”, which elicited some groans, according to sources in the room.
And after the vote, freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who also nominated Roy, made a similar comparison.
“We don’t need the No. 3 in our party voting alongside ‘The Squad’ on most of the prominent issues,” Boebert told POLITICO, referring to a Democratic group that includes New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“I hope that she stays true to the promises she made while she was campaigning to win this seat," Boebert added of Stefanik.
For the most part, though, Republicans leaving Friday’s meeting expressed relief that the Cheney saga — which had consumed their conference and the media for weeks — was finally over, allowing them to finally turn the page on their internal divisions.
“Now that the conference has made its decision, it’s time for us to move forward with a vision and a plan to fight for the forgotten men and women of this country, their way of life, and the principles — built upon the bedrock of freedom — that have made it great,” Roy said in a statement.
Under House GOP rules, elected members of leadership can only serve on one standing committee, meaning Stefanik will have to forfeit one of her assignments unless she gets a waiver. She currently serves on the House Education and Labor Committee and House Armed Services Committee. (She also sits on the high-profile House Intelligence Committee, which is a select committee where members are appointed by leadership.)
Stefanik was formally nominated by Rep. John Katko of New York, a moderate in her state delegation who voted to impeach Trump; freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa, whose election last fall was endorsed by Stefanik’s PAC; and Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania.
A Harvard graduate, Stefanik came up in politics through the establishment — as a White House staffer for former President George W. Bush and then as a staffer on former Speaker Paul Ryan’s vice presidential campaign. When she was elected to the House in 2014, she was the youngest woman ever to hold a seat in Congress.
As her district in upstate New York grew more red, Stefanik aligned herself closely with Trump, earning a reputation as a top Trump defender during the former president's first impeachment. During her time in the House, Stefanik has served a stint as recruitment chair for the National Republican Congressional Committee and formed her own PAC dedicated to electing more women. She also serves as a member of the whip team.
“Her leadership inspired dozens of women to step up and run — many of those women are sitting in this room today. Elise cares about this conference. She cares about the future of this party,” Hinson said in her nominating speech, according to a source in the room.
Cheney was not seen at Friday’s meeting, according to multiple sources in the room.CLARIFICATION: Elected members of House GOP leadership can only serve on one standing committee. An earlier version of this story failed to note that designation clearly.
Vaccinated Americans now may go without masks in most places, the C.D.C. said.
The advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes as welcome news to Americans who have tired of restrictions and marks a watershed moment in the pandemic. Masks ignited controversy in communities across the United States, symbolizing a bitter partisan divide over approaches to the pandemic and a badge of political affiliation.
Permission to stop using them now offers an incentive to the many millions who are still holding out on vaccination. As of Wednesday, about 154 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, but only about one-third of the nation, some 117.6 million people, have been fully vaccinated.
Your mileage may vary.
These two thoughtful reads (Jennifer Bard and David Leonhardt) will give you a flavor of CDC's dilemma and bring nuance to difficult decisions that nonetheless must be made.
Jennifer Bard/Harvard Law:
Public Health vs. Individual Advice
As a matter of advice to individuals who have been full vaccinated, the news that they no longer have to wear masks in places where they are at lower risk of infection is reassuring and good to hear. But, as a matter of federal guidance that will be translated into public health law and used as basis for challenging or removing mask mandates, it’s a mess on several levels.
First and foremost, it shifts the responsibility of protecting people still vulnerable to COVID-19 from the state to the very individuals who can cause the most harm. Whether the harm comes from unvaccinated individuals who choose not to wear masks as a matter of principle, or who simply leave the house without one, or from vaccinated individuals who are still able to transmit the virus, the danger is the same. There will always be people who cannot be vaccinated, whether because of a medical condition, or simply because they are too young.
Nor does it make any sense to suggest that those who are worried should wear masks themselves and leave others to do as they wish. First, there will, again, always be people, such as babies, who simply cannot wear a mask.
Second, while medical grade N-95 masks work very well to protect their wearer — even among sick, unmasked people — surgical and cloth masks don’t provide that kind of unilateral protection.
In other words, if you’re wearing a cloth mask and the other people in the classroom, or movie theater, or plane, aren’t, it pretty quickly makes you almost as vulnerable as if you weren’t wearing anything. But if everyone is wearing a cloth mask, you are all relatively better protected.
This also raises an issue of social justice: those who want to protect themselves must buy expensive, high-tech masks to protect themselves from others who are unwilling to use inexpensive cloth or paper ones.
Joe Manchin’s surprisingly bold proposal to fix America’s voting rights problem
Manchin’s idea won’t fix America’s democracy, but it could solve some pretty significant problems.
Most congressional Democrats have rallied behind a bill, known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, that would restore preclearance in a handful of states, while simultaneously making it easier to impose preclearance on new states and local governments that attempt to disenfranchise racial minorities.
But Manchin suggested on Wednesday that Congress should pass a much bolder attempt to roll back Shelby County. In an interview with ABC News, Manchin proposed making the John Lewis Act apply “to all 50 states and territories.” Thus, all states, not just the handful of states with the worst record on race, would be required to submit any new voting rules to federal review in order to make sure that the new rule will not target voters of color.
The GOP has lost its way. Fellow Americans, join our new alliance.
The Republican Party made a grievous error this week in ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) from the House leadership for telling the truth about Donald Trump’s “big lie,” which has wreaked havoc in our democratic republic by casting doubt over the 2020 election.
Many Unvaccinated Latinos in the U.S. Want the Shot, New Survey Finds
Issues of access and fears of employment and immigration consequences have kept their Covid vaccination rates low, the findings suggest.
Latino adults in the United States have the lowest rates of Covid-19 vaccination, but among the unvaccinated they are the demographic group most willing to receive the Covid shots as soon as possible, a new survey shows.
The findings suggest that their depressed vaccination rate reflects in large measure misinformation about cost and access, as well as concerns about employment and immigration issues, according to the latest edition of the Kaiser Family Foundation Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor.
Jonathan Martin/NY Times:
Republicans’ Overthrow of Liz Cheney Risks Worsening Their Headaches
As the party ties itself ever tighter to Trumpism, some Republicans worry about the implications for 2022 and far beyond. “I don’t think it’s a healthy moment for the party,” said one congressman.
“The party is going to come back stronger, and I’m going to lead the effort to do it,” Representative Liz Cheney said as she stepped into an elevator and down to her demise.
Less than an hour later, accompanied by the acclaimed photographer David Hume Kennerly, a family friend, Ms. Cheney returned to her office for an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. A sit-down with Bret Baier of Fox News was to follow.
The message was unmistakable: Her colleagues may have stripped Ms. Cheney of her post as chair of the House Republican Conference, but they have effectively handed her a new platform and a new role as the leader of the small band of anti-Trump Republicans.
Bring on the Liz Cheney Death MatchCheney’s likely ouster will force the conversation about January 6. [written before the vote]
Later this week House Republicans will almost certainly oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position in the conference. In doing so, they will cement their commitment to former President Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. This is a good thing.
Let me explain.
Had Cheney voted to impeach Trump and then quietly moved along to whitewashing the insurrection (like most other Republicans) then no one may have realized how deeply the Trump brain worms had penetrated the GOP leadership hive mind. She’s giving the party a public MRI.
Yes, the results of this test are awfully ugly, but they may be useful in the end.
GOP leaders would have never admitted how closely they planned to remain tethered to the twice-impeached president who presided over the party’s loss of the House, Senate, and White House. We wouldn’t have known how content they are with Trump’s big election lie. Cheney exposes their complicity. Until she piped up, everyone was on pace to rally under the red elephant flag and chant “Fire Pelosi!” They would have seamlessly moved on from January 6 and started campaigning on Trump’s 2020 election lies for 2022.
But Cheney played spoiler. And yes, this time it’s different.
Party Primaries Must Go
Partisan primaries motivate legislators to keep in lockstep with a narrow and extreme slice of the electorate rather than govern in the public interest.
Three days after the insurrection, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska became the first Senate Republican to call for President Trump’s resignation; she later became the only Senate Republican up for reelection in 2022 who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial.
In any other election, and in almost any other state, Murkowski’s vote would likely have doomed her chances in a Republican primary. However, in November, Alaska became the latest state to ditch partisan primaries when its voters adopted a sweeping election-reform package on the ballot.
Under the reform, rather than both parties holding separate primary elections, all candidates will instead compete in a single, nonpartisan primary in which all voters can participate and select their preferred candidate. Then the top four finishers will advance to the general election, where voters will have the option to rank them. Whoever earns a majority of votes wins. (If no candidate earns a majority after first choices are counted, the race is decided by an “instant runoff”––whereby the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who ranked that candidate first have their second-place votes counted instead, and so on, until a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote.)
With this reform, Alaska became the first state to combine a nonpartisan primary with ranked-choice voting in the general election. Known as “final-four voting,” this system has two major advantages. First, by abolishing party primaries, it eliminates elected leaders’ fear of being “primaried” by a small base of voters within their own party. Second, by abolishing plurality-winner elections and the “spoiler” effect they produce, it levels the playing field for independent and third-party candidates.
A bankruptcy trial reveals the deep rot within the NRA
The political graveyard is full of men who thought they were irreplaceable. We may soon learn whether that maxim applies to the man who leads the most powerful lobby in America.
For three decades, Wayne LaPierre has cashed in on the culture wars he has stoked as CEO of the National Rifle Association. He has used the organization like a personal checking account. A 12-day trial that just concluded has revealed even deeper rot within the group.
The chief federal bankruptcy judge in Dallas blocked the NRA on Tuesday from declaring Chapter 11 and reincorporating in Texas, ruling that LaPierre’s petition to do so was “not filed in good faith” because his real goal is to evade a civil suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).
LaPierre said he fears the dissolution of the NRA and the seizure of assets if the group remains incorporated in New York state, as it has been since 1871.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has created a new position for herself, along with a new conspiracy theory about Donald Trump.
Cheney, who was voted out of her leadership position as GOP Conference Chair by a voice vote meeting on Wednesday, told NBC News about her new leadership role: “I intend to be the leader, one of the leaders, in a fight to help to restore our party.”
She added a new wrinkle in the form a conspiracy theory, saying that former President Donald Trump is willing “to unravel the democracy to come back into power.”
Cheney has criticized Trump continually the last few months, saying she believes that the continuing influence Trump has within the GOP is “very dangerous” and “a cult of personality.”
Liz Cheney officially ousted from position as GOP conference chair, says she doesn't feel 'betrayed' by her party.https://t.co/dh7jQfU0d8
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) May 13, 2021
Cheney Too Divisive For Leadership Role
Cheney’s ouster from GOP leadership stems from her constant attacks on the popular Trump. During her interview with NBC, Cheney said that, “silence is not an option.” She continued,
“For reasons that I don’t understand, leaders in my party have decided to embrace the former President who launched that attack. And I think you’ve watched over the course of the last several months, the former President get more aggressive, more vocal, pushing the lie, and I think that’s a really important thing for people to understand. This isn’t about looking backwards. This is about the real-time current potential damage that he’s doing, that he continues to do.”
Cheney also added, “He’s unfit. He never again can be anywhere close to the Oval Office.”
Cheney also had words for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, saying that she believes that he is “not leading with principle, and I think that is sad and I think it’s dangerous.”
Trump support aside, the main focus inside the GOP right now are the 2022 midterm elections, and winning back the House and Senate.
Republicans clearly felt that Cheney attacking the most popular Republican, Trump, was becoming a distraction to that goal.
That point was somewhat reiterated by Chairman of the Republican Study Committee Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). “We are unified behind a single mission of winning back the majority and it was clear from the way that the vote occurred that 99% of our members are focused on that, so it’s time to move on.”
“I think he is not leading with principle right now,” Rep. Liz Cheney said this morning about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “I think that it is sad, and I think it’s dangerous.” https://t.co/Rvl1zWBM91
— POLITICO (@politico) May 13, 2021
Cheney Is Not Alone In Her Opposition To Trump
Liz Cheney is not alone in her belief that Donald Trump is the death knell for the Republican Party.
A recent report from Reuters says that more than 100 former Republican officials are threatening to start a third party if the GOP does not see the error of its ways and break ties with Trump.
The group, “A Call for American Renewal,” is made up of former Bush White House Officials, Members of Congress, and others known for their never-Trumper stances.
Cheney is also not the only House member who voted to impeach Trump that will have a primary challenge in 2022. Of the ten members that voted to impeach, five have have challengers.
However, others who have criticized Trump in the past were silent on the removal of Cheney. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had no comment for reporters when asked about Cheney, and did not say anything on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.
Utah Senator Mitt Romney, also a fierce critic of Trump tweeted Wednesday morning, “Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few.”
— Newsmax (@newsmax) May 13, 2021
What’s Next For Liz Cheney?
Even with two challengers for her seat next year, Cheney says she fully intends to run for re-election in 2022. She also told NBC News that a presidential run of her own was not out of the question.
Until then, she says she is, “very focused on making sure that our party becomes again, a party that stands for truth, and stands for fundamental principles that are conservative. And mostly stands for the Constitution and I won’t let the former President or anybody else unravel the democracy. Whatever it takes.”
But is Liz Cheney missing the direction the Republican Party is taking, based on what the voters said they wanted by voting for Donald Trump and continuing to support him? It is certainly making her the media’s new best friend.
Have the folks in Wyoming and the rest of the nation said loudly enough that they are tired of the go-along-to-get-along attitude of old school Republicans who are viewed as caving in to Democrats, and are looking for people with new blood and a fire in the belly?
Liz Cheney may have won the battle by being the one currently in office, but Donald Trump may win the war.
"Liz Cheney Was Distracted by Trump Derangement Syndrome."
— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) May 12, 2021
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Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) went on Fox News Radio on Wednesday to respond to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) being ousted as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference over her opposition to former President Donald Trump.
Cassidy, who voted in favor of impeaching Trump earlier this year, declared in this interview that Trump would not be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.
Cassidy Sounds Off
“We absolutely feel like we need a Republican Party which is committed to conservative values that will bring it forward,” Cassidy said. “As regards the president … returning to power, he lost. We lost the House. We lost the Senate. We lost the presidency and four years. Hasn’t happened since Herbert Hoover.”
“Parties and elections are about winning,” he added. “So, if you just want to brass tax it, we need to win. We can see that voters in swing districts did not swing for the Republican Party — they swang away. I supported the president’s policies. I was all on board — one of the senators that voted with him the most often — but parties are about winning, and unfortunately, over the last four years, we had a track record of losing. We need to win going forward.”
‘Republicans Are About Winning’
“Republicans are about winning,” he continued. “If we’re going to win, we can’t say, ‘Oh my gosh, we got more votes than anybody else in Republican history,’ but 7 million left to the Democrat. You know, that 7 million is the difference between Biden’s policies and our policies. We’ve got to be 7 million ahead, not 7 million behind.”
When asked if he would vote for Trump if he is the nominee, Cassidy responded, “He’s not going to be our nominee.”
Cheney slammed former President Donald Trump both before and after the vote to oust her.
“We must be true to our principles and to the Constitution,” Cheney told fellow House Republicans before the closed-door vote, according to the Today Show. “We cannot let the former president drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy. Down that path lies our destruction and potentially the destruction of our country.”
After the vote, she added that if Trump decides to run again in 2024, “I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”
This piece was written by James Samson on May 13, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
Read more at LifeZette:
GOP Gov. Hutchinson Attacks Trump – Says Liz Cheney Shouldn’t Be Removed
Jeb Bush Offers Irrelevant Advice To GOP
GOP Senator Johnson Says Nobody Should Be Forced To Take Vaccine – ‘This Is A Right-To-Choose Issue’
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