Dear Nikki, Bring It
An Open Letter: Time to the tell the truth about Trump
Lots of catching up to do:
Boom. Economy grew by a bustling 3.1% in 2023, fueled by spending, strong labor market - The Washington Post
Mob boss delivers a message. Trump: Nikki Haley donors will be barred from "MAGA camp" - Axios
“Anybody that makes a ‘Contribution’ to Birdbrain, from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp. We don’t want them, and will not accept them, because we Put America First, and ALWAYS WILL!”
Surrender. McConnell bows to Trump on border - Punchbowl News
Last night… MCCONNELL told Republican senators that time had essentially run out on trying to craft a Ukraine-border package. "We don’t want to do anything to undermine [Trump]," said McConnell, who can barely utter the former president's name. "The politics on this have changed," McConnell said. TIM SCOTT then was asked about our reporting on Fox and said the border bill is DOA. The bill was being crafted by his 2010 classmate Lankford.
Of course. Trump leans into voter fraud playbook, preparing to cry foul if he loses | AP News
Defamation Nation. Fox Must Face Smartmatic’s $2.7 Billion Defamation Suit - Bloomberg
So. Much. Shrinking. House Republicans now have one of the smallest majorities in history - NBC
Republicans hold 219 seats to Democrats’ 213, giving new Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., little margin for error to pass legislation.
Trump’s drug house. Trump’s White House Pharmacy Handed Out Drugs Like Candy: Report
White House pharmacists reportedly distributed uppers and downers like candy to Trump administration officials during his time in office, according to a new report from the Department of Defense Inspector General
Meanwhile, in Arizona. Republican chair Jeff DeWit RESIGNS over bombshell audio bribing Kari Lake to stay out of office | Daily Mail Online
'This morning I was determined to fight for my position,' said DeWit, 51. 'However a few hours ago I received an ultimatum from Lake's team: Resign today or face the release of a new, more damaging recording.'
Lesson finally learned? Susan Collins, leading Senate GOP centrist, won’t endorse Trump in 2024 - The Hill
Asked if she could see herself endorsing Trump if he wins the nomination, Collins replied: “I do not at this point.” …
The Bulwark is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
An Open Letter to Nikki
Michael Wood, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a small business owner, in the Bulwark:
Dear Ambassador Haley:
You’re not going to be the next president of the United States, but I hope you stay in the race. You haven’t exactly been a profile in courage over the past year, but you’ve shown flashes of real bravery in this campaign, especially in your stalwart defense of Ukraine.
Why are you running for president? Is it out of personal ambition or because you love our country? Let’s be honest: It’s a little bit of both. That’s okay. Lincoln’s law partner once wrote that the Great Emancipator’s ambition was “a little engine that knew no rest.” For the best politicians, the drive for acclaim becomes a push for accomplishment, as their ambition leads them to achieve great things for the public. For the worst, the desire for esteem eclipses any sense of patriotism they might carry in their hearts.
I think you are a patriot who has been bobbing and weaving for years because that’s what you thought you had to do for the good of the republic. You were wrong about that: This moment in American history calls for bold truth-telling, drawing lines in the sand, and cutting through the flood of BS coming from Donald Trump and his minions. Even if what we might call the Glenn Youngkin strategy seemed to make sense months ago, the time for that is over. It’s time to embrace your inner Liz Cheney.
Madam Ambassador, memento mori. When, some distant day, you shuffle off this mortal coil, what will your grandchildren read in your obituary? You were a two-term Indian-American governor of a former Confederate state who, in a time of crisis, took down the flag of secessionists and slavers. This was no small thing, but what did you do when a sitting president tried to steal an election, sent a mob to attack the people’s representatives in Congress, and pushed our country to the edge of a constitutional crisis—if not outright into one? A line from a future newspaper: “Haley then spent a year meekly using the passive voice and mumbling about deficit spending.” A bold, forward-looking governor reduced to dissembling about the cause of the Civil War lest she offend Lost Cause neo-Confederates whose approval she desperately sought. And all it got you was a third-place showing in Iowa and 43 percent of the vote in New Hampshire.
You’ve closed the door on being Trump’s vice president. What else are you realistically hoping for from this campaign—that Republican voters will turn against Trump as his legal troubles mount? The polls make clear that’s just not realistic.
YOUR LIFE ISN’T OVER and your obituary is not yet written. The country we love can still be improved by your words and deeds over the coming months. Go to your home state and tell the truth. You’re incredibly smart and well spoken—imagine how much better you’ll sound when you liberate yourself from trying to placate the MAGA cult and say what you actually think: “He’s a moron. He’s a liar. He’s done grievous harm to our country. He dines with Nazis. He needs to be held accountable, both legally and politically. They’re not ‘hostages,’ they’re criminals. We don’t do dictators in America, even for a day.” Those speeches would be electric. After South Carolina, go to every other state and tell the truth to people who only listen to politicians with an “R” after their name. Whatever vestiges of reform-minded, optimistic conservatism left over from the 2010s still lives in your bones, you can embrace them again. “We have our problems,” you can say, “but we’re a great country and a land of opportunity.”
I don’t care if your campaign is running out of money. You have a voice and, I’d imagine, an open invitation to talk to any reporter or appear on any TV program you want. Fly commercial. Carry your own bags. Trump made the news cover him in 2016 and hardly spent any money, all with a skeleton staff. You can do it too.
Of course, you’ll make enemies. People will hate you. Guess what: They already do. Free yourself from being intimidated and pushed around by little dweebs like Charlie Kirk. In your heart of hearts, do you really care about getting a pat on the head from Steve Bannon and people who corner you at events to explain how Nancy Pelosi chartered a fleet of buses to secretly unleash a mob to attack our Capitol? I doubt it. Don’t worry about pissing off the local chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy. Run for office on your own terms, have a good time, and embrace the “strange new respect” from people you probably care more about impressing anyways.
If you want a future role in government, it’s probably only going to be a national security or ambassadorial role in a Democratic administration. Start detoxifying yourself now.
But again, this isn’t just about personal ambition or comfort. You need to pay a penance for the years you’ve spent helping Trump minimize and distort the damage he inflicted on the country after the 2020 elections. If America is going to be saved from the specter of another Trump presidency, the coalition to re-elect President Biden will need Nikki Haley Republicans. Voters with a history of voting against the Democrat, who still feel a natural affinity for the party of Lincoln and Reagan, need people like you to tell them, “It’s okay this time to vote the other way. More than that, it’s absolutely necessary.”
In one corner of today’s GOP stand J.D. Vance, Elise Stefanik, Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and thousands of other politicians, voters, political consultants, and think tankers who have sold their soul to MAGA out of personal ambition. In the other corner stand Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, and the Constitution of the United States. It’s a smaller group, but a noble one—and they could use your help.
Benjy Sarlin: Wake up to Reality
On Wednesday’s podcast: As we pivot from primary season to the general election, Biden is telling Democrats to accept that Trump will be the nominee. Meanwhile, the ex-POTUS is doing ‘peak Trump’—talking about Jan 6, his legal cases, and calling E. Jean Carroll a liar. Plus, a look at the cringey VP auditions. Semafor’s Benjy Sarlin joins me.
You can listen to the whole thing here. Or watch us on YouTube.
1. Wall Street’s bargain with Trump
Edward Luce in The Financial Times:
The Financial Times had only nice things to say about Benito Mussolini in a June 1933 supplement entitled “The Renaissance of Italy: Fascism’s gift of order and progress”. Trains were running on time, investment was humming and friction between capital and labour was a thing of the past. “The country has been remodelled, rather than remade, under the vigorous architecture of its illustrious prime minister, Signor Mussolini,” wrote the FT’s special correspondent.
The 1930s ought to have buried the idea that business is a bulwark against autocracy. Today’s America offers a reminder. After Donald Trump’s attempted putsch on January 6 2021, US business leaders lined up to condemn the storming of Capitol Hill. Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan, issued a statement calling for a peaceful transition of power. “This is not who we are as a people or a country,” he said. In Davos last week, Dimon had changed his tune. Trump did many good things when he was in office, Dimon said. Business was ready for either Joe Biden or Trump: “My company will survive and thrive in both.”
2. Tim Scott’s Humiliating Campaign to Be Vice President
Scott’s willingness to endure Trump’s ritual humiliation of him raises a number of important questions. How many Republicans left in the party are willing to tell the truth about Trump? How much further will Scott and his competition go in pursuit of the vice presidency? How much can abasement can any one person take before collapsing in on themselves like a dying star? And, of course, how funny will it be if this ends with Scott earning the same reward Chris Christie did back in 2016? Or, crueler still, a stint as Commerce Secretary?
3. GOP Elites Are Going to Try to Create Another “Committee to Save America”
Yes, it’s true that Trump 2.0 will be more radical, more authoritarian, more ultra-MAGA than the original….
BUT ONE THING WILL BE THE SAME as the first go-round.
There will once again be a group of patsies willing to be the Trump administration’s front-men and front-women, offering themselves as tributes to the wannabe strongman.
They will be put forth as evidence that Trump will be constrained, that dictatorship is not imminent, that there will still be a few “adults in the room.” Moreover, there will be mainstream, establishment figures who encourage “good people” to serve because they still hold on to their belief that Trump can be reined in and the office must be protected.
So brace yourself: In the weeks ahead, you are going to be introduced to “Committee To Save America 2.0: We Protect. We Serve. We Care.”