PRESENTED BY AT&T
NEWS THIS MORNING
Is Political Violence the New Normal?
For the third time in less than nine months, a serious security incident rocked the Capitol complex on Thursday, forcing building evacuations and lockdowns in the heart of government. No one was injured, and authorities said no explosives were found in a pickup truck driven onto the curb outside the Library of Congress. The suspect, 49-year old Floyd Ray Roseberry, surrendered to authorities.
Capitol Police officials said they were unaware of a motive, though the suspect rambled for hours on a Facebook livestream, specifically citing Democrats and President Biden. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) issued a bizarre statement sympathizing with “anger directed at dictatorial Socialism,” a comment that has gone unaddressed by Republican leadership (Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., called Brooks’s comments “evil”).
There was a time not so long ago when political violence merited calls to cool the heated rhetoric, where members of Congress would cross aisles, at least physically, to show solidarity in the face of threats. That unity is not on display today — in fact, the story itself is notably absent from the cable networks.
On occasion, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at ourselves in the mirror. What’s happening to us? How can we accept the threat of political violence — the third that targeted the Capitol in less than a year — and just shrug it off? How will history judge those who are silent?
I picked a heck of a week to take over newsletter duties for your regular host. I hope the next time I join you all, we can get back to the fun of politics. It doesn’t feel like a lot of fun at the moment.
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It’s Friday. I’m Reid Wilson, filling in for Cate today with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to email@example.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Biden to Address Nation
President Biden will address the nation at 1 p.m. EDT on the continued effort to evacuate American citizens and Afghans from the Kabul airport as thousands wait outside the gates for transport to the Middle East and beyond. Former U.S. Ambassador John Bass has arrived in Kabul with a team of diplomats to speed up visa processing for those who helped the United States over the last two decades.
About 5,200 troops are securing the airport, and about 7,000 people have been evacuated since Saturday. The military has said it will be able to extract between 5,000 and 9,000 people a day once evacuations are at full pace.
In an interview on “Morning Joe,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield called chaotic scenes outside the airport “unacceptable.”
The U.S. is extending a ban on nonessential travel to Canada and Mexico to at least Sept. 21 because of the raging delta variant, the Department of Homeland Security said Friday morning. Canada began allowing fully vaccinated Americans to cross the border on Aug. 9, but Canadians still can’t get over here.
Harris Heads East
Via The Hill’s Laura Kelly, Vice President Harris leaves today for Singapore and Vietnam, where she will reassure Asian allies of the United States’s commitment to the region in the face of China’s growing influence. But her trip takes on added meaning against the backdrop of Afghanistan, which Chinese state news outlets have used as a cudgel against America’s reputation.
IN THE STATES
School House Rock(ed)
Via The Hill’s Julia Manchester, school board meetings across the country are becoming the new front in America’s culture wars, from fraught confrontations over mask mandates to angry protests against critical race theory.
Keep an eye on Virginia, where Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) have feuded over both fronts. Is the anger — playing out most acutely in Loudoun County, fueled by Republican operatives who work in D.C. but live in the suburbs — a loud minority? Or the tip of an iceberg that could upend a state that has trended blue for two decades?
Speaking of Virginia: A new Virginia Commonwealth University poll out this morning has McAuliffe leading Youngkin by a statistically insignificant margin, 40 percent to 37 percent. Read the release here.
Whiskey for Drinking, Water for Fighting
Via yours truly, cuts in Colorado River water allocation announced this week by the Bureau of Reclamation foretell a decade of fraught water politics ahead for Western states. Water levels are shockingly low, from Idaho’s Snake River all the way south to Lake Mead, which stands at the lowest level since the Hoover Dam was built.
Arizona and Nevada will be the first to take cuts. But a years-long drought that’s contributing to worsening fire seasons could threaten economic growth in the Southwest, America’s fastest-growing region. “We can’t make it rain,” one expert told us. “That’s up to a higher power to do that.”
TEXAS DEMS BOW TO REALITY:
Three Texas Democrats returned to Austin on Thursday, giving Republicans the quorum they need to advance controversial legislation — including an election overhaul bill aimed at curbing the power of blue bastions like Houston and Dallas from operating round-the-clock voting centers, among other changes.
Behind the scenes: The six-week quorum break was always going to end this way. But the harmony that marked previous quorum breaks is gone, and internal Slack messages we saw last night show an acrimony among Texas Democrats that will threaten party unity.
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
Not A Great Look
From The Hill’s Max Greenwood: Former President Trump plans a rally tomorrow in Cullman, Ala., where the city council met Thursday to declare a state of emergency because coronavirus cases are so high. Every ICU bed in Alabama is full, the state Hospital Association said Wednesday.
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 37,314,846
U.S. death toll: 625,357 have died.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 360 million shots have been given, an average of 823,355 a day. More than 1 million shots were administered Thursday, the first time we’ve hit seven digits in months.
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
I’ll Take Subtweets for $1,000
Bots, Bots and more… Bots.
Tesla’s humanoid bot reminds me a lot of “I,Robot”
...and so does Disney’s.
A Bean of Encouragement
The House and Senate are out. President BidenJoe BidenNew York woman arrested after allegedly spitting on Jewish children Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE is in Washington, where he met with his security team in the Situation Room this morning. Vice President Harris is heading off on her second overseas trip.
1 p.m. EDT: Biden addresses the evacuation of American citizens and Afghans from Kabul.
2:05 p.m. EDT: Biden heads to Delaware for the weekend.
9:15 p.m. EDT: Harris departs from Joint Base Andrews en route to Singapore.
WHAT TO WATCH:
2:30 p.m. EDT: Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby briefs reporters. Livestream: https://www.c-span.org/video/?514190-1/pentagon-press-secretary-gen-hank-taylor-hold-briefing
3:00 p.m. EDT: State Department Press Secretary Ned Price holds a briefing. Livestream: https://www.c-span.org/video/?514192-1/state-department-spokesperson-holds-briefing
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day.
Earlier this week, we told you about kiwis returning to New Zealand. Now it’s bandicoots being reintroduced to a national park in New South Wales for the first time in a century. The same park reintroduced bilbies and mulgaras last year (we don’t know what those are either, but because they’re in Australia it’s safe to assume they can probably kill you).
And because you made it this far, here’s a little guy who just got his dream job: https://twitter.com/dog_rates/status/1428488198611636224?s=20