NotedDC — Pence draws Trump contrast with focus on future
Former Vice President Mike Pence is urging GOP voters to not “look back,” but don’t count on former President Trump to heed that advice anytime soon.
Pence subtly jabbed at Trump and his false claims about the 2020 election while addressing a conference of young conservatives in Washington on Tuesday, saying Republicans “need to do more than criticize and complain” to win future elections.
“I truly do believe that elections are about the future, and that it’s absolutely essential at a time when so many Americans are hurting, so many families are struggling, that we don’t give way to the temptation to look back,” Pence said.
Just hours after Pence spoke and urged Republicans to not meditate on the past, Trump delivered his own speech at another venue in Washington and did just that.
“The radical left’s anti-police narrative is a total lie…let’s call it the ‘Big Lie,’” Trump said about 20 minutes into his speech at the America First Policy Institute summit.
“Have you ever heard that expression before? The Big Lie,” Trump continued to loud applause from the friendly crowd.
“I like to say I ran the first time and I won and then I ran a second time and did much better,” Trump declared later in the speech.
“That’s going to be a story for a long time, what a disgrace that was.”
Pence and several other Republicans laying the groundwork for potential presidential bids in 2024 have taken pains to try to contrast themselves from Trump while being careful not to upset the GOP base that still strongly supports the former president.
Trump’s grip on the party was evident throughout his speech Tuesday as he promoted the GOP’s midterm candidates and teased another White House run.
“We may just have to do it again,” Trump said about being president, adding of his critics: “They want to damage me so I can no longer go back to work for you.”
Welcome to NotedDC: Your guide to politics, policy & people of consequence in D.C.
In today’s issue: Liz Cheney looks beyond her current role and COVID threatens to throw a curveball in Democrats’ plans before the August recess. Plus: A new memoir.
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Cheney looks beyond House perch
LIZ CHENEY MAY SOON lose her House seat to a Trump-backed challenger, but the Wyoming lawmaker is keeping an eye on 2024 and working to carve out a legacy as one of the few Republicans to take on Trump in the face of ostracism from her party.
Cheney, who has represented her state’s lone House seat since 2017, has angered some Wyoming Republicans with her work as vice chair of the Jan. 6 House select committee probing the role Trump and his allies played leading up to the Capitol riot.
- She trails GOP rival Harriet Hageman by more than 20 points ahead of the August primary, according to a July poll from the Casper Star-Tribune.
- High-profile Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), are also rooting for Hageman.
The primary outlook puts Cheney in the unusual position of considering a run for higher office at a time when she appears poised to lose her current seat. But that hasn’t kept Cheney from weighing a head-on challenge should Trump run again.
“I’ll make a position on 2024 down the road,” Cheney told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday.
STEEP CLIMB: While Cheney has drawn plaudits over her handling of the Jan. 6 probe, gaining a wide share of support from a party that still counts Trump as its standard-bearer would be a challenge.
“One would assume that winning your congressional seat would play heavily into whether or not your candidacy would be viable,” said David Martin, communications director of the Wyoming Democratic Party.
Even if Cheney decides not to run in 2024, some Republicans say her scrutiny of Trump via the select committee probe may be a reason Trump loses if he runs again.
“She was incredibly effective in a way that nobody else could be because she knew all the players involved,” former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), a Trump critic, told NotedDC.
“If you look at somebody like Bill Barr, who not only was known by Liz but known by her parents…I don’t know if he would’ve been as responsive to just Democrats,” Comstock said, referring to Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
And while her reelection prospects appear grim, Cheney is plowing ahead in her work on the Jan. 6 panel, which is now seeking closed-door testimony from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as reported by ABC News, and awaiting deleted text messages from the Secret Service.
“No matter what happens on Aug. 16, I’m going to wake up on Aug. 17 and continue to fight hard to ensure Trump is never anywhere close to the Oval Office again,” Cheney told Tapper.
Group set to protest Congressional Baseball Game
Environmental activists are threatening to shut down the annual Congressional Baseball Game Thursday after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) balked at a climate bill.
“Shut down the Congressional Baseball Game,” read signs posted around the city by the group Now or Never. “If they don’t deliver on climate, we won’t let them play.”
- More than 50 lawmakers are slated to take the field at Nationals Park on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
- U.S. Capitol Police said the game will continue as scheduled. “Our mission is to provide a safe and secure environment, so we have a robust security plan in place,” USCP wrote in a statement to NotedDC.
HOUSE MEMBERS GET SECURITY BOOST
The House will provide $10,000 toward costs to secure lawmakers’ homes amid a steep rise in threats against members of Congress.
- Our colleagues Emily Brooks and Mychael Schnell report that the program will begin in mid-August.
- The funds will go toward security system equipment and installation costs for each member.
- Threats against members of Congress surged 144 percent from 2017 to 2021, according to data from U.S. Capitol Police released last month.
The announcement of more security funds comes a week after a man attacked Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) at a campaign event in New York and a few weeks after a man threatened to kill Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) outside of her home in Seattle.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who recently shared a compilation of vulgar threats he’s received since serving on the Jan. 6 committee, told NotedDC that more resources are needed because “the frequency and severity of these types of threats have increased dramatically.”
COVID rattles Washington, again
THE PANDEMIC has paused for no one, especially for lawmakers and staffers packed tightly together in committee rooms and offices around Capitol Hill.
Another spate of COVID-19 cases in Washington has jumped through both chambers of Congress and stretched up through the executive to the nation’s top infectious disease expert and to the president himself.
- More than 200 members of the House and Senate are known to have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020.
- Unlike their House counterparts, who have been able to submit votes via proxies since near the start of the pandemic, senators don’t have that option.
The positive cases in July have benched Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Jan. 6 House select committee, among others.
And while Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) were the latest to test positive, sidelining both for several days, Democrats are bracing for more potential positive tests as they scramble to pass bills before the August recess.
- As our colleague Alexander Bolton reports: “The new wave of coronavirus infections may postpone action on the budget reconciliation bill, which Democrats hope to take up next week to lower prescription drug costs and extend Affordable Care Act health insurance subsidies.”
- Democrats currently hold just a 50-50 advantage in the Senate and a slim majority in the House. They are hoping to hold onto control of both in the fall midterms but face an uphill battle, with polls tight in several crucial races.
What’s ahead: Senate Democrats have a hefty agenda for this month that includes passage of the CHIPS Act (which is likely to pass with bipartisan support this week, despite absences); possible action on the long-stalled reconciliation package; legislation to back the addition of Sweden and Finland to NATO and an effort to codify same-sex marriage, among other priorities.
WHERE SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE STANDS ON THE HILL
Senators are set to receive a closed-door briefing about the war in Ukraine on Wednesday, but support for continuing to aid the country against Russia is starting to wane among some Republicans.
Some in the GOP who support assistance to Ukraine are warning that other Republicans who get their political cues from former President Trump want to halt U.S. support because they believe the funds could be used to support domestic initiatives, our colleague Laura Kelly reports.
- “We can’t allow domestic politics to overshadow the fact that there’s genocide going on in Ukraine right now,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) told Kelly.
- Remember: 57 House Republicans and 11 Senate Republicans voted against a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine in May.
What we’re watching: The midterms may bring more Republicans to the Senate who oppose assistance to Ukraine, including Ohio Republican candidate J.D. Vance, who has criticized it as “insulting and strategically stupid” to ignore domestic problems.
NBC News is hosting a farewell party on Tuesday for its longtime correspondent Pete Williams, who covered the Supreme Court and the Justice Department.
- The event will be hosted at the Cosmos Club, one of Washington’s most exclusive social clubs, according to the invite.
- Williams will retire this month after nearly 30 years at NBC. His last day at the network will be July 31.
The View is reportedly getting a new Republican co-host: former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin.
- Griffin will replace Meghan McCain, who left the show last year, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.
- Our colleague Dominick Mastrangelo writes that Griffin is distancing herself from her Trump-era image, sharply criticizing her former boss post-Jan. 6.
📚 Summer nights with the Library of Congress
With Congress sprinting toward August recess, summer is nearly halfway over. But if you’re hoping to soak up a few more summer nights, you’re in luck.
The Library of Congress will show two more films as part of their series of outdoor movie nights: “Mary Poppins” on July 28 and “Wall-E” on Aug. 2.
Just set up a blanket on the southeast lawn at sundown (and speaking from experience, bring some snacks and bug spray!)
📖 One more thing: Pence’s memoir
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s forthcoming memoir promises to detail how Trump severed their relationship after the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol.
- The book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, said the memoir — titled “So Help Me God” — will defend the record of the Trump administration.
- “This is the inside story of the Trump administration from its second-highest ranking official and of a profound faith that has guided Pence throughout his life,” the publisher said.
We’ll see you tomorrow!