Morning Report

The Hill’s Morning Report — DeSantis to share ’24 campaign debut with Musk

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a fundraising picnic for U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Sioux Center, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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DeSantis to share ’24 campaign debut with Musk

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis today will plunge into the Republican presidential primary with help from a controversial billionaire, Elon Musk, challenging conventional thinking about political endorsements and the art of wooing primary voters from a town square.

The two headline-loving achievers who have praised former President Trump in the past will join forces tonight for a conversation on Twitter, where Musk is CEO (NBC News, The Hill).  

The SpaceX and Tesla innovator will chat with DeSantis, 44, at an event on Twitter Spaces, the site’s platform for audio chats, at 6 p.m. ET. It will be moderated by David Sacks, a tech entrepreneur, Musk confidant and DeSantis supporter, according to NBC, creating the aura of an interview without turning to the national news media, which the governor and Musk have separately criticized.

DeSantis, who has made his presidential ambitions clear for months, is officially entering a GOP race in which he has been polling second behind Trump and well ahead of candidates who entered the race earlier and so far appear mired in single digits. Other prominent Republicans may become candidates within weeks, even as Trump’s detractors fret that the former president could coast to the GOP nomination if the GOP field mushrooms to 2016 proportions 

The Florida governor is traveling the country to persuade prominent donors and voters that he’s a leader who can beat the Democratic incumbent, deliver conservative and disciplined executive governance and serve two terms as president, compared with four years constitutionally available to Trump. The distinction — played up by DeSantis as well as by a super PAC supporting him — may appeal to Republicans who desperately want to move on from Trump, see him as a political risk, but are skittish about openly criticizing the former president.

The New York Times: DeSantis says that with eight years in office, he could “fortify” the Supreme Court’s conservative majority.

The governor plans an announcement video and some post-Memorial Day candidate events. His appearance today is tied to a Miami retreat for major fundraisers already pledged to support his campaign. Bundlers will gather at the Four Seasons hotel this week to meet the governor’s campaign staff, strategize and begin raising campaign contributions.

Trump’s campaign aides mocked the Florida governor on Tuesday (The Hill). 

“This is one of the most out-of-touch campaign launches in modern history. The only thing less relatable than a niche campaign launch on Twitter is DeSantis’ after party at the uber elite Four Seasons resort in Miami,” Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for the Trump-aligned Make America Great Again Inc., said in a statement.

Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) entered the GOP contest on Monday with an inspiring personal speech and a sunny approach to the presidential battle. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who recently completed 22 presidential campaign events in Iowa, have been on the hustings for months.

Other declared candidates include businessman and activist Vivek Ramaswamy, 37, and radio host and columnist Larry Elder. In the wings, Republicans who say the country is ready for a nominee other than Trump and are making a show of sounding out their chances: former Vice President Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has said he would not be a 2024 presidential candidate, may be rethinking that decision, according to reports this week.

The Wall Street Journal: Questions about Trump, DeSantis and Biden fuel growth of 2024 GOP field.

DeSantis’s relationship with Musk began in 2021, and according to NBC, the governor’s aides believe Twitter under its new and mercurial CEO has become an increasingly friendly space for conservative audiences. The unveiling also bypasses a traditional mainstream news media sit-down, a technique Trump mastered as a businessman-turned-politician in 2015 and 2016. Similarly, the Twitter approach plays up DeSantis’s argument that he’s part of a younger generation (but not “woke”), a Washington outsider and an executive who could reshape national governance with conservative results.

CNN analysis: DeSantis to open presidential bid by out-Trumping Trump.

DeSantis wields power in his state with considerable assistance from a GOP supermajority in the Florida legislature, a far cry from Republicans’ narrow House majority in Washington and the GOP challenge in 2024 of holding the House while flipping the White House and the Senate.

Next week, the newest Florida White House candidate may visit Dunedin, his hometown near Tampa, to revisit his youth with a nod to his baseball prowess as a former Little League star (ABC News). The optics — perhaps the lighter side of a governor described as standoffish and rarely given to engaging small talk — could set up another contrast with Trump, who will be 77 in mid-June, and President Biden, the oldest incumbent in U.S. history to seek a second term.

Bloomberg News: DeSantis is courting donors at secret dinners with one major line: I’m the drama-free Trump. 

Related Articles

The Hill Rankings — The top 10 GOP candidates for 2024. 

The Hill: GOP voters flocking to Trump aren’t hungering for good vibes.

The Hill: Democrats ready for 2024 rematch in New York.

The Hill: Trump faces intensifying legal problems. 

Reuters: Trump criminal trial to start next March, with campaign in full swing.



Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told fellow conference members that he’s not close to a bipartisan debt limit deal with Biden during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, CNN reports.

“We are nowhere near a deal,” McCarthy told Republicans. “I need you all to hang with me.”

Debt ceiling negotiations have accelerated in recent weeks ahead of the Treasury Department-projected “X-date” in June, when the United States will no longer be able to pay its bills and would likely default on its $31.4 trillion debt, sending economic shockwaves across the globe. White House officials and their Republican counterparts met again Tuesday, though no signs of substantive progress were reported.

Biden and McCarthy emerged from a Monday evening meeting talking about the need to find bipartisan compromise, even as they cling to policies that expose the divides between the two parties (Reuters).

The New York Times: McCarthy, bracing for defections, eyes a fraught path to a debt limit deal.

House Democrats are up in arms that the White House isn’t pushing harder for tax hikes for the wealthy as part of the debt ceiling talks, fuming that the deficit-reduction debate has centered on the Republicans’ insistence on sharp spending cuts without a reciprocal Democratic demand for new revenues, The Hill’s Mike Lillis reports. While Biden has repeatedly called for tax hikes on wealthy Americans to accompany the talks, he’s stopped short of demanding such provisions as part of an eventual agreement. 

And there’s been no sign that the White House officials on the front lines of the negotiations are pressing GOP leaders on the issue. McCarthy has rejected new revenues out of hand, saying they’re a non-starter in the conservative-leaning House GOP conference that controls the lower chamber. The Democratic critics say the combination makes for a lopsided negotiation, where Democrats are asked to swallow cuts while Republicans don’t have to give anything. 

“That’s what sucks,” said Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.). “We should have a 1-to-1 ratio between revenue and cuts.” 

The Hill: GOP skepticism grows over June 1 debt ceiling deadline.

CNN: Poll: 60 percent say debt ceiling increase should come with spending cuts.

The Washington Post: As funds run short, Treasury asks agencies if payments can be made later.

Politico: Court sets legal showdown on debt limit 14th Amendment argument.

Meanwhile, the higher education world is biting its nails watching the debt ceiling timer tick down in Washington, writes The Hill’s Lexi Lonas. Colleges and universities are working in the background on contingency plans if the U.S. defaults, a scenario that would lead to consequences even experts say they can’t fully comprehend. 

While schools would not immediately shut down during a default, funding from the federal government would not be received and students would lose assistance they rely on to continue their studies.

Lawmakers sparred with Federal Housing Finance Administration Director Sandra Thompson on Tuesday after the agency implemented controversial mortgage pricing updates critics said will punish borrowers with good credit scores. As The Hill’s Adam Barnes reports, members of the House Committee on Financial Services grilled her about controversial upfront mortgage fees for loans backed by federal servicers now being imposed by the agency. Republicans, including committee chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), say the new prices overcharge borrowers with good credit to subsidize riskier applicants. But Thompson told lawmakers misconceptions about the updated price grid are based on misleading media reports.

“I want to be very clear on one key point, and one that bears repeating: Under the new pricing framework, borrowers with strong credit profiles are not being penalized to benefit borrowers with weaker credit profiles,” Thompson said Tuesday morning. 

NewsNation interview: Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) on his blockade aimed at Pentagon military promotions as a way to protest abortion policy: “They were warned.”

The Wall Street Journal: House members offer rare bipartisan immigration measure.



Russia’s military said Tuesday it quashed what appeared to be one of the most serious cross-border attacks from Ukraine since the war began, claiming to have killed more than 70 attackers in a battle that lasted around 24 hours. Kyiv characterized it as an uprising against the Kremlin by Russian partisans. It was impossible to reconcile the two versions or to say with certainty who was behind the attack or to ascertain its aims (The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal). 

Though Ukraine got a major boost last week when the U.S. agreed to a joint effort to train pilots from the embattled nation on F-16 fighter jets, it will take time before the aircraft reach their skies. As The Hill’s Ellen Mitchell reports, Kyiv must overcome a number of obstacles before its forces can use the advanced fighter jets, including training pilots how to fly in battle, teaching maintenance personnel how to keep the warplanes in working order — and obtaining the planes from partner nations.

Reuters: The U.S. calls for immediate release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich after Russia seeks to extend his detention, which began in March. 

Politico EU: The F-16 takeoff to Ukraine will take time.

The New York Times: The battle for Bakhmut, in a series of photographs with reporting.

The Wall Street Journal: Rising nuclear weapons risks overshadow the G-7’s push for disarmament.

The New York Times: China and Russia, targets at the G-7 summit, draw closer to fend off the West. 

🕵️ Being a spy is a tough gig — from learning tech skills and new languages to living a life of secrecy. But the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service said its potential recruits have more mundane concerns: the lack of remote work, and not being able to take their personal cell phone to the office (The Washington Post).

“We cannot offer certain things that are taken for granted today,” Bruno Kahl, president of the Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in a livestream Monday. Remote working is “barely possible” for the agency’s workers for security reasons, he added, and the idea of not being able to take cellphones to work “is asking a lot from young jobseekers today.” 


■ The 14th Amendment won’t solve the debt ceiling crisis. Here’s what might, by The Washington Post editorial board.

■ What does the growing GOP primary field mean for Trump? by Keith Naughton, opinion contributor, The Hill.


📲 Ask The Hill: Share a news query tied to an expert journalist’s insights: The Hill launched something new and (we hope) engaging via text with Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack. Learn more and sign up HERE.

The House will meet at 10 a.m. 

The Senate will convene on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. for a pro forma session.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 11 a.m. Biden, during a White House event at 3:30 p.m., will mark a year since the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 19 students and two teachers. First lady Jill Biden will participate.

Vice President Harris will join the president this morning when he receives the President’s Daily Brief.

Attorney General Merrick Garland at 2 p.m. will prepare to mark National Missing Children’s Day on May 25 by honoring law enforcement officers and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at the Justice Department. He will be accompanied by Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta and other officials and advocates in support of federal efforts to find missing children and to prevent child sexual exploitation.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will join Wall Street Journal financial editor Charles Forelle at 10 a.m. ET for a CEO Council Summit conversation about the U.S. economy. The event program originates from London and Yellen’s participation will be virtual.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will speak at 11 a.m. at the State Department about the 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom. He will meet at 3:30 p.m. with United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg.

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 2:15 p.m.



Chinese investors own only about 0.03 percent of America’s farmland, according to federal data, but it’s becoming a major issue as politicians at the state and federal level ramp up their fight against perceived threats from Beijing. As The Hill’s Christina van Waasbergen reports, in the past couple of months, lawmakers in more than two dozen states have passed or considered legislation restricting Chinese purchases of U.S. farmland. 

Trump, meanwhile, has promised that if he retakes the White House, he will ban Chinese investors from buying U.S. farmland and other critical infrastructure. In Florida, DeSantis signed multiple bills this month that prohibit Chinese citizens from purchasing land in the state, prompting a lawsuit alleging harm from the state’s new law (Bloomberg News). The complainants say the law “stigmatizes them and their communities, and casts a cloud of suspicion over anyone of Chinese descent who seeks to buy property in Florida.” 

Last month, the North Carolina House passed a bill that would ban the governments of “foreign adversaries” from purchasing agricultural land, as well as any land within 25 miles of a military installation. And the Texas Senate passed a bill that would ban citizens of China from buying property, with certain exceptions. 

Forbes: How much U.S. farmland does China really own? More than Bill Gates — and less than 17 other countries.

CNN: Micron warns of lost revenue after China slaps it with sanctions.

The South Carolina Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would ban most abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy — before most people know they are pregnant. The bill now heads to the governor, who has promised to sign it. The legislation restores a ban in place in the state when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year — a ban that, once it took effect, was overturned by the state’s highest court because it violated the state Constitution’s right to privacy (NPR and The Washington Post).

The New York Times: In Texas, a bill to put religion in schools by compelling the display of the Ten Commandments in every classroom failed on Tuesday.


Mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, has been identified in the Chicago area despite hope that an outbreak seen last year in the U.S., which became a public health emergency with national response, might rule out more contagion this summer, The Hill’s Joseph Choi reports. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials recently said there is a “substantial risk” of a summer resurgence. In the recent mpox outbreak near the Windy City, more than half of those infected had previously received vaccination for the virus. The first monkeypox case in the U.S. linked to last year’s outbreak was reported in May. The White House allowed the public health emergency to expire in January in the belief that significant progress had been achieved to halt the spread.  

The Atlantic: Did scientists accidentally invent an anti-addiction drug?

The Associated Press: Why do so many Black women die in pregnancy? One reason: Doctors don’t take them seriously.

The Washington Post: New opioid overdose antidote approved, but concerns remain about cost, side effects.


And finally … ☀️ Members of Congress worry they’ll be grounded in the Capitol over Memorial Day weekend if the debt drama drags on. But for the rest of America, the official beginning of summer ahead inspires images of sparkling community swimming pools, backyard barbecues, baseball and perhaps sartorial giddiness about white shoes.

Despite inflated prices and queasy foreboding about U.S. default or a recession, many summer enthusiasts plan exotic travel abroad and at home. National parks will be crowded, of course, meaning it’s time for a few safety reminders: Do not nurture the bison, moose or buffalo up close while enjoying the scenery; step forward, not backward for those canyon-edge selfies; and carry enough water and maybe a compass on all impromptu hikes.  

USA Today: National park reservations return for summer 2023. See which parks require timed entry.

Forbes: Close to half of consumers in a recent survey said they plan to travel more in 2023.

The Washington Post: Visiting a national park this summer? Here’s where you need reservations.

Outside: Epic winter snowfall caused flooding in some national parks, which could delay some summer openings.

12News Phoenix: How to hike safely during Arizona summers.

The Washington Post (2019): A checklist for taking safe selfies.

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Tags 2024 abortion debt ceiling Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy Morning Report President Biden Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis

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