The political class has finally begun to make sense of Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) out-of-nowhere primary defeat to economics professor David Brat. Two principal subjects have emerged: the Tea Party and Cantor himself.
In the narrative involving the former — Tea Party being shorthand here for very conservative voters — Cantor started off as a Tea Party spearhead who led a strategy of total opposition to President Obama that culminated victoriously in Republicans taking the House in 2010. Once Cantor was in power, however, he had to make the kind of decisions (like not defaulting on the country's debt) that failed to satisfy the base's unslakable thirst for total warfare. For versions of this story, see Dave Weigel at Slate and Brian Beutler at The New Republic.
The narrative that Republicans themselves prefer is that Cantor was a soulless ladder-climber who had completely lost touch with his constituents in Virginia's 7th District. They point to the fact that Sen. Lindsey Graham handily won his primary in South Carolina despite being one of the more moderate Republicans out there, and that Cantor tellingly spent Election Day at a Starbucks in D.C. hobnobbing with corporate lobbyists — not in his hometown. Republicans prefer this storyline because it is the one that gives them a prayer of uniting their excitable base with a more moderate platform that can actually win national elections.
So which one did Cantor in? The answer, most likely, is a bit of both. The problem for Republicans is that no figure at a national level has so far been able to thread this needle, and Cantor's demise is some pretty strong evidence that it may not even be possible. Ryu Spaeth
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday demanded an end to sanctuary cities, saying such policies "cannot continue."
"When cities and states continue to refuse to help enforce our immigration laws, our nation is less safe," Sessions said. He added: "Countless Americans would be alive today … if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended."
Sessions went on to say that the Department of Justice would look to "claw back" grants from jurisdictions that do not comply with federal authorities' immigration-related efforts.
Trump has already signed an executive order to block federal funding to sanctuary cities. At least 633 counties in the United States "limit how much local police can cooperate with requests from federal authorities to hold immigrants in detention," The New York Times reports. Jeva Lange
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 27, 2017
Cash Cab is coming back. Discovery Channel announced Monday that it is reviving the Emmy-winning game show, which previously ran for 10 seasons until its cancelation in 2012. The series will return later this year.
While the new Cash Cab will still feature the usual unsuspecting passengers getting into innocuous cabs only to find out they're part of a game show, the revival will include the added bonus of sometimes featuring celebrities behind the wheel. Passengers will still be evicted from the cab should they get three questions wrong, and a cash prize will still be up for grabs.
Comedian David Steinberg has signed on as executive producer, though a host has yet to be announced.
So, New Yorkers, next time you're about to call an Uber, you might want to reconsider. Becca Stanek
President Trump's approval rating hit a new low Monday, with just 36 percent of Americans approving of the president, Gallup has found. Fifty-seven percent of people disapprove of Trump's performance in office.
Prior to Monday, Trump's lowest approval rating was 37 percent, which he hit March 18 following the announcement of the Republican health-care bill to replace ObamaCare and Trump's claims that he was "wiretapped" by former President Barack Obama. He also recorded his highest disapproval rating of 58 percent on March 18.
The highest disapproval rating of Obama's entire presidency was 55 percent, which he hit twice in his eight years as commander-in-chief. Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti notes that Trump has hit a disapproval rating of 55 percent or more 12 times since becoming president on Jan. 20.
Breitbart was denied permanent Capitol Hill press credentials over concerns about Bannon's potentially ongoing involvement
Breitbart News' former executive chair might now serve as White House chief strategist, but that apparently doesn't help the conservative news organization get an in up on Capitol Hill. In fact, it just might do the opposite: On Monday, the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery denied Breitbart's request for permanent press credentials for Capitol Hill, The Daily Beast reports, citing a need for "more answers" regarding Stephen Bannon's role with the company.
The committee expressed concerns about Bannon's potentially ongoing involvement in the news organization. In response, Breitbart's Larry Solov sent a written masthead to the committee purporting to show that Bannon severed ties with the media organization in November, but beyond "us trusting Larry," a committee member noted that there was no actual evidence proving Bannon had divorced himself from Breitbart.
Breitbart additionally irked the committee by sending the documents "late Thursday" when the deadline was Friday morning:
Other details and clarification the committee will seek from Breitbart are the fuller explanations of roles of people on the masthead, explanation of any of their roles on other Bannon-related projects (Glittering Steel production company, Government Accountability Institute), clarification on news reports that Rebekah Mercer is involved in Breitbart editorial decisions, and more information on the location of Breitbart's office. [The Daily Beast]
Until they get permanent approval, Breitbart reporters can continue to receive temporary press passes. Jeva Lange
The biggest news story of the day might be what Republicans plan to do next following the humiliating defeat of their health-care bill last week, but you wouldn't know it from the White House newsletter. Monday's 1600 Daily features a memo about jobs ("it's all about jobs"), a peek at Trump's schedule ("11:00 a.m.: President Trump participates in a roundtable with women small business owners"), and a 360-degree view of the Oval Office, but it conspicuously fails to mention health care even once.
The bruised Trump White House is apparently trying to move on from its defeat entirely. The party is now refocusing on reforming the tax code, something that hasn't been done in about 30 years. Before they embark on tax reform, however, Republicans have to pass a new spending bill, or risk a government shutdown.
In the meantime, might 1600 Daily direct your attention to Reince Priebus' letter honoring Greek Independence Day? Jeva Lange
Investigators have found "no evidence" that the man who killed four people in London last week had ties to the Islamic State or al Qaeda, The Associated Press reported Monday. The attacker, a 52-year-old English native born Adrian Russell Ajao but known as Khalid Masood, was fatally shot by police at the scene of the crime after killing four people in an SUV and knife attack Wednesday.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told AP that Masood had "an interest in jihad," but that he apparently did not discuss the attack with international terrorist groups. Masood's attack "appear[ed] to be based on low sophistication, low tech, low cost techniques copied from other attacks," Basu added. The Islamic State claimed credit for the attack last week, calling Masood a "soldier of the state."
"At this stage we have no specific information about further threats to the public," Britain's Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said late last week. Jeva Lange
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons (Del.) revealed Monday on MSNBC's Morning Joe that he's bracing for a political showdown over President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Coons said he doesn't think Gorsuch will get the requisite 60 votes from the Senate to be confirmed, and hypothesized Republicans will "almost certainly" resort to eliminating the Supreme Court nominee filibuster via the "nuclear option" to push him through — a tactic first introduced by Democrats under former President Barack Obama.
While Coons said he understands Democrats' lingering frustrations over Republicans' refusal to grant a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland — who was nominated by Obama to fill the same seat Gorsuch now seeks — he also indicated he is irked by his party's approach and by partisanship in general. "I think this is tragic," Coons said. "In talking to friends on both sides of the aisle, we've got a lot of senators concerned about where we're headed. There's Republicans still very mad at us over the 2013 change to the filibuster rule, we're mad at them about shutting down the government, they're mad at us about Gorsuch, and we are not headed in a good direction. I'm very concerned about where we're headed."
Watch the segment below. Coons' comments about the Gorsuch start at the 2:13 mark. Becca Stanek