Wesley Lowery in The Washington Post has an informative roundup of where the GOP's big-money donors — broadly referred to here as the network that funded Mitt Romney's 2012 run — stand on the Republican Party's 2016 presidential prospects. The big takeaway is that they really, really like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "If Jeb Bush is in the race, he clears the field," one donor told Lowery.
Notably, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is also getting a lot of love from the Republican Party's moneyed class, with many praising his ability to weather the political storm that surrounded his successful bid to weaken union bargaining rights in his home state. ("Walker's political resilience is the trait they most admire," says Lowery.) Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is virtually persona non grata; in addition to Bridgegate, half of Romney's donors are reportedly still bitter about that time he supposedly threw away the 2012 election by palling around with President Obama.
It goes to show that while Christie enjoyed some seriously fawning press coverage in the glow of his re-election victory, his standing within the party had grown quite shaky even before his subordinates decided it was time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee. He doesn't have bedrock support in the grassroots or the 1 percent, leaving him in a no-man's-land between the two main camps in today's GOP. All of which will make it that much harder for him to claw his way back to relevancy. Ryu Spaeth
George H.W. Bush to be moved out of ICU, former first lady Barbara Bush discharged from the hospital
Former President George H.W. Bush could be discharged from the hospital as soon as the end of this week. "If everything continues at the pace of improvement we're currently enjoying, I would imagine … a Friday discharge might be a little bit optimistic, but Friday or over the weekend," said Dr. Clint Doerr, one of the doctors treating Bush, per The Washington Examiner.
Bush, who was hospitalized last week for "shortness of breath," is going to be transferred from the intensive care unit of Houston Methodist Hospital to another wing of the hospital, Bush's doctor announced Monday. He was treated for pneumonia.
Meanwhile, former first lady Barbara Bush has been discharged and is reportedly "back to her normal self." She was also hospitalized last week after coming down with bronchitis.
President Trump admitted Monday at a White House meeting with business leaders that he was "surprised" by his administration's plans to cut regulations. "A bigger thing, and that surprised me, is the fact that we are going to be cutting regulation massively. Now we are going to have regulation and it will be just as strong and just as good and just as protective of the people as the regulation we have right now," Trump told executives from companies including Dell, Lockheed Martin, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, and SpaceX, among others. "The problem with the regulation you have right now is that you can't do anything."
Trump indicated his administration plans to slash regulations "by 75 percent" or "maybe more." Trump also noted his plans to cut taxes "massively for both the middle class and for companies" by an estimated 15 or 20 percent, and reiterated that any company that moves abroad will face "a very major border tax." Becca Stanek
The end is nigh! At least, according to some of the richest Americans. For wealthy Silicon Valley tycoons, one form of insurance could be staking out a place in the Survival Condo Project, a luxury bunker built in a former missile silo outside of Wichita, Kansas, The New Yorker reports.
In addition to an "adult time-out room" and a dentist chair, the silo also contains some comforts of home:
Some levels are dedicated to private apartments and others offer shared amenities: a seventy-five-foot-long pool, a rock-climbing wall, an Astro-Turf "pet park," a classroom with a line of Mac desktops, a gym, a movie theater, and a library. It felt compact but not claustrophobic. [...] One floor up, we visited the food-storage area, still unfinished. [Survival Condo Project CEO Larry Hall] hopes that, once it's fully stocked, it will feel like a "miniature Whole Foods," but for now it holds mostly cans of food. [The New Yorker]
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced Monday that he will support the nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, just ahead of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's scheduled vote on the former ExxonMobil executive. Rubio had waffled on supporting President Donald Trump's pick to lead the State Department because of his concerns about Tillerson's ties to Russia as well as his remarks on human rights during his confirmation hearing earlier this month; during questioning, Rubio grilled Tillerson about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "war criminal," a statement Tillerson declined to support.
"In making my decision on his nomination, I must balance these concerns with his extensive experience and success in international commerce, and my belief that the president is entitled to significant deference when it comes to his choices for the Cabinet," Rubio wrote Monday in a Facebook post. Ultimately, Rubio said he decided "it would be against our national interests to have this confirmation unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy."
If Rubio had voted against Tillerson's nomination in committee, it would have sent Tillerson to the Senate floor without a positive recommendation — a development Time said would have been an "embarrassing rebuke to Trump just as his presidency gets underway."
Read Rubio's post in full below. Becca Stanek
Even Hillary Clinton's daughter thinks everyone should cut President Trump's son, Barron Trump, some slack. In a tweet Sunday, former first child Chelsea Clinton defended Barron's "chance" to "be a kid" — and then took a shot at the new president's policies:
Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does-to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing @POTUS policies that hurt kids.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) January 22, 2017
Since Inauguration Day, 10-year-old Barron has been the butt of many a Twitter joke, with Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich posting in a since-deleted tweet that Trump's youngest son "will be this country's first homeschool shooter."
Clinton wasn't much older than Barron when her father, former President Bill Clinton, first took office in January 1993. Becca Stanek
The U.S. Department of Defense shared a special message Monday and it is definitely, absolutely not a subtweet:
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) January 23, 2017
The Department of the Interior's Twitter account briefly went dark Friday after its retweet about the size of President Donald Trump's inauguration crowd irked the Trump administration.
But that, of course, is neither here nor there. Jeva Lange
China's communist government is pointing to President Donald Trump's inauguration as an example of how democracy is a failed political system, Bloomberg Politics reports:
Democracy has reached its limits, and deterioration is the inevitable future of capitalism, according to the People's Daily, the flagship paper of China's Communist Party. It devoted an entire page on Sunday to critiquing Western democracies, quoting former Chairman Mao Zedong's 1949 poem asking people to "range far your eyes over long vistas" and saying the ultimate defeat of capitalism would enable Communism to emerge victorious.
The unusual series of commentaries in the People's Daily mirrors Soviet efforts to promote an alternative political and economic system during the Cold War. The rise of anti-establishment, protectionist politicians like Trump, amid populist winds on several continents, has sent political parties scurrying to shore up their support, helping China to portray itself as relatively steady. [Bloomberg Politics]
One article, for example, declared "Western-style democracy used to be a recognized power in history to drive social development. But now it has reached its limits. Democracy is already kidnapped by the capitals and has become the weapon for capitalists to chase profits."
"China's rising wealth has brought greater global presence, but that's not enough," explained political science professor Zhang Ming to Bloomberg Politics. "The Communist leaders want that someday China will matter globally for the nature of its political system and create its own universal values." Jeva Lange