Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was assaulted while mowing the lawn at his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Friday, sustaining minor injuries including cuts near his mouth and a "possible rib injury" that caused difficult breathing. News of the arrest of suspect Rene Boucher, who has been charged with one count of fourth-degree assault, was reported Saturday.
Local sources say Boucher is Paul's neighbor and an outspoken critic of the senator's fellow Republican, President Trump, on social media. It is unclear whether the attack's motivation was political or related to a neighborly dispute, but an unnamed Paul aide reportedly said the senator's office believes politics are not involved. Neighbors report the two men, both doctors, have an "ongoing dispute."
Paul was "blindsided" by the attack, said his Kentucky communications director, and a criminal complaint cited by an area NBC affiliate indicates Paul "told police that his neighbor came onto his property and tackled him from behind, forcing him to the ground and causing pain." Paul did not notice Boucher approaching because he was wearing ear plugs. Bonnie Kristian
Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough mock Trump's 'unhealthy obsession with Morning Joe' after ugly tweets
On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted some unkind things about the co-hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, saying he turned the pair away from Mar-a-Lago over the New Year and alleging that "low I.Q. Crazy Mika" was "bleeding badly from a face-lift." On Friday, Brzezinski and Scarborough responded in a Washington Post op-ed, and their more-in-sorrow-than-anger article included a rebuttal of Trump's tweets.
"Trump claims that we asked to join him at Mar-a-Lago three nights in a row," they wrote. "That is false. He also claimed that he refused to see us. That is laughable." It was the opposite, Brzezinski and Scarborough say — Trump invited them, insisting that Brzezinski come on the second night after she skipped the first. The face-lift jab "is also a lie," they said. "Putting aside Mr. Trump's never-ending obsession with women's blood, Mika and her face were perfectly intact, as pictures from that night reveal." But they saved their best concern-trolling for Trump's claim that he no longer watches their show:
America's leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, Morning Joe. ... The president's unhealthy obsession with Morning Joe does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs. Despite his constant claims that he no longer watches the show, the president's closest advisers tell us otherwise. That is unfortunate. We believe it would be better for America and the rest of the world if he would keep his 60-inch-plus flat-screen TV tuned to Fox & Friends. [The Washington Post]
Brzezinski and Scarborough said that the Trump they have known for more than a decade has changed since running for president, and not in a good way. They applauded the Republican lawmakers who criticized Trump's misogynistic "West Wing temper tantrum" and said they "can only hope that the women who are closest to him will follow their examples." You can read the entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Peter Weber
The day after Democrats lost yet another special House election, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) offered a brutal analysis of his party's struggle to define its economic message. "I think we've been hyperconfused over the course of the past five years," Murphy said Wednesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "Some of the time we're talking about economic growth, some of the time we're talking about economic fairness."
Murphy said he thinks Democrats ought to instead be "hyperfocused on this question of wage growth and job growth." He urged Democrats not to be "scared off by that message just because it's been what Republicans have been talking about."
Murphy dished out his advice after Republican Karen Handel soundly defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff by a 4 percent margin in Georgia's special House election Tuesday. Also Tuesday, Democrat Archie Parnell lost to Republican Ralph Norman in South Carolina's 5th congressional district, securing an 0-4 record for Democrats in special House races this year.
Conservative commentator David Brooks had some harsh words for Republicans in his column Friday in The New York Times. Underneath a headline declaring the "Trump elite" to be like "the old elite, but worse," Brooks argued the GOP health-care bill is "not molded to the actual health-care needs of regular voters." "It was written by elites to serve the needs of elites," Brooks wrote. "Donald Trump vowed to drain the swamp, but this bill is pure swamp."
The bill, Brooks said, appears to have been written only because the new GOP leaders "needed something they could call ObamaCare repeal — anything that they could call ObamaCare repeal," and because President Trump "needed a win":
They were more concerned with bending, distorting, and folding the bill to meet the Byrd rule, an arbitrary congressional peculiarity of no real purpose to the outside world. They were more concerned with what this internal faction, or that internal faction, might want. The result was a pedantic hodgepodge that made no one happy. [David Brooks, via The New York Times]
While Republicans may feel caught between supporting party leaders and opposing a bill that's widely disliked and "bad for most voters, especially Republican voters," Brooks warned: "This bill takes the most vicious progressive stereotypes about conservatives and validates them."
GOP congressman says health-care proposal is the most 'universally detested piece of legislation' he's ever seen
The House is planning to vote Thursday on the Republican proposal to replace ObamaCare, known as the American Health Care Act. The bill — drafted mostly by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle, as some Republicans object to its keeping certain provisions of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, while Democrats have pointed to the millions of Americans who would lose insurance.
President Trump has declared his support for the American Health Care Act, and The Washington Post reported last week that Trump was "relishing a role as a high-stakes 'closer'" in the negotiations over the bill. Trump has asked several members of the House directly to support the bill, the Post reported, and Ryan said earlier this month he was confident Republicans would produce the 218 votes needed to advance the bill to the Senate.
But one Republican congressman, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), hinted at a much different reality in a tweet Monday morning:
While I've been in Congress, I can't recall a more universally detested piece of legislation than this GOP health care bill.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 20, 2017
Donald Trump's victory was bad news for more than just Hillary Clinton's supporters. Bloomberg reported that, at the opening bell Wednesday morning, the collective wealth of the world's billionaires was down $41 billion as the shock of Trump's win roiled the markets. Earlier in the week, when Clinton looked poised for a victory, the world's richest saw their wealth increase by a collective $57 billion.
Carlos Slim, Mexico's richest man and the fifth-richest person in the world, was hit particularly hard by the news of Trump's impending victory. As the peso plummeted "as much as 12 percent on the news" of Trump's win, Bloomberg reported that Slim lost $5.1 billion — about 9.2 percent of his wealth.
In brighter news, the markets opened higher than expected Wednesday after taking a nosedive Tuesday night. And as Money magazine pointed out, the losses of the world's wealthiest weren't as bad as they were after the U.K.'s Brexit vote, when their collective wealth plunged $212 billion. Becca Stanek
While ostensibly campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Miami, Florida, on Thursday, President Obama sure made a convincing case against Marco Rubio. The Florida senator is up for re-election to his Senate seat, facing a challenge from Democratic congressman Patrick Murphy — but it seems like Obama hasn't quite forgiven Rubio for the last campaign he ran, when he made attacking Obama a central theme of his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Obama sandwiched his case against Donald Trump with dings at Rubio, telling the assembled crowd that Rubio once called Trump — a candidate he is planning to vote for — a "con artist" and an "erratic individual" who shouldn't be trusted with the nuclear codes. "That begs the question: Since we're in Florida, why does Marco Rubio still plan to vote for Donald Trump? Why is he supporting Donald Trump?" Obama asked. He then moved on to attacking Trump before circling back to Rubio, and in explaining Rubio's apparent line-toeing on the Republican nominee, Obama went for the jugular:
President Obama: Marco Rubio is "willing to be anybody just to be somebody."
— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) October 20, 2016
After watching this new Hillary Clinton ad, it's hard to say what's worse: the revelations from Donald Trump's tax returns, or his golf swing. Clinton's latest ad, entitled "Arrogant," shines a spotlight on The New York Times' report over the weekend that Trump might not have paid federal income taxes for "nearly two decades." "He claims he's worth $10 billion," the ad says, while showing a clip of Trump taking a choppy swing at a golf ball. So, the ad asks, "Why didn't Donald Trump pay his [taxes]?"
Watch the ad below. Becca Stanek