another one bites the dust
December 3, 2019

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, multiple sources report.

The Atlantic's Isaac Dovere was the first to report Harris had told staffers she was dropping out, and Politico soon confirmed the news, with Harris reportedly planning to release a video announcement later Tuesday. Harris is the highest polling candidate to leave the race so far, and she does so even though she had made December's Democratic debate stage.

Harris entered the 2020 race with high expectations, shooting up in the polls after repeated takedowns of former Vice President Joe Biden in debates. But her prosecutorial past raised concerns among the left wing of the party, and things got bleaker as she shed her early pledge to avoid taking money from PACs. Even as campaign-related tweets and posts rolled out on Tuesday, Harris cancelled a big-money fundraiser later that day, suggesting her campaign was coming to an end. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 11, 2019

Rep. Pete King, a moderate New York Republican now in his 14th congressional term, will not run for reelection in the fall, he announced Monday.

King, while "in good health," decided with his wife that he'd like to spend more time with his children and grandchildren, he said in a statement. He went on to recount his "extraordinary experience" serving his Long Island district, namely his "efforts for 9/11 victims and their families" and "leading the successful effort to recover from Superstorm Sandy," among other things.

That makes King the 20th Republican in the House to say they won't run for reelection next year, as opposed to only eight Democrats who've declined to run. King won his district in 2018 with 53 percent of the vote, meaning it's possible a Democrat could take over the spot next year. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 28, 2019

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary race on Wednesday, after she failed to qualify for the third round of debates by the Democratic National Committee's deadline.

Gillibrand, whose campaign largely focused on women and families, participated in the first two rounds of Democratic debates, but struggled to gain momentum as the qualifications ramped up. Several major polls released Wednesday showed Gillibrand with less than 1 percent support. She said she would endorse another candidate in the primary, but did not announce who.

"I think that women have a unique ability to bring people together and heal this country," Gillibrand told The New York Times, "I think a woman nominee would be inspiring and exciting." The senator recommitted to electing more women to Congress. Read more at The New York Times. The Week Staff

May 30, 2019

A seemingly bipartisan disaster aid bill has just stalled out in Congress for the third time.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a $19.1 billion bill last week, even getting support from President Trump. Yet just one voice in the House has caused the bill to crash and burn, given that Congress is still on Memorial Day recess and would need unanimous support to pass the bill before it reconvenes. Rep. John Rose (R-Tenn.) said he wanted more debate over the bill before approving it, and asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to call the House back early to get it done.

The disaster aid bill has already failed twice in the past week, first with Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) complaining that it didn't include emergency spending to build Trump's border wall, and then with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) saying the same on Tuesday. Trump himself, though, told Senate Republicans that he'd let the bill pass without $4.5 billion in wall funding after it had languished in Congress for months over his demand.

The compromise bill okayed $900 million in aid for Puerto Rico after its disastrous September 2017 hurricane. It also extends $3.25 billion to repair flood and hurricane damage throughout the country, $3.17 billion to rebuild military bases, and $3.005 billion for farmers suffering crop and livestock losses, among other packages. There's still a chance it could pass once Congress returns on Monday. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 9, 2019

In one of her final acts as Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen announced on Tuesday that Claire Grady, the department's undersecretary of management and acting deputy secretary, submitted her resignation, effective Wednesday.

Under the department's rules, if the secretary leaves, the undersecretary of management becomes acting secretary. President Trump apparently didn't know this, because when he announced on Sunday that Nielsen was stepping down, he also said Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, would become acting secretary. Grady's departure now clears the path for Trump to install McAleenan.

The Department of Homeland Security is going through a tumultuous time, with Nielsen and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles both being pushed out. Several administration officials have said White House adviser Stephen Miller, an immigration hardliner, is behind the shake-up, and the purge won't end with Grady's exit — Trump is reportedly also looking at removing two U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services leaders, director Lee Cissna and policy director Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, and Homeland Security general counsel John Mitnick. Catherine Garcia

February 7, 2019

Scandals aren't just for Virginia Democrats anymore.

After a blackface photo was revealed to be on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's (D) yearbook page, and after Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) was accused of sexual assault, the state's Attorney General Mark Herring (D) admitted he too wore blackface in college. And now, it seems the state's top Republican, state Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, was in charge of a college yearbook similarly packed with racism, The Virginian-Pilot reports.

Norment attended the Virginia Military Institute and was the managing editor of its 1968 yearbook, which was published just before VMI's first black students were allowed to enroll that fall. The Pilot didn't find any explicit racist behavior from Norment on those pages. But there are several pictures of students in blackface inside, along with at least one use of the n-word and other anti-Asian and anti-Semitic slurs. When asked about the yearbook Thursday, Norment said "the only thing I'm talking about today is the budget."

Northam also attended VMI, and a yearbook from his time at the school listed one of his nicknames as "Coonman." Northam has not addressed that nickname, but has said he is not one of men in blackface or Ku Klux Klan robes on his medical school yearbook page, and has refused calls to resign. Fairfax has said the alleged 2004 sexual assault was "consensual."

Norment isn't in line for the Virginia governorship; If Northam, Fairfax, and Herring all step aside, House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R) will become governor. Cox literally got his speaker job thanks to a coin toss, and if it turns out he did something unsavory and resigns himself, the House of Delegates will have to pick a new governor. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 6, 2019

Defense Department Chief of Staff Kevin Sweeney resigned Saturday evening.

"After two years in the Pentagon, I've decided the time is right to return to the private sector," he said in a brief statement. "It has been an honor to serve again alongside the men and women of the Department of Defense."

This is the third major departure from the Pentagon in recent weeks, following the exits of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the United States' special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter the Islamic State, over President Trump's announcement of intent to withdraw from Syria. Bonnie Kristian

December 15, 2018

President Trump on Twitter Saturday morning announced Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is leaving his administration by year's end:

Trump did not say whether Zinke resigned or was fired.

Zinke's tenure at Interior has been marred by allegations of unethical conduct which have reportedly troubled Trump and prompted a Justice Department investigation. His policy proposals have included privatizing campgrounds on public land, shrinking national monument land, and raising national park visitor fees to cover renovations.

This announcement comes one day after Trump said Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will step in as acting White House chief of staff. A Politico report in late October indicated further turnover in the already volatile administration was likely following the midterm elections. Bonnie Kristian

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