“Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in danger of not appearing on Maine’s primary ballot after he fell short of the minimum 2,000 signatures needed from Maine voters to qualify for the state’s Republican presidential primary,” CBS News reports.
“As he campaigns to retake the White House, Donald Trump has increasingly tossed aside the principles of limited government and local control that have defined the Republican Party for decades,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The former president is laying plans to wield his executive authority to influence school curricula, prevent doctors from providing medical interventions for young transgender people and pressure police departments to adopt more severe anticrime policies. All are areas where state or local officials have traditionally taken the lead.”
“It is a governing platform barely recognizable to prior generations of Republican politicians, who campaigned against one-size-fits-all federal dictates and argued that state legislators, mayors and town halls were best positioned to oversee their communities. While many of his proposals would be difficult to achieve, the second-term agenda outlined by Trump could require waves of new federal intervention, even as he calls for firing government workers, neutering the “deep state” and cutting regulations.”
“Ron DeSantis plans on Saturday to complete his campaign promise to visit each of Iowa’s 99 counties, a timeworn tactic for presidential candidates hoping to make their mark in the leadoff state over months mingling with voters at the state’s diners, cookouts and Pizza Ranches,” the AP reports.
“But the Florida governor’s moment, like much of his campaign, will take place under the towering shadow of former President Donald Trump.”
“Around the same time DeSantis is set to take the stage Saturday afternoon in Newton, Iowa, Trump will be addressing cheering supporters about 100 miles away in Cedar Rapids.”
“Holding Donald Trump’s election interference trial next August would amount to serious ‘election interference,’ the former president’s lead Atlanta attorney told a Fulton County judge on Friday,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“Making his courtroom debut for Trump, attorney Steve Sadow said the timing proposed by prosecutors — in which the Georgia racketeering case would begin just three months before the general election — would restrict Trump’s ability to campaign for a return trip to the White House. Trump is facing 13 felony charges in Fulton County.”
Politico reports Trump wants his trial pushed to 2029 — after he leaves the presidency, assuming he is elected next year.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign accused Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) of misusing the former president’s image and tricking donors in an online fundraising scheme, The Messenger reports.
Andrew Sullivan: “I was one of a handful of pundits who thought in early 2016 that Trump not only could, but probably would, win the election. I could feel his appeal in my lizard brain, and had long studied the fragility of liberal democracy in my frontal cortex. But the moment I knew his presidency was almost certain was when the Brexit result was announced in June, when everyone still assumed Hillary was a shoo-in. Something was stirring. And that’s why, after my annual trip back to Britain last week, I’m feeling the nausea again.”
“The mood is just ugly — a deep pessimism suffused with barely stifled fury. It’s not quite right or left, as we used to understand those things. It’s more irrational than that, and less predictable.”
“Tensions between Ron DeSantis’ struggling presidential campaign and his allied super PAC are boiling over, with the campaign losing confidence in Never Back Down’s leadership and ability to orchestrate a TV advertising campaign,” Politico reports.
“Democratic Senate candidates across the country are relishing the notion of playing off former President Donald Trump’s renewed calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act if he wins the presidency next year,” The Messenger reports.
Semafor: “The hope is to marry Trump’s base of young conservative voters with a mix of disaffected Biden voters and more politically marginal voters that can be reached outside conventional media. They are looking at ways to leverage Trump’s inroads in pop culture, especially hip hop.”
“The main super PAC supporting Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign has been rocked by another significant departure, as Adam Laxalt, a friend and former roommate of the Florida governor, has stepped down as chairman of the group,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Laxalt, who unsuccessfully ran to become a Republican senator in Nevada in 2022, lived with Mr. DeSantis when he was training as a naval officer. He joined Never Back Down in April, soon after his own campaign ended and before Mr. DeSantis officially joined the presidential race, in a move that was widely seen as Mr. DeSantis and his wife seeking to have someone they trusted monitoring the activities of the well-funded group.”
The Cook Political Report rates the race to fill the seat of expelled former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) as a Toss Up.
Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) told CBS News that Donald Trump’s election in 2024 would be “the end of the Republic.”
She also expressed alarm at how comfortable the Republican party has become with his lies.
Newly uncovered divorce filings reveal allegations of a “secret life” and help explain why the presidential candidate, who has earned millions of dollars over the years, has hardly anything left, Forbes reports.
David Graham: “A candidate who is running to potentially stay out of prison is a dangerous candidate. He is not just running for his own ideology or pride; he’s running for his very freedom. That warps his incentives, making him more likely to employ demagogic tactics, less concerned about the way history might judge him, and more inclined to use every avenue possible to win the election—even if it means bending or breaking the law.”
“Yet Trump may not be alone. In recent weeks, the former president has been more explicit about his intention, if reelected, to prosecute Joe Biden. And that means both leading candidates could have their freedom at stake.”
Pamela Paul: “Trump’s first term will look benign compared with what we can expect from a second. ‘The gloves are off,’ Trump has declared.”
“Still, the Democrats act as if everything is normal. They talk about why to support Joe Biden’s campaign for re-election: He has done a pretty good job, they say. He led the country out of the pandemic and avoided a deep recession. He beat all other primary candidates last time. And he beat Trump before. We should go with a proven contender.”
“But even if Biden has done a pretty good job as president, most Americans don’t see that. His approval ratings have just hit a new low. Biden may want another term, but the obvious if unchivalrous response is, ‘So what?’ Not every person, whether young or elderly, wants what is in his own best interest, let alone in the interest of a nation. Democrats can’t afford to take a version of the ‘It’s Bob Dole’s turn’ approach this time around.”
“With less than 50 days until the Iowa caucuses, former President Donald Trump’s campaign is making a major weekly six-figure advertisement buy in the Hawkeye State — marking one of the first times the campaign will go up on broadcast TV as the early GOP front-runner takes a big step in seeking to fend off his rivals,” ABC News reports.
“In a preview of the two ads set to air in Iowa, first shared with ABC News, the campaign plans to attack President Joe Biden in one and tout Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ past praise of Trump in another.”
“People increasingly think it’s over. It’s a dumpster fire.”
— A person close to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), quoted by the Washington Post, on his presidential campaign.
Tucker Carlson told Roseanne Barr that he’s endorsing Donald Trump for president.
Said Carlson: “I became an active Trump supporter when they raided Mar-a-Lago last summer. That just can’t stand. I’m voting for Trump, and if they convict him, I will send him the max donations and I will lead protests. That’s how I feel.”
Carlson added that he has “always agreed with Trump’s policies,” even “losing friends over it.”