Former President George W. Bush called his own political party “isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent nativist” during a “Today” interview on Tuesday.
“It’s a beautiful country we have and yet it’s not beautiful when we condemn and call people names and scare people about immigration,” he said. “It’s an easy issue to frighten some of the electorate and I’m trying to have a different voice.”
Bush, who is coming out with a new book of his paintings, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants,” joked that his opinion is somewhat irrelevant.
“It’s not exactly my vision, but I’m just an old guy they put out to pasture, a simple painter,” he said.
During an interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell that aired Sunday, Bush said that failing to pass immigration reform during his two terms in office was one of the biggest disappointments of his presidency.
Bush said he wants “border enforcement with a compassionate touch,” and that he isn’t “pro-immigration” because that involves “open borders.”
He called for a stronger asylum process with more judges and courts to handle asylees’ claims and reform of the visa system to allow more workers in to fill “empty” American jobs. Bush also argued there’s a shortage of “manpower” on the border to handle the steep rise in migrants, particularly children, who’ve crossed the US-Mexico border in recent months.
Bush didn’t support former President Donald Trump’s reelection, but didn’t make any public statement before the election. He has said the Jan. 6 Capitol siege made him “sick” and on Tuesday he lamented the pervasiveness of political misinformation online.
Former President Donald Trump and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are teaming up to raise money for their political group and other Republican interests with a Florida golf tournament.
The Trump Graham Golf Classic, which will be held at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on May 2, will cost participants $25,000 each. The fundraiser will benefit a few GOP political action committees and the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to a Monday email announcement.
Graham has had a rocky relationship with the former president, who he once called a “kook” and “unfit for office,” and he criticized Trump’s attempts to overturn the presidential election. But the senator, who was largely a staunch Trump ally over the last four years, has since cozied up to the former president again and positioned himself as a leader of the MAGA movement.
The senator, a longtime golf partner of Trump’s, recently argued that Trump will remain an integral part of the GOP going forward.
“If he ran, it would be his nomination for the having,” Graham said of the former president in an interview earlier this year. “I don’t know what he wants to do. Because he was successful for conservatism and people appreciate his fighting spirit, he’s going to dominate the party for years to come. The way I look at it, there is no way we can achieve our goals without Trump.”
He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in February, “We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump. If you don’t get that, you’re just not looking.”
Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday derided the plan that several House Republicans had to form an “America First Caucus,” calling it one of the “nuttiest” things he has witnessed.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Boehner, who served as speaker from 2011 to 2015, laced into the group.
“I can tell you that this so-called America First Caucus is one of the nuttiest things I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Punchbowl News on Friday reported that conservative GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona were building a Republican caucus centered on “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” that would, among other issues, oppose “mass immigration” and coronavirus-related lockdowns.
On Saturday, Greene said that she would not be spearheading an “America First Caucus,” adding that she had not read the document that Punchbowl News released the day before.
Boehner criticized the worldview of those who conceived of such a caucus.
“I have no idea how this even showed up,” he emphasized. “America is a land of immigration. We’ve been the world’s giant melting pot for 250 years. And we ought to celebrate the fact that we are this giant melting pot.
He added: “To see some members of Congress go off and start this America First Caucus is – it’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen. And Republicans need to denounce it.”
“America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest, hard work,” he wrote. “It isn’t built on identity, race, or religion. The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans – not nativist dog whistles.”
Later in his interview, Boehner expressed regret for not reaching a deal on immigration reform with former President Barack Obama.
“Our immigration system is a mess,” he said. “It’s broken from top to bottom. And it needs to be fixed so that it’s fairer for Americans who are here and fairer for those who are trying to come here.”
But progress for transgender Americans is inevitable – and the Republican roadblocks are only temporary.
By the time we get to Arkansas
Among other things, the Republican brand proudly stands for standing against other Americans. It builds itself up by keeping others down. And the new law out of Arkansas is just the latest in a series of attacks on American’s civil rights and liberties.
In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act, which combats sexual assault and domestic violence against women, passed nearly unanimously. But every so often the bill needs to be voted on again for reauthorization, and this year, 172 Republicans opposed the bill. The rot at the heart of the Republican Party has eroded bipartisan support for women’s rights.
Republicans have gone to great lengths to leverage racial divide for political gain. As an electoral strategy, the party is more focused on winning by making it harder to vote instead of winning over a broader segment of the population. New voting restriction laws and rhetoric we see from the GOP today are the logical conclusion of a 50-year plan to define the Republican Party in opposition to rights for African Americans.
Former President Richard Nixon took the politics of racial grievance to a new level by pioneering a “Southern Strategy” that thrived off of racism against Black Americans. And now new laws making it harder to vote and giving Republican legislatures more ability to meddle in elections are cropping up all over the country in a movement that Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina called “the new Jim Crow.”
The Republican assault on non-whites extends to immigrants as well, with a white-nationalist talking point quickly taking center stage. Tucker Carlson is gleefully rehashing “replacement theory” for ratings gain, stating that immigrants are hell-bent on destroying and replacing white Americans. That this alt-right theory is proudly repeated on Fox News says everything you need to know about the modern GOP.
Republicans, naturally, have a long history of opposing LGBTQ rights – whether it be service in our military, the right to marry, or the ability to adopt children. But our country progressed, and Republicans could only slow, but not stop, the inevitable rights of LBGTQ Americans.
By the time we get to Arkansas, we know the playbook. Republicans will demean, delay and divide. They will dehumanize their fellow human beings. They will be the problem against progress. But the hearts and minds of Americans will be the triumph for trans Americans that beats back Republican fear.
The grand shrinking party
Trans Americans will be fully accepted and have every legal right eventually – but it won’t be because of Republicans. It will be despite Republicans.
Of course, there are vast numbers of good Republicans who aren’t Republicans because they live to hate. But their elected leaders are making cynical calculations about what makes some Americans tick. In doing so, they’re continuing to shrink what was once a big tent party.
As every group and American demographics simultaneously progress, Republicans will run out of people to hate and run out of people to turn off. And then they’ll just run out of people, living as a dramatically diminished party without inspiring ideas to take our country forward.
Donations to the 10 lawmakers in the first three months of 2021 totaled $6.4 million, per new filings from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), first reported by Bloomberg. The money has come from GOP donors, conservative PACs, and even some Democrat donors, such as entrepreneur Kimbal Musk, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s brother.
Three of the lawmakers – Kinzinger, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, and Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio – had their biggest-ever quarters for political contributions, Bloomberg reported.
So far, 15 challengers have announced primary bids against the incumbents in the 2022 midterms, though one incumbent, Rep. John Katko, is currently unopposed. The challengers have collectively raised $1.9 million this year, Bloomberg reported.
Here’s how much the GOP lawmakers raised between January 1 and March 31, per the FEC:
Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyoming): $1.54 million
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Illinois): $1.15 million
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (Washington): $744,750
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio): $616,524
Rep. Peter Meijer (Michigan): $519,741
Rep. John Katko (New York): $436,291
Rep. Tom Rice (South Carolina): $404,731
Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan): $360,392
Rep. David Valadao (California): $322,144
Rep. Dan Newhouse (Washington): $289,493
Cheney topped the list with $1.54 million in funding between January 1 and March 31, the FEC filings show. This includes $10,000 from Mitt Romney’s Believe in America PAC, and $5,600 from her father, former Vice-President Dick Cheney.
Key Republican figures spent some of the weekend mulling plans for the future of big tech at former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, according to a report by CNBC.
The gathering last weekend saw Republican donors, lawmakers, and strategists discuss their plans for tackling big tech, social media, and corporate America last weekend, the publication reported.
Attendees discussed a “strategy on social media and big tech,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and attendee at the retreat, told the publication.
CNBC reported that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said he had taken part in conversations about “concern over bias and growing power of media and social media.”
The two groups have been at loggerheads over what Republicans see as the restriction of free speech and the social media platforms see as the removal of hate speech and misinformation from their sites.
After the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, social media giants rushed to crack down on Trump and his supporters, with Facebook and Twitter both suspending Trump’s accounts.
But Republicans are fighting back against the social media crackdown. Both Trump and Lindell are planning on launching their own platforms, and major Republican donor Roy Bailey told CNBC that he is interested in investing in a site where conservatives wouldn’t have to “worry about censorship.”
The discussions happened during the Republican National Committee’s donor summit, which was held largely at a Four Seasons hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.
The invite-only event lets Republican candidates mingle the party’s donors as they discuss the GOP’s strategy and direction.
Schlapp told the publication that some attendees at the Mar-a-Lago event said they were “being cancelled” by insurance companies and banks and thought they weren’t being denied services because banks thought their businesses were too conservative.
He told CNBC that most of the conversations at Mar-a-Lago were “informal” and that the plans were still developing.
At other points during the RNC retreat, Florida Senator Marco Rubio criticized big tech companies over how they treat their staff and seemed to encourage GOP leaders to attract more support from union workers in the 2022 midterm elections, people briefed on the matter told CNBC.
Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Monday blasted former President Donald Trump as an “unemployed” individual who is out to “cause trouble” after losing his reelection bid last year.
During an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” Boehner, who is promoting his forthcoming book, “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” was asked by co-host Sara Haines when the GOP would have a “wake-up call” regarding the former president’s continued false claims that he won the 2020 presidential election.
At the Republican National Committee’s donor summit in Florida last weekend, Trump reportedly repeated the claim that the election was “stolen” from him.
“Here’s a guy who’s unemployed, has nothing else to do but cause trouble,” Boehner said. “Clearly, it’s obvious to me that he’s not going away.”
After the November general election and even after President Joe Biden was officially declared the winner, the Trump campaign unsuccessfully sought to overturn the election results in a range of swing states.
Boehner criticized Trump for continuing to push the false narrative that voter fraud cost him the election – even in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot prompted by his repeated lies.
“The president abused the loyalty and the trust that voters had placed in him by perpetuating this noise,” he said. “It was really one of the sadder things I’ve seen in the last 40 years in politics.”
When Haines asked Boehner why current Republican officeholders couldn’t be straightforward with Americans about Trump’s rhetoric, the former speaker didn’t have a clear answer.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m not in the political world these days. I try to, frankly, stay as far away from it as I can.”
However, Boehner stressed that the party needed to return to its core principles.
“I think what Republicans need to do is act like Republicans,” he said. “I’m a conservative Republican, but I’m not crazy. I believe in fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense. We need to rally the party around what being a Republican means.”
When former GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio served in leadership, he often worked with his Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Both men were from the same political party and even hailed from adjoining states – Boehner was a conservative Midwestern Republican, while McConnell the face of the South’s dominant influence within the party.
During an interview with USA Today, the former speaker highlighted McConnell’s intellect and penchant to play the long game, which the minority leader wholly adhered to when installing conservative jurists to the federal bench.
Boehner also said that the Kentucky Republican “holds his feelings, thoughts, and emotions in a lockbox closed so tightly that whenever one of them seeps out, bystanders are struck silent.”
For Boehner, a jovial, backslapping politician who still smokes Camel cigarettes and is known to publicly cry during emotional moments, McConnell’s steely and to-the-point demeanor is quite a contrast.
Even in retirement, Boehner’s sentimental side has not dissipated.
When the former speaker was asked what makes him cry, he was prepared with a response.
“I can get a little teary-eyed,” he said. “Over what? There’s a pretty long list.”
Former President Donald Trump on Saturday expressed optimism that Republicans would regain control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections and win back the White House in 2024, according to prepared remarks obtained by the Associated Press.
In a keynote address at the Republican National Committee’s donor summit in Florida, Trump did not explicitly say if he would be a candidate in 2024, but float the idea of a potential candidacy, according to an attendee who spoke with CBS News.
While the closed-door summit was mostly held at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, attendees were taken to the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort to hear him speak.
“We are gathered tonight to talk about the future of the Republican Party – and what we must do to set our candidates on a course to victory,” Trump’s prepared remarks said. “I stand before you this evening filled with confidence that in 2022, we are going to take back the House and we are going to reclaim the Senate – and then in 2024, a Republican candidate is going to win the White House.”
“With an agenda this unpopular, it is no wonder that Joe Biden is the first new president in modern times not to address a joint session of Congress within his first few weeks,” according to the former president’s prepared remarks.
Trump, along with top GOP leaders, have reportedly expressed confidence that Republicans can win back control of Congress by hammering Biden over his immigration policies.
The former president championed hardline immigration policies and the construction of a southern border wall throughout his tenure in office and during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
Biden has sought to move away from the more aggressive family separation policies that defined the Trump years.
The GOP summit comes as Republicans find themselves shut out of power in Washington DC, with Biden in the White House and Democrats in control of both the House and the Senate, albeit with slim majorities.
In attendance were several potential 2024 GOP candidates that would likely launch campaigns in the event that Trump declines to run, including Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, along with Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
Major League Baseball took a strong, tangible stand against Georgia’s new voting law by moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver. More than 100 companies and CEOs, including Delta and Coke – two of the biggest businesses to call Atlanta home – matched this action with their words.
This is not the first time that corporations have needed to step forward to take on Republican policy madness – but it’s the latest encapsulation of the sad state of affairs in this country, where companies have a stronger moral compass than our political leaders.
Corporations saving the world
The MLB’s move against Georgia will hopefully serve as a shot across the bow for other states looking to make it harder for Black Americans to vote. While conservatives may cry that these decisions, made by private companies, are “cancel culture” on steroids – the GOP is only narrowing their field of play for future elections by declaring more and more of the country “against” them.
This is not the first time that companies have stepped in when Republican policies have stepped out. The most notable example is guns. As mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting has killed our children – Republicans in Washington have put up a bullet-proof roadblock against even common-sense, popular gun safety measures.
While most of America has been appalled by the GOP’s crooked interpretation of the Second Amendment, corporations took the matter into their own hands. Dick’s, the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer, stopped selling firearms at more than 400 of their stores, while Walmart raised the age required to purchase a gun to 21 after the horrific shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
As new states pass draconian laws endangering the health and well-being of trans youth, we’re reminded of how corporate pressure can force politicians to change. In 2016, after North Carolina’s passage of the so-called “bathroom bill,” which barred trans people from using the bathroom of their gender identity, numerous corporations took concrete steps to voice their opposition.
Companies also could choose to move their offices out of states with regressive voting laws or choose not to move there at all. Atlanta has a large entertainment industry that could easily find a home in a state that believes everyone should have easy, secure voting access. Moving to a less oppressive state would serve as a simultaneous economic and moral victory.
The slippery slope
The dramatically escalating national dysfunction led by Washington has brought us to this day. The fact that companies are the new standard bearers for common sense may be powerful today but is concerning long term.
The strength of our polity cannot rely on the moral force of profit. It can be a wakeup call, a force for logic, but it is a cover, not a foundation. Their day job is not to consider the whole. In theory, that responsibility belongs to our electeds. Both teams have failed us, but big business only feels the need to play when the Republicans are at their craziest.
If our leaders continue to falter, it is not sustainable for the basic functions of government to be turned over to corporations, where there is a natural ceiling. So if our politicians are incompetent and our companies are limited, the moment of truth will be when our country faces a crisis that is existential and not just manufactured by the GOP.