Skip Navigation
Breaking News

The Ticker

Breaking news from Washington and beyond

Illustration by Dave Murray

Kevin McCarthy Lies And Says Trump Condemned Fuentes (He Never Did)

The potential House speaker said Donald Trump condemned white supremacist Nick Fuentes four times. In reality, he hasn't condemned Fuentes even once.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy finally spoke out Tuesday on Donald Trump meeting with a white supremacist…sort of.

It has been one week since Trump met with Nick Fuentes, a Holocaust denier and white supremacist, and rapper Kanye West, another outspoken antisemite. Republicans have been largely silent on the matter, or they have avoided explicitly criticizing Trump. The few exceptions, such as Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and Mitt Romney, were already vocal Trump critics and are not in party leadership positions.

McCarthy, the GOP nominee to be the new speaker of the House, condemned Fuentes Tuesday, telling reporters: “I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican Party.”

But he then repeatedly insisted that Trump “came out four times” against Fuentes and didn’t know who he was to begin with. Both statements are straight-up lies.

Trump has not condemned Fuentes, and although he claimed not to know who Fuentes is, the former president has previously retweeted a clip from his internet show. 

McCarthy is likely refraining from calling Trump out because condemning him risks alienating the former leader’s supporters still in Congress. McCarthy will need every vote he can get if he is to become speaker, a goal he has not been shy about publicizing.

Earlier Tuesday, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough slammed McCarthy’s (lack of) actions as “sad and pathetic.”

McCarthy “thinks his support depends on having white nationalists and supporters of neo-Nazis voting for him for speaker of the House,” Scarborough said.”

Despite a poor showing by MAGA candidates during the midterms, Trump still holds considerable sway in Congress. The GOP establishment seems to be souring on him, but they still need his support to present a unified front.

Marco Rubio Pretends He Cares About Rail Workers

The Florida senator sent a tweet in support of rail workers, but refused to explain any action he'd actually take to help them.

Saul Martinez/Getty Images

A month after Halloween, Marco Rubio got to dust off his favorite costume as a faux-populist. On Tuesday, the Florida senator tweeted in his apparent support for rail workers:

Rubio’s tweet comes after President Joe Biden’s Monday announcement, in which he called on Congress to pass legislation and block an impending railroad strike.

While the majority of railroad unions voted for the White House-brokered deal, the majority of railroad workers voted against it. A primary worker complaint about the deal is that it lacks paid sick days.

Instead of heeding those complaints, Biden has urged Congress to impose the deal anyways. Now, Rubio is pretending to care about workers—without any specific engagement towards the actual issues workers face.

This isn’t Rubio’s first rodeo. Last year, Rubio “spoke out” on behalf of unionizing Amazon workers. He avoided expressing actual support of a union itself. Instead, Rubio explained it makes sense workers might want a union in response to “woke” human resources fads.

In other words, Rubio’s “support” for workers had little to do with the material conditions they faced, and more with his ability to use them as a vessel for Republicans’ continual hollow efforts to stoke culture war. Those efforts continue today.

In his brave tweet, Rubio did not actually specify what would comprise an acceptable deal (like including paid sick leave for workers). He could also speak against nine of his Republican colleagues currently cosponsoring a bill that would force workers to accept a deal without sick leave. And yet.

Despite Rubio—or any other Republicans’—posturing, there is no such thing as a conservative workers’ movement. Conservatives (whether Republican or Democrat) are opposed to expanding social welfare or other public programs. They are massive recipients of corporate dollars, from big finance to fossil fuels. And they certainly act in accordance with those dollars.

Biden is dropping the ball for workers here—but let’s not pretend Rubio and Republicans actually care about that.

Georgia Shatters Early Voting Record in Senate Runoff, With 300,000 Votes in a Single Day

Statewide early voting has begun in Georgia's Senate runoff between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Georgia has broken its own state record for the most ballots cast in a single day.

Statewide early voting has begun in Georgia’s Senate runoff election between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, and voters are fully embracing the opportunity. On Monday, over 300,000 Georgia voters turned out to cast their ballots. The previous record for early voting in a single day was 233,000 votes in 2018.

As of early Tuesday morning, one week before Election Day, turnout eclipsed 500,000, or 7 percent of all registered Georgia voters. Women outpace men, making up 55.4 percent of early voters. Meanwhile, 9.4 percent of registered Black voters have already voted, a higher percentage than any other ethnic group.

Before Monday’s record, nearly 182,000 people had voted, either with absentee ballots or in select counties that opened voting earlier.

State and national Republican officials fought to prevent the state from allowing early voting before Monday, but the Georgia Supreme Court ruled against them.

As early voting began, the two campaigns pursued different strategies. Warnock spent his time over the weekend around Atlanta rallying supporters and leading a march to the polls. He  benefited from surrogates including Senator Cory Booker, hip-hop artist Waka Flocka Flame, and Yolanda King, civil rights activist and Martin Luther King’s granddaughter.

Meanwhile, Walker spent his time pontificating that anyone peacefully protesting after 5 p.m. should be arrested, that young people don’t know what racism is, and that people born after 1990 “haven’t earned the right” to try changing the country—and he invited them to leave America instead of complaining, saying they should lose their citizenship if they do.

While Walker complains about young people, more voters aged 18-24 have voted than those aged 25-29, 30-34, 35-40, or 40-45 as of early Tuesday morning.

It is too early to make definite predictions as to what the data may portend. But Warnock’s closing message is one of enthusiasm and vision, while Walker is just grumbling about people whose support he ostensibly wants. Voters most eager to turn out early may likely be supporting one message distinctly over the other!

Kari Lake Won the County in Arizona That’s Refusing To Certify Election Results

If you don't count the votes in Cochise County, which is controlled by Republicans, Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs gets significantly more votes.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In a confusing twist, the Arizona GOP-controlled county that refused to certify the 2022 midterm elections had voted for Kari Lake as governor.

The two Republican members of Cochise County’s supervisory board voted Monday to delay certification, despite there being no evidence of voter fraud.

What’s more, the vote count published by the Cochise County board showed that Lake won by an overwhelming 58.15 percent, compared to Katie Hobbs’s 40.49 percent.

Arizona Secretary of State Hobbs, the Democratic governor-elect and apparently the world’s worst vote-rigger, sued Cochise County for failing to meet the state’s deadline for certification. The lawsuit will force the county to certify the votes by December 8, which will shrink her margin of victory.

The Board’s inaction not only violates the plain language of the statute, but also undermines a basic tenet of free and fair elections in this state: ensuring that every Arizonan’s voice is heard,” the lawsuit said.

Arizona has been plagued with election falsehoods since surprisingly going for Joe Biden in 2020, and the midterms were no exception: early voting was rife with voter intimidation.

On Election Day, when some of the polling stations in Maricopa County began experiencing issues with their tabulator machines, right-wing figures accused the state government of trying to rig the race—even though people could still vote.

Lake sued Maricopa County officials over the weekend, supposedly over the tabulator issues but really to try to delay certification. The two Cochise County Republican supervisors also cited tabulator issues, saying the county’s machines had not been properly certified.

Both of those supervisors are Covid-19 skeptics, and one is an election denier like Lake. They had voted to turn down almost $2 million in government Covid-19 relief funds because Peggy Judd said it should be treated “like the common cold,” and Tom Crosby compared the coronavirus vaccine to Agent Orange.

Judd also participated in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

All of Arizona’s other counties have certified the votes.

Katie Hobbs to Sue GOP-Controlled Arizona County Refusing to Certify the Election

Arizona's Cochise County is refusing to certify election results, despite there being no evidence of voter fraud.

Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Officials in a Republican-controlled county in Arizona voted to delay certifying the 2022 midterm election results, meaning they will miss the state’s legal deadline of 5:00 p.m. Monday and face legal action.

Cochise County’s decision came despite there being absolutely no discovery of fraud during the voting process.

“There is no reason for us to delay,” the board of supervisors chair Ann English, a Democrat, said. Her vote to certify was outweighed by the votes against from the two Republican board members.

The Arizona secretary of state’s office confirmed it will sue the county for failing to meet the deadline. The secretary, Katie Hobbs, was elected as governor during the race earlier in November.

Lawyer and Democracy Docket founder Marc Elias also hinted he will file suit against Cochise County.

Arizona has become a crucial swing state after surprisingly going for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Then-Governor Doug Ducey certified the vote results, but Arizona has been plagued with election falsehoods since.

The midterms were no exception: during early voting, the state reported 18 cases of voter intimidation, including self-appointed poll watchers showing up at ballot boxes with guns.

On Election Day, about 20 percent of the polling stations in Maricopa County began experiencing issues with their tabulator machines. Even though people could still vote, right-wing figures accused the state government of trying to rig the race for Democrats.

Also on Monday, the Maricopa County certification meeting dragged on for hours. County officials ultimately certified the votes, but only after dozens of election deniers accused them of fixing or even destroying ballots.

Kari Lake, who despite her baseless claims otherwise lost the gubernatorial race to Hobbs, retweeted multiple videos of people sharing election conspiracies during the Maricopa meeting. She sued Maricopa County election officials over the weekend, ostensibly to make them respond to her campaign’s public records request about the tabulator issues, but really because she’s a sore loser.

U.S. Soccer Captain Shuts Down Iranian Reporter’s Whataboutism After Flag Row at World Cup

An Iranian state media reporter pressed Tyler Adams about racism in America. The men's soccer captain answered thoughtfully.

Sarah Stier - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Tyler Adams knows when to apologize—and when not to.

At a press conference on Monday, the U.S. men’s soccer captain was confronted by an Iranian state media reporter who accused Adams of hypocrisy.

“You say you support the Iranian people, but you’re pronouncing our country’s name wrong,” Press TV reporter Milad Javanmardy said.

Javanmardy proceeded to press Adams, asking, “Are you okay to be representing a country that has so much discrimination against Black people?”

Adams, 23, apologized about his mispronunciation of “Iran,” before thoughtfully answering Javanmardy’s pointed question.

“I grew up in a white family with obviously an African-American heritage and background, as well. So I had a little bit of different cultures and I was very, very easily able to assimilate in different cultures,” he said.

“Not everyone has that ease and the ability to do that…through education, I think it’s super important. Like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country…I think, as long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing.”

Monday’s conference was unusual, as both Adams and U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter fielded charged question after question, ranging from why the American government hasn’t removed a Naval ship from near Iran to why people with an Iranian passport can’t travel to America.

Iranian state affiliates have attacked the U.S. Soccer Federation for its social media accounts displaying Iran’s flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. U.S. Soccer said it wanted to change the flag for 24 hours to express “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights.”.

In response, Iranian state media suggested on Sunday that the U.S. should be kicked out of the World Cup and suspended for 10 games.

Javanmardy, who questioned Adams, works for Press TV—an organization owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. The corporation’s head is appointed by the Iranian state leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Of course, Javanmardy is not wrong in a general sense about America’s pervasive racism. But his targeted questioning is part of a larger pattern of whataboutism by Iranian state affiliates to detract attention from the state’s continual civil rights violations. And Adams, the youngest captain at this year’s World Cup, seamlessly displayed the brazen ridiculousness of it all.

Intersectional King Runs on World Cup Field With Pride Flag and Shirt Dedicated to Ukraine and Iran

The protester interrupted the Uruguay-Portugal match and reminded viewers that politics and sports do mix, actually.

Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

As the list of things that have been banned, blocked, or otherwise not permitted at the FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar continues to grow, one person seems to have finally had enough. During the Uruguay-Portugal match on Monday, a spectator-turned-protester ran onto the field with a Pride flag—and the cameras promptly cut away as their flag was seized.

The fan who was holding the flag aloft on his jaunt across the field was also wearing a t-shirt which read “Save Ukraine” on the front and “Respect For Iranian Woman” on the back.

Marc Atkins/Getty Images

This year’s World Cup is being held at Qatar, where gay sex is illegal and LGBTQ people are hunted down and targeted by the government.

Before the protest on Monday, FIFA warned players they would get a yellow card if they wear their OneLove armbands in support of LGBTQ rights. Some politicians and journalists at the game have still expressed support in defiance of FIFA’s ban, but other fans with the Pride flag have been stopped.

Also banned at this World Cup: other rainbow-colored items, alcohol, bare chests, fans expressing support for protesters in Iran, and apparently, any sense of morals at all.

More on this World Cup

Here’s What Every Potential 2024 Republican Nominee Said About Trump’s Dinner With Nick Fuentes

Only two candidates have said anything at all about the former president’s dinner with a white supremacist.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Last week, former President Donald Trump shared a meal with antisemites Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.

Fuentes, a Holocaust denier, white nationalist, and self-proclaimed racist, has threatened murder against Jews, expressed approval for the Taliban, and believes “Catholic monarchy, and just war, and crusades, and inquisitions” are much better than democracy.

Nearly every single rumored 2024 Republican presidential candidate has been silent on the shocking meeting.

Of 15 candidates The New Republic looked at, only four candidates condemned Trump’s meeting.

On Monday, Utah Senator Mitt Romney said, “There’s no bottom to the degree which [Trump]’s willing to degrade himself and the country for that matter. Having dinner with those people was disgusting.” Earlier, former Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump “was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti semite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table, and I think he should apologize for it.”
Days earlier, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called the meeting “awful, unacceptable conduct” and outgoing Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney called it “indefensible.”

Every other Republican teasing a 2024 bid for the presidency has remained mum.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, outgoing Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, former ambassador to the U.N. and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu have all refused to call out the ostensible head of their party sharing an evening meal with a Nazi.

No member of the GOP leadership in Congress has said a word.

While the party seeks to build meaningful opposition to the baseline support Trump might maintain coming into 2024, it still can’t seem to put together even a somewhat coherent organized response to Trump hanging out with a Nazi.

Republicans lost numerous close races they hoped to win during the 2022 midterms—races spearheaded by MAGA Republican candidates.

We don’t, in fact, need a “strong” or politically savvy Republican Party. But it would at least be nice have one that could even somewhat denounce racist, anti-democratic Nazis.

This piece was updated to include Pence and Romney’s statements, which came after this article was originally published.

Don Lemon Grills Jewish Trump-Era Official on Nick Fuentes Dinner: Do You Condemn Trump?

Len Khodorkovsky, who served as Donald Trump’s deputy assistant secretary of state and said he is the descendant of Holocaust survivors, got mad at Lemon’s line of questioning.

Paul Marotta/Getty Images

A former Trump official who says he is the descendant of Holocaust survivors still refuses to condemn the former president for meeting with a white supremacist and Holocaust denier.

Len Khodorkovsky, who served as Donald Trump’s deputy assistant secretary of state, told CNN Monday that he is “concerned with the mainstreaming of antisemitism wherever it comes from.”

But when host Don Lemon asked if he condemned Trump, Khodorkovsky froze.

“Do you condemn the former president for meeting with antisemites, for entertaining antisemites and antisemitism?” Lemon asked. He repeated versions of the same question over the course of the men’s 10-minute exchange.

Khodorkovsky insisted that Trump was not an antisemite and accused Lemon of trying to “make this all about Trump” instead of rising antisemitism.

“It is about Trump,” Lemon replied, clearly flabbergasted. “We’re talking about the former president meeting with an antisemite. How is this not about Trump?”

Trump met last week with white supremacist Nick Fuentes, as well as rapper Kanye West, another antisemite.

Trump falsely claimed he didn’t know Fuentes’s politics. Meanwhile, the Republican establishment has been largely silent on the matter, with only a select few condemning the meeting.

Republicans Are Really Quiet After Trump’s Dinner With White Supremacist Nicholas Fuentes

Not a single member of the GOP leadership in Congress has condemned Donald Trump’s dinner with Fuentes.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Republican establishment has been largely silent in the week since former President Donald Trump met with dinner guest from hell white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

Fuentes, a Holocaust denier and Vladimir Putin supporter, arrived Tuesday at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate alongside rapper Kanye West, another outspoken antisemite.

Trump confirmed a few days later that he had a dinner meeting with both men. He claimed he didn’t know who Fuentes was, but he has previously retweeted a clip from Fuentes’s internet show. 

As of Monday morning, not a single member of the GOP leadership in Congress had condemned Trump’s meeting with Fuentes.

Some Republicans have spoken out against the meeting but have either been wishy-washy or avoided mentioning Trump by name. Representative James Comer said Trump merely “needs better judgment in who he dines with,” while RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel only said that white supremacy and neo-Nazism are “disgusting.”

Those who have explicitly called Trump out are not lawmakers in positions with much influence on the GOP at large.

Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, both members of the House January 6 committee, were quick to condemn Trump, with Cheney calling the meeting “indefensible.” Unfortunately, both members are leaving Congress in January.

Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, rumored to be considering a 2024 presidential run, said Trump knew what he was doing when he met with Fuentes and warned against “empowering the extremes.”

But Representative Kevin McCarthy, who is the Republican nominee for speaker of the House, has remained silent, likely because condemning Trump risks alienating the former leader’s supporters still in Congress (speaking of empowering the extremes). McCarthy will need every vote he can get if he is to become speaker.

Despite a poor showing by MAGA candidates during the midterms, Trump still holds considerable sway in Congress. The GOP establishment seems to be souring on him, but they still need his support to present a unified front.