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RFK Jr. Is Very Bad News for Trump’s Election Chances, New Poll Says

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running as an independent actually helps Joe Biden.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Republican fears around Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s recent party pivot appear to be coming true.

In a potential three-way 2024 presidential election, RFK Jr.’s influence over independents would give President Joe Biden a seven percentage point advantage over Donald Trump, according to a new national poll by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist.

The junior Kennedy, who began his presidential campaign on the Democratic ticket, drew the ire of Republicans last week when he switched to being an independent in his long-shot White House bid.

That decision is apparently leaching support among independents, and some Republicans, away from Trump.

The 1,218-person survey shows that between Biden and Trump alone, the campaign for the White House would be a tight race, with Biden securing 49 percent of the vote against Trump’s 46 percent.

However, when RFK Jr. is thrown in the mix, support for Trump drops to 37 percent and Biden’s number dips to 44 percent, with RFK Jr. nabbing 16 percent of the vote—a graver loss for Trump than previously predicted.

With Kennedy running as an independent, Democratic support behind Biden dips by five percentage points, while Republican support behind Trump plummets by 10 points, according to the poll’s findings.

The 69-year-old’s outsider campaign has curried favor with some members of the far right for disavowing aspects of U.S. history while touting vaccine conspiracy theories. But RFK Jr.’s numbers in the recent poll also speak to a growing demographic in American politics: independents tired of hyperpartisan politics who are looking for another option.

“Although it’s always tricky to assess the impact of a third-party candidate, right now Kennedy alters the equation in Biden’s favor,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “What this does speak to, however, is that about one in six voters are looking for another option, especially independents.”

House Chamber Gasps as GOP Rep. Makes Very Unexpected Dip Into Jordan’s Résumé

Elise Stefanik, why are you like this?

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Representative Elise Stefanik might have thought she was offering a stoic show of support while nominating Jim Jordan for House speaker on Wednesday, but instead she was met with a cacophony of boos from her colleagues when an unexpected turn in her speech nodded to Jordan’s alleged role in a collegiate sex abuse scandal.

“Jim is the voice of the American people who have felt voiceless for far too long,” Stefanik said on the House floor. “Whether on the wrestling mat or in the committee room, Jim Jordan is strategic, scrappy, tough, and principled.”

It was an odd detail to highlight amid what is arguably the highlight of Jordan’s already explosive political career.

Jordan, who served as an assistant coach to Ohio State University’s wrestling team between 1986 and 1994, has faced severe blowback for allegedly participating in a coverup of the rampant sex abuse by team doctor Richard Strauss.

Strauss committed 1,429 sexual assaults and 47 rapes against at least 177 male student-athletes during his tenure with the team, according to a 2019 university report.

After Representative Steve Scalise lost the GOP nomination last week, former OSU athletes spoke out en masse against the possibility of a Jordan speakership, arguing that the ultraconservative politician failed to protect them from the serial predator and “doesn’t deserve to be House speaker.”

“Do you really want a guy in that job who chose not to stand up for his guys?” former OSU wrestler Mike Schyck told NBC. “Is that the kind of character trait you want for a House speaker?”

A Jordan spokesperson, Russell Dye, denied that the Trump-endorsed congressman knew of the abuse during his time at OSU. “Chairman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had, he would have dealt with it,” Dye said in an email to NBC.

Fox News Reporter Caught Cursing Out Republicans for Speaker Drama

Even Fox News is fed up with House Republicans.

Representative Don Bacon casts his vote for House speaker
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Representative Don Bacon casts his vote for House speaker.

It appears that even Fox News is sick of Republican infighting.

Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade was caught fuming on a hot mic during the speaker vote on Tuesday, snubbing Representative Don Bacon as a “dumbass” after the Nebraska Republican voted against Jim Jordan.

Kilmeade may have been reaching the end of his rope with the divided caucus. Earlier in the day, the testy Fox & Friends host called the House GOP a “carnival of idiots” for floundering amid the party’s leadership crisis.

Off the floor, other members of Fox seemed equally tired of the charade.

“We wouldn’t be here if every single Democrat didn’t vote with eight Republicans to shut this place down,” former speaker Kevin McCarthy told a press huddle moments after Jordan lost the House vote.

“There’s 16 Republicans who voted against Jim Jordan today on the floor, including two votes [for] somebody who’s not even a member anymore,” Fox News’s Chad Pergram lashed back. (In reality, 20 Republicans voted against Jim Jordan.)

The frustration is palpable from a network that actively attempted to rally support behind Jordan. One of the station’s highest-rated anchors, Sean Hannity, was exposed over the weekend for conducting a pressure campaign against undecided party members in an attempt to push the Ohio Republican past the 217-vote finish line, reported The Washington Post’s Leigh Ann Caldwell.

Meanwhile, moderates are beginning to question if the ultraconservative Republican is the only option, openly floating the idea of keeping Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry in the position with expanded powers until November 17, when government funding expires.

Gaza Hospital Bombing Deeply Complicates Biden Visit to Israel

Joe Biden is planning a trip to show solidarity with Israel. Meanwhile, there was just a major explosion at a hospital.

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On Tuesday, a strike on a hospital in Gaza killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinian doctors, patients, and people seeking shelter. Joe Biden is expected to visit Israel in a show of his support tomorrow.

Palestinian officials say hundreds have been injured due to a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Al Ahli Hospital in the middle of Gaza City Wednesday evening. A Gaza civil defense chief said that more than 300 people were killed, while a Gaza Health Ministry official estimated that at least 500 people were killed and wounded. Many victims are still trapped under rubble.

Hospitals in Gaza have become places of refuge for those seeking shelter amid massive displacement and continued airstrikes on the occupied territory. According to the Associated Press, if this report is confirmed, this attack would be the deadliest Israeli airstrike in the five wars fought since 2008.

The Israeli military has denied involvement and says the attack was due to a misfired rocket from Hamas.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes hit two refugee camps and a U.N. school in Gaza housing displaced people. At least 18 people were killed and more injured, Palestinian officials said.

The bombing comes a day before Biden was set to arrive in Israel to show solidarity with the country. This complicates that mission enormously, and people will be paying close attention to what Biden has to say.

This article has been updated.

Republicans Kick Off New Speaker Search as Effectively as They Did the Last One

Jim Jordan does not have the votes—and it’s not clear if he’ll get them.

Representative Jim Jordan
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The House of Representatives’ first floor vote to plant Representative Jim Jordan as speaker has, unsurprisingly, failed.

Jordan received only 200 votes, with double-digit “no” votes from his own party. Meanwhile, all 212 Democrats voted for their nominee, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The next House speaker needs a majority of the chamber, or 217 votes, to win the coveted position. That requires a herculean effort to rally the divided Republican caucus, which holds a slim majority with just 221 seats in the House.

The 20 Republican representatives who voted against Jordan are Don Bacon, Ken Buck, Lori Chavez-DeRember, Anthony D’Esposito, Mario Diaz Balart, Jake Ellzey, Andrew Garbarino, Kay Granger, Carlos Giminez, Vicente Gonzales, John James, Doug LaMalfa, Mike Lawler, Mike Kelly, Jen Kiggans, Nick Lalota, John Rutherford, Mike Simpson, Victoria Spartz, and Steve Womack. The margin is far worse than initially expected.

The Freedom Caucus founder was a peculiar choice for unifying the party, given his controversial past and inability to inspire a strong backing after two rounds of closed-door GOP nominations. Jordan, perhaps most notably, hasn’t been able to turn a bill into law since he was first elected in 2006. He also drew ire for refusing to recognize the 2020 presidential election results, for his role in the January 6 insurrection, and long ago, for allegedly turning a blind eye to a sex abuse scandal at Ohio State University.

Since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the seat two weeks ago by a far-right faction led by Representative Matt Gaetz, House Republicans have sought to avoid the 15-ballot spectacle that gave him the gavel. Though if Jordan’s first vote serves as any indication, the House may be in for another wild ride.

Republicans Are Using Israel’s War on Gaza to Try to Deport People

Amid Israel’s war on Gaza, Republicans are looking to change immigration laws at home.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senator Marco Rubio during a rally in November 2022.

Republicans are using the war between Israel and Palestine as fodder to push for a new wave of deportations at home.

On a campaign stop in Iowa on Monday, Donald Trump announced that if reelected, he would reinstate and expand his “Muslim ban,” a series of executive orders issued in 2017 that prohibited travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, calling for a “strong ideological screening of all immigrants to the United States.”

Trump also criticized pro-Palestine protests on U.S. college campuses, conflating the support for Palestinian freedom from Israeli apartheid with support for Hamas, the militant group behind more than 1,400 Israeli deaths.

The former president said he would also take the opportunity to revoke student visas from “radical anti-American and antisemitic foreigners” at universities and would “proactively” send ICE officers to what he described as “pro-jihadist demonstrations.”

“If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you’re disqualified; if you support Hamas or the ideology behind Hamas, you’re disqualified; and if you’re a Communist, Marxist, or fascist, you are disqualified,” he said.

Senator Marsha Blackburn joined the deportation chorus on Tuesday, announcing her co-sponsorship of a bill by Senator Marco Rubio that calls for a vote on the expulsion of “individuals who stand with and back Hamas.”

Over the weekend, Rubio called on the Biden administration to cancel the visas of foreign nationals supporting Hamas and announced that he would pursue legislation to restrict federal funding to college campuses that host protests supporting Palestinian liberation.

Senator Tim Scott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also took to the airwaves to vocalize their support for the growing GOP initiative.

“Anyone who stands up and says they want to kill Jews, they support terrorism, they should have that visa revoked,” Scott said on a podcast episode of The Sean Hannity Show.

DeSantis backed the Rubio proposal, noting on an airing of The Guy Benson Show that if someone supports Hamas, they “don’t have a right to be studying in the United States.”

On its face, proposing to deport or limit Hamas supporters’ entry into the country is not outrageous. After all, the State Department deemed Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997. But support for foreign terrorist organizations is already screened for in people seeking entrance into the U.S., so the new language utilized by Rubio and his compatriots achieves no policy gains but instead provokes fear and whips people into a frenzy at a time of historic tension and divisions. And at a time when lawmakers and the media alike keep confusing being pro-Palestinian with being pro-Hamas, it’s all but guaranteed such a proposal would be used in a very dangerous way.

Trump Stoops to New Low With Comments About Military Officials

Donald Trump’s supporters broke out in applause as he trashed the military.

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Donald Trump is trashing military officials as “some of the dumbest people” he’s ever met—and his supporters are lapping it all up.

At a campaign event in Iowa on Monday, Trump mocked General Mark Milley, recounting a story about disagreeing with the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“I don’t wanna tell you what I had to go through with these people—some of the dumbest I’ve ever met in my life,” Trump said, and was met with a huge applause from the audience.

Trump’s trashing of Milley has been a recurring point since The Atlantic published a profile where Milley described how he “protected the Constitution from Donald Trump.”

In September, Trump posted on Truth Social accusing Milley of treason for speaking with Chinese officials about the U.S. election process, and implied he should be executed. “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH,” Trump wrote.

Trump’s deranged post about Milley was cited as part of the reasoning for the second gag order placed on Trump by Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday.

This isn’t the first time that Trump has made comments disparaging members of the military. Former White House staffer John Kelly confirmed that Donald Trump has called disabled veterans “suckers” and “losers.”

Trump’s New Whine About Gag Order Is Ridiculous

Hours after his second gag order, Donald Trump has an absurd attack on Judge Tanya Chutkan.

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Donald Trump can’t seem to help himself from trash talking the judges of his trials, even with a second gag order in place.

On Monday, Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a gag order on the former president’s D.C. trial, which hinges on four felony charges related to his effort to subvert the 2020 election. In a statement issued alongside the order, Chutkan said that Trump’s First Amendment protections “yield to the administration of justice” and that his presidential candidacy does not give him “carte blanche” to vilify public servants “who are simply doing their job.”

Within hours, however, Trump was onstage in Iowa, complaining about the decision.

“A judge gave a gag order today,” Trump said. “The judge doesn’t like me too much. Her whole life is not liking me.”

“You know what a gag order is? ‘You can’t speak badly about your opponent,’” Trump added in a mocking tone.

“I’ll be the politician in history that runs with a gag order where I’m not allowed to criticize people. Can you imagine this?” he continued. “It’s so unconstitutional.”

Previously, Trump used his speaking arrangements and social media presence to lambaste prosecutors and office clerks associated with the case, snubbing the Justice Department’s special counsel Jack Smith as “deranged” and his underlings as “thugs.”

Chutkan said she would consider “sanctions” against Trump if she witnessed any violations.

It’s the second such gag order issued so far in his legal proceedings, after Judge Arthur Engoron came down on the former president earlier this month in his business fraud case for attacking one of the judge’s staffers.

Queer Arizona State University Professor Injured by Right-Wing Activists

A film crew affiliated with Turning Point USA allegedly pushed an ASU English professor to the ground while trying to confront him about a drag story hour group he co-founded.

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Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk speaking at an event earlier this year

The right-wing group Turning Point USA has found itself at the center of a hate crime investigation after two local members of the group allegedly assaulted a queer professor at Arizona State University on Wednesday.

Two people identified as members of the conservative group waited outside the classroom of David Boyles, an English professor at the college and co-founder of Drag Story Hour Arizona, according to a statement by ASU President Michael Crow. The pair then harassed and shoved him to the ground, “bloodying his face,” Crow wrote in a letter to faculty and staff.

“This is the kind of outrageous conduct that you would expect to see from bullies in a high school cafeteria,” wrote Crow.

In security camera footage captured by the ASU Police Department, two men clad in all-black clothing can be seen surrounding Boyles as he passes through a courtyard. As Boyles reaches his arm out toward their camera, one of the men, identified as Kalen D’Almeida, runs up behind Boyles and forcefully knocks him to the ground.

“You can’t run,” D’Almeida told Boyles in a clip of the altercation posted the following day, according to NBC. “It’s best if you just talk to me on why you want to push sodomy to young people.”

In a Facebook post sharing his condition, Boyles said his injuries were “relatively minor” but that the incident left him feeling “angry, violated, embarrassed, and despairing” that society has come to “normalize this kind of harassment and violence against anyone who tries to support LGBTQ+ youth.”

Police are investigating the altercation as a “potential bias or prejudicially motivated incident,” reported KPNX-TV.

“Cowards that they are and so confident in the legality and appropriateness of their actions, the Turning Point USA ‘reporter’ and ‘cameraman’ then ran away from the scene before police arrived,” Crow noted.

The House of Representatives Is About to Get Even Crazier

Jim Jordan nearly has the votes he needs to become the next speaker of the House. Yikes!

Rep. Jim Jordan
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Representative Jim Jordan, possibly the next speaker of the House

Not so long ago, Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan’s candidacy for speaker of the House looked dead in the water. Jordan, a founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, is not particularly popular even within his own party. An ardent anti-institutionalist, he is a bomb-thrower, not a legislator—not exactly typical speaker material. Less than two weeks ago, Jordan handily lost a vote to become his party’s nominee for speaker to the somewhat more institutionally minded Steve Scalise. Scalise then withdrew his name more or less immediately, realizing he would not have the requisite votes needed to be speaker. And so it was Jordan’s time to shine.

Jordan’s candidacy seemed doomed before the start of the weekend. On Friday, 55 Republicans voted against his candidacy, even though there wasn’t another alternative. Jordan promised a Tuesday floor vote—even if he did not have the votes needed to take the gavel—but the conventional wisdom was that there was no way he could unify his caucus (more or less—he can only lose a handful of votes to be elected speaker) in time.

With less than 24 hours to go before that floor vote, Jordan is on the verge of winning over the holdouts in his party. On Monday, Jordan was able to flip nearly all of the most important holdouts, including Representative Mike Rogers, who had suggested only a few days earlier that he was willing to hear from Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries about a possible deal. Jordan doesn’t yet have the votes he needs. But he’s extremely close.

Jordan would make Kevin McCarthy look like a master of compromise. There is every indication he would lead the House in a more radical, obstructionist way. He is, it should be noted, scandal-plagued: In 2018, a number of former Ohio State wrestlers accused Jordan, then an assistant coach, of knowing about sexual abuse that was happening within the program between 1986 and 1994, but doing nothing to stop it. Jordan has claimed he did not know of the abuse but has also claimed that the allegations against him are part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to derail his political career.

Nevertheless, that scandal has hardly derailed his career: Because Republicans have shown little interest in it, he has remained a star of right-wing cable news and is a favorite of Donald Trump’s. Jordan’s ascension to the speakership would be remarkable: both because he has no interest in actually governing and because it seemed impossible only a few days ago. And yet the most remarkable thing is that the House of Representatives might somehow become even less functional than it is now.