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Trump’s About to Win This Nomination—And Top Republicans Have Gone Mum

Some key Republicans are still silent on whether they’re backing Donald Trump for the party’s nomination.

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Trump collected another slew of endorsements from a cautious GOP leadership following his double-digit win in New Hampshire on Tuesday, with some members, like Senator John Cornyn, making the jump mere minutes after the race was called.

But some of the biggest names were missing from the deck, suggesting that not every Republican is giddy to fall back in line behind Donald Trump. Perhaps most notably, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Thune—the number two Republican in the upper chamber—have yet to raise their glass to the GOP front-runner.

At the moment, neither McConnell nor Thune has backed either contender in the race. Thune had previously tossed his hat in behind Senator Tim Scott, though he dropped out of the race in November. McConnell has yet to indicate who he prefers, emphasizing to a USA Today reporter on Tuesday that he has “stayed essentially out of it.”

It’s not the first time the duo has been mum on Trump’s bid to return to the White House. In December, McConnell and Thune stayed silent after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump would not be allowed on the state’s primary ballot, on the basis that Trump violated the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment when he spawned an insurrection on January 6, 2021.

The pair’s silence suggests that the Republican anti-Trumpers foresee a better Republican Party without the wannabe despot, who beat his primary rival Nikki Haley by 11 percent during the first primary of the season.

But the pressure is mounting as more and more Republicans demand that Haley exit the race in favor of turning toward a grueling general election rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden.

“I’m looking at the math and the path going forward, and I don’t see it for Nikki Haley,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel told Fox News’s Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on Tuesday. “I think she’s run a great campaign, but I do think there is a message that’s coming out from the voters, which is very clear.”

“We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump, and we need to make sure we beat Joe Biden,” McDaniel added.

Trump’s Big Mouth Just Cost Him Big-Time in E. Jean Carroll Case

A Trump deposition video from one case is about to screw him over in another.

Trump at the New York state Supreme Court

Donald Trump is probably kicking his past self, after E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers on Thursday used his previous testimony from a totally different legal trial to make their case for damages.

The Carroll trial is just to set damages, because presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan has already ruled that Trump defamed Carroll. Carroll is seeking at least $10 million in damages.

Her lawyers played a clip of Trump’s video deposition that he sat for last year, ahead of his bank fraud trial in New York. In the clip, Trump brags that his Doral resort in Miami “could be worth $2.5 billion by itself.”

In another clip, Trump claims that his value has only increased since becoming president. “Probably my most valuable asset … that’s the brand,” he said. “I became president because of the brand. I think it’s the hottest brand in the world.”

“I did an NFT deal the other day.… It sold out in less than a day,” he added, referring to some truly wild digital art of himself that he sold in late 2022.

These boasts could drive up the amount he will ultimately owe Carroll in damages. Legal analyst Lisa Rubin explained on MSNBC last week that the jury “is allowed to consider how much Donald Trump is worth.”

“If you’re trying to punish someone, if they only have $10 in their pocket, that’s very different than punishing someone who has hundreds of millions—if not billions—of dollars in their pocket.”

This latest exhibit is proof that Trump’s multiple legal trials are intertwined and what he says in one case can quickly doom him in another.

New York Attorney General Letitia James accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans. The judge presiding over that trial, Arthur Engoron, determined in September that Trump indeed committed fraud and ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state and effectively killing the Trump Organization.

But even though Trump isn’t worth as much as he claims, because his sworn statements put his value so high, he could end up owing Carroll a massive amount in damages. Her minimum of $10 million is already on the low end. Carroll’s expert witness Ashlee Humphreys, a Northwestern University marketing professor who analyzes social media trends, testified last week that the price to repair the harm caused by Trump’s defamatory comments could be as high as $12.1 million. And that doesn’t even include punitive damages.

Trump already owes Carroll $5 million in damages after a jury in May unanimously found him liable for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault.

Republican Rep. Has No Regrets About That “Marshall Law” Text

Years later, Ralph Norman still stands by his infamous text to Mark Meadows after the 2020 election.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Representative Ralph Norman wears a suit and stands in a doorway making a weird face.

The Republican representative who sent the now-infamous text urging former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to use “Marshall law” to overturn the 2020 election has just one regret: the typo.

South Carolina Representative Ralph Norman was one of at least 34 Republican members of Congress who texted Meadows about overturning the presidential election. Norman defended his message during a Wednesday night interview on CNN.

When host Kaitlan Collins asked him if he regretted sending the text, Norman replied, “The only thing I regret, I misspelled ‘martial law.’”

“Look, everything happened so quick in that election, the time that was given to see if the ballots were real,” Norman said.

He then proceeded to spout multiple conspiracies, including that false ballots had been cast and that “questions” remain about the validity of the 2020 election. He also cited the movie 2000 Mules, a right-wing purported “documentary” that just spreads more falsehoods about the election.

Collins pointed out that everything Norman mentioned has been disproven multiple times. No evidence of election fraud has been found, including by people that former President Donald Trump hired.

She also pointed out how ironic it is that Norman, who has endorsed Nikki Haley in the Republican primary, is calling now to let the voters decide instead of dubbing Trump the nominee outright.

Just three days before President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Norman texted Meadows that “our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!!”


Trump’s Mob Boss Threat Against Nikki Haley Donors Blows Up in His Face

Sir, you are running in an election. Why the hell are you threatening your own party’s donors?

Getty (x2)

Donald Trump’s plan to threaten Nikki Haley’s financial backers immediately backfired on him on Wednesday, as several prominent people in the MAGA camp proceeded to donate to the GOP front-runner’s primary opponent, launching a spontaneous fundraising drive for the South Carolina governor.

“When I ran for office and won, I noticed that the losing candidate’s ‘donors’ would immediately come to me, and want to ‘help out.’ This is standard in politics, but no longer with me,” Trump posted during a late-night social media tantrum.

“Anybody that makes a ‘contribution’ to Birdbrain, from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp,” he added, derogatorily referring to Haley, whom he put in his own presidential Cabinet as ambassador to the U.N.

But then several of Trump’s former staffers chimed in on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, apparently hard-withdrawing their MAGA cards in favor of sending some money to the ambassador.

“Done,” posted Trump’s former deputy press secretary, Sarah Matthews.

Haley caught on quickly, posting a link to her donation page.

That set the stage for other voters to gleefully join in the fundraising fray.

Others noted that the mob boss–style threat seemed particularly on edge for a candidate who just won the New Hampshire primary by double digits, and questioned the legitimacy of the financial threat from a man facing several pricy upcoming criminal trials and a potential $370 million fine for committing bank fraud to expand his real estate empire.

Despite the local drive’s overnight popularity, it will hardly replace some of Haley’s biggest backers—like venture capitalist Reid Hoffman—who began pausing donations to the campaign after Haley’s lackluster results on Tuesday.

Wanna Hazard a Guess as to How Many Times Trump Posted About E. Jean Carroll Last Night?

Donald Trump is having a breakdown as his second defamation trial is set to resume.

Donald Trump looking constipated
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump posted at least 37 times about E. Jean Carroll, the night before her second defamation trial against him was set to resume. Trump will take the stand on Thursday to try to defend himself, and it clearly caused him to freak out.

Trump made the 37 posts between 9:22 p.m. and 11:43 p.m. Wednesday night. He mixed in some attacks on his Republican primary opponent, Nikki Haley, and some brags about his winning the New Hampshire primary. He also complained bitterly that he should have total immunity from legal proceedings and that unspecified lawsuits were just “election interference.”

The former president shared media interview clips and social media posts that appear to come from Carroll, all stripped of context so as to paint her as some sort of sexual deviant. He also falsely claimed that the co-founder of LinkedIn is paying Carroll’s legal fees.

Trump has made these exact claims about Carroll multiple times before. He has posted many of the same clips and claims during previous social media rants, and he often shares the same post more than once during his anti-Carroll posting sprees.

This is the fourth time during this trial that Trump has gone on such an unhinged social media rant. The first time was just before the trial began, and the second was—inexplicably—as he sat in the courtroom for the first day of the trial. Trump set a personal record during the third, after his trial was delayed earlier this week (per his own lawyer’s request). That last time, Trump made 42 posts about Carroll on Truth Social in the span of 13 minutes.

It’s possible that Trump is getting these complaints out of his system now because he won’t be allowed to bring them up when he actually takes the stand.

Presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled two weeks ago that Trump and his lawyers cannot say certain things about Carroll during the trial—including many of the things Trump has been posting. The posts may still come back to haunt Trump, as Carroll’s lawyer has already said she’ll use his words as evidence against him.

Kaplan has a history of allowing no nonsense or rule-breaking in his courtroom, and he has made it abundantly clear that Trump is no exception. Kaplan and Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba have repeatedly butted heads throughout the trial, as Habba attempted to bend the rules and Kaplan repeatedly shut her down.

Arizona GOP Official Accuses Kari Lake of Blackmail and Quits the Party

“This is obviously a concern given how much interaction she has with high profile people including President Donald Trump,” wrote Jeff DeWit.

Kari Lake at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona
Rebecca Noble/Getty Images
Kari Lake at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona, last year

A top Republican official in Arizona threw in the towel on Wednesday, resigning from his position amid a public feud with Kari Lake, who he claims is “on a mission to destroy” him.

Jeff DeWit, chair of the state’s Republican Party, accused Lake of blackmailing him, after she released a recording of a private phone conversation between the two, in which he can be heard attempting to bribe the Senate candidate. Lake also allegedly threatened DeWit with a “more damaging” recording if he refused to step down.

“Since our conversation where I advised Lake to postpone her campaign and aim for the governor’s position in two years, she has been on a mission to destroy me,” DeWit said in a statement on Wednesday. “It was a suggestion made in good faith, believing it could benefit both her future prospects and the party’s overall strategy.”

“The release of our conversation by Lake confirms a disturbing tendency to exploit private interactions for personal gain and increases concerns about her habit of secretly recording personal and private conversations,” DeWit continued. “This is obviously a concern given how much interaction she has with high profile people including President Donald Trump.”

In the original, 10-minute audio clip published by The Daily Mail, DeWit—who served as chief operating officer on Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign—can be heard asking Lake to name her price to stay out of politics for the next two years, insisting that the GOP needed to make way for another candidate as Trump would not win the 2024 race and that there were “very powerful people who want to keep you out.”

“I said things I regret,” DeWit said, “but I realize when hearing Lake’s recording that I was set up. I believe she orchestrated this entire situation to have control over the state party, and it is obvious from the recording that she crafted her performance responses with the knowledge that she was recording it, intending to use this recording later to portray herself as a hero in her own story.”

The Internet Comes Together to Mock Dean Phillips’s Dumb Map

How could a House Democrat and presidential candidate be this clueless?

Representative Dean Phillips campaigning
Gaelen Morse/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Representative Dean Phillips campaigned in Windham, New Hampshire, on Tuesday.

Representative Dean Phillips thought he’d made a pretty good point Wednesday about the political division in the United States, but the internet was quick to show him just how badly he’d messed up.

Phillips is running a long-shot campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination against President Biden. If you’re wondering how that’s going for him, Phillips won just 19.6 percent of votes during New Hampshire’s unofficial Democratic primary on Tuesday. Biden won 55.8 percent—as a write-in candidate.

Following his New Hampshire loss, Phillips revealed Wednesday morning on Fox & Friends that he had attended one of Donald Trump’s rallies to try to connect with far-right voters. When his actions prompted backlash, Phillips spoke out against political divisions.

Phillips accompanied his tweet with what appeared to be an electoral map, which was indeed primarily red. But internet users were quick to point out that the map was massively misleading for two main reasons.

First, while the map makes it look like most people vote Republican, the areas that are blue actually have higher population numbers.

Second, the map isn’t even from the most recent election.

“There was probably a lane for someone to do reasonably well against Biden,” tweeted Osita Nwanevu, a columnist for The Guardian and contributing editor for The New Republic, “but being maximally annoying to every constituency in the Democratic Party at once wasn’t it, obviously.”

Ohio Republicans Force Through Cruel Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

The GOP-controlled legislature ignored pleas for compassion in overriding the governor’s veto.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Governor Mike DeWine had vetoed the bill, but later signed an executive order banning gender-affirming surgeries for minors.

Ohio’s Republican-controlled General Assembly has voted to override Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors. The measure will now become law, a further blow to LGBTQ Ohioans.

The state Senate voted 23–9 on Wednesday in favor of the override, primarily along party lines. The state House of Representatives passed the measure two weeks ago with a vote of 65–28.

Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, a Democrat, urged her colleagues not to pass the bill. She pointed out that state residents had already rejected government intervention in health care when they voted in November to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.

“The voters spoke when they voted in the last election that the government should not be in charge of their health care decisions,” Antonio said.

“If what we all agree on today is that this is a complicated issue that none of us have all the answers for, I don’t understand why we would just close the door,” she continued. “We don’t know what their lives are like, but the parents do. The families do.”

House Bill 68 bans gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary teenagers. The measure applies to treatments including puberty blockers, hormones, and medical procedures; it also prohibits trans high school and college students from participating on sports teams that match their gender identity.

DeWine shocked everyone when he vetoed the bill in late December, a rare bright spot in the current onslaught of measures restricting access to gender-affirming care. DeWine cited the medical community’s support for gender-affirming care as a factor in his decision, as well as conversations he had with trans teens and their parents.

“Parents have looked me in the eye and told me that but for this treatment, their child would be dead,” he said. “And youth who are transgender have told me they are thriving today because of their transition.”

But just a week later, DeWine undid everything when he signed an executive order banning gender-affirming surgeries for minors in Ohio and even restricting access to care for adults. Under the new rules, people of any age seeking gender-affirming care must get permission from multidisciplinary teams. Those teams could include an endocrinologist, a bioethicist, a psychiatrist, and more.

Ohio is now one of the few states to mandate these extra steps, which will add an undue burden for patients. The requirements will likely rack up significant medical expenses and dramatically extend how long people must wait to access what is widely viewed as lifesaving care.

Conservatives Are Totally Not Mad About Jon Stewart’s Return to The Daily Show

Apparently the political comedian pushes the right’s buttons without even saying a word.

Stewart in 2019
Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Stewart in 2019, testifying in support of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

Fans of The Daily Show rejoiced on Wednesday after Comedy Central announced the triumphant return of Jon Stewart, who will serve as an executive producer and Monday host through the rest of the election cycle. Prominent Substacker Charlotte Clymer compared the news to Michael Jordan’s return to the NBA, and a U.S. senator, Jon Tester, also extended a hand in welcoming Stewart back.

But not everyone was sunshine and roses about Stewart’s new weekly gig, with some on the right complaining that the choice to bring back the show’s former 16-year host would only bring more volatility to American politics.

“Jon Stewart, who did so much to create the current political environment of inter-tribal vilification in place of argument, returns to survey the wreckage,” Dan McLaughlin, a senior writer at National Review, wrote in a post on X.

Nate Hochman, his former colleague at the conservative magazine, chimed in, “Jon Stewart’s brand of smirking, needling, speaking-truth-to-power liberalism made sense in the specific context of the Bush era, when there was at least a plausible case that the Left was ‘anti-establishment.’”

Others attempted to falsely conflate the industry’s recent wave of layoffs and hedge fund–induced instability with Stewart’s return. Right-wing podcaster and Substacker Stephen Miller tweeted:

But even some on the left dismissed the 61-year-old’s return on the basis of his canceled Apple TV+ show, The Problem With Jon Stewart. Ben Dreyfuss, formerly of Mother Jones, wrote:

No Labels Is Getting Sued by Its Own Donors for Its Third-Party Chicanery

A pair of deep-pocketed real estate moguls aim to hurt the organization that wants to hurt Joe Biden’s chances.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images
New York City real estate developer Douglas Durst

New York City real estate titans Douglas and Jonathan Durst of the Durst Organization sued No Labels on Tuesday, claiming the centrist political advocacy nonprofit pulled a “bait and switch” after the group announced it had plans to run a third-party campaign in the upcoming presidential election.

The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, claimed that No Labels “lost its way” after receiving $145,000 from the cousins under the pretense that it would organize voters against partisanship and offer a home for the “politically homeless”—not stack the chances against President Joe Biden in an increasingly grave race for the White House.

The Dursts argue that the current iteration of No Labels—which claimed to be “not a third party, but rather a third bloc,” according to the moguls’ legal complaint—has “become the opposite” of what they initially set out to fund.

“The promise of promoting bipartisan government that No Labels made to donors such as the Dursts has now been irretrievably broken, and the Dursts, for one, want their money back,” reads the complaint. “They want no part of an organization that seems bent on pursuing a doomed third-party presidential bid outside the nation’s de facto two-party system.”

Although the nonprofit’s website says it has yet to commit to running a candidate in the race, it has clearly been paving the way for the possibility of doing so. Earlier this month, No Labels announced that it had gained ballot access in 13 states, from Hawaii to Maine.

“A third-party ticket option will only discourage bipartisan reform because it will take votes away from one of the major political candidates, giving an advantage to the other candidate,” the suit says.

But a leader and lawyer for No Labels, Dan Webb, described the suit to Courthouse News as “frivolous,” pointing out that the Durst cousins last sent checks to the nonprofit in 2020 and 2017. Webb told The New York Times that No Labels’s “fundamental mission has never changed.”

“This is nothing more than an organized distraction. Douglas’ last contribution was six years ago, and Jody’s last contribution was over three years ago. These contributions were spent on priorities that the Dursts had no complaints about at the time,” Webb told Courthouse News. But as they say, money—much like No Labels’ convictions—is fungible.