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Mike Johnson and MTG Go Gaga Over Trump Praising Them

The two lawmakers shamelessly fawned over Trump after receiving just the tiniest bit of validation.

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mike Johnson stand next to each other
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Two MAGA soldiers appeared to be starstruck by Donald Trump during the former president’s meeting with House Republicans Thursday. Unfortunately for the country, they’re some of the top lawmakers in the country.

In a press conference held shortly after the reunion, House Speaker Mike Johnson couldn’t hold back from cracking a smile while mentioning that Trump had personally thanked him for his dedication to Trump’s cause.

“He said very complimentary things about all of us. We had sustained applause,” Johnson said before bashfully turning his head to the side with a smirk. “He said I’m doing a very good job. We’re grateful for that.”

But Johnson wasn’t the only one giddy at the idea of getting a gold star from Trump. Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared equally thrilled that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee even recognized her among the crowd.

“He’s always so sweet, recognizing me, and he said, ‘Are you being nice to Speaker Johnson?’” she told CNN’s Lauren Fox.

“He was joking. And I said, ‘Eh,’” she continued, gesturing with her hands. “He said, ‘OK, be nice to him,’ and I nodded my head.”

Trump’s two golden children in the House were diametrically opposed as recently as last month, when Greene forced a vote to strip Johnson of the gavel. Her motion to vacate fell apart after the House voted 359–43 to keep Johnson in leadership.

But the time-consuming and chaotic effort came at the cost of Greene’s already minimal popularity in the lower chamber, with Republicans insisting that the Georgia Republican be stripped of her committee assignments for leading another attempt to divide an already thin and historically unproductive majority.

Trump’s Campaign Was Just a Scammy Money Grab All Along

Donald Trump has funneled millions of dollars from his presidential campaign to his businesses.

Donald Trump gestures as he walks
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump has transferred $4.6 million of donations to his campaign into his businesses by charging the campaign for travel and food expenses, according to a new report from Forbes.

Federal Election Commission filings show that Trump’s aviation company, Tag Air, has charged the campaign $4.2 million since his 2024 bid kicked off. Secret Service flight costs—members are required to travel with Trump on the campaign trail—reportedly account for more than $800,000.

The campaign has also spent around $60,000 between the Trump National Doral golf resort in Florida and the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas. And that’s to say nothing of the $332,000 the campaign has paid to host events at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s residence.

It’s not the first time Trump has pulled this kind of enrichment scheme: As president, he reportedly charged Secret Service agents “exorbitant” rates—sometimes five times the General Services Administration–mandated government rate—to stay at Trump-branded hotels in the United States, and untold millions at Trump properties abroad. As a candidate in 2016, Trump promised to divest from his business holdings if he were elected president. In January 2017, not two weeks before his inauguration, he reneged on that pledge.

It’s no secret that Trump has been hurting for cash. After losing the 2020 election, he solicited $250 million in supporter donations for his “election defense fund.” In the last six months of 2023, he spent $27 million of his supporters’ money on legal fees. And in the wake of several legal judgments against him—including a $450 million fine in his civil fraud case and an $83 million fine in the E. Jean Carroll defamation suit—he’s been forced to rely on unsavory, if not outright illegal, fundraising methods. Knight Speciality Insurance, the only surety willing to post Trump’s bond in the civil fraud case, famously lacked the assets to back the bond.

The writer John Ganz recently wrote about the mafioso weltanschauung animating Trump’s approach to politics. If it wasn’t already clear from his 45 years of grifting, it’s obvious now that he does business like a gangster.

Republicans Have No Idea What Happened in That Trump Meeting Either

“Like talking to your drunk uncle at the family reunion,” one Republican representative said of the closed-door meeting.

Donald Trump speaking on a mic, eyebrows raised
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday was supposed to be about his agenda if he wins the election in November. Instead, his meeting with House Republicans was about as coherent as one of his rally speeches.

“Like talking to your drunk uncle at the family reunion,” one source at the meeting said, while another said that the convicted felon and presumptive Republican presidential nominee was “rambling.”

Almost every Republican in the House attended the meeting, which was full of praise for Trump, including singing “Happy Birthday” to him and presenting him with the baseball from Wednesday’s Congressional Baseball Game. But after that, Trump’s remarks went in various directions, from praising Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene, Nancy Mace, and Steve Scalise to bashing the site of this year’s Republican national convention, Milwaukee.

Trump also told the audience that he met with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and claimed he’s leading polls in the state by two points, despite the fact that a Republican hasn’t won there since 2004. Bizarrely, he also brought up Taylor Swift, asking why the pop singer would “endorse this dope,” referring to Biden, and referenced Hannibal Lecter again, calling him a “nice guy.”

“He even had a friend over for dinner,” Trump said.

His comments on abortion to the group were puzzling, claiming that it only became an issue 10 years before.

Twitter screenshot Jake Sherman: 🚨🚨TRUMP on abortion to House Republicans: “Roe v Wade, everyone was against it because they wanted it to be decided by the states, there was no 10 weeks, 12 weeks, every person said it’s got to be back to the states. “It became a complex issue 10 years ago, everyone wanted it back in the states, and we got it back in the states, sometimes good sometimes not good, some states went one way and some states went a different way “But like Ronald Reagan, you have to have three choices: life of mother, rape and incest you have to do, but you have to follow your own heart “Republicans are so afraid of the issue, we would have had 40 seats”

Weirdly, he also said that one of Representative Nancy Pelosi’s daughters told him, “If things were different, Nancy and I would be perfect together,” which prompted an immediate denial from Pelosi’s daughter Christine.

Trump’s meandering rants didn’t hold the attention of everyone in the room, though, as Representative Chip Roy, who has often fought with his Republican colleagues, was at one point reportedly watching golf on an iPad while Trump spoke.

Who Will Protect Starbucks if Not the Supreme Court?

Someone needs to look out for union-busting corporations.

A man standing in front of a Starbucks holds a cardboard sign that reads "Starbucks No Contract No Coffee."
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Members and supporters of Starbucks Workers United protest outside of a Starbucks in Washington, D.C. on November 16, 2023.

In a major blow to dastardly labor rights that cruelly curtail righteous corporate greed, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Starbucks on Thursday. The ruling comes amid an ongoing battle between the heroic $25 billion corporation and the evil National Labor Relations Board’s order to rehire the “Memphis Seven,” a group of working class Starbucks employees who had the audacity to organize a union to support workers’ rights. The seven low wage workers were terminated by the java giant, prompting the NLRB to step in.

The case before the Supreme Court was brought by Starbucks seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that affirmed the NLRB’s order for Starbucks to rehire the Memphis Seven, and which issued an injunction against Starbucks for attempting to fight that rehiring. The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday establishes a new precedent limiting the extent labor organizers and the NLRB can use the courts to enforce their rulings against companies that violate labor law or who unlawfully terminate workers in an effort to union-bust.

The NLRB successfully ordered Starbucks to rehire the “Memphis Seven” in September 2022. The NLRB alleged unfair labor practices for the firings, while Starbucks claimed the seven had engaged in “significant violations” of company policy: Starbucks claimed workers stayed in the store past closing time and allowed interviews by local media. Starbucks took its appeal to federal court and lost in August 2023 before appealing to the Supreme Court.

In response to the ruling, the Memphis Seven wrote, “It is a shame to see the lengths Starbucks is willing to go to destroy their image.” Starbucks Workers United, which represents unionized Starbucks employees, issued a statement on the ruling, calling it “particularly egregious” in light of how curtailed labor protections have become over the years.

SB Workers United statement Twitter screenshot: “Working people have so few tools to protect and defend themselves when their employers break the law. That makes today’s ruling by the Supreme Court particularly egregious. It underscores how the economy is rigged against working people all the way up to the Supreme Court. “Starbucks should have dropped this case the day it committed to chart a new path forward with its workers, instead of aligning itself with other giant corporations intent on stifling worker organizing. It’s incongruous to want to build a productive, positive relationship with workers and at the same time lead an attack on one of the few mechanisms they have to defend themselves against unscrupulous employers. “Regardless of large corporations’ machinations at the Supreme Court, workers are continuing to organize. Just last week, workers at 20 Starbucks stores filed petitions to join Starbucks Workers United. And there are nearly 450 union Starbucks stores across the country. Workers’ momentum is unstoppable and they will not let the Supreme Court down."

Unionized Starbucks workers and those seeking to unionize have frequently alleged union-busting efforts by the coffee giant, including unlawfully reducing or changing worker-organizers’ schedules or closing locations in retaliation for successful organizing drives. Starbucks has received at least 446 unfair labor practice charges in the past year alone. The Strategic Organizing Center estimates Starbucks has spent $153 million on “anti-union activity,” and is liable for $87 million in denied wages, illegal firings, and store closings.

On Thursday, all nine Supreme Court justices either wholly or partially ruled in favor of Starbucks on the basis of impropriety for courts to intervene on matters that can be—and in this case were—resolved by the National Labor Relations Board. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority decision and pointed to “traditional rules” of courts not stepping in, with liberal justice Ketanji Brown Jackson partially concurring. “I am loath to bless this aggrandizement of judicial power where Congress has so plainly limited the discretion of the courts, and where it so clearly intends for the expert agency it has created to make the primary determinations about both merits and process,” wrote Jackson. The ruling effectively neutralizes the NLRB’s ability to use the court system to enforce its rulings against combative companies, marking the loss of one of the few tools left to combat intensified corporate union-busting.

This article has been updated.

Republicans in Panic Mode After Trump Trashes Milwaukee

Donald Trump attacked Milwaukee in a meeting with Republicans on the Hill—and now Republicans are desperately trying to cover for him.

Donald Trump speaks before a mic. U.S. flags are behind him.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Donald Trump visited Capitol Hill Thursday to meet with Republicans in Congress and supposedly discuss strategy, but it didn’t take long for him to go off on tangents—and dump on the site of this year’s Republican National Convention, Milwaukee.

Tweet screenshot Jake Sherman: 🚨TRUMP TO HOUSE REPUBLICANS: "Milwaukee, where we are having our convention, is a horrible city."

Republican members of Congress from Wisconsin scrambled to respond to the comments, offering several different explanations to cover for the former president and convicted felon, including one representative who said the whole thing never happened. Unfortunately, three others said it definitely did.

Twitter Screenshot Lawrence Andrea: Wisconsin Rep. Glenn Grothman told me Trump made these comments when speaking about the election. Grothman said Trump was "concerned about the election in MKE" and "felt we need to do better in urban centers around the country."
Tweet screenshot Adam Rife: GOP appears to be scrambling to spin. A convention spokesperson told me Trump "was referencing the ongoing political game the City and County are playing with Pere Marquette Park. Despite concerns being raised months ago, the City has still not designated a first amendment zone."
Tweet screenshot Derrick Van Orden: Another classic example of shitty reporting by a Democratic Party shill pretending to be a journalist. Lies busy omission. @realDonaldTrump was specifically referring to the crime the CRIME RATE in Milwaukee. Tweet accompanies an article that reads "Milwaukee ranks third for violent crimes nationwide"
Tweet screenshot Lawrence Andrea: An aide to Rep. Scott Fitzgerald backs Grothman’s claim and tells me Fitzgerald said Trump’s comments “were about election integrity.”
Tweet screenshot Representative Bryan Steil: I was in the room. President Trump did not say this. There is no better place than Wisconsin in July.

Why would Trump criticize the city, especially since Wisconsin is a swing state that he narrowly lost in the 2020 election? The answer may very well be racism. Milwaukee is very often criticized by the rural and suburban politicians in the rest of the state, who use racist dog whistles, yell “socialism,” or rely on more overt bigotry. Myths of rampant crime continue to plague the city, even as its crime rate has dropped. Meanwhile, its sizable Black population, which has historically tipped the state blue, has slightly tempered its support for Democrats. In 2020, Trump’s allies responded to his election loss by trying to write off Milwaukee’s votes and overturn the state’s election results.

Recently, Wisconsin has been a source of bad news for the GOP, from a liberal candidate successfully winning a state Supreme Court seat to Democrats successfully throwing out one of the most gerrymandered legislative maps in the country. Perhaps Trump sees the writing on the wall and is (presumptuously) writing off the state for 2024, or he has another frightening plan to interfere in the state’s results if they don’t go his way. Or, maybe he hates Milwaukee for the same reasons he hates Chicago and Harrisburg.

One member of Congress who actually represents Milwaukee, had a healthier response to Trump’s comments.

Twitter screenshot Representative Gwen Moore: Once he's settled in with his parole officer, I am certain he will discover that Milwaukee is a wonderful, vibrant and welcoming city full of diverse neighborhoods and a thriving business community. (Quote tweeting Jake Sherman: TRUMP TO HOUSE REPUBLICANS: "Milwaukee, where we are having our convention, is a horrible city.")

This article has been updated.

Trump’s Latest Gripe About Taylor Swift Will Crack You Up

Donald Trump is desperate for Swift’s endorsement.

Taylor Swift fans herself
Andre Dias Nobre/AFP/Getty Images

The all-business, very important, couldn’t-be-missed meeting between Donald Trump and House Republicans Thursday quickly devolved into a mess, with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee apparently more focused on obsessing over his appeal to celebrities than discussing concrete policy changes intended to aid the American people.

In his first visit to Capitol Hill since before the January 6 insurrection, Trump ranted and raved, lasering in on key issues such as how Representative Nancy Pelosi is too old for him to date, slamming Wisconsin—the host of the Republican National Convention in July—as a “horrible city,” and, somehow most surprisingly, obsessing over Taylor Swift’s alleged support for President Joe Biden.

“Why would she endorse this dope?” Trump wondered, according to CNN’s Melanie Zanona. “He doesn’t know how to get off a stage.”

Swift has not endorsed anyone for the 2024 presidential election yet.

Days earlier, reports emerged that Trump had mused about Swift’s looks during a November 2023 conservation with Variety co–editor in chief Ramin Setoodeh.

“I think she’s beautiful—very beautiful!” Trump said at the time. “I find her very beautiful. I think she’s liberal. She probably doesn’t like Trump. I hear she’s very talented. I think she’s very beautiful, actually—unusually beautiful!”

Swift was notoriously close-lipped about her political beliefs, even through the 2016 presidential election, when she was rumored to be a closet Republican—but that changed when she sided with Tennessee Democrats in the 2018 midterms against now-Senator Marsha Blackburn.

“Back in the [2016] presidential election, I was in such a horrendous place that I wasn’t going to pop my head out,” Swift explained in her 2020 documentary, Miss Americana. “These aren’t your dad’s celebrities and these aren’t your dad’s Republicans.… I need to be on the right side of history.”

Even with a stacked year that includes running for U.S. president, several criminal trials, serving a sentence, and owing half a billion dollars in legal penalties, Trump still can’t seem to shake Swift from his mind. In private, Trump has promised a “holy war” against the singer if she chooses to endorse Biden in the upcoming election. He has also privately bragged that he’s “more popular” than the internationally recognized pop superstar.

Republicans, meanwhile, appeared less interested in idle gossip. When they left the highly anticipated reunion with Trump, they described it as more of a “pep talk” than anything else.

What else Trump thinks about Taylor Swift:

Trump Creeps Everyone Out With Weird Comments About Nancy Pelosi

Donald Trump revealed his bizarre little crush during an important Republican strategy meeting.

Nancy Pelosi claps at Donald Trump
Doug Mills/Pool/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In the same week that he rambled about electric boats and shark attacks, Donald Trump’s newest riff is one of his most bizarre yet.

During a closed-door policy meeting Thursday with House Republicans, Trump mused about his and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s romantic compatibility, reported Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman. Trump even alleged that one of Pelosi’s daughters had brought it up in conversation with him.

“Nancy Pelosi’s daughter is a whacko, her daughter told me if things were different Nancy and I would be perfect together, there’s an age difference though,” Trump reportedly said.

Pelosi’s daughter Christine, for her part, vehemently denied that the implausible interaction took place.

“Speaking for all 4 Pelosi daughters—this is a LIE,” Christine Pelosi tweeted. “His deceitful, deranged obsession with our mother is yet another reason Donald Trump is unwell, unhinged and unfit to step foot anywhere near her—or the White House.”

Trump has previously waded into Pelosi family discourse, mocking Pelosi’s husband, Paul, after a right-wing conspiracist broke into their San Francisco home and attacked him with a hammer, fracturing his skull. In 2019, Trump called Pelosi, then speaker of the House, “a disgrace to herself and her family.”

Hilarious “Trump Too Small” Case Comes to Sad End at Supreme Court

The man at the heart of the case wanted to sell T-shirts with the phrase, which he said were about Trump’s “dimunitive” features. And he went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Donald Trump's hands folded on the table
Jabin Botsford/Pool/Getty Images

Justice too delayed is justice too denied: The Supreme Court on Thursday tragically rejected a First Amendment complaint against the Patent and Trademark Office for rejecting a trademark of the phrase “Trump too small.”

The fateful phrase first came to fore following a calculated zinger from Marco Rubio during a 2016 Republican debate. Once upon a time, the debates were largely viewed as absurd chaos spirals from noncontenders for office, an opportunity for anyone with a dream and a little graphic design knowledge to craft some chintzy merch that gets flooded in the replies of viral tweets by spambots for years to come.

“And you know what they say about guys with small hands,” Rubio said with a grin to a chuckling crowd a lifetime ago. “You can’t trust ’em!”

Eight years later, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to those aspiring to turn zesty one-liners about Trump into trademarked merch. Steve Elster, an employment lawyer and progressive activist, crafted the shirt and applied to register “Trump too small” in 2018. The patent office rejected the patent based on the Lanham Act, which denies patents containing the names of living people without their written consent, on the basis that people would reasonably associate the trademark with the person.

A federal circuit court ruled that the Lanham Act doesn’t extend to content criticizing a government official or public figure. That ruling was kicked up to the Supreme Court by the Biden administration on behalf of the U.S. Patent Office.

Most Supreme Court justices concurred on the decision to reject Esler’s case, led by Clarence Thomas. Thomas concluded that there was a “tradition” of rejecting trademarks that include a person’s name, writing, “We see no reason to disturb this long standing tradition, which supports the restriction of the use of another’s name in a trademark.”

During oral arguments, Justice Sonia Sotomayor suggested upholding the rejection, noting, “The question is: Is this an infringement on speech? And the answer is no. He can sell as many shirts with this saying and the government’s not telling him he can’t use the phrase, he can’t sell it anywhere he wants. There’s no limitation on him selling it. So there’s no traditional infringement.”

As noted by Sotomayor, Elster’s merch has had no issues being sold, except perhaps for lack of interest. “Trump too small” is still available for purchase, marked down from $39.99 to $24.99.

Internet Hilariously Roasts Nancy Mace’s Latest Hypocrisy

The South Carolina representative can’t outrun her own actions.

Nancy Mace sits in front of a microphone
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

South Carolina Republican Representative Nancy Mace bragged about her record supporting civil rights—but was quickly called out for leaving out a major detail.

Mace appeared on CNN Wednesday night to discuss the House vote to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s classified documents case interview with special counsel Robert Hur. Speaking with Laura Coates, Mace bravely posed as a guardian of due process.

“I work on a lot of civil rights issues. I was the ranking member of the civil rights subcommittee last session on oversight. Due process is a really important issue,” she said. Mace did not, however, mention why she’s no longer the ranking member of the subcommittee: She helped lead the charge to disband it.

It’s not the first time Mace has trotted out this defense. In January, at a House Oversight Committee hearing during which Hunter Biden testified, she tried to beat back criticism from Texas Representative Jasmine Crockett that she had misused the term “white privilege” while questioning Biden, citing her former ranking position on the subcommittee.

“I take great pride as a white female Republican to address the inadequacies in our country,” Mace said.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quickly pointed out, though, that Mace’s position appeared more valuable to her as a title to be wielded over Democrats than an actual leadership role in safeguarding the rights of minorities across the country. After all, the subcommittee did not just cease to exist. Mace, along with Kentucky Representative and abortive Biden impeachment architect James Comer, had overseen its elimination in early 2023.

Crockett had noted during the hearing that “rather than squandering their authority on investigations of the president’s family, the chairman and House Republicans should use their authority to conduct oversight and investigate the merciless murders of innocent Americans—mainly Americans who look like me—at the hands of law enforcement.”

That hasn’t stopped Mace—who has been in the news recently for potential ethics violations and mistreatment of staff—from loudly proclaiming her civil rights bona fides when they are of political use to her. Right-wing retconning of the conservative civil rights record is nothing new, however; they’ve done it about Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights Act, and plenty of other now-popular causes they once opposed. But as the right continues to openly repudiate those civil rights achievements, Mace’s convenient lie of omission may become increasingly rare.

J.D. Vance Reaches Pathetic New Low in Audition for Trump’s V.P.

The Ohio senator will do whatever he can to get the gig—even if it means desperate flattery.

Senator J.D. Vance
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Hoping to be Donald Trump’s running mate, Senator J.D. Vance is trying to butter up his son Donald Trump Jr.

On X (formerly Twitter) Wednesday morning, the Ohio politician shared an Axios post calling the younger Trump “MAGA’s new kingmaker,” and called him “one of the best people I’ve met in politics.”

Twitter Screenshot J.D. Vance: Don is one of the best people I’ve met in politics. He genuinely believes in America First and works his ass off to make it a reality.

The post was immediately mocked online, as users pointed out the pathetic suck-up attempt.

Twitter Screenshot: Well, every king needs a court jester and every village needs an idiot so here you are.
Twitter screenshot: J.D. Vance isi sucking up so hard, I'm wondering how depressed he will be if he's not Trump's choice for V.P.

It’s only the latest move from Vance to curry favor with the former president and convicted felon. Vance has introduced a performative bill to ban diversity, equity, and inclusion principles from the federal government, and implied that he would have carried out a coup in favor of Trump if he were vice president on January 6, 2021. He said he would accept the 2024 election results—if Trump is the victor. He also criticized the daughter of Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over Trump’s hush-money trial, on Trump’s behalf since the Republican presidential nominee was bound by a gag order.

When Trump will pick a vice president is anyone’s guess, but Vance is supposedly among his top four, along with Senators Marco Rubio and Tim Scott and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. With Vance’s claim to fame being the narrative of climbing out of rural poverty to wealth and education (before embracing MAGA and attacking the elite institutions he benefited from), he may have an advantage over the other candidates. Trump also supposedly “likes people who are rich and have hot wives,” according to one source.

According to Vance, the Trump campaign has ironically asked prospective vice presidential candidates whether they have been convicted of a crime.

More on election hell: