Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

“The Case for Kamala”: Anonymous Memo Makes Rounds Among Democrats

Some Democrats are pushing for Kamala Harris to be the 2024 nominee instead of Joe Biden.

Kamala Harris smiles while at a lectern
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

An anonymous document titled “Unburdened by What Has Been: The Case for Kamala” is circulating in Democratic circles, according to CNN, as discussions for Biden to leave the Democratic ticket swirl among Democratic donors and party leaders grappling with his debate performance last week. “We have one goal: defeat Trump,” the subheading for the document reads. “Like it or not, we have one realistic path: Kamala.”

Deriving its name from a line frequently espoused by Vice President Kamala Harris, “Unburdened by What Has Been” breaks down the pros and cons of Harris being chosen to replace Biden on the ticket—and treats Biden stepping down as a foregone conclusion. The document acknowledges her abysmal approval numbers and proclivity for peculiar gaffes—such as nearly calling Biden the vice president during a July Fourth event—to her unpopularity as the face of the Biden administration’s immigration policies. Those pitfalls are weighed by the document’s authors against Harris’s “massive structural advantages” of already being on the ticket alongside the potential to energize support among “younger/POC voters we’re bleeding” on issues such as abortion, jobs, climate change, and LGBTQ+ rights.

The document, authored by anonymous self-described “senior operatives within Democratic political institutions that will not be taking a position regarding this crisis,” functions as something of a playbook for like-minded readers with influence to “make noise in support of this basic premise: Kamala is the only viable option to succeed Biden, and if she gets the nomination, she can win.” As CNN notes, while the document’s authors are unknown, it has circulated “in group chats of Democratic donors and leading coalition groups.”

“Running as a Presidential candidate will allow Harris to present herself in a more commanding light,” the document argues in contrast to current skepticism of Harris. “She’ll be a prosecutor going up against a convicted felon; a woman fighting against the man who ended Roe v. Wade. The headlines write themselves.”

“To be clear: this isn’t an argument about deservedness, or about why you personally should love Kamala,” the document states. “This is about strategy and winning in the face of unimaginable electoral stakes. The anti-Trump coalition cannot afford to discount the strengths of the nominated Democratic running mate and current vice president. She’s not the best option—she’s the only realistic option to win.”

Beyond pitching Harris as a viable alternative, the document explores “the Kamala scenario” against “the chaos scenario” built on the basis of Biden agreeing to end his candidacy. The document argues that the “Kamala scenario”—where Biden steps aside and encourages his delegates to back Harris at the DNC—would cast Biden as “a modern-day Cincinnatus—the reluctant hero who took up his sword to protect democracy, delivered transformational legislative achievements, and passed the torch to a historic figure from the next generation.”

Whether anything comes of the document or public calls for Biden to step aside is ultimately up to Biden: Biden and the White House have both said he has no plans to leave the ticket. A New York Times/Siena poll released Wednesday reports Trump’s lead against Biden has grown since the debate. To date, three House Democrats have publicly called for Biden to drop out, joining 14 governors and members of Congress who have expressed concerns about Biden remaining in the race. Former Democratic House Representative Tim Ryan declared Harris should be the party’s nominee, and Representative James Clyburn has also hinted at the same.

Is Joe Biden Even Making Top White House Decisions?

A troubling new report suggests that a great deal of administration policy is being made without the president’s knowledge.

Joe Biden looks down at the debate.
Joe Biden winces and closes his eyes as he does a terrible job in the debate.

A West Wing official is sounding the alarm over the aging president—and this time it has little to do with his health.

The official, who refused to divulge their policy area, age, or gender in an interview with Semafor, feared that some policy decisions were “being made without” Biden’s knowledge and claimed that it was unclear to even some staffers involved in the West Wing policy process just how many policy proposals were reaching the president.

“I’m super proud of the policies,” the person told Semafor. “I’m talking to you because I’m incredibly upset and scared for the country and I would like to do what I can.” Several Biden administration officials rejected the account, telling the publication that Biden is “in the middle of everything” and is “sweating every relevant detail.”

“He signs off on everything,” White House deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed told Semafor. “Many of us have sat with him as he’s made hundreds of decisions.”

“Nobody has the authority to freelance,” he added.

Top White House economist Jared Bernstein described Biden as a president who “makes decisions on everything from student debt relief to 301 tariffs to housing policy.”

Panic over Biden’s age and ability has consumed the Democratic Party since the president’s abysmal debate performance last week, during which he appeared dumbfounded and frail through the majority of his first 2024 matchup against Donald Trump. Since the face-off, droves of private-sector leaders, donors, and consultants have urged Biden to exit the race, looking for spontaneous alternatives to a candidate that they openly describe as “comatose” and “dead.”

Trump Advisers Plot Game Plan to Take on Threat of Kamala Harris

Donald Trump’s team is reportedly concerned about a potential Kamala Harris at the top of the ticket.

Kamala Harris clasps her hands and smiles in pure joy. A lectern is in front of her and three U.S. flags are behind her.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s advisers are reportedly already preparing a playbook for dealing with Vice President Kamala Harris, amid swirling rumors that she might be tapped to replace President Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee for president in 2024.

Trump’s advisers seemed adamant that Harris would struggle to retrieve support from blue-collar workers in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, according to Axios. One Republican operative even suggested that the Democrats should leak the likely abysmal polling on Harris from these states, if they want to end the speculation that she could replace Biden. It’s likely that this would be central to their campaign against Harris, should she run.

Blue-collar workers are a demographic Trump has been particularly anxious to capture; he recently began touting the promise of a policy to end taxes on tips, hoping it would secure the working-class vote in states vital to a presidential victory.

Trump’s campaign has already begun using Harris as a foil for this particular policy. On Thursday, the campaign turned a candid video of Trump calling Harris “so f*cking bad,” which was obtained by The Daily Beast, into promotional material about the policy, because Trump happened to be tipping a caddy as he railed against Biden and Harris from the golf course.

Trump’s other angles of attack would be that she is liberal, inexperienced, weak on border security, and hostile to corporations, according to Axios. He’s already started making fun of her for her weird laughter during public appearances.

Trump and his allies have good reason to fear a potential Harris run. Harris, who is nearly two decades younger than Biden and Trump, would likely appeal to independent and Democratic voters who have expressed interest in a younger candidate. She could also potentially increase voter turnout among women, who tend to vote in greater numbers than men.

Harris, who has been a sharp critic of measures restricting abortion across the country, could help to recenter the overturning of Roe v. Wade as the key issue in the upcoming election. Abortion access was a winning policy point for Democrats during the 2022 elections and could ensure a renewed wave of enthusiasm and turnout in November.

More Democratic Megadonors Abandon Biden

More and more power brokers are urging Biden to get out of the race.

Joe Biden, wearing sunglasses, waves while his mouth hangs open as he stands atop a flight of airplane steps.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Joe Biden waves, mouth agape, as he enters Air Force One on Friday.

Dozens of business leaders have called on President Joe Biden to pull out of the 2024 election, urging the 81-year-old Democratic candidate to preserve democracy and “cement your legacy.”

“We respectfully urge you to withdraw from being a candidate for reelection for the sake of our democracy and the future of our nation,” the letter to senior White House officials read.

The open letter, organized by the pro-Democrat Leadership Now Project, received 168 signatures but continued to receive more after it was delivered. Among its signatories were Walmart heiress Christy Walton, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz, and former Google executive Ning Mosberger-Tang.

“First and foremost, our number one concern is the risk that former president [Donald] Trump presents to the economy, to national security and the risk that he undermines rule of law,” Daniella Ballou-Aares, the CEO of the Leadership Now Project, said in an appearance Thursday on CNN, noting that the coalition of business leaders no longer believe that Biden will be able to sway enough voters to prevent another Trump presidency. Among their top concerns, per the letter, is the threat that Trump carries with regard to global and domestic instability, the abandonment of foreign allies, “crony capitalism,” political retribution, and further erosion of civil rights for women and minority groups.

“We are also engaging with members of Congress in the House and the Senate, making our concerns heard and sharing those of course also with the White House and the administration,” Ballou-Aares added. “We know that we alone will not drive this decision but we believe that adding our voice to it and encouraging others to come forward and recognize the risk and severity of the situation is our obligation, frankly, to this country.”

In the letter’s closing words, the coalition of private-sector leaders appeals to Biden’s nationalistic duty, recalling one of the biggest political junctures in early U.S. history in urging the president to pass the torch, “just as George Washington did.”

Trump Tries, Fails to Distance Himself From Project 2025

It’s still his blueprint for governing, no matter what he says.

Donald Trump smiles as he stands behind a lectern at a Heritage Foundation event in 2017.
Donald Trump at a Heritage Foundation event in 2017

On Friday, Donald Trump claimed that the Heritage Foundation’s radical Project 2025 plan—which lays out a course for uprooting American democracy as we know it, and has been elevated by Trump’s allies—has “nothing to do” with his run for president.

“I know nothing about Project 2025,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

How can Trump both know nothing about Project 2025 and “disagree” with it? He doesn’t say. But it’s clear that he recognizes that the plan is a growing political liability.

The public severance came two days after Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts issued an ominous warning for leftists, ahead of what he called a “second American Revolution.”

“We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be,” Roberts said on Steve Bannon’s podcast War Room, celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this week on presidential immunity.

“In spite of all this nonsense from the left, we are going to win. We’re in the process of taking this country back,” Roberts said.

Trump’s campaign has grown increasingly frustrated by reporting on the affiliation between the campaign and Project 2025’s agenda, despite their apparent linkage, and the program’s intention of serving as the former president’s wish list if and when he returns to office next year.

Project 2025 reflects Trump’s core political philosophy and has been boosted by key allies, including former advisers Stephen Miller and John McEntee. Trump’s own super PACs have run ads highlighting Project 2025’s policy goals. And as much as Trump wants to distance himself from the conservative apparatus, Project 2025 has been thoroughly involved in staffing a future Trump presidency: Roberts has claimed the project has already “trained and vetted” more than 10,000 people to replace executive branch employees should the presumptive GOP presidential candidate win in November. But they may have more on the way—in November, Trump allies claimed they were looking to install as many as 54,000 pre-vetted Trump loyalists to the executive branch via a “Schedule F” executive order.

“Never before has the entire movement … banded together to construct a comprehensive plan to deconstruct the out-of-touch and weaponized administrative state,” Project 2025’s director, Paul Dans, told Axios at the time.

Regardless, senior Trump advisers have warned news outlets against reporting on the connections. In statements to both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita pointed to Agenda47 as the official platform of the Trump campaign, noting that “unless a message is coming directly from President Trump or an authorized member of his campaign team, no aspect of future presidential staffing or policy announcements should be deemed official.”

Trump Claims He Never Praised Neo-Nazis—Thanks to Dubious “Fact-Check”

Congrats to Snopes for being cited by Donald Trump, who is now openly bragging that he never called the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville “very fine people.”

Donald Trump smiles weirdly
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is continuing to insist that he never called neo-Nazis “very fine people,” after a fact-checking site declared that his remarks from 2017 were misconstrued.

The presumptive Republican nominee posted on Truth Social Friday, sharing pieces of a report from the New York Post about Snopes, which had recently fact-checked Trump’s infamous defense of rallygoers at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

Earlier this month, Snopes issued a controversial “false” rating to the claim that Trump called white supremacists and neo-Nazis at the rally “very fine people.” Afterward, Trump claimed he wasn’t talking about neo-Nazis and white-supremacists, and said that they ought to be “condemned totally.”

Snopes deliberated that Trump’s full statement—“very fine people on both sides”—was referring to all of the attendees at the neo-Nazi rally, rather than a specific group of neo-Nazis at the rally. A small, but important difference, especially for Trump supporters who have been claiming for years that the former president was simply misunderstood.

During CNN’s first presidential debate last week, President Joe Biden referenced Trump’s infamous line as his rationale for running for president in 2020.

“I said I wasn’t going to run again until I saw it happen in Charlottesville, Virginia,” said Biden.  

“People coming out of the woods carrying swastikas on torches, torches and singing the same antisemitic bile they sang when back in Germany.… And the young woman got killed. I spoke to the mother. And they asked him, what do you think of those people? … And he said I think there’s fine people on both sides.”

Trump rejected Biden’s story. “He didn’t run because of Charlottesville; he ran because it was his last chance,” Trump said. “He made up the Charlottesville story, and you’ll see it debunked all over the place.” Trump insisted that this was the consensus among “every reasonable anchor,” and added that “just the other day it came out it was fully debunked,” likely referencing the Snopes rating.

Still, Biden urged, “It happened.” And he’s right.

Many were horrified by Trump’s failure to adequately condemn the participants of the Unite the Right rally, which killed three people. Snopes’s determination, which has emerged seven years after Trump’s original statement, seems to be differentiating between neo-Nazi supremacists and people who simply chose to attend a neo-Nazi rally—a dubious fact-check at best. The updated Snopes rating also failed to acknowledge Trump’s penchant for doublespeak, and the power of his more nuanced rhetoric, which when combined with his fascistic rhetoric, has garnered him the support of white supremacists across the country.

Biden Makes Embarrassing “First Black Woman” Gaffe in New Interview

Joe Biden made an unfortunate slip-up in a postdebate interview.

Joe Biden speaking at a couple mics
Samuel Corum/Sipa/Bloomberg/Getty Images

During an appearance on Philadelphia-based WURD Radio broadcast Thursday morning, Biden appeared to refer to himself as the “first Black woman” to serve in the White House.

“By the way, I’m proud to be, as I said, the first vice president, first Black woman, to serve with a Black president,” Biden said, apparently fusing his time as Barack Obama’s vice president to now having Kamala Harris as his vice president.

As Business Insider notes, Biden correctly stated earlier in the interview that he was the first president to have a Black woman vice president and that he had served as vice president to the country’s first Black president. It was only after he circled back on the statement that it became jumbled.

The 14-minute radio appearance was Biden’s first media spot since his debate against Trump and came as allies close to Biden privately warned that strong media appearances into the Fourth of July weekend were crucial to stem fallout from his debate performance.

“I had a bad debate,” Biden said during the radio show. “But 90 minutes on stage does not erase what I have done in three-and-a-half years.”

The radio appearance largely focused on work Biden has done to support Black communities, including giving billions to HBCUs, lowering the price of insulin, and pushing policies to increase Black homeownership. According to polling from CBS, 60 percent of registered Black voters feel democracy and the rule of law will be safe only if Biden wins—but 55 percent believe Biden should not be running for reelection and 31 percent think neither Biden nor Trump have the cognitive health to serve as president.

“Black voters in cities like Philadelphia are the ones who are going to decide the outcome of this election,” Biden said. A key voting bloc, Black voters clinched the presidency for Biden in 2020. Despite dips in support, a majority of Black voters continue to support Biden as Trump continues failing to make a convincing case for himself.

RFK Jr. Just Made His Weirdest Campaign Promise Yet

The conspiracy-mongering third party candidate just promised to “not take sides” on … the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sits in a chair and stares menacingly.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. last year

As the rest of the country obsesses over Joe Biden’s fitness for office, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has dared, once again, to say what absolutely no one was thinking.

The conspiratorial independent candidate had strong words to share about 9/11 on Friday, announcing that, as an official part of his platform for president, he wouldn’t “take sides” on the national tragedy.

“My take on 9/11: It’s hard to tell what is a conspiracy theory and what isn’t,” Kennedy wrote. “But conspiracy theories flourish when the government routinely lies to the public. As President I won’t take sides on 9/11 or any of the other debates. But I can promise is that I will open the files and usher in a new era of transparency.”

The unexpected and unwarranted message was prompted by a CBS 60 Minutes segment that aired late last month about possible Saudi involvement in the attack, according to Kennedy.

“Speculation about what our government may be covering up is rife outside the mainstream of our political culture,” he continued in a separate post. “Trust [in] government is at an all-time low. The way to restore that trust is through honesty and transparency. That is my promise, and that is what will resolve any questions about 9/11, UAPs, and other contentious topics. I am personally agnostic on those issues. My issue is TRANSPARENCY.”

It’s been a bad week for Kennedy, whose already low favorability tanked after a Vanity Fair exposé published images of him chowing down on what veterinarians identified as a barbecued dog. The article also included accusations from the Kennedy family’s former babysitter, Eliza Cooney, who claimed that Kennedy had rubbed her leg, read her diary, asked her to rub lotion on his back, trapped her against the pantry door, and groped her—all on separate occasions.

But that kind of behavior wasn’t entirely out of the ordinary, according to several of Kennedy’s friends who told the publication that he had sent them photographs of nude women multiple times. The friends believed Kennedy had taken the pictures himself, but did not know if the women had consented to being photographed or of the images being shared.

“Everyone Is Miserable”: Inside the Plummeting Biden Team Morale

A new report reveals how dire things are inside the White House right now.

Joe Biden speaking at a podium
Samuel Corum/Sipa/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Over a week out from President Joe Biden’s calamitous performance during the first presidential debate, a sense of doom is setting in among White House staffers, according to a report from Axios.

“Everyone is miserable, and senior advisers are a total black hole,” one White House official told Axios. “Even if you’re trying to focus on work, nothing is going to break through or get any acknowledgment” from those in charge, they added.

There has been some speculation that Biden’s inner circle, specifically Deputy Chief of Staff Annie Tomasini, Jill Biden’s top adviser Anthony Bernal, and longtime aide Ashley Williams are working overtime to keep dissent from the president’s ears. The result appears to be a rising tide of discontent from others in the president’s employ.

“The only thing that can really allay concerns is for the president to demonstrate that he’s capable of running this campaign,” said one high-ranking official from the Democratic National Committee. “Everything else feels like Weekend at Bernie’s by his inner circle to prop him up.”

To try to counteract the growing sense of dread, Biden’s campaign circulated an all-staff memo on Wednesday, including internal polling that shows the president neck and neck with former President Donald Trump, a slightly more optimistic finding than that of other polls published this week.

Still, Biden has insisted to staffers, and a group of Democratic governors, that he will continue his campaign to stay in the White House.

Here Are the Names Democrats Are Considering for Kamala’s Running Mate

According to a new report, many Democrats are plotting who Kamala Harris’s vice president should be for a 2024 ticket.

Kamala Harris walks out of curtains on a stage
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Fallout from Biden’s disastrous debate performance continues to outpace his campaign’s insistence he’ll remain in the race, with what CNN describes as “many top Democratic circles” already moving to assess who Kamala Harris’s vice president should be.

Two dozen top Democrats—described by CNN as an unnamed yet “widening group of leading party officials, operatives, and donors”—have looked into Democratic governors as potential vice presidential picks for Harris, with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear leading discussions. Democrats have also floated Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz as possible contenders.

CNN reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere, who wrote the article delving into possible contenders, stated that within hours of its publication, even more Democrats reached out with ideas about who Harris’s running mate should be. The assessments on potential running mates for Harris, CNN notes, are born from certainty among top Democrats that Biden’s reelection campaign is doomed. The names being floated are part of a quasi-mutinous effort to make a compelling case for Harris despite the Biden campaign’s firm stance that he won’t step aside.

One unnamed Democratic senator described the situation to CNN using a lengthy football allegory, describing Biden as a failing “star quarterback” and Harris as his backup quarterback. That senator argued that a Harris ticket is more realistic than backing an alternate from outside the campaign, saying, “The idea of our suddenly drafting someone from a school with a different playbook who hasn’t played a single game in the NFL is a huge risk.”

“We start talking in the huddle: Do we put in the backup Q.B.? The backup knows our team, the backup knows the plays, the backup has played in the NFL,” the senator told CNN. “The crowd in the stands full of passionate fans starts chanting: ‘Put in the kid from Alabama!’ ‘Put in the Q.B. from Wisconsin!’ All just because the backup threw an interception earlier. But we know the backup and have confidence in them.”

“[Biden]’s in such bad shape,” one Democratic House member whom CNN described as a “Harris doubter” told the outlet. “But I’ve also had conversations with Democrats about [Harris] from some key groups that have been skeptical in the past who believe everyone will rally to her if she’s the nominee.”

“It’s a straight shot, and she’s ready to roll,” former Ohio Representative Tim Ryan told CNN. Ryan said he’s received a flood of agreement in private after publicly calling for Biden to step aside and back Harris. “We’ve got to be decisive too. It plays right into the stereotype that Democrats are weak. With one fell swoop, you can change so many different narratives.”

The appraisals of possible Harris running mates are largely speculative and appear intended to gauge which combination would make for the strongest duo to defeat Trump and his still-unnamed running mate. Still, the push to firm up a strong case for an ideal Harris ticket has pulled the Democratic Party even further from the Biden campaign’s hard-line insistence that he will remain on the ticket—and echoes efforts from major Democratic donors working to use their money to coerce Biden into dropping out.