POLITICO Playbook: Nikki Haley scouts a 2024 partner | #schoolshooting


SPOTTED: NIKKI HALEY in Miami meeting with Mayor FRANCIS SUAREZ at City Hall. The sitdown was arranged with the explicit goal of allowing Haley to gauge the 43-year-old Republican as a potential running mate in 2024, according to a source familiar with the huddle.

Suarez, a rising star in Florida politics, is Cuban American and an influential voice with the largest bloc of conservative Hispanic voters in the battleground state. Along with voters with roots in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Colombia, Cuban Americans shifted hard right during the Trump era as Democrats struggled with the embrace of “socialism” by the left wing of their party.

Another source told us that while a joint ticket wasn’t explicitly discussed, it hung over the entire conversation. An intriguing sidenote: Suarez is known to have a chilly relationship with Gov. RON DESANTIS, another 2024 White House hopeful and favorite of DONALD TRUMP.

WATERS CONTROVERSY SPIRALS — Congressional Republicans eager to turn the spotlight from their own civil war to the Democratic Party have finally found their diversion in Rep. MAXINE WATERS.

House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY announced Monday night that he would force a vote this week on whether to censure the California Democrat for calling on Minnesotans to “get more confrontational” if DEREK CHAUVIN is acquitted of murdering GEORGE FLOYD.

The move came minutes after the judge overseeing the Chauvin trial suggested Waters’ admonition could be grounds for negating the verdict. “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Judge PETER CAHILL said, going on to rebuke Waters for suggesting there would be trouble in the streets if the verdict went the wrong way.

Speaker NANCY PELOSI said Waters has nothing to apologize for and was merely calling for civil rights-type protests. But Republicans are having a field day. The controversy dominated Fox News on Monday night, and GOP lawmakers are tripping over themselves to be quoted on the topic.

Never mind that many of the House Republicans accusing Waters of inciting violence refused to condemn Trump for riling the Jan. 6 mob. Not that we would ever expect intellectual consistency …

NEXT STEPS: Democrats are expected to table the move to censure Waters, but that’s far from the end of the story. For one, the NRCC is already planning to use this vote to tie moderate Democrats to Waters, according to spokesman MICHAEL MCADAMS. “If they hold together then they’re going to own … what Maxine Waters is saying,” McCarthy said on Fox News on Monday night. The committee is also tweeting about this.

But this could also trigger Democratic action as well. Tensions remain high in the House after Jan. 6, with Democrats privately lamenting that they’re working alongside apologists to an insurrection. Democratic leadership has privately worked to persuade many of these frustrated members to hold back on forcing votes rebuking their GOP colleagues to try to lower the temperature in Washington. They may be less restrained after the GOP-led vote on Waters.

Good Tuesday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook, where we wish we were spotted in Miami. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.

JOIN US — A day after testifying before the Senate about the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure and climate plan, Commerce Secretary GINA RAIMONDO will join RYAN and EUGENE on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the plan’s prospects. They’ll also cover President JOE BIDEN’S relationship with corporate America, the administration’s milestones as it approaches the 100-day mark and what to expect from Biden’s address to Congress. Register here to watch live

IN MEMORIAM — “Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at 93,” by David Cohen: “WALTER MONDALE, the former vice president whose accomplished career was marred by one of the worst electoral shellackings in American history, died Monday. …

“The man known as ‘Fritz’ had his seemingly effortless rise in politics halted twice by RONALD REAGAN, once in 1980 when the Reagan-Bush ticket stomped JIMMY CARTER’S bid for reelection and then, even more forcefully, in 1984, when Reagan obliterated Mondale’s bid for the presidency. Those defeats put an end to the momentum of an accomplished career that included 12 years in the Senate and four as Carter’s uncommonly active vice president.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune obit

— CBS’ @edokeefe: “‘WELL, MY TIME HAS COME.’ Here’s the email Walter Mondale sent 300+ staffers and associates over the weekend. He noted how he looked forward to seeing his late wife, Joan, and late daughter, Eleanor. ‘Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!’” The email

MONDALE’S GIFT TO BIDEN AND HARRIS: Mondale’s greatest achievement may have been his reinvention of the office of the VP from a backwater to a powerful perch when he held the job under Carter.

A memo that Mondale wrote to Carter about the vice presidency was so influential that it was studied by Biden more than 30 years later when he was in discussions about the role with BARACK OBAMA. (And Mondale wrote his former Senate colleague an updated version.)

When Ryan interviewed Mondale in 2008, he explained his counterintuitive view that what made VPs influential was not discrete assignments but serving as a “general adviser” to the president: “I used to say I never wanted to do anything that someone else was doing. That’s just busywork. It ties you down and takes time away from what is important, which is getting information and getting advice to the president on tough issues.”

In his statement on Mondale’s passing, Biden, who spoke with Mondale over the weekend, paid tribute to this legacy: “When President Obama asked me to consider being his Vice President, Fritz was my first call and trusted guide. He not only took my call, he wrote me a memo. It was Walter Mondale who defined the vice presidency as a full partnership, and helped provide a model for my service.”

BIDEN’S TUESDAY — The president and VP KAMALA HARRIS will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10:15 a.m. and meet with Congressional Hispanic Caucus leaders at 11:15 a.m. in the Oval Office: Democratic Sens. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (Nev.), BEN RAY LUJÁN (N.M.) and BOB MENENDEZ (N.J.) and Democratic Reps. RAUL RUIZ (Calif.), PETE AGUILAR (Calif.), NANETTE DIAZ BARRAGÁN (Calif.), ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (N.Y.), TERESA LEGER FERNÁNDEZ (N.M.), LINDA SÁNCHEZ (Calif.) and DARREN SOTO (Fla.). At 2:45 p.m., Biden will take a virtual tour of the Proterra electric battery facility in South Carolina and offer remarks.

— Press secretary JEN PSAKI will brief at 12:30 p.m.

THE SENATE is in session, recessing from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for weekly conference meetings. The Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on new voting restrictions in the states, with STACEY ABRAMS, Sen. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-Ga.) and others testifying. All the current FTC commissioners and chair will testify before the Commerce Committee at 10 a.m. Transportation Secretary PETE BUTTIGIEG, Commerce Secretary GINA RAIMONDO, HUD Secretary MARCIA FUDGE and EPA Administrator MICHAEL REGAN will testify on the American Jobs Plan before the Appropriations Committee at 10:30 a.m.

THE HOUSE will meet at 10 a.m. The Rules Committee will take up D.C. statehood and other bills at 9:30 a.m. The Judiciary Committee will mark up the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and other bills at 10 a.m. Interior Secretary DEB HAALAND will testify before an Appropriations subcommittee at 10 a.m.

TV TONIGHT — CNN’s DANA BASH interviews Harris about her first 100 days, airing in the 6 p.m. hour on “The Situation Room.”

BIG BUSINESS-GOP BREAKUP AN OPPORTUNITY FOR BIDEN — WaPo’s Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey have an interesting piece up about how Biden world is trying to capitalize on the rift between corporate America and the Republican Party. It’s no coincidence that the morning Biden rolled out his infrastructure plan, Goldman Sachs CEO DAVID SOLOMON, Bank of America CEO BRIAN MOYNIHAN and other chief executives were at the White House getting briefed on the plan, they report.

“White House officials in a 24-hour period also briefed powerful business groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable about the proposal, while also planning outreach to thousands of small businesses. … Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has spoken to more than 50 leading executives in recent days about the plan, according to her spokeswoman.”

The goal: blunt criticism of the proposal’s massive tax hike. And so far it appears to be working. The pair note, “Corporate America’s relatively muted reaction thus far to significant tax hikes was until recently unthinkable and reflects major changes in U.S. politics — the most important of which may be the recent falling out between the GOP and business elites.”

— In a similar vein, WSJ’s Gerry Seib writes about why corporate America is increasingly entering the political fray: “The very failures of the political system itself are forcing corporate leaders off the sidelines. ‘In some ways, the breakdown in the political system and the polarization has created this vacuum,’ says NEIL BRADLEY, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a former top Republican aide in the House. ‘Issues arise that are passionate, that can inflame both sides, and the political system used to have a way of dealing with those. You had senior statesmen who could bridge the divide and cool temperatures. You don’t have that today.’”

Seib’s conclusion: “Neither party today provides a comfortable home for corporate America. The Republican party … has turned more populist on trade and immigration, and skeptical of big business. The Democratic party has turned leftward. Business leaders increasingly find themselves on their own, in a political system that is failing, and at a time when silence is not an option.”

NEW THIS MORNING — “Georgia Faith Leaders to Urge Boycott of Home Depot Over Voting Law,” NYT

INFRASTRUCTURE YEAR

ABOUT THAT ‘FAMILY INFRASTRUCTURE’ PLAN — The White House is close to finalizing Part 2 of “Build Back Better,” and WaPo scooped the [still in flux] deets: “[T]he White House’s newest plan is expected to call for roughly $1 trillion in new spending and approximately $500 billion in new tax credits, according to the people aware of the internal discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. Aides cautioned that the final details of the plan remained unsettled and were subject to change.

“The measure is expected to be largely if not fully paid for with new tax increases centered on upper-income Americans and wealthy investors, the people said. The details of those tax measures remained unclear.”

TAKEAWAYS FROM MONDAY’S W.H. MEETING — “Biden asks Republicans to offer their proposal on infrastructure by next month,” WaPo … “Smaller Corporate Tax Increase Floated at White House Infrastructure Meeting,” WSJ

BUT, BUT, BUT … “Liberals warn Biden against lengthy talks with GOP,” by Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine, who talk to the progressives squawking about all the bipartisan talking: “‘I personally don’t think the Republicans are serious about addressing the major crises facing this country. Maybe I’m wrong, but we’re certainly not going to wait for an indefinite period of time,’ said Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.). ‘We’re gonna move forward rapidly,’ Sanders vowed. ‘They have something to say? Now is the time to say it.’

“Liberals are wary that the GOP may be trying to prolong infrastructure talks for weeks or even months, potentially setting back Democrats’ ambitious agenda as Biden goes back and forth with the opposition party over how big to go and when. But several prominent progressives also want to keep giving Biden room to try with Republicans — up to a still-undetermined point.”

— Mitch McConnell spox @DougAndres reacts to the headline: “Start the timer for these same people blaming Republicans for not coming to the negotiating table.”

THE WHITE HOUSE

WAITING ON THE VERDICT — “Feds weighing how to respond after verdict in Chauvin trial,” AP: “ The plans for possible presidential remarks are still fluid, with the timing, venue and nature of the remarks still being considered, in part depending on the timing of the verdict … The White House has been warily watching the trial proceed in Minneapolis — and then another shooting of a Black man by a white police officer last week — and are preparing for the possibility of unrest if a guilty verdict is not reached in the trial. Biden may also speak after a guilty verdict, the White House aides said.

“The verdict — and the aftermath — will be a test for Biden, who has pledged to help combat racism in policing, helping African Americans who supported him in large numbers last year in the wake of protests that swept the nation after Floyd’s death and restarted a national conversation about race. But he also has long projected himself as an ally of police, who are struggling with criticism about long-used tactics and training methods and difficulties in recruitment.“

CLIMATE FILES

TRUST ISSUES — “Amid Biden Climate Push, a Question Looms: Is America’s Word Good?” NYT: “[O]n Friday, China likened the United States’ desire to rejoin the Paris Agreement global warming accord that Mr. Trump abandoned to a naughty child trying to sneak back into school after cutting class. Perhaps nowhere is the skepticism about U.S. credibility as consequential as on the issue of climate change. …

“Complicating those trust issues is the fact that, while the Biden administration may declare on Thursday that the United States is ‘back,’ Congress remains as divided as ever on climate. … How ambitious other countries feel America’s new goal is, and how credible its path toward getting there is viewed, will largely determine how much the administration can prod other nations to make stronger commitments.”

AIMING FOR THE EMISSIONS PLAN — “ExxonMobil’s climate pitch to Biden: A $100B carbon project that greens hate,” by Ben Lefebvre: “ExxonMobil says it can help turn President Joe Biden’s climate agenda into reality — if Washington will kick in tax breaks and other assistance for a $100 billion carbon-capture project near Houston. By 2030, the project’s initial phase would capture 50 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.”

COMING ATTRACTIONS — “CNN to host climate crisis town hall with Biden administration officials,” CNN: “The town hall [airing Friday at 10 p.m.] will feature special presidential envoy for climate JOHN KERRY, White House national climate advisor GINA MCCARTHY, US [Environmental] Protection Agency Administrator MICHAEL REGAN and Energy Secretary JENNIFER GRANHOLM answering questions about the Biden-Harris climate policy. Bash will moderate.

STAFFING UP — “Yellen picks investor as Treasury climate czar, sparking backlash from the left,” by Zachary Warmbrodt: “Treasury Secretary JANET YELLEN on Monday faced intense criticism from the left after naming a former private equity investor to be the department’s first-ever climate counselor, a high-profile position that will be key to the agency’s sweeping efforts to combat climate change.

“Yellen’s pick, JOHN MORTON, is returning to government after most recently serving as a partner at the climate-focused investment firm Pollination. He earlier worked in the Obama White House … Yellen’s pick immediately riled environmental activists who want the Biden administration to take a harder line with Wall Street firms that finance fossil fuel producers. Many of them had been urging Treasury to hire former Treasury deputy secretary and Federal Reserve governor SARAH BLOOM RASKIN.”

CONGRESS

KNOWING CHRIS MURPHY — “Chris Murphy reckons with risk of ‘failure’ in his career-long gun control push,” by our Nicholas Wu. “The worst day of CHRIS MURPHY’S career, as he tells it, came eight years ago this week. That’s when the Senate defeated a gun control bill forged after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his state.”

“The mass shootings haven’t stopped plaguing America ever since. Nor has Congress ceased its perpetual stalemate on universal background checks for gun buyers. But Connecticut’s junior senator is leading the charge yet again… [T]his year, Murphy’s job is harder than ever: Expectations are high, while patience for compromise and delay is wearing thin.”

FLICKER OF HOPE FOR GUN CONTROL — “How Much Sway Does the N.R.A. Still Have?” NYT: “There’s some limited evidence that some Republicans are moving. Senators PATRICK TOOMEY of Pennsylvania and SUSAN COLLINS of Maine have privately signaled their openness to confirming Mr. Biden’s pick — DAVID CHIPMAN, a longtime gun-control advocate — to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an agency that the N.R.A. has historically sought to weaken, often by keeping its directorship weak or vacant.

“Toomey has long teamed up with Senator JOE MANCHIN of West Virginia, a centrist Democrat, in sponsoring a bill that would expand background checks for gun sales. When the House last month passed a pair of bills to increase background checks, eight Republicans voted for one of them.”

JAN. 6 AND ITS AFTERMATH

THE BIG LIE CONTINUES — “‘We will NOT move on!’: GOP base continues to seethe over Trump’s defeat,” by David Siders. “In Cobb County, the archetype of the GOP’s suburban erosion, Republican activists over the weekend were still re-litigating former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud while drafting resolutions to rebuke the state’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, and other Republican officials for their unwillingness to overturn Trump’s loss. The Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, has been all but excommunicated.”

— “Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who engaged rioters, suffered two strokes and died of natural causes, officials say,” WaPo: “The ruling, released Monday, will make it difficult for prosecutors to pursue homicide charges in the officer’s death… The Capitol Police said in its statement that the ruling ‘does not change the fact Officer Brian Sicknick died in the line of duty, courageously defending Congress and the Capitol.’”

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS — “Capitol riot defendants win unlikely Dem champions as they face harsh detainment,” by Kyle Cheney, Andrew Desiderio and Josh Gerstein: “[In the D.C. Jail, it’s] 23-hour-a-day isolation for the accused, even before their trials begin. And such treatment doesn’t sit well with [Sen. ELIZABETH] WARREN or Senate Majority Whip DICK DURBIN (D-Ill.), two of the chamber’s fiercest critics of solitary confinement.”

D.C. IS HEALING: A sign of creeping normalcy in Washington hit many inboxes Monday afternoon when JULEANNA GLOVER, a friend of Playbook and host of numerous soirees in pre-pandemic D.C., sent out an invite for a bona fide in-person event. A couple of caveats: The book party, for GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON’S “The Daughters of Kobani,” is in September, and Glover was careful to note that it will happen “only with the CDC’s blessing.” Fingers crossed!

NEW VOTING RIGHTS GROUP STARTS WITH A SPLASH: Former New Jersey Gov. CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN; JOANNA LYDGATE, the former deputy A.G. in Massachusetts, and NORM EISEN, an ex-House Judiciary counsel on impeachment, are launching a new nonprofit on voting rights, called the States United Democracy Center. The website will go live today, along with a bipartisan letter the group is sending to the business community, urging them to continue to push back on proposals to restrict access to voting being passed by some GOP legislatures across the nation. The letter McClatchy’s story on it

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Nicole Lee Ndumele will be VP of racial equity and justice at the Center for American Progress. She previously was the inaugural director of litigation strategy at Arnold Ventures.

MEDIAWATCH — Bill Melugin will join Fox News as a national correspondent based in Los Angeles. He most recently has been an investigative reporter at KTTV.

TRUMP ALUMNI — Ninio Fetalvo is now an associate with Brunswick Group. He previously was director of strategic comms for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is a Trump White House alum. … Drew Horn has co-founded Greentech Minerals Holdings, where he’s also the CEO. Horn, also president of Horn Global Energy Development, most recently was senior adviser at DOE and is a White House and ODNI alum.

TRANSITIONS — Jason Rossbach is now executive director of government relations at defense contractor Vectrus. He most recently was senior director of government affairs at DynCorp International and is a Senate alum. … Former Kentucky Senate nominee Amy McGrath will be Kentucky state chair for Vote Mama, a PAC seeking to elect Democratic moms. … The Lukens Company has added Chasen Bullock and Nick Carr as senior strategists. Bullock is a Congressional Leadership Fund and Rand Paul alum, and Carr was previously with the NRSC and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) … NSC’s Brett McGurk … NBC News’ Carol Lee … Time’s Molly Ball … Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith … Fox News’ Jennifer GriffinColin Reed of the Levinson Group … Lee Moak … Floodlight’s Emily Holden … POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris, David Siders, Liz Parsons and Jose RamirezKyle FeldscherEmily RodriguezLee FerranJosh DelaneyKaren White … CNBC’s Jacob PramukTess Whittlesey of Sen. Alex Padilla’s (D-Calif.) office (29) … former Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) … former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) (9-0) … former Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) … Cassidy Luna Mike Rubino … EveryAction’s Stu Trevelyan Lyft’s Heather Foster (4-0) … Rebecca KasperLeon HarrisMarc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center … Ashley WoolheaterGarnett DecosimoEthan Susseles … Avisa Partners’ Eric BovimSuzanne Struglinski … Hamilton Place Strategies’ Melissa MansonPatrick Collins of the League of Conservation Voters … Mary Springer SforzaKaren McAfeeLindsey MaskMolly BornShane WolfeZachary BaumMelanie RoeMichael Layman Michael Galfetti Mel Leonor Joanna Coles

Send Playbookers tips to [email protected]. Playbook couldn’t happen without our editor Mike Zapler and producers Allie Bice, Eli Okun and Garrett Ross.





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