Here's what we're talking about today:
- Former House Speaker John Boehner is raising eyebrows with his new book
- Rep. Matt Gaetz reportedly sent $900 to ally and accused sex trafficker
- Ranking Virginia's 7 GOP gubernatorial hopefuls from most to least Trumpy
1. SPEAKING FOR HIMSELF: Former House Speaker John Boehner has never been one to conceal his emotions. His memoir, out next week, takes that to a whole new level. But don't think his style won't make Washingtonians blush.
Here's a collection of some of the juiciest excerpts thus far:
Boehner blames Trump for the insurrection: The former president, Boehner writes in an excerpt published by The New York Times, "incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he'd been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November."
He really hates Sen. Ted Cruz: This isn't surprising - Boehner once called the Texan "Lucifer in the flesh." He went even further in the audiobook edition.
- "There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz. He enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP in what was a truly dumbass idea. Not that anybody asked me," Boehner writes in an excerpt published by Politico Magazine.
He also tries to come to grips with the current GOP: Boehner describes how the historically large Tea Party class that elevated him to the speakership was driven by lawmakers "who wanted to blow up Washington." This vendetta, he writes, was egged on by the conspiracy-driven hysteria of conservative media. He calls this environment "Crazytown."
- But not everyone is convinced that Boehner was powerless to stop them: Princeton professor Julian Zelizer points out that Boehner and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich bear some responsibility for coarsening Congressional relationships long before the Tea Party arrived. This brand of aggressive politics powered the impeachment of President Clinton, an episode Boehner now says that he regrets supporting.
And he once thought that he might have killed Mitch McConnell from shock: Boehner worried that Mitch McConnell was "going to 'keel over from cardiac arrest" when Boehner told then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "to f--- yourself" after amid tense fiscal cliff talks in 2013.
2. Rep. Matt Gaetz's scandal intensified: The Florida Republican reportedly paid accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg in two 2018 Venmo transactions that The Daily Beast uncovered. According to the report, after getting the money Greenburg sent three young women funds that added up to the $900 amount. Gaetz also used the nickname of an 18-year-old in the memo field of one of the payments. More on the story here.
- After the report, the first Republican lawmaker called on Gaetz to resign:
There's also the possibility that Greenberg may flip on Gaetz: Greenberg is expected to enter a plea deal with federal prosecutors, The New York Times reports. While nothing is certain yet, Greenberg's attorney tweaked the congressman by telling reporters "I'm sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today."
3. Biden called gun violence in America "an international embarrassment": He portrayed his executive orders that target so-called "ghost guns" and expand the push for "red flag" laws as the White House's first step on the topic. Biden also laid into Congress, urging lawmakers move beyond offering their prayers to victims of mass shootings and gun violence. More on his comments here.
- Biden pointed out there was another mass shooting just Wednesday evening in South Carolina: And then just hours after he spoke on Thursday, a gunman killed one person and injured five others during a shooting at a cabinet store in Texas.
4. Ranking Virginia's 7 GOP gubernatorial hopefuls from most to least Trumpy: Republicans haven't occupied the governor's mansion in more than a decade. Here's a peek at our roundup of hopefuls vying for the open position (Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is term-limited. There's also a sizable group of Democrats running to replace him.)
- Amanda Chase, a state senator dubbed "Trump in heels": Her colleagues censured her for participating in the January 6 rally that Trump spoke at that preceded the deadly Capitol riot.
- Glenn Youngkin, a former top executive at the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm: His top issues are reopening the state and rebuilding its economy through lower regulation, protecting Second Amendment rights, and passing election integrity measures.
5. Medical expert testifies about "the moment" George Floyd died: Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist, told jurors that Floyd's struggle to breathe with Derek Chauvin's knee on his neck was "like breathing through a drinking straw, but it's worse than that." Tobin also rebutted part of Chauvin's defense, arguing that a "healthy person" would have died under the same circumstances. This undercut theories that drugs or prior health conditions led to Floyd's death. Jurors listened with rapt attention.
6. The Biden administration is spending $60 million a week to house unaccompanied minors: The record number of migrant children coming to the border has overwhelmed permanent shelters, where the cost of caring for a child is about $290 a day, The Washington Post reports. The lack of beds in permanent facilities, exacerbated by pandemic restrictions, led to the building of 10 large emergency facilities with much higher costs. More on the situation at the border.
7. Washington moves of the week: "A diaspora of Hoosier politicos in DC made big job moves this week, a sign of the enduring and sprawling political networks forged by former Vice President Mike Pence and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg." Here are some of the other biggest moves this week.
Former Vice President Mike Pence launched a new political advocacy group, Advancing American Freedom. A slew of Trump alums joined, including former White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway and Seema Verma, who led the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under Trump.
Elsewhere, Rey Benitez was named Sen. John Ossoff's chief of staff as the Georgia Democrat builds out his team. Zaki Anwar, a former clerk for Chief Justice Roberts, joined Jones Day as an associate in the firm's appeals practice.
8. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 10:15 a.m.: Chauvin's trial resumes
- 11:00 a.m.: The White House's pandemic team holds a news briefing
- 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House's daily news briefing with Buttigieg
9. Dr. Fauci reveals which activities he will and won't do now that he's vaccinated: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, told Insider that his biggest shift is moving small gatherings with his neighbors indoors and without a mask. But given where cases stand currently, Fauci said he'll continue to avoid large indoor crowds where people removed their masks. That means no movies or indoor dining for now.
10. A different kind of red-eye: "NASA's Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter are having some fun on Mars ahead of the rotorcraft's highly anticipated first liftoff. That flight is scheduled to take place early Monday morning. So before clearing the area, Perseverance co-starred in a selfie with the tiny helicopter." Here's a look at the historic snap.
One last thing.
Today's trivia question: Today marks the anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The side table where Grant signed the terms was given as a gift to a wife of a Union general. This general would later be remembered for a far different war. Who was he? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected].
- Yesterday's answer: President Obama is thought to be the first president to brew beer on the White House grounds. Previous presidents dabbled in brewing and winemaking, but none are recorded as doing at 1600 Penn.