HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP KEVIN MCCARTHY SPEAKS AT MILKEN … McCarthy spoke with Frank Luntz at a morning session at Milken Global in Los Angeles, opening with remarks about how Washington needs to find a way to compromise again and said the minority should not shut down the process.
-- MESSAGE TO SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (who was sitting down on stage after him): “I don’t think we can expect the American public to tell us we have to change… We can sit right here and have different philosophical opinions and not personalize it against each other. ...
“The time you start taking it personally, the time you stop accepting the outcomes of elections, the times you drag elections out further, that is wrong.”
SCHUMER ON THE MIDTERMS, who was just taking the stage with Richard Sandler as we filed this edition: “I never saw such energy on the streets and with the public as I did [during the Eugene McCarthy campaign] .. until today. And I would say in reference to what my good friend Leader McCarthy said -- that energy today is going to lead Democrats to take back the House and Senate. I really believe both of those things will happen.”
-- MORE FROM MCCARTHY …
-- ON TRUMP: “He’s not a difficult person to work with by any means… He has an amazing work ethic. … Anybody can have a debate during an election but when an election is over I want the country to win and I think that’s what we have a problem with… that goes for both sides. I find the president is open to talking to anybody.. He’s no different than who he said when he was [on the] campaign.”
-- ON THE LIKELIHOOD OF TACKLING THE DEBT: “Health care was one vote short, when you look at Social Security … Medicare, you cannot solve those problems by one party. … I think it’s going to take political will on both sides.”
-- ON WHAT KIND OF MINORITY LEADER HE WOULD BE: “I don’t believe we’ll have that option. .. I think we focus on our issues, we’ll be ok.” Noting that Republicans should focus on VA reform, human trafficking, opioid reform. “We’ll pick up two seats in Minnesota. … We have a four point advantage [in the generic ballot]. … I know what the odds say, but I’d much rather be sitting where we are than where they are.”
TRUTH TALK FROM LUNTZ in his opening remarks: “This is not a political America we can be proud of … I don’t want to be a part of that. … We don’t even have a Republican and a Democrat up here at the same time, and I don’t get that.”
-- FOR THE RECORD: Frank Luntz is a friend and a informal adviser, of sorts, to McCarthy.
-- SPOTTED this morning at Milken in Los Angeles: Tony Fratto, Rob Saliterman, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.)
ANNA is out at Milken for a few days, so feel free to hit her up at firstname.lastname@example.org with any fun spotteds, news, etc. Want more from Milken? Sign up to Ben White’s popup newsletter https://politi.co/2KmnCv0
THE BIG READ … WAPO’S MICHAEL SCHERER, GREG JAFFE and JOSH DAWSEY: “In private chat with senator, Trump hints at policy shift in Afghanistan — and a return to isolationism”: “In the days leading up to a key vote over the fate of his nominee for secretary of state, President Trump found a way to win over one of the biggest skeptics in the Senate. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), a rare isolationist Republican, was signaling that he would oppose Trump’s pick, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a hawkish former congressman who had backed the Iraq War.
“But the more Trump and Paul spoke, including three calls on Monday, the more assured Paul became that the president was moving back toward the non-interventionist world view that Trump had championed on the campaign trail. The conversations left Paul with a particularly enticing notion: that Trump was prepared to end the war in Afghanistan.
“‘The president told me over and over again in general we’re getting the hell out of there,’ Paul said in an interview Thursday in his Senate office. ‘I think the president’s instincts and inclination are to resolve the Afghan conflict.’” https://wapo.st/2HJwCcd
Good Monday afternoon. ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU is speaking right now, and says he is showing the public Iran’s secret nuclear documents. A big headline on a slideshow behind him: “Iran Lied.” Netanyahu says Israel has obtained files from Iran on their nuclear program.
ALSO IN ISRAEL -- “Pompeo and Palestinians Have ‘Nothing to Discuss’ Amid Gaza Crisis,” by NYT’s Gardiner Harris and Isabel Kershner: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Israel Sunday in the midst of the worst crisis in relations between Israelis and Palestinians in years, but he did not meet a single Palestinian representative and mentioned them publicly once. …
“No one at the State Department called Palestinian leaders to ask for a get-together with Mr. Pompeo, according to Palestinian officials. And that may be because the Americans knew the answer they would have gotten: No.
“Infuriated by President Trump’s decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, paving the way for the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested holy city, Palestinian leaders have cut off political contacts with the Trump administration. They say the White House can no longer be considered an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.” https://nyti.ms/2Ko1OPX
SPOTTED -- Nancy Pelosi on an American flight to Boston from Reagan this morning … Anita Dunn boarding a flight to La Guardia out of DCA. Donald Trump Jr. was also flying from LGA to DCA this morning.
TRUMP PROPOSES A MEETING LOCATION -- @realDonaldTrump at 8:19 a.m.: “Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING, but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking!”
-- PLUS, THIS IS STILL HAPPENING … at 8:10 a.m.: “The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is DEAD as we know it. This was a total disaster and an embarrassment to our great Country and all that it stands for. FAKE NEWS is alive and well and beautifully represented on Saturday night!”
HMM… STATEMENT FROM W.H. DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY RAJ SHAH: “Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson is currently on active duty, assigned to the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President. Despite published reports, there are no personnel announcements at this time.” Eliana Johnson’s report from last night saying Jackson won’t return as the president’s personal physician https://politi.co/2KmOzie
TERRIFIC STORY … PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: “Pa. gerrymandering’s surprise co-conspirators: Democrats,” by Jonathan Lai and Holly Otterbein. http://bit.ly/2raFMHo
AFTERNOON READ -- FRANK RICH in New York Mag: “The Original Donald Trump: The New York Establishment will ignore unscrupulous acts to serve its interests -- just look how it treated Roy Cohn, onetime lawyer to the president”: “It was Democrats in New York who taught both Cohn and Trump that they could buy off politicians and try to get away with anything. Cohn’s father, Al, was a Bronx and then New York State Supreme Court judge.
“The elder Cohn’s roots in the party’s machine were hardwired into his son: Young Roy figured out how to pull strings to fix a parking ticket for a teacher while still in high school. Trump grew up with a father who had been intertwined with the Brooklyn Democratic machine while building his residential-real-estate empire. By the time the clubhouse hack Beame arrived in City Hall in 1974 after the reform mayoralty of John Lindsay, Fred Trump had known him for 30 years.” https://nym.ag/2KnQaEw
ON TRADE -- Reuters: “Trump has not decided yet on metals tariff exemptions, Mnuchin says”: “U.S. President Donald Trump has not yet made a decision on whether any countries should get extended exemptions on steel and aluminum tariffs, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview that aired on [Fox Business on] Monday.” https://reut.rs/2KrhvWA
THE NEWEST PUNDITS -- “In Retirement, America’s Spies Are Getting Downright Chatty,” by NPR’s Greg Myre: “Spies used to retire and fade away as quietly as when they were on duty. Now they go on cable TV. They write op-eds. They take to Twitter and criticize the president.
“‘Used to be when you retired from the Clandestine Service in the CIA, you had to stay under your previous cover,’ said John Sipher, who has the perfect name for a spy. And that's exactly what he was for nearly 30 years at the CIA. ‘In recent years, retirees like myself have been able to, what we call 'roll back cover,' and be able to talk about some of the things we did,’ Sipher added.” https://n.pr/2KkSdt7
OH, OKAY -- AP: “Mystery solved: Why Trump-Macron friendship tree vanished”: “The French president’s office says there’s nothing mysterious about the disappearance of an oak tree he planted on the White House lawn. It was put in quarantine, like other plants or animals brought into U.S. territory. …
“An official in Macron’s office said Monday that Trump insisted on holding a symbolic planting ceremony alongside Macron despite the quarantine requirement. The official said both sides knew all along that the tree would go later into quarantine. A pale patch of grass now covers the spot.” http://bit.ly/2KpqlDX
MEDIAWATCH -- Roll Call: “CQ Top Editor Steve Komarow Dies”: “Steve Komarow, a veteran foreign correspondent and newsroom leader who served as senior vice president and executive editor at CQ Roll Call, died Sunday after a recent accident and long illness. He was 61.
“‘Steve and I joined CQ Roll Call in January 2015 and from the outset his intellect and encyclopedic knowledge of Washington was an enormous asset to our coverage and the development of new products,’ said Paul McHale, CQ Roll Call’s president. ‘But that intellect never got in the way of what I will remember most about Steve, his humanity.’” http://bit.ly/2KrI2Tt
-- “When hope is gone,” a blog published two years ago by AFP chief photographer in Kabul SHAH MARAI, who was killed in a suicide bomb attack today in Afghanistan on what it is like working as a journalist in the country http://bit.ly/2KsCqIu
-- Lauren N. Williams and Taylor Lorenz are both joining The Atlantic. Williams will be a senior editor in June after completing a Nieman Fellowship and Lorenz, who most recently worked for The Daily Beast, will start as a technology staff writer next month.
SPOTTED: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) riding in a morning spin class on Sunday at Election Cycle DC, a new bipartisan politically-themed spin studio on H NE – pic with owner Candice Geller http://bit.ly/2r9LQ2S
TRANSITIONS -- Jennifer Talhelm started today as the communications and marketing director for Western Resource Advocates and will be located in its Santa Fe office. She most recently was comms director for Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). … Thomas Melia is joining PEN America as Washington director. He is an alum of the Obama-era State Department and USAID and was most recently a visiting professor at Princeton.
WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- Rob Stutzman, founder and president of Stutzman Public Affairs and a Schwarzenegger alum, married Allison Barnett, who works in government affairs for Novartis. Pool report from Todd Harris and David Kochel: The couple “were married Saturday night in a beautiful backyard ceremony at the home of Rachel and Matt Cate in Wilton, Calif. About 125 gathered for the celebration which highlighted music, family-style cuisine (braised short ribs and cast-iron fried chicken with lemon beurre blanc) and South American wine selections.” Pic http://bit.ly/2w7mEQz
-- Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Caro Murciano, a clothing designer, got married this weekend in a ceremony at his home in Miami Beach. “It was small and intimate with family and close personal friends.” Pics http://bit.ly/2jhFTO1 ... http://bit.ly/2jfdxnm
-- Tyler Hansen, research director for the DCCC IE, married Alex Stevens, digital strategist for Well and Lighthouse, this Saturday on the rooftop of their apartment building in Navy Yard. Pool report: “The couple then took close family and friends to their favorite DC activity—a Nats game—before continuing the celebration at Bardo Brewing. The couple met after Alex caught one of Tyler’s stand-up routines, and then happened to match online.” Pics http://bit.ly/2r8TeMQ … http://bit.ly/2vYW7o7
WELCOME TO THE WORLD – OBAMA ALUMNI: Josh Walker, managing director of Japan and head of global strategic initiatives at the Eurasia Group and an APCO Worldwide and Obama State Dept. alum, and Megan Walker, director at United Way, on Friday welcomed Macy Lyn Walker, who arrived weighing 7lbs 1 oz and 21 inches. Pics http://bit.ly/2FoIy0Y ... http://bit.ly/2jiq8q7
BONUS BIRTHDAY -- Jonathan Jagoda of the Federation of American Hospitals (hat tip: Abigail Jagoda)