Happy Wednesday! Washingtonians found a new favorite measure of time Tuesday, replacing the “Scaramucci”—which represents roughly 11 days spent in a job—with the “Emmer,” which represents roughly four hours.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) chief of staff, said on Tuesday that the military has completed its preparations for a ground offensive into Gaza. The announcement, however, came amid reports that Israel is reportedly willing to delay the start of a ground operation to pursue negotiations for the release of hostages held in Gaza. “We will make a decision with the political echelon regarding the shape and timing of the next stage,” Halevi said.
- House Republicans met multiple times on Tuesday in an attempt to finally select a winning speaker nominee. Majority Whip Tom Emmer won the conference’s nomination Tuesday afternoon over Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana by a vote of 117-to-97 (five members voted for other candidates and one voted present), but he quickly dropped his bid after it became clear that he lacked the support to get 217 votes on the House floor. Former President Donald Trump publicly opposed Emmer, labeling him a “Globalist RINO” who “never respected the Power of a Trump Endorsement.” The conference held a second candidate forum late last night with Johnson clinching the nomination after receiving 128 votes. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy received 43 votes and Rep. Byron Donalds received 29. A floor vote is tentatively scheduled for this afternoon.
- Jenna Ellis, a former Trump attorney, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the Georgia election interference case concerning her role in assisting Trump’s legal team in making false statements about the 2020 election. Ellis cooperated with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to a single felony count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings, becoming the fourth member of Trump’s former legal team to accept a plea deal. As part of the agreement, Ellis agreed to testify against other defendants in the case, including Trump. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges,” Ellis said during a tearful statement. “I look back on this whole episode with deep remorse.”
- The Senate voted 98-0 on Tuesday to confirm Mike Whitaker as the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a five-year term. Whitaker, a former deputy administrator of the FAA and United Airlines executive, fills the position after an 18-month vacancy and inherits an agency facing increased scrutiny over alarming safety incidents and near-collisions between aircraft in recent months.
- More than 30 state attorneys general filed a federal lawsuit against Meta on Tuesday, alleging the company violated federal child privacy protections, as well as state consumer protection statutes, by knowingly making their social media services more addictive and lying about the effects of their services on children’s mental health. The lawsuit drew bipartisan support from state officials—15 of the 33 attorneys general that signed onto the lawsuit were Republicans and 18 were Democrats. Additionally, attorneys general in eight states and the District of Columbia also filed separate lawsuits in state courts yesterday, alleging Meta violated state consumer protection laws.
- The United Auto Workers (UAW) called a strike at another General Motors factory on Tuesday, leading approximately 5,000 workers to walk off the job at an Arlington, Texas factory. This expansion followed 6,800 workers at a Stellantis plant in suburban Detroit joining the strike on Monday. More than 45,000 UAW members across GM, Stellantis, and Ford Motor have now joined the walkout as negotiations with automakers continue.
- Chris Christie’s campaign announced on Tuesday that the former New Jersey governor had received enough donors to qualify for the third GOP presidential debate, which is scheduled to take place in Miami on November 8. The Republican National Committee’s requirements mandate that candidates on the debate stage have at least 70,000 unique donors and register at least four percent support in two national polls or one national and two state polls—a threshold Christie had already met. Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy have also qualified for the debate. Mike Pence has reached the polling threshold but has apparently struggled to come up with enough donors, and Sen. Tim Scott has yet to fulfill the polling or donor requirements.
- The 2023 World Series matchup is set: After defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 on Tuesday, the Arizona Diamondbacks will travel to Arlington to take on the Texas Rangers in a best-of-seven series starting on Friday.
Just Another Manic Tuesday
On the same day that he hit a dominant 59 percent in the RealClearPolitics polling average, former President Donald Trump flexed his muscle as leader of the GOP and ended Rep. Tom Emmer’s quest for the speaker’s gavel in its infancy. Meanwhile, his former lawyer cried in court as she pleaded guilty to crimes she committed in furtherance of a scheme to overturn election results—an effort rooted in claims that even Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly told prosecutors were baseless. Just another day in Trump’s Grand Ol’ Party.
After Rep. Jim Jordan’s speaker bid flamed out on Friday, House Republicans gathered on Tuesday to vote on their next sacrificial lamb, settling on Emmer, the majority whip from Minnesota. Within hours, however, Emmer had ended his bid—and Trump was reportedly taking credit for his quick demise.
Publicly, Trump’s charges against Emmer included being “totally out-of-touch with Republican voters” and a “RINO.” Privately, Emmer was done in by his reluctance to endorse Trump’s 2024 campaign and decision not to support Trump’s assertion that the 2020 election was stolen—which eagle-eyed readers might recognize as the “baseless” claims mentioned in the first paragraph of this item.