Another Primary, Another Trump Victory

Happy Monday! We hope this week is a quiet one for the good people of Plymouth, England. They deserve it after the week they had: Last Tuesday, someone found an unexploded WWII-era German ordnance in their backyard, and thousands were forced to leave their homes as it was removed—one of the largest evacuation efforts in the U.K. since the war itself. The bomb was intentionally detonated at sea on Friday. 

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Russian officials transferred custody of Alexei Navalny’s body to his mother, a spokesperson for the family said Saturday, after prison authorities originally suggested they would hold it for several more days. The family has not yet announced plans for a funeral; authorities had at one point made the body’s release conditional on the family’s promise to hold a private ceremony. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden announced sanctions on more than 500 people and entities related to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime—including financial institutions and groups linked to the country’s military-industrial base— to mark the anniversary of the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine and to punish Putin for Navalny’s death in a Siberian penal colony earlier this month.
  • U.S. Central Command announced on Saturday that the U.S. and United Kingdom, with the support of several allies, carried out their fourth round of strikes against 18 Houthi rebel targets in eight locations in Yemen. The strikes—an effort to neutralize the threat of ongoing Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea—were aimed at weapons storage facilities and other targets, including a helicopter used by the rebels. “We will continue to make clear to the Houthis that they will bear the consequences if they do not stop their illegal attacks, which harm Middle Eastern economies, cause environmental damage, and disrupt the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen and other countries,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement. 
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that 31,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion two years ago Saturday. That number—the first time Ukrainian officials have provided such a figure publicly—is far below estimates usually given by Western officials, which are often double that figure. Meanwhile, Canada promised additional funding to Ukraine over the weekend, announcing just over $2 billion in aid this year. 
  • The U.S. and South Korea conducted joint drills over the Korean peninsula with stealth fighter jets on Friday as a response to six missile tests by North Korea this year. The exercises were aimed at training pilots to intercept low-flying rockets in the event of an attack. 
  • Former President Donald Trump beat former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, winning nearly 60 percent of the vote to Haley’s 40 percent in her home state. Despite the loss, Haley vowed to stay in the race, traveling next to Michigan, where both parties will hold primaries on Tuesday. 
  • The Biden administration reversed its predecessor’s position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday calling them “inconsistent with international law.” The decision—undoing what’s been called the “Pompeo doctrine,” after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—followed the suggestion Thursday by the right-wing Israeli finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, that he would approve 3,000 more settlements in the territory where there have recently been violent clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians. “We are disappointed with the announcement [of new settlements],” Blinken said. “It has been a long-standing policy of both Democratic and Republican administrations that new settlements are counterproductive to achieving enduring peace.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released the first detailed plan for Gaza following Israel’s war with Hamas. The proposal, which came the same day as a round of ceasefire negotiations began in Paris, would reportedly see an overhaul of Gaza’s administrative and education systems, the handing of control to Gazans without ties to Hamas, and a “demilitarization” of the strip. Israel would control travel in and out of the strip, including taking over the southern border with Egypt. The plan seems to preclude the possibility of a Palestinian state in the immediate aftermath of the war. 
  • A New York jury on Friday found the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its top leadership, including former CEO Wayne LaPierre, liable for mismanaging millions of dollars of donations to the group. The civil corruption case, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, hinged on allegations LaPierre and his colleagues took donated funds to pay for luxury travel and other extravagant personal purchases. LaPierre was ordered to repay roughly $4 million to the NRA.

South Carolina Decided

Donald Trump at an Election Night watch party in Columbia, South Carolina, on February 24, 2024. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Perhaps the only South Carolinian who had a worse Saturday night than former Ambassador Nikki Haley was Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was introduced by former President Donald Trump at his victory rally as “a little bit further left than some of the people on the stage.”

He was then loudly booed by the crowd. 

Trump’s victory in the South Carolina primary did not come as a surprise Saturday night, though his projected margin of victory over Haley, who previously served as governor of the state for two terms, was slightly smaller than polling predicted. With five primary or caucus victories and 110 delegates now under his belt, Trump looks every bit the inevitable nominee as the candidates shift focus toward the Michigan and Super Tuesday primaries. But despite his unbroken string of victories and insistence that he has united the party, a significant chunk of Republican primary voters are looking for a new standard bearer—which could prove a stumbling block for Trump as he pivots to the general election.

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