Previewing the First Republican Primary Debate of the Cycle

Happy Tuesday! After 25 iconic years in the role, Charles Martinet has decided to step down as the voice of Mario, Nintendo announced Monday. Saying “it’s-a-me” and “mamma mia” into a microphone is a pretty cool job, sure, but is it as cool as editing the Morning Dispatch

(If you’re wondering why we’re looking for a new TMD editor, check out this note Steve sent out yesterday.)

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • President Joe Biden visited Maui, Hawaii, on Monday to survey the damage on the island following the deadliest wildfires in recent American history. About 850 people were still missing as of Monday morning according to Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, and just 35 of the 115 people confirmed dead have been identified. Also yesterday, Biden appointed Bob Fenton, a regional Federal Emergency Management Agency leader, to oversee the federal government’s long-term recovery efforts on the island.
  • Former President Donald Trump’s legal team met with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Monday and negotiated a $200,000 bond for Trump’s release following his arrest on racketeering charges. The former president said yesterday that he’ll surrender to Fulton County authorities on Thursday, marking his fourth arraignment in as many months. The conditions of Trump’s release on bond reportedly bar him from intimidating witnesses or co-defendants in the case, including with “posts on social media or reposts of posts” by others.
  • Lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus announced Monday they would oppose a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown unless House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met the group’s various demands. The hardline lawmakers said they would only pass the stop-gap resolution to fund the government at current levels if the measure included the immigration bill passed on party lines earlier this year, addresses “the unprecedented weaponization of the Justice Department,” and ends what they view as “woke” Defense Department policies. The House still has to pass 11 of 12 funding bills before October to avoid a shutdown.
  • The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday it had approved Pfizer’s respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, the first of its kind to be administered to pregnant women and offer protection to newborn babies for their first six months of life. RSV results in tens of thousands of hospitalizations every year, and Pfizer’s shot—called Abrysvo—joins a drug from Sanofi, approved last month, that gives infants antibodies to neutralize the virus.
  • China’s Ministry of State Security announced Monday it is investigating a 39-year-old Chinese national for allegedly spying on behalf of the CIA. The news comes just days after the same authority arrested another Chinese national for alleged espionage—and weeks after the Justice Department charged two U.S. Navy sailors in California—one of whom was born in China—with spying for Beijing.
  • The State Department on Monday warned Americans not to travel to Belarus, adding that any U.S. citizens currently in the eastern European country should depart immediately after the Lithuanian government closed two of the remaining waypoints along its shared border with Belarus. “The Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian governments have stated that further closures of border crossings with Belarus are possible,” the bulletin from the U.S. Embassy in Minsk reads.

The Tortoises and the Hair

GOP candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an event hosted by Erick Erickson on August 18, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)
GOP candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an event hosted by Erick Erickson on August 18, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

In the classic childhood ode to hard work and consistency, a hare and a tortoise challenge one another to a race. The hare immediately darts ahead, but, feeling secure in his lead, decides before he reaches the finish line to take a little nap. Meanwhile, the tortoise diligently plods along and, while the hare is still snoozing, wins the race.

In the real world, sometimes the hare is so fast or so far ahead that he can afford to take a breather. But in light of former President Donald Trump’s decision to skip this week’s GOP presidential debate—and perhaps all of the primary debates—we bet a lot of Republican candidates are waking up this morning and seeing a tortoise in the mirror. 

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