You may have missed it in the tumult of Syria coverage, but Rep. Peter King announced this weekend that he is running for president.
In an interview this week, the Republican lawmaker from New York who’s perhaps best known for protecting America from scary ” radicalized Muslims,” told a New Hampshire radio station that he was in the state “because right now I’m running for president,” according to the New York Daily News.
King has been trying to generate buzz around the idea since at least as early as July, when he sent an e-mail to supporters saying he’d been “floated” as a possible presidential pick by prominent members of his party.
The announcement makes King the first Republican to officially declare his intentions to run for president in 2016. It also puts him in the dubious company of a whole host of other candidates who, as Wonkette put it, were first to shout “First!” in the proverbial chat room of presidential elections.
For your viewing pleasure, National Journal has compiled a recent rundown of other candidates to declare earliest in recent years.
The first Republican to announce that year was longtime political activist and campaign consultant Fred Karger. Ever heard of him? Neither have we. But Tyler Kingkade wrote about him and he sounds like a nice guy.
John Cox, a “Ronald Reagan-style Republican,” announced his candidacy after ” getting a standing ovation when he outlined how he will solve the illegal-alien debacle.” Ever heard of him? Thought not.
The first Democrat to announce that year was then-Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. We’re guessing you have heard of him. Gallup polls placed Vilsack at 1 percent in December of 2006. It fell to 0 percent on Jan. 7, where it remained until his he withdrew from the race. He is now the secretary of Agriculture.
To recall the 2004 presidential election is to recall Howard Dean. And indeed, he was the first to announce his candidacy. Dean, if you remember, polled in first place throughout much of the presidential primary, occasionally polling second to Dick Gephardt. But we all know how that ended.
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
"The House voted Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan measure passed easily by a vote of 386-41, with nine Republicans and 32 Democrats voting in opposition. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Among the provisions it contains is a mandate that the Senate confirm the Secret Service director. It also boosts funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative by $195 million per year.
In remarks scheduled to be delivered today at the American Federation of Teachers' summer conference, President Randi Weingarten "likens U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to a climate-change denier" and "says the Trump administration's school choice plans are secretly intended to starve funding from public schools. She calls taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and the like 'only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.'" The pro-voucher Center for Education Reform said teachers should "consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation."