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Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo, the first of (hopefully) many written by Gabe Schneider, our new Washington correspondent. This week in Washington: The president has continued to stir up threats of violence against a member of the Minnesota delegation, tax day (for us and members of Congress), fundraising day (just for members of Congress), and more.
So let’s get on with it.
Omar in context
On Monday, President Donald Trump visited Burnsville to emphasize his tax plan and what he argues has been a net-positive for Minnesotans. He also took time in Minnesota to tell KSTP-TV’s Tom Hauser that he’s had no second thoughts about his constant barrage of attacks on U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.
Trump spent much of last week attacking Omar, culminating in an Islamophobic video that interspersed one of the nation’s first Muslim congresswomen with images of the September 11 terror attacks. Much of the president’s ire focused on a partial quote from a speech Omar gave about Islamophobic bigotry, in which she in part referred to the attacks as “some people did something.”
House Leader Nancy Pelosi called for Capitol Police to examine Omar’s security needs, following the increased incitement and threats of violence (Twitter is currently collaborating with Capitol Police to review death threats posted online). Meanwhile, a lot of other people also weighed in:
- The Washington Post’s lead Fact-Checker, Glenn Kessler, broke down the context for the speech and asked readers to decide what they think.
- The New York Times’ Astead Herndon delved into how Democrats responded to the president’s vitriolic remarks about Omar and what each response signalled to voters and progressive activists.
- The Times’ White House correspondent, Maggie Haberman, broke down the president’s comments in the context of his public disdain for Islam as a whole, starting with this lede: “President Trump has often seen the political benefits of stigmatizing Muslims.”
- From New York, Lois Beckett at The Guardian wrote about Yemeni bodegas boycotting the New York Post over attacks on Omar.
- And, last but not least, MinnPost’s own Eric Black wrote of Omar’s 9/11 remarks: “She said what she said and it has now entered the outrage factory as if she had said that the 9/11 attacks were no big deal. She did not say anything remotely close to that, at least for me, reading her remarks in their full context. … Omar must know by now that the long knives are out for her. She is choosing not to shut up nor even to back down.”
Worth noting is that Omar’s speech concluded with this remark: “I know as an American, as an American member of Congress, I have to make sure I am living up to the ideals of fighting for liberty and justice. Those are very much rooted in the reason why my family came here.”
Monday was tax day, which for most people means … paying their taxes. But for some folks in DC, it also means more.
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar released her 2018 tax return, revealing a total joint income between her and her husband of $338,483. In all, she has now released 12 years of her taxes.
- The House Blockchain Caucus (a real thing), co-chaired by Sixth District GOP Rep. Tom Emmer, sent a letter to the IRS late last week urging clarity in how they interact with virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
Outside of federal taxes, MinnPost’s Greta Kaul has a great breakdown of where Minnesota’s tax revenue comes from … and where it goes.
Easy as F-E-C
Monday was also the deadline for first quarter of 2019 fundraising, requiring all members of Congress and presidential candidates to release how they raised and spent money from Jan. 1 to March. 31. Here’s what the fundraising totals looked like for members of Minnesota’s delegation:
House of Representatives
- Ilhan Omar, CD5: $832,024
- Angie Craig, CD2: $328,704
- Collin Peterson, CD7: $281,769
- Tom Emmer, CD6: $261,220
- Jim Hagedorn, CD1: $237,680
- Dean Phillips, CD3: $195,811
- Pete Stauber, CD8: $193,347
- Betty McCollum, DC4: $174,200
- Sen. Tina Smith: $1,094,182
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar: $114,673
Amy for America
As you know, Klobuchar is also running for president (which helps explains her smaller Senate-side fundraising), and filings show she transferred $3.57 million from her Senate committee to infuse her presidential campaign with cash. Some other numbers to help you make sense of her bid:
- Total Raised: $5.21 Million
- Total Spent: $1.81 Million
- Cash on Hand (Mar. 31): $6.98 Million
- Percent of Donations Under $200: 34.6 percent
The biggest concern when it comes to a presidential campaign is having enough cash to adequately pay staff, something Klobuchar shouldn’t have to worry about for some time. If anything, it’s often more helpful to look at early polling, which can be a strong indicator of whether if her path to the nomination is viable. Which brings us to …
The latest Klobuchar polling
Two new polls on early primary state voters put the primary into context. These polls are bound to change dramatically as candidates drop out, but are helpful in understanding the current snapshot for how voters are feeling. (n = number of participants. +/- = margin of error).
- Morning Consult (n = 486, +/- 4 percent)
- Amy Klobuchar: 2 percent (both for early primary state voters and Democratic Primary voters as a whole). Context: Sen. Bernie Sanders leads at 29 percent, followed by Joe Biden at 24 percent, followed by the next five candidates, then Klobuchar.
- Emerson Polling (n = 365, +/- 5.2%)
- Amy Klobuchar: 2 percent. Context: Biden leads at 31 percent, followed by Sanders 23 percent, followed by followed by the next eight candidates, then Klobuchar.
- Former Alabama senator and attorney general Jeff Sessions visited the University of Minnesota to a full auditorium, and student protestors were vocal about his visit. “People die at the border because of your policies,” one shouted. “How do you sleep at night?”
- Seventh District Rep. Collin Peterson made a surprise visit to a League of Women Voters town hall in Detroit Lakes, primarily lamenting about how he thinks both sides of the aisle don’t get much done. “We’re so dysfunctional. The president’s to blame. The Democrats in the house are to blame,” he said. “We’re all to blame.”
- Finally, all 448 pages of the Mueller Report were released this week, with redactions. When former Attorney General Jeff Sessions informed the president of Mueller’s appointment, the report says he sat back in his chair and said: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”
Quote of the week
“He is highly biblical and we will in all likelihood never see a more godly, biblical president again in our lifetime.” —former Sixth District Rep. Michele Bachmann speaking to Christian radio program “Understanding the Times” about Donald Trump.
What we’re reading
The Star Tribune: “Denied Justice: When rape is reported and nothing happens”
ICYMI the first time around, earlier this week this series was a named finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting (The Advocate, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, won the award). Warning: The stories contain frank and graphic discussions of sexual assault.
Climate experts say Duluth, Minnesota, is an excellent location — maybe the best location — to be if extreme weather makes your home unlivable.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow at @gabeschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.