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D.C. Memo: Fair comparisons

photo of amy klobuchar speaking at Iowa state fair
REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited the Iowa State Fair

The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week in Washington, President Trump contradicted his press secretary, a lot of Israel-Minnesota news and a quick-hit piece of news about hemp. Let’s get on with this.

Israel bars Omar, Tlaib

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prohibited Reps. Ilhan Omar (of Minnesota’s Fifth District) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from visiting the country on Thursday (on Friday, Israeli officials changed their stance somewhat and said Tlaib could visit the region to see her grandmother only if she avoided talking about boycotting Israel).

On Saturday, Axios reported that President Donald Trump told his advisors he thinks Netanyahu should use Israel’s anti-boycott law to bar Rep. Omar and Tlaib, the first Muslim women in Congress, from entering Israel.

At around 9 a.m. on Thursday, the president’s press secretary told reporters that reports of Trump suggesting to Netanyahu that the two congresswomen should be barred are “inaccurate.” Less than an hour later, the president made clear that was false, publicly endorsing the move to block the two Muslim legislators from entering the country and leaning on Islamophobic rhetoric to do so.


“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” he said in part. You can read his full statement here.

All of this comes a few days after a bipartisan congressional delegation, including CD8’s Rep. Pete Stauber, visited Israel.

Speaking of Israel, Congress’ strongest critic of Israeli policy is actually from Minnesota. She has spent years talking about putting an end to human rights abuses around the world, including looking at human rights violations in Israel. But her name is Rep. Betty McCollum, not Ilhan Omar.

McCollum has legislation that would stop U.S. dollars from being used to detain Palestinian children, a human rights crisis that non-profits in the region and even the U.S. State Department have reported on several times. Read more at MinnPost.

McCollum responded Thursday morning to the president’s statement about Omar, saying “Trump & Netanyahu are afraid to have” Tlaib and Omar “witness first-hand the brutality & dehumanization Israel’s occupation inflicts on the Palestinian people. This bigoted president is working to extend his Muslim travel ban to Members of Congress.”

Rad job

This week, Joe Radinovich announced he would not run again in the Eighth District, leaving incumbent Stauber without a clear challenger in 2020. What’s Radinovich up to instead? He will lead a hemp industry trade organization.

The President next door

What does Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s record on judicial appointments look like? In the 115th Congress, when compared to the other Democrats in the field, she voted for more Trump nominees than anyone (apart from Colorado Senator Michael Bennet). Read more at Minnpost.


Klobuchar just finished up a long stretch in Iowa, including visits to the Iowa State Fair. Klobuchar is polling at around 3 percent in the state. On Thursday, she was in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A bit off the trail, Jeff Barker at The Baltimore Sun has a profile on John Bessler, a University of Baltimore law professor, author, ardent death penalty opponent, writing coach, dad and informal adviser — and Klobuchar’s husband.

Some other news from the bunch

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who led in the only poll conducted of Minnesota’s presidential primary voters so far, is hosting a town hall on Monday, August 19 at the Leonard Center Fieldhouse at Macalester College in St. Paul.

Following soon after, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is also coming to Minnesota sometime this month. The details have yet to be worked out.

In other news


Quote of the week

“There have been a lot of comparisons between the Iowa State Fair and the Minnesota State Fair. I’m not going to say which one is better,” Klobuchar said at the Iowa State Fair.

What I’m reading

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim: Editor’s Note: Welcome To Sahan Journal!

Sahan Journal, a non-profit news site dedicated to covering Minnesota’s refugee and immigrant communities, launched this week. If you have a quick moment or a long while, I highly recommend it. There’s already some great stories up, including this personal story from Haji Yussuf, who attended college and raised a family in St. Cloud, and now is leaving after a spate of Islamophobic incidents.

Molly Hensley-Clancy in Buzzfeed: Elizabeth Warren Took On Obama Over Student Debt Forgiveness. How She Won Is Central To Her 2020 Campaign

A closer look at how Warren might push for change, should she be elected President, can be found in how she has already pushed for change: behind the scenes, with public pressure behind her.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: gschneider@minnpost.com. Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.

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