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D.C. Memo: The Picture of Dorian’s Stray

photo of president donald trump holding a chart of hurricane dorian's projected path
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the Congressional District in which Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach lives. She is a resident of the Seventh District.

 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, presidential candidates talk for seven hours, Vin Weber resigns and a prayer from Vice President Walter Mondale. Let’s get on with this.

The President next door

On Wednesday night, Sen. Amy Klobuchar took to the stage at CNN’s seven-hour climate forum, speaking for an hour about how she would combat the climate crisis. Her strategy, when compared to the other candidates? Moderation. Read more at MinnPost.


Klobuchar has earned enough support in the polls and from donors to qualify for the next debate, which will be held on Sept. 12 from 8 to 11PM on ABC and Univision, but her campaign is still struggling to make inroads with voters in the polls, maintaining close to the bare minimum to qualify for the debate.

Will she move forward?

“Right now it’s a prayer,” former Vice President Walter Mondale told The Star Tribune.

2020 Watch

MINNESOTA’S SEVENTH: Rep. Collin Peterson has a new challenger in former Lt. Governor and Tim Pawlenty running-mate Michelle Fischbach. Peterson’s strong lead at the ballot box has been slipping in recent years, and the race could very easily become the most expensive in the state. National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Rep. Tom Emmer said he was “hopeful” a specific candidate would run, but declined to identify them other than that they were a woman.

Outside of the fray, the sugar beet industry is watching closely and plans to spend heavily on the race. Read more at MinnPost.

MINNESOTA’S SECOND: Rick Olson, a former Michigan state House representative, is challenging Rep. Angie Craig for her seat in Congress. He’s the first Republican to put his name in the ring.

Vin Weber

Former Second District Rep. Vin Weber resigned from his position at a prominent consulting firm in Washington after questions about lobbying work he did for Ukranian interests. Tom Hamburger at the Washington Post has the story.

A hitch in opioid funding

All members of the Minnesota delegation said they were concerned about a Trump administration requirement that might prevent Minnesota from receiving grants to assist with the opioid crisis. The delegation sent a letter asked the Centers for Disease Control to explain how the new requirement “will not create an undue burden for the states.” The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is concerned as well. Read more at MinnPost.

A threat?

A top official at the U.S. Department of Interior seemed to threaten New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall for a letter he wrote with Rep. Betty McCollum last week. The letter for criticized a move by the Bureau of Land Management to relocate Federal employees out of D.C., without their consent, to other states.

“Given your apparent strong feelings about the Department’s actions and intentions, we pledge to review and reconsider the relocation of additional Departmental resources to your State,” Joseph Balash, assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management wrote to Udall.

In other news

  • Parliament rebuked Prime Minister Boris Johnson again on Tuesday, who lost control of the Brexit process in a 328 to 301 vote. 21 members of Johnson’s own party voted against him.
  • The Pentagon on Wednesday revealed 120 military construction projects, for initiatives like schools at military bases and roads, would be defunded in order to construct portions of the President’s wall along the U.S-Mexico border.
  • Conservative operative Jacob Wohl is wanted by California authorities on a felony charge.

Quote of the week

“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know,” President Trump said after being asked if he was the one who had altered a map to show that Alabama would be impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

What I’m reading

Graham Lee Brewer for NPR: Cherokee Nation Names First Delegate To Congress

The Cherokee Nation has appointed its first representative to Congress, following through on a provision of a long established treaty. The position will be nonvoting, similar to representatives from U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

Ryan Grim, Aída Chávez for The Intercept: Here’s How Much The Democratic Party Charges To Be On Each House Committee

Have you ever been curious about the fundraising expectations placed on members of the Democratic Party? If you have, this is a good read getting at the (literal) cost to serving in a leadership role.

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.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 09/05/2019 - 04:08 pm.

    I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with the DNC hitting their politicians up for cash; I’m certianly not surprised.

    But the knowledge that the fate of legislation hinges on the size of the party’s haul really lets the voters know where they stand in the pecking order.

  2. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 09/05/2019 - 04:32 pm.

    Three huzzahs for the headline writer – well done! (Indeed, from someone who typically does not care for puns.)

  3. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 09/06/2019 - 10:25 am.

    I am really impressed with Donald’s sharpie skills. It looks like he drew that line with a very steady hand. Not bad for someone his age.

  4. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 09/06/2019 - 11:13 am.

    And he’s only getting started on Sharpie solutions:

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-sharpie-memes-hurricane-alabama_n_5d703adbe4b09bbc9ef9955a?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADaBIUbhMQWttoJvdSkv0AOXyiwf6N6JO8VY_y6ZKrJ-0wD7WWXeWRPYmA0Qt3o7LdGfz9jT9krb0Iao2tGrAIcMX1RNLxgk3qC5M8Yu-h4hcOb6S7eyYZg8Qq-Y7LN3hYslMWzes-4VlExDM67RQlwePzPo8t-wxSpxH1GlLXyV

  5. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 09/06/2019 - 11:43 am.

    Wow, Vin Weber had to quit his job to devote 100% of his time to repairing his reputation. I guess the dogs he was lying down with had a lot more than just fleas.

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/06/2019 - 12:38 pm.

    I totally agree with Mr. Holtman on the cleverness of this aggregation’s headline.

    And, the same for the succinct comment, later, in the “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know” quotation of Trump when he was asked who drew the Sharpie line that falsely (and illegally–a federal crime to alter emergency information from a federal agency) reached Alabama.

    He does not know. That’s a real problem for the nation on all sorts of things.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/06/2019 - 02:28 pm.

      It’s a new low: the White House has turned into The Family Circus.

      “Who drew the line on the map?”

      “Not me!”

      “Ida Know!”

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/07/2019 - 10:13 am.

        New Trump administration low on this? He got the National Weather Service to lie about Alabama, yesterday. Now that federal service, supposedly scientific and meant to protect us, is claiming that Trump’s Sharpied inclusion of Alabama in the hurricane track was correct.

        Alice inn Wonderland.

        1984.

        Trump era: Nothing is true.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/09/2019 - 02:19 pm.

          Makes you leery about seeing what he’ll come with tomorrow, doesn’t it?

          I feel like I’m using a “Progressively More Idiotic Presidential Actions a Day” calendar.

  7. Submitted by John Evans on 09/06/2019 - 01:19 pm.

    Trump has been milking the sharpie story for a couple of extra days because every news cycle we’re talking about it is a news cycle in which we aren’t talking about other things. For instance:

    * Trump’s wildly variable behavior toward China, (last week more tariffs, this week talk new talks,) sure looks a lot like stock market manipulation. SEC should investigate trading ahead of Trump’s announcements.

    *The children of soldiers at Fort Campbell lose their middle school to pay for the wall.

    *And yes, the Interior Department threatens to punish a purple state for it’s senator’s critical comments, and does so in writing!

  8. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 09/09/2019 - 04:51 pm.

    Truth be told, Trump’s map wasn’t any more innacurrate than the official National Weather Service forecasts.

    I don’t get the joke.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/10/2019 - 11:01 am.

      It wasn’t really a “joke,” because it isn’t really funny, when you get right down to it.

      He doctored the map to contradict the actual forecast at the time. In case you were wondering, people make major decisions based on hurricane forecasts (i.e. stay or evacuate to safety). Hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable, but there was no reason to think Alabama was going to be affected when he had his coloring party.

      The whole incident also shows his temperamental unsuitability for the presidency, by throwing a fit and keeping the incident alive, because he can’t stand to be wrong. The internal threats to NOAA and DOC employees for daring to contradict the One Born of Heaven are another matter.

      Of course, this all relates to something done by Our Beloved Leader, so it must be a good thing, right? It gets a rise out of the lefties, so another win for the Goniff-in-Chief!

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 09/12/2019 - 10:00 am.

        In my opinion, lefties have made getting a rise out of them a sport with their own histrionics.

        As one wit once observed “We laugh, because it’s funny.” Nothing personal.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/12/2019 - 04:00 pm.

          Is that why you claim to be okay with fascism? Because it gets a rise out of people?

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 09/12/2019 - 05:50 pm.

            Given the choice between Anarchy, Communism and Fascism, I’d choose the latter. That’s different than “being okay with Fascism”. I’m okay with democracy. Once again; context is your friend.

            And further again, lefty histrionics are an entirely self inflicted condition. We’re just bemused spectators.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 09/10/2019 - 11:34 am.

      Trumps map actually was far more inaccurate. The link below summarizes all of the paths projected for Dorian by the National Hurricane Center and Trump’s “do it your self” is clearly the outlier.

      https://www.npr.org/2019/09/06/758532041/noaa-contradicts-weather-service-backs-trump-on-hurricane-threat-in-alabama

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