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D.C. Memo: Blogging like it’s 2007

Trump starts blogging, a guilty Minnesota Boogaloo Boi, and calls for even more child care support.

President Donald Trump speaking to supporters at the Mankato Regional Airport on Monday.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner
Banned from major social media platforms, former President Donald Trump began posting on something that sounds suspiciously like a blog.
Hello and welcome back to the D.C. Memo. This week you can find me wondering if I’ll ever get a reservation at my favorite taco restaurant again after President Biden made it famous on Wednesday. Lots to discuss in the memo this week, including: Trump starts blogging, a guilty Minnesota Boogaloo Boi, and calls for even more child care support.

Biden wants to tax the rich

President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan won’t pay for itself. But who will pay for it? If the Biden administration gets its way, rich Americans and corporations will bear the brunt of the cost. The GOP is not a fan of this idea.

Republican lawmakers are generally against raising taxes, and conservative members of Congress worked to reduce the corporate tax rate in 2017. That 2017 bill also gave a larger tax break to the wealthy, lowering the top tax rate for top earners.

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Democrats see Biden’s plan as an initiative that will have a big return on investment: Dedicating funds to agriculture is expected to create millions of jobs, improve roads and building safety, and even give back land to predominantly Black communities whose neighborhoods were paved over by major highways.

But some Democrats are hesitant to fully support the tax increase plan: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she wouldn’t speak for how the president will negotiate and reiterated that the spending increases should be paid for. And Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that these tax increases make him “very uncomfortable.”

Trump has a blog now

Former President Donald Trump was famously banned from Twitter on January 7, the day after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He was banned from Facebook on the 7th, too, which contributed to a dramatic escalation of the conflict between Silicon Valley and the White House.

Facebook’s oversight board decided Wednesday to uphold the social network’s ban of Trump, ending any hope of return to mainstream social media for the former president. Twitter is showing no signs of lifting its ban on Trump, but there’s some precedent there:  Twitter upheld the permanent suspension of a Republican candidate during a congressional campaign after she made threatening comments against Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Not to be completely quieted, Trump started his own “platform” Tuesday, which according to Fox News “allows Trump to post, and allows followers to share the former president’s posts to Twitter and Facebook, however, the new platform does not have a feature to allow users to ‘reply’ or engage with Trump’s posts.”

Sounds a lot like a blog, but what else is a widely banned former president to do?

If you don’t like Trump, you’re out

At least, that’s how the GOP feels about Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Prominent Republicans, notably Trump and the No. 2 House Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, are trying to replace Cheney as the House Republican Conference chair, removing her from her position on the GOP leadership team. Her transgression? Continuing to insist, truthfully, that former President Trump’s claims about the 2020 election are false. Cheney also voted to impeach Trump in March after he incited a mob that stormed the Capitol in order to overturn his defeat.

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The GOP’s determination to oust Cheney is a fall from grace for the Wyoming Republican, who last year passed on an open Senate seat in her state in order to remain in House leadership instead — Cheney leads the House GOP conference and is the No. 3 House Republican.

Cheney wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post, saying that the GOP is at a “turning point” where the party must decide if they will follow Trump or adhere to the law — Cheney doesn’t see a world in which someone could logically do both.

She believes there is more at stake that Republicans must focus on rather than eradicating her, including “the ridiculous wokeness of our political rivals” and the “irrational policies at the border.”

A guilty Minnesota Boogaloo Boi

A member of the antigovernment extremist group called Boogaloo Bois pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in Minnesota Tuesday, admitting to selling silencers and other firearm components to people he thought were members of the Hamas terror group but who turned out to actually be undercover FBI informants.

31-year-old Michael Robert Solomon of New Brighton’s guilty plea follows a December plea from his co-defendant, 22-year-old Benjamin Ryan Teeter, who traveled to Minneapolis from North Carolina in response to Solomon’s Facebook post calling for fellow Boogaloo Bois members to join him in participating in the protests that followed George Floyd’s death.

Federal prosecutors in Minnesota are still building cases against Boogaloo Bois members, and the arrests keep coming. Agents arrested a 27-year-old St. Cloud man on federal weapons charges after he allegedly told an FBI informant that he was planning a January attack on the Minnesota State Capitol.

Minnesotans in Congress want to help moms

Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Reps. Josh Harder (D-CA) and Jaime Herrerea Beutler (R-WA) in sending a letter to leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee urging them to address the child care shortage across the U.S. by advancing bipartisan legislation.

“Access to child care can be a significant barrier for families as they return to work,” the Senators wrote. “As the White House Covid-19 Response Team continues their mission to vaccinate Americans, and workers return to physical workplaces, we must ensure that workers across the country have access to affordable child care. Doing so will be especially crucial in underserved areas and low- and middle-income communities since child care shortages were more prevalent among these populations before the pandemic and have only intensified over the past year.”

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This call for more child care support comes after Minnesota received $550 million in stimulus funding for child care as part of the massive COVID-19 stimulus package passed in March.

Sens. Tina Smith and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced bipartisan legislation called the Rural MOMS Act that would help ensure new and expecting moms living in rural communities “get the care they need.”

“No matter where new and expecting moms live, they should be able to access quality health care. But right now, we know that too many women in rural areas don’t have a nearby hospital with birthing services,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Health Committee. “I’ve heard from Minnesotans who have to drive hours, sometimes in dangerous conditions like Minnesota blizzards, just to get to care at a hospital. In order to support all moms during this critical time in their families’ lives, we have to fix this problem.”

My favorite taco spot was cool before Joe Biden discovered it

In high school one of my favorite activities was discovering bands before they came “cool” or “establishment.” I aged out of that hobby a bit, but I got flashbacks on Wednesday when I saw that President Biden paid a visit to my favorite neighborhood taco spot to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and give the restaurant’s owners a nice surprise.

Biden was continuing his patronage of local D.C. businesses, apparently taking a co-owner of the restaurant, Las Gemelas, by surprise when he announced that Las Gemelas would be the first restaurant in the country to receive a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The president apparently ordered “tacos and some enchiladas.” I would have told him to get one of their delicious specialty margaritas, but that probably wouldn’t have been a great look for Biden before noon on a weekday.

What I’ve been reading

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  • The Other Side of Languishing is Flourishing. Here’s how to Get There, New York Times. One week ago I recommended an article on languishing, a sense of mental and physical stagnation felt by many during the pandemic. Flourishing is apparently the opposite of that state, so my new lofty goal is to lean more towards flourishing every day. This article provides seven steps to take to improve mental health, starting with a self-assessment and ending with the advice to “try something new.” The end of the pandemic offers an opportunity to reflect, and this article invites us to ask ourselves a new question: “How do I want to spend my time?”
  • If Bill and Melinda Gates can’t make marriage work, what hope is there for the rest of us? Washington Post. I was as surprised as anyone to see that Bill and Melinda Gates were officially splitting up this week. The power couple of our generation, the Gates built a philanthropic empire together, and it seemed as though two intellectual equals had found their match. But even creating a $50 billion charitable foundation with a spouse is clearly not enough to keep a pairing together. This article by Lisa Bonos goes into the intricacies of the Gates’ situation and the pre-written societal scripts that often don’t always go according to plan.
  • Homebuying as a single Black woman is hard. No one told me it’d be terrifying, The Lily. Journalist Ko Bragg wrote an engaging personal essay on her experience looking for and ultimately buying a home as a single Black woman in New Orleans. Bragg thought that the most difficult part of this journey would be saving enough money for a down payment, but there were other complications around the decision to live in a predominantly Black or white neighborhood and the safety concerns of living alone as a woman.

That’s all from me this week. As always, please feel free to send any questions, comments or ways that you’re flourishing as we near the “end” of the pandemic to ahackett@minnpost.com. You can also reach me on Twitter at @byashleyhackett.