Nancy Pelosi has led House Democrats so long she remembers when Virginia Foxx was the craziest member of the opposition. Senate Republicans are looking to sync better with Donald Trump, so OF COURSE they’re begging an octogenarian Mormon from Utah to stay in the upper chamber. And Donald Trump’s administration will contain an amount of Goldman Sachs employees and other Wall Street veterans typically found only in Alex Jones’ “Da Vinci Code” fan fiction and Dalton parent-teacher conference day. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, November 30th, 2016:
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE 16 AND RETWEETED BY THE PRESIDENT-ELECT (A READOUT OF THE TIME WE DMed WITH A TEENAGER) - Monday evening, as President-elect Trump was tirading against CNN, 16-year-old California high school student Seth Morton tweeted at the network’s Jeff Zeleny, “Pathetic - you have no sufficient evidence that Donald Trump did not suffer from voter fraud, shame! @realDonaldTrump.” As sometimes happens when a teenager demands someone on Twitter prove a negative, the President-elect retweeted it. Morton tells us that it was an “incredible experience” and that when he arrived at school the next day, he was swarmed by classmates. “Before I could say anything, my classmates, along with students that I didn’t know, all congratulated me.” His teachers were somewhat skeptical, many of whom “didn’t believe my classmates until surprisingly discovering it on the internet.” Them and us both, Seth!
PELOSI RE-ELECTED MINORITY LEADER, LINDA SANCHEZ EKES OUT VICE-CHAIR OVER BARBARA LEE - We hear Tim Ryan, who lost his challenge to Pelosi, told the room he had lost friends in the process of his run. Sorry, bud.Jennifer Bendery: “Pelosi defeated her lone challenger, Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), by a vote of 134 to 63. It’s a decisive win, and it (barely) clears the two-thirds majority support that Pelosi predicted she had. But it reveals that dozens in her caucus voted against her in secret ballots. That’s a lot. ‘There’s a whole lot of anger,’ said one Democrat who opposed her, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely. ‘I’m astounded that this caucus refuses to acknowledge reality and change.’ Pelosi has led House Democrats since 2003, and that’s what Ryan had argued is the problem. The same people have been running the caucus for years ― Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) ― and they’re all in their 70s now. Some say they’re not the right messengers to energize the base and convey an economic message that appeals to people beyond the two coasts. Pelosi’s supporters said her experience is what the party needs now more than ever…. ‘She’s battle-tested, she’s a prolific fundraiser and she knows better than anyone how to count votes and keep her party together.’” [HuffPost]
The Sanchez-Lee vote was Jill Stein recount thin: 98-96. Sanchez will be the first Latina in a House leadership position.
HOUSE DEMOCRATS’ CHALLENGE, IN ONE LOST-AND-FOUND ITEM - After today’s caucus meeting and leadership vote, as is custom, an email was sent around to Democratic staffers detailing what members left behind in 1100 Longworth. Along with a “small pouch with hearing aid batteries,” cleanup crews found a copy of Strangers In Their Own Land, in which, per Amazon’s description: “[T]he renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right.” Good luck, Democrats!
@MEPFuller: Just watched Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) really hug it out with Brad Ashford (D-Neb.) after Ashford lost reelection. Both frontliners on HASC.
It’s almost like Donald Trump doesn’t believe most of what he says: “During a Jan. 8, 2015, appearance on CBS’s ‘The Late Show,’ Trump told then-host David Letterman that he was ‘100 percent right’ when Letterman said that flag burning represented freedom of expression and that people should be allowed to do so. ‘I understand where you’re coming from,’ Trump told Letterman.” [WaPo’s John Wagner]
Stat of the day, OMG LANDSLIDE! edition: “Trump ranks 46th out of 58 electoral college results.” [WaPo]
Like HuffPost Hill? Then order Eliot’s new book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government
WHAT THE 21ST CENTURY CURES ACT SAYS ABOUT D.C. - Sam Stein, Ryan Grim and Matt Fuller: “Congress is ready to act. On Wednesday, the House will consider the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill that would commit billions of dollars to medical research while sending $1 billion to states to help combat heroin and painkiller addiction and recovery. But there’s a complication: Instead of cracking down on the pharmaceutical companies that fueled the boom in opioid abuse, lawmakers are rewarding the industry. No health care-related bill of this size could move through Congress without the support of Big Pharma. The authors of the 21st Century Cures Act earned the industry’s support by including regulatory rollbacks that drugmakers have long sought and creating cheaper and quicker paths for drug approval by reducing safeguards. It’s as if the fire department had to pay off the arsonist to get permission to put out a fire…. The debate surrounding the 21st Century Cures Act has come to embody a larger dispute about how government can and should operate. Some 1,455 lobbyists acting on behalf of more than 400 companies and other organizations have lobbied on the legislation, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.” [HuffPost]
@JoshDStewart: Clinton earned ~570k more votes in Texas than Obama did in 2012.
TRUMP SAYS HE’S LEAVING HIS COMPANY, PROVIDES NO DETAILS - Maybe he’ll do the responsible thing and leave it to his children, whom he has in no way, shape, or form invited to meetings with world leaders. Alexander Kaufman and Paige Lavender: “President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday he’s leaving his business ‘in total,’ but provided no details about who would take over. ‘While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.... Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!’ Trump said in a series of tweets posted Wednesday morning. Trump said he would hold a news conference with his children on Dec. 15 to discuss the move away from his business. It’s unclear whether he intends to turn daily control of the Trump Organization over to his three oldest children ― Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric ― to run the privately owned conglomerate, or set up a blind trust. In a blind trust, the owner of a business relinquishes management of the company’s assets to an independent party to avoid conflicts of interest in public office.” [HuffPost]
This was weird, distressing: “The Office of Government Ethics is really, really excited about Donald Trump’s announcement that he ‘will be leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country.’ The government office — which is focused on preventing conflicts of interest within the executive branch — went on a tweetstorm of praise Trumpian proportions Wednesday. And the tweets were even written in a Trump-style: ‘.@realDonaldTrump We can’t repeat enough how good this total divestiture will be,’ ‘.@realDonaldTrump Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, very good for America!’” [USA Today’s Eliza Collins]
GOLDMAN STILL WINNING - That poor swamp, just sitting there all undrained and everything. Score one for the globalist banker cabal! Ben White and Jake Sherman: “President-elect Donald Trump is considering Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for a senior administration job, possibly as director of the Office of Management and Budget, several sources close to the situation said on Wednesday. People familiar with the matter say Cohn’s meeting with Trump on Tuesday included talks about a potential job in the new administration, possibly to run OMB, a sprawling office that will handle much of Trump’s budget policy after he takes office in January…. Cohn would add yet another Goldman name to a roster already filled with former executives from the influential bank, including Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin and incoming top White House adviser Steve Bannon.” [Politico]
FOREIGN POLICY LEADERS SCRAMBLING TO DEFEND IRAN DEAL - Sam Stein and Jessica Schulberg: “A growing number of foreign policy leaders, including several who opposed the deal to constrain and monitor Iran’s nuclear program, have begun ratcheting up pressure on President-elect Donald Trump to uphold the accord. Those encouraging Trump to honor the agreement include officials from the intelligence community, foreign policy luminaries and top officials on Capitol Hill. They warn that the U.S. would make a major geopolitical misstep if it scrapped the deal President Barack Obama struck last year with Iran and five other countries…. ‘It would be a mistake to tear up the agreement at this point,’ former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CBS. ‘I think we would be the ones isolated, not the Iranians, because none of our partners who helped to negotiate that would walk away from it. But, I think what the new president can do is push back against the Iranians.’” [HuffPost]
SENATE REPUBLICANS … WAIT FOR IT … WAIT FOR IT … ::SNORTS:: … HATCH A PLAN - We don’t deserve to live. Anyhoo, here’s Byron Tau: “A number of prominent Senate Republicans are urging Sen. Orrin Hatch not to retire in 2018, as the veteran Utah Republican now says he is leaning towards running for an eighth term. ‘I have urged Orrin to run and I hope he does,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement through an aide on Wednesday…. Mr. Hatch endorsed Mr. Trump in May despite the reservations that some Mormon voters in his home state had about the GOP nominee. Mr. Hatch remains a key ally for Mr. Trump in the Senate and will be instrumental in leading any effort at tax reform and other legislative initiatives…. Mr. Hatch is now publicly reconsidering his vow to retire in recent months, complicating the Utah race. He told reporters on Tuesday that he was leaning towards running again — citing Mr. Trump’s win in the presidential race and his chairmanship of the Finance Committee.” [WSJ]
ANTI-VAXXERS FEELING EMBOLDENED ― ALSO PROBABLY SICKER THAN YOU - Rebecca Robbins: “The discredited researcher who launched the anti-vaccine movement met with Donald Trump this summer — and found him sympathetic to the cause. Now, with Trump preparing to move into the White House, leaders of the movement are newly energized, hopeful they can undermine decades of public policy promoting childhood vaccinations. At the most basic level, they’re hoping Trump will use his bully pulpit to advance his oft-stated concern — debunked by an extensive body of scientific evidence — that there’s a link between vaccines and autism. ‘For the first time in a long time, I feel very positive about this, because Donald Trump is not beholden to the pharmaceutical industry,’ movement leader Andrew Wakefield told STAT in a phone interview.” [STAT]
SCENES FROM ELAINE CHAO’S LABOR DEPARTMENT - Yeah but we’re sure that she’ll be right quick if any more airline manufacturers are interested in moving to right-to-work states. Dave Jamieson: “Watchdogs with the Government Accountability Office set up a sneaky test for the Labor Department in 2008. They wanted to know how well the agency was investigating complaints of wage theft and child labor ― some of its most fundamental responsibilities ― so they filed a bunch of fake complaints, then checked to see if investigators actually looked into them. The findings were not pretty. A devastating report issued by the GAO, which is the official investigative arm of Congress, detailed how the Labor Department’s wage-and-hour division mishandled nine of the 10 fake complaints that were filed. They discovered ‘sluggish response times, a poor complaint intake process, and failed conciliation attempts, among other problems.’” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog with human hands eating peanut butter.
- The best photoshopping of that awkward Trump/Romney photo.
- No one can pronounced Steven Mnuchin’s name.
- Let’s carpet bomb Brooklyn.
@emilyhughes: Media Twitter consists entirely of people who should’ve been told they were smart maybe 30% less often as children.
@maxwellstrachan: Me during an interview: “So, uh, yeah, it seems, have you — I guess what I’m wondering. Hello? Still there? OK, well, have you ever thought”
@ShutUpAndrosky: ugh i can’t believe trump’s deputy assistant secretary of public affairs is gonna be the guitar riff from ‘bad 2 the bone’