With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross
BREAKING OVERNIGHT — “Regulators seize First Republic Bank, sell to JPMorgan Chase,” by AP’s Ken Sweet: “San Francisco-based First Republic is the third midsize bank to fail in two months. It has struggled since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and investors and depositors had grown increasingly worried it might not survive because of its high amount of uninsured deposits and exposure to low interest rate loans. … Regulators worked through the weekend to find a way forward before U.S. stock markets opened.”
McCARTHY IN ISRAEL — House Speaker KEVIN McCARTHY is set to address the Knesset later today as part of the bipartisan congressional delegation he is leading to Israel. Beforehand, however, he took a partisan jab at President JOE BIDEN on behalf of Prime Minister BENJAMIN NETANYAHU in an interview with Israel Hayom, the pro-Bibi paper founded by SHELDON ADELSON and owned by his widow, MIRIAM:
“Asked if the lack of an invitation to the Israeli leader from the White House should be considered normal, the Republican said, ‘If that [a visit to the White House] doesn’t happen, I’ll invite the prime minister to come meet with the House. He’s a dear friend, as a prime minister of a country that we have our closest ties with,’ McCarthy said. When pressed on how long he would wait, McCarthy said, ‘I think it’s too long now. He should invite him soon.’”
McCarthy added: “President Biden hasn’t talked to me about the debt ceiling for the last 80 some days so I think he, the prime minister, might be in good company if he treats me the same way.” More on the visit from the Times of Israel
TOP-ED — “Don’t Count Ron DeSantis Out,” by MARK PENN in the WSJ: “If he wants to win, he has to ease up on the culture war and start appealing to moderate primary voters.”
JUST POSTED …
- “Kyrsten Sinema’s Party of One,” by NYT Magazine’s Robert Draper, who goes in-depth on the inscrutable Arizona independent. There’s no clear answer to be had on whether Sinema will seek re-election in a likely three-way race, but Draper writes: “Why else would she have left the Democratic Party four years into her term, if not to avoid a primary in which the party’s progressive base was guaranteed to turn its wrath on her? Why else was she (as The Wall Street Journal first reported) furtively holding staff retreats to lay out a timetable for commissioning polls and opposition research? Nothing she said in our conversations left me with the impression that she was putting a few final touches on her senatorial legacy on her way out the door to the private sector.”
- “The secret delegate battle that will decide the 2024 Republican nominee,” by Vox’s Ben Jacobs: “[I]n a close, heavily contested campaign, like that potentially between Trump and [Florida Gov. RON] DeSANTIS in 2024, a delegate operation can make all the difference. … For Trump and DeSantis, it is not likely that they will be scrimping for money or media attention in the weeks before the first nominating contest. But building up a delegates operation still matters for them — not just for a potential convention fight, but to demonstrate their strength and viability before the first votes are cast.”
- “How Jill Biden helped Joe get to yes on running for reelection at 80,” by Eugene: “Nearly a dozen aides and advisers in Biden world described [first lady JILL BIDEN] as someone who has grown more willing to endure the rigors and demands of being in the political spotlight herself — and more convinced of her husband’s fit for the job. Close advisers say she feels a comfort level with her role inside the White House, balancing the ceremonial responsibilities of the office with the weight of serving as a trusted adviser to the president.”
THE WEEK AHEAD — Today: President Biden welcomes Philippine President FERDINAND “BONGBONG” MARCOS JR. to the White House. … Tomorrow: The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on Supreme Court ethics. Interior Secretary DEB HAALAND testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. … Wednesday: The Fed meets to decide whether to raise interest rates, with a 0.25-point hike expected. DONALD TRUMP arrives in Shannon for a tour of Ireland and Scotland. … Thursday: The National Day of Prayer is observed with an event at the White House. … Friday: The Labor Department issues new jobs numbers for April. … Saturday: Jill Biden leads U.S. delegation to London for the coronation of KING CHARLES III.
CLOSING THE BOOKS — And it’s officially over. Done. Finito. WHCA dinner weekend has come to an end, and we are bone-tired, y’all. Here are what we hope are the final spotteds and stories (hopefully) from the weekend:
— POLITICO held its annual brunch at the residence of Robert and Elena Albritton in Georgetown yesterday. Guests arrived under umbrellas and mingled under a vast array of tents at the Tuscan-themed bash catered by Masseria, with an assist from Timber Pizza Co. It featured cypress trees and a stone fountain (!) shipped in from Italy, limoncello and Aperol spritz bars, and a POLITICO-branded Vespa.
SPOTTED: Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Evan Ryan, USTR Katherine Tai, Vivek Ramaswamy, OMB Director Shalanda Young, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Anthony Fauci, Goli Sheikholeslami, Matt Kaminski, Jamil Anderlini, Mathias Döpfner, Margaret Brennan, Fred Ryan, Cesar Conde, Sophia Bush and Grant Hughes, Rosario Dawson, María Teresa Kumar, Ahmed Elsayed, David Chalian, Lance Frank, Gary Cohn, Adrienne Asht, Mark Ein, Abby Phillip, Fin Gómez, Reggie Greer, Ben Smith, Doug Mills, Kelly O’Donnell, Carlos Elizondo, Michael Steel, Rick Klein, Carrie Budoff Brown, Tammy Haddad, John McCarthy, Dan Koh, Neera Tanden, Matthew Klapper, Jack Evans, Jon Finer, Kristen Welker, Todd Gilman, Olivia Dalton, Omar Vargas, Opal Vadhan, Capricia Marshall, Shawna Thomas, Tamara Keith, Gene Sperling, Sara Cook, Kellyanne Conway, Nancy Cordes, Robert Costa, Peter Alexander, Phil Rucker, Heather Podesta, Kaitlan Collins, Vinay Reddy, Karen Travers, Senay Bulbul, Steven Portnoy, Jeff Zeleny, Kasie Hunt, Patrick Steel, Wolf Blitzer, Seung Min Kim, Scott Mulhauser, Ben Haas, Ashley Etienne, Stephanie Young, Alencia Johnson, Alayna Treene, Ali Vitali, Sally Quinn, Ed O’Keefe, Kate Bennett, Amanda Finney, Ben LaBolt, Antonia Ferrier, Susanna Quinn, Greta Van Susteren and Jonathan Capehart.
— And CNN held that other brunch yesterday at The LINE DC (we kid, we kid). We’re told there was a gospel choir (Étienne Lashley and the Collective) that did a pop-up performance halfway through the event, and then Tiësto made a surprise appearance, performing his hits including his remix of the “White Lotus” theme song. Pic, courtesy of CNN/John Nowak
Meanwhile, the climate protesters who had aimed to disrupt the weekend’s festivities made arguably their biggest splash by infiltrating and briefly disrupting the event. One person who attended texted Playbook: “omg it was a WHOLE THING .. the protestors made their way in and then sat in front of the bloody mary bar 😂😂😂 police had to escort them out.”
SPOTTED: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, Ashley Biden, Cesar Conde, Dasha Navalnaya, Yulia Navalnaya, Norwegian Ambassador Anniken Krutnes, SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, Bradley Singer, Rachel Adler, Ali Spiesman. Henry Reisch, Chris Licht, Phil Mattingly, Dana Bash, Chris Wallace, Wolf Blitzer, John Berman, Abby Phillip, Sara Sidner, Kate Bolduan, Kaitlan Collins, Poppy Harlow, Boris Sanchez, Jim Sciutto, Brianna Keilar, Jackie Kucinich, Roy Wood Jr., Pamela Brown, Audie Cornish, Olivia Dalton, Robyn Patterson, Ana Navarro and Tina Satter.
THE REVIEWS ARE IN: WaPo’s Maura Judkis writes that the weekend whirlwind was “the busiest party circuit D.C. has seen since before the Trump administration and the pandemic put a damper on the annual correspondents’ weekend festivities.”
Best line: “[T]he scene’s undisputed winner, if you can call it that, was Semafor’s STEVE CLEMONS. How many parties would he attend before the weekend was over? ‘Seventeen, if you count the Sunday brunches,’ he told us, taking a swig of champagne at a CBS event. Congrats?”
— Vanity Fair’s Charlotte Klein posted a dispatch that took stock of a press corps “amid a flurry of outlets’ closures or cutbacks, and as the media girds for a likely rematch between President Biden and former President Donald Trump.”
Best nugget: The Crooked Media party Friday got so crowded that Klein “heard a Dauphine’s employee telling people that the event was at capacity, and that they had to wait for some people to leave before reentering. This did not go over well with SUSAN RICE, the president’s outgoing top domestic policy adviser, who, when politely turned away, politely replied, ‘No.’ It wasn’t long before someone came and got Rice, and then explained to the guy who was working the door, ‘We’ve got some VIPs.’”
Best Garden Brunch overheard: “Nearby, Politico’s Ryan Lizza was shooting the shit with fellow Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels, who was sporting bright yellow pants and patent-leather boots. So, who actually writes Playbook? “Me — when it’s good!” said Daniels.” (We all know it’s really Rachael.)
Good Monday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
REV YOUR ENGINES — An official presidential run from Sen. TIM SCOTT (R-S.C.) appears to be just around the corner. He told a crowd at a political event in Charleston yesterday that he’ll make a “major announcement” on May 22, which attendees took to mean (without official confirmation) an entry into the GOP presidential primary field, The Post and Courier’s Scott Hamilton reports. He’s already taken the initial step of launching an exploratory committee.
AY DIOS MÍO — The drift of some Latinos rightward in recent years will be a significant challenge for Biden as he launches his reelection campaign, Marissa Martinez reports this morning. There are already some hiccups as he works on bilingual outreach and economic policies that will appeal to Hispanic voters, as his Spanish-language campaign website initially featured some mistakes. The much bigger picture: As Biden’s favorability with Hispanics has dropped, can he persuade and turn out this massive and multifaceted voting bloc?
TRACKING THE NARRATIVE — As the GOP field grows, presidential hopefuls are starting to hone one piece of their message: that they’re best equipped to take on Biden in November. WaPo’s Maeve Reston runs down some of the emerging distinctions between the candidates: NIKKI HALEY has emphasized generational differences; Scott plays up concerns with the left’s ideology on race and bias; Florida Gov. RON DeSANTIS talks about pandemic policies, while Trump and MIKE PENCE have preferred to call out his weakness on foreign policy and the economy, respectively.
BATTLE FOR THE SENATE — The Michigan Senate GOP field may have a new name — and he’s a self-funder, music to the NRSC’s ears. New York Stock Exchange vice chair JOHN TUTTLE is in the early stages of considering a bid, Ally Mutnick reports this morning.
THE WHITE HOUSE
HAPPENING TODAY — The White House visit of the Philippine president comes at a fraught regional moment, amid stepped-up military coordination between the countries and stepped-up Chinese harassment in the South China Sea, AP’s Aamer Madhani and Jim Gomez preview. Marcos says he wants a closer relationship with the U.S., and his four-day stop provides Biden another opening to make inroads in the Pacific with stronger regional bonds.
DIABETES DIAGNOSIS — “The bipartisan battle over capping insulin costs outside Medicare,” by David Lim and Burgess Everett: “With insulin price caps promising to become one of Congress’ signature health care priorities this year — helping tens of millions of Americans along the way — Sens. [SUSAN] COLLINS (R-Maine) and [JEANNE] SHAHEEN (D-N.H.) are squaring off against an odd-couple Southern pair of prominent junior senators: Sens. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-Ga.) and JOHN KENNEDY (R-La.). Both crews want insulin costs capped at $35 monthly for people with diabetes, but that’s where the similarities end between their proposals.”
JUDGE FOR YOURSELF — “Selection of Judge in Trump Case Could Complicate Proceedings,” by WSJ’s Joe Palazzolo: “New York Supreme Court Justice JUAN MERCHAN was assigned to preside over the hush-money prosecution of former President Donald Trump because he had experience overseeing previous litigation involving the former president and his company, according to people familiar with the process, but that history could complicate the proceedings and expose him to more of Mr. Trump’s attacks.”
STAT OF THE DAY — “This Supreme Court is slow to issue rulings — glacially slow,” by NBC’s Lawrence Hurley: “[T]he current justices, facing a firestorm of scrutiny on multiple fronts, have disposed of just 15 cases, fueling speculation about why they are falling behind. In fact, the court has decided fewer cases at this point of the term … than at any time in the last 100 years, according to numbers compiled by Supreme Court stats guru ADAM FELDMAN.”
FED UP — “Jerome Powell Could Face More Opposition as Fed Choices Get Tougher,” by Bloomberg’s Steve Matthews and Rich Miller: “With inflation as high as 9% in the past year, [Fed Chair JEROME] POWELL’s colleagues were all-in on the fight to curb price pressures, with another 25 basis-point hike expected Wednesday that might be the concluding increase. Yet that consensus is already showing signs of splintering.”
Related read: “Fed & Co. Confront History of Mistakes as Hiking Cycle Nears End,” by Bloomberg’s Jana Randow, Craig Torres and Philip Aldrick
UP IN SMOKE — “Needing Younger Workers, Federal Officials Relax Rules on Past Drug Use,” by NYT’s Ernesto Londoño: “During the past five years, the United States military gave more than 3,400 new recruits who failed a drug test on their first day a grace period to try again … Agencies like the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. have adopted more lenient rules regarding past use of marijuana among job candidates … And later this year, the Biden administration is expected to take another major step, scaling back how deeply the government delves into the drug histories of people applying for a security clearance.”
WAR IN UKRAINE
THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS — Decisions about the military aid Ukraine’s allies will send each month are made at Ramstein Air Base, where the Ukraine Defense Contact Group regularly figures out how to keep Kyiv competitive on the battlefield. This morning, Lara Seligman dives deep into the closed-door meetings in Germany that help determine the war’s outcome: Ukrainians provide updates, Defense Secretary LLOYD AUSTIN leads proceedings and military leaders from more than 40 countries spend hours hashing out what Ukraine needs.
ON THE HORN — “The Murdochs’ Ukraine connection,” by Semafor’s Max Tani and Morgan Chalfant: “Fox News Executive Chairman RUPERT MURDOCH held a previously unreported call with Ukrainian President VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY this spring in which the two discussed the war and the anniversary of the deaths of Fox News journalists last March. The Ukrainian president had a similar conversation with LACHLAN MURDOCH on March 15, which Zelenskyy noted in a little-noticed aside during a national broadcast last month.”
AMERICA AND THE WORLD
LATEST IN SUDAN — “Second convoy of U.S. citizens fleeing Khartoum arrives at Port Sudan,” CBS: “The U.S. government, in concert with its allies, has now facilitated the departure of nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens.”
WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN — “Can the U.S. win the microchip war?” by Semafor’s Morgan Chalfant
WHEN THE SHIPS ARE DOWN — “Grounding of U.S. Marine Unit Spotlights Lack of Ships in Asia-Pacific,” by WSJ’s Nancy Youssef
BEYOND THE BELTWAY
COURTING SUCCESS — “Democratic AGs are using the courts to win on abortion, gun control,” by WaPo’s Scott Wilson
EMPIRE STATE OF MIND — “Gov. Hochul Severs Ties With Top Political Adviser in Face of Backlash,” by NYT’s Nicholas Fandos and Jeffery Mays
ON THEIR OWN — “When states limit care, some trans people do it themselves,” by AP’s Hannah Schoenbaum and Summer Ballentine
DOING THE MATH — Via Ben Smith’s Semafor newsletter: “ABC News is scrambling to find a replacement for NATE SILVER’s election forecasting model, which the 538 founder is taking with him when he leaves the news organization at the end of his contract. According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, ABC executives were slow to realize that the company only owned some of the models that 538 used to forecast major elections, and that many were on rent from Silver as part of the initial deal to bring the data journalism site to ESPN ten years ago.”
FUTURE-CASTING — “States’ Push to Protect Kids Online Could Remake the Internet,” by NYT’s Natasha Singer: “Louisiana is at the forefront of a sweeping national push to insulate young people from potentially harmful content by requiring certain online services to bar or limit minors on their platforms. … The proposed restrictions, introduced by at least two dozen states over the last year, could alter not only the online experiences of children and adolescents. They could also remake the internet for millions of adults, ushering in a tectonic cultural shift to a stricter, age-gated online world.”
George Santos’ latest identity: fashion critic.
Subject Matter and Kivvit are combining into one consulting/comms/advocacy firm under Coral Tree Partners, named Subject Matter+Kivvit for now with a rebranding to come.
OUT AND ABOUT — Roy Wood Jr. hosted Byron Allen and theGrio’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner gala Saturday night at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where Gayle King was honored with theGrio’s “Journalist Icon Award” and Diana Ross performed her greatest hits. Over 700 guests were treated to food selections like crab cakes and wings, and moments from the gala were captured and will air today in a hourlong television special on theGrio Television Network and other platforms. SPOTTED: Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.), D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Bevy Smith, Jim Acosta, Rashida Jones, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Sunny Hostin, Yamiche Alcindor, April Ryan, Christina Greer, Eboni K. Williams, Marc Lamont Hill, Michael Harriot, Natasha Alford, Panama Jackson, Nolan McCaskill, Phil Lewis, Rasha Ali, Mabinty Quarshie and David Hudson. Pic … Another pic
— The Harvard Crimson celebrated its 150th anniversary this weekend, culminating in a gala at the JFK Library in Boston on Saturday evening. SPOTTED: Joe Kahn, Alessandra Galloni, Susan Glasser, Amanda Bennett, Abby Phillip, Mary Louise Kelly, Jeff Zucker, Donald Graham, Jessica Lessin, Sewell Chan, Jim Cramer, Ravi Agrawal, Robert Dechard, Phil Pan, Susan Chira, David Sanger, Jonathan Cohn, Julian Barnes, Javier Hernandez, Jennifer 8. Lee, Bill McKibben, Nick Fandos and Mark Whitaker.
— Economic Innovation Group and Institute for Progress hosted the first ever #EconTwitterIRL Conference at Decades retro arcade and bowling alley in Lancaster, Pa., on Saturday. There were panel discussions, trivia and a live episode of the “Odd Lots” podcast with Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway. Also SPOTTED: John Lettieri, Adam Ozimek, Alec Stapp, Caleb Watney, Jed Kolko, Matthew Yglesias, Cardiff Garcia, Neil Irwin, Leah Boustan, Dan Wang, Matt Clancy, Heidi Williams, Daniel Di Martino, Arpit Gupta, Gbenga Ajilore, Chris Rugaber, Stan Veuger, Julia Pollak, Megan McArdle, Jordan Weissmann, Rogé Karma, Kenan Fikri, Eli Dourado, Garett Jones, Daryl Fairweather, Tamara Winter, Steven Hamilton, Zach Graves, James Surowiecki, Ben Miller and Jeremiah Johnson.
MEDIA MOVE — Tom LoBianco is now a national political reporter at The Messenger covering the 2024 presidential race. He most recently was a politics reporter at Yahoo News and is the author of 2019’s “Piety & Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House.”
TRANSITIONS — Gerry Petrella is now general manager for U.S. public policy at Microsoft. He previously was policy director for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. … Danu Rojzman will be deputy press secretary for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. She currently is speechwriter and press secretary for the House Appropriations Dems. … Aaron Cummings is joining Crowell & Moring as co-chair of its government affairs practice group. He previously was chief of staff for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). …
… Max Frankel is now deputy director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid. He previously was a director at Invariant and is a Mike Quigley alum. … Alex Milliken is now director of government affairs at the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations. He previously was policy and government affairs manager at the National Taxpayer Union. … Michael Starr Hopkins is now VP of comms at WMATA. He most recently has been CEO of Northern Starr Strategies.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Drew Schneider, manager of public policy at Amazon, and Brittany Schneider, senior financial analyst at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, welcomed Cecelia Jo Schneider on Friday. Pic … Another pic
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) … Ninio Fetalvo … David Winston … POLITICO’s Stephanie Zimmerman … Anthony Cimino of Carta … Shivam Mallick Shah … Michael Freedman … John Bridgeland of Civic … Josh Tonsager … Vince Wanga of Taoti Creative … Shaina Goodman … Molly Levinson of the Levinson Group … Ben Jacobs … Rachael Dean Wilson of the Alliance for Securing Democracy … Matilda Bress … Ankit Desai … Megan Lowry of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine … Alex Cisneros … WaPo’s Jon Gerberg … Andrew Tyrrell … Stacie Paxton Cobos … Leonard Downie Jr. … ProPublica’s Caroline Chen … Elizabeth Stanley … Emily Lamont … Clinton Foundation’s Brian Cookstra (4-0) … Abby Huntsman … Abe Foxman … Matt Meyer of Rep. Jason Smith’s (R-Mo.) office and the House Budget Committee … Will Heidlage … Robert Goodkind … former Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) (7-0) … Seth London of Ground Control Partners … Menachem Rosensaft of the World Jewish Congress (75)
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