Talk Media News

Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

Quick News
  • GOP leaders unload on Trump
  • Trump: “Bring back” – – Joe Paterno??
  • Sanders, Clinton support Verizon strikers
  • Obama claims upper hand against ISIS
  • Ryan’s GOP House: budget #fail?
  • Zika causes birth defects – CDC
  • Rampant racism in Chicago police
GOP Leaders Unload on Trump (Politico, Hill, me)
• GOP leaders to Trump: Stop whining, baby. “I didn’t hear Donald Trump complaining when he got 100% of the delegates in Florida but only about 40% of the vote,” said Henry Barbour, an influential Republican National Committeeman from Mississippi. “So when the system works to his advantage, he’s a winner. When he loses, it’s a rigged system, the party’s corrupt.”

• The issue came to a head over the weekend, when Ted Cruz, whose team has been skilled at navigating arcane delegate rules to run up his totals headed into an increasingly likely contested convention, swept the delegates that were up for grabs in Colorado on Saturday. Similar dynamics have played out in other states (boo hoo sob is general GOP message to Trump)

• Rob Witwer, a former state rep from Colorado who supports Cruz, pointed to Trump’s tweets that referred to the Colorado process as a “primary.” Not primaries, but caucuses. “It’s one thing to …  not campaign in Colorado, but to turn around and blame other people and say it’s a conspiracy, not only calls into question his team’s competence, but their veracity as well,” Witwer said

• But Steve Munisteri, former chair of the Texas Republican Party, said, “A very good argument can be made that the beneficiary of almost all the rule changes is Mr Trump,” pointing, for example, to the shortened GOP primary calendar, something that’s likely to benefit the candidate with the highest name ID – who in this cycle, is Donald Trump (point)

• “The rules are set, they’re in place and they’re not going to change,” RNC chair Reince Priebus said on CNN Wednesday evening. “
[Trump] has a plurality of delegates but he needs a majority. I don’t know what’s so complicated about a majority in the USA when our country was founded on the principle of having a majority.” (ouch – read the Constitution message, Donnie?)


Trump: “Bring Back” – – Joe Paterno?? (Reuters, WSJ, WaPo, Politico, me)
• Donald Trump, campaigning in Pittsburgh, 140 miles west of Penn State, said Wed: “I know a lot about Pennsylvania and it’s great.” Then “How’s Joe Paterno?” of the coach, who died in 2012. “We gonna bring that back. How ’bout that whole deal?” (necromancy…) Trump’s spox claimed he was referring to the bronze statue that was removed in 2012 (sure sure, course)
• Paterno was fired after a special probe led by former FBI director Louis Freeh found Paterno and three former university administrators conspired to conceal the behavior of Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator, who was convicted in 2012 of abusing 10 young boys over a decade

• Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign is trying to sort out the delegate issue, and under the guidance of his new strategist Paul Manafort, Trump has hired Rick Wiley, Scott Walker’s former campaign manager and a former senior party official well versed in the rule-making process that might decide the GOP nomination in a contested convention


• Trump’s campaign has scheduled a meeting this morning in DC with about a dozen lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Some of the legislators have endorsed Trump and some haven’t but are interested in his message. Trump won’t be there
• Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski won’t be charged with battery on a reporter (who he clearly manhandled). Palm Beach County State Attorney David Aronberg is scheduled to announce the decision not to press charges this afternoon. Former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields plans to press civil charges against Trump and Lewandowski (lower threshold)
• Trump met privately with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly after months of attacking her for the tough question she asked him in a GOP debate last August about his (appalling) treatment of women. Trump has poor poll numbers with women. Kelly said on her Fox show that she had asked for the meeting and used it to request an interview. The had a chance to “clear the air,” she said
Sanders, Clinton Support Verizon Strikers (Reuters, Politico, me)
• Democratic 2016er Bernie Sanders on Wednesday addressed an enthusiastic crowd of striking workers from Verizon on the picket line in Brooklyn as “brothers and sisters” and thanked them for their courage in standing up to what he characterized as corporate greed. Earlier, Sanders was endorsed by NYC transit workers
• Workers cheered as Sanders criticized the huge communications company for wanting to take away health benefits, outsource jobs and avoid federal income taxes, calling it “just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans.”
• Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers walked off the job on Wednesday in one of the largest U.S. strikes in recent years after contract talks hit an impasse. Wednesday afternoon, several dozen workers picketing a Verizon store in Manhattan cheered as Hillary Clinton arrived to show her support. “This has been going on for months,” she said of the deadlocked talks
• In a post on LinkedIn, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam ripped into Sanders, calling his “uninformed” views “contemptible.” McAdam pushed back at Sanders’s claim that Verizon doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes, pointing to financial statements that show the company has paid $15.6 billion in he last two years alone, with a 35% rate in 2015
• Later, Hillary Clinton pitched herself to African-American voters in New York as a lifelong champion of the community. Sanders spoke to a massive crowd in Washington Square. He leaves tonight for an environmental conference in Vatican City. “I would be kicking myself if I missed this opportunity,” he said – even though it’s just a few days before New York’s primary


• Tonight’s Democratic debate will air on CNN and NY1 at 9 pm ET. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will moderate. CNN’s Dana Bash and NY1’a Errol Louis will also ask questions. The New York primary is next Tuesday. Both candidates have grown more aggressive over the last few weeks, so tonight could be a knockdown doozy
Obama Claims Upper Hand Against ISIS (Hill, me)
• President Obama on Wednesday claimed the upper hand in the fight against ISIS during a rare visit to the headquarters of the CIA. “Today, on the ground in Syria and Iraq, ISIL is on the defensive,” Obama said. “We have momentum and we intend to keep that momentum.” (prob is it doesn’t feel that way to Americans)
• Obama spoke after meeting with more than two dozen members of his national security team at CIA’s Virginia headquarters. The president has faced criticism that his admin isn’t doing enough to fight the terror network (his other prob is that he didn’t get much press coverage – partly WH fault. he only gave a statement to pooled press, rather than an open statement)
• Obama touted progress made by the U.S.-led military coalition and local ground forces in taking back territory from the extremist group, eliminating the oil infrastructure and reducing the flow of foreign fighters. But he acknowledged the fight remains difficult, citing recent attacks carried out by ISIS in Belgium, Turkey and Iraq
• “These depraved terrorists still have the ability to inflict horrific violence on the innocent, to the revulsion of the entire world,” he said. “Their barbarism only stiffens our unity,” he added, citing a series of strikes that have killed some of the group’s top leaders (who ISIS promptly replaces, but ISIS has had its finances depleted)
• Hours before the president spoke, the Pentagon declared the U.S. had entered into the “second phase” of its fight against ISIS, which includes driving the group out of its strongholds in Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. Obama plans to discuss the Syria conflict during a trip to Saudi Arabia next week, where he’ll meet with leaders of Gulf state allies


• Watch these Russian warplanes with no visible weaponry fly simulated attack passes super super close to the USS Donald Cook. Despite repeated warnings, the Russian planes continued what the U.S. called “unsafe flight maneuvers” (USA Today, me)
Ryan’s GOP House: Budget #Fail? (Hill, AP, me)
• House Republicans are about to blow through a 15 April statutory deadline to pass an annual budget, a major embarrassment for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) that raises questions about his stewardship of the House. “I think we should pass a budget and we’re still talking with our members on how we can get that done,” Ryan said Wednesday (how’s that then?)
• Although the House Budget Committee passed a resolution last month, GOP leaders have been unable to find the Republican support to pass it on the chamber floor in the face of conservative opposition to the $1.07 trillion spending level. The 40 members of the hard-line Freedom Caucus want at least another $30 billion trimmed from that top-line figure
• “When you talk about them not meeting the budget deadline, well, nothing is surprising here. Is anybody surprised by anything here? Does the word ‘surprise’ still exist in the lexicon of Capitol Hill?” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) asked reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. “It’s true to form and it only gets worse.” (she seems to be having a good time)
• Ryan used to chair the Budget Committee and crafted the “Ryan Budget” that would have transformed Medicare into a voucher program for millions. Ryan has repeatedly lambasted Democrats when they didn’t get budgets done while in congressional control, even backing a law that would have cut off lawmakers’ paychecks if they failed to pass a budget
• “While the GOP leadership tries to trip over itself to appease the fringe elements of their own party, it is the American people who pay the ultimate price,” Rep Joe Crowley (D-NY), vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters. “If that is not brutal or brutal enough, I do not know what brutal means anymore.”


• Watch President Obama attempt to blow bubbles with a wand made from a 3D printer by a third grader at the president’s final White House Science Fair (he’s not really very good – to be fair, sometimes it’s the bubbles, just saying, not that I blow bubbles…) (ABC News, me)
Zika Causes Birth Defects – CDC (NYT, Hill, Hill, me)
• Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that there’s now enough evidence to definitively say that the Zika virus can cause unusually small heads, brain damage and other neurological problems in infants born to infected mothers, a condition called microcephaly
• “Never before in history has there been a situation where a bite from a mosquito can result in a devastating malformation,” said Dr Thomas Frieden, CDC director. He said they hope that the announcement increases awareness and concern about the threat Americans who travel to affected areas face – and those living in Puerto Rico, American Samoa and Southern states
• The announcement may increase pressure on Congress to allocate more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding that President Obama has requested for prevention and treatment of the containment of the outbreak. Last week, Health and Human Services Sec Sylvia Burwell told reporters that without additional funding her agency might have to curtail mosquito control activities
• House GOP leaders are working on a bill to approved more funding by the end of the year. Rep Hal Rogers (R-Ky), the head of the Appropriations Committee, said earlier Wednesday he would support emergency action through a supplemental funding request, but is waiting on details from the admin (end of the year? is this a slow walk until someone gets bitten?)
• “I personally will contact the admin today,” ranking member Rep Nita Lowey (D-NY) said. “I have seen numbers, I don’t understand why there is some lack of connection here.” WH spox Josh Earnest said President Obama will sign a “meager” bill offering incentives to companies seeking cures for Zika. “In some ways, it’s passing out umbrellas in advance of a hurricane.”


• LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson described Kobe Bryant as “the greatest” ever to wear the purple and gold moments before Bryant’s final game Tuesday night. Bryant went on to score 60 points in a thrilling come-from-behind 101-96 win over Utah Jazz in his much anticipated league farewell. After the game, Bryant said Magic “is and always will be number one for me.” (Reuters)

Rampant Racism in Chicago Police (AP, Chicago Tribune, me)

• Police in Chicago have “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color” and have alienated blacks and Hispanics for decades by using excessive force and honoring a code of silence, a task force established by Mayor Rahm Emanual declared Wednesday in a report that seeks sweeping changes

• The panel concluded that minorities’ lack of trust and fear are justified, citing data to show that 74% of the hundreds of people shot by officers in recent years were African-Americans, even though blacks account for 33% of the city’s population (so now what minorities have known is officially known by whites. i suppose that means it’s actually known now. very sad)

• The city’s new police chief said the dept was “absolutely committed” to acting on the task force recommendations – over 100. (how – unless you fire the racists?) Eddie Johnson, an African-American with 27 years on the force, was Emanuel’s hand-picked choice to take the top job. The City Council confirmed him unanimously Wednesday

• In a draft exec summary obtained by the Chicago Tribune, the Task Force on Police Accountability recommended replacing the “badly broken” independent review authority that currently investigates misconduct with a “new and fully transparent and accountable civilian police investigative agency.”


Code of Silence “Official Policy”

• The task force also called out the city and the police unions, saying that the collective bargaining agreements between the city and the unions have “essentially turned the code of silence into official policy.” The code refers to the reflex of some officers not to report colleagues for misconduct

• Officers can wait 24 hours before providing a statement after a shooting, giving them enough time to get their stories straight with fellow officers. And not only are anonymous complaints prohibited, the task force founds that accused officers must be given the names of people who filed complaints (so no intimidation there, then)

• Also: Some of those in charge of training are teaching while they themselves are under investigation for a range of alleged offenses, and there’s a disturbing lack of legal counsel for those in custody. Last year, only 6 out of every 1,000 people arrested had an attorney at any point while in police custody (that’s so dreadful it would actually be unbelievable if not in the report)

• Emanuel announced the task force at the same time he fired Superintendent Garry McCarthy in the wake of public protests over the 2014 shooting by a white police officer of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. A video of the shooting, released last year, contradicted police accounts that McDonald was threatening officers before he was shot

• Winter is coming early for President Obama thanks to one apparent perk of the Oval Office: advance episodes of “Game of Thrones” season six. The president is poised to find out Jon Snow’s fate ahead of the HBO series’s 24 April premiere. (Obama already has a theory about what happened to Snow, which he told me at the WH Christmas party – and I’m not telling)

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Victoria Jones – Editor