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Mark Harris, Thom Tillis, Greg Brannon, Heather Grant

House GOP candidate questioned whether careers were women's 'healthiest pursuit'

07/06/18 10:00AM

One of the bigger upsets of the 2018 elections thus far came in North Carolina's 9th congressional district, where incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger lost in a Republican primary to a former pastor named Mark Harris. Right about now, some GOP officials probably wish that contest had gone the other way.

ABC News reported yesterday on a 2013 sermon Harris delivered on "God's plan for biblical womanhood" and the modern difficulties for American women "to live out and fulfill God's design."

"In our culture today, girls are taught from grade school that we tell them that what is most honorable in life is a career, and their ultimate goal in life is simply to be able to grow up and be independent of anyone or anything," said Harris, then the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, adding, "But nobody has seemed to ask the question that I think is critically important to ask: Is that a healthy pursuit for society? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our homes? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our children? Is that the healthiest pursuit for the sexes in our generation?" [...]

In an earlier portion of Harris' sermon, Harris tells parishioners that "only one title is given to a woman in all of scripture ... the title given to a woman is 'helper.'"

In the same remarks, Harry rejected the idea that women must be "barefoot and pregnant," and said he believes women can excel in the workplace, but he added that women "must understand" their biblical "core calling."

The then-pastor acknowledged at the time that his views may not be "politically correct in 2013."

Or, it turns out, in 2018.

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen in a television cameras view finder during a press conference at the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter on March 8, 2016 in Jupiter, Fla. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty)

Trump's 'central casting' preoccupation extends to Supreme Court picks

07/06/18 09:20AM

As Donald Trump narrows his list of options for his next Supreme Court nominee, the president is weighing a variety of considerations, which according to Politico, includes "a potential nominee's appearance as well as the look and feel of his or her family."

"Beyond the qualifications, what really matters is, does this nominee fit a central casting image for a Supreme Court nominee, as well as his or her spouse," the Republican close to the White House said. "That's a big deal. Do they fit the role?"

Trump's preoccupation with "central casting" has been a staple of his presidency, though his fixation hasn't always worked in his favor. In March, for example, he chose Ronny Jackson, the then-White House physician, to oversee the Department of Veterans Affairs, in part because of the Navy admiral's guise.

"He's like central casting – like a Hollywood star," Trump told donors at a fundraiser.

A month later, the president's nominee withdrew under a cloud of controversy, in the wake of revelations the White House would've been prepared for if Team Trump put as much emphasis on qualifications as appearances.

But the president can't seem to help himself. When describing Vice President Mike Pence, Trump likes to say he’s “central casting.” On his Inauguration Day, the president also turned to Defense Secretary James Mattis and said, “This is central casting.” When Trump considered Mitt Romney for his cabinet, Trump’s transition officials said the president believed Romney “looks the part of a top diplomat right out of ‘central casting.’” Rex Tillerson was described as having a “central casting” quality.

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty told MSNBC after the election that “central casting” is “actually a phrase [Trump] uses quite a bit behind the scenes.”

As we discussed last year, I’ve heard other politicians and other presidents use the phrase, but not to this extent. Trump cares about “central casting” as if he were the executive producer of an elaborate show.

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Job growth remains steady, but jobless rate ticks higher

07/06/18 08:44AM

Ahead of this morning's new jobs report, most projections pointed to totals of roughly 200,000 new jobs last month. Those projections turned out to be correct.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the economy added 213,000 jobs in June, while the unemployment rate inched a little higher, climbing from 3.8% to 4%.

Meanwhile, the revisions for the two previous months -- April and May -- looked encouraging, with a combined gain of 37,000 jobs as compared to previous BLS reports.

In terms of the larger context, this morning's data points to 1.287 million jobs created so far in 2018, which is evidence of a healthy job market, and which is an improvement on the totals from the first six months of 2016 and 2017. That said, this year's tally is still short of the totals from the first six months of 2014 and 2015.

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Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, talks with reporters after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on June 26, 2018.

Another accuser says Republican rep knew about sexual abuse

07/06/18 08:00AM

For Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), this week's controversy is far from over. In fact, an NBC News report from yesterday afternoon suggests it's getting worse.

A fourth former Ohio State University wrestler came forward Thursday to contradict Rep. Jim Jordan's claim that he had no idea the wrestling team doctor was molesting athletes.

The wrestler, Shawn Dailey, said he was groped half a dozen times by Dr. Richard Strauss in the mid-1990s, when Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach. Dailey said he was too embarrassed to report the abuse directly to Jordan at the time, but he said Jordan took part in conversations where Strauss' abuse of many other team members came up.

The Wall Street Journal pointed to a possible fifth former student athlete: former UFC world champion Mark Coleman also went on the record this week, arguing that the Ohio congressman knew about allegations of sexual misconduct, but didn't respond to them.

"There's no way unless he's got dementia or something that he's got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State," Coleman said of Jordan.

If you're just learning of the story, Ohio State University has spent the last few months confronting a controversy surrounding the late Dr. Richard Strauss, a former physician for student athletes from the mid-1970s to late 1990s, who's been accused of molesting students during his tenure.

Jim Jordan, perhaps best known for helping create the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, was a coach at the university during part of Strauss' tenure, and now stands accused of turning a blind eye to the doctor's abuses.

The Republican lawmaker insists he didn't know about the alleged misconduct, though the group of people accusing Jordan of lying continues to grow.

The congressman does, however, have one very high-profile defender.

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Thursday's Mini-Report, 7.5.18

07/05/18 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Family separations: "The U.S. government is reviewing the cases of nearly 3,000 children in its care who say they were separated from their parents when they crossed the U.S. border as it rushes to meet a court-imposed deadline to reunite migrant families, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar."

* Reverberations from the Skripal poisoning: "Tests on two Britons found unconscious in their home determined that they were poisoned by the same nerve agent used against a former Russian spy and his daughter earlier this year, British police said Wednesday."

* A political crisis in Poland: "Surrounded by cheering supporters, Poland's top Supreme Court justice took a defiant stand on the courthouse steps here Wednesday morning, hours after the government purged the tribunal. She vowed to keep fighting to protect the Constitution and the independence of the nation's courts."

* A strange story gets stranger: "It looks like life is about to get even more complicated for President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. New York Times politics reporter Maggie Haberman reported on Twitter Thursday that former Clinton operative Lanny Davis has been retained by Cohen, as he prepares for an onslaught of White House abuse while facing a probe by federal prosecutors."

* On a related note: "Michael Cohen appears to be distancing himself publicly from President Donald Trump, as legal pressures on the attorney intensify amid a wide-ranging probe into the president's links to Russia. On Twitter, where Cohen has been an active user, the lawyer removed the reference on his biography to being Trump's personal lawyer."

* An outside-the-box recommendation: "Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) privately urged President Trump in a phone call earlier this week to nominate federal Judge Merrick B. Garland, then President Barack Obama's third nominee to the Supreme Court who was summarily shunned by Senate Republicans in 2016, to replace retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy."

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Image: FILES-US-POLITICS-PROTEST-TRUMP

Scandals force EPA's Scott Pruitt to exit stage right

07/05/18 04:29PM

Earlier this week, a woman named Kristin Mink, carrying her 2-year-old son, walked up to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in a D.C. restaurant. Mink, a local school teacher, told the Oklahoma Republican, "I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out."

Four days later, she got her wish. Donald Trump announced via Twitter this afternoon:

"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.

"The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA."

Pruitt is the fourth member of the president's cabinet to step down, following HHS Secretary Tom Price, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and VA Secretary David Shulkin.

In his resignation letter to Trump, Pruitt, after offering gushing praise for his boss, said, "[T]he unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us."

This, of course, makes it sound as if the outgoing EPA chief is a victim worthy of pity. In reality, Scott Pruitt is the subject of 15 federal investigations and stands accused of being one of the most corrupt cabinet officials in American history.

The question is not why he resigned; it's why in the world it took so long for Pruitt to leave.

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The sun rises near the White House on Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty)

Former Fox News executive lands key role in Trump White House

07/05/18 03:45PM

A few months ago, shortly before Fox News' John Bolton was hired to serve as Donald Trump's national security advisor, Fox News' Juan Williams joked on the air that if you want to work in this White House, it's a good idea to be in a Fox News green room -- "because apparently that's the staging area."

It was a point rooted in fact. This president has made all kinds of unusual personnel decisions, but one of the common threads tying together many of Trump's hires is his familiarity with their work on television.

But once in a while, the Republican president looks past Fox News hosts and personalities, and instead hires Fox News executives.

Former Fox News executive Bill Shine is officially joining the White House.

President Donald Trump is announcing Shine, the former co-president of the president's preferred television channel, as his deputy chief of staff for communications. His expected hiring had reported last week.

The White House says Shine "brings over two decades of television programming, communications, and management experience to the role."

And while that's certainly true, that's not the only experience Shine brings with him to the White House.

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About The Rachel Maddow Show

Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.

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