It has been a news week for the record books. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said he felt “like the guy standing in the middle of the field in a thunderstorm, holding up the metal stick.” An evocative image, yes, and one that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about the modern GOP.
Lankford dared to negotiate one of the more conservative border bills in history to address an issue his party has been screaming about for years. As a thank-you for his efforts, he was censured by the Republican Party in Oklahoma and threatened with destruction by a prominent MAGA radio host.
And Lankford is not the only Republican leader the right wing threatened to devour this week. Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel has spent years catering to Donald Trump’s needs. She’s endured years of attacks, spent hundreds of thousands of donor dollars on Trump’s legal troubles, faced multiple subpoenas and even stopped publicly using her maiden name in deference to the de facto party leader. In return, she is being publicly ousted as the leader of the RNC.
Typically, politicians succeed by expanding their support base. In contrast, Trump sends his MAGA wolves after anyone who dares compromise, work with the other party, or deviate from the guidance of the dear leader.
In Trump’s view, everyone is replaceable. Loyalty trumps intelligence, experience or efficiency. And he could care less if he burns the Republican Party to the ground as a result.
A story you should be following: The U.S. Transgender Survey
A new survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality revealed some alarming takeaways about the level of discrimination that transgender individuals face in the United States today. More than 92,000 respondents participated, making it one of the most comprehensive surveys of transgender Americans to date.
While almost all respondents (94%) reported feeling “a lot more satisfied” with their life after transitioning genders, the levels of discrimination and fear reported by respondents were hugely disheartening.
According to the survey, nearly half of transgender people in the U.S. have considered moving because of anti-LGBTQ laws in their home state. More than a third of respondents said that they have been harassed online, and 30% reported being verbally harassed. Nearly half of respondents said that they have had at least one negative health care experience because they were transgender.
Not coincidentally, at least 510 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced across the country in 2023, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. That is approximately three times the number of bills that were introduced in 2022.
I will be watching closely as the fight for trans rights continues in the face of intensifying bigotry.
Someone you should know: Norma Anderson
On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Trump’s ballot eligibility case. The justices seemed largely skeptical of the Colorado ruling that deemed Trump ineligible to appear on the state’s ballot.
Norma Anderson, a 91-year-old lifelong Republican, is the lead plaintiff in the Colorado lawsuit. She served in the Colorado state legislature for 12 years and was the first female majority leader in both chambers of the legislature.
Anderson was approached by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to join the lawsuit and she immediately agreed. In a recent interview with Politico, Anderson said: “My reason for doing it is saving democracy. Because Donald Trump will destroy our democracy.”
After the Supreme Court wrapped arguments, Norma and the other plaintiffs in the case held a news conference. “This is very personal to me,” she said. “I’ve lived a hell of a long time and I’ve gone through a lot of presidents and this is the first one that’s tried to destroy the Constitution.”
Legal experts are predicting that we could have a ruling from the Supreme Court sooner rather than later, impacting more than a dozen other states where Trump’s eligibility is similarly being challenged including Maine.
Antonia Hylton’s weekend routine
NBC News and MSNBC correspondent Antonia Hylton is the author of the new book “Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum.” You can buy it now, wherever you get your books.
And for all of her latest reporting, follow her @ahylton26.
What show are you bingeing right now?
I’ve been watching a lot of “90 Day Fiancé” lately. It is a real-life soap opera about cross-cultural and cross-continental relationships and the American Dream. It’s cringey and absurd. But I have to read, write and watch hard news all day long. My brain needs a bath.
What’s the last book you read?
This weekend I’ll be finishing the novel “Jonathan Abernathy You are Kind” by Molly McGhee. It’s a wonderful, funny, weird and heartbreaking science fiction novel that is perfect for any young person experiencing some existential anxiety about the state of the world, the cost of living, and what to do with their dreams. I’ve loved it.
What time do you wake up on the weekends?
Even when I try to sleep in, I naturally wake up around 7:45 a.m., or 8 a.m. at the latest. Every Saturday I head over to my friend’s boxing gym and spend the morning releasing any stress left over from the week. Sunday mornings are for reading, eating and taking long walks around Brooklyn with friends.
How do you take your coffee?
How do you take your coffee? A few weeks ago, I went cold turkey — no more coffee for me at all! I now make one matcha latte with honey every morning. If I’m out on a tough assignment and need a pick-me-up, though, you might see me sneak a single shot of espresso.