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How Republicans told on themselves during the State of the Union

Plus, the presumptive nominee’s security briefings, Katie Britt’s hypocrisy and a very special morning routine in this week’s 3-Minute Read from Jen Psaki.
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The state of our union

Perhaps the most revealing part about Thursday night, at least when it comes to members of the Republican Party, was what they refused to stand for. And I mean that literally. Traditionally, members of an opposing party will remain seated when they disagree with the president, and stand up — or at least clap — on matters of bipartisan consensus.

But on Thursday night, many Republicans refused to stand when President Joe Biden celebrated even the most fundamental American values and accomplishments. House Speaker Mike Johnson was a particularly awkward example of this, as he grimaced in his chair through the majority of the speech. Johnson and his peers refused to stand to celebrate job growth, plummeting inflation, or Biden’s pledge to buy American goods and products. They didn’t stand up to support literacy or increased access to preschool.

They didn’t stand in support of removing lead pipes for clean drinking water, ending cancer or protecting our troops.

They refused to stand for IVF, even though most claim they now support it. They refused to stand up against fentanyl traffickers. Those should all be no-brainers.

Unbelievably, Republicans didn’t even stand in defense of democracy — either here at home, or around the world — and they refused to stand up for NATO, the alliance that has kept the world safe for 75 years.

Biden admonished, “You can’t love your country only when you win.” And Republicans made clear Thursday that they certainly don’t seem to love much of America at all, as long as a Democrat is in office.

A story you should be following: Trump’s security clearance

On Super Tuesday, Donald Trump won 14 primary contests; Nikki Haley won one. Then, on Wednesday, Haley exited the race, making Trump the presumptive nominee.

Following past practice, intelligence officials plan to provide intelligence briefings to Trump in the coming months if he secures enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination.

It cannot be overstated how alarming it is that a man who is facing federal criminal charges for mishandling classified documents will likely soon have access to more of our nation’s most sensitive security information.

Although not required by law, President Harry Truman created these briefings for presidential nominees to ensure a seamless transition of power. So it may be tradition, but arguably we’ve never had a potential nominee pose such obvious security risks.

And given that Trump was not granted security briefings back in 2021, it sure feels like there should be a way to prevent him from receiving them now.

Someone you should know: Sen. Katie Britt

Republican Sen. Katie Britt is well on her way to becoming a household name — but not for the reasons she intended. On Thursday night, the junior senator from Alabama delivered one of the most jarring State of the Union rebuttals in recent memory.

But while her delivery was dramatic, it’s important not to lose sight of the hypocrisy that was also embedded in the Alabama lawmaker’s speech.

Britt attacked Biden on the border over and over, while conveniently ignoring the fact that she was one of the Republicans who tanked a bipartisan border bill at Trump’s behest. This was a bill that she herself helped negotiate. (Yes, that’s a hard one to wrap your head around.)

Britt also claimed that her party “strongly support[s] nationwide access to IVF,” even though the House speaker was still calling IVF “a states’ issue” up until Thursday morning. GOP leaders may be having second thoughts about their particular messenger, but this is clearly the message Republicans think will appeal to their base. (And yet, it was intentional that Britt gave the response from her kitchen.)

I’ll be interested to see whether Britt, who has recently been floated as a potential Trump VP pick, can recover from the fallout. Stranger things have happened…

Jessica Mackler’s weekend routine

Jessica Mackler is the new president of EMILY’s List, an American political network and resource dedicated to electing Democratic pro-choice women to office. You can follow her on X @jessicamackler.

What show are you bingeing right now?

Because I have two young boys, I’m most often watching an episode of “Scooby Doo.” I’m also in the middle of the last season of “Only Murders in the Building.” My almost-10-year-old likes to watch with me; I can say I’ve never been so attuned to bad language!

What’s the last book you read?

“Percy Jackson: The Chalice of the Gods” with my son. But for my own reading, I try to take a break from the dense material that comes with the job. I recently loved “Hello Beautiful” by Ann Napolitano.

What time do you wake up on the weekends?

I am not a morning person! Unless I absolutely have to get up early for kids activities or work travel, I sleep as long as they will let me. We’ve turned a bit of a corner on their sleep, so sometimes I get until 9 a.m. Those are the very best days.

How do you take your coffee?

I didn’t start drinking coffee until I traded in a Diet Coke habit in my 30s, so I’m fussy about good coffee. But I only put half-and-half in it, or milk if there’s truly no other option and I’m desperate.