Support the news

From One Ex-Mass. Gov. To Another: Romney Has 'Courage'

Editor's Note: This is our weekly politics newsletter. Get it in your inbox here.


Impeachment history was made this week, and a familiar face locally is at the center of headlines: Mitt Romney. We also saw President Trump in two forms, before and after the impeachment trial.

Clark: Trump’s Rebuff Of Pelosi’s Handshake Sets Partisan Tone

President Trump turns after handing copies of his speech to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence as he delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
President Trump turns after handing copies of his speech to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence as he delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Rep. Katherine Clark gave a bleak prognosis of the likelihood of bipartisanism after one of the most divisive weeks in Washington — which included one of the most visually partisan State of the Union addresses in recent history, and a vote almost entirely along party lines to acquit President Trump of both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“All we need to know about continuing to work with Donald Trump was set in the very first few moments of the State of the Union, when once again, the Speaker [Nancy Pelosi] extended her hand and he refused to shake it,” Clark told reporters yesterday.

Clark, speaking at the Democratic Caucus’ weekly press conference, said that Democrats stand ready to work with Trump on infrastructure or other priorities. But she didn't sound very optimistic that it would happen.

“We will continue to work on things that are positive for Americans at home,” Clark said. “But when someone won’t even shake the hand of the Speaker of the House, it tells you where his priorities lie, and that is squarely with himself, not with the American people.”

Pressley Joins Protest Of Senate Republicans After Impeachment Vote

After the Senate’s vote to acquit Trump, Rep. Ayanna Pressley joined Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and leaders from a number of groups to protest Republican senators’ “not guilty” votes.

“Shame on you, Mitch McConnell!” Pressley said, standing outside the Capitol Building yesterday as part of the “Reject The Cover-Up” protest. “Shame on you, Senate Republicans! You stand firmly on the wrong side of history.”

The protest was one of hundreds of rallies that took place across the country, with groups including Stand Up Republic, Common Cause, the Sierra Club and People for the American Way participating.

Pressley, who earlier this week skipped Trump’s State of the Union address and instead delivered the Working Families Party response, said voters would have the final say.

“We will not forget this betrayal,” Pressley said. “You are accountable to the people, and the people are furious.”

Kennedy Grills E-Cig Execs Over Teen Vaping

Rep. Joe Kennedy had a tense exchange with executives from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies over their inability to keep vaping products out of teen hands.

At a House Energy and Commerce committee hearing yesterday, Kennedy cited statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that show that 27% of high schoolers vape.

Kennedy said despite efforts by e-cigarette companies to stop advertising to young people, they still have created “an epidemic that is now going to be touching a quarter of all high school students.”

“Respectfully, what are you going to do to fix it?” Kennedy asked.

K.C. Crosthwaite, CEO of JUUL, said the company has “been successful in diverting millions of adults away from the most harmful form of tobacco use,” and cautioned that efforts to ban or limit sales of e-cigarettes would reverse those advances and create a vaping black market for teens.

Kennedy, expressing frustration at the executives’ claims that they don’t market to teens, said that wasn’t enough.

“How do I trust what you say?” Kennedy asked.

3 More Things:

Presidential candidate Deval Patrick greets supporters after his campaign speech at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Dorchester on Jan. 22. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Presidential candidate Deval Patrick greets supporters after his campaign speech at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Dorchester on Jan. 22. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

— Patrick throws shade at rivals over Iowa boasts: Deval Patrick was apparently not a fan of Pete Buttigieg’s decision to walk the victor walk in Iowa before a winner could be formally declared.

“We have a vote now. Let’s count it,” Patrick told reporters in N.H., where he focused his campaigning this week. Patrick didn’t name any names — and he could also have been throwing a bit of shade at Bernie Sanders, whose campaign announced its own internal numbers Tuesday suggesting the Vermont senator was in the lead as state party officials struggled to get official numbers out.

“The notion that some candidates would declare themselves victorious without having counted the vote just seems so disappointing and unnecessary,” Patrick said. “We don’t have to forecast our way to victory, we are doing the work. … I believe the people of New Hampshire will repay that attention with their support and their vote. And we will beat expectations.”

AP still has not called the Iowa race. It’s neck and neck between Buttigieg and Sanders.

— Weld blasts Senate Republicans — except Romney: Speaking of former Bay State governors who are or have been in a presidential race, Bill Weld tweeted his scorn for Republican senators — except for Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the only GOP senator to cast a vote in favor of removing Trump from office.

“To no one’s surprise, the US Senate has voted to allow @realDonaldTrump to remain in office despite his clear abuses of power and of the Constitution. I suspect the American people, with their votes, will render a more principled judgement,” Weld tweeted after last night’s impeachment vote.

“.@SenatorRomney not only got it right, but is displaying the courage we should expect from our US Senators,” Weld added. “He deserves the respect of even those who disagree with his words and his vote.”

Check out more from me on Romney’s vote.

Markey presses Trump administration on coronavirus vaccine: Sen. Ed Markey demanded answers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on its efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine. In a letter to NIAID Administrator Anthony Fauci, Markey noted the death toll from the latest outbreak has already exceeded 360, and “finding a vaccine that treats all coronaviruses would be a significant development for global public health.” Last week, Markey urged the administration to appoint a permanent global health chief to address the pandemic threat.

ON MY RADAR

Chief Justice Roberts presided impartially, yet left questions whether Trump’s trial was a fair one (The Los Angeles Times)

What Will the History Books Say About This Impeachment? (Politico Magazine)

Coronavirus Could Infect The Global Economy, From Tourism to Plastic Flowers (The Economist)


WHERE'S WARREN?

Now that the impeachment trial is over, and after a third-place finish in Iowa, Warren returned to New England to convince New Hampshire voters to back her.

Tonight, Warren holds a get-out-the-vote event in Derry. Tomorrow night, she hits the debate stage in Manchester.

Saturday, Warren joins the “Our Rights, Our Courts” reproductive rights forum in Concord, a canvassing kickoff in Manchester and the New Hampshire Democratic Party McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner in Manchester. On Sunday, Warren holds campaign events in Concord. Monday she’ll be in Rochester and Portsmouth — before returning to Manchester for election night.


NUMBER OF THE WEEK

62%
The percentage of N.H. Demcoratic primary voters who would prefer have a giant meteor strike the Earth and extinguish all human life than for Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, according to a tongue-in-cheek question in the latest UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion poll.


TWEETS OF THE WEEK

If lawmakers from the current and former homes of the Super Bowl champions can’t talk smack, then who can?


PARTING NOTE

All the presidential campaign action now moves to New Hampshire. Don’t forget to tune in to WBUR Tuesday night. I’ll be helping to break down the primary election returns live!

Kimberly Atkins Twitter Senior News Correspondent
Kimberly Atkins is a senior news correspondent for WBUR, covering national political news from Washington, D.C., with a New England focus.

More…

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news