NEWS AND OPINION:
White House press secretary Jen Psaki will soon leave her post and venture over to MSNBC to be an analyst. Her departure has not been without angst.
A recent CNN report suggested that NBC News staffers were upset that there was no proper “transition period” between Ms. Psaki’s role as White House spokesperson and MSNBC analyst — and that the move could “tarnish the NBC brand.”
Some were also frustrated that the news actually broke when she was still standing behind the White House podium, leaving her fellow journalists wondering how to cover the story.
Yes, well. But who will replace her? Several names have been bandied about in the press in recent weeks — including White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby.
One more suggestion has arrived in Inside the Beltway’s mailbox.
“I come not to criticize Jen Psaki but to offer the Biden administration a solution: Make Mayor Pete the new White House spokesman,” advised Jonathan V. Last, executive editor of the Bulwark.
Yes, he’s talking about Pete Buttigieg, currently the transportation secretary.
“He has all the best words. Pete Buttigieg is the single best communicator in Democratic politics right now,” Mr. Last wrote in his proposal, published by Substack.
“So here’s the plan: Move Secretary Mayor Pete from Transportation to the White House and park him in front of reporters for an hour every damn day. Have him do daily Fox News hits on ‘Special Report’ and with Jesse Watters. Put him on ‘Fox News Sunday’ and Trey Gowdy’s show every weekend,” Mr. Last later advised.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made good on his determination to draw immediate attention to the unsolved immigration challenges of the southern U.S. border. He chartered a bus for immigrants down in the Lone Star State and sent them to Washington. They arrived Wednesday.
“President Biden refuses to come see the mess he’s made at the border. So Texas is bringing the border to him,” Mr. Abbott said in a tweet as the journey ended.
His commentary and the trip itself attracted the press, of course.
“Greg Abbott’s D.C. migrant bus is a dehumanizing political stunt,” declared the Daily Beast.
“Migrants say they took Texas governor Abbott’s bus to Washington so they could get closer to Florida,” noted the Independent.
“Texas migrant bus arrives in D.C. as Gov. Greg Abbott fulfills promise,” said Newsweek.
“Republicans slam Biden administration as bus from Texas drops migrants in DC: ‘Untenable situation,’” said Fox News.
MINUS FOR CNN+
So have you heard of CNN+?
CNN launched this new on-demand news streaming service two weeks ago, with a plan of investing $1 billion on the project over the next four years. The game plan included attracting 2 million subscribers in the first year, with hopes to expand to a loyal audience of 15-18 million subscribers — according to a report from Axios.
The news so far, however, has not been good. Following its launch on March 29, Less than 10,000 people are currently using CNN+ on a daily basis, sources told CNBC.
“The paltry audience casts doubt on the future of the application,” the sources said.
YOUR ELECTION UPDATE
The midterm elections creep closer by the day. Those elections are, in fact, 208 days away, as of Thursday. Which brings us to the Democratic Party, where strategists are perhaps nervously drumming their fingertips over this incoming reality.
“Let’s check in on how Democrats are feeling about the midterms,” suggests Mike Berg, deputy communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
There’s some candor afoot here.
“I think this is going to be a biblical disaster. This is the reality we are in as Democrats and no one wants to face it,” one Democratic strategist told The Hill.
“Look, I’m not going to BS. We’ve done a [expletive] horrible job and sometimes I think we deserve to lose big in November. Democrats can say whatever they want, but it’s not honest,” another told the news organization.
“We agree with these Democrats’ assessment of their midterm prospects,” the aforementioned Mr. Berg tells Inside the Beltway.
H.R. MCMASTERS HAS A SAY
The Hoover Institution is offering a free online course titled “The Fight to Defend the Free World,” and the instructor is none other than H.R. McMasters — retired lieutenant general, scholar and former White House national security adviser.
He is now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank located on the campus of Stanford University.
“Each video in the course gives you a five to eight-minute briefing with illustrative maps and graphics. You’ll have access to a written transcript of each lesson, historical timelines, a glossary, and the opportunity to test your knowledge,” the host organization explains.
The course investigates America’s overall approach and our six biggest “battlegrounds” in today’s superpower competition: Russia, China, South Asia, North Korea, Iran and the Middle East.
“You might feel like you’re in Congress or the White House getting a private briefing featuring history, strategy, tactics, and recommendations for action,” the organization suggested.
Curious? Find it all at Resources.hoover.org/the-fight-to-defend-the-free-world.
POLL DU JOUR
• 73% of U.S. adults agree that the coronavirus pandemic is “a problem, but a manageable one.”
• 17% say coronavirus is not a problem at all.
• 9% say it remains a “serious crisis.”
• 66% have visited friends or relatives in the past week, 65% have gone out to eat.
• 65% support requiring all people in a health care setting to be vaccinated.
• 44% have worn a mask outside the home “at least sometimes.”
• 34% have practiced social distancing in the past week.
• 22% say their employer still requires masks in the workplace.
SOURCE: An Axios/Ipsos poll of 1,043 U.S. adults conducted April 8-11.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.
• Jennifer Harper can be reached at email@example.com.
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