Morning Report — Defiant Biden appeals to congressional loyalists


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President Biden is in trouble. In a presidential contest in which he needs a united coalition to defeat former President Trump, his party is splintering, and he’s the cause.

He phoned MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts for a defiant 18-minute interview Monday to insist he won’t cede the nomination because “average Democrats” agree he beat Trump once and “I’ll beat him again.” He said “it drives me nuts” when reporters and others ask if he’ll submit to neurological and cognitive tests. He railed against party “elites” who second-guess his chances of victory now and whom he accuses of being wrong before, and he took a swipe at major Democratic Party donors, adding, “I don’t care what the millionaires think.”

▪ The Hill: Aggressive Biden goes full force against calls to step down.

▪ The Hill: Democrats are in turmoil over Biden’s future.

More House Democrats, reacting to a letter they received from the president Monday, urged him to voluntarily make way for another nominee.

But just as firmly, members of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) came to the president’s defense, setting the stage for what could become an ugly intraparty clash on Capitol Hill ahead of the August convention.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) repeated his support for the president as the Democratic nominee.

CBC Chair Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) joined a growing number of Black leaders and influencers who support Biden. The president held a virtual call with caucus members Monday night to repeat his arguments and answer questions. Inside the Biden campaign, the president is believed to have a lock among increasingly outspoken CBC loyalists.

CNN: “Running Kamala Harris for president one way or the other.”

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus followed Monday by backing Biden.

Six House Democrats went public in recent days to urge Biden to step aside, including House Armed Services ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who issued a statement Monday as the most senior Democrat to speak up. Others have broached their misgivings privately about the president’s ability to battle Trump through November.

Senate Democrats, worried that Republicans will capture the majority next year, will meet today in the Capitol to discuss Biden’s stance. No Democratic senator has called on Biden to step aside, and many have offered the president their unequivocal support. But others bluntly say they want to see Biden demonstrate a persuasive rebound from his June 27 debate debacle — and soon.

Democratic lawmakers are unnerved about the 81-year-old president’s performance, the campaign strategy, Biden’s trailing poll numbers against Trump in battleground states and the down-ballot undertow Democrats may experience by November. Biden’s troubles have muted his party’s collective focus on Trump and muddled a coalition of voters Democrats are counting on to win.   

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) said in a statement that Biden should “more aggressively make his case to the American people, and to hear directly from a broader group of voices about how to best prevent Trump’s lawlessness from returning to the White House.”

Montana’s Jon Tester (Mont.), the most vulnerable Democratic senator seeking reelection in a red state this year, said in a statement that the president must “prove to the American people — including me — that he’s up to the job for another four years.” 

Biden has sidestepped questions about whether he has been or is willing to be tested for evidence of diseases or conditions that can cause or contribute to cognitive decline in the elderly. Reporters aggressively urged the White House Monday to disclose additional information about visits to the White House since 2022 by a neurologist who is a Parkinson’s expert from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Eight visits over eight months were recorded on visitors’ logs and reported by The New York Times Monday, the New York Post and The Guardian on Saturday. The president’s doctor released a letter late Monday saying Biden “has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physical.”

During interviews with ABC News last week and MSNBC Monday, Biden said the pressures of the presidency are his version of a daily neurological exam.

There have been many questions about Biden’s current health. The Associated Press rounded up some answers provided by the White House and in public records.


3 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY:

▪ Iran is expanding its missile production and photos tell the story.

▪ Mounjaro leads to significantly more weight loss than Ozempic, according to a large study published Monday.  

▪ People are feeling stuck in their jobs and bosses, eyeing low turnover and waning promotions, are getting creative to keep employees engaged.


🌀 Beryl slammed into Texas as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour early Monday, killing at least four people before weakening to a tropical storm and cutting a path from flooded parts of Houston through east Texas into Arkansas. Biden was briefed about federal and state preparations as the early-season hurricane exited the Gulf of Mexico. About 2.7 million people were left without power Monday amid high winds, storm surge, downed trees and structural damages. Airlines canceled or delayed thousands of flights Monday.


LEADING THE DAY

Politics Trump 062724 AP Gerald Herbet

© The Associated Press / Gerald Herbert | Former President Trump, pictured June 27 at the CNN presidential debate in Atlanta.

MORE IN POLITICS

VEEPSTAKES: Former President Trump’s search for a running mate is entering the homestretch, with an announcement expected in the coming days. The former president is weighing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) as contenders who could join the GOP ticket, although Rubio and Vance lead current guesses about Trump’s thinking, The Hill’s Julia Manchester and Brett Samuels report.

Trump is expected to make his choice public ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention, with sources telling The Washington Post an announcement could come on July 15, the first day of the convention in Milwaukee — though he’s said he may make the announcement earlier. Others point to campaign stops in the days beforehand, with the former president scheduled to be in Florida and Pennsylvania, near the Ohio border, over the course of the week. However, news of Trump’s running mate announcement could potentially interrupt arguably one of the most negative news cycles of Biden’s administration. 

“Outside of Election Day 2016, this has been the best two-week stretch of Donald Trump’s political career,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist. “He’s leading in national polls, he’s leading in state polls, he’s leading in cash on hand, and Democrats are talking about ejecting his opponent from the ticket. No way is he going to enter the fray.” 


2024 Roundup:

▪ The Biden campaign held a Monday call with fundraisers, but some of the president’s campaign bundlers have paused their efforts to raise money because they are unsure if he will be the party’s nominee.

▪ A new Democratic group, Pass the Torch, is tracking prominent Democrats who have gone public with misgivings about Biden as the party’s nominee as part of an effort to persuade delegates to support an alternative to the president.

▪ The Republican Party is abandoning its position explicitly advocating for federal abortion limits in favor of Trump’s leave-it-to-the-states approach, under language adopted at a party platform committee meeting Monday.

▪ Dedicated to the “Forgotten Men and Women of America,” the Republican Party’s 2024 platform reads like the transcript of a Trump rally speech.

▪ The hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus voted to remove Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) from its ranks Monday night after the Ohio Republican endorsed the primary challenger to the group’s chairman, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.). Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) announced his resignation from the group.


WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet at 10 a.m.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden will deliver remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at 5 p.m. and return to the White House more than two hours later. The alliance meets in Washington through Thursday.

Vice President Harris will travel from Washington to Las Vegas to headline two campaign events, one at 2:25 p.m. PT, and another at 3:35 p.m. PT, featuring a moderated conversation. She will depart Nevada and arrive in Dallas tonight.

First lady Jill Biden will attend the president’s speech to NATO.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies at 10 a.m. to the House Financial Services Committee about the state of the U.S. financial system.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies to the Senate Banking Committee with his semiannual monetary policy report at 10 a.m.

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 1 p.m.


ZOOM IN

Zoom In NATO 070824 AP Jacquelyn Martin

© The Associated Press / Jacquelyn Martin | Washington, D.C., hosts the NATO summit through Thursday, coinciding with the alliance’s 75th anniversary.

INTERNATIONAL

NATO IN WASHINGTON: NATO leaders meet in D.C. this week for a summit commemorating the 75th anniversary of the alliance, which is facing potentially existential threats from outside and within as it grapples with an ever-changing world. In addition to Russia’s war in Ukraine, challenges posed by an increasingly aggressive China and the Israel-Hamas conflict, NATO is also grappling with some key members’ commitment to defend their allies coming under question. Leaders are expected once again to reaffirm their “open door” membership policy, but Ukraine won’t see its hoped-for invitation this week (ABC News).

“In some ways, this NATO summit is coming as sort of the best of times and the worst of times. The best of times, in the sense that the alliance knows what it’s about,” said Max Bergmann of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “But it’s also sort of the worst of times — obviously because of the war in Ukraine, challenges of ramping up European defense spending, concerns about the reliability of the United States.”

▪ Politico: Canada has been dodging its commitment to NATO for a decade. It may not be able to hold out for much longer.

▪ The Wall Street Journal: Russia launched its largest missile attack on Ukraine in months Monday, striking a children’s hospital in Kyiv as well as other sites across the country.

▪ The Washington Post: After an unexpected defeat of France’s far right in elections this weekend, the left and center are scrambling to build a governing coalition.

▪ The New York Times: Far from producing a “clarification,” President Emmanuel Macron’s snap election has yielded a muddle that could take months to sort out.

CEASE-FIRE TALKS: Hopes of a truce in Gaza ebbed Monday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said overnight that he could only agree to a temporary cease-fire with Hamas, which opposes any deal unless it is permanent. His statement drew widespread criticism in Israel, where there is growing support for a cease-fire deal to facilitate hostage releases. Critics also say Netanyahu — whose governing coalition depends on support of right-wing leaders — has put his personal interest above the national one (The New York Times).

A Russian missile strike partially destroyed a children’s hospital in Kyiv Monday, causing terrified patients and their families to flee for their lives (CNN).


ELSEWHERE

Courts Bragg 050124 AP Julia Nikhinson

© The Associated Press / Julia Nikhinson | Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) in May.

COURTS

House Republicans have postponed a planned hearing with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) as Trump’s sentencing in the New York hush money case has been delayed. The hearing was expected to take place Friday, a day after Trump’s originally scheduled July 11 sentencing for his conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in relation to a 2016 hush money payment (The Hill).

▪ The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Monday that he and other Senate Democrats will work to advance legislation to strip Trump of the immunity he was granted under a recent Supreme Court ruling.

▪ ABC News: Here’s why the Supreme Court tends to release unpopular decisions late in its term.

▪ The New York Times: Prosecutors in Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-N.J.) corruption trial said the lawmaker “sold the power of his office.” The senator has pleaded not guilty.


OPINION

■ The Democratic party must speak the plain truth to the president, by The New York Times editorial board.

■ Biden and his backers are falling for the sunk cost fallacy, by Chitra Ragavan, opinion contributor, The Hill.  


THE CLOSER

Closer Wimbledon 071418 AP Tim Ireland

© The Associated Press / Tim Ireland | July 9 marks the anniversary of the Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament, which traces its origins to 1877.

And finally … 🎾 On this day in 1877, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club held its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon, then a suburb of London. Twenty-two players showed up to compete in the Gentlemen’s Singles tournament, the only event at the first Wimbledon. Seven years later, the competition first admitted women players. 

Since then, the Wimbledon Championships — the only major tennis event still played on grass — have been held annually in late June and early July. This year’s dates are July 1-14. The tournament, part of the Grand Slam and considered the most prestigious, is also notable in requiring a strict all-white dress code for competitors. The food and beverage of choice for spectators? Strawberries with cream — and champagne.

And if you, or a tennis great looking for a Wimbledon title, are in need of inspiration, look no further than the wall of the players’ entrance to the Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, where the tournament is held. You’ll be met with lines from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If—” emblazoned on the wall.

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / and treat those two impostors just the same.”


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