With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross
Happy new year, y’all!
It’s the first day of 2023 — time to take stock of where things are, look ahead at where things are headed and focus on building the future we want. Already, in some of the centers of power throughout the country and world, we can see 2023 taking shape.
President Joe Biden | Patrick Semansky/AP Photo
— AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President JOE BIDEN started 2022 with polling in the dumps, expectations of a wipeout in the midterms and members of his own party publicly calling for new blood to run for president in 2024.
One year later, things have changed.
As he sits in St. Croix ringing in 2023, “there is a strong and growing likelihood that he will run again and that an announcement could potentially come earlier than had been expected, possibly as soon as mid-February,” our colleague Jonathan Lemire writes this morning.
FWIW: The folks who talked to Jonathan made it clear Biden hasn’t yet committed to run in 2024, and is still actively discussing the possibility with family, friends and a small group of political allies.
But even as he nears a decision on a campaign, his more immediate goal is to trumpet his policy wins while “aiming to stay above the political fray in 2023,” as NBC’s Mike Memoli writes this morning.
“The president will be joined in Kentucky by Senate Minority Leader MITCH McCONNELL (R-Ky.) and other regional leaders from both parties Wednesday to announce a major project funded by the new infrastructure law. The stop, and others like it this week featuring other administration officials across the country, will come a day after the new Republican-led House of Representatives takes power in Washington, kicking off a period of divided government as the 2024 presidential election campaign also begins to take shape.”
— AT THE SUPREME COURT: Chief Justice JOHN ROBERTS “devoted his annual report on the state of the federal judiciary to threats to judges’ physical safety,” writes NYT’s Adam Liptak. (To the disappointment of some court-watchers, the report didn’t include “an update on the investigation announced in May into the leak of a draft opinion eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.”)
— AT THE CAPITOL: We’re just two days away from Congress officially switching hands, and the drama on Capitol Hill is hitting a crescendo. USA Today’s Ken Tran has a quick look at the new Congress’ first week, including KEVIN McCARTHY’s ongoing quest for 218 votes in his bid to become speaker; the first public movements on would-be GOP investigations into HUNTER BIDEN, the U.S.-Mexico border and more; and bipartisan enthusiasm for the new select committee on China.
New: At 4 p.m. today, McCarthy will host a call with the House GOP Conference to try to iron out a deal to get the gavel.
Former President Donald Trump and Melania Trump | Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
— AT MAR-A-LAGO: Former President DONALD TRUMP rang in the new year with a few hundred Mar-a-Lago members. There was none of the A-list Hollywood glitz of past NYE celebrations at the club, reports the Palm Beach Post’s Antonio Fins: “[T]his year, the most notable, high-profile figures … were from the former president's political orbit, including pollster DICK MORRIS, legal advisor RUDY GIULIANI and pillow maker MIKE LINDELL.” (Of the three eldest Trump children, ERIC attended, while IVANKA and DON JR. did not.)
Trump chatted with the media a bit about the economy, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and inflation as he entered the ballroom, but “notably sidestepped questions about Florida Gov. RON DeSANTIS’ call for an investigation of COVID vaccines, a key legacy of Trump's single term in the White House, and whether he supported a national abortion ban.”
Worth reading this morning: AP’s Jill Colvin has a wide-angle look at Trump’s headwinds in his third run for the White House, which one GOP operative compared to the movie “Failure to Launch.”
BOB VANDER PLAATS, a prominent Iowa social conservative: “In a lot of ways, it kind of feels like it’s the announcement that didn’t even happen or doesn’t feel like it happened because there was no immediate buzz. ... I don’t hear from people on the ground, ‘I can’t wait for Trump to run.’”
— IN UKRAINE/RUSSIA: As Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN’s invasion of Ukraine nears the one-year mark, his annual New Year’s Eve address “was notably different from previous years, a reflection of the new path the country has taken since Russia invaded Ukraine this February,” WaPo’s David Stern and Francesca Ebel write. The typical celebratory remarks were much more “combative and nationalistic” in tone. As the speech aired, more missiles rained down on Ukraine, including in Kyiv.
— ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA: “N. Korea’s Kim vows ‘exponential’ increase in nuclear arsenal in new year,” by WaPo’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee
— IN OUTER SPACE: “‘We better watch out’: NASA boss sounds alarm on Chinese moon ambitions,” by Bryan Bender
A message from Binance:
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SUNDAY BEST …
— House Majority Leader STENY HOYER on whether McCarthy will become speaker, on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “I would be surprised if he doesn’t. … If he gets 218 votes, he has the ability to put together the votes to be the leader of the party and he will then be tested as to whether or not he can lead.”
On his working relationship with Speaker NANCY PELOSI: “[S]he’s probably the most effective political leader that I’ve worked with over the years. I was obviously disappointed when I was running for majority leader and she supported my opponent — and pretty strongly so, as you recall. But of course, I won pretty handily as you recall.”
— Rep. KEVIN BRADY (R-Texas) on Rep.-elect GEORGE SANTOS’ (R-N.Y.) fabricated background, on “Fox News Sunday”: “He's certainly going to have to consider resigning. He's got really two choices. I don’t know this young man, he doesn’t need my advice, surely, but: One, he can try to politically ride it out — we’ve seen that happen in Washington, D.C. Or he can take the tougher choice, which is, I think, look, own every lie that he’s made, apologize to everyone and anyone for as long as it takes.”
— Sen. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-Minn.) on tech companies’ influence over regulatory legislation, on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “At some point, when they can't control their own platforms while they're making billions of dollars from the American people, and over … two-thirds of Americans say it’s hurting our democracy — come on, Congress. Stop hiding behind this and get something done.”
— Rep. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-Wis.) on China’s potential influence on social media, on “Meet the Press”: “They seem to be perfecting this model of techno-totalitarian control. … They’re using it to shut down the protests that we’re seeing in China right now. And ultimately, it’s my belief that that’s a model that will not stay in China.”
— Rep. ADAM KINZINGER (R-Ill.) on whether he would run for president in 2024, on “State of the Union”: “My intention is not to run in 2024. But it would be fun. It would be fun to stand on a stage with Donald Trump and actually tell the truth, because when he’s on a stage, it’s nothing but lies that come out.”
— Maryland Gov.-elect WES MOORE on whether he thinks the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan should be investigated by Congress, on “State of the Union”: “I do not think that the people of the state of Maryland want the Republican Party to spend their time or want Congress spending their time talking about the drawdown in Afghanistan. They want them focusing on the issues that are facing them right now.”