12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — BREAKING: Carlson out at Fox News, Lemon out at CNN

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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.* 

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically. 

💣 Bombshell 

MEDIA EARTHQUAKE — Carlson, Fox part ways; Lemon, CNN split:

Both Fox News and CNN made major waves in the media landscape on Monday with bombshell announcements of splits with their most watched and most visible personalities.

Conservative lightning rod Tucker Carlson is out at Fox, after signing off his show on Friday saying he’d be back on Monday.

Don Lemon, who has faced backlash for some on-air comments and behind-the-scenes spats with colleagues, is out at CNN after appearing on “This Morning” earlier in the day.

“Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st,” Fox said in a statement. “Fox News Tonight will air live at 8 PM/ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities until a new host is named.”

Carlson, 53, has been with the conservative network since 2009 after stints at MSNBC and CNN.

Meanwhile, Lemon, 57, announced his unexpected departure after 17 years with CNN on Twitter, saying his agent was the one who notified him.

“At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network,” he wrote in a statement. “It is clear that there are some larger issues at play.”

Fox News reached a last-second $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems just last week over false claims of 2020 election fraud, which Carlson and other personalities had entertained on air.

In damning emails and text messages released as part of that lawsuit, Carlson claimed to “passionately” hate former President Trump, despite their chummy rapport in front of viewers.

Lemon was briefly sidelined from his morning show duties after claiming that GOP presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 51, was “past her prime.”

TALK OF THE MORNING 

This is a test — House GOP to take debt proposal to a vote: 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) faces a huge test this week as he prepares to bring the GOP’s latest proposal on raising the debt ceiling and preventing a federal default to the floor. 

It’s essentially a tightrope walk as the GOP’s razor-thin majority in the House has shown some splits over debt and spending proposals. 

The Hill’s Mychael Schnell has the latest on the seemingly never-ending impasse. 

The White House and Senate Democrats have balked at the House GOP’s plans to couple the debt limit with future spending cuts — something that many Republicans have said will be necessary to get their votes. 

The bill slated for a vote this week will be the majority’s first major attempt to bring President Biden to the negotiating table, after a three-month impasse. 

NOT A SURE THING: “It is not clear, however, that the GOP bill has enough support to pass, leaving leaders in limbo heading into the high-stakes vote,” Schnell reports. 

It’s Monday, April 24, and it’s the start of White House correspondents’ dinner week!

I’m Elizabeth Crisp, filling in for Cate, with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here. Have some WHCD-week gossip? Spot any unexpected celebs around town? Email me ecrisp@digital-stage.thehill.com and follow me on Twitter @elizabethcrisp. I don’t have a blue checkmark anymore, but I promise it’s me. (More on that later in the newsletter.) 

In Congress 

EXCLUSIVE — The Hill chats with House GOP Whip Emmer:

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) predicts California Republican Kevin McCarthy, who was elected Speaker of the House after a historic 15 rounds of chamber voting earlier this year, will go down in history as one of the strongest leaders in the House. 

The Hill’s Emily Brooks reports on Emmer’s exclusive interview with The Hill: “Emmer also expressed confidence that Republicans will rally around a deal to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending, and said Republicans can add to their majority next year by casting themselves as the party of optimism.” 

Emmer, who led the House GOP campaign arm in 2020 and 2022, also offers his thoughts on the debt ceiling fight, abortion, the 2024 presidential election and more. 

Read the full story here

‘Bad look’ — Republicans fret over Trump’s legal woes: 

GOP senators are worried that former President Trump‘s mounting legal issues could be bad for Republicans if he’s the party’s eventual nominee in 2024. 

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports that Republican senators have been publicly critical of the charges that have been leveled against Trump, but also see risks as they hope to take back control of the upper chamber in 2024. 

“I think it’s a problem for a party to be considered legitimate by people who care about America to have someone who’s been indicted, who’s had to plead the Fifth multiple times, who’s been surrounded by individuals who’ve gone to jail, one after the other, or been convicted of felonies,” to be its nominee for president, said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who was the GOP’s nominee for president in 2012.   

BUT, BUT, BUT:

Romney doesn’t see any of that stopping Trump from winning the GOP nomination.   

“I don’t think the primary voters look at electability,” he said. “I think they look for the person they think will pursue what they believe in.” 

Read more from The Hill here

👋 In the White House 

Susan Rice bids adieu to Biden administration: 

President Biden‘s domestic policy adviser Susan Rice is leaving the White House. 

Rice, a former ambassador to the United Nations during the Obama administration, has been with the Biden administration since the president took office in 2021 and was once considered a front-runner for his vice-presidential pick.  

In a statement announcing her departure, Biden said of his decision to appoint Rice as his top domestic adviser: “What I knew then and what we all know now – after more than two years of her steady leadership of the Domestic Policy Council – it’s clear: There is no one more capable, and more determined to get important things done for the American people than Susan Rice.” (The Hill

US vows help for Americans fleeing Sudan violence, but no wide-scale evacuation planned: 

The situation in Sudan is “not conducive” for a large-scale military evacuation of potentially thousands of U.S. citizens who are there amid a growing and dangerous conflict, the Biden administration acknowledged Monday.

“Quite frankly, the situation is not conducive and not safe to try to conduct some kind of a larger military evacuation of American citizens,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in an interview on “CNN This Morning.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, following up on a weekend statement with a public address Monday, said the United States is providing assistance with finding safe routes out of the dangerous areas for Americans who are still there and continues to explore options.

More than 400 people have been killed and another 3,500 wounded since the Sudanese conflict escalated earlier this month.

The U.S. embassy has been safely evacuated, but an estimated 16,000 American citizens could still be there in danger. The exact number remains unclear as U.S. citizens aren’t required to register if they live in Sudan or let the embassy know if they’ve left.

Background: Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan of Sudan’s armed forces is locked in a power battle with Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who leads the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group. The two former allies together led a 2021 military coup that derailed Sudan’s transition to democracy.

“The Sudanese people are not giving up on their aspirations for a secure, free and democratic future,” Blinken said. “Neither will we.”

More from The Hill here.

🏃 2024 

Biden 2024 squad — Julie Rodriguez expected to lead campaign:

As he gears up for his reelection bid, President Biden is expected to announce senior White House official Julie Chavez Rodriguez will take the campaign’s helm, according to multiple reports.  

Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the granddaughter of American labor leader César Chávez, was deputy manager of Biden’s 2020 campaign. It’s been speculated that Biden will make a formal announcement this week, possibly on Tuesday, to mark the anniversary of his announcement four years ago. (The Hill

DeSantis, still not *officially* a 2024 candidate, heads overseas:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has been signaling a potential bid for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination without making a formal announcement, is beefing up his foreign policy chops with a trip overseas this week. 

But during a press event in Japan, he waved off a question about polling below former President Trump in the hypothetical match-up. 

“I’m not a candidate, so we’ll see if and when that changes,” he said. 

After Japan, DeSantis is scheduled to travel to South Korea, Israel and the United Kingdom. (The Hill

OF NOTE:

DeSantis’s answer, well … his awkward facial expressions and mannerisms as he delivered it, sent Twitter abuzz from the left and the right. Just watch the video here

🐥 Notable tweets 

Bye, bye blue bird: 

Last week marked the end of Twitter’s legacy blue checkmarks – after CEO Elon Musk’s delayed threats – offering the verification only to those who pay $8 a month for it (rules were later amended to include most people previously verified who have more than a million followers).  

Naturally, the removal of blue checks prompted lots of jokes throughout the weekend, but also forced several organizations and people to note that they had not paid for the blue checkmarks that traditionally have signaled that someone is who they claim to be and not an imposter. 🐦 

This tweet from The Hill’s Julia Manchester really summed it up though: “The real blue check was the friends we made along the way,” she tweeted

Curveball — Throwback to when lawmakers played for real at the Capitol:

Here’s a photo of members of Congress enjoying a friendly baseball game in front of the Capitol in 1938, via a tweet from the U.S. House History archive.  

Description from the House historians: “Speaker William Bankhead [D-Ala.] took up the bat, with Majority Leader Sam Rayburn [D-Texas] catching and Minority Leader Bertrand Snell [R-N.Y.] serving as umpire.” 

On tap 

The House and Senate are out today, and no committee hearings are scheduled. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in D.C. 

  • 9:30 a.m.: President Biden received the Presidential Daily Briefing. 
  • Noon: Biden and Vice President Harris had lunch in the President’s private dining room at the White House. 
  • 1:15 p.m.: Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security adviser Jake Sullivan will brief reporters. 
  • 2 p.m.: Biden, the first lady and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona willhonor the Council of Chief State School Officers’ 2023 Teachers of the Year at a Rose Garden event. 
  • 3:15 p.m.: Biden will meet with Tennessee Democratic State Reps. Justin Jones, Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson

All times Eastern. 

📺 What to watch 

  • 1:15 p.m.: Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security adviser Jake Sullivan brief reporters. (Watch here
  • 2 p.m.: NASA holds an International Space Station U.S. Spacewalk 86 preview briefing. (Watch here
  • Today: Former first lady Michelle Obama will be on “The Drew Barrymore Show.” (Check local listings) 

🐷 In lighter news 

Today is National Pigs in a Blanket Day! Personally, I recommend this Cajun take on the snacky staple. It takes a little more time than the classic crescent rolls wrapped around smokies, but it’s a great treat if you get a chance. Homemade cornbread batter, andouille sausage, hot sauce. It’s goooood! ⚜️ 

BUT: If you are in a pinch and don’t have the time (or resources) to spare, check out this classic recipe

And because you made it this far, check out this video of a little kitten and its bird friend.

Tags 12:30 Report 2024 Congress debt ceiling Don Lemon Donald Trump Fox News Kevin McCarthy President Biden Ron DeSantis Sudan Tom Emmer Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson

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