Speaker declares Britain’s Parliament off-limits to Donald Trump

Sometime this year, President Donald Trump will slip across the pond to pay a formal visit to Britain and his Brexit soulmate, Prime Minister Theresa May. But he may not be accorded the honor of an address before Parliament. From the Washington Post:

Citing “racism” and “sexism,” Speaker John Bercow told lawmakers Monday that he was “strongly opposed” to the president addressing both houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall.

 

Addressing lawmakers in the Westminster Hall is considered a special honor in Britain, one that has been bestowed upon the likes of Nelson Mandela, Pope Benedict XVI, and in 2011, President Barack Obama.

 

But Bercow indicated that Trump’s name would not be added to the list. He is one of three officials who would have to agree on whether a head of state could speak in Parliament.

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Gainesville attorney Ashley Bell was sworn in Monday as a special assistant to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He will be working as part of the department’s bureau of public affairs to make sure President Donald Trump’s vision for America’s place in the world is communicated clearly.

 

Bell previously served on the transition team for Trump to help recruit State Department staff. He said he was one of the few from that “landing” team who will keep working at the department, and he will start off with up to 120 days as an emergency appointment with the opportunity to be reappointed by the president at the end of that time.

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Former Gov. Sonny Perdue notched a small but significant victory Monday when he landed the support of his first Democratic senator. North Dakota centrist Heidi Heitkamp announced her support for Perdue shortly after she met with the nominee for agriculture chief:

Her support comes days after Tom Vilsack, the Democratic agriculture secretary for the last eight years, also publicly endorsed Perdue’s nomination.

The news is important for several reasons. First, it gives Perdue some early bipartisan momentum as he continues to meet with key senators ahead of his yet-to-be-scheduled confirmation hearing.

Secondly, it makes it that much harder for other Democrats to try and sink his Cabinet nomination should they choose to come out against him.

Thirdly, Heitkamp’s endorsement gives Perdue a notable boost from the Midwest, a region that may be more inclined to view his nomination with a more critical eye.

A key test will come Thursday, when Perdue is scheduled to meet with another Agriculture Committee member, Chuck Grassley. The Iowa Republican’s advocacy for a Midwestern ag secretary is rumored to be one of the reasons why President Donald Trump took so long to announce his pick, and Grassley has been relatively tight-lipped about Perdue since he was nominated. His support will be essential for Perdue as he looks to win over important Midwestern Republican senators.

Grassley said this about Perdue on Monday:

“I’ve had better luck with secretaries of (agriculture) from the Midwest, but that isn’t fair to him until I talk to him, so I’ve got a very open mind about him. But I think that the institution of the family farm is a lot stronger in the Midwest than it is in the South or in California and so I want to make sure somebody has respect for the institution of the family farm.” 

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On the heels of a campaign event held last week, this one features the support of a few prominent lobbyists. The hosts include Brad Alexander, Allan Hayes and Graham Thompson, a few well-connected government affairs specialists under the Gold Dome.

Hill’s fundraiser is kosher thanks to a 1996 court case involving one-time state lawmaker Doug Teper, a Democrat, who challenged state restrictions on fundraising for a federal office.  In that ruling, a federal appeals court ruled that state fundraising laws cannot supersede federal rules.

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