The TAKE with Rick Klein
Call it the Christmas spirit, savvy long-term politics or just the random foray of an unpredictable political figure.
Whatever it is, the Biden White House will take the rare point of agreement with former President Donald Trump.
Twice in the week leading up to Christmas, Trump gave a public endorsement of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
His second set of comments were the most striking, since Trump passed up an attempt by conservative host Candace Owens to tee him up to slam President Joe Biden for the COVID-19 deaths that have taken place on his watch.
“The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine, but it’s still their choice,” the former president said. “And if you take the vaccine, you’re protected.”
Some in and around Trump’s orbit have long pleaded with him to get behind vaccination pushes, if for no other reason than to remind Americans of the scientific achievements that advanced during his presidency.
Trump is still opposing vaccine mandates, which has become the mainstream GOP talking point. And this may be one of those areas where Trump cannot control his base; the booing he got when he told Bill O’Reilly he got boosted was notable.
Still, having Trump and Biden send the same message on a critical area of public health can’t hurt. Biden’s revised COVID-19 strategies still hinge on vaccinations plus boosters — and, ultimately, on taking politics out of personal decisions.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
Heading into the new year, a high stakes election year, the path forward on federal voting reform is still unclear.
In an exclusive interview with “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir, Biden indicated that he would support making voting rights an exception to the 60-vote requirement to avoid the filibuster and pass legislation.
Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden speaks in the White House complex in Washington, Dec, 23, 2021.
“I don’t think we may have to go that far, but I would be if it’s the only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster, I support making the exception of voting rights for the filibuster,” Biden said.
Biden indicated that a bipartisan group of senators is negotiating on this point, but the fact remains that Democrats don’t have enough votes to make a carveout for voting rights come to fruition. Both Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., are opposed.
Still, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate will consider voting rights legislation in January, as early as their first week in session.
The TIP with Meg Cunningham
Twenty-two states have finalized their 2022 congressional maps, and with the pressure of cementing districts before primary season, New Jersey Democrats counted a win on Wednesday in advancing their new congressional layout.
Although the new map will overwhelmingly keep Democrats safe, moderate Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski’s 7th district is turning redder after it was diced up to protect previously endangered incumbents.
AFP via Getty Images. FILERep. Tom Malinowski speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, Sept. 16, 2020.
Malinowski, whose district is targeted as a pickup opportunity for Republicans, said on Thursday that he is evaluating a run for reelection after the maps were released, tweeting, “The NJ redistricting gods haven’t made it easy for us!”
According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of the map, Malinowski’s district now leans R+3, subjecting the vulnerable incumbent to a seven-point swing to the right.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND
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