Good morning, Broadsheet readers! President Donald Trump weighs in on the breast milk brouhaha, Serena Williams has mom guilt, and Theresa May readies for the political fight of her life. Have a meaningful Tuesday!
• May-day? U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s pursuit of a “softer” Brexit just got way harder.
Two hardline members of May’s Cabinet resigned in recent days. Brexit Secretary David Davis stepped down on Sunday and the U.K.’s eccentric Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson vacated his post on Monday.
Both resignations were likely in protest of the prime minister’s “soft” approach to splitting the U.K. from the European Union next year. On Friday, it appeared as though May had unified warring factions of her Conservative party behind a divorce plan that would see the U.K. maintain loose ties to the EU through such mechanisms as a free-trade area with uniform regulations for goods.
It’s clear now that not everyone was on board.
With the resignations, May loses more than just two members of her inner circle. Davis’s and Johnson’s departures may fully ignite the simmering division in her party over Brexit—perhaps even placing her leadership in jeopardy. In Britain’s Parliamentary system, it would take just 48 out of 316 Conservative lawmakers to trigger a confidence vote on May as prime minister, a threshold that doesn’t seem far off given Britain’s volatile political atmosphere.
She could very well win that vote, but there’s also a chance she could end up on the losing side, an outcome that would necessitate a leadership election among the Conservatives. Even if that happened, it’s unlikely a new PM would trigger yet another general election since Conservatives—at their going rate—would likely lose.
What’s even less certain is the future of Brexit. This week’s fireworks don’t change the March 2019 cutoff for the split. May thought she’d found an exit approach that satisfied her party on Friday, but the resignations prove that that’s not necessarily the case.
May is remaining steadfast in her strategy, prompting comparisons to Margaret Thatcher, who endured Cabinet resignations over the issue of Europe in 1990. She’d vowed to press on but was weakened and forced to resign after failing to win the first round of a leadership election outright.
On Monday, May assumed a similar stance, promising to challenge any attempt to oust her as prime minister, essentially girding for what’s being called the fight of her political life.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Betting on Brett. President Donald Trump yesterday tapped appellate court judge Brett Kavanaugh as his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. In nominating Kavanaugh, who’s seen as opposing abortion rights, the president skipped over another top contender Amy Coney Barrett.
• Breast milk brouhaha. Trump yesterday called out a New York Times story that detailed how the U.S. had tried to “blackmail” UN members into watering down an international resolution to support breastfeeding. He argued that the “fake” article doesn’t account for mothers who need to use formula because of “malnutrition and poverty.” The president’s stance, experts say, illustrates a lack of knowledge about breastfeeding and overlooks the dark history of marketing powdered formula to poor women in developing countries.
New York Times
• The Wright stuff. Robin Wright spoke Monday morning about the sexual misconduct allegations against Kevin Spacey that resulted in her co-star leaving House of Cards, saying she was “surprised” and “saddened” by the news and that she only knew Spacey professionally. She also weighed in on the broader #MeToo movement that coincided with Spacey’s ouster. “Seduction—I don’t care who you are—it’s about power, and once you overpower someone, that person then becomes vulnerable,” she said. “And this last year I think has shined a light in a new way, to allow us to start a new conversation. We just need to shift the paradigm.”
• Par none. Kim Sei-Young broke new ground for women’s golf on Sunday, posting the best-ever score for the LPGA with 31-under-par at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Wisconsin. In doing so, the 25-year-old South Korean broke her own record—one shared with Swedish great Annika Sorenstam—by four strokes.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Investment firm Atlas Holdings has hired Lynn Utter to its newly-created role of chief talent officer. Recode editor at large Kara Swisher is joining the New York Times opinion section as a contributor.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Fear factor. Engie CEO Isabelle Kocher spoke to Bloomberg about renewable energy, Brexit, diversity, and trade in a new interview. She said the tensions between the U.S. and China and the U.S. and Europe will “fundamentally limit the ability to share innovation,” adding: “it’s an expression of fear.”
• Sleep on it. A new study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that women are more likely to have their sleep disrupted by family obligations, while workplace demands affect men’s shut-eye. But the researchers uncovered some good news too: Living in a country with more gender equality results in better sleep for couples.
• Baby steps. Serena Williams this weekend lamented that she’d missed her daughter’s first steps because she was training. “I cried,” she tweeted. Rather than mommy-shaming the tennis star, other parents commiserated, recalling how professional obligations had kept them from their own children’s special moments.
• Skirting tariffs. President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods—boats, medical devices, autoparts—went into effect on Friday, but they won’t apply to the apparel and shoes manufactured in China by Ivanka Trump’s clothing company, a circumstance the Huffington Post is calling all too convenient.
ON MY RADAR
Chile’s #MeToo moment: students protest against sexual harassment
‘I couldn’t tell anyone’: Women around the world reveal intimate stories of abortion
New York Times
These two black women are the first women to ever officiate an NBA game together
This new guide is designed to help domestic abuse victims in smart homes