Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate signals the Republican nominee finally may want to make amends with the establishment he’s spent a year antagonizing. Where Trump has all but declared war on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, Pence has proved a mostly-reliable friend of big business. The Hoosier State governor favors an anti-regulatory, tax-cutting approach, embraces a version of immigration reform and advocates freer trade, including the Trans Pacific Partnership that Trump vows to destroy.
Pence’s promise, more than any Midwestern boost he offers, is that he’ll make the ticket look a little more conventional. But as (some) Republicans convene in Cleveland this week, they’ll find the mud that Trump’s outrages have splattered on the party won’t rinse out so easily.
Case in point: Many of the blue-chip companies that both parties rely on to help pay for their quadrennial conventions have dramatically scaled back or canceled altogether their commitments to the GOP gathering this year, privately citing the reputational risk of associating with Trump. The cavalcade of corporate names fleeing the event has left convention planners facing a cash crunch — a state of affairs revealed Thursday by the leak of a letter from the Cleveland host committee to Sheldon Adelson begging the billionaire for a $6 million bailout to cover their shortfall.
The letter lists more than two dozen corporate and individual donors who’d reneged and in what amounts. Several of them dispute ever making such pledges. Coca-Cola, for one, says it was never on the hook for $1 million, as the letter claims, and only intended to give $75,000 apiece to each party’s host committee. But Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy organization that’s led a campaign pressuring companies to back away from Trump’s convention, says otherwise. Starting in February, the group delivered petitions to companies that cut big checks to the 2012 Republican convention asking them not to endorse Trump’s “hateful and racist rhetoric” by sponsoring the event — and then followed up with executives to press the case. (“Coke was the first leader in this space,” says Arisha Hatch, director of the group’s political action committee.) It now counts 19 companies that have ratcheted back support, most by declining to give at all rather than face consumer boycotts and other harder-edged protests. The fear of Trump reflected in those decisions suggests it’ll take more than a mild-mannered deputy to detoxify the ticket.
• GOP tries to make nice with Adelson
The Republican National Committee has apologized to billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson, saying it misrepresented how many companies had pulled their sponsorship of the national convention in a plea to Adelson for $6 million. Some of the letter’s signatories didn’t even see the letter before it was sent. Politico
• Ivanka’s Rabbi won’t be in Cleveland
Ivanka Trump, who converted to Orthodoc Judaism when she got married, was set to see a familiar face deliver the invocation before the RNC begins, but now it looks like she won’t. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein backed out this week, saying the event had gone from “rabbinic to political.” New York Times
• New 9/11 news implicates Saudi government
For years, their have been theories about the Saudi government’s role in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Newly declassified documents seem to buoy that belief, with a former Saudi Ambassador to the US possibly implicated. USA Today
Around the Water Cooler
• Silicon Valley is getting more partisan
For years, Silicon Valley companies have mostly stayed out of the political realm. With tech titan Peter Thiel giving a speech in support of Trump any many other executives opposing the Republican nominee, political division seems poised to come to the tech world in a big way. The Atlantic
• Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are reuniting in Cleveland
Two of political comedy’s biggest names, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, will be coming back together to cover the Republican Convention. Though both became famous on Comedy Central, Stewart has been off the year for almost a year and Colbert now hosts The Late Show on CBS, where the two will appear next week. Vulture
• Sanders will speak in prime time
The exact schedule for the Democratic National Convention isn’t known yet, but it has been announced that Bernie Sanders, who gave Hillary Clinton a surprisingly strong challenge in the primaries, will be speaking in prime time. Politico