Scalise nominated for Speakership

Plus, Democrats spar over Israel-Palestine, and new, bewildering economic polling


It appears that House Republicans will nominate Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) to fill the vacant Speakership. Scalise, who currently serves as the House Majority Whip, is one of the most right-wing members of Congress: He’s been described as a “pro-life immigration hawk who, even in the aftermath of his own shooting, remains a staunch advocate of gun rights.”

Scalise reportedly once said he is David Duke “without the baggage” and in 2002 spoke at a European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) conference. EURO is a white nationalist hate group founded by Duke that's stated principles include combatting so-called “white racism,” the abolition of desegregated busing, ending all immigration and cracking down on “special consideration for rioters and other violent criminals who are Black.”

The Louisiana congressman was also an advocate for overturning the results of the 2020 election. 

House Republicans will now need to unify their party if they wish to avoid a similar debacle to last January, where far-right GOP members like Matt Gaetz attempted to kneecap the selection of now-former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Democrats will nominate House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), though they obviously do not control Congress. 

Jim Jordan, who was floated as another option for speaker, backed Scalise during the nomination process. 

Democrats continue to struggle to maintain a united message in the face of recent violence between Israel and Palestine. Following comments by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that called for a “de-escalation of the current violence” at a pro-Israel rally in the Boston Common, Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) responded by defending Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip.

“Now is not the time for equivocation. Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist organization that is executing and raping civilians,” Auchincloss, who served in Afghanistan, said to cheers. 

“Israel is a liberal democracy with the right and responsibility to defend itself and its citizens. … Deescalation is not possible when they are taking hostages. And Israel did not ask America to de-escalate on September 12, 2001.”

Markey was echoing sentiments expressed by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who also called for a ceasefire before rescinding such comments and declaring that “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

Meanwhile, progressive lawmakers like Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) spoke out against conditions in Gaza. 

“I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day. I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity,” Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, said in a statement posted to Instagram. 

Bush and Tlaib were condemned by their colleagues to the right, with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) stating he was outraged by calls to disallow military assistance to Israel.

“It sickens me that while Israelis clean the blood of their family members shot in their homes, they believe Congress should strip U.S. funding to our democratic ally and allow innocent civilians to suffer,” the conservative Democrat said. 

Such countervailing sentiments by left-wing Democrats will not be enough to avoid Israeli retaliation, unfortunately. The Biden administration has already sent additional military assistance to Israel and dispatched an aircraft carrier to the region — a clear endorsement of the impending land invasion of Gaza that will undoubtedly result in countless civilian casualties. 


Despite the last five American economic recessions occurring under Republican presidents, voters continue to trust the GOP over Democrats when it comes to financial prosperity. 

New Gallup data published by Semafor found that “a record-high percentage of Americans trust Republicans to manage the economy over Democrats.” Only 39% of those polled said they thought Democrats “do a better job of keeping the country prosperous” as compared to 53% of respondents who selected the Republican party. 

Subscribe to The Lede

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson