10 Things in Politics: The future power players in Biden's White House
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Here's what you need to know:
1. GEN Z IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE: While many in their generation are still too young to vote, some are already working at the highest levels of government and have bigger ambitions, including in politics and policy.
Alejandra Gonzalez, 23, works on the National Security Council: Gonzalez is a special assistant for Juan González, the senior director for the Western Hemisphere at the NSC.
- She hopes to make contributions to immigration policy: "My dad crossed the border every day for 16 years, and my mom gave up her profession to get me to where I'm standing now, so this is a really big moment for my parents and everyone who came before them," Gonzalez said.
Joy Ngugi, 24, works in the White House's Office of Digital Strategy: She recently directed the first official White House musical performance under the Biden administration.
Dhara Nayyar, 24, is on the research team at the Executive Office of the President: Nayyar told Insider her job responsibilities as a researcher for the White House changed regularly, but "the overall purpose of it is to defend and protect the president and his legacy."
- A first-generation American, Nayyar said she wants to see others like her represented at the highest levels of government: "It's my goal to uplift more people who, like me, are beginning to reimagine what's possible for themselves by running for office one day in the future."
2. The massive ship blocking the Suez Canal has been partially freed: "It's good news," a top canal official told The Wall Street Journal, but that doesn't mean it's smooth sailing for the Ever Given just quite yet. Crews now need to straighten the massive ship's course before it can continue moving up the canal. More of the latest here.
3. Open arguments in the trial of a former officer accused of murdering George Floyd start today: Arguments over Floyd's cause of death, including a contentious medical examiner's report, are expected to be at the center of former Officer Derek Chauvin's trial. More on what prosecutors will need to do.
- This is the jury that will decide Chauvin's fate: Of the six men and nine women selected and still on the jury, eight are white, four are Black, and two are multiracial. They were all asked extensive questions, including about their views on the Black Lives Matter movement, interactions with law enforcement, and whether they've seen the video of Chavuin putting his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes. (At least one of the possible jurors has not.)
4. Dr. Deborah Birx says every COVID death after the first 100,000 "could have been mitigated": Birx, a former top coronavirus advisor in the Trump administration, said the horrific US death toll could have been substantially reduced. Birx made the comments to CNN's Sanjay Gupta in an explosive documentary recounting how top medical experts responded to the worst pandemic in a century. While some agree with Birx, many are frustrated by what transpired.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci called Trump's tweet to "LIBERATE Michigan" a "punch to the chest": "It shocked me because it was such a jolt to what we were trying to do," Fauci told CNN of Trump abandoning the guidelines of his own task force.
5. These 15 people compose Merrick Garland's inner circle: The new attorney general's top aides include former clerks of Garland as well as Supreme Court justices, a witness who testified about constitutional law during Trump's first impeachment, a former advisor to special counsel Robert Mueller, and others who spent the Trump years challenging the administration. Our entire exclusive list is available here.
6. Welcome to infrastructure week: President Biden will head to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to unveil part one of his $3 trillion infrastructure plan, focusing on how to repair the nation's crumbling roads, bridges, water systems. The second part will focus on more social issues like healthcare and child care and will come in April. More on the details.
7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 10:00 a.m.: Chauvin's trial begins in Minnesota
- 11:00 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the White House's pandemic team hold a news conference.
- 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House's daily news briefing.
- 2:10 p.m.: Biden speaks about the pandemic and the state of vaccinations.
8. The situation is growing worse in Myanmar: "Myanmar police on Saturday opened fire on mourners at the wake of a 20-year-old student protester, arresting and wounding several funeral-goers." The violence is reaching new heights as the country looks to suppress those protesting Feburary's military coup.
9. Here's what caught our eyes in lawmakers' most recent stock trades: Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida made a flurry of trades, including some that appear to conflict with her clean-and-green policy positions. A spokesperson told a local newspaper last year that Frankel's portfolio is overseen by an independent money manager. Cynthia Malkin, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal's wife, purchased up to $100,000 in salad eatery Sweet Green, which is a private company. And Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, a noted Diet Coke enthusiast, bought up to $50,000 in Pepsi Co.
10. SNL lampoons Harris and Biden with a new cameo: Maya Rudolph couldn't pass up a night hosting without another installment in her award-winning portrayals of Harris. This time Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff (played by Martin Short), whom she called "my Semitic smoke show," hosted a "unity seder" complete with visits from Ted Cruz (Aidy Bryant), Raphael Warnock (Kennan Thompson), and Biden (Alex Moffat). Watch the full skit here.
- The real-life Harris has been unable to move into the vice president's residence: Renovations continue at the Naval Observatory. For now, Harris and Emhoff are reportedly staying at Blair House.
One last thing.
Today's trivia question: Speaking of SNL, who was the first president to be lampooned by America's favorite sketch show? (He later made it clear that he loved the portrayal.) Email your guess and a suggested question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Friday's answer: Thank you, thank you very much. Elvis Presley is credited with helping get Americans to accept the Polio vaccine.
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