Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

President Donald Trump touted the cost savings of avoiding New York City Friday morning.

Citing the possibility of a “big disruption” in the Big Apple, the dispatch came in a presidential tweet:

However, it’s unclear if Trump ever planned to spend the full weekend in New York City. The Palm Beach Post, veteran trackers of the President’s flight schedule, reported Monday that the Federal Aviation Administration had posted two notices that morning indicating Trump would spend the weekend in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he owns a private golf club.

And the Apr. 25 press release announcing his schedule in New York on Thursday night didn’t mention any other events in the city scheduled for the weekend.

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to TPM’s questions about cost savings.

According to pool reports, Trump arrived at Bedminster late Friday night, after having celebrated House Republicans’ passage of their health bill, and after telling Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that Australia — with its universal government-funded health care — had “better health care than we do.”

Trump’s first visit back to his hometown was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET and last six hours, the New York Times noted Thursday. His celebration with House Republicans turned it into a brief stopover at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Democrats have criticized the price of Trump’s near constant weekend trips to his name-branded resorts, and their secrecy. Some in Congress have advocated passage of the “Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness” (MAR-A-LAGO) Act, which would require the White House to release visitor logs for any location the President or Vice President Mike Pence regularly conduct official business.

Trump interviewed now-prominent members of his administration at Bedminster ahead of his inauguration. In one leaked tape recorded in November, he is heard bragging to the club’s deep-pocketed members: “We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything,” and, “It’s going to be an unbelievable day. So you might want to come along.”

Read More →

The American Medical Association on Thursday maintained its criticism of Republicans’ effort to repeal Obamacare after House Republicans passed a bill to do so.

The AMA, the country’s largest advocacy group for doctors, was a vocal opponent of Republicans first, failed effort to repeal Obamacare, and they announced their opposition to the amended effort before the House voted on it Thursday.

In a statement after Thursday’s vote, posted online by MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin, the organization emphasized that the bill would result in millions of people losing access to “quality, affordable health insurance” and would allow insurers to hike prices on individuals with pre-existing conditions under some circumstances.

Read More →

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) marked House Republicans’ health bill Thursday by inviting former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to the House floor to vote on it with him.

King and Bachman introduced an Obamacare repeal bill together in 2011, just months after then-President Barack Obama signed the measure.

Though the House bill as it stands has little chance of surviving the Senate — indeed, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday the Senate will write its own, new bill — King thought the moment worthy of celebration.

Before the repeal, the Washington Post’s Paul Kane reported spotting the former congresswoman on the House floor. Bachmann bid her farewell to the chamber in 2014.

Read More →

Updated at 5:31 p.m. ET: 

A reporter for The Hill who landed White House chief of staff Reince Priebus in a dog pile of mockery Thursday has corrected her reporting and apologized to Priebus.

Molly Hooper originally reported that after House Republicans passed an Obamacare repeal bill, Priebus told her, “The president stepped up and helped punt the ball into the end zone.” In fact, Hooper reported later, Priebus said that Trump had helped to “punch” the football into the end zone, a colorful description of Trump providing the extra energy necessary to pass the bill.

The original story is below: 

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus found himself on the receiving end of his own unfortunate football metaphor Thursday.

After Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to pass their effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, Priebus reportedly responded with a colorful metaphor to The Hill’s Molly Hooper:

However, in football, punting the ball into the end zone results not only in a change of possession, but also the placement of the opposing team’s next snap at the 20-yard line.

In other words, Priebus had congratulated Trump for giving Democrats a favorable field position for the next health care battle.

A few football jokes ensued.

This post has been updated.

Read More →

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave an energized speech on the House floor Thursday, ahead of Republicans’ vote to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“You know, a lot of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote,” Ryan told the charged chamber.

People in attendance, presumably congressional Democrats, reportedly yelled “read the bill!” and “where’s the score?!” referring to the lack of a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the amended proposal’s economic and coverage impact.

“Many of us are here because we pledged to cast this very vote,” Ryan continued. “To repeal and replace Obamacare. To rescue people from this collapsing law.”

Republicans cheered affirmatively as Ryan polled the chamber:

“Are we going to meet this test? Are we going to be men and women of our word? Are we going to keep the promises we made?”

The mood recalled reports from the Republican conference meeting on Thursday morning, which featured the “Rocky” theme song, according to The Hill. The same publication reported that Rep. Martha McSally, according to unnamed sources in the room, told her colleagues: “Let’s get this fucking thing done!”

As Ryan concluded his speech, Vice News’ Alexandra Jaffe reported a spotting of a cart full of Bud Light rolling into the Capitol.

Buses were parked outside, Fox News’ Chad Pergram reported. And the President notified representatives via his Twitter account that he had readied the Rose Garden to celebrate were the bill to pass:

“We have the opportunity to show that we’ve got the resolve to tackle they will big challenges in this country before they tackle us,” Ryan bellowed in conclusion. “To stop the drift of arrogant big government policies in our lives and to begin a new era of reform based on liberty and self-determination, giving people choices, letting them control their own destinies!”

At slightly past 2:00 p.m. ET, the House passed the bill.

Read More →

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) said Thursday that he would not support Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, scheduled for a vote Thursday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Reichert told the Seattle Times that he had spoken to President Trump about the repeal bill on the phone for about 10 minutes.

“I told the President I’d like to help, but I am not there yet,” Reichert said he told the President. The Times said he cited the lack of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, cuts to Medicaid and costs for middle-age people as his reasons for not supporting the bill.

After initially supporting Republicans’ first repeal effort, Reichert wouldn’t say after an amended version of the bill failed to receive a vote whether he would have voted it.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney posted a statement from Reichert explaining his vote Thursday. Reichert said “the current House bill falls short and does not provide the essential protections I need to support it.”

Read More →

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) announced Thursday that he would not support Republicans’ effort to repeal and replace Obamacare as it currently stands. The vote is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The centrist Republican was at the receiving end of a packed town hall full of angry constituents after his support of Republicans’ first repeal attempt, which failed to receive a vote in the House.

He posted a statement explaining his “No” vote on his Twitter page, writing that he worried “a small percentage of those with preexisting conditions may not be adequately protected” under the amended bill.

Read More →

President Donald Trump invited members of the Little Sisters of the Poor on stage ahead of his signing of a religious liberty executive order Thursday.

“We know, all too well, the attacks against the Little Sisters of the Poor,” Trump said, “Incredible nuns who care for the sick, the elderly and the forgotten.”

“Where are they, by the way, where are they? Could you stand, sisters? Stand,” Trump said, gesturing toward the crowd seated in the White House Rose Garden. “Come on up here, sister, come on up.”

A summary of the executive order given to reporters Wednesday said it would give the IRS discretion to allow religious organizations more leeway to act politically, and that it would authorize “regulatory relief” from Obamacare’s mandate that insurance plans offer contraception, which Little Sisters of the Poor and others have challenged in court for years.

The White House posted the executive order text online Thursday afternoon, after the ceremony had ended.

Trump congratulated the group’s lawyers, and asked if he might hire them for himself.

Watch below:

This post has been updated.

Read More →

The alleged perpetrator of a vandalism incident at a church in Bean Blossom, Indiana days after the 2016 election is the church’s own organist.

On November 13, police were alerted to what appeared to be a pro-Trump, anti-gay vandalism incident against St. David’s Episcopal Church. The previous night, someone had spray-painted “HEIL TRUMP,” “FAG CHURCH” and a swastika on the church’s outer walls.

On Wednesday, according to court documents, George Nathaniel “Nathan” Stang, the church’s organist, was charged with institutional criminal mischief for the graffiti. 

“I suppose I wanted to give local people a reason to fight for good even if it was a false flag,” Stang told police in a written statement. “I of course realize now that this was NOT the way to go about inspiring activism.”

Stang, who the Indy Star noted is himself a gay man, told the publication: “Over the course of that week, I was fearful, scared and alone, too, in my fear. I guess one of the driving factors behind me committing the act was that I wanted other people to be scared with me.”

Read More →

A Republican congressman admitted Thursday that he hadn’t read Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, despite announcing his intent to vote for it Wednesday.

“Oh, gosh, let’s put it this way, people in my office have read all the parts of the bill,” Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. “I don’t think any individual has read the whole bill, but that’s why we have staff.”

Garrett earlier told Ruhle, referencing the passage of Obamacare, that “I have said all along that it was sort of hypocrisy for us to lament passing a bill to find out what’s in it and do the same thing.”

But he insisted members of Congress had “several months to sort of wrap our brains around this.”

Read More →