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

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who two weeks ago retweeted a neo-Nazi’s call to stop “mass immigration,” refused on Tuesday to delete the tweet or apologize for sharing the hate leader’s message.

“It’s unjust to simply put a politically correct bridle on someone and say, ‘You’ve got to do a background check on everybody that ever tweets something out before you can ever agree with a single sentence that they might put out,'” King told CNN in an interview. “And by the way I didn’t even know it was his message. I thought it was a Breitbart message.”

Regardless, the congressman, whose racist comments have made headlines frequently during his 15-year congressional tenure, refused to take down the message.

“I am aware of many leftists that are attacking me, trying to get me to take this down,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo later on Wednesday. “I’m not taking it down. It was simply a Breitbart story that I tweeted. It had a guy’s name on it that I had never heard of. Now a lot of people have heard his name. It’s going to stay on my website as long as it takes, it’s going to go into the rearview mirror.”

Republican leadership stayed silent after King’s tweet on June 12. TPM’s requests for comment to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee went unanswered.

On Tuesday, Ryan broke his silence through a spokesperson, with a message to the Daily Beast’s Sam Stein: “The speaker has said many times that Nazis have no place in our politics, and clearly members should not engage with anyone promoting hate.”

King didn’t seem to take that personally.

“Paul Ryan didn’t say anything,” he told Cuomo. “His spokesperson made a general comment that didn’t even have my name in it.”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday accused Rep. Maxine Waters of calling for violence against her political opponents, even though Waters has rejected that assertion multiple times.

“There’s no place for this,” Ryan said, unprompted, at a press conference Tuesday. “She obviously should apologize. When we in this democracy are suggesting that because we disagree with people on political views, on policy views, on philosophical views, that we should resort to violence and harassment and intimidation, that’s dangerous for our society, it’s dangerous for our democracy.”

“She should apologize, and there’s just no place for that in our public discourse.”

Ryan also cited House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was shot and seriously injured at a congressional baseball practice last year. Without naming Waters specifically, Scalise had warned earlier Tuesday against “inciting harassment or violence of any sort just because we disagree with each other on issues.”

On Saturday, responding to news that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had been asked to leave a restaurant Friday night, Waters celebrated the move and called for more public shaming of members of the Trump administration.

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd,” Waters said at a “Keep Families Together” rally in Los Angeles, a protest of the Trump administration’s migrant family separation policy. “And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Trump later attacked Waters in a tweet, insulting her intelligence and saying: “She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”

Waters called that another lie from Trump, and later told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Monday: “I would not in any way support any violence, anybody being hit or beaten, or then saying to them, ‘I’ll help to get you out of jail.’ This president is guilty of all of that.” 

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Former Trump deputy campaign manager and Citizens United president David Bossie has been suspended from Fox News airwaves for two weeks after he told a black Democratic strategist “you’re out of your cotton-pickin’ mind” on Sunday, the Daily Beast reported Monday.

Bossie made the comment to fellow “Fox & Friends Weekend” guest Joel Payne.

“I’ve got some relatives who picked cotton, and I’m not going to sit here and allow you to attack me like that on TV,” Payne responded.

Bossie seemed to take issue with Payne’s protest.

“This is ridiculous,” he said. “This is what’s gone on in America. This is what we’re about. Ed, this is outrageous.”

Earlier in the conversation, Bossie used half of the phrase to refer to critics of the President who compare the Trump administration to Nazi rule in Germany.

“These people have lost their ever-pickin’ minds,” he said.

Bossie later apologized on Twitter:

“David Bossie’s comments today were deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate,” a statement from the network Sunday read. “His remarks do not reflect the sentiments of Fox News and we do not in any way condone them.”

TPM has reached out to the network to confirm the news of Bossie’s suspension. 

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday addressed being kicked out of a restaurant over the weekend.

“We are allowed to disagree but we should be able to do so freely and without fear of harm, and this goes for all people regardless of politics,” Sanders said.

She connected that night to comments from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Saturday and actor Peter Fonda a week ago.

“Some have chosen to push hate and vandalism against the restaurant that I was asked to leave from,” Sanders said. “A Hollywood actor publicly encouraged people to kidnap my children. And this weekend a member of Congress called for people to push back and make clear to those serving their country in this administration that they are not welcome anywhere, any time, for anything.”

“Healthy debate on ideas and political philosophy is important, but the calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable.”

She could have included Trump in her list of examples of harassment: The President warned Waters in a tweet Monday to “Be careful what you wish for Max!”

Instead, Sanders mentioned America’s “ability to find solutions despite [our] disagreements” and said: “That is exactly what President Trump has done for all Americans” with his economic and foreign policy record.

Watch below:

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is scheduled to give an on-camera press briefing at 3:30 p.m. ET Monday. Watch live below:

The gulf between President Donald Trump’s disapproval and approval numbers, according to Gallup’s weekly tally, went from 5 percentage points to 14 points last week.

The spike in net disapproval came amid intense criticism of the Trump administration’s migrant family separation policy. Last Sunday, Gallup showed Trump as having his highest approval rating, 45 percent, since the early weeks of his presidency.

According to Gallup, Americans who approved of Trump’s performance in office dropped from 45 to 41 percent between Sunday, June 17 and Sunday, June 24.

Over the same period, Trump’s disapproval number went from 50 to 55 percent.

Gallup tracks the percentage of Americans who approve and disapprove of the President’s performance in office based on telephone interviews with roughly 1,500 adults nationally, according to the polling firm. The poll’s margin of error is 3 percentage points.

In January, Gallup changed from daily to weekly approval updates. Sunday’s number “reflects a weekly aggregate of Monday through Sunday polling,” the firm said.

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Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass on Monday said it “violates the spirit” of the Civil Rights Act that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant over the weekend.

In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Haass and other members of the show’s panel discussed the owner of Lexington, Virginia’s The Red Hen, who, after polling restaurant staff for their opinions, asked Sanders to leave over the weekend.

“One of the first landmark pieces of civil rights legislation was the public accommodations, 1964,” Haass said. “And we fought for the right of Americans to be served, whether it was restaurants or hotels and not to be denied on the basis of religion, national origin, a whole list of things.”

Haass, born in 1951, was 12 years old when the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.

“Now politics, ironically enough, was not one of them,” he said. “But what happened the other day violates the spirit of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

He went on to call the restaurant owner’s decision “politically counterproductive,” a marker of “the descent of America into tribalism” and “dangerous.”

“One of the things we should’ve learned the last year and a half is we can’t take things for granted in this country,” Haass said. “We should not take for granted the fact that this has essentially been a peaceful democracy, and our differences have never gotten bigger than what we could handle in a peaceful way. This is the sort of the thing that makes me uneasy about some of the trajectory of this country, and I think it’s serious.”

Haass made the same point on Twitter Saturday:

Not only does the Civil Rights Act not cover political beliefs, neither did the owner of The Red Hen: She did not kick out all Trump supporters as would be quite a hassle in Trump-supporting Rockbridge County, Virginia but rather only a senior White House official. Senior White House officials, as a group, are not covered by the Civil Rights Act.

Watch below:

H/t Mediaite.

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Parents in immigration detention who’ve been separated from their children are being told their families can be reunited if they sign voluntary deportation orders, the Texas Tribune reported Sunday.

The paper cited an unnamed Honduran man who told the paper that he and the majority of the roughly 20 to 25 others he was with in the IAH Polk County Secure Adult Detention Center, outside Houston, had been given the same offer.

“Desperate” to see his 6-year-old daughter, in the paper’s words, the man “said two federal officials suggested he’d be reunited with his daughter at the airport if he agreed to sign the order, which could lead to him being repatriated to his violence-torn home country in less than two weeks.”

The man is now trying to revoke that paperwork, which he signed, and appeal his rejected claim of “credible fear” — the first step of applying for asylum protections — to an immigration judge.

The man said he was told that in signing the order he would not be deported without his daughter, but there have already been numerous cases of just that happening to other separated families. And, given that parents and children separated by the Trump administration policy can sometimes be states away from each other, reunification is logistically tricky, to say the least.

“I doubt they would put his child on a plane to get her to where he would get deported out from, especially if she’s in Arizona,” Cynthia Milian, a private attorney working with the Tahirih Justice Center who had spoken to the paper’s source, told the Tribune. “I just don’t see that happening.”

Tahirih’s Houston director, Anne Chandler, told the Tribune she’d heard a nearly identical account of such an offer from another migrant at the facility.

A spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Carl Rusnok, told the Tribune that ICE “cannot research vague allegations.” The paper did not give ICE the man’s identifying details.

President Donald Trump last week, under immense political pressure, signed an executive order that he said was meant to keep families together in indefinite detention as their cases proceed through the immigration system. However, the Flores Settlement still bars child detention for more than 20 days, making the executive order untenable in a couple weeks. The Justice Department has asked a federal court to modify that settlement.

Read the Tribune’s full report here.

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President Donald Trump on Sunday proposed violating U.S. and international law by deporting “people [who] invade our Country,” presumably referring to undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers, without affording them their Due Process rights.

“The right to Due Process of law is enshrined in the Constitution and extends to every person in the United States, irrespective of immigration status,” Jeremy McKinney, an immigration attorney and secretary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told TPM in an email responding to Trump’s tweet.

“The Supreme Court, for well over a century has expressly recognized a person cannot be deported without Due Process.  Due Process at its core means notice and a full and fair opportunity to be heard.”

“I hate that we (as attorneys and media) have to spend any time on this stupidity,” he added.

Trump has attacked immigrants’ legal rights before: In a speech earlier this month, he called some immigration lawyers “bad people” because they advise their clients with asylum claims on what to say in court.

And he attacked lawmakers who’ve called for more immigration judges to help lighten the burdened system’s caseload, lying by saying the government was “hiring thousands and thousands” of new immigration judges. (It’s not.) 

“We don’t want judges, we want security on the border,” he said in the same speech. “We don’t want people coming in, we want them to come in through a legal process like everybody else who’s waiting to come into our country.”

Some undocumented people are in fact eligible to be deported without having their case heard by an immigration judge, due to what’s known as “expedited removal,” a part of the Immigration and Nationality Act the use of which has dramatically expanded in recent decades.

However — even aside from many immigrant advocates’ claims that the process has been vastly overused, and that many immigrants are not made fully aware of their full legal rights during expedited removal proceedings — the law still requires immigration judges hear out the claims of asylum-seekers and those who fear persecution if they are ejected from the country.

“If, during the expedited removal process before a DHS officer, an individual indicates either an intention to apply for asylum or any fear of return to his or her home country, the officer must refer the individual for an interview with an asylum officer,” read a 2017 practice advisory from the American Immigration Council, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

If an asylum officer rejects an asylum-seekers claim of “credible fear,” the asylum-seeker can appeal to an immigration judge.

“That’s not a loophole,” McKinney told TPM. “That’s Due Process and consistent not only with federal law but our international obligations to protect refugees and asylees.”

Trump’s tweet made no such distinctions.

What President Trump suggested here is both illegal and unconstitutional,” the ACLU responded in a tweet. “Any official who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws should disavow it unequivocally.”

First immigrants don’t get due process,” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) wrote in response to Trump’s tweet. “Then it will be criminals. Then the poor. Then anyone that disagrees with Trump.”

U.S. and international law prohibit the United States from turning away or otherwise penalizing asylum-seekers, the former of which many advocates allege is evident in the now-frequent line to asylum-seekers at ports of entry that they are “at capacity.”

“We are not absolutely saying that they cannot (make an asylum claim), we are just saying that we cannot process them at this time,” a border official protested to one advocate who’d accompanied asylum-seekers to a port of entry, as recorded by the Texas Monthly. The same report described border agents standing directly on the U.S.-Mexico border line, so as to prevent asylum-seekers from completing the necessary step of being on American soil before declaring asylum.

The American Immigration Council, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Latham and Watkins, LLP, have a pending lawsuit against CBP over what they’ve described as systematic unlawful behavior, the outlet noted.

A separate lawsuit filed recently by three asylum seekers alleges Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy violated the law by punishing them, via detaining them and separating their families, despite their asylum-seeking status.

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Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Sunday that he thought himself “and a number of senators” would be willing to block President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees in the Senate Judiciary Committee with the intent of forcing congressional action on Trump’s tariffs.

In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday, Flake said “we’re in the nascent stages of a full-scale trade war, and the President simply seems to want to escalate, and it all stems to the steel and aluminum tariffs.”

“Congress ought to stand up and say ‘No, we’re not going to do that. You can’t use Section 232 to claim that Canada is a national security threat,’” he said. “That’s not who we are.”

For two weeks, Flake has withheld his support from a nominee of the President’s for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Britt Grant. But Senate offices on both sides of the aisle, including a spokesperson for committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, told TPM this week they were unsure of Flake’s motivations for doing so.

He told Stephanopoulos Sunday, asked if he had considered withholding support from judicial nominees “unless there’s action on issues like tariffs,” that he was considering such an action.

“I do think that unless we can actually exercise something other than just approving the President’s executive calendar, his nominees, judges, that we have no reason to be there,” Flake said. “So I think myself and a number of senators, at least a few of us, will stand up and say ‘Let’s not move any more judges until we get a vote, for example, on tariffs.’”

An unnamed source told CNN Wednesday that Flake wanted “to spur discussions on travel restrictions to Cuba as well as issues related to tariffs,” in the publication’s words.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who, like Flake, has announced he’s not seeking re-election this year, tried and failed to lead a congressional effort to rein in the President’s justification of tariffs on national security grounds. He directed his anger, with some passion, at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Republicans in the chamber who he said were wary of “pok[ing] the bear.”

Corker’s bill, which had bipartisan support, would have required congressional approval for the President to institute tariffs on national security grounds, as he has done with Canada, the European Union and other allies.

McConnell has called appointing lifetime conservatives to federal courts his “top priority.”

“There are over 1,200 executive branch appointments that come to us for confirmation, and among the most important — in fact, I would argue, the most important — confirmations we have are lifetime appointments to the judiciary,” he told NPR last month. “Obviously, this is my top priority.”

Watch below:

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