The Fix's Ask Aaron: The week in politics -- DELAYED TILL 1 P.M.

Feb 15, 2019

The Fix's senior reporter Aaron Blake chats with readers in his weekly politics chat series.

Sorry for the one-hour delay today. Very busy day.

If you don't hear from me from an extended period of time in this chat, don't worry: It just means I've keeled over because I haven't eaten yet.

Let's do it!

yesss love it #skol

I mean, I get that it's kind of funny that a Minnesotan is being accused of being a tyrant as a boss. It goes against type.

But some of this stuff seems to go beyond just being a hard-charger. I think this is a very serious issue for her.

Is it safe to assume that at this moment McConnell is working on introducing legislation that changes the definition of the word emergency?

Pay the man, Shirley.

How much can Trump's emergency border-wall order be tangled up in the courts, in terms of preventing him from shifting funds to the project? And for how long?

I'm not a legal expert, but I would expect that some court somewhere would halt it while the legal case plays out.

We missed you last week - were you busy with your Ask Nigel chat?

You've found me out.

Political neophyte, but an incredible backstory and that's before considering anything involving his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. What do you make of a potential McSally-Kelly race? How concerned should Kelly be about making it through the primary?

I think it could be tough. Rep. Ruben Gallego is a serious pol with serious liberal bona fides. I think Kelly has the buzz, but we'll see if he can translate it into a good campaign.

Obviously, I understand some of Joe Biden's support in 2020 is name recognition, but if he were to not run for president in 2020, where do you see his supporters flocking to?

It's too difficult to say. The field is so disparate, and I think breaking it down into "lanes" doesn't work as well.

That said, he probably pulls the kind of voters that might otherwise go to a Klobuchar, a Booker or a Gillibrand.

Her staff issues are definitely a red flag for me. You can be a demanding boss while still treating your staff with respect. Why do you think so many are quick to characterize this as an attack on her because she is a woman? Drives me crazy!

I think there is such thing as a gendered political attack. I don't see this as one. If a male senator was reportedly hitting staff with thrown binders, I doubt we'd be looking the other way.

The other lakes are just as great.

If you spend some time in Minnesota, you will find we perceive many things as being superior (we just don't carry on about it).

William Weld? Will there be enough money behind him to make a race viable?

No. To the extent there is a path for a non-Trump in the GOP primary, he just doesn't fit the bill. He basically endorsed Clinton in 2016, and he was the Libertarian Party's VP nominee.

That said, I think it's a little more difficult for people to ignore him, given he was an actual governor. So maybe he can make a few waves, but he's not going to win.

There the people have spoken and low energy HAx is no substitute!

I'm here for you! 


Really! I actually think Gary Johnson might have a better chance.

Are there enough lawyers there to fight for the survival of the emergency declaration in court while there are so many Congressional investigations ongoing related to the administration's corruption and possible obstruction of justice?

Something tells me they'll make sure this team is staffed.

You've given "Ol' Low Energy" a HUGE head-start on chat today.....

She needs it.

How likely is it that any Republican would dare challenge Trump in 2020? People keep talking about it, but what evidence is there that anyone in the GOP has the spine to do it? They seem genuinely terrified of Trump.

Whoever does it is signing up for a likely loss and a whole bunch of vitriol. That's not something that anybody of stature wants to sign up for.

I think you'll see the likes of Kasich hold their water in case Trump implodes (with the base) over the next few months. Otherwise it's likely a fool's errand, and we're left with Bill Weld.

I saw Ted Cruz suggesting to pay for the wall with El Chapo's money, but wouldn't that money actually belong to Mexico? I quite like the idea of paying Mexico for not building the wall.

That's one way to put it.

Trump’s wall is clearly more about fulfilling a campaign promise than any security concerns. Do you think the reason he used the emergency route was so that if it gets shot down by the courts or Congress votes to reject it then he can put the blame on them, rather than looking like a weak negotiator?

Yeah, I think that's the backup-backup plan. He's been perfectly willing to attack the judiciary before.

Though in this case, notably, he would ultimately probably have to criticize the Supreme Court, which he tipped the balance of. If a court where he installed the swing vote rebukes him, that would be quite the setback.

So one of Donald Trump's objections to having a White House dog is how he'd LOOK walking a dog? In other words, another thing that's about HIM. Actually, for the sake of dog-dom, I'm glad he doesn't have any dogs, but I feel so sorry for his son, who presumably would love to have a dog (and would take good care of it).

I also don't think Trump would have to walk the dog?

Rule of thumb: It's always worth getting a dog.

Is part of the reason Biden is delaying announcing that his people know, as the nominal frontrunner, he would get more fire aimed at him from both the media and other candidates?

I think at this point he knows he can wait a little longer since he has the built-in name ID. Other candidates who don't have that risk getting lost in the shuffle if they don't jump in.

Has Robert Mueller interviewed President Obama?

I ... don't think so?

Is ironic. It means someone is cloyingly nice in person but a backstabber when you aren't around.

I've long said Minnesota Nice is just Minnesota Passive Aggressive.

Maybe the President ought to ask Mitt Romney if alienating dog owners matters much in presidential politics?

I totally forgot about that. Ugh.

If not Biden, who enters the moderate lane in the Dem primary? I'm holding out for Hickenlooper, myself.

Well Klobuchar has a claim. I think Booker could even tack in that direction. That would certainly make the race more attractive for Hick or Steve Bullock.

Not a question, just thanks for the amazing amount of work your team has already put in today.

Thank you! We always appreciate the encouragement!

Is it better that we got a bogus emergency declaration rather than another extended government shut down? Neither one seems very good for the nation's health or sanity levels.

As I wrote Thursday, this was an escape hatch -- for both Trump and McConnell -- from a potential shutdown. It allowed Trump to save face with his base.

But if this succeeds, it could change the presidency in a very significant way.

and have the military deliver one to you.

Pay this man also, Shirley.

Sandwich sounds amazing right now. Also many people around me have their lunch and I hate them all with a passion.

I'd think to Senator Sherrod Brown.

Another strong possibility. He's more from the populist wing, but has the potential Midwestern appeal.

Maybe I'm just feeling that after-effects of being furloughed for 5 weeks, but did he ACTUALLY sign the budget? Everything I see says he has "agreed" to sign it and has declared a national (non)emergency. Is there physical proof of a signed budget?

Who hurt you?

I think he is headed to Mar-a-Lago, so I really doubt he's not going to sign it.

Your colleague Gene Robinson was parodied in the cold open of SNL last week. If they decide to focus on you next, who will play you? Alex Moffat? Mikey Day? Beck Bennett?

I don't know who any of these people are, and I'm scared to look them up.

At least you didn't say Peter Strzok, though.

but you still have Manafort's sentencing memo to look forward to today - sounds like you should invest in some emergency provisions. Keeping my fingers crossed for a "calm" weekend for you!

Oh yeah! I can't wait.

I'm pretty sure we'd be hearing from Chuck or Nancy if he got on the out of DC plane without signing it.

Yeah that too.

Is there only one Fix chat each week? Not that you aren't doing a great job, but I miss having the Tuesday chat too!

Yeah but Amber should be back relatively soon for her Tuesday chat!

Wouldn’t a really deep, wide trench be a lot easier, cheaper, and just as effective as a wall? Or does “Dig that Trench!” just not have the same ring to it?

Hmmm. I would guess that might actually be more expensive? But it could solve the problem of potential tunnels.

I can never get Hax to answer my questions. You care to field any relationship problem questions?

She doesn't have time for you. But I have time. Hit me.

If you do want to avoid those comparisons you might want to consider changing you WaPo profile picture ... personally I think your Twitter one looks much nicer ; )

I've been trying to get rid of that old one on the chat, but not luck so far!

They are all 30ish white guys who could easily be news anchors on a mid-size market TV station. Alex and Mikey sometimes play the Trump sons (with a lot of wigs and makeup) and Beck Bennett has played the bare-chested Vlad Putin. So they all know something about politics!

Ah now I get it. I'd probably pick the guy who plays Don Jr.

I love your work Aaron, but can you lay off posting all the stuff about Hax? It came across as a bit condescending when you were so surprised that people can care about both your work and hers and the jokes are getting old. I get that they’re in theoretically good spirit, but you’re both great! No need to do all this poking at a colleague.

It's all in good fun, and I hope it doesn't really come across that way. But perhaps the joke has run it's course.

A truce, Hax?

So high school yearbooks and if how you treated the family dog are what matter most today in American politics?

How people treat dogs has always been important. I can't think of a better window into one's character.

this could go to you or Hax. My wife insists on watching Russian state TV (either первый канал or россия. I have the option of watching with her or going to the downstairs TV and watch alone. Which would you pick?

I think you've asked a question here before.

I would go downstairs. But then again, I don't like watching cable news during my off hours, period.

Thanks everyone for coming out.

To make up for my lateness and last week, I promise next week we'll do a special extended live chat.

See you then!


In This Chat
Aaron Blake
Aaron Blake is a senior political reporter, writing for The Fix. A Minnesota native and graduate of the University of Minnesota, Aaron has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Hill newspaper. Aaron lives with his family and trusty dog, Mauer, in Northern Virginia.
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