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Inside the Beltway: Saturday: Trump hosts two Texas rallies

Former President Donald Trump has not one but two jumbo events scheduled for Saturday in Texas. He’ll appear at an American Freedom Tour event in Houston scheduled to begin at 8:15 a.m. sharp and meant to “promote a conservative agenda and protect America’s future,” according to an advance advisory. Mr. Trump has company. Also on stage: Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, Donald Trump Jr., author Dinesh D’Souza and former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, among others.

Then it’s on to Conroe — a city of 85,000 some 40 miles north of Houston — for one of Mr. Trump’s signature  “Save America” events, with all the trimmings. Public parking areas open at 6 a.m. — 11 hours ahead of Mr. Trump’s appearance. Local officials have approved $100,000 in overtime for local law enforcement officers; they expect “massive crowds,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Mr. Trump campaigned in the area in 2016 as a presidential hopeful.

“He was just a candidate then,” Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson told the Chronicle.

“This event is expected to be five times larger than that. It’s going to be significant. We are looking forward to this event,” the sheriff said.

Mr. Trump will have yet another friendly entourage on stage with him when the time comes. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller and State Sen. Dawn Buckingham are on the roster, along with Connie Kacir, mayor of Gonzales, Texas, and Matt Rinaldi, chair of the Republican Party of Texas.

JUDGMENT ON JUDGES

The surprise news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is planning to retire sparked an instant media frenzy for journalists eager to parse out prospective replacements or suggest the greater implications of it all. The situation even prompted an appearance from President Biden to assure the voting public that Mr. Breyer would be replaced by a “historic candidate” and that the process would be resolved in February.

Yes, well.

“We know Joe Biden — who does not have a single vote to spare in the U.S. Senate — will nominate an activist judge who will rubber stamp the far-left’s political agenda,” responded Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel.

“This type of judge is a threat to Americans’ constitutional rights including religious liberty, the Second Amendment, the right to life, and free speech. The Republican National Committee will do everything in our power to expose Biden’s Supreme Court nominee and hold Senate Democrats accountable in November for their votes,” she said in a statement shared with “Inside the Beltway.”

REPUBLICANS WRESTLE WITH UKRAINE

Republican hopefuls running in high-profile primary races now who are vowing not to assist in any potential conflict in Ukraine are reflecting — and fanning — anti-interventionist sentiments, advises a new Axios analysis of the evolving situation. 

The analysis cited J.D. Vance and Bernie Moreno — both now headed for the Ohio Republican Senate primary — and Adam Laxalt, who’s “well-positioned” to win the GOP primary for Nevada’s Senate race.

“Frustration with the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and former President Donald Trump’s warmer posture toward Russia helped drive the shift,” the analysis said.

“Between the lines: There’s a stark split in the GOP over how to handle Russia’s threat to Ukraine. It’s less useful to think ‘doves’ versus ‘hawks’ and more illuminating to view it as a divide between Republicans who are responsive to their base and incumbents who feel they can afford to maintain some distance from GOP primary voters,” the research continued.

“This country has actual problems that our politicians should prioritize: election integrity, the border crisis, soaring inflation, violent crime, failing schools, and Big Tech, to name a few,” said Blake Masters, a Republican contender for the U.S. Senate in Arizona, in a statement to Axios.

The fate of Ukraine does not appear to dominate the list of priorities.

“The Ukrainian border isn’t even in the top 20. You’d think we would have learned our lesson by now when it comes to policing the world and ‘democracy building’ thousands of miles away,” Mr. Masters said.

THEN THERE’S THIS

Here’s some news of note from Australia’s International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, released Thursday to Nature, an academic journal:

“A team mapping radio waves in the universe has discovered something unusual that releases a giant burst of energy three times an hour, and it’s unlike anything astronomers have seen before,” the organization said in a statement.

“Spinning around in space, the strange object sends out a beam of radiation that crosses our line of sight, and for a minute in every twenty, is one of the brightest radio sources in the sky,” the researchers said.

“This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations. That was completely unexpected. It was kind of spooky for an astronomer because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that,” said astrophysicist Natasha Hurley-Walker, who led the research.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

• 49% of U.S. adults agree that the U.S. has a responsibility to give military assistance in trouble spots if allies request it; 53% of Republicans, 47% of independents and 54% of Democrats agree.

• 51% of men and 47% of women also agree.

• 28% overall say the U.S. does not have this responsibility; 31% of Republicans, 30% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.

• 32% of men and 25% of women also agree.

• 23% overall are not sure about the issue; 16% of Republicans, 23% of independents and 21% of Democrats agree.

• 17% of men and 28% of women also agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 22-25.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the last name of candidate Bernie Moreno.

Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.



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