According to a report from the Washington Post, close allies of Donald Trump as well as the Republican leadership are growing "increasingly frustrated" with the ex-president who they say spends his days nursing "petty grievances" against people he thinks have wronged him when he is not playing golf.
In a deep dive into how Trump is manipulating the Republican Party to bend to his will while he spends his days at his Mar-a-Lago resort, the WaPo reports that he has put off planning his presidential library, is waffling about his political future and spends a great deal of time plotting revenge after losing his re-election bid.
"Trump's reappearance is fueled by an ego-driven desire to remain at the center of national attention, said former advisers and allies who are in touch with him," the report states. "The defeated ex-president is propelled primarily by a thirst for retribution, an insatiable quest for the spotlight and a desire to establish and maintain total dominance and control over the Republican base, said several former senior White House advisers. He has boasted to some in his orbit that he expects a book deal at some point, though there is no known offer, two advisers said."
Noting that most of Trump's endorsements so far are being referred to as "revenge endorsements" aimed at Republican lawmakers he believes crossed him, the Post reports the ex-president's desire for retribution is beginning to frustrate those close to him.
"Privately, many Republican officials — including some Trump allies — are growing frustrated, worried that the former president is wasting his time on petty rivalries and grievances. They say they wish he was working to protect policies from his term and affirmatively helping Republicans in 2022. "All the 2022 stuff is, 'Well, what's in it for me?' " said one former senior White House official, summarizing Trump's thinking," the report states.
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US vice presidents always yearn for a chance to share the spotlight, but when Kamala Harris got put in charge of the Mexico border mess, she might have been forgiven for secretly wishing she could return to the shadows.
Certainly the job is a high-profile opportunity to escape the notorious frustrations of being White House number two.
On Friday it was Harris -- not her boss, President Joe Biden -- who held a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
"We thank President Biden for naming you to lead all things related to migration," Lopez Obrador said.
And in early June, it will be Harris making an official visit to Mexico and Guatemala, likely beating Biden's first trip abroad (to Europe) by about a week.
So what's the downside of running point on the southern border?
The southern border.
Few issues have as long a history of bedeviling both Democrats and Republicans as immigration and asylum on the approximately 2,000-mile (3,000-kilometer) US-Mexico frontier.
And what was already a tricky issue became outright toxic under Donald Trump, who built much of his presidency on demonizing undocumented immigrants and touting the need for a large wall.
So when illegal border crossings surged right from the start of his administration, Biden suddenly found himself in a perilous situation.
Harris, he decided, was the heavyweight figure to find an answer.
"When she speaks, she speaks for me," he said on March 24.
No border visits
Technically, Harris is not meant to deal with the border itself.
Her brief is to look for deeper solutions in the Central American countries where most of the migrants start from -- the "Northern Triangle" of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Figuring out how to persuade those people to stay home was the main topic of discussion with Lopez Obrador on Friday.
But in reality, the public and certainly much of the Republican opposition don't draw the distinction.
One of the most frequent criticisms from Fox News and right-wing media outlets is that Harris has already failed by not visiting the border.
"The Northern Triangle," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said defensively in April, "is not the same as the border."
Yet to Harris' critics, the damage is done.
After all, she travels to many other places in the United States on vice presidential business. Why not to the sharp end of the crisis she wants to fix?
VP today, president tomorrow?
How this shakes out matters more because Harris came into the White House on January 20 with an unusual burden: at 78, Biden is the oldest president to take office and his deputy, 56, is seen by many as a leader in waiting.
Yes, Biden says he will seek a second term in four years, but he also does everything he can to boost Harris, who previously served as a senator and as California's attorney general.
"The president has given us clear instructions," Ron Klain, Biden's chief of staff, told The New York Times. "Our goal is to get her out there as much as we can."
Liz Peek, a contributor to Fox News, wrote in The Hill that the border role will doom Harris' ambitions.
"The odds of Kamala Harris ever being elected president are shrinking faster than a Creamsicle in August," she wrote. "It almost seems as though Biden's team was purposefully playing a dirty trick."
But Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, says Harris has "threaded the needle."
"Serving as VP has perennially been a difficult, delicate role because the vice president does not want to upstage the president," he said.
"Harris has seized this role as an opportunity to show that she can do excellent work on a thorny topic."
The United States will join an international bid to stamp out violent extremism online, the White House said Friday, some two years after the Trump administration declined to do so.
Biden administration spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington "will join the Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online, a global pledge by member governments and technology partners to work together to address terrorist and violent extremist content online."
The initiative is named after the New Zealand city where a far-right gunman massacred 51 people at two mosques in 2019 while broadcasting his rampage live on Facebook.
"Countering the use of the internet by terrorists and violent extremists to radicalize and recruit is a significant priority for the United States," Psaki said.
"Joining the coalition of governments and companies that have endorsed the Christchurch Call to Action reinforces the need for collective action."
In 2019 the United States cited protecting free speech when it declined to join the call, led by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron, though Washington stressed that it did back the initiative's aims.
Psaki said free speech remained a concern.
"The United States applauds language in the Christchurch Call emphasizing the importance of respecting human rights and the rule of law, including the protection of freedom of expression," her statement said.
"In joining the Christchurch Call, the United States will not take steps that would violate the freedoms of speech and association protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, nor violate reasonable expectations of privacy."
She said the US will participate in a virtual summit on May 14.
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