If you only read one thing: What a year it has been. Donald Trump descended the golden escalator a year ago today to launch his campaign for president. Initially considered a joke or protest candidate, he tapped into and fanned the flames of a frustrated electorate to take the GOP nomination. But the coming four-and-a-half months are an entirely different challenge for Trump, which, depending on the day, he rejects or begrudgingly accepts. Last week’s attempt at being more “presidential” was a realization that he needs to attract more voters—not just GOP primary voters—to his cause if he stands a chance of winning in November. In this week’s performance, Trump seems intent on proving once again that the conventional wisdom is wrong. The flip-flopping strategies has even his closest aides confused.
As a presidential candidate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wasn’t shy about saying he hated the Senate. He declared repeatedly he’d be a private citizen in 2017, pledging not to run for re-election if he lost the GOP primary for the White House. But not so fast, he told reporters Wednesday, saying he may decide to stick around after all. With Republicans facing an uphill fight to hold onto the Senate—made even more difficult by their presidential nominee—Rubio stands the best chance of keeping that seat with the GOP and he may be caving to the pressure to stick around as he plots his political resurrection.
Bernie Sanders appears set to accept reality Thursday night with a speech to his supporters. Already some of his top backers are switching allegiance to Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump may be winning the support of the rank-and-file military, but the top brass isn’t so sure about him. Responding to the Orlando shooting, Democrats in the Senate held a talking filibuster Wednesday in hopes of forcing a vote on gun control bills—which are unlikely to pass. And President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are set to travel to Orlando Thursday to meet with victims and victims’ families from Sunday’s Pulse nightclub shooting.
Here are your must-reads:
What Does the Military Think of Donald Trump?
TIME’s Mark Thompson on how the military brass is tap-dancing around Trump
Trump’s Relationship With RNC Sours
Tensions flare as the party hires a fired Trump aide and uses vendors linked to #NeverTrump, while fundraising flags [Politico]
Donald Trump Takes Risks on Guns, Gays Since Orlando Shooting
The Republican’s overtures to LGBT voters and calls to discuss firearms limits unnerve would-be allies [Wall Street Journal]
Nearly 15 Hours Later, Democratic Senator Ends Filibuster Over Guns
Get commitments on gun votes [CNN]
Obama and Clinton Differ on Terror Approach
Small, but key areas of disagreement [New York Times]
Stop Blaming the Media for Trump
Voters, not the press, decide elections [The Atlantic]
Obama Heads to Orlando a Reluctant Veteran of Memorial Services for Victims of Mass Shootings
Obama and Biden to comfort families [LA Times]
“I’ve been saying it’s going to happen. And I hate to say it again, but it’s going to happen again and again and again.” — Donald Trump on terrorism at a Wednesday rally in Atlanta
“Don’t talk. Please be quiet. Just be quiet to the leaders because they have to get tougher, they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter.” — Donald Trump on GOP leaders
Bits and Bites
Donald Trump calls her ‘Crooked Hillary,’ but his fans just say ‘b—-’ [Washington Post]
Trump to GOP leaders: ‘Don’t talk. Please be quiet.’ [Washington Post]