Congressional Republicans are preparing for a red wave in this year’s midterm elections… and they have plans for President Joe Biden.
Some House Republicans intend to launch oversight investigations into the White House.
“We are going to take power after this next election,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said in December, according to The Washington Post.
“When we do, it’s not going to be the days of Paul Ryan and Trey Gowdy and no real oversight and no real subpoenas,” he continued, referring to former House Speaker Paul Ryan and former Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Republican of South Carolina and a onetime head of the Benghazi committee.
Republicans may investigate the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers at the Kabul airport after Biden’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, or they might focus on First Son Hunter Biden, with his record of executive positions at foreign conglomerates.
Either way, Biden appears to be already preparing his defense.
The White House has announced some staff shakeups. It’s promoting some new P.R. professionals, and bringing back some old ones.
According to LinkedIn, the White House has already hired communications representative Ian Sams, a former spokesperson for the presidential campaign of Kamala Harris.
Previously, Sams was working for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department as “the department’s top COVID-19 spokesperson,” he wrote on his his LinkedIn profile.
Now, he’s handling P.R. for Biden’s legal team as “Special Assistant to the President & Senior Advisor to the White House Counsel.”
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Plus, Biden is bringing back political strategist Anita Dunn.
Dunn has already worked as a senior advisor in Biden’s White House. She remained there for the first six months of his presidency. According to CNN, she was exempted from financial disclosures due to the length of her employment.
Now, she will come back on a more permanent basis, insiders told CNN last month.
“The timeline of Dunn’s return to the White House is still being finalized, as is the scope of her duties,” The Washington Post reported at the time.
Dunn appears to be replacing Cedric Richmond, another senior advisor. On April 25, Richmond announced his intention to leave the White House for a role at the Democratic National Committee. According to a report from that same day, he had called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., a “f***ing idiot.”
“If Republicans take one or more Houses of Congress, this is going to be a full-time job that has the potential to suck a lot of the oxygen out of the room,” the person said. “There is a recognition from both the White House counsel’s office and also the communication’s office that oversight is going to be a major focus of Republican efforts which is going to in turn create a lot of media attention around these issues.”
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Democrat strategists have praised Biden’s turnover.
“If Republicans take one or more Houses of Congress, this is going to be a full-time job that has the potential to suck a lot of the oxygen out of the room,” an anonymous insider told CNN. “There is a recognition from both the White House counsel’s office and also the communication’s office that oversight is going to be a major focus of Republican efforts which is going to in turn create a lot of media attention around these issues.”
One Biden official said that the White House had been planning for these investigations from the beginning.
Until January 2021, Biden’s staffers didn’t expect the Democrats to gain control of the Senate, one official told the Post. So they had braced themselves for a Republican Congress.
Of course, some Democrats have dismissed the oversight plans as a political ploy.
“If one or both houses flip control, if the past is any indication, they will be faced with a slew of inquiries, much of which will be aimed at trying to do political damage to the president,” John Podesta, chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, told the Post.
“What you want to do is keep this out of the press room,” Podesta continued. “Keep it out of the Oval Office. Let the White House counsel manage the problem.”
The Horn editorial team