In This Episode
- The Iowa caucuses are officially over. Donald Trump won as expected with just over 50 percent of the vote, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley came in third. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy finished in fourth place, and suspended his campaign just minutes after the polls closed and then endorsed Trump. We’re joined by Eugene Scott, senior politics reporter for Axios, to break down the results and turnout in Iowa.
- And in headlines: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from the hospital, the Biden Administration sent a cease-and-desist to Texas officials to stop blocking Border Patrol agents from the border, and we recap last night’s Primetime Emmy Awards.
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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, January 16th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Andersen and this is What a Day where we hosts could be the world’s first trillionaire.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. The organization Oxfam said yesterday that the wealth gap is growing so fast that the first trillionaire will appear in ten years, and it’s looking like it might be us.
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, maybe it’s going to be you. My bank account does not particularly say that, but everything is possible. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Everything is possible. [music break]
Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, the deadly extreme cold continues to grip the country. Plus, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is finally out of the hospital.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, y’all, the Iowa caucuses are over. Praise the Lord. And as expected, Trump is the winner. He came through with over 50% of the votes. Here he is during his victory speech last night.
[clip of Donald Trump] Well, I want to thank everybody. This has been some period of time. And most importantly, we want to thank the great people of Iowa. Thank you. We love you all.
Tre’vell Anderson: Oh my God.
Josie Duffy Rice: Really could have done without [laughter] ever hearing that again. [laughter] [gasp]
Tre’vell Anderson: Fine fine fine.
Josie Duffy Rice: Oh man.
Tre’vell Anderson: The interesting thing here, though, is Trump’s victory was called so early that some caucus goers got a push notification on their phones that he had won Iowa before they had even cast their vote. Okay, that’s how wide of a lead that he had. But let’s be honest, the real reason we were all tuned in was the race for second and third place, aka the participation awards. And Ron DeSantis took second with just over 20% of the vote and barely eked ahead of Nikki Haley, who came in third. And after Vivek Ramaswamy finished in fourth place, he called it quits just minutes after the polls closed, suspended his campaign and you guessed it, endorsed Trump.
Josie Duffy Rice: And remember, Iowa is basically the Arctic Circle right now. It was the coldest Iowa caucus ever. Turnout was in the dumps, as they say, and a lot of caucus sites were giving Dean Phillips New Hampshire campaign event where not a single voter showed up. In one precinct in Cedar Rapids there were 225 voters in 2016. At that same site last night, only about 30 people were there 20 minutes before the start.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes.
Josie Duffy Rice: According to the New York Times. Our producer, Leo, had more people at his cat’s birthday party than that so not a great sign for the caucuses. Or maybe a great sign for Leo’s cat. Who knows? One or the other.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, I’m not going to comment on somebody having a birthday party for a cat. [laughter] I’m just going to keep reading and say that even though all of this feels really irrelevant. Okay. There are still bigger picture ideas that we got from the caucuses last night. Trump got the expected big win, but if Democrats can learn anything, what can they lean into about the fracturing within the GOP? Joining us to break this down a bit more is Eugene Scott. He’s a senior politics reporter for Axios. Eugene, thank you for joining us.
Eugene Scott: Thanks for having me.
Josie Duffy Rice: All right, Eugene, most importantly, what were you drinking while watching the caucuses? Was it hot tea? [laughter] Was it an espresso shot? Another kind of shot? How do you make it through negative bazillion degree weather?
Eugene Scott: I’m pretty boring. It’s just seltzer. Just lime seltzer.
Josie Duffy Rice: Was it warm seltzer?
Eugene Scott: No. I wish. I would love a hot toddy right now.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. We’ll send you one. It won’t get there for a while, but um.
Eugene Scott: Please.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely okay so obviously Trump was the landslide winner here, but with roughly 20% of Iowa voters going with DeSantis and another 20 or so going for Haley, what does this say to you about GOP voters right now?
Eugene Scott: It’s a reminder that the base of the GOP is perhaps as far right as people outside of it have warned and, uh, believed. We know that the two individuals who have put forward the most arguably unwinsome argument when it comes to independent voters are doing the best with voters who are identify as Republican right now. Nikki Haley has, uh, really based her campaign on trying to be the most winsome candidate for independents. And that’s not who voted this year in the Iowa caucus.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. I mean, related to that, let’s talk a little bit about last night’s turnout. So how did the weather affect those numbers, and what do you attribute to the turnout that we saw last night?
Eugene Scott: Well, I certainly think the weather affected the numbers, but it’s also possible we don’t know for sure that some people set out just because it was very clear very early on that Donald Trump was going to win. And so if you were a Haley supporter and you were facing snow at some point, you probably asked yourself, is it really worth me stepping outside to make my voice heard? And, you know, obviously more than 20,000 people say yes, but it’s possible that some said no. And it’ll be interesting when we have, uh, you know, do a final autopsy, should I say, on why these numbers were so much lower than they were the last time there was a competitive GOP Iowa caucus.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So, weather aside, I want to kind of do, you know, let’s put our Democratic strategist hats on. How do you look at Iowa and think about where to go from here? If you are a Democratic strategist and you’re looking at these numbers and how things have shaken out.
Eugene Scott: Democrats for a while have recognized that Iowa isn’t what the rest of the country is. That’s why there was such a push, I think, perhaps from Biden to move South Carolina up.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Eugene Scott: I’ve been on the ground in Iowa, uh, during past presidential elections and, you know, very nice, kind people. But it is not what America looks like. Uh, and so this is, I think, why so many Democrats are saying, you know, Iowa is not to be ignored, but this is not the place you want to look when you want to make a decision about who should be the leader of an increasingly diversifying country.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm. And finally, Eugene, do you have any words of reassurance or the opposite of reassurance that Iowa is not going to dictate the rest of the primaries? I mean, you just made the point that it doesn’t actually reflect what America actually looks like. But to everybody who sort of thinks this is the ultimate bellwether, what do you expect to see in the next couple of months?
Eugene Scott: A long time ago, I covered the presidential campaigns of Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, and they both won Iowa. [laughter]
Josie Duffy Rice: I had forgotten that they both won Iowa. Wow.
Eugene Scott: They won Iowa. You know, and I think we get excited about Iowa sometimes because, you know, Obama won Iowa. And that was a big turning point for him. But, you know, I mean, Trump didn’t even win Iowa in 2016, and Ted Cruz won, I believe. So it’s this place that matters. Uh, but it is not always definitive. I would not encourage some people to look at this race who haven’t done well tonight and determine that, you know, they are the exception. This is where the GOP is right now.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm.
Eugene Scott: We should expect Donald Trump to be the nominee.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Eugene Scott, senior politics reporter for Axios. Thanks so much for joining us.
Eugene Scott: Thanks for having me.
Tre’vell Anderson: That was Eugene Scott. He’s a senior politics reporter for Axios. And now that Iowa’s done, New Hampshire is up next on January 23rd. Obviously, we will have you all covered on that chaos as well. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from the hospital yesterday after spending two weeks there for complications from surgery for prostate cancer. You will remember that he was hospitalized on New Year’s Day, but didn’t notify the White House about it for several days, and officials didn’t learn about his cancer diagnosis until last Tuesday. The Defense Department said in a statement that Secretary Austin will work remotely as he recovers and will return to the Pentagon full time. And his doctor said that the secretary, quote, “progressed well throughout his stay and his strength is rebounding.” President Joe Biden said that Secretary Austin had a lapse in judgment when he failed to notify him about his hospitalization, but he continues to have confidence in him. The Secretary’s secrecy around the whole thing sparked so much criticism and scrutiny, rightfully so I’d add, and also prompted the White House chief of staff to order cabinet members to give notification if they might not be able to perform their duties, which I thought was something that we all already knew to do. Like I got to do it at my job. Do you have to do that at your job, Josie?
Josie Duffy Rice: I feel like you have to tell people when you can’t do your job. I thought that was just something we all–
Tre’vell Anderson: You know?
Josie Duffy Rice: –we were all on the same page about. But, you know, I learn something new every day.
Tre’vell Anderson: Who knew?
Josie Duffy Rice: Who knew? Turning to immigration, the Biden administration sent a cease and desist letter to Texas officials on Sunday, ordering them to stop blocking Border Patrol agents from the southern border. This comes after a woman and two children tragically drowned in the Rio Grande on Friday, as they were trying to cross the border. U.S. Border Patrol approached the river, asking to be let through in hopes of saving the migrants, but Texas officials refused and physically block them from entering. The Mexican government recovered the migrants bodies the next morning. Just unbelievably tragic. The Biden administration cease and desist letter condemned Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other state officials for the incident, demanding that federal agents be given full access to the border moving forward. White House spokesperson Angelo Fernandez Hernandez told reporters on Sunday, quote, “while we continue to gather facts about the circumstances of these tragic deaths, one thing is clear. Governor Abbott’s political stunts are cruel, inhumane and dangerous.” It’s pretty bad if Border Patrol is doing the most humane thing in the situation.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Huh yai yai. Now to an update on the Boeing 737 Max nine aircraft following the incident earlier this month when a door panel blew off of an Alaska Airlines plane mid-flight. Boeing said yesterday that it plans to add more quality inspections of Max nines at its own factory and at its supplier, Spirit AeroSystems. That’s the company that makes and installs door plugs like the one that was involved in the mid-flight incident. Both Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems will also open their facilities to airlines that use 737s to allow them to conduct their own inspections. And Boeing will also send a team to Spirit AeroSystems to inspect and approve the installation of door plugs before fuselages are sent to Boeing. In a memo sent to employees yesterday. The president and CEO of Boeing’s commercial plane unit, Stan Deal, said, quote, “we are taking immediate actions to bolster quality assurance and controls across our factories.” Deal also said that Boeing is cooperating with the government’s investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident. Meanwhile, the FAA said yesterday that it’s investigating the collision of two Boeing planes Sunday evening at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The ground collision happened when one aircraft taxiing for takeoff clipped another plane and thankfully no injuries were reported.
Josie Duffy Rice: And now to a quick update on the cold weather across the country. The U.S. experienced another day of wind chills and cold temperatures yesterday. And as we mentioned earlier, yesterday’s Iowa caucuses were the coldest ever, with widespread wind chills and temperatures below zero across the Hawkeye State. A meteorologist with the National Weather Service told The Associated Press that about 150 million people across the country were under a wind chill warning or advisory due to the cold and wind. Meanwhile, around 150,000 homes and businesses in the U.S. were without power yesterday. And according to NBC news, there have been at least seven weather related deaths since Friday.
Tre’vell Anderson: And we are back, back, back again with some awards show news, starting with last night’s Primetime Emmy Awards as we went to record on Monday night. The Bear won big in the comedy categories, with Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edibiri winning their first ever Emmys for Best Lead Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. And the icon herself, Quinta Brunson, the star and creator of Abbott Elementary, won Best lead actress in a comedy, becoming the first Black woman in 42 years to win the award.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that’s a long time.
Tre’vell Anderson: Quinta is the second Black woman overall and the first Black woman okay, just to let you all know is Isabel Sanford for The Jeffersons in 1981. Take a listen to Quinta’s acceptance speech.
[clip of Quinta Brunson] I am so happy to be able to live my dream and act out comedy. I say it every time, but I just love comedy so much that I am so happy to be able to get this.
Tre’vell Anderson: GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis also took the stage to accept the Governor’s Award on behalf of the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, and in her speech, she spoke of the big strides that have been made for LGBTQ+ representation in entertainment in the past year and beyond, as well as the need for more trans characters on screen amid the legislative assault on trans rights in this country. And meanwhile, the Critics Choice Awards were on Sunday night, where we saw a lot of the same trends we’ve seen so far throughout awards season. Oppenheimer dominated the overall film categories with a whopping eight trophies, while Barbie was close behind with six. And then in the overall TV categories, the Bear and Beef took home four awards each. Succession was close behind with three, and there was some variety when it came to the acting awards that were handed out. Emma Stone was crowned Best Actress for her performance in Poor Things, while Paul Giammati won Best Actor for his role in The Holdovers. Also shout out to Jonathan Bailey, who was recognized for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited series for his role in Fellow Travelers. It’s a great show that I feel like a lot of people haven’t seen. We haven’t heard folks talking about it. Josie, you need to add it to your viewing list. It’s really good and also kind of spicy.
Josie Duffy Rice: Look, every time the Emmys come on, I have to add a lot more to my list, [laughter] and I feel like I watch a lot of stuff, but I’m gonna put this at number one. If you endorse it, I’m ready.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, it’s really good. Also, producer Raven also endorses this show.
Josie Duffy Rice: Oh that’s big.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s huge. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Huge.
Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, who wants to be a trillionaire and tell your friends to listen.
Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just the growing list of Emmy winning shows I need to watch and don’t have time to like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter, so check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[spoken together] And on to New Hampshire. [pause] [music break] [laugh]
Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t have any jokes. I’d like to wrap this up but we’re at the beginning. I got nothing.
Tre’vell Anderson: That was so funny. [laugh] [music break] What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.