What We’re Following Today
It’s Monday, February 4.
President Donald Trump has nominated acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to lead the department. Bernhardt, an ex–oil lobbyist, will replace Ryan Zinke, who stepped down from the role in December following a year of scandals.
Speaking of Nominations: Trump told The Wall Street Journal over the weekend that he prefers to have acting Cabinet secretaries rather than permanent ones because “it gives me flexibility.” But no matter how much Trump likes flexibility, the Constitution doesn’t, argues David A. Graham.
Testing His Staying Power: Democrats are still urging Governor Ralph Northam to resign after a blog surfaced a photo of two people dressed in blackface and Ku Klux Klan robes in his medical-school yearbook. Northam, despite initially issuing an apology for the photo, now denies appearing in it but reportedly met with aides over the weekend to discuss the possibility of stepping down. If he does, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax would take over for the rest of Northam’s term. Fairfax, though, is now facing some serious allegations of his own.
Trump’s Greatest Opponent: In the first month after recapturing the speaker’s gavel, Nancy Pelosi has emerged not only as the highest-ranking woman in the history of the republic, but also as the leader best able to frustrate and outfox Donald Trump, writes Todd S. Purdum. “Trump’s a silly man, and she knows it,” says one admirer. “He’s not going to be a problem for her.”