12:30 Report — Biden’s increasing Gaza headache

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

12:30 Report — Biden’s increasing Gaza headache


12:30 REPORT

It’s a soggy Wednesday in Washington, D.C., and if you’re on the East Coast, today will be particularly wet and stormy. Here’s what’s in today’s edition:

A Palestinian American doctor stood up and walked out on President Biden during their meeting on the war in Gaza.
Democrats are worried the Israel-Hamas war has become an increasingly worrisome political problem for Biden. And they may be right.Some House Republicans are trying to rename Dulles after former President Trump. Yeah, I wouldn’t want that airport named after me, either!
Florida cleared the way for a restrictive abortion law — and this is giving Democrats hope to win the state in November.


I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send tips, commentary, feedback and cookie recipes to cmartel@thehill.com.Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.  

💰Getting Traction

That takes some guts to get up and walk out during a meeting with the president:

A Palestinian American doctor, who worked in Gaza in January, said he stood up and walked out during a White House meeting with President Biden Tuesday.


Dr. Thaer Ahmad told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins: “I was able to share that with the president and let him know that out of respect for … all of the people who have suffered and who have been killed in the process, I need to walk out of the meeting. And I want to walk out with decision-makers and let them know what it feels like for somebody to say something and then walk away from them and not hear them out, not hear their response.”


📺 Watch Dr. Thaer Ahmad’s CNN interview

Democrats should worry:

The conditions are worsening in Gaza’s Israel-Hamas war — and The Hill’s Al Weaver and Alex Gangitano report that Democrats are worried it is becoming a big political liability for Biden.


The political pressure: Americans are increasingly disapproving of Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza and congressional Democrats have been ramping up the pressure on Biden.


A recent poll: 55 percent of Americans disapprove of Israel’s military action, according to a March Gallup poll. That’s up 10 percentage points since November.


The warning signs are popping up: “The outrage toward Biden over his handling of the war has been visible through protests following him around the country, and through organized boycotts of him at the ballot box.”


For example: Protesters interrupted two Biden campaign stops last week. And some progressives have organized a movement for angry Democrats to write in “uncommitted” instead of voting for Biden in the primaries.


Read Weaver and Gangitano’s reporting: ‘Democrats fear Israel-Hamas war could cost them in November’


Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by Israel’s strike that killed seven humanitarian aid workers from Chef José Andrés’s nonprofit Monday.


Biden’s statement: “Even more tragically, this is not a stand-alone incident. This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been. This is a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult — because Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians.” Read the full statement

💸 On The Campaign Trail

Ah, this is who paid the cheddar for Trump’s bond:

California billionaire Don Hankey, a supporter of former President Trump, agreed to back the former president’s $175 million bond while he appeals the ruling of the New York civil fraud trial, The Washington Post reports.


What’s the catch?: Hankey’s company is charging Trump a “modest fee” but wouldn’t disclose the details. What we know about the deal


So, now what?: Trump avoided his assets being seized — and growing financial penalties — during the appeal.


After paying the bond, Trump went on a Truth Social tear, slamming the judge and district attorney in the New York civil fraud case.


Excerpt: “The case was a fabricated ELECTION INTERFERENCE con job, so bad for New York, where businesses are fleeing & violent crime is flourishing,” Trump said. “The Crooked Judge, to suit his narrative, valued Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, at $18,000,000, when it is worth 50 to 100 times that amount. He ruled I was guilty before he ever saw the case.”

The November upset that would raise eyebrows:

Democrats have set their sights on Florida as a potential pickup for President Biden. Yes, that state! The one with Ron DeSantis (R) as governor!


Well, The Hill’s Niall Stanage pointed out two seemingly contrasting court decisions that could hint at this Florida blue wave.


The first: The Florida Supreme Court upheld a 15-week abortion ban — and cleared the way for a six-week ban to go into effect in 30 days.


The second: The court will allow Floridians to vote on a ballot measure in November on whether to enshrine abortion rights.


Why both of these contrasting rulings could help Democrats: Restrictive abortion laws are politically unpopular, and this policy area could motivate people to vote for Democrats.


Read Stanage’s column: ‘Democratic hopes rise for a Florida surprise in November’


Trump tops Biden in six of seven of key swing states, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll.


Which states?: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina. Biden is leading in Wisconsin.


Read more: How this could play out in November

✈️ In Congress

I’d be annoyed if people were trying to name the inferior DC airport after me:

A group of House Republicans are trying to rename Washington Dulles International Airport after former President Trump.


Will this actually happen?: Nah. It’s unclear how much traction it will get in the House, but it is dead on arrival in the Senate.

How cold? Say it with me – ICE COLD!:

All right, all right, all right, all right, all right.


Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) did ultimately endorse the former president, but The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports that their relationship is “as icy as ever.”


Most Senate Republicans are supportive of Trump: With five or six notable exceptions.


*cough Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Bill Cassidy (La.) and Todd Young (Ind.) cough*


Do McConnell and Trump ever talk?: Nope, even though some of McConnell’s top deputies have.


🫖 Read the tea: ‘McConnell-Trump relationship icy as ever’

🌏 In Taiwan

The strongest earthquake in decades:

“The strongest earthquake in a quarter-century rocked Taiwan during the morning rush hour Wednesday, killing nine people, stranding dozens of workers at quarries and sending some residents scrambling out the windows of damaged buildings.” (The Associated Press)


Reaction in the U.S.: The White House is on standby to provide aid to Taiwan.


Photos of the aftermath, via NPR

🐝 Internet Buzz

🍫 Celebrate: Today is National Chocolate Mousse Day!


🚽 Yay for more public bathrooms!: Ten high-tech public restrooms will be installed in Washington, D.C., this spring. (Washingtonian)


🤖 I mean, this makes sense: The Wall Street Journal’s Lindsay Ellis reports that “business schools are going all in on AI.”

📅 On The Agenda

The House and Senate are out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C. (all times Eastern)

This morning: Biden delivered remarks on lowering health care costs. 💻Watch
1:30 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre briefs reporters. 💻 Livestream

👋 And Finally…

Because you made it this far, I’ll leave you with some dramatic flamingos.

Stay Engaged

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View past issues of 12:30 Report here and check out other newsletters from The Hill here. See you next time!