The TAKE with Rick Klein
Can you have a battle for a party if only one side is invited to the fight?
With the GOP divided about its future, the biggest gathering of conservatives in the early days of the Biden presidency gets underway in Orlando, Florida, on Friday as a tribute to all things Donald Trump -- up to and including rehashed and baseless complaints about the election.
Featured speakers include Donald Trump Jr., Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, Govs. Kristi Noem and Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Ambassador Richard Grenell and a wide range of pro-Trump House members and commentators. The former president himself, of course, speaks Sunday, in his first public speech since Jan. 20.
The theme of this year's CPAC is "America Uncanceled," though one speaker who had been booked was himself canceled for his extreme and anti-Semitic views.
But Trump and what he represents don't need to be "uncanceled" if they weren't canceled in the first place. It's hard to call it a comeback if the person and the movement in question never really left.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
President Joe Biden could be closing out the week having achieved two milestones -- his first presidential trip to a disaster area and seeing the outcome of the initial steps in his administration's first major policy push.
In Texas, the president is expected to spend most of his visit surveying damage with Gov. Greg Abbott. The White House insists the trip is happening for humanitarian reasons, but the optics of the president appearing alongside a Republican governor in a state Biden lost but that his party hopes to flip won't be devoid of politics.
On the ground, the president's plans also include a visit to one of the nation's first federal vaccination centers, located in Houston.
"This is an example of the kind of partnership between federal, state and local governments and public and private partners that's going to get this job done," Biden touted in the lead up to his trip.
Still, the bipartisan outreach has its limits. On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki sidestepped a question about whether either of the state's GOP senators would travel with the president on Air Force One, telling reporters, "there are some limitations on space available" and that she didn't believe members of any party were joining his flight. She also did not indicate any plans for Sens. John Cornyn or Cruz to participate in events surrounding the visit.
The theme of bipartisanship -- or lack thereof -- will likely continue back in Washington, when the House votes on his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under siege.
The FBI is investigating his coronavirus task force over its early handling of nursing home deaths. His administration is also defending itself against accusations that its actions exacerbated the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes at the onset of the pandemic. Some state lawmakers in his own party are pushing to strip his sweeping emergency powers during the pandemic amid the fallout. And his political foes are calling for investigations into resurfaced accusations of sexual harassment that he has denied.
Cuomo finds himself in far different environment than just a few months ago, when his leadership in the health crisis was lauded, his daily briefings brought a sense of calm to an unnerved nation and his demeanor was thought to be well-suited for New York. Now, the possibility of impeachment is being raised -- although the threat is just that at this stage, with little support in the legislature for a severe action.
He is now set to be grilled at his regular briefing, as the backlash unfolding before him becomes increasingly untenable, particularly when he's eyeing a fourth term in 2022.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, who tells us why the Biden administration carried out a military airstrike in Syria Thursday night. ABC News Political Director Rick Klein tells us about the fractures on display in the GOP as Conservative Political Action Conference begins. And ABC News' Sasha Pezenik explains what we're learning about COVID "long haulers." http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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