The Buzz

TheChat: Claire McCaskill stands up for embattled VA secretary


Good morning.

▪ “As I gently reminded Senator Blunt, seems to me that his candidate for president has a penchant for saying things wrong sometimes, and everybody seems to forgive him.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill insisting that VA Secretary Robert McDonald should not be forced to resign for a “stupid” comment when Donald Trump makes them all the time and is regularly forgiven.

McCaskill was talking about Secretary McDonald’s comments comparing veteran health care wait times to lines at Disney theme parks. Blunt has called for McDonald’s resignation. (link via

▪ “Raising campaign funds is for the purpose of running one’s own campaign and not using it as a hedge fund.” — Missouri state Rep. Jay Barnes, a Jefferson City Republican and sponsor of a new state law that requires future lawmakers who become lobbyists to liquidate their campaign funds.

Barnes said he was not speaking specifically about former House Speaker Steve Tilley who has used his former campaign warchest to further his lobbying and political consulting businesses. But he may well have been.

▪ “Your inability to lead — and your Republican allies refusal to do their constitutional duty — has put Kansas on the brink of a constitutional crisis.” — from a joint letter from the Democratic leaders of the Kansas Legislature to Gov. Sam Brownback.

State Sen. Anthony Hensley and state Rep. Tom Burroughs are circulating a petition in an effort to force the Legislature into special session to address school funding. But their efforts are probably for naught. The letter must be signed by two-thirds of the Legislature, which is dominated by Republicans.

▪ “Don’t be so sure the two-party political system continues long term.” — Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican, who says he won’t be voting for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in November.

But Sasse says he might back Libertarian Gary Johnson.