Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) shared screenshots of a Senate video call with Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, despite being told not to do so due to concerns about the Ukrainian president’s safety.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Mont.) criticized his fellow lawmakers after the call ended, tweeting that the “Ukrainian ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the Zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy.” (Multiple congressional aides confirmed the directive to NBC News.)
“Appalling and reckless ignorance by two US Senators,” Phillips added.
The Ukrainian Ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy. Appalling and reckless ignorance by two US Senators. https://t.co/geolhKxbLp— Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) March 5, 2022
More than 280 senators, House members, and staff, were dialed into the meeting with the Ukrainian president. Topics of discussion included a possible no-fly zone above Ukraine; economic, humanitarian, and security assistance to Ukrainians; and sanctions on Russia; and more.
Rep. Jim Hines (D-Conn.) tweeted after the call that Zelenskyy “is standing strong, but pleaded for more help. Planes, oil embargo, continued military aid.” Hines also included an image of the call, but noted that “we were asked to not post during the zoom” and that his post came “well afterwards.” Rubio and Daines both posted images while the call was still in progress.
Zelensky has been the target of assassination attempts since Russia invaded Ukraine late last month. Zelensky has confined himself indoors recently, as was the case during his Saturday Zoom call with U.S. legislators.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) joined Phillips in condemning Rubio and Daines. “The lack of discipline in Congress is truly astounding,” he tweeted. “If an embattled wartime leader asks you to keep quiet about a meeting, you better keep quiet about the meeting.”
“I’m not saying a damn thing,” Crow added. “Lives are at stake.”
Ella Mai Performs Sultry Medley of ‘DFMU,’ ‘Leave You Alone’ on ‘Fallon’
Ella Mai brought her unique brand of throwback R&B to The Tonight Show Tuesday, performing a medley of single “DFMU” and “Leave You Alone.” Both songs appear on the British singer’s latest studio album, Heart on My Sleeve, which dropped earlier this month.
“DFMU” — which stands for “don’t fuck me up” — marks Mai’s first single since 2020’s “Not Another Love Song.” The song finds Mai pleading with a would-be lover, asking them to reveal their true feelings. “You got me questionin’, what have you done to me?,” she sings. “Used to be out of reach/Feel like you’re testin’ me, you’re the necessity/Full court press on me.”
Mai received her third Grammy Award nomination in 2020, with her self-titled studio LP competing for Best R&B Album. Her debut single, “Boo’d Up,” netted the singer a Grammy win for Best R&B Song in 2019. The track was also nominated for Song of the Year.
“R&B is not dead,” the singer told Rolling Stone in a 2018 interview. “We can make it mainstream again. Clearly, people love it.”
Madison Cawthorn Concedes Amid Orgy of Scandals
Madison Cawthorn has lost the Republican primary to represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, all but ensuring the 26-year-old’s career in the House of Representatives is over after two erratic years riddled with controversy.
Cawthorn conceded the race to State Sen. Chuck Edwards on Tuesday night. The Associated Press confirmed later that Edwards did indeed win, and did indeed clear the 30-percent threshold the state requires to avoid a runoff. Cawthorn took advantage of the runoff format during his successful 2020 campaign after having nabbed second place in the first round of voting by a slim margin. He won’t get the chance this year.
The race to replace Cawthorn was a crowded one, but Edwards was the only candidate with a real shot. His campaign was funded in part by North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who turned on Cawthorn, as did many of the incumbent’s colleagues in Congress. Despite the opposition of the establishment, a poll from late April showed Cawthorn leading Edwards 38 percent to 21 percent, with 21 percent undecided and the rest of the candidates hovering in the low single digits. But as Cawthorn is well aware, a lot can happen in a few weeks.
Cawthorn’s defeat comes as he struggles to contend with a series of scandals, and as his fitness for office is questioned across the political spectrum. In March, he was caught driving with a revoked license for a second time. The same month, he made claims of congressional orgies and cocaine use, only to reportedly walk back the comments during a meeting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. In April, records revealed he spent an exorbitant amount of taxpayer money on food and lodging for his staff. A few weeks later he was caught trying to bring a loaded gun through airport security. He was implicated in an insider trading scheme around the same time. Days later The Daily Beast reported that he may have violated House rules by overpaying his chief of staff.
Accompanying the string of bad headlines have been a series of leaked images and video of Cawthorn. There were photos of him dressed up in lingerie on a cruise. There were videos that were a little more sexually suggestive. The provenance of the dumps is unclear, but it appears to have been a coordinated effort to smear Cawthorn ahead of the primary, at least in part in retaliation over his Washington GOP coke-orgy claims. It certainly got the attention of former President Trump. Rolling Stone reported earlier this month that Trump was “completely weirded out” by Cawthorn’s antics, and that he wondered if he was “fucking his cousin.” (Cawthorn has not been accused of fucking his cousin.)
Nevertheless, Trump ultimately reiterated his support for Cawthorn — after weeks of calculated public silence on the matter — in a statement released Monday, writing that though he’s made some “foolish mistakes,” he should get a “second chance.”
But if the seemingly tepid nature of Trump’s late-in-the-game statement didn’t make it clear enough, behind the scenes the former president and current leader of the Republican Party kept on questioning if his young MAGA apprentice had it in him to win. According to a source with direct knowledge of the matter, Trump was even privately voicing his doubts about the likelihood of Cawthorn’s primary victory — less than a week before issuing that statement — and asked if Cawthorn was ever truly “ready for the big leagues,” as this source paraphrased.
It isn’t hard to discern why Trump held firm on the scandal-ridden freshman lawmaker. Cawthorn began his time in office with promises of calling out Trump when necessary, but he quickly warped himself into a MAGA loyalist. Rolling Stone reported last fall that he was one of several lawmakers whose staff or who themselves participated in the planning of the rally that preceded the riot at the Capitol last Jan. 6. A group of lawyers even brought a lawsuit attempting to disqualify Cawthorn from office for his alleged role in the insurrection, to no avail.
Trump likely knew that as long as Cawthorn is in office, he’d have one less lawmaker to worry about should he try to strong-arm his way back into the White House in 2024. It might not make much difference if and when Edwards wins the safely Republican district in November. The soon-to-be newly elected House member has touted himself as an “outsider,” promoted any connection to Trump he can find, and, yes, railed about election integrity.
William Vaillancourt contributed to this report.
Grimes Auctioning Off Her Met Gala Accessories to Support BIPOC Families in Ukraine
Elon Musk & Grimes Welcome Baby No. 2
Couture for a cause.
Grimes is doing her part to support the Black, Indigenous and people of color of Ukraine by auctioning off some of her most memorable fashion accessories.
“I’m auctioning stuff from my Met gala look last year to raise money to help get BIPOC families out of Ukraine since they’re having trouble exiting at the border,” she shared in an Instagram post on May 16, adding that the auction on display at Los Angeles’ HVW8 Gallery includes “the works of 50 distinguished artists who aim to support Emergency Response & BIPOC families in and out of Ukraine.”
Explaining that each piece in the auction “offers a unique interpretation of the theme ‘resistance,'” Grimes donated a whimsical pair of earcuffs, designed by Romantic Elf Jewelry, and chrome CHRISHABANA x Dune Harkonnen face mask.
The experimental musician wore the pieces to the 2021 Met Gala back in September, along with a sheer Iris Van Herpen gown, for the event’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” theme. Her look—which was inspired by the 1984 cult classic Dune (and subsequent 2021 remake) based on Frank Herbert’s novel—also included a replica Medieval sword repurposed from an Colt AR-15A3. The weapon, however, is not up for auction, as its “a permanent piece” of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection.
All proceeds from the auction will go to non-profit organizations Diaspora Relief and Razom for Ukraine, which will use the funds to provide food, shelter, and evacuation support to those in need, the “Genesis” singer explained. Bidding is open exclusively on Artsy and will start closing on May 26.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Grimes, 34—who shares two children with ex Elon Musk—is just one of many celebs who has made efforts to help Ukraine amid Russia’s recent invasion. In March, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis shared a video to Instagram to announce that they have achieved their goal of raising $30 million to help the European country.
“Over 65,000 of you donated,” shared Mila, who moved from Ukraine to the United States in 1991. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support. While this is far from a solve of the problem, our collective effort will provide a softer landing for so many people as they forge ahead into their future of uncertainty.”
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