Quick Takes: Reverend Wright and Carpool Karaoke

* It’s been a bad day for Republicans trying to figure out how to position themselves in relation to Donald Trump and his unhinged racist rants. The one person we didn’t hear much from was the candidate himself…until about an hour ago when he released a 700 word statement about the whole Trump U/Judge Curiel controversy. You can go read it for yourself. I just have two thoughts: (1) Trump is obviously feeling the heat (which is a good thing) and (2) he certainly didn’t write this statement himself. So one has to wonder who did. Paul Manafort would be my guess.

* Here’s a tweet that pretty well sums up the mess Republicans have brought on themselves with Trump.

* Now…for some more positive news:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged on Tuesday to try to ratify the Paris climate change pact this year, a big boost for President Barack Obama’s effort to bring the agreement into effect before he leaves office…

Modi’s promise to work with his Cabinet to green-light the climate agreement greatly increases the likelihood that the deal will reach the threshold required to enter into force this year, which would make it more difficult for a future U.S. administration to formally renege on its participation.

* Round one with a few dozen more to go, but it’s still worth noting.

A key Senate panel on Tuesday advanced its first bipartisan health spending bill since 2009, averting partisan disputes that have typically doomed its appropriations process from the start.

The $162 billion bill was approved Tuesday by the Senate Appropriation Committee’s labor, health and human services subcommittee and now heads to the full committee on Thursday…

The bill includes a substantial funding boost to federal research, precision medicine and anti-opioid programs. It grants or exceeds many of the funding requests from President Obama, while steering clear of a fight on ObamaCare.

The spending bill is the result of bipartisan negotiations between subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Patty Murray is one of those workhorses in the Senate who consistently gets stuff done without nearly enough credit.

* The one Senator who has endorsed Bernie Sanders – Jeff Merkley – had this to say today:

We have to be unified to take on Trump. And that unity is going to begin today as soon as the polls close.

* Finally, the Tony Awards are going to be presented this Sunday and apparently James Corden will host the show. So of course there had to be a special Carpool Karaoke – which is hilarious!

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.