* Given how he’s turned on Trump, this could be interesting to watch:
Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the longest-serving Senate Republican, announced on Tuesday he will retire at the end of the year, rebuffing the pleas of President Trump to seek an eighth term and paving the way for Mitt Romney, a critic of Mr. Trump’s, to run for the seat…
Mr. Romney repeatedly assailed the president during the 2016 campaign, calling Mr. Trump “a fraud,” and Mr. Trump returned the favor, stating that Mr. Romney “choked like a dog” in the 2012 race. The two had something of a rapprochement after the election when Mr. Romney was briefly considered as secretary of state, but White House advisers are uneasy about having such a well-known critic in the Senate.
* In case you missed it, here’s what happened on the eve of the special election in Alabama.
Kayla Moore, wife of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, accuses media of painting couple as anti-Semitic. pic.twitter.com/Vcczj6pNPv
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 12, 2017
The Jewish attorney who Roy Moore’s wife touted employing in an attempt to fight off claims of anti-Semitism is actually a longtime friend and supporter of Senator-elect Doug Jones, who defeated Moore last month.
Richard Jaffe is an Alabama defense attorney hired by the Moores to defend their son, Caleb Moore, against drug charges in 2016.
Jaffe told the Washington Examiner he has been close personal friends with Doug Jones for more than 30 years and he both contributed to, and raised money for, his campaign.
“There could not be a more passionate supporter of Doug than me!” Jaffe said.
* Speaking of Doug Jones, the junior senator from the state of Alabama has done something interesting.
Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D-Ala.) has hired former transportation official and congressional aide Dana Gresham as his new chief of staff.
Jones will be the only Senate Democrat to have an African-American chief of staff once Gresham comes on board. Two Senate Republicans, Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Jerry Moran of Kansas, have black chiefs of staff.
* Evan Osnos has an important long read in the New Yorker titled, “Making China Great Again: As Donald Trump Surrenders America’s Global Commitments, Xi Jinping Is Learning to Pick Up the Pieces.”
China has never seen such a moment, when its pursuit of a larger role in the world coincides with America’s pursuit of a smaller one. Ever since the Second World War, the United States has advocated an international order based on a free press and judiciary, human rights, free trade, and protection of the environment. It planted those ideas in the rebuilding of Germany and Japan, and spread them with alliances around the world. In March, 1959, President Eisenhower argued that America’s authority could not rest on military power alone. “We could be the wealthiest and the most mighty nation and still lose the battle of the world if we do not help our world neighbors protect their freedom and advance their social and economic progress,” he said. “It is not the goal of the American people that the United States should be the richest nation in the graveyard of history.”…
For years, China’s leaders predicted that a time would come—perhaps midway through this century—when it could project its own values abroad. In the age of “America First,” that time has come far sooner than expected.
* It is about time to sum things up, so here ya go:
* Trump has weighed in several times on twitter about the protests in Iran.
I thought I’d fix that for him.
Many reports of peaceful protests by U.S. citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. U.S. govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #Resistance https://t.co/ifjkCzCwFU
— Nancy LeTourneau (@Smartypants60) December 30, 2017
Or as Tommy Vietor summarized:
* Finally, with all of that, I’d say it’s time for a little Marvin.