Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
King to take the throne?
When Rep. Peter King ran for his 13th term this fall, the whispers were that he would leave Congress after the election and take a job in a new Clinton administration (he has a long friendship with Bill and Hillary). A former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, he had been quite public about his frustrations with the far-right turn of the chamber’s GOP leadership.
King was not an early supporter of Donald Trump, but became a vocal one after the billionaire businessman won the Republican presidential nomination. Now King is being talked about as homeland security adviser in the Trump administration. It’s unclear whether King would accept a position on Trump’s national security team because he has said it is not his role to put his name out there.
And while he is opposed by some conservative/libertarian groups for his support of spying by the National Security Agency, King seems to be right in tune with Team Trump, and the selection of Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director and support for waterboarding. So if the job of homeland security adviser is to hit the talk shows to support torture, King certainly fits that role.
Rep. Kathleen Rice rolled the dice in the House speaker’s race, and even though Rep. Nancy Pelosi won Wednesday morning’s Democratic leadership vote, it’s not clear yet how Rice’s gamble will play out for her.
Elected this month to a second term, Rice was one of the most vocal and earliest supporters of a leadership challenge by Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents a Rust Belt district around Youngstown, Ohio. Pelosi beat Ryan by 134 to 63.
Has Rice lost anything by betting on the wrong horse? She won’t be a Pelosi favorite, for sure. But Pelosi, 76, might not remain in Congress much longer, and Democrats don’t seem to be on track to regain the majority anytime soon.
Rice appears to have positioned herself as a Washington outsider — which might have an upside in the current political climate.
This is only a drill
The chaotic incident at Kennedy Airport in August when passengers panicked and reported an active shooter after a loud celebration of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s Olympic win illustrated what could go wrong when security, law enforcement and airport employees don’t communicate and coordinate.
Now, police, fire and security personnel hope to learn from the episode — by trying again.
Next month, officers and security personnel from across the airport and the city will conduct a “large scale active shooter exercise,” according to a spokesman with the Port Authority. The drill will involve Port Authority police, city police and fire departments, and “other security partners,” which could include Transportation Security Administration and private security personnel. While details of the drill are still being developed, it’s likely that it will be done out of view of the public eye.
In light of a troubling report illustrating how poorly the Aug. 14 incident was handled, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has promised reforms to airport security, including training.
Hence the drill, which, if practice makes perfect, is a good start.
Randi F. Marshall