Ron Elving

Ron Elving is Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News, where he is frequently heard as a news analyst and writes regularly for NPR.org.

He is also a professorial lecturer and Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University, where he has also taught in the School of Communication. In 2016, he was honored with the University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown.

He was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He has been published by the Brookings Institution and the American Political Science Association. He has contributed chapters on Obama and the media and on the media role in Congress to the academic studies Obama in Office 2011, and Rivals for Power, 2013. Ron's earlier book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster and is also a Touchstone paperback.

During his tenure as manager of NPR's Washington desk from 1999 to 2014, the desk's reporters were awarded every major recognition available in radio journalism, including the Dirksen Award for Congressional Reporting and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."

Ron came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, he had been state capital bureau chief for The Milwaukee Journal.

He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California – Berkeley.

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When President Trump and his family were in Pittsburgh yesterday, they placed stones at a memorial for the victims of the synagogue shooting. The president made no public remarks though he did later post a tweet.

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We're going to turn now to NPR's Ron Elving. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

We are about to have a national conversation about the word nationalist.

A word in more or less everyone's vocabulary has suddenly become a flashpoint because, well, because it was claimed by President Trump during a stump speech in Texas on Monday. That alone means people are likely to argue about it.

In a year of news tsunamis, this past week surpassed most. So you may not have noticed the quiet departure of a key player in President Trump's White House.

Donald McGahn II, the White House counsel, vacated his West Wing office without a news conference or a public send-off. But as counsel to the Trump campaign in 2016, general counsel for the transition and the only White House counsel since, the 50-year-old Washington insider has been integral to some historic proceedings.

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Imagine if President Trump, on the weekend after the upcoming midterm elections, suddenly forced out Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller.

For the record, that would be the removal of the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

And imagine Trump also shut down the offices occupied by Mueller's team of prosecutors — lock, stock and barrel.

Just like that.

Impossible, you say? Unprecedented? In fact, it is neither.

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And while the hurricane raged in Florida, President Trump invited Hurricane Kanye into the Oval Office and dealt with the vicissitudes of the stock market. NPR's Ron Elving joins us from Washington, D.C. Ron, thanks for being with us.

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President Trump's choice of Brett Kavanaugh is already the most contentious nomination to the Supreme Court since Clarence Thomas won a 52-48 confirmation vote in 1991.

Thomas' was the closest vote confirming a justice since the 1800s, and it followed a stormy hearing and an adverse vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The process nearly foundered on accusations of sexual harassment and racial prejudice.

But the Senate in that day settled down, and Thomas has served on the court for 27 years – a nearly always silent anchor on the court's right.

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Ron Elving joins us, NPR's senior Washington editor.

Thanks so much, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh may take a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court as early as next week, but only after shattering a rule about the confirmation process that had been set in stone for decades.

It was the rule that said you stood by your judicial record but held on tight to your judicial temperament. It was understood you had a party affiliation, but it shouldn't be worn on your sleeve. And above all, you were not to antagonize anyone.

You could call this the latest in a list of Capitol Hill norms to be lost in the era of President Trump.

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