Good morning! We hope you had a nice weekend. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Don’t miss the best of Insider’s political coverage! Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The biggest bombshells Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dropped in their Oprah interview.
- These 10 power players are helping shape police reform behind the scenes.
- Biden says Americans should start receiving stimulus checks by the end of the month.
1. STUNNING ACCUSATIONS ABOUT THE ROYAL FAMILY: Meghan Markle said members of the royal family expressed “concerns” to Prince Harry about “how dark” their son’s skin would be before he was born. Oprah Winfrey, who interviewed the couple, appeared stunned by the accusation. Harry refused to give any more details.
Markle said she contemplated suicide amid negative stories: “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” the Duchess of Sussex said. She added that she asked an unnamed, senior royal staff member about seeking treatment, but was turned away. Markle said this was her breaking point.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available for those in crisis or looking to help someone else at 1-800-273-8255.
Harry said his father briefly stopped taking his calls: Harry said Prince Charles stopped speaking to him after the couple decided to step back as senior members of the royal family. Both said their decision to step back was due to the palace’s lack of support.
Markle said she was silenced: She was told to respond “no comment” to any gossip or tabloid story regardless of its accuracy. Markle said she later regretted believing the monarchy “when they said I would be protected.”
- One example: Markle said a tabloid report that she made Middleton cry over flower girl dresses is untrue. Instead, she said her future sister-in-law made her cry during the week of her wedding to Harry. She said Middleton later “owned it, and she apologized, and she brought me flowers and a note apologizing.”
Initial press coverage: The couple said the royal family’s failure to denounce the tabloids’ racist and sexist coverage of them featured prominently in their decision to step back as royals.
Note: The palace has not yet responded to the interview, which is scheduled to air in the UK tonight.
2. House set for Tuesday vote on $1.9 trillion relief plan: President Biden’s stimulus package is nearing the finish line. The Senate made some changes to the legislation when it passed it entirely without any GOP support on Saturday. The debate over the bill included a nearly-12-hour vote, which shattered the modern record. The rush is on as some aid will expire March 14. Biden said Americans will start receiving their $1,400 checks this month.
- Potentially historic change in the legislation: “More than 93% of children — 69 million — would receive benefits under the plan, at a one-year cost of more than $100 billion,” The New York Times reported of a temporary child benefit in the law that Democrats want to make permanent. If passed, it would signal a watershed moment for how America supports poor and middle-class families.
- What else is in the bill?: Our exclusive report has the top 11 things you need to know about the historically large legislation.
3. The 10 people shaping the debate over policing: Police reform is becoming one of the key challenges the Biden administration takes on. Behind the scenes, lawmakers like Democratic Rep. Karen Bass and Republican Sen. Tim Scott, to activists like Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, are shaping the fight. Check out the rest of Insider’s exclusive list.
4. Top NY Democrat calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down: Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a fellow Democrat and the majority leader of the New York State Senate, called on Cuomo to resign, saying “we need to govern without daily distraction.” Cuomo said resigning would be “anti-democratic” even though he has called for others’ ouster in the past. Five women have now accused the governor of inappropriate behavior.
5. Jury selection in Derek Chauvin’s trial begins today: The former Minneapolis officer is charged with second-degree murder over George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020. Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. The Associated Press has more on the trial and what to expect.
6. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 11:00 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top officials hold a White House press briefing.
- 11:30 a.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House daily news briefing with leaders of the new Gender Policy Council.
- 4:20 p.m.: Biden, Vice President Harris, Defense Secretary Austin speak on International Women’s Day.
7. US proposes power-sharing government with the Taliban: The Biden administration proposed an interim agreement between the Taliban and Afghan leaders ahead of a May 1 deadline for a possible withdrawal of US troops, The Washington Post reported. Biden promised to cease “endless wars” on the campaign trail, but withdrawing the remaining 2,500 troops could hand the Taliban key victories.
8. Trump vows to travel 5,000 miles to Alaska to campaign against Lisa Murkowski: The former president told Politico he will campaign against the GOP senator’s reelection campaign next year after she repeatedly turned against him, including voting to convict him of inciting the Capitol riot. But his efforts may not matter since Alaska no longer has party primaries.
- Meanwhile, Pence’s team debates his return: The former VP’s advisors and aides say he will campaign for Republicans ahead of next year’s midterms. Read our exclusive report on how some Republicans say he faces a steeper climb to the White House now.
9. Top disease expert warns against letting our guard down: Dr. Michael Osterholm said the US is in the “eye of the hurricane” in the fight against COVID-19. He stressed that while cases are going down and vaccinations are accelerating, the potential spread of a variant first found in the UK is a cause for concern.
10. Meet Afghanistan’s fearless Gen Z influencers: “Mixing traditional and streetwear styles, they blast Travis Scott, Rihanna, Nina Simone, and Afghan musicians like Ahmad Zahir. They post selfies in front of Kabul’s graffiti walls and carefully timed videos … Put simply, they’re young, gifted and Afghan.“
One last thing.
Today’s trivia question: Today is International Women’s Day. What US political party is credited with starting the global holiday? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Friday’s answer: History happen(s) in New York. The US Senate first met there in 1789. Members returned to Federal Hall for a special ceremonial session after 9/11.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.