Haitian gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier with G-9 federation gang members in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

TGIF: I Serve at the Pleasure of Barbecue

The ACLU gets uncivil. Biden goes rogue and Shaun King goes Muslim. Trump flip-flops on TikTok. Elon Musk and Don Lemon go kaput. And much more.

Welcome back. Are you around Dallas and want to hang out with Free Pressers at our immigration debate? (Yes, there’s an after-party this time and Bar’s favorite drink is a Negroni.) And have you preordered my book so that I can complain about how the New York Times bestseller list is biased? You think I don’t deserve that? Order and then join me for the news. 

→ Biden is very sorry for saying illegal but also not sorry in the slightest: After his successful State of the Union, Biden had some apologies to make to the base. He had sounded too normal for them. See, when Marjorie Taylor Greene heckled him to “say her name” during the address, he did: “I know how to say her name. Lincoln—Lincoln Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal.” This upset his party. Not because he got the victim’s name wrong (it’s Laken Riley), but because of the word he used to describe her suspected killer. So Biden went on MSNBC to express his apologies. “An undocumented person. I shouldn’t have used illegal. I should have used undocumented.” The interviewer prompts further: “So you regret using that word?” Biden: “Yes.” Now that’s mildly funny but what makes it good is that then there was backlash to the apology, so now there’s a whole news cycle about how The President Did Not Apologize. Weird you’d even suggest it. 

Here’s principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton: “I want to be really clear about something: the president absolutely did not apologize. There was no apology anywhere in that conversation. He did not apologize. He used a different word.” Meaning, the word yes, to say whether he was or wasn’t sorry?

Captured in a single moment, we have the whole beautiful hodgepodge of the Biden border philosophy: a flash of normalcy, a cave to the doctrinaire base, followed by an obvious and random lie from a government official. 

→ Iran gets another $10 billion bonus: The Biden administration is unlocking another $10 billion in previously sanctioned cash for Iran. Similar to the border debacle, in Biden foreign policy we see the schism at the heart of the administration: one side loves Hamas and wants to fund Iran and China, while the other side loves the old world order and wants to keep Israel around as an ally. So the administration is calling it even and funding both sides of the war. Because what does America love more than winning a war? Funding the concept of war. We’ll send military supplies to Israel and send cash for Hamas supplies to Iran. It’s beautiful. Dick Cheney tips his cowboy hat, and I send some buckshot into the air. 

→ Don Lemon vs. Elon Musk: When the former CNN anchor Don Lemon joined X/Twitter with some sort of deal for a show on the platform, it seemed pretty cool: Musk was encouraging a liberal critic to join in the hopes of making X a more video-forward platform and even financially incentivizing Lemon to do it. Both men made a lot of noise about free speech and debate (no complaints here). Well, late last week, Musk sat down for an interview with Don Lemon and then abruptly changed his mind about all that. Elon Musk did not like his new toy. Mean toy. Bad toy. Partnership over!

Here’s Don Lemon: “Elon Musk has cancelled the partnership I had with X, which they announced as part of their public commitment to amplifying more diverse voices on their platform. He informed me of his decision hours after an interview I conducted with him on Friday. That interview will remain the premiere episode of The Don Lemon Show on Monday, March 18.” I guess one lesson is not to rely on Elon Musk. Another is that rich men hate to be criticized. Another is I don’t know, Don, he just sent the largest ever rocket into space and already runs our global internet; he’s a brilliant, strange dude and it’s a weird situation we’re all in here.

→ All the AIs are making the same mess: Asked to make “a picture of German soldiers in 1945,” Adobe’s new artificial intelligence program, Firefly, spat out a gorgeous group of smiling all-black Nazis. The urge to make all images into a diverse trans-inclusive rainbow is kind of a sweet one, in a “communists erase history make better history” sort of way. But then these in-house tech activists keep getting upset when they realize that it might mean diverse trans. . . Nazis. No, no, it was just supposed to be that Mozart is now a blind Hispanic woman! Ted Bundy was obviously a bad white man. The Founding Fathers are diverse—interesting—but Nazis are all blond, pure blond. How do we teach the computer the difference? 

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