Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.

Montanaro joined NPR in 2015 and oversaw coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, including for broadcast and digital.

Before joining NPR, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and taught high school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a life-long Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

President Trump's poll slide appears to have stabilized.

Trump, who came into office with the lowest recorded approval and favorability ratings of any president, saw a steady decline in the months that followed his inauguration.

Race is again proving to be the sharpest dividing line of the Trump era.

This week, President Trump and conservatives went after ESPN, the cable sports network, for comments made by Jemele Hill, who hosts one of the flagship SportsCenter shows.

It all started on Monday when Hill, who is black, tweeted in reply to someone else: "Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Hill's comment a "fireable offense."

On Jan. 28, 1986, President Ronald Reagan was supposed to deliver the State of the Union.

Instead, he made a very different address to the nation that day, one that would transform the role of president, making it mandatory thereafter that presidents serve as consoler-in-chief.

There is a telling photo that has gotten some attention in social media after Steve Bannon's exit as President Trump's chief strategist. (You can see it above.)

It shows President Trump behind the desk in the Oval Office, surrounded by his top advisers: Seated are Vice President Pence and national security adviser Mike Flynn; standing, from left to right, are chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer.

That was Jan. 28, eight days after Trump was inaugurated.

Today, only Pence remains.

A majority of Americans think President Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., was "not strong enough," according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said so, as compared with just over a quarter (27 percent) who thought it was strong enough.

No single issue has been a greater animating force for the Republican base over the past decade than immigration — except maybe the Affordable Care
Act (aka Obamacare).

And with the failure of GOP health care efforts in Congress and sliding poll numbers this summer, the Trump White House seems to be making a concerted effort to elevate cultural wedge issues, from immigration and a ban on transgender people in the military to affirmative action and police conduct.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

He rose from relative state-party obscurity and reached an unlikely pinnacle as the man responsible for the agenda of the president of the United States.

Now, Reince Priebus is out of that job as White House chief of staff in the most significant shake-up of the rocky Trump presidency.

President Trump announced on Twitter on Friday that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has been named to replace Priebus, who says he resigned Thursday.

"Know your audience" is usually the first rule of public speaking. But that doesn't really seem to matter all that much to President Trump.

Trump became overtly political in yet another setting that some are seeing as crossing the line — in a speech to the Boy Scouts.

Ironically, Trump began his remarks Monday night promising not to talk about politics.

Update at 4:05 p.m. ET

Sen. John McCain, diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer just five days ago, returned to applause on the Senate floor Tuesday, where he cast a crucial vote to move forward on repeal of the Affordable Care Act and urged his colleagues to regain their sense of bipartisan cooperation.

However, the longtime Arizona senator, two-time presidential candidate and perhaps America's most famous former prisoner of war, warned that he "will not vote for this bill as it is today," describing it as "a shell."

Trump ally Chris Ruddy has caused quite a stir over the past 24 hours.

The CEO of the right-wing website Newsmax, a close friend of Trump's, has been making the media rounds saying President Trump is considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Department of Justice investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

All we want are the facts, ma'am.

During his congressional testimony Thursday, James Comey played his best Sgt. Joe Friday, the protagonist of the 1950s Dragnet TV series known for that signature line.

Asked whether he thought President Trump obstructed justice, Comey, the fired FBI director, declined to give his opinion.

"I don't know," Comey said. "That — that's Bob Mueller's job to sort that out."

There are way too many signs that the 2020 election is already beginning.

Consider:

-Here's a crazy stat: 129 people have already filed to run for president in 2020, as of Friday afternoon. In fairness, in 2016, more than 1,700 filed. But...

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Republicans finally got their health care bill.

After seven years of repeal-and-replace rhetoric against the Affordable Care Act, two presidential campaigns waged for and against it and a recent high-profile failure, House Republicans passed their bill.

The trouble is this bill is unlikely to ever become law — at least in its current iteration.

Updated 9:45 a.m. ET

The White House is banging the drums that President Trump is doing something big again ahead of his 100th day in office — unveiling a tax "plan."

"This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country," Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a panel Wednesday morning.

Updated: 10:31 a.m.

President Trump made the biggest move of his presidency so far Thursday night — he struck Syrian military targets after an apparent chemical weapons attack allegedly ordered by Syria's Bashar Assad against his own people.

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama ran an ad with this opening line: "The hands that built this nation can build a new economy. The hands that harvest crops can also harvest the wind."

And then it showed men working on roofs: "The hands that install roofs can also install solar panels."

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

3:23 p.m. ET: Perez wins DNC chairmanship, names Ellison deputy

Former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez won the DNC chairmanship on second round.

It was met by protest from about a dozen Keith Ellison supporters, who chanted, repeatedly, "Not big money, party for the people."

They were shushed and overshouted.

Updated at 9:59 a.m. ET Feb. 14

President Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night amid allegations he inappropriately talked about U.S. sanctions with a Russian official, and later allegedly misled then-Vice President-elect Pence about the conversations. Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador in December, before Trump was inaugurated.

President Trump has gotten his man at the State Department.

Rex Tillerson was approved by a 56-43 vote Wednesday in the Senate. Four senators who caucus with the Democrats crossed the aisle and joined all of the Republicans in voting for Tillerson. They were Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as independent Angus King of Maine.

It was perhaps the unthinkable: President Obama meeting with his successor at the White House in the first step to carry out the peaceful transition of power in the American republic — and that successor is Donald Trump.

But that's exactly what happened Thursday morning in what amounts to one of the more surreal moments in American political history.

Hillary Clinton's path relies on winning traditionally Democratic states and has several potential ways over the top. Donald Trump has a much narrower path — he has to run the table in toss-up states and break through in a state that currently leans toward Clinton.

Here are seven ways Election Day could play out:

Let's make one thing clear: Three weeks out from this election, Hillary Clinton is winning — and it's not close.

Yes, people still have to vote, but if Democratic groups come out — and the Trump scorched-earth campaign is more like a white flag than an actual strategy — Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States unless something drastic changes between now and Election Day.

The month of October has been about as bad as could be for Trump. Let's recap. There was:

-- The leaked audio of Trump's comments bragging about kissing and groping women

Hours before he is slated to make a major policy speech on immigration Wednesday in Phoenix, Donald Trump is making a bold move — he will be meeting with Mexico's president.

He tweeted the news late Tuesday night:

"I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Peña Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow."

Tim Kaine is boring. Just ask him.

"I am boring," the man Hillary Clinton picked on Friday night to be her running mate said last month on NBC's Meet The Press.

The Virginia senator tried to play it off with something of a dad joke: "But boring is the fastest-growing demographic in this country," he said with a laugh.

So why would Clinton pick "boring" to be her vice president? (And it's not because there are suddenly loads of more boring people out there voting as a bloc.)

This post was updated Oct. 1 at 10:19 a.m.

Last Monday, the first presidential debate was the most-watched debate ever. A little more than a week later, the Hillary Clinton's and Donald Trump's vice presidential picks will take the stage.

Hillary Clinton has secured enough delegates to be the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, according to an updated count by The Associated Press. She is the first woman ever to head a major-party ticket in this country.

This is what a campaign in the gutter looks like.

Once again, the political world is talking about a National Enquirer story.

The last time was during the 2008 presidential campaign when the tabloid alleged that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards had fathered a child out of wedlock. When the rumor first surfaced, the media largely ignored it.

It turned out to be true.

President Obama struck a somber tone, remembering the late-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as a "towering legal mind" who influenced a generation, but made it clear, he intends to replace him.

"I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in — due time," Obama said. "There will be plenty of time for me to do so, and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote."

Inevitably, as news breaks of yet another international or domestic event — an explosion in Texas, a train derailment outside Philadelphia, a Molotov cocktail thrown into a nightclub in Egypt, a shooting in Colorado or California — there's one question never far from Americans' lips: "Is it terrorism?"

Even many who don't want to generalize wonder, "What do we know about the shooter — was he or she Muslim?"

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