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John Kerry speaks at the Chatham House event. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg, outgoing president, introduced John Kerry as the next president of Alfalfa Club. Bloomberg's best: "Who needs the White House when you can be president of the Alfalfa Club?  Actually, I've loved every minute of it. I come to the office every weekday at 11 a.m."

"Here I am — President John Kerry! I knew this day would come. Although given the Alfalfa average income, thank God I didn’t get Swift-yachted.”

Former Secretary of State John Kerry followed:

  • “I’m proud to serve as your new club president. And don’t worry, this  doesn’t mean you’re also getting John Edwards.”
  • “Despite the pressure he’s under, the White House physician says President Trump is in great shape — a trim 239 pounds. Personally, I just won’t believe him until he produces his long-form girth certificate.”
  • “As Mitt Romney and I can attest, being elected in Massachusetts means: You are only a heartbeat away from losing the presidency.”

Kerry's toast:

  • “There’s a fellow Alfalfan, who couldn’t be with us tonight, who I met 32 years ago this month. We both loved the Navy. But we had opposite views about a war in which we’d both served. When we first came to the Senate, we didn’t trust each other. We didn’t really know each other. But after a long conversation on a long flight, we decided to work hand in hand to actually make peace with Vietnam and with ourselves here in America." ...
  • "He loves to debate, he loves to battle.  But one thing the service and the Senate taught John and me — at some point, America’s got to come together."
  • "And I hope you’ll believe the two of us Alfalfans:  If Washington is a city where you can bridge the divide between a protester and a POW, finding common ground on anything else shouldn’t be so hard at all."
  • "I will always thank John McCain for sharing in the discovery of that lesson — and tonight I ask all of you to join me in raising a glass to one of the best and bravest men I know, my friend — our friend — John McCain."

President George W. Bush, making a surprise appearance at last night's Alfalfa Club dinner, gave the Crop Report, which introduces new members:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook
  • Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)
  • Lazard chairman and CEO Ken Jacobs
  • Secretary of Defense James Mattis
  • James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox
  • Sen. Rob Portman (R- Ohio)
  • Jerome Powell, incoming Federal Reserve chair
  • Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO of IBM
  • Anthony Welters, executive chairman, BlackIvy Group
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Go deeper

In photos: Deadly Cyclone Tauktae leaves trail of destruction across India

A police officer helps a public transport driver cross a flooded street due to heavy rain caused by Tropical Cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai, India, on May 17. Photo: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tropical Cyclone Tauktae killed at least 16 people in India after making landfall in Gujarat Monday, packing 100mph winds, and sweeping across Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, per Reuters.

The big picture: The storm unleashed heavy rains and winds as authorities continued to grapple with surging infection rates and deaths from COVID-19. Over 200,000 people were evacuated from Gujarat, and ports, airports and vaccination centers shut in the state and Mumbai, Reuters reports. Tauktae weakened from a Category 3 storm into a "severe cyclonic storm" Tuesday morning local time.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Yellen wants business to help foot infrastructure bill

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is heading into the belly of the beast Tuesday and asking the business community to support President Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan during a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Why it matters: By trying to persuade a skeptical and targeted audience, Yellen is signaling the president’s commitment to raising corporate taxes to pay for his plan. Republican senators, critical to a potential bipartisan deal, oppose any corporate tax increase.

4 hours ago - World

Schumer's Israel vise

Sen. Chuck Schumer addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2014. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's longtime support for Israel puts him on a collision course with the progressive wing of his party as the conflict between Israel and Hamas worsens.

Why it matters: This is the toughest political position the New York Democrat has been in since becoming majority leader. The fighting in the Middle East is dividing his party — and creating a clear rift among its different wings.