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Vox Sentences: Clashing Financial Protection Bigwigs

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Ella Nilsen. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Tonight's Sentences is written by Jen Kirby, Libby Nelson, and Emily Stewart.

Egypt reels from a terror attack; the battle over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues; a royal wedding is coming this spring.

A tale of two bosses

Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Both Mick Mulvaney and Leandra English have staked a claim to the interim directorship of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after Richard Cordray’s resignation on Friday. [Vox / Emily Stewart]
  • Cordray designated English, the agency’s deputy director, to fill the spot until a permanent replacement is nominated and confirmed. But President Donald Trump appointed Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney — an avowed opponent of the agency — to take over temporarily. [Politico / Victoria Guida]
  • English filed a lawsuit on Sunday to block Mulvaney’s appointment. But Mulvaney showed up to the CFPB’s office on Monday, with doughnuts, while English met with leaders on Capitol Hill. [Reuters]
  • At the heart of the English-versus-Mulvaney debate is a legal question over whether Dodd-Frank, which created the CFPB and provides that the deputy director take the interim spot, supersedes the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which empowers the president to fill interim vacancies unless federal law requires another process. [Washington Post / Renae Merle]
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Dodd-Frank architect Barney Frank say it is Cordray’s right to designate English. The Department of Justice and the CFPB’s general counsel sided with Trump’s right to appoint Mulvaney. [CNN / Abby Phillip]
  • The court case over the matter, English v. Trump, has been assigned to Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee who was confirmed by the Senate with a 94-2 vote in September. A hearing was scheduled for 4:30 pm on Monday. [Bloomberg / Andrew Harris]
  • Despite the drama, Mulvaney told Axios’s Jonathan Swan everything is peachy. “It could not have been a smoother transition,” he said. [Axios / Jonathan Swan]

Terror in Egypt

Adam Berry/Getty Images
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has vowed “brute force” against the militants responsible for the Friday massacre at a Sufi mosque that left more than 300 dead. [Washington Post / Louisa Loveluck and Heba Farouk Mahfouz]
  • Sisi has ramped up airstrikes in northern Sinai, but some experts believe those efforts will embolden the terrorists instead. [Guardian / Simon Tisdall]
  • Sisi's hard line against militants isn’t just a policy failure. It also speaks to his increasingly authoritarian tendencies. [New Yorker / Robin Wright]
  • Officials said the militants carried ISIS flags, but no group has claimed responsibility yet. [Reuters]
  • The massacre unfolded at a Sufi mosque. Sunni extremists, including ISIS, consider this form of Islam heretical. [NYT / Rukmini Callimachi]

An American princess

Announcement Of Prince Harry's Engagement To Meghan Markle Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • The United Kingdom’s Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle — who is biracial, American, and a divorcée — are engaged. This is expected to go much better than the only other time an American divorcée married into the British royal family. [Reuters / Michael Holden]
  • Markle (whose formal title will likely be the Duchess of Sussex) wrote in 2015 about growing up biracial and forging her own identity: “I have come to embrace that,” she wrote. “To say who I am, to share where I'm from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.” [Elle / Meghan Markle]
  • The UK press didn’t always see it that way. After a Daily Mail article dog-whistled so aggressively (calling Markle’s mother’s neighborhood in Los Angeles “gang-scarred” and Markle herself “(almost) straight outta Compton”) that every dog in Britain presumably went deaf, the prince issued a rare statement telling the media to back off. [NYT / Steven Erlanger]
  • Markle, who’s 36, has had an independent career as an actress and entrepreneur. Now she has to give it all up — along with her American citizenship — and face the inevitable comparisons to Kate Middleton, her future sister-in-law, whose public persona was much more of a blank slate. [Pajiba / Kayleigh Donaldson]
  • But, Vox reader, you must surely be wondering: Is there an economic analysis of all this? There sure is! The royal wedding in 2011 cost millions and was a mixed bag economically: It boosted tourism, but the associated national holiday was a big loss to productivity. [ABC News / Susanna Kim]
  • On the other hand, Prince Harry’s wedding won’t be a national holiday, so it’s possible the UK could come out ahead here. [Independent / Rachel Roberts]
  • Of course, the multimillion-dollar affair will also play out against a backdrop of deep cuts to public services in Britain, including welfare and health care. [Guardian / Alan Travis]
  • But at a time when American politics are all too dramatic, there’s a case for Americans to cue up The Crown, which dramatizes a time when the British royal family wasn’t so blasé about divorce; read The Royal We, a delightful novel with the premise “what if an American married into the royal family”; and just enjoy the spectacle — and I (Libby) am fully on board. [Washington Post / Alyssa Rosenberg]


  • President Donald Trump called Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” again. She can’t prove her Native American heritage — but there’s also no evidence she sought to use it to her advantage. [Atlantic / Garance Franke-Ruta]
  • Books banned in Texas prisons: The Color Purple and Freakonomics. Not banned: Mein Kampf. [Dallas Morning News / Laura McGaughy]
  • If Chicago becomes the home of Amazon’s second headquarters, its workers would still pay taxes — but Amazon would get to keep them. They’d pay taxes to their own employer. [Seattle Times / Danny Westneat]
  • Democrats keep winning special elections in Oklahoma, of all places. [Atlantic / Russell Berman]
  • Prepackaged sandwiches didn’t exist in the UK until 1980. Now more people make, package, and sell sandwiches than work in agriculture. [Guardian / Sam Knight]


  • “I should have had an abortion. And that’s where my conviction crumples, because I don’t know how I’m supposed to tell [my son] that someday.” [NYMag / Jen Gann]
  • "Nothing about European culture granted contemporary Americans the relative economic comfort they’re celebrating today: it was that early colonists eradicated, rather than enslaved, the indigenous population." [Jacobin / Suresh Naidu]
  • “An inordinate amount of people are attracted to massage therapy because of sexual interest. Just like there was opportunity in the priesthood, there’s opportunity in the massage room.” [Lawyer Adam Horowitz to BuzzFeed News / Katie J.M. Baker]
  • “I’m going to send it back to you all because ain’t nobody here. I’m going back home, I’m going back to bed, and I’m going back to sleep.” [WNDU News / Joshua Short]
  • “The Internet, declared the State Department’s in-house tech guru, Alec Ross, had become ‘the Che Guevara of the 21st century.’ (Given that Che failed in three of the four revolutions in which he participated, that might actually be about right.)” [Foreign Policy / Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur]

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Shared space designs, explained with 99% Invisible. Check them out here. [YouTube / Christophe Haubursin, Roman Mars, and Kurt Kohlstedt]

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