Democratic Party

FBI Thwarts Plot To Kidnap Gretchen Whitmer

The FBI has announced that six men have been arrested in relation to a plot to kidnap and overthrow Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer has been the target of vitriol and abuse from coronavirus sceptics in recent weeks after introducing strict mitigation measures.

Governor Whitmer described the six men involved in the plot as ‘depraved’ and linked her recent struggles with coronavirus sceptics with President Donald Trump and his regular comments against her. Trump has accused Whitmer of spending the past six months or so ‘stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread hatred and division.’

Additionally, Whitmer highlighted Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists during the first presidential debate as a contributing factor, claiming the comments were a ‘rallying cry’ for hate groups. Trump later explained his remarks, arguing that he was unaware of who the Proud Boys were.

“Last night, the FBI and Michigan State Police arrested six individuals, charged in a federal complaint with conspiring to kidnap the governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer. According to the complaint unsealed this morning, Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta, conspired to kidnap the governor from her vacation home in the Western District of Michigan before the November election,” US Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, Andrew Birge said during an FBI press conference in which the agency announced news of the thwarted plot.

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“Under federal law, each of these individuals faces a term of any number of years up to life in prison, if convicted. Fox, Garbin, Franks, Harris and Caserta, are residents of Michigan. Croft is a resident of Delaware.”

A sworn FBI affidavit revealed that in June a US undercover law enforcement officer attended a meeting in Dublin, Ohio and witnessed a group of Michigan militia members discussing plans to overthrow any state government that ‘they believed were violating the US Constitution.’

“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” the document reads. One video of the meeting shows the men refuting the state’s role in deciding whether to open leisure facilities such as gyms during the coronavirus lockdown.

Authorities raided the homes of the suspected terrorists and names of the arrested include Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta and Ty Garbin.

According to the FBI, the group of Michigan-based militia members hoped to round together around 200 men in order to storm the capitol building, wreak havoc and capture hostages, including Governor Whitmer. The plans were due to take place before the presidential election on November 3 and if that never came to fruition, the suspects had intentions to attack Whitmer at her home.

The accused men allegedly coordinated with each other to gather extensive surveillance of Whitmer’s vacation home and also planned to use Molotov cocktails to attack law enforcement. The group had also purchased a taser to help with the kidnappings and raised funds to buy explosives and tactical equipment in preparation for any heavy clashes.

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“All of us standing here today, we want the public to know that federal and state law enforcement are committed to working together to make sure violent extremists never succeed with their plans, particularly, when they target our duly-elected leaders. The federal complaint in this case alleges that the FBI began an investigation earlier this year, after becoming aware that through social media, that a group of individuals was discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law enforcement components,” Birge continued during the press conference.

“Through confidential sources, undercover agents and clandestine recordings, law enforcement learned particular individuals were planning to kidnap the governor and acting in furtherance of that plan.

“The alleged conspirators used operational security measures, including communicating by encrypted messaging platforms and used code words and phrases in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement. Among other activities, members of this conspiracy on two occasions, conducted coordinated surveillance on the governor’s vacation home,” he continued.

“Fox and Croft in particular, according to the complaint, discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area of the home. And Fox even inspected the underside of a Michigan highway bridge for places to seat an explosive.

“The complaint further alleges that Fox purchased a taser for use in the kidnapping and that the group successfully detonated an improvised explosive device wrapped with shrapnel to test its anti-personnel capabilities. The FBI and state police executed arrests of several of the conspirators when they were meeting on east side of the state to pool funds for explosives and exchange tactical gear,” Birge added.

“This investigation is ongoing, agents of the Detroit Field Office of the FBI and other members of their joint terrorism task force, including the Michigan State Police are conducting this investigation. Agents in the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI, which covers Delaware, have also assisted.”

Indigenous Peoples Day

Indigenous Peoples Day Honors And Celebrates Native American History And Culture

All across the country various states and cities are hosting virtual or outdoor events this Monday October 12th to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, a holiday meant to celebrate and honor Native American traditions and culture. 

 Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia and more than 130 cities officially observe Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day. The initial notion of this day taking over Columbus Day first emerged at an international conference on discrimination sponsored by the United Nations in 1977. In 1989 South Dakota became the first state to recognize the day as a national holiday; the cities of Berkeley and Santa Cruz in California followed shortly thereafter. California and Tennessee also celebrate Native American Day in September every year, which is celebrated the same way.

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While there are some groups across the country that argue Columbus Day celebrates Italian-American heritage, many others think that by naming a holiday after Columbus, we are further glorifying colonization and the exploration of America that led to one of the biggest genocides in human history of native peoples; which also paved the way for slavery. 

Columbus may be credited as the person who first “discovered” the New World but the reality is millions of people had already been inhabiting the Americas for centuries prior. Columbus made four major expeditions to the Caribbean and South America over the course of twenty years. During these two decades he enslaved and decimated complete communities of Native Americans, which ended up starting a massive trend of westernization and European colonization across the world. 

There have been multiple incidences across the nation of groups calling for the removal of Columbus monuments, as well as any confederate generals, as a means of respecting the cultures that these leaders completely destroyed through colonization. Several Columbus statues throughout America were taken down this summer amid the protests for George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police. 

Columbus, Ohio, a city literally named for the explorer, also removed their Columbus statue outside of its city hall. President Trump, however, has campaigned to protect monuments and end programs that want to teach America’s youth about the reality of Christopher Columbus and what his “discovery” actually entailed for the millions of Native people whose homes he invaded and destroyed.

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However, more and more cities, states, and school boards, have opted to observe Indigenous Peoples Day every year instead. For example, in February the Chicago Board of Education voted to officially change the name of the holiday as well as the governor of Arizona. Rockville, Maryland, Salem, Massachusetts, and Montgomery, Alabama, plan to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day as an official holiday for the first time this year. Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed thinks the move to change the name is a truer representation of the city’s history.

“We are not rewriting history. In fact, we are allowing for a more accurate accounting of history by acknowledging the people who are native to this land. We must be honest about the past in order to heal, reconcile and become an even stronger community.”

The Alabama Indigenous Coalition also plans to host a gathering in downtown Montgomery that will march to the Capitol to honor the Native Americans who died along the Trail of Tears; the 5,000-mile trek millions of natives were forced to endure moved natives across 9 states, yet it’s rarely discussed in terms of history. 

This year indigenous individuals have never needed to be recognized more, as Native American, Black, and Latino households are the ones being most severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, 55% of Native American households have reported serious financial problems. Half of the Native American households either have poor internet connection or no internet at all. 

This year for Indigenous Peoples Day, get educated on the many systemic issues that impact people of color, and Native Americans especially, to this day. Recognizing the holiday as a celebration of Native American culture is a step in the right direction, but we must also acknowledge the violent and racist history that Indigenous individuals have had to endure for centuries.


Trump Refuses Virtual Debate

Just days from being released from the hospital after receiving treatment for Covid-19, President Donald Trump has refused to participate in a virtual debate against Democratic rival Joe Biden. The debate organizing committee has said that the October 15 debate will have to take place remotely.

The decision was made by the committee because of Trump’s admittance into hospital for Covid-19, but the president has said he will not waste his time on a move that he claims has been designed to help ‘protect’ his rival Biden.

Biden and his campaign team responded, arguing that Trump was simply attempting to escape accountability for ‘failures on Covid and the economy’.

Both sides have now agreed to postpone the second presidential debate until October 22, but it is not yet known what format it will take. The first presidential debate garnered mass criticism after descending into a series of hard-to-watch interruptions and criticisms and undecided voters will be hoping the two candidates offer a more coherent and informed debate next time around.

Meanwhile, the first and only vice-presidential debate was a much more civilised affair, with Mike Pence and Kamala Harris mainly clashing over the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s handling of it.

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Although Trump has not exhibited symptoms for a couple of days, questions are still being asked of when he first became infected and thus if he still remains contagious. Even though the names of many of the people who came into contact with the president are now known, it is still not clear how many White House employees or visitors have been exposed.

The White House has now introduced new Covid-19 safety measures and protocol. Senate majority leader and top Republican Mitch McConnell said last week that he has purposely avoided the White House since the beginning of August because their approach to Covid safety measures, social distancing and masks differed from his and what he ‘suggested we do in the Senate’.

A White House gathering on September 26 to announce Trump’s Supreme Court choice has now been dubbed a ‘super-spreader’ event, with several attendees since having tested positive.

“No, I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not what debating’s all about.

You sit behind a computer and do a debate. It’s ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want. I have a host who I always thought was a nice guy, but I see is a never Trumper. You know, it came out that he’s a never Trumper. And we do have some of them Maria, believe it or not, because they don’t like to win. And so, I’m not doing, I’m not doing a virtual debate,” President Trump said during an interview with Fox.

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“They called up two minutes ago and it was announced and they’re trying to protect Biden.

Everybody is. Like that NBC disaster, where he went on the show with Lester Holt. It was like, it was meant for a child. It wasn’t meant for a grown person. He gets up and he says, “We’re not fracking. We’re not fracking.” He was fracking for six months. He was fracking. He was raising his very thin hand and he was fracking. And now all of a sudden, he’s not fracking. Well tell the Pennsylvania people that you’re going, it’s ridiculous. He said, he’s not fracking. That’s all he said. And then all of a sudden, he goes to a fracking mode. And how about her? She committed her life to it. And all of a sudden she’s a fracker. She’s a big fracker. They going to stop fracking the minute they get into office, they’re lying to everybody. They’re lying about so many different things, but you have to confront them people, you can’t do it over a computer.

“Well, first of all, I think I’m better to a point where I’d love to do a rally tonight, I wanted to do one last night, but I think I’m better to a point that I feel better than I did you know, I jokingly said 20 years ago, I feel perfect,” Trump continued.

“There’s nothing wrong. I had a case, I got it knocked out. I think it was Regeneron that was responsible for it. Because of that, it was sort of like almost a gift from heaven because of what I went through and I felt pretty lousy. A lot of people did. A lot of people do.

“No matter how good the security, you’re not going to protect yourself from this thing with just your standard anything, unless you just literally don’t come out and even those people found out. Did you see in New York City, the most heavily locked down place, the people that caught it the most were the people that were caught in their houses and their apartments.”

The White House

Trump Tells Proud Boys To ‘Stand Down’ After White Supremacy Row

Following controversial comments during the first of three televised election debates, President Donald Trump has told far-right group Proud Boys to ‘stand down’ and let law enforcement do their work.

Trump refused to condemn the extremist group during the debate against Biden and even said they should ‘stand by’, comments which Proud Boy leaders hailed ‘historic’ and an endorsement.

White supremacist groups have been more prevalent in recent times and many have made the media for their presence and behavior at protests across the country. During the first TV debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked President Trump to condemn white supremacists and tell them to stand down during protests.

“Sure, I’m willing to… but I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing,” Trump said.

“Proud Boys – stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what… Somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem,” he responded when Biden told him it was Proud Boys he should be condemning.

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Media have described the debate as disjointed, chaotic and unprofessional as at times it descended into a shouting match with both parties talking over the other. The debate commission has already announced that it will introduce new measures for the next two debates in an attempt to ‘maintain order’. Trump weighed in with his thoughts, saying that he thought the debates needed a new anchor and a smarter Democratic candidate.

However, speaking on the White House lawn a day after the debate, President Trump admitted that he was not aware of the Proud Boys or any of their actions. The President advised them to stand down and let law enforcement work without interference and instead asked his opponent Biden to condemn antifa, whose actions during the national protests have also garnered media attention.

“When confronted with tough or tricky issues, Donald Trump has a tendency to offer a smorgasbord of often contradictory answers, allowing his supporters – and detractors – to pick and choose what to believe,” US politics analyst Anthony Zurcher said.

Nowhere has this behavior been more pronounced than when he addresses white supremacists and extremist right-wing groups. At times he has renounced them. At others, he equivocates or changes the subject when a direct condemnation would suffice.

Instead, the president ends up offering a rallying cry to hate groups, as he did following the 2017 Charlottesville violence or with his “stand back and stand by” message on Tuesday.

Proud Boys is an anti-immigrant far-right group founded in 2016. Comprised entirely of males, the group has a history of street violence against left-wing opponents. One social media account belonging to the activists posted a logo containing the words ‘Stand Back, Stand By’ after Trump’s comments during the debate.

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“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. I mean, you’ll have to give me a definition, because I really don’t know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work,” Trump told reporters Wednesday.

“Law enforcement will do the work more and more as people see how bad this radical liberal Democrat movement is, and how weak. The law enforcement is going to come back stronger and stronger. But again, I don’t know who Proud Boys are. But whoever they are, they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work.”

“Just stand by. Look, law enforcement will do their work. They’re going to stand down. They have to stand down. Everybody, they have to stand… Whatever group you’re talking about,” he added.

“Let law enforcement do the work. Now, Antifa is a real problem, because the problem is on the left and Biden refuses to talk about it. He refuses to issue the words law and order. You saw that last night when he choked up. He can’t say the words, because he’ll lose the rest of the left. So he’s got to condemn Antifa. Antifa is a very bad group.

“I thought the debate last night was great. We’ve gotten tremendous reviews on it. We’re hitting what people want. Law and order, which Biden was unable to even talk about because he’d lose the radical left, his radical left followers,” Trump continued.

“I don’t think there’s too many of them left, but I thought it was a great evening. It was an exciting evening. I see the ratings were very high, and it was good to be there. Felt very comfortable, and I appreciate all the good words. So we are going now, and we’re going to have a big rally. A lot of people are showing up.

“I want law and order to be a very important part. It’s a very important part of my campaign. And when I say that, what I’m talking about is law enforcement has to… Police have to take care, and they should stop defunding the police like they’ve done in New York.”

Coronavirus Test Positive

Stephen Miller, Trump’s Top Adviser, Tests Positive For Covid-19 

Stephen Miller is one of the president’s top advisers, and has recently tested positive for the coronavirus as a part of a growing number of individuals close to the president who are falling ill to the virus that has now killed over 200,000 Americans. 

“Over the last 5 days I have been working remotely and self-isolating, testing negative every day through yesterday. Today, I tested positive for Covid-19 and am in quarantine.”

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At this point over a dozen White House officials and other individuals within the president’s inner circle have tested positive for Covid-19; including first lady Melania Trump, and Miller’s Wife, Katie Miller, who is also press secretary to Vice President Pence. 

Miller has been one of the most loyal policy advisers and speech writers for the president. He’s also one of the biggest supporters of the policy that has been separating children from their parents at the border. In the public eye, Miller is viewed as a racist with white supremacist ideals who only further fuels that fire in the president. He’s gone on record claiming that migration and amnesty for immigrants would “decimate the US,” and he also played a key role in getting the president to sign a zero tolerance immigration policy that led to over 5,400 children being separated from their parents. 

Miller was seen boarding Marine One, the president’s helicopter, less than two days after Trump revealed that he had tested positive for the virus. He boarded the helicopter with other top advisers Hope Hicks, Dan Scovino and Jared Kushner. Hicks tested positive for the virus last week, an announcement that was made hours before the president’s diagnosis was released. 

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Just like the rest of the country, White House staffers didn’t receive any clear guidance on new health and safety measures being implemented to protect them until this past weekend. Mask-wearing has previously been seen as a personal choice when working in the White House, however, yesterday workers were seen in full hazmat suits disinfecting a majority of the building consistently. 

Every individual within Trump’s circle who has contracted the virus has defended their irresponsibility in terms of this virus as a means of keeping Trump’s name in good grace among his supporters. With an election less than a month away, the last thing the president needs is his entire staff contracting a virus he just spent 8 months downplaying. 

Ron Johnson, a senior republican senator who also is battling the virus currently, recently released a statement that claimed he would be “in a moon suit” if that’s what it takes to cast his vote to confirm Barrett for the supreme court. Trump has already been tweeting his eagerness to get back on the campaign trail, stating that when it comes to next week’s debate against Biden, “It will be great!”

Biden, however, has claimed if the current president is still testing positive for the virus by next week, the debate should be cancelled over obvious safety concerns. Biden has continuously tested negative for the virus himself, despite having interactions with Trump last week for the first round of debates. 

The CDC is currently still recommending that anyone who has had close contact with a Covid-19 positive individual needs to quarantine for two weeks and get tested themselves.

White House Podium

How Mike Pence Would Assume Control If Needed

After confirming positive coronavirus tests results for him and his wife Melania, President Donald Trump could be set to become just the third president in US history to temporarily hand over power to his vice president.

If Trump needs to undergo a medical procedure because of the coronavirus or becomes too ill to be able to carry out his duties effectively, Vice President Mike Pence will be able to assume his roles until the president is fit enough again.

Trump announced on Friday that he had tested positive and that he was immediately entering quarantine to begin the recovery process. If he desired, under Section 3 of the US Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which was adopted in 1967 after the assassination of President John Kennedy in 1963, Trump could declare in writing an inability to discharge his duties.

Vice President Mike Pence would consequently become acting president but Trump would remain in office. Trump could then regain his presidential powers as he desired by again submitting in writing that he is ready to discharge them.

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An alternative method for Trump’s removal of power would be through Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. This would need to be invoked by Cabinet if they believed he had become incapacitated in his ability to properly carry out his duties, but this has never been done in US history.

Section 4 says that the vice president and majority of Cabinet officials or ‘such other body as Congress may by law provide’ can inform leaders of the two houses of Congress that the president is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’.

This would result in the vice president assuming power but in such a case President Trump could resume office by informing the congressional leaders that ‘no inability exists’, unless the Cabinet officials or alternative body declare otherwise. Congress would assemble within two days to make a decision on the issue.

A two-thirds vote is needed of the members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate to decide that the president is indeed unable to discharge office duties. This would result in the vice president remaining acting president until the next scheduled presidential election is completed to decide the next occupant of the White House.

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan was due to have a precancerous lesion removed and signed a letter that allowed Vice President George HW Bush to assume the role of acting president for eight hours until Reagan once again signed a letter to resume his duties.

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President George Bush first invoked Section 3 in 2002 to temporarily transfer powers to Vice President Dick Cheney just before undergoing a colonoscopy. Cheney assumed the role of acting president once again in 2007 when Bush underwent another colonoscopy.

“We’re going to keep on fighting for 33 days all the way to victory on November the third. As the president said, he held Joe Biden accountable for 47 years of failure. Shipping jobs and dreams abroad, and bowing to the violent mob. And I promise you, we’re going to keep taking that case every single day,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a speech in Carter Lake, Iowa.

“It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come and the story that we have to tell the people of Iowa.

I mean, four years ago, a movement was born. A movement of everyday Americans from every walk of life. Here in Iowa, you believe we could be strong again. You believe we could be prosperous again.

“You said yes to President Donald Trump in 2016, and I just know that Iowa’s going to say yes to four more years of President Donald Trump in 2020. And it’s because of what we’ve done. It’s because of what we’ve done under this president’s leadership,” Pence added.

“I mean, four years ago, we inherited a military that was hollowed out by years of devastating budget cuts, an economy that was struggling to break out of the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. Terrorism was on the rise around the world, and we witnessed a steady assault on our most cherished values and liberties.

“But in three short years, with President Donald Trump in the White House with strong allies on Capitol Hill, this father of a United States Marine is proud to report to you we rebuilt our military. We restored the arsenal of democracy and we are finally giving our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force the resources they need to defend this nation,” he continued.

“Having members of our armed forces and their spouses in my immediate family, I couldn’t be more proud to serve as vice president to a president who cares so deeply about the men and women of our armed forces and their families and our veterans. Under the president’s leadership, we’ve stood with those who serve. And we’ve stood with all of you who wore the uniform of the United States as never before.”

Turkish Flag

Pelosi Slammed By Turkish Foreign Minister

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been accused of ‘blatant ignorance’ by Turkey’s foreign minister after she questioned President Trump’s commitment to democracy and his admiration of leaders accused of authoritarian rule such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Pelosi, speaking during her weekly press conference, criticized Trump for his refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election in November and pleaded with him to honour the US Constitution and his oath of office.

“We do know who he admires. He admires (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, he admires Kim Jong Un, he admires Erdogan in Turkey,” Pelosi said. “But I remind him, you are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia, Mr. President.”

Turkish officials were less than happy with the comments that questioned Erdogan’s legitimacy and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu took to Twitter to make his feelings known.

“Nancy Pelosi’s rise to become Speaker of the House is what is truly worrisome for American democracy, given her blatant ignorance. You will learn to respect the Turkish people’s will,” he said.

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Trump has caused mass controversy in the US over the last couple of days with his comments regarding the upcoming election, spreading doubt over the legitimacy of the result if he were to lose. Just as in 2016, Trump has refused to commit to peacefully leaving power in the result of a loss to Biden and claims the expected increase in mail-in voting this year will likely lead to widespread voter fraud.

No evidence of substantial mail-in voter fraud has been found in previous elections and experts across the country have said that there should be no issues with the end result.

Turkey and the US have experienced troubles in their relationship over the past four years of Trump due to a number of disagreements between the two countries. However, the president has frequently praised Erdogan and sought to maintain a strong relationship with the Turkish leader in order to help maintain the relationship between the two allies.

“We want the peaceful transfer of power, and again, this is about something you’ve heard me say again and again. We don’t agonize, we organize, and we want to make sure that the American people know how important their vote is and how they can vote safely, without risking their health,” House Speaker Pelosi said last week.

“And it is very sad that you even have to ask that question. A real testimony to the need for protecting our democracy that we put forth yesterday. That a President of the United States would place in doubt the idea of a peaceful transfer of power is… Well, it’s no surprise, again, because the President has been contemptible of science and governance and so you see 200,000 people have died.

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“But I have confidence in the American people, and I have confidence that he won’t get away with saying, for example, “I won with the vote on the ground, the vote in the mail doesn’t count,” and the rest of that. What am I missing here about people just not saying, “Hold it, calm down, Mr. President.” Now, we do know who he admires. He admires Putin, he admires Kim Jong-un. He admires Endogen in Turkey. He admires people who are perpetuating their role in government. But I remind me, you are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia, Mr. President. And by the way, you are not in Saudi Arabia. You are in the United States of America. It is a democracy. So why don’t you just try for a moment to honor your oath of office to the Constitution of the United States?

“But yeah, I have confidence and it would not be a good thing for our country for our election to be ignored by the President so that a solution as the Constitution provides for, but nonetheless one that does not, in my view, constitute a peaceful transfer of power,” the 80-year-old continued.

“I don’t think (Trump) is worth the trouble at this point. We have 40 days until the election. He is trying to discredit mail in voting, which is hurting, as you’ve heard some of the Republicans say, this has been an important part of our electorate success, mail in voting. He’s discrediting that, vote by mail.

“And so the answer to it all, the antidote to almost every ailment that I have named is the vote and so right now, our point is, it’s no use our orchestrating one thing or another when what really matters, in terms of a peaceful transfer of power, is that people vote and that their vote is counted as cast, whoever they vote for, whatever the outcome. If he honestly gets the majority of the Electoral College and is the next President, that’s the peaceful continuation of power.”

America Coronavirus

President Donald Trump And First Lady Melania Have Tested Positive For Covid-19

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania have tested positive for the coronavirus. A staggering announcement after Trump and his administration spent the past six months downplaying the severity of the pandemic that has now claimed the lives of over 200,000 Americans. Trump just recently poked fun at Joe Biden during the first presidential debate for always wearing a mask, days before announcing his diagnosis. 

Trump has adamantly and publicly shared his beliefs that the coronavirus “would disappear and die out,” despite the fact that it continues to infect millions of individuals worldwide.  Trump and Melania both took to Twitter on Monday to share the news with the world.

“Tonight,@FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

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Sean Conley, the physician to the president, recently released a memo claiming that the president and first lady are both still doing well at this time, and the White House medical team will be “maintaining a vigilant watch” on the two as the president continues to carry out his duties in office. 

Trump has since cancelled his busy schedule of in-person events that were geared to begin this Friday, which included a roundtable discussion with a group of his supporters at the Trump hotel in DC. According to guidelines from the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus due to his age, 74, and the fact that he’s medically overweight. A majority of the individuals who have died due to the virus in the US have been over the age of 50.

Should something happen to the president in the coming weeks, the Constitution’s 25th amendment states that the vice president, Mike Pence, would take over his responsibilities as “acting president.” Pence himself has been getting tested for Covid daily, and as of Friday October 2nd, he remains negative. 

Many were quick to take to social media to express their lack of sympathy for the president’s diagnosis, especially considering he’s been holding massive indoor campaign rallies despite his own administration’s policies against them. Those rallies led to spikes in case numbers in their given areas to no one’s surprise after images from the events showed little to no social distancing occurring and barely any facial coverings in the crowd. Joe Biden took to Twitter on Friday morning to wish Trump well on his recovery:

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“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”

Trump has also been getting tested regularly since the pandemic first began impacting the US in March. It was that same month that Trump played down the threat of the virus, despite almost every other country in the world completely shutting down in response to its initial spread. In an interview published by Bob Woodward this month, it was revealed that Trump knew what he was doing in terms of downplaying the virus’ threat, claiming that he “wanted to always play it down because [he] didn’t want to create a panic.”

Daily Covid-19 briefings occurred from March to April but then ended abruptly after Trump became fixated on using chemical disinfectants and ultraviolet light as a treatment for humans. His focus also remained solely on reopening the economy, hence the multitude of businesses and events that have remained open and occurring all summer despite the massive amounts of healthcare workers urging Americans to just stay home and wear a mask. He insisted that the rising number in Covid cases in the US was due to an increase in testing, and claimed that if we stopped testing people as often as we were, the case numbers would go down. 

Trump also was adamant about making sure all schools and universities reopened for the fall semester, despite the fact that his administration shut down all schooling in March after only a couple thousand cases appeared. If anything, the president’s diagnosis should be a massive wake up call to all Americans that this pandemic is no where close to over, and with an election coming up in November, it’s essential to think about the people you want making policies on all levels of government (local, state, federal).

US American Flag

Trump Fails To Commit To Peaceful Transfer Of Power

With just over a month to go until Election Day, President Donald Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. Speaking at a White House press conference, Trump also said he could see the result ending up in the Supreme Court, once again citing concerns over mail-in fraud.

Many states are encouraging citizens to utilize mail-in voting as much as possible in the upcoming election, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, Trump has repeatedly discredited this method of voting, claiming that it is disproportionately susceptible to voter fraud and last month the president even admitted to blocking funding to the United States Postal Service in order to hinder postal voting.

The Department of Homeland Security has also announced that Russia is circulating unfounded claims that mail-in voting will result in mass voter fraud.

During last Wednesday’s press conference, Trump was asked by a reporter if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power ‘win, lose or draw’ to Biden. Trump refused to give a straight answer, sparking discussion over the country about what would happen if he were to refuse to give up power having lost the election.

“Well, we’ll have to see what happens, you know that,” the president said. “I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.”

As every losing presidential candidate in modern times has conceded, a refusal to accept the result of the election by Trump would send the country into unknown waters and nobody can be quite sure how events would unfold.

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Democratic candidate Joe Biden has previously stated that he believes the military would intervene in such a scenario and be deployed to remove Trump from the White House.

Trump also failed to commit to acceptance of the election results prior to his battle with Hilary Clinton in 2016, something the then-Democratic candidate described as ‘an attack on democracy.’ Trump, of course, won the election but the 74-year-old still questioned the popular vote, which he lost by three million.

“Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” tweeted Republican senator Mitt Romney, who has played a smaller role in the party during Trump’s time as president.

“Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”

Also on Wednesday, President Trump justified his decision to seek the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice before the upcoming election, reasoning that he is expecting the result of the vote to end up in court.

“I think this [the election] will end up in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” he said.
“I think it’s better if you go before the election, because I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling, it’s a scam, the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court.”

Trump has also announced that he is to name a female nominee for the court this upcoming weekend to replace Justice Ruth Bade Ginsburg, who died at the age of 87 last week. If confirmed by the Senate, Trump’s nominee will secure a 6-3 Republican majority in the highest court in the country for the foreseeable future at least.

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The closest elections in modern US history have still seen the losing candidate concede as expected, including in 1960 when Richard Nixon was just pipped by John F Kennedy and in 2000 when Al Gore was narrowly defeated by George W Bush in Florida.

“So we have to be very careful with the ballots. The ballots, that’s a whole big scam. They found, I understand, eight ballots in a wastepaper basket in some location they found it,” the president told reporters during the press conference.

“It was reported in one of the newspapers that they found a lot of ballots in a river. They throw them out if they have the name Trump on it, I guess. But they had ballots,” he added.

“They still found them in a river, whether they had a name on it or not. But the other ones had the Trump name on it and they were thrown into a wastepaper basket. We want to make sure the election is honest and I’m not sure that it can be,” he continued, referring to several ballots that were recently found discarded in Pennsylvania.

“I don’t know that it can be with this whole situation. Unsolicited ballots, they’re unsolicited. Millions being sent to everybody. And we’ll see. But if you remember, Hillary Clinton just a week ago or so told Joe Biden, “Do not accept the results of the election under any circumstances.” But you don’t ask her that question. You only ask me the question,” the president said.

America Coronavirus

Ex-White House Aide Criticises Trump Administration Over Pandemic

A former White House employee who was part of the Trump administration as it dealt with the early effects of the coronavirus pandemic has criticized the president for his handling of the crisis, even suggesting he called it ‘a good thing’.

One-time aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye spoke in a video released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump and claimed that Trump and his administration knew the country was facing a pandemic by mid-February.

“But the president didn’t want to hear that because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year and how was this going to affect what he considered to be his record of success,” she said.

“The truth is he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself,” she said.

“If the president had taken this virus seriously… he would have slowed the virus spread, he would have saved lives.”

She also recalled comments Mr Trump allegedly made during a task force meeting suggesting that COVID-19 might be “a good thing” because it would mean he would not have to “shake hands” with “disgusting people”.

“It was awful,” she said. “It was terrifying.”

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Troye, a lifelong Republican, served as one of the top organizers in the White House Coronavirus Task Force and said that Trump repeatedly referred to the pandemic as a hoax during the early stages.

Vice President Pence responded to the video by saying that the former aide’s remarks sounded simply like those of a disgruntled employee, while a White House spokesperson said her claims were not true.

“Outside of generally watching the White House Coronavirus Taskforce from the overflow staff room, this disgruntled former detailee was never in private meetings with the president and her assertions have no basis in reality and are flat out inaccurate,” spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement.

Trump claimed that he had never met Troye and instead just remembered that she wrote a ‘beautiful letter’ praising the administration when she left.

“To grow up in America is to live in a land where anything is possible, where anyone can rise, and where any dream can come true. All because of the immortal principles our nation’s founders inscribed nearly two and a half centuries ago,” President Trump told reporters during a joint press conference with Pence.

“That’s why we’ve come to the National Archives, the sacred home of our national memory. In this great chamber, we preserve our glorious inheritance, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Bill of Rights.

“On this very day in 1787, our founding fathers signed the Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It was the fulfilment of a thousand years of Western civilization. Our Constitution was the product of centuries of tradition, wisdom, and experience. No political document has done more to advance the human condition or propel the engine of progress. Yet, as we gather this afternoon, a radical movement is attempting to demolish this treasured and precious inheritance. We can’t let that happen,” Trump continued.

“The left-wing mobs have torn down statues of our founders, desecrated our memorials, and carried out a campaign of violence and anarchy. Far left demonstrators have chanted the words, “America was never great.” The Left has launched a vicious and violent assault on law enforcement, the universal symbol of the rule of law in America.

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“These radicals have been aided and abetted by liberal politicians, establishment, media, and even large corporations. Whether it is the mob on the street or the cancel culture in the boardroom, the goal is the same: to silence dissent, to scare you out of speaking the truth, and to bully Americans into abandoning their values, their heritage, and their very way of life.

“We are here today to declare that we will never submit to tyranny. We will reclaim our history and our country for citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed. The radicals burning American flags want to burn down the principles enshrined in our founding documents, including the bedrock principle of equal justice under law,” Trump added.

“In order to radically transform America, they must first cause Americans to lose confidence in who we are, where we came from, and what we believe.

“As I said at Mount Rushmore, which they would love to rip down and rip it down fast, that’s never going to happen. Two months ago, the left wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution. As many of you testified today, the left wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left wing indoctrination in our schools. It’s gone on far too long.

“Our children are instructed from propaganda tracks like those of Howard Zinn that try to make students ashamed of their own history. The Left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies.”