Kushner Does Not Reject “Birther” Conspiracy Theory About Kamala Harris

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner did not outright reject a conspiracy theory his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, ignited about Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who this week Democrat Joe Biden announced would be his running mate in this year’s race for the White House. The president had suggested that Harris may not “meet the requirements” to run for office, implying she is not a United States citizen. Harris was born and raised in California. read more

Opinion: Obama Resurrects Hope In His Eulogy to John Lewis

During this past week many of us mourned the loss of John Lewis and the kind of greatness he had.  The iconic civil rights leader was a man who refused to give up or give in after being beaten within an inch of his life.  Those who knew him described him as someone you just had to love. Even Moscow Mitch had to take a moment to speak well of John Lewis. read more

Opinion: Reuniting America Begins with Candid Conversations About Race

During the past few days I heard a lot about the N word. Unsurprisingly, Mary Trump acknowledged that was a word her uncle, the sitting president, used over the years.

Earlier on the day when Rachel Maddow interviewed Ms. Trump, I had the honor of conversing with Rodney Hurst, who, at age sixteen, organized a protest in Jacksonville, Florida that led to a day we know now as Axe Handle Saturday. That was in 1960. When I asked Mr. Hurst what white people could do to give Black people meaningful support today, he said several things, which I’ll get into shortly. He did say, importantly, that he wishes white people would stop using the “N” word and other slurs. read more

Trump Says Flying Confederate Flag is a Matter of “Freedom of Speech”

Trump claims Democrats want to build statues of Biden

In an interview, President Donald Trump said the decision of whether or not to fly the Confederate flag is a matter of “freedom of speech.”

“My stance is very simple: It’s freedom of speech,” he said in an interview. “You do what you do. It’s freedom of speech. NASCAR can do whatever they want, and they’ve chosen to go a certain way, other people choose to go a different route.”

The president also defended a Twitter post he made earlier this week in which he falsely accused NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace of a “hoax” after a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway.

“I was just talking about the fact that NASCAR chose to go a certain way and that’s going to be up to them. That is up to them,” Trump said.

Last month, an investigation by the FBI concluded that Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime, though photographs showed what was clearly a noose. The FBI’s determination led to criticism for Wallace, who was accused of orchestrating the incident. NASCAR defended Wallace, saying he “and the 43 team had nothing to do with this.” The controversy took place just after NASCAR announced it would ban the display of the Confederate flag at its events.

Wallace was never formally suspected of staging the incident.

Trump Lashes Out After Princeton Drops Woodrow Wilson’s Name from Policy Center

Trump Lauds Murderous Tyrants

President Donald Trump lashed out after Princeton University removed former president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school. The school cited Wilson’s “racist thinking and policies” in its decision.

“Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson from their highly respected policy center,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Now the Do Nothing Democrats want to take off the name John Wayne from an airport,” he continued, referring to Orange County Democrats who want to change the name of John Wayne Airport after a video of “racist and bigoted statements” Wayne made in a 1971 interview saying that he “believes” in white supremacy resurfaced.

“Incredible stupidity!” the president added.

Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson from their highly respected policy center. Now the Do Nothing Democrats want to take off the name John Wayne from an airport. Incredible stupidity! read more

Trump “Absolutely Would” Support Colin Kaepernik Returning to NFL––Despite History of Attacking Him

In an interview with WJLA’s Scott Thuman, President Donald Trump said he “absolutely would” support former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick “should get another shot in the NFL.” Kaepernick generated controversy in 2016 for choosing to kneel during the national anthem to protest systemic racism and police brutality, a choice that essentially froze him out of the NFL.

“If he deserves it, he should. If he has the playing ability,” Trump said. “He started off great and then he didn’t end up very great in terms of as a player. He was terrific in his rookie year, I think he was very good in his second year, and then something happened. So his playing wasn’t up to snuff.”

“The answer is absolutely I would. As far as kneeling — I would love to see him get another shot, but obviously he has to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair,” the president added.

You can watch video footage of Trump’s remarks below.

"Absolutely I would," support @Kaepernick7 getting a 2nd shot in the @NFL@POTUS in my interview today on racism, policing, statues & yes–sports. #ColinKaepernick pic.twitter.com/0B83cNbesW read more

U.N. to Debate Systemic Racism and Police Brutality in U.S. Following Call from Entire African Continent

The United Nations’ Human Rights Council will debate systemic racism and police brutality in the United States following a call from all 54 African nations.

“Structural racism and police violence are issues, which are commonly raised by states and civil society at meetings of the council, as are unlawful killings by police and racial bias in policing,” U.N. human rights spokesman Rolando Gomez told Voice of America. “And, the aim, of course, is to prevent such abhorrent acts.”

The announcement comes as protests continue to galvanize millions across the nation to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council caved to public pressure last week, unanimously passing a resolution to disband the police force with a community-led model.

“The tragic events of 25 May in Minneapolis that led to the death of George Floyd led to protests around the world in protest of injustice and police brutality that persons of African descent face on a daily basis in many regions of the world,” Burkina Faso’s ambassador to the U.N., Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri, said in the formal urgent debate request. “The death of George Floyd is unfortunately not an isolated incident. Many other cases of persons of African descent having faced the same fate because of the origin and police violence exist.”

The United States is not a member of the 47-member state forum in Geneva. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley withdrew the U.S. two years ago after alleging bias against Israel.

Trump: Chokeholds Sound “So Innocent and So Perfect”

President Donald Trump stoked racial tensions in an interview with Fox News today, saying he believes that chokeholds sound “so innocent and so perfect” in remarks defending his “law and order” approach to the protests that have erupted nationwide since George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis, inflaming an already fraught national dialogue on police use of force.

“I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent and so perfect,” he said, “and then you realize that if it’s one-on-one, now if it’s two-on-one it’s a little bit of a different story depending, depending on the toughness and strength, you know, we’re talking about toughness and strength, we’re talking there’s a physical thing here also.”

Remarking on the protests, he defended the use of chokeholds, saying, “You saw some very good people protesting, but you saw some bad people also. “And you get somebody in a chokehold. What are you going to do now? Let go and say, ‘Oh, let’s start all over again’?”

"Sometimes if you're alone and you're fighting somebody, it's tough … we have some real bad people" — Trump defends police chokeholds pic.twitter.com/DZfjT5isFU read more

Trump Defends Juneteenth Rally: “Think of It As a Celebration”

Trump Security Rally

President Donald Trump defended his decision to hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 19, the day marking the end of slavery in the United States. Tulsa is also the site of the Tulsa race massacre, when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses with guns and bombs dropped from above by private aircraft, leveling an entire section of the city and killing an estimated hundreds of people.

The scheduled rally will also take place as the nation grapples with a national conversation about systemic racism sparked by the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis and whose death set off protests across the nation and around the world.

“Think about it as a celebration,” Trump told Fox News in an interview broadcast this morning.

Trump’s move has earned significant criticism. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg decried it in an op-ed, writing, “There’s simply no reason to believe that Trump is going to Tulsa to try to ease intercommunal hostility, rather than exacerbate it.”

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif) said the decision “isn’t just a wink to white supremacists – he’s throwing them a welcome home party.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the president, saying the day is a “meaningful” one for him.

“The African American community is very near and dear to his heart,” McEnany told reporters. “At these rallies he often shares the great work he has done for minority communities.”

“It’s a meaningful day to him,” she continued. “It’s a day where he wants to share some of the progress that’s been made as we look forward at more that needs to be done, especially as we’re looking at this police reform.”

Ohio Senator Asks if “Colored People” Who “Don’t Wash Their Hands As Well” Are Responsible for Coronavirus Spread

During a hearing on whether to declare racism a public health crisis, Ohio Senator Steve Huffman (R), who also happens to be an emergency room physician, asked if “the colored population” is more disproportionately impacted by the novel coronavirus because they “don’t wash their hands as well.”

“My point is I understand African Americans have a higher incidence of chronic conditions and it makes them more susceptible to death from COVID,” Huffman said. “But why doesn’t it make them more susceptible to just get COVID?” read more

Trump: “Our Great National Guard Troops… Could Hardly Believe How Easy It Was” to Gas Peaceful Protesters

Trump Photo Op Bunker

President Donald Trump, who has weathered criticism for deciding to use tear gas to clear peaceful protesters for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., doubled down on the decision, writing on Twitter that the National Guard “could hardly believe how easy it was” to follow his order.

Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House could hardly believe how easy it was,” Trump wrote, while purporting to quote one member who allegedly called the action “a walk in the park.”

“The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB!” he continued.

Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House could hardly believe how easy it was. “A walk in the park”, one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB! read more

LeBron James and Other Black Athletes and Entertainers Form New Voting Rights Group

NBA player LeBron James has joined a team of other black athletes and entertainers to form More Than a Vote, an organization that will dedicate at least part of its efforts to safeguarding African-American voting rights.

The announcement comes as the nation grapples with a litany of protests against systemic racism and police brutality in response to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. The officers involved in the killing have all been charged.

“Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us — we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” James told the New York Times. “How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference.”

James added that he would use his social media presence to spotlight voter suppression and other forms of disenfranchisement.

“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”

James’s effort comes just a couple of short months after former First Lady Michelle Obama and her voting rights group When We All Vote dedicated time and energy to advocating for vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country; making the democracy we all cherish more accessible; and protecting our neighbors, friends and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life,” she said in a statement provided to Axios in April.

Pelosi Calls for Removal of Confederate Monuments from U.S. Capitol

Pelosi tells America to ignore Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called for the removal of Confederate monuments from the National Statuary Hall collection at the U.S. Capitol.

“The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who chairs the Joint Committee on the Library, and vice-chairperson of the committee California Representative Zoe Lofgren. “Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to those ideals.”

She added: “Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed.”

There are 11 Confederate monuments on display in the Capitol. Among the statues are representations of Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis and his Vice President, Alexander Stephens. Both men were accused of treason after the end of the Civil War.

Criticism against Confederate monuments has intensified in the wake of the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody. For many, the statues represent an all-too long era of racial injustice furthered by the police brutality that has claimed the lives of Floyd and multiple black people over many decades.

Trump’s Own DOJ Finds No Link to Antifa In Protests

The Justice Department has issued a report showing no link to Antifa, an organization that doesn’t exist, at protests following the killing of George Floyd.

After NPR reviewed court documents for 51 individuals who are facing federal charges related to the demonstrations, they found none with any connections to the Antifa––or antifascist––movement. Of those 51 cases, 20 involve allegations relating to arson, 16 involve allegations relating to illegal possession of a firearm, and eight involve inciting a riot.

“The single instance in which an extremist group is mentioned in court documents is a case against three Nevada men,” NPR noted. “Federal prosecutors allege the trio belong to the right-wing Boogaloo movement that wants to bring about a civil war. The men have been charged with plotting violence during Las Vegas protests.”

Speaking to Fox News’s Bret Baier earlier this week, Attorney General William Barr said that the lack of cases against Antifa does not mean its members were not participating in the protests that continue across the nation.

“We have some investigations underway, very focused investigations on certain individuals that relate to antifa,” Barr said. “But in the initial phase of identifying people and arresting them, they were arrested for crimes that don’t require us to identify a particular group or don’t necessitate that.”

President Donald Trump announced on May 31 that he would seek to designate Antifa a terrorist organization. The announcement earned jeers amid criticism about how to make the designation for an organization that doesn’t actually exist and whether the president even had the legal authority to make that call.

Tucker Carlson Rails Against Sesame Street for Anti-Racism Message

Fox News personality Tucker Carlson is facing a wave of criticism after using the classic PBS show Sesame Street as an example of “decades of relentless propaganda.”

“All of it designed to make us feel that we have no right to stand up for ourselves, to stand up for our country,” he said. “We are too sinful to resist, we deserve whatever we get. Shut up and take it, America.”

Carlson said Sesame Street, which was featured during a CNN town hall about the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests against racial injustice and police brutality that his death sparked, was teaching children that “America is a very bad place, and it’s all your fault.”

A clip from the event shows Elmo’s dad Louie explaining racism in a way children can understand.

“They are sad and upset, and they have every right to be Elmo. People are upset because racism is a huge problem in our country,” Louie says. “Racism is when people treat other people unfairly because of the way they look or the color of their skin. Not all streets are like Sesame Street. On Sesame Street, we all love and respect one another. Across the country, people of color, especially in the black community, are being treated unfairly because of how they look, their culture, race and who they are. What we are seeing is people saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ They want to end racism.”

“Not all streets are like Sesame Street. … What we are seeing is people saying 'enough is enough.' They want to end racism.”@Elmo’s dad Louie explains why people are protesting across the US. https://t.co/icV04F4FNW #CNNSesameStreet pic.twitter.com/1efrMAzZ8V read more

Poll: Majority of Americans Approve of Protests as Approval of Trump’s Response Continues to Fall

Trump Tantrums

According to the latest Washington Post-Schar School poll, most Americans––a whopping 74 percent––approve of the protests that have erupted nationwide in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Tellingly, 64 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of President Donald Trump’s response to the demonstrations. The support for the protests transcends party lines, with 87 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents, and 53 percent of Republicans voicing their approval.

“The president is way on the wrong side of the growing national consensus that evidences a big shift in attitudes among whites, including Republicans,” said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School. “Even the GOP consensus is splintering.” read more

Rand Paul Delays Anti-Lynching Bill, Saying He Fears It Could Be Used in Cases of “Minor Bruises”

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has delayed anti-lynching legislation, saying “there has to be some give and take” on the measure’s language.

“We want the bill to be stronger. We think that lynching is an awful thing that should be roundly condemned and should be universally condemned. I don’t think it’s a good idea to conflate someone who has an altercation where they had minor bruises, with lynching,” Paul said.

“If you’re gonna call something an anti-lynching bill, but you’re gonna have a new conspiracy charge for someone who has minor bruising, we don’t think that’s appropriate. And someone has to read these bills and make sure they do what they say they’re going to do rather than it be just a big PR effort,” Paul added.

When members of the press asked for clarification on what Paul meant by “minor bruises” and requested he spotlight specific language he wishes to see removed, Paul’s office referred to one of his statements.

Paul’s statement reads: “The bill as written would allow altercations resulting in a cut, abrasion, bruise, or any other injury no matter how temporary to be subject to a 10-year penalty. My amendment would simply apply a serious bodily injury standard, which would ensure crimes resulting in substantial risk of death and extreme physical pain be prosecuted as a lynching.”

Paul’s aides said he’d objected to the measure’s language in recent weeks but that his concerns were sidelined because of the coronavirus pandemic. The current delay comes during an especially tense moment as protests rage across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis and whose killing sent shockwaves around the world.

Pope Francis: Catholics Cannot Tolerate Racism and Also “Claim to Defend the Sacredness of Every Human Life”

Pope Francis commented on the protests that have erupted since George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, saying that Catholics cannot tolerate racism and also “claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” the pope said. “At the same time, we have to recognize that ‘the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.'”

Pope Francis says he is joining the Church in Minneapolis, and across the U.S., “in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism.”

His full remarks are below:

“I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media.

“Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd.

“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that “the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost”.

“Today I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world.

“May God bless all of you and your families. “ read more