President Trump’s final decision to speak in the Rose Garden last evening as protests raged outside the gate was made only hours before, reflecting chaos on both sides of the fence.
Why it matters: Trump’s ultimate remarks fell where his instincts always were: blunt, brutal law and order, with extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and blustery threats.
- “I am your president of law and order,” he declared. “Where there is no justice, there is no liberty.”
For the previous 48 hours, aides and outside political advisers hotly debated whether Trump should address the nation.
- Some top officials argued against the idea — telling Trump that his speech would change nothing, that the protests would continue regardless of what he said.
- But others were getting desperate. A number of people reached out directly to the president or his top aides to tell them, with great urgency, that he needed to be seen. They saw signs on Twitter that the conservative base was turning against him, with the question: “Where is Trump?”
A senior White House official said Trump was especially infuriated watching footage of shopkeepers defending their stores against violent looters.
- “He felt like they’ve been in lockdown [for COVID] and now the minute they’re allowed to open they have to close again because of this,” the official said. “Not gonna let it happen.”
The senior ranks of the Pentagon had been in flux:
- Trump wanted to federalize forces across the nation — a decision that has been held off for the moment. But he also wanted a massive display of force in Washington.
- Two senior administration officials said planners had doubts about whether there were enough National Guard members to handle the increasingly violent protests in D.C. So discussions turned to boosting that with possible additions of neighboring state National Guard.
Not everyone in the White House was thrilled with the church photo op.
- One senior aide was exuberantly telling friends the photograph of him holding a Bible in front of the church that had been attacked by vandals was an “iconic” moment for the president.
- But a senior White House official told Axios that when they saw the tear gas clearing the crowd for Trump to walk to the church with his entourage: “I’ve never been more ashamed. I’m really honestly disgusted. I’m sick to my stomach. And they’re all celebrating it. They’re very very proud of themselves.”
Agents reportedly rushed Trump to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) – which was used after the 9/11 terror attacks and is equipped with secret tunnels – on Friday night.
It is located in the ground below the East Wing of the White House, but its exact placement is kept secret.
The PEOC was constructed to protect Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II and was originally built to hold out against a direct nuclear hit.
The White House detailed that the PEOC can be accessed by an elevator “located behind multiple vault-type doors with biometric access control systems.”
The bunker has previously been utilized by Vice President Dick Cheney during 9/11, when authorities feared that one of the hijacked planes was headed towards the White House.
What is the Presidential Emergency Operations Center?
The Presidential Emergency Operations Center is a bunker-like structure underneath the East Wing of the White House.
It serves as a secure shelter and communications center for the president and his key staff in cases of an emergency.
The PEOC is differentiated from the White House Situation Room which is located in the basement of the West Wing.
During the 9/11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secret Service agents and other staff were evacuated to the PEOC.
President Bush was in Florida at the time of the attacks.
Dramatized versions of the PEOC were featured in the 2013 films Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down.
The first White House bunker was constructed during WWII to protect President Franklin D. Roosevelt from an aerial attack on Washington.
Former First Lady Laura Bush opened up in a 2010 memoir about her experience during 9/11, describing that the bunker was accessed through “a pair of big steel doors that closed behind me with a loud hiss, forming an airtight seal.”
She witnessed “unfinished subterranean hallways underneath the White House” as she was taken to the PEOC.
Bush recalled old tile floors, pipes hanging from ceilings, and mechanical equipment in the underground command center.
Back in 1950, a White House underground tunnel system connecting the West Wing and East Wing were building, allowing access to the bomb shelter.
Another secret tunnel – which can be accessed through a secret staircase by the press of a wall panel – was created in 1987.
A book released earlier this year, titled The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game, claims a bunker also exists under the North Lawn, according to the Washington Examiner.
“At least five stories deep, the bunker, which was completed near the end of Obama’s tenure, can house the staff of the entire West Wing indefinitely in the event of a weapons of mass destruction attack,” author Ronald Kessler wrote.
“After Trump became president, top staffers toured the bunker, whose existence is classified.”
As of Monday morning it remains unclear why the president was moved to the underground bunker, but it is known the Secret Service has protocols to adhere to when the building is threatened.
Sources told CNN that First Lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron, we also taken to the hidden bunker.
President Trump was in the bunker for less than an hour, the news outlet reported.
At one point, amid the riots, the lights which illuminate the White House were turned off – apparently so the Secret Service could use night vision to monitor protesters.
US Marshals, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, and Secret Service agents have been sent onto the city’s streets to support under-pressure cops and Homeland Security agents.
The National Guard is also reportedly being drafted in to help combat rioting outside the White House and elsewhere in the nation’s capital.
Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told the Times that officials would not comment on why the president was rushed to safety.
On Friday, the White House went into lockdown as angry crowds marched on the Capitol.
Secret Service officials reportedly placed Trump’s abode on high alert in response to the Washington DC protesters before the lockdown concluded just before 8.30pm.
Antifa, the far-left militant movement that calls itself “antifascist,” has no defined organizational hierarchy or membership process. The collection of autonomous Antifa groups in mostly left-wing cities sees itself as a descendant of the European anti-Nazi movements, and generally agrees that the best way to combat ideas they find odious is not through speech or debate but by direct action and physical confrontation.
The first modern Antifa group traces its roots back to Portland, Ore., in 2007, and more than a decade later that city has proven a hotbed for many Antifa members’ preferred activities: threatening and violently assaulting journalists, declaring that all police officers should be killed or at least fired, wearing dark clothing and ski masks that sometimes obscure their artificially colored hair, and even engaging in performative clashes with right-wing groups to dull the monotony of typical suburban life.
Jeffrey Dean Garten, then-28 and of Oakland, was arrested at a violent antifa riot in Berkeley in August 2018. He was charged with carrying a banned weapon. At the riot, extremists threw explosives at police and set a car on fire. https://nypost.com/2018/08/06/berkeley-police-arrest-20-seize-dozens-of-weapons-from-alt-right-and-far-left-protesters/ … #AntifaMugshots
Antifa was present during the infamous and deadly August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. The event saw violent clashes between white supremacists, individuals protesting the removal of a Confederate statue, and left-wing groups. In a haunting moment caught on video, a neo-Nazi drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one.
President Trump quickly condemned white supremacists, while noting that not everyone protesting the statue removal was necessarily a neo-Nazi or white supremacist. However, his comments were widely misinterpreted as praising white supremacists, galvanizing Antifa and bolstering its momentum.
Following one of many clashes between Antifa and right-wing groups, Trump tweeted last year that “major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION of TERROR.’” Nevertheless, Antifa has remained one of the most visible and violent left-wing groups in the United States.
In May 2020, Trump said the U.S. would indeed designate Antifa a “terrorist organization,” after a rash of violent protests following the in-custody death of George Floyd. The move gives authorities more tools to track and prosecute criminal members of Antifa.
It remained unclear exactly who was behind the escalation of what began as peaceful protests against police over Floyd’s death, with accusations lobbed against both far-left extremists and white nationalists. The president has been forceful in pointing the finger at the former. “It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!” Trump tweeted.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was less decisive in stating who is behind the looting, arson, and violence that has taken place. While he called rioters “Antifa-like” during an appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” he said, “I think it still remains to be seen exactly how” the situation devolved from peaceful protests to something entirely different.
Amid the mayhem, the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison tweeted that he is declaring his support for Antifa. Jeremiah Ellison, who is a member of the Minneapolis City Council, noted in the tweet that he believes “white power” terrorists are actually the ones engaging in the looting, arson and other riot activities. Democrats have made scattered claims that the Russians and outside white supremacists are leading the violence, despite contrary evidence indicating that most arrested individuals are local.
Also in late May, Twitter suspended an account claiming to belong to Antifa. The suspension came after the small account urged members to go into “white hoods” and “take what’s ours.” The account, it later emerged, was actually set up by a known white supremacist group. (Twitter and President Trump have sparred over censorship.)
Although several videographers and reporters have covered Antifa, Portland-based independent journalist Andy Ngo has perhaps most extensively documented attacks by self-described Antifa members on journalists, police officers, and even other Antifa members and left-wing supporters in recent years.
Last June, Ngo himself was attacked by Antifa while covering their confrontation with the far-right Proud Boys group, and suffered a brain injury.
“During today’s events, there were multiple assaults reported, as well as projectiles thrown at demonstrators and officers,” the police said in a statement after Ngo’s injury. “There were also reports of pepper spray and bear spray being used by people in the crowd. Officers deployed pepper spray during the incident. There were reports of individuals throwing ‘milkshakes’ with a substance mixed in that was similar to a quick-drying cement. One subject was arrested for throwing a substance during the incident.”
Ngo told Fox News that Trump’s efforts to consider Antifa a terror group “will provide a framework for local authorities and, especially, federal authorities to start investigating this criminal cartel for the street thugs that they are.”
“In addition to the street hooliganism that we see over and over on the streets of America, this movement also has a political ideology that is agitating for a violent political revolution,’ Ngo added.
A few weeks later, an individual who said he was associated with Antifa upgraded from cement to molotov cocktails and an AR-15, as he waged an assault on a federal immigration facility in Washington state. Willem Van Spronsen, 69, was shot dead quickly by responding authorities.
Calls for reform
Top Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, sought a federal investigation of the episode, saying Portland’s mayor and police department are incompetent and failing to adequately protect citizens’ civil rights.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., joined Cruz in advancing federal legislation to take on Antifa.
“It would give law enforcement greater tools, greater permission to use tools, in order to combat Antifa. Antifa is spreading from the West Coast, where it started, to different cities. Their intimidating tactics should be stopped where they are and not allowed to spread,” Cassidy said on “Fox & Friends.”
Local authorities, meanwhile, have shown little interest in the matter.
“We’re not going to come out and save you,” police told a journalist last week as Antifa militants chased him away with pepper spray.
Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner released a statement last year after a flareup of Antifa violence, blaming Portland Mayor Wheeler for lack of enforcement and saying the mayor must “remove the handcuffs from our officers and let them stop the violence through strong and swift enforcement action.”
In response, Wheeler distanced himself from responsibility for the police response to Antifa — and took a shot at Cruz for calling for the feds to step in.
“I thought it was beneath a United States senator,” Wheeler told the outlet. “The truth is, I wasn’t even here. I wasn’t even in the United States. I was with my family in Ecuador on a wildlife tour.”
He added: “One of the things I would like the public to know, is there is a unified incident command center that’s engaged during these demonstrations.”
Antifa attacks people on a bus. They try to pull them out and hit them with a hammer. #PortlandProtests
Three people were arrested in early February after a demonstration in downtown Portland turned “violent” and a war memorial was vandalized.
The Portland Police Bureau said the protesters gathered to counter a demonstration outside the Multnomah County Courthouse that was abruptly canceled.
Police did not provide details about the previously planned demonstration, but Oregon Live reported it was rumored to be a Ku Klux Klan white supremacy rally at a downtown park. Counter-protesters, including members of Antifa, still showed up even though police said the original event was scrapped.
“While the rally was being held and was peaceful, Portland Police officers stayed away,” the police bureau said. “However, some people in the group began acting in a violent, threatening manner against attendees who were legally capturing photos and videos.”
According to police, some people used metal-tipped umbrellas to “jab toward people and chase them down the street.” Other objects, such as rocks, concrete, batons, cans and food were thrown at members of the public and officers.
At least two incendiary devices, believed to be flares, were thrown into nearby traffic, police said. The event spanned nearly four hours and required a “large police response” that limited the department’s ability to respond to calls for service citywide.
Messages reading “Punch Cops,” “Kill Cops,” and “All Cops are Bastards” could be seen on the memorial in photos released by police.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said Willy Cannon, 25, was charged with a misdemeanor for abusing a memorial and a felony for criminal mischief. In addition to Cannon, the sheriff’s office said Brandon Farley, 31, was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and Heaven Davis, 19, was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief.
The word I keep hearing is numbness. Not necessarily a sickness, but feeling ill at ease. A sort of detachment or removal from reality. Deb Hawkins, a tech analyst in Michigan, describes the feeling of being stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic as “sleep-walking through my life” or “wading through a physical and mental quicksand.” Even though she has been living in what she calls an “introvert heaven” for the past two months—at home with her family, grateful they are in good health—her brain has dissented. “I feel like I have two modes,” Hawkins says: “barely functioning and boiling angry.”
Many people are even more deeply unmoored. Michael Falcone has run an acupuncture clinic for the past decade in Memphis, Tennessee. When he temporarily shut it down, the toll on his mental health was immediate. “I went into a pretty instant depression when I realized that my actual purpose was disintegrating,” he says. He began spending his days staring at his bookshelves. Falcone and I have exchanged emails for weeks now, and while his notes have been full of whimsical musings about adjusting to home life, one included a jarring line: “I’ve lost faith in myself. I don’t know if I can actually justify taking up space and resources.”
After I confirmed with Falcone that he had no intent to harm himself, I recommended that he seek medical help. But given the unprecedented circumstances we’re all in, I’m not sure whether I under- or overreacted—or even what “help” should look like, exactly. The pandemic is a moment of historic loss: unemployment, isolation, stasis, financial devastation, medical suffering, and hundreds of thousands of deaths globally. Suddenly droves of people are being thrown into a state like Falcone’s, feeling lost, hopeless—in his words, “depressed.”
Over the past month, Jennifer Leiferman, a researcher at the Colorado School of Public Health, has documented a tidal wave of depressive symptoms in the U.S. “The rates we’re seeing are just so much higher than normal,” she says. Leiferman’s team recently found that people in Colorado have, during the pandemic, been nine times more likely to report poor mental health than usual. About 23 percent of Coloradans have symptoms of clinical depression.
As a rough average, during pre-pandemic life, 5 to 7 percent of people met the criteria for a diagnosis of depression. Now, depending how you define the condition, orders of magnitude more people do. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, extrapolates from a recent Lancet study in China to estimate that about 50 percent of the U.S. population is experiencing depressive symptoms. “We are witnessing the mental-health implications of massive disease and death,” he says. This has the effect of altering the social norm by which depression and other conditions are defined. Essentially, this throws off the whole definitional rubric.
Feelings of numbness, powerlessness, and hopelessness are now so common as to verge on being considered normal. But what we are seeing is far less likely an actual increase in a disease of the brain than a series of circumstances that is drawing out a similar neurochemical mix. This poses a diagnostic conundrum. Millions of people exhibiting signs of depression now have to discern ennui from temporary grieving from a medical condition. Those at home Googling symptoms need to know when to seek medical care, and when it’s safe to simply try baking more bread. Clinicians, meanwhile, need to decide how best to treat people with new or worsening symptoms: to diagnose millions of people with depression, or to more aggressively treat the social circumstances at the core of so much suffering.
Clearly articulating the meaning of medical depression is an existential challenge for the mental-health profession, and for a country that does not ensure its people health care. If we fail, the second wave of death from this pandemic will not be directly caused by the virus. It will take the people who suffered mentally from its reverberations.
Andrew Solomon, the author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, groups people based on four basic ways they’re responding to the current crisis. Two are straightforward. In the first are people who are drawing on huge stockpiles of resilience and truly doing okay. When you ask how they feel and they say “eh, fine,” they actually mean it. In the second, at the opposite end of things, are people who already have a clinical diagnosis of major depressive disorder or a persistent version known as dysthymia. Right now, their symptoms are at high risk of escalating. “They develop what some clinicians call ‘double depression,’ in which the underlying disorder coexists with a new layer of fear and sorrow,” Solomon says. Such people may need higher levels of medical care than usual, and may even need to be hospitalized.
The remaining two groups constitute more of a gray area. One group consists of the millions of people now experiencing depressive symptoms in a real way, but who nonetheless will return to their baseline eventually, as long as their symptoms are addressed. People in this group are in urgent need of basic interventions that help create routine and structure. Those might involve regularizing sleep and food, minimizing alcohol and other substances, exercising, avoiding obsessions with the news, and cutting back on other aimless habits that might be easier to moderate in normal times.
The fourth group encompasses people who are starting to develop clinical depression. More than simply a wellness regimen or a Zoom with friends, they need some type of formal medical intervention. They may have seemed fine and had adequate resilience in normal times, to deal with normal difficulties, but they’ve always had a propensity to develop overt depression. Solomon describes this group as “hanging on the precipice of what could be considered pathologic.” It can be especially precarious because people in this state—what some researchers refer to as “subclinical depression”—have not dealt with depression before, and may not have the capacity or resources to proactively seek treatment.
The earlier specific types of depression can be identified, the better people can be directed toward proper treatment. The mental-health system has always had barriers to identifying and helping people early—issues like access to care and stigma around seeking it out. In the midst of this pandemic, not only is the current population of psychiatrists insufficient to suddenly treat several times as many people as usual, but their basic capacities of diagnosis are also hindered by distance, volume, and confounding variables. “It takes considerable wisdom to delineate who has a clinical condition and needs medication and therapy, and who is just stressed out within the bounds of good mental health,” Solomon says. Clinicians train for years to understand that line, and placing people on one side or the other typically requires long interviews in which every element of a person’s affect is noted.
Even for people who manage to connect with clinicians, subtleties are difficult to read over video calls, says Meghan Jarvis, a trauma therapist who has been seeing a spectrum of reactions to the pandemic, including depression. Normally, Jarvis sends maybe one patient a year to the hospital for a pathologic response to trauma. Since March, she has already had to hospitalize four people. Typically, she explains, symptoms of depression are considered problematic if they last six weeks after a traumatic event. The precise length is arbitrary, but is meant to generally help distinguish depression from periods of grieving, such as after the death of a loved one. That distinction is largely useless in the pandemic. “I mean, we’re all going to have that,” Jarvis says, “because we’ve been in this mode for more than six weeks.”
Now Jarvis and others have to develop new thresholds. Just as, in the time of COVID-19, not everyone with a cough can go to the hospital, clinicians are working to identify and prioritize those who truly need in-person mental-health attention. Jennifer Rapke, the head of inpatient consultation at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in New York, has seen a surge in teenagers reporting suicidal ideation and instances of self-harm, so she has been carefully turning away the less severe cases to make sure that inpatient facilities aren’t overwhelmed. “We’re only seeing people who absolutely need to be here,” she says. Meanwhile, those with milder, emerging cases are sometimes left in limbo. “The places we would normally send people, the things we would put in place to address the depression or the anxiety in early phases—they don’t exist or they’re unavailable,” Rapke says.
With less preventive and maintenance care accessible, people are more likely to come to hospitals in more severe states. During crises, extreme events like self-harm and suicide lag in time. At first, being anxious about the proximity of death, or sad about the loss of loved ones is logical; any other reaction would be bizarre. Our minds and bodies can’t endure that state for too long, though. The United States was slow to test for the coronavirus, and COVID-19 cases accumulated before we knew just how widespread it was. Rapke and others are now bracing for a similarly delayed wave of severe depression—and the difficult decisions they will have to make about treatments.
The elusive definition of depression has always been a source of academic tension with serious consequences. Among the many challenges the pandemic is posing, it is exposing the borders of medicine’s ability to distill human suffering into a billable diagnostic code. Some people with symptoms of depression will be told, “Everyone feels that way,” or advised to try breathing exercises when they need urgent medical attention. Others will be diagnosed with clinical depression, changing their life and self-conception indefinitely, when the problems were truly circumstantial. The system has never been flawless, but its limitations are now brought into stark relief.
For most of human history, depression was not treated in the same medical model as were diseases of the body. People with mental illnesses were written off as morally bankrupt or simply “insane.” Only in the latter half of the 20th century did the profession of psychiatry become a medical specialty and create systematic approaches to treatment. The process for diagnosing a condition in psychiatry and clinical psychology will never be as straightforward and objective as saying whether a bone is broken or not, or whether a person has had a heart attack. But it provides a common, basic language for what a clinician means when he or she diagnoses a patient with something like depression. It also helps patients get the insurance coverage and health-care service they need.
Today, depression—the clinical condition, otherwise known as major depressive disorder—is defined by the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a mood disorder.* To receive the diagnosis, a person must have five or more symptoms such as the following, nearly every day during a two-week period: fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, reduced physical movement, indecisiveness or impaired concentration, a decreased or increased appetite, and a greatly diminished interest or pleasure in regular activities.
Experts are trained to identify exactly how much “impaired concentration” or “loss of energy” is enough to qualify for a diagnosis, and the criteria are intentionally flexible enough to factor in patients’ individual circumstances. But as the pandemic has made clear, the DSM-5 and medical model as a whole don’t provide the richness of language to account for all the nuanced ways people might look or feel depressed, even when they don’t need medical intervention. Well-meaning attempts to standardize the diagnostic process have created a false binary wherein you are a person with depression, or you are not.
Outside of medicine, depression has been most cogently defined through metaphor. As Sylvia Plath wrote: “The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.” David Foster Wallace described depression as feeling that “every single atom in every single cell in your body is sick.” Even some clinical models reach for alternative ways of articulating despair beyond the conventional medical model. James Hollis, a psychodynamic analyst and the author of Living Between Worlds: Finding Resilience in Changing Times, says that depression is sometimes the result of “intrapsychic tension,” a conflict between two areas of our psyche, or identity. The tension is created, Hollis observes, “when we’re forced to try to make acquaintances with ourselves in new ways.”
Many Americans do seem to be experiencing something like this tension during the pandemic. People who define themselves by their work can lose a basic sense of self if that work disappears. In such moments, Hollis says, many people regress. Many also try to escape—whether by organizing an already well-organized sock drawer, baking bread they don’t even want, or endlessly scrolling through Instagram. Jarvis, the trauma therapist, is seeing similar escapist tendencies: “For someone’s response to a huge global pandemic to be like, I’m going to work out really hard, is just as pathological and sort of dissociative as if you went to bed and didn’t get up for five days.”
For people whose response to the pandemic turns from acute anxiety into general malaise, Jarvis recommends facing the numbness head-on. It’s treatable, and not necessarily with medication. First, she says, create regimens of simple tasks that give structure to the day. The approach is working for Falcone, the acupuncturist. He starts every day with 30 minutes of stretching, no matter what. Then he walks his dog, makes coffee, and sits down to teach massage via Zoom. Deb Hawkins, the tech analyst, sent me a list of things she’s doing to help others and stay busy: She donated money to a couple of worthy causes, and made an appointment to give blood. She has created a small social bubble and signed up for an online ballet class. She says her sense of self is returning.
Small steps like these will not work for everyone, but they may help many in the subclinical realm to mitigate a dangerous slide. With the medical system already stretched thin, these could buy some time to build its capacity to care for the people who will emerge from the pandemic with severe and lasting symptoms. As important as preventive behaviors can be, human resilience has limits. Those will be tested for months to come.
The individual model of depression was never meant to address a significant percentage of a population. When the diagnosis seems to apply so widely, it’s not the people or the entire medical system that’s broken, but the social context. While many people will find ways to recalibrate their expectations and individual thresholds for joy in the pandemic, ultimately basic needs still have to be met. This means eliminating sources of anxiety, such as by ensuring financial, housing, and food security. In Colorado, Leiferman’s group is among those scrambling to help stem the tide of depressive symptoms. “Our nation is under stress. It may be that more people need [medical] treatment,” she says. “It may be that we need to, as a population, do more to relieve the stress.”
The Minneapolis police chief acknowledged Thursday that his department contributed to a so-called “deficit of hope” that plagued his city well before the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody on Memorial Day.
Chief Medaria Arradondo said during a news conference that the Minnesota city has experienced a lot of trauma in the wake of Floyd’s death and that he could not allow others to compound that trauma with looting, robbing and torching buildings in the name of the First Amendment.
“I know that there is currently a deficit of hope in this city and I know as I wear this uniform before you, this department has contributed to that deficit of hope, but I will not allow to continue to increase that deficit by re-traumatizing those folks in our community.”
He continued: “I am committed to restoring peace and security in our community.”
Arradondo’s remarks came hours after the Justice Department said it was making the federal investigation into Floyd’s death a “top priority.” It also promised a “robust” probe by the FBI.
Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead Monday night after he was pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death have weighed on the city.
Chauvin, along with three other police officers involved in the incident, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, were fired from the force Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey demanded the arrest of Chauvin, the police officer seen on camera kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he struggled to breathe.
Frey also called for Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to “act on the evidence before him” and charge the “arresting officer” shown with his knee on Floyd.
“I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Frey asked during a news conference. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now.”
A man was found dead Wednesday night on a sidewalk. Police, who responded to the area of Bloomington and Lake Street at 9:25 p.m., said the initial call was a reported stabbing, but the wound turned out to be from a gunshot.
The man, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The Star Tribune reported local law enforcement officials were still working early Thursday after at least five people were struck by gunfire throughout the night.
In the case of the fatality, the newspaper reported it is believed the man was killed when the owner of a pawn shop opened fire on a man he believed was burglarizing his business.
A 59-year-old man is in custody in connection to Wednesday night’s fatal shooting, but the details of the case were “still being sorted out,” police spokesman John Elder told reporters.
He said the death is being investigated as a homicide.
Demonstrations broke out in the early afternoon Wednesday near the city’s 3rd Precinct station, in the southern part of Minneapolis, where Floyd died on Memorial Day after Chauvin knelt on his neck until he became unresponsive.
City Council VP Andrea Jenkins, in the same news conference as Arradondo on Thursday, condemned the violence in the city overnight.
“You have every absolute right to be angry,” she said. “However, you have no right to perpetrate violence and harm on the very communities that you say that you are standing up for.”
She added: “We need peace and calm in our streets and I’m begging you for that calm.”
Footage from the ground showed protesters milling in streets, some running in and out of nearby stores. A Target, a Cub Foods, a Dollar Tree, and an auto parts store all showed signs of damage and looting. As darkness fell, a fire erupted in the auto parts store before protesters set other fires in the street.
On Thursday morning, blocks of buildings with broken-out windows and other damage were seen.
Frey tweeted for calm early Thursday. “Please, Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy,” he said on Twitter. He also asked for the public’s help in keeping the peace.
Arradondo said the protests on Wednesday night had a “different tenor” than previous demonstrations.
It was the second night of violent protests since the death of Floyd, whom police were seeking to arrest outside a Minneapolis grocery store on a report of a counterfeit bill being passed. A bystander’s cellphone video showed an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes as he eventually becomes unresponsive.
Protesters damage properties at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct in Minneapolis on May 27. The mayor of Minneapolis called Wednesday for criminal charges against the white police officer seen on video kneeling against the neck of a handcuffed black man who complained that he could not breathe and died in police custody. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP)
Frey also asked the governor to deploy the Minnesota National Guard to help with the response to the protests. A spokesperson with the governor’s office told FOX 9 the state has so far deployed 50 to 60 state troopers to assist Minneapolis police.
Arradondo, who urged calm, told FOX 9 there is an internal investigation as well an FBI investigation of Floyd’s death underway.
“Justice historically has never come to fruition through some of the acts we’re seeing tonight, whether it’s the looting, the damage to property or other things,” he said.
Sixteen former Watergate prosecutors have notified Emmet Sullivan, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, that they intend to file an “amicus curiae” (“friend of the court”) brief in the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn after the Department of Justice (DOJ) moved to dismiss the charges against him.
Flynn had previously pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators, but he moved to withdraw that plea earlier this year, followed by the DOJ decision last week.
Sullivan, however, has not yet approved the DOJ’s motion and made the unusual move this week of announcing that he would accept such amicus briefs in the case. Sullivan is a trial judge in a trial court and amicus briefs are typically associated with appellate courts.
Already swooping in were 16 former Watergate prosecutors, who told the court they want to weigh in on the DOJ’s motion to drop charges against Flynn. This roster includes a number of Democratic donors and others who have been critical of President Trump before.
“In their roles as Watergate prosecutors, Amici investigated serious abuses of power by President Richard M. Nixon and prosecuted many of President Nixon’s aides for their complicity in his offenses,” the Watergate prosecutors’ statement of interest reads.
They continued: “Here, where the Motion seeks to reverse a prosecutorial judgment previously entrusted to and made by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, the value the Watergate Prosecutors’ unique perspective on the need for independent scrutiny and oversight to ensure that crucial decisions about prosecutions of high-ranking government officials are made in the public interest, are viewed as legitimate, and are not subsequently reversed by political intervention.”
Specifically, in a separate notice that they intend to file an amicus brief, the Watergate prosecutors note that “[t]he Government’s Motion also does not adequately address questions of this Court’s heightened Article III role in light of the posture of this case, with the Defendant having pled guilty and awaiting sentencing. A guilty plea represents a turning point between ‘the Executive’s traditional power over charging decisions and the Judiciary’s traditional authority over sentencing decisions.'”
Here’s a look at each of the Watergate prosecutors who intend to weigh in on the Flynn case.
Nick Akerman – Akerman, the first name on the list, is currently a partner at a New York City area law firm, according to his Linkedin account.
But that is not what the former Watergate prosecutor is famous for.
Rather, Akerman is an MSNBC contributor with a long history of criticizing Trump and a Twitter account filled with broadsides against the president.
Another tweet from April 13 reposts a video by the “resistance” film company Eleven Films that uses a speech by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to attack the president.
Akerman, in a 2017 appearance on MSNBC, said that Donald Trump Jr. committed “outright treason.”
“I mean there is no question that what he is doing is giving aid and comfort to the enemy,” Akerman said of Trump Jr’s efforts to secure dirt on Hillary Clinton in a summer 2016 meeting with a woman who purported to represent the Russian government. Trump Jr., defending himself, said he believed the meeting was about simple political opposition research.
Akerman donated $35 to the Democratic National Committee in 2018 and more than $100 to former President Obama’s campaign in 2012.
Richard Ben-Veniste – Ben-Veniste is a partner at the D.C. law firm Mayer Brown for which he handles civil and white-collar criminal cases.
He does not have the kind of ubiquitous Twitter presence that Akerman has, but was a CNN legal analyst from 2017 to 2019.
In a 2019 appearance on the network, Ben-Veniste called the content of the House of Representatives’ impeachment hearings into Trump’s handling of security funding for Ukraine “extraordinarily disturbing.”
“There is a very strong case now that the president subverted American national security interests for his personal political objectives,” Ben-Veniste said.
Ben-Veniste also has a long history working in government outside of the Watergate prosecution. He was the chief counsel for the Democrats in the Senate Whitewater Committee in the 1990s and served on the 9/11 Commission, among several other roles, according to his biography on Mayer Brown’s website.
Ben-Veniste donated $1,000 each to Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., in 2017. He gave Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign $2,700.
Richard J. Davis – Davis’ history of government service outside of his role as a Watergate prosecutor, according to a biography on his personal law practice’s website, included a role in the Iranian hostage crisis and a stint with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He was also a partner at a private law firm for 30 years.
Davis is less publicly political than some of his fellow Watergate prosecutors, but he did say in a 2015 opinion piece for CNN that he financially contributed to an effort to convince Joe Biden to run for president in 2016.
In the same CNN piece, Davis was vaguely critical of Hillary Clinton’s ethics history, but the criticism was framed more as advice for her campaign than an attack on the candidate.
Davis has donated thousands of dollars to Democrats since 2019, including $2,800 to Joe Biden in April 2019.
Carl B. Feldbaum – Feldbaum is currently on the board of directors for BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), a health-oriented nonprofit. Besides his Watergate service, Feldbaum was previously the chief of staff for late Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., according to his BVGH bio, and wrote the book “Looking the Tiger in the Eye: Confronting the Nuclear Threat.”
Feldbaum gave $2,800 to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in January, $100 to the Democratic National Committee in 2018, and donated to Obama’s campaign on multiple occasions.
George T. Frampton, Jr. – Frampton is the founder and CEO of the environmental nonprofit Partnership for Responsible Growth. Frampton also served in several roles within the Clinton administration, specifically as the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and as the deputy director and chief of staff for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s probe of the nuclear incident on Three Mile Island, according to his bio on the Partnership for Responsible Growth website.
Frampton has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates since 2018, including $150 to Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in 2020 and $250 to Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in 2019.
Kenneth S.Geller – Geller, like Ben-Veniste, is a lawyer for Mayer Brown, specifically focusing on Supreme Court and appellate law. He served a nine-year stint as the firm’s managing partner. Geller was also the Deputy Solicitor General of the United States for seven years in the 1970s and 1980s under the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Geller donated $200 to Joe Biden in March of this year and $100 to Biden in April of last year.
Gerald Goldman – Goldman, according to his byline on a 2018 opinion piece for NBC News, served as a volunteer attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental organization that has been sharply critical of President Trump. He is also a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.
The NBC News piece, which he authored with fellow Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, advocated for former Special Counsel Robert Mueller to release information on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible Trump campaign involvement ahead of the official conclusion of his investigation.
Goldman donated $500 to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and $2,500 to Obama in 2012.
Jill Wine-Banks – Wine-Banks, Goldman’s co-author on the NBC News opinion piece, is an MSNBC contributor and legal analyst. She also served as a general counsel of the U.S. Army under Carter.
Wine-Banks maintains an active Twitter presence, which is sharply critical of Trump. A recent tweet from Wine-Banks says that Trump is, “trying to undermine DOJ, FBI and our rule of law and justice by having Barr dismiss Flynn charges after guilty plea and lowering Stone sentencing recommendation. Dangerous. If reelected, nothing will stop him.”
She also posted a political cartoon comparing Attorney General Bill Barr to the coronavirus.
Wine-Banks donated $25 to Amy Klobuchar in January and $2,800 to Biden in March.
Stephen E. Haberfeld – Haberfield, after his time as a Watergate prosecutor, served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge and a U.S. District Court judge before retiring from the bench. Now, he is a sports and entertainment arbitrator for the firm JAMS.
Haberfield’s last political donation was a $1,000 contribution to Sen Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in 1994.
Henry L. Hecht – Hecht is currently a resident lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley Law School. He serves on and writes for a number of professional law organizations, including the American Bar Association and the American Law Institute, according to his Berkeley bio.
Hecht also runs an organization that provides skill training for lawyers, specifically in depositions, direct and cross-examination and more.
Hecht donated $1,000 to Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., in 2017 and $154 to Bernie Sanders in 2015 and 2016.
Paul R. Hoeber – Hoeber has not kept as high a profile as many of the other former Watergate prosecutors in recent years. But he did argue a false advertising case against Nike before the Supreme Court in the early 2000s. The high court punted on the case, not coming to a ruling on the merits.
Hoeber was also one of the Watergate prosecutors who called for Trump’s impeachment in the 2019 Washington Post op-ed.
Hoeber donated $600 to Obama in 2012.
Philip Allen Lacovara – Lacovara was a clerk on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the vice president and senior counsel of General Electric, according to a 2005 profile of him on the D.C. Bar Association’s website.
More recently, Lacovara authored a 2017 piece in the Washington Post criticizing Trump for his liberal use of pardons and warned that there is a chance the House of Representatives could find that Trump’s use of pardons to “squelch an investigation into criminal misconduct by people close to the president constitutes an impeachable offense.”
Separately, Lacovara said in an interview with America Magazine that Watergate “pales in comparison to what the investigations of President Trump’s conduct have revealed.”
Lacovara has donated $500 to Joe Biden this cycle, but has previously donated to Republicans. Specifically, Lacovara donated $700 to Mitt Romney in 2012, $250 to Newt Gingrich in 2011 and $500 to the Republican National Convention in 2008.
Paul R. Michel – Michael, in the wake of his service as a Watergate prosecutor, was nominated by Reagan to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 1978. where he served until 2010, when he retired, according to a profile on the Federalist Society’s website. Michael has participated in multiple forums on patent law with the Federalist Society, a legal organization for conservatives and libertarians, since his retirement from the federal bench.
Michael has even submitted an “amicus curie” or “friend-of-the-court” brief in a Supreme Court case as recently as 2019.
According to Bloomberg Law, Michael has also previously been the chief of staff for Specter, a job Feldbaum also held, and as the U.S. Associate Deputy Attorney General.
Michael donated $1,000 to Sen Chris Coons, D-Del., in October 2019 and $1,500 to Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., in August 2019. He also donated $6,000 to Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., between 2018 and 2019.
Robert L. Palmer – Palmer is a private lawyer based out of Los Angeles. Outside of his Watergate service, Palmer previously served as a law clerk on the D.C. Circuit and during the 1990s was on the board of directors for the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest.
He was one of a number of former Watergate prosecutors who signed the 2019 Washington Post op-ed calling for Trump’s impeachment.
Palmer donated $100 to Amy Klobuchar in March 2019 and $1,000 to Elizabeth Warren in 2011.
Frank Tuerkheimer – Tuerkheimer is a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. According to his university bio, Turkheimer has previously represented the Siera Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, two environmental protection organizations.
Tuerkheimer has commented on the Flynn prosecution in the past during an interview with freelance journalist Jim Bessman.
“It might be in Trump’s personal interest that the investigation against Flynn not go ahead, but not the national interest,” he said. “These are obligations to the country—not him.”
Tuerkheimer donated $100 to Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., in 2018; $250 to Democrat Russ Feingold, who lost the Wisconsin Senate race to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in 2016; and $250 to Obama in 2008.
Roger Witten – Witten is a senior counsel to Campaign Legal Center, an organization that uses litigation to influence election law with the goal of “fighting for every American’s rights to responsive government and a fair opportunity to participate in and affect the democratic process.”
Witten has worked in election law for most of his post-Watergate career, chairing the Election Law Committee of the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association, among several other posts.
Witten donated $500 to Biden in March; $100 to Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., in 2019; $1,500 to Lauren Baer, a failed Florida congressional candidate in 2018; $250 to Clinton in 2016; and $2,500 to Obama in 2011.
A new report shows that household gun ownership in America has gone down over the last 40 years, and nearly every state in the union has followed that trend. There are currently only 11 states where at least 50% of households have firearms.
The Rand Corporation updated its Gun Policy in America initiative this week with a new report on gun ownership rates in the U.S. since 1980. The new report, “State-Level Estimates of Household Firearm Ownership,” shows the rate of household gun ownership for every state compared to the national average.
According to Rand’s research, 45% of American households had firearms in 1980. By 2016 (the most recent data available), that rate had dropped 13 points to 32%.
The decline happened in almost every state — from the most pro-gun to the most anti-gun.
For example, the five “best gun-friendly states” as ranked by Guns & Ammo magazine — Arizona, Idaho, Alaska, Kansas, and Oklahoma — all saw their rates of household gun ownership fall.
- Arizona dropped 22 points (58% to 36%)
- Idaho dropped 13 points (67% to 54%)
- Alaska dropped 19 points (75% to 56%)
- Kansas dropped 17 points (57% to 40%)
- Oklahoma dropped 8 points (60% to 52%)
The magazine’s five “worst gun-friendly states” — California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York — saw similar drops:
- California dropped 23 points (39% to 16%)
- Hawaii dropped 16 points (25% to 9%)
- New Jersey dropped 12 points (21% to 9%)
- Massachusetts dropped 10 points (19% to 9%)
- New York dropped 9 points (22% to 13%)
So, which states have the highest and lowest rates of household gun ownership? We rank them below, based on Rand’s most recent data available. You’ll also see where the states stood in 1980 (the furthest back the report goes), as well as each state’s most recent record highs and lows within the data set.
TOP 10 STATES
No. 1: Montana
● 2016 Rate: 63%
● 1980 Rate: 74%
● Record high: 75% (1984)
● Record low: 62% (2010)
No. 2: Wyoming
● 2016 Rate: 58%
● 1980 Rate: 79%
● Record high: 79% (1980)
● Record low: 57% (2011)
No. 3: West Virginia
● 2016 Rate: 57%
● 1980 Rate: 62%
● Record high: 63% (1985)
● Record low: 55% (1998)
No. 4: Alaska
● 2016 Rate: 56%
● 1980 Rate: 75%
● Record high: 75% (1980)
● Record low: 56% (2016)
No. 5: Idaho
● 2016 Rate: 54%
● 1980 Rate: 67%
● Record high: 68% (1982)
● Record low: 51% (2010)
No. 6: South Dakota
● 2016 Rate: 52%
● 1980 Rate: 59%
● Record high: 62% (1994)
● Record low: 51% (2014)
No. 7: North Dakota
● 2016 Rate: 52%
● 1980 Rate: 55%
● Record high: 59% (1988)
● Record low: 51% (2002)
No. 8: Oklahoma
● 2016 Rate: 52%
● 1980 Rate: 60%
● Record high: 65% (1989)
● Record low: 47% (2006)
No. 9: Alabama
● 2016 Rate: 51%
● 1980 Rate: 60%
● Record high: 63% (1990)
● Record low: 48% (2010)
No. 10: Missouri
● 2016 Rate: 51%
● 1980 Rate: 54%
● Record high: 56% (1990)
● Record low: 43% (2004)
BOTTOM 10 STATES
No. 50: New Jersey
● 2016 Rate: 9%
● 1980 Rate: 21%
● Record high: 25% (1982)
● Record low: 7% (2013)
No. 49: Massachusetts
● 2016 Rate: 9%
● 1980 Rate: 19%
● Record high: 21% (1992)
● Record low: 9% (2016)
No. 48: Hawaii
● 2016 Rate: 9%
● 1980 Rate: 25%
● Record high: 25% (1980)
● Record low: 7% (2015)
No 47: New York
● 2016 Rate: 13%
● 1980 Rate: 22%
● Record high: 28% (1990)
● Record low: 12% (2014)
No 46: Rhode Island
● 2016 Rate: 14%
● 1980 Rate: 13%
● Record high: 22% (1993)
● Record low: 10% (2013)
No. 45: California
● 2016 Rate: 16%
● 1980 Rate: 39%
● Record high: 41% (1982)
● Record low: 16% (2016)
No 44: Maryland
● 2016 Rate: 18%
● 1980 Rate: 41%
● Record high: 41% (1982)
● Record low: 18% (2016)
No. 43: Connecticut
● 2016 Rate: 19%
● 1980 Rate: 28%
● Record high: 34% (1992)
● Record low: 16% (2012)
No. 42: Illinois
● 2016 Rate: 23%
● 1980 Rate: 31%
● Record high: 36% (1990)
● Record low: 22% (2008)
No. 41: Florida
● 2016 Rate: 28%
● 1980 Rate: 45%
● Record high: 45% (1983)
● Record low: 26% (2003)
A teenage pilot-in-training is using his flying lessons to bring much needed medical supplies to rural hospitals in Virginia during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
TJ Kim just turned 16 and doesn’t have his driver’s license yet but he has created Operation SOS — Supplies Over Skies, The Associated Press reported.
The high school sophomore from McLean has more free time now that schools are closed and his lacrosse season is effectively over. His goal is to make deliveries to all seven rural hospitals in the state defined as critical access hospitals.
His first delivery in late March brought gloves, masks, gowns and other equipment to the 25-bed hospital in Luray.
“They kind of conveyed to me that they were really forgotten about. Everyone was wanting to send donations to big city hospitals,” he told the outlet. “Every hospital is hurting for supplies, but it’s the rural hospitals that really feel forgotten.”
He recently brought 3,000 gloves, 1,000 head covers, 500 shoe covers, 50 nonsurgical masks, 20 pairs of protective eyewear and 10 concentrated bottles of hand sanitizer on a flight to Winchester to help supply a hospital in nearby Woodstock.
Kim’s father, Thomas, gifted his son a flying lesson for his 15th birthday and is now helping the teenager collect the necessary supplies. His son now hopes to attend the Naval Academy to become a pilot.
Flight instructor Dave Powell praised the young student’s initiative.
“For TJ to be more concerned with the needs of others in his melancholy state just reiterated to me how amazing this young man is,” Powell told AP.
U.S. Navy aircraft carriers live by the phrase “complacency kills.”
There are so many different ways to die aboard an aircraft carrier, it should be the setting for a Final Destination film. Rotors, props, engines, exhausts, wires, wheels, catapults, and Davy Jones’ locker all pose a constant threat to the sailor and Marine upon the world’s most dangerous 4.5 acres. Except none of these things kills without the assistance of ones’ own negligence and complacency.
While operation security is crucial, and will be the technicality the Navy uses to justify its removal of Capt. Brett Crozier, its subtle but true reason is found within the content of his letter rather than just his careless means of distributing it. Crozier’s words revealed a cultural sense of complacency incongruent with the standards of the U.S. Armed Forces, and is why I believe the Department of the Navy ultimately removed him from command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
In his letter requesting assistance for the TR, Crozier demonstrated an affinity for safety over a dedication to duty. He claims that not a single sailor should perish because of the virus, references not being at war or being “at peace” five separate times, and for an entire page compares his $5 billion, nuclear-powered warship of the world’s finest Navy to a luxury cruise liner.
This letter came just weeks after authorizing a port call to a major city in Vietnam (China’s neighbor), one month after Chinese air incursions near our ally of Taiwan, and two months after nearly going to war with Iran. These words and actions demonstrate poor judgment and a mindset of complacency, which has no place commanding one of only ten American aircraft carriers, especially the only one forward-deployed in the 7th Fleet.
Now, Crozier has COVID-19, just as he would have had he not announced to our enemies that the Roosevelt has an outbreak. Except now, the only aircraft carrier capable of supporting the fleet with more ships than the other five fleets combined, the only aircraft carrier capable of supporting operations against China, Russia, or North Korea should something occur, is sidelined near Guam, with no comparable relief for 6,000 miles in any direction. The Theodore Roosevelt was truly the tip of the spear, which is now blunted, with American national security at greater risk because of it.
Anyone who thinks the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior leadership don’t care about the lives and welfare of our sailors and Marines is a fool. Of course they do, but they also care about accomplishing the mission, which will and should always come first.
The most troubling thing of all of this is found in the video of Crozier’s departure from the ship, cheered on by hundreds of its crewmen. These sailors cheer him because they believe he was looking out for their welfare, and find that to be noble.
However, it’s also ignorant of their purpose, which is to protect and defend the United States by maintaining a combat-ready aircraft carrier in the 7th Fleet. This mission is no longer being fulfilled, placing American lives and interests in jeopardy, and contributing a greater propensity to spread the virus as thousands of potential cases are now docked instead of maintaining social distance.
Each and every sailor on that ship initialed the line in his papers that said he is willing to endure injury and possibly death from the requirements of his service. This cheering indicates a lack of that willingness to sacrifice for mission accomplishment and musters the question that if these sailors aren’t willing to fulfill this duty in the face of an invisible enemy, what makes anyone think they will do so in the face of a combatant one?
A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier hasn’t been sunk by enemy combatants since World War II, which naturally invites a sense of invincibility. Except there are no exceptions in the aforementioned pledge, and they should be expected to uphold it if necessary, regardless whether its fulfillment comes at the hands of missile or molecule. Crozier should have assumed that everyone on the ship was already compromised, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt should have remained at sea, maintaining combat readiness, until relieved.
Would that be a tough decision? Absolutely. Would there be anomalies who died, which he would have to live with every day of his life? Yes. But the U.S. military doesn’t appoint men and women to positions of responsibility who are incapable of making difficult decisions during hard times.
Part of service is sacrifice. If you are unwilling to make sacrifices, including utilitarian ones, then you are unfit to serve, and certainly unfit to lead. Simple as that.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly was dead-on in his statement that while America is not at war, it is neither truly at peace either. Crozier’s failure to recognize this and skipper accordingly is of itself justifiable reason to remove him from command and take a deeper look at the necessary eradication of complacent “peacetime” attitudes amongst many in the Armed Services.
MSNBC and CNN have reached a new and unimaginable low. They have decided that it is better to hear their spin on the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings than to hear from the professionals involved.
The management of those two networks now believe that it is in the best public interest for we the people to NOT hear directly from the President and those medical professionals that he has appointed to the Task Force. Each day, President Trump uses the White House briefing room to allow members of the Fourth Estate to ask any and all the questions they wish. Initially, these briefings were carried by all the major cable networks in their entirety.
The problem for CNN and MSNBC was that Trump and his medical advisors – specifically Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and Surgeon General Jerome Adams — were saying things that did not support the networks pre-conceived anti-Trump narratives.
One of those narratives is that Trump does not listen to the medical professionals and that they are unhappy with his comments. They even speculated that Trump was unhappy with Fauci and was considering firing him. That baseless claim was made because Fauci did not attend one of the daily briefings. That fact was used by the networks to weave an entire baseless speculative report. It was – as Trump says – fake news.
Since Fauci and Birx are held in the highest esteem within the profession and among the general public, there is only one way that CNN and MSNBC – along with their elitist colleagues – can maintain the appearance of conflict and Trump’s alleged disregard for their advice — and that is to not allow the people to see and hear what is actually said at the White House briefings.
If you watch the entire White House briefings – as I have repeatedly advised the public to do – you would discover that the truth is the opposite of the anti-Trump media narratives. The networks pay lip service to listening to the scientists, but they prevent the public from seeing the expressions of agreement and cooperation evident in the actual briefings – and gaining important accurate information in the process.
It started a few days back, when the various talking heads on CNN and MSNBC suggested that full coverage of the White House briefings was not necessary. They said the briefings were turning into Trump rallies. Anyone watching the briefings would know that is a whole-cloth lie.
It is true that Trump can be a bit verbose and egocentric, but not only do all the participants generally agree, the others have ample time to give out extremely valuable information – the best information from the most knowledgeable professionals.
The propaganda attack on the White House briefings kicked into high gear with the Monday edition of “Morning Joe.” Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski engaged in an unhinged attack. They said that the briefings were a waste of time – because they could summarize (read that mischaracterize) what was said in two minutes.
They said that the briefings were nothing but lies and counterproductive to addressing the Covid-19 virus. The President just rambles and repeats himself for more than an hour. (As opposed to the networks’ folks rambling and repeating themselves for 24 hours.)
Their characterization of the briefings, however, is a complete political fabrication. But it is consistent with Brzezinski’s inadvertent admission. She protested outside information by declaring that “It is our job (the media’s) to tell people what to think.” That one phrase explains what happened with the Monday briefing.
While FOX News carried the entire briefing – which contained a LOT of new and important information (even some good news) – CNN and MSNBC cut the briefing short and went to regular programming – meaning bashing Trump and the administration.
The segue for MSNBC was interesting because it was handled by their tarnished star Brian Williams – who was booted from the main NBC anchor job after making up stories and presenting them as news. After a prolonged period of absence, Williams was resurrected as a personality on NBC’s minor league subsidiary – MSNBC. Rather than allowing the public to hear the rest of the briefing, Williams announced that he would explain the important highlights. How he would do that is a mystery, since he was no longer watching the briefing. Instead, MSNBC brought in their stable of parroting pundits to continue their old-news anti-Trump narratives based on false reporting.
CNN did the same. Perpetual panelist Gloria Borger came close to a foot-stomping, panty-wetting outrage over what she declared to be Trump’s mistreatment of the members of the working press. Borger’s tantrum should come as no surprise since she is a reliable member of the Anti-Trump Resistance Movement.
What CNN and MSNBC did was nothing less than censorship to salvage political propaganda. What could be more abhorrent to a free press and an informed public than for the media to inhibit free speech. In my entire life in politics and public policy, I have never seen such an outrageous corruption of honest journalism.
I repeat the advice I have given in other commentaries. To be informed by the President AND the top medical professionals, you should watch the White House briefings from beginning to end – pay special attention to the medical professionals — and then turn to the movie channel to avoid being grossly misinformed by so-called news networks.
So, there ‘tis.