The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign News

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations 

  • Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah declared a state of emergency Thursday in response to protests in Salt Lake City that erupted after the authorities said the fatal police shooting of a 22-year-old man in May was justified.

Protesters smashed windows and splashed red paint on the district attorney’s office in Salt Lake City after prosecutors cleared police in the fatal shooting.

The Salt Lake County district attorney, Sim Gill, announced that there would be no criminal charges against the two Salt Lake City Police Department officers who shot the man, Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, on May 23.

  • State troopers folded the Mississippi flag at the Capitol for the last time last week, a turnabout that was powered by a coalition of seemingly unlikely allies, including business-minded conservatives, Baptist ministers and the Black Lives Matter activists.
  • The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was among those who emailed to criticize a Virginia town’s “Black Lives Matter” banner, telling city officials that protesters responding to the death of Black Americans in police custody “hate America.”

“BLM is a bit of a dangerous Trojan Horse and they are catching well-meaning people into dangerous posturing that can invite mob rule and property looting,” Thomas, who is white, reportedly wrote in a signed email that was shared with The Washington Post.

  • Police in St. Petersburg, Fla., said they will start fining protesters who block traffic during demonstrations this week following tense and dangerous standoffs between activists and drivers around the country.

Officers will be enforcing laws already on the books – and the St. Petersburg Police Department said Wednesday it would first begin a public awareness campaign by issuing warnings and handing out flyers.

After a few days, the department will begin issuing fines of $62.50.

  • Twitter suspended over 50 accounts operated by white nationalists Friday amid criticism over its handling of inflammatory posts on its platform.
  • Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst says she supports renaming military bases that are named after Confederate figures even though she’s “been getting heck” from her own party over her stance.
  • Two suspended Buffalo Police officers are now back on the city payroll despite being charged with felony assault.

Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe were suspended last month after shoving 75-year-old protester Martin Gugino to the ground, leading to serious injuries for the protester.

Administration News

  • The president of Goya Foods went on Fox News on Friday to defend comments he made a day earlier praising President Trump during a visit to the White House. The company has since become the target of a boycott and considerable backlash.
  • President Trump told reporters Friday that he is “looking at” pardoning Roger Stone, as he continued to build suspense over whether he will intervene on behalf of his former aide and longtime confidant before he is scheduled to report to prison next week.

“Well, I’ll be looking at it,” Trump said. “I think Roger Stone was very unfairly untreated, as were many people.”

  • The House Appropriations Committee voted to block a controversial Trump Administration transparency rule that the Environmental Protection Agency’s own independent board of science advisers criticized. Scientists have decried the 2018 rule, which the administration sought to broaden in March, as an effort to block the EPA from being able to use significant amounts of research in its rulemaking.

“This rule would place new crippling limits on what studies can be utilized when EPA crafts new regulation,” said the amendment’s sponsor, Rep. David Price (D-N.C.).

  • A former top Department of Veterans Affairs official in the Trump administration improperly steered a $5 million contract to personal friends, according to a report released Thursday by the department’s Office of Inspector General. The OIG report found that the actions of Peter Shelby, who was then the VA’s assistant secretary for human resources and administration at the time, were not only unethical but resulted in the complete waste of government funds.
  • President Trump says he intends to sign an executive order on immigration within the next month that he said will include a “road to citizenship” for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • The president Tweeted: “Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education. Therefore, I am telling the Treasury Department to re-examine their Tax-Exempt Status…and/or Funding, which will be taken away if this Propaganda or Act Against Public Policy continues. Our children must be Educated, not Indoctrinated!” 
  • President Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. on seven felony crimes on Friday, using the power of his office to help a former campaign adviser days before Mr. Stone was to report to a federal prison to serve a 40-month term.
  • President Trump confirmed for the first time on Friday that the U.S. launched a cyberattack on the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) in 2018.

The cyberattack, first reported by The Washington Post in 2019 but not confirmed publicly by the Trump administration, involved U.S. Cyber Command disrupting internet access for the building in St. Petersburg that houses the IRA on the night of the U.S. 2018 midterm elections, halting efforts to spread disinformation as Americans went to the polls.

Presidential Campaign

  • President Donald Trump on Friday accused former Vice President Joe Biden of plagiarizing his economic policies, a day after the presumptive Democratic nominee unveiled a plan to promote American manufacturing and goods.

But despite some similarities in messaging between Biden’s “Buy American” and Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, the two candidates’ policy plans significantly diverge.

“He plagiarized from me, but he could never pull it off,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about Biden’s plan for the economy. “He likes plagiarizing. It’s a plan that is very radical left. But he said the right things because he’s copying what I’ve done, but the difference is he can’t do it.”

Trump did not specify what parts of Biden’s economic plans were plagiarized.

  • Amid ongoing concerns of small crowds, the Trump campaign canceled a rally planned for Saturday in New Hampshire, citing safety concerns about an incoming tropical storm.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden tore into President Trump as he prepared to visit a coronavirus-stricken Florida on Friday, blaming the president’s response to the pandemic for a sharp rise in cases and virus-related hospitalizations in the country’s largest battleground state.

“With over 232,000 cases in the state and over 4,000 deaths in Florida, it is clear that Trump’s response — ignore, blame others, and distract — has come at the expense of Florida families.”

Sources:  ABC News, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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