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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations

  • Protesters faced tear gas and federal agents outside the central police precinct in Portland as Black Lives Matter demonstrations continued for a 56th consecutive day.
  • President Trump took a dig at Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D), mocking him for getting tear-gassed at protests in Oregon the previous night. 

“He made a fool out of himself,” Trump said. “He wanted to be among the people, so he went into the crowd. And so they knocked the hell out of him, so that was the end of him.”

  • A federal judge denied a request from Oregon’s attorney general to stop federal agents from arresting people in Portland as daily protests and demonstrations over systemic racism and police brutality roil the city.
  • The Air Force denied that a surveillance plane flew secret missions from an airport in Portland, amid ongoing protests in the city, gathered information about the demonstrations.
  • The U.S. Justice Department said it has arrested 18 people and charged them for alleged crimes committed during recent anti-racism protests in Portland.

Charges included assaulting a federal officer, trespassing, and creating a disturbance. 

  • Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) expressed agreement with President Trump’s plan to deploy federal police to the city during a Wednesday evening phone call with the president, according to the mayor’s office.
  • North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) slammed an anti-LGBT resolution that was passed by a majority of the state’s Republican Party delegates earlier this year, calling it “hurtful and divisive” after a top GOP official also apologized for the language.

“LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large,” reads part of the resolution, one of many policy statements that were passed in April.

  • A 900-pound bronze statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee and busts of seven other Confederates that had occupied places of honor in Virginia’s Old House Chamber for decades, including those of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, were removed.
  • Cops shouldn’t fear accidentally breaking the city’s new law restricting their use of chokeholds on criminal suspects because no city district attorney will prosecute them, the NYPD’s Chief of Department told a closed-door meeting of police brass.

“We can’t be afraid. We’ve got every D.A. come out and say they’re not going to charge that,” Chief Terence Monahan said

  • The official account of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays tweeted: “Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor” Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment by Louisville plain-clothed police executing a “no knock” warrant. 
  • President Trump erupted last week after Defense Secretary Mark Esper issued a new military-wide directive that was a de facto ban on the display of the Confederate flag.

According to people familiar with his reaction, Trump was fuming over Esper’s carefully worded memo that did not mention the flag by name, but effectively banned it from being flown on military installations.

A senior White House official who declined to be named said, the “story is inaccurate. When the matter was raised to the President, he was not angry.”

Trump Administration

  • In a follow up to an earlier story about the president asking his Ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody Johnson to ask British officials to steer The British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, career diplomat Lewis Lukens, Johnson’s deputy in London, confirmed that he warned the ambassador that pressing British officials to boost Trump’s private business would be unethical. Lukens was later fired for making complimentary references about former president Obama.

A reporter asked the president whether he asked Johnson to do this. Trump replied:

“No, I never spoke to Woody Johnson about that, about Turnberry. Turnberry is a highly respected course, as you know, one of the best in the world. And I read a story about it today and I had never, I never spoke to Woody Johnson about doing that. No.”

The New York Times initially reported that complaints were raised with the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General. “The findings were submitted in February, and the complaints are expected to be included, according to one of the investigators. It is not clear why the review has not been made public.”

NBC News added that an IG report “was completed and marked classified as of May; an unclassified version has yet to be released.”

  • Tang Juan, a Chinese scientist who had been hiding in the country’s San Francisco consulate after accusations of visa fraud, is now in U.S. custody.  Government officials  also accused Beijing of using its diplomatic outposts to run an espionage network to steal intellectual property from US businesses, universities and research centers.
  • “PAW Patrol,” a cartoon about rescue dogs who protect their community, clarified on Friday that it had not been canceled after White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed it had been as a result of “cancel culture.”
  • President Trump this week signed a measure to allow U.S. defense contractors to bypass a 33-year-old arms treaty and sell more large armed drones to foreign militaries, a State Department official told reporters. 
  • President Trump signed four executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices. It is unclear when the moves can be finalized and take effect.
  • President Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former congressman and decorated runner Jim Ryun during a White House ceremony. Ryun was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1966 and set records in the mile and 1,500 meters in 1967. He won a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics.
  • Trump told Barstool a detailed story about getting booed with Melania at the Robin Hood Foundation charity dinner around the night he announced his campaign in 2015.

They haven’t gone to that dinner since 2011. And the 2015 event was a month before he announced.

  • The president is spending the weekend at his golf club at Bedminster, NJ.

Presidential Campaign

  • William Evanina, Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said China, Russia and Iran are all working to influence the 2020 election.

They spread disinformation on social media to “undermine U.S. democratic institutions and divide the country in advance of the elections,” Evanina warned. 

“At the most basic level, we encourage Americans to consume information with a critical eye, check out sources before reposting or spreading messages, practice good cyber hygiene and media literacy, and report suspicious election-related activity to authorities,” Evanina said.

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