Headlines: August 28, 2020
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The final night of the Republican National Convention took place Thursday at the White House in Washington DC, the first time a sitting President used the taxpayer funded building as a visual backdrop for a partisan election campaign. Giving a rambling and largely scripted address that was filled with lies and ran about 70 minutes long before a mostly mask-less crowd of about 1,500 that were seated closer than 6 feet from one another, Trump made multiple gaffes including saying, “I profoundly accept this nomination,” instead of “proudly.” Gloating over the impropriety of holding the event at the White House, Trump slammed Democrats saying this:
claiming it was his home instead of a temporary taxpayer funded residence for elected Presidents. Walter Shaub, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, who had resigned in protest of Trump’s overstepping, tweeted, “This abomination may be the most visible misuse of official position for private gain in America’s history. It is an abuse of the power entrusted to this man, the breach of a sacred trust. It is the civic equivalent of a mortal sin—maybe a religious one too.”
The New York Times described the speech as, “a crusade against left-wing ideology and violent social disorder, fought against the backdrop of a virus that Republicans largely described as a temporary handicap on the economy.” The Washington Post fact-checked 25 false claims, calling Trump’s address a, “tidal wave of tall tales, false claims and revisionist history.” Much of the speech was largely focused on claiming that the current unrest over racial injustices are a preview of the America that his rival Joe Biden would usher in. He and others failed to acknowledge that the current unrest is unfolding under Trump’s rule. He painted a dark picture of nationwide demonstrations and lamented the fact that he needed mayor’s permission to send federal troops in to cities. His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has been implicated in numerous crimes also spoke on Thursday with no hint of irony about the importance of law and order and also echoed the claim that violence in American cities was what Biden would usher in. Giuliani also made far-fetched claims of Trump’s work ethic.
Outside the White House a large mass of protesters gathered and attempted to drown out Trump’s nomination acceptance speech. While GOP Senator Rand Paul protected by security guards and police walked through the crowds of activists toward the White House he was surrounded by people demanding justice for the police killing of Breonna Taylor who was killed in Louisville in the state of Kentucky which he represents. On Friday Rand spoke with Fox News and implied that the activists would have killed him. He said if it weren’t for the police, “I don’t think we’d have survived.” None of the protesters appeared armed. Meanwhile a new report shows that white supremacists and armed militias have infiltrated police departments across the US. The report by the Brennan Center for Justice was authored by Michael German, a former FBI special agent.
Thousands of people gathered in DC at the Lincoln Memorial on Friday to mark the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington where he gave his most famous speech titled “I Have a Dream.” Crowds of people gathered largely wearing masks and separating in socially distanced groups. The march’s organizers say that were it not for the coronavirus pandemic they would have seen an even larger gathering. The event was titled, the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” March on Washington. Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris addressed marches in a taped speech. Late on Thursday, a coalition of more than 350 faith leaders endorsed Democratic Nominee Joe Biden for president saying there was a “need of moral leadership” and “hope for a better future.” Also on Thursday news broke of an investigation into a rightwing organization’s robocalls to black voters warning them against voting by mail.
Protests continue in Kenosha, Wisconsin where police shot a black man named Jacob Blake in the back leaving him paralyzed and a 17-year old heavily armed white boy who idolizes police culture killed two white activists with Black Lives Matter. The two victims have been identified as Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. Jacob Blake Snr., the father of the police shooting victim, spoke to CNN and described how his son was fighting for his life while shackled to his hospital bed. Meanwhile Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been arrested for the shooting deaths of Huber and Rosenbaum at the protests against Blake’s shooting, has been charged with multiple felonies. The six felony charges include first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide. The police officer that shot Blake remains free.
In other news, a Washington Post investigation has revealed that the Trump Organization charged government agencies like the Secret Service nearly $1 million for room rentals at Trump hotels while they protected the President, as well as so-called “resort fees” and “furniture removal charges.” In a shocking move reminiscent of fascist dictatorships, a White House aide wrote an ominous warning letter to the paper saying, “The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop… Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others [sic] stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people.”
And, finally Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resigned from his position citing health issues. The leader of the world’s third largest economy made a statement saying, “My poor health should not lead to wrong political decisions. As I’m no longer able to meet the expectation of the mandate of the people of Japan, I have decided that I should not stay in the position as prime minister anymore.”