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highs Moments

The highs, lows and top moments from GOP Night 2 – POLITICO

All presidents seek to leverage their incumbency to win reelection. But Trump is jumping over every guardrail that prevents presidents from explicitly campaigning from the seat of the executive branch.

Here are the highs, lows and in-betweens of the second night of the Republican National Convention:

Most norm-breaking speech: Mike Pompeo

Aside from Trump’s White House events, it was notable that politics didn’t stop at the water’s edge on Tuesday, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unprecedented foray into the presidential campaign and addressed the convention from Jerusalem.

For Pompeo, the speech not only broke with protocol for the nation’s chief diplomat — it also served as the unofficial launch of his own national political career. Just four years ago, he was a congressman from Wichita, Kan., with a conservative (but not particularly notable) voting record. Now, Pompeo is on a short list of Republicans speaking over these four nights who are jockeying to replace Trump atop the GOP ticket in 2024.

But first: Pompeo was in Jerusalem, looking out over the Old City, to tout his boss’ foreign policy record. Trump, Pompeo said, “has put his America-first vision into action.”

“It may not have made him popular in every foreign capital, but it’s worked,” Pompeo said. “President Trump understands what my great fellow Kansan, President Eisenhower said, ‘For all that we cherish and justly desire — for ourselves or for our children — the securing of peace is the first requisite.’”

Most likely to attend Electoral College: Swing-state speakers

A lobsterman from Maine. A dairy farmer from Wisconsin. The governor of Iowa and the lieutenant governor of Florida.

Republican appeals to the battleground states were obvious on Tuesday. Most are states Trump carried in 2016 and must hold this year to win reelection. But there was also an appearance by a mayor of an Iron Range town in Minnesota, probably the most promising Clinton-won state for the president’s campaign to try to pick up this year.

Similarly, Democrats’ campaign was chock full of swing-state figures last week, with a particular focus on the three northern states that made up Trump’s winning margin: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Log Cabin Republican: Mike Pence

The label above would’ve been considered unlikely given Vice President Mike Pence’s right-wing record on gay rights and other social issues.

No, Pence isn’t closing ranks with the group of gay Republicans trying to nudge the party toward the center on social issues. But he cut a prerecorded video at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana — a notice on the website of the park, which includes a replica log cabin, says it was closed for a “filming event” last Monday — with Americans who say they have benefited from Trump’s policies.

“Every day, President Donald Trump is fighting to protect the promise of American liberty,” Pence said in effusive praise of the man who put him on the ticket, triumphant music playing underneath his narration. “Every day, our president’s been fighting to expand the reach of the American dream. And on every single day — without fail — President Donald Trump’s been fighting for you.”

Pence, standing outside Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home, then introduced viewers “to a few remarkable Americans … who embody our president’s unbreakable devotion to ensuring that America is the land of unlimited opportunity for all.” They included a child who used a government voucher to attend a private school, another who benefited from “right-to-try” legislation Trump signed, a former Pennsylvania judge, a truck driver from Ohio and a pastor from Oklahoma.

Rising star: Daniel Cameron

Of Daniel Cameron, the 34-year-old new state attorney general from Kentucky, POLITICO’s Tim Alberta wrote Tuesday night, “A Star Is Born.”

But Trump said it first. At a pre-election rally in Lexington, Ky., last year — this reporter was in attendance — Trump gushed over then-candidate Cameron, a Black former staffer for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“A star is born!” Trump exclaimed. “Did you ever see that movie? ‘A Star is Born’!”

As for Cameron’s speech on Tuesday, he nodded to the recent allegations of police misconduct against African Americans, including mentioning Breonna Taylor (whose name wasn’t in the remarks shared by the Trump campaign before Cameron’s speech), the woman killed by police in Louisville, Ky. Cameron’s office is investigating the shooting, but Democrats and activists have accused him of dragging his feet.

“Republicans will never turn a blind eye to unjust acts,” Cameron said, before turning to some of the more violent and destructive protests: “But neither will we accept this all-out assault on Western civilization.”

Least self-aware: Pam Bondi

Former Florida state Attorney General Pam Bondi spent a short stint on the White House payroll until early this year. She helped argue the president’s case against his impeachment and removal from office over charges of leveraging U.S. relations with a foreign country for dirt on his political opponent Joe Biden.

After the impeachment trial ended in Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, Bondi went back to work — as a lobbyist and registered foreign agent, as the Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay reported Tuesday night.

All of that made her line of attack — hitting Biden for his son Hunter’s ties to Ukraine — all the more curious. While that seemed like an argument Trump’s campaign was poised to make against the former vice president before the impeachment fight, it has faded from the issue set.

Instead, the Trump campaign has attempted to paint Biden, who won the Democratic nomination by taking on liberals like Bernie Sanders, as beholden to left-wing elements in his party and as mentally depleted at the age of 77.

Bondi’s speech was the first sustained Hunter-related attack of the GOP convention. But it also raised the ghosts of the alleged wrongdoing that led to Trump’s impeachment in the first place: trying to get dirt on Biden at the expense of U.S. foreign policy interests.

Bondi, meanwhile, has her own ties to Trump that have been lucrative at times. She’s a member of Trump’s commission on opioids, and in Tallahassee she came under fire for declining to target the now-defunct, for-profit Trump University after receiving a donation from Trump’s foundation.

Most rivalrous siblings: Eric and Tiffany Trump

One night after the president’s eldest son and his girlfriend delivered exuberant speeches, it was time for two more of Trump’s adult children to tout their father’s leadership. Both stood by his record and ideology and ardently defended Trump’s character.

“I encourage you to see beyond the façade that so many other politicians employ. They mask themselves in disguises of decency as they try to pressure us to mask our own identities and beliefs,” said Tiffany Trump, the president’s only child with former model and actress Marla Maples, in an attempt to equate the image of Joe Biden promoted by Democrats with an effort to suppress the political right.

Not to be outdone, Eric Trump appealed directly to his father in his prime-time address.

“I miss working alongside you every single day, but I’m damn proud to be on the front lines of this fight,” Eric Trump said. “I am proud of what you are doing for this country. I am proud to show my children what their grandfather is fighting for. I am proud to watch you give them hell.”

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Moments Seven

16 Moments From Seven Hours of Los Angeles Residents Berating the LAPD – Slate

A Zoom box with seven squares of faces being berated and a one-minute timer.

This did not go well.

From the Los Angeles Police Commission

After police officers across the country were filmed violently suppressing countless peaceful protesters and journalists in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, calls to defund police and widespread rage over police brutality hit a crescendo this week. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appears to be the first leader of a major city to at least in part acquiesce to the defunding calls, promising to cut his proposed LAPD budget by 5 percent. It seems no accident that he announced this decision on Wednesday, immediately after a veritable tidal wave of anger came crashing down on the Los Angeles Police Commission’s Tuesday Zoom meeting.

Hundreds of city residents called into a Los Angeles Police Commission meeting, ostensibly meant to be a listening forum, and turned it into a session to publicly berate and humiliate the chief of police and the commission’s members: President Eileen Decker, Vice President Shane Murphy Goldsmith, Commissioner Dale Bonner, Commissioner Steve Soboroff, and Commissioner Sandra Figueroa-Villa. Nearly every participant dialing into the meeting called for the firing or resignation of LAPD Chief Michael Moore, who a day earlier had criticized people in the streets by saying that George Floyd’s death was “on their hands as much as it is those officers.” (The police chief had apologized prior to the session and used his time at the start of the meeting to defend his officers.) As one caller put it: “Chief of police, you don’t deserve to resign. You honestly don’t deserve to be fired. You deserve to be run out of the city like it’s the Old West.” The footage of the meeting has been viewed more than 1 million times.

Ultimately, the combined outrage of the protesters and the callers appears to have had some impact on the city. Garcetti accepted Moore’s apology and stood by his chief. But by Wednesday, the mayor was also promising between $100 million and $150 million in cuts from an original $1.86 billion LAPD budget. (That initial budget, for what it’s worth, had included a $120 million increase for the department.) The mayor also on Wednesday offered his support for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate misconduct allegations. By Thursday, curfews across Los Angeles had been lifted, and Moore was repeatedly taking a knee at the demand of protesters.

The entire meeting was seven hours long, so we’ve broken out some moments that best encapsulated one city’s rage.

The marathon of fire emoji started from the first very caller, who—because it is Los Angeles—was an elected California Democratic Party official and the daughter of horror film legend Wes Craven, Jessica Craven. “I spoke to many, many, many people who attended these protests,” Craven said. “All of them said it was peaceful until the police showed up.”

One common theme, often expressed in obscenity-laced tirades, was the fact that the commission at times appeared to be inattentive to the concerns of the community. This was the perhaps the most emblematic of those speeches.

As one caller put it, “If I had hundreds of people lining up to tell me that I was this terrible at my job, I wouldn’t sit there blinking.”

A black teenager called in to describe the violence she says she witnessed from police officers at the protests over the weekend: “As we yelled the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, police officers laughed at us. … They laughed in our faces. They shot [with plastic bullets] at just countless peaceful protesters. Your officers were the ones that were being violent with us. There were children in the crowd. There were elderly women and men in the crowd. I saw people ducking behind cars, people were running, and you’re seriously going to sit here and say that it is our fault that an innocent black man was suffocated to death? You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I am 16 years old and I know more than all of you.”

Several callers said that they felt radicalized by the police crackdown. As one caller put it: “Even though I’ve never been a fan of the police, I never believed in the police abolition movement until this Saturday when I saw with my own eyes how egregiously the police were behaving at the protests.”

“This department has failed so miserably that you’ve mobilized a movement to defund your department,” another Angeleno said. “I never thought that was something that would be on my radar that would be a political agenda of mine, but you’ve done it—you’ve mobilized me, a lazy white person.”

Multiple callers noted that the police response was radically different at other recent protests that were more dominated by white faces, including the 2017 Women’s March and the recent protests of the COVID-19 closures. As one Angeleno noted: “I went to the Women’s March when they had the first one. It was predominantly white women that were there. There were police there in regular uniforms, regular uniforms. There were millions of us there … packed into downtown Los Angeles, and you know what: There was not a single incident. … We were talking to the police, they were very nice, but they didn’t instigate anything, nobody threw tear gas at us, nothing. And you know why I think that was? Because there were mostly white women there. So, the police can operate peacefully, but just not when it’s about Black Lives Matter or about anything to do with police brutality.”

“I live two blocks from Mayor Garcetti’s home and during the pandemic, we saw numerous protests around his home about reopening the economy by a largely white, largely pro-gun contingent, so that they could get haircuts because of freedom,” another caller noted. “These protesters were allowed to circle the immediate vicinity of the mayor’s home and even stand and post about it right outside with minimal LAPD presence or interference and certainly no use of force.”

Again, a lot of the anger was directed straight at Moore. “Chief Moore, you have the most racist eyebrows I’ve ever seen,” said one caller.

“To Chief Moore, there is a reason no one is calling here to congratulate you on a job well done,” said another.

Some citizens took a patronizing approach. “Chief Moore, I’m sure this last 24 hours has been extremely difficult for you,” said one caller. “You’ve had to face a tough reality about your capabilities and what you can do for this city and what you can’t do. … Chief Moore, this is not the job for you. I’m sure you are doing your best, but the root of this is your best is not good enough.”

Multiple callers apparently felt as they could best convey their feelings through randomly shouted obscenities:

Others used obscenity a bit more strategically, as a casual signoff.

One caller raised some of the other problems with Moore’s tenure, such as the $1.27 million pension payout he collected due to what the Los Angeles Times described as a “brief, highly unusual retirement” before he was rehired to his current tenure as chief.

Multiple white callers expressed guilt at taking time from black members of the community, only to then articulate their own rage at length. One caller, perhaps lacking in self-awareness, used one minute and 58 seconds of his two minutes before yielding his final two seconds so that more people of color could speak.

When asked about the community’s response on Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department referred me to a statement put out earlier in the day, which said: “We are aware of individuals who have posted videos online and on social media depicting encounters with the police, that they believe constitutes excessive force or misconduct during these demonstrations. We will investigate each instance thoroughly, and hold any officer who violates Department policy accountable.”

An allegation by multiple callers that the LAPD was using tear gas has been denied by the mayor and the police department. There are many police jurisdictions operating in Los Angeles County—from the Beverly Hills Police Department, to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, to the California Highway Patrol—and one or more of these other law enforcement organizations may have used tear gas to suppress protesters. A Los Angeles city official told me she was not in a position to comment on tactics taken by other law enforcement agencies that report to other jurisdictions within the county of Los Angeles. [Update, June 5, 2020, at 7:05 p.m.: On Friday, the police commission announced that its inspector general would be reviewing incidents of possible excessive force that were posted on social media. “These harsh police tactics have no place in Los Angeles and tarnish the professionalism and care that thousands of officers—who work to end injustice—show each day,” Garcetti said in a statement. “The civilian Police Commission’s Inspector General is reviewing the footage and will ensure a full investigation of incidents depicting excessive uses of force, which could lead to officer discipline or removal. Every incident has a larger context, but our officers must keep the peace, without violence.”]

Ultimately, at least one caller had Chief Michael Moore’s back. That caller, though, went by an unusual alias.

In a city as progressive as Los Angeles, though, it probably doesn’t help when one of your lone supporters, Rusty Shackleford, closes his statement like this: “Fuck Mayor Garcetti, and fuck the Democrats, and fuck anybody that supports these protests. You’re all scum, and you’re destroyers of nations. I salute you Chief Moore, keep doing a good job. But get a better PR firm.”


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