Pastor and civil rights activist to Chicago mayor: take bull by horns
Reverend Gregory Livingston, well known in his native Chicago for his campaigning and community efforts to tackle corruption, gun violence and street gangs, spoke of “a tale of two Americas” in the shocking spate of shootings in several US cities last weekend.
It is estimated that at least 160 people were shot in towns and cities across the US from Friday evening through Sunday of the July Fourth holiday weekend. Several children were wounded or killed by stray or bullets in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta, which have seen more shootings in recent weeks than is typical at this time of year.
Some of an interview he did on the phone with the Guardian in New York, where he moved last summer and has been working alongside Black Lives Matter and preaching in various parts of the city, was in our news piece. But here are some more of his remarks that there was not space for in that wider piece.
He warned Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, in office for just about a year, that she “is really going to have to take leadership, head on. People are dying and they cannot wait.”
“She must take the bull by the horns,” he said. She should “hold a press conference and hold community meetings to talk about race.”
He urged her to talk to police leaders, state leaders, root out racist and corrupt city politicians, direct more money to Black-led anti-violence organizations rather than “white-led organizations with no boots on the ground”; address herself to broken promises from previous leaders about police reform and shortages of mental health facilities, health care resources and school resources in many areas, he said.
Livingston complained of “two Chicagos” that are very segregated – the affluent downtown and north side, in contrast to the south and west sides.
When street shootings rise: “You cannot look at the fruit of these tragedies without looking at the tree,” he said. He added that he wasn’t looking for mercy for murders or an absolution of personal responsibility, but urgent attention on the root causes of division and inequality.
He said: “Some say ‘if Black lives matter then why do you guys kill each other?’ We are a violent country. There is individual responsibility but there are also conditions that create a climate for violence.”
Livingston says Lightfoot has a difficult job “but it’s a job she wanted”.
He urged her: “It’s going to take courage. Call the racists out.”
Here’s Livingston talking to the Guardian in person in Chicago in 2018.
Judge extends temporary restraining order on Mary Trump
We won’t be hearing in person from Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump this weekend. Despite her book being due out next week and already heavily covered in the press, including here in the Guardian, she is not free of legal action by the family just yet.
Here’s our story on her bombshell book from the Guardian’s Martin Pengelly earlier this week.
Facebook considering political ad blackout before election – report
Facebook is reportedly considering a ban on political ads in the days leading up to the November elections.
Bloomberg News reports:
The potential ban is still only being discussed and hasn’t yet been finalized, said [people familiar with the matter], who asked not to be named talking about internal policies. A halt on ads could serve as a defense against misleading election-related content spreading widely right as people prepare to vote. Still, there are also concerns that an ad blackout could hurt ‘get out the vote’ campaigns, or limit a candidate’s ability to respond widely to breaking news or new information.
The news comes as Facebook has faced pressure from employers and advertisers to crack down on hate speech, even if it comes from the president or his allies.
Hearing in Trump tax return case set for next week
A federal judge in New York has called for a hearing in the case involving Trump’s financial records next week, after the supreme court sent the case back to the lower court.
According to NBC News, Judge Victor Marrero, who previously ruled that the president’s business records and tax returns had to be turned over to the grand jury, has asked the president’s legal team and Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance to inform him by Wednesday morning how they plan to proceed. A hearing will be held the following day.
The announcement comes one day after the supreme court delivered a 7-2 ruling that the president was not categorically immune from grand jury subpoenas.
In the opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said Trump could fight the subpoena on the same grounds that any other American could, and the president’s lawyers are likely to attempt to do so.
However, if that effort fails, the business records and tax returns will be turned over to Vance.
Trump may not have taken the time to seriously address Florida’s coronavirus crisis during his trip there today, but the president did make the time to pay an unscheduled visit to his Miami area resort.
According to the White House pool report, the president stopped at the resort’s main clubhouse for 10 minutes. The White House did not provide an explanation as to why.
Trump is now traveling on to Hillsboro Beach for a high-dollar campaign fundraiser at a supporter’s home.
Trump in Florida but not to discuss Covid crisis
Florida has been thrust into the midst of the latest peak of the coronavirus and people may have thought that would have been the main reason for the president to visit today.
But so far he has not discussed it much and has got on with his agenda of visiting the military to talk about counter-narcotics operations, talking to the Venezuelan diaspora and meeting supporters.
The White House pool report notes that Trump said of the coronavirus earlier: “We are still fighting it and we are going to do very well”.
He was recently often talking about the pandemic in the past tense, so that comment is notable today.
The front page of today’s Miami Herald shows Trump arriving at the airport without wearing a mask, noting that he “stepped off Air Force One in Miami, into one of the worst coronavirus hot spots in the country” and even though Miami-Dade County has a mask-wearing mandate in public and mayor Carlos Gimenez last week said he expected Trump to don one.
The Herald notes that Florida’s Department of Health today confirmed 11,433 new cases of Covid-19 in the state, making it the second highest single-day total recorded in Florida since the pandemic began in March.
Some of those working in close proximity to the president can also be seen not wearing masks.
A clutch of Mike Pence’s Secret Service detail tested positive for coronavirus last week.
The Herald notes that there have been 2.4 million coronavirus tests performed in Florida so far, there are 244,000 cases and there have been just over 4,000 deaths.
Trump did an interview with Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart during his trip to Florida today, and the interview will air at 6:30 pm ET.
The president will likely be asked about his recent push to reopen schools despite mixed signals from his administration on how schools can safely welcome students back.
Trump: Biden is a ‘puppet’ of ‘the militant left’
Trump is holding a rountable on supporting the people of Venezuela in Doral, Florida, where many Venezuelan immigrants reside.
But the president’s remarks took a turn for the blatantly political when he attacked his opponent, Joe Biden, as a “puppet” of the “radical left.”
“The patriots here today fled socialism to find freedom,” Trump said. “And now Joe Biden and the radical left are trying to impose the same system.”
The president continued, “Joe Biden is a puppet of Bernie Sanders, AOC, the militant left, the people that want to rip down statues and monuments to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin.”
Trump then repeated his bizarre claim that Democrats are pushing for the removal of statues of Jesus Christ. “Jesus! Okay, Jesus. They want to rip down statues to Jesus,” Trump said, before confidently predicting Biden would lose the election.
Biden has said he prefers for Confederate statues and monuments to be taken down through legislative action rather than being torn down by protesters, and he has not expressed support for taking down statues of American leaders like Washington and Jefferson.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer insisted school districts need more federal funding in order to safely reopen this fall.
The Democratic leader sent a tweet about school reopenings shortly after Trump threatened universities’ funding and tax-exempt status as the president pushes schools to reopen.
Earlier this week, the president similarly threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that do not reopen this fall.
“We all want our schools to re-open. But if we want them to open safely for our students, workers, and families, our schools and child care providers need MORE federal funding to make it happen,” Schumer said.
“President Trump’s erratic demands and threats won’t do anything to keep people safe.”
Trump threatens universities’ tax-exempt status as he pushes schools to reopen
Shortly before landing in Florida this afternoon, Trump sent a pair of tweets threatening the funding and tax-exempt status of universities and schools.
“Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education,” Trump said in the tweet thread.
“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!”
Trump’s warning comes two days after he threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that do not reopen in the fall.
The president has repeatedly insisted that schools must reopen, even as his administration sends mixed signals about guidelines on how to reopen safely.
Many school officials have also expressed concern about the spread of coronavirus in classrooms once in-person instruction resumes.
Several White House reporters noted the president has previously held rallies despite bad weather conditions, raising questions about his rationale for postponing the event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
A spokesman for Joe Biden mocked Trump after the president’s campaign announced his Portsmouth, New Hampshire, rally would be postponed due to a tropical storm that is not expected to make landfall in Portsmouth.
“The storm is coming, and his name is @JoeBiden,” said TJ Ducklo, the national press secretary for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.