‘My son matters’: Jacob Blake’s family calls for officer’s arrest, peaceful protest

But the family also pinned responsibility for Blake’s grievous injuries on what they called a racist law enforcement system that brutalizes Black people, and expressed dismay that his shooter had not yet been fired or charged.

They spoke as Blake — who was shot at least seven times, the bullets piercing his spinal column, shattering vertebrae and shredding vital organs — underwent emergency surgery. The shooting left the father of five young children, three of whom witnessed the incident, paralyzed from the waist down.

“It is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again,” said the family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump.

“They shot my son seven times,” said Jacob Blake Sr., his father, at a news briefing on Tuesday afternoon, growing emotional as he spoke. “Seven times. Like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being, and he matters.”

That grim late-afternoon prognosis came as this modest Midwestern city of 100,000 prepared for a possible third night of violence and as cities nationwide braced for their own unrest.

An American summer ushered in with a mix of peaceful mass demonstrations and destructive riots in response to the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd appeared poised in the waning days of August to close with a similarly potent blend.

“I want them to stop killing us. Period,” said Tarcia Parker, a 36-year-old Black woman who works in health care and who was protesting late Tuesday afternoon in Louisville, a city that has its own high-profile shooting victim at the hands of police, Breonna Taylor.

The outrage over Blake’s shooting has been injected into the home stretch of a presidential campaign in which President Trump has sought to instrumentalize fears of urban violence, portraying it as an existential threat to placid suburban living.

More than 48 hours after Blake was shot, Trump had yet to address the incident directly. But speakers at the Republican National Convention this week have repeatedly invoked burning cities, blaming Democratic leaders for allegedly letting mobs run rampant.

“It’s almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work and school versus rioting, looting and vandalism,” the president’s eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., said in his prime-time speech Monday night.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden, by contrast, called for a thorough, independent investigation of Blake’s shooting while sympathizing with the “grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force.”

But Democrats have also sought to strike a delicate balance, associating themselves with the anger coursing through American cities and towns while distancing themselves from some of the most destructive outcomes.

In Kenosha, those have included burned buildings, ransacked stores and nights of apparent lawlessness as rioters have inflicted damage with few signs of a police presence.

Some who gathered in the city threw firecrackers, toppled streetlights, smashed storefronts and set fires, while police launched tear gas and fired beanbag-like projectiles.

The violence prompted Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Tuesday to declare a state of emergency in Wisconsin, a day after he called in the National Guard to protect high-profile sites in Kenosha.

“We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction,” Evers said in a statement Tuesday. “There remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that put individuals, families, and businesses in danger.”

He pledged an increased National Guard presence in Kenosha on Tuesday night, while local leaders again imposed a curfew.

Protests erupt over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin

Aug. 25, 2020 | A man walks past a destroyed building after rioters set fire to businesses in Kenosha, Wis. The destruction comes amid protests of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back multiple times by police officers responding to a domestic incident. (Joshua Lott for The Washington Post)

Police in Madison, the Wisconsin capital, said that a crowd was marching there and that some people began setting fires, breaking windows and looting businesses, leading to six arrests.

Authorities also reported dozens of arrests in three places — Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, Ore. — that have been flash points throughout the summer.

But amid fears of another night of violence across American cities Tuesday, there were still scant details about exactly what happened Sunday in the minutes before Blake was shot.

Police have said only that they were responding to a domestic incident. Neighbors said that there had been an altercation between two women at a birthday party for one of Blake’s sons and that Blake had been trying to break it up when officers arrived. Crump said Blake was “simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident.”

Blake was shot at close range by a still-unidentified officer as he opened the door to his silver SUV. The incident was caught on video by a bystander, and the footage quickly went viral.

The shooting is being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which has declined to say how many officers are under investigation or whether Blake was armed. The eventual decision about whether any officers will face charges following that inquiry will rest with the local district attorney, who declined an interview request Tuesday.

Blake was in serious condition after the shooting, and family members said he will probably need multiple surgeries to survive.

“They shot my son seven times,” Jacob Blake Sr., his father, said at a news briefing Tuesday afternoon. “Seven times. Like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being, and he matters.”

Attorneys for Blake’s family said at least one bullet struck the 29-year-old’s spinal cord. They also described a litany of other injuries, saying Blake has holes in his stomach, was struck in his arm, and had much of his colon and small intestine removed.

Crump linked the shooting to a litany of other cases that have fueled outrage over police actions, including Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Two days before Blake’s shooting, police in Lafayette, La., fatally shot Trayford Pellerin, a 31-year-old Black man, after responding to a call about a man armed with a knife, sparking several days of unrest

Lafayette Mayor Josh Guillory apologized on Monday and vowed a vigorous investigation into Pellerin’s death after he and other city leaders initially appeared to justify the officer’s actions.

But Crump also stressed the effect on the Blake family. He pointed to Blake’s three sons who Crump said were in the SUV at the time, including an 8-year-old who was celebrating his birthday.

Jackson, Blake’s mother, said the family needs prayers, with her son “fighting for his life.”

She urged people to protest peacefully, saying she had observed the damage left behind in Kenosha from the nights of unrest. “It doesn’t reflect my son or my family,” she said, adding that Blake would be unhappy if he knew about “the violence and the destruction.”

National civil rights leaders have also called for restraint. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who is leading a march against brutality in Washington on Friday, said in an interview that violence plays into the hands of Trump and other defenders of excessive police behavior.

“Exploding with violence will only make them say, ‘See, that’s why the police need to be violent,’ ” he said.

Large numbers of protesters in recent days have been peaceful.

On Tuesday, there were demonstrations in Louisville, where the police killing of Taylor has reverberated since March. At a bridge above railroad tracks in front of the University of Louisville’s mammoth football stadium, protesters held a sit-in and refused to move despite police orders.

“We don’t see no riot here — why are you in riot gear?” protesters shouted at police.

Interim Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder characterized the protests as “largely peaceful” but said 64 protesters had been arrested during the sit-in. Schroeder said police took the decision to form a line on the bridge to prevent protesters from reaching a busier road that leads to interstate entrances and exits.

But the tenor of some demonstrations has turned violent as night falls. The Hennepin County sheriff said that after a march in Minneapolis on Monday night, demonstrators broke windows at the county jail and 11 people were arrested.

“We fully support peaceful protests, but we cannot — and will not — allow demonstrators to destroy property or jeopardize the safety and security of our inmates, our deputies and our jail,” Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said in a statement.

In Portland, police said they declared a riot and arrested 25 people after some demonstrators set fires at a police union building overnight Monday. In Seattle, police said one person was arrested after part of a group damaged a police building and set a fire.

In Kenosha, demonstrations Monday night began peacefully, but clashes between officers and protesters erupted after the 8 p.m. curfew.

Late into the night and through the early morning, however, there were some areas where authorities appeared to almost entirely withdraw.

Outside a mattress store that had been looted and set on fire, Aldolfo and Julia Hernandez said their friend, a 70-year-old man who owned the store, had been beaten by looters.

“Nobody came,” Aldolfo Hernandez said, with his wife and daughter sobbing by his side. “It’s ridiculous. This is America. This is a national emergency. Where are the firefighters?”

Brick storefronts that had been looted — a hip-hop clothing store, a cellphone store, a tattoo parlor — were also in flames. Many people on the scene said the second floors of both blocks were apartments, mostly for low-income people, which meant at least 50 people would be displaced.

“I don’t think people should destroy anything, but the cops need to work for their money,” said Brandel Gordon, 26, a Black resident of Kenosha who said he was once a victim of police brutality. “There needs to be social reform in this city.”

Berman, Peiser and Witte reported from Washington. Tim Craig and Julie Tate in Washington and Josh Wood in Louisville contributed to this report.

“A corrupt Ukrainian oligarch put Hunter on the board of his gas company, even though he had no experience in the Ukraine or the energy sector, none. Yet he was paid millions to do nothing. He only had one qualification that mattered — he was the son o…

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:27 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:27 p.m. ET


— Ryan Holets, a police officer in New Mexico

While overdose deaths did drop by around 5 percent in 2018, the first decrease since 1990, they started rising again last year. The decline was largely explained by reductions in deaths from prescription opioid painkillers, the drugs that started the nation’s addiction epidemic three decades ago. But deaths involving illicit drugs, particularly fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine, continued to increase, not just in 2018 but also last year. And preliminary data suggests 2020 could see even more overdose deaths, including in some states where overall drug deaths had started to decline.

President Trump and Congress have provided several billion dollars in grants to states since 2017 for treatment, prevention and recovery services, expanding access to medications that treat opioid addiction in particular. But at the same time, the administration has continued fighting in court to overturn the Affordable Care Act, a law that has allowed states to expand Medicaid and provide free addiction treatment to low-income adults.

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:26 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:26 p.m. ET


— Eric Trump, the president’s son

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has repeatedly said that he opposes defunding the police and instead has proposed “to get police more money.” He has proposed that federal aid to police departments could be contingent on whether agencies meet certain standards.

Mr. Biden has also said he supports the Second Amendment and is a gun owner himself. But Mr. Biden also argues for a ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and he supports background checks and other regulations.

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:26 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:26 p.m. ET


— Eric Trump

The president has made this claim dozens of times and it remains false. The $1.5 trillion tax cut, enacted in December 2017, ranks below at least half a dozen others by several metrics. The 1981 Reagan tax cut is the largest as a percentage of the economy and by its reduction to federal revenue. The 2012 Obama cut amounted to the largest cut in inflation-adjusted dollars: $321 billion a year.

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:22 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:22 p.m. ET


— Eric Trump, President Trump’s son

By most measurements, it is not true that the economy hit heights it had never seen before under President Trump. Before the pandemic, which sent the economy into a tailspin, overall growth was little changed under his administration — and much slower than the rates it had regularly achieved in the 20th century. The job market was strong, but that was a continuation of trends well underway during President Barack Obama’s administration. For instance, unemployment had continued a yearslong decline — one that started in 2009 — and stood at a half-century low of 3.5 percent in February 2020. It is true that Black American and Hispanic Americans were enjoying record low joblessness before the pandemic, but women actually experienced their lowest unemployment rates in the 1950s.

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:14 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:14 p.m. ET


— A video produced for the RNC

Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s third campaign manager for his 2016 bid, was the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign, and three of his White House press secretaries have been women. But the number of high-ranking women in his administration is not record-breaking.

Of the 877 key executive branch nominees put forth by Mr. Trump for positions that require Senate confirmation, about 27.6 percent have been women. Of the 679 that have been confirmed, about 25 percent have been women.

That’s a lower percentage than the appointments of both former President Bill Clinton (37 percent) and former President Barack Obama (43 percent).

At the cabinet level, Mr. Trump has nominated seven women and 32 men. That’s lower than the eight women who served at cabinet-level positions in Mr. Obama’s first term and 10 in his second term, and the nine who served in Mr. Clinton’s second term.

— President Trump

The president’s friendly words about immigrants at the naturalization ceremony stands in stark contrast to almost four years in which he has repeatedly pursued anti-immigrant policies, often fueled by xenophobic language.

The president has largely blocked asylum seekers and refugees fleeing persecution, war and violence. He has built nearly 300 miles of border wall (though without getting Mexico to pay for it). He has made it harder for poor people to immigrate to the United States, imposed travel bans on mostly-Muslim countries, and separated migrant children from their parents at the border.

At times, his has used racist rhetoric, condeming “shithole countries” and complaining that people from Haiti “have AIDS.”

Even as he praised the new citizens on Tuesday, Mr. Trump has long sought to reduce legal immigration into the United States and has recently moved to shrink or eliminate visa programs that allow companies to hire foreigners to work in America. Aides to the president brag about the reductions in overall immigration, saying the efforts are helping to protect Americans from having to compete with immigrants for jobs.

— Pam Bondi, former attorney general of Florida

Hunter Biden did in fact travel with his father aboard Air Force Two to China, and Hunter Biden did meet with a Chinese business partner during the trip. Several days after the trip, a Chinese government-linked private equity fund in which Hunter Biden has been involved, BHR Equity Investment Fund Management Co., won a business license from the Chinese government.

Hunter was on the board of the fund when it was formed in late 2013, and he later invested roughly $420,000, giving him a 10 percent stake, after his father had left the vice presidency. But Hunter’s lawyer has said that he has never been paid for his role on the board, and has not profited financially since he began as a part-owner. Hunter left the board in April, according to a letter produced by his lawyer. But as of June, he still owned his stake in the fund, which he was trying to sell. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment about the status of that effort.

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:03 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 10:03 p.m. ET


— Pam Bondi, former attorney general of Florida

Mr. Biden did make those remarks on China in May 2019. They prompted criticism at the time from Republicans and some Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was Mr. Biden’s main challenger in the Democratic primary this year.

Mr. Biden’s aides say his comment was the kind of expression of confidence in the superiority of the United States that he has made throughout his political career. And Mr. Biden has made more recent comments on China that portray it as a formidable challenge. He told The Washington Post this year that China is the greatest “medium-term” strategic challenge for the United States. In a Foreign Affairs essay this year, he wrote: “China represents a special challenge. I have spent many hours with its leaders, and I understand what we are up against.”

He added: “The United States does need to get tough with China. If China has its way, it will keep robbing the United States and American companies of their technology and intellectual property.”

— Abby Johnson, anti-abortion activist

Margaret Sanger, the sex educator who opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in 1916, did find common ground with those who advocated eugenics, the widely debunked theory that the human race could be bettered by encouraging people with traits like intelligence and hard work to reproduce. But there is no evidence that she was a racist who intended to “eradicate the minority population.”

Ms. Sanger’s views on race and eugenics have been widely debated. N.P.R. fact-checked similar claims made by Ben Carson in a 2015 interview with Fox News.

In the United States, eugenics intersected with the birth control movement in the 1920s, and Ms. Sanger reportedly spoke at eugenics conferences. She also talked about birth control being used to facilitate “the process of weeding out the unfit [and] of preventing the birth of defectives,” N.P.R. wrote, adding, “Historians seem to disagree on just how involved in the eugenics movement she was. Some contend her involvement was for political reasons — to win support for birth control.”

In 1939, Ms. Sanger founded what she called “the Negro Project,” one of the first major undertakings of the Birth Control Federation of America, a forerunner to Planned Parenthood. It was aimed at giving Black women control over their own fertility and limiting reproduction among poor and uneducated women who could least afford it. Conservatives have argued that it was a racist effort to reduce the Black population. The Margaret Sanger Papers Project, a New York University initiative to examine Sanger’s writings, addressed the project and dismissed such assertions in a 2001 newsletter.

“In fact, the Negro Project did not differ very much from the earlier birth control campaigns in the rural South designed to test simpler methods on poor, uneducated and mostly white agricultural communities,” the papers project wrote. “Following these other efforts in the South, it would have been more racist, in Sanger’s mind, to ignore African-Americans in the South than to fail at trying to raise the health and economic standards of their communities.”

— Pam Bondi, former Florida attorney general

It is true that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son Hunter, despite having no discernible experience in Ukraine or the energy sector, was paid as much as $50,000 a month in some months to serve on the board of the directors of a Ukrainian gas company owned by an oligarch who was widely considered in the international community to be corrupt. And it is true that Vice President Biden, the Obama administration’s point-man on Ukraine, helped force the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor, partly by threatening to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the prosecutor. But there is no evidence that the prosecutor was aggressively pursuing investigations into the oligarch or his gas company. Instead, the oligarch’s allies say that the prosecutor was using the threat of prosecution to try to solicit bribes from the oligarch and his team — allegations that comport with others that swirled around the prosecutor, who was eventually fired. The pressure campaign to have the prosecutor fired was international, embraced by many Western governments, not just the Obama administration.

— Cissie Graham Lynch, a granddaughter of Billy Graham, the founder of Christianity Today

While there is plenty of room for subjective judgments about what constitutes religious freedom and there are deep divisions between left and right about how politics should intersect with faith, Mr. Biden is a practicing Catholic. There were opening prayers during the Democratic National Convention. And one of Mr. Biden’s close friends, Senator Chris Coons, offered a lengthy testimony to Mr. Biden’s faith, saying Mr. Biden would be “a president for Americans of all faiths, as well as people of conscience who practice no particular faith.”

Ms. Graham Lynch was likely referring to positions Mr. Biden has — such as his support for same-sex marriage or abortion rights — that she personally views as against her faith.

— Abby Johnson, anti-abortion activist

It is true that Mr. Trump has made a huge number of appointments to the bench — 203, including two to the nation’s highest court. And it is true that his appointees have been confirmed with polarizing paper trails, having spent their careers more openly engaged in causes important to Republicans, such as fighting against government funding for abortion, than the appointees of past presidents. But judges do not take the bench as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” and, upon questioning from senators in confirmation hearings, many of Mr. Trump’s appointees explicitly pledged to apply existing precedent like Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion.

— Larry Kudlow, Trump economic adviser.

A Biden administration is expected to reinstate many of the roughly 100 environmental regulations that have been rolled back or weakened by the Trump administration. But in fact, United States oil and gas have both been increasing at a steady rate since about 2009. And while Mr. Trump ran on the promise of restoring the U.S. coal industry, domestic coal production in 2019 fell to its lowest level since 1978.

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:27 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:27 p.m. ET


— Larry Kudlow, White House economic adviser

Larry Kudlow tried to paint the economy President Trump inherited as “stagnant,” even on the edge of recession, and said that Mr. Trump had turned it around. That is not true.

There were plenty of positive things about the pre-pandemic economy — unemployment was at its lowest level in 50 years, wages were gradually rising, and the economic expansion was at record-length. But those trends were a continuation of what was already happening under President Barack Obama.

Gains in employment, for instance, actually slowed slightly after Mr. Trump took office compared to late in Mr. Obama’s term, simply because he inherited an economy in the later stages of a long-running expansion and there were fewer workers left on the job market’s sidelines.

It’s also wrong to imply that Mr. Trump pumped up growth in the economy overall. Gross domestic product continued to expand at a fairly steady, little changed pace under Mr. Trump’s watch.

— Cissie Graham Lynch, a granddaughter of Billy Graham, the founder of Christianity Today

The Obama administration sought to guarantee access to free birth control for women, and while some groups, including an order of Catholic nuns, have fought that mandate and argued that contraception is tantamount to abortion, scientists have disputed that characterization. It is true that Democrats have argued against religion-based adoption agencies’ ability to refuse to place children in L.G.B.T.Q. homes, as in Michigan, where the state’s attorney general Dana Nessel has called such a refusal of same-sex couples illegal discrimination.

The Obama administration established protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And it is true that Democrats, such as California’s former governor Jerry Brown, have allowed transgender students to choose whether to play on a boys’ or girls’ sports team, and which bathroom or locker room to use, and that the Trump administration has rescinded such protections at the federal level in a rejection of Obama administration guidance.

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:20 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:20 p.m. ET


— John Peterson, owner of Schuette Metals, a second-generation metal fabrication business

The United States Mexico Canada Agreement did replace the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. But while the 2,082-page pact includes some important changes in key areas — like incentives to make cars in North America and reforms to Mexican labor rules — it’s also fair to describe it as an update of the original NAFTA pact.

Much of the new agreement simply updates the pre-existing deal with new laws on the internet, intellectual property protection, state-owned enterprises and currency.

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:18 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:18 p.m. ET


— Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky

The Trump administration did issue a rule in 2018 allowing small businesses and self-employed people in the same industry, state or region to band together and obtain health insurance as if they were a single large employer. Mr. Trump promoted the plans, long a goal of Republicans in Congress, as a way to save people from the “nightmare of Obamacare.”

But last year, a Federal District Court judge in the District of Columbia struck down the rule allowing association health plans, calling them “clearly an end-run around the A.C.A.” The Trump administration appealed and is still waiting for a decision. Association health plans are controversial because they are exempt from many consumer-protection mandates in the Affordable Care Act, like the requirement to provide “essential health benefits,” such as mental health care, emergency services, maternity care, and prescription drugs. Mr. Trump hoped the plans would appeal to middle-class people who found plans through the Affordable Care Act too expensive because their income was too high to qualify for the law’s premium subsidies or discounted deductibles. Critics worried they would destabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces by drawing healthy customers away, but there is not abundant evidence that has happened.

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:10 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:10 p.m. ET


— Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky

Mr. Biden did vote for the Iraq War but Mr. Paul is overstating the timeline of Mr. Trump’s opposition. Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed to have opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. In 2002, asked if he supported an invasion, Mr. Trump responded, “Yeah, I guess so.” Mr. Trump spoke out against the war in 2004, a year after it began. It did not stop him from supporting President George W. Bush in the 2004 election. Mr. Biden called his vote for the war a mistake in 2005.

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:09 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:09 p.m. ET


— Cris Peterson, dairy farmer.

The strength of the American economy in 2018 may have helped farms like Ms. Peterson’s, but the dairy industry in the United States is still struggling, despite hefty subsidies and support from the Trump administration. Earlier this year, the United States Department of Agriculture said that it had recorded the largest annual decline in the number of licensed dairy operations since 2014. Dairy farmers have also been hard hit by the pandemic, which has shut down restaurants, schools and other major buyers and forced some farmers to dump milk in their fields.

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:07 p.m. ET

Aug. 25, 2020, 9:07 p.m. ET


— Jason Joyce, a lobster fisherman from Maine

The United States and the European Union announced a small agreement on Friday that eliminated tariffs on a few products — including American lobster, European glass crystal and cigarette lighters — following a meeting between President Trump and Maine lobsterman in June, where the president said he would press Europe to lower that tariff.

It’s also true that Mr. Trump has been under pressure to help struggling American lobstermen in part because of his own trade policies. American lobsterman had been put at a disadvantage to their Canadian competitors when selling into the European market after Canada and the E.U. signed a trade agreement that cut barriers between the countries in 2016. China also imposed retaliatory tariffs on American lobster as a result of the trade war, further harming the industry.

Clarence Page | Missing from both parties: ‘Make jobs great again’

By Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune

A week after the Democrats convened under a platform that could best be summarized as “We’re not Donald Trump’s party,” Republicans approved a platform that essentially said, “We’re all-Trump, all the time.”

And that describes the opening night of their convention, along with its side theme: Whatever frightens Grandma.

Citing a need for brevity brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Republican National Committee approved a one-page statement that essentially renewed its 2016 platform — along with a curiously passive-aggressive call for “the media to engage in accurate and unbiased reporting.”

You know you’re in for a wild ride when newsmakers complain about biased reporting even before they have made some news to report.

Frankly, I found plenty to disappoint me in both conventions. First, the Democrats seemed to have learned too little from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss. They failed to show much appreciation for the working-class voters, particularly in the economically troubled upper-Midwestern Rust Belt states, that provided enough Electoral College votes to put Trump over the top, despite his losing the popular vote.

For all the attention presidential nominee Joe Biden and other Democrats paid to such issues as diversity, climate change and gun safety, they curiously paid little attention to factory workers and others displaced by structural changes in the global economy. Those changes have cost tens of thousands of factory jobs and contributed to surges in family upheaval, opioid addiction and other hazards that have caused what some social economists call “deaths of despair.”

Trump may sound more like a used car salesman than a social scientist, but he knows people well enough to hear rage and resentment. He also knows how to express both well enough to make crowds knowingly nod their heads and applaud in a way that says, “Here’s a guy who hears me.”

Yet, the GOP paid little attention to the economic hopes of their own voters and would-be voters compared with the vast and spirited attention they paid to fears — and in a way that, like the president often does, sent fact-checkers scrambling.

Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, were attacked as part of a Democratic Party now controlled by its “far-left radical” wing that’s pushing a socialist agenda, riots, antifa and efforts to “defund the police,” despite Biden’s and Harris’ repeated denials of that position.

Several speakers also accused Biden and Harris of the by-now-standard accusations of wanting to ban fracking, take over health care and open borders, none of which was true.

But as much as we expect lies in political rally speeches, the bigger surprises came from such rising nonpolitician stars as Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who gained fame from a viral video of them waving and pointing guns at Black Lives Matter demonstrators marching past their St. Louis mansion. Never mind the controversial shootings of unarmed African Americans that led to the rise of movements such as Black Lives Matter.

On an evening dominated by Trump, we cannot forget Donald Trump Jr., who in the fashion of his father, claimed against all evidence that Biden and Harris want to “cancel the founders” of this nation. Catchy, but false.

But Junior was outshouted by his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, who endorsed Trump Senior at top volume, as if speaking to a stadium crowd instead of an empty room.

By comparison, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley sounded blessedly sane, although hardly free of bombast. Saying the vision of such moderate Democrats as Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California was socialist (“and we know that socialism has failed everywhere”) echoed Ronald Reagan among others, arguing against such now-popular programs as Social Security and Medicare.

But Haley and fellow South Carolinian Sen. Tim Scott, currently the Senate’s only Black Republican, offered the most memorably appealing reminder of the pre-Trump Republican Party’s voices of reason. Remember those days?

I won’t point fingers. There’s plenty of blame to go around in both parties. After Hillary Clinton lost touch with the long-term jobs issue, Trump has raised more divisive questions than solutions. Election years can be a terrible time for our political leaders to try to come up with good answers and real solutions to complex problems. But we have to start somewhere.

Clarence Page is a member of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board. Readers may send him email at [email protected] Visit Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Pastor Details GOP Support Among Black, Religious People, Trump COVID-19 Response

As the Republican National Convention continues, Sputnik spoke to Pastor Mark Burns, an evangelical preacher and former Republican candidate for South Carolina’s 4th congressional district seat, who shared his opinion on the level of support for Trump among religious communities, people of color and the undecided, touching upon other topics.

Sputnik: The RNC includes several conservative Christian speakers. What do you think is the level of support for the president among the conservative Christian community? Will President Trump be able to keep conservative Christian votes?

Mark Burns: Support for President Trump among Christians and people of faith is extremely high.​ You got to remember that evangelical Christian’s community is the largest voters block in America. So this is the number one group. If you’re able to have their support it is very difficult for a Democrat to win on a national level. People of faith and Christians are the strongest groups here in America.

Sputnik: Democratic Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, who is African American, is planning to vote for Trump. He said that “The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation”. Will this rhetoric resonate with black Democratic voters?

Mark Burns: I’ve been on the ground level since President Trump announced his candidacy in 2015. I was here watching the campaign grow from just a few people to this massive machine. I was just with the president yesterday and I can tell you that the rhetoric is causing a lot of black people to second guess their support to the Democratic Party. Now will the majority of black people vote Democrat? Yes, absolutely – that’s going to be the case. So it will take a longer time than rhetoric before the campaign or before the election to begin a change in mentality. Maybe they should take somebody like me and I should run for president (laughs).​

But I‘ve seen with my own eyes that black Americans who start as Democrats are now questioning what exactly the Democratic party does​ for people of color and low income families and at risk communities in this nation. People who voted Democratic their whole life, now, because President Trump is doing more for African-Americans not with just good words or identity politics or playing to your color base, but he is actually doing things like giving money to HBCU’s (historically black colleges and universities), helping people who are getting out of prison or placed in prison by a failed 1994 Democrat policy of putting millions of black people in jail. The president is getting them out of jail. 98% of those that had been released from prison are black Americans. Not only is that he is getting them out of jail, but he is assuring that they have a way to go to work.

For the first time ever the president is working with the federal agencies to allow those who have been released from prison to be able to get a job in the federal system. That is getting people an opportunity to not get back in jail not to do more criminal activities after they are released. The unemployment level among African-Americans is at the historically low level, especially before coronavirus. The president is actually doing things. He is not going to play you to feel good like the Democrats do. They talk about slavery; they talk about Jim Crow, what the Democrats have done in the past, etc. Let’s just look at the cities that are led by the Democrats. When you look at them you’ll see that these cities are in ruins in America.

Sputnik: How much of the African American electorate do you think Republicans can attract?

Mark Burns: President Trump attracted 8% which is pretty high. It was higher than Mitt Romney’s 6%. The supposedly “racist” Donald Trump gets 8%, more than Mitt Romney. We’re looking between 13-15% of the African American votes here in America. It has grown from the 2016 Presidential Election.

Sputnik: Many topics were raised at the RNC ranging from health care to economics and race. In your opinion, will the Republicans be able to attract undecided voters?

Mark Burns: Without a question. I think one of the greatest things of the Democratic party is that they allowed the violence and riots to take place. Not the peaceful protests. Everybody knows that George Floyd should not have died. Donald Trump Jr. said during his speech that if you talk to any police officer in this country, they will all agree that George Floyd should not have died. We need to eliminate racism in America.

But what the liberal socialists have done – they have taken George Floyd’s death and it has been highjacked by socialist anarchists who want to destroy western culture. So the riots, looting and even a murder that has taken place – that is not America.​ So for those who are in the middle of the road, those who are undecided – they are certainly painting a picture of what a society, the socialist left Democrat party is leaning towards. They are celebrating these violent acts, they are not condemning them. Even those who are in the Black Lives Matter movement should be condemning those who have infiltrated themselves and have highjacked the peaceful protesters.

And you can see what is taking place in Milwaukee right now with this young man who is now paralyzed. He was walking away to his car and the cops shot him six to eight times and now this young man is paralyzed. That is a senseless death at the hands of the police, two people of color in this country and there is a right way to do it and the socialist Democratic Party is doing it the wrong way by burning, looting, killing.

Black Lives Matter, they absolutely matter, just like the black cops that are being killed. Just like the black sheriff that was assassinated while he was protecting his friend’s store while there was looting and burning, the black federal officer that was beaten badly while he was wearing uniform by these so-called BLM protesters. So black lives do matter. All lives matter – baby lives matter, unborn and born. Let’s talk about all black lives. All black lives matter.

Sputnik: The mainstream media is stating that the RNC is trying to “rewrite pandemic history,” saying that Trump supporters are trying to whitewash his actions in the fight against COVID-19. How would you assess such rhetoric and media attacks?

Mark Burns: It is clear that mainstream media has never been a fan of Donald Trump. Since day one they never gave him a fair shot. I am very happy today that President Trump sent a “thank you” tweet to CNN for at least covering the large part of RNC. I am saying some healing is beginning to take place in that matter but the mainstream media has never given President Trump a real chance in that matter and they are blaming this COVID-19 crisis on President Trump.

​According to CDC and the doctors who are leading the calls against this horrible virus that is in America, they stated themselves that President Trump acted swiftly once this information began to bump America’s shores. But yet the mainstream media are trying to downplay Trump’s involvement and leadership ability and trying to portray this as this is his fault. This is not his fault. This is a ‘China virus’ and it happened when China refused to allow America, the WHO and other countries that tried to assist them, they tried to keep it quiet. It could have been prevented. It is China’s fault. And Joe Biden and the Democratic party are also downplaying the seriousness of this virus.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Republicans counter charges of Trump racism at first night of RNC

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