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Top aide to GOP lawmaker deletes Facebook posts comparing black people to zoo animals

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A top advisor to Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) has resigned after comparing black people to animals in a series of racist Facebook posts.

“I am extremely disappointed by the inexcusable and offensive online comments made by a member of my staff,” Schock said in a statement to the Peoria Journal Star. “I would expect better from any member of my team. Upon learning about them I met with Mr. Cole and he offered his resignation which I have accepted.”

Benjamin Cole, a former Baptist pastor and energy industry spokesman, compared two black people he saw outside his Washington, D.C., apartment to zoo animals after recording video of their argument.

“So apparently the closing of the National Zoo has forced the animals to conduct their mating rituals on my street,” he complained in an Oct. 13, 2013, post that was obtained by Think Progress.

The National Zoo was closed that week as part of the federal government shutdown that Schock helped begin with his vote on a budget measure that would have delayed portions of the Affordable Care Act.

Schock made news earlier this week for his “Downton Abbey”-themed office, which Cole admitted to reporters had “created a bit of a crisis in the office.”

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The 38-year-old Cole, who serves as the lawmaker’s senior advisor for policy and communications, posted two video clips of the couple’s argument, along with the hashtag #gentrifytoday.

He also claimed Dec. 13, 2013, that he watched “one of the hood rats on my street get shot by another hood rat.”

In a more recent post, Cole complained Jan. 29 that a black police officer told him “you white people need to learn” when he reported an assault by another black woman.

All of the posts, which were captured in screen shots, were deleted by Wednesday, and neither Cole nor Schock’s chief of staff responded to requests seeking comment.

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Update: Cole resigned Thursday afternoon.

[Editor’s note: Updated with Cole’s resignation.]

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Social network for knitting banned Trump talk and white supremacists — making other sites look cowardly

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Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers, the website says. It is, however, no longer a place where commentary about President Donald Trump is welcome. While other websites struggle to navigate fake accounts, Russian bots and troll accounts, Ravelry simply drew a line.

"We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry," the social media site posted Sunday.

"This includes support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content," the post continued. "Note that your project data will never be deleted. We will never delete your Ravelry project data for any reason and if a project needs to be removed from the site, we will make sure that you have access to your data. If you are permanently banned from Ravelry, you will still be able to access any patterns that you purchased. Also, we will make sure that you receive a copy of your data."

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If Trump wants to go after Iran he’ll need allies — but he doesn’t have many left

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President Donald Trump's style of politics and "deals" has been more about fighting, creating animosity or publicly attacking international partners. Now that there is a conflict with Iran, Trump is short on allies who can join forces.

In a Politico piece, reporter Anita Kumar harkened back to Trump's tired phrase "America First," noting that now it has become synonymous with "America alone."

After violating the Iran nuclear treaty, things have gotten worse in the relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, Trump cozying up to Kim Jong Un has only resulted in a short pause of weapons tests before beginning again. Trump is in a trade war with China, and the two have reached an impasse in the negotiations. Most of Europe can't stand Trump.

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2020 Election

Trump has a 2020 election ‘challenge’ as suburban voters and wealthy donors flee him: Vanity Fair reporter

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During an MSNBC panel discussion on Donald Trump's re-election hopes in 2020, a reporter for Vanity Fair said the president's chances may be narrowing due to changes from the 2016 election that led to his surprising win.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Gabriel Sherman said Trump has solidified his base, but that independents are fleeing. Add to that, rich benefactors who have been big supporters of the GOP are backing off.

"Here's the thing," Sherman began. "Clearly the people that are loyal to Trump, we saw this just last week when he was in Orlando for his kickoff rally, everyone reported it was a rehash of all of the 2016 campaign catch words and slogans."

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