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Trump-backing lawmaker freaks out after seeing Muslims at interfaith event at South Dakota capitol

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A Republican state senator confronted an interfaith group praying at the South Dakota Capitol — and then complained when they called him a racist.

State Sen. Neal Tapio (R-Watertown) was unable to stay silent after seeing about 50 Muslims and others pray Wednesday in the Capitol rotunda for tolerance and religious acceptance, reported the Argus Leader.

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Tapio, who served as President Donald Trump’s state campaign manager, warned in a press release that Muslims intended to impose religious sharia law that would put nonbelievers at risk of death.

“A simple check of their social media accounts will verify these people violently oppose President Trump and his efforts to keep America safe,” Tapio said in the statement.

The worshipers invited Tapio to join them for a group photo, and the newspaper reported that he stood awkwardly as cameras clicked.

The GOP lawmaker then turned his back to the group and began yelling.

“I don’t like being called a racist,” Tapio said, and then began a well-rehearsed anti-Muslim speech.

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“If you don’t have the freedom to leave a religion, is there a freedom of religion?” Tapio said. “And that’s the question we have to ask ourselves as a state.”

Tapio continued the outburst with a small group of reporters.

“Interfaith dialogue is a part of a war, it’s a silent part, it’s a part of a way of taking away the Christian fabric of our nation,” Tapio told reporters. “Now some people are okay with that, that’s their prerogative, but there’s American patriots that want to fight.”

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2020 Election

Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead

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There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.

This article first appeared in Salon.

What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.

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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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