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‘Insanity outside the White House’: After Trump stokes tensions, fresh clashes between police and protesters

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- Commentary

As protests against police violence and the killing of George Floyd continued in cities across the U.S. on Saturday, a massive crowd gathered outside President Donald Trump’s White House as demonstrators again turned their ire and demands for justice and healing towards the nation’s most powerful elected official. After tensions built, clashes erupted between law enforcement and demonstrators.

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“Insanity outside the White House,’ tweeted Alejandro Alvarez, a digital journalist WTOP News, along with footage from the scene just after 5:30pm ET. “Three warnings of an unlawful assembly from the Secret Service before storming into the crowd. A lot of people have been hit with paper spray. In all the chaos, at least one person was tossed to the ground and presumably arrested.”

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Though Trump left for Florida Saturday morning, he was accused of sowing further division overnight by tweeting an invitation for his right-wing supporters to come to the White House to counter-protest against those seeking redress for the murder of Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands—or rather, knee—of a white police officer in Minneapolis on Monday.

After large crowds gathered outside the White House on Friday night Trump said anyone breaching the security fence would be met by “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons,” and on Saturday morning tweeted: “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”

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MSNBC correspondent Garrett Hake, reporting from the scene just after 4:00pm ET on Saturday, said the situation was “peaceful, but tense” as the crowd of what he said was several hundred people broke through one outer set of barricades and faced off with a variety of law enforcement officials, including Secret Service, Capitol Police, and others.

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According to NBC News:

At the White House, protesters could be seen standing on top of Secret Service vehicles and a security booth next to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Some in the crowd also ripped away the bike rack barriers that separate 17th Street from the Pennsylvania Avenue Plaza. Other demonstrators were seen standing face to face with a phalanx of Secret Service on the Plaza.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a Democrat, denounced Trump’s comments and handling of the protests openly on Saturday.

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“While he hides behind his fence afraid/alone,” tweeted Bowser, “I stand with people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Right after the murder of #GeorgeFloyd & hundreds of years of institutional racism  There are no vicious dogs & ominous weapons. There is just a scared man.”

“I call upon our city and our nation to exercise great restraint even while this President continues to try to divide us,” she added. “Our power is in peace, in our voices and ultimately at the ballot box in November.”

 


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2020 Election

Trump ripped as a ‘traitor’ by veterans for his mask photo-op at Walter Reed Hospital

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The veteran advocacy organization Vote Vets on Sunday blasted President Donald Trump for holding a photo-op at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

After a round of golf on Saturday, Trump traveled to the hospital to be photographed by the press pool wearing a mask, which was a first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vote Vets, which says it has raised over $120 million since being founded in 2006 and made over 50 million voter contacts, released a new video on Trump's visit.

The ad says it shows "what wounded warriors see when Trump comes for a photo-op."

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2020 Election

Trump’s push to reopen schools prematurely is an assault on states’ rights that may prove deadly

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It’s hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu as the Trump regime threatens to withhold federal education funding from states that refuse to re-open their schools this fall. The contours of the “debate,” such as it is, perfectly align with the one we had a couple of months ago about re-opening businesses in the midst of a pandemic.

Then, as now, conservatives tried to frame the issue as a choice between re-opening and staying stuck in quarantine indefinitely. Those less moored to reality, including the President, insisted that proponents of quarantines were only motivated by a desire to undermine Trump’s prospects for re-election. The real divide at the time was between those of us who wanted to follow the science, build up adequate testing and contact-tracing capacity and re-open safely once the rate of infection had declined, and those, mostly on the right, who wanted to re-open prematurely either because they believed we’d achieve herd immunity if we let the outbreak run its course or because they thought Covid-19 was a “hoax” that was no more serious than the seasonal flu.

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2020 Election

How 68,000 COVID-19 survivors created a world-class patient resource group in just four months

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Diana Berrent was one of the first people in her hometown of Port Washington, New York, to get COVID-19. Back then, in early March 2020, only immunocompromised and seniors were believed to be high-risk; hence, as a 46-year-old yoga practitioner and runner, Berrent was "shocked" when she woke up with a 103-degree fever and respiratory infection — symptoms that strongly suggested she had coronavirus, which was later confirmed by a test.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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