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In 1956, during the Montgomery bus boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mississippi’s senior U.S. Senator James O. Eastland spoke at a pro-segregation rally.

Robert Caro, in his book Master of the Senate, describes Eastland’s racist rant to the crowd:

“In every stage of the bus boycott we have been oppressed and degraded because of black, slimy, juicy, unbearably stinky n——-s … African flesh-eaters. When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to abolish the Negro race, proper methods should be used. Among these are guns, bows and arrows, slingshots, and knives. … All whites are created equal with certain rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of dead n——-s.”

This week, during a fundraiser in New York City, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden reportedly cited his relationship in the Senate with Eastland as an example of his ability to engage the opposition with civility.

“He never called me ‘boy.’ He always called me ‘son,'” Biden told donors. “Well, guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

He never called me “boy.” No mention of how “boy” was a common term of derision and disrespect for black men in the Jim Crow south, or how Biden’s white skin determined Eastland’s willingness to work with him. Instead, we’re supposed to see Biden’s ability to get along with a man who called black people “an inferior race” as a model for how to engage with civility in 2019.

When I first learned about Biden’s comments, I thought about all the black people in my life: friends, neighbors, students and colleagues. How would they feel hearing this? What did they deserve to hear from white people like me?

I had to do what I’m always insisting other white people do during uncomfortable discussions about race: Speak up.

My message, on Twitter and on my public Facebook wall: If Joe Biden wants to boast about his relationship with a racist, he is not who we need to succeed the racist in the White House.

Some white Democrats, whom I know to be thoughtful people, criticized me for taking Biden out of context. I agree that context matters, which is why I started this column with Eastland’s own words.

Here’s more context, from this week:

On Monday, Donald Trump tweeted that ICE officials would begin “removing millions of illegal aliens,” which is his term for men, women and children who are brown-skinned. This massive forced exodus, if carried out, will likely lead to countless deaths of families who fled for their lives and sought asylum here. If you are a self-proclaimed Christian and support treating fellow human beings this way, please spare me your talk about how you know Jesus.

On Tuesday, in the wake of Netflix’s release of the powerful miniseries, When They See Us, a reporter asked Trump if he would apologize to the Central Park Five for demanding their deaths in 1989. They were black and innocent, and all five were exonerated in 2002.

Trump’s response: “You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt. … So we’ll leave it at that.” There it is again: “You have people on both sides…”

There were countless ways for Joe Biden to illustrate his willingness to work with those with whom he disagrees. This week, he chose to talk about his relationship with a white supremacist.

I’ve been writing about race throughout my journalism career, so I knew to expect criticism from some white people. Too many of them want to explain away the potential harm of Biden’s comments for people who don’t look like us. This defensiveness illustrates an enduring blind spot for many white liberals: No matter how committed we are to civil rights, we will never know what it feels like to be black or brown in America.

We never have to endure the daily assault of racism, and we need to stop acting like we do.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two nonfiction books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. Her novel Erietown will be published by Random House in Spring 2020. To find out more about Connie Schultz (schultz.connie@gmail.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

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