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At DNC, Bernie Sanders Says ’Nero Fiddled, Trump Golfs’

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gave a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention Monday night, slamming Donald Trump's failure to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and connecting that failure to the ongoing economic crisis plaguing the country.

To date, more than 5.4 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the United States, and 170,419 have died. Trump's critics and health experts alike have said that the administration's slow response to the pandemic only served to worsen its impact and the still-rising death toll.

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Why America Still Needs Political Conventions

Joe Biden won't be showing up in Milwaukee for the Democratic Convention. Donald Trump may give his acceptance speech from the White House instead of before cheering delegates in Charlotte, North Carolina. Without the customary galas, this presidential campaign will be the equivalent of a birthday celebration without a cake.

Not that it really matters, because the conventions, forced to downsize by the pandemic, will barely be recognizable. Instead of crowded, boisterous affairs that lift the participants' spirits, they will be sparsely attended, dull and generally ignored.

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Meet The Muslim Military Father Who Headlined With The Clintons

In 2004, Humayun S.M. Khan took ten steps that killed him.

A 27-year-old army captain serving in the Iraq War, Khan was inspecting the front gates of his military camp with his infantry unit when an unfamiliar vehicle sped towards him. As he approached and signaled for the car to stop, it exploded, taking his life but sparing the soldiers in his command that he’d instructed to stay back.

Khan, who was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star for his heroism, was memorialized on a national stage on Thursday: His father, Khizr, spoke during a prime-time slot at the final night of the Democratic National Convention, right before Chelsea and Hillary Clinton.

“We still wonder what made him take those 10 steps,” Khan told Vocativ in an interview about his son last fall. “Maybe that’s the point where all the values, all the service to country, all the things he learned in this country kicked in. It was those values that made him take those 10 steps. Those 10 steps told us we did not make [a] mistake in moving to this country.”

Following an election cycle filled with calls from Donald Trump to ban all Muslims from entering the country, Khan—a Muslim who brought his family to the U.S. in 1980—highlighted one of the largest rifts between the Democratic and Republican candidates this year.

“This is our country too,” Khan, who works as a legal consultant in Virginia, told the San Francisco Chronicle ahead of his speech. “This is not only Donald Trump’s country. He is an ignorant, divisive manipulator, and through my message I wish to convey to him and to all Muslim Americans: This is our country too.”

The Pakistan-born Khan and his family moved from the United Arab Emirates to Boston so he could attend Harvard Law School, before they eventually settled in Maryland. Decades later, Humayun enrolled in the army after studying psychology at the University of Virginia and participating in ROTC.

A driven young man who quickly climbed the army ranks and planned to attend law school, he would become one of 14 American Muslims killed in combat during the Iraq War in the 10 years following the attack.

Humayun’s story also serves as a potent and poignant counterpoint to Trump’s Islamophobia: Contrary to the GOP nominee’s claim that Islam poses a threat to the U.S., Khan gave his life for his country that accepted and honored his valiant service.

Indeed, Clinton told Khan’s story during a speech at the University of Minnesota in December, in which she called him an example of “the best of America.”

To contrast with the divisive rhetoric of the Trump campaign—as well as the rise in Islamophobic attitudes and hate crimes since Trump has announced his run for the presidency—Khan is expected to instead deliver a message of unity and tolerance.

For his part, though, he said he was honored and humbled to be speaking at the Democratic convention to begin with.

“Nowhere but in the United States is it possible that an immigrant who came to the country empty-handed only a few years ago gets to stand in front of patriots and in front of a major political party,” he said in the Chronicle interview. “It is my small share to show the world, by standing there, the goodness of America.”

 

Photo: Humayun Khan / Screenshot via YouTube

Democrats Consider Removing Debbie Wasserman Schulz As DNC Chair

Congressional Democrats are considering removing Debbie Wasserman Schultz from her position as chair of the Democratic National Committee in an effort to placate liberal Democrats and supporters of Bernie Sanders at the party’s convention this July.

“There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on,” said a pro-Clinton Democratic senator to The Hill. “I don’t see how she can continue to the election. How can she open the convention? Sanders supporters would go nuts,” said the lawmaker, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.”

While such a candid statement may have been unthinkable a few months ago, the Sanders campaign’s has repeatedly targeted of the DNC chair, accusing Wasserman Schultz of favoring Hillary Clinton throughout the primary season.

“Someone else could play a more positive role,” said campaign manager Jeff Weaver said on CNN in response to a question about whether she should leave her post. “I’m trying to be diplomatic.”

Following Wasserman Schultz’s statements about the commotion that took place during the Nevada Democratic convention, in which she condemned Sanders for not forcefully coming out against the disruptions over the course of that event, Jeff Merkley, the sole senator to endorse Sanders thus far, said she was adding fuel to the fire.

“It’s very important for her to adopt a role of pouring oil on troubled waters. She did the opposite last week when she poured gasoline on the events that occurred in Nevada,” said Merkley.

The murmurs come following months of animosity between Wasserman Schultz and the Sanders campaign, which go as far back as last year, when the Vermont senator accused her of scheduling too few debates at times that no one would be able to watch them. Back then however, the Democratic establishment didn’t think the disagreements between the two would lead to the level of animosity that has boiled over in the past month — they also didn’t think Sanders would still be in the race in May.

Back in December, Weaver struck a different tone. “Individual members of the DNC can support Hillary Clinton in any way they want,” he said, “but they are not going to sabotage our campaign.”

Weaver’s call recently for Wasserman Schultz removal, a message that Sanders undoubtedly supports, marked the apotheosis of a brewing fight between the liberal and centrist wings of the Democratic Party.

Nevertheless, the such talk appears preliminary. The Hill reported that numerous congressional Democrats discounted any notions that Wasserman Schultz was going to step down before the July convention.

“We don’t need to be making a change in chairs right now as we’re coming to the conclusion of this. I strongly believe that,” said Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who has been floated as a running mate for Clinton.

“That’s not going to happen. I certainly wouldn’t let it happen,” said Bill Nelson, a Democratic senator from Florida, Wasserman’s Schultz’s home state.

Even Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, said in an emailed statement, “DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz enjoys the support of members of the House Democratic Caucus for her leadership in unifying the party and winning in November.”

Still, just months ago, nobody was even floating the idea that Wasserman Schultz could be replaced before the convention. While there would still be a long road ahead before any removal proceedings begin for the DNC chairwoman, the fact that “secret” discussions are already bubbling up to the press about removing her as a way of placating Sanders’ supporters is certainly a new development.