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Twitter Blocks Rep. Gaetz Post Calling To 'Hunt Down' Protesters


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Biden Meets Protesters On Street While Trump Tweets From Bunker

As protests break out in cities across the country over the death on May 25 of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, knelt on his neck, the actions of Donald Trump and of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in response are a study in contrasts.

Biden has been visible. He visited the site of a protest in his home state of Delaware; met with leaders of the black community in Wilmington to listen to their concerns; and held a virtual roundtable Monday afternoon with the mayors of St. Paul, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

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To Trump, Black Protesters Are ‘Thugs,’ But White Gunmen Are ‘Very Good People’

Donald Trump on Friday called protesters in Minneapolis "thugs" as they demanded justice for a black man killed after being manhandled by a police officer, and threatened to shoot the protesters who were rioting in the streets.

"These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!" Trump tweeted in the early hours of Friday morning. Twitter deemed the comment to violate its policy against glorifying violence, and limited access to the tweet.

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After 16 Hours Of Rage Tweeting, Trump Posts Condolences To 100K Virus Victims

The coronavirus death toll surpassed the 100,000 mark Wednesday afternoon, leading to an immediate flood of statements from politicians of all stripes issuing condolences to those who have lost loved ones in the pandemic.

Rather than immediately marking the moment, however, Donald Trump instead spent the next 17 hours angrily tweeting nearly 50 times about the Russia investigation that ended more than a year ago, as well as vowing to retaliate against social media companies that attempt to fact-check his lies before finally tweeting a message about the dead.

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Trump Would've Done ‘Nothing’ Different — Even To Save 36,000 Lives

A study from Columbia University published on Wednesday found that if the United States had issued a nationwide stay-at-home order to stop the spread of the new coronavirus just one week earlier than most Americans began to stay in, 36,000 lives could have been saved. The same study found that if an order had gone into effect on March 1 — two weeks earlier — roughly 54,000 lives could have been saved.

But Donald Trump on Wednesday said he wouldn't have changed anything about his coronavirus response, in which he downplayed the threat of the virus and refused to take action for more than two months, despite warnings from his own intelligence and public health experts advising him otherwise.

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Trump Urges GOP Senators To Cut Aid For Unemployed

In a private lunch with Republican senators on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Donald Trump voiced his opposition to continuing the $600 weekly increase to unemployment insurance Congress passed to help workers who lost jobs thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Post reported.

Trump is following the lead of Senate Republicans, who have been opposed to the payments since Congress first passed them in March. All but two GOP senators voted to strip the $600 weekly unemployment insurance boost from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, though their effort failed.

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House GOP Leader: 'I Don't See Need' For More Aid To Jobless

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday said he didn't support more coronavirus relief, saying that he doesn't think it's needed at the moment.

"I don't see the need right now," McCarthy told reporters Tuesday, following a meeting on Capitol Hill with Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

McCarthy's comment mirrors that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said recently that he feels no "urgency" to pass more aid.The GOP's rejection of more coronavirus aid comes as more than 36 million Americans have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell predicted that the unemployment rate could hit 25 percent, higher than the peak of the Great Depression.

Powell said the job losses have hit the neediest Americans the hardest, with 40 percent of the losses coming from those who make $40,000 a year or less.

Polls also show that even the GOP base wants to see more coronavirus aid, with 73 percent of those voters saying that coronavirus aid should be a "top priority" for Congress, according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll from earlier in May.

In fact, that poll found that "economic stimulus for COVID-19" is the top priority for all voters, second only to controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

House Democrats, for their part, passed a $3 trillion stimulus package last week that included more direct payments to Americans, among other relief efforts.

However, Donald Trump has vowed to veto the legislation, giving the bill almost no chance of becoming law.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Fed Chair Predicts Depression-Level Unemployment

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has painted a grim picture of the future of the United States economy, saying that the coronavirus-fueled unemployment rate could climb past levels seen during the Great Depression, and that the economic recovery will be more uneven and slower than Donald Trump has claimed.

Powell made the comments in an interview with "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday night, Asked whether he thought 25 percent could be the peak unemployment rate in the United States in the next few months, Powell responded, "I think there're a range of perspectives. But those numbers sound about right for what the peak may be."

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In Bid For Impunity, Trump Fires Four Inspectors General

The job of inspectors general in government agencies is to investigate corruption and wrongdoing in the federal government, free of political pressure.

Donald Trump has now fired four inspectors since April 3 in what many say is an attempt to stop oversight of Trump's and his administration's alleged corruption and failures.

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Trump Says He ‘Learned From Nixon’ — But Did He?

Donald Trump on Friday morning defended his behavior and comments surrounding the Russia investigation, saying he "learned a lot from Richard Nixon" about how to handle probes into his administration.

"I learned a lot. I study history," Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends — referring to what he learned from Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre," in which Nixon fired Department of Justice officials looking into his handling of the Watergate scandal.

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Wisconsin Judge Says Endangered Meatpacking Workers Aren’t ‘Regular Folks’

The conservative chief justice of Wisconsin's state Supreme Court is under fire after she said this week that meatpackers in Wisconsin who have contracted the coronavirus aren't "regular folks" like other residents of the state.

Chief Justice Patience Roggensack made the comment during oral arguments conducted via teleconferencing on Tuesday in a suit brought by Republican lawmakers against Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home orders.

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Trump Aims To ’Terminate’ Obamacare In Midst Of Pandemic

Donald Trump on Wednesday said he still supports a Republican-led lawsuit before the Supreme Court that seeks to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 1.2 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, and nearly 72,000 have died from it, according to a tally from the Washington Post.

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Top Trump Adviser’s Model Predicts Deaths At Zero By May 15

A Trump administration economic adviser with no experience in epidemiology created a coronavirus model that predicted deaths from the virus dropping to near zero by May 15, the Washington Post reported. The model offers an extremely optimistic prediction that no others have shown.

The adviser who created the model, Kevin Hassett, has denied it plays a role in decisions related to the virus. "I have never, ever said that that's my projection of what the death count was going to be, and no administration policy has been influenced by my projections," he told the Post.

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Militia Gang Threatens Police Over Shutdown Protests

The anti-government militia group Oath Keepers on Monday threatened law enforcement officers, calling on the police to stop protecting the public from the people attending protests against social distancing and stay-at-home orders in the midst of a global pandemic.

"Police in the U.S. need to realize they stand at the precipice of losing the trust, support, and protection of millions of American patriots. They must reverse course and refuse unlawful orders, or risk being declared domestic enemies of the Constitution," the group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today," said in a tweet.

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Pence’s Office Threatens Reporter Who Revealed Mask Violation At Mayo Clinic

Mike Pence's staff is threatening a reporter who divulged that everyone who traveled with Pence to the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday was informed they should wear face masks during the trip, the Washington Post reported.

The reporter, Voice of America's Steve Herman, says he was banned from traveling with Pence on Air Force Two, according to the Post. The Post also reported that Pence's staff said they are still weighing punishment and demanding Herman apologize for revealing the information.

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Trump: 'I Don't Take Responsibility' For People Drinking Bleach

Donald Trump once again refused to take responsibility for his own actions, saying at a news conference on Monday that if someone died from using disinfectant it would not be his fault.

Trump's comments came after a reporter told him that some states have seen spikes in people calling poison control after using disinfectant.

Trump floated the idea on Thursday of using disinfectant — which can be deadly if ingested in any way by human beings — to cure COVID-19 disease.

"Maryland and other states, Gov. Larry Hogan specifically said, they've seen a spike in people using disinfectant after your comments last week. I know you said they were sarcastic, but do you take any responsibility if someone were to die?" a reporter asked Trump.

This is not the first time Trump has refused to take responsibility for something.

In early March, when the virus was taking hold in the United States, Trump said it was not his fault that there was a lack of testing to identify and isolate people who had the virus, which experts said could have slowed the spread.

"No, I don't take responsibility at all because we were given a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time," Trump said on March 13 about the testing shortage, appearing to try to lay blame on past administrations.

However, COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel coronavirus — meaning the virus is new and has never been seen before. Past administrations did not make tests for this virus because it hadn't existed yet.Trump responded emphatically that it is not his fault.

"No, I don't. No, I can't imagine — I can't imagine that," Trump said, before moving on to the next question.

McConnell Vows To Aid Business — But Not States -- In Next Relief Bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled his support this week for a Trump administration proposal to add a provision to the next round of coronavirus relief that would make it impossible for workers to sue their employers if they contract the virus on the job.

In a statement announcing the Senate will return to Washington, D.C., on May 4, the Kentucky Republican called the proposal an "urgent need" to shield businesses from lawsuits, painting it as something that benefits essential workers — even though those workers would be the ones prohibited from suing their employer if they become infected.

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