World

Kamala Harris makes veiled attack on Florida slavery curriculum backed by DeSantis – live

Harris keeps up criticism of DeSantis-backed Florida curriculum on slavery

In a ceremony to designate new national monuments related to the murder of Emmett Till, Kamala Harris made a veiled attack on a new curriculum in Florida backed by Republican governor Ron DeSantis that contends some Black people benefited from enslavement.

“Today, there are those in our nation who would prefer to erase or even rewrite the ugly parts of our past, those who attempt to teach that enslaved people benefited from slavery,” said Harris, the first woman and first African America in the position of vice-president.

“Those who insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, who try to divide our nation with unnecessary debates. Let us not be seduced into believing that, somehow. we will be better if we forget.”

Last week, Harris visited Florida and forcefully condemned the state board of education’s new standards for Black history, which will see students learn that some slaves received “personal benefit” from skills they learned in their forced servitude.

Key events

The day so far

Today began with Democrats reacting with fury to comments from Kevin McCarthy that seemed to support impeaching Joe Biden. While it’s unclear if the House speaker will follow through on his threats, the remarks underscore the seriousness with which Republicans are taking their investigations against the president and his family, as well as the degree of influence the party’s right wing wields in the House. At the White House, Biden and Kamala Harris held a public ceremony to designate new national monuments in honor of Emmett Till, but made a point of condemning book bans and changes to Florida’s school curriculum that make light of slavery, respectively.

Here’s what else has happened today:

  • Ron DeSantis was involved in a car accident while on the campaign trail in Tennessee, but was not injured.

  • Strike averted: the Teamster and UPS have tentatively agreed to a new contract ahead of what would have been one of the biggest single-employer work stoppages in US history.

  • A Democratic congressman from Texas is on a thirst and hunger strike after the state’s Republican governor signed legislation blocking regulations that gave construction workers water breaks amid intensifying heat.

Biden attacks book bans as he honors Emmett Till

As he signed a proclamation at the White House that creates new national monuments to honor Emmett Till, a Black teenager whose 1955 murder in Mississippi was a turning point in the civil rights movement, Joe Biden spoke out against conservative activists’ campaigns to ban books.

“At a time when there are those who seek to ban books, bury history, we’re making it clear, crystal, crystal clear,” Biden said. “We can’t just choose to learn what we want to know. We have to learn what we should know. We should know about our country. We should know everything, the good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation.”

Writers’ organization Pen America reports that book bans in public schools rose 28% in the first half of the 2022-2023 academic year, and are most common in Republican-led states. Its April report added that “of the 1,477 books banned this school year, 30% are about race, racism or include characters of color”.

Harris keeps up criticism of DeSantis-backed Florida curriculum on slavery

In a ceremony to designate new national monuments related to the murder of Emmett Till, Kamala Harris made a veiled attack on a new curriculum in Florida backed by Republican governor Ron DeSantis that contends some Black people benefited from enslavement.

“Today, there are those in our nation who would prefer to erase or even rewrite the ugly parts of our past, those who attempt to teach that enslaved people benefited from slavery,” said Harris, the first woman and first African America in the position of vice-president.

“Those who insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, who try to divide our nation with unnecessary debates. Let us not be seduced into believing that, somehow. we will be better if we forget.”

Last week, Harris visited Florida and forcefully condemned the state board of education’s new standards for Black history, which will see students learn that some slaves received “personal benefit” from skills they learned in their forced servitude.

UPS, Teamsters reach deal to avert major nationwide strike

What would have been the largest single-employer labor strike in US history appears to have been averted, after UPS and the Teamsters union reached a tentative deal on a new contract.

Here’s the Guardian’s Michael Sainato with the latest on the agreement:

The Teamsters union announced today that leadership has reached a tentative agreement with UPS, averting a strike that was set to begin on 1 August involving 340,000 workers.

The national bargaining committee unanimously endorsed the five-year tentative agreement.

Highlights of the agreement include wage increases of $2.75 per hour for full-time and part-time workers this year and $7.50 more per hour over the length of the contract, and part-timers will see wage increases immediately of at least $21 an hour. The wage gains are double the gains from the previous five-year contract that was in effect from 2018, and a 48% increase for part-timers over the life of the contract. Full-timers will see their average top rate increase to $49 per hour.

The agreement also ends a two-tiered classification for drivers, provides part-timers with longevity raises, adds Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday off, and ends forced overtime on off days.

“Rank-and-file UPS Teamsters sacrificed everything to get this country through a pandemic and enabled UPS to reap record-setting profits. Teamster labor moves America. The union went into this fight committed to winning for our members. We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, and we got it,” said the Teamsters general president, Sean M O’Brien in a press release announcing the agreement.

Meanwhile, the jail sentences keep coming in for people convicted of involvement in the violence on January 6. Here’s the Associated Press with the latest:

An Arkansas truck driver who beat a police officer with a flagpole attached to an American flag during the US Capitol riot was sentenced Monday to more than four years in prison.

Peter Francis Stager struck the Metropolitan police department officer with his flagpole at least three times as other rioters pulled the officer, head first, into the crowd outside the Capitol on 6 January 2021. The bruised officer was among more than 100 police officers injured during the riot.

Stager also stood over and screamed profanities at another officer, who was seriously injured when several other rioters dragged him into the mob and beat him, according to federal prosecutors.

After the beatings, Stager was captured on video saying, “Every single one of those Capitol law enforcement officers, death is the remedy. That is the only remedy they get.”

US Judge Rudolph Contreras sentenced Stager to four years and four months in prison, according to a spokesperson for the prosecutors’ office.

Federal prosecutors could hand down another indictment against Donald Trump this week, likely for his involvement in the January 6 insurrection. But as the Guardian’s Kira Lerner reports, a new study of US democracy indicates his legal troubles present a threat to the country’s stability:

The June federal indictment of Donald Trump is “radicalizing” support for the use of force on behalf of the former president and current presidential candidate, according to the author of a recent survey about threats to democracy.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, support for violence to restore the federal right to an abortion has also increased over the last few months, researchers found, although there’s little indication that any organized groups support acting on this belief.

The Dangers to Democracy report indicates that a growing number of Americans support the use of political violence as the 2024 presidential campaign heats up and further indictments of Trump are likely imminent.

In other Texas news, the Guardian’s Michael Sainato reports that a professor appears to have been suspended in retaliation for comments critical of the lieutenant governor, but ultimately kept her job:

The Texas A&M University professor Joy Alonzo criticized the Texas lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, during a visiting lecture in March 2023 on the opioid crisis at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.

Just hours later, Alonzo learned a student accused her of disparaging Patrick during the lecture. The complaint reached her supervisors and the chancellor of Texas A&M, John Sharp, who was in communication directly with the lieutenant governor’s office.

The student is reportedly the daughter of the Texas land commissioner, Dawn Buckingham, who served in the Texas senate with Patrick for six years, received an endorsement from him in her run for land commissioner, and had attended Sharp’s wedding in May.

Democratic congressman on thirst, hunger strike after Texas governor nixes water breaks

Greg Casar, a Democratic congressman from Texas, will embark on a thirst and hunger strike today after his state’s Republican governor Greg Abbott signed a bill blocking local attempts to mandate water breaks for construction workers.

Casar, who was elected to the House last year and represents parts of Austin and San Antonio, said he won’t eat, drink or take a break today “until nurses require him to stop”.

“I’m on thirst strike today because families across Texas and across America deserve dignity on the job. But Greg Abbott doesn’t think so. During this heat wave, the Governor just signed a law taking away your right to a water break at work. It’s an outrageous attack on Texans – and threatens all workers,” Casar said in a statement.

The bill Abbott signed after passage by Texas’s Republican-dominated legislature nullifies ordinances enacted by Austin and Dallas that mandate 10-minute breaks for construction workers every four hours and prevents any other local governments from passing similar worker protections.

Yesterday, more than 110 members of Congress asked the Biden administration to direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a workplace heat standard, after weeks in which much of the United States grappled with exceptionally high temperatures.

Donald Trump is, of course, seeking the Republican presidential nomination, and on Saturday plans to hold a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania – a city he owes money to.

As the Erie Times-News reports, Trump never repaid the city more than $35,000 for costs related to an October 2018 rally he held in the city, much of which went to pay for police and other city services necessitated by the then-president’s visit. Despite that, the city will seek reimbursement from the Trump campaign for whatever expenses result from his rally this week, mayor Joe Schember told the paper.

“I think we have to try, and I feel like my team feels the same way,” he said.

“We’re going to see whether we can get some payment from them in advance this time. It’s important to do this because we’re talking about taxpayer money being used to help make his visit more safe.”

Meanwhile, in Georgia, the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell has uncovered more details of the charges Donald Trump may face if he is indicted for attempting to overturn the 2020 election result:

The Fulton county district attorney investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia in recent weeks has weighed several potential statutes under which to charge, including solicitation to commit election fraud and conspiracy to commit election fraud, according to two people briefed on the matter.

The move by the Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, to identify a list of potential charges marks a major juncture in the criminal investigation and suggests prosecutors are on course to ask a grand jury to return indictments next month.

Among the state election law charges that prosecutors were examining: criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and conspiracy to commit election fraud, as well as solicitation of a public or political officer to fail to perform their duties and solicitation to destroy, deface or remove ballots, the people said.

Here’s more from the Guardian’s Michael Sainato on Kevin McCarthy’s comments, and why some House Republicans have come to believe Joe Biden should be removed from office:

The House speaker Kevin McCarthy claimed during a TV appearance on Monday that he expects a House GOP investigation into the foreign business activities of Joe Biden’s family to rise to the level of an impeachment inquiry.

“When Biden was running for office, he told the public he has never talked about business. He said his family has never received a dollar from China – which we prove is not true,” McCarthy said during an appearance on Fox News with Sean Hannity on Monday night.

“We’ve only followed where the information has taken us. But, Hannity, this is rising to the level of impeachment inquiry, which provides Congress the strongest power to get the rest of the knowledge and information needed.”

Democrats criticize McCarthy and suggest ‘Trump is real Speaker of the House’

Democrats are hammering Kevin McCarthy for suggesting that Joe Biden should be impeached, with the party chair Jamie Harrison saying his comment makes “clear that Donald Trump is the real Speaker of the House”.

Here’s his full statement:

It’s clear that Donald Trump is the real Speaker of the House. He has made sure the House majority is little more than an arm of his 2024 campaign, and Kevin McCarthy is happy to do his bidding – promising to expunge Trump’s own bipartisan impeachments, and now threatening President Biden with a baseless impeachment to distract from their lack of any meaningful agenda and Trump’s own significant challenges. This is another political stunt intended to help Trump, which House Republicans have already admitted. Instead of wasting the American people’s time and money carrying water for Trump, Republicans should join President Biden in working to provide relief for hardworking families, lowering costs, and bringing jobs back to America instead of playing reruns of the Trump show.

Ron DeSantis unhurt in car accident

Republican presidential candidate and Florida governor Ron DeSantis was unhurt after being involved in a car accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee this morning, broadcaster WTVC reports:

BREAKING: @FoxNews‘s Assignment Editor sent us an email saying that republican presidential candidate Ron Desantis was in a car crash while traveling to an event in Chattanooga. pic.twitter.com/waLx3CzMm2

— Bliss ZechmanNC9 (@BlissZechman) July 25, 2023

Fox News sent us this statement from Bryan Griffin, Press Secretary:

“This morning, the governor was in a car accident while traveling to an event in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He and his team are uninjured….”

— Bliss ZechmanNC9 (@BlissZechman) July 25, 2023

“…We appreciate the prayers and well wishes of the nation for his continued protection while on the campaign trail.”

— Bliss ZechmanNC9 (@BlissZechman) July 25, 2023

White House accuses House Republicans of ‘seemingly bottomless’ will to attack Biden

The White House was quick to hit back at House speaker Kevin McCarthy after his comments last night that the investigations into Joe Biden were “rising to the level of impeachment inquiry”.

Here’s the response from Ian Sams, a spokesman for the Biden administration:

Instead of focusing on the real issues Americans want us to address like continuing to lower inflation or create jobs, this is what the @HouseGOP wants to prioritize.

Their eagerness to go after @POTUS regardless of the truth is seemingly bottomless. https://t.co/fwX2yKleMF

— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) July 25, 2023

And here’s the moment McCarthy made the comment in his interview with Fox News conservative commentator Sean Hannity:

Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday night said the House’s investigation into the Bidens is “rising to the level of impeachment inquiry.” pic.twitter.com/uMFXWA9JSj

— The Recount (@therecount) July 25, 2023

Notice how he doesn’t get into specifics. Also notice who he’s talking to: one of the conservative network’s best-known voices, whose viewership is composed of the sort of hard-right Republican voters sure to be pleased by an outright attack on the Democratic president.

McCarthy says GOP investigations ‘rising to the level of impeachment inquiry’

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Congress may soon have a unique and incredibly divisive task on its plate: deciding whether to impeach Joe Biden. In an interview last night with conservative commentator Sean Hannity, Republican speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said that the evidence the GOP has turned up in its investigations of the president and his family is “rising to the level of impeachment inquiry”. Before his comments, calls for using Congress’s power to oust the Democratic president have been confined to a handful of far-right lawmakers in his caucus, but now McCarthy seems ready to get on board.

That said, the speaker kept it vague, and didn’t definitively say Congress’s lower chamber would start the process used to remove a president from office. And even if he did, the GOP’s slim majority in the House could make getting a resolution passed difficult, and there’s little chance – at least at this point – that the Democratic-led Senate would convict the president by the two-thirds majority necessary to remove him from the White House. We’ll let you know if McCarthy or other leading Republicans have more to say about this today.

Here’s what else is happening:

  • Georgia prosecutors are considering whether to charge Donald Trump with crimes includes solicitation to commit election fraud, the Guardian can confirm.

  • Joe Biden will at 12 pm eastern time sign a proclamation establishing national monuments to Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley in Illinois and Mississippi.

  • White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will take reporters’ questions at 3.30pm.



Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button