The U.S. at a glance
A high school senior whose face screamed skepticism at a Trump rally last week was kicked out midway through the event—though “#plaidshirtguy” had already become an internet meme. The student, 17-year-old Tyler Linfesty, had secured a spot behind the president, and viewers couldn’t help but notice as he raised his eyebrows and dropped his jaw while Trump made claims like “We have the best economy in history” and “Unemployment is at record lows.” Linfesty, who put on a Democratic Socialists of America sticker during the speech, says he was questioned by the Secret Service and told not to come to Trump rallies. “I wasn’t planning on trolling him or protesting,” Linfesty said. “When I heard something that I disagreed with, I visibly disagreed.” Though the crowd in his area was urged to cheer enthusiastically, Linfesty explained, “I’m not going to pretend to support something I don’t support.”
Police officer charged
A police officer was charged with manslaughter this week after she fatally shot a man in his own apartment, sparking citywide protests. The officer, Amber Guyger, 30, was off duty when she returned to her apartment complex at 10 p.m. She claims to have mistaken 26-year-old Botham Jean’s unit for her own. Guyger says the front door was ajar, leading her to believe Jean was a burglar. Guyger told investigators that when Jean ignored her commands she shot him in the chest, only realizing she was in the wrong apartment after turning on the lights. Jean’s family lawyer cites witnesses who, before the gunshots, “heard the officer knocking at the door and repeatedly saying, ‘Let me in.’” Prosecutors said Guyger could still face stiffer charges. This deadly encounter between a white officer and a black man fueled tension in a county where just last month a white officer was convicted of murdering Jordan Edwards, a black teenager.
Sept. 11 tributes
The nearly 3,000 Americans who perished in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were honored at an array of ceremonies this week. President Trump attended a ceremony on a rural field in Pennsylvania, where 40 passengers and crew members on United Airlines Flight 93 brought down a fourth hijacked airplane targeting the Capitol building. “A piece of America’s heart is buried on these grounds,” said Trump, the first president to visit the crash site. “But in its place has grown a new resolve to live our lives with the same grace and courage as the heroes of Flight 93.” Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis led a ceremony at the Pentagon, while police officers gathered at a Midtown Manhattan precinct to read aloud the names of colleagues who died in the rescue effort.
Palestinian office to close
The Trump administration announced this week that it will shut the Washington office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. It’s the latest step to pressure the Palestinians into negotiations for a new Middle East peace plan. A State Department spokesperson said the closure was justified because the PLO has resisted negotiations with Israel and “refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts.” In response, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, said, “This dangerous escalation shows that the U.S. is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes.” Although the Trump administration often cites its plans for an Arab-Israeli “deal of the century,” U.S. officials have offered few insights as to what that might entail. President Trump has eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian Authority.
Staying in jail
A federal judge this week ordered alleged Russian spy Maria Butina to remain in custody pending her trial, saying she presents a serious flight risk. The order followed a request from Butina’s lawyers that the 29-year-old, who’s accused of infiltrating the National Rifle Association and other conservative circles on behalf of Moscow, be released on bail and placed under house arrest. Instead, the judge imposed a gag order and rebuked Butina’s counsel for giving a series of media interviews. The judge also slammed prosecutors, who had claimed that Butina’s emails suggested she had traded sex for access—an assertion picked up across national news outlets. “It took me approximately five minutes to read those emails and tell that they were jokes,” the judge said.
North Carolina, South Carolina
The National Weather Service warned of a “storm of a lifetime” for the coast of the Carolina, as 1.5 million people fled Hurricane Florence. As The Week went to press, the Category 4 storm shifted southward as it approached the coast, increasing the storm’s likely severity in South Carolina and parts of Georgia. The National Hurricane Center predicted tsunami-like ocean levels with waves higher than 80 feet, “life-threatening freshwater flooding” from 30-plus inches of rain, and “damaging hurricane-force winds” that could reach 145 mph. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he expected the storm to be worse than 1989’s Hurricane Hugo, which made landfall near Charleston, S.C., and caused 21 deaths on the U.S. mainland. While President Trump said the U.S. was ready for the hurricane, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said power in the region could be knocked out for weeks, and a somber North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced, “Disaster is at the doorstep.” ■