June 26, 2018

Former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos hopes that journalists face violence.

When asked for comment by both The Observer and The Daily Beast, Yiannopoulos said, "I can't wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight."

He said it was his "standard response to a request for comment." The far-right provocateur was responding to questions for stories from the two publications about the U.K. Independence Party and an Upper East Side restaurant.

Yiannopoulos has a history of inflammatory rhetoric. He worked with white nationalists and neo-Nazis to amplify their voices while at Breitbart, a BuzzFeed News investigation found last year. While he has defended himself as someone who merely finds "humor in breaking taboos and laughing at things that people tell me are forbidden to joke about," the investigation lost him outside financial backing. Other offensive comments lost him his editor job.

The alt-right darling bragged about his "vigilante squads" comment on Instagram over the weekend, additionally posting a screenshot that shows him calling the Observer reporter who made Yiannopoulos' threats public a "delicate flower" who "wrote a vile hit piece." Read more at The Observer. Summer Meza

11:18 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke on the ongoing protests against police brutality in a Philadelphia address on Tuesday morning, blasting President Trump for his response and his Monday photo op in Washington.

Biden spoke from Philadelphia City Hall after another night of protests following George Floyd's death in police custody last week, with the presumptive Democratic nominee calling the death a "wake-up call" and saying Floyd's words of "I can't breathe" are "echoing all across this nation."

"It's time to listen to those words, to try to understand them, to respond to them, respond with action," Biden said. "The country is crying out for leadership."

On Monday, law enforcement used tear gas on protesters to clear out Lafayette Square so Trump could walk to St. John's Episcopal Church for a photo op in which he held up the Bible, and Biden said the stunt suggests he's "more interested in power than in principle."

"The president held up the Bible at St. John's church yesterday," Biden said. "I just wish he opened it once in a while instead of brandishing it. If he opened it, he could have learned something."

Biden also went after Trump for his tweet saying that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," calling him "part of the problem." Biden added, though, "I wish I could say that hate began with Donald Trump and will end with him. It didn't, and it won't." Brendan Morrow

11:06 a.m.

Wes Unseld, who starred for the NBA's Baltimore and Washington Bullets (now called the Wizards) between 1968 and 1981, died Tuesday, his family said. He was 74. The family's statement said Unseld died peacefully following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia.

Unseld, who played center despite standing 6-foot-7, wasn't a prolific scorer, but he's widely regarded as one of the best defenders and passers ever to play his position and was a dominant rebounder, as well. He won the league MVP in 1969 when he was just a rookie, and helped the Bullets win the franchise's first and only championship in 1978, alongside fellow all-time great Elvin Hayes.

Unseld, who also enjoyed a standout career at the University of Louisville before entering the NBA and both coached and served as the general manager for the Bullets/Wizards for several season after he retired, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988. Tim O'Donnell

10:29 a.m.

Tensions between the United States and China continue to run high, and they likely won't simmer when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre Tuesday afternoon.

In 1989, student-led demonstrations aiming for democratic reforms in China were held in Beijing before the government forcibly suppressed the movement. Pompeo extending a hand to the surviving participants certainly seems like a shot at the Chinese Communist Party, especially as it cracks down on a contemporary pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Earlier Tuesday, Pompeo blasted pro-Beijing authorities in Hong Kong for denying permission to hold a vigil in remembrance of the massacre for the first time in 30 years.

But some critics of the Trump administration think the secretary's gesture is hypocritical, since just a day earlier federal police used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse a peaceful protest against police brutality at Lafayette Square across from the White House so President Trump could pose for a photo-op in front of the historic St. John's Church, and police have clashed violently with demonstrators across the country over the last several days. Tim O'Donnell

10:24 a.m.

President Trump has issued a very contradictory assessment of how protests in Washington, D.C., went down Monday night.

Protests against police brutality continued peacefully on Monday until the evening, when law enforcement began clearing the streets outside the White House so Trump could walk to St. John's Church across the street for a photo. Law enforcement fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters, creating a surreal side-by-side as Trump spoke in the Rose Garden, but the president still maintained that there were "no problems in D.C. last night."

Trump's evaluation of Monday night's protest came in a Tuesday morning tweet, though he immediately reversed that "no problems" sentiment by bluntly stating there were "many arrests" in D.C. due to "overwhelming force" and "domination." Trump then thanked himself for what happened.

After a week of protests, Trump declared Monday evening that he was Americans' "president of law and order" and announced he would "deploy the United States military" to end violent protests in any city. Trump also announced he was "dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers" to halt protests in D.C. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:47 a.m.

A group of civil rights leaders say they're "disappointed" and "stunned" following a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about his recent decisions on posts by President Trump.

Zuckerberg hosted a call with civil rights leaders on Monday as the company faces growing controversy and an employee walkout over its a hands-off approach to Trump's posts, including one in which he wrote "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" in reference to the Minneapolis protests over George Floyd's death. Facebook also didn't touch a post by Trump about mail-in voting that Twitter fact-checked.

After the meeting, leaders from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Color of Change released a statement blasting Zuckerberg, per Axios, saying they're "disappointed and stunned by Mark's incomprehensible explanations for allowing the Trump posts to remain up."

The civil rights leaders go on to say Zuckerberg "did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump's call for violence against protesters," adding his inaction on Trump's posts sets a "very dangerous precedent."

Color of Change President Rashad Robinson also spoke in an interview with Bloomberg News about the meeting, saying that "I spent a lot of time, and my colleagues spent a lot of time, explaining to him why these things are a problem, and I think he just very much lacks the ability to understand it."

Amid the controversy, Zuckerberg this week said he would donate $10 million to groups fighting for racial justice. But Robinson told Bloomberg, "saying Black Lives Matter, saying I'm going to give money, but having your policies actually hurt black people, people will know the difference." Brendan Morrow

9:30 a.m.

People in China, where reporting on even small anti-government protests is censored, are getting full coverage of U.S. protesters and journalists being beaten and gassed by U.S. police, blinded by rubber bullets, and arrested in what looks like war zones. "Freedom is dead" in the U.S., Chinese wrote on social media, BBC News reports. "The U.S. police has lost all humanity." European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said "like the people of the United States, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd," adding that Europeans "support the right to peaceful protest" and "call for a de-escalation of tensions."

Australians, meanwhile, watched a widely broadcast clip of 7NEWS reporter Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers being clubbed, punched in the face, and battered by federal police clearing Lafayette Square of protesters so President Trump could walk to a church and hold up a Bible for the cameras. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne expressed "strong concerns" about the assault on the Australian journalists.

"We have asked the Australian embassy in Washington, D.C., to investigate this incident," Payne said Tuesday. "I want to get further advice on how we would go about registering Australia's strong concerns with the responsible local authorities in Washington," suggesting a formal complaint will follow. U.S. Ambassador Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. tweeted in response: "We take mistreatment of journalists seriously, as do all who take democracy seriously." Peter Weber

8:18 a.m.

President Trump's brief excursion to St. John's Episcopal Church for a photo op with a Bible on Monday evening was apparently a big hit inside the West Wing — the official White House Twitter feed features a campaign-like music video of the amble. After Trump's aides "spent much of Monday expressing outrage" over limited arson at the historic church, The New York Times reports, "Hope Hicks, a presidential adviser, eventually hatched a plan with others at the White House to have the president walk over to the building."

Trump was anxious to leave the White House, reportedly irked by coverage of him being whisked to a secure bunker. "A number of people reached out directly to the president or his top aides to tell them, with great urgency, that he needed to be seen," Axios reports. "They saw signs on Twitter that the conservative base was turning against him."

Hicks was part of the entourage that crossed Lafayette Square with Trump after federal police used tear gas and flash grenades to clear the public park of protesters. Attorney General William Barr, Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Mark Milley, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper also accompanied Trump so he could hold a Bible in front of the church.

A senior White House official told Axios "I've never been more ashamed" than after watching the tear-gassing of protesters to pave Trump's path, adding: "I'm really honestly disgusted. I'm sick to my stomach. And they're all celebrating it. They're very very proud of themselves."

Bishop Mariann Budde, the top Episcopal official in Washington, was disappointed, too. One of the visiting priests at St. John's was tear-gassed in the square, she said, and neither the Bible nor the church should be used as a political prop. "The Bible is not an American document," Budde told the Times. "It's not an expression of our country. It's an expression of the human struggle to serve and love and know God." Peter Weber

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