May 22, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden raised some eyebrows Friday during a heated interview with Charlamagne Tha God on The Breakfast Club. Charlamagne began by pressing Biden, telling him that "black people saved your political life in the primaries this year, and they have things they want from you, and one of them is a black woman running mate."

"I guarantee you that there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple," Biden said, just as he was interrupted by someone off-frame telling him his interview time was up.

"You can't do that to black media," Charlamagne protested.

"I can do that to white media and black media because my wife has to go on at six o'clock," Biden replied. Charlamagne, visibly peeved, told Biden he ought to pick up the conversation again down the line because "it's a long way to November, we've got more questions."

"You've got more questions," Biden said. "I'll tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or for Trump, then you ain't black."

Charlamagne waved off Biden's comment, saying "it ain't have nothing to do with Trump, I want something for my community." While it's true that more than than 8 in 10 black Americans believe Trump is racist and 9 in 10 disapprove of his job in office, Biden's comment, even if it was directed specifically at Charlamagne, was clearly based on a sweeping generalization. "A white guy lecturing black Americans that they 'ain't black' if they don't vote for him is about as condescending and racist as it gets," tweeted Republican strategist Andrew Surabian.

"WTF..." added Virginia Republican congressional candidate Jeffery A Dove Jr. "Because I don't support your failed policies. Things like the '94 crime bill, Obamacare, and others, 'I ain't black' based on Joe Biden's words. That is basically saying the Dem party owns me because of skin color." You can watch below, starting around 16:17. Jeva Lange

12:11 a.m.

President Trump is publicly pleased with his military deployment in Washington, D.C., but when it comes to addressing the larger wave of peaceful protests and less-peaceful looting and violence across America, "he's paralyzed," a former West Wing official tells Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman. The president's anger is real, a Trump friend told Sherman. "Trump is pissed that they're rioting. That's just the old guy from Queens who's offended by this. That's the Archie Bunker in him." But he is also apparently taking the unrest over systemic racism personally.

Trump told governors in a phone call Monday to use the military to "dominate" the streets — Defense Secretary Mark Esper called American cities "battlespaces" — and he has repeated that tough-guy language in public and on Twitter. He is evidently focused on Democratic governors. "He feels the blue-state governors are letting it burn because it hurts him," an outside White House adviser told Sherman on Monday. "It's a lot like how he sees coronavirus." As with Trump's coronavirus response, it's unclear why he would think governors care more about him than their own constituents.

Trump is privately telling people the street violence would end of the three Minneapolis police officers who watched their colleague kill George Floyd were also arrested, Sherman reports, "but, always worried about seeming weak, he made no mention of the officers or police brutality during yesterday's Rose Garden speech." Read more at Vanity Fair. Peter Weber

June 2, 2020

Mike Mullen, the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a retired Navy admiral, says he was so "sickened" by what he saw transpire on the streets of Washington, D.C., on Monday evening that he had to speak out.

"Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so," Mullen wrote in The Atlantic. "This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership."

Watching security personnel "forcibly and violently" clear out peaceful protesters so President Trump could stand outside of St. John's Church left Mullen aghast, he wrote. Whatever Trump's goal was, "he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces. There was little good in the stunt."

No one should condone violence, vandalism, or looting, Mullen wrote, but it's imperative that people also don't "lose sight of the larger and deeper concerns over institutional racism that have ignited this rage." Citizens must unite to "address head-on the issue of police brutality and sustained injustices against the African American community," he said, as well as "support and defend the right — indeed, the solemn obligation — to peacefully assemble and to be heard."

While Mullen said he's "confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform," knowing they "will obey lawful orders," he is "less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops."

Mullen was not the only former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to condemn Monday's incident. His successor, retired Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, tweeted that "America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy." Catherine Garcia

June 2, 2020

Statues and monuments in honor of Confederate soldiers and leaders are coming down in Alabama and Virginia, with some covered in graffiti spray painted by protesters against racism and police brutality.

In Birmingham, a 115-year-old obelisk dedicated to Confederate soldiers and sailors was removed early Tuesday, one day after demonstrators tried to pull it down themselves. The monument stood in a park just a few blocks away from the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed in 1963 by white supremacists. Four young black girls died in the bombing, including Sarah Collins Rudolph's sister, Addie Mae Collins.

Rudolph, who was seriously injured in the attack, went to the former site of the obelisk on Tuesday, and said she couldn't believe it was finally gone. It was "a hate monument," she told The Associated Press. "It didn't represent the blacks. It just represented the hard times back there a long time ago."

Following the 2015 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, when a white supremacist targeted black worshipers, there was a call to remove Confederate statues across the South. Alabama instead passed a state law in 2017 to protect those monuments, and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) filed a lawsuit against Birmingham on Tuesday over the removal of the obelisk. The state plans on fining the city $25,000 for violating the law, which is fine by Mayor Randall Woodfin, who said it's worth it for peace in his town, AP reports.

While some monuments have come down due to vandalism, other organizations said they are removing their statues and flags by choice. On Tuesday, the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Alexandria, Virginia, took down a statue of a Confederate soldier titled "Appomattox." It was first erected in 1889, and one year later, a law was passed to prevent officials from removing it; the law was repealed this year. Near Tampa, Florida, a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter lowered its giant Confederate battle flag, which had been visible from two highways. Catherine Garcia

June 2, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked a resolution that would have condemned President Trump's actions against peaceful protesters who gathered near the White House on Monday evening.

Officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd at Lafayette Square so Trump could walk over and take photos in front of St. John's Church while holding a Bible. The resolution, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), also affirmed the constitutional rights of Americans to peacefully assemble and that violence and looting are unlawful and contrary to the purpose of peaceful protests.

McConnell said Americans want to see "justice for black Americans in the face of unjust violence, and peace for our country in the face of looting, riots, and domestic terror," and the resolution "does not address" these issues. "Instead, it just indulges in the myopic obsession with President Trump that has come to define the Democratic side of the aisle," he added.

In response, Schumer said McConnell and Republicans "do not want to condemn what the president did, though every fair minded American of any political party would. We certainly should condemn violence — let me repeat, this resolution condemns violence — but it is insufficient in light of what happened just to condemn violence, and not condemn what the president did as well." Catherine Garcia

June 2, 2020

Former President George W. Bush on Tuesday said it's time for America to "examine our tragic failures" in order to end systemic racism.

In a statement, Bush said he and former first lady Laura Bush are "anguished" by the "brutal suffocation of George Floyd" and "resisted the urge to speak" in the wake of Floyd's death and the ensuing protests because "this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen."


It is a "shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country," Bush said, and it is a "strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future."

He called Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King Jr. "heroes of America," and said "their calling has never been for the fainthearted. They often revealed the nation's disturbing bigotry and exploitation — stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to examine. We can only see the reality of America's need by seeing it through the eyes of the threatened, oppressed, and disenfranchised."

To have "lasting peace in our communities" there must be "truly equal justice" for everyone, Bush said, and achieving that is "the duty of all." Read his entire statement here. Catherine Garcia

June 2, 2020

Six Atlanta police officers are facing charges after being accused of using excessive force during the arrest of two college students Saturday night, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced on Tuesday.

Howard said arrest warrants have been issued for the six officers, with the charges including aggravated assault, criminal damage to property, and simple battery.

The incident took place after a George Floyd protest in downtown Atlanta. Body cam footage shows officers approaching a vehicle, with one using a baton to hit the driver's side window before breaking it and tasing the driver. A second officer tased the passenger. Later, one of the officers said he used the taser because it wasn't clear if the driver and passenger were armed.

After reviewing the footage, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday ordered the firing of two of the officers. Catherine Garcia

June 2, 2020

Less than 24 hours after Lea Michele was accused of making a Glee co-star's life "a living hell," she's already lost a partnership.

Samantha Ware, who played Jane Hayward on Glee, in a tweet on Monday night publicly called out Michele, claiming the actress made her first television job "a living hell" with "traumatic" microaggressions and even told people that "if you had the opportunity you would 's--t in my wig." Other black Glee actors soon backed her up, with Dabier Snell alleging Michele wouldn't let him sit with other cast members because she said he "didn't belong there."

Amid the controversy, HelloFresh announced on Twitter it would sever a partnership with Michele.

"HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind," the company said. "We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele. We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately."

Michele has yet to respond to her co-stars' allegations. Brendan Morrow

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