January 24, 2020

The Pentagon has confirmed more than 30 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries after the recent Iranian missile strike, days after President Trump downplayed these injuries as "not very serious."

A Pentagon spokesperson said Friday that 34 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after Iran's missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops earlier this month, which was a response to an airstrike authorized by President Trump that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, CNN reports. Although Trump initially said in an address that "no Americans were harmed" in the attack, it was later reported that 11 Americans were injured and were being treated for concussion symptoms.

Asked about this discrepancy earlier this week, Trump downplayed the seriousness of the injuries, saying, "I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious," The Hill reports. He went on to say, "I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen ... I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no."

The New York Times' Maggie Haberman noted Friday, "Government officials have spent years trying to make people take these injuries seriously, and not dismiss them as minor." Brendan Morrow

January 21, 2020

U.S. military officials announced on Tuesday that "out of an abundance of caution," additional service members affected by the Iranian missile attack earlier this month have been sent to Germany for medical evaluations and treatment.

On Jan. 8, Iran fired missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops, in response to President Trump's authorization of an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The next day, Trump said "no Americans were harmed" and "only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases." Military officials at the al-Asad base told The Washington Post on Jan. 13 that "dozens" of service members there were suffering from concussion-like symptoms, which do not always appear right away. By Jan. 15, 11 people had received treatment.

The Pentagon confirmed last week that the 11 service members had left Iraq to receive treatment, but did not share any information on their conditions. Officials on Tuesday did not say how many additional service members are receiving treatment, only revealing they are in Landstuhl, Germany, and not hospitalized. "As medical treatment and evaluations in theater continue, additional service members have been identified as having potential injuries," Army Maj. Beth Riordan said in a statement. "Given the nature of injuries already noted, it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future." Catherine Garcia

January 13, 2020

U.S. commanders at the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq do not think that last week's attacks by Iran were only meant to scare people.

"These were designed and organized to inflict as many casualties as possible," Lt. Col Tim Garland, Commander of Task Force Jazeera, told The Washington Post. Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles, targeting al-Asad and a second base in northern Iraq. The bases house U.S. troops, and were already on high alert after Iran promised to exact revenge for President Trump authorizing an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The base was told late Tuesday that it should expect an attack from Iran, and went into lockdown. Troops moved into underground bunkers and shelters, while some remained outside to man the perimeter, due to fears there could be also be a ground assault. The strikes came in waves, the Post reports, with up to 15 minutes between each one, and troops felt the shock waves in the air. Two soldiers in a tower were thrown through a window, commanders said, and ultimately several dozen troops were treated for concussion.

The barrage lasted more than 90 minutes, and when day broke, officials were able to fully assess the damage. Prefabricated buildings were mangled and living quarters and a helicopter launch site were damaged. There were no deaths, and Lt. Col. Staci Coleman told the Post it was "miraculous" that no one was seriously injured. Read more at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

August 8, 2019

Of the 680 people arrested on Wednesday during immigration raids in Mississippi, more than 300 were released on Thursday morning with notices to appear before immigration judges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said.

ICE conducted seven raids in six cities, sending 600 agents to agricultural plants operated by five companies. With their parents detained, children had to spend the night in the care of other family members, friends, and in some cases strangers, with churches, gyms, and other businesses opening their doors to offer assistance. In the town of Morton, where the Koch Foods Inc. plant was targeted, resident Gabriela Rosales told The Associated Press she understands there is "a process and a law," but it was "very devastating to see all those kids crying, having seen their parents for the last time."

On Thursday, schools in the areas where the raids took place reported a high number of absences, AP reports, and Rev. Mike O'Brien of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Canton said "the people are all afraid. Their doors are locked, and they won't answer their doors."

This was the largest immigration raid in the United States in 10 years, and Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law, told NBC News it will definitely rock the local economy. "We're going to see dramatic financial consequences," he said. "This affects housing, access to food. I have real concerns about what happens a week and two weeks from now from a financial perspective for these families." Catherine Garcia

June 3, 2019

Monday marked the return of business as usual for residents, workers, and students in Virginia Beach.

Of course, even though the city was aiming for "normalcy," as the city's public school Superintendent Aaron Spence put it to USA Today, that was a nearly impossible task. Monday was instead marked by memorial services, government building closures, and other moments of remembrance for the 12 victims of Friday's mass shooting.

A city employee opened fire in Virginia Beach's municipal building on Friday afternoon, killing 12 people, most of whom were also city employees. Stories of all those victims began to spread over the weekend, including one of longtime public utility worker Ryan Keith Cox. When the shooting started, Cox and several other coworkers barricaded themselves in a break room. But Cox soon went back out, saying he needed to "see if anybody else needs help," his coworker tells The Virginian Pilot-Online.

Cox was among the employees remembered at a memorial service at Virginia Beach's convention center Monday morning. City employees wrote messages on rocks at the gathering, and they'll be used to build a memorial garden at the municipal center. The municipal center's building 2, where the shooting happened, will be closed indefinitely, though a wall of flowers and tributes had already grown outside. After a day off, the rest of the center will reopen Tuesday. City schools were open Monday after teaching teams had gathered to prepare coping messages and strategies for students over the weekend.

Also on Monday, police released the gunman's brief resignation letter, which said he was leaving his job for "personal reasons." Read the stories of the 12 shooting victims at The Virginian-Pilot. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 15, 2018

Special elections are special in part because, like a Rorschach test or a horoscope, people see in them what they want. So how are Republicans explaining away center-left Democrat Conor Lamb's narrow win in Tuesday's congressional election in conservative southwestern Pennsylvania? In a district President Trump won by 20 points, with a Trumpian candidate, Rick Saccone, who had Trump's in-person support and a $14 million boost from outside GOP groups? Let us count some ways.

1. Lamb basically ran as a Republican.
Trump: "[Lamb] said, 'Oh, I'm like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything.' ... I said, 'Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me.'"

Fox News' Brian Kilmeade: "Lamb's great showing in red district shows Dems the way to Nov. success. Support Republican issues!! He claims to be pro-life, pro tax cut, pro tarriff [sic] and anti Pelosi."

2. Saccone was a terrible candidate.
GOP super PAC director Corry Bliss: "The fact is the Saccone campaign was a joke. If we had a candidate who could walk and chew gum at the same time, we would have won the race."

Pennsylvania GOP strategist: "It's a porn 'stache. ... He should have lost the mustache."

3. Washington Republicans bungled the race.
Saccone friend Lesa DeMaio: "When the national party got involved and they put out the advertising and everything, it doesn't focus on Rick. Rick is freaking amazing."

4. Trump almost won this for the GOP.
House Speaker Paul Ryan: "The president came in and helped close this race and got it to where it is right now."

Fox News' Steve Doocy: "Last week, it looked like Mr. Lamb was going to win by 6 points. ... So something drew it closer together, if you believe in polls. Maybe it was the president's visit."

Trump: "We lifted [Saccone] 7 points up. That's a lot. ... And 7 normally would be enough, but we'll see how it all comes out. It's, like, virtually a tie." Peter Weber

November 16, 2016

Hillary Clinton spoke at the annual gala of the Children's Defense Fund on Wednesday night, and she began by acknowledging that "coming here tonight wasn't the easiest thing for me." The event, hosted in Washington by the first organization Clinton worked for after law school in the 1970s, marked her first public talk since conceding the presidential race a week earlier. "There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do is just to curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again," Clinton said, but she said she isn't giving up on the country and urged the people in the theater not to either.

"I know that over the past week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was," she said. "The divisions laid bare by this election run deep. But please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values, and never, ever give up." Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children's Defense Fund and one of Clinton's mentors, introduced the former Democratic candidate as "the people's president," because she won the popular vote while losing the Electoral College.

A Clinton aide said that the former first lady, senator, and secretary of state had agreed to appear at the banquet before Election Day and wanted to honor her commitment. Bill Clinton's first stop after winning the White House in 1992 was the same event. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads