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July 31, 2020

Twitter is giving former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke the boot.

The social media platform has permanently suspended Duke's account "for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules on hateful conduct," the company said on Friday, The Associated Press reports.

Duke, the Southern Poverty Law Center writes, is "a neo-Nazi, longtime Klan leader and now international spokesman for Holocaust denial," and Twitter's rules prohibit attacks against "people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease."

The company didn't say on Friday which of Duke's posts led it to take this step, but Twitter had previously faced criticism for allowing the white supremacist's account to remain online. He was suspended in 2017, but only briefly. Duke last month was one of a number of white supremacists who was kicked off YouTube, Axios notes, with YouTube at the time saying these accounts repeatedly violated its policies against hate speech. Brendan Morrow

June 23, 2020

The city council in Charleston, South Carolina, voted unanimously on Tuesday to take down a statue of John C. Calhoun, the seventh vice president of the United States and a staunch defender of slavery.

Mayor John Tecklenburg said this is a "beautiful show of support" from the council, and he was glad they came together "not to erase our long and often tragic history, but to begin to write a new and more equitable future." The statue is in downtown Charleston's Marion Square, at the top of a 100-foot monument. Tecklenburg believes the statue will likely be moved to a museum or educational institution, The Associated Press reports.

The statue has been in Marion Square since 1898, and in the resolution authorizing its removal, the city council said it is "seen by many people as something other than a memorial to the accomplishments of a South Carolina native, but rather a symbol glorifying slavery and, as such, a painful reminder of the history of slavery in Charleston." A port city, about 40 percent of enslaved Africans brought to North America came through Charleston. Catherine Garcia

November 14, 2018

One day after first lady Melania Trump's office called for her to get the boot, Mira Ricardel is no longer the deputy national security adviser.

"Mira Ricardel will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Wednesday evening. "The president is grateful for Ms. Ricardel's continued service to the American people and her steadfast pursuit of his national security priorities."

On Tuesday, the first lady's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, released a statement blasting Ricardel, saying she "no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House." Sanders, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and other administration officials were all blindsided by the statement, CNN reports.

A person familiar with the situation said that during Melania Trump's trip to Africa in October, Ricardel fought with her staff over several things, including who would sit where on the plane. Ricardel was a key ally of National Security Adviser John Bolton, but often clashed with Kelly and his deputy, Zach Fuentes, as well as Defense Secretary James Mattis. Kelly and Fuentes reportedly believe Ricardel leaked negative stories about them, and she angered Mattis by blocking some of his choices to fill Pentagon positions, because they were former Obama administration officials. Catherine Garcia

October 17, 2018

Wednesday was Don McGahn's last day as White House counsel, The Associated Press reports.

A person inside the White House confirmed that McGahn has officially stepped down, after a 21-month tenure. During an interview with AP on Tuesday, President Trump said Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone would replace McGahn, and the president reportedly had a 20-minute farewell meeting with McGahn on Wednesday. McGahn served as the Trump campaign's general counsel, and in August, Trump announced McGahn would leave after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

During his time in the White House, McGahn pushed for young conservatives to fill the Supreme Court, and reportedly threatened to quit in 2017 when Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He also cooperated with the Mueller investigation, sitting for about 30 hours of interviews. Catherine Garcia

September 6, 2018

Alex Jones, the conspiracy theory peddler behind Infowars who has claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting was fake, was permanently suspended from Twitter on Thursday.

The company said both @realalexjones and @infowars were banned from Twitter and Periscope "based on new reports of tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts' past violations." Twitter's policy prohibits users from making "excessively aggressive insults that target an individual, including content that contains slurs or similar language."

Jones, who had about 896,000 followers before getting booted from Twitter, spent his Wednesday in Washington, where he attended a Senate hearing featuring Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, then got into an argument with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). He also confronted CNN reporter Oliver Darcy, telling him he has "the eyes of a rat," streaming the encounter on Periscope. Jones was booted from Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and Apple last month. Catherine Garcia

August 7, 2018

Citing the costs of dealing with repeat vandalism and political protests, the city council of West Hollywood, California, voted Monday to remove President Trump's star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The vote was unanimous, and the council described it as an opportunity "to take a stand on their values in support of women and against disturbing treatment of women."

The proposal will now be sent to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), the Los Angeles City Council, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the latter of which will have final say over whether the star is removed. If the chamber agrees, Trump's will be the first star to go in Walk of Fame history.

Trump was awarded his star in 2007. It honors his work as a Miss Universe pageant producer, which he fulfilled as a co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization. The current star is not the original, as a previous version — also a replacement — was destroyed with a pickaxe late last month. Bonnie Kristian

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