Top News Stories for Today – Aug 16, 2017
Trump blames both sides again
In a press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, a visibly angry President Trump reverted to casting blame on “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Trump was supposed to be speaking about infrastructure initiatives but quickly veered off-topic to the Charlottesville protests after questions from reporters. “I think there’s blame on both sides. I have no doubt about it,” Trump said.
The president defended some of the white nationalist protesters as “very fine people” who were simply “there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue.” He also called out the “alt-left” who “came charging” and were “very violent.” On Monday, Trump gave a brief statement condemning “the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists” by name, after being criticized over the weekend for his muted initial response to the protests. ABC News, The Toronto Star, Theweek
Law makers from both parties rebuke Trump
Republican and Democratic lawmakers are reacting to President Donald Trump’s latest comments on the violence over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president said he believes “there’s blame on both sides” for what transpired.
— Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan: “We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”
— Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona: “There’s no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate & bigotry. The President of the United States should say so.”
— Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio: “We must speak out clearly against the hatred, racism and white supremacists who descended upon #Charlottesville.”
— Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii: “As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President.”
— Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts: “The President of the United States just defended neo-Nazis and blamed those who condemn their racism and hate. This is sick.”
— House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California: “There is only one side to be on when a white supremacist mob brutalizes and murders in America. The American people deserve a president who understands that.”
— Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York: “By saying he is not taking sides, Donald Trump clearly is. When David Duke and white supremacists cheer your remarks, you’re doing it very very wrong.”
— Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia: “Charlottesville violence was fueled by one side: white supremacists spreading racism, intolerance & intimidation. Those are the facts.” AP
Fifth leader resigns from Trump’s manufacturing council
The president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing has resigned from President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, making him the fifth business leader to do so. “I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do,” Scott Paul tweeted Tuesday.
Paul’s exit comes amid backlash over the president’s response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. Paul is joining Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of major pharmaceutical company Merck; Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour; and Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel, who all resigned from the president’s council Monday. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, left the council earlier this year after Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The Hill
Obama’s tweet after Charlottesville one of most popular tweets ever
Former President Obama’s tweet in the wake of the violent clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., is one of the most popular tweets of all time. On Saturday, Obama tweeted a quote from late South African President Nelson Mandela. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” Obama tweeted Saturday.
In subsequent tweets, Obama continued the quote, which read: “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love … For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” By Tuesday, the first tweet from Obama had nearly 2.5 million likes and about 1 million retweets. According to Twitter-tracking site Favstar, the former president’s tweet was the second-most-liked tweet of all time. The Hill
Neo-Nazi site down after Google, GoDaddy cut registration
Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer went offline on Tuesday, after its domain registration was revoked by GoDaddy and Google, which said the site that helped organize the violent weekend rally in Virginia had violated their terms of service.
The efforts by GoDaddy Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and several other firms that said they stopped providing services to Daily Stormer are part of broad moves by the tech industry to more actively police online hate speech and incitements to violence. The white supremacist website helped organize the weekend rally in Charlottesville. A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters. VOA
Maria Sharapova is set to play in US open after 15 month ban
Maria Sharapova is set to play in her first Grand Slam since her 15-month drugs ban after being given a wildcard for the US Open main draw. Former world number one Sharapova, 30, returned to action in April but was denied a wildcard for the French Open.
The Russian five-time major winner was eligible for a place in Wimbledon qualifying through her world ranking, but missed the event with an injury. The US Open will take place at Flushing Meadows from 28 August to 10 September. BBC
Protesters pull down Confederate statue in North Carolina
Demonstrators gathered at the old Durham County courthouse around the Confederate Soldiers Monument. The monument, dedicated in 1924, depicts a soldier holding a gun on top of a concrete pillar. The pillar is engraved “In memory of the boys who wore gray.” A person climbed a ladder and tied a rope to the top of the statue as the crowd chanted, “We are the revolution.” CNN
N Korea’s Kim Jong Un suspends plan to fire missiles at Guam
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after being briefed by top military commanders, decided on Tuesday not to fire four missiles at Guam right away, North Korean state media reported, but said he’d likely change his mind if the “Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous, reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula.”
Tensions have been high between the United States and North Korea. After several ballistic missile tests by North Korea, President Trump told Kim the US would unleash “fire and fury” if pushed too far, and on Monday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said if any missile hit the US territory of Guam, “it’s game on.” Experts say Kim’s statement is likely his attempt at de-escalating the situation. The Hill, The Week
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