Trump’s former top aide John Kelly sides with Jim Mattis over protests
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly said Friday he agrees with former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ criticism of the president’s hostility toward protests against police brutality.
Kelly said he sides with Mattis’ view that Trump shouldn’t have threatened the use of active-duty troops to quell protests that have turned violent in some cities.
“I agree with him,” Kelly said during a virtual panel discussion with Anthony Scaramucci, the president’s former communications director. Kelly also said elected leaders need to represent “all of their constituents,” not merely their base.
“I think we need to look harder at who we elect,” said Kelly, who left the White House in January 2019. “I think we should look at people that are running for office and put them through the filter: What is their character like? What are their ethics?”
Kelly also said he had observed that over time, every relationship between Trump and his senior staffers “begins to deteriorate.”
Mattis issued a statement Wednesday charging that Trump had abused his power Monday when a park across the street from the White House was forcibly cleared of violent protesters before the president staged a photo op at a historic church damaged by arson.
Mattis departed the administration in late 2018 after quarreling with Trump over the president’s abrupt announcement that he’d withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
Governor, state attorney general agree Jefferson Davis statue should be moved from Kentucky Capitol
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday the controversial statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, should be removed from the Kentucky Capitol, calling it a divisive symbol.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the first black person to hold that office, also said he thinks the statue should be relocated.
Beshear, a Democrat, echoed his position in last year’s race for governor and sentiments expressed this week by some public officials across the nation about Confederate statues amid anti-racism protests.
“I believe the Jefferson Davis statue is a symbol that divides us, and even if there are those that think it’s a part of history, there should be a better place to put it in historic context,” Beshear said in response to a question during his regular news conference to update Kentuckians on the coronavirus pandemic.
“Right now, seeing so much pain in our state and across our country, can’t we at least realize that so many of our fellow Kentuckians — people that, again, we’re talking about having compassion in terms of COVID, we ought to have compassion for all pain — can’t we understand that it is, at the very least, so hurtful to them? Doesn’t that at least justify it not sitting where it does right now?”
Cameron, a Republican, said in an email, “Jefferson Davis is our past, but he didn’t define our future, Abraham Lincoln did.
“I think the Davis statue should be relocated, but it is up to the Historical Properties Advisory Commission. If the commission decides to replace it, I can think of many other historical figures more deserving of a permanent home in our Capitol.”
Names that have been mentioned as possible replacement for the Davis statue include heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, National Urban League leader Whitney Young Jr., state senator and civil rights leader Georgia Davis Powers and Lillian Press, an education innovator who organized and directed Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars program to promote academic growth for high school students.
Is ‘Old Hangtown’ offensive? Dueling petitions argue over California city’s nickname
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Outdated and offensive, or historically significant?
Amid nationwide protests centered on the topics of police reform and racial injustice, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, two petition efforts popped up this week regarding the welcome sign that greets those entering the Northern California city of Placerville.
The first calls for the city council to drop the words “Old Hangtown” from that sign and to begin distancing itself from the nickname, arguing that it “suggests that racial hate crimes are acceptable.”
A few days later, a second petition emerged, urging the council to keep the sign as is, claiming that the town moniker “is only offensive to those who read malicious intent into something that is purely historical.”
The “Remove ‘Old Hangtown’” petition was posted to Change.org on Monday, and more than 1,200 had signed it as of Friday morning. The “Keep ‘Old Hangtown’” campaign started Thursday evening and shot past 4,000 signatures Friday morning.
“Due to the recent murder of George Floyd, leading to peaceful protesting and explosive riots, Placerville needs to be progressive in making our community safe and comfortable for (people of color),” wrote Camille Lloyd, who started the first petition. “ … The name ‘Hangtown’ is outdated and offensive, and suggests that racial hate crimes are acceptable.”
Lloyd wrote that, despite the historical claims of the nickname not being related to racial violence, that the mannequin “being lynched and displayed” in front of Hangman’s Tree on Main Street “celebrates and glorifies a terribly racist and violent history.”
On the other hand, the keep-the-sign petition calls the Hangtown nickname “an indelible part of local and state history.”
OAS head gets Haiti constitutional lesson after entering fight on end of president’s term
Human rights and opposition leaders in Haiti are taking the secretary general of the Organization of American States to task, accusing him of overstepping his role and wrongly supporting an extension of President Jovenel Moise’s presidential mandate.
Luis Almagro, who assumed his second term as head of the hemispheric body last week after heavy lobbying by him and the Trump administration, recently issued a statement declaring that Moïse’s term as Haiti’s 58th president ends on Feb. 7, 2022.
The declaration, which urged Haiti’s political forces to “find a cooperative framework in order to comply with the letter and the spirit of their constitutional order,” immediately stirred already turbulent political waters and accusations of meddling.
Now, in an open letter, seven human rights organizations have decided to school Almagro on Haiti’s constitution in hopes of settling the debate over whether Moïse’s presidency ends on Feb. 7, 2022 as Almagro states, or on Feb. 7, 2021, as others contend.
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