In the wake of the Parkland shooting, the younger generation continues to lead the charge for gun reform. In Wisconsin, a group of high school students marched 50 miles to Paul Ryan’s hometown to call him out on his repeated blocking of sensible gun legislation.
The New England Patriots loaded some of the Parkland students their team jet to get to the March for Our Lives in Washington. And it turns out even Tiffany and Melania Trump are supporters of the movement.
Support for sensible gun reform among Americans has never been stronger—nearly 7 in 10 in a recent poll favor stronger gun-control laws, up from 61 percent in October of 2016, and 55 percent from October of 2013, when AP first polled about this question. New Jersey passed state laws to crack down on gun sales: bills to reduce magazine capacity, to ban armor-piercing bullets, to make it tougher to obtain a permit to carry a handgun, to expand background checks, and to keep firearms out of the hands of people with mental health issues and those considered a threat in the state. A Pennsylvania school board voted to reject funding from the NRA for its rifle team, calling it “blood money” and “dirty money.” Local businesses stepped up to fund the team instead. Remington, one of the U.S. largest gun manufacturers, and makers of the gun used in the Sandy Hook shooting, has filed for bankruptcy.
Yet conservatives are continuing to attack the Parkland survivors and student activists speaking out for sensible gun reform, no doubt out of fear for the impact these kids are having. After a Maine GOP House candidate referred to Emma Gonzalez as a “skinhead lesbian,” and Iowa GOP Rep Steve King attacked her in an offensive tweet, and NRATV’s tasteless taunts that no one would know the kids’ names if not for the shooting, the right continues to sink even lower regarding the Parkland shooting survivors and victims. A picture depicting the Parkland student activist leader Gonzalez tearing in half the Constitution went viral among conservatives—except that the tampered-with photo was a fake, a Photoshopped image of her actually tearing up a gun-range target sheet. New conservative memes are labeling the student activists Nazis. An entirely tone-deaf Rick Santorum made this stunningly ignorant statement: “How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that.” And FOX personality Laura Ingraham mocked Parkland survivor David Hogg for not getting accepted into colleges, issuing an apology only after major advertisers started bailing from her show, among them TripAdviser, Nestle, and Wayfair (and bravo to those corporations).
There are signs of progress in other areas, too: All 22 female senators have called for the Senate to address sexual harassment. (In related news, we need more female lawmakers.)
Donald finally caved to pressure to act against Russia and expelled 60 Russian diplomats, closing the Russian consulate in Seattle.
In a rebuke to recent revelation of “words to avoid” spelled out in a guide to the Centers for Disease Control, including “evidence-based” and “science-based,” the new leader of the CDC, in an emotional speech, repeatedly emphasized the importance of science and data.
Donald continues to drive Republicans from Congress and his party in droves—the latest “victim” is Pennsylvania House Rep Ryan Costello, who cited the environment created by Trump in his announcement. (Or maybe Costello and the GOP fear that now that illegally gerrymandered districts have been struck down in that state, Republicans can no longer steal wins.)
Meanwhile the very stable genius’s chaotic White House continues to hemorrhage staff: Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is the latest casualty—via tweet, of course—and Donald has nominated his personal physician as his replacement, y’all. His physician!
FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe started a Go Fund Me campaign to help fund his lawsuit against Donald for firing him 26 hours before his retirement (when full benefits would have kicked in) hoping to raise $250K. At last count he’d raised $527K.
More “Republicans Against the Law” (looks like this may become a regular feature):
Former employees of Cambridge Analytica say that the firm sent foreign representatives to advise U.S. GOP campaigns—contrary to U.S. laws limiting foreign involvement in elections. A government watchdog group has filed complaints with the FEC and DoJ.
In related news, another government watchdog group has filed 30 complaints with various federal agencies, including the White House, about multiple ethics violations by this administration.
Twelve states are suing Donald over a citizenship question added to the 2020 census. If you’re wondering why asking the question—which hasn’t been on a census in 70 years—is a big deal, it’s because this info is used to draw political boundaries and allocate federal grants. The question is likely to discourage many people from responding—though the census was created to count the number of “free persons” living in the country, not citizens.
A federal court has ruled that DC and Maryland can move forward with an emoluments suit accusing Donald of receiving improper/illegal payments through his DC hotel. Another federal judge, once again citing Donald’s own words to show “racial slurs” from the president, has ruled that a lawsuit seeking to continue the DACA immigration program (“Dreamers”) may continue. Yet another federal judge temporarily ruled that U.S. immigration cannot prevent detained teens from seeking an abortion.
In other ethically murky activities, EPA head Scott Pruitt lived for most of his first year in Washington in a condo owned by the wife of a prominent natural-gas lobbyist—a topic Pruitt himself subsequently lobbied for in Morocco in December 2017. He was charged a pittance for the rental, all while billing taxpayers for a security detail on a personal trip that included frolicking at Disneyland, the Rose Bowl, and his hometown.
The Washington Post uncovered that the Presidential Personnel Office, allegedly responsible for vetting presidential appointees, is operating with a skeleton staff of mostly inexperienced 20-somethings, some with spotty legal backgrounds: like a college dropout with arrests for drunken driving and bad checks and a Marine Corps reservist with arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer and underage drinking.
Six House Democrats are asking the FBI to investigate whether Jared Kushner leaked classified info to a Saudi crown prince.
And then there was one: Donald is down from a team of legal counsel to one, Jay Sekulow, and despite Donald’s tweets otherwise, no one seems overly eager to jump onto his sinking ship.
But he’ll need plenty of legal help, it looks like—Mueller’s latest filings draw a direct line between Donald’s campaign and Russian intelligence during the period of the campaign. Rick Gates, eagerly cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, was revealed to have had direct contact with Russian intelligence during Donald’s campaign, despite the campaigns denials. Mueller’s investigation is also looking more closely into AG Jeff Sessions’s campaign contact with former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
And now for some fun. Ted Cruz keeps getting embarrassingly photobombed. Mike Pence’s hometown will host its very first Gay Pride parade. James Comey will sit down with Anderson Cooper for a town hall next month, which should be interesting.