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Michelle Obama Delivers West Point Graduation Speech With Nod To Gay Families

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At West Point Friday evening, Michelle Obama delivered a graduation speech — along with a gentle nod to gay and lesbian families — to graduates and their families at the USMA Graduation Family Banquet. Saying. “I ask you to remember that family has always been a centerpiece of our American story,” the First Lady told the Cadets, “no matter how you’ve grown up, no matter how you define family, all of you have someone in your life who believed in you and pushed you. You had someone who taught you the values and lessons that will sustain you when times get tough or you’re unsure of what’s ahead. Some of those people are here with you tonight.”

 

Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama – As Prepared for Delivery

United States Military Academy Graduation Family Banquet

West Point, New York

May 20, 2011

 

As Prepared for Delivery—

 

Hello everyone, and thank you for that wonderful welcome.  I want to thank Lieutenant General Huntoon for that very kind introduction, as well as Secretary of the Army John McHugh, the Class of 1961 bar presenters, all of our distinguished guests, and all of the parents, families, and friends who are joining us tonight.  And of course, I want to say thank you for inviting me here to the United States Military Academy.

 

This is my first visit to West Point and I am truly humbled to speak to you tonight on an evening that’s so special for all of you, for this Academy, and for this country.  As I look around at the cadets in this room, it is very clear to me that you all reflect everything we hope to see in ourselves and our country – firmness of character and strength of heart, a strong body and a ferocious mind, a devotion to country and to family.

 

And I know that this weekend is the product of 47 months of extraordinary effort and endurance from R-Day to your last exam during TEE-week.  For all of you, I know this has been a magnificent journey, a journey full of academic and athletic victories, a journey that has taken you across the country and around the world.

 

You’ve learned new skills and immersed yourself in new cultures, which will serve you well on today’s battlefields.  You’ve also created a Bionic Foot, an Exoskeleton, and other robotics and cyber defense projects that will help troops in the field.  In the area of sports, your football team had its first winning season in 14 years and its first bowl victory in 25.  Your women’s rugby team just brought home the national championship last weekend.  And with your help, West Point earned its first victory in the Sandhurst Competition in 18 years.

 

But along with all of your successes, your journey has also been filled with plenty of challenges.  You learned that crawling face-first through the mud and enduring a long, cold winter aren’t just metaphors.  You’ve learned just how little sleep you need to survive and how much coffee you can stomach to stay awake.  You’ve crammed facts into your brain until you thought it would burst – and then you crammed in even more.

 

That’s the beauty of West Point.  It’s a place where you learn that your greatest achievements will never come easily, and they will never be achieved alone.

 

You learn that duty, honor, and country are not simply words, but guideposts.  They dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.

 

And you learn that there are times when we must stand up to defend our way of life, when we must live out your class motto, “For Freedom We Fight.”

 

We live in such times today.

 

You knew this from the moment you signed up.  You knew that coming to this Academy meant that you would likely be placed in dangerous situations on unknown soil.  Yet you came anyway.

 

You have seen cadets from the classes ahead of you pack their bags for Afghanistan or Iraq, and many of you have already served there yourselves.  You hear updates not only from headlines and newsfeeds, but from emails and cell phone calls from friends.  And yes, you’ve visited wounded friends, you’ve heard the bugle’s call each time a graduate of this academy has fallen in our wars.  Yet you stayed anyway.

 

Each of you has taken a journey here that is uniquely your own, but follows in the great tradition of West Point.  And tonight, you are on the cusp of taking your rightful place in that long, gray line.

 

Now, this journey is a testament not just to you as individuals, but also to the families that surround you, because your journey began long before you got that first military haircut and put on white-over-grey.  Without your families, you never would have had the strength to tackle Beast Barracks while your peers were enjoying a final, carefree summer before college.  Your families were the ones you called for a shoulder to lean on or a kick in the pants.  They’ve been there for you for every moment of triumph and every moment of challenge.  Their unending love and support provide the very foundation that allows you to stand strong today.

 

And that’s what I really want to talk with you about tonight.  I want to talk about what family can and will mean for you as leaders of our Army and of our nation.

 

Now, I grew up like many of you did.  My family lived on the South Side of Chicago on the top floor of a two-family home.  We didn’t have much money, but we had more than enough of what mattered.  We had the unwavering love and support of family.  We had a community that looked after us.

 

And we had parents who showed us by example that if we worked hard enough, if we kept ourselves grounded and held fast to certain core values, then we could be anything that we dreamed of.

 

My dad was diagnosed with MS when he was in his early 30s, and as he grew older, he grew weaker and sicker.  But I remember how he still went to work every day.  I remember how he’d drag himself out to play in the park with me and my brother.  And he was a role model in our community.  Just by being himself, he showed me what it means to be a parent, a citizen, a leader.

 

And I know that each of you has your own family stories that shape you.  Cadet Russ Burgin was inspired by his father, too.  He saw how his dad went through chemo and radiation treatments, but never complained, never felt sorry for himself, and continued to work full-time to provide for his family.   Today, his dad is cancer free, and Cadet Burgin is here at West Point, the best place he could imagine to live out the values that his father demonstrated every day.

 

Then we have Cadet Woo Do, who is a first-generation American.  Growing up, he’d accompany his grandfather on doctor visits as a translator, and that’s how he developed his passion for medicine – a passion that will take him to Harvard Medical School next year.

 

And so many of you come from military backgrounds, like Cadets Christina Veney and Megan Snook, who each have multiple family members that graduated from this Academy.

 

And Cadet Erin Anthony can trace her family’s military history to the 1600s.

 

But Cadets, no matter how you’ve grown up, no matter how you define family, all of you have someone in your life who believed in you and pushed you.  You had someone who taught you the values and lessons that will sustain you when times get tough or you’re unsure of what’s ahead.  Some of those people are here with you tonight.

 

So, to the parents: I can only imagine the joy you’ll feel tomorrow when you see your sons and daughters in their officer’s uniforms for the first time.  I can only imagine the pride that comes from knowing that your kids are the kind of kids that everyone dreams of raising.

 

But as a parent, I can also imagine what else might be on your mind tonight.  All of you read the news.  All of you understand what your children have signed up for.  You know what their next assignment is, and in the back of your mind, you’re wondering where the assignments after that might take them.

 

Those concerns are only natural.  And it is a testament to your strength, your patriotism and your unconditional love that you have proudly supported these cadets every step of the way.

 

And cadets, I want you to know that these people will always be there for you.

 

As I’ve seen in my own life and heard from troops all across this world, your family will be your rock, whether they’re right next to you or across an ocean.

 

And soon, many of you will be building families of your own.  Very soon, for some of you.  I hear that, in addition to all the graduation preparations, many of you are planning weddings as well.  So congratulations to all of you as you prepare for the big day.

 

And no matter where your career takes you, your families will be there right alongside you.

 

Because our force is a force of families.

 

That’s become more clear even in just a generation.  During Vietnam, most of our troops were young single men.  And most of those who were married had spouses who stayed at home. But today, more than half of our servicemembers are married, forty percent have two or more kids, and most military spouses are employed outside the home.

 

That’s what today’s military families look like.  They’re military spouses who pursue a career, raise their kids alone, and still find time for night school.  They’re children who move from town to town, constantly adjusting to new schools and making new friends.  They’re Blue Star moms who wake up every morning and pray and pray that their child comes home safely.  They’re Gold Star families who honor the memory of their loved ones while channeling their strength into serving others.

 

And graduates, here’s why your role is so important.  Soon, you’ll be serving not just for yourselves, and not just for your own families, but for these families, too.  You’ll be helping your troops deal with the joy of a newborn and the disappointment of not being in the delivery room.  You’ll be helping a Soldier cope with a family emergency halfway around the world.  And you’ll see again and again that those family relationships are just as important to a soldier’s success as anything that you can provide them in the field.

 

And just as our troops need your leadership and support, their families do as well, because they sacrifice and serve this nation right alongside anyone who wears our uniform.

 

But America doesn’t always see that.  They can thank our troops in airports or at the grocery store because they’re wearing fatigues.  But military families don’t wear any kind of uniform.  They just blend in.

 

And because only one percent of our country serves in the Armed Forces, a lot of Americans simply don’t know many – or any – military families.  They aren’t familiar with the resilience it takes to get through a long deployment.  They don’t know the courage it takes simply to turn on the evening news.  They don’t fully realize the strength you need to move your family for the fourth or fifth or sixth time in a decade.

 

But even though people may not always know exactly what you’re going through or exactly how to help, I can assure you that they do want to help.

 

Admiral Mullen, who will be speaking to you tomorrow, calls it the Sea of Goodwill.  And believe me, I’ve seen it with my own eyes all across the country.

 

I’m working with Dr. Jill Biden to channel that Sea of Goodwill through an effort we are calling Joining Forces.  This is a nationwide campaign calling on all Americans to recognize, honor, and support our military families – not just with words, but with deeds.  We want your families to feel these efforts on the ground, in your daily lives.  So we’re working across sectors, asking everyone from government and business to faith communities and school districts to make a commitment to you and your families.  Already, people across this country – including many of our largest corporations and nonprofits – have stepped up with real, tangible commitments.

 

And let me tell you, when I meet a Member of Congress or a powerful CEO and ask for their help, I have been blown away by their enthusiasm.  They all want to help.  They’re excited to do it.  And we haven’t had one single person tell us no.

 

So graduates, I want you to know that while this country is asking a lot of you once you pin on those gold bars, we’re not asking you to do it alone.  You have your families that are with you today and every day.  You have the many friends and family members outside these walls, the ones watching all around the Academy, and all of those who support you in your hometowns and across this country. And you have millions of folks who you don’t even know, and who you will never meet, who have your back.

 

From my husband right on down through the ranks of this military, from those powerful CEOs to all of the teachers, clergy, and neighbors that you deal with every single day.  We all want to give something back to you and your families because we are inspired by you.  We’re inspired by the character reflected in your acceptance to this Academy, and by the courage to serve during a time of war.

 

We’re inspired by how, over these past 47 months, you have become not simply warriors and not simply scholars.  You have become leaders.  You have come to embody duty, honor, country, just like all those who came before you.  Thayer.  Grant.  Eisenhower.  Schwartzkopf.  Those values stretch through generations and across this nation, powering engineers and astronauts, senators and statesmen, business leaders and five-star generals.

 

But tonight, I’d actually like to end with the story of someone who lived long before your motto was adopted.  It’s someone who was never a West Point Cadet, but I think that’s fine, since this building is named after him.

 

In the summer of 1775, we were barely two months removed from Paul Revere’s ride and the shot heard round the world.  And the Second Continental Congress was meeting in Philadelphia to take control of the war effort.  They decided to put the Continental Army under George Washington’s command, and he was to leave for Boston immediately.  And the night before he was officially commissioned as Commander-in-Chief, before he left to lead thousands of men, before he began to chart the course of freedom for our country and our world, Washington sat down to draft a letter to his wife, Martha.

 

In it, he writes not of battle plans or great pride and personal achievement.  He writes with, in his words, “inexpressible concern” because he’s thinking about his wife.  He’s thinking about her being at home, alone, on their farm.  So he asks her to be strong, and he says he hopes that the time will pass as easily as possible, because, as he writes, “Nothing will give me so much sincere satisfaction as to hear this, and to hear it from your own Pen.”

 

Well, today’s soldiers may write emails rather than “penning” letters.  They may be able to video chat with their kids at bedtime.  But that abiding love, that passionate devotion to family – that is what has sustained so many on battlefields here in America and around the world since the very beginning of this nation.

 

Your families – the ones here tonight and the ones you will build someday – will always be at the forefront of your minds and hearts.  And the only thing that will give you and your troops that “sincere satisfaction” that General Washington spoke of is knowing that they are safe.

 

So, alongside everything else you have learned and experienced here at the United States Military Academy, the calculus and Shakespeare, the intramurals and leadership training, I ask you to remember that family has always been a centerpiece of our American story.  I want you to remember that this country and all of its citizens stand ready to serve you and your families.

 

And I want you to remember that as long as we all do our duty, as long as we all serve with honor, then the fate of this country will never be in doubt.

 

So congratulations again, graduates.  We are all so very proud of you.  May God bless you and your families on the journey ahead and may God bless the United States of America.

 

###

(Image: First Lady Michelle Obama and Gen. Joseph Dunford stand during the national anthem during a military community event at Memorial Field House at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 13, 2011. The First Lady and Dr. Biden spoke to 3,000 Marines, soldiers, sailors, and military family members from Camp Lejeune, one of the country’s largest Marine Corps bases. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Watch: Expert Blasts Ginni Thomas for Being ‘In League’ With People Whose ‘Conspiracy Theories’ Contributed to J6 Riots

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A court reform expert and progressive political activist is blasting both the U.S. Supreme Court and the spouse of one of its justices after a bombshell Washington Post article revealed how Ginni Thomas headed a secretive right-wing organization funded through a web of dark money with the goal of waging a culture war against the left.

Thomas, a Washington insider for decades, a well-known right-wing lobbyist and conspiracy theorist who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House and Oval Office, just happens to be the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Demand Justice founder Brian Fallon warned the Roberts Supreme Court has a reputation of “behaving unethically,” handing down “questionable” decisions, being “overtaken with scandal,” and “riddled with ethical conflicts and influence peddling.”

“Research that my group has done, we’ve noticed that part of what is animating this downward shift in opinion of the court is not just the highly unpopular, substantive rulings that are coming out of the court – and that’s saying something because they’re pretty unpopular,” Fallon, the former Clinton campaign national press secretary and former DOJ director of public affairs, told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, “but it’s also this idea that the court is behaving unethically, and that it’s become overtaken with scandal.”

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“There’s a feeling that not only is it reaching decisions that are questionable and unpopular, but it’s also reaching them through illicit means – that the majority that Republicans have now on the Supreme Court, that 6 to 3 majority, was gained through illicit means, and that the way it’s going about its business of hearing cases is just sort of riddled with ethical conflicts and influence peddling.”

Fallon warned that The Washington Post’s report on Ginni Thomas, “I think, would just further that narrative in the public’s mind.”

Wallace, pointing to The Post’s reporting, blasted Thomas’ “demented approach to ethics and transparency.”

“The piece about funding is so stunning to me, because it, you know, over here on Earth One, you would do the opposite, right?” Wallace posited. “If there were a nonprofit that involved the spouse of a Supreme Court justice, you would take the path that would bring about more disclosure, more transparency. Ginni Thomas does the opposite. She basically buries and hides the funding through a workaround that may or may not be legal, it certainly isn’t ethical or transparent.”

After criticizing Ginni Thomas for lobbying on issues Clarence Thomas could or does make decisions on, Fallon criticized her for the secretive organization she was heading, which she said was going after the left’s “cultural Marxism.”

Calling Thomas a “fringe figure,” Fallon observed, “the people that she brought together for this nonprofit that received $600,000 was a rogue’s gallery of people that do not belong in polite society in Washington, D.C.”

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“You have the head of Project Veritas who’s been criminally prosecuted for the shady activities of that group,” Fallon alleged.

He also pointed to the right wing pro-Trump group Turning Point USA’s founder, Charlie Kirk.

“These are people that say outrageous things that help provoke conspiracy theories that contributed to the riots to try to overturn the government. And Ginni Thomas is in league with all of them.”

“This should be shocking and appalling to your average Member of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and we don’t see any movement from Republicans in the House to do anything in terms of an ethics bill, but it should be 100% uncontroversial at this point, to impose a mandatory code of ethics on the Supreme Court so that Clarence Thomas has to account for his wife’s activities more so than he does have to right now.”

Watch Fallon below or at this link:

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‘This Is About One Client – Donald Trump’: Eric Swalwell Destroys Jim Jordan and His ‘Insurrection LLC’ Committee (Video)

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U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) unleashed massive criticism of Jim Jordan Wednesday afternoon, accusing the House Judiciary Committee Chairman of working solely for Donald Trump.

In his opening remarks of a Judiciary subcommittee hearing Swalwell, the Ranking Member, slammed Jordan for refusing to comply with a legal subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, and criticized the subcommittee for holding a hearing – not on gun violence and mass shootings – but on what the California Democrat said was issues to help the ex-president.

Congressman Swalwell blasted Jordan and his “Committee to Obstruct Justice” on a wide range of issues, including obstructing justice, ordering a district attorney to commit a felony, and lying that Attorney General Merrick Garland labeled parents “domestic terrorists.”

“Well, here we are. Another partners’ meeting of Insurrection, LLC,” Swalwell said as he began his remarks. “That’s what this is. This is the newly formed largest law firm in Washington, D.C. Only has one client, maybe a second client that we’re going to learn about today, but that client is former president Donald Trump.”

“Their job,” he said, referring to Jordan’s Judiciary Committee, subcommittees, and his controversial Subcommittee of the Weaponization of the Federal Government, “is to litigate every one of [Trump’s] petty, petty, petty grievances.”

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“It’s now 321 days since this subpoena was sent to Jim Jordan, that he did not comply with,” Swalwell said, pointing to a large blown-up copy of the subpoena, with the word “subpoena” enlarged exponentially.

“So it’s comical that we are here today, under Jim Jordan’s leadership, asking people why they don’t want to comply with subpoenas. The guy won’t comply with the one that was sent to him 321 days ago, witness to a crime, the crime that has led to more arrests than any investigation in America,” Swalwell observed, referring to the January 6 prosecutions.

“He’s a witness being asked to do his patriotic duty and respond to a subpoena 321 days later, refuses. Also, since the last hearing of this Committee to Obstruct Justice, Chairman Jordan is now in interfering in an independent criminal prosecution. There’s an investigation in Manhattan, also in Atlanta, also at the Department of Justice, into the former president and Jim Jordan has sent a letter to the independently elected District Attorney Alvin Bragg of Manhattan. He is asking Alvin Bragg to commit a felony.”

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“The other day Jim Jordan was asked, ‘Well, what do you think of the former president who put out on Truth Social the other day, essentially an another call to action? A January 6-like post when the former president said this posting, Jim Jordan was presented with this post by the former president that calls for ‘death and destruction.’ And Mr. Jordan said that he would ‘need his classes.’ He was looking the other way. Jim Jordan looking the other way.”

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“Well, we have blown up on the screen and we’ve put it right here and I’ll leave it for Jim Jordan. This is what Donald Trump said, Mr. Jordan,” Swalwell said, reading the e-president’s social media post:

“‘What kind of person can charge another person? In this case it former president of the United States who got more votes than any sitting president in history and leading candidate by far for the Republican Party nomination with the crime when it is known by all that? No crime has been committed and also known that potential death and destruction and such a false charge can be catastrophic for our country. Why and who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA?'”

“Again, I’m gonna leave this up here in probably 200 font. So Mr. Jordan doesn’t need his glasses to read it,” Swalwell added, referring to news that Jordan recently refused to comment on a Trump social media post claiming he first hadn’t read it, then when a reporter showed it to him, Jordan said he couldn’t read it because he didn’t have his glasses.

“The same individual who posted this also posted this photo. There you go, Donald. Trump. Real tough guy holding a baseball bat, next to a picture of that independent prosecutor that Jim Jordan wants to commit a felony, Alvin Bragg.”

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Swalwell blasted Chairman Jordan for repeatedly falsely claiming that Attorney General Merrick Garland had labeled parents speaking at school board meetings “domestic terrorists,” a lie made by many Republicans and conservatives.

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“No parent has a right to threaten a school board volunteer. If a threat is brought to the FBI, it’s their duty to investigate those threats. We’ve also learned from all the document production from DOJ and the FBI in the Department of Education, that there is not one instance where the Department of Justice called any parent or a group of parents, ‘domestic terrorists,’ as has been claimed by Jim Jordan.”

And he criticized House Republicans, who, under Jim Jordan, had posted a tweet in support of Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Kanye West.

“It’s also about a tweet that Jim Jordan posted back in the fall. ‘Kanye. Elon. Trump.’ Now after that tweet was posted, Kanye said he’s going to declare ‘DEF CON three on the Jews.’ The tweet stayed up for months. Everyone was like, ‘Hey guys, turns out your hero Kanye West hates the Jews. We all stand with Israel. Please take down the tweet.’ They didn’t take down the tweet. They kept the tweet up. Day after day. Jewish community they’re hurting, they say, ‘Please don’t take, please don’t put this tweet up.’ It stays up.”

He also blasted the GOP for holding hearings with witnesses they invited who are anti-police, despite their motto of “backing the blue.”

“Last week, we had a hearing where you could call anyone in America when you have the majority, the power of a subpoena. We had a hearing about the ATF. These guys brought a witness who had just recently tweeted, ‘fuck cops.’ Cops. That’s what this guy tweeted. Anyone on Earth could have come to that hearing and they brought someone that said, ‘fuck cops.’ Then one of their colleagues, this is what she’s selling on her social media: ‘defund the FBI.’ So we went from backing the blue to backing the coup.”

Swalwell concluded his remarks by slamming the committee for doing nothing to reduce gun violence in the wake of Monday’s school mass shooting.

“So we’ll waste our time today on this exercise on behalf of Donald Trump and perhaps Elon Musk, but everyone on their side is going to have to go home this weekend to their constituents and their constituents are going to ask them one question: Three little babies died this week in a school in Nashville. No other committee in Congress has jurisdiction to do something about that except this committee. So you’re on the Judiciary Committee. Three kids are dead. They’re gonna be buried this week. What did you do about it? Did you show up to the Judiciary Committee and fight for those kids? Or did you show up and fight for Donald Trump? They showed up to the first hearing after Nashville and they’re fighting for Donald Trump.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

 

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Watch: House Dem Mocks Republicans by Thanking Them for Taking Time Away From ‘Trump’s Memorial Service to David Koresh’

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U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) mocked the entire GOP Wednesday afternoon by sardonically thanking his Republican colleagues for taking time away from Donald Trump’s “memorial service to David Koresh,” referring to the ex-president’s rally Saturday in Waco, Texas during the 30th anniversary of that deadly siege.

“I want to thank the majority for finding the time to fit this hearing in between attending former President Trump’s memorial service to David Koresh, just last week, who was a real advocate for young girls in this country.”

Congressman Moskowitz was referring to the Branch Davidian religious cult leader who allegedly was a polygamist and child sex abuser. In 1993, the ATF’s attempt to serve a warrant on Koresh for “unlawful possession of fully automatic machine guns and destructive devices” turned into a 51-day siege of his Waco compound, which ended with the deaths of 86 people. Experts point to that event as fueling the rise of right-wing domestic terrorism, including by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

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Wednesday’s hearing of a House Oversight Committee subcommittee focused on Washington, D.C. also offered Rep. Moskowitz the opportunity to pose this question related to Monday’s Nashville school mass shooting: “Do you think parents, putting their young kids into pajamas at night, and tucking them into bed, do you think they’re worried about public urination in Washington, D.C. or do you think they’re worried about sending their kid to school and their kid not coming home?”

Moskowitz wasn’t done blasting Republicans for refusing to do anything to address mass shootings after Monday’s school massacre in Nashville.

“You know, speaking of crime, Republican on Republican crime, former President Donald Trump held a rally in Waco, Texas with his ‘Rasputin’ Ted Nugent. He said the number one national security threat to this great nation isn’t Russia or China or DC crime. But is an 81-year old slip and fall survivor in Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. I’m just wondering if we’re gonna find time in between, you know, some folks here attending the next rally to celebrating Timothy McVeigh, if we’re gonna find time to hold a hearing on mass murder in schools? When are we holding that hearing?”

Watch there videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Troubling Questions’: Experts Slam Ginni Thomas’ Group That Waged Cultural War Against the Left via Web of Dark Money Orgs

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