Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general who served in the military from 1969 to 2013, has finally broken his long silence. In a scathing rebuke far more devastating than any delivered by any former Trump official (except his resignation letter), Mattis denounces Trump for violating the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens, and stands up for the protestors.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try,” Mattis says, as The Atlantic reports.
“Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
He goes on to contrast the American ethos of unity with Nazi ideology. “Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.”
Mattis makes clear he is disgusted with how Trump has handled the protests across the nation – and that he supports the protestors.
“I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”
He doesn’t stop there.
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
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How Major Democrats, Republicans, and Organizations Are Reacting to Abortion Rights Being Struck Down
Now that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights nationwide, reproductive rights rest in the hands of individual states. Here are the most essential reactions to the court’s decision that people should know about, from the biggest names in politics and business:
– In the dissent authored by liberal Justices Stephen Breyers, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, they wrote, “[The ruling] says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs… And because, as the Court has often stated, protecting fetal life is rational, States will feel free to enact all manner of restrictions.”
– Shortly after the court issued its decision, Missouri state Attorney General Eric Schmitt that his state has outlawed abortion.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨 Following the SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Missouri has just become the first in the country to effectively end abortion with our AG opinion signed moments ago. This is a monumental day for the sanctity of life. pic.twitter.com/Jphy72R4rq
— Attorney General Eric Schmitt (@AGEricSchmitt) June 24, 2022
– Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin also said that his state’s legislators will prepare anti-abortion legislation once they reconvene in January 2023.
– It’s worth noting that 13 states currently have trigger laws that could ban abortions very soon. Some even forbid rape in exceptional cases of rape, incest, or danger to the gestational parent’s life. More states are expected to ban the prescription of medication abortion pills via telemedicine, even though the Food and Drug Administration formally approved of such prescriptions last December.
– Insider noted that Walmart, Exxon, and Citigroup each gave about $300,000 to politicians backing abortion bans. AT&T gave over $1 million to politicians behind abortion “trigger laws.”
– The publication also noted that the healthcare corporations Pfizer and UnitedHealthcare are some of the biggest funders of anti-abortion lawmakers. Also, pharmaceutical companies that make abortion drugs have additionally funded similar efforts by lawmakers.
– The following companies have promised to reimburse employees who travel out of state to legally access abortions: Amazon, Apple, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss & Co., Lyft, Mastercard, Microsoft, Netflix, Starbucks, Tesla, and Yelp.
– Shortly after the court’s decision was released, the Democratic National Committee launched an online hub to fundraise for coordinated campaigns for candidates in competitive races across the country.
– President Joe Biden said of the decision, “It was three justices named by one president, Donald Trump, who were the core of today’s decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country.”
He added, “Justice Thomas … explicitly called to reconsider the right to marriage equality, the right of couples to make their choice on contraception. This is an extreme and dangerous path the Court is now taking us on.”
He continued, “My administration will also protect a woman’s access to medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA. Like contraception which is essential for preventative health care [and] mifepristone, which the FDA approved 20 years ago to safely end early pregnancies and is commonly used to treat miscarriages. “If any state or local official, high or low, tries to interfere with a woman exercising her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack,” said Biden.
– Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the court’s decision “courageous and correct,” adding, “This is a historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society.”
– Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Today is one of the darkest days our country has ever seen. Millions upon millions of American women are having their rights taken from them by five unelected Justices on the extremist MAGA court.”
– Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin said his panel will hold a July 12 hearing that will examine life in a post-Roe America.
– Former President Barack Obama wrote, “Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”
Obama also lamented the decision, writing on Twitter that the court had “relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”
Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 24, 2022
– Former First Lady Michele Obama wrote in a statement, “I am heartbroken that we may now be destined to learn the painful lessons of the time before Roe was made law of the land — a time when women risked losing their lives getting illegal abortions.”
She told younger generations, “I know this is not the future you chose for your generation — but if you give up now, you will inherit a country that does not resemble you or any of the values you believe in.”
My thoughts on the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. pic.twitter.com/9ALSbapHDY
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 24, 2022
– Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the ruling, announcing, “June 24th will be an annual Office of the Attorney General holiday in recognition of this momentous decision. Today I am closing all my offices as a memorial to the millions of lives lost due to abortion.”
– Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “Overturning Roe and outlawing abortions will never make them go away. It only makes them more dangerous, especially for the poor + marginalized. People will die because of this decision. And we will never stop until abortion rights are restored in the United States of America.”
Overturning Roe and outlawing abortions will never make them go away.
It only makes them more dangerous, especially for the poor + marginalized.
People will die because of this decision. And we will never stop until abortion rights are restored in the United States of America.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 24, 2022
– Numerous LGBTQ groups — like the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Transgender Law Center, and The Trevor Project — have also lamented the ruling.
Hakeem Jeffries Slams GOP Rep. Burgess Owens’s Hypocritical Call for “Unity” After He Voted to Overturn Election
Democratic New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries figuratively set fire to freshman Republican Utah Representative Burgess Owens in a recent speech that called out Owens for daring to criticize Democrats for not being patriotic while Owens himself voted, one day after the January 6 insurrection, to overturn the results of a fair election in favor of now-former President Donald Trump.
On one of his first days in the chamber, Owens lectured House Democrats on needing to show national unity by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance alongside Republican counterparts. Owens did this even though he himself voted on January 7 to challenge the Electoral College’s votes declaring Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 elections, thus attempting to overturn millions of non-white Americans’ legal votes and destroy the very notion of Democracy itself.
Owens said, “Tonight [people] will not stand for the flag because they’ve been taught by their adults not to love our nation. What can we do here as leaders? Guys, let’s put aside the partisanship and appreciate the fact we have a body here of every color under the rainbow, every background… I’m gonna follow up with what Congressman Lee (Zeldin) says: ‘It’s not about words. It is about actions.’ Fifteen seconds to show our kids that we are adults, that we can agree to disagree, where we love our country enough to at least stand up and recognize our flag.”
In response, Jeffries said, “He sat here lecturing us about patriotism, and I was just going to ask him how he voted after a violent mob
attacked the Capitol, to hunt down members of Congress, to hang Mike Pence, to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, to stop us from undertaking our constitutional responsibilities as part of the peaceful transfer of power. More than 100 officers seriously injured: brain injuries, head trauma. Ine officer lost three fingers. Another officer, because of an assault on him, is likely to be blind. Officers Sisnik died, blood was spilled, two other officers are no longer with us.
“And you want to sit here and lecture us about patriotism?!?” Jeffries continued. “When you voted to object to an election that you know Joe Biden won, and perpetrated the big lie. But the notion of you come in here lecturing us on your first day before this committee… it’s not about words, it’s about actions. You know what? Explain your actions on January 7 when you supported an insurrection.”
This is 🔥 🔥 🔥. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) drags Utah’s new Trump-supporting Black Republican (@BurgessOwens) for coming in on his first day and lecturing Democrats about patriotism when Owens voted to overturn the November election even after the Capitol insurrection. pic.twitter.com/mJ7cUJ0RSH
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 6, 2021
Tennessee Officials Give COVID Vaccine to Family and Friends After Denying It to 75-Year-Olds
Officials in Hamilton County, Tennessee have been caught giving the COVID-19 vaccination to “close friends and family” after turning away elderly people by claiming they had run out of the vaccine.
When a journalist questioned a car of seven younger people who had been vaccinated, the people in the car laughed and said, “We got contacts,” as in, they’re connected to people who could give them the vaccination over older people who need it far more.
WRCB reports that on Thursday, the Hamilton County Health Department began offering vaccines to people 75 and older at 9 a.m., quickly causing a traffic jam and causing the department to start turning away cars by 1 p.m., including cars filled with old people who had been waiting over four hours.
Acting on a tip, WRCB reporters returned to the site after dark “to find cars leaving the property,” the news station reports. “The people in those vehicles told Channel 3 family members or friends who were helping to administer the vaccines called to tell them there were extra doses and they should come to receive a dose.”
VIDEO: We are choosing to blur the faces of those who spoke to us after receiving a vaccine, but this was one of the exchanges photojournalist @chrisbphotos had outside the Riverpark last night. pic.twitter.com/zI3OE71avT
— Callie Starnes (@calliestarnes) January 1, 2021
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger told the news station that the vaccination team mistakenly told the cars that had arrived earlier to leave, thinking they would run out of doses. When the team realized it had enough doses thawed that needed to be used quickly before going bad, they hen called others to come and get vaccinated.
“They wanted to make sure that none of it would go to waste,” Coppinger said, adding, “I understand the frustration of those who waited in line and did not get the vaccine (Thursday), and I can assure you we will learn from this experience. We will explore better ways to get the job done, and we appreciate the patience of the public as we move forward in performing this unprecedented service.”
The screw-up merely illustrates problems with the national vaccine roll-out. One commenter in Oklahoma said that the state has no vaccination roll-out plan, and is allowing people to sign up for vaccinations using an unverified SignUpGenius web page that requires no verification nor screening based on age or whether one is a frontline worker.
Jesus Christ. Oklahoma doesn't even have a *statewide* rollout plan and is leaving it up to the counties to organize their own individual vaccine rollouts.
My county is using a free SignUpGenuis page to sign people up for vaccines—which has no verification or data security. pic.twitter.com/bjI7kC9pLP
— Kendall Brown (@kendallybrown) January 1, 2021
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