Greenland Controversy Continues as Trump Cancels Copenhagen Trip, Calls Danish PM ‘Nasty’

The controversy over U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly postponing his trip to Copenhagen continues, as he criticized Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, calling her “nasty” and “inappropriate.” The Danish leader had rebuffed Trump’s overture to buy Greenland, the Arctic country that is part of the kingdom of Denmark. White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has the story.

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Trump Insists Democrats are ‘Bad’ for Israel

U.S. President Donald Trump again insisted American Jews should vote Republican because voting for a Democrat would show ignorance or a lack of loyalty. His original statement was part of an attack on four Democratic lawmakers, of whom two are not allowed to visit Israel, apparently at his behest. Many American Jews say Trump’s questioning of their loyalty is akin to a historical trope that has fed xenophobia against Jews. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports Israelis’ reactions to Trump’s remarks.
 

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Inslee Ends Bid for Democrats’ Presidential Nod

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who made fighting climate change the central theme of his presidential campaign, announced Wednesday night that he was ending his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination.  
 
Inslee announced his decision on MSNBC, saying it had become clear that he wouldn’t win. He has kept the option of running for a third term as governor open throughout his presidential campaign but didn’t immediately say what his political plans were.  
 
Inslee, 68, became the third Democrat to end his presidential bid after U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California pulled out of the primary last month, followed by former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper last week.  
 
While Inslee had qualified for the first two presidential debates this summer, he struggled to gain traction in the crowded Democratic field and was falling short of the requirements needed to appear on two high-profile stages next month: the third DNC debate in Houston and a CNN town hall focused on climate change, Inslee’s key issue.  

Low poll ratings
 
He had recently hit one of the markers — 130,000 unique donors. But he had yet to reach 2% in any poll and would have needed to hit that level of support in four qualifying polls.  
 
Inslee is a former congressman and served as Democratic Governors Association chairman in 2018, when the party flipped seven Republican-held gubernatorial seats. He kicked off his campaign in March in Seattle, standing in front of a blue-and-green campaign logo with an arc of the Earth, declaring climate change the nation’s most pressing issue.  
 
Inslee was a champion for the clean-energy industry in Congress and wrote a book on the topic. And he’s pushed for state policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. On the day he announced his presidential bid, the state Senate passed a key piece of his legislative climate agenda, a measure that seeks to eliminate fossil fuels like natural gas and coal from the state’s electricity supply by 2045. The measure, later passed by the House and signed by Inslee in May, made Washington the fourth in the nation to establish a mandate to provide carbon-free electricity by a targeted date. A few additional states have enacted legislation related to clean energy requirements since May, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  
 
In addition to pushing for a dedicated debate on climate change, Inslee’s campaign has been rolling out climate proposals, including calling for the nation’s entire electrical grid and all new vehicles and buildings to be carbon pollution free by 2030. He’s also proposed a clean break between the federal government and the fossil fuel industry, ending tax breaks for oil companies and banning all drilling and extraction on federal lands and beneath federal waters. 
 
Inslee released his sixth and final climate proposal, a plan focused on agriculture and farmers, hours before he announced he was dropping out of the race.  

Thanks to supporters
 
In a video released Tuesday on Twitter, Inslee thanked supporters for helping him pass the 130,000 individual donor mark.  
 
“Together we have put the climate crisis front and center in the 2020 race,” he said. “And thanks to you, every candidate knows they have to have a robust plan to defeat the climate crisis.” 
 
Governors in Washington state aren’t subject to term limits, though most haven’t served more than two terms. The last three-term governor in Washington was Republican Gov. Dan Evans, who served from 1965 until 1977.  
 
While the filing deadline for the state’s 2020 elections isn’t until next May, three Democrats have already signaled they will run for governor if Inslee doesn’t: Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and King County Executive Dow Constantine. The political dominos continue with Democratic candidates lining up to run for attorney general and lands commissioner if Ferguson and Franz end up not seeking re-election to their posts. 
 
A few Republicans have already announced plans to run for governor, including Phil Fortunato, a state senator, and Loren Culp, the police chief of Republic, in eastern Washington. A Republican has not occupied the governor’s office in more than three decades. 

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Trump Considering Sullivan as Next US Envoy to Russia

U.S. President Donald Trump confirms that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan “could very well be” his choice to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Russia. Trump answered a question from reporters at the White House Tuesday, after media reports said he intends to nominate Sullivan to be one of the most important and challenging U.S. ambassador positions.

Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman submitted a letter of resignation after two years in his post, calling it a “historically difficult period in bilateral relations.” Huntsman leaves the job Oct. 3.

Sullivan has been Deputy Secretary of State since May 2017, after the Senate confirmed him by a resounding vote of 94-6. He briefly led the State Department in the period between former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s departure in March 2018 and Mike Pompeo’s swearing-in April 2018.  Sullivan is a lawyer with a long history of federal service, dating back to 1991.  He was also the chairman of the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue during the Obama administration.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan listens to President Donald Trump speak during a cabinet meeting at the White House, May 9, 2018, in Washington.

If nominated and confirmed, he would replace Jon Huntsman. In his resignation letter, Huntsman had some advice for his successor, saying, ‘Going forward, we must continue to hold Russia accountable when its behavior threatens us or our allies.’

Huntsman has served his country as an ambassador to Russia, China and Singapore under Democratic and Republican administrations, and as the governor of his home state of Utah. Some reports say he may be considering another run for governor there.

His departure comes at a time of a violent crackdown on anti-Kremlin protests, led by supporters of opposition party candidates barred from running for Moscow’s city council.

Russian police have detained more than 1,000 people in recent Saturday protests, and images of police beating citizens lying on the ground have captured global attention.

FILE – Jon Huntsman, U.S. ambassador to Russia, arrives at the security check point entrance of the White House in Washington, May 30, 2018.

In his resignation letter, Huntsman called on Russia to respect the rule of law and human rights. 

In the Oval Office with the Romanian President Tuesday, Trump said he would like for Russia to re-join the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries, which is now the G7.  Trump said:

“If somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably.”

The decision to exclude Russia from the G-8 was made in 2014 by a majority of member countries after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. 

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It’s All About Presidential Memorabilia

Jim Warlick is a collector of political memorabilia, and the owner of White House Gifts, a souvenir store in Washington located across from the White House.  As many as 3,000 people a day visit the store to purchase presidential memorabilia, trinkets and other gifts.

Warlick’s father, a Democrat and a history buff, worked in politics, and in 1965, the family took a trip to the nation’s capital.

“I was in the eighth grade and I wanted to come see John Kennedy’s grave site. While I was here, I purchased a little John Kennedy bust. It’s the symbol of my first souvenir and I think that the Kennedy assassination really affected me into being aware of politics.”

Warlick grew up in a little town in North Carolina called Morgantown. He went to community college there then went to the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He dropped out of college four times to work on campaigns and travel with candidates.

“I went to Raleigh and got a job in the legislature working on a Senate Sergeant at Arms staff while I was in school, and I really like this fellow from Greensboro North Carolina who’d been chairman the first Civil Rights Commission, very progressive. And he decided to run for the Senate against Jesse Helms. And so, he asked me to come help in the campaign, and I lived with the Senator Smith and his family for a year,” he says.  “We didn’t stay in hotels when traveling, we stayed with people, because we wanted to hear what people in the community was saying. I learned from Senator Smith that you need to stay close and listen a lot.”

Warlick says he believed that he would end up being an advisor for a congressman or senator, but that didn’t happen.

In 1980, Warlick designed campaign buttons for President Jimmy Carter. Though he knew there was also a market for buttons for Carter’s opponent, Ronald Reagan, Warlick wouldn’t produce them. “I’m a Carter man,” he said.

“I went to the Republican convention in Detroit and sold campaign buttons on the street corner, making more money in one week than I did in a year working for the congressman,” says Jim Warlick. “So, I went back home and I said, ‘Congressman, I have to quit, because I’m traveling and seeing the country, and I want to sell buttons all over the country.’”

Warlick decided to expand his business, and in 1989, he opened a memorabilia shop in Washington called Political Americana.

“Bill Clinton used to come by,” Warlick says. “He would come into town for fundraisers and he would always stop by the kiosk and buy all my Truman buttons. He was a big Harry Truman fan, and collected memorabilia. Hillary used to buy buttons for him, too.”

Warlick produced and distributed buttons, posters, and stickers for the Clinton campaign in 1992 and 1996. In 2001, he began buying political artifacts: First Lady gowns; a limousine that President Kennedy used in Fort Worth, Texas, Kennedy’s shaving kit, and one of the pens Kennedy used to sign the Peace Corps Act. Then, there was the Boeing 747 that had been John Edwards campaign plane, and an Oval Office replica built by Warner Brothers.

“I have a great catalog of stories, books and collectibles,” says Warlick. “It’s a nonpartisan tribute to Presidential history.”

Warlick recently opened an ice cream shop named ‘Presidential Scoops.’ Located across from the White House Gift store, the shop offers 16 flavors, all named after different presidents.    

Warlick auctioned off his collection of airplanes and other items, to use the profits for a museum he is working to establish in his hometown in North Carolina.


The Worker’s Legacy Exhibition video player.
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The Worker’s Legacy Exhibition Project

“The most important thing left for me to do now is a history museum dedicated to honoring mill workers, furniture workers, hosiery mill and textile workers. My mother worked in the hosiery mill. Named ‘The Worker’s Legacy Exhibition,’ it is going to tell the history of all the workers and what their life was like back then.” 

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Paul Ryan Moving to Maryland, Not Selling Wisconsin Home

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan is moving his family from his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, to a house in a Washington, D.C., suburb less than a year after he retired from Congress saying he wanted to spend more time with his children.

Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert said Tuesday that Ryan and his family will be “temporarily” renting a house in Maryland and splitting their time between there and their longtime home in Janesville. He is not selling the Janesville house, which he lived in throughout his 20 years in Congress.
 
The move will put Ryan and his family closer to the sisters of Ryan’s wife, Janna Ryan, who live in the area.
 
Since leaving Congress at the end of 2018, Ryan started the nonprofit American Idea Foundation. That will still be based in Janesville.

 

 

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Democrats Spending Millions to Try to Take Back Statehouses

Democrats still shaken by the 2010 tea party wave that netted Republicans six governors’ offices, flipped 21 statehouse chambers and drove nearly 700 Democratic state legislators from office are mounting a comeback, pouring millions of dollars into state level races.
 
In a longtime Republican district covering a wealthy enclave of Dallas, Democratic challenger Shawn Terry has raised $235,000, an eye-popping amount for a statehouse race that’s more than a year away. In Virginia, where the GOP holds a slim majority, Democrats have outraised Republicans for the first time in years. Democrats are even putting some money in deeply Republican Louisiana.
 
The cash deluge shows how the consequences of next year’s elections run far deeper than President Donald Trump’s political fate. The party that controls state legislatures will take a leading role in the once-in-a-decade redistricting process that redraws congressional maps. Newly empowered Republicans used that process to their favor following the tea party victories, and Democrats want to use the same playbook.

“There is, especially for this cycle, a very strong focus on redistricting,” Terry said.
 
The stakes are particularly high following a recent Supreme Court ruling that decided federal courts have no business policing political boundary disputes in many cases. The ruling doesn’t apply to districts gerrymandered along racial lines but otherwise gives states wide latitude to draw maps with little concern for an eventual judicial rebuke.
 
“Everybody knows everything is at stake,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of the group EMILY’s List, which recruits and trains women to run for office and plans to spend $20 million on legislative races. “We just have to go in and win chambers.”

Organizations like EMILY’s List, the Democratic Governors Association and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee have seen a sharp increase in donations, nearing parity with Republicans who almost always outraise and outspend them, according to an analysis of IRS data by The Associated Press.
 
And Democratic donors who gave little to nothing to down-ballot races in the past are cutting large checks to groups focused on state races, the AP’s analysis shows. Among them are billionaire George Soros (at least $5.4 million), hedge fund billionaire Donald Sussman (at least $4.8 million) and billionaire investor and entrepreneur Fred Eychaner (at least $4.2 million).

The numbers don’t take into account the activities of nonprofit “dark money” groups that both Republicans and Democrats operate. They won’t have to disclose their finances until next year at the earliest.
 
But already the money is filtering out to the states.
 
Priorities USA, the largest Democratic outside group, and EMILY’s List recently announced they would spend $600,000 on voter mobilization for Virginia’s fall elections. For the first time, the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge is digging into the pasts of Republican statehouse candidates.
 
And the DLCC, which is spearheading efforts in Virginia, says it has collected $9 million since the 2018 midterm elections, an off-year record, and is on pace to reach its $50 million fundraising goal for the cycle.  
 
New groups that are focused on state races have sprung up, including the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is led by former Attorney General Eric Holder and endorsed by former President Barack Obama.  
 
It all stems from what Democrats describe as a nearly traumatizing experience in 2010 when, reveling in the early days of the Obama administration, they failed to organize at the state level. Democratic strategist Jessica Post remembers being outside a bar in Pennsylvania’s capital city of Harrisburg when she got word of just how thoroughly her party was rejected.
 
“After curling up on the sidewalk, I walked back into the bar, popped open a Budweiser and said to myself, `If I have anything to do with this, we will not get outclassed in 2020 by the Republicans,” said Post, who now leads the DLCC and is tasked with reclaiming lost ground.

The new attention Democrats are paying to down-ballot races is a break from the past, when the White House and Congress were the primary focus. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said a breakthrough came in 2016 when he, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other party officials gathered top Democratic donors in a Philadelphia hotel ballroom to forcefully make the case and unveil a new state level fundraising initiative.    
 
“People finally understand that you just can’t play every four years in the presidential, you have to play in these state races,” said McAuliffe, a top Democratic fundraiser. “You could have a great wave in Congress, but if you have all these gerrymandered districts, I don’t care how much money you have.”
 
Next year’s elections will still play out under the maps that Republicans drew after the 2010 campaign. But Democrats are hoping that the money they’re investing in state races, higher turnout in a presidential election year and frustration with Trump, particularly in the suburbs, could give them the lift they need.

In Texas, for instance, Democrats are nine seats away from flipping the House, which would give them a sliver of power after nearly a quarter-century of political irrelevance. A Democratic majority in the House would deny the GOP the chance to write congressional maps on their own.
 
The Minnesota Senate is two seats away from flipping from red to blue, while the Michigan House is four seats away, according to figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pennsylvania Democrats need nine seats to control the House and four to take the Senate. In Florida, Democrats are four seats from power in the Senate, while control of the Wisconsin Senate hangs by three. In North Carolina, Democrats could take the Senate by winning five seats, while the House would require them to flip six.   
 
Republicans are taking the threat seriously. Citing multiple studies, they say the outcomes of 50 legislative races across the U.S. could be the difference between a 36-seat Republican congressional majority and a massive 110-seat Democratic edge.
 
Austin Chambers, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, said his organization will need to raise more than it ever has, though he declined to state a fundraising goal. His group was narrowly edged by DLCC in the first half of 2019, though Chambers said he expects they will ultimately outraise Democrats.
 
“It is serious as a heart attack, and we’ve got to do everything we can to prepare for it,” he said.

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As Rivals Head to California, Biden Chooses New Hampshire

Joe Biden won’t be among the parade of White House hopefuls in California this week, skipping the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting to campaign in New Hampshire instead.

The former vice president will have the nation’s first primary state essentially to himself as his top rivals jockey for attention from hundreds of Democratic officials gathered in San Francisco for the party’s last national meeting before presidential voting begins in February.
 
Biden’s choice is partly a reflection of Democrats’ new rules that strip DNC members of their presidential nominating votes on the first 2020 convention ballot. But it’s just as much an indication of Biden’s deliberate front-runner strategy as he continues to lead national and state primary polls: The 76-year-old candidate is choosing carefully when to appear alongside the candidates who are trying to upend him, and he’s keeping a distance, at least publicly, from the party machinery that ultimately proved an albatross to Hillary Clinton in her 2016 loss to Donald Trump.
 
“He has a real commitment to be in the early states,” said Biden’s campaign chairman, Cedric Richmond, pointing to Biden’s recent four-day swing through Iowa, the first caucus state, along with upcoming trips to South Carolina and Nevada and a return to Iowa. “I wouldn’t make any more of the scheduling decision than that.”
 
Indeed, Biden has joined multicandidate “cattle calls” in Iowa; Nevada, the first Western state in the nominating process; and South Carolina, which hosts the South’s first primary.
 
The Biden campaign also isn’t ignoring the DNC. Campaign manager Greg Schultz will be in San Francisco on his boss’s behalf. Yet the national Democratic gathering is a notable absence for the candidate himself, given Biden’s deep connections across the party as a two-term vice president and six-term senator who’s run for president twice before; and Biden aides have noted quietly that they are keenly aware of the criticism Clinton absorbed in 2016 as progressive activists who backed Bernie Sanders accused the DNC of favoritism. Biden’s team doesn’t want a repeat if he’s the nominee.
 
With Biden away, DNC members will hear from, among others, Sanders and his fellow senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, the hometown favorite who served previously as a local prosecutor and California attorney general. Several candidates have scheduled their own events in California beyond the DNC sessions.
 
California will be critical to the nomination after moving up its primary to join a Southern-heavy Super Tuesday lineup next March. The state will have 400 pledged delegates at stake, the largest of any state and about a fifth of the total necessary to win the nomination.
 
Democrats in California criticized Biden’s absence in the spring, but prominent DNC member and Californian Christine Pelosi said it makes sense this time around given the audience.
 
 “We’re not a room of 400 superdelegates anymore,” said Pelosi, a daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “We’re just a room full of activists. … And everyone knows Vice President Biden. This is far more important for candidates who aren’t as well known.”
 
That said, Pelosi noted that party events in California can sometimes draw boisterous crowds of progressives, like the one at the state party convention that jeered as some party moderates warned against veering too far left. And while Biden certainly wouldn’t face a hostile crowd of DNC delegates, there’s plenty of potential for activists or protesters to make their presence known.
 
“Some people can crash and scream,” said Pelosi, who says she will not publicly back a candidate during the nomination process. “That might make for good TV, but it’s not really advancing the cause” or ideal for Biden.
 
There’s also another variable for Biden — and his fellow candidates — to consider: the big money that it takes to compete in California. In New Hampshire and Iowa, voters expect aggressive retail politics and close contact with would-be presidents. That doesn’t work in a state of 40 million residents, with candidates instead forced to spend heavily on traditional television advertising and digital ads to reach voters.
 
 “He will be back to California again,” Richmond said. “And we will have the resources to compete there.”

 

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