The law signed last week by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is aimed at prying loose Donald Trump’s tax returns, which he has refused to release, saying they are under audit.
California’s law requires candidates for president and governor to release five years of tax returns to appear on the state’s primary ballot.
It does not include a similar requirement for the general election, the AP writes.
California holds its 2020 presidential primary on March 3. The lawsuits filed today argue the law violates the US Constitution by creating an extra requirement to run for president and deprives citizens the right to vote for their chosen candidates.
The Constitution puts just three requirements on presidential candidates: that they are natural born citizens, 35 or older and a US resident for at least 14 years.
Trump counsel Jay Sekulow called the law “flagrantly illegal,” and said voters already spoke in 2016 on whether Trump should release his tax returns. “The effort to deny California voters the opportunity to cast a ballot for President Trump in 2020 will clearly fail,” said Sekulow.
The Trump campaign and the Republican Party today have sued California over a new law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns if they want to run in the state’s primary.
One of the lawsuits contends California’s law is “a naked political attack against the sitting President of the United States.”
More on this shortly….
Texas Congresswoman says Trump not welcome in El Paso
Veronica Escobar, the Democratic freshman member of the House, who succeeded 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke to lead the 16th Congressional district of Texas, says Donald Trump isn’t welcome in El Paso tomorrow.
“From my perspective, he is not welcome here. He should not come here while we are in mourning,” Escobar told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program on Tuesday.
She added: “I would encourage the president’s staff members to have him do a little self-reflection. I would encourage them to show him his own words and his actions at the rallies.”
Now, she says she won’t attend Trump’s visit to the city on Wednesday, which is in her district, unless she had “the opportunity to talk directly to him,” the AP writes.
She said she would tell the Republican president: “I need you to acknowledge that you’ve dehumanized people who are good and equal to all of us. And you need to re-humanize everyone.”
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Democrats continue to push Mitch McConnell to take up the background checks bill that has already passed the House after this weekend’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
- Dayton’s mayor, Nan Whaley, said that she was “disappointed” with Trump’s statement yesterday and that the president has been “unhelpful” on gun issues.
- The Ohio governor urged the state legislature to consider a “red flag” law that would allow judges to take weapons from people deemed dangerous.
- Trump cited a Fox & Friends segment to criticize Barack Obama after the former president issued a statement urging Americans to “soundly reject language” from any leader who “feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.”
- Jon Huntsman is resigning as the US ambassador to Russia. The former Utah governor, who left office with a sky-high approval rating in 2009, is reportedly considering another gubernatorial bid.
The blog is monitoring more fallout from the shootings, as well as Mike Pence’s meeting with the British foreign secretary this afternoon, so stay tuned.
Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, expressed hope that Trump would use his visit tomorrow to “bring people together” while noting she was “disappointed” with his statement on this weekend’s shootings.
“Everyone has it in their power to be a force to bring people together, and everybody has it in their power to be a force to bring people apart,” Whaley said in response to a question about Trump’s visit. “That’s up to the president of the United States.”
Whaley added that she has “no sense of what’s in President Trump’s mind at all.” “I can only hope that, as president of the United States, that he’s coming here because he wants to add value to our community,” Whaley said. “That’s all I can hope.”
But Whaley admitted she was “disappointed” with Trump’s comments yesterday. “I think they fell really short,” the mayor said. “He mentioned gun issues like one time.”
She told reporters that she intended to discuss with Trump “how unhelpful he’s been on this.” “Yesterday, his comments weren’t very helpful to the issue around guns,” Whaley said.
She was also exasperated with Trump’s confusion of Dayton and Toledo. “My immediate reaction is, people from the coasts never understand Ohio, and they think all Ohio cities are the same,” Whaley said. “And it’s an exhausting issue that we have all the time.”
A coalition of progressive groups are currently holding a rally against white supremacy and gun violence in Washington’s Lafayette Square, just in front of the White House.
“The impact of Trump’s racist rhetoric and policies cannot be ignored when white supremacists— many of whom name him in their attacks and cite him in their hate manifestos— murder innocent people of color,” the groups said in a statement before the rally.
“It is not enough for Republican leadership in Congress to offer thoughts and prayers, nor should they repeatedly blame gun violence on mental illness — an unfounded and harmful trope. They must unequivocally denounce this violence, pass laws to stop it, and prevent the rise of white supremacy.”
The participating groups are Voto Latino, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, MoveOn, Labor Council For Latin American Advancement, United We Dream, Service Employees International Union, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, American Federation of Teachers, Muslim Advocates, March for Our Lives, Human Rights Campaign and Interfaith Alliance.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer appeared alongside Representative Pete King, a Republican, to demand that Mitch McConnell take up the background checks bill on guns that has already passed the House.
“Enough is enough,” Schumer said. “We are calling on Leader McConnell to bring the bill that passed the House, that Peter King bravely sponsored, to the floor of the Senate ASAP. If that bill comes to the floor of the Senate, I believe it will pass.”
One of Schumer’s Democratic colleagues, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, issued this ultimatum to McConnell: “Lead or get out of the way.”
“Gun violence prevention will be on the ballot again next November in 2020,” Blumenthal also warned. “And if you are on the wrong side of this issue, you are going down.”
The FBI Agents Association, which represents 14,000 active and former agents, has issued a statement urging Congress to take action on domestic terrorism.
“Domestic terrorism is a threat to the American people and our democracy. Acts of violence intended to intimidate civilian populations or to influence or affect government policy should be prosecuted as domestic terrorism regardless of the ideology behind them,” the statement read.
“FBIAA continues to urge Congress to make domestic terrorism a federal crime. This would ensure that FBI Agents and prosecutors have the best tools to fight domestic terrorism.”
Jon Huntsman, the US ambassador to Russia who has reportedly been mulling a gubernatorial run in Utah, sent his resignation letter to Trump this morning.
The resignation is effective Oct. 3, at which point he will return to Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
“American citizenship is a privilege and I believe the most basic responsibility in return is service to country,” Huntsman wrote in his resignation letter. “To that end, I am honored by the trust you have placed in me as the United States ambassador to Russia during this historically difficult period in bilateral relations.”
Huntsman previously served as Utah’s governor and left office in 2009 to become the US ambassador to China. At the time, he had an approval rating that topped 80 percent.
Huntsman has served in Russia for two years and has overseen a turbulent period in America’s relationship with the Kremlin as more details have emerged about the country’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Mike Gravel, the former Alaska senator who tried to make it to the Democratic debate stage with the odd promise that he would not actually seek the nomination, has dropped out and endorsed Bernie Sanders.
The campaign issued the announcement with a Twitter video of Gravel speaking directly to the camera from his California home. “My name is Mike Gravel. I’m proud, and honored, to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the presidency of the United States,” Gravel said.
But he noted that other 2020 candidates had also garnered his appreciation over the course of his short-lived campaign. “We really like Tulsi Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang,” he said. “We love Bernie but have such a deep respect for each of them, despite any disagreements we might have. We hope that they all find their way into government at some point.”
David Oks and Henry Williams, the two New York teenagers who served as Gravel’s campaign manager and chief of staff, noted that Gravel attracted the 65,000 donations necessary to make the July debate stage. They blamed Gravel not making the cut on the Democratic National Committee “favoring polling over grassroots fundraising.”
“We were sad that Senator Gravel wasn’t included in the debates despite a massive grassroots upswell of donations, but it was an honor to work for such a great man,” Oks said in a statement. “This campaign is ultimately a tribute to a true American hero.”
The plan includes more general proposals backed by fellow 2020 Democrats, including a national assault weapons ban. But it also specifically targets white nationalists with proposals to create a system to track such extremists and increasing federal funding for “de-radicalization programs, intervention grants, and investigative resources.”
“No one in America should ever live in fear because of the color of their skin, where they were born, or who they love.” Inslee said in a statement. “We need a president who will take on the twin epidemics of rising white nationalism and rising gun violence that have cost too many American lives.”
He called the president’s address from the White House “an embarrassing attempt to avoid responsibility for his own actions.” Inslee added: “It’s time for Donald Trump to take ownership for his encouragement of hate and violence in America.
“From hateful chants at his rallies, to racist tweets, to praise for white nationalists, this president has done more to divide the United States than any leader in modern history.”
Joe Biden is advocating for a federal gun buyback program to help get weapons off the streets.
The presidential candidate and former vice president has also proposed strengthening the background checks system and reinstating the assault weapons ban.
“The Second Amendment doesn’t say you can’t restrict the kinds of weapons people can own,” Biden said in an interview last night with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “You can’t buy a bazooka. You can’t have a flamethrower.”
But Biden did not go as far as other Democratic presidential candidates when it came to labeling Trump himself a white nationalist.
“Clearly his actions have done nothing to do anything other than encourage this behavior,” Biden said. “I’m not sure what this guy believes. If he believes anything.”
But Biden was very clear on labeling attacks such as the one in El Paso as domestic terrorism. “The white supremacists, they’re winning the battle,” he said. “This is domestic terrorism.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine released a list of 10 items he is asking the state legislature to consider to reduce gun violence.
Two days after the governor was confronted with shouts of “Do something!” in Dayton, he announced at a press conference that he wanted lawmakers to pass a “red flag law,” which allows courts to take guns from people who are deemed dangerous.
“Some in the crowd were angry,” DeWine said of those who confronted him in Dayton. “They should be angry.” He added, “They chanted ‘Do something,’ and they are absolutely right.”
The governor is also asking the legislature to consider enacting background checks for all gun sales, except for those between family members.
Foreign countries are warning their citizens about travel to the US after this weekend’s pair of shootings that killed 31 people, the LA Times reports.
Uruguay’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning about “growing indiscriminate violence” in the US, urging Uruguayans to avoid “theme parks, shopping centers, festivals, religious events, gastronomic fairs and any kind of cultural or sporting events.”
The Japanese Consul in Detroit advised Japanese nationals to “be aware of the potential for gunfire incidents everywhere in the United States,” describing the country as “a gun society.”
Trump plans to visit El Paso tomorrow as it mourns the loss of 22 members of its community, but the president’s reelection campaign still owes the city more than $500,000.
Trump held a February rally at an El Paso arena, and according to the Center for Public Integrity, the campaign has an unpaid balance to the city of $569,204.
“It’s ridiculous and unconscionable. The city of El Paso is an economically challenged community,” said El Paso County Commissioner Dave Stout, who “adamantly” opposes Trump visiting.
“He’s going to be throwing salt into the wound — a very, very deep wound,” Stout said. “And this community needs healing, not Donald Trump.”
The New York Times was forced to change the front-page headline of today’s paper amid intense backlash over how it portrayed Trump’s statement on the shootings.
The original headline read: “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.” Many Twitter commentators complained that the wording fed Trump’s claim that those who called out his anti-immigrant rhetoric in the wake of the El Paso shooting were playing politics.
The headline first gained widespread attention when it was tweeted out by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver:
As Silver’s tweet was being reshared thousands of times, the Times changed the headline for the second print edition to, “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS.” A Times spokesperson acknowledged to the Washington Post, “The headline was bad and has been changed for the second edition.”
But it seems the damage had already been done. Many prominent Democrats, including several presidential candidates, took to Twitter to accuse the Times of distorting Trump’s teleprompter address. And some people even threatened to cancel their subscriptions.
From presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand:
From Cory Booker:
Beto O’Rourke, who used to represent part of El Paso in the House, offered a one-word response:
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is also running for president, mocked the Times using a tagline from its ads:
And Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued that the botched headline represented how institutions often aid white supremacy:
Good morning, live blog readers!
Donald Trump has already been tweeting for a couple of hours already, and he is offering the American people this important message: don’t blame him.
He also cited a “Fox & Friends” segment to specifically call out Barack Obama, who issued a statement urging Americans to “soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.”
In his own robotic statement yesterday addressing the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Trump called on the nation to “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” But he has clearly not taken kindly to the argument made by many that his own anti-immigrant rhetoric has intensified racist sentiments in the country. (The El Paso suspect posted an anti-immigrant screed online before killing 22 at a Walmart.)
Trump has done this sort of walk-back on condemning racism before. Just last month, he initially said he was “unhappy” when some attendees of his North Carolina rally broke out in a racist “send her back” chant about Representative Ilhan Omar. But he later referred to attendees of the rally as “incredible patriots.”
When it comes to racism in America, it seems Trump is most bothered by any insinuation that the rhetoric or, in this week’s case, fatal violence is any reflection upon him.
Here are a few other things the blog is keeping its eye on:
- Trump has no events on his public schedule today, so expect the tweeting to continue.
- Mike Pence is meeting with the British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, at 4:30 p.m. EDT.
- More than a dozen national groups are holding a rally in Washington’s Lafayette Park, just in front of the White House, to demand action on gun violence at 12 p.m. EDT.
That’s all still coming up, so stay tuned.