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Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore

The Democratic National Committee, in a now-deleted tweet, accused President Trump of “glorifying white supremacy” in his scheduled July 3 visit to Mount Rushmore, according to a report.

“Trump has disrespected Native communities time and again,” the DNC wrote. “He’s attempted to limit their voting rights and blocked critical pandemic relief. Now he’s holding a rally glorifying white supremacy at Mount Rushmore – a region once sacred to tribal communities.”

The tweet linked to an article in the Guardian that quoted Native Americans who were critical of Trump visiting lands they contend were stolen from them.

But many Republicans captured screengrabs of the deleted tweet.

“If you support America’s founding and our heroes throughout our history you’re now ‘glorifying white supremacy’?,” wrote Elizabeth Harrington, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, linking to the DNC post.

“This is insane, historically illiterate nonsense,” she said. “When will Joe Biden condemn his own party’s hatred of America?”

GOP pollster Logan Dobson said he would like Democrats to explain what about Trump’s visit “glorifies white supremacy.”

“The fireworks? Mt. Rushmore itself? The 4th of July?”  Dobson said. “Like I think I know what they’re implying here, and the tweet was obviously designed to tell their base something, but it would be really instructive if they were actually made to answer the question.”

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Nick Tilsen, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, told the Guardian that Trump’s visit is disrespectful.

“Mount Rushmore is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today,” he said.

Tilsen, president of a local activist organization, NDN Collective, likened their opposition to Trump’s visit to the toppling of Confederate statues across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death on May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody.

A request for comment from the DNC wasn’t immediately returned.

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coronavirus

American Airlines Under Fire After Letting John Kerry Violate Policy Without Consequence

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American Airlines is under fire for letting President Joe Biden’s Climate Envoy John Kerry violate its mask mandate without consequence.

Kerry — who was pictured on an American Airlines flight from Boston to Washington, DC, on Wednesday morning letting his mask hang off his ear while he was not eating or drinking — was in clear violation of the federal mandate requiring airline passengers wear a mask at all times when not eating or drinking. The federal mandate, implemented by Biden, is in addition to the policy from the airline itself requiring passengers wear masks to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Kerry is a former secretary of state. He previously was the Democrat presidential nominee in 2004 and served for decades in the U.S. Senate representing Massachusetts.

The story first broke Monday afternoon in the Tennessee Star and has since made the rounds across the media, including in Breitbart News.

The White House declined to comment on the matter, instead referring Breitbart News to the State Department — where Kerry works as the special climate envoy — which has not yet commented on the matter. Kerry himself dismissed the violation of the federal order in a tweet as just a “momentary” lapse in his mask-wearing, and American Airlines announced as the news spread about the incident that it is conducting an investigation.

The official American Airlines Twitter account has repeatedly said Wednesday evening the airline is “looking into” the matter but has offered no clear resolution of the violation on Kerry’s part.

Kerry, who was sitting in first class on the flight, was in clear violation of the order:

An American Airlines spokeswoman, Stacy Day, told Breitbart News on Wednesday the company intends to communicate to Kerry that he needs to wear his mask for the duration of a trip and that this so-called “momentary” slip was unacceptable. Day said, too, flight attendants did not observe Kerry maskless on this flight, and other customers did not alert the staff to the violation before it broke in the media.

“Masks are required on board our aircraft,” Day said in an email:

Our team works diligently to make sure customers are wearing masks properly as they travel with us, and flight attendants pass through the cabin several times during flight to ensure compliance. The crew did not observe Secretary Kerry without a mask, and they were not alerted by other customers to a non-compliance issue. We continue to review the matter and we are reaching out to Secretary Kerry to underscore that all customers are expected to wear masks for the duration of their trip.

Despite Day’s comments on this, American Airlines has not answered a set of detailed questions this incident raises sent to them from Breitbart News. The company’s lack of clarity on its mask policy potentially presents a risk to the public health, and the unclear level of enforcement of it also creates broader confusion in the public. In particular, Day did not answer when asked in a follow-up if Kerry will be banned from future American Airlines flights for violating the order as the company said in an announcement in February that it would do for those who do not follow its mask mandate.

David Seymour, American’s chief operating officer, is quoted in a press release after Biden’s executive order federally requiring masks on U.S. flights as saying the airline will enforce the order.

“Our mask requirement has been and will continue to be a critical component of our comprehensive effort to protect the health and well-being of our customers and team members during the pandemic,” Seymour said. “This federal mandate will provide additional support to our crew members who are working diligently to enforce our policy and further reinforce the safety of air travel during COVID-19.”

That particular press release said people who refuse to wear a mask and do not comply with the order may be denied boarding, kicked off a boarded flight, or even barred from future American Airlines flights.

“Consistent with U.S. government directives, individuals who refuse to wear a mask may be denied boarding, removed from the aircraft or subject to penalties under federal law, in addition to being barred from future travel with American,” the American Airlines press release said.

But now that American Airlines refuses to say whether Kerry — for whose violation of the order photographic evidence exists — will be barred from future flights, the legitimacy and seriousness of the entire mandate is, at best, in question or perhaps, at worst, non-existent.

American Airlines refused to answer a series of questions about Kerry’s mask order violation, and more broadly about the company’s enforcement of the policy.

The questions sent to the American Airlines staff that they did not answer include:

1.) John Kerry said in a tweet about this photographic evidence about this clear violation of the federal order and American Airlines policy that it was “momentary.” He was not eating or drinking. He does not claim that he was. If that is okay for John Kerry to do, can anyone else have a “momentary” slip of their mask?

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2.) What is an acceptable amount of time for someone to have their mask slip off their nose and mouth for a “momentary” period?

3.) Has John Kerry been disciplined in any way for his violation of this health order?

4.) Will American Airlines allow John Kerry to continue to fly, or ban him from future flights for this violation?

5.) Why has it taken so long for American Airlines to do something about this violation? When ordinary people violate the mask mandate, they get held accountable almost immediately. Do you have different standards for politically-connected Democrats than you do for ordinary Americans?

6.) What exactly are the standards of the American Airlines mask mandate policies? If someone violates it, what are the consequences? Are those consequences the same for every person and are these standards the same for every person? Is there an exemption to the policy that allows Democrat politicians to avoid enforcement?

7.) Are we to take the lack of enforcement–and the lack of urgency on the part of American Airlines–to mean that masks are not required on American Airlines flights anymore?

8.) Have you had any communication with the Department of Transportation about this? If so, please detail that communication.

9.) Have you had any communication with the White House about this? If so, please detail that communication.

10.) Have you had any communication with Kerry, his representatives, or anyone from the State Department about this? If so, please detail that communication.

11.) Does American Airlines think it is “malarkey” to call out government officials who violate the government’s and American Airlines’ mask mandate policies?

Several top conservative leaders, from former Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to Donald Trump Jr. and more, have called out American Airlines for the lack of clarity on this matter.

If American Airlines does indeed allow Kerry to continue flying on its airline after this evidence of his violating the mask mandate emerged, it will present an interesting dilemma for the company that has already banned several Americans from flying on its planes for similar violations. Brandon Straka, a conservative activist and leader of the Walk Away movement encouraging people to leave the Democrat Party, was banned last summer for not wearing a mask.

“American Airlines has banned a man who was kicked off a plane for refusing to wear a face covering, among the first such incidents since airlines promised this week to step up enforcement of their mask rules,” the Associated Press reported in July 2020, for instance:

A spokesman for American said Thursday that the airline decided to ban the man after reviewing the incident, which occurred Wednesday at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

According to the airline, conservative activist Brandon Straka ignored requests by crew members to wear a mask while the plane with 122 passengers prepared to leave for Dallas-Fort Worth. He was ordered off the 172-seat plane and put on a later flight.

American said Straka will be banned until the airline drops its requirement that passengers and crew members wear face coverings to limit spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Other similar incidents have cropped up for the past year.

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Border Crisis

Democrats: When Trump Pauses Funds, It’s Illegal. When Biden Does It, It’s Fine

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GAO has no option other than to find that President Biden’s pause of the border wall funds is unlawful and should issue an opinion stating the Biden administration has broken the law.

Last Congress, many Democrats, including Rep. John Yarmuth, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, claimed the Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) broke the law when it paused the obligation of funds to Ukraine for 50 days to determine the best use for them.

On the very first day of his administration, however, President Biden directed that funding specifically appropriated to build the wall along the southern border be paused for 60 days to determine how best to spend those funds. Press reports indicate that all funding for the wall construction has stopped.

Biden has now held these funds longer than OMB held the Ukraine funding. But Yarmuth has stayed silent about the Biden hold on funds, demonstrating that the congressman cares nothing about the law and only about partisan politics. In contrast to this hypocritical silence, 40 Republican senators have requested that GAO look into whether the Biden hold is unlawful.

As OMB general counsel during the Trump administration, I authorized the Ukraine funds pause so President Trump could consider the best use of those funds, consistent with the law and his policy. Although those funds were designated for Ukraine, there were a variety of ways they could be spent to benefit the government of Ukraine, from purchasing weapons to blankets. This pause was entirely appropriate and legal, and once the president made a decision OMB made the funds available and they were obligated before the end of the fiscal year.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is simply an instrumentality of Congress, rushed out an opinion during the failed partisan impeachment effort claiming that OMB had violated the Impoundment Control Act by pausing the spending of those Ukraine funds. GAO concluded that the president could never pause funds to conduct a policy review to determine the best use of those funds, even if the law allowed for a variety of ways for the funds to be spent.

Based on this GAO reasoning, President Biden’s order is an unlawful act and a violation of the Impoundment Control Act. Yet Yarmuth, who accused the Trump OMB’s of breaking the law for pausing funds and cited this very GAO opinion, has not raised a single objection to President Biden’s hold. GAO has also remained silent and done nothing. This is plainly hypocrisy and the use of double standards.

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OMB’s pause on the obligation of the Ukraine funds was in fact perfectly legal and appropriate pending a policy review. GAO’s opinion (and Yarmuth’s position) is legally wrong. It’s also reckless to argue that a president does not have the discretion to determine how best to spend funds when the law in fact provides that discretion.

For example, last year, as it has done for many years, Congress appropriated a lump sum of funding to the State Department for international organizations. The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of those qualifying international organizations, but President Trump did not want to provide funding to WHO because of its complicity in aiding China in lying and covering up the spread of COVID 19. As OMB general counsel, I determined that the president had the legal authority to pause the obligation of those funds to determine where best to spend them, and the funds were obligated to other international organizations, consistent with the law.

But since GAO rejects this executive branch latitude with respect to pausing funds for a policy review, GAO has no option other than to find that President Biden’s pause of the border wall funds for a policy review is unlawful. It should forthwith issue an opinion stating that the Biden administration has broken the law.

Most important, Yarmuth, based on his support of GAO’s position and his accusations last year, should publicly object to the Biden administration’s hold or admit he was simply playing partisan politics when he criticized OMB for pausing funding during the Trump administration to determine how best to spend those funds. But I won’t hold my breath.

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Biden administration

VIDEO: Tucker Carlson tears into Biden’s immigration policy live from El Salvador

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‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ host takes on President Biden’s border crisis.

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