During her trip to Guatemala and Mexico, Republicans assailed Harris for declining to visit the border.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki defended Harris’s upcoming trip and dismissed the notion that the timing of the trip was influenced by former president Donald Trump’s visit to the border on June 30.
Joint Chiefs chairman defends teaching about race theory
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admonished lawmakers over questions about critical race theory at a Wednesday hearing, saying it is important for leaders to be well-versed in many schools of thought.
“I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist,” Milley told the House Armed Services Committee. “So what is wrong with understanding … the country which we are here to defend?”
Representative Mike Waltz, Republican of Florida, criticized reports that the US Military Academy teaches a course involving the theory, which broadly explores the idea that racism reaches beyond individual prejudice and affects minorities at the institutional level, particularly in criminal justice.
The course at the academy includes phrases such as “white rage,” Waltz claimed, and he pressed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the nation’s first Black Pentagon chief, to investigate further.
Soon after, when the committee gave Milley a chance to expand, he launched into an impassioned defense of inquiry about US society and its racial dynamics.
“I want to understand white rage. And I’m white,” Milley said, focused on learning more about the mostly white, mostly male mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America. What caused that?” Milley asked. “I want to find that out.”
Milley said he was offended that critics, among them lawmakers and right-wing commentators like Fox News host Tucker Carlson, have accused the military of being “woke or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there.”
Republicans for months have raked military and Pentagon leaders over policy and personnel changes, such as relaxing hair restrictions for women and reversing bans on open transgender service, as distractions fueled by a liberal agenda.
In Buffalo, socialist unseats mayor in primary
Buffalo Democrats nominated a self-identified socialist as their candidate for mayor, as nurse and activist India Walton scored an upset victory over four-term incumbent Byron Brown in Tuesday’s primary.
“We set out to not only change Buffalo, but to change the way progressive politics are viewed in Upstate New York,” Walton told supporters as she declared victory Tuesday night. “All that we are doing in this moment is claiming what is rightfully ours.”
The Associated Press projected Walton, 38, as the winner Wednesday morning. She held a lead over Brown with most in-person ballots counted and with a few more than 1,500 absentee ballots left — fewer than the margin in the mayoral primary.
Republicans have not fielded a candidate for mayor and have not won City Hall in Buffalo since the 1960s, making the Democratic primary winner all but certain to take office in January. If victorious when all ballots are counted, Walton will be Buffalo’s first female and first Black female mayor. She is a union organizer and nonprofit founder who had her first child at age 14 and later earned her GED while pregnant with twins.
Former DNC chair running for governor of Md.
Former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez, who served as labor secretary in the Obama administration, is running for Maryland governor in 2022, joining a crowded field of candidates vying for the Democratic Party nomination.
Perez, 59, said his campaign will focus on his experience over the past 35 years and his efforts to create opportunities for people regardless of where they live.
“I think Maryland wants to see that whoever is in the governor’s seat can deliver results,’’ Perez said in an interview to announce his bid.
Perez said he decided to enter the race for governor because Maryland has a “once-in-a-generation opportunity’’ to make significant progress on issues that have been the focus of his life’s work: civil rights, economic justice, and social justice.
“I want to build a Maryland where the sky is the limit for everyone,” he said.
Perez said he plans to focus on ensuring that Maryland residents have access to jobs that pay well, that children are receiving a high-quality education, and that people can get health care.
“I want Maryland to be the first state where 100 percent of Marylanders have access to health care,” he said.
With the announcement, Perez becomes at least the eighth Democratic candidate to vie for the party’s nomination.
Bundy says his not anti-government
Ammon Bundy has carried a small copy of the US Constitution in his front pocket for the past seven years. He does so to remind himself of what the government is supposed to do to serve the people without abusing its authority, he said.
The far-right activist known for his armed occupation of federal land in Oregon rejects the “anti-government label” but is happy to swap it for a catchier one: “I am definitely anti-corrupt-government, anticronyism,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post, adding that he has never rallied for a revolution to overthrow the government.
Over the weekend, Bundy, 45, announced his bid to be governor of Idaho in what analysts say is a sign of state politics moving further to the right — and a wider national trend of anti-establishment candidates going mainstream.
Jeffrey Lyons, an assistant professor of political science at Boise State University, said Bundy is an example of politically extreme candidates garnering attention and support not only in Idaho but across the country — and across party lines.
Texas governor draws ire of dog lovers
Texas Governor Greg Abbott did not endear himself to dog lovers on either side of the aisle this week. The hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs started trending on Twitter after advocates and lawmakers say they were blindsided by the veto of a bipartisan animal rights bill.
Abbott has made headlines over the past week as he signed a bill allowing Texans to carry handguns without a background check, announced a crowdfunding campaign for the border wall, and invited former president Donald Trump to visit the US-Mexico border.
After days drawing vitriol from the left, the governor is facing a difficult reality: Dogs are a bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike are jumping in on #AbbottHatesDogs.
The bill would have eliminated loopholes in current laws regarding outdoor shelter and restraints for dogs, advocates say, establishing a basic standard of care and making tethering laws enforceable.