Chance the Rapper: ‘Black People Don’t Have to be Democrats’

Maybe the culture war isn’t irretrievably lost to conservatives after all. Kanye West has been tweeting pro-Trump comments all day long, unfazed by the online backlash, and now Chancelor Jonathan Bennett — better known as Chance the Rapper — has chimed in, with this shocking tweet:

Among West’s tweets earlier in the day were several comments about Chicago, including one noting that eight years of President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House had failed to bring change to the Windy City:

Bennett, a Chicago native, retweeted several of West’s posts and rejected those who were “question[ing] his mental or physical health,” saying that the two had just spoken two days ago and West was “in a great space.”

Bennett then added his tweet that “Black people don’t have to be democrats,” and his prediction that the next president would be an independent:

Bennett has been outspoken in the past about both his Christian faith and how it gave him strength to handle everything from his daughter’s health scare (she was diagnosed with a type of irregular heartbeat before she was born) to quitting smoking. Politically, he has described himself as an independent voter, but his father worked for Obama and he has been an outspoken critic of Trump. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016.

So this isn’t a case of Bennett disclosing that he is a secret Republican, but that likely gives his message more legitimacy. He did not support Trump, is not a Republican, but also unequivocally supports his friend as well as the idea that politics are a matter of individual free choice in this country, regardless of the color of your skin.

I’m always going to applaud free thinkers who can respect differences of opinion. The entertainment industry desperately needs more voices like this. Kudos to Mr. Bennett and Mr. West.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

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Texas Governor Demands Creep Congressman Cover Costs of Special Election

Don’t mess with Texas — and definitely don’t mess with Texas taxpayers, is the message Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) sent today in a letter to former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who resigned earlier this month after it was revealed that he had paid $84,000 of taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment complaint filed by a former staffer.

Farenthold had promised to repay that money, but has so far failed to do so. It’s not a question of being able to afford it — financial disclosures Farenthold filed last year showed him to have a net worth of at least $2.4 million.

After the scandal broke, Farenthold announced he would not run for re-election, but his resignation on April 6 was a surprise, and triggered a special election for his seat.

Abbott had previously announced the special election would be held on June 30, with a runoff (if necessary) to be held in September.

Farenthold’s district includes part of the area heavily damaged by Hurricane Harvey last year, and Texas has been working with FEMA and other federal agencies in their disaster relief efforts. In fact, every single county in the district still remains under a state disaster declaration from the hurricane.

These hurricane recovery efforts were cited by Abbott in his call for the emergency special election, which Texas law allows to be held sooner than a regular special election, and in his letter to Farenthold demanding that he cover the costs of the election.

“While you have publicly offered to reimburse the $84,000 in taxpayer funds you wrongly used to settle a sexual harassment claim, there is no legal recourse requiring you to give that money back to Congress,” wrote Abbott. “I am urging you to give those funds back to the counties in your district to cover the costs of the June 30, 2018, special election. This seat must be filled, and the counties and taxpayers in the 27th Congressional District should not again pay the price for your actions.”

Abbott’s letter requests a response by May 2. He also posted a tweet calling on Farenthold to “pay for the special election that had to be called to fill the seat he resigned from because of his disgraceful conduct,” adding that “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for his misdeeds.”

Victoria County Elections Administrator Vicki Vogel told the Victoria Advocate that the cost of the special election could run as much as $200,000 in total, depending on if a runoff is needed.

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George W. Bush Had The Perfect Farewell Message For His Mother

As stories have been shared these past few days about former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died at the age of 92 on Tuesday, one recurring theme has been how important her faith and her family were to her. Her son, former President George W. Bush, clearly shares the same sentiments, posting a touching farewell message to his mother on his Instagram account.

Mrs. Bush was laid to rest on Saturday after a service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas with four generations of her family and about 1,500 others there to honor her memory. After the service concluded, the motorcade took her casket to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, where she was buried next to her daughter Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953. Robin was only 3 years old when she passed, and the Bush family has spoken about how painful her death was, but also their abiding faith that they would be reunited with her one day in heaven.

A cartoon by Clarion-Ledger editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey depicting Mrs. Bush joyfully greeting her little girl at the gates of heaven went viral this week, garnering grateful praise from both Bush family members and parents around the country who had lost children. Ramsey is donating the original drawing and several copies to Mrs. Bush’s husband, former President George H.W. Bush.

Robin was on George W. Bush’s mind as well, as he posted this sweet message late Saturday evening:

“Give Robin a hug for us, Mom.”

Give Robin a hug for us, Mom.

A post shared by George W. Bush (@georgewbush) on Apr 21, 2018 at 8:22pm PDT

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Hammer Time: Author Brad Thor Vows 2020 Challenge to Trump

Author Brad Thor, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, took to Twitter today to issue a challenge for 2020, vowing that if no conservative candidate ran against Trump, he would “absolutely challenge” him for the Republican presidential nomination.

“America deserves better leadership,” Thor tweeted.

A few minutes later, Thor tweeted that he was indeed serious. “Let’s make it official. I’m in.”

Thor’s announcement was met with curiosity and support from a number of other conservatives on Twitter.

RedState reached out to Thor for comment. “America deserves good, solid, stable leadership,” said Thor. “America deserves to be able to tend to their farms, their businesses, and their families without wondering what their President will do next. America needs to know that while they are looking out for their own interests, someone is looking out for them.”

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Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Facing No-Confidence Vote From His Own Deputies

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is facing a no-confidence vote from his own deputies for his actions in the wake of the Parkland school shooting that have “crushed morale through the agency,” as the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association described it.

The February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 students and teachers dead, and an additional 17 wounded. Israel has faced intense criticism for the dozens of visits to the shooter’s home that never resulted in an arrest, their policy of avoiding juvenile arrests even for serious and violent crimes, and the failure of his deputies to enter the school and engage the shooter.

Israel’s actions in the aftermath of the shooting have only raised the v0lume from his critics — his grandstanding attempts to demonize the NRA and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at a CNN townhall, his scapegoating of his own deputies, and additional troubling reports about the shooter’s brother being arrested on campus and a BSO deputy getting caught sleeping while on duty that same day at Stoneman Douglas.

After news broke about the BSO deputy sleeping on campus, the shooter’s brother being arrested, and two students being arrested for bringing weapons onto campus, several parents of Stoneman Douglas students kept their children home from school, and Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) ordered armed guards to be at campus while school was in session.

Parents of several of those killed in the shooting have been increasingly vocal that the government officials who failed to keep their children safe need to be fired, as Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime died that day, told the Miami Herald.

“We all think we know, but we need to know with certainty, we need to find out why they made the mistakes and we need to fire people for their mistakes,” Guttenberg said. “Do any of the mistakes cross over to a criminal activity? I don’t know the law, but I do know at a minimum people need to be fired and they need to be fired soon.”

Shortly after the shooting, Scott ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to conduct an investigation into the BSO’s actions before and during the shooting, and that is still ongoing. Seventy-four Florida legislators also signed a letter calling for Scott to suspend Israel. So far, Israel has remained defiant and not only refused to resign, but given statements to the media touting his “amazing leadership.”

The vote from the union may help nudge Israel closer to resigning — even though it will be largely symbolic, a clear result against him will bolster the pending investigations against him, and provide political cover for any efforts to remove him from his position, elected by the people of Broward County.

The news about the no-confidence vote was confirmed by union president Jeff Bell, who told CNN that the vote would take place electronically and in person at their office starting tonight and continuing through April 26.

The official statement from the union slammed Israel for “many instances of suspected malfeasance, misfeasance, failure to maintain fiduciary responsibility by the sheriff, failure to properly investigate possible criminal conduct by members of his senior command staff and the lack of leadership that has crushed morale throughout the agency.”

Central to their complaints is Israel’s efforts to scapegoat Scot Peterson, the deputy who was the on-campus school resource officer the day of the shooting and never entered the building until well after the shooting was over. Peterson resigned almost immediately after the shooting, and while Bell acknowledged that Peterson should have entered the building, Israel’s refusal to show leadership and accept any responsibility infuriated his deputies.

“He blamed it all on Peterson,” Bell said in an interview with CBS Miami. “You don’t do that to one of your deputies.”

“There is a complete failure at the sheriff’s office and he doesn’t recognize it,” Bell continued. “The morale just disappeared. The morale is gone.”

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

[Cross-posted at The Capitolist.]

 

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Due to Technical Difficulties, IRS Gives America One More Day to File Taxes

Scrambling to get your income taxes filed before midnight tonight? Procrastinators rejoice — you get one more day!

The electronic filing system used by the Internal Revenue Service suffered a temporary “computer glitch,” as the Washington Post described it, causing last-minute taxpayers to stress about whether their returns would be able to be filed on time.

IRS officials have not explained the nature of this “glitch,” telling reporters that they planned a “hard reboot” of their systems after the rush Tax Day had passed.

(Our government at work. I’m just thrilled we turned over so much control of our health care to them, aren’t you?)

Everything is back up and running now, but to reassure worried taxpayers, the IRS decided to extend the deadline to file without penalty through tomorrow, Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at midnight.

 

The IRS posted the following statement about the extension on their website:

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it is providing taxpayers an additional day to file and pay their taxes following system issues that surfaced early on the April 17 tax deadline. Individuals and businesses with a filing or payment due date of April 17 will now have until midnight on Wednesday, April 18. Taxpayers do not need to do anything to receive this extra time.

The IRS encountered system issues Tuesday morning. Throughout the system outage, taxpayers were still able to file their tax returns electronically through their software providers and Free File. Taxpayers using paper to file and pay their taxes at the deadline were not affected by the system issue.

“This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. “The IRS appreciates everyone’s patience during this period. The extra time will help taxpayers affected by this situation.”

The IRS advised taxpayers to continue to file their taxes as normal Tuesday evening – whether electronically or on paper. Automatic six-month extensions are available to taxpayers who need additional time to file can visit https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/extension-of-time-to-file-your-tax-return.

The traditional income tax deadline of April 15 fell on a Sunday this year, and April 16 was a holiday in the District of Columbia, Emancipation Day.

And remember, if you still need more time, you can file for a free six-month extension (until October 15, 2018) at irs.gov/freefile. You will have to estimate the taxes you owe and pay that amount now to avoid additional penalties and interest, but it’s still significantly cheaper than the penalties for failing to file at all.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker

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America Mourns Barbara Bush, Wife and Mother to Presidents

Former First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush, wife of one former President and mother to another, passed away earlier today at the age of 92. Here are a selection of quotes from those mourning her loss around America tonight:

First, and most heartbreakingly, an update from her beloved husband of 73 years, former President George H.W. Bush, who was by her side to the end:

Her son, former President George W. Bush:

My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.

Her son, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL):

Columba and I join every member of the Bush family in offering our sincere gratitude for the outpouring of love and support for my Mom in recent days, and throughout her remarkable life. I’m exceptionally privileged to be the son of George Bush and the exceptionally gracious, gregarious, fun, funny, loving, tough, smart, graceful woman who was the force of nature known as Barbara Bush. Thank you for your prayers, and we look forward to celebrating and honoring her life and contributions to our family and great nation in the coming days.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump: 

Vice President Mike Pence:

Second Lady Karen Pence:

Former President Barack Obama:

Former President Bill Clinton:

Former President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter:

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush (R-TX), her grandson:

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX):

Barbara Bush dedicated her life to helping others. As only the second woman in history to be both the wife and mother of U.S. presidents, Barbara had a unique and profound impact on our country.

Spearheading the fight against illiteracy, she created the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, working to improve the lives of those less fortunate through education. Her selfless devotion to service defines the inspiring legacy Barbara has left behind. Her impact on Texas and our nation will forever be treasured.

Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to President George H.W. Bush and the entire Bush family during this difficult time. We ask that all Texans join us in keeping them in their thoughts and prayers as they mourn the passing of a devoted wife, mother, and public servant.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

Elaine and I join my Senate colleagues and the entire nation in offering our condolences to the Bush family on this sad day.

America has known and loved Barbara Bush for decades. That’s because to get to know Barbara Bush was to admire her. To many, her most famous traits might have seemed to be her renowned toughness and steely resolve. She wielded these formidable qualities on behalf of her nation, the family she loved, and the many worthy causes she supported. Advocates of literacy, in particular, have bid farewell to a generational champion for their efforts.

But what really defined Barbara’s life was her deep love for her lucky husband George, for her family, and for the country.

Today a nation joins the Bush family, their many friends, and all the country in their grief, and in prayer.

Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX):

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL):

Our nation mourns the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush. She was a great woman, whose commitment to God and country inspired all Americans. Her legacy will live on through her family. Jeanette and I are keeping the Bush family in our prayers.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL):

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX):

My prayers are with the Bush family at the passing of their beloved Barbara, an eternal First Lady in the heart of every Texan.

She was as much a public servant as her husband and children: traveling the world as advisor and ambassador, campaigning for adult literacy programs at home, and, of course, making George Senior eat his broccoli. Standing beside him through Congress, the UN, the CIA, and 12 years at the White House, Mrs. Bush approached her public role with a class and grace seldom matched in our nation’s capital.

But it was her private role which she prized above all.

From China to Texas to Washington DC, Barbara Bush worked on a beautiful floral needlepoint rug, stitching together changing times and geography with constant love and support for her family. Her masterpiece eventually graced the floors of the Executive Mansion, making the White House a true home. It was a symbol of her lifelong tapestry of love and service, stronger than executive orders, long hours, and sleepless nights.

In her famous address for the 1990 Commencement at Wellesley College, she reminded graduates to treasure their human connections above worldly concerns:

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent.’

And at the end of her life, Barbara Bush had no cause for regret.

Indeed, she gave her family, the people of Texas, and all Americans a lifetime worth celebrating.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE):

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI):

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX):

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX):

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt:

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker

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Sean Hannity’s Confusing Explanation About Michael Cohen

Competent legal advice is incredibly valuable — there’s a reason experienced attorneys can charge hundreds of dollars per hour. For Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, however, he may be getting a lesson in “you get what you pay for,” as his name became a trending topic after it was disclosed in a federal court hearing that President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, represented Hannity as well. Hannity’s attempts to explain the situation are confusing, if not outright contradictory, and do not seem likely to make this story die down.

As RedState reported earlier today, Cohen was in court trying to protect evidence seized during last week’s FBI raid on his home, office, and hotel room, by claiming a broad attorney-client privilege.

Because Cohen’s own comments have made it tough to plausibly argue an attorney-client privilege related to the president — like when he publicly claimed that Trump was unaware of the alleged payoff to Stormy Daniels — Cohen’s attorneys tried other angles, like claiming Cohen had an additional third client who deserved the protection of the privilege. However, they did not want to disclose the identity of that mysterious third client. The judge rejected that argument and demanded the nameand it was revealed to be Sean Hannity.

On his Twitter account, Hannity sought to offer an explanation.

He also made similar comments on his radio program today, with the added detail that he sometimes “handed him 10 bucks” as a legal fee because he wanted to invoke the attorney-client privilege.

OK. There’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, Hannity really should have consulted with a lawyer — someone who didn’t get his law degree from literally the “worst law school in the country” — before he started running his mouth on his radio show or Twitter.

Hannity is claiming that Cohen “never represented him” and he “never retained him,” but he also wants to claim the attorney-client privilege over their conversations.

He is claiming that he never “received an invoice, or paid legal fees,” but he also says he “might have handed him 10 bucks.” (For the record, it is possible for an attorney-client privilege to exist even without the payment of legal fees. Otherwise, an attorney could not represent anyone pro bono and still have the privilege protect their communications.)

He is claiming that their conversations “never involved any matter between me and a third-party,” but “dealt almost exclusively about real estate.”

I’m not sure how you can discuss real estate transactions without third parties being involved — whether you’re a buyer or seller, trying to develop a piece of property or get new or additional financing, there are always third parties involved. If nothing else, there are government entities involved in property taxes, permitting, zoning, etc.

It doesn’t make much sense to have sought out Cohen for “real estate” advice either. If Hannity is lying, well, that’s an entirely different matter. Maybe this is the kind of advice you get for “10 bucks”?

At minimum, the fact that Hannity had some sort of legal representation relationship with Cohen was relevant, and should have been disclosed to his Fox News Channel audience. No one is deluded enough to believe Hannity is impartial on any matter relating to Trump, but it is an entirely separate issue indeed for him to be so vocal in his defense of Cohen but not disclose his own connection to him.

It would not have restricted his ability to voice his opinion, or required any disclosure of confidential information. He could have simply said something along the lines of, “I know Michael Cohen, and, in fact, I’ve gotten legal advice from him before.” If anything, Hannity’s audience — many of whom share his pro-Trump stance — would have been fine with that, if not trusting his defense of Cohen more after hearing that Hannity knew him and had sought advice from him too.

The real punchline here is that Hannity’s comments knock the legs out from under the efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to protect the evidence the FBI seized. If, as Hannity says, they just had minor, occasional conversations, unrelated to “any third party” (presumably meaning Trump), then there are unlikely to be any documents or evidence related to Hannity included in the FBI’s seized materials. Moreover, Cohen’s attorneys cannot claim an attorney-client privilege on behalf of Hannity to protect all that evidence that has nothing to do with him.

To recap: we have a lawyer, Michael Cohen, who wants to claim an attorney-client privilege over communications with Trump, but claimed Trump was unaware of the negotiations and payment to Stormy Daniels, and tried to claim an attorney-client privilege on behalf of another client, Hannity, who just publicly said he had nothing to do with this whole mess.

I’ve said it before about Cohen, and it seems to apply to the attorneys Cohen has retained to represent him as well — weaponized ineptitude. Trump, Hannity, et al. all have substantial financial resources and connections to powerful people. Why have they put so much trust in Cohen? Bizarre doesn’t begin to cover it.

Hannity, if you’re reading this: shut up and call a real lawyer before you say or tweet one more word.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker

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Marco Rubio Gives Reporter from Cuban Communist Paper Free Lesson on a Free Press

While Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was attending the Summit of the Americas conference in Lima, Peru on Friday and Saturday, he was challenged by a reporter from Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban communist party. Rubio’s response was a mic-dropping lesson on the freedoms of speech and the press enshrined in our First Amendment, and how that empowers the American people to hold our politicians accountable — in strong contrast to the oppression perpetrated by governments like Cuba’s Castro regime, or Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

Granma, named after the boat on which Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Che Guevara, and 79 others traveled from Mexico to Cuba in order to launch the Cuban Revolution, serves as the propaganda ministry for the Castro regime and is the only permitted printed source of news for the people of Cuba. Due to the Castros’ longstanding alliance with Maduro, they frequently carry news supporting his regime as well.

Granma frequently complains about “oppression” and “offenses” by the American government and politicians. Rubio is a favored target, like last November when they accused Rubio of “blackmailing” Latin American countries into supporting sanctions against Venezuela. Those sanctions were because Maduro is a communist dictator whose government has combined oppression and corruption to ignite a horrific crisis that has caused the widespread starvation of his own people, despite having one of the world’s largest known oil reserves.

Bottom line, Rubio has been one of the most visible, most eloquent critics on the world stage of the communist dictators in Cuba and Venezuela. So when a Granma reporter thought he had a chance to take a swipe at Rubio during a press Q&A session at the summit in Lima, he took it. He should have known better that Rubio would deftly punch right back.

The reporter, Sergio Gomez, asked Rubio about the “$3 million” he had received from the NRA, repeating a favored attack line from gun control advocates. Just like the American liberals have, Gomez conveniently ignored the fact that figure is wildly misleading, with the NRA’s PAC actually only giving Rubio $9,900 directly during the 2016 presidential campaign, and the rest consisting of independent expenditures on advertisements during past election cycles that Rubio had no ability to control or even influence under federal law.

After asking Gomez to identify himself and his affiliation with Granma, Rubio replied, similar to how he’s answered similar questions from American reporters, that he supports the Second Amendment, and people who agree with his position support him — and those who do not support him can vote against him. Rubio also noted that America has transparency on who donates to candidates.

Rubio described as his “greatest desire” and “wish” for Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries like them is for their people to be able to “decide in the polls” — “not through violence, not through illegitimate political movements.” This was undoubtedly a nod to the sham elections held in Cuba and Venezuela so the dictators can continue their charade of being elected by the people.

“In the United States, in comparison to Cuba, we have a free press,” continued Rubio. “The press can question and criticize me all they want, and they do so daily. I’m glad we’re able to hold a debate, because in Cuba you can’t have a debate.”

Rubio then reiterated that he is supported by the people who support his positions, and those who don’t agree with him can vote against him.

“I wish you could also do that in Cuba, because you can’t,” concluded Rubio.

Unsurprisingly, Gomez’s official writeup at Granma omits all of Rubio’s comments about freedom of the press and the lack thereof in Cuba. Gomez did manage to complain that Rubio was attending the summit “en ocasión de la ausencia del presidente Donald Trump con el objetivo de avanzar en su agenda agresiva contra Venezuela y Cuba” (on the occasion of President Donald Trump’s absence in order to advance his aggressive agenda against Venezuela and Cuba).

Watch the exchange between Rubio and Gomez here:

Transcript of English translation:

Sergio Gomez: The central theme of the summit is the fight against corruption. I wonder if the influence lobbyists hold on politicians was in the agenda, specifically the NRA from whom you’ve received more than $3 million dollars. What do you say to your voters from Lima? Will you continue to accept money from that organization? What do you say to the Parkland victims?

Sen. Marco Rubio: Where are you from? What news outlet?

Gomez: Sergio Gomez, from Cuba. Granma newspaper.

Rubio: Which one?

Gomez: Granma.

Rubio: I’m glad you can come here and freely express yourself and I welcome you. I think this is important because I am willing to answer questions in an open forum where you can have discrepancies. There are people in my country that don’t agree with how the Second Amendment of the Constitution is interpreted. Those people who are in disagreement with my stance on this issue have the right to vote against me. Even though I won the elections, in my country, those individuals who disagree with me on that topic can vote against me. Millions voted against me, but millions more voted in my favor. That’s my greatest desire. My wish is that Cuba, Venezuela and every country who has differences can decide them in the polls. Not through violence, not through illegitimate political movements. That’s what I wish. At the end of the day I think that in a free society, those who have disagreements with a political stance can vote against that politician. In 5 years I will have to run again.

Gomez: Will you continue accepting the money? It’s a direct question.

Rubio: It’s simple. In the United States, in comparison to Cuba, we have a free press. The press can question and criticize me all they want, and they do so daily. I’m glad we’re able to hold a debate, because in Cuba you can’t have a debate. The answer is that in the U.S. the people know my stance.  We also have transparency on who donates and who doesn’t. Yes, I support the Second Amendment and those people who support that Amendment support me. Those who don’t support it can vote against me. I wish you could also do that in Cuba, because you can’t.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker

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Congressional Reactions to Tonight’s Airstrikes in Syria

Here are a selection of reactions tonight to the airstrikes in Syria from members of Congress. As you can see, they range from supportive, supportive but wanting Congressional authorization for future actions, to various degrees of opposition. We have included a selection of Senators and Representatives from both parties and will update the post as we can with additional reactions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

Tonight, the administration notified me of the president’s decision to use military action to deter Bashar al-Assad and respond to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people. I support both the action and objective.

The tactics employed by the Assad regime to consolidate gains and terrorize the people of Syria defied the U.S. position that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.

Last year, we undertook cruise missile strikes against the Shayrat airfield — from which aircraft used in a chemical weapons attack had been launched — and against assets of importance to the regime such as aircraft, hardened shelters, and air defense systems. These actions were intended to make clear to Assad that the use of chemical weapons would be met with a response.

Assad ignored that warning. He ignored the declaratory policy of the United States. He chose to terrorize the people of Douma.

The planning for this robust operation by the United States and our allies was clearly well-considered. It is evident that the President was provided with a number of options, and that our forces executed a challenging mission.

As I noted following last year’s action, our gratitude goes out to the world’s most capable military. Americans have become used to flawless execution on the part of our uniformed military — but of course, none of this could occur without years of training and investment, or the professionalism and dedication of our service members.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): 

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):

I applaud the President for taking military action against the Assad regime for its latest use of chemical weapons, and for signaling his resolve to do so again if these heinous attacks continue. I am grateful to our British and French allies for joining us in this action.

I hope these strikes impose meaningful costs on Assad. The message to Assad must be that the cost of using chemical weapons is worse than any perceived benefit, that the United States and our allies have the will and capability to continue imposing those costs, and that Iran and Russia will ultimately be unsuccessful in protecting Assad from our punitive response.

To succeed in the long run, we need a comprehensive strategy for Syria and the entire region. The President needs to lay out our goals, not just with regard to ISIS, but also the ongoing conflict in Syria and malign Russian and Iranian influence in the region. Airstrikes disconnected from a broader strategy may be necessary, but they alone will not achieve U.S. objectives in the Middle East.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT):

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT):

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL):

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK):

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR):

The Butcher of Damascus learned two lessons tonight the hard way: weapons of mass destruction won’t create a military advantage once the United States is done with you and Russia cannot protect its clients from the United States. President Trump ought to sustain the attacks if Assad doesn’t learn these lessons, and Iran’s ayatollahs and Kim Jong Un might want to learn the easy way. We thank our old British and French friends for once again joining us in defending the civilized world.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ):

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA):

Tonight, the United States and our allies executed a strong and unified response to the Assad regime’s recent attacks, making clear that their horrific crimes and use of chemical weapons against their own people will not be tolerated. The evidence produced is indisputable: Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal, and he will be held accountable for his actions.

Russia and Iran are complicit in these chemical weapons attacks on innocent populations. The Trump administration has shown decisive and precise global leadership. We must remain unified with our allies to put a stop to these continued attacks on the Syrian people once and for all.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA):

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI):

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA):

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY):

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA):

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

The post Congressional Reactions to Tonight’s Airstrikes in Syria appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State