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Democratic Mayor Buttigieg faces growing fallout over police shooting in his city

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Democratic Mayor Buttigieg faces growing fallout over police shooting in his city

SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Sunday faced growing fallout over a fatal police shooting in South Bend, an incident that has exposed simmering racial tensions in the Indiana city where he is mayor and which is complicating his presidential ambitions.

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the SC Democratic Convention in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., June 22, 2019. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Buttigieg answered questions at a frequently raucous and angry meeting with South Bend residents in which he was heckled, booed and screamed at by a minority of audience members. He admitted efforts to make the city’s police force more diverse had failed, “and I take responsibility for that.”

Buttigieg appeared a week after the fatal shooting of a black man, Eric Logan, by a white police officer exposed longstanding accusations among many African Americans in South Bend that elements within the city’s predominately white police force are racist.

The mayor, who is white, has been struggling to attract support for his presidential bid among black voters, a vital constituency in a Democratic nominating contest. The police shooting has laid bare anger among many in South Bend’s black community, not just about police conduct, but a belief that many African American neighborhoods have been left behind while Buttigieg has revitalized more affluent, whiter areas.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, a clearly emotional Buttigieg said anger and frustration over race relations in the city had been “hurled” at him. He said he did not know if it was smart politically to open himself up to such audiences, but “it’s my city, and I love my city. It’s my job to face it.”

He also took to the stage just hours after another fatal shooting in the city, which left one person dead and nine injured in a bar early on Sunday morning.

Buttigieg, 37, remained calm throughout the town hall meeting even as he struggled to make himself heard, shouted down by mainly black protesters, some of whom shouted “liar!” as he sought to explain how he will deal with the shooting investigation, and as he promised transparency.

He said he wanted an independent, outside investigation of the police shooting, and will also ask the U.S. Justice of Department to investigate.

The growing and racially-charged crisis in the city where he has been chief executive since 2012 threatens to stall the progress Buttigieg had been making in national presidential polls among the two dozen Democrats seeking to become the party’s candidate to take on Republican President Donald Trump in next year’s election.

National scrutiny is growing on how he deals with events in South Bend, where levels of trust between many blacks and the police force is extremely low. Buttigieg pledged to take steps to build that trust, and invited community input. “This is the beginning of the conversation, not the end,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg has been forced to leave the presidential campaign trail for most of the past week to deal with the shooting’s fallout, exacerbated by the white officer’s failure to film the fatal encounter with his body camera.

The mayor has had a rocky relationship with some of the city’s black residents, stemming in part from his decision to fire the African American police chief early in his mayoral tenure, and replace him with two consecutive white police chiefs.

One black audience member, shouting at Buttigieg as he sat next to the city’s white police chief, whom he had just given his backing to, yelled: “How do you expect us to trust you?”

The fact that Buttigieg is being noisily confronted with the issue of race at home comes in a week when Congress held hearings about reparations for the descendants of slaves, and just days before the first Democratic debates. Events in South Bend are threatening to significantly undermine what had been a relatively trouble-free campaign.

Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in ‘SMEAR story’

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Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in 'SMEAR story'

President Trump blasted The New York Times over its supposed bombshell report on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling on “everybody” involved in the “smear” to resign.

“I call for the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story, and while you’re at it, the Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is just as phony!” Trump tweeted Monday evening.

“They’ve taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation… She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!”

NEW YORK TIMES CRITICIZED FROM BOTH SIDES OVER NOW-REVISED KAVANAUGH ALLEGATIONS

Late Sunday, The New York Times walked back an explosive report about a resurfaced allegation of sexual assault by Kavanaugh from his college days. The piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, adapted from their forthcoming book, alleged there was corroboration of an incident in which Kavanaugh, as a college student at Yale, exposed himself to a female classmate at a party.

However, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway — who reviewed an advance copy of the book – flagged an omission and the paper eventually revised the controversial story after being lampooned on social media over the gaffe.

The update included the significant detail that several friends of the alleged victim said she did not recall the purported sexual assault. The newspaper also stated for the first time that the alleged victim refused to be interviewed, and has made no other comment about the episode.

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Trump was asked about whether anyone from The Times should be “fired” over the controversy. He called it a “fair” question but didn’t directly give an answer.

“I think The New York Times made another terrible mistake,” Trump said. “It’s a shame that a thing like that could happen… They used to have a thing called fact-checking. They don’t have fact-checking anymore.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

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With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will hold one of his signature rallies on Monday night in New Mexico, a longtime Democratic stronghold his campaign has added to the list of states it hopes to win in the November 2020 election.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The last time New Mexico supported a Republican in a presidential race was 2004. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton beat Trump there by 8 percentage points three years ago.

Trump’s campaign sees an opening in the state with Latinos, who it believes will swing his way despite tough immigration policies, including a crackdown on migrants from Central America and a push to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Democrats have criticized those efforts. But a Trump campaign aide said the Republican president could win over Latinos who came to the United States legally and believe others should, too.

“Big crowd expected in New Mexico tonight, where we will WIN. Your Border Wall is getting stronger each and every day — see you in a few hours!” Trump tweeted ahead of his trip.

The campaign also views Trump’s support for the fossil fuel industry as a plus in the state, which is rich in oil and natural gas, said the campaign aide, who declined to be named. Trump is likely to discuss energy on Monday night.

Trump won the White House in 2016 with electoral votes from traditional Republican-leaning states and some surprise Democratic-leaning ones.

The Trump campaign says it wants New Mexico’s five electoral votes to augment the 306 electoral votes the president received in his first election, not create a separate path for victory. A candidate must get 270 electoral votes nationally to win.

Democrats, who did well in New Mexico during the 2018 mid-term elections, are skeptical.

“Last cycle, Democrats crushed Republicans in New Mexico because voters are fed up with President Trump’s toxic healthcare agenda and broken promises,” said David Bergstein, a communications director for the Democratic National Committee focused on battleground states.

“We take nothing for granted, but this GOP strategy looks like they’re concerned about a realistic pathway to 270 electoral votes,” he added.

Trump won electoral-vote-rich swing states such as Ohio and Florida in 2016, while also picking up Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania from Democrats.

The campaign says it is eyeing more pickups in 2020, including Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Nevada.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown

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California adds Iowa to ‘travel ban’ over refusal to fund gender transitions

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California adds Iowa to 'travel ban' over refusal to fund gender transitions

California announced Monday that it has added Iowa to the list of states on its ever-expanding “travel ban” list because of that state’s new prohibition against funding gender-transition surgeries under Medicaid.

The announcement by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra means that as of Oct. 4, California will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university.

Becerra’s authority came from a 2016 California law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that bars state-funded travel to other states that undercut LGBT rights. The list already included Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

WATCH: LIBERAL POLICIES BLAMED FOR WORSENING CALIFORNIA’S HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

Conservatives have called the law ineffective, inconveniencing, possibly unconstitutional and hypocritical. The state’s sports teams have turned to private funding to get around the restrictions, according to The Los Angeles Times.

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

“The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming health care,” Becerra said in a statement. “California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it.”

The brouhaha began after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in March that taxpayers could be forced to pay for gender reassignment surgery. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law effectively overriding that ruling two months later.

At the federal level, the Trump administration has disputed the idea that sex-based discrimination prohibitions under law include protections for gender identity. The Health and Human Services Department, in May, angered progressive advocates with rules that both allowed doctors not to perform certain operations and stated that “gender identity” was not protected under sex discrimination law in health care.

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Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

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