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Trump faces House condemnation after his tweets on minority congresswomen

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As Trump again attacks minority congresswomen, House moves towards condemnation vote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump pressured fellow Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday to stand with him and vote against a symbolic measure condemning his racially charged attacks on four Democratic congresswomen.

Democrats, who have a majority in the House, were expected to pass the symbolic resolution of condemnation on Tuesday evening. But it is Republican lawmakers who will be in the spotlight as they will be forced to either vote against their party’s leader, who has strong support among conservatives, or effectively defend him.

Outrage over Trump’s Sunday tweetstorm – in which he told four prominent minority Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” – has since diverted attention from all other business in Washington.

All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens; three were born in the United States.

Only a handful of Republican lawmakers have spoken out against Trump’s tweets about the congresswomen, doing so in muted tones.

“These are our sisters,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the four lawmakers targeted by Trump, who are in their first terms in Congress, during a closed caucus meeting on Tuesday, according to an aide who was present.

Pelosi said she hoped some Republicans would support the resolution. “If they can’t support condemning the words of the president, well, that’s a message in and of itself,” she said.

The lawmakers – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – have been critical of Trump, as well as of the current Democratic leaders of the House, straining party unity in that chamber.

‘PRESIDENT IS NOT A RACIST’

Trump has a history of what critics consider race-baiting. He led a movement that falsely claimed former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and he said after a deadly, white supremacist-led rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that “both sides” were to blame for violence there.

On Tuesday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that he thought “everybody ought to tone down their rhetoric” and focus on issues, but he stopped short of condemning Trump’s remarks.

“The president is not a racist and I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country but it’s coming from all different ideological points of view,” McConnell said.

U.S. Reps Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) hold a news conference after Democrats in the U.S. Congress moved to formally condemn President Donald Trump’s attacks on the four minority congresswomen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 15, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

The House resolution, seen by Reuters late on Monday, said the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would encourage his members to vote against the resolution condemning Trump.

“It’s all politics,” McCarthy told reporters.

Trump later retweeted McCarthy’s comments and thanked him.

Trump’s attacks on the four progressive congresswomen – known as “the squad” – have been viewed as an effort to divide the Democrats, who won control of the House of Representatives in 2018 and have the power to thwart his legislative agenda.

Trump has sought to highlight proposals from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which he calls extreme, as he seeks to attract moderates – and energize his political base – ahead of the November 2020 presidential elections.

Trump was asked by reporters at the White House where he thought the four American lawmakers should go.

FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual “Made in America Product Showcase” on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 15, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

“It’s up to them. Do what they want. They can leave. They can stay. But they should love our country, and they should work for the good of our country,” Trump said, adding complaints about some of their past remarks.

Earlier, Trump had warned Republicans on Twitter against voting against him. “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap.”

In response, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “You’re right, Mr. President – you don’t have a racist bone in your body. You have a racist mind in your head, and a racist heart in your chest.”

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Amanda Becker, David Alexander and Mohammad Zargham; Writing by Roberta Rampton and Susan Heavey; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Bill Trott and Alistair Bell

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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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