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Trump touts tax cut successes in trip to Minnesota, key voting state in 2020 election

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Trump builds unprecedented war chest; Sanders tops Dems 2020 fundraising fight

President Trump spent his tax filing day in Minnesota, where he touted his $1.5 trillion package of corporate and individual tax cuts he signed into law in 2017 and made a pitch for his 2020 reelection.

Speaking at a trucking company in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville on Monday, Trump said he hoped his economic message would be met with enthusiasm from a state that he came within 1.5 percentage points of carrying in 2016.

“We promised that these tax cuts would be rocket fuel to the economy and we were right,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion.

TRUMP HAULS IN $30 MILLION IN FIRST THREE MONTHS OF 2019

In his remarks the president said the economy was doing well and that the recent tax cuts were “working very, very well.”

Besides taxes, Trump also argued that his tariffs on imported steel were helping blue-collar workers in Minnesota’s more rural north and leading to a resurgence in the mining industry due to increased demand from domestic steelmakers.

While the trip was billed as a chance to meet with local business leaders on Tax Day, Minnesota likely will play a crucial role in deciding Trump’s chances of winning reelection next fall as well.

Minnesota, which gave the country Vice Presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, both Democrats, hasn’t given its 10 electoral votes to a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972.

The state’s Democrats saw a huge overall resurgence during the anti-Trump backlash of 2018, notably in traditionally Republican suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Giving the president hope is the memory that his popularity outside the Twin Cities area helped the GOP flip two U.S. House seats away from the Democrats last year.

KUDLOW: US ECONOMY HOTTEST IN WORLD

The tax cuts were lambasted on Sunday by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat in the 2020 White House race, arguing that they added trillions of dollars to the nation’s debt and disproportionately helped the wealthy.

“That tax bill was a major missed opportunity,” she said. “That tax bill should have been a bill that would have not only brought some taxes down for working people but also could have funded a major infrastructure investment.”

So far Trump doesn’t appear to be getting much credit for the tax changes. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last week showed that most Americans didn’t think they even got a tax cut. Just 17 percent of those polled believed their taxes went down.

More evidence came from a report by tax preparer H&R Block on Thursday that said Americans were undergoing a “confusing tax experience” this season. While its customers’ overall tax liability fell 24.9 percent in the first year under the new tax law, refunds were roughly flat at just 1.4 percent. While the average filer was better off, it said, they weren’t seeing it in their refunds, “which many people think of as their ‘bottom line.'”

Federal data also showed a negligible increase in refunds. According to the IRS, as of March 29 the average refund nationally was $2,893, which was just $20 more than at the same point last tax season.

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Further muddling the picture was the federal deduction for state and local taxes being capped at $10,000, which has mattered in high-tax states such as Minnesota, California and New York, among others.

Along with discussions on taxes, trade and the economy, Trump also expressed his shock and sadness for the massive fire that was devastating the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris – calling the blaze something “that is beyond country, it’s beyond everything.”

“The fire that they’re having at the Notre Dame Cathedral is something like few have witnessed,” he said, adding that the church was “one of the great treasures of the world.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rashida Tlaib’s removal from committees urged by Zionist Organization of America

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Rashida Tlaib claims Dem leadership uses party’s minority members as tokens of diversity

One of America’s oldest Jewish organizations called Wednesday for U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., to be removed from congressional committees and from the Democratic Party.

In an editorial posted on its website, the Zionist Organization of America, which dates to 1897, pointed to what it described as Tlaib’s “anti-Israel record,” and accused the freshman congresswoman of associating with “terrorists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists.”

“Rashida Tlaib’s anti-Israel record was already well-known before she was elected in last year’s midterm elections,” the ZOA article asserts. “She calls Israel a ‘racist country’ on the basis of the lie that Israel discriminates against those ‘darker skinned,’ supports the destruction of Israel in favor of an Arab-dominated state (“It has to be one state”), ‘absolutely’ backs withholding U.S. aid from Israel, and openly supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is committed to international ostracism and weakening of Israel with a view to its eventual elimination.”

FRESHMAN REP. RASHIDA TLAIB INTRODUCES RESOLUTION URGING TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

The ZOA supports its assertions with links to news stories that quote the 42-year-old Palestinian-American lawmaker from Detroit.

The same article includes a list of people with whom Tlaib has been photographed, or about whom Tlaib has posted social media messages, and includes information about their alleged links to bombings or other crimes.

“It is perfectly clear that Rashida Tlaib is not in the smallest degree ashamed, and has not the slightest inhibition about, being publicly being associated with these anti-Semites, terrorists and glorifiers of Jew-murderers,” ZOA National President Morton A. Klein and Chairman Mark Levenson said in a joint statement.

JEWISH GROUPS CONDEMN RASHIDA TLAIB OVER TIES TO RADICAL PRO-HEZBOLLAH, ANTI-ISRAEL ACTIVIST

“The Democratic Party must do the only honorable thing,” they continued, “which is to expel her from the party and remove her from Congressional committees.”

Since taking office in January, Tlaib has been a lightning rod for criticism from Republicans as well as from members of her own party.

She quickly drew national attention just hours after being sworn in, when she used a profanity in calling for the impeachment of President Trump.

“We’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf—er,’” she told a crowd of supporters, referring to Trump.

In March, Tlaib denounced anti-Semitism in an interview with the Detroit News.

“I’m always pushing back against it,” Tlaib said of anti-Semitism. “But this is going to continue happening because I’m Palestinian.”

She claimed that an important distinction needed to be made between anti-Semitism and her criticisms of the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“When I criticize Netanyahu’s discrimination, inequality, human rights violations, saying you have to do better and we have to look at real equality and even desegregating certain communities,” Tlaib told the News, “that, to me, does not make me charging toward the Jewish faith at all. And I’m very conscientious of that.”

In April, Tlaib quickly came to the defense of another progressive Democrat, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, after Omar referred to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as “some people did something.”

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Tlaib claimed that critics had taken Omar’s words out of context.

“My sister Ilhan Omar, what she was talking about, was uplifting people by supporting their civil liberties and civil rights,” Tlaib said in a television interview. “She has always, always condemned any strategy, especially of a person directly impacted by being a refugee herself.”

More recently, Tlaib asked her supporters last week to join her in a hunger strike in protest of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), arguing that the federal agency that enforces U.S. immigration laws should be shut down.

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Hundreds of decks of playing cards arrive for Washington state lawmaker who criticized nurses

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Washington state lawmaker riles nurses by saying that some spend 'considerable' time playing cards

The Washington state senator who suggested that some nurses “play cards” during a “considerable” portion of their shifts received more than 600 packages of playing cards Tuesday as backlash over her remarks continued to grow.

The United Parcel Service location in Tumwater, Wash., said that it received 667 packages of playing cards addressed to state Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, after an open letter criticizing her remarks circulated on Facebook last week and included Walsh’s P.O. box address, Seattle’s KOMO-TV reported.

“You said that not all nurses deserve breaks as they just sit around playing cards while on shift anyway,” the letter read. “I know nurses who can go all night without food or a bathroom break. I know nurses with nerve damage and back pain from doing whatever it takes to take care of patients. I know nurses who cry in their cars. Do you think that’s where they play cards, Senator Walsh?”

WASHINGTON STATE LAWMAKER RILES NURSES BY SAYING SOME SPEND ‘CONSIDERABLE’ TIME PLAYING CARDS

Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, angered nurses by commenting in a speech that some nurses may spend a lot of time playing cards in rural hospitals. (Associated Press)

Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, angered nurses by commenting in a speech that some nurses may spend a lot of time playing cards in rural hospitals. (Associated Press)

The letter went on to predict that after the next election cycle Walsh may find herself with “plenty of time to play cards and plenty of cards to play with.”

Walsh first drew criticism from nursing professionals while debating a bill last week that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses and would also provide mandatory overtime protections for them.

She pushed for an amendment that would exclude hospitals with fewer than 25 beds from the provision, arguing that such small facilities struggle to provide 24-hour care as it is.

“I would submit to you that those (small hospital) nurses probably do get breaks,” Walsh said. “They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”

Despite the bill being passed with Walsh’s amendment, her ill-received comments sparked a flurry of social media posts mocking her.

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Walsh addressed the issue Monday, apologizing to those who were offended and saying she would spend a day shadowing a nurse throughout his or her 12-hour shift.

“I want to offer my heartfelt apologies to those I offended with my comments on the Senate floor last Tuesday. I was tired, and in the heat of argument on the Senate floor, I said some things about nurses that were taken out of context – but still they crossed the line.”

In 2012, some comments by Walsh on a different subject also went viral, the News Tribune of Tacoma reported. That year Walsh bucked most other members of the state GOP by speaking out in support of same-sex marriage. The state’s House subsequently backed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

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Bernie Sanders wrong about prisoners and voting, ex-con released under Trump reform law says

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Bernie Sanders wrong about prisoners and voting, ex-con released under Trump reform law says

The first man released from prison under President Trump’s criminal justice reform law reacted to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., saying that prisoners should be permitted to vote by noting the “logistical” problems of allowing prisoners serving a sentence to vote and backing prisoners who served their time to have their rights restored.

“I do know while you’re incarcerated you do lose some of your liberties. But my thing is, once a person has been completely released and they paid their debt to society and they are back in society actually functioning, paying taxes, then they should have their rights restored to vote,” Matthew Charles, who was released from prison under the First Step Act, said on Fox News’  “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

KAMALA HARRIS BACKTRACKS, NOW SAYS CRIMINALS LIKE BOSTON BOMBER ‘SHOULD BE DEPRIVED’ OF RIGHT TO VOTE

“But during the period they’re incarcerated, it’s going to be like a complex issue because of the logistics. You got people incarcerated in states that they actually are not from.”

Sanders opened himself to scrutiny this week after saying that not only should incarcerated prisoners be permitted to vote but that Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should also be permitted to vote.

“If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they will be punished. But I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people,” Sanders said Monday on a CNN Town Hall.

Trump’s re-election campaign called out Sanders Wednesday, describing his idea “deeply offensive.”

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“The extremity and radicalism of the 2020 Democrats knows no bounds,” Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News.

“Giving imprisoned terrorists, sex offenders, and murderers the right to vote is an outrageous proposal that is deeply offensive to innocent victims across this country, some of whom lost their lives and are forever disenfranchised by the very killers that 2020 Democrats seek to empower,” she said.

Fox News’ Sally Persons and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

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