Joe Biden drops reelection bid and endorses Kamala Harris

In a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter), President Joe Biden announced that he is ending his reelection campaign. In a subsequent message on X, he endorsed his vice president and running mate, Kamala Harris, saying, “My fellow Democrats, I have decided not to accept the nomination and to focus all my energies on my duties as President for the remainder of my term. My very first decision as the party nominee in 2020 was to pick Kamala Harris as my Vice President. And it’s been the best decision I’ve made. Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year. Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump. Let’s do this.” The news of his withdrawal follows 25 days of pressure for Biden to drop out of the race after what has been described as a disastrous debate with President Donald Trump. NBC News reported just days ago that 13 congressional Democrats joined the call of 12 before them to publicly ask Biden to step aside and forgo his efforts to seek reelection.  pic.twitter.com/RMIRvlSOYw — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 21, 2024 My fellow Democrats, I have decided not to accept the nomination and to focus all my energies on my duties as President for the remainder of my term. My very first decision as the party nominee in 2020 was to pick Kamala Harris as my Vice President. And it’s been the best… pic.twitter.com/x8DnvuImJV — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 21, 2024

Victims and shooter identified in assassination attempt on Donald Trump at Butler rally

This story originally appeared on Pennsylvania Capital-Star. The FBI said early Sunday it had identified the man who shot former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Butler on Saturday as Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Crooks was killed at the scene. Trump was pronounced safe shortly after the incident. Corey Comperatore, 50, of Sarver, Pennsylvania, who was at the rally with his family, was killed in the shooting and two others were injured. Local news reports identified Comperatore as a former fire chief for Buffalo Township. “Tonight we had what we’re calling an assassination attempt on our former president, Donald Trump,” Special Agent in Charge Kevin Rojek of the FBI Pittsburgh field office said at a press conference late Saturday. “We do not currently have an identified motive.” Governor Josh Shapiro on Sunday said flags will be flown at half-staff at Commonwealth facilities, public buildings, and grounds across the state. “Corey was a girl dad. Corey was a firefighter. Corey went to church every Sunday. Corey loved his community most especially, Corey loved his family,” Shapiro said during a press conference. “Corey was an avid supporter of the former president, was so excited to be there last night with him in the community. I asked Corey’s wife if it would be OK for me to share that we spoke. She said yes. She also asked that I share with all of you that Corey died a hero. That Corey dove on his family to protect them last night at this rally. Corey was the very best of us. May his memory be a blessing.” Pennsylvania State Police identified the other two victims as David Dutch, 57, of New Kensington, and James Copenhaver, 74, of Moon Township. Both were listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon, PSP said. “These victims and their families are certainly in our thoughts today,” state police Col. Christopher Paris said Sunday. “The Pennsylvania State Police continue to work tirelessly alongside our federal, state and local partners as this investigation continues.” State voter records show Crooks was a registered Republican, and a Federal Election Commission filing showed he made a $15 donation on Jan, 20, 2021 to the “Progressive Turnout Project,” before he would have been old enough to vote. He was a 2022 graduate of Bethel Park High School, the school district confirmed in a statement. The U.S. Secret Service said Saturday night that the shooter “fired multiple shots toward the stage from an elevated position outside of the rally venue.” Trump thanked well-wishers in a post to Truth Social Sunday morning. “Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers yesterday, as it was God alone who prevented the unthinkable from happening. We will FEAR NOT, but instead remain resilient in our Faith and Defiant in the face of Wickedness,” he wrote. “Our love goes out to the other victims and their families,” he continued. “We pray for the recovery of those who were wounded, and hold in our hearts the memory of the citizen who was so horribly killed. In this moment, it is more important than ever that we stand United, and show our True Character as Americans, remaining Strong and Determined, and not allowing Evil to Win. I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin.” The site of the shooting at the Butler Farm Show Inc. about 40 minutes north of Pittsburgh, remained an active crime scene, although authorities said they did not believe there was any ongoing threat. Anyone who attended the rally or has information is asked to call 1-800-call-fbi, or go to fbi.gov/butler. The shooting began shortly after Trump took the stage at about 6 p.m. Saturday. Several loud pops could be heard and a bloodied Trump was whisked from the stage, but not before pumping his fist toward the crowd. Trump confirmed he was shot in a post to Truth Social a few hours after the shooting. “I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear,” he wrote. How the shooter was able to get so close to the former president was not clear. Rojek said it was “surprising,” and added “the Secret Service really needs to answer that question, they conduct the initial site survey, they do the initial security assessments and determine where the different security locations should be, and they’re the ones who are in charge of securing the scene.” President Joe Biden condemned the shooting in a brief statement from Delaware Saturday night. “There’s no place in America for this kind of violence,” Biden said. Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have initiated an investigation into the incident. U.S. Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent an email to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle requesting her to appear at a committee hearing July 22. The Trump campaign said Saturday the former president, who was out of the hospital and at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, would attend the Republican National Committee in Milwaukee this week as planned. He will receive the GOP’s formal nomination as its 2024 presidential candidate on Thursday. Updated at 3:56 p.m. with additional details. Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and X.

Candidate Gerrick Wilkins announces border security plan

On Wednesday, Congressional candidate Gerrick Wilkins announced his “America First Border Security Plan.” Wilkins said that his plan focuses on robust border security, adherence to the rule of law, and the safety of American citizens to solve the pressing crisis at our southern border. “As the crisis at our border escalates into a dire national security risk, it’s imperative for Congress to act decisively,” Wilkins said. “Our ‘America First Border Security Plan’ is a call to action, not just a policy proposal.” The key pillars of the plan are: ·         Constructing a formidable physical barrier along the entire southern border. Wilkins said this initiative is aimed at deterring illegal entry and symbolizes national resolve. ·         Significant funding increases for ICE and CBP by reallocating funds from the IRS expansion and Ukraine’s security. ·         Mobilizing the National Guard to bolster border security. Wilkins seeks the support of the US military to assist Mexico in eradicating drug cartels, highlighting the shared challenges in border security. ·         Enhanced collaboration with border states to strengthen security programs. ·         Deploying advanced technology such as drones, satellites, and surveillance tools for border monitoring and security. ·         Funding to streamline legal processes for asylum, deportation, and enforcement actions by empowering local law enforcement. ·         Reinstating President Donald Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” policy. ·         Ending Biden’s catch-and-release program ·         Stricter regulations and severe penalties for human traffickers ·         Expanding background checks for all individuals entering the country. ·          Imposing substantial penalties for visa overstays ·         Holding foreign governments accountable for facilitating or ignoring illegal immigration into the United States. ·         Companies will be mandated to verify the immigration status of their employees. ·         Immigration reforms shifting from family-based to merit-based immigration that aligns with national needs. ·         Reforming the refugee system to focus on low-risk individuals. ·         Increased costs of visas, background checks, and the naturalization process, as well as for international money transfers. These adjustments are designed to generate additional revenue to support the funding of enhanced border security measures. 2.76 million illegal immigrants crossed the southern border in fiscal year 2022 alone – that is equal to 55.1% of the population of the state of Alabama. That was followed by a record-breaking 3.2 million in fiscal year 2023 – equivalent to 64.5% of the population of the state of Alabama. The open border is also contributing to the deadly fentanyl epidemic, which is killing 107,000 Americans a year. 69.5% of the deaths are males. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for adults aged 18-45.  Wilkins is involved in his local church, serving as a deacon and lay leader, engaging in mission work locally and globally, and working with Gideons International. Wilkins says that he is a Christian who loves the Lord. Gerrick also serves on several local advisory boards, including one for Mission Increase and Samford University’s Brock School of Business. Wilkins and his wife of 24 years, Carol, have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to churches, various charities, mission organizations, and educational programs. They have one daughter. They have lived in Alabama since 2006 and in Vestavia Hills since 2014. Wilkins has a bachelor’s degree from Pensacola Christian College. He also has a degree in theology from Liberty University and a master’s in business administration from Samford University. Wilkins has worked for over 24 years in the automotive industry. His experience includes managing large-scale dealerships and helping other community-based dealers grow. While managing car dealerships in Alabama, he has learned firsthand the constant heartaches small businesses must contend with from overregulation and excessive taxes. Wilkins is running against incumbent Gary Palmer (R-AL06) and insurance agent Ken McFeeters in the Republican primary on March 5. The eventual Republican nominee will face Democrat Elizabeth Anderson in the November 5 general election. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email brandonmreporter@gmail.com.

Rep. Bob Good elected chairman of House Freedom Caucus

Virginia Republican Congressman Bob Good was elected to lead the House Freedom Caucus in a closed-door vote late Monday evening. Good is replacing conservative Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., who is stepping down. He takes command of the approximately three dozen-member caucus in January. The Virginia congressman has been known to march to the beat of his own drum, including his involvement in ousting former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. earlier this year. Good was one of eight Republican members who crossed the aisle to vote against McCarthy, the only Republican from the commonwealth to do so.  Good also broke ranks with many in the caucus by endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in his presidential bid against former President Donald Trump in the Republican primary. Trump has remained a popular figure among caucus members, often characterized as MAGA Republicans by those on the left. Good’s chairmanship vote was not without some controversy within the conservative caucus. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, announced he would not seek reelection to the caucus board following the recommendation that Good lead the group. Davidson reportedly sent a letter to colleagues voicing his concern as to the direction of the caucus. “I am concerned that our group often relies too much on power (available primarily due to the narrow majority) and too little on influence with and among our colleagues. This approach is not a strong foundation for success,” Davidson wrote in the letter, according to published reports. “For me, these concerns culminate with the Board’s recommendation that Bob Good serve as the next Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.” Despite Davidson’s grim outlook on the news of Good’s chairmanship and the caucus, Good steered clear of any mention of infighting. He praised Perry’s work while focusing on the mission of the caucus. “It is my privilege and honor to serve as the next House Freedom Caucus chairman,” Good said in a statement. “I thank Rep. Perry for his outstanding leadership of the caucus, and I look forward to building on the work he has done and continuing the fight to reduce government spending, secure our borders, and defend our constitutional freedoms.” Republished with the permission of The Center Square.

Jerry Carl wants to make America energy-independent

Congressman Jerry Carl (R-AL01) said, “Environmental groups are really, really working with the President to get things shut down.” Carl commented during an interview with Champions of Rural America on the RFD-TV network. Carl warned that our energy industry will feel the impact of President Joe Biden’s (D) energy policies for ten years. “So what we are seeing in production in America, it’s slowing up,” Carl said. “We are just beginning to see it. It is far from over. It will be ten years before we feel the full impact of it.” President Biden’s anti-American energy policies are a direct opposite approach from President Donald Trump’s (R) pro-energy policies. “That’s really the dangerous part about government,” Rep. Carl said. “We can’t take an industry, and every time we change a president, either encourage it to run or encourage it to shut down.” Carl said that higher fuel prices hit American farmers particularly hard. “And fuel prices – people think, well, it didn’t go up but 50 cents a gallon, but to a farmer running multiple tractors, that is a huge amount of money that is being burned up.” Carl blamed the Biden administration. “It goes back to this administration,” Carl said. “They do not want new production of anything carbon-related. Until we can change the environment attitude of government as a whole and how we deal with energy, we’re in trouble.” Carl said the result, in addition to the higher fuel prices, is that the U.S. is importing more oil from Venezuela. “This Venezuelan oil that’s being brought in. It’s not our own oil,” Carl said. “It is actually Venezuelan. So when you fill your car up, think about the communist country that we are supporting. That is unfair to we, the Americans. I want to be energy-independent. This country wants to be energy independent. The environmental groups they wouldn’t have a problem with importing Venezuelan oil. The nastiest oil known to man. It is just horrible. We have got the cleanest that can be produced. It is produced right there in the Gulf and several places within the continental United States.” “The environmental groups are really, really working with the President to get things shut down,” Carl warned. Carl says the oil industry does more for the community than just providing jobs and energy. “The oil industry as a whole does so much for just the community,” Carl said. “They have a self-imposed tax that is called GOMESA. That is a tax dollar we get in Mobile, for example. In 2020, we got $26 million from that tax that’s imposed on them. We use that $26 million in the Gulf Coast region for environmental projects. We did a huge restoration of grass fields. It is all earmarked for environmental projects.” Carl has represented Alabama’s First Congressional District since 2020. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email brandonmreporter@gmail.com.

Jack Smith asks Supreme Court for decision on Donald Trump’s immunity

Special counsel Jack Smith wants the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election were protected by presidential immunity. Smith is moving forward on two fronts to have the matter in the Washington D.C. case decided before the March 4, 2024, trial date.  “The United States recognizes that this is an extraordinary request,” prosecutors wrote in their request to the Supreme Court. “This is an extraordinary case.” Smith wants to fast-track Trump’s appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, but he wants the nation’s highest court to weigh in first. “This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin,” prosecutors wrote. Trump has argued that he has presidential immunity from D.C. charges, which accuse him of criminal conspiracies to subvert the 2020 election results. The Washington D.C. trial is set to start March 4. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team of federal prosecutors charged Trump with four federal counts related to contesting the 2020 election and the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. The charges include conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction, and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted, according to the indictment. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges. That trial starts the day before Super Tuesday on March 5, when 15 Republican primaries and caucuses are scheduled to take place. Trump has repeatedly said that the federal cases against him amount to election interference. The early GOP frontrunner has largely blamed Biden and Democrats for his legal troubles.  Federal prosecutors have previously argued in court filings that Trump has been trying to delay federal criminal trials until after the 2024 election “at any cost.” On Monday, Trump posted poll numbers and criticism of other Republican candidates seeking the GOP nomination, especially former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to his social media site, Truth Social. He did not reference Smith or the Supreme Court request.   Download PDF Republished with the permission of The Center Square.

Tommy Tuberville dismisses reports Katie Britt influenced drop on military holds, likens U.S. Senate to a ‘cartel’

Appearing on the Dixon and Vining Show on Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 FM this morning with Richard Dixon and guest host Apryl Marie Fogel, Tommy Tuberville talked about a wide range of topics, focusing on what he described as the upcoming change in rules that resulted in his drop on military holds.  Tuberville told Dixon and Fogel that while he cannot claim a victory on his eleven-month-long effort to stop the Department of Defense from expanding access to abortions on U.S. military bases, he intends to continue the fight in the future. He explained the timing of his actions this week, which resulted in 425 nominations being confirmed, saying, “They changed the rules on me in the last couple of months.” He claimed to have had the votes with bipartisan support to leave it in the military budget that he anticipates passing next week to change the policy back to where it was before the DOD’s post-Supreme Court updates. Expressing his frustration, he said, “This is not a government. This is a cartel. This is run by the Democrats.” Before going on to say, “I don’t understand some of my Republican colleagues,” describing the process where they agreed with Chuck Schumer to change the 200-year-old rule to lift his hold before the budget came to a vote. As reported by Politico in early November, several Republican members of the Senate took to the floor to force Tuberville’s hand on confirming 60 nominees. That effort was led by Senator Dan Sullivan, who was joined by Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Todd Young of Indiana, and Mitt Romney of Utah. Tuberville stressed, “We fought hard. I’m not done. We’re going to continue to fight; looks like we’re gonna have to get President [Donald] Trump back in office, then we’ll get it changed back.” He is continuing his hold of 4-star generals. The interview continued with Fogel asking about a Punchbowl News story that has gained national attention saying that Alabama’s junior senator Katie Britt acted as an intermediary in the final negotiations that led to his release of the holds. Tuberville demurred, saying they had had a “couple of conversations.” He then pivoted quickly to credit his colleagues Mike Lee, Roger Marshall, and Rick Scott for supporting his efforts over the last eleven months. He said if he got a call from anyone else, it was, “Hey, we need to get this done. You know it could hurt the election next year; could hurt our possibilities of getting a senator or two.” Tuberville emphasized that elections weren’t his priority, saying, “That wasn’t my concern.” Tuberville wrapped up his response to the report that Britt had a pivotal role in negotiations to end his hold. He said, “I don’t know where that other information came from.”

Alabama’s GOP presidential debate draws headlines

On Wednesday night, four Republican presidential candidates faced off in Tuscaloosa for the Fourth Republican Presidential Debate. This is the first presidential debate held in Alabama and the first-ever hosted by NewsNation. Frontrunner former President Donald Trump again chose not to participate in the debate. Recent polling has former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in second place, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy rounded out the stage for what could be the last of the GOP presidential debates in this election. Haley continued her crusade to ban the Chinese government-controlled social media platform TikTok “once and for all.” Haley alleged that the site is fueling antisemitism. Haley also called for an end to anonymous social media identities. “Every person on social media should be verified by their name,” Haley said. “That’s, first of all, it’s a national security threat. When you do that, all of a sudden, people have to stand by what they say.” “That is not freedom; that is fascism, and she should come nowhere near the levers of power, let alone the White House,” Ramaswamy said of Haley and her proposal. Christie predicted that Trump would be convicted of one of the 140 plus charges he faces in four separate felony trials, so he won’t be able to even vote in 2024. “You’ll all be heading to the polls to vote, and that’s something Donald Trump will not be able to do,” Christie said. “Because he will be convicted of felonies before then, and his right to vote will be taken away. If we deny reality as a party, we’re going to have four more years of Joe Biden.” Christie also criticized Trump’s trade policy, which Haley supported. “All he did was impose tariffs, which raised the prices for every American,” said Christie. “Nikki Haley’s campaign launch video sounded like a woke Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light ad talking about how she would kick in heels,” Ramaswamy said. Haley said that Ramaswamy was not even worth responding to. “No, it’s not worth my time to respond to him,” Haley said when asked to respond. Christie opposes the Alabama Vulnerable Child Protection Act, which bans gender transitioning of children. Christie said that parents and not governments should make those decisions. “Republicans believe in less government, not more,” Christie said. “I trust parents.” “This is an angry, bitter man who now wants to be back as president because he wants to exact retribution on anyone who has disagreed with him,” Christie said of Trump. DeSantis said Trump is too old to be President. “Father time is undefeated,” Desantis said. “Right now, the average homeowner in America is 49 years old,” Haley said. “You’ve got young people everywhere. That used to be the American dream, and now it’s out of reach.” DeSantis said inflation and housing market prices are ‘taking the American dream away.’ “We’re gonna get the interest rates down,” DeSantis said. “We’ll reduce spending, and I believe we’re going to have to veto.” DeSantis said that student loans should be backed by colleges and universities instead of the federal government. “Another thing that’s burdening young people are these student loans,” DeSantis said. “These student loans are going to be backed by the universities because they need to have an incentive to produce gainful employment for people.” Haley promised that if elected, she would be “a no-drama president.” That would be a marked change from the Biden and Trump administrations, both of which have been noted for their scandals and investigations. “My approach is different: no drama, no vendettas, no whining.” Trump has called for the RNC to stop holding these debates. A fifth has not been scheduled. The Iowa presidential caucuses are just six weeks away. The Alabama presidential primary will be held on March 5. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email brandonmreporter@gmail.com.

Ron DeSantis: Donald Trump is too old to be president

By Casey Harper | The Center Square Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attacked former President Donald Trump’s age and sparred with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over Trump’s mental fitness to be president during the Republican primary debate at the University of Alabama on Wednesday night. The remarks came after DeSantis was asked about previous comments in which he said Trump has “lost the zip on his fastball” and whether that meant he was questioning Trump’s mental fitness. “Father time is undefeated,” DeSantis said. “The idea that we are going to put somebody up there who is 80 and there is going to be no effects from that, we all know that’s not true. So we have an opportunity to do a next generation of leaders and really move this country forward.” The attack on Trump came in the second hour of the debate after a first hour of constant attacks between the candidates over their records, donors, and past comments. “I think we need to have somebody younger,” DeSantis said when asked directly by the moderator if Trump was mentally fit to be president. “I think when you get up to 80. I don’t think it’s a job for that.” Christie pushed DeSantis to give a yes or no answer to whether Trump is mentally fit or not. DeSantis answered by saying that Trump is not as bad as Biden was but is too old for the job. Trump did not participate in the debate, the fourth of this Republican primary. “We also need a president who can serve two terms,” DeSantis added, pointing out that Trump is only eligible to be a lame-duck president immediately because he has already served one term. “I don’t think Donald Trump will be able to get elected,” DeSantis added. “The Democrats, they are going to turn the screws the minute, if he got the nomination, you’re gonna see it.” Real Clear Politics’ polling averages show Trump with a wide lead over his GOP rivals, including in the early primary states. In Iowa, the first primary state to caucus, Trump leads nearly 30 points, and in New Hampshire Trump leads by about the same amount. Overall, Trump has 61% support, more than all his opponents combined. DeSantis is in second with 13.5% support, according to RCP, and Haley comes in third with 10.3%. Ramaswamy has 4.9% support overall. Republished with the permission of The Center Square.

Presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy receives warm welcome from Alabama GOP

President candidate Vivek Ramaswamy was in Hoover on Tuesday night at Ross Bridge Golf Resort for a reception held by the Alabama Republican Party before Wednesday’s Republican Presidential Debate. Ramaswamy said, “We are in a war” in this country between those who believe in the founding ideals of this nation and those who do not. Ramaswamy was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the son of immigrants from India. “I have founded multiple corporations,” Ramaswamy said. “My wife is a throat surgeon. She is saving lives. We have two sons. I am worried that that American dream is not going to exist for my sons.” “We are in the middle of a war in this country,” Ramaswamy continued. “It is not a war between Black and White as the media would have you believe. It is not even a war between Democrats and Republicans – not really. It is a war between those who believe in the founding ideals of our country and a fringe minority who believes that your identity defines you by race, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality. They believe we can use our military to defend somebody else’s border halfway around the world, but if you favor using our military to defend our border, then you are a racist and a xenophobe. Either you believe in free speech, or you do not. This country requires a commander in chief who understands that we are in a war.” Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl welcomed Ramaswamy to Alabama. “It is rare for Alabama to have one of the frontrunning candidates for President of the United States stopover in Alabama for a meet and greet,” Wahl said. “You have seen him on the debate stage.” The third Republican Presidential Debate is Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa. “I am proud to have the debate here in Alabama,” Wahl said. “This is the first-ever presidential debate that Alabama has ever hosted – Republican or Democratic.” Wahl said he is glad the debate is being held on the University of Alabama campus. “It is so important that we engage with young people,” Wahl said. Wahl said that Democrats have a “complete lack of understanding of foreign policy, a complete lack of understanding of economic policy, and a complete lack of understanding of how you run a country.” “We are tempted to believe this is another election,” Ramaswamy said. “If we lose, I am not convinced that we can get this country back. We are working in a short period of time.” “We need a commander in chief from the next generation,” Ramaswamy continued. “I am from the next generation. I am 38 years old. If nominated, I will be the youngest Republican ever nominated. I will be the youngest person ever to be elected if you put me there.” Ramaswamy warned that we are losing the next generation. “This is the most dire challenge we face,” Ramaswamy stated. “60% (of young people in a recent poll) said that they would give up their right to vote for their ability to use electronics. Less than 16% of Gen Z say that they are proud to be an American.” Ramaswamy said that he believes in the ideals of faith, patriotism, hard work, and family and that these ideals have largely disappeared in the youth today and have been replaced by “poison.” “The media, they will fill that vacuum with their vision of gender, race, sexuality and climate,” Ramaswamy continued. “We believe in the ideals of the American Revolution.” “We will end affirmative action and race-based quotas,” Ramaswamy promised if elected. “We believe in the rule of law. We will use our military to secure our southern border. We the people create a media that is accountable to us. We will shut down government bureaucracies that should not exist from the FBI to the CDC to the Department of Education.” Ramaswamy added that we need “elections that we can trust” with single-day elections, paper ballots, and state-issued voter IDs. “I believe deep in my heart that those ideals still exist,” Ramaswamy continued. “We forgot all the ways that we really are the same as Americans.” “A culture of fear has replaced free speech in the United States,” Ramaswamy said. “The best measure of our country’s health is the percentage of people who feel free to say what they actually think in public. Speaking the truth not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.” Ramaswamy will be on the debate stage Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa with former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Former President Donald Trump is not participating in the debates. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email brandonmreporter@gmail.com.

Alabama Republican Party hosting Vivek Ramaswamy on Tuesday night

The Alabama Republican Party will host GOP Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy in a reception Tuesday night in Hoover before the state hosts the leading Republican Presidential Debate Wednesday in Tuscaloosa. “I am pleased to have Vivek Ramaswamy joining us as we kick off debate week here in Alabama!” said Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl in a statement on Tuesday. “This is a historic occasion for our state as we hold our first ever nationally televised presidential debate, and I am appreciative that one of our Party’s rising political figures will be headlining this reception for the Alabama Republican Party. I look forward to giving the people of Alabama the chance to meet Mr. Ramaswamy and showcasing our amazing state to another presidential candidate.” The event will be held at the Ross Bridge Resort on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Ramaswamy is the latest presidential candidate to visit with the Alabama GOP this year. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis headlined the Party’s Winter Dinner in Birmingham and former President Donald Trump was the keynote speaker at their Summer Dinner in Montgomery. Barring an epic meltdown on the part of the GOP nominee, most political analysts believe that, win or lose, Alabama will vote for the GOP candidate in the 2024 presidential election (it has for the last 11 presidential elections in a row). “Alabama is one of the strongest Republican states in the nation, and I am proud we have this opportunity to host all of our presidential candidates at the upcoming debate in Tuscaloosa,” said Chairman Wahl. “Raising Alabama’s political profile is one of my top priorities as ALGOP Chairman, and I am excited this debate will continue the work the Party has been doing in this area.” Ramaswamy is a Hindu of Indian subcontinent descent. He is a successful businessman, a husband, and a father of two. He was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Growing up he was a nationally ranked tennis player and the valedictorian of his high school, St. Xavier. He went on to graduate summa cum laude in Biology from Harvard and has a law degree from Yale Law School. He has worked at a hedge fund. He started a biotech company, Roivant Sciences, where he oversaw the development of five drugs that went on to become FDA-approved. He is an author and has written extensively attacking the woke movement. Ramaswamy has embraced an “America First” foreign policy that opposes more aid for Ukraine, is skeptical of aid for Israel, and opposes guaranteeing Taiwan’s independence. Ramaswamy has had some very heated debate stage confrontations with former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. In the last debate, Haley called Ramaswamy “Scum” after he pointed out that Haley’s daughter has a Tik Tok account. “I wasn’t criticizing her daughter. I was criticizing Nikki Haley,” said Ramaswamy. “She says we need a new generation of leadership. She’s on the wrong side of that generational divide.” To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email brandonmreporter@gmail.com.

Sandra Day O’Connor, who made history as the first woman on the Supreme Court, dies at 93

Ashley Murray, Alabama Reflector WASHINGTON — The first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court is dead at 93. Sandra Day O’Connor, a groundbreaking justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, died Friday in Phoenix, Arizona of complications related to advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer’s, and a respiratory illness, according to an announcement from the court. President Ronald Reagan nominated O’Connor in 1981, and she was confirmed by the full Senate, 99-0, in September of that year. The moderate O’Connor, who served on the bench until her retirement in 2006, was often the decisive vote in major cases that reached the Supreme Court in her nearly quarter-century as associate justice. The justices issued rulings in high-profile cases during O’Connor’s tenure, including Bush v. Gore, which settled the 2000 presidential contest in George W. Bush’s favor, and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, a 5-4 decision that affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion but with leeway for states to impose some restrictions. O’Connor sided with the majority in both cases. “She was consequential,” journalist and historian Evan Thomas told the National Archives in 2019 while promoting his biography “First: Sandra Day O’Connor.” She cast the so-called “swing vote” 330 times in 24 years, Thomas said. “And where it really mattered was in abortion rights and affirmative action,” he said, referring to several cases, including Grutter v. Bullinger, which upheld the consideration of race in the University of Michigan’s law school admissions. In 2022, O’Connor’s successor, Justice Samuel Alito, wrote the majority opinion overturning Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade, striking down abortion rights at the federal level. A ‘true public servant’ and ‘trailblazer’ Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement Friday that O’Connor “blazed a historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice.” “She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education. And we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot,” he said. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement that the “nation mourns the passing of a towering figure in the history of American law.” “… From her election as the first female Majority Leader in the history of American legislatures to her confirmation as the first female Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor led with a brilliance and conviction that disarmed resistance. Her vote on the court frequently determined the majority in landmark cases, and the legacy of her role in landmark decisions reviving federalism during her first several terms on the Court continues to resound in Constitutional jurisprudence,” McConnell said. In the mid-1990s and 2000, O’Connor provided decisive votes in two 5-4 decisions that found federal laws unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, including sections of the Violence Against Women Act and a federal law that criminalized carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of schools. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said O’Connor was the “conscience of the Court.” Schumer said in a statement issued Friday that O’Connor “was one of the true historic figures of the 20th century. In decision after decision, Sandra Day O’Connor was often the key vote in defending the rights of Americans—in protecting clean air, in protecting women’s rights, in protecting against discrimination, in protecting voting rights. I join Americans all across the country in mourning her passing today.” Speaker of the House Mike Johnson of Louisiana described O’Connor as a “trailblazer” and “legal giant” in a Friday morning post on X. “As the first woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor inspired a generation of women — including the five female Justices that succeeded her — to chart a path that previously seemed unattainable,” he said. “Despite never serving as Chief Justice, she was widely regarded as the most powerful Justice on the bench during her tenure.” The women who followed O’Connor’s appointment to the court included Ruth Bader Ginsburg, nominated by former President Bill Clinton in 1993; Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in 2009 and 2010, both nominated by former President Barack Obama; Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2020; and Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated by President Joe Biden in 2022. Obama released a statement Friday recounting the well-known story of O’Connor’s challenges finding a job in the legal field as a woman in the 1950s, when she was asked about her typing skills and offered work as a legal secretary. “Fortunately for us, she set her sights a little higher – becoming the first woman to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court justice,” Obama said. “As a judge and Arizona legislator, a cancer survivor and child of the Texas plains, Sandra Day O’Connor was like the pilgrim in the poem she sometimes quoted – forging a new path and building a bridge behind her for all young women to follow. Michelle and I send our thoughts to Sandra’s family and everyone who learned from and admired her.” From the Southwest to the nation’s capital O’Connor was born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas, and grew up on a ranch in Arizona. She graduated near the top of her law school class at Stanford University in 1952. O’Connor began her law career as deputy county attorney of San Mateo County, California, followed by a position as a civilian attorney for Quartermaster Market Center, Frankfurt, Germany, from 1954 to 1957. O’Connor practiced law in Maryvale, Arizona, until 1960 and went on to serve as assistant attorney general of Arizona from 1965 to 1969. She followed her time in the attorney general’s office with multiple terms in the Arizona State Senate beginning in 1969 and eventually serving as the body’s majority leader. In 1975, she was elected as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge and served until 1979, when she was appointed to the Arizona Court