No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Ukraine's president says the Capitol attack makes it hard for the world to see the US as a 'symbol of democracy'
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the January 6 Capitol attack was a "strong blow" to American democracy.
  • "After something like this, I believe it would be very difficult for the world to see the US as a symbol of democracy," he told Axios.
  • Zelensky was at the center of President Donald Trump's first impeachment in late 2019 and early 2020.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a new interview with Axios that aired Sunday said that the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6 greatly tarnished the world's image of the US.

Asked how he felt as he watched the Capitol attack from afar, Zelensky said he was "very shocked" and "could not imagine that something like this was possible in the US." He described the deadly insurrection as a "strong blow" to American democracy.

"In Ukraine, we lived through two revolutions ... we understood such things can happen in the world," Zelensky said. "But that it could happen in the United States? No one expected that ... I was very worried … I did not want you to have a coup."

... During an infamous July 2019 phone call, Trump pressured Zelensky to launch an investigation into then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Trump was urging his Ukrainian counterpart to begin an inquiry into baseless allegations that Biden used his influence as vice president in the Obama administration to shield his son from a legal probe in Ukraine. Trump also wanted Zelensky to look into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

The call took place as Trump withheld millions of dollars of congressionally-approved military aid to Kiev, which heavily relies on US assistance amid an ongoing war with Kremlin-supported separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Trump was ultimately impeached in the House in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in relation to his Ukraine dealings, but acquitted in the Senate in February 2020.
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Tom Brady dodges question about getting pass for supporting Trump because he is white
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady evaded a question about whether he's gotten a pass from criticism for sporting a Donald Trump hat in his locker in 2015 because he is white.

In a Jan. 26 segment on Fox Sports, analyst Shannon Sharpe was critical of Brady's brief support of Trump. The six-time Super Bowl champion later backpedaled on his support of Trump, dismissing any political-oriented questions during the former president's campaign trail and presidency over the last four years. But Sharpe said Brady was given a pass as a white athlete that a Black athlete like LeBron James wouldn't have gotten.

"Let’s just say for sake of argument, LeBron James says my friend is Minister (Louis) Farrakhan," Sharpe said, referring to the controversial Nation of Islam leader. "How would America react? Blacks have always had to be very, very quiet about who our friends are. ... LeBron James can never say, a prominent black athlete can never say, Minister Farrakhan is just my friend. They’d try to cancel anybody with the just mere mention of Mister Farrakhan’s name. Because we like Tom Brady."

Brady, in response to a question by USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on a Super Bowl news conference Monday, dodged a direct answer.

"I'm not sure how to respond to hypothetical like that," Brady said over Zoom during Super Bowl media availability. "I hope everyone can — we're in this position like I am to, again, try to be the best I can be every day as an athlete, as a player, as a person in my community, for my team and so forth, so yeah, I'm not sure what else."
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A man in Pennsylvania charged in the Capitol riot is accused of attacking a police officer and causing her to lose consciousness
  • Ryan Stephen Samsel, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was charged in the Capitol riot on Saturday.
  • A criminal complaint accuses Samsel of attacking a police officer and causing her to lose consciousness.
  • The FBI says Samsel picked the officer up and told her: "We don't have to hurt you, why are you standing in our way."
A criminal complaint unsealed on Monday says Ryan Stephen Samsel, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, has been charged with forcibly assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, or interfering with a police officer, attempting to obstruct a police officer, and obstructing an official proceeding.

Federal investigators included number of images from a video taken during the insurrection, which show a man they identify as Samsel leading a group of rioters toward a police barricade in from of the Capitol, moments before rioters in support of former President Donald Trump breached the building on January 6.

"After removing his jacket, Samsel pushed and pulled the barricades until the crowd successfully pushed the barricades down on top of the officers," the complaint says. "In the process of pushing the barricades to the ground, Samsel and others knocked over [the US Capitol Police officer] as the crowd lifted the barricades and pushed toward the Capitol, causing [her] head to hit the stairs behind her, resulting in a loss of consciousness."

... It's unclear if he's still in custody, but a criminal history check found that Samsel is also wanted in Riverside, New Jersey, on assault allegations dating back to 2019, the FBI said.
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Marjorie Taylor Greene Tests Resolve of Post-Trump Republican Party
It's only been 30 days since she was sworn in, but Greene presents the first major test for Republicans about how they handle fringe members in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency. And the optics of her transgressions take on extra weight as they come ahead of the Senate impeachment trial that will address whether Trump incited insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month by a mob of his supporters, many of whom believe the same conspiracy theories that Greene herself promotes.

For Republicans who want to break ties with Trump, Greene is the worst hangover of their lives. But for those willing to overlook the former president's pandering and peddling some of these conspiracy theories in order to keep the GOP base energized, Greene is a dream come true – someone who wields no real power or threat to act on anything she proposes but, as a newly minted member of Congress, has a legitimate enough position of authority to keep these fringe ideas in the mainstream.

The condemnation from Democrats was swift and predictable.

... But the more the criticism mounts, the more Greene, who also has a track record of making Islamophobic and anti-Semitic remarks, leans into it. She reported on Saturday that she spoke to Trump and that he is fully supportive of her.

"I had a GREAT call with my all time favorite POTUS, President Trump!" she wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread. "I'm so grateful for his support and more importantly the people of this country are absolutely 100% loyal to him because he is 100% loyal to the people and America First."

"The blood thirsty media and the socialists hate America. Democrats are attacking me now just like they always attack President Trump," she tweeted. "I won't back down. I'll never apologize. And I'll always keep fighting for the people."

For Republicans like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who's been a frequent Trump critic, the reaction came easily with a cheeky tweet: "Lies of a feather flock together: Marjorie Taylor Greene's nonsense and the 'big lie' of a stolen election."

But the former president's support complicates any formal reprimand from Republicans in the House, muddies the waters for those hoping to ignore Greene and provides her at least a bit of protection in the near term.
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McConnell says ‘loony lies’ spread by Marjorie Taylor Greene are a ‘cancer’ on G.O.P.
Senator Mitch McConnell said on Monday that the “loony lies and conspiracy theories” embraced by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene amounted to a “cancer” on the Republican Party, issuing what in effect was a scathing rebuke to the freshman House Republican from Georgia.

In a statement reported by The Hill, Mr. McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, never named Ms. Greene, but he referred to several of the outlandish and false conspiracy theories she has espoused and warned that such statements were damaging the party.

“Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” Mr. McConnell said. “Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”

... House Democrats on Monday indicated that they were prepared to unilaterally remove Ms. Greene from her committees if Mr. McCarthy does not act, advancing a measure to strip her of assignments that will be considered by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday.
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Air Force Academy alumni group condemns Capitol attack and signals some graduates may be ejected.
Following a webinar on Thursday in which the C.E.O. of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s alumni association appeared to equivocate on whether his organization’s board members supported or condemned the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the group issued a statement Monday evening making clear that it objected to the assault.

“Without question, the board unanimously condemned the actions of all who entered the Capitol, assaulted law enforcement personnel and desecrated the hallowed halls of Congress,” the statement said. “We affirm one’s constitutional right to assemble peacefully but would never support unlawful or illegal acts.”

... “I want to state emphatically and without question, neither I nor any members of the A.O.G. board of directors believe the unlawful acts of 6 January were acceptable in any way,” General Gould said. “All violent and illegal attacks committed surrounding the attack on our Capitol were reprehensible.”

While college and university alumni groups generally may not feel the need to comment on such an issue, the Association of Graduates was pressed on the topic by alumni because of the prominent role Larry R. Brock Jr., a 1989 graduate of the Air Force Academy and retired lieutenant colonel, played in the attack. Mr. Brock was photographed on the Senate floor during the riot while wearing military gear and carrying zip-tie restraints, and video recordings show him giving directions and advice to others who had stormed the Capitol.

Mr. Brock was later arrested in Texas and charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

The Association of Graduates also signaled that Mr. Brock, as well as any other graduates involved in illegal activities at the Capitol, could face expulsion from their organization.
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Trump pollster's campaign autopsy paints damning picture of defeat
The 27-page report pins Trump's loss on voter perception that he was untrustworthy and disapproval of his pandemic performance.

Former President Donald Trump has blamed the election results on unfounded claims of fraud and malfeasance. But at the top levels of his campaign, a detailed autopsy report that circulated among his political aides paints a far different — and more critical — portrait of what led to his defeat.

The post-mortem says the former president suffered from voter perception that he wasn’t honest or trustworthy and that he was crushed by disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. And while Trump spread baseless accusations of ballot-stuffing in heavily Black cities, the report notes that he was done in by hemorrhaging support from white voters.

... The report zeroes in on an array of demographics where Trump suffered decisive reversals in 2020, including among white seniors, the same group that helped to propel him to the White House. The autopsy says that Trump saw the “greatest erosion with white voters, particularly white men,” and that he “lost ground with almost every age group.” In the five states that flipped to Biden, Trump’s biggest drop-off was among voters aged 18-29 and 65 and older.

Suburbanites — who bolted from Trump after 2016 — also played a major role. The report says that the former president suffered a “double-digit erosion” with “White College educated voters across the board.”

... Trump’s personal behavior, the autopsy makes clear, contributed to his defeat. “Biden had a clear edge over POTUS on being seen as honest & trustworthy,” Fabrizio writes.
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Dolly Parton says she turned down Trump's offer of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice
  • The country music legend told The Today Show that Trump offered her the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice.
  • Both times she turned it down, citing family illness and COVID.
  • The Biden administration has also approached her about the award, but she said she didn't want to be perceived as "doing politics."
Parton is much beloved for both her musical career and the many charity projects she's undertaken in recent years. In November, she donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University to support coronavirus vaccine research. She previously gave $1 million to Vanderbilt to help fund its Monroe Carell Jr. Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

... The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established in 1945 and is the country's highest civilian honor. It is awarded for "especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to the National Archives.

Trump handed out 24 Presidential Medals of Freedom during his term, though the late Elvis Presley was the only other musician to receive one. Rush Limbaugh, Tiger Woods, and Sen. Jim Jordan were among those honored by the former president.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was also offered the award but turned it down following the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
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No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites was formerly Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites.

or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.