21 Republican lawmakers vote against honoring law enforcement for their work during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot

capitol riot military
In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo rioters supporting President Donald Trump storm the Capitol in Washington.

  • More than 20 GOP lawmakers voted against a bill awarding law enforcement officers the highest congressional honor for their work during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
  • Not a single House Democrat opposed the measure, which passed with the overwhelming support of 406 members.
  • A few Republican lawmakers took issue with calling the storming of the Capitol an “insurrection.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More than 20 Republican lawmakers voted against a bill the House passed on Tuesday awarding all law enforcement officers the highest congressional honor for their work during the January 6 Capitol riot.

Not a single House Democrat opposed the measure, which passed with the overwhelming support of 406 members.

A few Republican lawmakers said they opposed the bill because it referred to the riot led by former President Donald Trump’s loyalists to disrupt Congress’ certification of the presidential election as an “insurrection.”

“I think it was a mob, but I don’t think it was an insurrection,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican.

“I think if we call that an insurrection, it could have a bearing on their case that I don’t think would be good,” Massie told reporters on Tuesday. “If they just wanted to give the police recognition, they could have done it without trying to make it partisan, without sticking that in there,” he added.

Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania conservative, called the legislation “garbage.”

Far-right Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also said she disagreed with the use of the term and didn’t approve of the bill’s description of the Capitol building as “the temple of our American Democracy.”

Senators have already introduced a similar piece of legislation that will likely pass the chamber.

In March, the House passed a different bill awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Capitol Police and the DC Police Department that failed to pass the Senate. A dozen Republican House members opposed that bill. Last month, the Senate honored Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who was widely celebrated for protecting lawmakers and deterring rioters inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Much of the current GOP opposition stems from some of the language in the bills, specifically around the Democrats’ use of the term “insurrectionists” to describe the rioters who overtook the Capitol.

Tuesday’s resolution also named the three officers who died in the aftermath of the riots, Brian Sicknick, Howard Liebengood, and Jeffrey Smith, and included Capitol Police officer William “Billy” Evans, who was killed on April 2 during a car-ramming attack at a Capitol Hill security barricade.

Another difference in Tuesday’s version is that it calls for four medals to be awarded to the various police forces who aided the effort, with one medal to be displayed within the Capitol.

Senate leaders struck a deal with the House to broaden Tuesday’s resolution so that all officers who responded receive a gold medal, and not just Eugene Goodman, meaning that the Senate may be more unified in supporting the current bill.

The Republicans who voted against the second version of the bill on Tuesday were:

  • Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona
  • Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky
  • Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado
  • Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas
  • Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia
  • Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texa
  • Rep. Bob Good of Virginia
  • Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
  • Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland
  • Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia
  • Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois
  • Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama
  • Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina
  • Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
  • Rep. John Rose of Tennessee
  • Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana
  • Rep. Chip Roy of Texas
  • Rep. Greg Steube of Florida

[Background on what exactly is in the bill and why this version will likely pass as opposed to last version]

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Kevin McCarthy won’t let go of the GOP’s smear campaign against Ilhan Omar, but Democrats have moved on

kevin mccarthy ilhan omar
Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Ilhan Omar.

  • Kevin McCarthy is perpetuating the GOP’s smear campaign against Ilhan Omar.
  • McCarthy is urging Pelosi to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
  • Pelosi has already signaled Democrats want to move on from recent misleading criticism of Omar.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is calling for Rep. Ilhan Omar’s removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee as Republicans continue to misconstrue recent comments she made on war crimes investigations, while Democrats largely appear to have moved on.

McCarthy urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to strip Omar from the committee based on what he described as “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American” language from the Minnesota lawmaker.

“I will promise you this. If we are fortunate enough to have the majority, Omar would not be serving on Foreign Affairs or anybody that has an anti-Semitic, anti-American view. That is not productive, and that is not right,” McCarthy said during a “Fox & Friends” appearance on Tuesday.

The comments mark the GOP’s latest efforts to attack Omar, who last week criticized both Democrats and Republicans for taking her words about the US’s opposition to investigate potential war crimes out of context.

During a June 7 congressional hearing, Omar questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken on accountability and justice for victims of crimes against humanity. She referenced two open International Criminal Court cases into potential war crimes – one involving the US and the Taliban in Afghanistan and another involving Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Neither the US nor Israel recognize the authority of the ICC, which can try individuals for war crimes.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle then accused Omar of “equating” the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, pressuring Omar to clarify her statements. Pushing back against the criticism, she underscored that she was explicitly referencing open ICC investigations.

“The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive,” Omar tweeted in response to a statement from 12 fellow House Democrats that condemned her recent remarks. “The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”

“Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from ‘deeply seated prejudice,'” Omar continued. “You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.”

The Democratic leadership in a statement last week erroneously suggested Omar drew “false equivalencies” between democracies like the US and Israel and terrorist groups, while welcoming the “clarification” issued by the Minnesota Democrat.

In a separate statement, Omar said she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the US and Israel,” Omar said.

Several Democrats came to Omar’s defense, citing a history of Congress members making Islamophobic and racist remarks toward her, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted. “That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics.”

Pelosi: ‘End of subject’

ilhan omar nancy pelosi
Rep. Ilhan Omar talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi in a CNN interview on Sunday made it clear that the Democratic leadership wanted to put the matter to bed and move on.

“She clarified, we thanked her, end of subject,” Pelosi said.

The top Democrat said Omar was a “valued member” of the caucus, and rejected the notion that the Democratic leadership had rebuked the Minnesota lawmaker over her statements.

“We did not rebuke her. We acknowledged that she made a clarification,” Pelosi said. “She asked her questions of the Secretary of State. Nobody criticized those, about how people will be held accountable if we’re not going to the International Court of Justice. That was a very legitimate question. That was not of concern.”

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York also appeared on CNN on Sunday and said Omar’s comments were “absolutely mischaracterized” by Republicans and warned about the consequences of Democrats joining in and legitimizing their bad faith attacks.

“When we feed into that, it adds legitimacy to a lot of this kind of right-wing vitriol. It absolutely increases that target,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And as someone who has experienced that, it’s very difficult to communicate the scale and how dangerous that is.”

“As Speaker Pelosi said, we are putting this behind us and I believe that we will ultimately come together as a caucus,” she went on to say.

Republicans have engaged in a prolonged smear campaign against Omar

rep ilhan omar
Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

The recent attacks on Omar are part of a broader trend or smear campaign primarily perpetuated by Republicans and their allies in the right-wing media.

Republicans have consistently accused Omar of anti-Semitism and employed Islamophobic rhetoric against her, suggesting that she’s a terrorist sympathizer. Democrats and prominent groups in Washington have also joined the pile-on at times, taking her words out of context in the process.

In 2019, Omar sent tweets that led to widespread allegations of anti-Semitism, and she promptly apologized. The tweets suggested politicians in Congress had been bought off by influential groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which critics said echoed anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money.

Since that controversy, Omar has been vocal in condemning anti-Semitism and attacks on Jewish people while also calling for a more balanced approach to addressing potential human rights abuses by the US and its allies, including Israel.

Meanwhile, Republicans have baselessly accused Omar of anti-Semitism over her criticism of the Israeli government. The Minnesota lawmaker’s rhetoric on Israel, including referring to it as an apartheid state, has been in line with conclusions and statements of leading human rights groups.

Omar is one of the first two Muslim women in Congress in US history, and her defenders in Congress say it’s not a coincidence she’s been the target of a coordinated smear campaign by Republicans.

In a statement offering support to Omar last week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus said, “We cannot ignore that a right-wing media echo chamber that has deliberately and routinely attacked a Black, Muslim woman in Congress, distorting her views and intentions, and resulting in threats against Rep. Omar and her staff.”

“We urge our colleagues not to abet or amplify such divisive and bad-faith attacks,” the statement added.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene apologizes for comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust, insisting she’s ‘very much a normal person’

marjorie taylor greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., holds a news conference to apologize for her recent remarks equating mask mandates with the Holocaust in Washington on Monday, June 14, 2021.

  • Greene apologized for her previous comparisons of COVID-19 safety measures to the Holocaust.
  • She opened a news conference on Monday evening by saying: “I’m very much a normal person.”
  • Greene came under fire for comparing the House mask mandate to the horrors suffered by Jews in Nazi Germany.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday evening publicly apologized for her previous comparisons of COVID-19 mask requirements and vaccination efforts to the horrors suffered by Jews in Nazi Germany.

The Georgia Republican, known for her controversial statements, took a markedly different tone during a solo news conference, starting off by saying: “I always want to remind everyone – I’m very much a normal person.”

“One of the best lessons that my father always taught me was, when you make a mistake, you should own it. And I have made a mistake and it’s really bothered me for a couple of weeks now, and so I definitely want to own it,” she said.

Greene told reporters that she visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, earlier in the day and wanted to make it clear that “there is no comparison to the Holocaust.”

“There are words that I have said, remarks that I’ve made, that I know are offensive. And for that I want to apologize,” she said.

Greene’s apology comes as House Democrats move to censure her after she likened mask mandates and vaccine rules to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.

Greene attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi for keeping the House mask mandate in place although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted mask-wearing guidelines indoors for fully vaccinated individuals. Pelosi said that she was following guidance from the Capitol attending physician as vaccination rates in Congress, especially among Republicans, was unknown.

During an interview on a conservative podcast on May 20, Greene said: “You know, we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany. And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”

She also tweeted at the time that “vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”

The “gold star” reference, which historians more commonly refer to as a yellow star, was an identifier that Nazi Germany forced Jews to wear.

Several House Democrats swiftly condemned Greene’s language, followed by House Republican leadership. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy called her statements “wrong” and “appalling.”

Greene did not express any regret over her comments at the time, and instead doubled down on them in a series of tweets in which she described Democrats as “reminiscent of the great tyrants of history.”

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Trump boasts that he’s ‘writing like crazy’ and working on ‘the book of all books’

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 18, 2021.

  • Former President Donald Trump announced on Friday he’s writing a book.
  • “When the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books,” he said.
  • Presidents typically publish a memoir after they leave office.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump on Friday announced a new personal project he’s working on: a book.

“I’m writing like crazy,” Trump said in a statement released through his leadership PAC, “and when the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books.”

Trump claimed he has turned down two book deals “from the most unlikely of publishers.” He did not provide any further details.

“I do not want to do such a deal right now,” he said.

Trump also teased he’s currently “working on a much more important project” but did not disclose more information.

Once an avid tweeter, Trump was booted from social media platforms Twitter and Facebook in the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection on January 6. Facebook announced last week the company will uphold Trump’s ban until at least January 2023.

Trump now communicates to the public through his leadership PAC, dubbed Save America, regularly putting out short, strongly worded statements, similar to how he’d tweet. The former president also launched a blog, called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” which he shut down after less than a month.

Since he left the White House, Trump has reportedly met with several prominent journalists to conduct interviews for forthcoming books about his presidency.

“We are not discussing particulars of any individual book interviews that President Trump is giving but it’s safe to say that he remains the hottest name in politics and he’s the interview that everyone wants,” Jason Miller, Trump’s spokesperson, told Politico in March. “We’re tracking nearly three dozen post-presidency books where he will be the star.”

Former presidents typically release a memoir in the years after they leave office, providing big business for publishers. Barack Obama’s book, “A Promised Land,” was published in November and sold more than 3 million copies in its first month. George W. Bush’s memoir, “Decision Points,” came out in 2010 and became a New York Times bestseller.

Before he was commander-in-chief, Trump had his name on more than a dozen books related to real estate and business.

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Fauci brushes off GOP criticism and says attacks on him are ‘attacks on science’ that he can debunk ‘immediately’

AP anthony fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said that attacks on him were “attacks on science.”
  • Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn accused Fauci Tuesday of working with Mark Zukerberg and “cherry-picking” facts.
  • Fauci said he could “debunk” every criticism of his decisions, which were “fundamentally based on science.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that all his COVID-19 recommendations were “fundamentally based on science,” following criticism from a Republican senator.

Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, told NBC News that “attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science.”

“If you are trying to, you know, get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you are really attacking not only Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science,” Fauci said. “And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that.”

Tennessee’s Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn posted a video Tuesday accusing Fauci of working with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and “cherry-picking” facts so the public only knew what Zuckerberg and Fauci wanted them to know.

Fauci said Wednesday that he didn’t want to criticize a US senator, but had “no idea what she was talking about.”

Fauci has received criticism from GOP leaders throughout the pandemic. Some GOP leaders have asked Fauci to resign over his handling of COVID-19 and his view that it is “highly unlikely” that the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. They have also criticized Fauci for asking Americans to wear masks to protect against the virus.

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday at North Carolina’s Republican Party convention that Fauci had “been wrong on almost every issue and he was wrong on Wuhan and the lab also.”

Fauci told NBC News that he could go through every single criticism he’d faced and “debunk it immediately.”

He used his mask guidance as an example.

Initially, there was a shortage of masks, alongside no evidence mask-wearing outside a hospital worked and no awareness of asymptomatic spread, he said. Fauci said that, in time, it became clear that there was no mask shortage, that data showed mask-wearing outside hospitals worked, and that 50% of people with COVID-19 had no symptoms.

“That’s when we said we gotta get people to wear masks,” he said.

Fauci said that this exemplified the scientific process. “You make a guideline based on what you know at the time. As a scientist, as a health official, when those data change, when you get more information, it’s essential that you change your position because you got to be guided by the science and the current data,” he said.

Instead, “people want to fire me, or put me in jail for what I’ve done,” Fauci said. “Lately everything I say gets taken out of context,” he said.

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Trump’s PAC, Save America, is opting supporters into extra ‘surprise’ donations for his birthday

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Former President Donald Trump.

  • Trump’s PAC, Save America, is asking supporters to donate extra money on his birthday.
  • It says it wants to surprise Trump “with a record breaking fundraising day,” and opts supporters into an extra donation.
  • There aren’t many restrictions on how the donations to the PAC could be spent.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Save America, the political action committee (PAC) created by Donald Trump, is urging donors to “surprise” the former president with extra money on his birthday.

When supporters donate via Save America’s site, the website automatically ticks a box saying they would like to donate the same amount on Trump’s birthday, which is June 14.

Screenshot from Save America about Trump's birthday donations
The website automatically ticks a box saying that they would like to make a donation of the same value on Trump’s birthday.

For example, if a supporter donates $250, the website automatically opts them in to donating an additional $250 on June 14.

“President Trump’s birthday is coming up on June 14th and we want to surprise him with a record breaking fundraising day!” the box reads. “Will you help us?”

The webpage also automatically ticks a box to say the supporter wants to make their contribution a monthly donation.

Trump plans to start holding rallies again and has continued to hint at a 2024 run at the White House.

The website said that the donations would go towards the Save America joint fundraising committee. It said that 90% of the proceeds would go to the Save America PAC and 10% would go to the Make America Great Again PAC (MAGAPac), which was formerly his presidential campaign committee.

Read more: These 7 federal judges have had past brushes with Trump and are now helping to decide the Capitol rioters’ fate

By pushing donations through his PAC, Trump is trying to siphon donations away from the Republican National Committee and into his own fund, Insider’s Julie Gerstein reported. Neither the Save America PAC nor MAGAPac is directly affiliated with the Republican Party.

The Save America PAC was created in November after Trump lost the election to President Joe Biden. The Independent reported that it had around $85 million cash on hand, and hasn’t yet spent any money supporting or opposing any specific candidates. The PAC raised more than $31 million during the 2020 cycle, mostly through grassroots fundraising appeals that called for help overturning the 2020 election results.

Insider’s Oma Seddiq reported that there weren’t many restrictions on how the donations to the PAC could be spent, so Trump could use the funds for himself, though he can’t directly use them for his own future political campaign.

Save America screenshot urging donations
Save America’s website urges Trump’s supporters to make donations.

An analysis by The Independent found that Save America sent at least one text message to supporters every day in May, urging them to donate money. Ahead of fundraising deadlines, some texts were sent just hours apart, the publication found.

It reported that some of the texts looked like they were personally written by Trump or his relatives, including his children Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and his wife Melania Trump.

“Eric & Don Jr: It’s so important that we’re BOTH texting you,” a text sent to supporters read, per The Independent. “It’s almost our father’s birthday. You have 1HR to sign the card. Act NOW.”

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GOP state senators in Pennsylvania started lobbying for an election audit back in December: WaPo

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano
Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, center, speaks to supporters of President Donald Trump as they demonstrate outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Harrisburg, Pa., after Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump to become 46th president of the United States.

  • GOP senators in Pennsylvania lobbied for 2020 election audits in December, The Washington Post reported.
  • At least one county accepted the offer and submitted to a recount done by Wake TSI, a company also involved in Arizona’s recount.
  • Trump has targeted Pennsylvania once again in recent days, calling on the GOP to conduct a full audit.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

All eyes were on Pennsylvania following the 2020 presidential election. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, the battleground state witnessed a riveting post-election day percentage shift from Trump to Biden, several Trump-sponsored accusations of fraud, and a series of rejected legal attempts by the then-president and his allies to overturn the results.

But after two months of election pandemonium in the keystone state, a group of GOP senators staged a final attempt to undermine President Joe Biden’s win, according to The Washington Post.

In late December, Republican senators in the state legislature targeted officials in at least three conservative-leaning counties asking if they would agree to an unofficial, voluntary audit of their ballots, the outlet reported.

Though previously unreported, the lawmakers’ post-election efforts to sow doubt about the 2020 election results and curry favor with former President Donald Trump set a precedent for the expanding list of places across the country looking to conduct similar reviews of the election that refuses to die.

Trump loyalists are clamoring for opportunities to find evidence that could prove Trump’s relentless conspiracy theories. But experts and institutions have found no evidence of any widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The Post’s reporting on the Pennsylvania Republicans’ methods comes as the state’s GOP fields growing calls to greenlight an Arizona-style election audit of its own. Last week, a three-person delegation from Pennsylvania met with fellow Republicans and ballot counters in Maricopa County, where Biden beat Trump by more than 45,000 votes and where a GOP-backed audit has been ongoing since March.

Sen. Doug Mastriano, who developed a close relationship with Trump following the election, helped spearhead the county audit attempts in Pennsylvania last year and reportedly told Trump at a meeting last month that he could bring about an audit in his state moving forward. Mastriano was also one of the lawmakers who toured the Phoenix site last week and called for a similar recount after his visit.

Mastriano did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Of the three counties that Pennsylvania Republicans targeted last winter, Trump won all with ease. According to The Post, the lawmakers proposed to have a private company review the counties’ ballots for free – an unusual act not part of official election challenge processes.

Fulton County, a rural area on the border of Maryland, is the only county known to have accepted the senators’ offer, The Post reported. On December 31, Wake TSI, a company initially involved in the Arizona recount as well, recounted about 1,000 mail-in ballots and examined county voting machines, according to the outlet.

The company, which was contracted to a nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, declared the election had been “well run” and conducted in “a diligent and effective manner” in a February draft report reviewed by The Post.

But the final version of the report that ended up on the county’s website was revised.

“This does not indicate that there were no issues with the election, just that they were not the fault of the County Election Commission or County Election Director,” it added to its assessment.

County officials did not respond to The Post’s questions about who made the last-minute revision.

As Trump continues to spread lies about the 2020 election, he has zeroed in on Pennsylvania once again, joining the crowd of those calling for a state audit.

“The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth,” Trump said in a statement. “If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!

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Texans elect the first Republican mayor of McAllen, a majority Latino border city, in 24 years

Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to media from his car wearing a, "Make America Great Again," hat during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas.
Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to media from his car wearing a, “Make America Great Again,” hat during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas.

  • Texans elected three new Republican mayors over the weekend, building on the GOP’s significant 2020 gains among Hispanic voters.
  • The border city of McAllen, Texas, which is about 85% Latino, elected its first GOP mayor in 24 years.
  • Last year, Trump and the GOP saw a major surge in Latino support in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Texans elected three new Republican mayors in heavily Latino cities over the weekend, building on the GOP’s significant 2020 gains among Hispanic voters.

Most notably, the border city of McAllen, Texas, which is about 85% Latino, elected its first GOP mayor in 24 years. Javier Villalobos, a city commissioner and former chairman of the Hidalgo County GOP, won about 200 more votes than Democrat Veronica Vela Whitacre in Saturday’s runoff election. Republican mayoral candidates also won their races in Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas.

Last year, Trump and the GOP saw a major surge in Latino support in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, long a Democratic stronghold. While Hillary Clinton won the region by 39 points in 2016, President Joe Biden won it by just 15 points. Latino turnout grew by about 30% in 2020.

Trump flipped five Latino-majority Texas counties last year, almost doubling his vote count in McAllen, doubling his support in the 94% Latino Zapata County, and sharply boosting his numbers in Hidalgo County, where McAllen, one of the region’s biggest cities, is located.

The GOP’s gains among Hispanic voters in 2020 wasn’t limited to Texas. The party saw a surge of about 8 percent among Latinos in 2020 across a range of states, including Arizona, Florida, New York, California, and Texas. Colombian-American and Venezuelan-American voters moved most sharply to the right, but the increased GOP support came from a range of Latino communities.

There are a slew of likely reasons why Latino voters, particularly women, are swinging towards the GOP. Recent polling and focus groups have found that GOP messaging on immigration and public safety issues was particularly effective among certain Latino communities.

Democratic pollster David Shor has found that Latino voters moved away from Biden and towards Trump when they were reminded of Democrats’ positions on immigration policy. Shor and others have also found that Latinos who voted for Clinton in 2016 and Trump in 2020 were much more likely to have conservative views on crime, public safety, and policing. Some experts believe that the GOP’s argument that Democratic policies hurt public safety — and the left’s calls to “defund the police” — helped push many Latino voters to the GOP column last year.

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Donald Trump attacks Big Tech during a meandering speech, in which he accused Silicon Valley firms of ruining the US and demanded their ‘monopoly’ be broken up

Former President Donald J. Trump in North Carolina on Saturday.
Former President Donald J. Trump in North Carolina on Saturday.

  • Donald Trump told an NC crowd on Saturday: “We will break up the Big Tech monopoly.”
  • The former president fiercely criticized Silicon Valley executives for deplatforming him.
  • He also said he wasn’t interested in waiting two years to return to Facebook.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday slammed Big Tech for deplatforming him, accusing Silicon Valley executives of ruining the country.

He also said he wasn’t interested in waiting two years to be allowed back on Facebook.

“They may allow me back in two years. We got to stop that, we can’t let it happen – so unfair,” he said. “They’re shutting down an entire group of people. Not just me. They’re shutting down the voice of a tremendously powerful – in my opinion, a much more powerful and a much larger group.”

The comments came as Trump emerged from his post-presidency hiatus to speak at the North Carolina Republican Party Convention.

He gave a meandering 90-minute speech, speaking to a mostly subdued crowd of about 1,200 seated guests, and touching on well-worn highlights of his political rallies.

Trump said President Joe Biden had been destroying the country “before our very own eyes.” He then criticized the country’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, denouncing him as “not a great doctor.”

Trump also said the ongoing criminal investigation into the Trump Organization was part of a “five-year witch hunt” and that dead people had voted in November.

The speech was carried live on C-Span, which tagged it as a “Campaign 2024” event. Despite losing the 2020 election, Trump has a firm grip on the GOP. He told associates he planned to run again in 2024, if he’s healthy, Politico reported last month.

“We will break up the Big Tech monopoly,” he said on Saturday. “We will reject left-wing cancel culture.”

Trump at the North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina.
The North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina.

Trump took aim at Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive at Facebook, calling him “another beauty,” saying his “human nature” was ruining the country.

“This election will go down as the crime of the century,” Trump said. “And our country is being destroyed by people who perhaps have no right to destroy it. Zuckerberg broke the law, spending millions of dollars – don’t you think he broke the law? – millions of dollars to get out the vote in highly Democrat areas.”

Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment.

The speech came a day after Facebook announced Trump’s suspension would last at least two more years. He was removed from the social network the day after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The company’s Oversight Board in early May had extended the ban by six months.

He was permanently banned from Twitter in January.

Without direct access to the billions of social-media users, Trump has struggled to find a way to speak directly to his followers. He launched a blog called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” posting statements that could be shared by users allowed on Facebook or Twitter. But readership and sharing floundered. It was also buggy. The blog was taken offline last week.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said: “Feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change his stripes over the next two years. We’ll see.”

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Trump said the GOP will take back the White House ‘sooner than you think’ amid reports he believes he will be ‘reinstated’ in August

Donald Trump speaks at a podium in front of American flags.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the North Carolina GOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina.

  • Trump said that the GOP will take back Congress and the White House “sooner than you think.”
  • The remark came amid reports that Trump believes he will be “reinstated” as president in August.
  • It’s unclear where the theory came from, but Insider previously reported it has no legal basis.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump said the Republican Party will take back Congress and the White House “sooner than you think.”

He was speaking in a video for the National Republican Senatorial Committee that was shared online Friday.

“We’re going to take back the Senate, take back the House, we’re going to take back the White House, and sooner than you think. It’s going to be really something special,” Trump said in the video.

“The love, and the affection, and the respect that you’ve given all of us, it’s really important,” he added, thanking people for their support. “The Republican Party is stronger than its ever been, and its going to be a lot stronger than it is right now. We’re going to turn it around, we’re going to turn it around fast.”

It’s unclear when the video was taken, but it comes amid reports that Trump believes the bizarre theory that he could be reinstated as president in August.

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said Tuesday that Trump has been telling people he expects to be reinstated. Haberman said the former president has been “laser-focused” on election audits being held in states he lost.

The origin of the reinstatement conspiracy theory is unclear, though it has been pushed by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch Trump supporter. Lindell said on a podcast in March that Trump would “be back in office in August.”

As Insider’s Grace Panetta and Jake Lahut reported, there is no constitutional basis for the reinstatement theory.

The Daily Beast reported Friday that allies of Trump were advising him not to mention the idea of reinstatement during his speech at the North Carolina GOP state convention Saturday night.

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