A Pennsylvania Democrat had his speech cut short on Wednesday after he noted the state’s Republican lawmakers are “100% white.”
The heated moment came during a debate over a Republican proposal to regulate the disposal of fetal remains, one that Democratic lawmakers argued would force women to bury or cremate a miscarried fetus. As USA Today reported, a number of Democratic women spoke against the measure – which Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to veto – by highlighting their own traumatic experiences with miscarriages.
Rep. Brian Sims, a Democrat from Philadelphia, lamented the fact his colleagues were forced to share such testimony in the state’s Republican-controlled House.
“This is just another act in a political theater that has plagued this chamber for far too long,” Sims said. “We are a legislature that has met more to remove mask mandates, strip executive emergency powers, and overturn free and fair elections than we have to make strategic investments in Pennsylvania’s women, children, and families.”
Sims punctuated his remarks with an attack on his Republican colleagues and the demographic makeup of their caucus. The bill, he argued, was just another line item in “a grossly, predictably misogynistic agenda – an agenda pursued by a party that is 100% white, in a chamber that is 70% male.”
House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, a Republican, then cut Sims’ microphone. “That’s enough,” he said amid booing from other GOP lawmakers.
Sims was unrepentant.
“Your boos mean nothing to me,” he said. “I’ve seen what you cheer for.”
A Philadelphia police officer faces criminal charges on accusations of pulling a gun on a teenage boy and threatening to shoot the child’s older brother during a naked argument inside their mother’s bedroom.
A spokesperson for Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said the officer, Det. Robert Redanauer, is being charged with simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, possessing and instrument of crime, and terroristic threats.
“This incident involved two victims, both siblings, one of whom was a minor,” the spokesperson, Jane Roh, told Insider. The detective is the 10th member of the Philadelphia Police Department to be charged with a crime this year, she said.
Redanauer turned himself in on Tuesday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, following an Internal Affairs investigation of the incident, which occurred December 27 while the detective was off duty.
According to an arrest affidavit, obtained by the Inquirer, a 23-year-old man heard his little brother arguing with Redanauer in his mother’s bedroom. When he entered the room, Redanauer, who was unclothed, grabbed a semi-automatic handgun from a dresser, pointed it at both siblings, and threatened to pull the trigger.
“Come here f—-r,” Redanauer said, according to the court document. “I am going to shoot you.”
It is not clear what the man’s relationship was to the boys’ mother, who was also in the room, the Inquirer reported, citing a law enforcement source.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she intends to fire Redanauer, who is currently on a 30-day suspension.
“In order for police officers to effectively do their jobs, it is imperative that they are held to a higher standard – both on and off-duty,” Outlaw said in a statement, describing the accusations as “serious” and “intolerable.”
The case comes amid a highly contested election, with DA Krasner, a defense attorney turned self-styled progressive prosecutor, facing off against Carlos Vega, a prosecutor he fired who is backed by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police.
Krasner has faced criticism from police amid a surge in homicides during the pandemic. Vega has also been put on the defensive over his role in a murder case against a man who was exonerated by DNA evidence.
Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt called on GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to vote his “conscience” as the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump hurtles towards a conclusion.
In a late Friday note directed at McConnell, Schmidt recalls the days after the November general election when Trump attacked him as Republican “RINO,” or Republican in name only, on Twitter for disputing the former president’s claims of voter fraud in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.
“The former POTUS incited supporters to threaten to kill my children and put their ‘heads on spikes’ because we counted votes cast by eligible voters,” Schmidt wrote. “They named my children and included my home address in the threats.”
He added: “Please consider when voting your conscience.”
However, ahead of a likely weekend vote, McConnell announced in a letter on Saturday morning that he would vote to acquit Trump in the former president’s Senate impeachment trial for “incitement of insurrection” related to the January 6 Capitol riots.
The attacks on Schmidt’s family were accelerated by a November tweet that was posted on the former president’s now-disabled Twitter account.
“A guy named Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia Commissioner and so-called Republican (RINO), is being used big time by the Fake News Media to explain how honest things were with respect to the Election in Philadelphia,” Trump tweeted. “He refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty. We win!”
“You lied,” one message read. “You a traitor. Perhaps 75cuts and 20bullets will soon arrive.”
Two emails sent to Schmidt’s wife read, “ALBERT RINO SCHMIDT WILL BE FATALLY SHOT,” “COPS CAN’T HELP YOU. #Q,” and “HEADS ON SPIKES. TREASONOUS SCHMIDTS.”
In November, Schmidt also revealed that staff members in his office had been subjected to death threats and said that critics were “coming up with all sorts of crazy stuff” to discredit the work of the office.
Last month, Schmidt announced that he would not run for reelection in 2023 and insisted that the Pennsylvania vote count was “free and fair,” despite the relentless stream of debunked election-related conspiracy theories from the former president.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping, the suburban garden center where the Trump campaign held a post-election press conference in November, made $1.3 million in merchandise sales, according to its owners.
Business Insider spoke to the center’s director of sales, Sean Middleton, who said the small family-run business has been working up to 18 hours a day to send 28,000 orders of their official merchandise around the world.
Middleton also said that the center has been inundated with visitors, who either want to take selfies or pose for photoshoots at the back of the building.
Middleton estimates that around 28,000 orders were made in the first five days following the press conference.
The business, which offers a range of grounds maintenance services, has also been inundated with selfie-taking visitors, gifts, and even requests to host weddings.
“I haven’t had a day off in 26 days, working 16 to 18 hours a day because we have to keep our core business sustained and also honor the business that we took on with all this merchandise,” Middleton told Business Insider over the phone.
“We are still getting called by all the major media outlets all over the world. Our office line has been going off the chain. On the day after the press conference, we probably had 600 or 700 calls to our office line, all of which we dealt with personally,” he added.
Middleton estimates that around 28,000 orders were made in the first five days following the press conference, which brought in $1.3 million in merchandise sales. This figure was originally reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday.
Middleton said their most popular orders had been their $25 traditional green logo t-shirt, which is what their workers wear on job sites during the season.
Other sought-for items include their “Make America rake again” and “Lawn and Order” shirts.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping is also located next to a sex shop called Fantasy Land, which has also been selling merchandise. It is unclear how much they have made in sales since the press conference.
Business Insider reached out for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
“I think once all these are out, we will have the opportunity to look at all this and realize that we have people all over the world supporting this little family-run business from Holmesburg, northeast Philadelphia,” Middleton said.
Middleton told the Inquirer that he was in Bible study when he received a Trump campaign staffer call early on November 7, who asked if the company would be willing to host a news conference in their courtyard.
“We thought it was nonchalant,” he told the Inquirer. “It wasn’t even determined that it would be at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. It was just, ‘Hey, you’re one of the areas.'”
“I gave them the address, I said where we were, where they can meet us, and that was that,” Middleton added.
“We are just blown away that all corners of the world that have been purchasing Four Seasons Total Landscaping merchandise,” said Middleton. “One thing I wasn’t so aware of was that there are people all over the world that are paying attention to US politics and are interested in it and know enough to know that this press briefing was just funny.”
In the month since then, the small business has also been flooded with visitors, who either ask for selfies or stage photoshoots by their gates. Four Seasons has also reportedly been sent a range of different gifts, including cheesesteaks, fruit baskets, and even beard oil, the Inquirer reported.
Most recently, two sisters who lived in different states met outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping for their Thanksgiving meal, Middleton said.
Others have asked if they can hold a party or even a wedding at the business, according to the Inquirer.
“We had two large gates that have barbed wire at the top because of where our location is. They’re usually shut because it isn’t safe to come on the property because we’re a construction yard. But some passerby came up when the gates were closed and hung two Christmas wreaths on each side of the gate,” Middleton said.
The garden center hopes to use the $1.3 million to take care of its employees who have been “working so hard to help us out this past month.” It will also be making some charitable contributions to local organizations.
Middleton also said that the business had not taken any political stance, adding that it would have welcomed “any presidential candidate” to their property.
“It’s something we can all come together on. In a time where we’re in a pandemic, it’s the election season, and it was an election year – the division is even greater on both sides and it was just nice to come together and laugh at this because this is just funny,” he said.