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Newt Gingrich: Whites ‘don’t understand being black in America’

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump canceled their Friday events after the Dallas shootings.

  • Newt Gingrich, who is a possible Trump running mate, says ‘If you are a normal, white American ... you don’t understand being black in America’
  • Donald Trump Jr. retweets controversial ex-congressman
  • Trump says that racial relations are deteriorating
  • Politicians speak out on the shooting of police officers in Dallas
  • Democrats put pressure on Bernie Sanders to back Clinton
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Democrats call for $15 federal minimum wage in platform

Hillary Clinton meets with SEIU members at the union's May convention in Detroit. At left is union President Mary Kay Henry.
(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

Democratic leaders emerged from hours of closed-door conversations Friday with an agreement to call for a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage in the party platform.

The proposal, adopted during a meeting in Orlando, was a priority for Sen. Bernie Sanders. Right now the federal minimum wage is $7.25.Sanders welcomed the change in a tweet.

However, the amendment pushed by Sanders was modified at the request of a Hillary Clinton supporter, Service Employees International Union leader Mary Kay Henry.

The final language in the platform calls for the higher minimum wage “over time,” providing some political breathing room when pushing for the change.

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, called for a $12 federal minimum wage during the primary, although she praised New York and California when they raised their state requirements to $15.

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Roger Clinton to be charged with DUI

(Christina House / For the Los Angeles Times))

Roger Clinton will be charged with driving under the influence following his June arrest after driving erratically on Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach, according to the Daily Breeze.

Clinton, the brother-in-law of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, took a screening test after he was stopped by Redondo Beach police around 7:20 p.m. on June 5, but refused a Breathalyzer test at the Redondo Beach police station, according to police.

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Too little trust’ between police and communities

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Donald Trump Jr. retweets controversial ex-congressman

(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Often, it has been Donald Trump whose retweets have caused a stir.

On Friday, however, Donald Trump Jr., the oldest son of the presumptive Republican nominee, retweeted a message from Joe Walsh, the controversial former congressman from Illinois.

Walsh’s tweet denounced Black Lives Matter and claimed — with no evidence — that protesters from the group were calling for “the death of cops.”

“Absolutely Disgusting,” the tweet said.

The retweet by the candidate’s son, who often retweets conservative provocateur Ann Coulter, came on a day when the elder Trump had offered a relatively measured response to the fatal shootings of police officers in Dallas.

Walsh, by contrast, has been widely assailed for the comments he has made since the shootings, particularly a tweet he sent shortly after they happened Thursday night in which he proclaimed: “Watch out Obama. Watch out Black Lives Matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”

That tweet was later deleted from Walsh’s account — he said Twitter took it down — but screenshots continue to be circulated and condemned on social media.

Reached for comment, Trump’s spokesperson, Hope Hicks, declined to say anything on the record about the younger Trump’s retweet.

Walsh, now a radio talk show host, gave an interview to the Chicago Tribune on Friday in which he stood behind his statements, but said he had not been trying to incite violence.

“Of course I didn’t mean, ‘Let’s go kill Obama and Black Lives Matter.’ I was not trying to incite violence against Obama and Black Lives Matter,” he said.

In a 2011 interview with Slate, Walsh, who served a single term and was defeated in his bid for reelection four years ago, claimed Obama had only been elected president because he was a “black man who was articulate.”’

Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy last summer, he’s been strongly condemned for some of the comments he has retweeted, including some by apparent white supremacists. He’s also retweeted statistics that inaccurately portrayed U.S. murder rates among blacks and whites, exaggerating the amount of violence attributable to African Americans.

In recent days, Donald Trump drew criticism from many, including fellow Republicans, for a tweet depicting Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, next to a pile of money and a six-pointed star. Critics said the imagery was anti-Semitic. Trump denied that.

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Mitt Romney weighs in on recent shootings

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Newt Gingrich: ‘If you are a normal white American ... you don’t understand being black in America’

Most white Americans “don’t understand being black in America” and the discrimination African Americans face, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said Friday.

Gingrich, who is among a group of individuals presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is vetting as a possible running mate, made his remark during a Facebook town hall with Van Jones, a former aide in the Obama administration.

The event had been scheduled to focus on opioid use, but with the nation reacting to two highly publicized shootings of black men by police this week, followed by the killing of at least five Dallas police officers in a gun attack Thursday night, the two shifted to talk about race and ways to bring the nation together.

“It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this,” said Gingrich, who served as speaker from 1990 until 1995 and who represented an Atlanta-area congressional district for two decades.

“If you are a normal white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America,” he said.

White Americans “instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk,” he said.

Gingrich’s remarks followed a statement released by Trump on Friday in which he said the nation has become “too divided.” Outside of the statement, Trump has not spoken about the shootings. He canceled a campaign rally that had been scheduled for Florida.

Gingrich, known for being blunt -- he initially spoke out against Trump following the candidate’s controversial remarks about a Latino judge -- also talked about life in the South and specifically in Georgia, where he moved when he was in high school.

“It was still legally segregated, which meant the local sheriff and National Guard would impose, by force, the taking away of rights of Americans,” he said. “We’ve come a fair distance, now we have a black mayor of Atlanta and have had a series of them, in fact. ... But we’ve stalled out on the cultural, economic, practical progress we needed.”

The former House speaker has a history of controversial, racially tinged remarks. He once called President Obama the “food stamp president” and questioned whether he had a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.

Gingrich has described bilingual education as teaching “the language of living in a ghetto,” and said that poor urban children come from communities that lack a “work ethic.” In 2012, seeking the GOP presidential nomination, he campaigned in the South with a states-rights message that critics called a coded appeal to prejudice.

Trump is expected to select his running mate sometime in the coming week, ahead of the Republican National Convention. He and Gingrich campaigned together earlier this week in Ohio.

Staff writer Seema Mehta contributed to this report.

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A final push on trade, wages, fracking and more from Bernie Sanders

As Democrats meet in Orlando, Fla., on Friday and Saturday to finalize their platform, Bernie Sanders is trying once again to influence the party’s agenda before his expected endorsement of Hillary Clinton next week.

“It’s by far the most progressive platform the Democrats have ever presented,” the Vermont senator told CNN this week. “I want to see it more progressive.”

Sanders wants the party to call for a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, a ban on fracking and a tax on carbon emissions. He’s also looking for seven days of guaranteed sick leave for workers and for the Department of Justice to investigate all police shootings.

Another controversial issue has been the massive trade agreement pursued by President Obama, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Obama views the pact as an economic booster, but Sanders fears it will hurt U.S. workers. He wants Democrats to block it in Congress, arguing that the deal would be a “disaster for the middle-class and working families in this country.”

The Democrats’ platform committee was scheduled to finish its work on its draft on Saturday, which would then be approved at the national convention in Philadelphia later this month.

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Hillary Clinton mourns slain Dallas police officers

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Analysis: Violence strikes across America. Will it change the presidential campaign?

Dallas police officers gather outside Baylor Medical Center, where several officers wounded in the shooting were taken for care.
Dallas police officers gather outside Baylor Medical Center, where several officers wounded in the shooting were taken for care.
(Associated Press)

Crises that arise during presidential campaigns often define the candidates.

Will this horrific week prove to be the crucible of the current campaign?

Violence has shuddered through America since Tuesday: First, two controversial shootings by police of African American men, captured on cameras and spread on social media; then the assassination of at least five Dallas police officers and the wounding of others by snipers after a peaceful march protesting the earlier deaths.

At the very minimum, the bickering between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has been temporarily overshadowed, much as it was less than four weeks ago when a single assailant killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

That pause proved temporary and for all its horror, had little effect on the presidential race.

But in past decades, dramatic disorder has had a political impact; the convulsions of protests and violence in 1968 helped swing the presidential election that year — one of the closest in history — to the law-and-order candidate, Republican Richard Nixon.

The effect of the latest outbreak may be fully determined only when more specifics are known about the Dallas attack, particularly the identities and motivations of the snipers.

Already, however, the attack has served as a reminder of how events outside the campaign can overwhelm the carefully plotted plans and strategies of the candidates. For a time, at least, the question of whom Trump will pick as a running mate and the details of Clinton’s handling of classified information in her emails while secretary of State seem unlikely to attract much attention.

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Republicans accuse Obama of pushing gun control agenda after Dallas shootings

Former Republican presidential candidates slammed President Obama on Friday for his response to the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers, accusing him of using the massacre to advance a gun control agenda.

“Now is definitely not the time to get political,” retired neurosurgeon and former GOP candidate Ben Carson said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “Now is the time to use logic and ask ourselves: Why do we have a Constitution?”

Obama’s response to the shooting threatens 2nd Amendment rights, Carson added.

After expressing condolences for the slain officers, Obama briefly mentioned the guns used in the assault.

“When people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately it makes it more deadly and more tragic,” Obama said Friday during a NATO summit in Warsaw. “And in the days ahead we are going to have to consider those realities as well.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who also ran for the White House, suggested that Obama try to bring Americans together.

“He doesn’t need to inject the divisive arguments like gun control at a time of great grief for the nation,” Huckabee told Fox News.

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Donald Trump calls for restoring law and order after Dallas shootings

Donald Trump condemned the killing of five Dallas police officers as “an attack on our country” and said Friday that racial tensions in America were deteriorating.

“We must restore law and order,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a statement. “We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street. The senseless, tragic deaths of two motorists in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done.”

The shooting of 12 officers in Dallas on Thursday night during a protest against police killings of African Americans in Louisiana and Minnesota came 10 days before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Months of violent, racially charged protests at Trump rallies across the nation have heightened concerns of potential unrest at the Cleveland gathering, where Trump expects to formally accept his party’s presidential nomination.

In the aftermath of the Dallas shootings, Trump canceled his scheduled campaign stops Friday in Miami with his former GOP opponents Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. Moments earlier, Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, had scratched her scheduled Pennsylvania campaign event Friday with Vice President Joe Biden.

“Our nation has become too divided,” said Trump, whose comments on Mexican immigrants, Muslims and other groups have sparked frequent charges of bigotry.

“Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. This isn’t the American dream we all want for our children.

“This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion. We will pull through these tragedies.”

Trump’s response to the Dallas shootings was relatively measured for the novice self-styled candidate whose spontaneous reactions to world events have repeatedly caused him political harm.

He was widely condemned after the killing of 49 people in an Orlando nightclub last month for saying on Twitter that he appreciated “the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance.”

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State Department reopens its Clinton emails inquiry

The State Department is reopening an internal investigation of possible mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and top aides.

Although the former secretary of State’s closest confidants have left the agency, they still could face punishment. The most serious would be loss of security clearances, which could complicate her aides’ hopes of securing top positions on her national security team if she becomes president.

The State Department started its review in January after declaring 22 emails from Clinton’s private server to be “top secret.” The investigation was suspended in April to avoid interfering with the FBI’s inquiry. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the probe is restarting after the Justice Department’s announcement Wednesday that it won’t bring any criminal charges.

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Clinton, Trump postpone Friday campaign events after Dallas shooting

Hillary Clinton canceled her Friday event in Scranton, Pa., in the wake of the Dallas shooting. She was scheduled to appear with Vice President Joe Biden.

Donald Trump also canceled his event in Miami. He was supposed to appear with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

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As Democratic convention nears, Sanders faces growing pressure to get behind Clinton’s presidential bid

When Bernie Sanders appeared this week before an audience of 100 or so Democratic House members, the closed-door reception in a basement hearing room on Capitol Hill was markedly cool.

Lawmakers shouted “Timeline! Timeline! — pressing him to hurry up and endorse the party’s presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton — and there were boos when the Vermont senator said his goal was “not to win elections” but “to transform America.”

Increasingly, Democrats are feeling Berned out.

After pulling Clinton leftward in the fight for the party’s nomination and pushing their contest to the very last day of balloting — long after the contest was effectively decided — Sanders now faces a growing chorus urging him to stand down, step aside and fall in line.

“Every other progressive Democratic leader in the Democratic Party has gotten behind Hillary Clinton,” said Geoff Garin, who helped lead Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and cited her endorsement of Barack Obama, four days after their fiercely fought contest ended, as a model of political comportment.

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