King’s Speech 2024: The key moments as Labour set out legislative programme

King Charles III today outlined over 35 pieces of legislation that prime minister Keir Starmer will focus on for the opening year or so of his government.

The new Labour government’s plans include “getting Britain building” by delivering 1.5 million homes and nationalising the country’s railways, King Charles announced.

A day of pomp and ceremony will now give way to weeks of intense political attacks as Keir Starmer and the opposition parties debate the proposals.

Relive the key moments of Keir Starmer’s first State Opening of Parliament as PM, from its time-honoured traditions — some innocuous and others arcane — to the pointed political jousting…

Black Rod summons MPs


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Before she could enter the House of Commons to “summons” MPs to hear the Speech from the Throne, Black Rod had the chamber doors slammed in her face.

Black Rod is a senior officer in the House of Lords, responsible for controlling access to and maintaining order within the House and its precincts. In full, her title is Lady Usher of the Black Rod.

As is tradition, the doors were slammed to symbolise the commons’ independence from the monarchy.

Sarah Clarke, who was appointed as Black Rod in 2017, then entered the commons after banging on the door.

©House of Commons

Next, she addressed the chamber, inviting MPs to join peers in the House of Lords.

“Mr Speaker, the King commands this honourable House to attend His Majesty immediately in the House of Peers”, she said.

Charles III delivers the ‘Speech from the Throne’


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After the Speaker led MPs into the House of Lords — to which they departed two-by-two, giving plenty of opportunity for idle chit-chat, they stopped before the “bar of the house”, a line beyond which they cannot venture.

The boundary means only a few dozen MPs are able to squeeze into the Lords chamber.

The Lord Chancellor and justice secretary, Shabana Mahmood, then walked to the Lords’ golden throne where the King was seated, presenting him with the speech written by the government.

King Charles III read the speech deadpan, offering no sign that he agreed or dissented from any aspect of the government’s new legislative agenda.

In total, the King’s Speech — divided under six headers, namely “Economic stability and growth,” “Great British Energy and clean energy superpower”, “Secure borders, cracking down on anti social behaviour and take back our streets”, “Break down the barriers to opportunity”, “Health” and “National security and serving the country” — saw 40 new bills announced.

King’s speech: Full list of the announced bills

King’s Speech 2024: Full list of bills

MPs return to Commons as King’s Speech debate begins

MPs returned to the House of Commons at 2.30 pm to begin the debate over the King’s Speech.

The Debate on the Address normally lasts for five to six days, and the motion is phrased as: “An Humble Address” to His Majesty thanking him for his gracious speech.

©House of Commons. Pictured: Peter Dowd MP (Bootle, Labour)

The task of moving the motion is regarded as an honour and is given to two government backbenchers. They are typically a contrasting pair with different constituencies, one a relative newcomer and the other a long-serving Member.

Peter Dowd, who has served as an MP since 2015, proposed the “Loyal Address”. Florence Eshalomi, an MP since 2019, acted as the seconder.

As is convention, their speeches were not contentious and contained both humour and flattering references to their constituencies and colleagues.


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Then it was the turn of the Leader of the Opposition who, observing convention, began by congratulating the proposer and seconder of the Loyal Address.

Later in his speech, Rishi Sunak mocked his unlikely rise to (and fall from) power, as he issued advice to newly elected MPs. 

“On the government benches life comes at you fast”, the former PM joked, adding: “Soon you might be fortunate enough to be tapped on the shoulder and be offered a junior ministerial role, then you’ll find yourself attending cabinet, then in the cabinet and then when the prime minister’s position becomes untenable you might end up being called to the highest office.

“And before you know it you have a bright future behind you and you’re left wondering whether you can credibly be an elder statesman at the age of 44.”


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Responding, Keir Starmer claimed his policy agenda can counter the “snake oil charm of populism”.

The new prime minister said his government will deliver “nothing less than national renewal” and said what people really want is “change”.

He added: “A King’s Speech that takes the brakes off our economy, and shows to the British people that politics can be a force for good. A vehicle for improving the lives of millions – no matter who you voted for.”

Analysis: ‘Keir Starmer unveils change agenda…’

King’s Speech verdict: Keir Starmer unveils ‘change’ agenda — now he must deliver

Josh Self is Editor of, follow him on X/Twitter here. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for all the latest election news and analysis.

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Teamster President Gets His Scab On

On Monday, in a move widely criticized by union members and labor advocates across the country, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien spoke to the Republican National Convention. He was very well received there, likely because he spent at least half of his speech talking about how lovely it was for Donald Trump — who, notably, stacked the National Labor Relations Board with anti-union activists, stacked the courts with anti-labor judges, and overall supported policies and tax breaks that helped the rich and hurt the working class — to have invited him to come speak.

Also because, while Republicans may hate what unions actually do, they love it when members of groups they have historically screwed turn around and support them anyway. What better way to totally “own the libs” than to say “Look! We’ve spent decades weakening unions with Right-To-Work-For-Less laws and opposing any raise to the minimum wage and this union guy loves us!”

O’Brien’s speech itself was mostly about him giving the speech. How meta!

“Several months ago,” he said, “I asked the RNC and the DNC for the opportunity to speak. To be frank, when President Trump invited me to speak at this convention there was political unrest on the Left and on the Right. Hard to believe! Anti-union groups demanded the president rescind his invitation [no reaction from the audience], the Left called me a traitor [pause for boos] and this is precisely why it’s so important for me to be here today. Think about this, think about this — the Teamsters are doing something correct if the extremes in both parties think I shouldn’t be on this stage.” 

First of all — those people not “the extremes in both parties.” They are regular-ass Democrats and, frankly, your standard “Fuck The Poor” Republicans. As objectionable as I may find those Republicans, they are relatively mild in comparison to the Actual Nazis the party now embraces so wholeheartedly.

Second of all, the man has no business bringing the rest of the Teamsters into this when so many are the very “extremists” who were disgusted by his decision to speak at the RNC.

“We will not allow the working-class labor movement to be destroyed by a scab masquerading as a pro-union advocate after doing everything in his power to destroy the very fabric of unions,” James Curbeam, the national chairman of the Teamsters National Black Caucus, wrote in a statement back when O’Brien first started his bromance with Trump.

Dissatisfaction with O’Brien is nothing new. Since January of 2023, Teamsters have been voicing their criticism of O’Brien’s leadership on the forum. When he found out about that, O’Brien actually enlisted known union-busting firm Nixon Peabody (which also counts Donald Trump as a client) to try to take it down.

In his speech, O’Brien was also sure to give Trump the requisite tongue bath, effusively praising him for being such a very very very tough guy.

Trump had the backbone to open the doors to this Republican convention and that’s unprecedented. No other nominee in the race would have invited the Teamsters into this arena. Now, you can have whatever opinion you want, but one thing is clear: President Trump is a candidate who is not afraid of hearing from new loud and often critical voices …

I’m sorry, what?

And I think we all can agree, whether people like them or they don’t like him, in light of what happened to him on Saturday he has proven to be one tough SOB.

Perhaps I’d be more inclined to think he is a real tough SOB, had I not once pierced ears at Claire’s for a living, but I don’t think so.

In a particularly baffling move, O’Brien began praising the Republican politicians he felt were coming around in terms of support for labor. Remember Markwayne Mullin, the Oklahoma Senator with whom he nearly got into fisticuffs with last year?

“Now this will shock you,” he said, “This will shock you. To paraphrase Senator Markwayne Mullin, it’s time for both both sides of Congress to stand their butts up.” 

More shocking than that, I’d say, is that he followed that right up with, “It needs to be easier for companies to remain in America” — clearly designed to appeal to those who want lower taxes and fewer regulations for companies, but who would also like to pretend that the reason they want those things is because they support workers, not because they love greedy corporations. That is not a pro-worker statement. O’Brien knows that companies manufacture goods overseas because they are greedy.

O’Brien presumably also know that Joe Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act has led to $270 billion in manufacturing investments so far, and 36,000 new manufacturing jobs. Right here. In America.

Look, I am fully on Team I Don’t Care How You Get Here (Get Here If You Can) when it comes to getting support and help for things I think are important. I have zero qualms about working with “the enemy” in order to get shit done. For instance, you will not to see me out here complaining that Republicans in Oklahoma are trying to help get Richard Glossip off death row — because I do understand that every once in a while, Jem and The Holograms have to team up with The Misfits in order to stop an evil magician’s assistant from disappearing people! Or something to that effect.

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This, however, was very much not that. It is very unlikely that Republicans are going to turn around and suddenly start supporting labor en masse, so all he did was go up there like a fool and sell out thousands of workers across the US for some rather tepid clapping.

Republicans want union support not because they support workers or support the existence of unions (certainly Donald Trump doesn’t), but because they like the aesthetics. They want to seem cool and pro-working class, as that will make it even easier for them to pass legislation designed to benefit the rich. Also because they want to “own the libs” and be able to say “See! The unions like us!”

And none of that is going to actually help any workers, anywhere.

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Sunder Katwala: Reform must work much harder to root out racist candidates if it to win public acceptance | Conservative Home

Sunder Katwala is Director of British Future.

As Big Ben struck ten on election night, the biggest surprise in the 2024 general election exit poll was not the widely anticipated Labour landslide, but that Nigel Farage’s Reform UK were projected to pick up 13 seats.

By dawn that had faded to something of a Farage mirage, though Reform still broke through to take five seats, including its leader finally making it into the House of Commons.

Farage dominated much of the election campaign, after his late decision to run as a candidate and take over as Reform leader. He promoted Reform as challenging the Conservatives for second place, though the party ultimately finished almost ten per cent adrift of the Conservatives on 14 per cent.

It also hit trouble during the campaign, with controversy over Farage’s position on Ukraine and arguments about racism and extremism from Reform candidates and campaigners. This placed a ceiling on Reform’s support.

New Focaldata research for British Future finds two-thirds of the public (65 per cent) think Reform must do more to ensure they don’t run extreme candidates, with just eight per cent disagreeing. Some 60 per cent of Reform’s own voters agree that the party needs stronger action to keep out extreme voices, with 14 per cent disagreeing.

The public consensus on this spans all mainstream political views: some 82 per cent of Conservatives, and eight in ten Labour voters, think Reform needs to do more to root out extreme candidates.

The Reform leadership, after the election, accepted this criticism – yet it was much more ambivalent during the campaign itself. Reform had weak vetting during its rapid selection of several hundred candidates, but Richard Tice had been swift to suspend overtly racist candidates this spring.

That changed with the change of leadership to Farage. The party rejected pressure from conservative media outlets, including the Daily Mail, Times and GB News, to drop overt racists.

Farage u-turned during his BBC Question Time special – removing three racist candidates live on air when read their indefensible quotes. Yet the party also continued to recommend that people vote for the suspended candidates.

Half the public (51 per cent) agrees that Reform risks bringing prejudice into debates about immigration, and only 19 per cent disagree. The Reform voters surveyed rejected this criticism, by 62 per cent to 17 per cent, along with all of the other criticisms of the party, bar the problem of needing to take stronger action on extreme candidates.

Our post-election poll asked voters about Reform’s impact and voice by testing reactions to both positive and negative statements about this new insurgent party, using questions previously asked about Farage’s UKIP party after the May 2015 election.

Overall, the survey finds that Reform’s ‘marmite’ appeal in 2024 is strikingly similar to that of UKIP almost a decade ago. This helps to illuminate how closely the Reform 2024 vote maps onto UKIP’s 2014 appeal – again winning four million votes and securing 30 per cent in ten constituencies. Reform hopes to build on its 98 second places, though UKIP was second in 120 seats nine years ago.

Clacton was won both times – by Douglas Carswell then Farage – while the collapse of the Conservative vote is the main reason that Reform has won another four seats.

Asked if Reform UK is “racist”, opinions were split. But more people thought the charge valid than rejected it: 41 per cent of respondents say that it is, while 30 per cent say that it is not. Here, Farage’s party today has a worse reputation on race and racism than did UKIP in 2015, when the general public had a narrow plurality view that it was not racist, by 43 per cent to 40 per cent.

Most Labour (54 per cent) and LibDem (66 per cent) voters think that it is fair to call the party racist, while Conservative respondents are equally divided, with 37 per cent arguing that the party is racist and 34 per cent that it is not.

Some 86 per cent of Reform voters rejected the charge that it is a racist party – while four per cent believe that it is. This may indicate that Reform has a small fringe of overtly pro-racism voters, though clearly most of its voters believe it is important to be on the right side of foundational anti-racism norms.

Reform – like UKIP – strikes a strong chord with a group who feel it is bringing something new to the political process, while being seen as a divisive and dangerous force by those with the most liberal views. The findings show that this reputational risk on racism and prejudice does extend into conservative audiences, who the party would need if they wanted to compete more broadly for votes and seats.

Four out of ten people across the public as a whole support positive statements about Reform – 43 per cent, for example, say it is an important new voice saying what most people think. The idea that Reform is mainly a mainstream party with a right to their view secures a plurality of public support, by 42 per cent to 24 per cent (+18); almost a decade ago, UKIP secured a 41 per cent to 29 per cent (+12) margin on this.

That the general public also leans towards agreeing that ‘Reform is mainly a divisive and dangerous party’, by a margin of 43 per cent to 28 per cent (+15), shows an ambivalence about Reform’s mainstream status.

Farage is clearly a major asset to a six-per-cent party, with his appeal to a quarter of the public. He could be much more of mixed blessing to a party that needs to increase a 24 per cent vote back into the mid and high-30s at least. Farage has ended the campaign with public approval ratings of 27 per cent and disapproval of 65 per cent.

That illustrates why Vote Leave – facing a 50 per cent winning post – took a strategic decision to curtail his visibility in the EU referendum campaign. The evidence of the “Farage paradox” was that the visibility and profile of UKIP and its leader were good for Remain, rather than Leave.

The next Conservative Party leader will face a new Farage paradox: whether they could win with or without him. The Tories could not reconstruct a winning coalition without winning back Farage’s votes. But they would fail, too, if tacking right stopped them winning support back from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The Farage ceiling would make it much more difficult to secure the broad appeal that a governing party needs, when the Reform leader has such a polarising reputation with the public and such a mixed one among centre-right voters too.

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Federalism could heal a divided nation

Anybody expecting politicians’ empty promises that they’ll savage one another more politely in the future to settle the country’s tensions is dreaming. Vicious rhetoric by candidates may fan the flames of political hatred, recently fueling the attempted assassination of Donald Trump. But those flames were lit long ago. To damp those fires, the best way to reduce the likelihood of Americans with opposing views battling for political control is to reduce the power of government—starting with the feds.

Nasty Words and Nastier Sentiments

“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people,” President Joe Biden charged in a 2022 speech in Philadelphia.

GOP candidate Donald Trump returns the sentiment, including at a March rally in Ohio when he claimed, “If we don’t win this election, I don’t think you’re going to have another election in this country.”

That’s raw stuff, but it’s not just candidates. Partisans of the major political parties are increasingly disdainful of one another, according to the American National Election Studies. On a scale of 1–100, Republicans and Democrats were “meh” about each other from 1978 to 2000, with ratings in the 40s. After the turn of the millennium, those figures declined to 20 and below in 2020.

“A majority of Democrats (55%) say the GOP makes them feel afraid, while 49% of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party,” Pew Research reported in 2016. “And nearly half of Democrats (47%) and Republicans (46%) say the other party makes them feel angry.”

That’s led to considerable discussion about “hatred” dominating relations between the political factions—language that’s not overblown when you see how the sides view each other.

“Roughly half (52% Biden voters, 47% Trump voters) viewed those who supported the other party as threats to the American way of life,” the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics found last year. “About 40% of both groups (41% Biden voters, 38% Trump voters) at least somewhat believed that the other side had become so extreme that it is acceptable to use violence to prevent them from achieving their goals.”

And here we are, amidst escalating political violence culminating in an assassination attempt on a former president who seeks a return to the White House. The country’s dominant political factions are convinced elections are too important to lose. Given how awful the factions are, perhaps they’re right.

Turn Down the Heat With Decentralized Power

But if conflict is found in elections that mutually loathing partisans think they can’t afford to lose, maybe the temperature can be turned down by making contests less important. If the federal government had a smaller role in our lives, it wouldn’t matter so much who wins control of the White House and Congress. If power is transferred from D.C. to states and localities that are closer to their constituents and easier for dissenters to escape by loading moving trucks, maybe political battles don’t have to be so nasty.

There’s even an opening for such decentralization in the 2024 Republican Party platform.

“We are going to close the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. and send it back to the States, where it belongs, and let the States run our educational system as it should be run,” reads the document.

On abortion, the platform similarly celebrates the overturning of Roe v. Wade, not by calling for a national ban, but by saying “power has been given to the States and to a vote of the People.”

“California is going to want to have a different policy from Ohio, Ohio is going to want to have a different policy from Alabama, and it is reasonable to let voters in states make the decisions,” Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) told Sean Hannity on Fox News after he was selected as the GOP vice-presidential pick.

That’s not enough to satisfy true believers on either the pro-life or pro-choice-side—some Republicans got very upset over the shift from the party’s older hard-line position—but it’s a reasonable approach for reducing conflict over an issue on which people strongly disagree.

Rediscovering Federalism and Voting With Your Feet

That’s a reinvention of federalism, of course—a principle on which the structure of the United States was based. But two and a half centuries on, power has been hoovered up by federal officials who increasingly impose one-size-fits-whoever-is-in-charge policies. That’s a recipe for the political conflict we see around us as people battle to impose their preferred policies and escape those of their enemies.

“The diversity federalism creates can also help promote unity, by reducing the conflict that arises when the federal government has the power to impose one-size-fits-all policies throughout the country,” George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin told a Federalist Society symposium last year. “Decentralizing authority can mitigate that conflict.”

Decentralized policymaking also makes it easier for people to “vote with their feet,” Somin adds, by moving from jurisdictions dominated by policies they don’t like to ones where they feel comfortable. He wrote a whole book on that topic.

We’ve seen that happening with the “big sort” captured in Bill Bishop’s 2008 book of the same name, and the phenomenon continues.

“Americans are segregating by their politics at a rapid clip, helping fuel the greatest divide between the states in modern history,” the AP reported last summer. “The split has sent states careening to the political left or right, adopting diametrically opposed laws on some of the hottest issues of the day.”

Of course, that only works if states and localities are allowed to make their own policies. Unfortunately, Democrats have long preferred centralizing power and making policies uniform across the country. Uses of “federal” in that party’s most recent platform overwhelmingly refer to increasing D.C.’s role.

But that document is four years old, and the country has become more divided and conflict-ridden since. Democrats briefly rediscovered an interest in federalism when Trump was in the White House and may again with him poised to return. Enjoying the policies they prefer locally—or having the option to move where they’ve been implemented—could strike them as better than national conflict and violence.

If Americans can be convinced to make federal elections not worth fighting over by shifting power to states and localities, we should talk about decentralizing even further. All the way to the individual would be best.

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‘What Wes Streeting gets wrong about puberty blockers’ – LabourList

As I listened to the Human League at Bristol Pride, the words from one of their songs resonated ‘I’m only human, of flesh and blood I’m made’. Those are words that we should all note when we talk about trans people. 

For far too long the trans community have been dehumanised, characterised as mentally ill or a threat to women and children, a similar playbook to that used against gay men many decades ago. The Tories and right-wing media have been responsible for making the lives of trans people a living hell, as I know only too well having changed my gender from male-to-female in 2018. 

With a new Labour Government it’s my hope that the culture wars might end, that NHS waiting lists will come down and that access to NHS dentistry will improve. I made the last two issues part of my campaign to successfully become the first openly elected trans woman councillor in Bristol in May 2024. 

Labour have made some important promises to the LGBT+ community in the manifesto, including a fully trans inclusive ban on conversion therapy and improved access to healthcare for trans people. I’ve been an active campaigner on these issues within my home city, organising protest gatherings and appearing on local TV.

I’ll never forget the time when I had a lesbian woman addressing the crowd right in front of me, recalling how she had lost a young trans friend to suicide – when she finished speaking we hugged with tears streaming from our faces. Nothing is more powerful than personal testimony.

And so it is with dismay that I hear that Wes Streeting has vowed to continue the ban on puberty blockers introduced by the Tories as a parting gift to punch down on the trans community.

Some reality about gender transition

It took me about 40 years to come to terms with my gender issues, throughout all that time I felt a great deal of shame and stayed very much in the closet. When I did finally accept my trans identity I never looked back – it was the best decision for me and I have no regrets. 

As part of my transition I’ve spent thousands of pounds on facial hair removal and private healthcare, as well as having some vocal therapy sessions, all the consequence of a male puberty.

READ MORE: Fresh party trans row as activists launches ‘alternative’ to LGBT+ Labour

I got a referral to an NHS gender identity clinic, but it took them five years to finally give me a first appointment. I regard myself as lucky to be seen, because in some regions the waiting time is much longer than this.

Fortunately we now live in more enlightened times and I find it joyous that people can come out as trans more readily and much younger. When like me you’ve talked to many, many trans people (I ran a trans pride for five years), you know that for some young trans people going through puberty can be a distressing experience.

We must remember that the number of people that identify as trans is very low, and those that identify as trans at an age lower than 16 are a miniscule proportion of the population. And it is because of my lived experience that I wholeheartedly condemn the ban on puberty blockers.

Questions that need to be asked

  • Why is it acceptable for the medication used to prevent precocious puberty acceptable for this medical condition and yet unacceptable for trans kids? Do we have some special ‘trans blood’ that means the side effects are worse for us than others? Of course not, because of the same flesh and blood we’re all made. Why is it acceptable to ban puberty blockers on one cohort because of perceived harm without banning them from all?
  • The Tories made trans people a wedge issue in their campaign (that went well didn’t it Rishi). People in power appoint people who will sing their tune; witness Trump’s appointment of Supreme Court judges in the USA. There are people like me who look at certain appointments and see the possibility of an inherent bias in decision making. Is the Cass report neutral and unbiased? There are many people that think the report is flawed too, including many experts in the field of trans healthcare.
  • Since Victoria Atkins announced the ban on puberty blockers I am hearing more reports of young trans people that are self-harming and, disturbingly, there is also anecdotal evidence of an increase in suicide. From mental health support to improved access to trans healthcare, the new Labour Government has to act quickly to support trans people.

The number of trans people that take their own lives is shocking. When we talk about medical intervention it’s done with the intention of doing no harm. But we know that medicines and surgery have an inherent risk. At aged 15 I was advised to have my spleen removed, a huge surgical intervention.

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That operation significantly improved my life but had its own consequences, making me more vulnerable to infection. Covid was a terrifying time for me, so the availability of a vaccine that was relatively untested was a huge relief.

Medicine has to be based on risk and the balance of probabilities when it comes to deciding which path to choose. For most of us a simple aspirin will help with a headache, but this common medicine has its own risks. Whatever the medical intervention, we use our own knowledge to decide what is best, knowing the risks.

Gillick Competence is a clear principle by which medical intervention for under 16s applies. There are many instances where medicines are used ‘off-label’, indeed there are even NHS leaflets for it.  If young trans people and their parents aren’t capable of making decisions based on Gillick Competence then why is informed consent acceptable for some young people’s healthcare but not others?

The way forward

I would expect an incoming Labour Secretary of State for Health to be asking all the questions above.

The very real possibility of poor mental health and increased suicide rates of trans youth due to this unfathomable continuation of a spiteful Tory policy is too much for me to ignore.

The way forward for Wes Streeting isn’t just to blindly carry forward the doctrine from the outgoing Tories and their questionable Cass report, but to ask the basic questions above before making policy. I will continue to hold the Labour Party’s feet to the fire on this issue. Because trans kids’ lives are important to me. 

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10 Takeaways From Day 2 of the Republican National Convention

MILWAUKEE—Former President Donald Trump and his running mate, Ohio Senator JD Vance, surprised the National Republican Convention with appearances Tuesday, though neither of them addressed the crowd. Nikki Haley, Trump’s longest rival in the 2024 presidential primary, also made an appearance to endorse Trump.

Here are 8 key takeaways from Day 2 of the Republican National Convention in Fiserve Forum.

1. The Haley Endorsement

“President Trump asked me to speak to this convention in the name of unity,” Haley said in an surprise appearance. “It was a gracious invitation, and I was happy to accept.”

She said her message to Trump’s critics is this: “You don’t have to agree with Trump 100% of the time to vote for him.”

“I haven’t always agreed with Trump, but we agree more often than we disagree,” Haley added. She mentioned many issues on which she agrees with the former president—among them, the border crisis, Israel, and keeping peace abroad.

“We agree that Democrats have moved so far to the left that they’re putting our freedoms in danger,” she added.

2. Steve Scalise’s Brush with Death

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise recalled his own brush with death seven years ago in remarks at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night, just thee days after an assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump.

On June 14, 2017, while practicing in Alexandria, Va., for the annual congressional softball game, a gunman shot Scalise, seriously wounding the congressman. The gunman, who was killed by police, was later determined to be a supporter of left-wing Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

“I need to say something about Saturday’s attempt on President Trump’s life,” Scalise, R-La., told the convention crowd in Milwaukee’s Fiserve Forum.

“Many of you know I was the survivor of a politically motivated shooting in 2017,” the Louisiana lawmaker said. “Not many know that while I was fighting for my life, Donald Trump was one of the first to come and console my family in the hospital.”

He said that’s the kind of leader that America needs.

“That’s the kind of leader he is. Courageous under fire, compassionate toward others,” Scalise said.

He concluded the remarks by saying, “May Donald Trump continue to receive God’s blessing.” 

3. ‘Thorough Investigation’

House Speaker Mike Johnson pledged Tuesday night that the House of Representatives would conduct an “immediate and thorough investigation” into security failures by the Secret Service prior to the assassination attempt Saturday evening on former President Donald Trump.

“We are united today as Americans in the wake of the assassination attempt on the life of Donald Trump,” Johnson said, speaking to the Republican National Convention. “Everyone, hear me clearly, and listen to me at home, and make no mistake. The House is conducting an immediate and thorough investigation of these tragic events.”

On Saturday, during a Trump campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, a gunman open fire. A bullet grazed Trump’s ear. The shooter killed one of the attendees at the rally and injured two others.

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee, which oversees the U.S. Secret Service, has already announced it would investigate what mistakes the agency made in its efforts to secure the rally.

Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle has said she would not resign.

“That work [of the investigation] has already begun,” Johnson said. “The American people deserve to know the truth, and we will ensure accountability. I promise you that. This has always been an important principle to us. We in the Republican Party are the law and order team. We always have been, and we always will be advocates for the rule of law.” 

Toward the end of his remarks, Johnson added, “As President Trump raised his fist and gave a rallying cry on Saturday, now is our time to fight. And we will.” 

4. Division, Exclusion, Indoctrination

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted Democrats for their support of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” policies in schools, the military, and other institutions. 

“They stand for DEI, which really means division, exclusion, and indoctrination, and it is wrong,” DeSantis said Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. “They mandated that you show proof of a COVID vaccine to go to a restaurant, but they oppose requiring proof of citizenship to cast a vote.”

DeSantis also asserted that Republicans support parents’ rights.  

“We believe schools should educate, not indoctrinate,” DeSantis said. “We stand for parents rights, including universal school choice. We support law and order, not rioting and disorder.” 

DeSantis unsuccessfully challenged former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination, but dropped out of the race after finishing a distant second place in Iowa

He quickly endorsed Trump upon dropping out, and insisted in his convention speech that President Joe Biden is not fit to run the country, referencing a 1990s comic movie “Weekend at Bernie’s” in which people are fooled into believing a corpse is alive. 

“We need a commander-in-chief who can lead 24 hours a day and seven days a week. America cannot afford four more years of a ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ presidency.”

He also talked about how much Democrats and Trump’s enemies have thrown at him. 

“Donald Trump stands in their way and he stands up for America,” DeSantis said of his former rival. “Donald Trump has been demonized. He’s been sued. He’s been prosecuted and he nearly lost his life. We cannot let him down and we cannot let America down.”

5. GOP Governors

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders stirred the Milwaukee audience of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night, as she touted GOP governors nationally and asserted that former President Donald Trump survived an assassination attempt by divine providence.

“Not even an assassin’s bullet could stop him. God almighty intervened because America is one nation under God, and he is certainly not finished with President Donald Trump,” she said, referring to the attempt on Trump’s life Saturday at a campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh.

Sanders is a former Trump White House press secretary and the daughter of former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Early in her remarks, she recalled her time as White House press secretary, and joked about President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden.

“I got the chance to take my four-year-old son Huck to ‘Bring Your Kid To Work Day,’ much like Jill now drags Joe to ‘Bring Your Husband To Work Day,’” Sanders quipped.

She also talked about the personal attacks she endured when she was Trump’s press secretary, often from other women.

“The Left doesn’t care about empowering women,” she said. “Biden and [Vice President Kamala] Harris can’t tell you what a woman is. But we have a president who believes in empowering every American and that our country is worth fighting for.” 

With Biden in office, Sanders said, Republican governors had to take up Trump’s fight.

“For the last four years, Republican governors have been leading that fight, and doing what Joe Biden refuses to do,” she said. “We deployed the National Guard to the border. We cracked down on crime and drugs. We cut taxes to give hardworking Americans a break from Bidenflation. And we empowered Americans with universal school choice across the country.”

Trump was the first president in her lifetime “to take a hard line against China,” she said. “And I’m proud to be the first and only governor in the country to kick communist China off our farmland and out of my state.”

6. Vivek’s Message for Black Americans

Former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy spoke directly to groups of Americans often considered liberal and Democratic: blacks, immigrants, millennials, and Gen Z.

Speaking to the Republican National Convention at the Fiserve Forum in Milwaukee, he said he wanted to deliver a message the media didn’t want these Americans to hear.

“Our message to black Americans is this: The media has tried to convince you for decades that Republicans don’t care about your neighborhoods, but we do,” entrepreneur-author Ramaswamy said. “We want for you what we want for every American: safe neighborhoods, clean streets, good jobs, a better life for your children, and a justice system that treats everyone equally, regardless of your skin color, and regardless of your political beliefs.”

He also addressed immigrants.

“Our message to every legal immigrant is this: You’re like my parents,” Ramaswamy said. “You deserve the opportunity to secure a better life for your children in America.”

“But our message to illegal immigrants is also this: We will return you to your country of origin, not because you’re all bad people, but because you broke the law, and the United States of America was founded on the rule of law,” he declared.

The former presidential candidate then turned to young Americans; namely, members of the millennial generation and Gen Z.

Our message to millennials, speaking as one myself (yes, it’s true): Our government sold us a false bill of goods with the Iraq War and the 2008 financial crisis, bloating up our national debt that falls on our generation’s shoulders, telling us that if we took out college loans, we’d somehow get a head start on the American dream, when it hasn’t worked out that way,” Ramaswamy, 38, said.

Yet he also urged his fellow millennials, “We can’t just be cynical about our country because the United States of America is the last, best hope that we have, and we deserve a better class of politician, one that actually tells us the truth, even if it comes with some mean tweets from time to time.”

“Our message to Gen Z is this: You’re going to be the generation that actually saves this country,” Ramaswamy added.

“You want to be a rebel, you want to be a hippie, you want to stick it to the man?” he asked. “Show up on your college campus and try calling yourself a conservative. Say you want to get married, have kids, teach them to believe in God and pledge allegiance to our country.”

“Fear has been infectious in this country, but courage can be contagious, too,” the former candidate concluded. “That, too, is what it means to be an American.”

Ramaswamy also quipped, “I achieved the impossible, which is that most of you actually know how to say my name right.”

7. Carson Quotes Isaiah

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson referenced the Old Testament book of Isaiah when speaking about both Democratic lawfare and an assassination attempt against former President Donald Trump. 

“It says, ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper,’” Carson, a world-renowned former neurosurgeon, said Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

“Let me tell you the weapons they tried to use: First, they tried to ruin his reputation, and he’s more popular now than ever,” said Carson, who ran against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Trump subsequently tapped him as HUD secretary.

“Then they tried to bankrupt him, and he’s got more money now than he had before,” Carson said to a roar of approval from the crowd. “Then they tried to put him in prison, and he’s freer and has made other people free with him.”

After broad references to the legal cases against Trump, Carson referred to the assassination attempt on the former president Saturday at a campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh. 

“Then, last weekend they tried to kill him, and there he is, over there, alive and well,” Carson said to the former president in the audience. 

Carson had harsh words for the legacy media and for big government. 

“The free press, a pillar of any free society, has abused the public trust and resorted to lies, deception, and disinformation,” Carson said, adding: “Our government has been no better, shredding our Constitution and upending the rule of law. We have a wide-open border, a broken education system, and chaos breaking out around the world. ”

But he pointed to his own life’s story as evidence about “unlimited opportunity” in America. 

“In no other country could a poor inner-city kid, raised by a single mom, make it to an Ivy League school, then to medical school, become a successful neurosurgeon, run for president, and eventually become a member of the president’s Cabinet.”

8. Trump’s Daughter-in-Law

Lara Trump told delegates and others in the audience at the Republican National Convention that she initially had prepared a “very different speech” than the one she delivered Tuesday night.

The daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump and co-chairman of the Republican National Committee shared the shock of the assassination attempt on husband Eric Trump’s father late Saturday afternoon. 

“Our family has faced our fair share of death threats,” she said. 

“None of that prepares you as a daughter-in-law to watch in real time someone try to kill a person you love,” she said. “None of that prepares you as a mother to quickly reach for the remote and turn your young children away from the screen so that they’re not witness to something that scars the memory of their grandpa for the rest of their lives.”

She was thankful for “prayers and well-wishes” in the 72 hours since. 

“If Donald Trump has shown us anything, it’s that when it feels impossible to keep going, those are the times we must keep going.”

9. Haley Praises Trump on National Security

Despite finishing a distant second in the Republican presidential primaries, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told the crowd at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night: “Donald Trump has my strong endorsement, period.”

“I had a front row seat to his national security policies. We sure could use those again,” said Haley, also a former U.S ambassador to the U.N. “When Barack Obama was president, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea. With Joe Biden as president, Putin invaded all of Ukraine. When Donald Trump was president, Putin invaded nothing. No invasions, no wars. That was no accident. Putin didn’t attack Ukraine because he knew Donald Trump was tough. A strong president doesn’t start wars. A strong president prevents wars.”

Trump’s former U.N. ambassador also said that the Biden administration has been weak in the Middle East, in seeking to reenter the Iranian nuclear agreement and pressuring Israel in its war with Hamas.

Haley challenged Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination and was the only other GOP candidate to win a primary—in both the District of Columbia and the state of Vermont. She lost her home state of South Carolina to Trump.

During her convention remarks, Haley returned to a long-standing campaign theme, which she said was backed up by Biden’s disastrous debate performance against Trump in June.

“For more than a year, I said a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for President Kamala Harris,” Haley said. “After seeing the debate, everyone knows that’s true. If we have four more years of Biden or a single day of Harris, our country will be badly worse off. For the sake of our country, we have to go with Donald Trump.”

Haley noted that Biden had put Harris in charge of the southern border, which has been in crisis since.

“Kamala Harris had one job—fix the border,” Haley said. “Now, imagine her in charge of the entire country.” 

10. Rubio’s Tribute to Slain Fireman

Sen. Marco Rubio paid tribute to the former fire chief killed Saturday afternoon in the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump in remarks Tuesday at the Republican National Convention.  

Corey Comperatore, a former fire chief in Buffalo Township in Pennsylvania, was killed at the Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. He was attending the rally with his family. A bullet grazed Trump’s right ear. 

Comperatore was the father of two daughters and a vocal supporter of Trump.

“He was a former fire chief, a loving husband. He was described as the best dad a girl could ever ask for,” Rubio said in Milwaukee at the quadrennial GOP convention. 

“As a man of God who loved Jesus fiercely, and looked after members of his church, Cory was one of the millions of everyday Americans who make our country great,” the Florida senator continued. “He wasn’t rich. He wasn’t famous. The only reason we know his name and story now is because, last Saturday, he shielded his wife and daughter from an assassin’s bullet, and lost his life the way he lived it: A hero.”

Rubio was reportedly a finalist to be Trump’s vice presidential running mate. However, Trump announced Monday that he had instead chosen one of Rubio’s Senate Republican colleagues, Vance.

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Rudy Giuliani, who walled for “trial by combat” on January 6, blames Democrats for stoking violence

Rudy Giuliani outside the site of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.Sam Van Pykeren/Mother Jones

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Rudy Giuliani has a message for Democrats: Their rhetoric, especially President Joe Biden’s, has been “an invitation of violence.”

Democrats “get away with murder because there’s a two-tier system of justice,” Giuliani told me outside the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Monday afternoon. “They can do the worst things in the world—nobody pays attention. We can make little mistakes, and they become world class.”

This is, of course, the same Rudy Giuliani who spoke to MAGA supporters ahead of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, calling for “trial by combat.”

It’s also the same Giuliani who falsely accused a temporary election official in Fulton, Georgia of manipulating ballots in the 2020 election—a claim that Trump echoed when he said that worker, Ruby Freeman, was a “vote scammer” in his infamous phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger alleging widespread fraud. Based on these allegations, a mob of election-integrity skeptics also appeared at Freeman’s house on January 6, 2021; luckily the FBI was able to warn her that her safety was at risk, allowing her to flee in time. (Giuliani was found liable for defamation and was ordered to pay Freeman and her daughter $148 million in damages in 2023. In separate court proceedings, Giuliani was disbarred by a New York Wtate appeals court in July).

But a few days after the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, Giuliani appears to have memory-holed the part he and other Republicans played in promoting the 2020 election denialism that culminated in the violence on January 6, including the resulting casualties of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and Trump devotee Ashli Babbitt. Giuliani’s argument that left-wing messaging—such as accusing Trump of being a danger to Democracy or a fascist—led to Trump being shot at on July 13 was widely held among the half a dozen politicians and other Republican convention-goers I spoke to.

Waverly Woods, an RNC attendee from Virginia Beach, joked that Biden may as well have pulled the trigger himself. “You can’t kill your opponent because he’s winning,” she says. “Apparently you can search his house and his wife’s underwear, and you can spy on his campaign, but I think killing him might be going a little too far.”

Several interviewees pointed out Biden’s comment in a call to donors a few days before the rally shooting, when he said it was time to “put Trump in the bullseye,” as a prime example of Democrats inciting violence. (“That was pretty bad,” according to Giuliani.) But several convention attendees contended that Democrats have been stoking violence with their rhetoric for years.

“The guy that shot up a [baseball] field in Washington, DC—that was very rhetoric driven,” Alabama convention attendee Bryan Dawson says of the 2017 shooting that severely insured then-Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a Republican baseball practice session. Regarding the shooting at the Trump rally in Pennsylvania, Dawson says it was either “a coup at the highest levels, and they were letting him be on the roof to shoot Donald Trump, or it was rhetoric driven—because those are the only two options.”

“Anytime there’s political violence, it’s only going one direction. Anytime there’s cities being burned, it’s one group of people doing it. You never see people with a hat like this out doing anything violent,” adds Dawson, pointing to his red Make America Great Again hat. “We might say say some things or whatever, but it’s nowhere near the rhetoric or the constant propaganda that’s coming from the left.”

Perhaps Dawson forgot about January 6 attack; or about the rally in Ohio this past spring when Trump warned of a “bloodbath” if he loses in November; or about Trump’s answer to a TIME Magazine question about whether he expected violence after the 2024 election: “If we don’t win, you know, it depends,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, prominent Republicans hold that Trump—who shouted “fight” after he was shot at, and once advocated for shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down along the southern border—is trying to teach Democrats goodwill through his example.

“I think you’ve seen what President Trump has done right now: he hasn’t blamed anybody,” Kevin McCarthy, former Republican Speaker of the House, told Mother Jones Monday. “He’s actually putting a whole new speech together, talking about uniting the nation. I think that’s a very positive step.”

Vivek Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and former Republican presidential candidate who later endorsed Trump, says Biden is sowing division by fear-mongering about Trump.

“I’ll take [Biden] at his word that he wants to unite the country and tone down the political rhetoric,” Ramaswamy says. “But his entire campaign message has centered around how Donald Trump is an existential threat to American democracy. And so either [Biden] is doubling down on something that he himself has said is the wrong direction to go, or he doesn’t have a campaign message left.”

“I think that there’s a strong case, to blame the media, to blame the Democrat machine,” adds Ramaswamy. “But I’m not focused on doing that. I would like for us to take the road less traveled, which is to focus on who we are and what we stand for. And I think those are ideals that unite all Americans. And I think the best way we’re going to save this country isn’t by calling on the other stand other side to play by different standards, but to hold ourselves to the standards we expect to hold the country.”

A couple hours after these interviews, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin took the stage at the convention and said Democrats were a threat to the country. In a speech he later said was added to the RNC teleprompter by mistake, Johnson described the Democratic Party’s policies as a “clear and present danger to America” and that Democrats were the party of “weaponized government.”

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An Assassination Attempt Was Inevitable

There are consequences to virtually every mainstream media, office-holding Democrat, and left-wing academic labeling former President Donald Trump a Nazi, a fascist, a white supremacist, and a mortal threat to American democracy. One consequence is that more than a few people will want Trump dead—killed, if necessary; who would not want such an individual dead?

Here is a small number of incendiary comments:

—The cover story in The New Republic, June 2024, is “American Fascism”—featuring Trump drawn as Adolf Hitler: “Today, we at The New Republic think we can spend this election year in one of two ways. We can spend it debating whether Trump meets the nine or 17 points that define fascism. Or we can spend it saying, ‘He’s damn close enough, and we’d better fight.’”

—ABC News, Dec. 20, 2023, “Donald Trump’s history with Adolf Hitler and his Nazi writings” by Jonathan Karl: “There have been multiple reports of Trump privately admiring Hitler.”

—Bloomberg, April 13, “Trump’s Hitler Fascination Is an Ominous Echo of the 1930s” by Max Hastings

—The Associated Press, Dec. 27, 2023, “Trump says he didn’t know his immigration rhetoric echoes Hitler. That’s part of a broader pattern” by Jill Colvin.

—USA Today, June 27, “Did Trump say Hitler ‘did a lot of good things?’” by Maya Marchel Hoff.

—The Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2023, “Yes, it’s okay to compare Trump to Hitler. Don’t let me stop you” by Mike Godwin: “When people draw parallels between Donald Trump’s 2024 candidacy and Hitler’s progression from fringe figure to Great Dictator, we aren’t joking.”

—“Trump and Hitler: A Comparative Study in Lying” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2024) by Henk de Berg, professor of German at the University of Sheffield.

—Politico, Dec. 10, 2023: “Why Biden’s campaign keeps linking Trump to Hitler”: “In most situations, comparing a political opponent to Adolf Hitler might seem like an extraordinary step. For Joe Biden’s campaign, it has become part of the routine of running against Donald Trump. … The campaign released a statement attacking Trump for having ‘channeled his role models as he parroted Adolf Hitler.’ … It was the fourth time in the past six weeks that Biden’s campaign has likened Trump’s remarks to Hitler’s.”

And even after Trump was nearly assassinated:

—In The Atlantic, July 14, David Frum writes: “Fascist movements are secular religions. Like all religions, they offer martyrs as their proof of truth. The Mussolini movement in Italy built imposing monuments to its fallen comrades. The Trump movement now improves on that: The leader himself will be the martyr in chief, his own blood the basis for his bid for power and vengeance.”

In addition to constant accusations of being a Hitler, the entire Left regularly lies about Trump or distorts what he said.

One of the biggest left-wing lies is that Trump referred to Nazis demonstrating in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 as “very fine people.” President Joe Biden has repeated this lie dozens of times, including at his recent debate with Trump. Indeed, Biden repeatedly claims that Trump’s alleged statement is the reason he decided to run for president (another lie).

On June 21, the fact-checking website Snopes ruled the charge “False”:

No, Trump Did Not Call Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists ‘Very Fine People.’

Snopes was about seven years too late, but at least it finally told the truth. Nevertheless, despite the fact Snopes leans left, its ruling has had no effect on Biden or any of the left-wing media.

Just last week, The New York Times, in a lead editorial titled “Donald Trump Is Unfit To Lead,” repeated the lie: “When America saw white nationalists and neo-Nazis march through the streets of Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and activists were rallying against racism, Mr. Trump spoke of ‘very fine people on both sides.’”

For the record, many of us knew this was a lie from the outset. To cite one example, as early as Aug. 2019, PragerU released a video by then-CNN political analyst Steve Cortes, watched over 10 million times, titled “What Happened in Charlottesville?” It proved that the claim that Trump labeled neo-Nazis “very fine people” was a lie. The video, by the way, cost Cortes his job at CNN. His truth-telling on Charlottesville was too much for them.

Then there is the equally widespread charge—made in virtually every left-wing medium—that, like Hitler, Trump called political enemies “vermin.” As the title of a Washington Post column by Marianne LeVine, a national political reporter for the Post, put it: “Trump calls political enemies ‘vermin,’ echoing dictators Hitler, Mussolini.”

Here is what Trump actually said: “We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country. … They’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American dream.”

Three points:

First, Trump did not label his “political enemies” “vermin.” He used that word only to describe communists, Marxists, fascists, and radical left thugs. So should any decent person.

Second, he didn’t label them “vermin.” He said they “live like vermin” because “they’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American dream.” Again, correct.

Third, Hitler used the word “vermin” to describe Jews—not “political enemies”—in order to justify their extermination. People know that. Therefore, the association of Trump with Hitler because of the use of “vermin” is meant to imply that, like Hitler, Trump seeks to exterminate his “political enemies.”

These lies about Trump explain why an assassination attempt was inevitable.


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A Day At The RNC Protest!

“Don’t Talk To Me Until I’ve Had My Morning Abortion” was definitely my favorite sign.

Given that we are spending a week with some of the most horrid people on earth, it seemed like a good idea to kick things off … by avoiding them entirely and going to the RNC protest instead.

So naturally, these were the first folks I ran into upon entering.

That guy also had a lot of poignant things to say about anal sex and diapers, but I couldn’t really stick around to see what that was about. I then ran into the Code Pink people, with whom I was inadvertently coordinated (by which I mean that I was wearing a pink dress).

There were, of course, many different factions — union workers, abortion rights groups, pro-not-killing-all-the-Palestinians, pro-normalizing-relations-with-Cuba, teachers, anti-poverty activists, socialists, anarchists and everyday people who simply could not face another four years of Trump.

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The Coalition to March on the RNC, which included at least 200 different groups, agreed on the five following points of unity for the march.

1. Fight the racist and reactionary agenda of the Republican Party.
2. Defend women’s, LGBTQ, and reproductive rights.
3. Defend and expand immigrant rights.
4. Peace, justice, and equity for all.
5. Stand with Palestine.

A statement released by the coalition read, in part:

The Republicans have long attacked the rights of working people, particularly Black, Chicano, and other oppressed peoples. They have concrete plans to continue the erosion of our freedoms. Their agenda knows no bounds. Encouraging police to kill with impunity, vilifying immigrants, overcrowding prisons, appointing reckless judges, restricting reproductive rights, siding with corporations against workers and their unions at every turn, and accelerating the climate crisis are just some ways the Republicans have directly made American working people’s quality of life worse. Our Coalition stands united. We are marching to let both the Republicans and the whole country know that their hateful, anti-people agenda will not be tolerated.

Cheri Honkala and Galen Tyler of Poor People’s Army were there to support the march, and then also had a march of their own later in the day, against poverty, hunger and homelessness. Honkala is the founder of Poor People’s Army (also known as the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign) and an absolute badass.

I also spoke to Jared Berg of the Chicago Teachers’ Union, who told me, “We’re here to protest Donald Trump and the Republican agenda. We remember Betsy DeVos — wasn’t that long ago — and the defunding of public education is criminal. The people need to stand up for their unions and for education.”

Another teacher, Kobi Guillory of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, told the press earlier in the day that “for decades Republicans have been on a mission to deprive the majority of people in this country of their basic human rights. Their attacks on Black and brown people, on women, on immigrants, on the LGBTQ community, and on the working class have destroyed the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Defeating the Republican agenda is a matter of life and death for working and oppressed people.”

“The Legalization for All (L4A) Network is uniting to march on the Republican National Convention,” said organizer Carlos Montes. “Defending immigrant rights is among one of our key uniting factors. Other uniting pillars of our network include: legalization for all; no racist border wall; no border militarization and no more deaths; stop the exploitation of undocumented workers; stop the deportations and separations of families; and stop the sterilizations and sexual violence against the undocumented.”

Other speakers spoke about the need for unions, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights — in particular the issues affecting our trans brothers and sisters — health care and, of course, the serious danger of another Trump presidency.

Heavy on everyone’s minds was the recent murder of D’Vontaye Mitchell by several security guards at the Milwaukee Hyatt Regency, during a mental health crisis. The rally itself was held in Red Arrow Park, where, 10 years ago, 31-year-old Donte Hamilton was shot and killed by police officer Christopher Manney (who was fired but never charged), also during a mental health crisis.

The biggest issue, by far, however, was the Palestinian genocide — and while attendees and speakers were highly critical of the Biden administration’s handling of the ongoing attacks, they were also aware that things would definitely get exponentially worse under Trump.

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Along with many wonderful, wonderful people, I did have the misfortune of running into none other than self-identified “pro-life progressive activist” Terissa Bukovinac — the founder of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, the group that “occupied” a healthcare clinic in Washington DC and stole all of those fetuses. Bukovinac was walking around waving a fetus doll in the air (sadly I couldn’t get close enough to determine if it was one of those “reborn” monstrosities) and accusing Trump of being a baby killer because he’s now pretending to be slightly less horrible about abortion.

Ain’t she a peach?

Lunatics aside — and, thankfully, there actually were not all that many of them — it was heartening to see how many people came out and how passionate they were about making the world a better, more peaceful, less violent and far less Trumpified place.


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We must not lose sight of the threats Trump still poses to the US

The attempted assassination of Donald Trump doesn’t change the fact that he is a threat to democracy

At 6:11:13 pm ET Saturday evening, a presidential election unlike any before it, for a host of reasons with which people the world over are all too familiar, was thrown instantly into further disarray by that sadly all-too-familiar report of “shots fired.”

That those tragic shots were fired at a Trump campaign rally, killing one rally attendee, wounding two others and narrowly missing the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, to many are symptomatic of the polarized world in which we find ourselves, a country on the brink, as many have warned – rightly – of the potentially widespread outbreak of political violence. 

We do not know what motivated the would-be assassin, and so should reserve judgment on whether the political climate is wholly, partially or not at all to blame. Recall that the last attempted assassination of a political figure in America – Ronald Reagan – had no political angle to it at all. But, in contrast to 1981, the country is in a very different, and far more febrile, place today.   

While we struggle to find the right words, we must not lose sight of what is at stake in this election, and we must not allow ourselves to be cowed into silence by the voices of hypocrisy that seek to pin the blame for the assassination on efforts by Democrats and the media to pierce through the noise and frame this election as a choice between democracy and autocracy.  

While Donald Trump deserves our sympathy, he does not deserve our vote. David Frum, writing this morning in the Atlantic, captured perfectly the conundrum we face:

Nobody seems to have language to say: We abhor, reject, repudiate, and punish all political violence, even as we maintain that Trump remains himself a promoter of such violence, a subverter of American institutions, and the very opposite of everything decent and patriotic in American life. Those who stand against Trump and his allies must find the will and the language to explain why these crimes, past and planned, are all wrong, all intolerable—and how the gunman and Trump, at their opposite ends of a bullet’s trajectory, are nonetheless joined together as common enemies of law and democracy.

We need no reminders of the myriad ways in which Trump has, at the very least, stoked and, at worst, incited political violence, to the point where it was fair to say that political violence had become a feature of the Trump brand. 

If we do need reminders, we can start, and stop, with his actions leading up to and on January 6th or with Trump’s continued embrace and glorification on the campaign trail of the insurrections who were convicted or pleaded guilty for their violent actions at the Capitol. (Cast your mind back to the mystery over the behavior that day in the SUV on the Ellipse and then consider the difficulty the Secret Service protective detail had getting Trump off the stage.) 

Or with Charlottesville. Or the comment directed to the Proud Boys, “Stand back and stand by.” Or the references to migrants “poisoning the blood of the country,” or to his threat to “root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections.” Or to a “bloodbath.”    

We need no reminders of the reactions of the Republican ecosystem to the attack on Paul Pelosi. We need no reminders of the embrace of Kyle Rittenhouse. We need no reminders that few have called out the election deniers in their midst, including the denier-in-chief.    

Where was the outcry in April when Kari Lake, running for the Senate from Arizona, warned supporters at a rally that the election would be intense, concluding with a reference to “strapping on a Glock” or when Senator Tom Cotton tweeted, “I encourage people who get stuck behind the pro-Hamas mobs blocking traffic: take matters into your own hands to get them out of the way”? Only a few weeks before, Trump shared an image on social media depicting President Joe Biden hog-tied in the back of a pick-up truck. I don’t recall an outcry then either.

Where was the outcry over the threats to public health officials or to election administrators, election officials and the media? Where was the outcry over the plot to kidnap and execute Governor Whitmer? Where was the outcry over a campaign animated by revenge and retribution against political enemies? 

Where is the outcry over the ongoing threat to election administrators and election officials? Where is the outcry over the threat by Project 2025 architect Kevin Robert, “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.” Where is the outcry when Trump’s running mate characterizes Biden campaign statements labelling Trump an “authoritarian fascist” as leading directly to the attempted assassination? 

Add to the hypocrisy around political violence, the deafening silence when it comes to gun violence.  Every time there is a senseless act of violence involving assault weapons (and while it is still too early to know, the broad profile appears to be the same, young, white, male, loner, bullied as a kid, with the right to own a weapon of war), those standing in the way of sensible efforts to reduce gun violence, including Trump, recoil at any attempt to address the underlying issue. This is not the time they will say to seek political advantage based on tragic loss of life. After all, “it is merely a product of mental illness,” they will quickly default to. And while there will likely be a catalogue of operational failures that day by the Secret Service and perhaps local law enforcement, the Secret Service could be tarred with the same accusations levelled at the FBI, DHS and the Department of Justice of being part of the “deep state.”  

So, once again Democrats are on the defensive, but we should not be. Democrats have finally woken up to the threats to democracy posed by Trump and his Project 2025 sycophants and have been calling out Republicans for stoking political violence, but they are now pulling back ads and questioning how to move forward in response to Republican voices blaming Democratic rhetoric for the polarization and climate of political violence. This incidentally is merely an extension of the Trump playbook of accusing President Biden of all the things he, Trump that is, rightly stands accused of.  In what rational world is Joe Biden a threat to democracy – that is a figment of the right’s imagination. 

Historians, social scientists and political scientists have been warning for months that the country is a tinderbox, and it would not take much to inflame that portion of the population that is primed for violence. They have also warned that Trump’s rhetoric, should he win, portends the rein of a strongman, and they have drawn all too alarming parallels between that rhetoric and late 1920s/early 1930s fascism, now potentially aggravated by the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling. Early comments about a Reichstag fire moment may have overlooked the fact that historians are divided over whether the fire was caused by Nazi agents who framed a communist activist for the act or was as independent act with no involvement by Nazi agents that Hitler quickly exploited. Trump undoubtedly will exploit the iconic images and his calls to fight! fight! fight! of a situation that presented itself in the most tragic of ways.  

We should be thankful Trump survived and should mourn the loss of life. We should be thankful for the agents on Trump’s protective detail who put themselves between an assailant and their protectee. But we should also be thankful Trump is not the President of the United States. Trump may surprise us (as reporting now suggests) and project the image of a healer, of unity – it may be for show, or it may be genuine, the product of a near-death experience, and a more impactful one than the one he faced when he was rushed to Walter Reed in October 2020 with a corona virus infection that may have been far more severe than the public was led to believe.  

I remain sceptical, particularly after seeing Trump’s post this afternoon on Truth Social calling for the dismissal of all cases against him (“All the Witch Hunts”) and accusing the Department of Justice of coordinating “All” the political attacks, which he characterizes as an “Election Interference conspiracy.”

The country continues its journey in uncharted territory, with no useful reference points by which to be guided. Oh, and the federal judge in the Mar-a-Lago documents case just dismissed the case against Trump on the ground that the Special Counsel was improperly appointed.  

So, where does that leave us?

We should condemn the violence that was unleashed in Butler, PA just as we must continue to condemn the violence that targets people in elementary schools, churches, temples, synagogues, grocery stores, bars and night clubs, and at concerts and parades. We should not allow those who stand proudly in the way of reducing the gun-related carnage on our streets and in our communities to cow us into silence.  We must not lose sight of the threat that Trump, the architects of Project 2025 and the MAGA Republican leadership pose to democracy, and we must stand firm in opposing their efforts to destroy democracy. In that sense, nothing changed on Saturday. 

Mark Bergman seeks to capitalize on a series of networks he has developed while based in London for two decades and more recently in Washington, D.C. He convenes and connects constituencies and has established himself as a thought leader on political, geopolitical and regulatory developments and trends, with a particular emphasis on the resilience of democracy; extremism/disinformation/weaponization of hate; transnational repression and kleptocracy; and climate change. His written analyses – as part of his briefing notes series — are available on his website: 7Pillars Global Insights

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