President Trump is escalating his attacks against Central American migrant caravans making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border, including warning soldiers could shoot migrants for throwing rocks.
President Donald Trump: “We’re not going to put up with that. If they want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We’re going to consider it. I told them, consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”
Trump has announced he may send as many as 15,000 troops to the border and indefinitely imprison asylum-seeking families in tent cities. This comes as a new Associated Press investigation has revealed that over 56,000 migrants have died or gone missing worldwide over the last four years, as migration has surged by nearly 50 percent since the turn of the century.
In Pittsburgh, funerals continued Thursday for three more victims of Saturday’s mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue which killed 11 Jewish worshipers. Services were held for husband and wife Sylvan and Bernice Simon, and Richard Gottfried. Robert Bowers pleaded not guilty Thursday. Bowers is charged with 44 counts—including murder and hate crimes—over 30 of which could be subject to the death penalty. Bowers is accused of what has been described as the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.
Meanwhile, a fundraising campaign launched by two Muslim American groups in the aftermath of the mass shooting has raised over $220,000. The funds are helping families of the victims pay for their funerals.
This comes as NBC News is reporting the Trump administration is ending a program that provides grants to groups fighting domestic terrorism. The Countering Violent Extremism grant program is run by the Department of Homeland Security and was established during the Obama administration. It supports organizations fighting hate groups, including white supremacist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and racist groups.
President Trump is reportedly planning on nominating State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations after Nikki Haley’s exit at the end of the year. Nauert is a former Fox News host, including for the program “Fox & Friends”—a favorite of Trump’s. She joined the State Department as its top spokesperson last year.
In environmental news, the world’s oceans are warming at a much faster rate than previously thought. That’s according to a new report in the journal Nature, which finds that oceans have absorbed 60 percent more heat during the past 25 years than previous scientific estimates. Scientists say this will result in accelerated global warming as the heat is released into the atmosphere, making the target of holding global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, even more difficult to achieve unless urgent global action is taken.
The Washington Post is reporting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tried to slander slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, falsely claiming the journalist was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood during a call with national security adviser John Bolton and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in the days after Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Muslim Brotherhood is classified by Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organization. Khashoggi was not a formal member of the organization. Today marks one month since Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and was assassinated.
In news on Latin America, national security adviser John Bolton announced new sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba at a talk in Miami, Florida, Thursday, also singling out Nicaragua for possible future sanctions. He also praised far-right, newly elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as a “positive sign for the future of the region.”
Meanwhile, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted Thursday its 27th annual resolution calling for an end to the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba. Both the U.S. and Israel voted “no” on the resolution.
And in Brazil, far-right leader and President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has confirmed that Sérgio Moro—the crusading judge who convicted former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of corruption—will become his justice minister. After headlines, we’ll speak with renowned dissident, professor and author Noam Chomsky about Latin America, and more.
In northeast Nigeria, suspected members of Boko Haram attacked two villages and a camp for internally displaced people Wednesday, killing at least 15 people. Boko Haram has killed over 20,000 people and kidnapped thousands more since 2009.
On Thursday, Google workers around the world walked out to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. This is New York City Google employee and protester Demma Rodriguez.
Demma Rodriguez: “We have decided that enough is enough is enough, because everybody who works at Google has busted their backs, their asses, their lives, have sacrificed, have worked, have gotten the grades, have shown up, in order to be the best at what they do. And it is unacceptable, it is absolutely disgusting, that anyone thinks that you can be less than exceptional, and, worse than that, you can be negligent, about sexual assault, sexual harassment, abuse of power, inequities across every pillar that we have to no consequence. We will bring the consequences.”
The protest came one week after The New York Times published a damning report detailing sexual misconduct at Google. A number of high-level male executives accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault have received millions in exit packages from Google, including Android creator Andy Rubin, who allegedly forced an employee to perform oral sex on him. Google gave Rubin a $90 million exit package when he left the company in 2014, but never publicized the claims against him or the financial terms of his departure.
In election news, Oprah Winfrey joined Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on the campaign trail in Marietta, Georgia, on Thursday, days before the midterm elections in one of the country’s most talked-about races.
Oprah Winfrey: “I’m here today because of the men and because of the women who were lynched, who were humiliated, who were discriminated against, who were suppressed, who were repressed and oppressed for the right for the equality at the polls. And I want you to know that their blood has seeped into my DNA, and I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain.”
Oprah also told crowds she is not hitting the campaign trail to “test the waters” for her own political run.
Back in the United States, Iowa Republican Congressmember Steve King lashed out at a college student at a campaign event in Des Moines Thursday for asking about how King’s personal beliefs line up with those of the Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers.
Kaleb Van Fosson: “You and the shooter both share an ideology that is fundamentally anti-immigration—”
Rep. Steve King: “No. Don’t you do that. Do not associate me with that shooter. I knew you were an ambusher when you walked in the room.”
Kaleb Van Fosson: “I’m not an ambusher.”
Rep. Steve King: “But there’s no basis for that. And you get no questions, you get no answers.”
Kaleb Van Fosson: “I was about to ask you what distinguishes your ideology then.”
Rep. Steve King: “No, you’re done. We don’t play these game here in Iowa.”
Kaleb Van Fosson: “I was about to ask you what distinguishes your ideology.”
Rep. Steve King: “No, you’re done. You crossed the line. It’s not tolerable to accuse me to be associated with a guy that shot 11 people in Pittsburgh. I am a person who has stood with Israel from the beginning, and to the length of that nation is the length of my life.”
That was Iowa State University student Kaleb Van Fosson. He also tried to ask Congressmember King about his recent trip to Austria, where King met with an Austrian neo-Nazi group. King later told The Washington Post, “If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.”
Earlier this week, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee blasted King for his white supremacist ties, and corporate supporters of King, including Intel, Land O’Lakes and Purina PetCare, announced they would no longer fund his campaigns. King is up for re-election and is polling just one point ahead of Democratic opponent J.D. Scholten, in a district that Trump won in 2016 by a 27 percent margin.