The Minnesota senator had begun to attain his mark on Capitol Hill as an incisive and amusing presence, but those who knew him alerted he came here with baggage
When Al Franken was mooted as a possible dark horse in the 2020 presidential election, those who knew him warned that he comes with baggage. They little guessed how much.
The Democratic senator announced on Thursday that he will resign in the coming weeks following a string of sex misconduct accusations. It marked a dizzying rise and fall for the comedian-turned-politician whose legacy on Capitol Hill will be heatedly contested.
In his farewell address on the Senate floor, Franken sought to portray himself as a victim.” Some of the allegations against me are simply not true ,” he said defiantly.” Others I remember very differently … But this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota .”
Not all the people of Minnesota have been taken by surprise by the events of the past three weeks, however. Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, said:” I didn’t know of any of these accusations but he’s a very self-confident person who guess of himself as special. With some of the accusations you see that: what he felt was being goofy or having his style was clearly unacceptable .”
During the election campaign Republican attempted to turn his old jokes against him, but in vain. The Democrat creaked home by 312 referendums after an eight-month legal battle. But anyone expecting him to become court jester in the Senate was in for a letdown .~ ATAGEND
Minnesota senator, 66, recommended by several female my fellow members to resign as allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior mount
Half a dozen female Democratic senators have called on Al Franken to resign, as other women stepped forward to accuse the Minnesota Democrat of sexually inappropriate behavior. They were joined by the minority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, and the national party chair, Tom Perez, who also called on Franken to step down.
Franken’s office said he would make a public statement- expected to include a response to the calls- on Thursday. One Democratic senator, Ron Wyden, said he expected Franken to” announce his resignation tomorrow “.
In Facebook posts, tweets and public statement, several Democrats advised their colleague to step aside amid widening accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against powerful humen that have roiled Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington.
” I have spent a lot of day reflecting on Senator Franken’s behaviour ,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a longtime advocate for victims of sexual assault, said in a Facebook post that started the cascade of calls.” Enough is enough .”
Gillibrand was joined by Patty Murray of Washington, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Kamala Harris of California and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.
Those calls were swiftly echoed by other colleagues, including Dick Durbin, the No 2 Democrat in the Senate, as well as Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, also called on Franken to resign.
” Everybody has to share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect for women in every industry and workplace, and that includes our party ,” Perez said.
Perez’s remarks came less than 36 hours after the Republican National Committee renewed its support for Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate who is facing multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior with teenage girls and women, including sexual assault.
While many national Republican have distanced themselves from the Alabama Republican, he has approved by Donald Trump. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who has called on Moore to drop out, has said the Alabama Republican would face an ethics investigation if elected.
McConnell issued a statement calling for Franken to step down:” The near daily barrage of allegations of sexual misconduct against Senator Franken are extremely concerning to all of us in the Senate. While the Senate ethics committee is reviewing these serious allegations, it now appears that Senator Franken has lost the support of his colleagues, and most importantly, his constituents. I do not believe he can effectively serve the person or persons of Minnesota in the US Senate any longer .”
Hours afterward, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, weighed in to say he too believed Franken should resign. In a brief statement, Schumer said:” I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately .”
Franken, 66, who has been accused by multiple other women of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them, has apologized for his behaviour and asked the Senate ethics committee to analyse himbut the senators said elected official must be held to a higher standard, putting his political future in question. Franken did not appear in the Senate on Monday.
” This institution has evolved over centuries, it’s evolved over my virtually three decades of service, and it’s evolving once more before our very eyes ,” said Murray, a member of Democratic leadership.
” This current evolution is long overdue. It’s time for us as elected representatives to hold ourselves to a higher criterion, to define two examples, and to live a situated of values that is truly representative and worthy of the Congress, our republic, and our great country .”
Hirono tweeted:” Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside. I’ve fought with this decision because he’s been a good senator and I consider him a friend. But that cannot excuse his behaviour and his mistreatment of women .”
Harris posted:” Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere. I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down .”
Earlier on Tuesday, Politico reported on a new accusation against Franken. A former Democratic congressional aide said the former comedian tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006, as he was ramping up his campaign for the US Senate, according to Politico. The aide dodged his advance and alleged that Franken said as she left:” It’s my right as an entertainer .” Franken denied the accusation to Politico.
The calls for Franken to resign come one day after John Conyers, the longest-serving Democrat in Congress, resigned after allegations of sexual harassment. Conyers, who was the top Democrat on the House judiciary committee and spend over a half-century on Capitol Hill, had settled one claim of sexual harassment against him with taxpayer money and had been accused of misconduct by several other former staffers.
Two other members of Congress currently face allegations of sexual harassment: Republican Blake Farenthold of Texas and Democrat Ruben Kihuen of Nevada.
But Brazile says the larger issue was that her campaign was ” anemic” and had taken on” the odor of failing “.
After holding a dozen combinations to replace Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine from Virginia, Brazile writes that she settled on Biden and Cory Booker of New Jersey as those with the best chance of defeating Trump.
Ultimately, the former DNC head says,” I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them .”
It is uncertain whether Biden was willing to step into the race or even whether he discussed the idea with Brazile. A spokesman for the former vice-president did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
Brazile writes that on 12 September 2016, the day after Clinton collapsed, Biden’s chief of staff called saying the vice-president wanted to speak with her and that her suppose at the time was ” Gee, I wonder what he wanted to talk to me about ?”
As for Brazile’s powers to decide the party’s nominee, she writes that as party chair she would oversee the process of replacing a nominee who became disabled.
Brazile writes she believed a joint fundraising arrangement signed between Clinton and the DNC” looked unethical” and she felt Clinton had too much influence on the party during a competitive Democratic primary with rival Bernie Sanders.
During the nomination process for the 2016 election Democrats argued among themselves over whether Clinton was being given an unfair advantage over Sanders, a Vermont independent who sought the party’s nomination with the backing of its more liberal members.
On Saturday, DNC Chairman Tom Perez issued a statement saying he and the DNC leadership were committed to ensuring the nomination process in 2020 will be” unquestionably fair and transparent “.
Among the reforms he said he developed after listening to Democrats across the party spectrum was ensuring that” no candidate participating in our presidential nominating process gains any unjust advantage — real or perceived — during our primary season “. He also said the debate schedule would be decided in advance rather than negotiated after all candidates had entered the race.
Perez also pledged to ensure all joint fundraising agreements would be transparent, including the new Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund arrangements developed with the 50 state parties.
Press secretary calls reporters question highly inappropriate as Frederica Wilson says Kelly lied about her during press provide information on Thursday
The White House has been condemned for attempting to stillnes the media by warning that it is” highly inappropriate” to challenge the veracity of remarks by a military general.
A reporter on Friday questioned a claim by the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, a retired four-star marine general, that the Democratic congresswoman Frederica Wilson had taken credit for securing funding for an FBI building in Florida.
Chip Reid, a CBS News correspondent, said during the daily press briefing:” He was wrong yesterday in talking about getting the money. The money was procured before she came into Congress .”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, replied coldly:” If you want to go after Gen Kelly, that’s up to you. But I think that if you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate .”
Reid’s follow-up topic was ignored and the implication- from a democratically elected civilian government- that a military general was beyond criticism was troubling to many.
Perry O’Brien, a former army medic who served in Afghanistan, said:” It’s just another example of the administration conceal behind the uniform of others. That’s why it’s so unfortunate to see someone like Gen Kelly enable that and jump on the grenade that Trump hurled .”
O’Brien, organising director of Common Defense, a group of veterans against Trump, added:” When “theyre saying”,’ How dare you criticise a general ?’, how about[ former Trump national security consultant] Gen Michael Flynn, who was the first to resign after we learned they were colluding with foreign powers? I don’t think most generals would say a star on your shoulder stimulates you immune from criticism .”
Kelly appeared at the White House podium on Thursday, to defend Trump against the charge that he caused offence during a bellow with the widow of Sgt La David Johnson, one of four US soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month by Islamic State fighters. Wilson heard the call and criticised Trump for disrespecting Johnson’s widow, Myeshia.
While defending the president, Kelly- whose son Robert was killed in Afghanistan in 2010- accused Wilson of “grandstanding” in a 2015 speech by saying she was instrumental in getting funding for an FBI building in Florida and took care of her constituents because she got the money. Wilson denied the charge and video evidence appeared to support her account.
Kelly stood by his accusation, Sanders said on Friday.” Gen Kelly said he was stunned that Representative Wilson induced commentaries at a build dedication honouring slain FBI agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former president Obama on legislation ,” she said.
” As Gen Kelly pointed out, if you’re able to make a sacred act like honouring American heroes all about yourself, you’re an’ empty barrel ‘. If you don’t understand that reference, I’ll put it a bit more simply. As we say in the south: all hat , no cattle .”
Wilson regularly wears a cowboy hat.
Challenged over the video footage of the speech, in which Wilson praises FBI agents, Sanders insisted:” She also had quite a few comments that day that weren’t part of that speech and weren’t part of that video that were also witnessed by many people that were there .”
The press secretary also rejected criticism from Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, who supports the accounts of the Trump phone call given by her son’s widow and Wilson.
” Certainly, if the spirit of which those comments were intended were misunderstood, that’s very unfortunate ,” Sanders said.” But as the president has said, as Gen Kelly said- who I guess has a very deep understanding of what that individual would be going through – his comments were very sympathetic, very respectful. And that was the spirit in which the president intended them. If they were taken any other style, that’s certainly an unfortunate thing .”
According to Wilson, Trump told Johnson’s widow her late spouse” knew what he signed up for, but when it happens it hurts anyway “.
Kelly in effect corroborated that account, saying he had counseled Trump on how to induce the bellow by telling him of the morning he was told of his son’s death. Kelly remembered his close friend, Gen Joseph Dunford, telling him his son” was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed “.
” He knew what the possibilities were, because we’re at war ,” Kelly said.” That’s what the president tried to say to the four families the other day .”
Trump, however, continues to vehemently deny that he said such words.
” The fake news is going crazy with wacky congresswoman Wilson[ Democrat] who was secretly on a very personal call and dedicated a total lie on content ,” he tweeted late on Thursday.
Kelly also indicated Wilson had eavesdropped on a highly sensitive call. The congresswoman, a close friend of the Johnson family, pointed out she was in the car when Myeshia Johnson received the call, which was placed on speakerphone.
Wilson said Trump’s comments were” not a good message to say to anyone who has lost a child at war “.
” You don’t sign on because you think you’re going to die ,” she said.” You sign up to serve your country. There’s nothing to misinterpret. He said what he said. I only don’t agree with it. I just don’t agree with that’s what you should say to grieving households .”
Regarding Kelly’s statements about the FBI field office speech, Wilson said she had not been a member of Congress in 2009, when the funding mentioned by Kelly was procured. “That’s a lie,” she said of Kelly’s characterization.” How dare he ?”
She added:” I feel sorry for Gen Kelly. He has my sympathy for the loss of his son. But he can’t just go on Tv and lie on me .”
As US officers analyse potential collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, the series of reports by the former UK intelligence official Christopher Steele are casting an ever darker darknes over the president
Nine months after its first appearance, the situated of intelligence reports known as the Steele dossier, one of the most explosive documents in modern political history, is still hanging over Washington, casting a shadow over the Trump administration that has only grown-up darker as time has gone by.
It was reported this week that the document’s author, former British intelligence official, Christopher Steele, has been interviewed by investigators working for the special advise on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Senate and House intelligence committees are, meanwhile, asking to see Steele to make up their own intellect about his findings. The ranking Democrat on the House committee, Adam Schiff, said that the dossier was ” a very important and useful guide to help us figure out what we need to look into “.
The fact that Steele’s reports are being taken seriously after lengthy scrutiny by federal and congressional researchers has far-reaching implications.
The question of collusion is at the heart of the various investigations into links between Trump and Moscow. Even a senior Republican, Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, admitted this week it was an open question.
Burr said his committee needed to talk Steele himself to assess the dossier properly and recommended him to speak to its members or staff. According to an NBC report on Friday, Steele had expressed willingness to meet the committee’s leaders.
In his remarks this week, Burr said his committee had come to a consensus in supporting the conclusions of a US intelligence community appraisal in January this year that Russian had conducted a multi-pronged campaign to interfere in the 2016 election, in Trump’s favour.
It is a finding that echoes the reports that Steele was making seven months earlier. Trump has called the assessment a “hoax”, but there is no sign the three agencies that came to that conclusion, the CIA, FBI and NSA, have had any second thoughts in the intervene months.
” Many of my former CIA colleagues have taken[ the Steele] reports seriously since they were first published ,” wrote John Sipher, a former senior officer in the CIA’s National Clandestine Service on the Just Security website.
The former presidential candidates new book, What Happened, tries to come to terms with her election defeat and likens Trump to the dystopian classic
Hillary Clinton employs her new memoir to draw parallels between Donald Trump’s” war on truth” and the Soviet Union and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
” Attempting to define reality is a core feature of authoritarianism ,” the defeated presidential candidate writes in What Happened, published under Tuesday.” This is what the Soviets did when they erased political protesters from historical photos. This is what happens in George Orwell’s classic fiction Nineteen Eighty-Four, when a torturer holds up four thumbs and delivers electric shocks until his prisoner assures five thumbs as ordered .”
The goal is to construct you question logic and and reason and to sow mistrust, Clinton writes.” For Trump, as with so much he does, it’s about simple dominance .”
She argues that Trump has taken” the war against truth” to a whole new level.” If he stood up tomorrow and declared that the Globe is flat, his counselor Kellyanne Conway might just go on Fox News and defend it as an’ alternative fact ,’ and too many people would believe it .”
The cathartic 469 -page memoir is heartfelt, honest and at times funny as it tries to come to grips with Clinton’s personally and politically catastrophic defeat last November. She identifies many reasons, including racism, sexism, the late intervention of the FBI and her own mistakes.
She writes:” I was operating a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies and painstakingly constructed alliances, while Trump was running a reality Tv show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans’ fury and rancor. I was devoting speeches laying out how to solve the country’s problems. He was ranting on Twitter .”
Clinton peppers the book with insults aimed at Trump. These include:” a clear and present danger to the country and the world “;” he’d remade himself from tabloid rascal into right-wing crank “;” for Trump, if everyone’s down in the dirt with him, then he’s no dirtier than anyone else “;” he had no ideological core apart from his towering self-regard, which blotted out all hope of learn or growing “.
Clinton also presents little affection for her contender for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, identifying him as another causal factor in her defeat.” His attacks caused lasting damage, inducing it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s’ Crooked Hillary’ campaign. I don’t know if that bothered Bernie or not .”
Clinton was hammered by both Sanders and Trump over her paying speeches to Wall street. She acknowledges these were a “mistake”, explaining:” Just because many former government officials have been paid large fees to give speeches, I shouldn’t have assumed it was OK for me to do it. Especially after the financial crisis of 2008 -0 9, I should have realise it would be bad’ optics’ and bided away from anything having to do with Wall street. I didn’t. That’s on me .”
Hillary Clinton simply cannot escape her satisfied white-collar worldview. This avoids her from understanding the events of 2016
How do you lose the presidency to a human like Donald Trump? He was the most unpopular presidential nominee of all time, compounding gaffe with blunder and heaping gaffe upon gaffe. Maintaining him from the Oval Office should have been the single-minded mission of the Democratic party. And it should have been easy for them.
Instead they lost, and now their 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton comes before us to account for this monumental failure, to tell us What Happened. Unfortunately, her new book is less an effort to explain than it is to explain away.
No real blame ever resolves anywhere near Clinton’s person. And while she wrestles gamely with the larger historical question of why the party of the people has withered as inequality grows, she never offers a satisfy answer. Instead, most of the blame is directed outward, at familiar suspects like James Comey, the Russians and the media.
Still, by exercising a little discernment, readers can find clues to the mystery of 2016 here and there among the clouds of blame-evasion and positive thinking.
Start at the beginning: why did Hillary Clinton run for chairperson? “[ B] ecause I believed I’d be good at the job ,” she writes. Then, 13 pages afterward:” It was a chance to do the most good I would ever be able to do .”
A would-be do-gooder wants problems to solve, of course, and so Clinton says she turned next to the people who knew what was wrong.” I started calling policy experts ,” she writes,” read thick binders of memos, and stimulating lists of problems that needed more thought .” Lists of problems and solutions are everywhere; reeling them off one after another is one of her favorite rhetorical devices, her way of checking the boxes and letting everyone know that she cares.
Proceeding in this rational, expert-sanctioned way, Hillary Clinton set off resolutely on the road to oblivion.
She seems to have been almost totally unprepared for the outburst of populist rage that characterized 2016, an outburst that came under half a dozen different guises: trade, outsourcing, immigration, opiates, deindustrialization, and the recent spectacle of Wall Street crooks getting bailed out. It wasn’t the issues that mattered so much as the outrage, and Donald Trump put himself in front of it. Clinton couldn’t.
To her credit, and unlike many of her most fervent supporters, Hillary Clinton doesn’t deny that this web of class-related problems had some role in her downfall. When she isn’t repeating self-help bromides or calumniating the Russians she can be found wondering why so many working-class people have deserted the Democratic party.
This is an important question, and in dealing with it Clinton writes a few genuinely memorable passages, like her description of a grotesque campaign stop in West Virginia where she was protested by a mob that included the former CEO of the company that owned the Upper Big Branch mine, where 29 coal miners died in 2010.
But by and large, Clinton’s efforts to understand populism always get short-circuited, likely because taking it seriously might lead one to conclude that working people have a legitimate beef with her and the Democratic party.
Countless inconvenient items get eliminated from her history. She only writes about trade, for example, in the most general terms; Nafta and the TPP never. Her husband’s program of bank deregulation is photoshopped out. The names Goldman Sachs and Walmart never come up.
Besides, to take populism seriously might also mean that Bernie Sanders, who was ” outraged about everything ,” might have had a phase, and much of What Happened is working to blasting Sanders for challenging Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Devote that he afterward endorsed her and even campaigned for her, this can only be described as churlish, if not downright dishonest.
That Clinton might have doing well to temper her technocratic style with some populist outrage of her own merely dawns on her towards the end of the book, by which point it is too late.
Not to mention impossible. Hillary Clinton simply cannot escape her satisfied white-collar worldview- compulsively listing people’s academic credentials, hobnobbing with officers from Facebook and Google, and telling readers how she went to Davos in 1998 to announce her philosophy.
And then, in her conclude chapter, returning to her beloved alma mater Wellesley College and informing graduates of that prestigious institution that, with their” capacity for critical reasoning”( among other things) they were” precisely what we needed in America in 2017.”
I wish it were so. I wish that another crop of upper-class college grads were what we needed. I wish Hillary’s experts and her enlightened capitalist friends could step in and fix this shabby America we occupy today, where racists march in the streets and the Midwest falls apart and cops shoot motorists for no reason and a blustering groper occupies the White House.
I wish it were all a matter of having a checklist of think-tank approved policy solutions. But I know for sure it isn’t. And voters knew that, too.
Committee rescinds subpoena after Manafort agrees to turn over notes, while Jared Kushner returns to Capitol Hill for second day of private testimony
Donald Trumps former campaign chairperson gratified Senate investigators Tuesday, providing his recollection of a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer and agreeing to turn over contemporaneous notes of the collect last year, according to people familiar with the closed-door interview.
Republican Chuck Grassley and Democrat Dianne Feinstein had also issued a subpoena for Paul Manafort to testify publicly during a Wednesday hearing before the committee. But late on Tuesday the committee rescinded the subpoena after he agreed to turn over the documents, according to a spokesman for Grassley.
Manaforts appearance on Tuesday came the same morning that Trumps son-in-law and consultant Jared Kushner returned to Capitol hill for a second day of private meetings, this time for a dialogue with lawmakers on the House intelligence committee.
Both Manafort and Kushner have been cooperating with the committees which, along with special advise Robert Mueller, are investigating Russias interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and possible collusion with Trump associates.
The two men have faced particular scrutiny about attending the Trump Tower session because it was described in emails to Donald Trump Jr as being part of a Russian government effort to aid Trumps presidential campaign.
On Tuesday, Manafort met with bipartisan staff of the Senate intelligence committee and answered their questions fully, his spokesman, Jason Maloni, said.
Manaforts discussion with committee personnel was limited to his recollection of the June 2016 session, according to two people familiar with the interview. Both demanded anonymity to discuss details because the interview resulted behind closed doors.
Manafort had previously disclosed the session in the following documents he turned over to the committee. He has now provided the committee with notes he took at the time, one of the person or persons said. The other person told Manafort has also said he will participate in additional interviews with the Senate intelligence committee staff on other topics if necessary. Those meetings havent yet been scheduled.
Also Tuesday, Kushner spent about three hours behind closed doors with the House committee.
Republican Mike Conaway of Texas, who is leading the panels Russia investigation, said he found Kushner to be straightforward, forthcoming, wanted to answer every question we had. He said Kushner was willing to follow up with the committee if it has additional questions.
The committees ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, said the questions touched on a range of issues the committee had been concerned about.
We appreciate his voluntary willingness are in place to testify today, Schiff added.
On Monday, Kushner answered questions from staff on the Senates intelligence panel, acknowledging four meetings with Russians during and after Trumps victorious White House bid.
Let me be very clear, Kushner said in a rare public statement at the White House, I did not collude with Russia , nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.
Emails released this month show that Trump Jr, the presidents eldest son, accepted a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya with the understanding that he would receive damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help Trumps campaign.
But, in his statement for the two intelligence committees, Kushner said he hadnt read those emails until recently indicated them by his lawyers.
Activists from disability rights organisation Adapt collected outside McConnells office to demonstrate against the bill, which would dramatically cut Medicaid and strip funding from Planned Parenthood, to name merely two measures.
Sporadic downpours and flash flood warns helped to put a damper on Democratic turnout in base precincts
In Georgia the resistance was stopped by the rain on Tuesday when Jon Ossoff, long the best hope of Democrats to win a special election in the Trump administration, suffered a narrow loss to Republican Karen Handelin the Sixth Congressional District.
With 99% of precincts reporting, Handel had 52.4% and Ossoff had 47.6%
Sporadic downpours and flash flood warns helped to put a damper on Democratic turnout in base precincts and on the hopes of progressives to frustrate Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Blended with an energized Republican base that kept Ossoff from accumulating a significant lead among early voters, it doomed the hopes of the anti-Trump activists who constructed the first time Democratic candidate a minor political celebrity.
The runoff came after a first round of voting in April where Ossoff won merely over 48% of the vote and Handel finished second in a splintered Republican field with only under 20% of the vote. However, Ossoff struggled to match that total as Handel consolidated the Republican vote in a traditionally conservative district in the northern suburbs of Atlanta andended up falling a percentage point short of his much hyped performance in the first round of voting.
Trump took to Twitterto hail the result as a personal victory Thank you @FoxNews Huge win for President Trump and GOP in Georgia Congressional Special Election.
The seat had been vacated by Tom Price when the former congressman joined Trumps cabinet to become secretary of health and human service and previously held by Republican stalwarts like Senator Johnny Isakson and other speakers Newt Gingrich. Although Price won by 23% in 2016, Donald Trump merely narrowly won this wealthy, well-educated district by merely over 1 %.
Trumps narrow win triggered optimism among Democrats that different districts, where virtually 60% of residents have a college degree, could flip as part of the political realignment around the presidents upset victory in 2016. Roughly $ 50 m aimed up being are spending both parties and allied groups in the race as it became the most expensive congressional campaign in the history of the United States.
However, while Democrat had motivated their base and won over skeptical Republicans, the conservative slant of district proved too much even for the nearly unprecedented resources that Democrats invested in the race, even flying in volunteers for last minute doorknocking as local television stations had been saturated by 30 -second advertisements.
Although the race had been cast a referendum on Trump an opinion the President seemed to endorse after the result had been reported both candidates awkwardly danced around his looming presence on the campaign trail. At Handels campaign events, Trumps name ran unmentioned by the candidate and introductory speakers. Instead, there was constant refrain of attack on Ossoff for his ties to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and praise for previous holders of the seat like Price and Gingrich. Ossoff was regularly bashed for the amount of money he created out of state and for having San Francisco values.
Handel, who suggested in the first televised debate of the campaign that Trump should use Twitter less often, told the Guardian in an interview on Monday that she didnt pay attention to the presidents employ of social media. She said I am focused on my campaign, I have precious little time to be on Twitter. Several hours later, her campaign sent out a fundraising email signed by the former secretary of state with the subject line did you insure what Trump only tweeted? after the President employed his ubiquitous social media account to tout her campaign.
Ossoff has also been measured in his attacks on Trump in a traditionally Republican district albeit one that the president barely won in 2016. Instead, the lanky and measured political neophyte focused on banal and politically non-controversial issues like government waste and turning Atlanta into the Silicon Valley of the South and let the progressive anti-Trump exuberance of the Democratic base carry him.
Instead, he has focused on Handels stint as Georgia secretary of state as well as her brief stint with the Susan Komen Race For The Cure, a charity which combats breast cancer, where she resulted an effort to cut off the organizations funding for Schemed Parenthood. The decision triggered a major dispute and funding was eventually restored and Handel had to resign from the non-profit.
In an interview with the Guardian, Ossoff slammed his opponent. Secretary Handels record as secretary of state is extremely weak perhaps because she was too busy preparing her next run for higher office to do her chore. She quit her job early to run for higher office, as so many career politicians do. Her last significant private sector experience, her performance also lacked.
The issue of civility and the growing toxic nature of American political culture became an issue late in the race in the aftermath of the shooting of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. Handel pointed to social media and journalism as reasons for the decline of civility in American society in an interview with the Guardian. Journalism is not journalism any more, said Handel. Ossoff stuck to broader topics, telling the Guardian, this is a deep rooted problem in American politics right now “whos going to” take work and bipartisan commitment to trying to mend meanders and focus on substance instead of dread mongering and slander.