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Trump Denies Request To Lower Flags To Honor Capital Gazette Shooting Victims

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Mass shootings earlier this year caused the president to order that U.S. flags be flown at half-mast.

President Donald Trump declined a request from the mayor of Annapolis that he order U.S. flags be flown at half-mast to honor the five newspaper employees shot and killed in that Maryland city.

The mayor, Gavin Buckley, made the request last Friday, the day after a gunman entered the Capital Gazette newsroom, opened fire and killed four journalists and a member of the paper’s sales staff.

Buckley on Monday told The Baltimore Sun the Trump rejected the request. The paper also said the White House did not immediately respond to its request for comment.

Trump ordered half-staff display by U.S. flags for several days after a mass shooting claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school in February, and again when 10 people were killed in a similar massacre at a Texas high school.

As a presidential candidate and since becoming president, Trump and his aides routinely have dismissed various reports by mainstream media outlets ― especially stories critical of him, as “fake news.” He has also attacked the press as “the enemy of the American people.”

In brief comments on Friday about the shooting in Annapolis, Trump said simply that “journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs.”

“Obviously, I’m disappointed... Is there a cutoff for tragedy?” Buckley told the Sun about being rebuffed by Trump. “This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, last Friday ordered state flags be flown at half-staff “as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless act of violence perpetrated... against employees of the Capital Gazette.”

Trump attacks Harley-Davidson for overseas operation -- just like his own

Donald Trump is continuing to hammer Harley-Davidson over the motorcycle company’s plans to relocate some production overseas to dodge European tariffs triggered by the president’s trade war. What Trump isn’t mentioning is that the president and his family own businesses abroad and that most Trump products are produced in foreign factories.

During a GOP primary debate before the presidential election, Trump was challenged on outsourcing products overseas. He defended the practice then, arguing: “We’re allowed to do it” — as is Harley-Davidson. “So I will take advantage of it,” he added. In a unit of “study” in the now-defunct Trump University, Trump wrote that outsourcing jobs is sometimes a “necessary step.” (Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle fraud claims against his “university.”) 

But the president again slammed the Wisconsin motorcycle company on a Fox News program Sunday, saying the company will take a “big hit” from consumers angry that an American company is moving some of its production abroad. 

“Everybody who ever bought a Harley-Davidson voted for Trump ... and they are very unhappy about it,” Trump said. He added that the company “shouldn’t play cute.” He accused Harley-Davidson on Twitter earlier in the week: “They surrendered, they quit! The aura will be gone.”

An ad by Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign attacked Trump for outsourcing manufacturing to 12 different countries. An investigation by The Washington Post confirmed that. Import records revealed that Trump shirts, suits, sports coats, eyeglasses, home goods — such as furniture, lighting fixtures and mirrors — and hotel amenities including shampoo, towels and laundry bags were all made abroad. Factories used are located in China, Germany, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea, among others.

When Trump hosted his “Made in America” week at the White House last year, he was slammed for hypocrisy. “Instead of lecturing us, Trump should try setting an example,” said a statement from the Democratic National Committee.

White House senior adviser and Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump has not manufactured a single product for her business operations in the U.S. She relies exclusively on low-wage workers in foreign factories in countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, according to another investigation by The Washington Post.

Harley-Davidson said the company is driven by economic necessity to move some of its production overseas. “Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company’s preference but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe. Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson,” the company said in a statement. 

The move follows layoffs at the company’s manufacturing plants in Milwaukee and Kansas City, Missouri, last year, costing 180 manufacturing jobs.

Earlier this year, Trump slammed Amazon for failing to pay state sales taxes on its goods. While Amazon was collecting sales taxes for sales to 45 states at the time, the TrumpStore.com website was collecting sales tax only on orders shipped to buyers in Florida and Louisiana.

After White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was ordered out of a Virginia restaurant last month, Trump tweeted that the restaurant was “filthy.” The restaurant had no violations in its last health inspection, which was not the case with Trump-owned restaurants.

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Sen. Susan Collins Won’t Support A Supreme Court Nominee Who Opposes Roe

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Collins is one of a handful of swing votes who will decide the fate of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Sunday she would not support a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy who opposes the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortions rights nationwide.

“I would not support a nominee who demonstrated a hostility to Roe v. Wade,” Collins said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

She reiterated that view during on ABC’s “This Week,” describing Roe v. Wade as “settled law.”  

“A candidate for this important position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have,” Collins said.

The GOP holds a 51-49 majority in the Senate, and lack of support from two Republicans would require President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to find a Democrat to confirm a replacement for Kennedy. In the instance of a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote.

Collins also said that she hoped Trump would consider judges not on the shortlist of judges from which he chose that Justice Neil Gorsuch early in 2017 to take the high court seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia.  

“I told [Trump] that I was looking for a nominee that would demonstrate a respect for precedent,” Collins on “This Week.”

On Thursday evening, Trump invited Collins and four other moderate senators ―Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). ― to the White House to discuss the vacancy. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was also in attendance.

Collins said she also suggested to Trump “that he broaden his search beyond the list of 25 nominees” that he drew upon in the Gorsuch selection.

The president, however, has indicated that he will stick to that list in nominating a new justice, and said he will announce his pick on July 9.

Collins said Trump told her that he would not ask a prospective Supreme Court nominee about their stance on Roe.

“The president told me he would not ask that question,” she said on “State of the Union.”

That may be a moot distinction, given as Trump’s list of prospective nominees was crafted with the assistance of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal think tank that is deeply hostile to reproductive rights. It is unlikely that any nominee drawn from that list would look kindly on Roe.

Kennedy’s retirement is widely viewed as the most significant Supreme Court vacancy in a generation, marking the departure of the court’s swing vote on a range of issues including abortion, LGBTQ rights and health care.

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