During a campaign trip to South Carolina, Donald Trump took some time to visit the gun store that sold weapons to the racist Jacksonville, Florida, mass shooter.
Trump visited Palmetto State Armory on Monday, where he admired a handgun engraved and decorated in his honor. He repeatedly said he wanted to buy a gun there—which would be a violation of federal law given his many indictments.
A lot of the media has focused on whether Trump actually purchased a gun and violated the law, but less attention has been paid to Trump’s decision to visit Palmetto State Armory, as opposed to any other gun store in South Carolina.
In late August, a white man opened fire in a Dollar General store in a predominantly Black Jacksonville neighborhood, killing three people, all of whom were Black. The shooter, who then killed himself, used a Glock handgun and an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, at least one of which was painted with a swastika. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said the shooter “hated Black people” and acted alone.
At least one of the guns came from Palmetto State Armory, a store in Summerville, South Carolina. The Jacksonville sheriff’s office shared photos of the firearms used in the attack on its Facebook page. One of the guns is clearly engraved with the Palmetto State Armory logo. The shooter had also drawn swastikas on the gun.
When the Jacksonville shooting happened, Trump did not issue any statement on the tragedy. But you could argue that this campaign stop is a kind of tacit statement. He put the spotlight on Palmetto State Armory, praised its inventory, and tried to offer it business.
Palmetto State Armory has openly embraced far-right ideology. In 2020, it began marketing its products using imagery and language associated with the “boogaloo,” slang for racist violence and even a call for full-on race war. It has also come to mean war to topple the government.
The Jacksonville shooter shouldn’t have been able to buy the guns in the first place. He was held in Florida state custody in 2017 for mental health issues, disqualifying him from owning a gun under a statute called the Baker Act.
With so many eyeballs on Trump, Palmetto State Armory would never have gotten away with selling him a gun. But as Philadephia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch pointed out, the store “could sell an AR-15 to a young, mentally troubled white supremacist.”
The Supreme Court on Tuesday slapped down Alabama Republicans’ latest attempt to use a congressional district map that only includes one majority-Black district, delivering a major blow in just one sentence.
This is the Supreme Court’s second such ruling in three months. Earlier this summer, the court struck down a similar GOP-drawn congressional map and ordered Alabama to add a second majority-Black district. But Alabama Republicans dug in their heels and approved a similarly problematic congressional map, and asked the Supreme Court to block lower court rulings invalidating it.
And the Supreme Court refused.
“The application for stay presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the Supreme Court said in a terse statement. There were no noted dissents.
Alabama must now accept a map that has at least two majority-Black districts.
The Supreme Court shocked everyone in June when it ruled 5–4 that Republican-drawn congressional districts in Alabama discriminated against Black voters under the Voting Rights Act. The justices ordered Alabama to redraw the map to include at least two majority-Black districts.
Alabama repeatedly tried to redraw districts in a way that keeps the status quo and dilutes Black votes. The federal appeals court that struck down the latest map appointed a special master to oversee the redistricting.
“We have no reason to believe that allowing the Legislature still another opportunity to draw yet another map will yield a map that includes an additional opportunity district,” the three-judge panel said at the time. “We are disturbed by the evidence that the State delayed remedial proceedings but ultimately did not even nurture the ambition to provide the required remedy.”
Alabama has until October 1 to finalize a new map to ensure that there is enough time to prepare for the 2024 election, according to Republican Secretary of State Wes Allen. State officials will need to reassign voters and print and distribute ballots.
More than a quarter of Alabama residents are Black, but currently only one of Alabama’s seven congressional districts is majority-Black. Black voters are scattered throughout the other districts, dramatically reducing their ability to elect their preferred candidates. As a result of the racial gerrymandering, the state only has one Black representative.
The Supreme Court’s ruling—and the outcome of the new map in Alabama—could have bigger implications across the South, and even help Democrats retake the House in 2024. Several other states, including Louisiana, South Carolina, and Georgia, are facing legal challenges to their racially gerrymandered districts. Those states could see a very different map in the coming election.
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson delivered a truly sick burn to Representative Matt Gaetz after he tried to claim the two of them had dated.
Hutchinson worked as the top assistant to Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, and she eventually became a star witness for the House January 6 investigative committee. She has dropped multiple bombshells about the Trump administration in recent weeks from her new book, Enough.
In a Monday night interview on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow read a few excerpts from the book that detail how Gaetz aggressively pursued Hutchinson. One line describes how he stroked her face while talking to her. Another passage says he tried so hard to hook up with her during a trip to Camp David that Representative Kevin McCarthy actually told Gaetz to “get a life.” Hutchinson also alleges elsewhere in the book that Gaetz groped her on two different occasions.
Gaetz denied Hutchinson’s claims in a statement to Maddow, but he said the pair “did date … for a few weeks years ago when we were both single.”
“Matt Gaetz, in my opinion, is somebody that I personally do not hold in high regard in terms of trust,” Hutchinson said. “I will say, on behalf of myself, I never dated Matt Gaetz. I have much higher standards in men. And Matt, frankly, is a very unserious politician.”
“We see that today, with the ruckus that he is causing on Capitol Hill with the spending negotiations.”
Gaetz, a key Trump ally, is also one of the main opponents of passing a clean continuing resolution that will keep the government open and functioning. Instead, he keeps threatening to remove McCarthy from the speakership.
Hutchinson’s book also describes a chilling interaction with Rudy Giuliani. She accuses Giuliani of groping her just before Trump’s speech on January 6.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday completely—and hilariously—destroyed one of Republicans’ main arguments to prove that Joe Biden is corrupt.
Republicans launched an impeachment inquiry into Biden, after months of insisting that the president is guilty of criminal wrongdoing. The GOP has yet to produce any actual evidence of their claims. But one of their main talking points is that Poroshenko fired former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin after Biden pressured him to do so.
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade played Poroshenko a clip of Shokin saying Biden wanted him fired because he had been investigating the oil company Burisma Holdings while Hunter Biden served on the board.
“First of all, this is [a] completely crazy person,” Poroshenko replied without hesitation, referring to Shokin. “This is something wrong with him. Second, there is not one single word of truth.”
“Please do not use such a person like Shokin to undermine the trust we feel” from both U.S. parties, he continued.
Poroshenko added that Shokin was fired because “he played very dirty games.”
Shokin was fired in 2016 for corruption. Three years later, Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani started a conspiracy theory that the Biden family accepted a $10 million bribe to remove Shokin to stop a probe into Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma. This claim has been repeatedly debunked by the owner of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, as well as Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas. And now, the former Ukrainian president himself.
New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez has an insanely lame excuse for the $480,000 in cash federal investigators discovered at his home.
Last week, Menendez and his wife were indicted on federal bribery charges. The indictment accuses Menendez of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gold bars, and “luxury vehicle and home furnishings.”
In exchange for the bribes, Menendez, who is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agreed to use his power to boost three New Jersey businessmen and benefit the government of Egypt, according to the indictment.
At a press conference Monday morning, Menendez said that the $480,000 investigators discovered in his house was money he’d withdrawn in case of an emergency.
“For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies,” Menedez said, making no mention of the gold bars that were also discovered in his home and are worth an additional estimated $155,000.
Menendez said that he was compelled to do this because of his family’s history “facing confiscation in Cuba.” It’s unclear to which family Menendez—who was born in New York City in 1954, a full five years before the Castros came to power—is referring.
“This may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal account based on the income I have lawfully derived over those 30 years,” Menendez added. Menendez’s excuse doesn’t seem “old-fashioned,” it just seems like a lie.
In his press conference remarks, Menendez made it clear he had no intention of resigning, and so far, no Democratic senators have publicly called for him to step down.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, one of the few Republicans to repeatedly condemn Donald Trump’s claim of 2020 election fraud, has caved and said he will back the former president in 2024.
Kemp has held the line that the Georgia presidential election was valid, despite repeated Trump attacks. He was also one of the few Republicans to back the legitimacy of the indictment against Trump for trying to overturn the state’s election. But in an interview published Sunday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kemp finally broke.
“It has nothing to do with being a coward,” Kemp insisted, on why he’d back Trump if he is the Republican nominee in 2024. “It has everything to do with winning and reversing the ridiculous, obscene positions of Joe Biden and this administration that literally, in a lot of ways, are destroying our country.”
“Despite all of his other trials and tribulations, [Trump] would still be a lot better than Biden,” Kemp said. “And the people serving in the administration would be a lot better than Joe Biden.”
Kemp hinted last month that he would back whoever wins the Republican presidential nomination, tweeting, “2024 is too important for political games.” But this is the first time he has openly expressed support for Trump.
This shift likely does have personal reasons, though. Trump has already gone after Kemp’s position. In 2021, he got former Senator David Perdue to run against Kemp for governor. Perdue is a loyal MAGA Republican who has backed Trump’s false claims of election fraud.
Kemp was reelected in a landslide, but Perdue’s campaign shows just a fraction of how far Trump is willing to go to get revenge on people who oppose him. If Trump is the nominee, his already outsize influence in the Republican Party will only grow—and Kemp could be in big trouble if he doesn’t fall in line.
Donald Trump went over the edge over the weekend and began calling for his detractors to be prosecuted or even put to death.
“They are almost all dishonest and corrupt, but Comcast, with its one-side and vicious coverage by NBC NEWS, and in particular MSNBC, often and correctly referred to as MSDNC (Democrat National Committee!), should be investigated for its ‘Country Threatening Treason,’” he wrote on Truth Social Sunday night.
“I say up front, openly, and proudly, that when I WIN the Presidency of the United States … the LameStream Media will be thoroughly scrutinized for their knowingly dishonest and corrupt coverage of people, things, and events,” he said. “They are a true threat to Democracy and are, in fact, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE! The Fake News Media should pay a big price for what they have done to our once great Country!”
Trump has never been a fan of news outlets that give him the slightest bit of negative or unbiased coverage. He even turned on his once-favorite Fox News after the network confirmed Arizona voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
But the fact that he is threatening to censor news outlets through federal regulatory powers is terrifying, not to mention a huge violation of the Constitution.
Trump’s threat to the news media was actually his second attempt to menace detractors this past weekend alone. On Friday, he slammed Mark Milley, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggesting that perhaps he also committed treason.
“This guy turned out to be a Woke train wreck who, if the Fake News reporting is correct, was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States,” Trump said on Truth Social. “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!”
Trump was referring to two phone calls Milley made to Beijing, one during Trump’s last months in office and the second in the aftermath of the January 6 riot. The calls, which were to assure China that Trump was not planning to attack the country, were done at the direction of other Trump administration officials.
Trump, of course, appointed Milley to his role in 2018—but since then has repeatedly lashed out at the general. His Friday comments came after The Atlantic published a profile of Milley that described how he “protected the Constitution from Donald Trump.”
It should go without saying, but Trump making comments like this is incredibly dangerous. His followers have shown themselves quick to spring to action. Hundreds of January 6 defendants have said they descended on Washington because Trump personally called on them.
Republican lawmakers too quickly follow the former president’s commands. Another Trump supporter, Arizona Representative Paul Gosar, has also called for Milley to face death. In his newsletter Sunday, Gosar baselessly claimed that Milley and then–House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had worked to delay the National Guard’s response to the January 6 riot, to make Trump look bad.
“In a better society … General Milley would be hung,” Gosar wrote. “How this traitor remains in office is a question we need answered.”
(If it’s any consolation for Gosar, Milley retires on October 1.)
Gosar has shown himself remarkably willing to take up Trump’s call, even on the most extreme behavior. In December, Gosar posted on X, then called Twitter, backing Trump’s call to terminate the U.S. Constitution and overturn the 2020 election. He deleted the post an hour later, after it sparked backlash.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene marked Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, with a massively ignorant gaffe.
“To all those preparing for the solemn day of Yom Kippur, I wish you a meaningful fast,” the Georgia Republican posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
She also shared a cartoon graphic of a shofar, or a ram’s horn that is blown to mark the end of the fast, and a menorah. Menorahs are used during Hanukkah, not Yom Kippur.
Greene has since deleted the tweet, which many X users joked looked as if she had just asked her P.R. team to “google ‘Jew stuff.’”
Shockingly, this is one of the less terrible comments Greene has made about the Jewish community. She sent shockwaves throughout the country shortly after assuming office in 2021, when she said wildfires in California had been caused by Jewish-owned space lasers. She has also compared Covid-19 mask mandates to the horrors of the Holocaust.
If Greene was trying to do any damage control for her antisemitism, it didn’t work.
She’s not alone in her Yom Kippur fumble, though. The New York Police Department also shared—and subsequently deleted—a graphic for the holiday. Theirs included a shofar, a menorah, honey, and an apple. The last two are symbols of Rosh Hashanah. They are also ingredients in a traditional Passover dish.
This story has been updated.
Right-wing activist Charlie Kirk on Friday accused the Department of Justice of trying to cover up its biases by indicting a Democratic senator.
New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez was indicted on federal bribery charges Friday. The indictment accuses Menendez and his wife of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gold bars, and “luxury vehicle and home furnishings.”
But rather than accept the indictment shows that the Justice Department is actually a neutral entity, Kirk unveiled some convoluted logic to supposedly prove his original belief.
“The way that the fourth branch of government operates is with intentionality. There are no mistakes,” he said on his podcast.
“They’re doing this to create the appearance of impartiality so that they can continue their jihad against Donald Trump.”
Republicans have repeatedly argued that the Justice Department has been weaponized against Trump, as evidenced by the many, many indictments against him. Kirk’s new conspiracy theory shows just how many mental hoops they will jump through to continue believing that the government is out to get them.
This isn’t the first time that conservatives have moved the goalposts. In August, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss as special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden. Weiss was already overseeing the investigation and had negotiated a plea deal that the GOP hated. Republicans alleged that the Justice Department impeded Weiss’s investigation into Hunter Biden by refusing to give him special counsel status.
But in response to Garland giving a Trump-appointed attorney independent operating power, Republicans then began to argue that the whole thing was a cover-up.
Ron DeSantis’s struggles on the campaign trail have eroded his influence back home in Florida, and even once-close allies are revolting against his control.
DeSantis was crowned early on as the natural successor to Donald Trump: A demagogic culture warrior, but younger and more disciplined—he was a figure who could appeal, in theory, both to MAGA diehards and Trump skeptics. When he launched his campaign, he was fresh off a series of victories at home. The Republican-controlled Florida state legislature had helped him pass multiple draconian measures limiting LGBTQ rights, educational freedom, and abortion access. While candidates backed by Trump struggled in the 2022 midterms, DeSantis romped to victory, winning by nearly 20 points.
“You don’t get the assumption they are measuring drapes anymore,” a Republican consultant in Tallahassee told Politico, speaking anonymously. “They are waiting for him to drop out.”
And even if DeSantis does drop out and return to his gubernatorial duties, he may find his power in the Sunshine State has been dramatically curbed.
Republican state Representative Daniel Perez told his colleagues this week to be careful going forward, warning that the “problem with wielding the power of government like a hammer is that the people start looking like nails.”
Perez has denied that he was indirectly speaking to DeSantis, but another Tallahassee lobbyist said it was a signal to the governor that the legislature would no longer act as a “conveyor belt” for whatever laws he wants.
Meanwhile, the state Republican Party revoked a DeSantis-backed pledge to endorse whoever the Republican presidential nominee is. Front-runner Donald Trump’s supporters have been calling for such a reversal.
At Pasco-Hernando State College, the board of trustees—stacked with DeSantis allies—passed over a DeSantis official for the college president.
Even one of DeSantis’s former biggest donors, billionaire Ken Griffin, has yet to back DeSantis for president. Griffin cited the governor’s weird feud with Disney and said he doesn’t know who DeSantis is trying to win over.
“There’s no love lost between the legislature and DeSantis,” a third Tallahassee lobbyist told Politico. “They are waiting long enough to see the king drained of all his power. It’s a slow-motion coup.”
More on Ron DeSantis’s Woes