Photographer Nate Gowdy has documented close to 30 official Trump rallies since 2016, so he thought he knew what to expect when he arrived in Washington, D.C. after leaving Atlanta this week.
“My flight from Atlanta to Baltimore the night before should’ve prepared me for what would be one of the most surreal scenes I’ve documented,” he explains. “I’d never been aboard a plane where the dichotomy of people’s views was so starkly apparent, with people donning red hats and Trump merch side by side with people just getting from one place to the other.”
A chant of “Four More Years” began and was booed by others on the plane, which then resulted in someone shouting: “Go back to Venezuela!”
After the events of January 6th, when a mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol and swarmed for hours until they were ejected from the government building, Gowdy states: “I’m still processing what I witnessed yesterday. We all are. It’s difficult to know what people are thinking when they’re breaching security barriers, attacking law enforcement, threatening members of the media, flaunting pandemic safety protocols, and bashing down the doors and windows to Congress, feeling enabled by the words they’ve just heard uttered from their ringleader, the President of the United States, who tells them that they are fighting the good fight. Throughout the afternoon, I heard countless individuals quipping how it was the best day of their life, and that it was one for the history books. How do you capture something so unprecedented, particularly when you don’t believe the ‘truths’ they do?”
Some Asian American community leaders say Elaine Chao’s resignation as transportation secretary after the riot at the U.S. Capitol is inadequate after years of harm to marginalized groups and the immigrant community — of which she is a part.
Chao, who officially left her role Monday, is one of the few Asian American immigrants to have ascended to such heights in government. But activists say she leaves behind a legacy of complicity with anti-immigrant, racist policies as a loyal Trump administration official.
Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the social services nonprofit Asian American Federation, said that at this point, regardless of her exit, “damage has been done” to her reputation and credibility.
“Elaine Chao was complicit in creating a politics of toxicity and cynicism. Her decision can only be seen in that context,” Yoo said. “Her dissent was needed when Trump degraded, ostracized and isolated the Asian American community with his Covid-19 misinformation and outright racism or in any of the instances when Trump sought to hurt immigrants like herself.”
Chao, who said in her resignation statement that the violence at the Capitol last week had “deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside,” previously made history as the first Asian American woman to hold a Cabinet position. She hasn’t been afraid of opening up about her immigrant roots and her difficult early years in America. Chao, 67, came to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was 8 years old, speaking no English.
“I think you will understand when I say that our initial years in America were very challenging,” Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told the newly naturalized citizens. “We didn’t speak English, had no family or friends here, couldn’t get used to the food nor understand the customs here.”
Her rise from her immigrant roots has made her a role model for some Asian American families. In an interview with CNN in 2017, Chao said that those from the community would show up anywhere, from public events to the airport, to greet her and that she would feel an “instant bond.” Activists say her actions have proven anything but supportive to immigrant communities.
Chao came under fire several times during Trump’s tenure for staying silent as he tried to institute hard-line immigration policies. In 2017, several Asian American organizations called on Chao to oppose Trump’s termination of the Temporary Protected Status programs for several countries, including Sudan, Nicaragua and Haiti. Temporary Protected Status is typically given to countries where conditions prevent nationals from returning.
They also demanded that she speak out against Trump’s attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that year.
While the majority of so-called Dreamers hail from Latin America, about 16,000 undocumented Asian youths are protected under the act. And Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic of undocumented immigrants, their population tripling from 2000 to 2015. Chao, however, was mum about the subject.
She also remained silent about Trump’s public charge rule, which denies immigrants residency if they are deemed likely to need public assistance, among other controversial policies. More than 941,000 recent green card holders would have fallen under the rule had it been in effect when they applied, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit policy organization. Of those, 300,000 are from Asian countries.
But Chao possibly drew the most criticism for migrant family separation. While she did not comment on her stance, she did fire back at protesters at Georgetown University who confronted her and McConnell about the policy in 2018 and asked, “Why are you separating families?”
Chao shouted back, “Leave my husband alone,” winning praise among conservatives.
“She effectively colluded with the Trump administration in increasing the separation of our families and rescinding of the DACA program, denying access to public benefits and much more,” said Becky Belcore, executive director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, an advocacy organization that was among the groups that previously called on Chao to speak out against the immigration crackdowns.
“Chao was in a position of power that she could have leveraged to support the most marginalized members of our community,” Belcore said. “Instead, she was often seen standing next to Trump as he signed anti-immigrant policies into law.”
Advocates also said that in a particularly damning moment, Chao, a woman of color, stood by Trump at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York City as he neglected to call out hate groups and claimed that there were “very fine people on both sides” after white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
While her husband, McConnell, had been feuding with Trump at the time, Chao told reporters at the news conference that she stood “by my man — both of them.” While it’s unclear whether Chao actively supported Trump or was required to do so in the moment as a Cabinet member, John C. Yang, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, said he believes her inaction had consequences.
“President Trump’s statement following the events in Charlottesville were reprehensible,” Yang said. “It is clear that his remarks were building to the insurrection we saw on Wednesday, and the failure of those around him to call out his behavior emboldened him. It is irresponsible and unconscionable for a sitting president of the United States to not only condone but to incite the behavior of people who are only concerned with holding on to white supremacist power.”
Belcore said she felt that Chao, who also served in a Cabinet position as labor secretary under former President George W. Bush, did not sufficiently protect vulnerable workers, including immigrants. But Yang said he felt that Trump’s “racism and xenophobia is toxic and dangerous, at a level not seen in recent presidencies,” taking more precedence compared to the Bush administration. He said that while immigrants and people of color were “under constant attack in dangerous ways” during Trump’s tenure, Chao was in a position in which she could have stood up more for marginalized people. He said it was “disappointing that she did not do so publicly.”
Yang acknowledged that Chao’s ascendance to a Cabinet position as an Asian American, a member of a community that continues to struggle with representation in the political sphere, was an accomplishment, but he said that doesn’t mean her conduct represented the community well. He said, moreover, that as Chao painted herself as a hard-working immigrant while supporting the administration’s anti-immigrant policies, she fed into the “good immigrant versus bad immigrant” myth.
Within minutes of the debate wrapping up Wednesday, the Biden campaign tweeted a photo of Joe Biden with a fly swatter and a caption that said, “Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly.”
In case you missed it: A fly very noticeably landed on Vice President Mike Pence’s stiffly coiffed head as he debated Sen. Kamala Harris. The fly lingered, and the internet couldn’t stop talking about it.
Joe Biden‘s campaign started selling T-shirts bearing the phrase “Will You Shut Up Man” after the Democratic nominee directed the retort at President Trump during the pair’s first presidential debate Tuesday night.
The Biden campaign store began selling the T-shirts with the phrase superimposed over an image of an unhappy-looking Trump even as Tuesday’s debate was ongoing. The former vice president’s campaign is selling the shirts for $30-$33.
Trump frequently interrupted his Democratic opponent during the debate Tuesday, a tactic the former vice president occasionally reciprocated. The hour-and-a-half debate included a number of heated moments, with candidates repeatedly talking over each other or seeking to cut into the other’s speaking time.
A progressive pro-immigration group is launching an ad targeting Asian American voters in battleground states by highlighting President Trump’s controversial rhetoric about the coronavirus.
The group, Immigrants’ List Civic Action, will air the ad featuring what the group calls Trump’s “attacks against Asian Americans” digitally and on connected television in the key states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The 60-second ad intersperses clips of Trump calling the virus the “Chinese flu,” “Chinese virus” and “kung flu,” along with reports of rises in anti-Asian discrimination, according to a copy of the ad shared with The Hill.
Asked about the group’s assessment of Trump’s “attacks against Asian Americans,” the Trump campaign defended the president’s comments regarding the coronavirus.
“President Trump is not afraid to call out China, and he also strongly stated that we must protect Asian Americans because they bear no responsibility whatsoever for the Chinese virus,” campaign spokesman Matt Wolking said in a statement. “The fault lies with China alone, and when Chinese officials tried to blame American troops for the virus, President Trump fought back against their disinformation campaign by making it very clear where the virus originated.”
The campaign highlighted comments from one of the president’s White House briefings in April where he stated that “it’s very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States and all around the world. They’re amazing people, and the spreading of the virus is not their fault in any way, shape, or form.”
Current CEO Steve Huffman posted a letter to Reddit employees on June 1 outlining support for the Black Lives Matter movement, but it did not include specific actions the company was taking. The logo will remain black for eight days, in symbolism of the number of minutes Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin held his knee on George Floyd’s neck.
Today, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian announced his resignation from his role on the board of directors and asked to be replaced with a black candidate. He has also donated one million dollars to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights campaign, and said he will funnel all future gains on his Reddit stock to benefit the black community.
Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin was let go after video footage emerged of the the staged image taken Monday, drawing a backlash from people who blasted her over the self-promotional stunt.
The journalist has not addressed the video publicly and did not immediately return requests for comment from multiple media outlets.
Monday’s video marks the second time this week that Moriarty-McLaughlin has garnered negative attention on Twitter.
On Sunday she posted a since-deleted video of a Los Angeles protester spray painting an Ouai billboard with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’.
‘BREAKING: As if vandalizing all the buildings in LA wasn’t enough @Blklivesmatter has taken to the billboards as a crowd of rioters roars in approval. #GeorgeFloyd #LARiots,’ she wrote in the caption.
Ouai founder and celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin replied to the video with a message of support for the protesters.