- President Donald Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday amid continuing unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
- Local leaders had asked Trump not to come in fear that his presence might increase tensions and violence, but Trump claimed it could increase enthusiasm as well as love and respect for the country.
- Notably, said he would not meet with the family of Jacob Blake during his visit, in part because of disagreements over whether or not lawyers should be present.
- Trump has also caught attention for his recent remarks about police being under siege because of some officers “choking” under pressure.
Trump Visits Kenosha
President Donald Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday despite calls from local leaders for him to postpone his visit.
While in Kenosha, the president met with law enforcement and toured businesses damaged by the riots that broke out after the police-involved shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake. Notably, he said he would not meet with Blake’s family.
Last week, it was reported that Trump had called Jacob Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, in the aftermath of her son’s shooting, but she had missed it. Jackson later apologized.
“Had I not missed your call, maybe the comments that you made would have been different. And I’m not mad at you at all,” she said in an interview on CNN. “I have the utmost respect for you as the leader of our country.”
When asked during a press conference Monday why he would not be meeting with Blake’s family, Trump said that he had spoken to the family’s pastor about scheduling another call.
“I thought it would be better not to do anything where there are lawyers involved,” he said. “They wanted me to speak, but they wanted to have lawyers involved, and I thought that was inappropriate, so I didn’t do that.”
Blake’s lawyer, Ben Crump, also confirmed that Trump had in fact reached out to Jackson’s pastor to arrange a conversation with her, but the president refused to have the call if the legal team was monitoring.
While Blake’s mother seemed to be open to talking to Trump, other members of his family were not. During an interview with CNN on Monday, his uncle, Justin Blake, said that Jacob’s father “has no interest in speaking with President Trump.”
“President Trump is a racist who stokes racial tensions,” he added. “He has been stirring racial tensions since he got in the White House. Why, as Jacob’s uncle, would I want to talk to him? Our focus is on Jacob and healing the community.”
“We don’t need more pain and division from a President set on advancing his campaign at the expense of our city,” he added. “We need justice and relief for our vibrant community.”
Wisconsin Officials Urge Trump Not to Come
Like Justin Blake, many others have argued that Trump had planned the visit was a political stunt to create division for his own political gain.
During a speech on Monday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden claimed that Trump was intentionally stoking racial divisions to help his re-election chances.
“I look at this violence and I see lives and communities and the dreams of small businesses being destroyed,” he said. “Donald Trump looks at this violence and he sees a political lifeline.”
Many also pointed to the fact that Trump only chose to meet with police and visit businesses damaged by riots, but that he did not talk to Blake’s family or community members. Others additionally said that Trump’s intentions are clear from the rhetoric he had been using leading up to his visit.
“Trump has recently sought to turn the violence in Kenosha and elsewhere to his political advantage,” The Washington Post reported. “The president has blamed rioting and looting on Democratic lawmakers, including Evers, and accused Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of supporting the lawlessness, though Biden has repeatedly condemned destructive protests.”
The Post also noted that Trump has praised the armed civilians who have gone to Kenosha, even after one of them shot and killed two people and injured a third.
As a result, many leaders and Kenosha locals argued that Trump’s visit will not help, and will only make things worse.
“You look at the incendiary remarks that the President has made, they centered an entire convention around creating more animosity and creating more division around what is going on in Kenosha,” Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said in an interview with CNN over the weekend.
“So, I don’t know how given any of the previous statements that the President made that he intends to come here to be helpful. And we absolutely don’t need that right now.”
Because of those concerns, when Trump first said he would visit, top leaders in Wisconsin and Kenosha directly asked him to not come.
On Sunday, Gov. Tony Evers wrote a letter to the president, “I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state.”
“I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
Evers later added that he was concerned that an in-person visit from Trump that comes at a time when the community is working on recovery efforts would “require a massive re-direction of these resources to support your visit at a time when it is critical that we continue to remain focused on keeping the people of Kenosha safe and supporting the community’s response.”
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian also made similar remarks to reporters over the weekend.
“Realistically, from our perspective, our preference would have been for him not to be coming at this point in time,” he told NPR. “All presidents are always welcome and campaign issues are always going on. But it would have been, I think, better had he waited to have for another time to come.”
In addition to politicians, locals in Kenosha also expressed similar concerns, like Shad DeLacy, a business manager, who told the Post that he could not see any benefit of Trump coming.
“I don’t know if him coming here is going to help anybody, to be honest with you. Kenosha needs a break. We straight-up need a break,” he said. “It’s too late for a unifying message, for him to give us any comforting words. I don’t see him coming here and putting people at ease.”
Trump and Others Defend Visit
However, there were also plenty of people who supported Trump’s visit. In a statement, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) condemned Gov. Evers for asking Trump not to come.
“President Trump provided decisive leadership and offered support for Kenosha that Gov. Evers initially rejected,” he added. “Instead, the governor and his lieutenant governor made statements, leapt to conclusions, and have participated in rallies that have done more to incite than calm the situation.”
Others have also expressed optimism that Trump’s visit would bring in aid to the city, which has requested $30 million to rebuild after the destruction.
According to reports, 23 Kenosha County Supervisors also wrote a letter to the White House welcoming Trump and saying they hope he would bring in more federal assistance.
Trump Press Conference
Trump, for his part, echoed those sentiments when asked during Monday’s press conference if he thought his presence would exacerbate tensions or increase violence.
“Well, it could also increase enthusiasm and it could increase love and respect for our country. And that’s why I’m going, because they did a fantastic job,” he said.
He was also later asked if he would condemn the actions of people like the Kenosha shooter.
“We’re looking at all of it. And that was an interesting situation,” he said. “You saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them, I guess; it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. He would have been — I — he probably would have been killed. But it’s under investigation.
When asked if private citizens should be taking guns into these situations, he said he thinks law enforcement should take care of everything, but he went on to claim that America need to give police their respect back, saying the country has taken it away because some have made mistakes or “choked.”
Trump also made similar remarks the same day in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. There, Ingraham asked Trump if he believes it’s dangerous to be a police officer today.
“The police are under siege because of things — they can do 10,000 great acts, which is what they do, and one bad apple, or a choker, you know, a choker. They choke,” he said. “Shooting the guy in the back many times. I mean couldn’t you have done something different. Couldn’t you have wrestled? You know, I mean, in the meantime, he might have been going for a weapon, and, you know, there’s a whole big thing there, but they choke. Just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot putt –”
“You’re not comparing it to golf? Because of course that’s what the media would say,” Ingraham interrupted.
“I’m saying people choke,” he responded. “People choke and people are bad people. You have both.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CNN) (The New York Times)
Catholic School Expels Students After Discovering Mother’s OnlyFans Account
- Crystal Jackson, a California mother of three, said her boys were expelled from their Catholic school after other parents notified administrators of her OnlyFans account.
- Jackson, who started the account to boost her confidence and rekindle her relationship with her husband, said she only posts pinup-style photos in lingerie, not pornography.
- Now, she’s speaking out against the intense harassment she’s faced from parents in her community and has criticized the school’s decision to punish her children.
- She also said the school is working to update its handbook to include a rule that “any parent who is involved in a site or blog that goes against teachings of the church and school philosophy must be removed.”
Mother’s OnlyFans Account Draws Criticism
A mother in Sacramento, California says her three boys were expelled from their Catholic school after administrators discovered her OnlyFans account.
That mother is Crystal Jackson, who joined the site in 2019 to spice up her struggling relationship with her husband of 14 years, Chris.
Jackson says she does not post pornography on her account. Instead, she posts pinup-style photos in lingerie and includes “sexy stories” that play up the image of what she and Chris call “the mom next door.”
The account started as a secret between the two of them, but it has since become a huge success, bringing in over $150,000 a month along with hundreds of thousands of social media followers.
While the new venture has also brought her a boost of joy and self-confidence, her growing popularity on the platform eventually caught the attention of parents at Sacred Heart Parish School.
According to several interviews Crystal has given to media outlets, parents were relentlessly urging that her sons be kicked out of school.
They began harassing her with texts and voicemails bullying her and insulting her family. At one point, she says a group of mothers even printed out her OnlyFans photos and sent them anonymously in a packet to the school principal.
Some also reported her to their local priest and bishop and created a Facebook group to gossip about her family.
School Expels Mother’s Three Sons
But the issue escalated Sunday when the school sent her a letter notifying her of its decision.
“Your apparent quest for high-profile controversy in support of your adult website is in direct conflict with what we hope to impart to our students and is directly opposed to the policies laid out in our Parent/Student Handbook,” it read.
“We therefore require that you find another school for your children and have no further association with ours.”
Now, she says the school is working to update their handbook to include a rule that says: “Any parent who is involved in a site or blog that goes against teachings of the church and school philosophy must be removed.”
Crystal has continued to speak out against the school’s decision, telling People Magazine that her 8, 10, and 12 years old are good kids who are only being hurt by the school’s actions.
“Take me down, that’s fine, but leave my kids out of this,” she said.
“I didn’t want to be put out there, but at some point, I have to stand up and say I can’t take it anymore because this behavior is horrible,” she added.
Crystal noted that she was hoping to put her kids back in Catholic school but says she and her husband will likely have to put them in public school.
“They won’t allow them in this diocese, and is this really the place for them to be?” she said. “It’s clear that they said we don’t want you.”
“In the year 2021, here we are, trying to bring a woman down for her choices and what she does with her husband,” Crystal added. “It’s body shaming and bullying all encompassed into one and it’s such a double standard and disturbing.”
For now, she’s just hoping the judgment and harassment in her community will stop. “I’m still the same Crystal I was, like, two years ago, a year ago, when we had coffee, before you knew this.“
Nearly 9 Million Are Without Water in Texas, Some Face Electric Bills up To $17,000
- More than 8.8 million people in Texas remained under boil water notices Monday, and over 120,000 had no water service at all.
- Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Sunday that the state has distributed around 3.5 million bottles of water, though many of the lines to receive that water were plagued with hours-long waits.
- Meanwhile, power outages in the state have fallen below 20,000, but many Texans are also beginning to receive astronomical electric bills of as much as $17,000.
- Both Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said those prices are not the fault of customers. While some form of forgiveness is likely, no immediate plan has been outlined yet.
Millions Without Water
As of Monday morning, nearly 8.8 million people in Texas are still under boil water notices following last week’s snowstorm. That’s about one out of every three Texans.
Despite being a giant chunk of the state’s population, that figure is actually an improvement from 10 million people on Sunday.
Another 120,000 Texans are still without water service at all.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Sunday almost 3.5 million bottles of water have been distributed across Texas by helicopter, airplane, and truck.
The need for water has been extremely visible. An Austin City Council member shared a video on Twitter Sunday showing a massive line of vehicles waiting for clean water. Some waited for more than an hour before the distribution event began. At another site, she said cars began lining up more than five hours before the event.
Abbott said the state is bringing in more plumbers to increase repair efforts for damaged water systems. Additionally, Abbott said homeowners without insurance could qualify for emergency reimbursement from FEMA.
Meanwhile, one large-scale effort from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY.) has now raised more than $5 million since first being launched on Thursday. That money will go to several organizations, including the Houston Food Bank, Family Eldercare, Feeding Texas, and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center.
Texas Electric Bills Soar as High as $17K
All but just under 20,000 Texas homes and businesses have now had their power restored as of Monday morning.
That’s a stark contrast from the more than 4 million that were out of power at one point last week.
While that’s largely good news, many Texans are now beginning to receive sky-high electric bills. That’s especially evident for those whose power stayed on during the storm. In fact, some people have now told multiple media outlets they’re facing bills as high as $17,000.
One 63-year-old Army vet, who was charged $16,752, told The New York Times that his bill was about 70 times higher than normal.
“My savings is gone,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about it, but it’s broken me.”
As far as why his and others’ eclectic bills are so high, many people in Texas have plans that are directly tied to the wholesale price of electricity. Usually, that helps keep their costs low, but as demand for power surged during last week’s snowstorm, those prices hit astronomical highs.
In a statement on Saturday, Abbott said Texas lawmakers “have a responsibility to protect Texans from spikes in their energy bills that are a result of the severe winter weather and power outages,”
He added that the state Legislature is working “on solutions to help Texas families and ensure they do not get stuck with skyrocketing energy bills.”
In a similar tone, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said in an interview with CBS on Sunday, “It’s not the consumers who should assume [these] costs. They are not at fault for what happened this week.”
That said, Turner also laid blame at the feet of the Legislature, calling the current crisis “foreseeable” on the part of lawmakers because a similar snowstorm and outages struck Texas in 2011.
Turner added that, at the time, he was part of the Texas legislature and had filed a bill that would have required the agency overseeing Texas’ grid to “ensure that there was an adequate reserve to prevent blackouts.”
“The leadership in Austin did not give it a hearing,” he said.
While no aid has been fully guaranteed yet, Texas has prevented electric companies from being able to shut off power for people who don’t pay their bills on time.
See what others are saying: (NBC News) (The New York Times) (CNN)
Texans Still Face Broken Pipes, Flooding, and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning as Million Regain Power
- The number of Texans without power fell from 3.3 million on Wednesday to below 500,000 by Thursday.
- Still, millions are currently under a boil advisory, pipes have burst as they begin to thaw, and some individuals have died or been hospitalized because of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that it has sent generators, water, and blankets to Texas, adding that it’s working to send additional diesel for generators.
- Gov. Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden have also reportedly discussed the possibility of extra funding for people’s electricity bills, as well as for burst pipes.
Power May Be Back but Problems Persist
Power outages in Texas Thursday morning fell to under 500,000 — down from 3.3 million Wednesday morning.
According to the state’s main grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the remaining outages are largely weather-related and not connected to problems related to forced outages.
While that return of power to millions is significant, Texans are still facing a host of other problems.
For example, there have been numerous reports of carbon monoxide poisoning as people still without power try to keep warm in their cars or through other means. An adult and a child were found dead Tuesday after running their car inside of a garage, prompting Houston police to issue a statement warning that “cars, grills and generators should not be used in or near a building.”
Six children and four adults were rushed to the hospital Wednesday night for carbon monoxide poisoning after setting up grills inside their homes.
Even for those now with power, water has become a major issue. On Wednesday, 7 million Texans were placed on a boil advisory and about 263,000 were without functioning water providers.
One reporter tweeted out a video of people lining up at a park to fill up buckets of water.
“This is not a third world country,” she said. “This is Houston, Texas.”
The Food and Drug Administration and the National Weather Service have even cited melting and boiling snow as an emergency option if people can’t find water elsewhere, an option many have already turned to.
For some, all these problems only seemed to compound in the form of burst pipes. One viral video shows water gushing out of a third-story apartment. Others posted images of their broken pipes and the damage they have caused.
As a result, a number of local media outlets have begun to outline steps people can take once their pipes start to thaw or if they break.
Amid Problems, Aid is Being Distributed
Alongside the overwhelming amount of problems, there has also been a large aid response.
A FEMA spokesperson said Wednesday that the agency has sent 60 “very large” generators to help keep hospitals and other critical infrastructure open.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki added that FEMA is preparing to move diesel into Texas to keep that backup power going.
So far, FEMA said it has sent “millions of liters of water” and “tens of thousands” of blankets.
Governor Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden have also reportedly discussed the possibility of extra funding for people’s electricity bills, as well as for burst pipes. That’s because as the storm first hit, electrical demand surged. Since many Texans have plans connected to the wholesale price of electricity, they’re potentially set to be hit with sky-high bills.
Among other issues plaguing Texans is food spoilage; however, that can potentially be reimbursed through renters’ and homeowners’ insurance.
According to an official from the Insurance Council of Texas, “Food coverage is often related to personal property.”
Notably, there are some stipulations depending on individual circumstances and policy. To learn more about how insurance providers accept food spoilage claims, click here.