- As the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden gets tighter in key states, Trump has urged for counting to stop.
- In Michigan, his supporters echoed his rhetoric, protesting in Detroit for counting to stop outside of an election center. The state has already been called for Biden, whose lead gained ground as more absentee votes were counted.
- However, in Maricopa County, Arizona, Trump is inching in on Biden’s lead. There, Trump’s supporters departed from his messaging and protested for every vote to be counted, hopeful that their candidate could pull out a win.
Stop the Count Protest in Michigan
Two days after Election Day, the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is getting tighter. Trump’s supporters are calling for vote counting to either stop or continue, depending on how their favored candidate is doing in that state.
Michigan has been called for Biden, who is leading the sitting president. His lead grew as more mail-in ballots were counted.
After seeing this, on Wednesday, Trump’s supporters went to the TCF Center in Detroit to call for counting to stop. Local reporters captured video of them chanting outside and even trying to get into the building. Security stopped them at the door and asked them to spread out for health reasons.
All the ballots being counted are valid ballots and any decision to not count them would be both unprecedented and undemocratic.
That same day, the city of Detroit was met with another set of protesters, with this batch calling for every vote to be counted. Protests calling for every vote to be counted also happened in major cities across the country, including Philadelphia, Portland, and New York.
Protests in Maricopa County
The most notable gathering calling for this, however, was in Maricopa County in Arizona. There, Trump supporters rallied for the votes to be counted as the president began to inch in on Biden’s lead in the state.
Fox News and the Associated Press have both already called the state for Biden, but a significant amount of votes still remain untallied in Maricopa County, which holds a huge chunk of Arizona’s population. As Biden’s lead shrinks, Trump supporters began chanting for the votes to be counted, hopeful that the president would edge him over.
This is a change of pace for Trump and his following, as the president has repeatedly called for votes to stop being counted, has asked for a recount in Wisconsin, and is threatening legal action in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. But, where it could aid his election, his supporters are departing from his rhetoric in hopes of a victory in Arizona.
No arrests were made and reports indicate the demonstrations were largely peaceful. Some of the protesters did carry guns though, and election workers were escorted to their cars to ensure their safety.
One of the most shocking moments of the protest came when demonstrators chanted things like “Fox News sucks” and “shame on Fox.” Fox News is usually the most Trump-friendly news source, but the group was quick to turn on the conservative network for calling the race in Biden’s favor so early.
Why Mail-in Votes Lean Blue
Part of the reason races in battleground states are so close and subject to change has to do with mail-in voting and the way these votes are counted.
Some states, like Pennsylvania, could not start counting those votes until polls closed on Election Day. Across the country, states were seeing more mail-in ballots than ever before because of the pandemic, with many election officials warning it will take a while to count all of them. Many of these mail-in votes lean in favor of Democrats.
While Trump and others on the right would like to paint that as a suspicious image, the fact that these ballots favor Democrats is a mess of Trump’s own making. The president has spent a large part of the year making repeated unfounded claims about absentee voting. He has urged against it, saying it is unreliable and could lead to mass voter fraud, despite there being no evidence to support this.
He has also played down the pandemic, urging people to continue on with their normal lives. Because of this, his supporters were much more likely to vote in person instead of by mail, while Democrats were more likely to send their ballots via post. This has lead to Biden taking strong leads in absentee ballots in key states.
This has long been expected, and Trump’s efforts to make this look suspect contradict the warnings election experts have been giving since the summer. Many have been trying to prepare Americans for the fact that mail-in votes will take a while to count, and that they will likely turn states blue as they trickle in.
See what others are saying: (New York Times) (Detroit Free Press) (NBC News)
Conservatives Slam Elmo For Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19
While critics accused the muppet of promoting propaganda, CDC data shows the shots are safe and effective.
Elmo Gets Vaccinated
Conservative politicians expressed outrage on Twitter after the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo revealed he got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cleared the way for children between the ages of six months and five years to get vaccinated against the virus. The famous red muppet is three years old, making him finally eligible for the jab.
In a video shared by “Sesame Street,” Elmo said that he felt “a little pinch, but it was okay.”
Elmo’s father, Louie, then addressed parents who might be apprehensive about vaccinating their own kids.
“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine,” he said to the camera. “Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice.”
“I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love,” he continued.
Republicans Criticize “Sesame Street”
While some praised the video for raising awareness and addressing the concerns parents may have, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) quickly lambasted the effort.
“Thanks, Sesame Street for saying parents are allowed to have questions,” Cruz tweeted. “You then have Elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”
Despite Cruz’s claim, the CDC has provided ample resources with information on vaccines for children.
He was not alone in criticizing the video. Harmeet Dhillon, a committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, suggested that Elmo would be taking puberty blockers next.
Other anti-vaxxers claimed Elmo would get myocarditis and accused “Sesame Street” of promoting propaganda.
COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective against transmission of the virus, but this is not the first time conservatives have turned their anger against a friendly-looking muppet who opted to get the jab. When Big Bird got vaccinated in November, Cruz and other right-wing figures accused the show of brainwashing kids.
Big Bird’s choice to get vaccinated was not a shocker though, clips dating back to 1972 show him getting immunized against the measles.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hill) (Market Watch)
Uvalde Puts Police Chief on Leave, Tries to Kick Him Off City Council
If Pete Arredondo fails to attend two more consecutive city council meetings, then he may be voted out of office.
Police Chief Faces Public Fury
Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave Wednesday following revelations that he and his officers did not engage the shooter at Robb Elementary for over an hour despite having adequate weaponry and protection.
Superintendent Hal Harrell, who made the announcement, did not specify whether the leave is paid or unpaid.
Harrell said in a statement that the school district would have waited for an investigation to conclude before making any personnel decisions, but chose to order the administrative leave because it is uncertain how long the investigation will take.
Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, the second in command at the police department, will assume Arredondo’s duties.
In an interview with The Texas Tribune earlier this month, Arredondo said he did not consider himself in charge during the shooting, but law enforcement records reviewed by the outlet indicate that he gave orders at the scene.
Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told state senators on Tuesday that some officers wanted to enter the classrooms harboring the shooter but were stopped by their superiors.
He said officer Ruben Ruiz tried to move forward into the hallway after receiving a call from his wife Eva Mireles, a teacher inside one of the classrooms, telling him she had been shot and was bleeding to death.
Ruiz was detained, had his gun taken away, and was escorted off the scene, according to McCraw. Mireles later died of her wounds.
Calls for Arredondo to resign or be fired have persisted.
Emotions Erupt at City Council
Wednesday’s announcement came one day after the Uvalde City Council held a special meeting in which community members and relatives of victims voiced their anger and demanded accountability.
“Who are you protecting?” Asked Jasmine Cazares, sister of Jackie Cazares, a nine-year-old student who was shot. “Not my sister. The parents? No. You’re too busy putting them in handcuffs.”
Much of the anger was directed toward Arredondo, who was not present at the meeting but was elected to the city council on May 7, just over two weeks before the massacre.
“We are having to beg ya’ll to do something to get this man out of our faces,” said the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old victim. “We can’t see that gunman. That gunman got off easy. We can’t take our frustrations out on that gunman. He’s dead. He’s gone. … Ya’ll need to put yourselves in our shoes, and don’t say that none of ya’ll have, because I guarantee you if any of ya’ll were in our shoes, ya’ll would have been pulling every string that ya’ll have to get this man off the council.”
One woman demanded the council refuse to grant Arredondo the leave of absence he had requested, pointing out that if he fails to attend three consecutive meetings the council can vote him out for abandoning his office.
“What you can do right now is not give him, if he requests it, a leave of absence,” she said. “Don’t give him an out. We don’t want him. We want him out.”
After hearing from the residents, the council voted unanimously not to approve the leave of absence.
On Tuesday, Uvalde’s mayor announced that Robb Elementary is set to be demolished, saying no students or teachers should have to return to it after what happened.
We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.
Texas Public Safety Director Says Police Response to Uvalde Shooting Was An “Abject Failure”
New footage shows officers prepared to engage the shooter one hour before they entered the classroom.
Seventy-Seven Deadly Minutes
Nearly a month after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, evidence has emerged indicating that police were prepared to engage the shooter within minutes of arriving, but chose to wait over an hour.
The shooting at Robb Elementary began at 11:33 a.m., and within three minutes 11 officers are believed to have entered the school, according to surveillance and body camera footage obtained by KVUE and the Austin American Statesman.
District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly called a landline at the police department at 11:40 a.m. for help.
“It’s an emergency right now,” he said. “We have him in the room. He’s got an AR-15. He’s shot a lot… They need to be outside the building prepared because we don’t have firepower right now. It’s all pistols.”
At 11:52 a.m., however, the footage shows multiple officers inside the school armed with at least two rifles and one ballistic shield.
Law enforcement did not enter the adjoined classrooms to engage the shooter until almost an hour later, at 12:50 p.m. During that time, one officer’s daughter was inside the classrooms and another’s wife, a teacher, reportedly called him to say she was bleeding to death.
Thirty minutes before law enforcement entered the classrooms, the footage shows officers had four ballistic shields in the hallway.
Frustrated Cops Want to Go Inside
Some of the officers felt agitated because they were not allowed to enter the classrooms.
One special agent at the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived about 20 minutes after the shooting started, then immediately asked, “Are there still kids in the classrooms?”
“It is unknown at this time,” another officer replied.
“Ya’ll don’t know if there’s kids in there?” The agent shot back. “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”
“Whoever is in charge will determine that,” the other officer responded.
According to an earlier account by Arredondo, he and the other officers tried to open the doors to the classrooms, but found them both locked and waited for a master key to arrive. But surveillance footage suggests that they never tried to open the doors, which a top Texas official has confirmed were never actually locked.
One officer has told reporters that within minutes of the police response, there was a Halligan bar, which firefighters use to break down locked doors, on-site, but it was never used.
At a special State Senate committee hearing Monday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw called the police response an “abject failure” and “antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”
“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from (entering rooms) 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said. “The officers have weapons, the children had none.”