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Obama urges George Floyd protesters to push for change, ‘make people in power uncomfortable’

Former President Barack Obama, in a virtual town hall hosted by his foundation Wednesday, called on demonstrators to channel their anger over George Floyd’s death into an opportunity to make leaders “uncomfortable” and pressure them into making real policy changes.

The town hall was hosted by the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, which supports young men of color. During the event, Obama said he rejected a debate that emerged in “a little bit of chatter on the internet” about “voting versus protests, politics and participation versus civil disobedience and direct action.”

“This is not an either-or. This is a both,” he said. “And to bring about real change, we both have to highlight a problem and make people in power uncomfortable, but we also have to translate that into practical solutions and laws that could be implemented and monitored and make sure we’re following up on.”


Former President Barack Obama speaks June 3, 2020, during virtual town hall event with young people to discuss policing and the civil unrest that has followed the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. (My Brother's Keeper Alliance and The Obama Foundation via AP)

Former President Barack Obama speaks June 3, 2020, during virtual town hall event with young people to discuss policing and the civil unrest that has followed the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. (My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and The Obama Foundation via AP)

Obama also urged “every mayor in the country to review your use of force policies” with their communities and “commit to report on planned reforms” before prioritizing their implementation. During a virtual roundtable discussion, he compared current protests to the unrest of the 1960s and said polls show a majority of Americans support the current demonstrations taking place nationwide, despite some “having been marred by the actions of a tiny minority that engaged in violence.”


Last week, Obama said the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in Minneapolis police custody May 25 after a white officer kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes, “shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America.” He laid out plans for change in a post on Medium and countered the argument made by some protesters that demonstrations will facilitate more societal change than voting.

“I’ve heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time,” he wrote. “I couldn’t disagree more.”

While the former president said that the current protests stem from a “legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices,” he condemned the vandalism, looting and violence that has, in part, overshadowed the more peaceful aspects of the protests in many cities.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LAPD Chief Michel Moore apologizes after equating looters to George Floyd’s death

The L.A. Police Commission held a Zoom meeting with the community.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore has apologized for “misspeaking” after making controversial remarks about the death of George Floyd at a press conference Monday night. But Moore was confronted by angry callers on a virtual meeting Tuesday meant to address tensions and repeatedly asked to resign.

Moore was addressing the violence and looting at the protests Monday night in Los Angeles when he said, “We didn’t have protests last night, we had criminal acts, we didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd, we had people capitalizing it. His death is on their hands as much as it is those officers.'”

The final sentence, seemingly blaming protesters for the death of Floyd, which has sparked nationwide protests against police, generated immediate rebukes online.

Now calling his initial words offensive, Moore said in a statement that while looting is wrong it is a false comparison to murder and he deeply regrets and apologizes for his “characterization.”

“Let me be clear: The police officers involved were responsible for the death of George Floyd,” he added.

There were almost 700 arrests on Monday night, 70 which involved burglary or looting, according to the LAPD.

The comments came at a time when the nation is in anguish, reeling from another death of an unarmed black man in police custody.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti showed support for his police chief on Tuesday.

He responded to the controversy in a short statement on Twitter, writing, “The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved. Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them.”

While some showed support for Moore online, many are calling for Moore’s resignation.

Tuesday morning, after Moore’s apology, the L.A. Police Commission held a Zoom meeting where callers from the community sharply criticized the LAPD’s history of police brutality and called for Moore’s immediate firing.

The meeting hit its 500 people cap within minutes and it has tens of thousands of views online.

A resident of Los Angeles said on the call, “The fact that was your unscripted instinct, we see who you are and if you the members of the police commission refuse to hold him accountable you deserve to be terminated from your positions as well, you need to police the police.”

One caller after another expressed their anger and frustration directly at the chief and the commissioners, questioning the sincerity of their commitment to end racial injustice within the department.

In an impassioned speech, another caller said the department’s responses were “hollow,” adding, “We’re not asking for too much, we simply want police to stop killing us and to be accountable when they do.”

Los Angeles County is under curfew for a third day Tuesday.

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Is Kellyanne Conway the ‘Anonymous’ White House author? No, says George Conway

Is Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway a collaborator on the bleak, behind-the-scenes bestseller about the White House by “Anonymous”?

Not according to a primary source — her husband, lawyer George Conway III.

The question was first raised on Twitter by John Dean, of Watergate fame, who knows a thing or two about White House intrigue.

Dean, the Nixon White House counsel whose testimony blew open the Watergate scandal, posted his thoughts Wednesday on the possible identity of “Anonymous” after reading an October article by George Conway in The Atlantic titled “Unfit for Office.”

The article, in George Conway’s take-no-prisoners style, raised such points as: “No president in recent memory — and likely no president ever — has prompted more discussion about his mental stability and connection with reality.”

Dean clearly thought he saw some similarities in tone if not style to “A Warning,” the grim book by “Anonymous.” He speculated, in fact, that both Conways might well have collaborated on the book. 

“Reading this piece while reading “A Warning” by Anonymous strongly suggests Anonymous is a collaboration of Kellyanne and George Conway,” Dean tweeted. “Similar style. Anonymous told Reddit yesterday that s/he will publicly identify before Nov. 3, 2020 — Election Day.” 

But Conway, a prolific Trump critic on Twitter, squelched the speculation on Saturday with his own succinct tweet: “I wish. But no.”

“Anonymous’ first surfaced in October as the writer of an op-ed article in The New York Times, which said it knows his or her identity.

The author, described as an administration “senior official,” was self-identified as a part of the “Resistance” inside the Trump administration.

In the book, which was released this month, the author makes such observations on the White House as “This place is so (expletive) up … There is literally no one in charge here.” 

The president is described by the writer as “a 12-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.”

The author participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” online forum Tuesday and said, “Trump will hear from me, in my own name, before the 2020 election.” 

The Conway conundrum, which has intrigued Washington for years, was front and center again last week when President Trump, speaking to Fox &  Friends, praised Kellyanne Conway, but noted that she is “married to a total whack job.”

Trump joked that his senior adviser, who has been an unshakable Trump supporter, must have “done some bad things” to her husband over the years for him to behave the way he does.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is ‘Anonymous? Not his wife, Kellyanne, says George Conway

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