NAACP president Brooks, 10 more activists, arrested again in sit-in outside Sessions’ office in Mobile

By: Melanie Eversley, USA Today

Cornell Brooks and Jeff Sessions

 

NAACP president and CEO Cornell Williams Brooks and 10 other activists spent about three hours in jail Monday after staging a repeat sit-in outside of the Mobile, Ala., office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Republican who is President Trump’s pick for attorney general.

The group, charged with criminal trespass, is due back in court in Mobile on March 6, Brooks told USA TODAY. Monday’s protest came about four weeks after Brooks and other NAACP officials staged a similar sit-in at Sessions’ office in an attempt to compel the senator to remove himself from the attorney general nomination process. The civil rights organization opposes the conservative Republican for his opposition to the Voting Rights Act and for other stances that the NAACP believes work against its human rights mission.

“I think it’s clear that this administration is picking a fight with the American citizenry and the citizenry is making it clear that we’re not backing down; we’re not relenting,” Brooks said.

Brooks and five other NAACP officials were to appear in court in Mobile on misdemeanor criminal trespass charges for the Jan. 3 sit-in outside of Sessions’ office. But upon learning that the prosecutor did not want to proceed, they went back to Sessions’ office to protest again. Staffers closed the office before they arrived, Brooks said..

The group wanted to head back to Sessions’ office as a matter of taking responsibility for their actions, the NAACP president said. “In the same way that the Senate has a responsibility (to carry out the confirmation process) … we have a responsibility to make our voices heard through civil disobedience,” he said. “We’ve already made phone calls; we’re writing letters. That which is left to us is breaking the law and going to jail.”

Sessions spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores acknowledged that the charges were dropped on Sunday. The building manager attempted to block the group on Monday from entering but they were able to enter the building anyway, sitting down in front of the entrance to Sessions’ office.

About one hour into the sit-in , Mobile police arrested Brooks and 10 others, packed the NAACP officials and local protesters into a police van and took them to the police station for booking, said Quincy Bates, an NAACP spokesman.

Sessions’ Mobile office was closed Monday, Isgur Flores said. At about 4:30 p.m. ET, the group had just been booked and was being taken to the Mobile city jail, police department spokeswoman Charlette Solis said. They were released about three hours later, Brooks said.

Isgur Flores responded via e-mail, saying, “We look forward to Senator Sessions nomination being voted out of committee tomorrow and receiving bipartisan support on the floor later this week.” In the past, Isgur Flores has pointed out that Sessions has endorsements and support from black state officials in Alabama.

Sessions has made statements that hint he might rollback advances the Obama administration has made against alleged police misconduct, that he believes the Ku Klux Klan is “OK,” and that he supports broad immigration reform, according to civil rights advocates.

 

Donald Trump to Black voters: ‘What do you have to lose?’

By: BBC News

         Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made a direct appeal to African-American voters, saying “What do you have to lose?”

Mr. Trump told a nearly all-white audience in Michigan that Black voters “are living in poverty” and their “schools are no good”.

He promised to “produce” for African-Americans where Democrats had failed. “If you keep voting for the same people, you will keep getting exactly the same result,” he said.

He said his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, “would rather provide a job to a refugee” than to unemployed Black youths, “who have become refugees in their own country”.

Mrs. Clinton called Mr. Trump’s remarks “so ignorant it’s staggering”.

Donald Trump also predicted he would receive 95% of the African-American vote if he went to on to run for a second term in 2020. President Barack Obama, historically the most popular president among African-Americans in US history, received 93% of the black vote in 2012.

Mr. Trump has suffered from dismal support among African-Americans. Current polls show about 2% of black voters say they will vote for the New York real estate developer.

The Trump campaign relationship with the black voters thus far can be described as rocky at best. The billionaire businessman has seen strong support among white supremacist groups. Mr. Trump came under heavy criticism after he took days to distance himself from a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who endorsed him.

 

On several occasions, African-American protesters have been assaulted by Trump supporters at rallies. A New York Times investigation found supporters frequently use racist language at rallies.

The Friday speech was the third time this week that Donald Trump sought to appeal to African-American voters. Some analysts say Mr Trump, trailing badly in national polls for weeks, desperately needs to broaden his appeal beyond his base of white working-class voters.

 

 

Donald Trump refuses to disavow support from David Duke, ex head of Ku Klux Klan

By: Adam Rosenberg, Mashable

“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists,” an apparently confused Trump told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union.
“I don’t know… did he endorse me? Or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”Tapper tried three times to get comment from Trump on Duke’s recent support of his presidential bid, and was stonewalled each time. The would-be Republican nominee wants to “look at the group” before passing judgment.
“You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about,” Trump said. “If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.”
Tapper fired back, expressing disbelief that Trump would be unfamiliar with such a public figure or the hate group he once represented. “I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but—”
Trump interjected before he could finish: “Honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I’ve ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.”
Tapper’s line of questioning came in response to Duke’s comments on Feb. 25 that a vote against Trump is “treason to your heritage.”
“I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump,” Duke said on Thursday. “In fact, I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.”
Trump’s refusal to distance himself from Duke during his chat with Tapper is odd, given that he did so already during a Friday news conference in Texas (via Buzzfeed). “I didn’t even know he endorsed me,” Trump said at the time. “David Duke endorsed me? I disavow, okay?”
Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio had some choice words to share on Trump’s CNN appearance, and his unwillingness to distance himself from Duke.
“Not only is that wrong, it makes him unelectable,” Rubio said Sunday at a capacity crowd in Purcellville, Virginia. “How are we going to grow our party when we have a nominee who wont repudiate the Ku Klux Klan?”
Rubio added that Trump was lying when he said he didn’t know who Duke is.
In a subsequent statement from Trump’s campaign office, Trump asserted that his earpiece was working properly during the CNN interview with Jake Tapper.