National Roundup 04-26: Dem Frontrunner Defends Attacks on Trump In NJ Governor Race; FL Man Tells Jewish Woman to ‘Get Over Hitler’
The following is a round-up of national news from several major states across the country that will be featured on our site on a daily basis:
NJ Transit Trains Will Be Delayed Until Further Notice, Agency Warns: Your NJ Transit train is going to be delayed by 15 minutes “indefinitely” during the week and your ride may take longer than usual, and the embattled agency says you can thank Amtrak for it.
Officials said the delays for riders traveling to and from Penn Station New York are due to speed restrictions because of ongoing track work by Amtrak and track inspections that are “continuing until further notice.” On weekends, those delays will be 30 minutes, officials said in an alert.
The announcement comes on the heels of a frustrating commute on the first two days of the work week. Monday saw morning and evening delays and Tuesday morning’s commute was marred by a stalled Amtrak train in the Hudson River tunnels.
Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said the work is to build a new concrete foundation for track 7 in Penn Station New York, which will take several days. “Delays will remain due to the ongoing maintenance on track 7 at the station,” he said in a email. [NJ Advance]
Democratic Frontrunner Defends Attacks on Trump In Gubernatorial Race: Out of power nationally and struggling to find a cohesive message, Democrats appear eager to take the rhetorical gloves off. They have a chance to control all the levers of power in New Jersey, and in Virginia they want to retain the governorship to check a Republican Legislature and maintain control over redistricting after the 2020 Census. Republicans called it “offensive and despicable” when New Jersey’s Phil Murphy, a former ambassador to Germany and Wall Street executive, compared the incoming Trump administration to the rise of the Nazis.
Democrats are in strong position in New Jersey, where they outnumber Republicans and where Chris Christie, a term-limited Republican, is one of the country’s most unpopular governors. In Virginia, Democrats have won every statewide election since 2009. Murphy is a wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive financing his campaign with a $10 million personal loan. His campaign regularly blasts Trump, critiquing his proposed travel ban as “un-American” and the work to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as a payout to special interests at the expense of elderly and poorer people.
Murphy, also ambassador to Germany in the Obama administration, doesn’t think his diplomatic background hurts in a year when Democrats want to deliver a message to Trump and Republicans by bashing their policies. But he’s sensitive about going too far. “We have to walk and chew gum,” Murphy said. “If we vacate the space of our laser focus of what we have to do to get New Jersey right, why are we running? I also don’t want anyone to ever ask, ‘Where were you when all that (Trump) stuff was happening?'”
Murphy is the front-runner in a six-person Democratic primary set for June 6. His leading opponents, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Jim Johnson, an official in the administration of former President Bill Clinton and a former federal prosecutor, criticized Trump over immigration and the environment but saved their harshest attacks for Murphy. [AP]
Rahm Praises Order Blocking Trump From Cutting Off Aid To Sanctuary Cities: Mayor Rahm Emanuel said a judge’s order Tuesday afternoon stopping the Trump administration from yanking federal funds from sanctuary cities like Chicago proves the city was right to stand up to the president.
“The Trump administration’s attempt to coerce cities to choose between our most basic values and federal funding was not only bad public policy, we now have further proof that it was unconstitutional,” Emanuel said after the order. The mayor added that “throughout our history immigrants, refugees and dreamers from around the world have moved our country and our city forward, and we will not sit idly by while President Trump threatens American cities because he doesn’t share our values.”
District Court Judge William H. Orrick in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Trump administration, directing it to stop trying to cut off aid to sanctuary jurisdictions like Chicago and Cook County. Attorney General Jeff Sessions took the first step to strip Chicago of federal funding Friday, asserting that Chicago is “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime.” [DNA Info]
Duckworth Assails ‘Bigger Walls and Closed doors’ During First Senate Speech: In her first speech from the Senate floor, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth criticized President Donald Trump on Tuesday, assailing leaders who believe it is “better to hide behind walls than to help lead with strength.”
Duckworth, a Democrat from Hoffman Estates, said the calls for “bigger walls and closed doors” ran counter to U.S. values of “inclusion over exclusion.”
“Falling victim to fear and demagoguery” will ensure a weaker America, she said. Never mentioning Trump by name, she cautioned that too many people forget their immigrant roots, and she made a veiled reference to Trump’s bid to ban refugees from several majority-Muslim nations, a move that has stalled in court.
“If we had rejected immigrants years ago, Apple computers might never have been founded by the son of a Syrian man,” she said. It was a reference to the late co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, whose biological father was a Syrian migrant. [Chicago Tribune]
Man in Florida Bar Tells Jewish Woman to ‘Get Over Hitler’: A woman told police in Palm Beach, Florida, that a man in a hotel bar told her to “get over Hitler” and pushed her when she ignored him.
The man, identified by local media as Clifford Scholz, 73, also said he was descended from “German royalty.” Scholz, who was arrested Saturday hours after the incident and charged with simple battery and breaching the peace, both misdemeanors, told the Palm Beach Daily News that he is a yacht broker.
The unidentified victim said the man approached her at the Colony Hotel bar and said, “You must be Jewish,” then yelled, “You Jews and blacks should just get over Hitler.” The victim said that when she continued to ignore Scholz, he pushed her on the shoulder. The woman told police that the remarks were especially hurtful because several of her relatives were killed by the Nazis, according to CBS12. [JTA]
Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen Introduce Resolution Condemning Iran’s Human Rights Violations: Today, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa respectively, introduced H.Res. 274, condemning Iran’s human rights violations, particularly its persecution of its Baha’i minority, and urging the administration to impose sanctions against the Iranian regime for its human rights abuses. Joining Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen in introducing the resolution were U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), and Brad Schneider (D-IL). A companion resolution was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Boozman (R-AK), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).
“The Iranian regime perpetrates some of the most egregious human rights abuses against its own people, including denying them freedom of religion, persecuting minorities like the Baha’i, and imprisoning LGBT people,” said Ranking Member Deutch. “The United States must continue to stand squarely against these violations of basic human rights, including by strictly applying and enforcing existing sanctions and strengthening punishments for offenders. This resolution sends a strong statement to the abusive regime that its treatment of the Baha’i, its unjust repression and persecution of Iranians, and its imprisonment of U.S. and other foreign nationals will be met with a strong response.”
“Iran’s despicable human rights record is only getting worse as its compromised elections approach next month,” said Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. “Despite the propaganda portraying Rouhani as a ‘reformer,’ executions and crackdowns on political opponents and minorities in Iran have increased in recent years. The regime’s repression of its 300,000-plus Baha’i minority is particularly abhorrent as Baha’i men and women face daily harassment, arbitrary arrest, and denial of education and employment. Baha’is are not allowed to assemble or worship freely, Baha’i cemeteries are regularly vandalized, and 90 Baha’is remain in prison for their beliefs. The regime’s human rights practices are indicative of its untrustworthiness and should be an integral component of U.S. security policy toward Iran. I urge the administration to use all available authorities to the fullest extent possible in order to sanction the Iranian regime for its human rights abuses.” [JP]