Posts tagged with "ABC News"

In wake of Buffalo shooting, Liz Cheney says House GOP leaders ‘enabled white nationalism’

May 18, 2022

Top Republicans in the House of Representatives are facing new scrutiny, as critics, including some within their own party, contend that they have failed to condemn the racist rhetoric espoused by the suspected gunman who killed ten Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket on Saturday, May 14, reports ABC News.

A far-right conspiracy known as the “great replacement theory”—which contends that white Americans are intentionally being replaced by minorities and immigrants—was included in a 180-page screed posted online by the alleged shooter.

On Monday, May 16, Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a frequent critic of her own party, singled out what she called a parallel between those beliefs and the behavior of some fellow conservatives.

“The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism,” she wrote in a tweet. “History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”

Cheney was notably replaced last year from her number-three post in the House’s Republican leadership after saying she would “not sit back and watch in silence” as former President Donald Trump continued to falsely claim he won the presidential election.

In the wake of the Buffalo shooting, New York Republican Representative Elise Stefanik, Cheney’s successor, has become a primary target of criticism over how members of the GOP have voiced ideas similar to “replacement theory.”

“Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION. Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington,” Stefanik said in a Facebook ad for her reelection, which launched last August. According to Facebook, the ad, pushed out repeatedly, reached hundreds of thousands of people.

When Stefanik first tweeted condolences to her home state on Saturday, Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, the only other House Republican to sit on the January 6 select committee with Cheney, said in a tweet, “Did you know: @EliseStefanik pushes white replacement theory?”

Fueling the criticism on social media was a 2021 editorial from Stefanik’s hometown newspaper, The Albany Times Union, which blasted her last September in a piece titled “How low, Miss Stefanik?”

According to the ABC News report, the Times Union editorial board had focused on Stefanik’s “despicable” Facebook ads, which echoed elements of “replacement theory.” Her ads didn’t mention the conspiracy theory by name, but they insisted, in part, that Democrats were looking to grant citizenship to immigrants who entered the country illegally in order to somehow gain an enduring majority—or, in Stefanik’s words, a “permanent election insurrection.”

With the piece recirculating on social media in the wake of the shooting, Stefanik and her team are pushing back on the renewed focus on her campaign ads.

Her office said Monday that making any link between her past comments and the shooting was a “new disgusting low” for Democrats and “Never Trump” Republicans as well as the media.

“Despite sickening and false reporting, Congresswoman Stefanik has never advocated for any racist position or made a racist statement,” Alex DeGrasse, a senior adviser, said in a statement. “The shooting was an act of evil and the criminal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

Stefanik, DeGrasse said, “opposes mass amnesty for illegal immigrants …. She strongly supports legal immigration and is one of the national leaders credited with diversifying the Republican Party through candidate recruitment and messaging.”

What’s more, Stefanik isn’t the only House Republican who has claimed there is a movement to “replace” voters. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) delivered an explicit endorsement of the conspiracy last September.

Gaetz tweeted that Fox News host Tucker Carlson—who has said he believes “the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate”—is “CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America;” and called the Anti-Defamation League, which called on Carlson to resign, a “racist organization.”

ABC News previously reported that evidence points to the Buffalo shooting being a calculated, racially-motivated execution by the suspect, an 18-year-old white man, according to multiple sources and a review of FBI cases and testimony. The teen gunman allegedly wanted a race war and livestreamed his attack in an apparent effort to spur others to kill minorities, sources said.

The FBI is investigating the mass shooting as a hate crime and a case of “racially motivated violent extremism” after Erie County Sheriff John Garcia described the attack as a “straight-up racially motivated hate crime.”

The suspect has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder and is being held without bail.

Research contact: @abcnews

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki plans to leave for an on-air role at MSNBC

April 4, 2022

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, is planning to leave her post to take an on-air role at MSNBC, a source familiar with the matter told CNBC on April 1.

Psaki, who is still fleshing out details with the company, is expected to leave the White House around May, Axios reported earlier Friday.

Psaki will host a show for NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock, Axios reported. She had reportedly also been in talks with CNN and other networks.

Psaki did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

“We don’t have anything to confirm about Jen’s length of planned service or any consideration about future plans,” a White House official told CNBC in an email. “Jen is here and working hard every day on behalf of the president to get you the answers to the questions that you have, and that’s where her focus is.”

News networks have long looked to recruit spokespeople and other high-profile Beltway figures for their day-to-day political coverage, both as anchors and regular contributors.

Longtime ABC News host George Stephanopoulos, for instance, was formerly the White House communications director under President Bill Clinton. MSNBC political analyst and host Nicolle Wallace was a senior spokesperson for the George W. Bush administration and a spokesperson for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Last March, former President Donald Trump’s final Press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, joined Fox News as a commentator. More recently, CBS News signed ex-Trump official Mick Mulvaney as a paid contributor.

Research contact: @CNBC

Mo Brooks hits back: ‘Trump demanded I kick Biden out of White House’

March 25, 2022

Representative Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) hit back at his former pal Donald Trump on March 23 with an extraordinary allegation: In the wake of Trump’s 2020 election loss, the former president demanded that Brooks immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, reinstall Trump, and then hold a brand new election for the presidency, reports The Daily Beast.

Brooks made the accusation in a statement released after Trump ranted that Brooks “went ‘woke’” and “made a horrible mistake” by calling for people to get over the former president’s 2020 election loss.

In a typically vindictive statement, the twice-impeached former president revoked his endorsement for Brooks in Alabama’s U.S. Senate primary, saying it was “very sad” that Brooks—who was accused of helping to organize the “Stop the Steal” rally that took place before the deadly Capitol riot—had “decided to go in a different direction.”

He blasted Brooks for telling attendees at an Alabama rally to move on from Trumpworld’s relentless grievances over the 2020 election.

“Referring to the 2020 Presidential Election Scam,” Trump fumed, Brooks said, “Put that behind you, put that behind you.”

“The 2020 Election was rigged, and we can’t let them get away with that,” Trump wrote, claiming Brooks’ “unstoppable” lead in the Senate race had disappeared because of his comments.

Brooks made the comments way back in August. He nevertheless hit back on Wednesday, insisting it was Trump, not him, who had changed.

“When the President calls me ‘woke,’ there’s not anybody in Alabama with a brain larger than the size of a pea who believes that Mo Brooks is a woke liberal,” he told ABC News in a tweet.

In a statement, he claimed Trump was being manipulated by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) into attacking Brooks. “Every single negative TV ad against our campaign has come from McConnell and his allies. I wish President Trump wouldn’t fall for McConnell’s ploys but, once again, he has,” he said.

Then Brooks went even further—accusing Trump of asking him to rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately reinstall Trump, and hold a new special election for the presidency. In further comments to ABC, Brooks claimed Trump repeatedly asked him repeatedly “off and on since Sept. 2021” to re-do the election.

“As a lawyer, I’ve repeatedly advised President Trump that January 6 was the final election contest verdict and neither the U.S. Constitution nor the U.S. Code permit what President Trump asks. Period,” he said in his statement.

“I’ve told President Trump the truth knowing full well that it might cause [him] to rescind his endorsement. But I took a sworn oath to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution. I honor my oath. That is the way I am. I break my sworn oath for no man.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Biden under pressure from G7 leaders to extend Afghanistan withdrawal deadline

August 25, 2021

Amid criticism from U.S. allies over the chaotic withdrawal in Afghanistan and pressure to extend his August 31 deadline, President Joe Biden met virtually with G7 partners on Tuesday with just a week left to evacuate thousands of civilians and to pull out thousands of U.S. troop, ABC News reports.

At a press conference on Monday, August 23, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said leaders are meeting “to ensure the world’s leading democracies are aligned and united on the way forward,” adding, “We are working with partners to address the acute humanitarian needs of the Afghan people and we will remain persistently vigilant against the terrorism threat in Afghanistan and in multiple other theaters.”

According to ABC, as the deadline to evacuate looms, approximately 58,700 people have been evacuated from Kabul since August 14, when the Taliban took control of the government. Since the end of July, the U.S. has relocated approximately 63,900 people.

Officials have been vague when asked how many Americans still need to be evacuated, only saying that there are “thousands”—and blaming it on citizens not registering with the U.S. Embassy when they arrive or deregistering when they leave.

Adding to the scramble to evacuate, U.S. officials are also concerned about a possible attack from ISIS-K at the airport, looking to exploit the situation of the packed crowds outside trying to gain entrance.

The U.S. has been working at a lightning pace to speed up evacuations as Taliban leaders have said that August 31 is a “red line” for troops to leave and doubled-down during a Tuesday, August 24, morning press conference, saying they will reject any U.S. military presence or evacuations past the end of the month.

President Biden has said that U.S. troops will stay until every American and Afghan SIV applicant has been evacuated, which is directly at odds with the Taliban’s position.

Their firm stance on that deadline comes after CIA Director William Burns met with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar on Monday, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News—the highest level in-person meeting between a Biden administration official and the Taliban since the militant group took over Kabul.

“We are in talks with the Taliban on a daily basis through both political and security channels,” Sullivan said Monday before the Burns meeting was reported.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Biden defended the withdrawal and said he didn’t think it could have been handled any better.

“I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that, we’re gonna go back in hindsight and look—but the idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens. I don’t know how that happens,” he said.

The president also has conceded that the speed of which the Taliban took over the country was faster than expected.

The president has also spoken separately with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Spanish President Pedro Sánchez, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, among the G7 allies. He also has held calls with Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed.

Research contact: @abcnews

Third grader wins White House Historical Association’s National Student Art Competition

August 16, 2021

A pair of shackled African American hands cradles the White House against a backdrop of the American flag in a winning piece of art that is now on display in the White House, Good Morning America reports.

Gabrielle Faisal’s “Enslaved African Americans Built the White House” took home the top prize in the White House Historical Association‘s national student art competition for her creative interpretation of this year’s theme, “The White House: An American Story.”v

The nine-year-old from Detroit said her artwork represents history lessons that she has learned and read about.

“The White House is a symbol of America that was built by enslaved African Americans. The red stripes symbolize our struggle for freedom. The white stripes symbolize the purity of our struggle. Blue is the symbol of justice for all people no matter what color,” Faisal told ABC News Detroit affiliate WXYZ. “The stars represent the unity of all people coming together. The shackled hands are the hands of enslaved Africans who built the White House.”

The competition, now in its 60th year, received submissions from more than 500 students nationwide, GMA reports.

Gabrielle’s piece will be displayed until September 22. The display will also include the runners-up in Gabrielle’s age bracket, as well as art from the top three winners in the 4 to 8, and 9 to 12 grade level categories.

Research contact: @GMA

Senate passes $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill in big win for Democrats

August 11, 2021

After weeks of wrangling, on Tuesday, August 10, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill with Republican support—in a big win for Democrats and President Joe Biden, ABC News reports.

The measure passed by a vote of 69-30, with 19 Republicans joining all Senate Democrats to advance the bill out of the Senate chamber. In a sign of its political significance, Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the final vote.

Eighteen Republicans—Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, Deb Fischer, Lindsey Graham, Rob Portman, Thom Tillis, Chuck Grassley, Mitt Romney, Dan Sullivan, Mike Crapo, Lisa Murkowski, James Risch, Bill Cassidy, Kevin Cramer, Roger Wicker, John Hoeven—as weel as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined Democrats in voting yes.

The package, with $550 billion in new spending, will address core infrastructure needs. Among the funding it includes:

  • $110 billion in new funds for roads and bridges,
  • $66 billion for rail,
  • $7.5 billion to build out electric vehicle charging stations,
  • $17 billion for ports,
  • $25 billion for airports,
  • $55 billion for clean drinking water, and
  • $65 billion investment in high-speed Internet.

According to ABC News, passage represents a major victory for senators from both parties who said they were committed to showing Congress could work in a bipartisan way, as well as for Biden, who campaigned on a promise to work across the aisle.

The package took months to forge, with bipartisan negotiators Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), and Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican, leading a group of ten colleagues in discussions that led to the final package.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the package in remarks just before the final vote, saying, “We have persisted and now we have arrived. There were many logs in our path, detours along the way, but the American people will now see the most robust injection of funds into infrastructure in decades.”

“When the Senate is run with an open hand rather than a closed fist senators can accomplish big things,” he added.

The bill now heads to the House, where it faces a precarious path to Biden’s desk.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who leads a razor-thin majority of Democrats in the House, has made clear she has no intention of bringing the bipartisan bill to a vote until the Senate sends over a second, larger budget bill containing the rest of President Biden’s “American Families Plan” priorities.

The debate of the budget will be far different from the bipartisanship in the debate over infrastructure.

Democrats unveiled their $3.5 trillion budget that includes universal pre-K, free 2-year community college, paid family leave, climate initiatives and a smattering of other social priorities, on Monday morning.

With the bipartisan bill off their plate, Senate Democrats are turning their attention immediately to passing the budget bill, and they’re expected to try to force the massive package through the Senate as early as tomorrow, without a single GOP vote. Budget bills are not subject to the regular 60-vote threshold generally necessary to move legislation forward.

Republicans have vowed to fight the budget resolution at every step, including through what is expected to be a marathon of votes this week on partisan amendments designed to score political points and make centrist Democrats squirm.

McConnell conceded Tuesday morning there will be little Republicans can do to stop the budget from advancing if Democrats keep a united front, but he promised a fight on the Senate floor.

“Republicans do not currently have the vote to spare American families this nightmare,” McConnell said of the $3.5 trillion bill. “But we will debate and we will vote and we will stand up and we will be counted and the people of this country will know exactly which senators fought for them.”

Senate action on the budget this week is just the first in a series of steps before the bill comes to a final vote in the Senate and moves to the House, likely in the fall.

Pelosi said only then, after the full budget process is completed, will she bring both the budget bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a final vote in the House.

Research contact: @ABCNews

Key takeaways from the review of Capitol Hill security after January 6 insurrection

March 10, 2021

A report commissioned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) in the wake of the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol calls for increased staffing and intelligence for the Capitol Police, a permanent “quick reaction” force, and “mobile” fencing.

On Monday, House members were briefed on the final draft of the report by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré. NBC News reported that the network was provided a copy by a senior Democratic aide.

According to NBC, the report says the force currently is ill-equipped to deal with the “volume and nature” of the threats facing the Capitol complex, many of which are coming from “domestic elements.”

“The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) were understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained to secure the Capitol and Members when violently attacked by a large mob,” the report says, and is still vulnerable over two months later.

“The USCP is not postured to track, assess, plan against, or respond to this plethora of threats due to significant capacity shortfalls, inadequate training, immature processes, and an operating culture that is not intelligence-driven,” the report says.

The House is expected to incorporate Honore’s findings into a new funding bill to boost security around the campus and pay for some of the expenses incurred after January 6 — such as the National Guard deployments and the cleanup and repair costs.

Among the takeaways from the report are the following, according to ABC News:

  • More Capitol Police officers. The report found that Capitol Police were “understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained” to secure the Capitol and suggested filling all existing vacancies on the force—about 233 officers—and adding another 854 officers in various roles, including as intelligence specialists, civil disturbance units, and dignitary protection agents. If enacted, the additions would make the Capitol Police force, which already has more than 2,000 officers, among the largest departments in the entire country.

Additionally, the report recommended adding more K9 units to help Capitol Police scan for explosive devices on the Capitol complex, due to the number of vacant units and “aging” dogs. It also suggested reestablishing the department’s mounted unit—which was disbanded in 2005—to serve as a “force multiplier” in high-trafficked areas to help control crowds.

Honore’s team recommended the use of body cameras “to improve police accountability and protect officers from false accusations of misconduct,” and more intelligence support for the department.

  • New rapid response team. The report called for the creation of a permanent Quick Reaction Force—comprising federal law enforcement officers or a military police battalion under the command of the D.C. National Guard—to help Capitol Police with future emergencies.

The report also recommended the creation of Civil Defense Units within the Capitol Police, to be kept on standby when Congress is in session; as well as for all officers to be given civil disturbance training and their own riot gear to use in emergency situations.

  • More barriers around the Capitol. The report recommended a “mobile fencing option,” which in the future can be assembled and taken down quickly,; in place of the temporary fencing currently surrounding the Capitol, which requires a “significant” number of personnel to patrol.

A retractable fencing system and more integrated system of cameras, sensors and alarms could “enable an open campus while giving security forces better options to protect the complex and its Members should a threat develop,” the review team wrote in the report.

  • Tweaking the chain of command. The report found that the Capitol Police Board’s decision-making process “proved too slow and cumbersome” to effectively respond on January 6, when National Guard troops took hours to arrive on the Capitol grounds to help police clear the halls of Congress. It recommended allowing the Capitol Police chief to request the help of federal law enforcement and the National Guard in emergencies, without first needing the sign-off of the board—an opaque, four-person body that includes the chief, the architect of the Capitol, and the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, who are appointed by congressional leaders.

In addition, the report recommended an “independent review” of the efficacy of the Capitol Police Board’s “authority” over the department.

  • Background checks, harder access points, and tougher member security, Honore’s team recommended revamping the screening procedures used on campus for legislative staff and congressional employees.

“Requiring background checks for identification card holders and employing card readers more widely throughout the complex would decrease insider threat risks and enhance the safety of all Members, staff, and legislative employees,” according to the report.

The report also suggested repairing and securing the doors and windows around the Capitol that were used by rioters to break into the building, and erecting screening portals for staff and visitors around the complex to make it easier for Capitol Police to monitor visitors seeking to enter the building.

Pointing to the increasing number of threats to members of Congress, the report recommended expanding the Dignitary Protection Division’s ranks to better protect lawmakers at home and in Washington. Currently, only members of leadership have full-time security details.

The report also recommended the creation of a new office to “centrally manage” lawmakers’ travel from their districts to the Capitol, in coordination with state and local law enforcement partners.

According to ABC News, ahead of the report’s release, Republicans have criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appointment of Honore to conduct the review— pointing to his increasingly partisan tone on Twitter and attacks against Republicans.

“While there may be some worthy recommendations forthcoming, General Honore’s notorious partisan bias calls into question the rationality of appointing him to lead this important security review,” House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-California) said in a statement Sunday. “It also raises the unacceptable possibility that the Speaker desired a certain result: turning the Capitol into a fortress.”

Research contact: @abcnews

Capitol Police say they are stepping up security based on intel on March 4 plot to breach Capitol

March 4, 2021

QAnon followers believe that former President Donald Trump will return to power on Thursday, March 4and U.S. Capitol Police officials said Wednesday that they have “obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on [on that date],” ABC News reports.

The intelligence is being taken “seriously,” the officials said in a statement posted on Twitter. But are they ready?

“We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers, the statement said, adding, “Our Department is working with our local, state, and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol. We are taking the intelligence seriously. Due to the sensitive nature of this information, we cannot provide additional details at this time.”

The statement issued Wednesday morning follows another Tuesday night in which officials said they had beefed up security, ABC News notes.

“The Department is aware of concerning information and intelligence pertaining to March 4th and continues to work with all of our law enforcement partners,” the federal law enforcement agency said in that statement. “Based on the intelligence that we have, the Department has taken immediate steps to enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4th. The Department has communicated our enhanced posture as well as the available intelligence for the entire workforce.”

The threats appear to stem from QAnon, the umbrella term for a set of disproven and discredited internet conspiracy theories that allege the world is run by a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles. Followers of the fringe movement believe that the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen from Trump, who has pushed baseless claims of voter fraud along with his allies.

QAnon followers also believed that Trump would not actually leave office on Inauguration Day—but rather would declare martial law, announce mass arrests of Democrats, and stop Joe Biden from becoming president. When that didn’t happen, the date was moved from January 20 to March 4—the original inauguration day for all U.S. presidents prior to 1933.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation first labeled QAnon and its fluid online community of supporters as a “dangerous extremist group” in August 2019. A number of individuals believed to be QAnon followers have been charged for their alleged involvement in the deadly insurrection on January 6, when pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis issued a confidential assessment to law enforcement agencies, which was obtained by ABC News, saying that the threat of domestic violent extremism in 2020—largely driven by “violent anti-government or anti-authority narratives, periods of prolonged civil unrest and conspiracy theories”—is a trend that will likely continue in 2021 and “could escalate to include targeting of critical infrastructure.”

Research contact: @abcnews

 

56% of Americans say Trump should be convicted, barred from holding federal office

February 9, 2021

With his impeachment trial set to begin on February 9, a majority of Americans—56%—say they want the Senate to convict former President Donald Trump and to bar him from holding federal office ever again, according to findings of a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.

The new poll was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News, using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.

Compared to public attitudes during the early days of the former president’s first impeachment trial, support for the Senate conviction is higher now. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll published in late January 2020—when the first trial was ongoing, but before senators had voted—47% of Americans said the Senate should vote to remove Trump from office and 49% said he should not be removed.

On January 13, Trump became the first president ever to be impeached by the House of Representatives twice, when a majority of the body’s members voted in favor of charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A key difference between this trial and the first is that Trump is no longer president and therefore cannot be removed from office. All but five Republican senators have gone on the record saying they think the trial is unconstitutional because of this fact. Still, Democrats have argued that failing to hold Trump accountable would signal to future presidents that they can evade punishment for their actions, as long as they come at the end of their term in office.

It would take 67 senators to vote to convict Trump—meaning 17 Republicans would need to be on board, assuming every member of the Democratic caucus votes to convict, ABC notes. If enough senators vote to convict, the chamber could hold a second vote on whether to bar him from holding federal office again. That would only take a simple majority.

A few Republican senators have said, or have reportedly said, that they think Trump committed an impeachable offense. Yet, none has said definitively that he or she will vote to convict the ex-president. But unlike the first impeachment, when no Republicans voted to impeach Trump in the House, 10 Republicans joined Democrats this time, including the chair of the House Republican Conference, Liz Cheney.

Among Democrats, support for Trump’s conviction is nearly universal in the ABC News/Ipsos poll, with 92% in favor. Independents mirror the full population, with 54% in support of the Senate convicting Trump and prohibiting him from holding office, and 45% against.

Research contact: @abcnews

American freedom is not just celebrated on July 4: Here’s what you need to know about Juneteenth

June 19, 2020

It’s a day that celebrates and commemorates the true meaning of America—freedom, equality, and justice for all—and it will be observed with jubilation this year, as U.S. citizens nationwide continue to hit the streets to insist that Black Lives Matter.

It’s called Juneteenth and, over 150 years later, it will be observed by more Americans than ever before on Friday, June 19, ABC News reports.

American history lessons generally teach that when President Abraham Lincoln went public with the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862—three days after Union troops halted the advance of Confederate forces led by General Robert E. Lee near Sharpsburg, Maryland in the Battle of Antietam—it ended the Civil War and slavery.

But it took another 30 months and 19 days for the order to be carried out in Galveston, Texas—the last municipality in the United States where African Americans were still enslaved.

Texas was one of the seven Confederate States of America, and even when Lincoln’s executive order was enacted on January 1, 1863, “they weren’t going to recognize that anyway,” Dwayne Jones, executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation, recently told ABC News.

“In fact, there were slave owners who moved from parts of the South, from slave states, to continue the practice of slavery in Texas because they knew they could practice there for a longer time without interruption,” Kelly E. Navies, a museum specialist and oral historian with the National Museum of African American History and Culture confirmed to the network in an interview.

Jones said that when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865, with a force of 2,000 Union troops dressed in red to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, it was “very significant.”

During the church-oriented event, a hog was roasted as songs filled the air in between readings of the proclamation.

A combination of the month and date of Granger’s arrival in Galveston transformed the holiday into the name it’s been known as for over 100 years: Juneteenth.

“The celebration of Juneteenth gives people a chance to pause and think about the history behind what we are going through right now,” said Navies. “It gives people the opportunity to ask themselves what are the root causes to the racial conflicts we are experiencing.”

Observances of Juneteenth have generally become more secular, but the tradition remains as celebrations have expanded to cities including BuffaloKansas City,  and Chicagoand this year, will also be seen in New York State and others nationwide due to the success of the Black Lives Matter movement.

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many traditional in-person Juneteenth gatherings have been scheduled to take place through livestreaming services like Facebook Live and Zoom, ABC News reports.

The police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 and the protests that followed have generated an increased interest in the history of Juneteenth.

“We thought for the 150th anniversary five years ago, we would have gotten more attention, but it really took, unfortunately, other events in order to bring attention to it,” said Jones.

Research contact: @ABC