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Rapper says anger over his views reminds him of racial assumptions he once faced: Youre black, so youre a Democrat

Kanye West has reaffirmed his support for Donald Trump, whom he has previously called his brother, in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal.

West says people make assumptions about his political views because of his race, automatically assuming he would disagree with Trumps views.

West also compares the pushback he faces for publicly wearing his Make America Great Again hat to racial profiling and discrimination. It reminded me of how I felt as a black guy before I was famous, when I would walk in a restaurant and people would look at you like you were going to steal something, the musician says. This is your place, Ye, dont talk about apparel. This is your place, Ye, youre black, so youre a Democrat.

Wests praise of Trump comes as medical experts, health officials, and growing numbers of unemployed workers criticize the presidents response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

The rapper was previously known for publicly attacking the inadequate federal response to a national crisis. In 2005, he delivered the memorable line George Bush doesnt care about black people during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when a ravaged New Orleans had yet to receive substantial federal assistance.

The past few days have been turbulent for West and his reality-star wife, Kim Kardashian West. Over the weekend, the internet entered a frenzy over new leaked footage of a controversial phone call between West and Taylor Swift. To some, the extended clip, recorded around 2015, provided proof that West had lied about asking Swift for permission to call her a bitch in a song lyric and intentionally set out to disparage her public image. Kardashian West spoke out against the renewed accusations, writing that Swift was actually lying.

In the interview, West also reveals that he worked closely with Trump and the White House adviser Jared Kushner to help free the rapper A$AP Rocky, who was detained by the Swedish government for aggravated assault charges last summer.

Trump tweeted about the case following discussions with West, suggesting the rapper had a major influence on his diplomatic decision. Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rockys incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky, Trump said at the time.

West has previously faced blowback for praising Candace Owens, a conservative black activist, and suggesting slavery was a choice. (West later apologized for the slavery comments.)

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Efforts to avoid panic backfired, says surgeon as country braces for wave of infections without coherent government response

The US is on course to be severely ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak due to a delayed and dysfunctional testing regime and misleading messaging from the Trump administration, public health experts have warned.

As of Friday, there were more than 1,600 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus across the US, with 41 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, the actual number of infected Americans is certain to be far higher, with the true toll obscured by a calamitous lack of testing.

A lack of planning and restrictions that barred testing people without symptoms, even though the virus can be asymptomatic for some time, or those not arriving from overseas virus hotspots has needlessly worsened the situation, critics said.

In the period from last Sunday until Wednesday morning, the CDC tested just 77 people in the US. By stark comparison the Utah Jazz basketball team alone managed to test 58 people as the NBA, along with scores of schools, Broadway shows and various other cultural and sporting events were shut down. Even in Washington state, where 31 people have died, health officials have had to ration test kits.

On 31 January the Trump administration restricted travel from China, where Covid-19 originated, but then efforts to ramp up testing and ensure containment stalled. In a key setback, the administration rejected World Health Organization testing kits in favor of developing its own, which turned out to be faulty.

The response has been frustrating and disappointing, said Thomas Chen-chia Tsai, a surgeon in Boston and faculty member of the Harvard Global Health Institute. The strict quarantine measures in China bought the rest of the world a few weeks of time but in the US we were on the sidelines rather than reacting. It was a missed opportunity. If there was a targeted response wed be in a very different position now.

The US government didnt want to cause panic but Americans panic when there they sense theres no plan. That vacuum creates panic.


This muddled response was exacerbated by Donald Trump who, reportedly fearful of the impact upon the stock market and his own re-election prospects, initially dismissed fears over the coronavirus as a hoax before stating that infections were going very substantially down, not up. The administration promised millions of testing kits would be easily available to Americans.

All of these pronouncements have proved untrue, leading to sharp criticism of Trump.

In an unusually stinging editorial, Holden Thorp, a chemist and editor-in-chief of Science, said the presidents distortion and denial is dangerous and almost certainly contributed to the federal governments sluggish response. After three years of debating whether the words of this administration matter, the words are now clearly a matter of life and death.

The worsening situation has been acknowledged even by allies of the president. We probably lost the chance to have an outcome like South Korea, said Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration chief under Trump, referencing a country that has helped curb the outbreak by testing nearly 20,000 people every day. We must do everything to avert the tragic suffering being borne by Italy.

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Trump’s changing reactions to coronavirus: from calm to closing borders video report

Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admitted in testimony to Congress this week that authorities had failed to respond swiftly to the spread of coronavirus.

The idea of anybody getting [testing] easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we are not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we are not, he said. It is a failing. I mean, lets admit it.

The US is now bracing itself for a huge wave of new infections without a coherent federal government response.

Hampered structurally by the countrys lack of paid sick leave and a for-profit healthcare system that makes going to the doctor prohibitively expensive for millions of Americans, states and cities are falling back on social distancing measures such as shutting down large gatherings and promoting good hygiene.

Belated actions by Trump, such as banning travel from much of Europe, have done little to tackle a virus that has already raced across the American continent, with experts now predicting that tens of millions of people will become infected.

Andy Slavitt, former head of Medicare under Barack Obamas administration, tweeted that there were expectations of over 1 million deaths in the US since the virus was not contained & we cannot even test for it. This will be recorded as a major preventable public health disaster.

Even a sudden surge in testing, combined with accurate, sober advice from the Trump administration, wont prevent a huge strain placed upon a fragmented American healthcare system that delivers wildly different outcomes for people depending upon their financial means. Ominously, there are far fewer hospital beds per capita in the US compared to the Lombardy region in Italy, where the coronavirus has overwhelmed the healthcare system.

We dont have all the beds we need and if this thing hits us full on we are going to be up the creek, said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

We started with a very crippled public health system that has been underfunded for many years and we knew that something like this would cause us huge challenges. We are seeing that now. We are planning for the worst but hoping for the best.

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Trumps war on science and Johnsons civil service purge may be on hold but their politics of polarisation lives on, says Guardian columnist John Harris

In most crises we tend to see the story we want to see. And in this one, those of us who cling on to collectivist, egalitarian ideas can discern things that speak to our sense of how the world ought to be organised. To find crumbs of political comfort in a dire public health emergency might seem inappropriate. But unforeseen events always have consequences beyond their immediate impact: just because they fit some of our existing beliefs that does not make them any less real.

Even if the new imperative of social distancing sounds like the ultimate example of individualism and frantic panic-buying does not exactly look like an expression of altruism, our shared humanity has also been brought to the surface, or soon will be. As the rapid appearance online of community help initiatives proves, we are already getting used to doing some of what the common good requires.

Quick guide

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms in the UK

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them youre staying at home.

People who are self-isolating with mild symptoms will not be tested.

Source: NHS England

And as usually happens with sudden adverse events, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has pushed the state and public sector into the foreground. The government machine suddenly looks less like the sclerotic inconvenience that annoys people like Dominic Cummings than the most basic means of help we have. Only weeks ago, people close to Boris Johnson were declaring war on the civil service and the BBC; now, both institutions are surely at the heart of however we collectively proceed. Ministers are suddenly back on the Radio 4 Today programme. Mindful that people have actually not had enough of experts, Johnson is now at pains to be seen deferring to the chief medical officer and the governments chief scientific adviser. If the big-spending budget suggested that Cummings and his allies quest to pull Conservatism somewhere different was in full roar, the arrival of Covid-19 surely means their revolutionary plans for the state have been postponed.

Something comparable may be afoot in the US. Last week, the New York Times ran a piece of political analysis headlined Trump meets an enemy that cant be tweeted away. Covid-19, said the writer, does not respond to Mr Trumps favourite instruments of power: it cannot be cowed by Twitter posts, it cannot be shot down by drones, it cannot be overcome by party solidarity, it cannot be overpowered by campaign rally chants. Reality, it seemed, had suddenly intruded on a presidency built on performance and manipulation, and Trump had instantly been found wanting.

Again, whatever ones politics, there is an undeniable truth to all this. As we know, the US is way behind other countries on testing, and cuts made by the Trump administration to crucial branches of government now look supremely reckless. The kind of denial the president was still pushing only a week or so ago forms part of the same picture: with accidental echoes of the occasion in 2006 when Johnson paid humorous tribute to laissez-faire government by praising the fictional mayor from Jaws and his decision to keep his beaches open, Trump has recently been lampooned as the real thing, downplaying a mounting emergency, lest it threaten the economic success on which his re-election might depend.

Johnson is now at pains to be seen deferring to the chief medical officer and the governments chief scientific adviser. Boris Johnson at his 13 March press conference on coronavirus. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Woven through this take on the presidents position is a progressive article of faith: the idea that although populists might be capable rabble-rousers, they always fall down when it comes to basic competence. This, clearly, is the Democratic partys collective rationale for the anointing of Joe Biden, the walking embodiment of the idea that the best alternative to Trumps misrule is the reassuringly dull, conventional statesmanship of yesteryear.

Might such a sea-change be a realistic prospect? For a long time now, all over the world, politics and government and their surrounding discourse have increasingly amounted to a spectacle of anger, rhetoric and a supposed battle of values in which the political right particularly its latter-day, populist incarnation has usually been on the winning side. The story perhaps began with George W Bushs consigliere Karl Rove, and his characterisation of his bosss detractors as the reality-based community: its subsequent milestones include both the arrival in office of a president whose metier is outrage and provocation rather than anything material, and Brexits triumph of prejudice and romance over facts and figures.

As reality bites, something about coronavirus feels like it might at least have loosened the grip of these ideas. Whatever his outbursts, every day brings unflattering footage of Trump among scientists, officials and the representatives of big US companies and the image of an awkward, impatient man, arms folded, seemingly determined to shut out whatever wisdom might be on offer. Here, the BBCs Newsnight recently saw fit to broadcast a characteristically nuanced view of the governments response to the virus from Nigel Farage, to a loud chorus of groans. His inclusion seemed not just incongruous, but silly. And therein lay a tantalising prospect: of a political discourse that might sooner or later reconnect to the basics of government, and the real world.

And yet, and yet. Europe is still haunted by populist ghouls, predictably claiming that the virus validates everything they stand for: Matteo Salvini, Marine Le Pen and Hungarys Viktor Orbn, whose national security adviser recently claimed to see a certain link between coronavirus and illegal migrants.

Ten days ago, I was on a reporting job in Worksop, the former Nottinghamshire mining town in a local government district whose vote-share for Brexit was nearly 70%. The huge TV in the breakfast room was blaring out some or other piece about Covid-19, which soon caught the attention of the staff member in charge. I think this is all bollocks, he said. Youre not going to tell me it was a coincidence it started in an overpopulated country. Two fiftysomething men had just ordered their food, and instantly joined in. The first thing they can do is stop all these refugees coming in, said one. Their apparent default setting was stubborn disbelief, mixed with the conviction that this latest emergency would not have arrived had it not been for foreigners.

Reality, it seemed, had suddenly intruded on a presidency built on performance and manipulation, and Trump had instantly been found wanting. Donald Trump and his adviser at a press briefing on 14 March. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

As if clumsily leading his kindred spirits across the world to the correct position, Trump has moved through these two phases in a matter of days. Only a week or so ago, he favoured denial. Now, as evidenced by the televised address he delivered last Wednesday and his ban on flights from Europe, his embrace of drastic measures is framed by the kind of themes that won him the presidency.

His spiel contained the giveaway words America first; inside 40 seconds, he used the phrase foreign virus. By way of mood music, senior Republicans talk about the pandemic as the Chinese coronavirus or Wuhan coronavirus, and everything blurs into the ocean of conspiracy theory now swirling around online, which Trump is inevitably happy to stoke.

Whatever the controversies over its approach to the virus, and the prime ministers long record of playing to base prejudice, our own government has chosen a higher path. But hateful, ugly things are out there in the culture, and may yet rise to the surface. In stories of public service in the most awful circumstances and a rising sense that the only useful responses to this crisis are necessarily empathetic and humane, you see people and governments at their best. But whatever the impacts of the most serious health emergency in a generation, perhaps a model of politics based on division and polarisation is now so embedded that it will inevitably condition some of the worlds response. History suggests as much: steps forward always accompanied by lurches back, as humanity does what it usually does, and simply muddles through.

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

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Royal expert sounds alarm after Prince Harry seemingly duped into thinking he was talking to Greta Thunberg

Russian hoaxers who apparently tricked Prince Harry into offering help to take penguins to the North Pole have raised serious questions over security and screening measures for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they leave the royal fold, a royal expert said.

Posing as the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and her father, hoaxers Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov managed to reach Harry on his landline at his rented Vancouver Island mansion on New Years Eve and on 22 January, it has been reported.

The royal, seemingly duped into thinking he was talking to Thunberg and her father Svante, also criticised Donald Trump and spoke of a bullying tabloid media trying to sink him and wife Meghan.

A spokeswoman for the Sussexes declined to comment when asked if there was any doubt the voice was that of Harry.

A former press secretary to the Queen, Dickie Arbiter, claimed the fact that the hoaxers, known as Vovan and Lexus, had reached Harry exposed weaknesses in their personal security. As long as Harry and Meghan are over there, theyre out of the protection of the system, he said. For all its faults, the system does, and is there to, protect.

He said the hoaxers would not have been able to get through the Buckingham Palace switchboard. Theyre pretty vigilant, he said, adding: If youre outside the system, youre open to anything and everything.

The couple has a 15-strong team of staff based at Buckingham Palace, but they will be disbanded when the couple transition on 31 March, with some staff being made redundant and others redeployed in other royal households. No details about any staff in Canada have been made public.

Arbiter spoke as the Sun, which published excerpts of the conversations, reported more details of the hoax calls. Harry failed to spot he was being pranked when the fake Greta and her father said they had 50 penguins that were stuck in land-locked Belarus and they were after a ship to transport them to the north pole, even though the animals are native to the south pole.

When asked if he had any contacts to help, the duke is said to have suggested: Ive got one person who is a polar guide in the north pole he may be able to help you, he knows all the right people.

Greta also asked if Harry could help her marry into the royal family and suggested she was interested in Prince George, the Sun reported. It said Harry replied: I can assure you, marrying a prince or princess is not all its made up to be.

When the hoaxers suggested there were discussions in Russia that Harry could become head of a restored monarchy, he replied chuckling: Well there you go, maybe thats our new purpose: to be able to take over Russia.

The hoaxers joked about Harry smoking weed with hippies on Thunbergs eco-catamaran, and also of forming a celebrity movement called Stars Save the Earth with Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie.

During one call they tricked him into believing mining companies close to Trump were exploiting the fictional island of Chunga-Changa the name of a Russian childrens song.

The rights to the audio recordings had been transferred to British media, the hoaxers said as they confirmed the Suns report in response to a Guardian inquiry.

In the audio, a person, reportedly Harry, says of the decision to stand down as a senior royal: Sometimes the right decision isnt always the easy one. And this decision certainly wasnt the easy one, but it was the right decision for our family, the right decision to be able to protect my son. And I think theres a hell of a lot of people around the world that can identify and respect us for putting our family first.

On Trump, he says: I think the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry so big in America, he has blood on his hands. He says he is confident things will change on the climate agenda within 10 years: But we cant wait five to 10 years, so I think if Donald Trump can become president of the United States of America, then anythings possible, right?

He continues: You forget, I was in the military for 10 years so Im more normal than my family would like to believe But certainly, being in a different position now gives us the ability to say things and do things that we might not have been able to do.

On Prince Andrew, who has stepped down from public duties over his friendship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, he says: I have very little to say on that. But whatever he has done or hasnt done, is completely separate from me and my wife.

Harry speaks of Boris Johnson being a good man, and tells the person posing as Thunberg: So you are one of the few people who can reach into his soul and get him to feel and believe in you. But you have to understand that because he has been around for so long like all of these other people, they are already set in their ways.

In separate quotes, published by Mail Online, Harry reportedly says he has been part of a family and part of a country that is scared of the tabloid media because they have so much power and influence and no morals.

From the moment that I found a wife that was strong enough to be able to stand up for what we believe in together, [that] has basically scared them so much that theyve now come out incredibly angry, theyve come out fighting, and all they will try and do now is try and destroy our reputation and try and, you know, sink us.

He adds: It hasnt been very nice. Its been horrible, but we will come out of it stronger people.

Kuznetsov and Stolyarov have previously targeted Elton John, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, and the US senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

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Signatories including Ron Chernow and David Blight write: We have concluded that Donald J Trump has violated his oath

More than 700 American historians have called for the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump.

We are American historians devoted to studying our nations past, began an open letter posted to Medium, who have concluded that Donald J Trump has violated his oath to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Two articles of impeachment will be voted on in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. They concern abuse of power, in Trumps attempts to have Ukraine investigate his political rivals, and obstruction of Congress, in his refusal to allow key aides to testify in impeachment hearings.

Despite extensive evidence laid out in those House committee hearings, the president denies any wrongdoing.

The articles are expected to be approved, virtually on party lines, setting up a trial in the Senate in January which Republican senators, nominally impartial jurors, have said will be swift and run in close cooperation with the White House and will ultimately acquit the president. Democrats have cried foul.

Only two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999. Both survived Senate trials. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, before he could be impeached.

Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers, about the Johnson trial, signed the open letter, as did Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland, and Sidney Blumenthal, a former Clinton aide and author of The Clinton Wars and so far three volumes of a five-volume life of Abraham Lincoln.

President Trumps numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president, the historians wrote.

Among those most hurtful to the constitution have been his attempts to coerce the country of Ukraine, under attack from Russia, an adversary power to the United States, by withholding essential military assistance in exchange for the fabrication and legitimisation of false information in order to advance his own re-election.

President Trumps lawless obstruction of the House of Representatives, which is rightly seeking documents and witness testimony in pursuit of its constitutionally mandated oversight role, has demonstrated brazen contempt for representative government.

So have his attempts to justify that obstruction on the grounds that the executive enjoys absolute immunity, a fictitious doctrine that, if tolerated, would turn the president into an elected monarch above the law.

Among other signatories who cited revolutionary authorities including George Mason and Alexander Hamilton were Ron Chernow, Pulitzer prize-winning author of biographies of Hamilton, George Washington and Ulysses S Grant; Eric Foner, the author of seminal works on slavery; David Blight, author of a Pulitzer prize-winning life of Frederick Douglass; and Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of Never Caught: The Washingtons Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge and She Came to Slay, a new biography of Harriet Tubman.

The University of Liverpool historian Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire, a history of Britain and the American civil war, also signed the letter. So did Ken Burns, the documentary maker whose work on the civil war, the west, jazz, baseball, country music and Vietnam, among other subjects, has made him a pillar of US public life.

Collectively, the historians wrote, the presidents offences, including his dereliction in protecting the integrity of the 2020 election from Russian disinformation and renewed interference, arouse once again the framers most profound fears that powerful members of government would become, in Hamiltons words, the mercenary instruments of foreign corruption.

The letter was co-ordinated by Project Democracy, an advocacy group which last month released a similar letter signed by more than 500 law professors.

It is our considered judgment, the historians wrote, that if President Trumps misconduct does not rise to the level of impeachment, then virtually nothing does.

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Ariana Grande fans break free from the stereotype that young people dont vote and tell us about which causes matter to them

Last month, Ariana Grande endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for 2020 president on Twitter. MY GUY, Grande wrote, posting a picture of herself in her signature pony tail with the presidential candidate backstage at her show.

Grande has been vocal about wanting young people to register to vote, and has partnered with the non-partisan organization HeadCount to register fans on her Sweetener World Tour. Grande said over 30,000 people registered or pledged to vote at her shows alone. The Guardian caught up with some of them.

Asia Collier, 21, Lewisville

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

What causes do you care most about that will influence your vote?
I think its crazy that people still dont believe in climate change. Were all on this Earth together. Were a united nation thats a mix of all groups and we need to stand together.

How did the 2016 election impact your life?
It showed us a lot of people didnt vote. It was all talk and no action. It impacted me by checking to make sure people I knew were involved. I found out five people close to me didnt vote. I thought you couldve changed so much. You have so much to say, but you didnt vote so your voice wasnt heard.

Thats the biggest takeaway from 2016. You are an influence to your closest people so talk to them. Make sure they know what to do and that they are involved in whatever community they want to be in so they can actually have an affect on their world because your community actually affects the world around you.

Who are you voting for in 2020?
I still want Bernie. I know people are swaying different ways but I love him.

Emily Lehmberg, 22, Beeville

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

What causes do you care most about that will influence your vote?
Female reproductive rights is really important to me. I just feel that we all should choose what we want to do with our body. Thats so, so important. Nobody else should be able to make decisions for you.

Who are you voting for in 2020?
I want to vote for Bernie. I dont know if hell end up there, but thats what I want. Warren would be my number two pick.

Amanda Perez, 22, Beeville

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

How did the 2016 election impact your life?
I work at a very Hispanic-dominant school and I remember going to school the next day with my kids and they were hiding under their desks because they thought someone was going to come get them. They were like hes going to come take us. It was heartbreaking. Everybody needs to vote this time.

What causes do you care most about that will influence your vote?
My number one is education. The person in charge of education right now is not doing a good job. We have so many new rules from someone who has never been in the education system. Im a first-grade student teacher; I graduate in May and hopefully Ill be at that school that Im at right now.

Also definitely womens rights because we deserve so much more than what we have. Pay is still not equal and we should definitely be fighting for that.

Immigration, because we were built as a country where you could come here and find your life. Now, were not letting anybody come here.

As of right now, who will get your vote in 2020?
Right now, Id vote for Bernie if he got to the primaries. Warren would be my number two.

Abigayle Jose, 20, San Antonio

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

What causes do you care most about that will influence your vote?
One of the major ones Im advocating for back in my home town is environmental awareness: climate change, pollution those things are detrimental to us and should be focused on.

As of right now, who will get your vote in 2020?
I appreciate that Ariana supports Bernie Sanders because I do as well.

Manuel Juarez, 25, Laredo

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

What causes do you care most about that will influence your vote?
I live on the border and Im going to be one of the people directly affected by the wall. I work for an environmental organization protecting the river, the Rio Grande. This is our only source of drinking water for 6 million people on both sides of the border so any construction, any debris, would really fuck us over.

There are no environmental studies being done. There are about 30 environmental laws being waived and ignored to expedite this process including the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.

I also care very deeply about LGBTQ rights. I am a proud bisexual man.

How did the 2016 election impact your life?
The way our president conducts himself, his irrational and inappropriate behavior. Ive had family members who have been affected by sexual assault and rape, so having his really insensitive and boorish comments about women and womens rights really rubs me the wrong way.

With the border wall and white nationalism, theres some really scary stuff going on these days, but everyone being aware of whats going on is the first step to combatting that and creating a positive change.

Who are you voting for in 2020?
Im really interested in what
Elizabeth Warren brings to the table. I still need to do more research on each candidate, but shes definitely on my radar.

Rylea Walsh, 20, Arlington

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

What causes do you care most about that will influence your vote?
Im a college student so thats big for me. Tuition is crazy. Also healthcare is ridiculous. Really, I just want someone thats caring, open, not rude and that doesnt tweet his problems out to everyone in the United States.

How did the 2016 election impact your life?
Directly, [the election] didnt impact me that much because Im white. For a lot of my friends, its scary to see someone tweet or even speak about things that hurt a lot of people. It hurts. It hurts a lot.

Who are you voting for in 2020?

Lerato Mtowa, 19, Dallas

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

What causes do you care most about that will influence your vote?
Gay rights and immigration. I was born in America but I know a lot of people who werent. Seeing peoples family getting taken away from them, being separated, the camps they have people in its not right. Police brutality is another major one.

How did the 2016 election impact your life?
A lot of the things [Trump] says hurts. His words are louder than his actions. America is diverse and we have more rights than other places. We could do better as a united front.

Who are you voting for in 2020?
I have no idea but Kamala Harris can go. There was something sketchy about her. I feel like if your vibe is off, then youre out.

Kiara Ganison, 18, Richardson

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

How did the 2016 election impact your life?
This election has awakened my eyes to see how much stupidity can really impact the world. Seeing cases of children at the border, having the flu and dying in their cells and not even having the humanity to take care of them is kind of sickening. It does make my blood boil.

Who are you voting for in 2020?
I think Bernie.

Jared Gallegos, 21, Amarillo

Photograph: Misty Keasler/The Guardian

What causes do you care most about that will influence your vote?
Gay rights and healthcare. Too many relatives have been lost to cancer. Ariana lost her grandpa to cancer and I lost my grandpa to cancer in the same exact way recently. Fuck cancer.

Who are you voting for in 2020?
I think Bernie is the right person for Democrats because he listens. Im definitely not voting conservative. Go Democrats.

Marisa Vargas, 25, San Antonio

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Residents of the Tennessee city the Kurdish capital of America feel sold out but unsurprised by troop withdrawal

If you spend enough time in Kurdish places, from sidewalk tea stands in the shadow of the Erbil citadel to the bullet-pocked alleys of Diyarbakir and the dusty fields along Syrias frontlines, there is a proverb you will hear. It goes like this: The Kurds have no friends but the mountains.

It means that in the end, when Kurds are under attack and facing death, the mountains they retreat to will be the only things to protect them, whatever alliances they may have had before.

Youll hear it in Nashville too, in Little Kurdistan, a strip of grocers and eateries tucked between an Aldi and a Waffle House along the Nolensville Pike.

This week, Donald Trump announced he was pulling US troops from Syrias border with Turkey, seemingly giving the green light for Turkey to attack Kurdish forces allied with America. For many Kurds in Nashville many of whom came here and prospered after fleeing for their lives the sudden reversal was nothing short of a betrayal.

A Kurdish grocery store in Nashville. Photograph: Josh Wood/The Guardian

He betrayed the whole Kurdish nation, said Salah Osman, the imam at the Salahadeen Center mosque. We knew this is what would happen. We knew after they used [the Kurdish forces], after they did their job, they would leave them to face their future without any friends.

To most Americans, Nashville is the country music and bachelorette party capital, a place for boozy and raucous fun at neon-lit honky-tonks on Broadway. But it is also the Kurdish capital of America, home to an estimated 15,000 Kurds, the largest such population in the US.

When members of the Nashville Kurdish community like Osman look at images of Syrian Kurds fleeing Turkish attacks, crowded into the back of trucks or fleeing on foot with whatever they can carry, they think of their own experiences.

There are those who were in the first wave, arriving in the 1970s after a failed rebellion in Iraq. There are those who fled Saddam Husseins genocidal al-Anfal campaign in the late 1980s, and those who fled after George HW Bush encouraged Iraqis to rise up during the Gulf war but then did not provide assistance.

There are those who were born in refugee camps to parents who escaped with only the clothes on their backs. There are those who fled in the mid-90s, after Saddams forces, briefly pushed out of northern Iraq, stormed back in. There are those who risked their lives as interpreters for the US military, after the 2003 invasion.

More recent arrivals have fled from Syria and from oppression and violence in Turkey.

Sakir Cinar says sleep has been hard to come by since it was clear that Turkey was going to attack Syrias Kurds. Photograph: Josh Wood/The Guardian

It is unlikely that the latest violence will bring another surge in Nashvilles Kurdish population. Under new asylum rules, applicants must first try to seek safe haven in a third country. It is nearly impossible for Syrians to get US visas under Trumps travel ban and the administration has set the refugee cap at an all-time low.

Kirmanj Gundi, a Tennessee State University professor, came to Nashville in the 1970s. He spoke no English and the Kurdish community numbered in the hundreds.

I dont know how to express my feelings, he said this week. Its sad. Its frustrating. We feel we are betrayed again. We feel we are sold out again. We feel we are used again.

Gundi came to America after the Shah of Iran cut off funding to Kurdish rebels in a deal with Iraq. He watched more Kurds arrive in the 90s. The betrayal by Trump, he says, is more intense, the wound is deeper They were promised that they would be protected.

Trump did not stop at clearing the way for a Turkish attack. He has sought to justify his decision by painting Kurdish forces who did the bulk of the fighting against Islamic State in Syria as potentially fair-weather allies.

On Wednesday, Trump even defended his decision by saying the Kurds didnt help the US during the second world war.

At a rally in Minneapolis on Thursday evening, Trump was speaking about Turkeys offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces and his decision to withdraw US troops when he suddenly brought up how he has to send letters to the families of soldiers killed in blue on green attacks, where were teaching people how to fight and then they turn the gun on our soldiers and shoot them in the back.

He had previously praised Kurds for being among Americas most loyal allies.

We feel like when Donald Trump makes statements like this, it affects our position in this country and how some other citizens may perceive us as a threat to this country, which we are not, said Zaid Brifkani, a Kurdish American doctor in Nashville who is president of the Kurdish Professionals Group in the city.

We are part of this community, we are part of this American dream.

We are free here

Nawzad Hawrami, the director of the Salahadeen Center, says Kurds like him have found freedom in Nashville. Photograph: Josh Wood/The Guardian

At the centre of Little Kurdistan, around the Salahadeen Center mosque, Kurdish stores are interspersed with a Latin American nightclub and a hibachi restaurant. Earlier this year, Nashvilles public schools approved adding Kurdish-language electives in high schools. During Ramadan, when the mosque is open all night, the police department stations a squad car outside. Some in the older generation only speak Arabic and Kurdish. Their children have American accents.

We are free here. As a Kurd, as a Muslim, we are free more than in our back home countries, said Nawzad Hawrami, director of the Salahadeen Center, who lived in the Iraqi city of Halabja during al-Anfal. This is a great country, a great nation.

Sakir Cinar got asylum in the US two years ago after, he says, he made a Facebook post critical of Turkeys president, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, that led to a mob attacking his restaurant and his arrest by Turkish authorities.

In Nashville, working as a cook, he can say what he wants. He can speak Kurdish without having to look over his shoulder. He can speak with a journalist in public, without fearing repercussions.

But the Turkish attack on Syria has left him sleepless, glued to his phone, checking for updates.

My insides are hurting, crying. I just can pray, he said.

A mural depicting scenes of traditional Kurdish life is painted on the side of a Kurdish grocer in Little Kurdistan, Nashville. Photograph: Josh Wood/The Guardian

Nashvilles Kurds are unsure they can make a difference. Tennessees two Republican senators have spoken out. On Friday, hundreds of members of the Kurdish community protested in downtown Nashville. But at the end of the day, they are a small community with little ability to leverage state elections, let alone foreign policy.

Trump has said he will try to broker a deal between Turkey and the Kurds and has raised the possibility of working to destroy and obliterate Turkeys economy if it does anything off limits. But despite widespread criticism, even from his closest allies, he has stood by his decision to withdraw.

While many in Little Kurdistan feel betrayed, Trumps behavior has not soured their thoughts on America.

When it comes to America, there are opportunities, said Gundi, the professor. When you compare America with any other nation America comes out head and shoulders above any country in the world.

Brifkani, the doctor, said: I dont think Trump represents true American values.

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Update Oct. 3, 9:09am CT: Following a copyright claim from Nickelback, Trumps video has been removed from Twitter, the Guardian reports.

President Donald Trump took another shot at fellowpresidential candidate Joe Biden Wednesdaythis time, by dragging Nickelback into it.

In the midst of what some are considering to be one of the biggest presidential scandals in history, Trump is doubling down on his belief that when Biden was vice president, he tried to use the U.S. governments power to protect his son Hunter Biden.

Hunter Biden had, in 2014, been invited to join the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. While on the board, he reportedly earned nearly $50,000 a month and then left the board once his five-year term expired. The energy companys owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, was reportedly at one point being investigated by Ukraines prosecutor general for money laundering and corruption.

OnceViktor Shokin became prosecutor general, he overtook the investigation. However, the Obama administration, along with many others, apparently believed thatShokin was not doing enough to prevent corruption in his country. Therefore, in 2015, Biden, then vice president, had reportedly given a message to Ukraine, stating that the U.S. would hold nearly $1 billion in loan guarantees unless it got rid of Shokin.

Shokin was eventually fired in 2016.

And Trump is now touting the claim that the real reason Biden pressured to have Shokin removed was in order to protect his son from the corruption claims that plagued the company he was on the board of.

These claims have not been confirmed. In fact, Biden responded to the allegationsby stating, There is zero, zero, zero, zero evidence of any assertion being made. Other media outlets have also cast doubt on Trumps allegations, but that did not stop Trump from tweeting out a Nickelback parody meme, once again hammering down on the claim.

In the video, a reporter asks Biden if he had ever spoken to his son regarding his business dealings overseas. Biden responds, Ive never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealing.

The heavily edited video then cuts to Nickelbacks Photograph music video, in which the photograph used has been replaced witha 2014 photo of Joe Biden, his son, and Devon Archer who apparently served on the Burisma Holdings board along with Bidens son.

Twitter is getting used to Trumps wild tweets and could only comment on how crazy U.S. politics have become in recent years.

We really live in a country where the president attacked a former Vice President by posting an altered Nickelback video, Twitter user @hk125504 wrote.

Ummm so now our President is tweeting out Nickelback video memes? We are definitely living in the simulation, Twitter user @alvanderp wrote.

People even began to meme the meme.


Trump has been in extremely hot water lately after it was revealed he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Bidens alleged business dealings in the country. A whistleblower from the intelligence community filed a complaint regarding Trumps phone call, and now Democrats are pushing for Trumps impeachment. As more developments begin to unravel and members of his staff resign, Trump has maintained his innocence.

This is a hoax. This is the greatest hoax, Trump said to reporters regarding the impeachment inquiry. This is a fraudulent crime on the American people. But well work together. With shifty Schiff and Pelosi and all of them, and well see what happens, because we did absolutelyI had a great call with the president of Ukraine. It was 100%. You have the transcript.

Nickelback has yet to respond to Trumps interpretation of the meme. Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that House Democrats are hoping to impeach the Trump by Thanksgiving. Perhaps Trump should be playing Nickelbacks Savin Me instead.

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PM said EU leaders would be blamed for their obduracy and that UK could keep much of 39bn settlement

Britain could easily cope with a no-deal Brexit, which would be the fault of EU leaders obduracy, Boris Johnson claimed at the summit of G7 countries in France, as he continued to resist mounting pressure to spell out his own plans for breaking the deadlock.

I think we can get through this, this is a great, great country, the UK, we can easily cope with a no-deal scenario, Johnson insisted in Biarritz, as he made his debut on the international stage as prime minister with a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders including Donald Trump, the EU council president, Donald Tusk, and the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Johnson said preparations for no deal were being ramped up to help secure an agreement, but also so that if and when we are forced by the obduracy by our European friends to come out on 31 October without a deal that things are as smooth as they can possibly be.

Johnson claimed food shortages one of the risks outlined in the leaked Operation Yellowhammer documents on no-deal planning were highly unlikely, and offered a guarantee that patients would be able to access medicines unhindered.

The prime minister said that in the event of no deal the UK would withhold much of the 39bn financial settlement agreed by Theresa May and insisted it was up to the EU27 to avert that eventuality.

If we come out without an agreement it is certainly true that the 39bn is no longer, strictly speaking, owed, he said. There will be very substantial sums available to our country to spend on our priorities. Its not a threat. Its a simple fact of reality.

Back: David Lipton (IMF), Moussa Faki (AUC), David Malpass (World Bank), Scott Morrison (Australia), Antonio Guterres (UN), Narendra Modi (India), Guy Ryder (ILO), Pedro Sanchez (Spain), Angel Gurria (OECD), Akinwumi Adesina (African Development Bank). Front: Boris Johnson (UK), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Abdel Sisi (Egypt), Shinzo Abe (Japan), Justin Trudeau (Canada), Donald Trump (US), Emmanuel Macron (France), Angela Merkel (Germany), Macky Sall (Senegal), Roch Marc Christian Kabor (Burkina Faso), Sebastin Piera (Chile), Guiseppe Conte (Italy), Donald Tusk (EC) Photograph: Getty Images

During the Conservative leadership campaign, Johnson suggested the entire 39bn would be retained in the hope of using it as leverage to win a better future trading relationship from the EU27. But Downing Street appears to have conceded that legal obligations for past liabilities may mean up to a quarter of it may still have to be paid.

Johnson is battling to keep alive the prospect of striking a reworked exit deal with the EU27 in time for Britain to leave by the Halloween deadline, which he has made it a mission of his government to meet.

But with just a week until MPs return to Westminster, preparing to seize any opportunity to bind his hands, Johnson has so far presented no detailed plan.

After Johnson met Tusk on the sidelines of the G7 summit on Sunday, an EU official said, nothing really happened. It was essentially just a reconfirmation of of the views of both sides. There were no new substantive elements from any side, and obviously not from the UK side, the official said.

What we ideally would have been hoping for and looking for are new ideas that unblock this situation, the European official said. So we are waiting We need input from their side.

Meanwhile, it emerged this weekend that Downing Street has sought legal advice from the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, about the possibility of shutting down parliament from September.

Asked about the issue on Sunday, a senior government official said, No 10 commissions legal advice on a whole range of issues, but the PM is clear that he is not going to stop MPs debating Brexit.

Johnsons parliamentary opponents appear unable to present a united front, however. The shadow trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, accused the Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, of being extremely petulant on Sunday, after she raised doubts about whether Jeremy Corbyn was the right person to lead a caretaker government to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Gardiner told Sky News that the Labour leader was offering a failsafe way of achieving the Lib Dems Brexit aims, but he said Swinson had concluded, oh well, we are not going to cooperate if Jeremy Corbyn is going to be the person who does it.

Labour has suggested it could table a vote of no confidence in Johnsons government but is unlikely to do so immediately after MPs return from summer recess unless it is convinced Tory rebels are ready to back it.

Swinson has written to Corbyn, suggesting an agenda for the meeting and warning that if he insists on leading the charge it could prevent the plan succeeding.

In the last week, many MPs who stand opposed to no deal, in particular key Conservative MPs, have rejected your proposal to lead an emergency government. Insisting you lead that emergency government will therefore jeopardise the chances of a no confidence vote gaining enough support to pass in the first place, she wrote.

The former chancellor Philip Hammond revealed the extent of the bad blood between Downing Street and Conservative moderates on Sunday, as he wrote to the PM demanding an apology for briefings that suggested the Yellowhammer leak came from former ministers.

Hammond said it had since emerged the document was dated to August, and thus could not have been leaked by one of the moderates dispatched to the backbenches in Johnsons summer reshuffle.

A government official said Johnson would respond, in due course.

On Sunday, Johnson claimed the Brexit mood music had improved significantly over recent days; but it remained touch and go whether a deal was achievable.

Throughout the summit in Biarritz, Johnson has sought to stress the UKs determination to remain internationalist and to distance itself from Trumps White House on some questions.

At a dinner of G7 leaders on Saturday night, which sources said was occasionally testy, Johnson sided with Germany, France and others against the US presidents argument that Russia should be readmitted to the group.

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President Donald Trump quoted a conspiracy theorist in a series of tweets on Wednesday who claimed people in Israel think he is the second coming of God.

In the tweets, Trump thanked Wayne Allyn Root, whoas the Daily Beast noteshas pushed a number of conspiracy theories including that the shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival last year was a coordinated Muslim terror attack.

Within the tweets, Root is quoted as saying that people in Israel think of Trump as the second coming of God.

Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the worldand the Jewish people in Israel love him., the president wrote in a string of tweets on Wednesday morning. .like hes the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of GodBut American Jews dont know him or like him. They dont even know what theyre doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But thats OK, if he keeps doing what hes doing, hes good for….all Jews, Blacks, Gays, everyone. And importantly, hes good for everyone in America who wants a job. Wow! @newsmax @foxandfriends @OANN

Root has also pushed a number of other conspiracy theories including that the white nationalist who killed Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was a paid actor, and about the murder of Seth Rich, according to the Washington Post.

He also alleged that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, something Trump pushed for years.

Trumps tweets came the morning after the president said that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats had a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty during a meeting in the Oval Office with the Romanian president.

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