Donald Trump’s devoutly evangelical Christian vice president, Mike Pence, takes center stage at the Republican convention Wednesday with a speech likely aimed at voters worried about the president’s moral standing and leadership during the Covid-19 crisis.

Pence will speak from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the site in 1814 of a British bombardment against American revolutionaries that inspired the poem later turned into the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

That backdrop will give Pence a cinematic opportunity to make the patriotic case for Trump getting a second term in elections November 3, when he faces Democrat Joe Biden.

A former congressman and governor of the midwestern state of Indiana, Pence has taken on the role of a calm counterweight to Trump’s constant drama, one who is impeccably conservative and manifestly religious.

Trump needs the well-organized evangelical Christian community to turn out to vote in what likely will be a tight election.

When Trump’s 2016 candidacy was almost derailed by the emergence of an old recording of him boasting about being able to grab women “by the pussy,” it was Pence who helped stem the damage.

Trump carries the baggage of a former playboy real estate tycoon — one who has faced multiple accusations of harassment and sexual assault.

But Pence has the look of a pious man, who reportedly refuses so much as to eat alone with a woman other than his wife, Karen.

And he is playing an important part in Trump’s reelection, crisscrossing the country, with an emphasis on swing states, to drum up support.

– Serious about coronavirus –

Pence has similarly served as the White House’s sober pointman on the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 180,000 Americans since Trump’s initial, erroneous prediction that it would disappear without trouble.

Where Trump has veered radically between dismissing the pandemic and grimly embracing a self-declared role as a “wartime president,” Pence has shouldered the unglamorous role of White House coronavirus task force coordinator.

Polls show that almost two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with Trump’s performance during the pandemic.

Pence’s opponent in the race, Democratic vice presidential pick Kamala Harris, will be attacking Trump on his coronavirus record at a speech on Thursday in Washington, DC, the same day that Trump is due to give his main acceptance speech of the Republican convention at the White House.

According to the Biden campaign, Harris will zoom in “on President Trump’s failures to contain Covid-19 and protect working families from the economic fallout.”

Pence is likely to use Wednesday’s speech to reassure voters that Trump has done everything possible to get the contagion under control and to care for an economy severely damaged by anti-virus shutdowns and social distancing.

The speech in Baltimore will follow two days of appearances by Trump boosters at the Republican convention, including First Lady Melania Trump, who on Tuesday defended the president as “an authentic person who loves this country.”

Trump has dipped repeatedly into his reality TV background to keep convention viewers on their toes — and himself in the camera frame.

On Tuesday, he made appearances in the White House, handing out a pardon to a convicted bank robber turned reform advocate, and attending a surprise naturalization ceremony for five new citizens.

There was no word from the White House on how Trump will get on stage Wednesday, but Thursday he will have it all to himself, live from the White House.


Sebastian Smith


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Guilfoyle’s loud RNC speech makes her the comics’ favorite

Kimberly Guilfoyle speaks as she tapes her speech for the first day of the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Kimberly Guilfoyle speaks as she tapes her speech for the first day of the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

NEW YORK (AP) — Look at it this way, Kimberly Guilfoyle. It could have been a lot worse.

The former Fox News personality was fortunate that her high-decibel speech at the Republican National Convention came on a week when two of television’s top three late-night comics — Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel — were off.

A marginal celebrity headed into the convention, the lawyer and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. had an indelible moment with a cheerleading speech that concluded with her shout of “the best is yet to come” to an empty theater.

Stephen Colbert mimicked poking his head out from under a table after playing a clip of Guilfoyle on CBS’ “Late Show.”

“Is the loud lady gone?” he said. “I was scared.

“This is the first time in my life I had to turn down the volume on C-SPAN,” said Colbert, performing to an audience of his wife in his CBS office. “I’m glad we already have kids, because I think I was sterilized by that.”

He called Guilfoyle a “vengeful banshee who will haunt your dreams.”

On “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah said Guilfoyle’s speech was so loud that Canada called the cops.

“I want to wish a speedy recovery for anyone who watched the convention on headphones,” he said. “I’m praying for you.”

The Internet was flooded with online memes, some of which depicted Guilfoyle as a darkly sinister figure surrounded by thunderstorms and flames. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” ran portions of her speech side-by-side with Dwight Schrute’s classic award acceptance speech in “The Office.”

Somewhere, Kimmel was taking notes. He’s taking the entire summer off and David Spade, Tuesday’s guest host on Kimmel’s ABC show, made no mention of Guilfoyle or the convention in Tuesday’s monologue.

Fallon’s “Tonight” show is dark for the week. That stands in contrast to Colbert, who is doing the “Late Show” live for the two weeks of the convention. Noah has expanded his “Daily Social Distancing Show” to five nights instead of four during the conventions.

“We live in a plague-scarred hellscape where 180,000 people have died, and we can’t go to a movie or hug our grandparents,” Noah said Tuesday. “But then, I watched the convention, and guys, it turns out that Donald Trump has really done a good job by preventing all that from happening.”

He said the convention is trying to portray failure as achievement.

“Good on Republicans for seeing the glass of bleach half-full,” he said.

His jokes during the Democratic convention were decidedly milder, including one routine that mocked Joe Biden’s penchant for calling people he barely knows on the telephone.

“When I was watching the convention, I grew self-conscious,” Noah said. “How come I haven’t gotten a phone call from Joe Biden? Am I a bad person? Does he hate me? Am I on airplane mode?”

HBO’s John Oliver teased Democrats for the repeated use of the word “decent” to describe their candidate. Given the appearances of Colin Powell, Meg Whitman and John Kasich at the Democratic convention, he said it will be hard to convince progressives that it was a forward-looking party when it looked like a Zoom reunion of the 2008 Republican convention.

The comics have already telegraphed their target for Wednesday’s session of the GOP program. Noah called Vice President Mike Pence “the human version of the soft padding they put on the walls of music studios.” Colbert pretended to fall asleep in the middle of saying Pence’s name.

“I needed coffee to stay awake before I said the words ‘Mike Pence,’” he said.



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Kanye West sues Ohio election head to get on November ballot

FILE - In this Sunday, July 19, 2020, file photo, Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, in North Charleston, S.C. West has filed signatures in Wisconsin to run for president as an independent candidate in November. West sued Ohio's election chief Wednesday, August 26, 2020 in an effort to be placed on the November presidential ballot after the Secretary of State deemed him unqualified as an independent candidate. (Lauren Petracca Ipetracca/The Post And Courier via AP, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Rapper Kanye West sued Ohio’s election chief Wednesday in an effort to be placed on the November presidential ballot after the Secretary of State deemed him unqualified as an independent candidate.

West’s emergency filing against Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose comes days after the election’s chief rejected the nearly 15,000 signatures and other paperwork the rapper submitted earlier this month in an attempt to run for president, citing mismatched information on the signature-gathering documents.

In the complaint, attorneys for West’s campaign in Ohio allege that it is LaRose’s duty to accept any petition for an independent candidate as long as there is no protest filed against the petition and it doesn’t violate Ohio law.

Ohio was one of a number of states that denied West’s petition to appear on their ballot last week. On Friday, the state elections board in Illinois said West hadn’t submitted enough petition signatures and wouldn’t be on the ballot. On Thursday, Wisconsin election officials decided to keep West off the battleground state’s presidential ballot because his campaign turned in his nomination papers moments after the deadline, while officials in Montana also said he fell short of petitions.

Earlier this month, West without explanation withdrew his petition to appear as a presidential candidate on New Jersey’s ballot. He also missed deadlines or was rejected in numerous other states this summer, including California, Florida and Pennsylvania.

West is currently on the ballot in states that include Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Vermont.

The business mogul publicly supported Republican President Donald Trump before announcing his own presidential bid on July 4.

GOP operatives in various key states have been helping West with his White House bid in what Democrats see as an effort to siphon votes away from Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

While West has seen momentum in some states, it remains unclear what the status of his presidential campaign is less than three months from election day. His wife, Kim Kardashian West, asked for the public’s empathy and said West is bipolar after he delivered a controversial address at his campaign introduction speech in South Carolina last month where he proposed a $1 million payout to mothers and decried Harriet Tubman for her work on the Underground Railroad.


Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus contributed to this report. Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.



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50 Cent Talks ‘Power,’ Cancel Culture, Wealth Redistribution and Kanye West’s Election ‘Tampering’

Ellise Shafer

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson doesn’t think he can be canceled.

The rapper and television producer, whose newest project, “Power Book II: Ghost” premieres on Starz Sept. 6, said during Variety‘s Entertainment Marketing Summit presented by Deloitte that he doesn’t care whether people love him or hate him – as long as they care.

“I’m an entertainer, so to entertain is, I believe, to provoke emotion,” Jackson told Variety‘s Andrew Wallenstein. “…I don’t believe I can be canceled. They gotta go to jail to get canceled, they gotta shoot a girl,” he said, possibly referencing rapper Tory Lanez’s alleged shooting of Megan Thee Stallion. “You gotta do something extremely bad to be canceled, and I think it’s so unfair to the people that are canceled.”

50 certainly isn’t a stranger to risk, whether that be on social media or within the entertainment industry. When “Power” first got picked up by Starz, Jackson was only making $17,000 per episode because the network was concerned it wouldn’t connect. But now, with the show having spawned four spin-offs and a new series — “Twenty Four Seven,” starring T.I. — in the works for CBS All Access, he has truly hit his stride.

Although “Power” was originally targeted for a female audience, as the show has grown and developed, so has its demographic.

“The gradual process of the show growing in audience each year — with different marketing campaigns to allow it to grow to a different demographic and a bigger audience every time — is, I think, a huge contribution to it,” Jackson said. “My core audience is not going to the nightclub anymore, they’re grown. Mary J. Blige and Method Man are in that boat — like, those are my stars. I’m looking at them and I’m excited about music, culture and art… to be able to have them participate and be a part of it now is almost a dream sequence.”

And, with “Power Book II: Ghost” centering around college-aged Tariq St. Patrick, 50 believes his audience will become even younger. However, he believes most of the consumers of his content actually hail from middle America, as opposed to big cities.

“It’s exciting for them to understand what’s going on in the cities and understand the slang and understand everything else about our culture,” he said, contending that people are interested in those with more damaged backgrounds than they have grown up with.

“Hip-hop culture loves things that are damaged. It loves people who are already broken from the experience,” he said. “Even when you look at Cardi B, when you look at the new artists, they come from rough backgrounds, like really rough, and this is why they say the shock value goes over pretty well.”

Speaking of shock value, Jackson said he feels cancel culture is unfair, citing its biggest target as heterosexual males.

“If you say something about someone who chooses something different, there’s organizations set up to start sending things around to get signatures and stuff. And tell me this, as a heterosexual male, who’s going to send things around to get signatures based on your failures? There’s no one. There’s no organization,” Jackson said. “Certain demographics have been conditioned because they’ve been taken advantage of in the earliest stages. Once inferior, now they’re superior because we have no organization. The biggest target is heterosexual males in general.”

Instead, Jackson thinks that America should set its sights on solving poverty and the homelessness crisis by redistributing wealth.

“The top guys, the leading shareholders, the major corporations around here, if you took 10% of what they have, it wouldn’t change 1% of anything that goes on in their lives. There would still be the same lifestyle, their entire life. Right?” 50 said. “We wouldn’t even have a homeless issue. This is what the fight is about, the whole major issue… is between Democrats and Republicans.”

Though 50 said he tries not to get too political, he shared some thoughts about this year’s election, specifically concerning Kanye West’s involvement.

“You see Kanye and the things that he’s doing, I wonder if Trump is not re-elected, does he go to jail for tampering with an election?” 50 said. “One of the weaker points for Trump would be the Black vote. So to have Kanye come in, somebody is going to vote for him and it’s probably someone who isn’t going to vote for Trump… It just creates noise. There’s a legitimate attempt at winning the election just by being in it, and I don’t know to whose benefit it is. I know it means nothing when Trump wins again.”

Watch the full conversation above.

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Meghan Markle teams up with Gloria Steinem to stress the importance of voting

Meghan Markle teams up with Gloria Steinem to stress the importance of voting
Meghan Markle teams up with Gloria Steinem to stress the importance of voting

Meghan Markle has partnered with feminist icon Gloria Steinem to stress the importance of voting in November’s U.S. election.

The 39-year-old former Suits star sat down for a “historic backyard chat” with the political activist, 86, as captured by the MAKERS Women Instagram account.

During their conversation, the two women sat outside to discuss representation, why each vote matters and how all women ‘are linked, not ranked’.

“Meg, welcome home. I’m so glad that you’re home,” Gloria began, as the Duchess added, “Thank you… Me too, for so many reasons.”

Meghan, who recently returned to America from England with young son Archie and husband Prince Harry, after the couple stepped down from their roles as senior royals, also spoke about the importance of women voting in the upcoming election.

“People forget how hard women like you and so many others before you fought for us to just be where we are right now,” Meghan reflected.

“If you don’t vote, you don’t exist,” Gloria replied. “It is the only place we’re all equal, the voting booth. What worries me the most are young people, who I understand are the least likely to vote and I can understand the feeling that they don’t think they have an impact.

“Yet, it’s more important for them to vote than anyone else because they’re going to be alive long after I am, and they’re going to be suffering the consequences.”

Meghan, in a break from royal protocol, has been very vocal about the importance of voting, and recently urged young fans to exercise their right to vote, insisting it “will make the difference in this election”.

Gloria was recently immortalised on the small screen by Rose Byrne in TV series Mrs. America.

© Cover Media



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‘West Wing’ reunion episode to boost Michelle Obama’s voter drive

Martin Sheen played fiercely intellectual and morally virtuous Democratic president Josiah Bartlet in "The West Wing"
Martin Sheen played fiercely intellectual and morally virtuous Democratic president Josiah Bartlet in “The West Wing”

The cast of acclaimed political TV drama “The West Wing” will reunite for a special episode in aid of Michelle Obama’s voter turnout drive, HBO Max announced Tuesday.

Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe and Allison Janney will reprise their roles as members of a fictional Democratic administration, in support of the “When We All Vote” campaign ahead of November’s election.

The special — to air this fall — will be filmed on a Los Angeles theater stage, and will re-enact the “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode from season three of the multiple Emmy-winning NBC drama.

It will be the first time the original, surviving cast and creator Aaron Sorkin have reunited in 17 years, a statement from streaming platform HBO Max said.

“We had such a unique and wonderful experience that we don’t want to go back and have a lesser version of it,” Bradley Whitford, who played razor-sharp White House deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman, told NBC’s Today Show.

“This was a way to use us getting back together… to make a statement about getting people out to vote.”

The show ran from 1999-2006, collecting 26 Emmys including four consecutive best drama prizes.

It depicted the inner workings of the White House, focusing on the relationships between staffers against a backdrop of Washington intrigue, domestic elections and geopolitics.

“The West Wing” developed an almost cult following and gripped audiences around the world, but ended after its seventh season amid declining audiences and the death of co-star John Spencer.

The show’s portrayal of a fiercely intellectual and morally virtuous Democratic president (Sheen) was criticized by some on the political right who dubbed it “The Left Wing.”

The “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode saw Whitford’s character scheme to win over voters in a remote, fictional New Hampshire town of the same name where ballots are counted immediately and always predict the winner of that state’s primary.

When We All Vote is an outreach group co-chaired by Obama, who was first lady from 2009-17, actor Tom Hanks and others to increase participation at the polls.




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Fired White House lawyer alleges retaliation by Trump – Democratic lawmakers

Jonathan Landay
FILE PHOTO: House Intelligence Committee holds hearing as part of Trump impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: House Intelligence Committee holds hearing as part of Trump impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill in Washington

By Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former White House lawyer contends he was fired for reporting concerns about President Donald Trump’s efforts to have Ukraine investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and about alleged legal and ethical breaches by Trump’s national security adviser, Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman filed an Aug. 18 complaint making the allegations with the Pentagon watchdog, the chairs of three U.S. House of Representatives committees said in a letter to acting Pentagon Inspector General Sean O’Donnell.

The lawmakers said Vindman also alleged National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and National Security Council Chief of Staff Alex Gray misused government resources, excluded women from meetings, and made sexist and demeaning remarks to female NSC staffers.

They urged O’Donnell to investigate whether Trump fired Vindman as deputy National Security Council legal adviser in retaliation for filing confidential reports with his superiors containing his allegations.


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