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Weekly Washington Wrap
The Game Played On – Congress will play as scheduled tonight a charity baseball game despite yesterday’s shooting of Republican lawmakers at a ball field in Alexandria, Virginia. The annual bipartisan charity event is slated for 7:05 pm at Nationals Park.
No Where to Hide – The politically-motivated shooting happened around 7 yesterday morning when a shooter consumed by his hatred for Republicans opened fire on GOP lawmakers who were practicing for the charity baseball game. If not for the quick and heroic actions of Capitol Police who were on the scene providing protection detail for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), fellow lawmakers say it would have been a catastrophic massacre as members were on an open ballfield without any cover and security protection. Congressman Scalise is listed in critical condition after taking a bullet to the hip. The shooter was 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois who belonged to a number of anti-Republican groups, including one called “Terminate the Republican Party.” He was shot by police and later died. Hodgkinson posted angry and profane tweets about President Trump on social media and was an avid supporter of Vermont socialist Senator and Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, volunteering on Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Republican Congressman Rodney Davis who was at bat when Hodgkinson opened fire specifically blamed “political rhetorical terrorism” – heated rhetoric on social media and in the 24-hour news cycle – for the shooting that left several wounded. “This is the result, I believe, of political rhetorical terrorism. That has to stop,” he said in urging Republicans and Democrats to “stand together.” In recent weeks, CNN fired Kathy Griffin following wide spread condemnation for a photo that showed the comedian holding up a bloody head resembling that of President Trump. The network also let go a documentary show host following a series of profane anti-Trump tweets.
New York Times Rebuked – The New York Times was forced to correct an offensive editorial published yesterday in the wake of the shooting of Congressman Scalise and his Republican colleagues. The Times’ editorial stated as fact a long debunked theory that the gunman who shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in 2011 was inspired by a political map circulated by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The editorial, titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” erroneously linked the Palin political spot to the shooting and was widely criticized on social media. In fact, documents found in a search of the gunman’s home after he wounded the congresswoman and killed six people in Tucson, Arizona showed he had planned the shooting well in advance of anything Palin had posted and had absolutely nothing to do with her. After the fallout from the smear, the Times was forced to come clean with this correction: “An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.”
Makin’ the Case in Calgary
Your former US Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, never heard of summer break. Today finds him up in Calgary where he keynoted the Alberta Chamber of Resource’s Mid-Year Meeting. There was lots of talk about NAFTA and our energy relationship as late summer renegotiations for the big trade deal loom.
Talking trade in Calgary
While in Calgary, it was wonderful to catch up with our good friends from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Tim McMillan and Katie Kachur.
Coulda Been a Cowboy
You can’t go to Calgary without stopping by the rodeo. That’s where Wilkins caught up with US Consul General in Calgary Tom Palaia and US Charge d'Affairs Elizabeth Aubin.
Shoulda remembered your western wear!
Winners at the White House
David and Susan Wilkins began their week at the White House where President Trump hosted the national championship Clemson Tigers football team.
The Tigers got to tour the White House and were bragged on big time by the President for their big time win against Alabama at the College Football Playoff National Championship in January.
Two of the squad’s top stars – now playing for the NFL – were also there. The Houston Texans owner flew Deshaun Watson and Carlos Watkins to Washington to join Coach Dabo Swinney and their teammates.
“Clemson Tigers, you gave America an incredible game that will go down in the record books as one of the hardest fought and probably one of the most exciting games ever played. Last second — boomf. That’s pretty good, Coach. Good job, Coach,” President Trump said to Coach Swinney and the Clemson crowd gathered on the White House lawn.
Thumbs up for Clemson from the White House!
Live from the White House! David, Dabo Swinney, Susan Wilkins, Senator Lindsey Graham and Coach Swinney’s son, Will Swinney.
They Said What?
- "Are these the Republicans or the Democrats?” – Gunman James T. Hodgkinson’s question to South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan when he arrived at the ballfield before firing more than 50 rounds on the Republican lawmakers yesterday.
- "I was up to bat and I heard a loud noise that I thought was a construction site dropping a large piece of metal, and the next thing I heard was one of my colleagues, or somebody else on the field, saying, 'Run, he's got a gun.' So that's exactly what I did,” – Illinois Republican Congressman Rodney Davis recounting yesterday’s ballfield shooting.
- “One down, 216 to go…did you NOT expect this?” – Anonymous email sent to the office of Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-NY) only moments after the shooting.
- “Unbelievable. The Times is still peddling this despicable lie. This is shockingly dishonest,” – Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto on the New York Times’ smearing of Sarah Palin.
- “I have never met with or had a conversation with Russians regarding interference with the election. The suggestion that I participated in collusion to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, is an appalling and detestable lie,” – Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a public hearing Tuesday.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.