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Trump tells Muslim Leaders: We are not here to Lecture

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Political Editor – LeNora Millen

President Donald Trump offered a message of unity Sunday as he urged the Arab world to confront extremism during a highly anticipated speech in the birthplace of Islam.

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” the president said to dozens of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia. During his speech, Trump defined the struggle against extremism as “a battle between good and evil.”

Trump called on leaders to unite and do whatever is necessary to defeat Islamist extremists, by making an impassioned plea to “drive out” terrorists. Campaign rhetoric against Muslims and his impassioned plea was noticeable in that Trump toned down his harsh rhetoric about Muslims.

Radical Islamic Terrorism—words Trump criticized then-President Obama for not using were also not mentioned in Trump’s speech. The seemingly calculated move may have been a signal that he heeded advice to employ a more moderate tone in the region after using the phrase repeatedly as a presidential candidate.

Trump singled out Iran as a major source of funding and support for militant groups. His words aligned with the views of his Saudi Arabian hosts and sent a tough message to Tehran the day after Hassan Rouhani won a second term as Iran’s president.

“Terrorism has spread all across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land,” Trump told leaders from about 50 Muslim-majority countries representing more than a billion people.

“A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists. Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship, drive them out of your communities, drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth.”

Trump’s first speech abroad set the stage for him to show his strength and resolve, in contrast to attempting to distract from the scandal after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

In stark contrast to Trump’s campaign rhetoric and his labeling Muslims once as evil, he described the conflict in the region as one between good and evil, not between civilizations.  In a matter of fact tone—Trump said that Washington would partner with the Middle East but expected more action in return.

“There is still much work to be done. That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism, and the Islamists, and Islamic terror of all kinds,” he said. Observers who were privy to the advance excerpts of the speech were aware of the words “Islamist extremism” written in the speech, yet not uttered by Trump. A White House official pointed to Trump’s fatigue for the switch. “Just an exhausted guy,” she told reporters.

The term “Islamist extremism” refers to Islamism as a political movement rather than Islam as a religion, a distinction that Trump had often criticized the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama, for making.

As a candidate, Trump proposed temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States. As President, he ordered temporary bans on people from several Muslim-majority countries, which were blocked by courts that ruled they were discriminatory.

Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders, who seemed to look past his campaign rhetoric, focusing on Trump’s promise of addressing Iran’s influence in the region, a commitment they viewed as lacking in Obama.

“For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” Trump said. “It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this very room.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (L) receives U.S. President Donald Trump for the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.

Making no mention of human rights concerns, the Trump administration framed the massive military deal Saturday as an opportunity to create potentially tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S., adding that it would also reduce the burden on U.S. military forces by bolstering the kingdom’s ability to provide for its own security.

The Trump administration’s deal includes tanks, helicopters, combat ships, Patriot and THAAD missiles, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology.

Under President Barack Obama, Washington backed Saudi Arabia in its Yemen war with logistical support, including refueling of coalition aircraft by the U.S. military, and intelligence sharing.

A report by the D.C. based Center for International Policy cited the Obama administration as offering over $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in 42 separate deals, more than any other U.S. administration. The Obama administration’s decision to pull back on some military sales underscored the tense relations with Saudi Arabia.

Human Rights Watch described the sale as rewarding “Saudi war crimes” with weapons. The rights group has documented 81 apparently unlawful coalition attacks since the start of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. The rights group says it was able to identify American weapons had been used in many of those attacks.

“Not only Trump failing to acknowledge human rights, but he praised Saudi Arabia for its strong action in Yemen,” said Kristine Beckerle, a Saudi Arabia researcher for Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International said the “glaring absence of human rights from Trump’s agenda” in talks with Gulf Arab rulers will only embolden further violations against critics, peaceful dissidents, and human rights defenders.

Both rights group have called on the U.S. to immediately halt all arms transfers that could be used by members of the Saudi coalition in Yemen.

Soon after Trump embarked upon his trip on Friday, he was hit with more accusations surrounding Comey’s firing. A federal investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia last year is ongoing and creating much concern for the Trump administration,

 

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Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired by Morgan Stanley for Alleged Misconduct

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Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley following allegations of misconduct, NBC confirmed on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. The allegations were presented after a woman who was not employed at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting.

Mr. Ford’s termination reported by HuffPost as an exclusive has been challenged by the former Congressman as “false claims.”

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”CreditMike Groll/Associated Press

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating in a tweet on Thursday that he will be bringing legal action against the reporter, for making false claims against him, as well as Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.

“This simply did not happen,” Mr. Ford wrote. “I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.” He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that “false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.”

Mr. Ford served five terms in Congress as a Democrat representing a Tennessee district after first being elected in 1996—serving as Congressman from 1997 to 207.

He joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and senior client-relationship manager in 2011 as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser at Bank of America.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior toppling key figures in the entertainment and political arena, Mr. Ford is the latest high profiled man to lose his job in recent days for similar allegations.

Time magazine on Wednesday named the “Silence Breakers” its Person of the Year. They shared personal stories about harassment and assault and sparked the #MeToo movement.

According to Time, the #MeToo became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage.

In a tweet acknowledging his thoughts on the “Silence Breaker” quite pointed in his statement, Mr. Ford said the following in regards to news of his firing on Thursday, “This simply did not happen.  I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.”

In another tweet, Mr. Ford spoke about his professional demeanor and his tremendous respect for the brave women speaking out “in this important national dialogue.”  Mr. Ford was pointed in stating that false claims alleged against him “undermine the real “Silence Breakers.”

Mr. Ford appeared as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” MSNBC – which is owned by NBC 4 New York’s parent company.

“We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,” a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. “During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.”

LeNora Millen            12-7-17

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TV One Cancels Roland Martin’s Morning Show ‘News One Now’

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TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “News One Now,” Roland made the announcement in a tweet Wednesday.

“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsnewOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year,” Martin tweeted.

Martin, who thanked audiences for their support, said the last episode will air on Dec. 21.

Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” was cancelled due to budget cuts according to various reports from reliable sources.

“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show. They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back,” a source said. “After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. The last live show is scheduled [Dec. 21],” TV One’s interim GM, Michelle Rice wrote in a memo.

Host of “News One Now” Roland Martin speaks on stage during ColorofChange.org 10 Year Anniversary Gala. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for ColorOfChange)

The news of “NewsOne Now” cancellation shocked Martin and staffers according to sources. The network had recently expanded the morning show to two hours in September.

The memo added: “While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”

The network issued a statement on Twitter that read, “We are committed to providing quality news to our viewers and to our long-standing relationship with @rolandsmartin #NewsOneNow who will continue to have a voice on #TVOne.”

LeNora Millen         12-07-17

 

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Editor Picks

President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Why declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is so controversial?

The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the United States declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would be seen as prejudging that question, deciding an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations and breaking with the international consensus on the holy city.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital also moves the United States one major step closer to relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be seen as cementing Israeli sovereignty over the city.

More from CNN…

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