Category Archives: World

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US Imposes New Sanctions Targeting North Korea

The U.S. sanctioned a China-based firm Thursday and its Russian subsidiary connected to North Korea, the latest in the Trump administration’s attempts to end Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Lawmakers applauded the move as they received an update from administration officials on U.S. sanctions countering Russian aggression and Chinese human rights violations. VOA’s congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson has more from Capitol Hill.

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Cuomo Defeats Nixon in NY Gubernatorial Primary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo overcame a primary challenge from activist and actress Cynthia Nixon on Thursday, thwarting her attempt to become the latest insurgent liberal to knock off an establishment Democrat.

Cuomo, who always led in the polls and outspent his rival more than 8 to 1, seldom mentioned Nixon by name during an often-nasty campaign, instead touting his experience, achievements in two terms as governor and his work to push back against President Donald Trump.

“You cannot be a progressive if you cannot deliver progress. And a New York progressive is not just a dreamer, but we are doers,” Cuomo said at a campaign rally the night before the vote. “We make things happen.”

With registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans more than 2 to 1 in New York, Cuomo becomes the automatic front-runner in November’s matchup against Republican Marc Molinaro and independent Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Nixon thanks supporters

Nixon, a longtime education activist and actress best known for her Emmy-winning role as lawyer Miranda Hobbes on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” was counting on a boost from liberals looking to oust establishment politicians. She called herself a democratic socialist and pointed to recent congressional primary victories by New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts’ Ayanna Pressley as evidence that underdog challengers can defy the odds.

Nixon thanked supporters Thursday in Brooklyn, saying that together they helped push Cuomo to the left and show that liberals have a shot at making big changes.

 

“Before we take our country back we have to take our party back,” she said. “This is an incredible moment for progressives but it’s not just a moment. It’s a movement.”

Attorney general

Elsewhere on the ballot, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James won a four-way Democratic primary for attorney general in a race that was a competition over who could best use the office to antagonize President Donald Trump.

James, 59, would become the first black woman to hold a statewide elected office in New York if she prevails in the general election, where she will be heavily favored. She defeated a deep field of fellow Democrats: U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout and former Hillary Clinton adviser Leecia Eve.

The winner in November will inherit several pending lawsuits filed by the state that challenge Trump’s policies and accuse his charitable foundation of breaking the law.

James faces little-known Republican attorney Keith Wofford in the general election in November.

If she wins in November, James would also become the first woman elected attorney general, though not the first to hold the job. New York’s current attorney general, Democrat Barbara Underwood, was appointed to replace Schneiderman. She declined to run for election.

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Cuomo Defeats Nixon in NY Gubernatorial Primary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo overcame a primary challenge from activist and actress Cynthia Nixon on Thursday, thwarting her attempt to become the latest insurgent liberal to knock off an establishment Democrat.

Cuomo, who always led in the polls and outspent his rival more than 8 to 1, seldom mentioned Nixon by name during an often-nasty campaign, instead touting his experience, achievements in two terms as governor and his work to push back against President Donald Trump.

“You cannot be a progressive if you cannot deliver progress. And a New York progressive is not just a dreamer, but we are doers,” Cuomo said at a campaign rally the night before the vote. “We make things happen.”

With registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans more than 2 to 1 in New York, Cuomo becomes the automatic front-runner in November’s matchup against Republican Marc Molinaro and independent Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Nixon thanks supporters

Nixon, a longtime education activist and actress best known for her Emmy-winning role as lawyer Miranda Hobbes on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” was counting on a boost from liberals looking to oust establishment politicians. She called herself a democratic socialist and pointed to recent congressional primary victories by New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts’ Ayanna Pressley as evidence that underdog challengers can defy the odds.

Nixon thanked supporters Thursday in Brooklyn, saying that together they helped push Cuomo to the left and show that liberals have a shot at making big changes.

 

“Before we take our country back we have to take our party back,” she said. “This is an incredible moment for progressives but it’s not just a moment. It’s a movement.”

Attorney general

Elsewhere on the ballot, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James won a four-way Democratic primary for attorney general in a race that was a competition over who could best use the office to antagonize President Donald Trump.

James, 59, would become the first black woman to hold a statewide elected office in New York if she prevails in the general election, where she will be heavily favored. She defeated a deep field of fellow Democrats: U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout and former Hillary Clinton adviser Leecia Eve.

The winner in November will inherit several pending lawsuits filed by the state that challenge Trump’s policies and accuse his charitable foundation of breaking the law.

James faces little-known Republican attorney Keith Wofford in the general election in November.

If she wins in November, James would also become the first woman elected attorney general, though not the first to hold the job. New York’s current attorney general, Democrat Barbara Underwood, was appointed to replace Schneiderman. She declined to run for election.

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Trump Tariffs Put Missouri Senate Candidate Hawley in a Bind

The fate of a Missouri nail manufacturer suffering under President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs has put Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley in a bind between his support for the president’s trade strategy and a local plant that says it could be forced to close.

Mid Continent Nail Corporation says it could shutter its Poplar Bluff plant, which employs about 335 workers, as early as this month without an exemption to tariffs, the site’s Operations General Manager Chris Pratt told reporters in early September. The company previously had said that it might not survive through Labor Day but stayed open.

After Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on imported steel, the company in June cut 60 of 500 positions at the plant in rural Butler County, where the unemployment rate is above the national average and the company is the area’s second-largest employer. Pratt said many employees also have left because of the uncertainty, and the company is not replacing those workers.

“Right now we’re counting on Josh Hawley, who says he has a good relationship with President Trump, to save the 500 jobs in Poplar Bluff, Missouri,” Pratt said after Labor Day.

Trump imposed tariffs in March, saying a reliance on imported metals threatened national security. He initially exempted Canada, Mexico and the European Union to buy time for trade negotiations, but tariffs for those countries took effect in May after talks stalled.

Mid Continent is owned by Deacero, a private Mexican company, which supplies steel for the nails made in Missouri. Company spokeswoman Elizabeth Heaton said nails are sold throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean and used for industrial pallets, crating for transportation and residential construction.

Hawley, the state attorney general, and Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill are sparring in one of the most closely-watched Senate races in the nation, with Republicans’ 51-49 majority at stake on November 6. Both candidates visited the plant after tariffs began and both say they’re fighting for Mid Continent, but the issue is more delicate for Hawley.

Missouri is one of several Senate races including North Dakota, Indiana and Montana, where Republican candidates are on the defensive as trading partners retaliate against agricultural and manufacturing products from the U.S. in response to Trump’s tariffs.

In Missouri, Hawley says he supports Trump’s goal of getting tough with trading partners to get better deals for the U.S. and urges patience to see results from the negotiations. The Trump administration recently said it reached a deal with Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement and is now negotiating with Canada to finalize it.

In an August letter to Deacero, Hawley says the company makes a strong case for an exemption and urges the Department of Commerce to grant it quickly.

But an exemption is unlikely to be granted quickly. The federal government has been deluged with requests for exemptions, the process is slow and some U.S. steel producers have objected to Mid Continent getting favorable treatment, saying the company could switch to U.S. suppliers.

Pratt said the plant also buys American steel, but he said there’s not enough to meet the company’s needs and noted that domestic prices rose steeply with the tariffs.

Hawley has also put pressure on the plant’s Mexican parent company to keep it open.

“As a company with a global presence and many locations, Deacero is clearly not struggling to make ends meet,” Hawley wrote in the letter. “The reality is that Deacero can afford to keep the factory open, and in turn, help keep men and women employed who simply want to do right by their families and earn a living.”

Democrat McCaskill has gone on the attack over the company’s plight, highlighting Mid Continent Nail during a June U.S. Senate hearing, pushing for the exemption and holding an August hearing in St. Louis to listen to concerns from Missouri businesses.

Instead of tariffs, McCaskill has advocated joining U.S. allies to take a stand against China’s unfair trade practices and spending more money to enforce current trade laws through the United States International Trade Commission.

In a recent Facebook post, she used the tariffs as an example to paint Hawley as a rubber stamp to Trump.

 

“All across the state, farmers and manufacturers are telling me how they’re being hurt by this trade war. That’s why I’m calling for it to end,” McCaskill wrote. “Hawley is supporting it because he doesn’t want an inch of daylight between him and President Trump.”

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Trump Tariffs Put Missouri Senate Candidate Hawley in a Bind

The fate of a Missouri nail manufacturer suffering under President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs has put Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley in a bind between his support for the president’s trade strategy and a local plant that says it could be forced to close.

Mid Continent Nail Corporation says it could shutter its Poplar Bluff plant, which employs about 335 workers, as early as this month without an exemption to tariffs, the site’s Operations General Manager Chris Pratt told reporters in early September. The company previously had said that it might not survive through Labor Day but stayed open.

After Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on imported steel, the company in June cut 60 of 500 positions at the plant in rural Butler County, where the unemployment rate is above the national average and the company is the area’s second-largest employer. Pratt said many employees also have left because of the uncertainty, and the company is not replacing those workers.

“Right now we’re counting on Josh Hawley, who says he has a good relationship with President Trump, to save the 500 jobs in Poplar Bluff, Missouri,” Pratt said after Labor Day.

Trump imposed tariffs in March, saying a reliance on imported metals threatened national security. He initially exempted Canada, Mexico and the European Union to buy time for trade negotiations, but tariffs for those countries took effect in May after talks stalled.

Mid Continent is owned by Deacero, a private Mexican company, which supplies steel for the nails made in Missouri. Company spokeswoman Elizabeth Heaton said nails are sold throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean and used for industrial pallets, crating for transportation and residential construction.

Hawley, the state attorney general, and Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill are sparring in one of the most closely-watched Senate races in the nation, with Republicans’ 51-49 majority at stake on November 6. Both candidates visited the plant after tariffs began and both say they’re fighting for Mid Continent, but the issue is more delicate for Hawley.

Missouri is one of several Senate races including North Dakota, Indiana and Montana, where Republican candidates are on the defensive as trading partners retaliate against agricultural and manufacturing products from the U.S. in response to Trump’s tariffs.

In Missouri, Hawley says he supports Trump’s goal of getting tough with trading partners to get better deals for the U.S. and urges patience to see results from the negotiations. The Trump administration recently said it reached a deal with Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement and is now negotiating with Canada to finalize it.

In an August letter to Deacero, Hawley says the company makes a strong case for an exemption and urges the Department of Commerce to grant it quickly.

But an exemption is unlikely to be granted quickly. The federal government has been deluged with requests for exemptions, the process is slow and some U.S. steel producers have objected to Mid Continent getting favorable treatment, saying the company could switch to U.S. suppliers.

Pratt said the plant also buys American steel, but he said there’s not enough to meet the company’s needs and noted that domestic prices rose steeply with the tariffs.

Hawley has also put pressure on the plant’s Mexican parent company to keep it open.

“As a company with a global presence and many locations, Deacero is clearly not struggling to make ends meet,” Hawley wrote in the letter. “The reality is that Deacero can afford to keep the factory open, and in turn, help keep men and women employed who simply want to do right by their families and earn a living.”

Democrat McCaskill has gone on the attack over the company’s plight, highlighting Mid Continent Nail during a June U.S. Senate hearing, pushing for the exemption and holding an August hearing in St. Louis to listen to concerns from Missouri businesses.

Instead of tariffs, McCaskill has advocated joining U.S. allies to take a stand against China’s unfair trade practices and spending more money to enforce current trade laws through the United States International Trade Commission.

In a recent Facebook post, she used the tariffs as an example to paint Hawley as a rubber stamp to Trump.

 

“All across the state, farmers and manufacturers are telling me how they’re being hurt by this trade war. That’s why I’m calling for it to end,” McCaskill wrote. “Hawley is supporting it because he doesn’t want an inch of daylight between him and President Trump.”

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The Latest: Cuomo, Nixon Vote in NY Primary Election

The Latest on New York’s Democratic primary (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and activist actress Cynthia Nixon have cast their votes in New York’s Democratic primary election.

Nixon posed for photos with supporters in Manhattan’s Union Square before she voted Thursday at a community center. Cuomo appeared at a polling station in suburban Mount Kisco with his girlfriend, Sandra Lee.

Democrats across New York are also choosing their candidates for attorney general and the state Legislature in the nation’s last primary election of 2018.

The most-watched race is the fiercely fought contest between Cuomo and Nixon.

She’s a high-profile example of an insurgent left-wing trying to oust establishment incumbents.

11 a.m.

Democrats across New York are choosing their candidates for governor, attorney general and the state Legislature in the nation’s last primary election of 2018.

The most-watched race is a fiercely fought contest between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and activist actress Cynthia Nixon.

She’s a high-profile example of an insurgent left-wing trying to oust establishment incumbents.

President Donald Trump might want to keep an eye on the attorney general primary.

Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and former Hillary Clinton adviser Leecia Eve have all vowed to be a legal thorn in the Republican president’s side.

Polls show that race very close going into election day.

Voting began in some cities early Thursday and starts in other places at noon.

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The Latest: Cuomo, Nixon Vote in NY Primary Election

The Latest on New York’s Democratic primary (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and activist actress Cynthia Nixon have cast their votes in New York’s Democratic primary election.

Nixon posed for photos with supporters in Manhattan’s Union Square before she voted Thursday at a community center. Cuomo appeared at a polling station in suburban Mount Kisco with his girlfriend, Sandra Lee.

Democrats across New York are also choosing their candidates for attorney general and the state Legislature in the nation’s last primary election of 2018.

The most-watched race is the fiercely fought contest between Cuomo and Nixon.

She’s a high-profile example of an insurgent left-wing trying to oust establishment incumbents.

11 a.m.

Democrats across New York are choosing their candidates for governor, attorney general and the state Legislature in the nation’s last primary election of 2018.

The most-watched race is a fiercely fought contest between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and activist actress Cynthia Nixon.

She’s a high-profile example of an insurgent left-wing trying to oust establishment incumbents.

President Donald Trump might want to keep an eye on the attorney general primary.

Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and former Hillary Clinton adviser Leecia Eve have all vowed to be a legal thorn in the Republican president’s side.

Polls show that race very close going into election day.

Voting began in some cities early Thursday and starts in other places at noon.

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Trump Criticized for Rejecting Puerto Rico Hurricanes’ Death Toll

U.S. President Donald Trump is facing fresh, harsh criticism for disputing the official death toll in Puerto Rico from last year’s hurricanes and alleging, without evidence, that opposition Democratic Party members inflated the numbers to make him look bad.

 

Trump said on Twitter Thursday morning, “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” referring to hurricanes Maria and Irma.

An independent study concluded the death toll from Hurricane Maria was nearly 3,000.

 

The reaction to Trump’s tweets on the matter has been fast and fierce.

“With 3,000 people dead, for the president to say that Puerto Rico was a success, a triumph of his presidency, is simply delusional,” Congressman Luis Gutierrez said on the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday morning. “And now, he denies that they are even dead.”

 

Gutierrez, who is of Puerto Rican heritage and represents the state of Illinois, was involved in the island’s recovery effort. He also accused Trump of “making a tremendous and deadly mistake in caring for the American people.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican from a state where many of those who fled the island have relocated, said he disagreed with the president.

“An independent study said thousands were lost,” Scott said on Twitter, adding that he has been to the island seven times and had seen the devastation firsthand.

 

Congressman Steny Hoyer, who as the Democratic whip holds the opposition party’s second highest position in the chamber, called the president’s comment “beyond comprehension and deeply offensive to the thousands of American families who lost loved ones.”

Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (the top representative of the president’s party in the chamber), had a conditional defense of Trump’s comments when questioned by a reporter.

 

“There is no reason to dispute these numbers,” Ryan replied, adding, however, “it was no one’s fault” that so many had died from a devastating storm hitting an isolated island.

Power was out for several months for much of the island, and damage from the storm still hampers the recovery of the Caribbean territory that is located about 1,600 kilometers southeast of the state of Florida and is home to 3.3 million people, who are U.S. citizens. About a quarter of a million residents were displaced.

 

A report by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, issued on Aug. 29, said vast numbers of Puerto Ricans died as a direct result of Hurricane Maria last September, far beyond the initial estimate of 64 deaths.

The report said many of the deaths occurred weeks later because of devastating damage to the Caribbean island’s electrical grid that curbed treatment for those with life-threatening injuries or medical conditions.

The death toll issue is making fresh headlines, as Hurricane Florence targets the southeastern U.S. coastal state. As the new storm approached, Trump, for days, revisited the U.S. government’s performance in handling the aftermath of Maria’s stunning blow to Puerto Rico and other hurricanes that hit the U.S. mainland last year.

Trump went to Puerto Rico after Maria hit, saying, “When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.”

The president added: “This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”

 

Some prominent Republicans are hesitating to criticize the president about the tweets. Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is the finance committee chairman, laughed when a reporter read excerpts to him on Thursday, responding: “I can’t really comment because I don’t know anything about it.”

 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, told reporters: “The death toll in Puerto Rico is abominable and abhorrent, and it’s a lesson in our need to do better for our fellow Americans, adding that “Puerto Rico is still a humanitarian crisis.”

The president views it differently.

“We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan),” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN that the president’s words added “insult to injury,” saying he had no idea what is going on there. She said Trump has “no empathy” for anything that doesn’t make him look good.

Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello said, “Now is not the time to pass judgment. It is time to channel every effort to improve the lives of over 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico.”

Ken Bredemeier contributed to this report. Michael Bowman and Katherine Gypson contributed from Capitol Hill.

 

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Trump Criticized for Rejecting Puerto Rico Hurricanes’ Death Toll

U.S. President Donald Trump is facing fresh, harsh criticism for disputing the official death toll in Puerto Rico from last year’s hurricanes and alleging, without evidence, that opposition Democratic Party members inflated the numbers to make him look bad.

 

Trump said on Twitter Thursday morning, “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” referring to hurricanes Maria and Irma.

An independent study concluded the death toll from Hurricane Maria was nearly 3,000.

 

The reaction to Trump’s tweets on the matter has been fast and fierce.

“With 3,000 people dead, for the president to say that Puerto Rico was a success, a triumph of his presidency, is simply delusional,” Congressman Luis Gutierrez said on the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday morning. “And now, he denies that they are even dead.”

 

Gutierrez, who is of Puerto Rican heritage and represents the state of Illinois, was involved in the island’s recovery effort. He also accused Trump of “making a tremendous and deadly mistake in caring for the American people.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican from a state where many of those who fled the island have relocated, said he disagreed with the president.

“An independent study said thousands were lost,” Scott said on Twitter, adding that he has been to the island seven times and had seen the devastation firsthand.

 

Congressman Steny Hoyer, who as the Democratic whip holds the opposition party’s second highest position in the chamber, called the president’s comment “beyond comprehension and deeply offensive to the thousands of American families who lost loved ones.”

Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (the top representative of the president’s party in the chamber), had a conditional defense of Trump’s comments when questioned by a reporter.

 

“There is no reason to dispute these numbers,” Ryan replied, adding, however, “it was no one’s fault” that so many had died from a devastating storm hitting an isolated island.

Power was out for several months for much of the island, and damage from the storm still hampers the recovery of the Caribbean territory that is located about 1,600 kilometers southeast of the state of Florida and is home to 3.3 million people, who are U.S. citizens. About a quarter of a million residents were displaced.

 

A report by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, issued on Aug. 29, said vast numbers of Puerto Ricans died as a direct result of Hurricane Maria last September, far beyond the initial estimate of 64 deaths.

The report said many of the deaths occurred weeks later because of devastating damage to the Caribbean island’s electrical grid that curbed treatment for those with life-threatening injuries or medical conditions.

The death toll issue is making fresh headlines, as Hurricane Florence targets the southeastern U.S. coastal state. As the new storm approached, Trump, for days, revisited the U.S. government’s performance in handling the aftermath of Maria’s stunning blow to Puerto Rico and other hurricanes that hit the U.S. mainland last year.

Trump went to Puerto Rico after Maria hit, saying, “When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.”

The president added: “This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”

 

Some prominent Republicans are hesitating to criticize the president about the tweets. Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is the finance committee chairman, laughed when a reporter read excerpts to him on Thursday, responding: “I can’t really comment because I don’t know anything about it.”

 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, told reporters: “The death toll in Puerto Rico is abominable and abhorrent, and it’s a lesson in our need to do better for our fellow Americans, adding that “Puerto Rico is still a humanitarian crisis.”

The president views it differently.

“We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan),” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN that the president’s words added “insult to injury,” saying he had no idea what is going on there. She said Trump has “no empathy” for anything that doesn’t make him look good.

Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello said, “Now is not the time to pass judgment. It is time to channel every effort to improve the lives of over 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico.”

Ken Bredemeier contributed to this report. Michael Bowman and Katherine Gypson contributed from Capitol Hill.

 

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Cyclist Who Flipped Off Trump’s Motorcade Runs for Office

The cyclist who flashed her middle finger at President Donald Trump’s motorcade says she’ll file paperwork to run for office in northern Virginia. 

Juli Briskman tells The Washington Post this week that she’ll file paperwork to challenge Suzanne M. Volpe, a Republican who represents the Algonkian District on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in 2019. Briskman says she will run on increasing transparency in local government, among other things. 

The 51-year-old marketing executive was on a bike ride in October 2017 and was photographed making the offensive gesture as Trump’s motorcade drove by.

Briskman told her bosses what happened after the photo went viral and was asked to leave her government contracting job or face termination. She sued and won her severance claim, but her wrongful-termination lawsuit was dismissed.   

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