Trump sees wildfire areas, consoles those harmed by shooting
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — President Donald Trump on Saturday acknowledged Californians suffering from twin tragedies, walking through the ashes of a mobile home and RV park in a small northern town all but destroyed by deadly wildfires and privately consoling people grieving after a mass shooting at a popular college bar outside Los Angeles.
“This has been a tough day when you look at all of the death from one place to the next,” Trump said before flying back to Washington.
Trump’s visits to areas of Northern and Southern California in the aftermath of unprecedented wildfires that have killed more than 70 people gave him what he sought in flying coast to coast and back in a single day — a grasp of the desolation in the heart of California’s killer wildfires.
“We’ve never seen anything like this in California, we’ve never seen anything like this yet. It’s like total devastation,” Trump said as he stood amid the ruins of Paradise, burned to the ground by a wildfire the president called “this monster.”
Before returning to Washington, Trump met briefly at an airport hangar with families and first responders touched by the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks more than a week ago, which left 12 dead in what Trump called “a horrible, horrible event.” Reporters and photographers were not allowed to accompany the president to the session, which Trump later described as emotional.
Florida’s 1st black nominee for gov challenged GOP dominance
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Andrew Gillum, who tried to energize Florida’s young and minority voters through a Democratic coalition seeking to end two decades of Republican control of the governor’s office, ended his hard-fought campaign Saturday as the state’s first black nominee for the post.
Gillum, whose refrain had been “bring it home” as he recounted stories of growing up poor in the state, concluded his campaign with a Facebook video he recorded alongside his wife in a park.
In his four-minute plus video , Gillum congratulated Republican Ron DeSantis and also vowed to remain politically active even though his term as mayor of the Florida capital of Tallahassee ends next week. Of his future plans, Gillum said: “stay tuned.”
Gillum, just 39 years old, earned national attention and financial backing from well-known liberal billionaires with his first bid for statewide office. He ran on a liberal platform that included expanding Medicaid and raising taxes to spend more on education even though both ideas would have been hard to pass through the GOP-controlled Legislature.
His final act as a candidate was less confrontational than that of another prominent African-American candidate in this year’s midterm elections: Stacy Abrams in neighboring Georgia ended her campaign for governor on Friday, ceding to a Republican with an unapologetically indignant tone establishing herself as a leading voting rights advocate.
Trump says report on Khashoggi’s death coming in 2 days
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Saturday that his administration will release a full report in the next two days about the death of a Saudi journalist, which has created a diplomatic conundrum for the president: How to admonish Riyadh for the killing yet maintain strong ties with a close ally in the Middle East.
“We’ll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday,” Trump said. That will include “who did it,” he said.
Reporters asked Trump about the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat has said the crown prince had “absolutely” nothing to do with it.
American intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, according to a U.S. official familiar with the assessment. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Others familiar with the case caution that while it’s likely that the crown prince was involved in the death, there continue to be questions about what role he played.
“The United States government is determined to hold all those responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable,” the State Department said in a statement. “Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate. There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.”
Democrat Cisneros nabs GOP House seat in Southern California
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democrat Gil Cisneros captured a Republican-held U.S. House seat in Southern California on Saturday, capping a Democratic rout in which the party picked up six congressional seats in the state.
In what had been the last undecided House contest in California, Cisneros beat Republican Young Kim for the state’s 39th District seat. The Cisneros victory cements a stunning political realignment that will leave a vast stretch of the Los Angeles metropolitan area under Democratic control in the House.
With Kim’s defeat, four Republican-held House districts all or partly in Orange County, California, a one-time nationally known GOP stronghold southeast of Los Angeles, will have shifted in one election to the Democratic column. The change means that the county — Richard Nixon’s birthplace and site of his presidential library — will only have Democrats representing its residents in Washington next year.
Democrats also recently picked up the last Republican-held House seat anchored in Los Angeles County, when Democrat Katie Hill ousted Republican Rep. Steve Knight.
With other gains — Republicans also lost a seat in the agricultural Central Valley — Democrats will hold a 45-8 edge in California U.S. House seats next year.
Migrants get cool reception in Mexican border town
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Many of the nearly 3,000 Central American migrants who have reached the Mexican border with California via caravan said Saturday they do not feel welcome in the city of Tijuana, where hundreds more migrants are headed after more than a month on the road.
The vast majority were camped at an outdoor sports complex, sleeping on a dirt baseball field and under bleachers with a view of the steel walls topped by barbed wire at the newly reinforced U.S.-Mexico border. The city opened the complex after other shelters were filled to capacity. Church groups provided portable showers, bathrooms and sinks. The federal government estimates the migrant crowd in Tijuana could soon swell to 10,000.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the migrants’ arrival an “avalanche” that the city is ill-prepared to handle, calculating that they will be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims. U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana’s main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.
While many in Tijuana are sympathetic to the migrants’ plight and trying to assist, some locals have shouted insults, hurled rocks and even thrown punches at the migrants.
It’s a stark contrast to the many Mexican communities that welcomed the caravan with signs, music and donations of clothing after it entered Mexico nearly a month ago. Countless residents of rural areas pressed fruit and bags of water into the migrants’ hands as they passed through southern Mexico, wishing them safe journeys.
Death toll rises to 76 in California fire as Trump visits
CHICO, Calif. (AP) — Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for and the death toll from the country’s deadliest wildfire in a century climbed to 76, authorities said Saturday, hours after President Donald Trump surveyed what remained of a decimated Northern California community.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea pleaded with fire evacuees to check the roster of people reported as unreachable by family and friends and to call in if they are safe. Deputies have located hundreds of people to date, but the overall number keeps growing because officials are adding names, including those reported as missing during the disaster’s chaotic early hours, Honea said.
“It’s really very important for you to take a look at the list and call us if you’re on the list,” he said.
The remains of five more people were found Saturday, including four in the decimated town of Paradise and one in nearby Concow, bringing the number of dead to 76.
Honea said among the dead was Lolene Rios, 56, whose son Jed tearfully told KXTV in Sacramento that his mother “had endless amount of love for me.”
Election shows how gerrymandering is difficult to overcome
With an election looming, courts earlier this year declared congressional districts in two states to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. One map was redrawn. The other was not.
The sharply contrasting outcomes that resulted on Election Day in Pennsylvania and North Carolina illustrate the importance of how political lines are drawn — and the stakes for the nation because that process helps determine which party controls Congress.
Pennsylvania flipped from a solid Republican congressional delegation to one evenly split under a map redrawn by court order, contributing to the Democratic takeover of the U.S. House. Despite an almost even split in the popular vote, North Carolina’s congressional delegation remained overwhelmingly Republican under a map drawn by the GOP.
“We did everything we could,” Democrat Kathy Manning said. “But we just could not overcome the gerrymandering, and that’s the way the district was designed to run.”
Manning held more than 400 campaign events, contacted tens of thousands of voters and had outspent the Republican incumbent in North Carolina’s 13th District — but still lost by 6 percentage points in a district Republicans drew to favor their candidates.
In defeat, Abrams casts aside traditional expectations
ATLANTA (AP) — Stacey Abrams broke the rules of politics until the very end.
The Georgia Democrat who came about 60,000 votes shy of becoming America’s first black woman governor refused to follow the traditional script for defeated politicians who offer gracious congratulations to their victorious competitor and gently exit the stage. Instead, Abrams ended her campaign in an unapologetically indignant tone that established herself as a leading voting rights advocate.
“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” Abrams said in a fiery 12-minute address. “But to watch an elected official … baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling.”
“So let’s be clear,” Abrams concluded, “this is not a speech of concession.”
Ending a race while pointedly refusing to concede would typically risk drawing a “sore loser” label that would be impossible to shake in any future political campaign. But Democrats and even some Republicans say she is likely to emerge from the closely fought governor’s race with her political future on solid ground.
Recount adds to Florida’s reputation for bungling elections
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Mark Toepfer came to this spit of sand on the Tampa Bay shore to soak up the sun, drink a beer and maybe do a little fishing — not to talk about elections.
But talk he did when asked for his thoughts on whether Florida, as a judge recently put it, is “the laughingstock of the world” when it comes to voting.
“We’re the only state that has problems year after year,” the shirtless 58-year-old said, shaking his head. “Why is it like this? Is it the people in charge? Are our machines not like other states’ machines? Fraud? Incompetence? It’s hard to say.”
With races for U.S. Senate and governor still officially undecided, the state’s latest recount only adds to its reputation for bungling elections. To much of the world, vote-counting confusion is as authentically Florida as jam-packed theme parks, alligators on golf courses and the ubiquity of Pitbull (the Miami rapper, not the dog).
Florida’s history of election woes dates back to 2000, when it took more than five weeks for the state to declare George W. Bush the victor over Vice President Al Gore by 537 votes, thus giving Bush the presidency. Back then, punch-card ballots were punch lines. Photos of election workers using magnifying glasses to search for hanging chads and pregnant chads symbolized the painstaking process.
2 dead in Texas crash of vintage World War II fighter plane
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (AP) — Two people were killed when a vintage World War II fighter plane crashed into the parking lot of an apartment complex in Fredericksburg, Texas Saturday, a state police spokesman said.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Orlando Moreno said the two people were on board the plane. He did not identify the dead.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the aircraft was destroyed and several automobiles damaged.
The World War II P-51D Mustang fighter crashed at about 3:15 p.m. Saturday. Photos from the crash site showed pieces of the plane on top of parked vehicles.
The Mustang was first built by North American Aviation in 1940 and was used by the U.S. military in World War II and the Korean War.
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