Obama’s Charlottesville tweet makes history

Barack Obama, you are missed.

Image: isaac Brekken/Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

After a “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly on Saturday, former president Barack Obama reached out on Twitter to comfort Americans.

While President Trump was silent on the platform, refusing to address the violent clash between hate groups and protesters for hours, Obama shared a powerful message in the form of a Nelson Mandela quote about hate and the potential to love.

The first of Obama’s three tweets has since become the third most-liked tweet in history at the time of writing this article, according to Esquire.

The tweet, which featured a photograph of Obama peering at young children through a window, began the quote: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion…”

It quickly amassed over 2 million likes and 970,000 retweets, nearing other record-setting tweets like Ellen’s famous Oscars selfie, which got in impressive 2,419,012 likes back in 2014 and Ariana Grande’s 2017 tweet to fans after the deadly Manchester bombing attacks took place at one of her concerts. Grande’s emotional tweet currently holds the top spot on Twitter with 2,703,092 likes.

After his tweet, Obama then went on to finish the quote, writing “‘People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’ – Nelson Mandela.”

Obama was heavily praised for speaking up in wake of the tragic events that took place in Charlottesville, especially since Trump appeared reluctant to address the rally. Trump was criticized by notable political and cultural figures including Chelsea Clinton and J.K. Rowling.

Eventually, he condemned violence “on many sides,” but didn’t explicitly call out white supremacists.

Then, on Monday afternoon two days after the fact Trump gave an impromptu announcement to the press, while gazing deeply into his teleprompter.

After bragging about the current strength of the economy, the president publicly addressed those at fault for the violence, condemning the racist actions of members of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists.

Obama’s message just goes to show that quality of tweets is more valuable than quantity … take notes, Trump.

On Tuesday afternoon a spokesperson from Twitter informed Mashable that Obama’s tweet had become the second most liked tweet of all time and the fifth most retweeted. At 2,509,888 likes Obama’s Mandela quote bumped Ellen’s selfie down to third most liked tweet.

Obama only needs another 200,000 likes to break the most-liked tweet record, and we can bet Trump won’t be too happy about that.

UPDATE: Aug. 15, 2017, 12:54 p.m. UTC Updated to include additional information from Twitter.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/14/obama-charlottesville-virginia-tweet-breaks-records/

Chris Rock Takes Aim at Trump’s Charlottesville Response

Chris Rock, without wasting a second, took direct aim at Donald Trump’s condemnation of “bigotry and violence on many sides.”

Rashida Jones

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

“There’s so many!” the comedian quipped.

It was after sunset on Saturday, and Rock was joining billionaire Ron Perelman’s annual party in East Hampton to raise money for Harlem’s Apollo Theater. In a normal year, it’s a celebration where Wall Streeters and other elites party into the night with actors and musicians, some of whom grace the stage inside Perelman’s barn.

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

But this time, it happened to land hours after white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, setting off deadly violence that left Governor Terry McAuliffe declaring a state of emergency.

Like the rest of America, most attendees were still processing.

Steve Schwarzman and Anthony Paduano

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

At one point, Steve Schwarzman questioned criticism of the president for not directly condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists in his response to the Charlottesville events. The Blackstone CEO, who sits on Trump’s business advisory council, had watched some footage on television and was struck by the chaos.

“I thought he was talking about the violence on both sides,” Schwarzman said. “I don’t think it was a far-reaching statement.”

(On Monday, after the backlash intensified, Trump called out hate groups for their role in the violence. And in a separate statement, Schwarzman called bigotry, hatred and extremism an affront to American values.)

Laura and Lloyd Blankfein with Eric Schneiderman and Tanya Selvaratnam

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said he was still formulating his own remarks. “It was a bad day,” he said. “I will tweet later.” (On Monday morning, Blankfein sent a tweet quoting Abraham Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand” and added, “Isolate those who try to separate us. No equivalence w/those who bring us together.”)

The guy standing next to him, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, had already sent a tweet, calling the violence “an affront to everything this country represents.”

“Oh my God, today’s really the nadir — it’s a terrible thing for America,” said Jerry Speyer, the real estate billionaire. “Shame on all the people that were involved. What’s really awful is the divisions, Democrats and Republicans, East and West, North and South. We’re better than that.”

Speyer said he’s hopeful politicians will find a way to convert it into something good.

Wes and Dawn Moore

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Just after 11 p.m., former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly asked a reporter what the latest news was, concerned about both Charlottesville and North Korea. “In the world that we live in, every hour it could totally change,” he said.

Wes Moore, CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, called for moral courage. “We can never let hatred become justified.”

Nicole Trunfio and Gary Clark Jr.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The party, meanwhile, went on — with fried chicken, brisket, brownies and three hours of live music.

Mavis Staples, a voice of the civil rights era, sang Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” with Jon Bon Jovi. Memphis-born Justin Timberlake slowed down “SexyBack” with help from The Roots. Patty Smyth sang “The Warrior” from her band Scandal. Gary Clark Jr., who said he knew of the Apollo as a kid in Austin, Texas, jammed on guitar. For sultry there was Alice Smith, for hippie, Citizen Cope and for heart-stopping, Alicia Keys on “Empire State of Mind.” Jamie Foxx brought John McEnroe, Robert Downey Jr. and Priyanka Chopra on stage to dance to ’70s hits and his own.

Joseph Perella and Ruth Porat

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

About 400 guests attended, including Ruth Porat, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, Joseph Perella, Rashida Jones, Charles Phillips, Glenn Fuhrman, Kyle MacLachlan, Jimmy Buffett and Harvey Weinstein.

Ron Meyer and Ron Perelman

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Some people gave as much as $250,000, raising a total of more than $5 million — a record — to help support the Apollo, including its education programs.

“You look at what happened in Virginia,” Perelman told the audience. “It is events like this that bring us together.”

Music is an especially powerful uniter, he added. “I hope you take away something that will make the world better.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-14/at-hamptons-party-for-harlem-icon-all-eyes-on-charlottesville

White Nationalists Say Charlottesville Was Just a Beginning

Birmingham, Ala. (AP) — Emboldened and proclaiming victory after a bloody weekend in Virginia, white nationalists are planning more demonstrations to promote their agenda following the violence that left a woman dead and dozens injured.

The University of Florida said white provocateur Richard Spencer, whose appearances sometimes stoke unrest, is seeking permission to speak there next month. And white nationalist Preston Wiginton had said he was planning a “White Lives Matter” rally at Texas A&M University in September, but the university later said it had been canceled.

Also, a neo-Confederate group has asked the state of Virginia for permission to rally at a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond on Sept. 16, and other events are likely.

“We’re going to be more active than ever before,” Matthew Heimbach, a white nationalist leader, said Monday.

James Alex Fields Jr., a young man who was said to idolize Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in high school, was charged with killing a woman by slamming a car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally Sunday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Fields, 20, who recently moved to Ohio from his home state of Kentucky, was held without bail on murder charges. He was photographed at the rally behind a shield bearing the emblem of the white nationalist Vanguard America, though the group denied he was a member.

Two state troopers also died Sunday when their helicopter crashed during an effort to contain the violence.

The U.S. Justice Department said it will review the violence, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions told ABC that the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer, 32, met the definition of domestic terrorism.

White nationalists said they were undaunted.

Heimbach, who said he was pepper-sprayed during the melee in Charlottesville, called the event Saturday “an absolute stunning victory” for the far right because of the large number of supporters who descended on the city to decry plans to remove a statue of Lee.

Hundreds of white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and others were involved, by some estimates, in what Heimbach, leader of the Traditionalist Workers Party, called the nation’s biggest such event in a decade or more. Even more opponents turned out, and the two sides clashed violently.

A neo-Nazi website that helped promote the gathering said there will be more events soon.

“We are going to start doing this nonstop. Across the country,” said the site, which internet domain host GoDaddy said it was shutting down after it mocked the woman killed in Charlottesville.

The head of the National Socialist Movement, Jeff Schoep, said Charlottesville was a “really good” white nationalist event that was being overshadowed by the deaths. “Any time someone loses their life it’s unfortunate,” he said.

He blamed the violence on inadequate police protection and counter-demonstrators and said he doubts white nationalists will be deterred from attending more such demonstrations.

Preserving memorials to the Old South has become an animating force for the white nationalist movement, not because all members are Southern, Schoep said, but because adherents see the drive to remove such monuments as part of a larger, anti-white crusade.

“It’s an assault on American freedoms. Today it’s Confederate monuments. Tomorrow it may be the Constitution or the American flag,” Schoep said.

At the University of Florida, where Spencer has asked to speak, President W. Kent Fuchs called the events in Virginia “deplorable” but indicated school officials might be unable to block his appearance.

“While this speaker’s views do not align with our values as an institution, we must follow the law, upholding the First Amendment not to discriminate based on content and provide access to a public space,” Fuchs said in a message on the university’s Facebook page.

Auburn University spent almost $30,000 in legal fees in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Spencer from speaking on its campus in Alabama in April.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-14/white-nationalists-charlottesville-just-a-beginning

Donald Trump had an unhinged morning on Twitter before any of us even had any coffee

Early morning Twitter menace.

Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Another lovely day of waking up, logging onto Twitter, and screaming at the sight of Donald Trump’s unhinged messages to America? Check.

Trump must not have had a great night’s sleep because his morning jaunt was even more jarring than usual on Tuesday. The U.S. president casually retweeted and then promptly deleted a confusing message about fascism and another violent CNN meme… all before 9:00 a.m.

After kicking off the morning by retweeting an article shared by Fox & Friends reporting President Trump is “‘seriously considering’ a pardon for ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio,” Trump decided to retweet a reply from a user who was either calling Trump or Arpaio a fascist.

Image: screengrab/twitter

That the violent tweet came just days after the deadly, chaotic white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia further confused and enraged Twitter users.

Not even Mike Holden, who tweeted the response, understood. He’s simply retiring from the platform because nothing makes sense anymore.

Trump then kept the good times coming by retweeting a cartoon of a “Trump Train” railing into a CNN journalist with the caption, “Fake news can’t stop the Trump Train.”

As we recall from Trump sharing a doctored version of him wrestling Vince McMahon with the CNN logo covering McMahon’s head, Trump is no stranger to posting CNN hate memes with a violent bent. But the image of a journalist being hit by a train was especially troubling considering it was posted less than a week after 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed by a vehicle plowing into a protest crowd in Charlottesville.

Chelsea Clinton also chimed in about the retweet, calling attention to the fact that when comedian Kathy Griffin shared a photograph of a beheaded Donald Trump back in May he condemned her.

After several minutes Trump deleted both of the retweets, but the screenshots had already been grabbed and impressions had already been left.

On Monday Trump also retweeted a post by Jack Posobiec a far-right conspiracy theorist involved in the “Pizzagate” scandal leaving tired Americans to wonder: what in the world could possibly be next?

According to Twitter, a White House official told NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker that the image was “inadvertently posted” by Trump and deleted once noticed.

UPDATE: Aug. 15, 2017, 10:53 a.m. UTC Updated to include Chelsea Clinton tweet.

UPDATE: Aug. 15, 2017, 11:59 a.m. UTC Updated to include White House comment to NBC News correspondent.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/15/donald-trump-retweets-delete-fascist-cnn-train/

Intel CEO Becomes Third Chief to Quit Trump Council After Riots

Intel Corp.’s Brian Krzanich joined Under Armour Inc.’s Kevin Plank in becoming the latest chief executives to quit President Donald Trump’s council of U.S. business leaders, as membership on the panel has become enmeshed in the country’s volatile politics after violent riots in Virginia over the weekend.

The moves come hours after Merck & Co.’s Kenneth Frazier first stepped down from the business council. Plank’s departure is a particularly sharp rebuke to Trump, after the Under Armour executive earlier this year came under fire for commenting that the president was a “real asset” for the country.

“I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing,” Intel’s Krzanich said in a company blog post.

Plank said in a tweeted statement that “Under Armour engages in innovation and sport, not politics,” while Merck’s Frazier said he quit “as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Trump responded to Frazier with a couple jabs, tweeting late Monday that “@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S.”

Over the weekend, one woman was killed and many others were injured after a man in a car rammed a group of counter-demonstrators during a daylong melee in Charlottesville, Virginia. White supremacists and other hate groups had massed in the city to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Trump was widely criticized by U.S. lawmakers and other officials for not denouncing white supremacists in a statement on Saturday in which he said “many sides” were at fault for the violence. The president has repeatedly drawn fire for his relations with white nationalist groups and his handling of issues related to minorities.

Speaking from the White House on Monday, Trump denounced white supremacists and declared racism “evil.”

“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held accountable,” Trump said, calling for unity in the wake of the tragedy.

The CEO departures show how corporate leaders are walking a narrow line in working with the Trump administration to help shape policy around taxes, immigration and other issues, while trying not to alienate customers in an increasingly tense political environment.

Plank’s pro-Trump commentary earlier this year sparked an uproar from shoppers and very public dissent among Under Armour’s athletes, including his most-valued sneaker pitchman, basketball star Stephen Curry. The CEO in a television interview had declared that Trump is “pro-business” and a “real asset.”

After a Wall Street analyst downgraded the company, Plank took out a full-page newspaper ad, saying his words praising Trump “did not accurately reflect” his intent. He said the company opposed the president’s executive order to ban refugees from certain countries.

The president’s council has included top executives from Boeing Co., Dow Chemical Co. and Johnson & Johnson. A handful of CEOs have stepped down from two White House business groups, which have met only sporadically, over political controversies.

The president hasn’t been shy about calling out businesses for perceived missteps. After his 2016 election victory Trump took aim at defense contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp. for what he called the high cost of some aircraft, and muscled United Technologies Corp. unit Carrier into keeping a plant in Indiana after the company said it would be closed and production shifted to Mexico.

Corporate Pushback

Trump created two CEO advisory groups early in his presidency. Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman leads one described as a strategy and policy forum, and Dow Chemical’s Andrew Liveris organized a manufacturing initiative. After an initial burst of activity and press attention, the councils have fizzled with neither meeting since April.

Earlier this year, Elon Musk of Tesla Inc. and Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger quit the strategy and policy panel after Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate pact. Former Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Travis Kalanick quit in February after Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Trump and a range of corporations have previously been at odds on other fronts.

The administration drew criticism from a wide swath of companies over its executive order restricting immigration. More than 160 technology firms, including Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., and Google corporate parent Alphabet Inc. joined a legal brief criticizing the order. Technology firms have also criticized the administration’s efforts to restrict access to H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, and eliminate an Obama Administration program that would have provided visas for foreign entrepreneurs who received startup funding.

Other members of the Trump councils, including Lockheed Martin and PepsiCo Inc., declined to say whether they would follow the moves of the other executives in stepping down.

Merck’s Prices

Merck has in the past taken stands on social issues. In 2012, the company’s foundation ended funding for the Boy Scouts of America over the group’s exclusion of gays from its leadership ranks. Frazier is a registered Democrat, according to Pennsylvania voter records.

Trump made U.S. drug prices an issue during the presidential campaign and after — at one point accusing drug companies of “getting away with murder.” While his rhetoric on the subject has cooled, the Food and Drug Administration has taken steps to try and bring more competition to the market for some drugs, and speed more generic drugs to the market.

Frazier, in December, said his company has a “restrained” approach to price increases, calling aggressive price increases a foolhardy move by the industry. In a company report published this year, Merck said it has a “long history of making our medicines and vaccines accessible and affordable through responsible pricing practices.”

For 2016, the list price on its drugs rose by 9.6 percent on average while the net price, which more closely reflects what is paid by consumers, rose 5.5 percent, according to the report.

Merck shares were up 0.7 percent to $62.79 at 12:02 p.m. in New York, roughly in line with a broader advance in the U.S. stock market.

Toby Cosgrove, the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, plans to remain on the strategy and policy group, said Eileen Sheil, a spokeswoman for the health system. She said the group hasn’t met since April, and there are no meetings scheduled.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein also took to Twitter Monday in response to the violence, citing former president Abraham Lincoln. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” wrote Blankfein, whose inaugural tweet in June expressed disapproval over Trump’s decision to ditch the Paris climate accord.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-14/merck-ceo-quits-trump-council-as-matter-of-personal-conscience

Trump rips China after North Korea missile test

(CNN)A day after North Korea tested a ballistic missile that it claims can reach all of the United States, US President Donald Trump ripped China for not reining in Kim Jong Un and his missile program.

“I am very disappointed in China,” Trump wrote in a pair of Twitter posts. “…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
North Korea’s test Friday of an intercontinental ballistic missile was its second of the long-range weapon in a month. The first on July 4 showed the missile had the range to reach Alaska.
    Friday’s test was designed to show the Hwasong-14 missile’s maximum range with a “large-sized heavy nuclear warhead,” a statement from Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency said.
    It said Washington should regard the launch as a “grave warning.”
    “The whole US mainland” is now within North Korea’s reach, KCNA quoted Kim as saying. The North Korean leader called Pyongyang’s weapons program “a precious asset” that cannot be reversed or replaced, according to the agency.
    On Sunday, North Korea said it will “respond with firm action” if the US continues to pursue sanctions against it, according to KCNA, quoting a foreign ministry spokesman.
    “The US needs to stop with its delusion of trying to harm us, by clearly understanding the strategic status of the DPRK which soared up as the world’s nuclear and missile power, and our military and peoples’ strong will to revenge our enemies to destruction,” the spokesman said.
    “If the US continues to frantically cling on to the so-called ‘strong sanctions’ and military adventures against us, we will respond with firm action of justice that we had already made clear,” the spokesman added.

    Expert: Missile test puts US mainland in range

    Weapons experts say if Friday’s missile had been fired on a flatter, standard trajectory, it would have threatened major US cities. Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago would all be well within its range, with the possible ability to reach as far as New York and Boston, according to David Wright, a missile expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
    However, early analysis of Friday’s test cannot determine how heavy a payload the missile was carrying in its warhead, Wright said. The heavier the payload, the shorter the range.
    But if North Korea’s assertions about Friday’s test are true, Pyongyang may be even more advanced in its missile program than previously thought.
    Earlier in the week, a US official told CNN the United States believed that North Korea would be able to launch a reliable nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile by early 2018.
    The official said that while North Korea can currently get a missile “off the ground,” a lot of undetermined variables remain about guidance, re-entry and the ability to hit a specific target.

    China to North Korea: Stop escalating tensions

    China, a longtime North Korean ally, issued a statement Saturday condemning the missile launch and asked Pyongyang to “stop taking actions that would escalate tensions” on the Korean Peninsula.
    “The UN Security Council has clear regulations on North Korea’s launch activities that use ballistic missile technologies. China is opposed to North Korea’s launch activities in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and against the will of the international community,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
    Beijing’s statement reiterated its long-held position on North Korea’s missile program.
    But Trump said in his tweets Saturday night that China has been taking advantage of the US. He tied trade policy to the North Korea situation and took a swipe at his predecessors in the Oval Office.
    “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them (China) to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade” while allowing North Korea’s missile program to become a direct threat to the US mainland, he wrote.
    China earlier this year proposed that North Korea freeze its nuclear weapons and missile programs in exchange for the United States and South Korea ending a string of military exercises that North Korea considers a threat to its security.

    B-1 bombers fly over Korean Peninsula

    The Trump administration has answered Pyongyang’s missile tests with displays of US military power, including missile tests of its own.
    On Sunday, the US Missile Defense Agency announced that it had conducted a “successful” test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense THAAD system in Alaska, intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile fired from a US military aircraft over the Pacific Ocean. It was the 15th such test.
    Continuing another trend, the US on Saturday sent two B-1 bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on a 10-hour round trip over the Korean Peninsula in what the US Pacific Air Forces called a direct response to the North Korean missile test.
    The B-1s teamed up with Japanese and South Korean fighter jets to test “combined capabilities” during the mission, the US military said in a statement.
    “Diplomacy remains the lead; however, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing,” Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, said in the statement.
    While Washington continues its military pressure, it has also asked China to pressure North Korea economically to cut off its access to foreign currency.
    Beijing says it has slashed imports of coal from North Korea, but trade between the two countries is rising.
    A Chinese government official said in mid-July that China-North Korea trade was worth $2.6 billion in the first half of 2017, up about 10% over the same period last year.
    Trump criticized Beijing over the North Korean trade situation via Twitter in early July.
    “So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!” he tweeted.
    Zhang Baohui, a professor of political science at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, said Saturday’s tweets from Trump show his policy on North Korea has been a failure.
    “Trump has cornered himself on the North Korea issue — now how can he climb down? North Korea defies him, the only action he can take now is with US-China relations,” Zhang said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/29/politics/trump-china-north-korea-tweet/index.html