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7 Things: Democrats side with Milley after reports of bad behavior, COVID-19 made 2020 Alabama’s deadliest year, dust-up in U.S. Senate race and more …

7. More than 200,000 migrant encounters in August

  • According to the latest reports from the Department of Homeland Security, there were 208,887 encounters with migrants at the southern border in August, which is just below the more than 212,000 encounters in July. Compared to August 2020, there were 317% more encounters in August 2021. 
  • There was an increase of 4% of families encountered since July, but single adult encounters were down slightly. Since President Joe Biden has taken office, the southern border has consistently been in crisis, but little has been done to address the issue. 

6. Students protest at Auburn after multiple sexual assaults reported

  • At Auburn University, three students have reported incidents of sexual assault and rape within a week, and students have now protested the school’s handling of the incidents. Students are requesting more information about the accusations, including the fraternity where one of the assaults allegedly took place. 
  • One report came from a student walking to Aubie Hall through the Village who said that she was assaulted through forcible touching by someone jogging past her, another student said she was raped and assaulted at a residential facility, and the third student has reported being raped at a fraternity house. In 2019, 12 rapes, 19 domestic violence incidents and 63 stalking incidents were reported on-campus. 

5. Ivey sees victory in unemployment battle

  • A recent lawsuit was trying to force Governor Kay Ivey and the state of Alabama to re-adopt the additional federal unemployment benefits that the state opted out of in June, but the lawsuit has been dismissed by Circuit Judge James Anderson.  
  • Anderson ruled in favor of Ivey and Labor Secretary Washington Fitzgerald’s authority “to participate in the programs that are the subject of this suit, no legal duty exists that requires them to do so.” This victory comes just as Ivey prepares to challenge the federal government’s recent vaccine mandate. 

4. Tuberville staying focused on Afghanistan

  • U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has deemed the vaccine mandate from President Joe Biden as a distraction from other issues within the administration, including the handling of Afghanistan, but he’s determined to keep the focus on Afghanistan. 
  • Tuberville said he wants to remind people of Afghanistan “until the election next year,” and added that while Biden’s reelection chances are shot, “they’re really trying to hold on to the House and Senate. They will lose the House definitely. We’ve just got to get the Senate.”

3. Brooks vs. Britt, round 1

  • Alabama’s U.S. Senate candidates recently attended a Republican Women of Coffee County meeting in Enterprise where U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and candidate Katie Britt, the former head of the BCA, exchanged heated remarks over their previous voting record. This started after the candidates were asked about their support of former Justice Roy Moore and former President Donald Trump. Britt was clear that she’s never voted for a Democrat, and she stated her support of the Republican Party. She advised that she “lived outside the district” during Moore’s election.
  • Before Brooks stated his support for Moore and the Republican Party, he remarked to Britt, “That’s going to be an issue in this race.” However, Britt brought up Brooks’ previous hesitancy to support Trump and his statements against Trump but mentioned that she voted for Trump “every single time he was on the ballot.” Brooks countered with the fact that Trump has endorsed him multiple times, adding, “Trump knows who the real fighter is for the MAGA agenda in the state of Alabama, and he has said it is Mo Brooks.”

2. 2020 will likely be the deadliest year on record for Alabama

  • Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said that Alabama had more deaths in 2020 than any other year on record. Harris made the comment during a town hall with AL.com, saying that the death toll will exceed other years “by a lot.”
  • Harris has requested that his staff compile numbers back 1900, but he’s expecting 2020 to exceed other years by 6,000-7,000 deaths. Also, for the first time on record, Alabama saw more deaths than births. Birth rates have been declining overall since the 1950s, but the steep increase in deaths in 2020 caused deaths to surpass births. 

1. Biden has confidence in Milley

  • It’s been reported that Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley held “secret” phone calls with China, as well as made attempts to undercut then-President Donald Trump’s authority. Many believe what Milley did was out of line and have called for his firing or resignation, and some believe it is treason, but not President Joe Biden.
  • Despite these reports, Biden has said that he has “great confidence” in Milley. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden’s “experience with him has been that he is a patriot,” adding that Biden has “confidence” in Milley for his “leadership, his patriotism and his fidelity to our Constitution.”