7 Things: Growing coronavirus concern, Dem presidential candidates blanket airwaves in Alabama, legislators work towards banning transitioning for minors and more …
7. Trump is suing The New York Times
- Due to the March 27, 2019 op-ed titled “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo,” President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has filed a libel lawsuit against The New York Times, seeking “compensatory damages in the millions of damages.”
- Senior Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis released a statement that highlighted The New York Times’ false statements that “the campaign had an ‘overarching deal’ with ‘Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy’ to ‘help the campaign against Hilary Clinton’ in exchange for ‘a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from…economic sanctions.’”
6. Tight race for a shot in the run-off in AL-02
- Conventional wisdom in the GOP primary race to replace U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) is that businessman Jeff Coleman would lead the pack and that there would be a run-off, but there has always been a question about who would make the run-off with him.
- This hasn’t changed. The battle for second is possibly the closest race in the state outside of the battle for U.S. Senate in the GOP primary with Jessica Taylor, former State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and former Attorney General Troy King slugging it out for second with between 17 and 15% choosing them as their first choice.
5. Sessions a “Warrior for Truth”
- In a new campaign ad, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions where he explains that “socialists threaten our country, and President Trump needs our help now.” Sessions reiterates that he’s been supporting Trump from early on in his 2016 campaign.
- The former Alabama senator says toward the end of the ad that “Trump needs a warrior for the truth.” In a statement, Sessions said that he “will continue to be President Trump’s number one supporter in the Senate because I understand his platform and message better than anyone.”
4. A court has ruled in favor of Trump in fighting sanctuary cities
- The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has overturned a previous ruling that would block the Trump administration’s rule to withhold grant money from sanctuary cities through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
- A DOJ spokesman said that this “decision rightfully recognizes the lawful authority of the Attorney General to ensure that the Department of Justice grant recipients are not at the same time thwarting federal law enforcement priorities.”
3. Bill to prevent transitioning for minors approved
- A bill sponsored by State Representative Wes Allen (R-Troy) and State Senator Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) would make it illegal for doctors to prescribe minors hormone blockers that are meant to delay puberty for transgender minors has been approved by two legislative committees.
- The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act was approved by the Alabama House Health Committee and the Senate Health Committee; it will now move to the full House and Senate for further consideration.
2. Bloomberg spending in Alabama
- As Super Tuesday approaches, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has increased his already high spending, totaling $191 million in Super Tuesday states alone, and spending $8 million on TV and radio ads in Alabama. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has only spent $142,000 in the state, while former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden have not been spending in Alabama.
- Bloomberg’s dollars are also buying influence in the state as well, with the newly-elected mayor of Montgomery Steven Reed saying, “His presence is overwhelming.” Democrats note that Bloomberg put together the largest Democratic staff for a presidential primary in Alabama history.
1. Alabama schools are suspending or limiting travel
- Due to the growing concern of a serious coronavirus outbreak in the United States, the President of the United States has assigned Vice President Mike Pence to head up the response while the Center for Disease Control warns of “significant disruptions.”
- In reaction, the University of Alabama has suspended all non-essential travel to China and Jacksonville State University has decided to cancel all international travel, advised students to take general precautions and reminded them to also get their flu shot.