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At Iftar Dinner, Trump Recalls ‘One of Great 2 Days of My Life’

The Free Press WV

Wishing Muslims around the world a “Ramadan Mubarak”—a blessed holiday—President Trump on Wednesday hosted his first White House dinner for Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, an overture that surprised many in the Muslim community after he skipped hosting such a meal last year, the AP reports. Speaking at an Iftar dinner, which breaks the daylong fast, Trump offered a message of unity, recognizing members of the Muslim community at home and abroad. “In gathering together this evening, we honor a sacred tradition of one of the world’s great religions,“ he told an intimate audience that included Cabinet members and ambassadors from many Muslim-majority nations including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

It was a dramatic departure from the inflammatory rhetoric Trump used during his campaign, when he called for a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. Instead, Trump spoke of “the renewed bonds of friendship and cooperation” forged with “valued partners” from across the Middle East and said Iftars “mark the coming together of families and friends to celebrate a timeless message of peace, clarity, and love. There is great love.“ He recalled his visit last year to Saudi Arabia—his first foreign presidential trip—as “one of the great two days of my life.“ “Only by working together can we achieve a future of security and prosperity for all,“ he said.

Trump Calls Melania’s Surgery a ‘Big Operation’

The Free Press WV

The White House has been largely tight-lipped on the surgery that Melania Trump had on May 14 beyond saying the first lady “underwent an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition.“ On Friday President Trump elaborated via a handful of sentences. As he departed for the G7 in Canada, CNN reports he gestured toward the White House and said, “First lady’s great, right there. She wanted to go [to the G7 and then on to Singapore]. Can’t fly for one month, the doctors say. She had a big operation, that was close to a 4-hour operation. And she’s doing great.“

His statement had the New York Times looking for more insight; it spoke to doctors who said an embolization procedure generally wouldn’t take more than two hours, but that if the president were referring to the entire pre- and post-op prep and treatment, four hours wouldn’t be unreasonable. The first lady’s office said on Friday that the embolization was the only procedure Melania had during her five-night stay at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. Added rep Stephanie Grisham, “The statement I put out on May 14 was correct. Mrs. Trump had a successful embolization procedure. She cannot travel internationally yet, and is doing great.“

FACT CHECK: Trump’s tale of Texas hurricane gawkers

The Free Press WV

Donald Trump is mischaracterizing the thousands of water rescues in Texas last year during Hurricane Harvey by saying “people went out in their boats to watch” the deadly Category 4 storm.

A look at his comment Wednesday during a briefing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss preparations for the new hurricane season:

TRUMP: “I have to tell you, the Coast Guard saved 16,000 people. ... And I think, you know, honestly, they don’t get enough credit in many ways. ... Saved 16,000 people, many of them in Texas, for whatever reason that is. People went out in their boats to watch the hurricane. That didn’t work out too well. That didn’t work out too well.”

THE FACTS: Some of the most powerful images from Hurricane Harvey were flooded Houston streets swarming with volunteer boaters, who answered the call of overwhelmed first responders and used their personal watercraft to rescue families from their homes.

There is no indication the Coast Guard was busy saving the lives of foolhardy hurricane gawkers drifting off the Texas coast. Coast Guard Petty Officer Edward Wargo of Houston said Thursday the service didn’t take note of how or why people got stranded during Harvey, but said most rescues appeared to occur within city limits and neighborhoods.

Before Harvey made landfall, the Coast Guard had urged the public to “stay off the water.” The Coast Guard performed several rescues in the waters off the Texas coast as Harvey first arrived, but those included commercial vessels and tugboats.

Harvey dumped nearly 50 inches of rain near Houston and left swaths of the nation’s fourth-largest city underwater. The Coast Guard has reported it rescued more than 11,000 people during Harvey, which doesn’t count those rescued by local authorities or an armada of volunteer boaters. Houston police used Twitter to urge “anyone with a boat who can volunteer to help” to get in touch.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters following the Trump briefing that he had “no information one way or the other” about Trump’s claim that people were on the water to watch Harvey. But the outgoing speaker of the Texas House, Republican Joe Straus, rejected the idea Thursday.

“The people who took their boats into the water during Harvey were not storm-watchers,” Straus tweeted. “They were heroes who went toward danger to rescue friends, neighbors, strangers. Texans helping Texans in a time of desperate need.”

FACT CHECK: Trump blames Dems for border separations

The Free Press WV

Donald Trump is falsely claiming that “bad legislation passed by the Democrats” has forced his administration to separate children from their families at the border, even though no such law exists.

TRUMP’S TWEET

Trump tweeted Tuesday: “Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.”

THE FACTS

No law mandates that parents must be separated from their children at the border, and it’s not a policy Democrats have pushed or can change alone as the minority in Congress.

Children are probably being separated from the parents at the border at an accelerated rate because of a new “zero tolerance policy” being implemented by Trump’s own administration. Announced April 6 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the policy directs authorities to prosecute all instances of illegal border crossings, even against people with few or no previous offenses.

Administration officials are quick to note that Sessions’ policy makes no mention of separating families. That is correct. But under U.S. protocol, if parents are jailed, their children are separated from them because the children aren’t charged with a crime.

So while separating families might not have been the administration’s intention, it is an obvious consequence of the policy.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 650 children were separated from parents at the border during a two-week period in May.

The U.N. human rights office has called on the Trump administration to “immediately halt” the separations, saying “detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.”

Trump might be referring to a 2008 law passed unanimously by Congress and signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush, but that legislation is focused on children who illegally cross the border without a guardian, known as unaccompanied minors. That law calls for releasing children into the “least restrictive setting” — often to family or a government-run shelter — while their cases slowly wind through immigration court.

WV Legislative Update

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While Mom’s birthday wasn’t until this week, we celebrated it with her last Saturday while Justin and the twins were here for a couple days.  It’s always enjoyable to have Kenzie and Carson here, as TV and video games hold little interest.  They’d rather be in the woods, on the lake or river fishing, swimming or camping.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

Good news for the Correctional training facility at Glenville, as DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy informed me on Friday that as of that date, 345 new officers have been hired to fill vacancies and provide much needed overtime relief for regional jail personnel.  More will be hired in the weeks and months ahead, now that the compensation is beginning an upward trend for the next several years.  Moreover, this will strengthen our training facility and staff, while bringing hundreds of trainees into central West Virginia and Glenville.  This helps GSC and our local economy.

Meanwhile, pipeline right-of-way work and construction is bringing many into our area, with local workers also benefiting from the projects.  Highway maintenance is also in full swing, both on I-79, state routes and secondary roads.  Now the problem is finding enough daylight hours and catching an extended break from the localized torrential rains that have delayed maintenance with major slips and slides.  Heavy rains in the headwater areas of Elk River are playing havoc with wildly fluctuating river levels downstream below Sutton Dam.  This is further causing slips and erosion problems for residents and proving costly for highway maintenance.  It also is hindering the large flotillas of kayaks and canoes on the Elk that we’re now accustomed to seeing this time of year.

I want to thank the members and staff of the Braxton County Commission for arranging an informational meeting regarding the issue of dilapidated property on which many residents and property owners have voiced their concern.  An attorney from WVU School of Law provided an informative overview of the pros and cons of potential ordinances that may be adopted on a county or municipal level.  The presentation was informative and one that provided important information for the county and municipal governments should they opt to move forward.  As was pointed out by the attorney, farm property is exempt.

Finally this week, the state news was again filled with reports of the breakdown in the State managing federal flood damage and relief funds from the 2016 disaster that hammered parts of Nicholas, Clay, Kanawha, Greenbrier and other areas of the state.  While Braxton and Gilmer were dealt a glancing blow by this major flood event, the communities and counties most affected are our neighbors, friends and fellow West Virginians.  Richwood, White Sulphur Springs, Elkview and many parts of Clay County are just some of the hard-hit areas.  When one hurts, we all hurt and we should respond accordingly.

And respond we did.  Tens of thousands of volunteer hours were donated to clean out homes, remove debris, and help rebuild homes and bridges.  Churches, civic groups, students and other volunteers reached out to help and many continue nearly twenty-four months in its aftermath.

However, nearing the two year mark since the deadly and devastating flood, many needs remain unmet or buried in bureaucratic nightmare of paperwork, finger pointing and promised services that have yet to materialize.  Reports indicate $300 million in unmet housing needs and as many as 1,000 homes needed.  Of the original $149.8 million available, there is over $148.7 remains unspent.  That represents lots of unmet road, housing and infrastructure needs.

Learning from the 2012 derecho that impacted the entire state, state and local emergency management is much better prepared than before that event.  So, the news reported to the Legislature and the public detailing the breakdown that still exists in delivering post-flood aid from two years ago is not acceptable.

The Governor needs to get the vital relief and rebuilding funds flowing immediately and efficiently.  If we are now witnessing this kind of delay, what can we expect when the next natural disaster hits?  We know from past experience that sooner or later, disaster will strike again.

One final note:  As I type this week, the eastern panhandle is experiencing some extensive flooding.

Please send your inquiries to my home office:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624.  My home number is 304.364.8411; the Capitol office number is 304.340.3142.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

The McKinley Capitol Report

The Gilmer Free Press

McKinley Hosts Morgantown Opioid Grant Workshop

On Wednesday, we hosted an opioid grant workshop in Morgantown with representatives from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). The grant workshop, which was attended by over 120 representatives from all 20 counties in the First District, the Governor’s Office and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, provided information on how to access federal grants to help combat the opioid crisis.

We thank SAMHSA for coming to Morgantown to give this critical presentation on the nuts and bolts of putting together a strong grant application. It demonstrates their commitment to equipping West Virginia to fight back against the scourge of the opioid epidemic.


President Trump Signs Right to Try Bill Into Law

On Wednesday, President Trump signed the Right to Try bill into law. This important legislation increases access to investigational drugs for terminally ill patients. This is a fair and compassionate bill that lets these patients make their own healthcare decisions.


McKinley Walks in the Grafton Memorial Day Parade

On Monday, our office walked in the Grafton Memorial Day Parade. It was great seeing Major General Hoyer, Joe Pava, Cub Scouts Troop 6, and so many others as we honored those men and women who gave their all in service of our country. This was the annual parade’s 151st year, making it the oldest in the nation.


ICYMI: McKinley Votes to Rebuild Military, Strengthen National Defense

May was Military Appreciation Month. Last week, the House passed bipartisan legislation to support our military that:

•Provides a pay raise of 2.6% for our troops (largest in 9 years).

•Streamlines Pentagon buying practices, saving taxpayer resources.

•Increases funding to rebuild our military and support readiness recovery.

•Makes critical investments in missile defense and our nuclear deterrent systems.

•Authorizes funding for co-development and co-production of missile defense and weapons systems with our key ally, Israel.

•Advances innovative technologies that will reform the way we will fight and win wars.

Have a great week,

David McKinley
The Gilmer Free Press

Trump’s Net Worth Falls for 2nd Consecutive Year

The Free Press WV

Trump’s net worth declined $100 million over the past year, to $2.8 billion, reports Bloomberg. The figures were based on data from property records, annual reports, financial disclosures and other market information compiled by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which provides a daily ranking of the world’s richest individuals. Trump’s net worth is down for the second consecutive year and is at its lowest level since Bloomberg started tracking in 2015. According to Bloomberg, the biggest hit to Trump’s net worth appears to stem from falling revenue at Trump Tower, where occupancy has declined, and at 6 E. 57th Street, former home of a Niketown store. Click for the full story.

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