Here are the main events that occurred in Politics this week:
1. Minneapolis City Council Announces Plan To Dispand City Police Department In Wake Of George Floyd’s Killing
The Minneapolis city council has pledged to disband the city’s police department and replace it with a new system of public safety, a historic move that comes as calls to defund law enforcement are sweeping the US. Speaking at a community rally on June 7, a veto-proof majority of council members declared their intent to “dismantle” and “abolish” the embattled police agency responsible for George Floyd’s death, and build an alternative model of community-led safety. The decision is a direct response to the massive protests that have taken over American cities in the last two weeks, and is a major victory for abolitionist activists who have long fought to disband police and prisons. “In Minneapolis and in cities across the US, it is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” said Lisa Bender, the Minneapolis city council president, at the event. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period. Our commitment is to do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth: that the Minneapolis police are not doing that. Our commitment is to end policing as we know it and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.” Nine council members announced their support and represent a supermajority on the 12-person council, meaning the mayor, who earlier this weekend opposed disbanding the department, cannot override them.
2. US Unemployment Rate Declines By 2.5 Million In May
The American economy defied forecasts for a Depression-style surge in unemployment this week, signaling the economy is picking up faster than anticipated from the coronavirus-inflicted recession amid reopenings and government stimulus. A broad gauge of payrolls rose by 2.5 million in May, trouncing forecasts for a sharp decline following a 20.7 million decrease during the prior month that was the largest in records back to 1939, according to Labor Department data released on June 5. The figures were so astonishing that President Donald Trump held a news conference, where he called the numbers “outstanding” and predicted further improvement before he is up for re-election in November. While the overall picture improved, there remain several underlying issues facing the economy. For example, 21 million Americans remain unemployed with a jobless rate higher than any other time since 1939, indicating a full recovery remains far off with many likely to suffer for some time. And the return to work is uneven, with unemployment ticking up among African Americans to 16.8%, matching the highest since 1984, even as unemployment rates declined among white and Hispanic Americans. That comes amid nationwide protests over police mistreatment of African-Americans, which have drawn renewed attention to race-based inequality.
3. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Renewed Efforts To Remove Confederate Symbols From US Capitol
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi renewed a years-long quest to remove the remaining Confederate statues from the US Capitol as calls to erase monuments to the Confederacy increase amid the nation’s reckoning with its racist past. Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter on June 10 to her colleagues who co-chair the Joint Committee on the Library that Congress should “lead by example.” “The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” Pelosi wrote. “Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals. Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed.” Pelosi, then the House Minority Leader, led this charge in 2017 after the violent white supremacist marches in Charlottesville that began over plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. But Republicans rejected her entreaty, saying it is up to the states to decide the likenesses they want representing them in Washington.
4. President Trump Announces Intentions To Hold In-Person Campaign Rallies Again As Coronavirus Restrictions At State Levels Fade
US President Donald Trump plans to start holding campaign rallies again in the next two weeks, a Trump campaign official said on June 8, ending a three-month hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump, who thrives on the energy from packed arenas and from his rabid supporters, has not held a rally since March 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and aides describe him as chomping at the bit to get out and start campaigning again ahead of the November 3 Presidential Election. It was unclear exactly when or where Trump’s first rally will be and the official, confirming a report in Politico, said safety measures for attendees were still being worked out. Campaign manager Brad Parscale is to present the president with some options in the next few days. In a statement, Parscale predicted Trump rallies will surpass those of Democrat Joe Biden, whose campaigning has also been sharply curtailed due to the virus and has largely shifted to virtual campaigning.
5. According To Google Analytics Data, Chinese and Iranian Hackers Targeted The Biden And Trump Campaigns
State-backed hackers from China have targeted staffers working on the US presidential campaign of Democrat Joe Biden, a senior Google security official said on June 4. The same official said Iranian hackers had recently targeted email accounts belonging to Republican President Donald Trump’s campaign staff. The announcement, made on Twitter by the head of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, Shane Huntley, is the latest indication of the digital spying routinely aimed at top politicians. Huntley said there was “no sign of compromise” of either campaign. Iranian attempts to break into Trump campaign officials’ emails have been documented before. Last year, Microsoft announced that a group often nicknamed Charming Kitten had tried to break into email accounts belonging to an unnamed US presidential campaign, which sources identified as Trump’s. Google declined to offer details beyond Huntley’s tweets, but the unusually public attribution is a sign of how sensitive Americans have become to digital espionage efforts aimed at political campaigns. “We sent the targeted users our standard government-backed attack warning and we referred this information to federal law enforcement,” a Google representative said.