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Gaza Hospital Bombing Deeply Complicates Biden Visit to Israel

Joe Biden is planning a trip to show solidarity with Israel. Meanwhile, there was just a major explosion at a hospital.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Tuesday, a strike on a hospital in Gaza killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinian doctors, patients, and people seeking shelter. Joe Biden is expected to visit Israel in a show of his support tomorrow.

Palestinian officials say hundreds have been injured due to a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Al Ahli Hospital in the middle of Gaza City Wednesday evening. A Gaza civil defense chief said that more than 300 people were killed, while a Gaza Health Ministry official estimated that at least 500 people were killed and wounded. Many victims are still trapped under rubble.

Hospitals in Gaza have become places of refuge for those seeking shelter amid massive displacement and continued airstrikes on the occupied territory. According to the Associated Press, if this report is confirmed, this attack would be the deadliest Israeli airstrike in the five wars fought since 2008.

The Israeli military has denied involvement and says the attack was due to a misfired rocket from Hamas.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes hit two refugee camps and a U.N. school in Gaza housing displaced people. At least 18 people were killed and more injured, Palestinian officials said.

The bombing comes a day before Biden was set to arrive in Israel to show solidarity with the country. This complicates that mission enormously, and people will be paying close attention to what Biden has to say.

This article has been updated.

Republicans Kick Off New Speaker Search as Effectively as They Did the Last One

Jim Jordan does not have the votes—and it’s not clear if he’ll get them.

Representative Jim Jordan
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The House of Representatives’ first floor vote to plant Representative Jim Jordan as speaker has, unsurprisingly, failed.

Jordan received only 200 votes, with double-digit “no” votes from his own party. Meanwhile, all 212 Democrats voted for their nominee, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The next House speaker needs a majority of the chamber, or 217 votes, to win the coveted position. That requires a herculean effort to rally the divided Republican caucus, which holds a slim majority with just 221 seats in the House.

The 20 Republican representatives who voted against Jordan are Don Bacon, Ken Buck, Lori Chavez-DeRember, Anthony D’Esposito, Mario Diaz Balart, Jake Ellzey, Andrew Garbarino, Kay Granger, Carlos Giminez, Vicente Gonzales, John James, Doug LaMalfa, Mike Lawler, Mike Kelly, Jen Kiggans, Nick Lalota, John Rutherford, Mike Simpson, Victoria Spartz, and Steve Womack. The margin is far worse than initially expected.

The Freedom Caucus founder was a peculiar choice for unifying the party, given his controversial past and inability to inspire a strong backing after two rounds of closed-door GOP nominations. Jordan, perhaps most notably, hasn’t been able to turn a bill into law since he was first elected in 2006. He also drew ire for refusing to recognize the 2020 presidential election results, for his role in the January 6 insurrection, and long ago, for allegedly turning a blind eye to a sex abuse scandal at Ohio State University.

Since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the seat two weeks ago by a far-right faction led by Representative Matt Gaetz, House Republicans have sought to avoid the 15-ballot spectacle that gave him the gavel. Though if Jordan’s first vote serves as any indication, the House may be in for another wild ride.

Republicans Are Using Israel’s War on Gaza to Try to Deport People

Amid Israel’s war on Gaza, Republicans are looking to change immigration laws at home.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senator Marco Rubio during a rally in November 2022.

Republicans are using the war between Israel and Palestine as fodder to push for a new wave of deportations at home.

On a campaign stop in Iowa on Monday, Donald Trump announced that if reelected, he would reinstate and expand his “Muslim ban,” a series of executive orders issued in 2017 that prohibited travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, calling for a “strong ideological screening of all immigrants to the United States.”

Trump also criticized pro-Palestine protests on U.S. college campuses, conflating the support for Palestinian freedom from Israeli apartheid with support for Hamas, the militant group behind more than 1,400 Israeli deaths.

The former president said he would also take the opportunity to revoke student visas from “radical anti-American and antisemitic foreigners” at universities and would “proactively” send ICE officers to what he described as “pro-jihadist demonstrations.”

“If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you’re disqualified; if you support Hamas or the ideology behind Hamas, you’re disqualified; and if you’re a Communist, Marxist, or fascist, you are disqualified,” he said.

Senator Marsha Blackburn joined the deportation chorus on Tuesday, announcing her co-sponsorship of a bill by Senator Marco Rubio that calls for a vote on the expulsion of “individuals who stand with and back Hamas.”

Over the weekend, Rubio called on the Biden administration to cancel the visas of foreign nationals supporting Hamas and announced that he would pursue legislation to restrict federal funding to college campuses that host protests supporting Palestinian liberation.

Senator Tim Scott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also took to the airwaves to vocalize their support for the growing GOP initiative.

“Anyone who stands up and says they want to kill Jews, they support terrorism, they should have that visa revoked,” Scott said on a podcast episode of The Sean Hannity Show.

DeSantis backed the Rubio proposal, noting on an airing of The Guy Benson Show that if someone supports Hamas, they “don’t have a right to be studying in the United States.”

On its face, proposing to deport or limit Hamas supporters’ entry into the country is not outrageous. After all, the State Department deemed Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997. But support for foreign terrorist organizations is already screened for in people seeking entrance into the U.S., so the new language utilized by Rubio and his compatriots achieves no policy gains but instead provokes fear and whips people into a frenzy at a time of historic tension and divisions. And at a time when lawmakers and the media alike keep confusing being pro-Palestinian with being pro-Hamas, it’s all but guaranteed such a proposal would be used in a very dangerous way.

Trump Stoops to New Low With Comments About Military Officials

Donald Trump’s supporters broke out in applause as he trashed the military.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Donald Trump is trashing military officials as “some of the dumbest people” he’s ever met—and his supporters are lapping it all up.

At a campaign event in Iowa on Monday, Trump mocked General Mark Milley, recounting a story about disagreeing with the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“I don’t wanna tell you what I had to go through with these people—some of the dumbest I’ve ever met in my life,” Trump said, and was met with a huge applause from the audience.

Trump’s trashing of Milley has been a recurring point since The Atlantic published a profile where Milley described how he “protected the Constitution from Donald Trump.”

In September, Trump posted on Truth Social accusing Milley of treason for speaking with Chinese officials about the U.S. election process, and implied he should be executed. “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH,” Trump wrote.

Trump’s deranged post about Milley was cited as part of the reasoning for the second gag order placed on Trump by Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday.

This isn’t the first time that Trump has made comments disparaging members of the military. Former White House staffer John Kelly confirmed that Donald Trump has called disabled veterans “suckers” and “losers.”

Trump’s New Whine About Gag Order Is Ridiculous

Hours after his second gag order, Donald Trump has an absurd attack on Judge Tanya Chutkan.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Donald Trump can’t seem to help himself from trash talking the judges of his trials, even with a second gag order in place.

On Monday, Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a gag order on the former president’s D.C. trial, which hinges on four felony charges related to his effort to subvert the 2020 election. In a statement issued alongside the order, Chutkan said that Trump’s First Amendment protections “yield to the administration of justice” and that his presidential candidacy does not give him “carte blanche” to vilify public servants “who are simply doing their job.”

Within hours, however, Trump was onstage in Iowa, complaining about the decision.

“A judge gave a gag order today,” Trump said. “The judge doesn’t like me too much. Her whole life is not liking me.”

“You know what a gag order is? ‘You can’t speak badly about your opponent,’” Trump added in a mocking tone.

“I’ll be the politician in history that runs with a gag order where I’m not allowed to criticize people. Can you imagine this?” he continued. “It’s so unconstitutional.”

Previously, Trump used his speaking arrangements and social media presence to lambaste prosecutors and office clerks associated with the case, snubbing the Justice Department’s special counsel Jack Smith as “deranged” and his underlings as “thugs.”

Chutkan said she would consider “sanctions” against Trump if she witnessed any violations.

It’s the second such gag order issued so far in his legal proceedings, after Judge Arthur Engoron came down on the former president earlier this month in his business fraud case for attacking one of the judge’s staffers.

Queer Arizona State University Professor Injured by Right-Wing Activists

A film crew affiliated with Turning Point USA allegedly pushed an ASU English professor to the ground while trying to confront him about a drag story hour group he co-founded.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk speaking at an event earlier this year

The right-wing group Turning Point USA has found itself at the center of a hate crime investigation after two local members of the group allegedly assaulted a queer professor at Arizona State University on Wednesday.

Two people identified as members of the conservative group waited outside the classroom of David Boyles, an English professor at the college and co-founder of Drag Story Hour Arizona, according to a statement by ASU President Michael Crow. The pair then harassed and shoved him to the ground, “bloodying his face,” Crow wrote in a letter to faculty and staff.

“This is the kind of outrageous conduct that you would expect to see from bullies in a high school cafeteria,” wrote Crow.

In security camera footage captured by the ASU Police Department, two men clad in all-black clothing can be seen surrounding Boyles as he passes through a courtyard. As Boyles reaches his arm out toward their camera, one of the men, identified as Kalen D’Almeida, runs up behind Boyles and forcefully knocks him to the ground.

“You can’t run,” D’Almeida told Boyles in a clip of the altercation posted the following day, according to NBC. “It’s best if you just talk to me on why you want to push sodomy to young people.”

In a Facebook post sharing his condition, Boyles said his injuries were “relatively minor” but that the incident left him feeling “angry, violated, embarrassed, and despairing” that society has come to “normalize this kind of harassment and violence against anyone who tries to support LGBTQ+ youth.”

Police are investigating the altercation as a “potential bias or prejudicially motivated incident,” reported KPNX-TV.

“Cowards that they are and so confident in the legality and appropriateness of their actions, the Turning Point USA ‘reporter’ and ‘cameraman’ then ran away from the scene before police arrived,” Crow noted.

The House of Representatives Is About to Get Even Crazier

Jim Jordan nearly has the votes he needs to become the next speaker of the House. Yikes!

Rep. Jim Jordan
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Representative Jim Jordan, possibly the next speaker of the House

Not so long ago, Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan’s candidacy for speaker of the House looked dead in the water. Jordan, a founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, is not particularly popular even within his own party. An ardent anti-institutionalist, he is a bomb-thrower, not a legislator—not exactly typical speaker material. Less than two weeks ago, Jordan handily lost a vote to become his party’s nominee for speaker to the somewhat more institutionally minded Steve Scalise. Scalise then withdrew his name more or less immediately, realizing he would not have the requisite votes needed to be speaker. And so it was Jordan’s time to shine.

Jordan’s candidacy seemed doomed before the start of the weekend. On Friday, 55 Republicans voted against his candidacy, even though there wasn’t another alternative. Jordan promised a Tuesday floor vote—even if he did not have the votes needed to take the gavel—but the conventional wisdom was that there was no way he could unify his caucus (more or less—he can only lose a handful of votes to be elected speaker) in time.

With less than 24 hours to go before that floor vote, Jordan is on the verge of winning over the holdouts in his party. On Monday, Jordan was able to flip nearly all of the most important holdouts, including Representative Mike Rogers, who had suggested only a few days earlier that he was willing to hear from Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries about a possible deal. Jordan doesn’t yet have the votes he needs. But he’s extremely close.

Jordan would make Kevin McCarthy look like a master of compromise. There is every indication he would lead the House in a more radical, obstructionist way. He is, it should be noted, scandal-plagued: In 2018, a number of former Ohio State wrestlers accused Jordan, then an assistant coach, of knowing about sexual abuse that was happening within the program between 1986 and 1994, but doing nothing to stop it. Jordan has claimed he did not know of the abuse but has also claimed that the allegations against him are part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to derail his political career.

Nevertheless, that scandal has hardly derailed his career: Because Republicans have shown little interest in it, he has remained a star of right-wing cable news and is a favorite of Donald Trump’s. Jordan’s ascension to the speakership would be remarkable: both because he has no interest in actually governing and because it seemed impossible only a few days ago. And yet the most remarkable thing is that the House of Representatives might somehow become even less functional than it is now.

The Right-Wing Funder Behind Harvard Billboards Targeting Pro-Palestine Students

A Guardian investigation revealed the source of billboards that doxxed students at the Ivy League university who had criticized Israeli strikes against Palestinian civilians.

Harvard University students show their support for Palestinians in Gaza
A rally at Harvard University on October 13 supporting Palestine

A prominent conservative donor is behind the controversial Harvard Square billboard that doxxed students who signed a letter critical of Israel’s role in its war with Palestine.

The billboard truck, which appeared on campus on Wednesday and emblazoned the names and faces of students under the banner “Harvard’s Leading Anti-Semites,” was organized by the conservative watchdog Accuracy in Media. However, the money fueling the initiative ran much deeper, reported The Guardian.

The nonprofit’s single largest donor in 2022 was the Informing America Foundation, according to IRS filings obtained by the outlet. That year, Informing America signed a check to the watchdog for more than $166,000, roughly 18 percent of the donations received by the nonprofit that year.

Elsewhere, Informing America doled out more than $8 million to 12 different media and activist groups that same year. Causes under their umbrella included Star News Digital Media, a for-profit news network founded by former Tea Party activists whose sites have been likened to “pink slime” and dubbed “Baby Breitbarts.”

The group has also contributed to Real Clear Foundation, a news nonprofit whose aggregated news and original reporting headlines “anti-MAGA” initiatives, highlights random violence in liberal cities, and levels its criticisms at Joe Biden and his family.

Behind Informing America, however, is the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, a $1.5 billion institution that played a significant part in funding a network of voter suppression groups following the 2020 election, according to a report by the Center for Media and Democracy.

The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation’s founder, executive chairman, and namesake , Diana Davis Spencer, was not only identified as Informing America Foundation’s single largest donor, providing $1.5 million in 2021, but also a board member of the conservative group.

Tom Cotton’s Gaza Comments Are Horrifying

The Arkansas Republican senator cheered on indiscriminate killing, during a Fox News interview on Sunday.

Photo by Tom Williams/Pool/Getty Images
Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton in 2021

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton called for the indiscriminate massacre of Palestinians on Sunday, during an interview with Shannon Bream on Fox News.

“As far as I’m concerned, Israel can bounce the rubble in Gaza. Anything that happens in Gaza is the responsibility of Hamas—Hamas killed women and children in Israel last weekend,” Cotton said. 

Over the past week, Israel has killed at least 2,800 people and injured nearly 10,000, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, in an onslaught of retaliatory strikes after the terrorist group Hamas made a deadly incursion into Israeli territory, killing 1,400 Israelis.  

Cotton did not bother to make a distinction between Hamas, the terrorist organization, and the millions of Palestinian civilians who are now facing a humanitarian crisis as Israel denies them food, water, and electricity. Instead, Cotton insisted that Hamas was to blame for the thousands of Palestinians suffering as a result of Israeli bombs. 

Cotton explicitly blamed Hamas for the Israeli military’s slaughter of Palestinian children, implying that the terrorist group was trying to force the hand of the United States by causing Israel to commit heinous war crimes. “If Hamas uses schools, and kindergartens, and mosques for military purposes, Israel has every right under the laws of war to strike back,” Cotton said. “It is Hamas that is committing war crimes by using those civilians to create the imagery to try to put pressure on the Biden administration,” he added.

While Democratic support for Palestinians has increased in the face of Israeli aggression, the Biden administration has not signaled much more than sympathy for the Palestinians, and continued to vocally back Israel. 

Cotton’s abhorrent call for violence ignores the fact that the Israeli military has previously engaged in disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians, in blatant violation of international law. Most crucially, international law obligations are nonreciprocal, meaning that if one side commits war crimes, that doesn’t mean the other can, according to Sari Bashi, the program director at Human Rights Watch. 

More than anything, Cotton’s calls for indiscriminate violence do nothing to wind down a conflict that has already cost thousands of innocent lives and that threatens to expand into a devastating regional war. 

Israel Is Blocking Vital Humanitarian Aid From Gaza

As a ground invasion looms, Gaza’s hospitals are buckling and trucks carrying food and lifesaving medical equipment are stuck at Israel’s border.

Photo by SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke billows after Israeli missiles hit the Rafah crossing.

Trucks transporting badly needed humanitarian aid to Gaza are stuck outside Israel’s border with Egypt, ahead of a planned ground offensive that has strangled the region’s access to fuel, medicine, food, and water.

The Rafah crossing, Gaza’s “lifeline” for international aid, has been closed for more than a week after Israel bombed the checkpoint, rendering the passageway inoperable, reported Reuters; Israel has continued to bomb the area.

Egypt has “been seeking to keep the crossing operational and in a way that allows the entry of humanitarian aid,” the country’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told ABC News on Monday.

“Until now, unfortunately, the Israeli government has not taken a position to allow the opening of the crossing from the Gaza side for the entry of aid or the exit of nationals of [other] countries,” he added.

More than 400,000 Palestinians in cities across the region’s south took shelter in hospitals and schools on Monday, reported the Associated Press. Israel has called on more than a million people to evacuate the enclave’s northern region for the south as Israel enters a new phase of its all-out assault on Hamas.

While Israeli airstrikes pounded the southern city of Khan Younis, Israel’s government denied reports that it had agreed to a ceasefire to permit the transport of humanitarian aid and safe passage of Palestinian refugees and foreign nationals to Egypt. “At the moment there is no ceasefire for humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip and the exit of foreigners,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Israel has distributed orders to evacuate residents along its northern border with Lebanon, preparing for an exchange of fire with Hezbollah after the militant group announced it targeted five positions in northern Israel.

At least 2,800 people have been killed in Palestine, with 10,850 wounded, according to a statement from the Gaza Government Press Office obtained by The New York Times, which noted that more than 60 percent of those killed were women and children.

The situation in Gaza’s hospitals is particularly dire, with an Israeli ground invasion on the horizon. “It’s absolutely impossible to evacuate the hospital,” Dr. Muhammad Abu Salima, the director of Gaza City’s largest medical complex told The New York Times. “There is nowhere in Gaza that can accept the number of patients in our intensive care unit or neonatal intensive care unit or even the operating rooms.”

On the other side of the conflict, more than 1,400 Israelis have died, the majority of whom were civilians killed during Hamas’s three-pronged surprise attack against Israel on October 7.

Israeli authorities reported on Monday that 199 hostages had been retrieved from Gaza and that the head of Hamas’s general intelligence had been assassinated during air raids in Khan Younis.