Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a legendary business professor and associate dean at the Yale School of Management, has watched this split grow in recent years, and has heard it from CEOs he knows and works with. What the GOP cares about and what major businesses care about is, increasingly incompatible, he says.
“The political desire to use wedge issues to divide — which used to be fringe in the GOP — has become mainstream,” Sonnenfeld says. “That is 100 percent at variance with what the business community wants. And that is a million times more important to them than how many dollars of taxes are paid here or there.”
Over the weekend, Sonnenfeld hastily organized a Zoom conference with roughly 100 major corporate executives to talk through the voter restrictions being considered by state legislatures throughout the country, and about the way top Republicans like McConnell and Ted Cruz are responding with attacks on businesses that speak up in opposition.
Most of the CEOs on the call were Republicans; Sonnenfeld himself has been an informal adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents, but he has a longstanding relationship with McConnell, and spoke at the senator’s wedding to Elaine Chao. The CEOs “ranged from amused to outraged” in their reaction to the GOP attacks on businesses, says Sonnenfeld. “Their comments ranged from talk about ‘taxation without representation’ to the paradox of ‘cancel culture’: It’s OK if they speak out, but only as long as they stay on script?”
As the GOP tries to position itself as the home of “working-class values,” capturing loyalty with a steady campaign against the perceived excesses of progressive culture, it’s running afoul of a business community that can’t simply silo off “culture war” topics. In the eyes of major corporations, issues like voting rights, immigration and transgender-inclusive restrooms have economic impact, too. The millions of people alienated by those fights aren’t just their future customers, many of whom expect to support brands they believe in, they’re the companies’ employees.
“The bad news for Republicans is that they seem to have a 1920s view of who big business’s workforce is,” says Sonnenfeld. “That workforce is, at a minimum, highly diverse — and they get along. Trying to stir that up is misguided.”
The new Republican penchant for mocking corporations for being too socially aware — for instance, Sen. Ted Cruz’s Twitter threat to use the power of the state to harm Major League Baseball’s business, signing the message off with “go woke, go broke” — fundamentally misunderstands what matters to business in the 21st century, says Sonnenfeld. “Basically, business leaders believe that it’s in the interest of society to have social harmony… Divisiveness in society is not in their interest, short term or long term.”
If the marriage between the Republican Party and the business community is on the rocks, what does that mean for politics? What do we misunderstand about what really matters to CEOs? And why aren’t business executives more afraid of boycott threats from the right?
For answers to all of that and more, POLITICO Magazine spoke with Sonnenfeld this week. A condensed transcript of that conversation follows, edited for length and clarity.
In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen major business come out in strong opposition to changes to election law in Georgia and other states. Over the weekend, you helped organize a phone call with around 100 corporate leaders to discuss it all. Tell me about that.
Yes. As anxiety was rising, I invited 120 CEOs on 48 hours’ notice. I thought that if I was lucky — on such short notice, and on a Saturday competing with the Masters [golf tournament] — we’d get maybe 10 to show up, thanks to my personal relationships. But 90 actual CEOs and business leaders showed up, and 120 people were on the call, including the various election and legal experts.
There were some who are interested in trying to find out what happened in Georgia. There was an explanation by the Georgia business leaders of how, in fact, they were working assiduously backstage [on the Republican bills to overhaul election laws in the state] and thought they’d taken out 95 percent of the bad stuff. It turned out they’d gotten 80 percent out; they didn’t realize that left in there was the [legislature having the ability to suspend] county officials who are elected to be in charge of voting. As was pointed out, the Carter Center in Atlanta certifies elections around the world as being democratic or undemocratic on just that basis; they have poll-watchers around the world to prevent this kind of thing.
But Georgia was not the focus; that was just the warning shot. The volley over the bow is that we had business leaders from Texas saying, “you don’t know what bad is,” and looking at this spread [of voting rights restrictions] to 47 state legislatures. Michael Waldman, the head of the Brennan Center, gave an analysis of how bad [the proposals are] in these different states.
This November, for the first time in American history, [major business leaders] worked to guarantee millions of workers paid time off to vote. We’ve never had that before — and that’s a bypass around government, with its inability to make Election Day a national holiday. So they created their own workarounds. But on top of that, they were really proud that they managed to have — these particular companies — over a million workers with a full day off not only to vote, but to help fortify elderly voting site volunteers who were at risk for Covid and [had to handle] the tidal wave of ballots. They did so much, and they were so proud that this was the largest, fairest, most secure election in U.S. history. And to have [the election] condemned [by Republicans] after the companies put so much into ensuring that, they’re pretty upset.
What was the reaction among CEOs to all the recent criticism from Republicans?
Well, they ranged from amused to outraged. Their comments ranged from talk about “taxation without representation” to the paradox of “cancel culture”: It’s OK if they speak out, but only as long as they stay on script?
I think the clarion call that actually got this ridiculously high participation rate on such short notice was, in fact, Senator Mitch McConnell’s paradoxical call to action for CEOs. [Last week, McConnell gave a speech in which he told corporations to “stay out of politics,” with the caveat that he did not mean that they should stop making campaign contributions.]
Despite your extraordinary range of Washington contacts, I bet I’m the only person you’ve interviewed that actually spoke at Mitch McConnell’s wedding. Only three of us spoke: It was the ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, the ambassador to Taiwan, me — and maybe Elaine [Chao’s] father. I have a nice relationship with Mitch. I admire him, and I’m glad he walked back his statement. It missed the mark.
The CEOs were across the political spectrum. But one thing they were unified about was their right to have a voice, and the importance of fortifying each other when they get out in front on an issue.
It is kind of like 2017 after Charlottesville, when Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier spoke out against President Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacist hate groups and left Trump’s American Manufacturing Council. At first, the business community wasn’t sure if they were all going to leave [Trump’s various business advisory councils]. But some, like Dave Abney, the chairman of UPS, said that Trump’s attack on the character of Ken Frazier [after Frazier resigned] was unjustified. And Business Roundtable came out with a statement from more than 200 business leaders. They rallied around one another. That was remarkable. It was a clarifying moment, and they came out to make a unified statement — and that’s why we’re here right now.
Earlier you told me something that I can’t let pass by: You spoke at Mitch McConnell’s wedding?
Yeah. I’ve known them for a long time. And I’ve been friends with Elaine for some 40 years. [Pause] It’s never been mentioned anywhere before. I thought I owed you that. [Laughter]
I appreciate it. You mentioned this wide range of political beliefs among the business leaders on the call. I imagine that many of those CEOs are somewhat conservative. Are they alienated from the GOP? How would you characterize their politics right now?
Yes, this group was about 70 percent Republican and easily 60 percent conservative, even if they are Democrats. It was a clear act of defiance just to be on call. But that doesn’t mean that they all agree with each other on the different options available for corporate response.
What we’re seeing right now from business leaders is sort of this gangly return to adolescence to say, “We’re not going to be defined by the parentage of either political party.” Lord knows who misclassified very honorable, legitimate social democrats as “progressives.” Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC — [it’s] great what they do, but they’re social democrats; not “progressives.” Progressives — Teddy Roosevelt ran on that ticket. So did “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, a Republican senator [and 1924 Progressive presidential nominee], with Burton Wheeler, a Democratic senator, as his running mate. They were fighting for bridges and dams and immigration, for urban beautification, the settlement houses of Jane Addams, safe workplaces.
That’s what “progressivism” is and was. And that’s the theory [that animates] Joe Biden and Mayor Pete [Buttigieg] and Amy Klobuchar and maybe Mitt Romney. That’s who progressives are. And that’s where the business community is: They’re pretty much somewhere between Mitt Romney and Joe Biden.
Are there other issues where business leaders feel alienated from the GOP, or is it mainly around these questions of having a basic functioning democracy?
The business leaders, to a person, were trying to explain: they don’t like being politicians. They’re not public officials. But trying to create and fortify social harmony is absolutely directly in the strategic context of what CEOs do — although the Wall Street Journal editorial board [which has been critical of business leaders for speaking out against the Georgia law] doesn’t seem to understand that.
Since [Herbert] Hoover, the Republican Party has been identified as the party of big business. Well, the bad news for Republicans is that they seem to have a 1920s view of who big business’s workforce is. Whatever they have in mind when they think of “Joe Six-Pack,” the reality is really different. That workforce is, at a minimum, highly diverse — and they get along. Trying to stir that up [in a “culture war”] is misguided. The business community’s interests are not to be xenophobic. It’s not in their interests to be isolationist. It’s not in their interests to be protectionist. And the GOP, those haven’t been their positions, at least since the 1950s. But now they are.
Basically, business leaders believe that it’s in the interest of society to have social harmony. The CEOs really care about these issues. Divisiveness in society is not in their interest — short term or long term. They don’t want angry communities; they don’t want fractious, finger-pointing workforces; they don’t want hostile customers; they don’t want confused and angry shareholders.
The political desire to use wedge issues to divide — which used to be fringe in the GOP — has become mainstream. State by state, party has taken that path. That is 100 percent at variance with what the business community wants. And that is a million times more important to them than how many dollars of taxes are paid here or there.
If [corporate tax rates] go from 34 percent to 27 percent instead of 22 percent, they’re way less concerned about that. There’s too much focus on taxes. On taxes, what we’re seeing is, in fact, CEOs are willing to concede. There’s a lot of ground there. You’ll get anywhere from [JPMorgan Chase CEO] Jamie Dimon and Bill Gates to Jeff Bezos saying, “we’ll give a couple of dollars on tax.”
They’re interested in free markets — whether or not that’s product markets, financial markets or labor markets. It’s about the image and reality of America: “give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statue of Liberty. That’s the spirit of it. But it’s also this: If the U.S. is not seen as a comfortable, attractive magnet for the world’s best talent, we’re in trouble. We don’t want all this technological expertise to be siphoned away to our trading partners, and that’s starting to happen.
[Business leaders] are upset about immigration policies. Around this time last year and into the summer, the universities were somewhat inept in their lobbying efforts [on the issue], and even the immigration attorneys were underperforming. They were kind of relying on the same K Street nomadic lobbyists who hop around from place to place, shun controversy, don’t want to create waves, who were kind of checking boxes but not having a meaningful impact. It was the business leaders, four major tech companies in particular, who went off to see Jared Kushner — and I know this point blank; I was in the middle of it, and this has not been out there, by the way — and say, “You can’t condemn us for outsourcing this work to China or India if we can’t bring these highly skilled workers here. We’re already now leasing space in Vancouver and Toronto, and we’re working on wiring the infrastructure so this will be on U.S. time zones. If we can’t get [these skilled workers] into the U.S., we’re still going to function as a North American company with the talent we need.”
They have different priorities [than the Republican Party seems to think]. They’re upset about the [anti-LGBTQ] “bathroom bills.” They’re upset about gun violence; hundreds of companies severed ties with the NRA or stopped dealing in semiautomatic weapons — from Wal-Mart to Dick’s Sporting Goods. As we talk about “regulatory rollbacks” during the Trump administration, they were almost entirely EPA-directed; nobody was lobbying for that in corporate America. With the automakers, it became the entire industry fighting the [Trump-era] EPA, saying, “We like working with California. We think that in addition to what we’re doing with hybrids and [electric vehicles], we are pretty sure that we can get a 50-mile per gallon efficiency in the old-fashioned internal combustion engine. Don’t stop us.” So [Attorney General Bill] Barr was told to unleash the antitrust division to sue the auto industry for conspiring in [agreeing to stricter environmental standards]. It was ridiculous.
You’ve spent a lot of your time at Yale working with business leaders and studying how they think. I’m curious how a CEO makes the calculation of whether or not it makes sense to speak out about an issue. Can you walk me through that?
Yeah, there are five parts, really.
First, they have to know what is in the strategic interests of the business. As a steward of other people’s resources, they have to be mindful that it can’t just be their personal values alone — and when it is, then they have to be willing to put their job on the line, as Ken Frazier did at Merck [following Trump’s comments after Charlottesville].
Second: Is it a defining element of their brand? How does it reinforce their brand and their brand values? Google retreated from China because of invasions of privacy and theft of intellectual property. They drew a line in the sand about what their brand is. Frankly, Apple did not.
Third: If the issue itself is divisive, who else is involved and why? With these [anti-transgender] “bathroom bills,” the companies that led the charge against the euphemistic “religious freedom” acts in Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina and Texas — amazingly — were AT&T, UPS and Doug McMillon [the CEO] of Wal-Mart. They were out front. I mean, Patagonia was there, Howard Schultz of Starbucks was there, Nike was there, Tim Cook of Apple was there, but they joined later. It had such force because these were not considered political extremists or edgier companies; this was coming from the heartland. When companies like that get involved, it has an effect.
Fourth: Is the particular issue one where remaining silent is itself a stance? On many of these issues — such as voting access, or whether the president was elected in a truly honest election — there’s no middle ground; it’s a dichotomous yes or no. Some companies waffle, trying not to make enemies. You can’t get away with that anymore. Your silence is acquiescence; it is a decision. You’re making a decision: your silence is a decision. And when you recognize that, some of these issues are so salient and so critical that you have to take a position.
Fifth: We know from surveys that the CEO is the most trusted voice in society right now. That wasn’t the case [years ago]. Right now, both your line of work and my line of work have lost a step [in the public eye]. Elected officials at every level — city, county, state, federal — have all been knocked down a peg. Clergy? Lord knows their standing has suffered.
Whose standing has not only been steady, but actually, weirdly, gone up in all these polls that usually agree on very little else? Business leaders and military leaders. They are the most respected pillars in society — and the military can’t have a political voice, so [business leaders] realize they have to speak up. If they see a dangerous slide toward anti-democratic or tyrannical movements, they have to speak up, and it’s in their own self-interest.
And how do they consider the potential risks of coming out with a stance, like the potential for a boycott?
We’re seeing a courage for business leaders to speak out and not worry about being criticized as “woke” or as pressured. They have learned they can take courageous stands and maybe muscle their way through it. The blowback, they’ve learned to anticipate it. Boycotts? They have gotten through that. Some of them, like Nike, realized that they could wear it as a badge of honor.
When Matt Levatich of Harley-Davidson had to try to get product into Asia, because of retaliatory trade barriers that made it difficult to get Harley-Davidsons in Asia — this was Trump’s initiative — he had to shut down their plant in Kansas City. They still had one Racine, Wisconsin. They still had one York, Pennsylvania. But they had to shut this one down to create products in Asia for Asia. President Trump said, “Boycott Harley-Davidson.” My gosh. That’s like boycotting apple pie, baseball and Coca-Cola. I mean, the iconic symbol of Harley-Davidson is the American eagle, of all things. The president says not to buy Harley. Well, who is their only real pernicious competitor? It’s Hero Honda, which has a much larger market share worldwide. This is “Make America Great Again”?
Same thing with what Trump did with Goodyear tires: Goodyear has had a long-standing, decades-old policy of not allowing [employees to wear] political campaign paraphernalia in the workplace. So Trump went after Goodyear [in protest of them not allowing employees to wear MAGA merchandise at work], saying, “Don’t buy Goodyear tires,” telling people to buy the competition. Well, who’s that? It’s not U.S.-based companies: It’s Italian-owned Pirelli and French-owned Michelin in Europe; it’s Japanese-owned Firestone-Bridgestone in Asia. It’s counterproductive.
CEOs have learned to not be afraid of these boycotts. They have to take positions.
Even when you’re really beholden to very strong individual clients [the loss of which] can hurt a professional partnership, you might think they would worry [about speaking out]. But you take a look at somebody like, say, Brad Karp of [the white-shoe law firm] Paul, Weiss: Over the last week, he has 60-some of the nation’s largest law firms banded together, ready at a moment’s notice to have SWAT teams of election law experts fanned out to any of these states considering legislation to restrict voting rights. They have the confidence to work collaboratively as problem solvers.
Last question: In terms of its political involvement, where do you see business going from here?
So the huge takeaway is that there are things that are specific to their industry that they can do that aren’t just uniform policy statements — as we saw with Apple and Will Smith this week [announcing they’re pulling the filming of a new movie out of Georgia in protest of the state’s new voting laws]. Some of my colleagues and people in the social advocacy fields want to have these grandiose policy statements and all these petitions. OK, great, fine. But there’s actually a whole menu of actions available that are specific to the companies. And a lot of it’ll be driven through the collective action of people who have a shared fate.
We see this with airline industry getting together, or companies within Georgia or Arkansas or Texas getting together — wherever they have a shared fate. We’re seeing business communities finding a new sense of collective civic duty. And I have the utmost enthusiasm about that.
‘I have reassessed’: Former Pentagon official now says Trump may not have incited riot
Miller echoed the same message.
“I had all the authority I needed, and I knew what had to happen,” the former defense official said, adding that Trump had given him that authority in the days before the riot.
“I think that the lack of direct communication from President Trump speaks volumes,” Maloney said.
Sparks flew between Democrats on the panel and the Trump appointees as lawmakers accused Miller of changing his account to sound more favorable to Trump and faulted Rosen for refusing to discuss his conversations with the president, as well as for dramatic events at the Justice Department in the days leading up to the riot.
While Miller said in a media interview and in his prepared statement for Wednesday’s hearing that Trump encouraged the protesters on Jan. 6, he took a different tack in his live testimony.
“I think now I would say that is not the unitary factor at all…I have reassessed,” Miller said. “It seems clear there was an organized assault element in place that was going to assault regardless of what the president said.”
Miller also went further than Rosen, seemingly defending Trump by insisting that the former president fulfilled his constitutional duties in connection with the storming of the Capitol, which took place as Congress was scheduled to certify the electoral vote.
When asked to assess whether heated political rhetoric was to blame for the riot, Miller painted in very broad strokes and didn’t point a finger at Trump. “I think the entire entertainment, media, political complex is culpable in creating this environment that is just intolerable and needs to change,” the former defense chief said.
When Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said Miller had reversed himself, Miller replied: “Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous.”
“You’re ridiculous,” Lynch shot back.
“Thank you for your thoughts,” Miller responded.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) also lambasted Miller over his claims that he is proud of “every decision” he made on Jan. 6.
“I have never been more offended on this committee by a witness statement than yours. You were more concerned about defending your own reputation and justifying your own actions than the sanctity of this Capitol and the sanctity of our democracy,” Khanna said.
When Miller began his answer by praising the service of the troops at the Capitol, Khanna cut him off: “Your pugnacious style is not going to override the democratic process. Learn to respect it.”
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) seemed angry about Miller‘s stance.
“It’s almost like the military saying, ‘Sure, we lost the battle, but we carried out our plan perfectly,’“ Quigley said. “I had colleagues saying, when does the f-ing cavalry get here? You lost and you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to own up to your part of the responsibility.“
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) suggested Miller was shifting his position to curry favor with Trump. “Maybe the wrath of Donald Trump came down upon you,” she said. “That is disgusting.“
Rosen, who has been publicly silent since Jan. 6 except for a couple of written statements and a prerecorded Justice Department video released a week after the riot, said Justice officials he did not name had instructed him not to speak about his conversations with Trump.
“I cannot tell you, consistent with my obligations today, about private conversations with the president one way or another,” Rosen said in response to a question from Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) about whether Trump had pressed him to take action on election fraud claims.
“We had an unprecedented insurrection that led to seven deaths. Five here and two suicides, and you are saying this is a privileged communication?” Connolly replied. “I think the American people are entitled to answer, Mr. Rosen.”
Rosen suggested he might relay his conversations with Trump if he had permission to do so. A Justice Department spokesperson had no immediate comment on what instructions the agency gave to Rosen, who was deputy attorney general in the last two years of the Trump administration and became acting head of the department when Attorney General Bill Barr resigned on Dec. 24, 2020.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) pressed Rosen on whether Black protesters would’ve been treated similarly by law enforcement as the predominantly white crowd that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6
“I think our preparation and our responses would’ve been the same,” Rosen said.
“I’m going to have to disagree with you,” declared Bush, who was a Black Lives Matter organizer before winning election to the House last year. “The contrast is stark.”
The lawmakers who led off questioning for Republicans at the hearing seemed intent on minimizing the gravity of the events at the Capitol. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) argued that the shooting of protester Ashli Babbitt as she sought to breach a lobby outside the House chamber was unwarranted.
“Who executed Ashli Babbitt?” Gosar asked. “The truth is being censored and covered up. As a result, the DOJ is harassing peaceful patriots across the country.”
Gosar argued that the massive Justice Department effort to prosecute those who breached the Capitol and fought with police amounted to overkill aimed at persecuting “Trump voters.”
“The FBI is fishing through the homes of veterans and citizens with no criminal record and restricting the liberties of individuals that have never been accused of a crime,” Gosar said. “The government even enlisted Americans to turn in their own neighbors.”
Gosar also suggested that none of the protesters who entered the Capitol had a weapon. Prosecutors have claimed that firearms were brought into the Capitol, but they have not said that guns were actually seized in the building.
Video of the riot shows some who battled with police wore trademark Trump campaign Make America Great Again caps and waved huge pro-Trump flags. However, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) disputed press reports that those who sought to breach the Capitol were backers of Trump.
“I don’t know who did the poll to say they were Trump supporters,” Norman said.
Several Democrats tried to rebut the Republican stance by citing then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pointed rebuke of Trump in January for fueling the attack on the Capitol.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Trump’s culpability for the assault was indisputable.
“He pointed them like a loaded pistol at the capitol. Now, we’re getting this outrageous Orwellian revisionist history,” Raskin said.
Despite the sharp criticism Miller took from Democrats, he did seem to break with Republicans seeking to minimize the events of Jan. 6. “I agree it was an act of terrorism,” he said.
Lara Seligman contributed to this report.
Dozens killed in Mideast conflict that recalls 2014 Gaza war
Palls of gray smoke rose in Gaza, as Israeli airstrikes struck apartment towers and blasted multiple Hamas security installations. In Israel, hundreds of rockets fired by Gaza’s Hamas rulers and other militants at times overwhelmed missile defenses and sent air-raid sirens and explosions echoing across Tel Aviv, Israel’s biggest metropolitan area, and other cities.
The death toll in Gaza rose to 53 Palestinians, including 14 children and three women, according to the Health Ministry. At least 320 have been wounded, including 86 children and 39 women. Seven have been killed on the Israeli side by rocket fire, including the first death of an Israeli soldier in this round of conflict. The other deaths have been civilians, including three women and two children, one of them a 6-year-old killed in a rocket strike on an apartment building in city of Sderot. Dozens in Israel have been wounded.
There was no sign that either side is willing to back down. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to expand the offensive, saying it “will take time.” Hamas has called for a full-scale intifada, or uprising. The last such uprising began in 2000 and lasted more than five years.
The latest eruption of violence began a month ago in Jerusalem, where heavy-handed police tactics during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers ignited protests and clashes with police. A focal point was the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a site sacred to Jews and Muslims.
Hamas, claiming to be defending Jerusalem, launched a barrage of rockets at the city late Monday, escalating the ground tensions into a new Israel-Hamas punching match.
Since then, militants have fired more 1,050 rockets from Gaza, according to the Israeli military, and Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes in the tiny territory where 2 million Palestinians have lived under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas took power in 2007. Two infantry brigades were sent to the area, indicating preparations for a possible ground invasion.
On Wednesday, Israel stepped up its targeting of Hamas’ military wing. The military and internal security agency said they carried out a “complex and first-of-its-kind operation” that killed the Hamas commander in charge of Gaza City, the highest-ranking Hamas military figure killed by Israel since 2014, and several other senior militants involved in rocket production.
Israel has struck 350 targets and killed at least 30 militants since Monday night, 14 of them on Wednesday, Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said.
In one of the fiercest attacks, Israeli fighter jets dropped two bombs on a 14-story building in Gaza City, collapsing it. The building, located on the busiest shopping street in the Roman neighborhood, housed businesses in addition to offices for Hamas’ Al-Aqsa satellite channel.
Airstrikes also brought down a 12-story office building that housed Hamas offices as well as other businesses, and heavily damaged a nine-story building with residential apartments, medical companies, a dental clinic and, Israel said, Hamas intelligence offices. In both cases, Israel fired warning shots, allowing people to flee.
Soon after, Hamas fired 100 rockets at the Israeli desert town of Beersheba in what it said was retaliation.
Samah Haboub, a mother of four in Gaza, said she was thrown across her bedroom in a “moment of horror” by an airstrike on an apartment tower next door. She and her children, ages 3 to 14, ran down the stairway of their apartment block along with other residents, many of them screaming and crying.
“There is almost no safe place in Gaza,” she said.
One strike hit a taxi in Gaza City, killing a man, woman and driver insider, and a second strike killed two men nearby on the street, witnesses who brought the bodies told The Associated Press at the hospital. Several other bystanders were wounded.
In the Israeli city of Lod, a 52-year-old Arab Israeli citizen and his 16-year-old daughter were killed when a rocket from Gaza hit the courtyard of their home. An Israeli soldier was killed in a strike by an anti-tank missile from Gaza.
The Jerusalem turmoil and the ensuing battle come at a time when the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process is virtually non-existent, fueling Palestinian frustration.
It has been seven years since the two sides held formal negotiations. Israel’s political scene pays little attention, and the peace process was hardly an issue in the country’s recent elections. Arab nations, including several that recently reached normalization deals with Israel, rarely push for any resolution.
The result has left the nearly 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem living in a limbo.
Now the recent fighting has unleashed protests in Arab communities in Israel.
“An intifada erupted in Lod, you have to bring in the army,” the central Israeli city’s mayor, Yair Revivo, said. Lod saw heavy clashes after thousands of mourners joined a funeral for an Arab man killed the previous night, the suspect a Jewish gunman.
With the deployment of border guards in Lod and the coastal city of Acre, Netanyahu warned that he was prepared to use “an iron fist if necessary,” and urged Arab Israeli leaders to bring calm.
Still unclear is how this new outburst of fighting will effect Netanyahu’s political future. He failed to form a government coalition after inconclusive parliamentary elections in March, and now his political rivals have three weeks to try to form one.
The longer the fighting drags on, the more it could hamper their attempts at a coalition. It could also boost Netanyahu if yet another election is held, since security is his strong suit with the public.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces. The conflicts ended after regional and international powers persuaded both sides to accept an informal truce.
Israel faced heavy criticism over the bombing of residential buildings in Gaza during the 2014 war, one of several tactics that are now the subject of an investigation by the International Criminal Court into possible war crimes. Israel is not a member of the court and has rejected the probe.
In a brief statement, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she had noted “with great concern” the escalation of violence and “the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute” that established the court.
Conricus, the military spokesman, said Israeli forces have strict rules of engagement, follow international laws on armed conflict and are trying to minimize civilian casualties.
But Israel has said it has no choice because Hamas fires rockets from residential areas. Hamas has also come under international criticism over its indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli population centers.
Opinion | A GOP Civil War? Don’t Bet On It.
They shouldn’t be so sure.
First, beyond a few spats that make headlines, it’s getting harder to detect any serious division among rank-and-file Republicans. In Congress, and at the grassroots, the dominance of Donald Trump over the party is more or less total. The small handful who denounced the former president for his massive lies about the election and his seeding of an insurrectionist riot are now either silent, or have embraced a mealy-mouthed argument for “election integrity.” The same state officials who pushed back against Trump’s attempt to overturn November’s results have embraced a series of restrictive voting measures ostensibly designed to combat non-existent “fraud,” all aimed at hobbling voters inclined to vote for Democrats. Mitch McConnell, who denounced Trump’s behavior in high-minded tones in the aftermath of the riot, also—on the exact same day—voted to exonerate him of wrongdoing.
Second, and more significant, history is littered with times that critics on the left, and in the pundit class, were positive the Republican Party was setting itself up for defeat by embracing its extremes … only to watch the party comfortably surge into power. This time there are structural advantages as well: Given the Republican advantages in the House (through gerrymandering, and the statistically “wasted” votes in landslide Democratic districts), in the Senate, in state legislatures and in the Electoral College, a Trump-dominated Republican Party is a strong contender to take the White House next time around. And, contrarian as it may seem, the lockstep devotion to the former president may actually enhance, rather than lessen, its chances. What we’re seeing isn’t a civil war. It’s a purge, and there’s every reason to believe it will work.
This is not the conclusion you’ll reach if you follow much of the mainstream press. A New York Times story on Saturday about Trump’s hold on the GOP quoted former Rep. Barbara Comstock, former Sen. Jeff Flake, GOP consultant Sarah Longwell and Republican strategist Scott Reed, all warning of the political danger of a Trumpcentric party. These are estimable public figures, none of whom remotely speaks for the Republican base. For the past few weeks, much media attention was focused on Michael Wood, the 34-year-old veteran running for a Texas seat with a message that the Republican Party had to move away from Trump. He wound up finishing ninth, with 3 percent of the vote.
For a broader measure of just how one-sided the “civil war” is, you don’t need to stop at the behavior of House Republicans, who are poised to defenestrate Liz Cheney from her leadership post, and who overwhelmingly voted in January to block the certification of electors. A far better picture emerges when you consider the behavior at the grassroots. From one end of the country to the other, state and local Republicans have spoken with one voice.
In Oregon—once the home of moderate Republicans like Mark Hatfield and Robert Packwood—the state party declared that the January 6 pro-Trump insurrection was a “false flag” operation by antifa and Black Lives Matter supporters. In Arizona, where Sen. John McCain once stepped across the aisle to defend the patriotism of Barack Obama, the state party censured his widow, Flake and Gov. Doug Ducey for refusing to embrace the “stolen election” fantasies of Trump. More recently, the GOP-controlled state Senate turned 2.1 million votes from Maricopa County over to an “auditing” firm run by hardcore Trump supporters; the firm is now inspecting ballots for “bamboo fibers,” the better to prove that thousands of ballots somehow made their way from China into Arizona ballot boxes.
In state after state—Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Michigan, Washington—local Republican parties are rallying around the ex-president, and censuring those who dare to critique him. If there is any counterweight to this mass impulse, if there are signs of any activity on the other side of this “civil war,” it is happening at a level so low as to be invisible.
From a distance, this all looks somewhere between absurd and suicidal for the party: Pledging total allegiance to a divisive, 74-year-old one-term president who lost his reelection bid by 7 million votes, and lives in a bubble of people telling him he won. He could, and seemingly still can, remove critics from the political stage with the flick of a finger. Should that be seen as a political calamity for Republicans?
If you have a long enough memory, or a grasp of political history, you can point to a moment when the GOP was, indeed, slightly too extreme for American voters: Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater went down to a massive defeat in 1964, in part because the then-significant moderate-liberal wing of the party refused to support him.
But that may be the last time the Republicans truly regretted alienating their moderates. In 1980, Mary Crisp stepped down as co-chair of the Republican National Committee after the party abandoned its support for the Equal Rights Amendment, and put a more or less total abortion ban in its platform. To the pundit classes, her departure was seen an obvious sign that Ronald Reagan’s nomination would drive the then-significant core of moderate and even liberal Republicans away from the ticket. Spoiler alert: The party united behind Reagan and won 44 states. Crisp’s dramatic departure is now a footnote, at best.
For establishment Washington, it was a genuine shock to the system. When 1980 began, an A-list New Year’s gathering in Washington held an informal poll on who would win the presidential election that November. Not a single partygoer chose Reagan. If the collective wisdom of Washington could not imagine the election of a candidate who was twice been elected to lead the largest state in the union, it was beyond the pale in early 2016 to imagine a crude, bullying, recreational liar with the political knowledge of a hamster ascending to the highest office in the land. He would not survive the first in-depth investigative news probe; he would not survive the first primary; he would be turned back at the convention; he would go down to humiliating defeat in November.
And indeed, his ascent triggered what looked like a civil war within the party. Four of the previous five Republican presidential nominees refused to endorse him; a fifth of GOP senators did the same. But Trump won 88 percent of the Republican vote. And after four years of unhinged government, after credible evidence of obstruction of justice, after a pandemic death toll directly linked to presidential indifference and ignorance … Trump won 12 million more votes than he had four years earlier, with the support of 94 percent of Republican voters. That’s slightly better than Reagan did in his 1984 landslide reelection. A shift of 42,000 votes in three states would have thrown the contest into the House of Representatives, where the ludicrously anti-democratic one-state-one-vote rule would have put Trump back in the White House. (Further—had David Perdue won a quarter of one percent more of the vote in the Georgia Senate contest last November, he would have avoided a runoff and the Senate would now be under GOP control).
And despite Trump’s overt attempt to subvert the election, despite his feeding the flames that nearly led to a physical assault of the vice president and speaker of the House, the Republican Party has, after a few complaints and speed bumps, firmly rallied behind Trump’s argument that he was robbed of a second term. A remarkable 70 percent of self-identified Republicans say Biden is not the legitimate president. To prove their commitment to Trump, state legislators, governors and other officials enact laws based on that premise. Rather than holding up their end of a civil war, the objectors are being stripped of their jobs, or leaving the party entirely.
Looking ahead to 2024, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the structural advantages that benefit the Republican Party—in House districts, in the GOP tilt of the Senate and Electoral College—are only tilting further in its direction, buttressed by new laws and regulations passed to make Trump and his followers happy. If Trump really runs, and the 2024 election results have roughly the same profile as 2020’s, it is far more likely that Trump would emerge the victor, given new barriers to voting and the purging of nonpartisan voting officials.
Now throw in the human factors, and imagine how a Republican House and Senate could refuse to certify politically unpalatable state results, thus throwing the election into the House, where the one-state-one-vote rule makes a victory for the Republican candidate probable.
The pattern is striking: if you want to survive as a Republican official, you will support the former president; if you support the former president, you will support laws that reflect his conviction that the election was stolen; if you enact those rules, you are making it more possible that he will win a second term. The party is talking with one voice; the voice is Trump’s, and it’s one that plenty of Americans are still perfectly receptive to.
Yes, there are those within the party who will resist: Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, blue state governors like Larry Hogan, former GOP Chair Michael Steele, who has been effectively divorced from the party for years. As nominal Republicans, they will win a significant share of coverage in the New York Times, and on CNN and MSNBC. But the idea that they represent one side of a major split within the Republican Party is a fantasy.
As a body, that party has embraced notions about the political process that would have seemed the stuff of parody a decade ago. Donald Trump Jr. was right, in his speech to the crowd just before the Capitol insurrection: this is Trump’s Republican Party, and it’s perfectly united in that conviction. To pretend otherwise—and to pretend that there’s an argument about what it stands for, or some kind of damaging fracture still ahead—is an act of delusion.
Focus – How To Develop Laser Focus And Achieve Success
GitHub now lets all developers upload videos to demo bugs and features
NYC finally makes right call on Trump-run ice rinks
‘The Muppets’ slapped with a content warning by Disney
Texas mayor quits, calls residents ‘lazy’ amid power outages
Opinion3 months ago
NYC finally makes right call on Trump-run ice rinks
Breaking News3 months ago
‘The Muppets’ slapped with a content warning by Disney
Breaking News3 months ago
Texas mayor quits, calls residents ‘lazy’ amid power outages
Living3 months ago
CA mom bullied by fellow parents for selling sexy snaps on OnlyFans
Living1 month ago
Baby born with three penises makes medical history
Breaking News3 months ago
Los Angeles woman Monique Munoz, 32, killed in Lamborghini crash
Digital4 weeks ago
(1) Stefan Sent You A Message – VSL -9 – (1) Stefan Sent You A Message –
Breaking News2 months ago
Milo Yiannopoulos announces he is ‘ex-gay’ and ‘sodomy free’