Trump Vows to Have SOTU in ‘Alternative’ Location

President Donald Trump said he would deliver the State of the Union in an “alternative” location after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said would not be welcome in the House, the traditional venue.

Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James, who as part of a meeting of conservative leaders, told the president he was welcome to hold it at The Heritage Foundation, located near Capitol Hill, according to a Politico reporter.

James was sitting to the president’s left during the meeting.

“If we can handle Iraq, we can handle the middle of Washington and a very, very spectacular building in a beautiful room that we should be in and that’s where it’s been for a very long time,” Trump said, referring to his December trip to Iran. “So it’s a sad thing for our country. We’ll do something in the alternative. I’ll be talking to you about that at a later date.”

Pelosi, D-Calif., informed Trump earlier Wednesday that the House will not be open to the State of the Union until the government shutdown ends.

She later tweeted: “This afternoon, I sent @realDonaldTrump a letter informing him that the House will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the president’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened.”

Trump talked about the snub at length during a meeting with conservatives about his immigration proposal.

“So Nancy Pelosi, knowing these facts, and knowing it’s something she can’t win, she just went out and said let’s cancel, for the first time in the history of our country, let’s cancel the State of the Union address,” Trump said. “And it’s a disgrace.”

Trump said added Pelosi is wrong to contend there was a security issue with the House of Representative.

Trump also said during the meeting:

Just so you know, she uses … the basis of the shutdown, but when she asked me to make the address – formally, in writing, most of you have a copy of the letter – when she asked me to make the address, she did it during the shutdown, well into the shutdown by a couple of weeks.

So the shutdown was going on and now she’s blaming the shutdown. So if it was because of the shutdown, why do you ask that address be made? She asked that the address be made during the shutdown and now she’s blaming the shutdown.

She also knew, because she went to our people and she asked would it be a security problem, she knew it wasn’t a security problem. She blamed security, but she knew it wasn’t a security problem and she knew that loud and clear. And she went to the people, she asked, they said we have no problem whatsoever. I just got back from Iraq. I was very safe in Iraq and I felt very safe: we had great, great security.

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A Big Legal Loss for Planned Parenthood

Thanks to Planned Parenthood’s annual report, more Americans are starting to understand why the country’s biggest abortion business doesn’t need taxpayer money.

Texas has always thought so, which is why the state has worked for years to put the brakes on the organization’s government-funded gravy train. Now, thanks to the Trump administration, the Lone Star State finally has the right to try again.

Under former President Barack Obama, it wasn’t just suggested that states send a portion of their Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood—it was required. Like a lot of Americans, President Donald Trump didn’t think the government should be telling states how to spend their money. So, he overturned the rule and wrote his own, insisting that legislatures could decide for themselves.

Naturally, Planned Parenthood wasn’t exactly thrilled at the thought of losing Texas’ $3.1 million, so it took the state to court. Late last week, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court had its say—and, to the abortion group’s surprise, it ruled on behalf of taxpayers.

Writing for the majority, Judge Edith Jones explained that the lower court had no reason to issue an injunction, especially when the $3.1 million that Texas is trying to withhold from Planned Parenthood is a “smidgen” of the $57 million its affiliates earn each year.

Just as importantly, the panel also handed a huge moral victory to the Center for Medical Progress, whose undercover videos have been ruled inadmissible in other courts. In this instance, Texas used the footage as one of its major arguments for defunding the group.

“One of the incriminating videos,” Live Action points out, “was shot inside Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Texas, where a Planned Parenthood employee explained that making it look like they didn’t profit from fetal tissue was ‘just a matter of line items.‘ Another video featured abortionist Amna Dermish of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas discussing how she more effectively harvests fetal body parts during abortions.”

The left has argued since the first tape was released in 2015 that the videos have been “doctored.” This court disagreed, reminding everyone that the footage had undergone forensic review and weren’t “deceptively edited.” If other judges agree, that will destroy one of Planned Parenthood’s central arguments.

For David Daleiden, who did America a favor by exposing Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts ring, the vindication was sweet. “The video camera doesn’t lie … The court ruled that Texas may strip Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies, finding that Planned Parenthood uses criminal partial-birth abortions to sell baby parts. Now it’s time for the Department of Justice to do its job and hold Planned Parenthood accountable to the law.”

Until then, states have a compelling argument for taking matters into their own hands when it comes to Planned Parenthood dollars. If their policies end up in the courts, as the left almost guarantees they will, then we can all be thankful that Trump is putting his own stamp on those as well.

With record numbers of men and women on the bench who respect the rule of law, it’s only a matter of time until America’s pro-life sentiment becomes its legal precedent.

Editor’s note: When the Center for Medical Progress videos were released, Planned Parenthood denied any wrong doing.

Originally published by Family Research Council’s Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.

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Betsy DeVos Hails Growth and Popularity of School Choice

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called it “imperative” that Congress reauthorize a scholarship program in the nation’s capital that allows children from low-income families to attend private schools.

“The outcomes for students in D.C. have continued to improve, from the most underperforming district in the country to now one that is on a growth trajectory,” DeVos said Wednesday at The Heritage Foundation, during an event marking National School Choice Week.

The secretary, as an education activist, was instrumental in working with the D.C. city government and a bipartisan coalition in Congress to establish the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which began operating in 2004.

DeVos noted that the D.C. scholarship program had a three-sector approach: improving traditional public schools, expanding charter schools, and providing school vouchers.

Public school students in the District of Columbia no longer are required to attend a public school in their neighborhood.

“Today over 50 percent of the kids in D.C. attend schools that they are not assigned to,” DeVos said, adding:

They are making choices of other schools. So, the traditional public schools have continued to change and improve in response and reaction to the other dynamics around them. Charter schools have continued to expand and grow and improve and serve the most children. The voucher program has given children an alternative option as well.

DeVos spoke at the event from a wheelchair as she recovers from injuries from a Dec. 30 road-biking accident that left her unable to put weight on her left leg for three months.

Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James, interviewing DeVos during the event, said: “We all love you and wish you well, and I think it sends a positive message that you can’t keep a good woman down.”

In her introduction, James talked about the success of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, or OSP, and the growth of school choice nationally.  

“The reach of the OSP extends beyond our city,” James said.  “Situated in Washington, D.C., the Opportunity Scholarship Program was and remains a key part of the growing school choice movement. In 2000, there were just 10 private school choice programs in operation across the country. Today, there are 63 private school choice programs operating in 29 states and the District of Columbia. It has seen incredible growth.”

DeVos said Congress should strengthen the program. She said:

It is imperative that Congress not only reauthorize this program, but do so with predictability and stability. I would argue with an automatic growth piece put into it, so that more and more students can continue to take advantage of the choices that some have today. The demand continues to be unmet.

In my view, that’s the most important goal. Parents continue to want more choices. They are demanding more for their kids. And we need to, as a nation, embrace the notion that our future is reliant on what we do today.

Today, school choice programs in the states include education savings accounts, tax credits, and vouchers, and are accessed by about 482,000 students. That’s a more than twofold increase in participating students from 2011–the year National School Choice Week was launched– when 31 school choice programs were accessible to about 212,000 students.

Vouchers work as a form of publicly funded scholarships, paying for K-12 students to attend private schools. Tax credits allow parents to write off the cost of private education in filing their state taxes.

Five states—Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina—have adopted education savings accounts.

The accounts allow parents to direct the funds that would have been spent by the state on their child in the public system. State funds for each pupil are deposited directly into a parent-controlled account.

Parents can use the money to pay for private school tuition, online learning, special education services and therapies, private tutoring, and a host of other education-related services, products, and providers.

DeVos referred to an American Federation for Children’s poll of 1,200 likely voters next year that found two-thirds support school choice.

“We know the most recent polling data has shown conclusively that people want to have choices for their kids–67 percent of the people in this country, two-thirds, support school choice,” DeVos said. “The only thing standing in the way is the teachers unions that have a personal financial vested interest.”

Many local, state, and national teachers unions continue to oppose the school choice movement.

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, states on its website:  “Private school vouchers–and similar schemes like tuition tax credits and education savings accounts–take scarce funding away from public schools and give it to private schools that are unaccountable to the public. We should focus on improving public schools, where 90 percent of children go, not on diverting money from them for the sake of the 10 percent who want to go to private schools.”

DeVos said both parties should be working together.

“Education should not be, is not really, a partisan issue. It really is reflective of the future of our country,” DeVos said. “If students today aren’t prepared for what comes next, we’re not going to be prepared as a nation to compete with the rest of the world.”

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Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report Is Out. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Planned Parenthood quietly released its long-expected annual report covering 2017-2018 [over the holiday weekend.

The document affirms the assertion of new President Leanna Wen that providing and expanding access to abortion is the “core mission” of Planned Parenthood.

Planned
Parenthood performed 332,757 abortions during the reported year, the most the
abortion giant has reported since 2011-2012.

In contrast,
non-abortion services have declined significantly. Planned Parenthood reported
a decrease in the provision of various services in 2017-2018, including:

  • 570,444 breast exams and pap tests, down from 617,677 in 2016-2017.
  • 614,361 cancer screenings and prevention procedures, down from 660,777 in 2016-2017.
  • 216,722 well-woman exams[, down from 235,355 in 2016-2017.
  • 2,620,867 provisions of birth-control information and services, down from 2,701,866 in 2016-2017.
  • 2,831 adoption referrals, down from 3,889 in 2016-2017.

As these
services decline, Planned Parenthood reports record-high numbers in national
office and affiliate financial data for 2018.

  • Almost $1.9 billion in net assets, up
    from $1.6 billion in 2017.
  • $563.8 million in taxpayer funding,
    up from $543.7 billion in 2017.
  • $1.67 billion in total revenue, up
    from $1.46 billion in 2017.
  • Almost $245 million in excess of
    revenue over expenses, more than double the $98.5 million reported in 2017.
  • $630.8 million in private
    contributions (including grants, individual contributors, bequests, and
    corporate contributors), up from $532.7 million in 2017.

Planned
Parenthood reported the same number of patients (2.4 million) and clinical
visits (4 million) in both 2016 and 2017.

It performed
more than 117 abortions for every adoption referral in 2017-2018.

Wen vows
that Planned Parenthood will “expand our reach, our services, and our impact.”
This year’s annual report—and annual reports that have come before it—reveal
that Planned Parenthood is interested in expanding some services more than
others.

Abortion is,
indeed, the core mission of Planned Parenthood, and taxpayers should not be
forced to subsidize America’s abortion giant.

Meanwhile, fewer
Americans are relying on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, well-woman
exams, and contraception.

Instead of
allowing more than half-a-billion taxpayer dollars to flow to Planned
Parenthood each year, policymakers should direct those funds to the thousands
of centers that provide health care to women without entangling services with
abortion on demand.

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The Left’s Use of Intimidation to Silence Christians

If you’re Christian, shut up.

That’s been the unmistakable message of our current culture in recent weeks.

Karen Pence has been lambasted for her decision to teach at a Christian school. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, after asking a judicial nominee about his membership in the Catholic Knights of Columbus, has tied the organization to the “alt right.”

And a group of teenage Catholic schoolboys waiting for a bus at the March for Life, who didn’t know the mob-approved way to handle a Native American activist walking up to them, are fighting for their reputations.

Of course, this isn’t really about Karen Pence, or judicial nominee Brian Buescher, or the Covington Catholic High boys.

It’s about intimidating everyone else.

It’s telling the husband or wife of an up-and-coming lawmaker that if they want to teach at a school, it’s probably better they choose a non-Christian one, unless they want their spouse someday ensnared in a media cycle over LGBT discrimination.

It’s telling the law student who dreams of someday becoming a judge that no matter how appealing he finds joining a Catholic charitable organization, it’s probably better for his career ambitions if he doesn’t.

And it’s telling schools and students and parents that no matter if they are willing to deal with the expense and trouble of hauling dozens or hundreds of students to Washington, D.C., on buses and having them sleep on gym floors, it still might not be a good idea—because the students’ future reputations, careers, and college prospects could all be gone with one viral video.

No, that wouldn’t happen if the students came to Washington to fight for gun control or raise awareness of climate change.

Just if they’re there to speak up for the babies who can’t.

When President Donald Trump was elected—in a shock for conventional D.C. wisdom—it become obvious that there were plenty of silent Americans who, in the privacy of the ballot box, dared to defy the politically correct, woke cultural leaders of our time.

But it’s not enough to vote.

I’m glad Karen Pence, the vice president’s wife, isn’t backing down and resigning. I’m thrilled Brian Buescher is remaining a member of the Knights of Columbus, and that Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., introduced a resolution saying there’s nothing wrong with a judge being in the Knights. I’m heartened that the Covington students are fighting back, and saying they did nothing wrong.

But they can’t do this all on their own.

About 70 percent of Americans are Christian, according to thePew Research Center.

They–and everyone who believes in religious freedom–need to start speaking up.

You don’t have to agree with Buescher’s judicial philosophy to say that in the United States, there should be no religious test for judges.

You don’t have to have attended a Catholic school or be pro-life to say that a group of teen boys being awkward around an activist—an activist who later that weekend tried to bring a group of protesters to disrupt a Catholic Mass at the basilica in D.C.—should not be a news story, much less a reputation destroyer.

You don’t have to agree with Immanuel Christian School’s faith tenets to defend Karen Pence’s right to choose the school where she wants to teach.

You know what breeds intolerance? Silence. It’s easy for someone to kvetch about the Covington boys or mock the second lady as a bigot at the water cooler if he has no reason to believe any other colleague will speak up.

We need to take a lesson from the left’s playbook.

Here’s what liberals do really well: They share their stories. And they make it personal.

We need to do the same.

Did your son or daughter go to the March for Life? Talk about it. Share how proud you were that they cared enough about the lives of unborn babies to be on a bus for 20 hours and sleep on a crowded gym floor.

And share how scared you are that they, too, could become targets of social media acvistists and mainstream media because they didn’t know the appropriate public relations strategy to deal with a protest.

Does it make you feel like an alien in your own country that what you hear from the pews on Sunday could make you ineligible to do certain jobs in our system? Express that anxiety. Tell the truth about how you don’t like being treated like a second-class citizen in your own nation.

Are you appalled that your mom’s job at a Christian school could get her branded as a bigot? Say that. Share the facts: Plenty of Christian denominations adhere to two thousand years of sexual morality, and demand no sex outside of marriage—whether you’re straight or LGBT.

If we keep talking, things will change.

Because people know that if their colleague Kelly is pro-life, or their hair stylist Melissa is Christian, or their neighbor Bob teaches at a Christian school, they will think twice.

That doesn’t mean they will agree with Kelly or Melissa or Bob.

But it does mean they will realize it’s unfair to assume all pro-lifers hate women, or that all Christians hate LGBT people. They will realize it’s more complex than the woke leaders of social media say it is.

And then we can have real discussions and real dialogues, person to person.

I get that it’s hard. I’m often more of a coward than I’d like to be—even with the job security of working at a conservative news outlet. It’s hard to speak up sometimes, especially if you’re scared people will judge you or there will be hidden consequences—promotions that never occur, networking that abruptly stops.

But we don’t have a choice.

Right now, thought leaders in the United States are working overtime to make it clear: Stand up for your Christian beliefs, your pro-life beliefs—and you will pay.

But we can rise up, too.

If there’s one thing we should have learned in this era of Trump, it’s that standing up to bullies works.

And we need to—because there’s nothing American about a future where holding certain religious beliefs makes you a second-class citizen.

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Nathan Phillips Keeps Changing Story, Keeps Getting It Wrong

Native American activist Nathan Phillips has repeatedly misrepresented several facts about a viral incident between him and a group of boys from Kentucky high school Covington Catholic that took place after Saturday’s March for Life.

Phillips has continued misrepresenting the incident, even as he has changed his version of events in the face of video debunking his earlier accounts.

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Phillips originally told The Washington Post the students swarmed him while he was preparing to leave the Indigenous Peoples March scheduled for the same day. Phillips originally said one student, who has since identified himself as high school junior Nick Sandmann, blocked his path from leaving as he tried to do so.

Phillips’ original account was uncritically accepted by national media outlets and quickly exploded online, in combination with a selectively edited video that showed Phillips beating his drum in front of Sandmann and a group of boisterous high school boys.

The extended video shows that wasn’t the case: Phillips approached the high school boys during their cheers, not the other way around. Some of the people with Phillips were directing racially charged language at the students, not the other way around.

Phillips told a second variation of his story to the Detroit Free Press. Phillips claimed he was playing the role of peacemaker by getting between the students and four “old black individuals,” whom he claimed the students were attacking.

“They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” Phillips told the Michigan paper. “I was there and I was witnessing all of this … As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you’re faced with that choice of right or wrong.”

“These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that,” he added.

Extended video shows that account also isn’t accurate. The four individuals Phillips referenced were members of the Black Hebrew Israelites and they launched racist and anti-gay slurs at the high school students, not the other way around.

“The protesters said hateful things. They called us ‘racists,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘white crackers,’ ‘f——,’ and ‘incest kids.’ They also taunted an African-American student from my school by telling him that they would ‘harvest his organs,’” Sandmann, the high school junior, said in his statement.

Phillips repeatedly claimed in his interviews Sunday and Monday that some of the students he claimed had surrounded him had chanted “Build the wall.” None of the videos to emerge of the incident so far have shown any chants to that effect.

Rather than acknowledging the errors in his original stories, Phillips deflected by attacking Sandmann on Tuesday.

“He needs to put out a different statement,” Phillips said. “I’m disappointed with his statement. He didn’t accept any responsibility. That lack of responsibility, I don’t accept it.”

Phillips also suggested students should be expelled over the incident he misrepresented.

“At first, I wanted the teachers and chaperones to be reprimanded—some fired—for letting this happen. For the students, I was against any expulsions, but now I have to revisit that,” he said.

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California State Senate Committee Bans Saying ‘He’ and ‘She’

Spiked Online editor Brendan O’Neill reacted to a California state Senate committee banning the words “he” and “she” during hearings and said it’s an example of political correctness run amok.

“It’s crazy. It really shows how far the politically correct lobby are willing to go in terms of policing language,” O’Neill said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday.

“They now want to control not just hateful language and racist language which we all agree is a bad thing, but everyday speech. ‘He’ and ‘she.’ The words that people use all the time in everyday conversation to describe men and women. They want to dig down so far into how we speak and ultimately into how we think, that they are willing to ban the most common words in the English language.”

Democratic State Senate Judiciary Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson spoke about the change on Thursday, which affects her committee, and said it’s a matter of gender.

“We are now a state recognizing the non-binary designation as a gender,” Jackson said. “We are using the phrase ‘they’ and replacing other designations so that it’s a gender neutral designation of ‘they.’ Basically that’s the primary reforms and revisions to the committee rules.”

Jackson was a victim of her own rules, however, when she referred to her old grammar teacher as a “her” instead of “them.”

“We are using what my grammar teacher would have heart attack over. We are using the phrase ‘they.’ My grammar teacher’s long gone. And I won’t be hearing from her. If any of you–”

She was cut off mid-sentence from several people in the audience who corrected her and insisted she use the words “them” or “they.”

“There is kind of transgender extremism at moment. Now I’m fully in favor of trans-rights. I think trans-people should have same rights as everybody else. But there is this kind of trans-extremism which presumes that anyone who uses words like ‘he’ or ‘she’ is being disrespectful to trans-people or disrespectful to non-binary people,” O’Neill said.

“I think it is going to spread,” he continued. “We’ve seen similar developments in the United Kingdom for example where feminists who are critical of transgender politics are hounded and harassed and their meetings are closed down, simply because they think we should still have the right to talk about men and women.”

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New York Passes Bill on Roe v. Wade Anniversary Casting Abortion as a Woman’s Right

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Tuesday night that expands abortion access and codifies a woman’s right to abort under state law.

Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the Reproductive Health Act on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, making good on his promise to add abortion protections to the state constitution, according to The New York Post.

Roe v. Wade gave women the constitutional right to an abortion under the 14th Amendment on Jan. 22, 1973. The ruling extended the right to abort up to the point of fetal “viability,” a slippery term that continues to foster debate as neonatal care advances.

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The bill codifies a woman’s right to abort under state law and removes abortion from New York’s criminal code.

The bill will also allow women to have abortions after 24 weeks in cases where “there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health,” according to the legislation. Nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and qualified health care professionals can provide abortions under the legislation.

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The legislation “updates New York’s abortion statues to address constitutional flaws in our laws and recognize a woman’s fundamental right to access safe, legal abortion,” the bill states.

Cuomo is also looking to pass a bill requiring insurance companies to provide free contraceptive care, according to The New York Times.

Women seeking abortions in the state do not face any major restrictions like waiting periods, mandated parental involvement, or public funding limitations, according to a May 2018 Guttmacher Institute report.

Cuomo also vowed in early January to reject a budget that doesn’t include expanded abortion access.

Seventy-five percent of Americans support significant abortion restrictions and say abortion should not be legal after a woman is three months pregnant, according to a Jan. 15 Marist poll. Nearly 60 percent of Americans support banning abortion after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, according to the poll.

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I’m a Single Mom From the City. School Choice Has Changed My Kids’ Lives Forever.

Fifteen years ago, I found myself feeling hopeless and helpless in
the nation’s capital.

My children’s school situation was dismal. My older kids were
academically driven, yet faced a steady stream of challenges. My youngest
seemed completely overwhelmed and destined for failure.

And when I looked around my neighborhood, I saw the same dismal
situation playing out with my neighbors’ kids.

That was in 2004, just as Washington, D.C. was about to implement
its Opportunity Scholarship Program. Although my son was awarded a scholarship
from a neighbor, it was that action that pushed me to fight for all kids in
D.C. to have the same choices.

Fifteen years later, fellow parents and I have witnessed a sea
change in our kids’ education, with more than 10,000
scholarships awarded
to attend private schools. These scholarships have helped deserving
low-income kids escape to a school that will put them on track to a bright
future.

With D.C. being under Congress’ jurisdiction, it was Congress that
passed this school choice program.

It took D.C. parents a years of advocating for their children
before Congress responded. In 2003, Congress passed the D.C. Parental Choice
Incentive Act, which President George W. Bush
signed into law on Jan. 23, 2004
.

Seeing the results in the lives of children has been so wonderful.
I have watched children who received scholarships thrive in the schools that they
and their parents chose. I’ve seen them graduate and go on to attend college,
and then graduate there.

These are the same kids that many thought would never be
successful. They are now holding good jobs and contributing to society in so
many positive ways.

As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of this incredible program,
my heart and my spirits are continually raised. I often run into families who
have benefited and get an update on how their children are doing, and it always
makes me proud.

As difficult as it was for us during the initial fight, and even
afterward, seeing what this program has done to change the lives of so many families
has made every tough moment worthwhile.

So many people didn’t think a ragtag group of low-income parents
could effectively fight to ensure our kids the best education possible. But we
knew differently. We knew that if we raised our voices, we could win for our
children.

We did. And now our kids are winning as a result.

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I Was Not Disrespectful,’ Student in National Mall Incident Says

The high
school student at the center of a media firestorm over an incident near the
Lincoln Memorial says he didn’t mean any disrespect to a Native American man
who approached him and fellow students while beating a drum.

“As far as standing there, I had every right to do so,” Nick Sandmann of Kentucky told Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” during an interview that aired Wednesday about his apparent altercation with Nathan Phillip in the nation’s capital Friday.

“My
position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I’d
like to talk to him,” Sandmann, 17, said.

Sandmann is a junior at Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky. He and other students from the school, most of them white boys, faced harsh criticism on mainstream and social media based on a video showing a portion of their encounter with Phillips, 64, on the National Mall.

In the
video, Sandmann and some of the other boys are wearing red “Make America Great
Again” caps. Sandmann stands smiling, facing Phillips as he beats a hand drum
and chants just inches away.

“People
have judged me based off one expression, which I wasn’t smirking, but people
have assumed that’s what I have,” Sandmann told Guthrie.

The student said his school group, in Washington to attend the March for Life earlier that day, were verbally attacked by some in a group called the Black Hebrew Israelites.

“I
heard them call us incest kids, bigots, racists,” Sandmann said, and
Phillips reportedly got involved, perhaps beating the drum to
de-escalate the tension.

Officials
at the Catholic school do not tolerate racism, he said.

“I
mean, in hindsight, I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing.
But I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there,”
Sandmann said.

Jim Wilson, a chaperone who accompanied the Covington Catholic High students to Washington, said Tuesday night on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the students “started doing their school cheers to kind of offset the noise that was being presented to them while they were waiting for the bus.”

Wilson
said the whole school has felt the weight of the media mischaracterization of
the actions of Sandmann and his fellow students.

“Right
now we’re all hurting. We don’t like what has happened to our sons, to the boys
that we’ve watched grow up, be attacked like this,” Wilson said.

The post I Was Not Disrespectful,’ Student in National Mall Incident Says appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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