Connect with us

News

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher says he won't run for reelection

Published

on

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher says he won't run for reelection

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., speaks to reporters on Oct. 24, 2023. Gallagher announced his retirement Saturday.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., speaks to reporters on Oct. 24, 2023. Gallagher announced his retirement Saturday.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, a key Republican congressman who has spearheaded House pushback against the Chinese government, announced Saturday that he won’t run for a fifth term. The announcement comes just days after he angered his fellow Republicans by refusing to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The GOP has been looking to oust Mayorkas as a way to punish the Biden administration over its handling of the U.S.-Mexico border. A House impeachment vote Tuesday fell just one vote short. Gallagher was one of three Republicans who opposed impeachment. His fellow Republicans surrounded him on the House floor in an attempt to change his mind, but he refused to change his vote.

Advertisement

Record numbers of people have been arriving at the southern border as they flee countries around the globe. Many claim asylum and end up in U.S. cities that are ill-prepared to provide for them while they await court proceedings. The issue is potent line of attack for Donald Trump as he works toward defeating President Biden in November’s elections.

Gallagher wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published after the vote that impeachment wouldn’t stop migrants from crossing the border and would set a precedent that could be used against future Republican administrations. But the impeachment vote’s failure was a major setback for the GOP. Wisconsin Republicans began mulling this week whether Gallagher should face a primary challenger.

Gallagher did not mention the impeachment vote in a statement announcing his retirement, saying only that he doesn’t want to grow old in Washington.

“The Framers intended citizens to serve in Congress for a season and then return to their private lives,” Gallagher said. “Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career and, trust me, Congress is no place to grow old. And so, with a heavy heart, I have decided not to run for re-election.”

He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the backlash over the impeachment vote did not play a role in his decision.

Advertisement

“I feel, honestly, like people get it, and they can accept the fact that they don’t have to agree with you 100%,” he told the newspaper, adding later in the interview: “The news cycle is so short that I just don’t think that stuff lasts.”

Voicemails The Associated Press left at his offices in Washington and Wisconsin on Saturday weren’t immediately returned.

Gallagher, a former Marine who grew up in Green Bay, has represented northeastern Wisconsin in Congress since 2017. He spent last year leading a new House committee dedicated to countering China. During the committee’s first hearing, he framed the competition between the U.S. and China as “an existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century.”

Tensions between the two countries have been high for years, with both sides enacting tariffs on imports during Trump’s term as president. China’s opaque response to COVID-19, aggression toward Taiwan and the discovery of a possible spy balloon floating across the U.S. last year have only intensified lawmakers’ intent to do more to block the Chinese government.

Chinese officials have lashed out at the committee, accusing its members of bias and maintaining a Cold War mentality.

Advertisement

Gallagher was one of the highest-profile Republicans considering a run for U.S. Senate this year against incumbent Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin. But he abandoned the idea in June. He said then that he wanted to focus on countering China through the committee and that he planned to run for a fifth term in the House.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

News

Colombian ferry strike halts migration to US via treacherous border crossing

Published

on

Colombian ferry strike halts migration to US via treacherous border crossing

Stay informed with free updates

A strike by ferry companies in two northern Colombian towns has halted migrant flows through a treacherous border crossing to Panama that has become a vital stage of the migration trail to the US.

About 3,000 migrants are held up in Necoclí and Turbo waiting for the restart of ferry services to the western side of the Gulf of Urabá, from where they embark on a land route through the Darién Gap, a lawless tract of inhospitable jungle between Colombia and Panama.

“There’s no way across so all the migrants are stuck,” said a community leader in Necoclí who asked not to be named. “The strike has been going on for five days and is indefinite.”

Advertisement

The Darién Gap route has grown in popularity with migrants attempting to reach the US. Panama said 500,000 migrants crossed last year, twice the number a year earlier, and almost four times the 130,000 who crossed in 2021. But migrants are often prey to violent criminals who operate in a region with limited state presence.

The strike comes after the Colombian navy last week seized two boats carrying a total of 151 migrants and arrested their captains. Authorities said the companies had not verified the migratory status of their passengers.

In response, a group of seven ferry companies announced they would not run migrants across the gulf, and would only offer services to tourists and residents of the region.

The arrests mark an apparent change in tact from the Colombian government, which has been pressured by Washington to stem the flow of migrants through the Darién Gap. Previously, Bogotá had taken a permissive approach to multimillion-dollar smuggling networks that operate in the Darién and the Gulf of Urabá.

Migration is seen as a potential weakness for US President Joe Biden. Former president Donald Trump, his likely Republican rival in November’s election, has adopted a hardline stance on immigration. Both men are visiting Texas, the southern state which has a long border with Mexico, on Thursday.

Advertisement

In an effort to process applications far from the US border and deter illegal immigration, the Biden administration has opened so-called safe mobility offices in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guatemala.

The Darién Gap is one of the world’s most treacherous border crossings. With no road through the 60-mile stretch, the topography is unforgiving, with migrants often falling to their deaths while navigating mountain passes on the days-long trek.

The International Organization for Migration reports that 379 migrants have died or gone missing attempting to cross the Darién Gap since 2015, with about half of those attributed to drowning.

Rapes, murders and robberies of migrants were also commonplace, said human rights groups. 

Colombia’s Clan del Golfo, a powerful drug-trafficking organisation, operates profitable routes through the region. Panamanian authorities estimate that smuggling groups in the Darién Gap, where migrants are charged hundreds of dollars for passage, made about $820mn last year.

Advertisement

Migrants from Venezuela, Ecuador and Haiti, which face economic or security crises, make up the largest nationalities, though migrants from as far afield as China, Bangladesh and Angola also make the journey.

With hundreds of migrants now camped on the streets of Necoclí, and more arriving each day, officials have warned about the risk of a humanitarian crisis developing in the region.

“As a municipality, we’re calling for opportune decisions to be taken to avoid a build-up of people that could cause public order problems,” Johann Wachter Espitia, the government secretary for Necoclí, said in a video posted on social media on Tuesday.

Continue Reading

News

Florida is releasing Jeffrey Epstein's grand jury report

Published

on

Florida is releasing Jeffrey Epstein's grand jury report

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images


U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

MIAMI — Florida says it will soon release the grand jury proceedings in Jeffrey Epstein’s 2006 sexual abuse case.

Epstein was a wealthy financier, who was charged with paying dozens of underage women over many years for sex. He died in a jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Advertisement

More than a decade earlier, a grand jury convened in Florida’s Palm Beach County investigated allegations that he was sexually abusing young women at his estate. The grand jury ultimately returned a single charge of soliciting prostitution. Following a federal investigation, Epstein pleaded guilty in state court to two prostitution charges and received a lenient sentence. He served just 13 months in prison, leaving the jail almost every day as part of a work release deal.

At a news conference in Palm Beach, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill authorizing the release of Epstein’s grand jury records, calling it “long overdue.” He also called for the release of records from the FBI investigation of Epstein. “I would challenge Joe Biden to do that now,” he said. “There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how this happened.”

The Florida grand jury records are expected to be opened when the law goes into effect in July.

Some of Epstein’s victims were with DeSantis at the bill signing. Haley Robson was 16 years old when she was recruited and began working for Epstein. She said she hoped releasing the grand jury report will finally provide some answers. “Why was Jeffrey Epstein given such grace and mercy for his inhumane crimes? And why were we outed in the media and treated so poorly?”

Epstein had several homes, often flying guests and underage women to his estate on a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prince Andrew, former President Bill Clinton and attorney Alan Dershowitz were among his high-profile guests. His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell is currently serving a 20-year sentence for child sex trafficking while with Epstein.

Advertisement

More than a decade after Epstein completed the terms of his plea deal and probation, a series of reports in the Miami Herald brought new attention to Epstein and his victims. He was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges when he was found dead in his jail cell, a death that was ruled suicide.

Continue Reading

News

Vladimir Putin warns of wider conflict over Ukraine

Published

on

Vladimir Putin warns of wider conflict over Ukraine

Stay informed with free updates

Vladimir Putin has said that western support for Ukraine risks triggering a global war, in his most explicit threat to use nuclear weapons since he ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

In his state of the nation speech on Thursday, the Russian president said claims that his country might attack Europe were “nonsense”, but warned that Russia could strike back against western countries in response.

Putin said in the address to the country’s political elite that western support for Ukraine “really risks a conflict using nuclear weapons, which means the destruction of all of civilisation”.

Advertisement

Referring to French President Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to rule out sending western troops to Ukraine this week, Putin said Russia remembered “the fate of those who once sent their contingents to our country. Now the consequences for possible interveners will be much more tragic”.

“We also have weapons that can strike targets on their territory,” Putin added. He said western supplies of advanced weaponry and the prospect of a Nato troop deployment risked nuclear conflict.

Putin added: “They think this is some kind of game. They are blinded by their own superiority complex.”

The Kremlin had billed Putin’s speech as a road map for the next six years of his rule ahead of Russia’s presidential elections next month, in which he faces no credible challengers after 24 years in power, having quashed most opposition and outlawed dissent.

Pro-Kremlin cinema owners across the country held free screenings of the speech, which began at midday in Moscow. But even as Putin devoted the bulk of it to social support programmes for mothers and attempts to cut dependence on imported technology, the speech revealed how far the war in Ukraine and his strategic rivalry with the west has consumed his attention.

Advertisement

“Instead of Russia, they need some dependent, declining, dying space where they can do whatever they want,” Putin said of the west.

Putin confirmed Russia would beef up troop deployments on its border with Nato countries to “neutralise threats” created by Sweden and Finland joining the alliance following his invasion of Ukraine.

Though Putin said Russia was prepared to hold talks with the US on arms control, which has essentially collapsed since the full-scale invasion, he made it clear Russia was also interested in ramping up its ability to strike western countries.

He boasted that the country’s nuclear forces were fully ready for use, and added that work would soon conclude on new weapons systems that he claims are essentially impossible to shoot down.

“We are dealing with a state whose ruling circles are taking openly hostile actions against us. They are planning in all seriousness to discuss strategic stability with us while simultaneously, as they say themselves, trying to inflict a strategic defeat on us on the battlefield,” Putin said.

Advertisement

Denying US claims that Russia plans to deploy a nuclear weapon in space, Putin accused the west of trying to “drag us into an arms race, repeating the trick they played with the Soviet Union in the 1980s,” when the USSR overspent on its military, hastening its collapse in 1991.

He said Russia would work to “create the outlines for equal and inseparable security in Eurasia,” adding that “without a sovereign, strong Russia, no stable world order is possible”.

Continue Reading

Trending