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President blames 'slippery' ramp for trouble walking while health experts issue coronavirus warning over his Tulsa rally

Conrad Duncan,Danielle Zoellner
Sunday 14 June 2020 15:03 BST
Trump appears to have trouble walking down ramp at West Point ceremony

Donald Trump has threatened to boycott the NFL and US Soccer after the leagues decided to repeal bans on players kneeling during the national anthem due to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

In a series of tweets, the president said he would no longer be watching the sports over the decisions following criticism from Republican lawmakers.

One bizarre tweet also shared last night by Mr Trump defended his walk down a ramp at West Point on Saturday when he attended a graduation ceremony. The moment spread on Twitter with some questioning the president's health after he appeared to struggle down the ramp, but Mr Trump said it was "slippery" and "steep".

Mr Trump remained largely quiet on Twitter on Sunday after a series of tweets the previous day. His silence, besides retweeting a few Happy Birthday tweets, could be the president taking time to enjoy his 74th birthday away from social media.

The president's campaign lawyer made headlines after she appeared on CNN Sunday to discuss the Trump campaign's letter threatening a lawsuit against the news organisation for a poll it released last week. CNN anchor Brian Stelter and senior Trump campaign legal advisor Jenna Ellis traded heated barbs at each other throughout the segment.

In Atlanta, the police chief resigned following the fatal shooting of an African-American man who had fallen asleep in his car by an officer - which threatened to reignite tensions over racism and police brutality in the US. Protests ensued on Saturday following the man's death and resulted in the burning down of a Wendy's, which was where the man was shot.

Black Trans Lives Matter protests also overtook Brooklyn, New York, following the news that the Trump administration ended regulations for transgender people that prevented healthcare professionals from discriminating against them.


Hello and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the Trump administration.

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 09:10

Trump threatens to boycott sports leagues over Black Lives Matter protests

Donald Trump has threatened to boycott the NFL and US Soccer following decisions to repeal bans on players kneeling during the national anthem amid ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

Earlier this week, the US Soccer Federation (USSF) voted to repeal its ban on players kneeling in protest and said its policy had been “wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter”.

“We have not done enough to listen - especially to our players - to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of Black and other minority communities in our country,” the organisation said in a statement.

Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, said last week that the league’s position on kneeling during the national anthem was wrong and added that he would “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest”.

The controversy around peaceful protests at sports matches was brought to national attention when former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem before games in 2016 to protest police violence against minority groups and social inequality.

In response to those recent comments, Mr Trump said he would not be watching the sports leagues.

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 09:19

Atlanta police chief resigns amid anger over police shooting of black man

Atlanta’s police chief has resigned and an officer has been fired following a fatal police shooting of an African-American man who had fallen asleep in his car at a Wendy’s drive-thru.

Erika Shields stepped down as the killing of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, on Friday night sparked a new wave of protests and anger in the city over police brutality and racism.

The terminated officer was identified as Garrett Rolfe, who was hired in October 2013, while another officer, Devin Brosnan, who was hired in September 2018, was placed on administrative duty, according to police spokesperson Sergeant John Chafee.

The police department also released body camera and dash camera footage from both officers.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta’s mayor, said she did not believe the killing was a “justified use of deadly force”.

She added that it was Ms Shields' own decision to step down over the incident.

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 09:38

On Saturday night, protesters also set fire to the Wendy’s restaurant where Mr Brooks was fatally shot and blocked traffic on a nearby highway.

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 09:49

Donald Trump has dismissed claims that he is unwell following videos showing him walking unsteadily down a ramp after his speech at West Point military academy yesterday.

Mr Trump claimed the ramp was “very long and steep” and “very slippery” but insisted he ran down the last few steps.

“The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long and steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“The last thing I was going to do is 'fall' for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!”

The video in question can be found below: 

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 10:06

Republican congressman who officiated gay wedding loses primary

A freshman Republican congressman in Virginia has lost his party’s nomination after he angered social conservatives in his district when he officiated a gay wedding.

Denver Riggleman was defeated at a GOP convention on Saturday by Bob Good, a former official in a university athletics department.

Mr Good won 58 per cent of the vote, according to his campaign manager Nancy Smith.

Meanwhile, Mr Riggleman said a small group of Republican insiders had tried to rig the contest against him by forcing the nomination process to be decided with a convention instead of a primary.

Conventions tend to favour more conservative candidates and have been used for years by Virginia Republicans to block moderate Republicans from winning office.

“Voting irregularities and ballot stuffing has been reported in multiple counties in the VA05. Voter fraud has been a hallmark of this nomination process and I will not stand for it," Mr Riggleman tweeted a little over an hour before results were announced. 

“VA—GOP needs to reevaluate their priorities. We are evaluating all our options at this time.”

Donald Trump had previously endorsed Mr Riggleman, as had Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.

Mr Good has pledged to restore “Judeo-Christian” values to Congress and is known to be a hardliner on immigration.

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 10:22

Clemson University football team leads protest march

Members of the Clemson University football team in South Carolina have led hundreds of demonstrators on the school's campus as they marched for equality and against police brutality.

The demonstration on Saturday included a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time prosecutors say George Floyd was pinned to the ground with his neck under a white police officer's knee before he died last month.

“This is a historic time, and a challenging time,” head football coach Dabo Swinney told the crowd. 

“But as I tell my team all the time, challenge is what creates change. . Black lives more than matter - black lives significantly matter and equally matter. 

“For far too long that has not been the case for the black community.”

The protest was organised by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, linebacker Mike Jones Jr, wide receiver Cornell Powell and running back Darien Rencher, according to news outlets.

It came a day after Clemson trustees voted to rename its honours college, stripping from the programme the name of former vice president and slavery proponent John C Calhoun.

Calhoun, who was born in South Carolina, declared slavery a “positive good” on the US Senate floor in 1837.

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 10:41

Our reporter, Harry Cockburn, has more details on the protests in Atlanta, Georgia, over the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks below:

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 10:50

What does Trump’s plan to move troops out of Germany mean for the US?

After more than a year of thinly-veiled threats to start pulling US troops out of Germany unless Berlin increases its defense spending, Donald Trump appears to be proceeding with plans to cut the US military contingent by more than 25 per cent.

About 34,500 American troops are stationed in Germany - 50,000 including civilian Department of Defence employees - and the plan reportedly signed off by Mr Trump last week envisions reducing active-duty personnel to 25,000 by September, with further cuts possible.

However, as details of the still-unannounced plan trickle out, there have been growing concerns that the move will do more to harm the US' own global military readiness and the NATO alliance than punish Germany.

“The threats posed by Russia have not lessened, and we believe that signs of a weakened US commitment to NATO will encourage further Russian aggression and opportunism,”  Mac Thornberry, a Republican representative for Texas, wrote in a letter to Mr Trump with 22 GOP colleagues.

The suggestion that removing troops will punish Germany overlooks the fact that American troops are no longer primarily there for the country's defence, according to retired Lt Gen Ben Hodges, who commanded US Army Europe from 2014 until 2017.

“The troops and capabilities that the US has deployed in Europe are not there to specifically defend Germany, they are part of our contribution to overall collective stability and security in Europe,” Mr Hodges, now a strategic expert with the Centre for European Policy Analysis, said.

“What's lost in all this is the benefit to the United States of having forward deployed capabilities that we can use not only for deterrence ... but for employment elsewhere,” he added. 

“The base in Ramstein is not there for the US to defend Europe. It's there as a forward base for us to be able to fly into Africa, the Middle East.”

Mr Trump has complained that Germany does not live up to spending commitments for NATO.

Since his election in 2016, the president has pushed for a 2 per cent of GDP defence spending benchmark as a hard target and repeatedly singled out Germany as a major offender, though many others are also below the goal.

NATO figures put Germany's estimated defence spending for 2019 at 1.4 per cent.

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 11:22

DC’s mayor and the punch-up with Donald Trump that put her on the world stage

The mayor of Washington DC has been involved in a very public fight with Donald Trump in recent weeks over Black Lives Matter protests in her city.

Muriel Bowser has supported protesters and told Donald Trump to remove additional law enforcement and out-of-city National Guard from the nation’s capital.

However, Ms Bowser has also faced criticism from her own constituents about her city’s police force.

Our chief US correspondent, Andrew Buncombe, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan14 June 2020 11:45

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