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Vox Sentences: “Not all of those people were white supremacists”

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Trump equates white nationalists to counterprotesters, saying there was violence in Charlottesville coming from "both sides"; flash floods in Sierra Leone kill hundreds; Alabama's special election heats up.

Trump walks back his condemnation of white supremacists

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • President Trump made it perfectly clear today that he thinks white supremacists who fomented violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday are on equal footing with the counterprotesters who opposed them. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Trump’s latest remarks come a day after he condemned neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other white nationalist groups that turned out to Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville to protest taking down the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The president’s statement on Monday came two days after the initial deadly violence on Saturday, amid mounting pressure from Democrats and Republicans alike. [NYT / Glenn Thrush]
  • Since it’s only been four days, here’s a reminder of what happened in Charlottesville. The weekend’s events included Nazi salutes, chants of “Jews will not replace us,” Confederate flags being flown, and white nationalists sporting shields and military weapons. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • And the rally culminated in tragedy, when a 20-year-old white nationalist from Ohio rammed his car into a group of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring dozens more. [NYT / Christina Caron]
  • Alt-right and white supremacist protesters and their supporters have maintained there was violence on both sides, and today Trump agreed with them. [CNN / Dan Merica]
  • The president went off script at an event to discuss infrastructure today, getting into a heated exchange with reporters about the events in Charlottesville. At one point, Trump said he believed there were people attending the Unite the Right rally who were not members of hate groups and instead were there to protest the removal of the Lee statue, which he called “to them, a very, very important statue.” [Washington Post / David Nakamura]
  • Trump’s tepid disavowal of white supremacists stands in contrast to his frequent condemnations of many people he dislikes, from the Gold Star Khan family to Hillary Clinton to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s another sign the president is emboldening white supremacists, who have made their support for him very clear throughout his presidential campaign and presidency. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • And soon after Trump’s remarks today, he was praised and thanked by none other than former grand wizard of the KKK David Duke, who called counterprotesters “leftist terrorists.” [Newsweek / Greg Price]

Sierra Leone is reeling after a deadly mudslide

Saidu Bah/AFP/Getty Images
  • Heavy rains and deadly mudslides in the small West African nation of Sierra Leone have left hundreds dead and wiped out homes on the edge of its capital city, Freetown. [Associated Press]
  • Though the initial death toll was estimated to be around 200, that had doubled today, and even more people are missing. [Reuters / Christo Johnson]
  • Thousands have also lost their homes, as torrential rains filled city streets and caused a mudslide that laid bare part of a mountainside above Freetown. With the bad weather continuing, government officials urged people to move away from mountainous areas, in case of more flash flooding. [NYT / Jaime Yaya Barry]
  • This week’s flooding has been so bad because of an abnormally rainy season, with about three times the usual amount of precipitation. Freetown has seen about 41 inches of rain since the beginning of July. [CNN / Hilary Clarke and Hilary McGann]
  • Beyond the wet weather, many in the country are also casting blame on Sierra Leone’s housing and infrastructure. There are a lot of poorly built homes on hillsides around Freetown, and victims have also blamed the city’s drainage systems, which they say lack capacity to move water effectively. [NYT / Jaime Yaya Barry]
  • The country’s problems are far from over, as officials are now worried about a potential cholera outbreak from leftover pools of floodwater sitting in the city. [WSJ / Joe Parkinson]

Sweet home, Alabama

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
  • Polls just closed (at 8 pm Eastern) in a special election for Senate. The race will determine who gets to replace former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • All eyes are on the Republican primary, where there are three major contenders including Luther Strange, who was appointed to temporarily replace Sessions; US Rep. Mo Brooks; and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • Strange has the biggest war chest, courtesy of a Super PAC closely allied with Mitch McConnell. He also has the backing of the president. [NYT / Alan Blinder and Jonathan Martin]
  • A presidential endorsement in a primary is unusual, but Trump endorsing the same candidate supported by McConnell is even more so, given the president’s public feud with the Senate majority leader. [National Review / Alexandra DeSanctis]
  • Even so, Strange and Brooks are both getting a run for their money from Moore, a deeply religious and conservative man who has opened up a slim lead in polls. [Politico / Seung Min Kim]
  • Moore is best known for opposing the removal of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama State Capitol and for refusing to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses after the US Supreme Court marriage equality decision in 2010. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • Much of the focus has been on the Republican primary, but there are also two Democrats running, Doug Jones and Robert Kennedy Jr. One of them will eventually face off whoever wins the Republican race, but it would be an incredibly long shot for a Democrat to win deeply red Alabama in a general election. [Slate / Jim Newell]
  • Tonight’s vote could be the first of a few; if no one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a September runoff election before the general. [CNN / Chris Cillizza]


  • All of America’s strange, wonderful roadside dinosaurs you didn’t know you needed. [Atlas Obscura / Anika Burgess]
  • The weather can change quickly above the treeline atop New Hampshire’s White Mountains; nearly half of hypothermia deaths fall between Memorial Day and Columbus Day. [Boston Globe / Martin Finucane]
  • How to design the perfect spacesuit. (Hint: It’s very different depending on if you’re headed on a mission to the moon or to Mars.) [The Verge / Loren Grush]
  • You don’t need special glasses to view the solar eclipse — you can also very easily design your own pinhole to look at the sun without damaging your eyes. [Wired / Rhett Allain]
  • Fewer Americans are getting struck by lightning, apparently because we’re not getting outside as often. [Associated Press]


  • “I’m proud of her for standing up. She had more courage than I did. She had a stubborn backbone, that if she thought she was right she would stand there and defy you.” [Mark Heyer remembering his daughter Heather, to Florida Today / Malcolm Denemark]
  • “Paul, a startup founder in New York, says he and his employees are less stressed since they started microdosing LSD. But he couldn’t be absolutely sure about the cause and effect: he thinks it may have also been the project management app Asana, which they have started using at the same time, to keep organised.” [Financial Times / Hannah Kuchler]
  • “All the quinceañeras in my family were pretty big. We were taught that church was the main part of it, but we’ve all pretty much made the party the most important thing. I think I had less than a dozen people at my religious ceremony, but there were over 300 people at the party.” [Abigail Avalos to Racked / Chavie Lieber]
  • “We want to meet the customers where they are when they’re thinking about food.” [Mike Nettles to Bloomberg / Taylor Cromwell]
  • “There were some … very high-profile people who are supposedly pro-life, who knew me and heard about what happened, and who didn’t reach out…You see these people saying, ‘Oh, we should reach out to women with unexpected pregnancies and let them know they’re not alone’ — and I’m like, ‘I’m right here!’” [A.J. Delgado to the Atlantic / McKay Coppins]

Watch this: How a Haitian village cooks with sunlight

This sustainable initiative is helping to save Haiti's forests. [YouTube / Johnny Harris, Christina Thornell, and Tian Wang]

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