White House Weekly: Sept. 21

We begin on Friday, September 11th, on the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in which nearly 3,000 people died in New York, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, President Trump and Vice President Pence pay solemn tributes to the men, women, and children who were lost on that day, while also honoring the heroes who rushed into danger and save as many people as they could. A nice moment was shared between Vice President Pence and former Vice President Joe Biden in New York as the two greeted each other.

Their moment is an important reminder that whether we disagree on politics or policy, we, Americans, can put our differences aside and remember the values we share.

Later, Trump announces that the tiny Middle East nation of Bahrain has agreed to join in a peace deal with Israel. Bahrain becomes the second Middle Eastern country behind the United Arab Emirates, and joins Serbia and Kosovo, located in Eastern Europe, to normalize relations with the Jewish State in just the last month.

Saturday, September 12th, Trump travels to Nevada for a campaign rally, pledging that he doesn’t have to hold his punches anymore after criticizing a Biden ad that seized on his comments about American soldiers, calling them “losers” and “suckers.”

Skipping ahead to Monday, September 14th, President Trump travels to California where he meets with state and local leaders, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom. While many Democrats were calling on the president to address the effects of climate change and the claim that it has a central role in the wildfires raging out west, Trump put the onus on forest management, or a lack thereof, in which there’s been a failure to rake forest floors and clear out dead timber.

Tuesday, September 15th, at a historic White House ceremony, Israel signs diplomatic pacts normalizing relations with both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The pacts, dubbed the “Abraham Accords” in honor of the patriarch of the world’s three major monotheistic religions, isn’t considered a formal peace treaty, but include pledges to advance diplomacy and regional peace and build cooperation on 15 mutual areas.

Wednesday, September 16th, President Trump urges his party to back a substantially larger coronavirus stimulus package in Congress, writing on Twitter, “Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).” Currently, there’s been a stalemate on Capitol Hill over the fifth relief bill, however, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNBC that he’s been more optimistic about a deal being made in the last 72 hours than in the last 72 days.

Thursday, September 17th, President Trump launches the “Patriotic Education” commission, a pro-American initiative in the country’s education system to push back against liberal indoctrination through efforts like the 1619 project, which the president calls “ideological poison.” The 1619 project, headed up by Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times, won a Pulitzer Prize despite making a significant correction that the American Revolutionary

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House chairman subpoenas DHS acting secretary Wolf for Sept. 17 hearing

Spivey emphasized that DHS had been willing to make Wolf’s deputy Ken Cuccinelli available to testify, which she said should have been sufficient since he’s fully versed in the same subjects as Wolf.

Thompson said in a statement that Wolf’s refusal to testify at the panel’s annual “worldwide threats” hearing was an abdication at a critical time.

“The Committee has not only the authority, but also an obligation to execute its Constitutional oversight responsibilities regarding Mr. Wolf’s decisions and the Department’s actions in securing the homeland,” Thompson said.

The subpoena is the culmination of a series of exchanges between Thompson and DHS that began in June. He said earlier efforts to schedule the hearing in June and July were unworkable for other agencies intending to participate in the hearing, including the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center. Thompson said that DHS indicated Wolf would be available on Sept. 17. Other agencies confirmed their availability for that date as well, Thompson said.

Thompson acknowledged Wolf’s expected nomination as permanent secretary but emphasized that “[s]hould you be nominated, there is no legal prohibition barring you from testifying before the Committee.”

“Moreover, while the relied upon practice may be reasonable in circumstances where the nominee has only served in an ‘acting’ capacity for a short period of time, that is not your situation. The Department has been without a Senate-confirmed Secretary for 17 months,” Thompson added.

In her reply to Thompson, Spivey said Cuccinelli is still willing to appear on Sept. 17 if the committee requests it. In her letter to the panel earlier in the week, Spivey said DHS had informed the Senate of Wolf’s unavailability for a worldwide threats hearing as well, given his pending nomination.

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CAMPO, San Marcos host transportation open house, survey through Sept. 28 – News – Austin American-Statesman


Transportation survey,

virtual open house set

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, in collaboration with the city of San Marcos, has announced the San Marcos Platinum Planning Study Virtual Open House and online survey, which will run through Sept. 28.

The study aims to identify needs and strategies to support potential transportation and development planning efforts in the community.

The study will focus on evaluating three transportation corridors: Guadalupe/Texas 123, Texas 80/Hopkins Road, and a potential new north-south connection east of Interstate 35. It will suggest improvements for transportation users including motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. The study will also examine several activity centers to create concepts for transportation and connections to housing, jobs and services.

Participants may attend the virtual open house by visiting smtxstudy.com to see an overview of the study and complete an interactive survey.


Deadline nears to apply

for redistricting panel

The city auditor has less than three weeks to recruit Austinites to apply for the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The panel will be responsible for redrawing the City Council districts and shaping Austin’s future. The Applicant Review Panel will select 60 of the most qualified applicants for the redistricting commission. Three independent auditors with CPAs will be selected to serve on the panel.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 30. To apply, visit redistrictatx.org.


ACC hosts session

for DACA students

Austin Community College and American Gateways will host a virtual information session from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday for students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

This is the opportunity to ask questions or express concerns for DACA recipients. The presentation is open to all, not just DACA recipients. Attendees will be asked to respect the presentation, as it is intended to be an open and safe space.

To register: bit.ly/3mayYVS.


Registration open

for lake cleanup

Registration is open for the 26th annual Lake Travis Cleanup, which will be Oct. 18-24 at beaches and areas of Lake Travis.

The cleanup this year will feature various ways to help clean safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants can work from home by becoming a community ambassador and cleaning their own neighborhoods; virtually by watching videos, lessons, panel discussions and history lessons; in the parks with small groups of eight to 10; and in the water with dive groups.

To register: eventbrite.com/o/lake-travis-cleanup-30352955734.

American-Statesman staff

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Pottawatomie Garden Club to do fall planting Sept. 16

Earlier this summer, a group of the Pottawatomie Garden Club members gathered to keep the River Corridor in downtown St. Charles looking beautiful. This group has met several times this summer, most recently Aug. 12.

The club also will be planting colorful flowers downtown this fall.



On Wednesday, Sept. 16, club members will meet at 9 a.m. at the Municipal Building, 2 E. Main St. for the “Planting of the Bridges.” Volunteers will help plant the beautiful fall flowers selected for the Main Street and Illinois bridges. Bring your own garden gloves, knee pad and trowel. Plants will be provided.

On Monday, Sept. 28, the club’s monthly meeting will begin at noon at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles. The topic will be “Recycling Know-How” with SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composing Education).

It is an award-winning environmental education nonprofit dedicated to creating sustainable communities. This is accomplished through innovative and hands-on education programs for the schools and organizations, demonstrating care for our natural resources. Executive Director Kay McKeen started SCARCE (formerly SCRAP) in 1990. She will share all you need to know about recycling beneficially.

For information, visit www.pottagardenclub.org or www.facebook.com/pottagardenclub/.


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The Houston Botanic Garden will open Sept. 18

After two years of construction, Houston’s first botanic garden will finally open Sept. 18.

“The Houston Botanic Garden is a 132-acre living museum for plants that showcases the biodiversity that thrives along the Texas Gulf Coast,” Claudia Gee Vassar, the garden’s president and general counsel, said.

“A stroll through our outdoor gallery spaces – including the Global Collection Garden, Culinary Garden, and Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden – will engage the senses in the unique cultural experience associated with a botanic garden, which are found throughout major metropolitan areas around the world, but until now was missing among the world-class institutions here at home in our diverse and internationally known city.”

The garden’s Phase 1 is now complete. Phase 1’s Global Collection Garden so far includes a tropical zone with a “rainforest” and plants displaying some of nature’s most beautiful and vibrant shapes and colors, a Culinary Garden with edible and medicinal plants, a family discovery garden with water machines and a boardwalk maze, and two natural ecosystem areas, as reported by the Houston Business Journal.

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An educational space and a space for weddings is also in the works and will be completed at a later date.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Phase 2 involves enhancing the current collections and some additional research work, and Phase 3, which will likely be happening in the years to come, could include an education and events building and “seasonal display area aimed at home gardeners.”

Opening day will kick off a series of weekend events, according to Director of Communications & Community Engagement Justin Lacey, with opportunities for guests to learn more about the Bayou City’s cultural richness and biodiversity.

The Houston Botanic Garden will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and customers will be required to abide by COVID-19 safety guidelines, including wearing masks and social distancing. The garden will eventually be located at

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Trump to Host Israel-United Arab Emirates Deal-Signing Ceremony on Sept 15 | World News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will hold a Sept. 15 signing ceremony for a groundbreaking Middle East agreement normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, a senior White House official said on Tuesday.

As part of the deal, announced at the White House on Aug. 13 following what officials said were 18 months of talks, the Gulf state agreed to normal relations with Israel, while Israel agreed to continue with plans to suspend its annexation of the West Bank.

The senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan would lead the two delegations to the ceremony.

“I am proud to embark next week to Washington, at the invitation of President Trump, to take part in the this historic ceremony at the White House for the foundation of the peace treaty between Israel and the United (Arab) Emirates,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

Trump and other administration officials have said they expect Saudi Arabia and other countries to follow suit in recognizing Israel.

Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner and other top administration officials accompanied an Israeli delegation last week on the first flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates to celebrate the agreement.

Iran has dismissed the agreement, which also served to firm up opposition to Tehran, a regional power seen by the UAE, Israel and the United States as the main threat in the Middle East.

The deal falls short of any grand Middle East peace plan to resolve decades of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians despite Trump’s pledge to do so.

The White House hope is that more such deals between Israel and the Gulf states will emerge, prompting the Palestinians to join negotiations.

Trump proposed a peace plan in January that heavily favored the Israelis, but it has not advanced in any significant way.

The Palestinian leadership initially called the accord “betrayal” and a “stab in the back of the Palestinian cause,” but has curbed its criticism, according to a draft resolution ahead of an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Wednesday.

The draft, seen by Reuters, does not include a call to condemn, or act against, the Emirates over the U.S.-brokered deal.

The United Arab Emirates is planning to make its first official visit to Israel on Sept. 22, a source familiar with the provisional itinerary said on Monday.

(Reporting by Steve Holland, additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Franklin Paul and Howard Goller)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Israel-UAE accord set for Sept 15 signing at White House

Israel and the United Arab Emirates will sign a US-brokered agreement normalizing their relations at the White House on September 15, a US official said Tuesday.

It is Israel’s first such agreement with a Gulf nation and only its third with an Arab state, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Jewish state and US allies in the Middle East, including the oil-rich Gulf monarchies, is central to US President Donald Trump’s regional strategy to contain Iran, also an arch-foe of Israel.

The landmark deal between Israel and the UAE was reached last month — a bombshell announced by Trump himself.

“President Trump will host a historic signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords on September 15 at the White House,” a senior White House official said.

Senior delegations from both countries will be present, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “likely” to lead the contingent from the Jewish state, the official said.

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed will lead their delegation, the official added.

Under the deal, Israel has agreed to “suspend” annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, without saying for how long.

The Palestinians have slammed the UAE’s move as a “stab in the back” while their own conflict with Israel remains unresolved.

Washington has expressed hope that more Arab countries will build ties with Israel, as a way of building stability in the turbulent Middle East.


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White House Weekly: Sept. 8

We begin on Friday, August 28, President Trump travels to New Hampshire for a campaign rally, blasting the more than 100 protesters who showed up outside the White House the previous night when he accepted the Republican nomination for president at the GOP convention. He took aim at the protesters who swarmed around Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul as he was leaving the convention.

Donald Trump in a suit standing in front of a building

© Provided by Washington Examiner

The protesters mobbing Paul were demanding that he “say her name.” “Her” is in reference to Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in her own home during a raid using a “no knock” search warrant. The irony in all of this is that Paul sponsored the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act to ban “no knock” search warrants. You really can’t make this stuff up.

Saturday, August 29, Trump visits parts of Louisiana and Texas that experienced the worst of Hurricane Laura, which killed at least 14 people and caused roughly $12 billion in damage.

Sunday, August 30, following the shooting death of a Trump supporter in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, President Trump calls Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler a “fool” and “dummy” on Twitter, laying the blame on him for letting the violence and unrest continue in his city.

Monday, August 31, Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden trade barbs, pinning the blame on each other for the protests devolving into riots across the country.

Tuesday, September 1, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the rioting that ensued, President Trump visits Kenosha, Wisconsin to survey the damage. He declared the violence as “anti-American” and an act of “domestic terror.”

Wednesday, September 2, during a trip to North Carolina, President Trump suggests that voters should send in a mail-in ballot and then show up in-person to vote at a polling place for the upcoming election.

Trump attempted to clarify his remarks since intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in North Carolina, a felony. Whether he’s simply joking or attempting to test the integrity of election offices throughout the country, it’s a dangerous path to tread down that only encourages more voter fraud, not less.

Thursday, September 3, both President Trump and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany blast House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for improperly opening a hair salon in San Francisco, calling on her to apologize for defying local ordinances despite her public statements about exercising extreme caution during the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that businesses and schools remain closed until a vaccine is developed.

With less than two months remaining until the presidential election, things are getting heated between Trump and Biden. Just this past week, the presidential debates commission announced the four moderators of both the presidential and vice presidential debates, starting off with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on September 29. Wallace, who last interviewed Trump in July, is considered the president’s least favorite anchor. While the president might not be thrilled about that prospect and having to fight a two-front debate, they don’t call

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