War hero Scott O'Grady gets Trump's nod for defense post, squares off with critics
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has nominated Texan Scott O'Grady, who once campaigned for state Senate, for assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.
Following his nomination, the Dallas resident known for his career as a fighter pilot and war hero quickly came under fire on social media.
O'Grady made headlines in 1995, when his F-16 fighter was shot down over Bosnia. He survived in enemy territory for about a week before he was rescued by the U.S. Marines. O'Grady's story inspired his own book, Return with Honor, which was a New York Times best-seller, and the movie Behind Enemy Lines is loosely based on his experiences.
The war hero also received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service.
O'Grady moved to Texas about 20 years ago, and he ran as a Republican in a primary for a state Senate seat in Collin and Rockwall counties in 2012 against now-Attorney General Ken Paxton. O'Grady later suspended his bid, even after getting endorsements from former presidential candidate Ross Perot, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He now serves as the co-chair of Veterans for Trump.
Almost immediately after his nomination was announced Tuesday, O'Grady sparred with critics on Twitter.
In response to a journalist who tweeted that he "thought Trump didn't like fliers who got shot down," an allusion to Trump's criticism of war hero former Sen. John McCain of Arizona, O'Grady dared him to "tell me that in person."
He later sparred with Lincoln Project adviser and veteran Fred Wellman, who had criticized O'Grady on Twitter.
Yashar Ali, a freelance journalist who contributed to various publications, such as Huffpost, NBC News and New York Magazine called out the war hero for killing two elephants in a 2014 hunting trip in Zimbabwe.
The Obama administration issued a blanket ban on all Zimbabwe elephant trophies in 2014 because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was unable to determine that elephant hunting for sport would enhance conservation efforts. O'Grady testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources in favor of reversing the ban, arguing that hunting elephants for sport helps elephant populations in Africa.
In his testimony, O'Grady argued that "the American hunter is a part of the solution to protecting and preserving African elephant populations" and said the "greatest resource" for conservation efforts was the American hunter.
He provided documentation that he had killed two elephants as part of his testimony.
The Trump administration caused a public uproar on social media when it floated reversing the ban in 2017. Opponents to the legislation posted pictures of Trump's sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, posing with animals they had hunted.
The Trump administration later quietly lifted the ban in 2018.
_The Dallas Morning News
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows rules out one option for his political future
WASHINGTON — White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who represented North Carolina in the U.S House, said Friday he would not run for U.S. Senate in 2022.
Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, has said he would not run for a fourth term in 2022, creating an open U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina for the first time since 2004 that is likely to attract a crowd of candidates.
Meadows, a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, moved to the Trump administration earlier this year. He has often been mentioned as a potential candidate for the seat.
"I love the people of North Carolina. But I not only have no plans, I have no intentions to run for the Senate in 2022," Meadows said in a phone call.
"I've had a number of people talk about running for that seat, if indeed Sen. Burr retires. My conversations have included some of the sitting House members as well as Lara Trump, and, to my knowledge, no one's made a definitive decision on whether to toss their hat in the ring or not. But in terms of my hat, it won't be in the ring."
Lara Trump, President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, is considering a run, The New York Times reported Thursday. Lara Trump is from Wilmington and graduated from N.C. State.
_The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
Cuomo wins Emmy for his COVID-19 briefings, says he shares honor with New Yorkers and journalists
NEW YORK — And this year's award for heartfelt tragi-drama goes to ... Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo, the governor of New York, basked in the glow of an Emmy on Friday after learning he would receive the International Emmy Founders Award for his COVID-19-focused press briefings.
Cuomo became a national sensation for his sober, sometimes funny, sometimes sad briefings as the coronavirus swept through the nation and as Americans searched for a steady voice to guide them through the trauma.
"I thanked the academy," he said. "It's flattering. I accept it on behalf of the people of the state."
Cuomo is expected to receive the award for public service — and give a prerecorded acceptance speech — during a virtual ceremony Monday.
During a call with reporters Friday, Cuomo couldn't help but josh around about the honor, making a point of thanking the capital press corps, the Legislative Correspondents Association.
"The LCA helped hone my presentation skills and acting skills," he said. "Some of the more dramatic performances during the COVID presentations were thanks to the encouragement of the LCA."
"It was a joint production, let's say," he added. "The LCA deserves a lot of the credit for that Emmy because the entertainment value was incredibly enhanced by your questioning, provocation, stimulation. What another word can I use that's a nice word?"
_New York Daily News
Germany marks 75 years since Nuremberg Trials held Nazis to account
NUREMBERG, Germany — Friday marks 75 years since the beginning of the Nuremberg Trials, a judicial marathon that held Nazi officers to account for the atrocities of World War II and paved the way for future war criminals to be tried under international law.
Germany commemorated the anniversary with an event in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, in which President Frank-Walter Steinmeier gave a speech.
"The main war crimes trial in Nuremberg was a revolution. It not only wrote legal history, it wrote world history," Steinmeier said, according to a transcript of his speech made available ahead of the event.
The event was not public, but was livestreamed online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Nov. 20, 1945, Nuremberg wrote world history when the Allies tried 21 high-ranking Nazi officials, including Adolf Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, and military leader Hermann Goering, at an international criminal court.
It was the first time that representatives of a state had been put on trial.
"Until the opening of the trial 75 years ago, international law was a matter for states, not individuals," said Steinmeier.
The Nuremberg Trials laid the foundation for international criminal law and an international criminal justice system, he added.
"Without the main war crimes trial in Nuremberg, the International Criminal Court in The Hague would not exist today."
The trials lasted almost a year and ended in 12 death sentences being handed out.
Twelve other trials took place by 1949, putting other Nazis on trial for crimes committed by the German state under Hitler.
Alongside Steinmeier, Bavarian premier Markus Soeder and Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, were also to attend the anniversary event.
Now age 100, Benjamin Ferencz, the chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, lives in Florida.
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