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Governor honors Alabama Truck Driver of the Year on state Capitol steps

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Gov. Kay Ivey presented a Proclamation to Alabama Truck Driver of the year Rosko Craig Monday, September 14, 2020 in Montgomery, Ala. Rosko drives for Montgomery Transport headquartered in Birmingham who employs around 600 people. Every year, the Alabama Trucking Association has a rigorous competition to select the Driver of the Year. (VIA GOVERNORS OFFICE/HAL YEAGER)

To kick off National Truck Driver Appreciation Week in Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey honored the state’s most accomplished professional truck driver, Rosko Craig of Silas, Alabama, during a brief ceremony at the foot of the state Capitol steps Monday afternoon.

Truck Driver Appreciation Week is from Sept. 13 to 19.

Craig, 50 — a truck driver for the Birmingham-based Montgomery Transport LLC — was recently named the Alabama Trucking Association’s Driver of the Year, sponsored by Nextran Truck Centers, for his dedication to professionalism and safety and his 3 million career miles driven without an accident.

The governor invited Craig to stop by the Capitol to meet her and her staff and to discuss the trucking industry’s key role in the state’s economy, as well as the crucial role truck drivers filled to keep stores and other facilities well-stocked with essential items and supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Craig pulled his rig up to the steps of the Capitol and even offered onlookers a blast of his truck’s horn. Ivey then presented Craig an official commendation recognizing him as Alabama’s Truck Driver of the Year and to honor the trucking industry’s importance as the state’s premier goods movement network.

“Rosko certainly has a positive attitude and a proven track record over his 20-plus-year trucking career,” Ivey said. “Our hats go off to Rosko and all our truckers who keep Alabama moving!”

Craig told the governor that, for him, the keys to success in trucking are safety, hard work and determination.

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“I love trucking because it was a childhood dream of mine,” he said. “I support my family, my wife, my son, my daughter, my grandson — they are my rock and my backbone. I couldn’t do this without them.”

Mark Colson, president of the Alabama Trucking Association, thanked Ivey for recognizing the importance of the trucking industry.

“Sometimes America’s 3.5 million truck drivers are taken for granted But visit any grocery store, business, or medical facility in Alabama, and it becomes obvious that truckers move America,” Colson said. “Most importantly, America’s professional truck drivers are committed to doing their jobs safely, because they too are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and friends and neighbors.

“The next time you speak with a professional truck driver, ask them how many safe miles he or she has, but don’t be surprised if the answer is in the millions.”

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Also in attendance was Craig’s boss, Rollins Montgomery, president of Montgomery Transport, who added that Craig represents the best of the trucking industry.

“I wish I had 100 Roskos working for the company,” he said. “We’re so honored to be here today to celebrate and recognize his outstanding achievement. We are so thankful to have him on the Montgomery Transport team.”

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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Congress

SPLC responds to arrest of man carrying Confederate flag inside U.S. Capitol

Kevin Seefried and his son, Hunter, face multiple charges connected with their alleged part in the deadly Capitol riot.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Widely shared images of a white man carrying a Confederate flag across the floor of the U.S. Capitol during last week’s deadly attempted insurrection is a jarring reminder of the treasonous acts that killed more than 750,000 Americans during the Civil War, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

“Just as defeated Confederate soldiers were forced to surrender the Civil War and end their inhumane treatment of Black people, the rioter who brazenly carried a Confederate flag into the Capitol has been forced to surrender to federal authorities,” said Lecia Brooks, chief of staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center, in a statement Friday following the arrests of Kevin Seefried, 51, and his 23-year-old son Hunter.

Seefried, the Baltimore man allegedly seen in those photographs carrying the Confederate flag, and his son are charged with entering a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Hunter is also charged with destroying government property.

“Incited by the President’s disinformation campaign, the rioter’s decision to brazenly roam the halls of Congress clinging to this painful symbol of white supremacy was a jarring display of boundless white privilege,” Brooks’s statement reads. “Despite the revisionist history promoted by enthusiasts, his disgraceful display is proof that the Confederate flag clearly represents hate, not heritage.”

Brooks added:

 “Over 750,000 American lives were lost because of the Confederacy’s treasonous acts. We cannot allow more blood to be shed for efforts to split our Union. January’s immoral coup attempt is an embarrassment to the United States, and we call on the federal government to prosecute these insurrectionists to the fullest extent of the law.”

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An affidavit detailing the charges states that videos taken during the riot show both Seefrieds enter the Capitol building through a broken window, that Hunter helped break, at about 2:13 p.m.

Both men on Jan. 12 voluntarily talked with FBI agents and admitted to their part in the riots, according to court records. 

The elder Seefreid told the FBI agent that he traveled to the rally to hear Trump speak and that he and his son joined the march and were “led by an individual with a bull horn.” 

There were numerous pro-Trump attendees at the rally and march to the Capitol who had bull horns, according to multiple videos taken that day, but at the front of one of the largest groups of marchers with a bull horn was far-right radio personality Alex Jones, who was walking next to Ali Alexander, organizer of the Stop the Steal movement. 

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Alexander in three separate videos has said he planned the rally, meant to put pressure on Congress voting inside the Capitol that day, with Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, and Arizona U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs. Alexander is now in hiding, according to The Daily Beast

Congressman Brooks’s spokesman told APR on Tuesday that Brooks does not remember communicating with Alexander. 

“Congressman Brooks has no recollection of ever communicating in any way with whoever Ali Alexander is. Congressman Brooks has not in any way, shape or form coordinated with Ali Alexander on the January 6th ‘Save America’ rally,” the statement from the congressman’s spokesman reads. 

Jones and Alexander can be seen leading the march in a video taken and posted to Twitter by freelance journalist Raven Geary. 

“This is history happening. We’re not giving into globalists. We’ll never surrender,” Jones yells into his bullhorn as they marched toward the Capitol. 

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Congress

Tuberville says Trump admitted to “mistake” over deadly Capitol riot. He hasn’t

Trump has not admitted to any responsibility in the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

Eddie Burkhalter

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In this July 14, 2020, file photo, Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville speaks at a campaign event in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, in his first media appearance in Alabama as a senator on Wednesday, was asked his thoughts about the possibility of impeaching President Donald Trump, which happened later that day. He said Trump admitted to making a “mistake” and that it was time to move on. 

Trump has not admitted to any responsibility in the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week that left at least five dead, including a Capitol police officer and a woman who was shot by police while attempting to climb through a broken window inside the Capitol. Two others, including an Alabama man, died from “medical emergencies” while on Capitol grounds during the riot. 

“He made a mistake. He said he made a mistake. That’s not, to me, not an impeachable offense,” Tuberville told reporters outside of St. Vincent’s Hospital in downtown Birmingham, according to WSFA. “He’s got one week to go from today. We’ll have a new president in President Biden. We need to go on with life. I mean, to me, you know, when you understand you made mistakes and admitted. You forgive. You go on.” 

Questions to a Tuberville staffer on Thursday regarding Tuberville’s comments Wednesday were received, but APR had not received responses as of Thursday evening. 

Trump was impeached for a second time — a first in U.S. history for any president — on Wednesday. With 10 Republicans joining Democrats in voting to impeach a Republican president, it was the most bipartisan impeachment in American history.

“Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Trump tweeted in December. The House cited that and similar remarks in charging Trump with inciting an insurrection.

In the moments before the riot last week, Trump told the crowd of supporters assembled near the Capitol: “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen.”

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“If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said to the crowd. Toward the end of his speech, Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol. 

“You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” Trump said. “You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump said. 

Instead of walking to the Capitol with his supporters, Trump returned to the White House where he watched the violence unfold on live television from the West Wing, according to The Washington Post

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Senators and members of the House, including Tuberville and Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, were bunkered down inside the Capitol as rioters broke into the building, smashing windows, beating police officers and threatening others to stand aside and let them enter further into the building, where the lawmakers were being protected by police. 

Despite attempts by some to get Trump to call off his supporters, Trump wasn’t reachable for a time as he watched the violence unfold on television, according to The Washington Post. 

“It took him a while to appreciate the gravity of the situation,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, to the newspaper. Graham, also being protected at the time inside the Capitol, called Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, but couldn’t get through to the president. 

“The president saw these people as allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen,” Graham told the newspaper. 

At 1:26 p.m. local time, the day of the attack, Trump supporters broke into the Capitol, according to a timeline of events by The Wire. Vice President Mike Pence is escorted out of the Senate chamber at 2:22 p.m. and a short time later Trump tweets an attack on Pence for not intervening on Trump’s behalf as Electoral College votes were being certified. (Pence has — rightfully — said he did not have the legal authority to so.)

“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” Trump tweeted as his supporters continued the siege. 

At 2:38 p.m. Trump tweets: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” 

Nearly 45 minutes later, Trump tweets again: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!” 

Shortly after 2 p.m. Trump mistakenly called Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, while trying to reach Tuberville, according to CNN. Lee handed his cellphone to Tuberville. Both men were in a temporary holding room, having been evacuated from the Senate floor, according to CNN. 

“Tuberville spoke with Trump for less than 10 minutes, with the President trying to convince him to make additional objections to the Electoral College vote in a futile effort to block Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win, according to a source familiar with the call,” CNN reported. “The call was cut off because senators were asked to move to a secure location.” 

President-elect Joe Biden in a video posted at 4:06 p.m., more than two hours after the siege began, pleaded with Trump to call for peace. At 4:17 p.m., Trump released a video to Twitter in which he continued to allege the election was stolen from him. 

“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. … So go home. We love you, you’re very special…I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace,” Trump said. 

A second call to Lee at 7 p.m. came from Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, according to a recording of the voicemail. Giuliani believed he was also calling Tuberville. 

“I’m calling you because I want to discuss with you how they’re trying to rush this hearing and how we need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down so we can get these legislatures to get more information to you,” Giuliani said, according to the recording. “I know they’re reconvening at 8 tonight, but it … the only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow — ideally until the end of tomorrow.”

Speaking Tuesday at a section of the border wall with Mexico in Texas, Trump took no responsibility for the violence at the Capitol.

“People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, speaking on the House floor before his vote against impeachment, said Trump was responsible for the violence.

“The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” McCarthy said.

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, spoke before her vote about being on the House floor when rioters broke into the Capitol.  

“I rise today to support impeachment. I do so with a heavy heart and a lasting and searing memory of being in this gallery, the people’s House, right up there, fearing for my life,” Sewell said, pointing to where she and other representatives hid from rioters during the siege. “And why? Because the President of the United States incited others to be violent. A mob of insurgency, in this House. It’s unacceptable, it led to the killing of five Americans.  Blood is on this house. We must do something about it. I ask we move from ‘stopping the steal’ to to healing, but healing requires accountability, and everyone must be accountable.” 

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Shelby praises U.S. Space Command HQ decision

Shelby has advocated for the selection of Redstone Arsenal for the U.S. Space Command headquarters.

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Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby speaks on the U.S. Senate floor.

Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on defense, on Wednesday praised the Air Force’s selection of Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville as the permanent location for the U.S. Space Command headquarters, following a two-year competition for the decision.

Shelby said:

“Redstone Arsenal will be the new home to U.S. Space Command.  This is outstanding news, not only for our state but also for the Air Force.  This long-awaited decision by the Air Force is a true testament to all that Alabama has to offer.  Huntsville is the right pick for a host of reasons – our skilled workforce, proximity to supporting space entities, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life, among other things.  I am thrilled that the Air Force has chosen Redstone and look forward to the vast economic impact this will have on Alabama and the benefits this will bring to the Air Force.”

Shelby has advocated for the selection of Redstone Arsenal for the U.S. Space Command headquarters throughout the competition, having continually highlighted to the Air Force the wide-ranging benefits that Huntsville would provide, if selected.

Selection criteria for the U.S. Space Command headquarters include installation capacity, cost and timing, future U.S. Space Command components and Department of Defense space installations. 

Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville meets many of the needs for the U.S. Space Command headquarters, including significant cost savings, qualified workforce, vast industrial base and expertise, and many support agencies currently located on the Arsenal. Huntsville is ranked fourth among top metro areas for STEM occupations and is well-known nationally as one of the top cities for engineers. Additionally, the Redstone region employs one of the highest number of DoD acquisition experts, and local schools and universities supply a high percentage of entry-level talent.

The industrial base surrounding Redstone is vibrant with more than 400 aerospace and defense technology companies. Many of these companies are situated in Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the country and located directly adjacent to the Redstone Federal Campus. The region has long held a position of national leadership in space and rocket research, development, manufacturing, operations and maintenance which is recognized and sustained to this day.

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U.S. Space Command was established in August 2019 and is DOD’s eleventh unified combatant command. Its mission is to better advance the Department of Defense’s military operations in space.

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President Trump impeached for second time, a first in U.S. history

The U.S. Senate is not likely to take the impeachment matter up until after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, speaking before her vote Wednesday.

For the first time in U.S. history, the House voted to impeach a president for a second time. Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday, charging him with inciting an insurrection.

No Republicans voted to impeach Trump during his first impeachment. Wednesday’s bipartisan vote signaled widespread concern over Trump’s actions leading up to, during and after the deadly Capitol riot that has left at least five dead. All of Alabama’s Republican congressmen voted against impeachment, while Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, voted for the resolution.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, this week left the door open for a Senate conviction — which would be another first in U.S. history — but the Senate vote likely won’t happen until after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. 

“The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” said House minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, speaking on the House floor before his vote, saying that he was against impeachment. He voted as such. 

“Some say the riots were caused by antifa. There’s absolutely no evidence of that, and conservatives should be the first to say so,” McCarthy said. 

The attack on the Capitol left one Capitol Police officer dead and one Trump supporter, who attempted to enter a broken window inside the Capitol, shot and killed by police. Three others, including an Alabama man, died from “medical emergencies” while on Capitol grounds. 

Trump told the crowd of supporters assembled before the Capitol riot: “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen.” 

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“If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump told the crowd, and towards the end of his speech Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol. 

“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump said. 

Speaking Tuesday during a visit to Texas to a section of the border wall with Mexico, Trump denied any responsibility in the deadly riot. 

“The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the U.S.A., especially at this very tender time,” Trump said. 

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Trump declined to immediately tell his supporters to stop the rioting last Wednesday, but did eventually address the rioters that afternoon, telling them in a video message to “go home” and “We love you. You’re very special.” 

“President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week. With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump,” Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Michigan, said in a tweet before his vote to impeach. 

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, spoke before her vote about being on the House floor when rioters broke into the Capitol.  

“I rise today to support impeachment. I do so with a heavy heart and a lasting and searing memory of being in this gallery, the people’s House, right up there, fearing for my life,” Sewell said, pointing to where she and other representatives hid from rioters during the siege. “And why? Because the President of the United States incited others to be violent. A mob of insurgency, in this House. It’s unacceptable, it led to the killing of five Americans.  Blood is on this house. We must do something about it. I ask we move from ‘stopping the steal’ to to healing, but healing requires accountability, and everyone must be accountable.” 

Rep. Barry Moore, R-Alabama, was the only other Alabama representative to speak before the vote, and said he asked his staff Wednesday morning how many U.S. presidents have been impeached in history. 

“They said up until this president, only two times in our nation’s history,” Moore said. “So here we are, seven days left in his first term, and we’re going to impeach a president. For what reasons? For what reasons? There have been no hearings. There have been no committees. We must defend the right and protect the process of impeachment. If we pursue this, from now on, from this day forward, impeachment will always be a political process. I asked my friends across the aisle, they always talk about healing. Healing. How do we come together as a nation?  Since 2016 there has been hashtags going around that said ‘not our president. Resit, resist.’ Members across the aisle have said things in public to have supporters of this president attacked and demeaned.”

The Senate could vote to bar Trump from running for and holding federal office in the future.

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