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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Newly minted vice presidential nominee JD Vance built his Wednesday night speech to the Republican National Convention around his own Appalachian roots, but it wasn’t the first time he had shared his personal story.

Long before he was a U.S. senator from Ohio, Vance rose to prominence on the wings of “Hillbilly Elegy,” a bestselling memoir that many thought captured the essence of Donald Trump’s political resonance in a rural white America ravaged by joblessness, opioid addiction and poverty.

The 2016 book set off a fierce debate in the region. Many Appalachian scholars thought it trafficked in stereotypes and blamed working-class people for their own struggles, without giving enough weight to the decades of exploitation by coal and pharmaceutical companies that figure prominently in Appalachia’s story.

Some of the resentment sparked by the book crossed party lines.

“A lot of us born and raised natives of Appalachia are just highly sensitive to the fact that knocking hillbillies is the final frontier of accepted prejudice in America,” said TJ Litafik, an eastern Kentucky Republican political consultant and Trump supporter.

Litafik said he would vote for Trump no matter whom he chose as vice president, but Vance was not anywhere near the top of his list. That’s in part because Vance had strong words to say against Trump around the time the book was published, even suggesting once that he might be “America’s Hitler” in a text to a former roommate that later became public.

Litafik, who read “Hillbilly Elegy,” subtitled “A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” and saw the 2020 film adaptation, said Vance might come off as condescending to some voters. But he called the senator “dynamic and intelligent” and said Vance’s accomplishments are undeniably impressive.

“I think to me and to a lot of my friends, JD Vance is something of an enigma,” Litafik said. “We appreciate some of his recent convictions, but based on past history, there’s a hesitancy there.”

He said he’s open to giving Vance a chance if he’s willing to show his commitment to rural and blue-collar Americans by protecting them from policy proposals like those that would roll back expanded Medicaid, especially for drug treatment.

Vance was raised by his grandparents in Middletown, in southwestern Ohio, while his mother, whom he introduced during his speech Wednesday, battled an addiction he said she put behind her 10 years ago. He spent a significant amount of time traveling to Kentucky with his grandparents to visit family and said he hoped to be buried in a small mountain cemetery there.

He vowed in the speech to be “a vice president who never forgets where he came from.”

Many conservatives loved the book. Among them were some who lobbied for Vance to be Trump’s vice presidential pick. They include Donald Trump Jr.; Kevin Roberts, who leads the Heritage Foundation; and Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk.

In an interview before Vance was selected, Illinois native Kirk said he thought both the book and movie were excellent.

“It’s incredibly persuasive, and he’s lived the experience that many Trump voters have,” he said. “So it’s not talking down to Trump voters, or people in the Midwest. He grew up in southwestern Ohio, in Appalachia, you know, raised by his Mamaw, and understands kind of how that part of the world stopped working. And he also now, of course, has an agenda and a vision and a passion to try to bring it back to prominence and greatness.”

Roberts, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, said he couldn’t put the book down after discovering it, so true was it to his own life story.

“I think it’s one of the most important books written in the past 20 years,” he told The Associated Press before Vance’s selection. “Not because he’s in the Senate. It’s just such an authentic portrayal of an experience that tens of millions of Americans have had.”

Some critics acknowledge Vance’s right to tell his own story. Where they have trouble is when he makes sweeping generalizations.

At one point, for example, Vance describes his grandmother’s violent reaction to his grandfather coming home drunk after she had threatened to kill him if it happened again. In another scene, his grandparents curse out a store employee and smash a toy after one of their children was told not to play with it without paying.

“Destroying store merchandise and threatening a sales clerk were normal to Mamaw and Papaw,” Vance wrote. “That’s what Scots-Irish Appalachians do when people mess with your kid.”

Ray Jones, the judge-executive of Pike County, Kentucky, and a former Democratic state senator, said he recognized nothing about his family’s experience in “Hillbilly Elegy.”

“Maybe that’s his life story, but I thought the overall depiction of the people in eastern Kentucky was offensive,” said Jones, whose grandfathers were both union coal miners. “I don’t think that book is a fair depiction of the people of this region, and most certainly not the hard-working men and women here.”

“The book paints the people of this region as white trash, and that’s just not true,” he said, before adding, “His story is obviously compelling to people who aren’t from here.”

Neema Avashia, a public educator and author from West Virginia who now lives in Boston, said she was unsettled by the book’s tone, by its lack of representation of Appalachia’s nonwhite residents and by what she called “sweeping generalizations” about working-class white people.

Avashia responded with her own memoir, “Another Appalachia,” about growing up Indian-American and queer in a West Virginia chemical plant community.

“People are allowed to write memoirs about whatever they want — it’s their life,” Avashia said. “I think where I really started to struggle was with the attempt to draw lines in terms of claiming sort of expertise around culture and characterizing like, entire groups of people.”

“I would never claim to say that my Appalachian story is the Appalachian story. It is an Appalachian story. It’s called ‘Another Appalachia’ for a reason. It’s ‘another’ because there are many.”

Avashia said the book’s popularity “is rooted in a desire to have your biases confirmed.”

Vance, whose office didn’t return a request for comment Wednesday, has acknowledged some criticism. He recently told The New York Times he’d distanced himself from “Hillbilly Elegy,” in order not to “wake up in 10 years and really hate everything that I’ve become.”

Sam Workman, a professor of political science at West Virginia University, called the book “poverty porn.” He said the reception to it has more to say about the disconnect between intellectual pundits in academics, politics, the media and rural working-class people than anything else.

“‘Hillbilly Elegy’ was so popular at the start, and all of a sudden everyone now dislikes it, because they realize the rabbit’s out of the hat in a way,” said Workman, who runs WVU’s Institute for Policy Research and Public Affairs. “This is really about a lot of liberal intellectuals being caught off guard as to what the real purposes of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ were. It was the first foray into a really potent, conservative political career.”

On the heels of the book’s popularity, Vance started a charity called “Our Ohio Renewal” that he said he would use as a vehicle for helping solve the scourge of opioid addiction that he had lamented in the book. He shuttered the nonprofit shortly after clinching the Senate nomination in 2022.

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Smyth reported from Columbus, Ohio.

Leah Willingham And Julie Carr Smyth, The Associated Press







Political jokes: too soon?

The answer from many quarters at midweek was a resounding yes, days after an assassination attempt against Republican former president Donald Trump rattled the nation over political violence that has been brewing in the United States for decades.

Several late-night shows that thrive on political comedy changed plans immediately, with Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” canceling its Monday show and its plan to broadcast from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee this week. Its host, Jon Stewart, and his counterparts delivered somber monologues.

By Tuesday, the comedy rock duo Tenacious D, made up of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, had called off the rest of its world tour “and all future creative plans” after Gass stated his birthday wish onstage: “Don’t miss next time.” Gass apologized.

Democratic President Joe Biden, no stranger to mocking Trump, phoned his wounded rival, paused his political ads and messaging and called on the nation to “cool” the rhetoric.

So if comedy is tragedy plus time, when is joking okay again? And who gives the thumbs-up, given that the shooter who took aim at Trump also killed former fire chief Corey Comperatore as he shielded his family?

How to determine when to return to laughs?

There’s nothing funny about the assassination attempt Saturday or any of the violence that has plagued the United States since its earliest days. Trump was hit in the ear as he spoke to rallygoers in Pennsylvania. A Trump supporter and the gunman were killed and two bystanders were injured. The attack raised serious questions about security lapses. It was the latest episode of political violence in America, where attacks in politics date to at least 1798 when two congressmen of opposing parties brawled in the U.S. House.

History books are littered with other examples, but the list just this century is jarring. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head in 2011. Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, now House majority leader, was shot and critically wounded in 2017. A mob of Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s election. Paul Pelosi was bludgeoned in his house in 2022 by a man hunting for his wife, former House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Add that to unyielding concerns about Biden’s fitness for office after his disastrous debate performance, Trump’s convictions on 34 felony counts — and American politics in 2024 seem anything but amusing.

But political humor is as old as politics and government.

It takes some of the edge off the democratic decisions at hand and is a potent weapon for politicians looking to ease concerns about themselves or raise some about their rivals. And in recent years, Trump has been the subject of more jokes than others in recent history. A 2020 study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University found that 97% of jokes by late-night hosts revolved around Trump.

“It’s never too soon, unless it’s not funny,” Alonzo Bodden, a standup comedian for 31 years, asserted during a phone interview on Wednesday. Not a Trump fan, he said comedians “will always make it funny no matter what happens. That’s what we do. It’s how we communicate.”

“In this case, Donald Trump is such a character and the fact that he wasn’t killed, the joke started immediately,” Bodden said. “And I don’t think he minds. He’s one of those people that as long as you’re talking about him, it’s a win.”

Humor humanizes outsized figures

Perhaps most effectively, political humor can make highfalutin’ leaders appear more human, or at least self-aware.

See “covfefe,” Trump’s mysterious middle-of-the-night tweet in 2017 that went viral and caused Jimmy Kimmel to lament that he’ll never write anything funnier. Or “ Make the Pie Higher,” a poem by the late Washington Post cartoonist Richard Thompson composed entirely of President George W. Bush’s garbled statements and published for his inauguration in 2001.

“It is a very complicated economic point I was making there,” Bush explained with a wink to the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner a few months later. “Believe me, what this country needs is taller pie.”

Biden has tried using humor to drag the age issue out front before the debate made clear that the question is more about his cognitive ability. “I know I’m 198 years old, ” Biden has said, to raucous laughter and applause.

Humor is so valuable a campaign tool that candidates flock to the guest seats of late-night shows, which have grown in political influence. But after the assassination, a pause settled over everything, as evidenced in Stewart’s serious monologue Monday.

“None of us knows what’s going to happen next other than there will be another tragedy in this country, self-inflicted by us to us, and then we’ll have this feeling again,” Stewart said.

“The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert described his horror at the attack, relief that Trump had survived and ”grief for my beautiful country.”

“Though I could just as easily start the show moaning on the floor,” he said, “because how many times do we need to learn the lesson that violence has no role in our politics?”

Social media was showing less restraint, as it does. “I think it’s ironic that Trump almost died from a gun today because he was too far right-leaning,” comedian Drew Lynch said on YouTube. “Alright. That’s all I got. I think my neighbors might be in earshot.”

___

Kellman reported from London. AP Media Writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

Laurie Kellman, The Associated Press





WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s economic policies have been slammed by several speakers at the Republican National Conference. But some of the criticism was off base.

Here’s a look at the facts.

___

North Carolina Gov. Doug Burgum on the economy: “Biden’s red tape has raised the price of the gas in your car, the cost of food on your table, the clothes on your back and it has even raised your rent.”

THE FACTS: The statement is misleading. Republicans and some economists have blamed Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid for contributing to higher inflation. But there are few signs that regulation was the culprit.

Gasoline prices climbed coming out of the pandemic due to lower production levels, but the market data show it further climbed after Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

The war in Ukraine also contributed to higher food inflation. The consumer price index shows clothing costs are up under Biden, but, again, there is no evidence that red tape explains the problem.

As for housing costs, most economists and industry analysts say the problem is a lack of new construction and available homes to buy. There are regulations inhibiting new construction, but those are primarily at the state and local level. ___

Find AP Fact Checks here: https://apnews.com/APFactCheck.

Josh Boak, The Associated Press


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Relatives of some of the 13 American service members killed during the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan appeared on stage at the Republican National Convention Wednesday in an emotional moment that revived one of the low points of President Joe Biden’s presidency.

Many of the Gold Star families have criticized Biden for never publicly naming their loved ones. On stage Wednesday, one of the family members named each of the 13 service members, and the crowd echoed back each name as it was read aloud.

“Joe Biden has refused to recognize their sacrifice,” Christy Shamblin, the mother-in-law of Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, told the crowd. “Donald Trump knew all of our children’s names. He knew all of their stories.”

The crowd chanted “Never forget!” and “U.S.A.!” as Trump and the entire convention hall stood.

The display on the RNC’s third day was an implicit response to Biden’s repeated rebukes of Trump and his allegations that the former president doesn’t respect veterans. Biden has often brought up a claim by retired Gen. John Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff, that Trump referred to slain World War II soldiers as losers and suckers. Trump denies the allegation.

The U.S. service members and 60 Afghans were killed by a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport in August 2021 as the U.S. worked feverishly to evacuate Americans and Afghans who helped the West during two decades of war.

The parents and loved ones of those service members have been in the political spotlight ever since, appearing before congressional hearings and doing news interviews.

Republicans have claimed that Biden’s decision to remove U.S. soldiers after the two-decade war in Afghanistan was a strictly political move. But the agreement for the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan was signed by Trump’s administration in February 2020. The deal called for American troops to be out by May 2021, but Trump left office that January without leaving a plan in place for the actual withdrawal of forces.

Several months before the peace deal with the Taliban was signed in Doha, Qatar, Trump had contemplated inviting the Taliban leadership to Camp David to sign an agreement. Those plans, which were vehemently objected to by senior military officials, were put on hold after a Taliban attack that killed a U.S. soldier.

Criticism of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan resonates with voters across party lines. Former Biden supporters, such as former New Hampshire House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, have cited the botched withdrawal as one reason why he wants Biden to step aside.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

___

Cooper reported from Phoenix.

Jonathan J. Cooper, Farnoush Amiri, Matthew Lee And Steve Peoples, The Associated Press



MILWAUKEE (AP) — Republicans were welcoming JD Vance as Donald Trump’s running mate on the same night devoted to blasting President Joe Biden’s leadership on the world stage.

The 39-year-old Ohio senator was set to accept the vice presidential nomination late Wednesday night. He was expected to offer his life story as a son of Appalachia, reaffirming Trump’s connections to Americans who feel alienated socially, economically and politically.

But even as Republicans talked of Vance as a potential heir to the “Make America Great Again” movement, Day 3 programming at the Republican National Convention made clear that Trump and his “America First” agenda define the party in 2024.

Beyond the stated themes of the night, Republicans marched eagerly into culture wars and, after mostly avoiding even allusions to the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks, they hailed former adviser Peter Navarro as a hero hours after he was released from prison for ignoring a congressional subpoena seeking his testimony about Trump’s role in his supporters’ attack on Capitol Hill.

And there was a reminder that Biden is not the only older man in the race keeping his health details under wraps, a notable point days after Trump was wounded by a would-be assassin as he spoke in Pennsylvania.

Here are some takeaways from Day 3 of the RNC:

It’s (sort of) JD Vance’s night … but it’s still Trump’s convention

The third nights of conventions are traditionally about the running mate and how they round out a presidential ticket. And certainly Vance has become a presence at the convention — mentions from the podium, his name now on signs together with Trump, appearances with the former president on the first two nights of the convention.

But Trump is a dominant figure — even when measured against other U.S. presidents and world leaders. Pick any speaker Wednesday and their most passionate pitches were not about “Donald Trump and JD Vance.” They were about Trump.

“This is a man I know and the president we need for four more years,” said Kellyanne Conway, a former Trump adviser. “He will always stand up for you.”

Trump’s former White House physician, Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, called Trump “the greatest president this country has ever had” and “a president who even took a bullet for our country.”

It’s Trump’s party and his alone. No running mate can change that, especially not a freshman senator who has yet to celebrate his 40th birthday.

Still no apologies for Jan. 6 — and a reminder of many Trump administration convictions

RNC programming for the first two nights largely sidestepped any mention of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress by former President Donald Trump’s supporters.

Navarro ended that streak.

Once a top Trump White House adviser, Navarro woke up Wednesday in a Miami federal prison. Hours later, he walked onstage in Milwaukee, where he was given an extended ovation after completing a four-month sentence for refusing to testify before Congress about Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

“You folks just want to know if you can see my MAGA tattoo I got there,” he said jokingly before launching into a speech portraying Democrats as a corrupt political party that cannot be trusted to wield power.

He referred to “the Department of Injustice.” Some delegates chanted, “Let them go! Let them go!” in a reference to hundreds of people convicted for their parts in the Jan. 6 attack.

It was a surreal moment for a party that has long portrayed itself as a staunch defender of law and order. It also served as a fresh reminder of the legal troubles faced by Trump, who was convicted of a felony in May, as well as numerous aides, advisers and allies who have been indicted or imprisoned for violating the law in his service.

“I got a very simple message for you,” Navarro said. “If they can come for me, if they can come for Donald Trump — be careful, they will come for you.”

Navarro cast Washington’s partisan power struggles in existential terms, characterizing control of Congress, the White House and the judiciary as a zero-sum game between Republicans and Democrats: “If we don’t control all three branches of our government — executive, legislative and judicial — their government will put some of us … in prison and control the rest of us.”

Navarro’s dark vision stood in stark contrast to the uplifting and unifying theme that Trump’s campaign has sought to exude during the four-day gathering. But it was illustrative of some of the darker undercurrents just below the surface.

Culture war rhetoric flies freely, testing the bounds of ‘unity’ talk

Callista Gingrich, Trump’s former ambassador to the Vatican, cast the Biden administration — led by a devout Catholic president — as having an “anti-faith agenda” and trying to “impose its far-left ideology on believers.”

Tom Homan, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Trump administration, praised the former president’s handling of the border. But he concluded with an open threat to would-be migrants and anyone in the country illegally.

“You’d better start packing now,” Homan said. “Because you’re going home.”

There were many references to “woke ideologies” and “criminal illegal aliens” and more than a few allusions to transgender rights and “men in women’s sports.”

Altogether, it was another unabashed round in the culture wars — with a notable exception: There was scant mention of abortion.

Certainly, the rhetoric Wednesday animates Trump’s core supporters. And, at least on immigration and the border, there are clear differences between Biden and Trump that Republicans think can help attract votes beyond conservative factions.

But harsh rhetoric and hardline positions on cultural issues have hurt Republicans in multiple recent elections. On abortion specifically, Trump has warned as much, insisting the platform not include a call for a national ban on abortion access.

Any time a Republican is hitting notes of cultural conservatism, it means they are not talking about inflation, the economy and potential differences in what Biden and Trump would do for Americans in their daily lives. The broader message from the podium Wednesday handed reeling Democrats plenty of ammunition to continue their arguments to the middle of the electorate that Trump, Vance and Republicans are too extreme.

Biden isn’t the only older man keeping health details under wraps

Trump’s former White House physician Ronny Jackson had plenty to say about Biden’s health and vitality. He said the 81-year-old’s family and close aides should have convinced him he is not up to the job. But Jackson said nothing about Trump’s health, either generally or after the assassination attempt.

Biden’s health and visible aging has been a focus of the campaign, even before his halting debate performance last month. He became the oldest president in history as soon as he was inaugurated in 2021. But Donald Trump is 78, several months older now than Biden was when he accepted the Democratic nomination in 2020. And Trump, if he wins in November, could become the 81-year-old president just like the man Republicans now insist is too old for the job.

Bill Barrow And Brian Slodysko, The Associated Press







RENO, Nev. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by national and state Republicans that sought to bar Nevada from counting mail ballots received after Election Day.

A state law passed by Democrats in 2021 allows election officials to tally ballots received by 5 p.m. on the fourth day after Election Day, as long as the envelopes are postmarked before the end of Election Day.

The judge rejected Republicans’ assertions that this was unconstitutional and violated federal law, as well as their claim that the rule gave Democrats an unfair electoral advantage and diluted the power of Republicans votes.

The lawsuit was filed in May by the Republican National Committee, the Nevada Republican Party and former President Donald Trump’s campaign. It named as defendants Nevada’s Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar and other local election officials.

Aguilar’s office declined to comment on the dismissal.

The plaintiffs also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The post-Election Day tally is part of Nevada’s universal mail ballot system, where a mail ballot is sent to all eligible voters unless they opt out.

Nevada is one of 19 states that allows ballots to be tallied if they are received after Election Day. Supporters of those rules say they make it easier to vote and ensure that those who cast ballots by mail have as much time to make up their minds as those who vote on Election Day. Opponents contend the practice slows the tallying of election results and undermines trust in the system.

The lawsuit was one of dozens filed by the party as it challenged election rules after Trump loyalists perpetuated claims about the 2020 election being stolen from him.

Biden defeated Trump in Nevada in 2020 by just under 2.5%, or 34,000 votes. Both candidates have made regular stops in the western swing state leading up to November, including on Wednesday when Biden tested positive for COVID-19.

Gabe Stern, The Associated Press


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Instead of kayakers and tour boats, the summertime scene on the Milwaukee River has taken on a solemn tone this week during the Republican National Convention: Around-the-clock patrol boats, some with heavily armed officers.

Security planners have had to contend with the winding waterways through Milwaukee near the Fiserv Center RNC convention site, along with securing downtown streets. Roughly half a dozen police departments, along with state and federal agencies, have boats patrolling the river 24-hours-a-day until the convention ends this week.

“They’re committed to working those long shifts, throughout the days and nights,” U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Joe Neff said. “They’ve been all on board for making sure public safety is priority.”

Associated Press journalists were allowed on board a 29-foot U.S. Coast Guard boat Wednesday to observe. The boat, typically used for search-and-rescue operations, traveled near the secure zone of the convention site via Lake Michigan and the river that empties into it.

A large section of the river has been shut down to commercial and recreational traffic this week, with very few exceptions, like residents who live on the river. Within an hour, the Coast Guard boat had passed vessels from Milwaukee police, state conservation wardens and a heavily armed specialty Coast Guard tactical force in camouflage gear.

The patrols are part of a massive security plan that Milwaukee police, the U.S. Secret Service and others have been detailing for more than a year. Security around former President Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has been especially tight in the wake of last weekend’s apparent assassination attempt.

“There is no higher level of security that can be invested in events such as this,” Milwaukee Police Chief Norman Jeffery told The Associated Press Wednesday.

So far, no major incidents have been reported on the water during the convention, according to the Coast Guard.

Patrol boats typically depart from a Coast Guard facility south of downtown on Lake Michigan, before turning into the mouth of the channel where the river begins. Speeds are then slowed to 5 mph and boats pass by the restaurants and converted warehouses of Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward on the way to the secure zone.

The boats are tasked with monitoring Milwaukee’s downtown bridges and keeping unauthorized people and vessels out of the secure zone.

They are also on the lookout for anything suspicious.

As the Coast Guard vessel traveled near the downtown security zone, the crew spotted something mysterious floating in the water. They turned the boat around and fished it out, discovering the object was only a red and gray nylon tarp that had been rolled up and posed no threat.

Coast Guard officials said the help from other agencies this week also means they can keep up their usual public safety duties.

“Yes, we’ve got the national security event here, the RNC. That doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the rest of our normal mission — search and rescue,” said Coast Guard Lt. Phillip Gurtler. “We still have the coverage that we need.”

Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press







The judge accepted the woman’s testimony she tried to physically resist the attack and at one point ‘verbally begged him to stop’


FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to lift a judge’s order temporarily blocking the Biden administration’s new Title IX rule meant to expand protections for LGBTQ+ students.

The ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals kept in place a preliminary injunction issued last month by a federal district judge in Kentucky. That order blocked the new rule in six states — Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia — though similar legal fights are taking place in Republican-led states across the country.

“As we see it, the district court likely concluded correctly that the Rule’s definition of sex discrimination exceeds the Department’s authority,” a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit said in its majority ruling.

The U.S. Education Department did not immediately respond to an email and phone call seeking comment.

Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman hailed the latest ruling as “a victory for common sense.”

“For 50 years, Title IX has created equal opportunities for women and young girls in the classroom and on the field,” said Coleman, a Republican. “Today, the 6th Circuit becomes the first appellate court in the nation to stop President Biden’s blatant assault on these fundamental protections.”

Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky-based LGBTQ+ advocacy group, warned that the ruling would endanger transgender children.

“We believe Kentucky schools have an obligation to protect all students, including transgender students, and that they should implement the new Title IX Rule regardless of the 6th Circuit’s opinion,” Hartman said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Most Republican state attorneys general have gone to court to challenge the Biden administration’s Title IX regulation that expands protections to LGBTQ+ students.

The regulation kicks in on Aug. 1, but judges have temporarily blocked enforcement while the legal cases move ahead in 15 states: Alaska, Indiana, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The regulation faces legal challenges from 12 other states where enforcement has not been paused: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and South Carolina.

Republicans argue the policy is a ruse to allow transgender girls to play on girls athletic teams. The Biden administration said the rule does not apply to athletics.

In its ruling, the 6th Circuit panel also expedited a full hearing of the case for this fall.

Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Four days after a gunman’s attempt to assassinate former President Donald Trump at a Pennsylvania rally, the public is still in the dark over the extent of his injuries, what treatment the Republican presidential nominee received in the hospital, and whether there may be any long-term effects on his health.

Trump’s campaign has refused to discuss his condition, release a medical report or records to the public, or make the doctors who treated him available, leaving information to dribble out from Trump, his friends and family.

The first word on Trump’s condition came about half an hour after shots rang out and Trump dropped to the ground after reaching for his ear and then pumping his fist defiantly to the crowd with blood streaming down his face. The campaign issued a statement saying he was “fine” and “being checked out at a local medical facility.”

“More details will follow,” his spokesperson said.

It wasn’t until 8:42 p.m., however, that Trump told the public he had been struck by a bullet as opposed to shrapnel or debris. In a post on his social media network, Trump wrote that he was “shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part” of his right ear.

“I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin,” he wrote.

Presidents and major-party candidates have long had to balance their right to doctor-patient confidentiality with the public’s expectations that they confirm they are healthy enough to serve, particularly when questions arise about their readiness. Trump, for example, has long pressed Biden to take a cognitive test with the Democratic president facing doubts after his stumbling debate performance.

After a would-be assassin shot and gravely wounded President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the Washington, D.C., hospital where he was treated gave regular, detailed public updates about his condition and treatment.

There has no been no further word since Saturday from Trump’s campaign or other officials on his condition or treatment.

Trump has appeared at the Republican National Convention the past three days with a bandage over his right ear.

The former president does not normally travel with a protective press pool, something candidates typically agree to once they become their parties’ official nominee.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, who served as Trump’s White House doctor and traveled to be with him after the shooting, said in a podcast interview Monday that Trump was missing part of his ear — “a little bit at the top” — but that the wound would heal.

“He was lucky,” Jackson said on “The Benny Show,” a conservative podcast hosted by Benny Johnson. ”It was far enough away from his head that there was no concussive effects from the bullet. And it just took the top of his ear off, a little bit of the top of this ear off as it passed through.”

He said that the area would need to be treated with care to avoid further bleeding — “It’s not like a clean laceration like you would have with a knife or a blade, it’s a bullet track going by,” he said — but that Trump is “not going to need anything to be done with it. It’s going to be fine.”

The former president’s son Eric Trump said in an interview with CBS on Wednesday that his father had had “no stitches but certainly a nice flesh wound.”

The lack of information continues a pattern for Trump, who has released minimal medical information throughout his political career.

When he first ran in 2016, Trump declined to release full medical records, and instead released a note from his doctor that declared Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

Dr. Harold Bornstein later revealed that the glowing, four-paragraph assessment was written in 5 minutes as a car sent by Trump to collect it waited outside.

Jackson, after administering a physical to Trump in 2018, drew headlines for extolling the then-president’s “incredibly good genes” and suggesting that “if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years he might live to be 200 years old.”

When Trump was infected with the coronavirus in the midst of his 2020 re-election campaign, his doctors and aides tried to downplay the severity of his condition and withheld information about how sick he was and key details of his treatment.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows wrote in his book that Trump’s blood oxygen dropped to a “dangerously low level” and that there were concerns that Trump would not be able to walk on his own if he had waited longer to be transported to Walter Reed for treatment.

Nicholas Riccardi And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press