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Trump Touts McCormick, Courts Black Voters at Philadelphia Rally

There was a bit of a bromance between former President Donald Trump and Senate candidate Dave McCormick at Trump’s rally in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Trump endorsed McCormick as “a warrior, a great military person, an incredible guy. And we have to elect him as the U.S. senator from your state. And just so you know, Dave McCormick is a seventh-generation Pennsylvanian who grew up in Bloomsburg, went to West Point, did great there and earned a Bronze Star for his service.”

“Dave went on to an outstanding career in business and now is fighting for the people of this commonwealth. He loves this commonwealth. He really is a high-quality person. I actually said, ‘Dave, are you too high quality for this job?’”

“But I’d rather have that than the other. And honestly, the other senator has been here forever…I don’t think I ever met him in my years in Washington. He doesn’t do anything,” Trump said. “Dave will vote to secure your borders, stand up to China, and unleash incredible amounts of Pennsylvania energy. And he wants to stop Biden inflation.”

Philadelphia fans welcome former President Donald Trump.

Trump also bashed McCormick’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

Trump added, “Bob Casey votes with Sleepy Joe 98 percent (of the time). Bob Casey could have voted to stop Joe Biden’s invasion; instead, he voted in favor of sanctuary cities. He voted to give illegal aliens taxpayer-funded benefits. He voted against the border wall… Pennsylvania, you need to defeat open borders Bob Casey.”

On the stump in the swing state that many political observers believe could determine the outcome of the presidential race, Trump hit two issues hard: illegal immigration and the economy.

Trump recounted recent news stories of attacks by illegal immigrants, like a 13-year-old girl allegedly raped in New York City, a 12-year-old Texas girl allegedly assaulted and murdered by two illegal immigrants, and a Maryland mother of five who was allegedly raped and murdered. In every case, the alleged assailants had previously been released into the U.S. by the Biden administration.

“Joe Biden wants to be president for illegal aliens, but I will be president for law-abiding Americans,” Trump said, while promising to “tear up”  the mass amnesty executive order that Biden recently announced. Countries are opening up prisons and mental hospitals and sending inmates to America, he said.

“In Venezuela, crime is down 72 percent,” he said.

Trump also blamed Biden for inflation and said he would bring back prosperity.

“When I left office, inflation was practically nothing. During my term we had gasoline down to $1.87 a gallon. And the 30-year mortgage rate was 2.7 percent. And then Joe Biden blew it to shreds. Biden’s inflation price hikes on energy infrastructure cost the average American family an astounding $28,000.”

“You know, inflation is a disaster,” he said. “It’s a total country buster. And when you look at the prices of eggs and bacon, it’s gone up 100 percent.”

“The monthly cost of a mortgage has gone up under Crooked Joe Biden,” he said. “With me, it was around 2 percent. Now it’s 10 percent, and you can’t get the money.”

“On day one of my administration, we will throw out Bidenomics and replace it with MAGA-nomics,” he said to cheers and applause.

Former President Donald Trump with Senate candidate Dave McCormick

Trump also talked at length about the troubles plaguing Philadelphia, using them to make a pitch for support among Black voters. He specifically called out progressive District Attorney Larry Krasner, saying he has “the blood of countless men and women and children on his hands” for his soft-on-crime policies.

The Trump campaign is making inroads with Black and Hispanic voters, according to recent polling. The rally in a predominantly Black area of Philadelphia, along with endorsements from rap artists and others, is a clear attempt to attract voters who previously voted Democratic.

“The people of our country are looking for hope, whether they are White, Brown, Black or anything else. They’re looking for hope,” Trump told the crowd. “We will also work to lift up Black and Hispanic and other communities in Philadelphia and all across the United States…They’re smart. They want jobs. They want safety. They don’t want to lose their homes.”

Kristina Bowie, a Black Philadelphia resident, attended to support Trump.

“I like his policies,” she said. “I like all he’s trying to do to make America great again.” When Trump was president, “It was just better then.”

But state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) said his constituents won’t back the former president.

“I represent the community in Philly where Trump is currently ranting and raving. I can authoritatively say my neighbors aren’t in that arena listening to his lies.”

Doylestown residents Peder Cox and Ellen Bowman Cox. Bowman Cox is leader of the Doylestown Republican Club.

When McCormick took the stage, he also focused his comments on the economy and the need for change.

“As a native of Pennsylvania, it breaks my heart that 60 percent of Pennsylvanians are living paycheck to paycheck. Prices are on the rise 20 percent,” said McCormick. “As a combat veteran, it breaks my heart that we can’t make our recruiting numbers, that our military is in decline and that 22 veterans a day kill themselves. We need new leadership.”

Trump’s appearance drew supporters from across the state.

Phoenixville resident Brooke Spinelli said, “I support Trump (for) a number of reasons. School choice. I want the economy to be where it was.” She brought her father, a gun collector who is concerned about his Second Amendment rights, to the rally.

“I think our country was in better shape when Donald Trump was running it,” said Stephanie McCoy from New Holland, in Lancaster County. “He actually cared about the American people and didn’t have our borders opened up for anyone to come in.”

And while Trump’s message in the past on early voting and mail in ballots was less than clear, he urged the Keystone State crowd to get out and vote, whether early, by mail or in person, and to volunteer “to secure our elections.”

“We don’t want them dumping ballots,” he said. “If we win Pennsylvania, we win the presidency.”

PA Freedom Caucus Says No to Funding Puberty-Blocking Drugs for Children

Should taxpayer dollars pay for experimental drug treatment for children experiencing gender dysphoria? The 24-member Pennsylvania Freedom Caucus says no.

The legislators released a letter saying their members oppose state funding for health institutions that provide pediatric puberty blockers. They include the state-related university healthcare systems of Penn State, Temple University, and the University of Pittsburgh.

“This opposition comes on the heels of the discovery of a Penn State Health Children’s Hospital policy that would prescribe puberty blockers to children under the age of 10,” the lawmakers wrote.

That policy reads, “The clinic’s pediatric endocrinologist provides puberty-blocking medications, cares for people with differences of sexual development, and cares for patients who are young than 10 years old.”

Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Butler/Lawrence) sent a formal inquiry to all three healthcare systems on May 15 requesting data about pharmacological intervention and medical procedures of “gender-affirming care” provided to minors.

Penn State, Temple, and Pitt are state-related institutions and are listed to receive more than $882 million in the 2023-24 budget. They require two-thirds votes in the House and Senate for this funding.

“The Pennsylvania Freedom Caucus will not even consider a yes vote if policies that endanger the health and welfare of children remain unchanged,” said PAFC Chair Dawn Keefer (R-York). “To sit by and allow public funds to be used in experimental activities causing irreversible harm to children, some under the age of 10, makes lawmakers complicit in this abuse couched as health care.”

Rep. David Rowe (R-Snyder/Union/Juniata/Mifflin) said the two-thirds threshold for approval means “House Democrats will be unable to push through continued funding for non-preferred institutions with Republican support.”

“Our constituents can rest assured that the PA Freedom Caucus will lead the effort to unite Republicans in opposition to such funding as long as any policy remains in place that endangers the health and welfare of our most vulnerable and valuable demographic, our children,” Rowe said.

Keefer told DVJournal she was concerned about doctors providing puberty blockers to children “as young as 5 years old.”

She said experts testified about it to a House Health Committee subcommittee, which she serves on, so she knows what clinicians are doing in this field.

“Puberty blockers, hormone therapies, surgeries, chest surgeries, bottom surgeries were rarer in children,” said Keefer. “We had professionals coming to us and saying, ‘This is not a good practice; this is not a good standard of care. There are many adverse consequences to it…one being that your bones aren’t developing properly.’ So it’s poor structural development. With hormone therapy, that’s a huge issue. You’re messing with the (child’s) endocrine system, which is a whole other issue.

“So you take these kinds of irreversible actions on children as young as five years old, and that’s abuse,” said Keefer. “Somebody has to start raising a red flag here and saying, ‘You’ve got to step back from this.’”

“You know we wouldn’t do this with anything else,” Keefer said. “This is all experimental. These are off-label uses of drugs on children.”

And once someone has taken these steps, “they become patients for life,” said Keefer. “They’re on a whole cocktail of therapies they have to remain on, and they have, again, skeletal issues, muscular issues, infection issues. It runs the gamut. When you stop the hormone therapies, their body will go back (to the opposite gender).”

There are also social and psychological challenges.

“How do you tell a 10-year-old child you’re helping transition that they will never be able to have an orgasm? How do they even know what that is? How can they know or appreciate it?

“It’s one thing to provide psychological care for individuals that are dealing with gender dysphoria, but when you start taking these drugs and having surgeries, I think it’s a line too far.”

DVJournal previously reported on activists who have undergone transgender treatment and are now speaking out against allowing it for children. Chloe Cole, who is suing the doctors and hospital that treated her, said she began transitioning at age 13 and had her breasts removed at 15. She realized a year later that she had made a dreadful mistake and now lives as a woman.

Recently, author Gerald Posner wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Finland, Sweden, and Norway, which pioneered the use of puberty blockers for children, are now cutting back on the practice because of long-term side effects.

Penn State shared this defense of its medical care: “Penn State Health provides appropriate and proven care for a wide range of pediatric medical conditions, and none of the funds appropriated to Penn State University flow to Penn State Health clinical activities.

“Penn State Health does not use puberty blockers in children under 10 years of age with gender dysphoria. Penn State Health adheres to the international guidelines that do not support irreversible changes to children as it relates to gender dysphoria care, and there are no plans to change this position.

“Puberty-blocking medications (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHA)) have been in use for more than four decades to treat a wide array of medical conditions. In pediatrics, the effects of these medications are fully reversible and are commonly used with children under age 10 to treat premature puberty (medically termed precocious puberty). The medications are used to delay puberty until the child reaches an appropriate age for puberty to begin. In these cases, puberty-blocking medications are the widely accepted standard of care.”

Neither Temple nor Pitt responded when asked for comment.

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Officer Fitzgerald’s Father Urges Temple Family: ‘Make His Life Mean Something’

The bustling Temple University campus came to a stop Tuesday afternoon to remember the life of Officer Christopher “Fitz” Fitzgerald during a vigil at the Bell Tower.

A sea of students from football players to theater majors gathered to pay their respects to the 31-year-old Temple Police officer who, according to those close to him, died doing what he loved: Protecting the Temple family. He was the first member of the Temple force killed in the line of duty.

Bucks County resident Miles Pfeffer, 18, allegedly shot Fitzgerald Saturday night as the officer tried to stop three people in a robbery just off the Temple campus. Pfeffer disregarded Fitzgerald’s commands, shooting Fitzgerald in the head and then firing several more shots into his face, according to an affidavit.

U.S. Marshals took Pfeffer into custody at his  Buckingham Township home on Sunday morning.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first vigil we have held on campus,” said Temple Senior Vice President and Provost Gregory Mandell, who noted in 16 years it was by far the biggest crowd he had seen.

Officer Christopher Fitzgerald

“What took place Saturday night was a testament to his selflessness and today was an apt tribute and testimony to his life,” Mandell said.

Strong wind threatened the opening of the ceremony, sending the tent adorning the podium ripping through the crowd. Moments later someone in the audience tried to disrupt the ceremony, prompting a quick scuffle with members of the Fitzgerald family. After the protestor was escorted out, the service began.

The afternoon’s first speaker, Quaiser Abdullah, a communications professor and a chaplain with the Philadelphia Police Department, delivered a eulogy.

“What happened to Fitz is a glaring reminder that life is temporary,” Abdullah said, as members of the Temple Police Department looked on from the front row.

University President Jason Wingard urged the Temple community to bring meaning to Fitzgerald’s values, to return “to a place where love abides.”

“One of our deepest fears became true but what it can teach us is compassion,” Wingard said. “You all gather here every day to make the world a better place, to elevate yourselves path of dissent is the path of transformation.”

The most emotional moment came when Marissa Fitzgerald, the officer’s widow, addressed the crowd. “My life will never be the same,” she said of her husband and father of four children. “He did what he had to do for you [Temple students] to not have to hear a gunshot.”

Taylor Warren, a freshman studying media studies production and whose mother is also a Temple police officer, thought the vigil was an important healing moment for the university.

“I came here to pay my respect to him and my family,” Warren said.

Fitzgerald’s father, Joel Fitzgerald, Sr. served as a Philadelphia police officer for 17 years. He spoke about the example his son set for the Temple community.

“He took guns off the street for you, so I ask you to pay it forward. What will save this country is you who came here today to celebrate our son’s life.”

And he urged the students, “Make his life mean something.”


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Temple University Re-engaging With Philly Police After Student Murder, Despite Embrace of ‘Defund’ Movement

In response to the murder of one of its students, Temple University President Dr. Jason Wingard said in a campus-wide email it will “work with the Philadelphia Police Department to increase their presence off campus,” to boost student security.

The move comes after a year in which Temple administrators and students have debated and occasionally embraced facets of the “Defund the Police” movement, which sprang up in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, an event so shocking it ignited a new, national reckoning on race.

The university is currently working to quell fears after Samuel Collington, a 21-year-old senior at the university, was shot and killed in the middle of the day within blocks of the campus.

“Students are afraid. Parents are afraid. Parents are afraid for students’ safety,” student government president Bradley Smutek told the Inquirer.

Besides increasing patrols in cooperation with Philadelphia Police, Wingard also promised to “increase our Campus Safety force by 50%” and to “collaborate with city leaders to expand anti-violence initiatives to reduce shootings and homicides in North Philadelphia and across the city.”

Last June, however, the mood at Temple was more about distancing itself from Philadelphia Police.

“In the past, Temple has provided a small amount of support to the Philadelphia Police Foundation through charitable donations,” university president Richard M. Englert said in a brief statement. “Upon review and community input, we have decided that the university will no longer provide this support,” and that the funds would be reallocated “to support social justice programs at the university.”

The Philadelphia Police Foundation is an IRS-recognized nonprofit where funds “go directly toward providing critical equipment, technology, training and innovative programs to help the Philadelphia Police Department improve public safety and enhance service to the city,” according to the foundation’s website.

“Over the past three years, Philadelphia area individuals, businesses and foundations have generously contributed over $2.0 million to underwrite over a dozen of the Department’s most critical, but unbudgeted priorities,” the website adds.

A request for comment to the university on the shift in attitudes toward police was not returned.

Despite the political pressures that emerged from the Floyd killing, the university rebuffed a petition on from earlier in June 2020, that called for a total severing of all ties between the university and Philly police.

“Temple University claims that ‘racism within our community is not tolerated,’ but they are willing to fund the very institution that suppresses the message of #BlackLivesMatter in our city,” the petition read. “It is well known that Temple has been actively gentrifying North Philadelphia for decades, and has expanded its police surveillance beyond campus through its ties with Philadelphia Police.”

Wingard was joined by Provost JoAnne A. Epps and Chief Operating Officer Kevin G. Clark in a lengthy statement pushing back on the idea.

“We do not believe that [severing all ties with Philadelphia police] would be in the best interest of Temple students, faculty and staff, and our neighbors in the surrounding community,” they said.

“Shared responsibilities and patrols among the Temple Police Department, our Allied Universal security partners and the Philadelphia Police Department help keep us safe by providing effective layers of service and protection for the Temple community and residents in nearby neighborhoods.”

The petition and subsequent rebuff from the University came before the decision to stop making donations to the Philadelphia Police Foundation, but the original petition also highlighted that link.

“It is time to say it loud and clear that we as students, alumni and residents of Philadelphia firmly oppose Temple’s active participation in militarizing our police force. #DefundthePolice”, the petition said.

Meanwhile, police identified 17-year-old Latif Williams as a suspect in Collington’s murder. Williams turned himself in to police.

Court records show that he was charged with five felony counts related to an alleged carjacking in July.

Those charges were later withdrawn.

“[A] key witness for the Commonwealth did not appear in court, forcing our office to withdraw the case at that time. That incident, which took place in August, remains under active investigation, and our office continues to pursue accountability for that crime,” a spokesperson for the Philadelphia district attorney’s office said, according to ABC6.

The university is holding a community hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday to discuss safety issues.

The debate over how to provide the necessary security to the campus comes as Philadelphia crossed the mark of 500 homicides in a year on Thanksgiving. The city had only previously reached that mark one other time since the statistic has been kept since 1960.

As of Dec, 7, the Philadelphia Police crime statistics page showed that the city now counts 523 homicides this year.

This article first appeared in Broad and Liberty.

Death of Temple Student from Delco Shines Light on Philly’s Record Homicide Rate

By all accounts, Samuel Collington did everything right. A brilliant student, Eagle Scout, and an aspiring lawyer. But he was gunned down near the Temple University campus as he came back from his Delaware County home the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

About 500 people attended a memorial for Collington Thursday at Interboro High School in Prospect Park, where one teacher after another spoke about how much Collington meant to them, what a joy it was to have him in their classrooms, his academic prowess, and his sense of humor.

Samuel Collington

Molly Collington, his mother, thanked those who came to the memorial to “honor our golden boy.”

“Please, just do a good deed in Sam’s name. He would really, really, really, really be honored,” she said. “And to know that all of you are here tonight to honor him. Sam was truly one of a kind.”

“This isn’t just a loss for the Collingtons. This is a loss for the world because Sam promised me he would make the world a better place,” she said. “He did when he was a baby. He said, ‘I’ll do everything I can to make this world better for you, Mom.’ And he meant it and he tried. He lived more in his 21 years and did more than some people ever do in their whole lives. And his obituary just wasn’t even long enough for all of his accomplishments.”

“I’m Bailey and I’m Sam’s sister, and for a while, for the majority of my life, that’s what I was for a lot of people, to teachers who were enthralled with his excellent work ethic and quick wit,” said Bailey Collington.

“I remember on the first days in my junior and senior year and (my Mom asked if) my teachers asked me about Sam and I said, ‘Yes, obviously.’ We both know they did. Maybe there was a period of my life when I resented it. But everyone who knew him knew he had a magnetic personality. The shadow he cast was big,” Bailey added.

After the speeches, hugs, and tears, participants carrying lighted candles began a procession walking a few blocks to the Norward Library where Samuel Collington had installed a flagpole for his Eagle Scout project.

The group of some 500 mourners mirrored the 513 people killed in Philadelphia as of December 3–a number not seen since 1990.

A 17-year-old suspect turned himself in to face murder charges in Collington’s death, which police said happened during a robbery. The suspect, Latif Williams, had a prior record and had been freed after the district attorney’s office dismissed previous charges against him before a preliminary hearing when a witness did not come to court, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Retired Upper Darby police chief and former Philadelphia police officer Michael Chitwood laid the blame squarely on the current District Attorney Larry Krasner, whose progressive policies have resulted in the release of criminals who would have been locked up under previous, tough-on-crime, DAs.

Chitwood said crime in Philadelphia “is totally out of control.” He called Collington’s death “a tragic event.”

“The doer should have been held in jail,” said Chitwood. “He should never have been on the street.”

While Chitwood does not oppose release for those who have committed minor crimes and believes in rehabilitation, people who are a danger to others should not be “walking among us,” he said.

“He had a lengthy criminal record and should be on the street,” he emphasized. The wave of shootings sweeping the country could hit any place, including the suburbs where people think they’re safe. “It could happen to any community, any place.”

While some say too many Pennsylvanians are incarcerated — the incarceration rate is 659 per 100,000 —  Chitwood says he believes the opposite is true and more jails are needed.

“If you need to build more jails for bad, heinous felons, build more jails,” he said. “These people who commit serious crimes should not be out on the streets.”

While some officials have cited the pandemic as a cause of the rising crime wave, Chitwood disagreed.

“Unless the DA locks up people who have committed horrible crimes, rapes, robberies, they will continue,” Chitwood said.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

An obituary listed some of Collington’s accomplishments, including being president of his high school class his junior and senior years, performing in the band and theater, being a member of the National Honor Society, and voted most likely to succeed. He also volunteered for various issues and organized a march after the shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Temple University officials said in a press release, “We mourn the loss of a bright and thriving political science student, and share in the wrenching grief of his family and friends. Samuel was set to graduate this spring from the College of Liberal Arts, and he already was succeeding in his field, interning as a Democracy Fellow with the city. This is a true tragedy in every sense of the word.”

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