Midday Roundup: Trump protesters riot outside rally in New Mexico

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/25/16, 12:05 pm

Riotous rally. A demonstration outside a Donald Trump campaign rally in New Mexico turned violent Tuesday night. Protesters outside the Albuquerque Convention Center threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles, and other items at police, who responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd. The protesters carried signs reading “Trump is fascist” and “We’ve heard enough.” The rally was Trump’s first in New Mexico, the state with the largest proportion of Hispanic residents. Gov. Susana Martinez, head of the Republican Governors Association and the nation’s only Latina governor, has harshly criticized Trump’s stance on immigration. Trump told rally-goers Martinez needs to do a better job, adding “Hey, maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going.”

At the helm. The Taliban in Afghanistan has appointed a new boss to succeed Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week. Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, a scholar known for extremist views, will take Mansour’s place. He was selected at a meeting of Taliban leaders that might have taken place inside Pakistan. The U.S. and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of shielding the Taliban, which wants to overthrow the Afghan government in Kabul.

Donor questions. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said this morning an investigation into his campaign finances did not discover any criminal wrongdoing. News broke Monday that the FBI was looking into contributions made to McAuliffe, a Democrat who became governor in 2014. He said the investigation likely focused on a $120,000 contribution from a Chinese businessman. Laws prohibit foreign nationals from giving to U.S. campaigns. But McAuliffe said the businessman was a green card holder whom his team fully vetted. McAuliffe was a major fundraiser for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns. The Justice Department has not confirmed McAuliffe’s claims.

Not the same. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized Tuesday for comparing long wait times at VA healthcare sites to waiting in line at a Disney amusement park. “It was never my intention to suggest that I don’t take our mission of serving veterans very seriously,” McDonald said in a written statement. At a breakfast Monday, McDonald used the Disney comparison to make the point that veterans’ satisfaction with their healthcare experiences was a better measure of success than the length of their wait for care. Amber Smith with Concerned Veterans for America called McDonald’s remarks a disgrace: “I think what we really saw with Secretary McDonald today in his remarks is just how out of touch he is not only with the deep-rooted systemic problems that exist at the VA but with the veterans that he is supposed to be serving. This is not a laughing matter.”

WORLD Radio’s Kristen Eicher and Mary Reichard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

Read more from this writer