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Rep. Walter Jones, N.C. Republican who sharply opposed Iraq war, dies at 76

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But it was his stark reversal of his support for Bush’s war in Iraq that Jones was most famous for, a turnabout that marked the beginning of a period increasingly outside the House Republican mainstream.

Jones initially supported the war in 2002 — even going so far as to have spearheaded the effort to persuade the House cafeterias to rename french fries as “Freedom Fries” to protest France’s opposition to the U.S.-led war.

“This is a real tribute,” he said at the time. “Whenever anyone orders Freedom Fries, I hope they will think about our men and women who are serving in this great nation.”

But he soon regretted the vote, he told The Associated Press in 2017. After he attended funeral services for Marine Sgt. Michael Bitz in 2003, he wrote an apologetic letter to Bitz’s family. And he continued writing such letters — more than 11,000 to relatives of dead U.S. service members in the following years.

When Jones wrote that first letter, “there were a lot of emotions going through my mind, and I still carry today the pain of voting for an unnecessary war,” he told The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina, in November 2017.

Jones told the newspaper that he also began regularly visiting wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland “to be reminded that war is hell — people die; people get wounded.”

Jones was a conservative Democrat when he first ran to succeed his father in Congress in 1992. He lost, and in 1994, he joined the Republican Party and was elected as part of the so-called Republican Revolution led by Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

But Jones’ opposition to the war after 2003 highlighted his growing estrangement from some elements of his party. Jones voted with the party 81 percent of the time over his full congressional career — but only about 60 percent of the time after Trump was sworn in in January 2017.

He called on Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., then the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, to step aside from the committee’s investigation of alleged Russian influence in the 2016 election, arguing that Nunes was too closely tied to Trump.

And he consistently opposed U.S. military actions overseas since Trump took office, sharply criticizing U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan and Syria.

Colleagues remembered Jones on Sunday as a man of principle who stood up for his beliefs even when they were unpopular.

“He was a public servant who was true to his convictions and who will be missed,” Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said: “He always did what he felt was right for his constituents, his district, and his country, and it was no wonder why he was so widely admired and trusted.”

CORRECTION (Feb. 11, 2019, 12:30 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misidentified North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s party affiliation. He is a Democrat, not a Republican.



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Get Corbyn out now: Labour support plummets as 43% want him axed BEFORE next election

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SUPPORT for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has plummeted after a new poll has shown a shocking loss of backing from his own party members.

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Louisiana police officer suggests on Facebook that AOC be shot

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A Louisiana police officer is facing criticism over a comment he made last week suggesting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., be shot.

The officer, Charlie Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Gretna, Louisiana, police force, called Ocasio-Cortez a “vile idiot” who “needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” referring to her past job as a bartender, according to a screenshot posted by nola.com. According to the New Orleans-based news outlet, his comment was a reaction to a fake quote attributed to the congresswoman claiming that “we pay soldiers too much.” Both his post and Facebook account have since been taken down.

Gretna’s police chief, Arthur Lawson, told nola.com he found the post “disturbing,” adding, “This will not go unchecked.”

“I’m not going to take this lightly and this will be dealt with on our end,” he told the outlet. “It’s not something we want someone that’s affiliated with our department to make these types of statements. That’s not going to happen.”

He said that while he did not think the post constituted an actual threat, it was likely a violation of his department’s social media policy.

A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez declined a request to comment from NBC News.

The episode comes amid a week of backlash over comments President Donald Trump made that Ocasio-Cortez and three other freshmen congresswomen of color should “go back” to where they “originally came from” rather than criticize his administration. All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens and three of them, including Ocasio-Cortez, were born in the U.S.

Ocasio-Cortez was also the subject of violent and misogynistic Facebook posts in a private group where nearly 10,000 current and former Customs and Border Protection agents exchanged thoughts, a ProPublica investigation revealed.

And the four congresswomen targeted in Trump’s tweets, Ocasio-Cortez, Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., were the subject of a recent Facebook post by the Republican County Chairmen’s Association of Illinois, which labeled them the “jihad squad.”

“Political Jihad is their game,” the since-deleted post read. “If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology you’re racist.”

The state’s GOP chairman, Tim Schneider, disavowed the post Sunday night.

“Bigoted rhetoric greatly distracts from legitimate and important policy debates and further divides our nation,” Mr. Schneider said, adding, “I urge everyone who opposes them to keep the rhetoric focused on policy and ideology.”



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How Boris Johnson and girlfriend Carrie will put Queen in an awkward position

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BORIS JOHNSON is preparing to move his girlfriend Carrie Symonds into Downing Street with him this weekend. But the couple are set to shake up royal protocol later in the summer.

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