equity from pulpit
The Associated Press
ATLANTA -- A day before the nation's annual holiday celebrating the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Democratic Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock of Georgia returned to the pulpit at the church that was King's spiritual home, calling for the nation to adhere to "God's vision of equity."
Warnock's wide-ranging holiday message included a tribute to King and a remembrance of his last days organizing an anti-poverty crusade before he was gunned down in Memphis in 1968.
"The tragedy is that the minimum wage had more purchasing power in 1968 than the minimum wage does in 2021," Warnock said.
Warnock also decried the pain and death of the covid-19 pandemic. And he called the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump "an unthinkable attack on the very house of the people by those who are driven by the worst impulses, stirred up by demagogues."
Election victories over incumbent Republicans by both Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia ensured a 50-50 Senate split, positioning Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote for Democratic control. But Ossoff and Warnock cannot join the chamber until Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certifies the final vote tally. The Republican has said he could act as soon as Tuesday.
Warnock didn't mention the outgoing president in his sermon but included clear criticisms of Trump as he named "crooked places" that he said God seeks to make straight.
"You don't like the facts? Just create some 'alternative facts,'" Warnock said, referencing a term once used by a former Trump aide. "Just exchange science for fiction, or your own imagination."
Hotel firm drops
The New York Times
Loews Hotels said Saturday that it would not host a fundraiser with Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, the latest indication that many companies are distancing themselves from Republicans who voted to overturn the election results.
Fighting for Missouri, a political action committee affiliated with Hawley, had planned to host a "fun-filled, family-friendly Orlando weekend event" with the senator at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Florida on Feb. 12-15, according to an invitation. Tickets were being sold for $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the size of the group.
But Loews said the fundraiser was called off after the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, which many Democrats and Republicans have blamed in part on Hawley and other members of his party who supported President Donald Trump's efforts to stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory.
"We are horrified and opposed to the events at the Capitol and all who supported and incited the actions," the company said on Twitter. "In light of those events and for the safety of our guests and team members, we have informed the host of the Feb. fundraiser that it will no longer be held at Loews Hotels."
Hawley sharply criticized the decision by Loews, which was established in 1960 and owns or operates 26 properties in the United States and Canada.
"If these corporations don't want conservatives to speak, they should just be honest about it," he said in a statement. "But to equate leading a debate on the floor of the Senate with inciting violence is a lie, and it's dangerous. I will not be deterred from representing my constituents, and I will not bow to left-wing corporate pressure."
Hawley persisted in his challenge to the election results even after the mob was cleared out of the Capitol, forcing the House and Senate into two hours of debate over Pennsylvania's electoral votes even though he never made a specific charge of wrongdoing.
The rejection by Loews came after Simon & Schuster said it would cancel the publication of an upcoming book by Hawley, "The Tyranny of Big Tech," which had been scheduled to be published in June.