A Berkeley-educated Forbes reporter covering the “anti-government extremism” beat for the mainstream publication cast doubt on reports Thursday that alleged school shooter Nikolas Cruz trained with a white supremacist organization.
The Anti-Defamation League reported that Jordan Jereb, identified as a leader of the secessionist Republic of Florida group, claimed that shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was part of his organization.
But Forbes‘ JJ MacNab quickly threw cold water on the unconfirmed claim, which is already being parroted by publications including The Daily Beast.
This needs to be confirmed. The problem here is that Jordan Jereb takes credit for a lot of stuff in an effort to gain notoriety, puff up his importance, and collect donations.
— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) February 15, 2018
MacNab is not alone in doubting Jereb’s story.
ABC News reported that three former classmates alleged that Cruz was part of the group, but did not name any of the classmates or provide further evidence: “Three former schoolmates of Cruz told ABC News that Cruz was part of the group. They claimed he marched with the group frequently and was often seen with Jereb, who also confirmed to ABC News that Cruz was, at least at one point, part of that group.”
Nikolas Cruz was arrested and stands accused of killing at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he used to be a student.
Cruz was expelled from the school. Law enforcement reportedly arrested him right outside a house near the high school campus, and sources say Cruz might have escaped the school after the shooting by blending in with fellow students.
Cruz’s mother is reportedly dead and he was living with a friend’s family.
The Anti-Defamation League reported:
“Jereb said that Cruz was associated with ROF, having been “brought up” by another member. Jereb added that Cruz had participated in one or more ROF training exercises in the Tallahassee area, carpooling with other ROF members from south Florida…
Jereb added that ROF had not ordered or wanted Cruz to do anything like the school shooting.”
Jereb was reportedly arrested in 2016 for threatening a Governor Rick Scott staffer.
Trump Administration Warming to Prospect of Second TrumpBux Payment
Trump had earlier considered a payroll tax.
President Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that he supports a second round of direct ‘TrumpBux’ payments to individuals, a stimulus measure first utilized in March to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus recession. Most U.S. taxpayers have already received a $1,200 payment from the federal government as part of the CARES Act.
When asked about the prospect of another round of payments, the President said “I think we’re going to be helping people out” and “getting some money for them.” The fourth round of coronavirus economic stimulus legislation is likely to be the last, if it’s even enacted at all, and the President said that he supports “one more nice shot” to stimulate the economy.
Senior Trump administration officials such as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and economic advisor Kevin Hassett signaling their support for the proposal, with the former stating that he sees a “strong likelihood” the national economy will require an additional supplement of the form of stimulus.
The Trump administration appeared to be initially considering a round of payroll tax cuts as an alternative to another TrumpBux, with some questioning how such a policy would benefit the millions of Americans in industries such as the energy sector who have lost their paychecks as a result of the recession.
Congressional Democrats have attempted to ram through a sham stimulus 4.0 package filled with a progressive policy wishlist, including a provision that would grant amnesty to several million illegal immigrants. Senate Republicans and the White House essentially confirmed that the legislation was dead on arrival after passing the house.
However, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell has accepted the concept of a fourth stimulus package after raising fiscal concerns, making it likely that House Democrats will concede enough to pass a politically acceptable bill through the House. It’s possible that the parties will battle over the notion of bailing out state governments, with Republicans preferring to use resources providing payments to individuals.
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