Remember the Atlanta massacre? Yeah, that didn’t happen, either

Atlanta journalist Patricia Murphy, who writes for the Daily Beast, reports that Bowling Green, Ky., isn’t the only city where a Trump administration official has incorrectly placed a terrorist attack:

Here’s what White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Jan. 30:

“I don’t think you have to look any further than the families of the Boston Marathon, in Atlanta, in San Bernardino to ask if we can go further,” Spicer said. “There’s obviously steps that we can and should be taking, and I think the president is going to continue do to what he can to make sure that this country is as safe as possible.

We’ve had terror attacks, of course. The Temple bombing in 1958. The Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996. But those were committed by jihadists of another religion.

It doesn't speak well for his sense of geography, but it is possible that, over the course of several days, Spicer was confusing Atlanta with Chattanooga, where in 2015 a young Muslim man opened fire on a military recruiting center. The man then drove seven miles away to a Navy reserve facility, where he shot and killed four U.S. Marines and a sailor.

One of the Marines killed in that terror spree was 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Squire Wells of Cobb County.


Wait. The entire Betsy DeVos fight was for nothing? U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican from Monroe, has signed on in support of a bill that would abolish the Department of Education the same day the Senate confirmed DeVos as secretary of education.

As The Hill newspaper explains, the bill is a single page long and simply states that the agency’s operations would end on Dec. 31, 2018. Meanwhile, Hice's Cassville, Ga., colleague, Barry Loudermilk, is sponsoring a similar bill that would eliminate the EPA on the same day.

The proposition of killing both divisive federal agencies is not a new one. Some Republicans have been trying to get rid of the Department of Education since the 1980s, right after it opened. And the EPA has been in the GOP's crosshairs for decades. President Donald Trump has proposed gutting both.

It’s worth noting that shuttering a federal agency is incredibly difficult. Congress in the past has found it much easier to financially starve disfavored federal offices instead.


It all comes down to this for Tom Price. Senators are expected to begin floor debate on his nomination to be health and human services secretary this evening, shortly after they cast a procedural vote on the Roswell Republican and determine the fate of Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee.

Bitterly unhappy about the Roswell Republican, Democrats are expected to use every procedural lever at their disposal to stretch out debate for the full 30 hours allowed under the rules. By our rough math, that means Price likely won’t be confirmed until the wee hours of Friday morning.

Expect a host of speeches in favor and against until then. And lots of Red Bull for your D.C.-based Insider.


Once Tom Price is confirmed as secretary of health and human services, expect the Sixth District congressional race to replace to heat up quickly. Even candidates who haven't formally announced they're running have already laid the groundwork.

Example A: Former state senator. Dan Moody. The north Fulton County business executive has already filled out federal paperwork signaling he would run for Congress, even if he hasn't started publicly campaigning. Check out the filing here.


She's back. (Really, she never went away.) But former Insider Daniel Malloy, now at OZY, reports that Georgia tea party guru Debbie Dooley is helping to organize rallies across the country on Feb. 27 and March 4 to support Donald Trump. They will coincide with the eighth anniversary of the first tea party gatherings. From Malloy's story: 

Rather than the Revolutionary War-inspired theme of the original installment, party members are hitting the streets as “Main Street Patriots” — Trump’s blue-collar, nationalist voting coalition. Though reignited by the resistance to Trump on the left, the “Spirit of America” rallies are the start of a pivot to positivity — which means they may have a hard time matching the energy of the women’s marches or the tea party rallies of 2009. “We’re not protesting against anything,” Dooley tells OZY. “We’re supporting Mr. Trump’s America First agenda.”

The group isn't expecting huge crowds at the first marches, but fellow organizer Ralph King told Malloy they want to send a simple message: "We're still here."


Ronna Romney McDaniel will keynote the March 13 gala at the Georgia Aquarium. Fox News commentator and former judge Jeanine Pirro will also speak.


We told you about U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s new bill that seeks to slash legal immigration levels by 50 percent yesterday. The state’s refugee groups aren’t exactly pleased by the proposal. Read more here.


Our colleague Tyler Estep reports that the ethics probe into Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter and his Facebook post calling U.S. Rep. John Lewis a “racist pig” is the first of its kind for the jurisdiction:

The filing has the potential to trigger the first-ever assembly of the Gwinnett County Ethics Board, a full investigation and possible penalties that range from written reprimand to removal from office and “referral to proper criminal authorities.”

Read the full story here.


Speaking of U.S. Rep. John Lewis, PBS will be airing a documentary about his life, “John Lewis – Get In the Way,” on Friday. Atlanta Magazine interviewed the film’s director and producer.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is a senior reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's enterprise team, where she covers public policy.