November 8, 2019 - Atlanta - Democratic Party of Georgia chair Nikema Williams spoke out in opposition to Trump ahead of his visit to Atlanta. Other speakers included Reverend Timothy McDonald, State Rep. Derrick Jackson, State Rep. Donna McLeod, State Rep. Harold Jones, and State Rep. Shelly Hutchinson. Bob Andres / robert.andres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/robert.andres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/robert.andres@ajc.com

The Jolt: Georgia Democrats welcome Donald Trump with a rebuke

President Donald Trump will be jetting into Atlanta in a very few minutes, to shore up U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s campaign treasury -- and to demonstrate his support among African-Americans in the city that helped give birth to the civil rights movement.

With a wind-chilled gathering at the state Capitol, Georgia Democrats decided to welcome Trump with an early morning rebuke.

State Sen. Nikema Williams of Atlanta, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said Trump was bringing his “backwards agenda to Georgia to pretend like his actions haven’t been a disaster for the black community and marginalized communities across this entire country.”

Other Democratic legislators of color joined her at the morning press conference, including state Sens. Harold Jones of Augusta and Sheikh Rahman of Lawrenceville; and state Reps. Derrick Jackson of Tryone; Donna McLeod of Lawrenceville; and Shelly Hutchinson of Snellville.

The Rev. Timothy McDonald, pastor of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, said Trump’s policies have been particularly harmful for African-Americans and makes his visit to the cradle of the civil rights movement offensive.

“To launch a program that he thinks is going to cause black people to vote for him is outrageous, it is insane and it is a slap in the face of all Americans of good will,” McDonald said. “This man's rhetoric and his agenda have taken our country backwards, not forward, to a time when there was much pain that existed.”

From the set-up piece by our AJC colleague Ernie Suggs and one of your Insiders:

In 2016, a paltry 8% of black voters nationwide cast their ballots for Trump. And a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that only 4% of African Americans think Trump’s actions and policies have benefited black people.

When the president arrives, he will fill hold a roundtable ($100,000 a seat) and fundraiser luncheon ($2,800 entry fee) in Buckhead before heading to the “Black Voices for Trump” event at the Georgia World Congress Center. Trump is set to speak after 2 p.m. at the invitation-only rally.

Vice President Mike Pence and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson are also scheduled to attend. Nearby Centennial Park will serve as a locale for protestors.

We will post updates throughout the day on our live blog at AJC.com, so stay tuned. 

***

Before- and after-the-fact plans for the Democratic candidates orbiting their fifth presidential debate -- this one on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in Atlanta -- are taking shape.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. will hold a lunch fundraiser the day before, and several candidates are planning events for the day after -- though details are still sketchy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has sent word that he will stay in town. So will U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who intends to deliver a speech “honoring the historic legacy of some of the most persistent and fearless fighters” in the civil rights movement from Clark Atlanta University, one of the nation’s oldest HBCUs. 

***

The U.S. House impeachment probe may be grabbing all the attention now, but another pressing issue is bubbling up in Washington: The possibility of another government shutdown.

Lawmakers passed a temporary spending plan in September that funded the government through Nov. 21. Now, Politico.com reports that House and Senate leaders from both parties have agreed to meet next week.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby said Wednesday he will meet with other top appropriators from both parties next week to revive spending talks and work through outstanding issues that are impeding progress on a dozen fiscal 2020 spending bills.

The Alabama Republican said that his Democratic counterpart, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, in addition to House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), will attend the meeting on Tuesday night. The House is in recess until Tuesday.

***

The East Cobb News tells us that the group backing the formation of a new city of East Cobb has hired two GOP-oriented lobbyists for the 2020 session of the Legislature: Don Bolia and Laura Norton. Come January, they’ll be pushing House Bill 718, introduced by state Rep. Matt Dollar, R-Marietta, during the 2019 session.

***

The Georgia Recorder notes that, on Thursday, the Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments for the last time in marble building on Mitchell Street in downtown Atlanta, which has served as a home for 63 years. Justices will be moving to the real estate where the state archives building once stood.

***

The Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Georgia chapter has a new director. Adam Pipkin, the former executive director of the Georgia GOP, was announced as the conservative group’s new leader. Virginia Galloway (no relationship to your Insider) will remain as the group’s field director. She said the organization is excited by the hire partly because “his experience working in the legislature and on campaigns throughout Georgia will be an asset for our organization."

***

Georgia farmers are declaring bankruptcy in greater numbers compared to the previous year, and our AJC colleague Matt Kempner writes that delays in federal assistance after natural disasters like Hurricane Michael could be part of the reason. 

Georgia logged 37 new Chapter 12 filings in the latest 12-month period ending Sept. 30, according to a report last week from the U.S. Courts. That’s up from 25 for the same period a year earlier. But it’s down from 43 and 41 in the periods for 2017 and 2016, respectively. Chapter 12 is set aside largely for family farmers. Both Georgia’s latest 12-month total number of cases and its growth compared to the same period a year ago are among the highest in the nation, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The state’s biggest increase — 14 additional filings — came in the latest reporting period of July, August and September, as some farmers waited for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to distribute a portion of new disaster aid. The assistance had been passed by Congress and signed by the president in early May, following months of rancor.

We were also struck by the final paragraph of Kempner’s article on how dependent farmers nationwide are on federal programs to stay afloat.

According to the Farm Bureau, the federal government projects that nearly 40% of U.S. farm income for 2019 will be tied to trade and disaster assistance, the farm bill and insurance payments.

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