Sen. Rand Paul was harassed by a couple of left-wing protesters as he tried eating lunch while at a California restaurant. “While having lunch with @RandPaul in California, we got verbally assaulted by these aggressive libs complaining about incivility. Check out the vid! #unhinged,” Sergio Gor, the deputy chief of staff for Paul, said Friday…
Originally introduced as a weapons carrier during World War II, the RAM Power Wagon certainly has some history behind it. Although it’s no longer providing troop support, the truck – based on the Crew Cab 2500 Heavy Duty – is all new for the 2019 model year and is being dubbed as “the benchmark for performance, capability, technology and luxury.” Is it? Epoch Times attended a media drive up in Whistler to find out.
“It’s Canada’s most capable full-size off-road pickup, and is the only RAM with true rock climbing ability,” said Mike Szymkiewicz, senior manager of product planning at FCA Canada, adding the vehicle also features the only factory-installed winch in the industry.
So what makes a Power Wagon a Power Wagon, you ask? First of all, you’ll notice that it sits higher than other products in the lineup thanks to a purpose-built suspension. Utilizing Bilstein shocks, modified control arms – with Articulink high-movement joints at the axle mount – higher spring rates and more than two inches of lift, the setup is designed to take abuse.
When scaling over logs or small boulders, as we did ascending to the top of a local mountain, a conventional sway bar is bound to get in the way. When in 4WD high or low at speeds below 29 km/h, the front unit can actually be electronically disengaged at the press of a button, allowing more front axle flexibility. Several times throughout the day I was sure the pickup wouldn’t clear certain obstacles yet we didn’t encounter an issue even once.
Another handy new tool is a 360-degree camera. Setting it to a forward view is particularly useful when cresting a hill and the view from the windshield is just the sky. On-screen gridlines helps give spatial awareness.
As mentioned above, there’s an onboard winch, custom built by off-road equipment specialists Warn Industries, capable of supporting up to 12,000-pounds; perfect for getting itself or others out of trouble. The line is made from a synthetic lightweight material that does not kink, fray or build up tension like conventional offerings.
The truck’s exterior has an appropriate level of aggressiveness to it. A good example is the big blacked out grille, resembling a pair of Storm Trooper goggles, and incorporating “RAM” in big chrome letters across the centre. The head and taillamps, bumpers, fender flares and 17-inch wheels are similarly finished in black. A full eight-colour paint palette selection is available (Bright White is my favourite), and bold Power Wagon decals are applied to the side of the bed and tailgate.
For such a mean, all-business appearance, one might not expect a very premium interior. However, optional packages add leather upholstery heated and ventilated front seating, heated steering wheel and backbench, Uconnect infotainment system and a 17-speaker audio system. While the 12-inch portrait layout touchscreen, when equipped, is gorgeous, navigating the menus may be a little tricky wearing gloves.
All models are spec’d as 4×4 boasting the company’s proven 6.4L HEMI V8 engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Pumping out 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque, getting going is certainly not a problem. Though the main purpose of our drive was to evaluate off-roading rather than towing, the powertrain is rated to haul a maximum of 10,620 pounds.
The 2019 RAM Power Wagon is in stores now and starts at $64,245.
Benjamin Yong is a freelance writer from Vancouver, B.C. and a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Follow him on Twitter @b_yong.
The U.S. State Dept. concludes a review of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server; White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney clarifies his Ukraine comments; Bans on some flavored vaping products are enjoined; Hong Kong protesters don masks in defiance of Hong Kong’s anti-mask law; And UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to get support for his Brexit deal.
The volunteer-run app, HKmap.live, keeps track of movements of both police and protesters. App users can avoid tear gas or clashes in the city embroiled with mass demonstrations in defiance of mounting interference from the Chinese regime.
In a joint letter to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook (pdf), the lawmakers said that Apple’s decision “to accommodate the Chinese government” was “deeply concerning.”
Citing data from non-profit Great Fire, they said that the company has also censored more than 2,200 apps. They include the Virtual Private Network apps used to get around China’s Great Firewall and apps for oppressed groups such as Uyghurs and Tibetans.
Senate and House members: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), and Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), also signed the letter.
The letter also said, “We urge you in the strongest terms to reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access, and to stand with the brave men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong.”
“When a repressive government refuses to evolve or, indeed, when it doubles down, cooperation can become complicity,” it said.
Hong Kong police face growing accusations of escalating their level of aggression toward protesters. So far, over 2,600 people have been arrested during the protests.
Cook traveled to Beijing and met with China’s State Administration for Market Regulation on Oct. 17. According to a statement from Chinese authorities, the two sides engaged in “deep discussions” about issues such as corporate social responsibility and expanding Apple’s business in China.
Five of the members also wrote a separate letter (pdf) to Activision Blizzard, a California-based video game company. They urge it to reconsider its move to ban pro-Hong Kong player Ng Wai Chung.
Ng, better known for his online name Blitzchung, received a one-year suspension from Blizzard Entertainment—a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, for shouting out “Stand with Hong Kong” during a post-tournament broadcast.
Blizzard also revoked Ng’s $10,000 prize money and fired two hosts who expressed support for the Hong Kong protests. After the decision backfired, Blizzard lightened the ban to six months and returned Ng’s prize money.
Activision Blizzard’s decision to penalize Ng is “disappointing,” and “could have a chilling effect on gamers who seek to use their platform to promote human rights and basic freedom,” the letter continued.
“Your company claims to stand by ‘one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions.’ Yet, many of your own employees believe that Activision Blizzard’s decision to punish Mr. Chung runs counter to those values.”
They also said that several gamers worldwide have been calling for boycotts of the company.
“As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values—like freedom of speech and thought—or to give in to Beijing’s demands in order to preserve market access,” they wrote.
During the European Union Summit held on Oct. 17-18, French President Emmanuel Macron refused to let North Macedonia and Albania start talks on joining the European Union.
North Macedonia gained the support of the remaining 27 members of the European Union for resolving its dispute with Greece over its country’s name. Its former name, “Macedonia,” was the same as the name of the adjacent region in Greece, thus causing ambiguity.
All countries except France backed opening membership talks with North Macedonia, which is judged to have met EU targets for a host of reforms and ending disputes with its neighbors.
In the case of Albania, the Netherlands, Denmark, and also reportedly Spain, are of the opinion that opening negotiations is premature because of slow progress with reforms in the country, according to EurActiv.
The European Commission, which supervises entry talks, insists that both Albania and North Macedonia have met all the criteria. EU leaders had promised a decision on their futures by the end of October.
North Macedonia, Albania, and four other Balkan countries—Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia—are trying to join the European Union following the ethnic wars of the 1990s that led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Croatia and Slovenia have joined the EU.
In Brussels on the eve of the summit, North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said China and Russia would “fill in the vacuum” left by the Europeans and urged EU leaders “not to fade out the bright stars” of the European Union flag, according to Reuters.
North Macedonia’s foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov, wrote on Twitter: “The least that the European Union owes the region is to be straightforward with us. If there is no more consensus on the European future of the Western Balkans … the citizens deserve to know.”
Paris says the EU faces too many challenges to let in two more states from the Balkans, a region still scarred by the legacy of 1990s wars and struggling with crime and corruption.
The challenges include Brexit, China, which is seen as a “strategic rival”; security threats posed by Russia; and migration. Albanians still regularly seek refugee status in France despite Albania being considered a safe country.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned in May that any “failure to recognize and respond to objective progress would damage the European Union’s credibility.” She said it could also “undermine stability and seriously discourage further reforms.”
Her warning came just after Serbia put its troops on full alert after heavily armed Kosovo police fired tear gas and arrested about two dozen people in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo in what they called an anti-organized crime operation.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Montenegro and North Macedonia on Oct. 4 and warned Balkan leaders of possible risks from Chinese investment in technology and big infrastructure projects.
“As I have done elsewhere in my travels in Europe, I also warned of the risks of Chinese investments in sensitive technologies and China’s bribe-heavy strategy to secure infrastructure deals,” Pompeo said after meeting North Macedonian top officials.
“We want North Macedonia to succeed, not struggle with corruption and with debt.”
China includes Balkan countries in its One Belt, One Road project to open up trade links for Chinese companies. It has extended loans worth billions of dollars to build railways, roads, and power plants, mainly using Chinese workers.
Russia, which has strong ties with some of the countries in the region, openly opposes NATO and EU enlargement to the six Western Balkan states.
Roland Freudenstein, policy director of Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the official think tank of the European People’s Party (EPP) told EurActiv that France’s stance “damages the EU’s regional interests” and creates “the danger that these countries are being pushed into the open arms of Russia, China and Turkey if the EU doesn’t show that it is serious about enlargement.”
EurActive also spoke with Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nathalie Loiseau of political group Renew Europe, who was also Macron’s top candidate in the EU elections. Loiseau said, “At a moment when the UK is leaving, when we need to reform the EU and when a number of member states haven’t yet said how they will be financing the next MFF, are we ready to consider expanding our Union? Really?”
Loiseau also emphasized that thousands of Albanians come to France without visa to seek asylum: “How can we open negotiations with Albania?” she said.
“Either thousands of Albanians deserve refugee status, which in itself questions whether Albania can be an EU candidate. Or human traffickers and the mafia are operating from Albania to Western Europe and encourage illegal migration. Therefore the fight against organized crime needs to be improved in Albania,” Loiseau said.
PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS, N.J.—A multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 in northern New Jersey has left three people dead.
Morris County prosecutors say two women and a man were killed in the accident, which occurred around 1:45 a.m. Friday in the eastbound express lanes in Parsippany-Troy Hills Township. But further details on the victims and the crash were not disclosed due to the ongoing investigation.
Authorities removed several vehicles from the scene, including one appeared to have sustained fire damage. The crash and subsequent investigation forced authorities to close all eastbound lanes of the highway in that area for more than six hours.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
2020 Democratic candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has responded to Hillary Clinton, who this week implied that Gabbard was a favorite of the Russians.
“Great! Thank you, @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain,” Gabbard said in a Twitter post on Oct. 18.
“From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know—it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose,” she continued.
“It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly,” Gabbard added.
Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a …
During the interview, Clinton said, “they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” A spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that she was referring to Republicans who have their eye on a Democratic candidate.
“She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset,” Clinton continued, without referring to Gabbard by name.
“They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it’s going to be, but I can guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it,” she added.
During the Democratic debate this week, Gabbard criticized the New York Times and CNN for smearing veterans like herself “for calling for an end to this regime change war [in Syria]” and their reports for accusing her of being a Russian asset and an Assad apologist.
On Oct. 12, the NY Times published a story that said the 2020 candidate’s threatening to boycott the debate caused some Democrats to wonder what “she is up to in the race,” adding that “others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity and the Russian news media.”
“That’s not just an allegation. I firmly believe that Tulsi Gabbard stands on that stage and is the antithesis to what the other 11 individuals stand for. Especially when it comes to issues such as foreign policy,” Sellers said. “There is no question that Tulsi Gabbard, of all the 12, is a puppet for the Russian government.”
Gabbard previously told her supporters that she was considering not to join the fourth Democratic presidential debate that was held on Oct. 15 because she believes the DNC and corporate media are rigging the election against voters in early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
“They are attempting to replace the roles of voters in the early states, using polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic, and holding so-called debates which are not debates at all but rather commercialized reality television meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten,” Gabbard said in her statement posted Oct. 10.
“In short, the DNC and corporate media are trying to hijack the entire election process,” she added.
Tropical Storm Nestor is intensifying along the Gulf Coast and the National Hurricane Center is predicting a storm surge with tropical storm force winds for Florida starting Friday, Oct. 18. Maximum sustained winds are expected to reach 60 mph, with stronger gusts.
The cyclone is strengthening as it moves northeast across the Golf of Mexico at 22 mph, with storm-force winds expected to hit the Florida coast around 7 p.m. eastern time on Friday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated that there was a risk of a potentially life-threatening storm surge of up to 5 feet above ground level along the Florida Gulf Coast, encompassing an area from Indian Pass to Clearwater Beach.
Their statement warned residents to take the necessary precautions: “This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials. The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.”
Tropical storm-force winds are likely for the evening of Oct. 18, along portions of the central and eastern Gulf Coast, with strong winds across a wide area. The report said that isolated flash flooding is also possible along the central and eastern Gulf Coast and the southeast coast of the United States through the night of Oct. 19.
The system is expected to lose energy and, thus, its tropical characteristics after moving inland across Florida.
According to the NOAA statement, “Nestor is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches this weekend from the central Gulf Coast and northern and central Florida to the eastern Carolinas, with isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches.
A tornado or two is possible tonight and early Saturday near the Florida Gulf Coast from the central panhandle to the western peninsula.”
John Durham, the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut tasked with investigating the origins of the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign, has obtained two cell phones belonging to Maltese professor Joseph Misfud.
Misfud, who disappeared from public view shortly after his name was outed in the media in 2017, played a key role in events that led the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign. The news of the cell phones was first made known in an Oct. 15, 2019, filing by Sidney Powell, the attorney for Trump’s former national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. In the motion, she requested that the U.S. Government be ordered to “produce evidence that has only recently come into its possession.”
The evidence being requested were two Blackberry phones—including all data and metadata—that had been “used by Mr. Joseph Mifsud.”
Powell noted that the information on the phones is “material, exculpatory, and relevant to the defense of Mr. Flynn” and claimed that “OCONUS LURES” and “agents of western intelligence” were tasked against Flynn “as early as 2014.”
The term OCONUS lures, shorthand for spies “Outside the Continental United States,” was featured in a Dec. 28, 2015 text from FBI agent Peter Strzok, the lead FBI agent on the Trump investigation, to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, asking, “You get all our oconus lures approved?”
Powell later disclosed to the Washington Times that it was Justice Department (DOJ) investigator John Durham who obtained the two phones.
The phones could provide crucial pieces of evidence for Durham’s ongoing investigation. Misfud was described in the final report by special counsel Robert Mueller as a “London-based professor who had connections to Russia and traveled to Moscow in April 2016.” However, there have long been questions about Misfud’s ties to Western institutions, many of which are detailed in a May 3, 2019, letter from Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
“The Special Counsel’s report further omits any mention of a wide range of contacts Mifsud had with Western political institutions and individuals,” the letter reads.
“Moreover, photographic evidence shows Mifsud has been in close proximity to influential Western political and governmental officials and organizations, and that such officials and organizations participate in Link Campus University events,” it continues.
“If Mifsud has extensive, suspicious contacts among Russian officials as portrayed in the Special Counsel’s report, then an incredibly wide range of Western institutions and individuals may have been compromised by him, including our own State Department.”
If Misfud was indeed a Russian asset, it would be surprising for the DOJ to have been able to obtain his devices. An analysis of the full record of Misfud’s ongoing texts and calls during the period when he met with Papadopoulos could provide evidence as to whom Mifsud was working with. If Durham successfully determines that Mifsud was not a Russian asset, as has been alleged, it would provide a major blow to the credibility of the launch of the FBI’s probe as well as the integrity of the Mueller Report.
Durham’s acquisition of Mifsud’s phones also begs the question of how he was able to obtain them so quickly when the investigation led by Mueller failed to do so after more than two years of work and more than $30 million in costs.
Durham and Barr Trip to Italy
Durham, who recently broadened the timeline and added agents and resources to his ongoing investigation into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation, traveled in late September to Italy along with Attorney General William Barr to meet with law enforcement officials.
Both Durham and Barr have also reportedly spoken with officials from the UK and Australia as part of their ongoing investigation.
Barr and Durham’s trip to Italy occurred at the end of September and appears to have been planned only a few days in advance. According to the Daily Beast, an official at the U.S. embassy in Italy noted that “they had to scramble to accommodate Barr’s sudden arrival.”
The Guardian reported that Barr and Durham’s meetings with Italian intelligence officials occurred “after getting authorisation from the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte.” According to the article, they were in Italy in order to “find out whetherItaly had played a role in the so-called Russiagate affair, whether secret documents had been obtained and, in particular, to collate information on Joseph Mifsud.”
Barr and Durham reportedly had at least two meetings with Italian intelligence officials on Sept. 27 where they listened to a tape recording of a deposition given by Mifsud after he had applied for “police protection in Italy after disappearing from Link University,” the Daily Beast reported. Additionally, they were reportedly “shown other evidence the Italians had on Mifsud.”
The Daily Beast also noted that “Several mainstream Italian newspapers on Tuesday reported that Mifsud is cooperating with Barr and Durham’s investigation and some even suggested he met them in person in Rome last week.”
A significant question that remains is whether Durham obtained Mifsud’s Blackberrys prior to, or during, the Italy trip, and whether the data on the phones played a role in the sudden visit.
Without naming specific countries, the DOJ appeared to confirm the visit by Barr and Durham in a Sept. 30 statement, noting that “As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.”
“Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr’s request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in the Sept. 30 statement.
Misfud at Center of Trump-Russia Allegations
Mifsud is the university professor who met several times with Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos in the spring of 2016. Papadopoulos first met Mifsud on March 14, 2016, one week after joining the Trump campaign, at the Link Campus in Rome.
“They introduce me to Josef Mifsud at this university in Rome called Link Campus. This isn’t any normal university. At the time, I had no idea what this place was. But apparently, it’s a training ground for Western intelligence operatives in Rome. The CIA has held symposiums there,” Papadopoulos told Dan Bongino during a Nov. 2, 2018, interview.
Papadopoulos reportedly had several additional unusual meetings with Mifsud.
During a March 24, 2016, meeting, Mifsud brought along a young woman named Olga Polonskaya (Vinogradova is her maiden name), who was introduced to him as “Putin’s niece.” Papadopoulos noted that others played up her supposed status.
“A week later, I’m back in London, preparing my life to move back to the U.S. and he emails me out of the blue, ‘I need to introduce you to a very important girl.’ … I go back to the LCILP, and all of a sudden, the directors over there are telling me, ‘Guys, this is Putin’s niece.’ So, they were all in on this scam. It wasn’t just Mifsud telling me that I’m meeting Putin’s niece. It was the directors at the LCILP [London Center for International Law Practice],” Papadopoulos said in the interview with Dan Bongino.
It was during an April 26, 2016, meeting where Mifsud told Papadopoulos, “George, I have information that the Russians have thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.” A version of this comment would be famously relayed to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer during a May 10, 2016 meeting in a London bar.
This meeting, which has been cited as the sole reason the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016, was not by chance. It was set up through a chain of two intermediaries. The information relayed was limited and, significantly, appears similar to information later contained in the first memo from former British spy Christopher Steele that the FBI obtained in early July 2016.
According to Downer, Papadopoulos at some point mentioned the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
“During that conversation, he [Papadopoulos] mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging,’’ Downer toldThe Australian about the Papadopoulos meeting in an April 2018 article.
Downer made clear in his interview that Papadopoulosdid not say what the information was.
“He didn’t say dirt, he said material that could be damaging to her. No, he said it would be damaging. He didn’t say what it was,” Downer said.
Downer also said that none of the comments from Papadopoulos indicated that Trump had any knowledge of what was being discussed.
“Nothing he [Papadopoulos] said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton,” he said.
Downer’s version of events—that he wasn’t told of any specifics regarding information the Russians allegedly had on Clinton—was later corroborated by amemo written by the minority of the House intelligence committee. On page 2 of the memo, the congressmen state: “We would later learn in Papadopoulos’s [October 2017] plea that the information the Russians could assist by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton emails.”
Downer’s conversation with Papadopoulos was reportedly disclosed to the FBI on July 22, 2016, through Australian government channels, although it may have come directly from Downer himself.
Details from the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos were then used by the FBI to open its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016.
The FBI, along with special counselor Mueller, have maintained that Mifsud was a Russian asset but many others, including Papadopoulos, have stated that Mifsud is a member of western intelligence.
President Donald Trump spoke to two NASA astronauts via video conference on Oct. 18 to praise them for their work and congratulate them for participating in the first all-women spacewalk.
Trump praised Christa Koch and Jessica Meir, members of NASA’s 2013 astronaut class, as “brave, brilliant women” during the call at the White House while the two astronauts were replacing a an exterior part of the International Space Station.
“Station, this is President Donald Trump. Do you hear me?” Trump said joined by Vice President Mike Pence, his daughter and White House advisor Ivanka Trump, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. After a short delay, the women responded, “we can hear you.”
“That’s great, I was starting to get worried about you,” the president then said.
The commander-in-chief said he was “thrilled to speak” to Koch and Meir, adding that he thought they were “brave” and “amazing.”
“This is the first time for a woman outside of the space station,” Trump said. “I just want to congratulate you. What you do is incredible. You’re very brave people. I don’t think I want to do it, I must tell you that, but you are amazing people. They’re conducting the first-ever female spacewalk to replace an exterior part of the space station,” adding that they were doing it at an altitude that “very few people will ever see.”
Responding to the president, one of the astronaut’s clarified that there were other female spacewalkers before them but it was the first time two women were outside of the space station at the same time.
“For us, it’s just coming out here and doing our job today, and we were the crew that were tasked with this assignment,” Meir said. “At the same time, we recognize that it is a historic achievement and we do of course want to give credit for all of those that came before us. There has been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers, and astronauts. And we have followed in their footsteps to get us where we are today.”
“We hope that we can provide an inspiration for everybody … to everybody that has a dream—that has a big dream and that is willing to work hard to make that dream come true,” she added.
Meir said that she has been in space for three weeks and that it was her first spacewalk, one that she would “never forget.”
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that the spacewalk “highlights the advancements of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – an initiative that has been championed by both the President and Ivanka Trump.”
This call also marked the first time since 1969 when a president spoke to astronauts outside the space station, according to Ivanka Trump. In 1969, President Richard Nixon called Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin to congratulate them while they were on the moon. That call is considered the longest-distance telephone call ever.