Sen. Jeff Merkley to Donald Trump: “Don’t Bring White Supremacists into Your Administration”

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has been adamant in his demand that President-elect Donald Trump remove former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon from his leadership team.

Today, Merkley went further, taking that call to the floor of Congress.

In a speech on the U.S. Senate floor, Oregon’s junior senator connected the hiring of Bannon—who ran a news website that became a beacon for the white nationalist and anti-Semitic groups known as the “alt-right”—with reports of nationwide hate crimes.

“Donald Trump has a responsibility to put an end to the prejudice and put an end to the hate crimes sweeping our nation,” Merkley said. “Put the hate speech and hate acts behind you. Don’t bring white supremacists or deeply prejudiced individuals into your administration.”

Related: How Donald Trump threatens Portland—and why you must fight back.

Merkley and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have both called this week for Trump to drop Bannon as his chief White House strategist.

UPDATE, 10:38 am Friday, Nov. 18: Here is the full text of Merkley’s floor speech. Perhaps most notably, it contains a tribute to Portland’s anti-Trump protesters, and calls on Trump to listen to them.

Mr. President, our Nation has gone through a difficult, bruising Presidential election. Normally, we would be making the pivot to healing those wounds, but this election has been particularly rough, and the wounds sustained during the campaign continue to haunt our Nation. Many groups of Americans across our country are frightened for the future, of being deported, of being targeted as Muslims, of resurgent racism toward African Americans, of anti-Semitism, of losing their right to marry the person they love.
   Unfortunately, they have good reason to be afraid.
   We have seen a surge, a wave of hateful bigoted, racist, sexist attacks happening in communities across our country since the election. The divisive rhetoric and conduct of President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign over the past year and a half is responsible for unleashing this blight on our country. He has the responsibility to turn things around, to put an end to this division, and to start the healing.
   That is why, earlier today, 10 of my colleagues in the Senate joined me to send a letter to President-Elect Trump, demanding that he stand up and condemn these verbal and physical attacks occurring around this country, that he denounce his own past campaign rhetoric that gave life to so many of these acts of hate and violence, and that he exclude proponents of hatred and discrimination from the ranks of his administration, including immediately firing white supremacist Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist.
   Here is what the text of the letter says:
   Mr. President-Elect:
   Your campaign conduct and Electoral College victory have unleashed a wave of verbal and physical assaults against our fellow Americans. In just the last six days, the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented hundreds of acts of discrimination and violence toward many of the ethnic and social groups you attacked in your campaign. These attacks are absolutely unacceptable. We condemn them. We stand united with our fellow citizens.
   Unfortunately, these acts of hate have been enabled by your campaign strategy of promoting bigotry, racism, and sexism. It is the logical consequence of your campaign attacks on and discrimination aimed at Hispanics, African Americans, veterans, immigrants, women, Muslims, Jews, and individuals with disabilities. Millions of Americans see a President-elect who has chosen to knock them down rather than to lift them up. Your conduct has empowered too many Americans to act on their darkest impulses.
   This is the wrong vision for America and the wrong path for your coming Administration. We call on you to change course. We urge you, as our future President, to join us in rejecting hate and embracing respect for every ethnicity, race and gender. We urge you to join us in fighting for a nation free of discrimination, where every child has the opportunity to thrive and contribute according to his or her ability. We urge you to join us in fighting for our Constitutional vision of equality and opportunity and the vision in our Pledge of Allegiance of liberty and justice for all.
   As you assume the mantle of leadership in office, it is your responsibility to put an end to the crimes of hate and prejudice sweeping our nation. These wounds to our national citizenry are of your making. It is your responsibility to rectify the damage. You have the power as President to move beyond the hate-filled rhetoric of your campaign.
   We call on you to repudiate your campaign attacks against diverse communities of Americans.
   We call on you to address the American people and demand that all Americans end these verbal and physical attacks and replace acts of hatred with acts of kindness.
   We call on you to exclude the proponents of discrimination and hatred from the ranks of your Administration, and that includes immediately firing Steve Bannon as your Chief Strategist.
   The letter concludes:
   It is time for you to act boldly and powerfully to put the nation on a path of healing. For the sake of all Americans, we call on you to rise to the challenge.
   In addition to myself, it is signed by Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Ed Markey, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Al Franken, who spoke so eloquently a few moments ago, Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator-Elect Chris Van Hollen, and Senator Tom Carper.
   I thank my colleagues who have appropriately said that at this moment–at this unusual moment in our history, in our time here in the 21st century–that we have a President-elect playing on hate and prejudice and bringing a white supremacist in as Chief Adviser is unacceptable.
   Some will say that President-Elect Trump cannot himself be accountable for what is happening across our country, but they are wrong. His words and his conduct are directly connected to the harassment and the physical and verbal assaults that we are seeing.
   I am going to share with you all the comments of the campaign and the acts of citizens in category after category to show how these are tied together–how, indeed, these verbal assaults and these physical assaults are motivated by and justified by the campaign of our President-elect–just to emphasize that it is time for our President-elect to take responsibility, to change course, to embrace the connectedness of our American communities, the vision of equality and opportunity in our Constitution, the vision of a nation with justice for all, and the fact that our President should be working to raise up all families–not raising up a few by tearing down the rest.
   Let’s start by looking at what Mr. Trump said about our Nation’s Latino citizens. At the start of his campaign, Mr. Trump said:
   “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best ….. they’re sending people with lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. ….. And some, I assume, are good people.”
   Later in the campaign he promised to build a wall–“a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
   When discussing Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a U.S. district judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University–by the way, an American-born citizen–the President-elect said the judge couldn’t be impartial and should be removed from the case because “this judge is of Mexican heritage.”
   Judge Curiel was born and raised in Indiana.
   Mr. Trump’s right-hand man, his designated Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, used his position at Breitbart News to continue attacks against Latinos. Under his leadership, Breitbart frequently used anti-immigrant slurs and published “war on Spanish” and nativist-appealing content in his quest to make his platform a platform for White nationalism.
   It is important to note that even many Republicans and conservative commentators believe that Mr. Bannon is a man with unconscionable views and frightening ties to white supremacist movements.
   John Weaver, a former top adviser to Governor John Kasich tweeted of Mr. Bannon’s selection as Chief Strategist: “The racist, fascist extreme is represented footsteps from the Oval Office.”
   Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist, called Bannon: “White supremacist, anti gay, anti Semite, vindictive.” Ana then said: “Be afraid, America.”
   Glenn Beck, known to all of us as a rightwing radio commentator–a very conservative commentator, a person who has attacked virtually every idea to help working America that comes from the blue side of the aisle–said Bannon is “terrifying” and said that he has helped to give voice to White nationalists.
   Former KKK leader David Duke and the American Nazi Party have praised Bannon’s elevation to the White House. So there should be no mistaking or sugar coating what precisely this individual, Steve Bannon, stands for.
   Under his leadership, Breitbart became a leader in anti-Latino, nativist material–one headline after another attacking Hispanics here in America.
   So when we look at what is happening right at this moment to Latinos today, what do we see? We see students in our schools taunting and bullying their classmates. At DeWitt Junior High School in Lansing, MI, White students formed a human wall and refused to let their Latino classmates into the school.
   In Ventura, CA, a Latino mother reported seeing fifth graders at her child’s school chanting: “Build a wall.”
   Latinos all across our Nation are being harassed and told they are going to be deported, they don’t belong here in America, even if they were born here in America.
   In Andover, MA, a group of white men in a car threw a water bottle at a young Hispanic woman and screamed: “Time to go back to your country”–insert expletive–“my man Trump is on top now and we don’t want you here!”
   In Southern California, a college student was accosted by a man who said:
   I can’t wait until Trump asks us to rape your people and send you back over the biggest damn wall we’re going to build. Go back to hell.
   Then he inserted a racist slur for a Mexican and then threw water in the young woman’s face.
   Walls all across the Nation are being spray painted with phrases such as: “Build the Wall Higher.”
   In the face of attacks such as these, it is hard to remember that we are, indeed, a nation of immigrants. Unless you are 100-percent Native American, you are the child, grandchild, great grandchild, or the descendent of immigrants. Your forefathers and foremothers came to our country and felt they had come to a place where they could thrive. We have those beautiful words carved into the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
   It inspires all of us. Each one of us–again, unless we are 100-percent Native American–have an ancestor who came to the country and felt that moment of freedom and opportunity no matter where they had come from.
   Latinos are not the only group of Americans suffering because of the rhetoric of the Trump campaign. African Americans have become a significant target in post-Trump America, as too many take their cues from our next President’s words and actions towards that community–words like the ones President-Elect Trump used to talk about African Americans who work for him. He said:
   “I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
   He then went on to say:
   “I think the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”
   Those are the words of our President-elect.
   When he talked about the Black Lives Matter movement on FOX News, he said:
   “I think they are trouble. I think they’re looking for trouble.”
   He often shows a startling disconnect with the African-American community, generalizing that they all live in inner cities that he regularly describes as poverty-stricken war zones.
   This disconnect started very early on in his real estate career when President-Elect Trump was publicly sued twice for discriminating against African Americans who were trying to rent apartments in his buildings.
   Of course, we can’t talk about Mr. Trump’s–President-Elect Trump’s–relations with the African-American community without bringing up his longstanding promotion and advocacy of the birther movement, which tried to delegitimize our country’s first African-American President.
   Those efforts go back to 2011, when Mr. Trump was considering a run for the White House and said on one talk show: “If he wasn’t born in this country, which is a real possibility ….. then he has pulled off one of the great cons in the history of politics.”
   He went on and on and on–month after month–questioning the legitimacy of our President in office.
   To his credit, on that particular point Mr. Trump has recanted himself, but he used it as a race card time after time after time to delegitimize our President–President Obama–because he is African American.
   The views of President-Elect Trump’s right-hand man, his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, aren’t any better. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart created a news section titled “Black Crime.”
   Just 2 weeks after the Charleston massacre in which nine African-American churchgoers were slaughtered, Breitbart ran this headline. By the way, in that attack, the attacker used the Confederate flag as a symbol–a racist symbol–to justify attacking these nine individuals.
   What did Steve Bannon do? He ran this headline: “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”
   In a lengthy July post on Breitbart, Bannon accused the left of a “plot to take down America” by fixating on police shootings of Black citizens. Well, the list goes on and on, but he proceeded to say: “There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent.” That is certainly a direct racist statement.
   And what is the result we see today of all of this racism from our President-elect and from his Chief Strategist? Well, we have seen a startling rise in people’s willingness to use the “N” word in public.
   At a school in Maple Grove, MN, the boys bathroom was defaced by graffiti that included racial slurs such as the “N” word and porch monkeys, alongside pro-Trump messages such as “Trump Train” and “Make America Great Again.”
   Students from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who were living off campus found the quote “Go Home” and the “N” word written on their front door.
   A man in Knoxville, TN, woke up one morning to find his car vandalized with the phrase–and I am paraphrasing–expletive deleted “U”, insert “N” word, and then the word “Trump” spray-painted on his car.
   We have seen incidents harkening back to a time in history of discrimination and segregation.
   At a high school in Jacksonville, FL, an individual put up these signs: “Colored” and “Whites Only”–the time of Jim Crow in America, where African Americans were treated as second-class citizens–and a “Whites Only” sign was found on the door of a bathroom stall at a high school in Duluth, MN.
   These are just a few of the incidents. There are the assaults as well, one incident after another of African Americans being assaulted. There is the softball field dugout in Wellsville, NY, where the phrase “Make America White Again” was spray-painted and the defacement of a wall in Durham, NC, where someone decided to write “Black lives don’t matter and neither does your vote.” There was a horrific incident in my State of Oregon in which an African-American woman was attacked in the parking lot of a grocery store in Hillsboro, OR. A group of three men threw a brick at her, broke her ribs, called her the “N” word, threatened to rape her, and they said: Now we finally have a President who feels how we feel.
   It is hard to imagine how our President-elect, with his own racist commentary, his own past acts of discrimination, his own racist campaign, his own racist Chief Strategist, isn’t at all connected to these events sweeping the country. They are directly connected. And that is why we are calling on the President-elect to change course. The election is behind us. Before the President-elect is 4 years of opportunities to improve the lives of Americans. Take the assaults of the past and make them the assaults of the past. Look to the vision of partnership to build a better America in the years ahead. Leave that past behind.
   Martin Luther King, Jr., once said:
   Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. ….. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and the passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
   Let’s make that the spirit of the next 4 years, where together we are dedicated to progress for all Americans toward reaching that goal of opportunity and equality and justice.
   Another target has been our women across the country. Our President-elect repeatedly treated women as sexual objects. Women have worked so hard to be seen as equals in our society. Women have flown as astronauts. They have reached the heights in science. They have reached peak after peak in leadership across our country. They bring their insight and wisdom to this Chamber here in the U.S. Senate and in the House of Representatives 100 yards across Capitol Hill.
   But our President-elect has seen it differently. Referring to the media, he said: “It doesn’t really matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of”–insert a demeaning term for women. He declared that “You don’t give a”–insert expletive–“if a girl can play a violin like the greatest violinist in the world. You want to know what does she look like.”
   Our President-elect derided a political opponent by commenting on her looks, saying, “look at that face! Would anybody vote for that? Can you imagine that, the next face of our President?”
   During the campaign, our President-elect called a female lawyer disgusting or at some point in passing he called a female lawyer disgusting because she asked to take a medical break to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter.
   I think we are all aware of the comments he made towards FOX News debate moderator Megyn Kelly–words I choose not to repeat at this moment. And then he said pregnant women are an inconvenience for his business. And of course our President-elect was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, saying:
   “I’m just automatically attracted to beautiful–I just start kissing them. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
   Then he went on to talk about groping the women and being able to get away with it because he is a star.
   He has brought into the White House his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, who shares these views about women, putting up a headline: “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women. ….. They Just Suck At Interviews.”
   Another one said: “The Solution to Online `Harassment’ is simple: Women Should Log Off.”
   Here is another: “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” as if women’s rights are a disease.
   We see that these comments and the conduct of the President-elect and the comments of his Chief Strategist have had an impact. Two men at a concert in Ohio threatened to “Donald Trump” a female security guard because she wouldn’t let them into a restricted section of the venue. According to one teacher, a 10-year-old girl was taken home from school after a male classmate grabbed her private parts, and when asked why he did it, the boy said that if a President can do it, he can do it too. In Oklahoma City, a woman was chased on the highway because of her Hillary bumper sticker, while men in another car hurled sexual insults at her.
   These are just a small number of the hundreds and hundreds of events happening across this country. Every Member of this body, every Member of the Senate can relate stories from people who have shared with them over the past few weeks, stories from their constituents who have written to them to share the harassment they have suffered.
   We have just seen a historic milestone. We have had, for the first time, a woman as the nominee of a major political party–and not only that, she got a lot more votes than did Donald Trump. The women’s suffrage movement has come so far since the days when Elizabeth Cady Stanton said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal” and that “the history of the past is but one long struggle toward equality.” We have come a long ways in the few decades since Martin Luther King said that the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. Across our country, citizens have worked to bend that arc in this vision of a nation that embraces opportunity for all–not opportunity only for the rich and powerful to have more opportunity, but opportunity for all, for every child to have the ability to contribute to this country.
   My father, now deceased, was a mechanic. He never went to college. But he told me when I was in grade school: Son, if you go through the doors of that schoolhouse and you work hard, you can do just about anything here in America. That is the vision we want to strive toward, where the son of a mechanic, the daughter of a janitor, the child of a Hispanic couple or an African-American couple or a gay couple or a lesbian couple–where every child has the opportunity to thrive. To do that, we have to set aside these racist attacks, these sexist attacks.
   Another target has been our Muslim-American community. For the last year and a half, they, like other groups of Americans, have been denigrated and insulted by President-Elect Trump and his campaign. His campaign has worked to fan the flames of Islamophobia. Take Mr. Trump’s views on registering Muslim-Americans. When asked whether the United States should have a registry of Muslims, he said, “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. ….. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” When the reporter followed by asking “Would Muslims be required to register?” he answered, “They have to be. They have to be.”
   Well, let me share with the President-elect that we are not a nation that discriminates because of one’s religion. It is called freedom of religion. Our vision is opportunity for all. There were nations that discriminated based on religion. Those were European nations. That is why a lot of our forefathers came here–to escape that oppression and to have the freedom to thrive and to maintain the religious views they wanted to have, not what somebody else told them they had to have, or to be imprisoned, or register them for discrimination because of their religious background.
   So when any American attacks our Muslim-American brothers and sisters, we need to stand with them shoulder to shoulder. And if any other religious group is attacked, we need to stand with them shoulder to shoulder and stand for the vision of opportunity and equality for all. That is what every Member of this Chamber should be coming down here to say–that when those groups are attacked, we will stand with them because that is not the vision of America. That is not the spirit of America. That certainly is 100 percent contrary to the vision of America.
   Our President-elect tried to foment fear of Muslims seeking refuge in our Nation from war zones. He told a crowd in Minneapolis that allowing refugees into our country “will import generations of terrorism, extremism and radicalism into your schools and throughout your communities.”
   This statement is so far diverged from the truth as to make it impossible to recognize where he got this notion. Every expert will tell you that if a terrorist wants to come into our Nation, the hardest path is to come as a refugee: You have to go to refugee camp, you have to be registered, you have to be vetted for years, and if you are male, you are probably not going to make it, but because the goal was to foment Islamophobia, this lie was repeated again and again. It is much easier to come into our country on a tourist visa, a business visa, a student visa, not a refugee settlement visa.
   Our President-elect told the same crowd that refugees settling in Minnesota were “joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all over our country. ….. `’
   Now there are reports from some connected with the transition team that the incoming administration is considering implementing a system for registering Muslim Americans, just as President-Elect Trump talked about, and using our country’s shameful internment of Japanese Americans to justify this idea because it is a precedent. Let me be clear: Imprisoning fellow Americans as we did during World War II was a shameful and dark chapter and a mistake. We need to make sure we remember that it was a mistake and never use it as a precedent for action in the future.
   Then, again, here we have our President-elect’s Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, who has run headlines like, “Political Correctness Protects the Muslim Rape Culture” or “Immediately After Muslim Mayor Elected, London’s Iconic Buses Proclaim, `Glory to Allah.”’ Mr. Bannon has personally suggested that we are in a global war against Islam.
   So it is no wonder the rhetoric of our President-elect and the leader of the White supremacist Web site is causing discrimination and confrontation with Muslim Americans around our country.
   Some are being physically assaulted, like the woman at San Jose University who lost her balance and choked when a man attempted to rip off her headscarf or the Muslim student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus who reported having a knife pulled on her.
   Then there are those who are being verbally abused and otherwise intimidated, including a woman riding the BART train in San Francisco who was accosted when another passenger called her a terrorist who should be deported, and a pickup truck that has been driving around Brooksville, FL, with writing on it that says: “All Muslims are Terrorists,” “Deport them all,” and “I hate Muslims.” In Georgia, a Muslim teacher found a note left for her that said: “Headscarf isn’t allowed anymore” and telling her to “hang yourself with it.” That is the level of Islamophobia sweeping our Nation at this very moment, inspired by the rhetoric of our President-elect and his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, and it is unacceptable. It needs to stop.
   As Robert Kennedy once said, “America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity–the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.” We need to embrace that heritage, we need to cherish that heritage, and we need to strive to live up to the best instincts of our Nation, not the darkest impulses.
   Yet another group that is feeling threatened is our LGBTQ community. I will note that Donald Trump in his campaign did not attack our LGBTQ community overtly, and he said on “60 Minutes” the other night, as the question of same-sex marriage came up, the question of same-sex marriage is “settled.”
   Actions speak as well as words, and of all the possible men and women he could choose as a running mate, he chose now-Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, the most anti-LGBTQ Governor in America. This individual is someone who has signed a draconian religious “liberty law” in Indiana that allows individuals and businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Our Vice President-elect supported conversion therapy to change people’s sexual behavior. As a radio host, he gave a speech and declared marital equality would lead to “societal collapse.”
   Mr. Trump’s Chief Strategist echoes much of this. One headline on Breitbart News said: “Dear Straight People: I’m Officially Giving You Permission to Say”–and then it goes on to list anti-LGBTQ slurs. Another headline that he put up on his Web site said: “Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It’s Time to Get Back in The Closet.” Yet another headline said: “Kids Raised By Same-Sex Couples Twice As Likely To Be Depressed, Fat Adults.”
   How has this kind of rhetoric impacted our Nation since the election? A gay couple in Ogden, UT, woke up to find their car vandalized with anti-gay slurs painted on the side. Rainbow flags, the symbol of the LGBTQ movement around the world, were burned in Rochester, NY. An individual in North Carolina found a note on their car that said:
   Can’t wait until your “marriage” is overturned by a real president. Gay families = burn in hell #Trump 2016.
   Like so many of the other groups of Americans I have talked about, the LGBTQ community has struggled for a long time to be accepted, to be recognized as full members of our society, to not be discriminated against when they seek employment in our country, to have the same rights against discrimination that we adopted for race and gender and ethnicity in 1964. We have come a ways, but we haven’t yet made it to the point that we have provided the same foundation against discrimination that we provided in 1964 to other groups.
   So while Donald Trump himself did not attack the LGBTQ community, the person he chose as Vice President and the person he elevated to Chief Strategist for the White House very much have, and that is a powerful, powerful message that has unleashed attacks across this country.
   As our next President, Donald Trump has the responsibility to put an end to the prejudice and to put an end to the hate crimes sweeping our Nation and to calm the fears and anxieties of millions of Americans who are frightened about their future in this country–about whether they will have an opportunity to contribute to this country, whether they will be fired from their job, whether their car will be vandalized, whether their children will be taunted and bullied, whether they will be attacked in a parking lot.
   Across the Nation, thousands of people have been turning out to walk the streets and to protest. They are trying to send a message. Sometimes that message has gone off-track.
   In Portland, OR, thousands turned out to send this message to our President elect: Put the hate speech and hate acts behind you. Don’t bring White supremacists or deeply prejudiced individuals into your administration. Let’s have a next 4 years that embraces all Americans and their opportunity to succeed. They are trying to send a message by walking with their feet from park to park, across bridges, through the streets.
   Unfortunately, some anarchists decided to destroy the effectiveness of this protest by breaking windows and setting some fires. The organizers of these protests condemn the anarchists and try to keep them out, and most of the protests have succeeded.
   I ask for our President-elect, if you won’t listen to those of us who are publicly asking you to change course, and if you won’t listen to my colleagues who are privately calling you and saying to you and your team to change course, then listen to the people in the streets across America who are trying to peacefully convey the message that we are a diverse nation, with a fabulous vision of embracing people of every religion and every ethnicity and every race. Let’s continue that tradition. Let’s strengthen that tradition. Let’s build on that tradition. That is the message all of us are trying to send.
   I join my colleagues to repeat the requests we have made on the floor in Senate, the letter we sent to you, the message sent privately by many of my colleagues sitting across the aisle, the message sent by many of our leaders from civil rights groups and other organizations who have contacted the transition team, the message that has echoed with thousands and thousands of emails sent to Capitol Hill to ask us to help convey this message.
   From every direction, Americans are reaching out and saying: End the hate speech. End the hate commentary. Bring people into your administration who believe in opportunity and justice for all. Change directions.
   It is a time for leadership. It is time for our President-Elect Donald Trump to rise to the occasion and to help build a nation that provides the foundation for every American to thrive.

Portland Police Arrest Two Men in Morrison Bridge Shooting, as Mayor Asks Anti-Trump Protesters to Stay Home

Portland police have arrested two 18-year-old men for shooting and injuring an anti-Trump protester on the Morrison Bridge early this morning.

Shamar Xavier Hunter and Steffon Marquise Corothers have been booked into Multnomah County Jail on charges of attempted murder and unlawful use of a weapon. They’re accused of stepping out of a car and firing at least seven shots.

The shooting provided a violent end to the fourth night of marches in this city against the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

Mayor Charlie Hales and Police Chief Mike Marshman held a press conference this afternoon, with the mayor urging protesters to stay home.

“It’s a legitimate first step,” Hales said of protests. “It’s now time to take the second step, and the hundreds of steps that will be required over the next four years.”

(Joe Riedl)
(Joe Riedl)

Related: Thursday’s anti-Trump march turned into chaos, with anarchists damaging cars and shattering shop windows.

Marshman sounded less sympathetic to the marches, which he described as overrun by anarchist groups.

“I don’t think they’re out there to protest. I think they’re out there to battle the police,” Marshman said. “We’re taking rocks and bottles and flares.”

As WW reported last night, police blocked an anti-Trump march in downtown nearly as soon as it began, using a loudspeaker to tell protesters to stay at City Hall instead of marching. A six-hour standoff ensued, with police deploying tear gas and protesters throwing bottles. (Other observers have accused police of using a Long Range Acoustic Device at high volumes to disperse the crowd.)

Video by Joe Riedl.

The group leading the protests, Portland’s Resistance, decided not to organize an event tonight. Instead, it has scheduled a vigil for Sunday at 4 pm in Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

“On this night off from demonstration, we would like to encourage self and communal care,” organizers write. “This is a long term battle. We need to remember to take care of ourselves, our neighbors, and our communities. Rest, recover and rejuvenate.”

Yet at least some protesters say they plan to gather downtown again tonight.

Protesters stand off with police on Nov. 11, 2016. (Karina Brown)
Protesters stand off with police on Nov. 11, 2016. (Karina Brown)

Police Deploy Stun Grenades, Rubber Bullets As Anarchy Overtakes Portland’s Anti-Trump Protests

Portland Police have deployed stun grenades and rubber bullets on protesters near Pioneer Courthouse late tonight, after anarchists smashed the windows of shops in downtown and the Pearl District in protest of the Donald Trump presidency.

The use of so called “flashbangs”—loud explosive devices designed to stun and disperse crowds—came near midnight, and police said they were deployed as protesters threw projectiles at officers.

Video by Mike Bivins

At least one reporter, with WW’s news partner KATU-TV, was hit by a rubber bullet, apparently fired by riot police.

The confrontations have placed Portland, once famed as “Little Beirut” for its opposition to George H.W. Bush, again in the national spotlight, with the Associated Press declaring this city the epicenter of America’s anti-Trump feeling.

Video by Mike Bivins

The police crackdown comes in response to what the bureau deemed a “riot,” as  masked anarchists wielding baseball bats smashed windows at stores, banks and a Toyota dealership.

Earlier tonight, those anti-Trump protests drew as many as 4,000 people outraged by the election of Trump. “We don’t respect the president-elect,” they chanted.

But the peaceful protests were overrun by anarchists—mostly young, white men, who shattered the windows of the downtown Nike Store and other businesses. The anarchists were repeatedly confronted by protest organizers, who decried the vandalism and asked their supporters to avoid it.

Photos by Christopher Onstott.

Anti-Trump protest on Nov. 10, 2016. (Christopher Onstott)
Anti-Trump protest on Nov. 10, 2016. (Christopher Onstott)
Anti-Trump protest on Nov. 10, 2016. (Christopher Onstott)
Anti-Trump protest on Nov. 10, 2016. (Christopher Onstott)
Anti-Trump protest on Nov. 10, 2016. (Christopher Onstott)
Anti-Trump protest on Nov. 10, 2016. (Christopher Onstott)
Anti-Trump protest on Nov. 10, 2016. (Christopher Onstott)
Anti-Trump protest on Nov. 10, 2016. (Christopher Onstott)

Portland Police: Man Threw Molotov Cocktail into Trump Protest Bonfire

As Portland protesters prepare for a third consecutive night of marches against the presidency of Donald J. Trump, Portland police are releasing information about violence and vandalism at last night’s demonstrations.

The Portland Police Bureau says it arrested a 27-year-old man early this morning for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail into a protesters’ bonfire near the downtown Thompson elk statue.

Police say protesters then chased, kicked and beat the man, Christopher Joseph Gourneau. Officers allegedly found he had stashed materials for making more Molotov cocktails near the public restroom in Lownsdale Park.

The police press release comes shortly before four anti-Trump protests are scheduled to begin tonight—in Pioneer Courthouse Square, Holliday Park, Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Mount Tabor Park.

Police warn that “some events and activities” planned for tonight may not be peaceful. They also say they are investigating graffiti and property destruction at the tail end of Wednesday night’s march.

WW‘s news partner KATU-TV has photos of the Thompson elk fountain defaced with anti-Trump graffiti.

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 4.32.29 PM

Protest organizer Gregory McKelvey says he expects his march, starting in Pioneer Courthouse Square, to be peaceful.

“Our group does not condone violence, vandalism or destruction in any way,” McKelvey says. “However, it is not our job to censor anyone’s activism. If we were to do that, we might as well call the police ourselves. Our job is to lead by example and that example will be peace.”

Mayor Charlie Hales has issued a carefully worded statement that recalls then-Mayor Sam Adams’ early response to the Occupy Portland camps. Hales asserts the right to demonstrate but warns against blocking highways and transit lines.

“I understand that there are many people in our community that do not feel protected equally in our country with the results of this election, and I encourage them to continue to speak up and stand up for their rights as Americans in a peaceful, safe way,” Hales says. “Walking onto freeways and blocking the MAX light-rail lines is dangerous for everyone involved, and it puts a heavy burden on people just trying to make it home to their families or get to work safely. Vandalism and destruction of private and public property in our city cannot, and will not be tolerated. I ask everyone to look out for their fellow Portlanders—we all need to put safety first.”

The Nightmare is Real: Donald J. Trump Will Be the 45th U.S. President

In an disquieting upset driven by economic resentment and the rise of white nationalism, real-estate developer and reality television icon Donald J. Trump has defeated former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for American president.

The result ends a vicious election with a gut-twisting result: Trump, disparaged as a joke and a boogeyman, will inhabit the White House.

Trump’s victory was projected tonight by The Associated Press, National Public Radio and the Washington Post. CNN reports that Clinton has called Trump to concede.

In the Oregon Convention Center on Tuesday night, Democrats gathering to cheer on Gov. Kate Brown and Sen. Jeff Merkley watched the presidential results with dread.

“We somehow underestimated  how much people in this country hate women,” said Amanda Blum, 40, of Portland. “Social media has created an echo chamber. We’ve lost the ability to have a conversation with each other.”

“We just grossly underestimated how angry people are.”

In Oregon, now a reliably blue state, Clinton won with ease. The rest of the nation proved more difficult.

Few observers predicted the chaotic rise of Trump, who seized on economic anxieties and fear of immigrants to run a campaign that embraced sexism, racism and demagoguery, while flirting with even darker elements: Russian hackers, white supremacists and the furthest misogynist corners of the web.

Republican leaders and influential donors fled the seemingly unhinged campaign. In August, the chairman of onetime Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Oregon and Washington fundraising efforts told WW he would endorse Clinton.

David Nierenberg said Trump lacked “the basic human decency” to be president. “I don’t want to bequeath that kind of leader to my kids’ generation,” Nierenberg said. “I owe them better.”

The Republican nominee seemed to self-detonate in September, when video emerged of him bragging about sexual assaults, including grabbing women by the genitalia.

Yet those tapes, and claims by more than 10 women that Trump groped or assaulted them, did not destroy his campaign.

Instead, the race tightened in its final month—especially after FBI Director James Comey sent Congress a letter reviving questions about Clinton’s use of a private server for her government emails during her time as secretary of state. (Comey said that his agency had discovered more emails on a computer used by former Congressman Anthony Weiner, under investigation for messages exchanged with a 15-year-old.)

Comey announced Nov. 6 that the new emails showed no reason to reopen the investigation of Clinton—but the Democrats spent much of the past month defending Clinton from the scandal and the contents of campaign emails revealed by Russian-sponsored hacker organization WikiLeaks.

Democrats watch the election results at the Oregon Convention Center. (Joe Riedl)
Democrats watch the election results at the Oregon Convention Center. (Joe Riedl)

At the victory party for Portland City Council candidate Chloe Eudaly, Portland Tenants United organizer Margot Black was equally horrified.

“He is the embodiment of what the Civil Rights movement has been fighting for 100 years,” Black said. “He is the whitest white man. He is unabashedly sexist. He is unabashedly racist. He is the embodiment of our enemy.”

Eudaly canvasser Kate Sherman, 31, who was a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary, says she voted Green and wasn’t a fan of either candidate.

She was studying the results projected on a screen at Southeast Portland nightclub Holocene. “I’m waiting to see what brand of screwed we are.”

Black Lives Matter organizer Gregory McKelvey struck a defiant tone.

“I think no matter what, if Trump wins our city will definitely rise up,” McKelvey said. “The silver lining is our resistance will only grow stronger.”

Even before the shocking end, the 2016 presidential campaign revealed deep fractures in American public life—including large swaths of the population eager to embrace a candidate who gleefully demonized Mexicans, Muslims and the nation’s first black president.

Now the nation waits to see how closely Trump will hew to a nativist movement that swallowed the Republican Party and now casts a long shadow over the nation.

WW staff writers Nigel Jaquiss and Rachel Monahan contributed reporting to this story.

Oregon Secretary of State: Robocalls Are Falsely Telling Voters That Their Ballots Won’t Count

Did you receive an Oregon ballot, and then this week get an automated phone call telling you that your vote won’t count?

Ignore the robocall. It’s a fraud.

Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins today asked the Oregon Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate reports of automated calls telling registered voters that their ballots won’t be counted.

“We are not sure who is behind these calls, but we take this type of voter suppression activity very seriously,” said Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins. “There is simply no circumstance under which an Oregonian who has received a ballot should receive a call challenging their registration status. Get your ballot in by 8 p.m. Tuesday, and your vote will be counted.”

Related: Time has run out to mail in ballots. Get thee to a library.

The Secretary of State’s office says it has received reports of voter-suppression robocalls from multiple county clerks. A Secretary of State’s office spokeswoman was not available for comment on how many calls have been reported.

The office of Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has not yet responded to WW’s questions about whether it will conduct an investigation. (Disclosure: Rosenblum is married to the co-owner of WW’s parent company.)

Related: Thanks to Multnomah County voters, this damned election won’t end on Nov. 8.

UPDATE, 3:43 pm: Ellen Klem, a director of outreach and education with the Oregon Department of Justice, tells WW that Rosenbaum’s office has launched an investigation into the source of the robocalls.

“We are investigating,” says Klem. “That’s all I can say.”

UPDATE, 5:30 pm: The Register-Guard in Eugene reports that clerks in nearly all of Oregon’s 36 counties have received complaints about the robocalls—which appear to be causing widespread confusion across the state.

The Register-Guard reports that the calls include strange references to inactive registrations, the 2010 election and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley.

The calls appear to be coming from two phone numbers: one from the 541 area code and one from a Washington state area code, she said.

One robocall went to a Lane County government employee and was recorded on the employee’s voicemail. The county released a transcript of the message Friday afternoon.

“A review of voter registration records in Lane County indicate that your voter registration may have been marked inactive,” the call says. “This means you may not have received your ballot in the mail for next Tuesday’s election in 2010.”

UPDATE, 9:05 pm: The Oregon Republican Party says it sent out the robocalls—and says it intended them to reactivate voters who had let their registration become inactive.

State Republican Party Chair Bill Currier issued a statement tonight, saying state elected Democrats had mischaracterized the calls. “The polls have tightened significantly and a day of reckoning for our political opponents who have been running the state for 30 years is at hand,” Currier said. “Of course they are going to dislike our efforts to get more Republicans voting and some may even go so far as to suppress our efforts to end their grip on power.”

The GOP also released its script for the automated call. It appears to partially match the calls reported earlier today by The Register-Guard in Eugene.

Here’s the script released by Republicans tonight.

“Voter registration records have been reviewed in your county and there is a possibility that you or someone in your household may have had their voter registration marked inactive. If you have not received your ballot yet, this may be the reason.  The Oregon Republican Party wants you to be able to vote in next Tuesday’s election. In the 2010 election, Republican Chris Dudley lost his race for governor by just over 1 percent.  Last May, another Republican race ended in a tie vote, and was literally decided by a dice roll.  Don’t let our state’s future be determined by a roll of the dice.   You may be the deciding vote. Contact your county elections office immediately.  By going directly to the elections office, you can reactivate your registration, pick up your ballot, and vote on the spot.”

Audubon Society of Portland Joins Chorus of Environmentalists Decrying Ammon Bundy’s Acquittal

The Audubon Society of Portland joined several Western environmental groups in decrying the acquittal of Ammon Bundy as a precedent that could embolden extremists to seize public lands like the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“Important restoration work on these public lands was disrupted, federal employees were intimidated, and today—more than ten months after the occupation—the public is still not able to access refuge headquarters,” Audubon’s conservation director Bob Sallinger said in a statement this morning. “Taxpayers have been left with a bill that is expected to exceed $6 million. Regardless of the verdict, the occupation of Malheur remains an attack on public lands and resources.”

Sallinger also joined in an online chorus that has compared the FBI’s cautious response to the Malheur occupation to the arrests of Native Americans protesting an oil pipeline this week in North Dakota.

“We also cannot ignore the disparities in the manner in which armed occupiers of public lands at Malheur were handled relative to the current treatment of unarmed Native American-led Dakota Access Pipeline protests on their own lands at Standing Rock,” Sallinger wrote. “The two situations reveal deeply troubling inequities.”

Related: The Bundy Gang is found not guilty. People were surprised.

The Audubon Society of Portland joins two other conservation groups that decried the acquittal within minutes of the verdict: the Colorado-based Center for Western Priorities and the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is an extremely disturbing verdict for anyone who cares about America’s public lands, the rights of native people and their heritage, and a political system that refuses to be bullied by violence and racism,” said Kierán Suckling, the Center for Biological Diversity’s executive director. “The Bundy clan and their followers peddle a dangerous brand of radicalism aimed at taking over lands owned by all of us. I worry this verdict only emboldens the kind of intimidation and right-wing violence that underpins their movement.”

Related: Ammon Bundy’s attorney won the biggest case of his life. Then he was Tased in the courtroom.

Suckling told reporter Leah Sottile this morning that he blames the FBI’s caution for leading to an acquittal—saying jurors couldn’t tell if crimes were committed because law enforcement treated the Bundys “as Boy Scouts.”

Here’s Sallinger’s full statement.

Audubon Society of Portland is deeply disappointed by the jury’s verdict in the case of seven defendants who occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016. We respect the legal process, but believe that the armed occupation of public lands, which included destruction of public property and disturbance of Native American archaeological sites, should have resulted in substantial penalties. Important restoration work on these public lands was disrupted, federal employees were intimidated, and today — more than ten months after the occupation — the public is still not able to access refuge headquarters. Taxpayers have been left with a bill that is expected to exceed $6 million. Regardless of the verdict, the occupation of Malheur remains an attack on public lands and resources.
We also cannot ignore the disparities in the manner in which armed occupiers of public lands at Malheur were handled relative to the current treatment of unarmed Native American-led Dakota Access Pipeline protests on their own lands at Standing Rock. The two situations reveal deeply troubling inequities.
Audubon Society of Portland greatly appreciates the work of public employees who staff Malheur and other public lands. Public servants should not face the risk of armed intimidation simply for doing their jobs. The verdict in the Malheur case will put public employees at greater risk of intimidation in the future.  Audubon Society of Portland also greatly appreciates the community in Harney County, which largely rejected the illegal armed occupation as a way to resolve conflict.
We are still processing the verdict in the Malheur Case, but today we are committed to three paths forward. First, Portland Audubon remains committed to the collaborative process at Malheur, which started long before the occupation, continued during the occupation, and continues to this day. We look forward to continuing to work with the community, the refuge, the Burns Paiute Tribe and other conservation groups to move forward on areas of consensus and to peacefully and respectfully resolve areas of disagreement. Second, we remain steadfastly committed to protecting our public lands on the ground and in the court system. Our public lands are national treasures and they belong to us all. Third, we call on Oregon’s congressional delegation to lead legislative efforts which will ensure that there is adequate legal protection so that public lands, public employees and public access are not threatened by armed extremists.
Audubon Society of Portland’s history with Malheur dates back to our founding in 1902. October 27 was a dark day in the history of Malheur and of our public lands, but we remain confident that the outstanding collaborative processes at Malheur and America’s love and appreciation for public lands, will continue to light a path forward.

At Cajun-Creole Acadia, the Louisiana Soft-Shell Crab Is Like a Plated Van Gogh

Where to begin at this delightful surprise of a Cajun-creole bistro tucked into a row of faux-Tudor bars on Fremont? Start with the crab—a Louisiana blue soft-shell crab ($14), lightly battered whole with its eight legs akimbo, ready to pick and pull into a bed of cotija cream and pico de gallo made from green tomatoes. It’s the single best dish I’ve had this year, and epitomizes Acadia’s strengths: meats and seafoods prepared with bright sauces and a cloudburst of vegetables, like plated van Gogh paintings. Most Cajun joints rely on their jambalayas and gumbo, but while these staples are more than serviceable here—with a dark, spicy stock and plenty of Gulf shrimp—new head chef Seamus Foran successfully aims to create hallmark dishes that aren’t on other Portland menus. An almond-crusted sea bream ($26) comes garlanded like a bride, with floral sprigs, corn and more of that blue crab. Hush puppies are stacked like batting-practice baseballs above a marmalade fragrant with orange peel. The hanger steak is larceny at $30—a cut of meat this tender, swimming in a red wine reduction, buoyed by Anna potatoes and local chanterelles, barely seems possible at its price. It’s a blissful dream.

GO: 1303 NE Fremont St., 503-249-5001, acadiapdx.com. 5-10 pm. Monday-Saturday, 11:30 am-2 pm Wednesday. $$$

(WW Staff)
(WW Staff)

Eat: Any seafood dish is a good bet, but maybe get a lighter one and save room for the steak.

Drink: There’s a deep bourbon list, ranging from Old Grand-Dad ($7) to a 23-year Pappy Van Winkle ($85).

Most popular dish: Somebody is Instagramming the crab as we speak.

Noise level: 44/100. It’s not a loud restaurant, but it’s tightly packed enough to hear your neighbor’s political views.

Expected wait: Reservations are available, but strangely not necessary.

Who you’ll eat with: Double dates, handsome couples getting better with age, possibly one man from Seattle with strong views on the dishonesty
of the media.

Year opened: 2004

 

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Got a Ballot? Check Our Endorsements.

Oregon ballots began arriving in mailboxes Wednesday, packed with bold tax proposals, big decisions, and a resolution to one of the most rancorous presidential races in American history.

It’s a dizzying list—especially the ballot measures. Portland voters will need to decide on 15 measures, including Oregon’s largest-ever tax increase.

It’s a lot to decide. Which is why we spent more than a month weighing the issues for our endorsements. We hope the following links will explain our thinking—and help guide yours.

Oregon Health Authority Finds High Pesticide Levels in Batches of “Dr. Jack” and “Marion Berry” Cannabis

The Oregon Health Authority says two strains of cannabis bud sold at a McMinnville medical weed dispensary are tainted with a pesticide called spinosad.

The two batches, sold to about 130 customers at New Leaf CannaCenter in McMinnville, are called Dr. Jack and Marion Berry.

Tonight’s announcement marks the first time since the legalization of recreational weed that OHA has issued a health alert for a batch of cannabis.

“We’re asking people to look at the batch numbers on the labels of their products,” says OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie. “If the batch number matches, take it back to the dispensary or get rid of it—responsibly, of course. Flush it down the toilet.”

The health effects of the pesticide known as spinosad are unknown—but it can cause irritation if it gets on your skin or in your eyes. Modie says the affected batches came back from state-accredited testing labs with measurements far above safe levels of pesticide.

“Our concern is how this batch, despite the failed tests, made it from the grower to the dispensary, and from the dispensary to the consumers,” Modie says. “We’re investigating.”

Here’s the full release from OHA:

The Oregon Health Authority is issuing a health alert regarding marijuana products that may have been tainted with high levels of a pesticide and sold to about 130 people in the McMinnville area.

The alert is concerning dried flower marijuana that New Leaf, a medical marijuana dispensary located at 3325 NE Riverside Drive in McMinnville, sold under the strain names Dr. Jack, batch number G6J0051-02, and Marion Berry, batch number G6J0051-01.

The products were sold to about 130 recreational and medical marijuana customers between Oct. 17 and Oct. 19 and came from batches that failed a pesticide test because they contained high levels of a chemical known as spinosad.

Anyone who visited the dispensary during this time frame should check the label of the product they purchased and immediately return any of the tainted product to the dispensary, or dispose of it in a safe and responsible manner.

The OHA “action level” for spinosad is .2 parts per million (ppm). The batches of Dr. Jack and Marion Berry contained 42 and 22 ppm, respectively.

Effects of smoking marijuana containing spinosad are not known. Those concerned about exposure to spinosad or experiencing health problems after using affected marijuana strains should contact the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222.

“There is no level of spinosad that has been shown to be safe in cannabis that is smoked,” says David Farrer, Ph.D., a public health toxicologist with OHA. “Our action levels serve as a pre-market screen, but should not be considered ‘safe levels.’ ”

EPA has established health-based levels of spinosad that are allowed on food products (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=se40.24.180_1495&rgn=div8). However, these “tolerances,” as they are called, have not been developed for cannabis and assume that the product will be swallowed as opposed to smoked.

The tainted batches were transferred to the dispensary by a McMinnville grower that had the marijuana tested by an accredited and licensed cannabis testing laboratory. The affected strains came from just the one grower and were transferred only to New Leaf. Strains with similar names sold at other dispensaries are not believed to have been affected.

OHA is not naming the grower because that information is confidential under Oregon law.

OHA officials are investigating why the batches were transferred from the grower to the dispensary, and then sold by the dispensary to customers, as the products were transferred with failed test results.

If a marijuana item fails a pesticide test and a re-test, the batch from which samples were taken must be destroyed. More information about cannabis testing can be found at http://www.healthoregon.org/marijuanatesting.

OHA offers the following tips to consumers considering purchasing marijuana products:
— Read marijuana product labels. All labels must have the producer’s business or trade name and licensee or registrant number; the business or trade name of licensee or registrant that packaged or distributed the product, if different from the producer; the name of the strain; and the universal symbol.
— Request a copy of the pesticide test results from the dispensary.
— People choosing to smoke marijuana should consider the negative effects that smoking may have on their health.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at Oregon State University, spinosad is a natural substance made by a soil bacterium that can be toxic to insects. It is used to control such pests as thrips, leaf miners, spider mites, mosquitoes, ants and fruit flies. NPIC also notes that spinosad is low in toxicity to people and other mammals, but it can cause irritation and redness if it gets on your skin or in your eyes. The effects of smoking a product contaminated with spinosad are unknown.