Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

Warren Spahn’s Granddaughter: Tony Evers Should Apologize for Using Legend’s Name


The granddaughter of Milwaukee Braves baseball legend Warren Spahn is calling on Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to apologize for using her loved one’s name to communicate about state business. She called Evers’ actions “absolutely” wrong and “highly inappropriate” and called on him to stop using the email address in Spahn’s name.

We sent Evers’ office an email asking if he will apologize to the Spahn family.

“He (Evers) needs to give out an apology for the privacy of the fact that our grandpa has passed away, our dad has passed away,” said Morgan Spahn, Warren’s granddaughter. “He (Evers) needs to stop and issue an apology to everyone, to our family. It’s out of line.”

Along with her siblings, Morgan is Warren Spahn’s closest surviving kin.

We also reached Morgan’s sibling Logan Spahn, who, as with Morgan, had no idea that Evers was embroiled in controversy for using their grandpa’s name. Logan said only that “imitation is the best form of flattery,” and added that he needed to talk to other family members and familiarize himself with the details of the story before commenting further.

Morgan added that she hopes Evers is just a fan of her grandfather, saying she’s not a politician and just doesn’t want anything negative to result. She indicated that she hopes the renewed media attention on his grandfather’s legacy introduces Warren Spahn’s story and service in a positive way to younger generations who may not be as familiar with it.

In a nutshell, Morgan Spahn emphasized that, while Warren Spahn is a historical figure to many, he was a beloved real person with a real, and still grieving, family who live mostly in Oklahoma. Warren Spahn worked hard for the positive reputation that is attached to his name, and Morgan believes it’s wrong for a politician to communicate in his name, especially without the family’s consent. It’s worth noting that other politicians who have used so-called “alias” emails did not take the names of other real people. For example, former Gov. Scott Walker inverted his own first and middle names.

Warren spahn
Warren spahn

“I don’t think he (Evers) should try to communicate as Warren Spahn when Warren Spahn has been passed away,” said Morgan Spahn. “He needs to respect the peace of our family and the image our grandpa left the world with. He (Warren Spahn) has worked so hard with that.” She said it was wrong “to try to communicate with other people as someone deceased who gave part of his life to defending our country and becoming a big name and person.”

The fact that Evers appropriated the name of a real person, albeit deceased, is getting lost in the media coverage, which is focusing on the legality of his actions, another concern. Spahn is a Hall of Famer who is the “winningest southpaw pitcher in big league history,” with “363 games in a career that included 13 20-win seasons,” according to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 2003.

“It’s weird. I don’t understand why a grown man would adopt another grown man’s name and use it,” said Morgan Spahn. (That’s essentially the point former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson made to WRN, when he criticized Evers for using the name Tuesday morning, saying it was not right, and adding, “In this day and age where everybody is suspicious and untrusting, you should not use other names than your own.”

Morgan Spahn spoke in an exclusive interview with Wisconsin Right Now on November 28, 2023, from her home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where WW2 veteran and American hero Warren Spahn lived after his baseball career.

Warren Spahn’s only child, Greg Spahn, Morgan’s dad, died in 2022.

WRN broke the story that Evers, a Democrat, had appropriated Warren Spahn’s name and was using it to send emails about a host of public issues. Evers’ office says there are about 17,000 records associated with the state taxpayer-funded account [email protected] but has yet to release any of them. Evers’ state Department of Administration responded to our open records request by releasing a handful of Evers’ emails in Warren Spahn’s name. They show he communicated as Warren Spahn about controversial issues like COVID policy. It’s unclear how long Evers used the account. His staff told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the email was inactive for “years,” but the DOA redacted the email name using the argument – on Nov. 22, 2023 – that releasing the email address name would imperil Evers’ ability to communicate and do his job. The email account did not bounce back to multiple people who wrote it on Sunday, November 26 right after our first story broke.

For Morgan, the use of the name caused some instant pain.

“Not only that our dad passed away a year ago in October, but that’s kind of a little crappy to be using grandpa’s name and all of that,” Morgan said. “Our family is still getting over that.”

She said she believed Evers “wouldn’t be doing that if he wasn’t gaining something by it.”

Morgan said Evers should “not backpack on somebody who worked their entire life to accomplish what they did” and should use his own accomplishments to “get his name in the media.”

She noted that Evers’ “views don’t align with his (Warren Spahn’s) family’s views,” when told Evers is a Democrat, although she had not heard of the Wisconsin governor before.

According to Morgan, her dad is “not here to back himself up on what he believes.” She said her dad leaned Republican as does she.

Morgan Spahn said that it would be “a little weird” for Spahn’s great-grandkids someday to grow up and Google the name “Warren Spahn” and “there is this guy who pops up,” referring to Evers.

She stressed that Evers did not know her family or grandfather and said Evers appeared to be trying to “gain bank off it on some sort of way.”

Morgan was 2 years old when Warren Spahn died and has memories of her grandpa as a “really sweet happy loving guy who always wanted to poke at you. I just remember him giving these big old hugs.”

She said he was “very proud” of his baseball record but also “his medals from World War 2. Any man able to protect families and this country is really memorable.”

We told Morgan that her grandpa is very beloved in Milwaukee, where he is regarded as a baseball player who was connected to the community in a positive way and admired for his talents and his down-to-earth persona.

She praised “all the hard work he put into it,” noting of Evers, “all the political stuff needs to stay out of it.” Morgan said her grandpa was “not a politician. He was a baseball player.”

Wisconsin identity theft statutes do make it illegal to use “identifying information” of another person, including their name, even if they are deceased. But that statute reads that the law applies if the name is being used “without the authorization or consent of the individual and by representing that he or she is the individual, that he or she is acting with the authorization or consent of the individual, or that the information or document belongs to him.” It’s unlikely though that any prosecutor would charge a person under these circumstances, since people receiving the emails obviously did not really think Evers was the famous baseball legend, but that’s what the statute says.


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Hawley: Whistleblowers Say Trump’s Security Detail Was Unprepared, Inexperienced

Multiple whistleblowers have come forward telling U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., that many working as part of former President Donald Trump’s security detail at a rally in Pennsylvania one week ago weren’t Secret Service and were “unprepared and inexperienced personnel,” Hawley says.

The accusation comes after the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on which Hawley sits, announced it will conduct a bipartisan investigation into the July 13 assassination attempt of Trump.

Multiple whistleblowers contacted his office “with disturbing new information behind the assassination attempt on the former president,” he said.

They did so after Hawley opened a whistleblower tip line, pledging to protect the anonymity of everyone who contacts his office. Whistleblowers are encouraged to make protected disclosures by calling (202) 224-6154 or emailing [email protected].

In response to the information he has received so far, Hawley contacted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who oversees the U.S. Secret Service, demanding answers.

“Whistleblowers who have direct knowledge of the event have approached my office. According to the allegations, the July 13 rally was considered to be a ‘loose’ security event,” he wrote to Mayorkas.

“Whistleblower allegations suggest the majority of DHS officials were not in fact USSS agents but instead drawn from the department’s Homeland Security Investigations. This is especially concerning given that HSI agents were unfamiliar with standard protocols typically used at these types of events, according to the allegations.”

Other security failures identified, he says, include not using canine units to monitor entry and detect threats among the perimeter or crowd; unauthorized individuals accessing the backstage areas; and DHS personnel not “appropriately polic[ing] the security buffer around the podium and … not stationed at regular intervals around the event’s security perimeter.”

Hawley demanded answers after DHS “has not been appropriately forthcoming with members of Congress,” he said, and after he called on the committee’s chair, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., to immediately launch an investigation.

“Although we still do not have all the facts, the little that we do know suggests a staggering security failure,” he wrote to Peters. “Evidently, the shooter was able to gain an elevated position on a rooftop with a clear line of sight of the President, well within accurate range, with a firearm. The details of this tragedy must be vigorously investigated by Congress, including the motive of the shooter, and the serious operational failures that occurred on July 13.” Hawley called on Peters to “launch a full, public, and comprehensive committee investigation into this assassination attempt and failures to adequately protect the former president,” including calling Mayorkas and Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle to testify.

Peters and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, the ranking member of the committee, announced the committee will conduct a bipartisan investigation and hold a hearing. They first requested an urgent briefing with the Secret Service, DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A call committee members did have, Hawley says, was ended before they could ask a single question. “This is completely unacceptable and contrary to the public’s interest in transparency,” he added.

Peters said the committee “is focused on getting all of the facts about the security failures that allowed the attacker to carry out this heinous act of violence that threatened the life of former President Trump, killed at least one person in the crowd, and injured several others.”

Peters and Paul also sent letters to Mayorkas and to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a range of documents and information on security process, among other information. A briefing was requested before July 25 and a public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

Hawley is also demanding answers from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink requesting all records related to the assassination attempt after it became public that the alleged shooter appeared in one of BlackRock’s commercials.

What appears to be a clip of the commercial “has circulated widely on social media and raised the question about what your company knows about the shooter,” Hawley told Fink.

Fink is requested to provide the information by July 24.

When accepting his party’s nomination for president, Trump said at the Republican National Convention last week that surviving the assassination attempt was “a gift from God.” At a rally on Saturday, one week after the shooting, he said he “took a bullet for democracy.”

biden condition

Republican Senator Calls on Biden’s Immediate Resignation

A Tennessee Republican senator called for President Joe Biden to resign immediately after the 81-year-old dropped out of the presidential race early Sunday afternoon.

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn said Biden must resign as president.

"If Joe Biden is too weak to stay in the race for the presidency, he should RESIGN as our Commander-in-Chief immediately," she wrote in a post on X.

Democrats praised Biden's work in office.

"President Biden has been an extraordinary, history-making president – a leader who has fought hard for working people and delivered astonishing results for all Americans," California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote. "He will go down in history as one of the most impactful and selfless presidents."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said the first debate between former President Trump and Biden was the catalyst.

"It looks more and more like that very early debate was a set-up to force Biden to step aside," Abbott wrote on X. "Today's announcement may not have happened without that disastrous debate."

President Joe Biden ended his reelection bid Sunday, opening the door for Vice President Kamala Harris or another top Democrat to replace him atop the ticket.

Tesla founder and X owner Elon Musk said the smart set was voting for Trump.

"My smartest friends, including those living in the San Francisco Bay Area who have been lifelong Dems, are excited about Trump/Vance," he wrote in a post on Sunday afternoon. "I believe in an America that maximizes individual freedom and merit. That used to be the Democratic Party, but now the pendulum has swung to the Republican Party."

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., said it had been an honor to work with Biden.

"I've been inspired by his decency, integrity and dedication to service, and I'm deeply grateful for that," she said in a statement. "Thank you, President Biden."

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Lara Trump: ‘Frightening’ Assassination Attempt a ‘Defining Moment’ for Country

Lara Trump, co-chair of the Republican National Committee and daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, appeared saddened but proud when recalling the "frightening" assassination attempt Saturday against her father-in-law at a campaign rally in Butler, Pa.

“There is no doubt that Saturday was one of the most frightening moments of my father-in-law’s life,” Lara Trump told the audience at Tuesday night's Republican National Convention. “Millimeters separated him from life and certain death. And yet, it was in the midst of it all, as he was jostled off stage by Secret Service, that he knew how defining that moment would be for our country, and he hoisted his fist in the air.”

The crowd erupted into chants of “fight, fight, fight!”

The assassination attempt on Trump, and a general belief among Republicans that a win for their candidate in November will refortify national security, dominated the topics discussed during the later portion of the Republican National Convention’s second night, themed “Make America Safe Again,” in Milwaukee, Wis.

Lara Trump, who is married to the GOP presidential nominee's son, Eric Trump, wrapped up convention night Tuesday as the keynote speaker.

“Last Saturday was a jarring reminder that we as Americans must always remember: there is more that unites us than divides us,” she said. “We all want this country to be great, even if we don't always agree on the best way of doing that. And with every bone in my body, I can tell you that all Donald Trump wants to do, and has ever wanted to do, is make this country great again for all of us.”

She referenced Trump’s presidential record of tax cuts, energy independence, unemployment rates, prison reform, border security, peace agreements in the Middle East, and the creation of the U.S. Space Force as proof that a second Trump administration would benefit American peace and prosperity.

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who was on the shortlist for Trump’s vice-presidential candidate picks, spoke just before Lara Trump Tuesday night, and argued there is nothing divisive about Trump’s America-first agenda, and nothing dangerous about Trump’s supporters, as Democrats maintain.

“What they ask for is not hateful or extreme,” Rubio said of Trump's supporters. “What they want is good jobs and lower prices. They want borders that are secure, and for those who come here to do so legally. They want to be safe from criminals and from terrorists. And they want our leaders to care more about our problems here at home than about the problems of other countries far away.”

Dr. Ben Carson, the 17th U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Trump administration, talked briefly as well, noting how the assassination attempt put the stakes of the election into perspective.

“These events brought unusual clarity to the times we are living in. We have all harbored the nagging feeling that everything we love is slipping away,” said Carson. “This is a man who is a gift to us as a nation.”

The night concluded with speakers calling for unity, for votes, and for grit.

“We must stand up, and we must fight,” Rubio said. “Fight not with violence or destruction, but with our voices and our votes. Fight not against each other, but for the hopes and dreams we share in common and make us one. And fight for an America where we are safe from those who seek to harm us on our streets, and from abroad.”

trump suspect

Secret Service Says Sloped Roof Was Unsafe for Snipers

The sloped roof where a would-be assassin took aim at former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in western Pennsylvania wasn’t safe enough for snipers.

This is a reason for not posting someone there, U.S. Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle said in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday.

“That building, in particular, has a sloped roof at its highest point,” she said. “And so, you know, there’s a safety factor that would be considered there that we wouldn’t want to put somebody up on a sloped roof.”

“And so, you know, the decision was made to secure the building, from inside,” Cheatle added.

The comment comes three days after 20-year-old Thomas Crooks opened fire on a crowd in Butler, Pa., less than 15 minutes after Trump took the stage, striking him in the ear. Trump was wounded but has continued his schedule, arriving in Milwaukee, Wis., on Sunday for the Republican National Convention and appearing in the main arena Monday night.

Since then, authorities – namely the Secret Service – have faced tough questions about the apparent security lapses that allowed the gunman to scale the roof 147 yards from the stage at the Butler Farm Show Grounds.

Eyewitnesses can be seen on video shouting for police to intervene as they watched Crooks belly crawl into position. Law enforcement was also stationed inside the building.

In a separate report from NBC News, a local official said a Butler Township police officer was boosted to the roof of the building, where he grabbed onto a ledge and saw Crooks, who then turned his rifle toward the officer. Unable to grab his weapon or radio, the officer dropped eight feet to the ground, injuring his ankle.

Citizen Vote Protection Act Fentanyl Overdose Link derrick van orden

Arrest Made After Derrick Van Orden Says He Was Assaulted at RNC

(The Center Square) – Western Wisconsin’s congressman says he was assaulted at Milwaukee’s Republican National Convention, but a women’s group disagrees.

Republican Congressman Derrick Van Orden took social media Tuesday to say a protester with the group Code Pink assaulted him while he was standing in line at the RNC.

“While standing in line to enter an event at the RNC today, I was assaulted by what appeared to be a member of the pro-Hamas group CODEPINK. A nearby police officer witnessed this assault and I understand they have been arrested,” Van Orden said. “This appears to be an incident of political violence and I will never tolerate this. Regardless of the severity of the violence, political violence is political violence.”

Code Pink almost immediately said Van Orden was the one who bumped into who they called a “visibly Palestinian” woman.

“CODEPINK's Palestine Organizer Nour [Jaghama] has been unjustly arrested at the RNC after a congressman shoved past her and had her arrested on false charges of ‘assault,’” Code Pink said in a tweet of its own.

Milwaukee Police questioned Jaghama, then were later seen taking her away.

The department says the incident is “under investigation.”

Van Orden said the incident is just the latest example of violence from the Left.

“Republicans have been intimidated and targeted for years, including the attempted assassination of President Trump and we will no longer standby and allow lawlessness,” he said. “There is no place for political violence in this country and I have repeatedly called for people who choose this path to be prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law.”

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that charges in the case are “under review.”

Van Orden was in line for an event at the Pfister Hotel at the time. It’s not clear if the Code Pink protester was going to the same event or was just standing in line.

Van Orden has been a target for protesters. He is in the middle of a race for his second term in Congress for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District. He has a history of confrontations. It was July of last year when Van Orden was accused of yelling at a group of Capitol Hill interns who were taking pictures and videos inside the Capitol Rotunda.

He defended his actions by saying the Capitol Dome is hallowed-ground, and needs to be treated with respect.


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