The chairman of the far-right Proud Boys sat behind Trump at his latest speech

Amid the sea of dark suits and red “Make America Great Again” gear behind President Trump at his televised speech in Miami on Monday, one man stood out. Appearing above the president in some live shots, he wore dark sunglasses, a black baseball cap and a black T-shirt with a message of support for Trump’s longtime adviser now facing federal charges: “Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong!”

The man is notable for more than his attire, though. Enrique Tarrio is the chairman of the Proud Boys, a far-right, self-described “western chauvinist” organization known for violently clashing with antifascists and for its alleged links to white nationalists.

Neither Trump nor the White House knew he was in attendance, Tarrio told The Washington Post. Rather, he said he scored the prime seat simply by showing up early at Florida International University.

“I got there at 7 a.m., so I got to pick my seat,” Tarrio told The Post. “I was the second person in line. I stood in the hot Miami sun.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a message about Tarrio’s appearance.

The Proud Boys leader’s prominent placement at Trump’s speech could give new fuel to critics who say the president has failed to distance himself from the far right in the years since he claimed there were “very fine people on both sides” at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which was organized by a man who once attended Proud Boys meetings. Tarrio also attended the rally, though he claims to have left before the violent attacks began.

Tarrio disputes the Southern Poverty Law Center’s claim that his organization is a hate group, an allegation that also led Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes to sue the SPLC earlier this month.

“I’m not a white supremacist. I’m not an extremist. I’m a regular dude,” said Tarrio, a small-business owner who identifies as Afro-Cuban and who served nearly a year in federal prison for his role in a scheme to resell stolen medical equipment.

[Washington Post]

Federal judge halts Trump attempt to discharge service members deemed ‘unfit’ only because they are HIV-positive

A federal judge has issued a ruling from the bench halting the Trump administration’s attempts to discharge service members merely due to their HIV-positive status. The order goes into effect immediately for the U.S. Air Force after two airmen sued Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

“The two Airmen serving as plaintiffs, who filed pseudonymously, were given discharge orders at the end of last year after being found ‘unfit for continued military service’ despite compliance with medical treatment and physical fitness requirements,” Lambda Legal announced Friday.

The lawsuit was filed by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, with partner law firm Winston & Strawn.

“These decisions should be based on science, not stigma, as today’s ruling from the bench demonstrates,” Lambda Legal’s Scott Schoettes said, calling the judge’s decision, ” a major victory.”

Equality Cases Files published a copy of the ruling here.

[Raw Story]

Trump Falsely Claims Violent Crime Plummeted After Border Wall Went Up In El Paso

President Donald Trump on Monday presented the border wall as a work in progress, hailing the start of a “big, big portion” with much more coming soon. That’s a hefty exaggeration from a president who has yet to see an extra mile of barrier completed since he took office.

With another possible government shutdown looming, and illegal immigration still at the heart of the budget dispute, Trump is pulling out the stops to portray his proposed wall as essential to public safety, including stemming crime. As he’s done repeatedly, Trump also defied the record in claiming that the wall that Congress has refused to pay for is rapidly coming together anyway.

Trump addressed the subjects at an El Paso, Texas, rally Monday night and an earlier White House meeting with sheriffs. A look at some of his comments:

TRUMP, on the effect of a border wall on crime in El Paso: “When that wall went up, it’s a whole different ball game. … I don’t care whether a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat. They’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference. I heard the same thing from the fake news. They said, ‘Oh crime, it actually stayed the same.’ It didn’t stay the same. It went way down. … Thanks to a powerful border wall in El Paso, Texas, it’s one of America’s safest cities now.” — rally remarks.

Reality

Trump falsely suggests a dramatic drop in crime in El Paso due to a border wall. In fact, the city’s murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. It’s true that the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that El Paso’s annual number of reported violent crimes dropped from nearly 5,000 in 1995 to around 2,700 in 2016. But that corresponded with similar declines in violent crime nationwide and included periods when the city’s crime rates increased year over year, despite new fencing and walls.

Before the wall project started, El Paso had been rated one of the three safest major U.S. cities going back to 1997.

Trump Gets Toe Tagged and Bagged by Black Twitter After ‘African-Americans Are Very Angry’ Tweet

In the CVS receipt-long list of people who should never speak on behalf of black folks, Donald Trump and Uncle Ruckus are engaged in a bloody duel for last place. But lo and behold, Melania’s Baby Daddy took to Twitter to come to our alleged rescue Sunday morning and speak on behalf of our collective outrage at all the blackface and sexual assault allegations pouring out of Virginia.

“African-Americans are very angry at the double standard on full display in Virgina!” he tweeted through a haze of hypocrisy, while resisting the undying urge to refer to us as “The Blacks”.

His tweet was in reference to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring’s apparent penchants for blackface and the widespread calls for each them to resign. In addition to Northam’s would-be successor, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, whose spent the past week being hammered by allegations of sexual assault by two women.

But again, this is Donald fucking Trump we’re talking about here. So Black Twitter politely declined his heroics and told him to go fuck himself in variety of colorful ways:

[The Root]

Trump Mocks Warren With Reference to Trail of Tears, Which Killed Thousands

When Senator Elizabeth Warren formally announced her 2020 presidential bid this weekend, President Trump responded with a familiar line of attack.

He mocked Ms. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, for her claims to Native American ancestry, again calling her by the slur “Pocahontas.” Mr. Trump then appeared to refer to the Trail of Tears, the infamously cruel forced relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century that caused thousands of deaths.

“Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore?” Mr. Trump tweeted. “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”

(Ms. Warren had recently apologized to the Cherokee Nation for taking a DNA test to prove her ancestry.)

(Ms. Warren had recently apologized to the Cherokee Nation for taking a DNA test to prove her ancestry.)

The comments drew immediate blowback on social media, with accusations that the president was making light of one of the worst tragedies Native Americans have experienced. Mr. Trump previously invoked the Wounded Knee massacre, one of the deadliest attacks on Native American people by the United States military, in another jab at Ms. Warren.

“He actually is condoning a narrative that supports a genocide and a forced removal,” said Betsy Theobald Richards, who works on changing cultural narratives for the Opportunity Agenda, a social justice organization.

Ms. Richards, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, said most people have been taught only the “dominant narrative” of history in the United States, which she said has long devalued the experiences and voices of Native American people.

“People don’t really realize these are real people who live among you,” she said. “These are their ancestors that are survivors, or carry on the memory of the people who were massacred or removed.”

For those who need a refresher, here is a brief history of the Trail of Tears:

In the 1830s, federal and state officials forced thousands of Native Americans from their land in the southeastern United States, including Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The forced relocation affected thousands of Cherokees, as well as the Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole tribes, among others.

The Native people were forced out of their homes and put in internment camps before they were pushed westward to designated Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma, according to the Trail of Tears Association, a nonprofit that works to preserve the historic trail and promote awareness.

Some 15,000 Native people died during the journey from exposure, malnutrition, exhaustion and disease, including about 4,000 Cherokees.

“It’s a terribly tragic event in Cherokee history and looms large,” said Jace Weaver, the director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia, who has studied the Cherokee removal.

[The New York Times]

‘KEEP OUT!’: Trump tells non-Americans to stay out of the country in border tweet

President Donald Trump’s latest tweet about the border outright told all foreigners to “KEEP OUT!”

“With Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country, Republicans must be prepared to do whatever is necessary for STRONG Border Security. Dems do nothing. If there is no Wall, there is no Security. Human Trafficking, Drugs and Criminals of all dimensions – KEEP OUT!” He wrote in a corrected tweet after misspelling “dimensions.”

[Raw Story]

Trump Tweets Out Intense Doomsday Video Warning of Border Crisis: ‘We Will Build the Wall!’

President Donald Trump is preparing Americans for the world ending.

In an intense video he tweeted out this afternoon, he promises to “build the wall,” as crowds of people are heard chanting,  “Build the wall! Build the wall!” in the background:

The President’s video decries the “crisis on the border,” which is causing an uptick in “crime, drugs, and lawlessness” across the border and includes a clip of Senator Chuck Schumer denouncing illegal immigration.

[Mediaite]

All Of The Made-Up, Nonsensical, Hypocritical Highlights From Trump’s Cabinet Meeting

President Donald Trump ranted about immigrants, attractive generals, the difficulty of being president and more on Wednesday in his first televised appearance of the year.

In a rambling and often disjointed conversation, the president led reporters and members of his Cabinet through his thinking on issues ranging from immigration to military strategy to the very role of the presidency.

Here are some of the standout moments from the over 90-minute meeting:

Trump claimed there are more than 30 million undocumented immigrants.

That number is about three times greater than experts’ estimates. Pew Research Center estimated there were 10.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of 2016.

He said Afghanistan was responsible for turning the Soviet Union into Russia, then said he would have been a good general.

In one extended rant, Trump put forth his theory that Afghanistan was responsible for turning the Soviet Union into Russia, shared his thoughts on military strategy to fight terrorism and then claimed he would have been a good general. Trump avoided the draft five times.

Trump said he works too hard, despite taking more vacation days than any other president in recent history.

Former President Barack Obama was harshly criticized for taking vacation days ― including by Trump. But Trump has far surpassed Obama in the number of days he’s spent golfing during his presidency.

He repeated a number he made up for what unauthorized immigration costs the U.S.

Trump has a long history of spouting greatly inflated or invented numbers for how much illegal immigration costs the U.S. During his presidential campaign, he often claimed it cost $100 billion. That number has risen steadily over the years, unattached to any apparent research or reports, as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump has documented.

Trump summed up the deadly, devastating and years-long conflict in Syria with a minimizing statement.

After abruptly announcing plans in December to withdraw all American troops from war-torn Syria, Trump backpedaled somewhat on Wednesday, saying it might take longer than previously expected. “We’re talking about sand and death,” he said. “That’s what we’re talking about.”

The president commented on the physical attractiveness of a group of generals he once met with at the Pentagon.

This one pretty much speaks for itself, but “computer boards,” anyone?

He complained about being ‘all alone’ over the holidays, ‘except for all of the guys out on the lawn with machine guns.’

Trump threatened to take unilateral action on a number of his top priorities and then seemed to taunt, ‘Wouldn’t that be scary?’

[Huffington Post]

Draft-dodger Trump says he ‘would have been a good general’ while trashing James Mattis in Cabinet meeting rant

President Donald Trump ended former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ tenure as defense secretary right before the New Year, seemingly in retaliation for a letter Mattis published criticizing President Trump’s global policy.

At a cabinet meeting Wednesday, the President lashed out at Mattis.

“What’s he done for me? How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good,” Trump said.

“As you know, president Obama fired him, and essentially so did I,” he added. In fact, general Mattis tendered his resignation after Trump announced the hasty withdrawal of troops from Syria. The President has since said he would slow the troop withdrawal.

“I think I would have been a good general, but who knows?” the President added

[Raw Story]

 

Trump Hits Back At ‘Failed Generals’ Who Were ‘Unable To Do The Job’ Over Syria Withdrawal

President Donald Trump is pushing back on criticism about the sudden announcement from a week and a half ago about plans to remove U.S. troops from Syria and that ISIS was defeated. This decision reportedly came despite advice from military and intelligence leadership and eventually led to the protest resignation from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

On New Year’s Eve, President Trump apparently felt the need to clear the air and defend his position via a short series of tweets that explained his process as a simple fulfillment of his campaign promise. And, as his is wont, he included some not-so-subtle digs at his detractors.

Trump tweeted:

Following the announced plans to withdrawal, Trump has received bipartisan criticism for the planned withdrawal. Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Senate ally to the White House, notably was vocal in pushing back on this plan, though his rhetoric has softened more recently.

Trump’s dig at “some failed generals” is certainly a dig at Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who in a recent interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, spared little criticism for a president who he sees as “immoral.”

[Mediaite]

Reality

Trump’s plan to fight ISIS was actually Obama’s plan, just on a faster timeline.

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