Trump Pushes Baseless Smear That Ilhan Omar ‘Partied’ on 9/11

President Donald Trump on Wednesday used his Twitter account to boost a baseless smear claiming that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) danced at an event last week on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, a claim that’s based on footage that wasn’t actually taken from that day.

Trump’s tweet circulated a video from conservative personality Terrence Williams, in which Williams declared that Omar “partied on the anniversary of 9/11.” In his video, Williams comments on footage of the Muslim congresswoman dancing and fumes that she’s disrespecting the memory of the Sept. 11 attacks.

But the footage of Omar dancing actually came from a Sept. 13 event hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus and wasn’t taken on the eleventh, as Williams and Trump wrongly claimed. 

Trump, however, used Williams’ video to declare that Omar would help Republicans win Minnesota. “Ilhan Omar, a member of AOC Plus 3, will win us the Great State of Minnesota,” the president tweeted. “The new face of the Democrat Party!” 

Williams’ original tweet was deleted from Twitter at some point on Wednesday. Twitter confirmed to The Daily Beast that the video post was not removed by the social-media site’s administrators but was instead deleted by Williams or someone with access to his Twitter account.

Williams did not respond to a request for comment.

Omar blasted Trump’s smear on Wednesday, tweeting that he has put her life in danger.

“The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk,” she wrote. “What is Twitter doing to combat this misinformation?”

Trump has frequently targeted Omar with smears, inspiring death threats against the Somali-American lawmaker. In July, Trump suggested that Omar had married her own brother to commit immigration fraud—a baseless claim that’s become increasingly popular on the right, despite being based entirely on a single, anonymous message-board post. 

[The Daily Beast]

Donald Trump posts video of IIhan Omar with footage of NYC 9/11 attack

President Donald Trump posted a video criticizing freshmen Rep. Ilhan Omar, using footage of the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 to denounce her recent comments about the attacks. 

The video was criticized by Democrats, who accused the president of using out-of-context comments and video of one of America’s most horrific and devastating terrorist attacks  to slam a political foe. 

The 43-second video, which Trump pinned to the top of his Twitter account, is set to dramatic music and shows the Twin Towers burning, New Yorkers covered in debris and the aftermath of the 2001 attack at the Pentagon. It is coupled with footage of Omar’s recent comments, referencing the attacks as, “something” done by “some people.” 

Omar has been heavily criticized by conservatives for the remarks, including by members of Congress and a Fox News host who questioned her allegiance to the United States. 

Democrats have argued the comments were taken out-of-context and Omar was attempting to differentiate terrorists from all Muslims. 

Trump’s video shows Omar’s comments repetitively then switches to a black screen with the words “some people did something?” The video then shows the moment one of the jetliners crashed into one of the towers and people running in fear as the buildings collapsed.

The video ends with the words “September 11, 2001. We remember” stretched across the screen. 

Democrats accused the president of jeopardizing Omar’s life with the post, arguing the content was geared to incite Trump followers. A New York man was arrested last week after allegedly threatening to kill Omar, one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress, by putting a “bullet in her (expletive) skull.”

Fellow freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has also been a target of Trump and other Republicans, called on fellow lawmakers to denounce the president and his attack on Omar. 

“Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today,” she wrote on Twitter. “@IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress. We must speak out.”

Along with the call to fellow lawmakers, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., posted a photo of a display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The photo showed a quote at the museum from a theologian who was imprisoned during Adolf Hitler’s rule in Germany. 

[USA Today]

State Department bars press corps from Pompeo briefing, won’t release list of attendees

The State Department on Monday said it would not be distributing a transcript or list of attendees from a briefing call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held that evening — a call from which the department’s press corps was excluded and only “faith-based media” allowed.

The afternoon phone briefing was to discuss “international religious freedom” with the secretary — who rarely participates in such calls — ahead of his trip to the Middle East. One member of the State Department press corps was invited, only to be un-invited after RSVPing. That reporter was told that the call was for “faith-based media only.”

CNN also RSVP’d to organizers, asking to be included, but received no reply.Despite repeated inquires and complaints from members of the press corps who are based at the department, the State Department on Monday night said they would not be providing a transcript of the call, a list of faith-based media outlets who were allowed to participate or the criteria to be invited.

Officials would not answer questions about whether a range of faiths was included.A reporter with EWTN Global Catholic Television told CNN they were not originally invited to take part in Monday’s call with Pompeo but had asked the State Department if they could take part. The reporter was then invited to a different call involving faith-based organizations and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback that took place Tuesday and was organized by an outside group.

An article from Religion News Service — which notes that it “is not a faith-based media organization, but rather a secular news service that covers religion, spirituality and ethics” — said participants in the Pompeo briefing “were not told that the call was limited to faith-based media.””While it was not clear which outlets were part of the call, questions were asked by Religion News Service, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Algemeiner, World Magazine and The Leaven, the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. America Magazine also participated in the call,” according to RNS.On Tuesday evening, one of the participants shared a transcript of the call with the press corps. That transcript showed that Pompeo faced questions about the Israeli election, terrorism and the omission of the word “occupied” when describing the Golan Heights and the West Bank.Pompeo did take part in an on-the-record briefing with the traveling press en route to the Middle East, where he was asked similar questions and provided similar responses.The State Department told the press traveling with Pompeo that the department does not release transcripts for print roundtables. However, they typically release transcripts for all of the secretary’s public press engagements. Former State Department spokesperson John Kirby, who is a CNN Global Affairs analyst, said “it is typical practice that any on the record interview in which a Cabinet official participates is transcribed and published at the earliest appropriate opportunity.””These officials are public servants. What they say — in its entirety — is inherently of public interest. It’s inappropriate and irresponsible not to observe that obligation,” he told CNN.Kirby said he has “certainly seen times when particular journalists or columnists have been targeted for inclusion on given topics.” However, “to exclude beat reporters from something as universally relevant as religious freedom in the Middle East strikes me as not only self-defeating but incredibly small-minded,” he said. “It’s perfectly fine to ensure faith-based media have a seat at such a table. But it’s PR malpractice to cut off access to the broader press corps. I wish I could say I expected more from this crowd,” Kirby said.A State Department spokesperson said in a statement that some press engagements — “Department press briefings, teleconferences on a myriad of policy issues, briefings and sprays by the Secretary of State and other officials— are open to any interested domestic or international press.”

[CNN]

Trump defends Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro after Islamophobic comments

President Trump came to Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro’s defense on Sunday in response to the network taking her off the air without explanation, one week after she implied Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) use of a hijab was antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.

“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well. Fox must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”

Context: The string of tweets comes one day after authorities said “an immigrant-hating white supremacist” killed at least 50 people at a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Trump issued a single tweet on the day of the attack extending his sympathies to the people of New Zealand, but he did not condemn the shooter’s racial motives or acknowledge the targeting of Muslims.

  • When asked on Friday if he believes white nationalism is a “rising threat,” Trump said he believes “it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.” Far-right extremists have killed more people in the U.S. since 9/11 than any other organized terrorist group.

The big picture: A series of damning incidents over the past several weeks has seen Pirro, fellow host Tucker Carlson and Fox News as an entity come under fire for charges of racism and coziness with the Trump administration.

[Axios]

National Security Council Chief Of Staff To Leave WH, Lead Anti-Muslim Hate Group

National Security Adviser John Bolton’s chief of staff Fred Fleitz is leaving after just a few months on the job, CNN confirmed Monday

“Fred Fleitz is a longtime friend and adviser. He’s been a valuable member of the National Security Council team. I wish him the best with his next endeavor,” Bolton told CNN.

Fleitz, a longtime Bolton associate, joined the Trump administration in May after working for five years at the Center for Security Policy, an Islamaphobic group run by Frank Gaffney. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers CSP a “hate group.” Fleitz joined Gaffney and others from CSP in March 2016 when they went to work on Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) presidential campaign.

According to CSP, Fleitz will take over for Gaffney as the group’s President and CEO in January 2019. Yet he will begin the leadership transition in just a few days, on Nov. 1 — a day after he leaves the White House, an unnamed administration official told CNN. Gaffney, the group said, will become executive chairman.

In 2017, per CNN, Fleitz complained that CSP had only been placed on the SPLC’s list of hate groupsdue to our principled stand against the Global Jihad Movement.”

[Talking Points Memo]

Trump’s White House Iftar Is Missing Major American Muslim Groups

America’s largest Muslim organizations will not be attending President Donald Trump’s first iftar dinner on Wednesday night ― an absence that highlights the tumultuous relationship the president has had with American Muslim communities.

Since the Clinton administration, the White House has hosted holiday iftar dinners for foreign diplomats, Cabinet officials and Muslims from civil society organizations in honor of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The Trump White House declined to host an iftar dinner last year, but surprised many Muslim advocates by announcing that it was planning one for Wednesday.

The official guest list for the event has not been released, but press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said about 30-40 people were expected to attend, The Associated Press reports.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Huffington Post]

Top staffer at a pro-Trump super PAC doubles down on claim that black people are ‘statistically’ lazier than whites

Carl Higbie, a former Trump administration official who now works as a high-ranking staffer at a super PAC connected to the president’s agenda distanced himself from racist comments he made on the radio that led to his resignation in January. Now, however, he is doubling down on his claim that black people are “statistically” lazier than whites and claiming the comments were taken out of context.

CNN’s KFILE, the blog that originally revealed the America First Policies’ staffer’s numerous bigoted comments, reported Tuesday that Higbie has since recanted his apology for the remarks he made on his radio show in 2013 and 2014. During those shows, Higbie said he believes “wholeheartedly” that the “black race as a whole” are lazier than white people. He also claimed black women use welfare “as a form of employment,” and that he doesn’t like Muslims because their “ideology sucks.”

When resigning from his position leading the government program that sponsors Americorps, Higbie said that his comments from years prior “do not reflect who I am or what I stand for” and claimed to “regret saying them.”

During a radio appearance on Friday, however, the former Trump administration official said he stands by his comments.

“They dig up a couple things, a couple. Look, I had a radio show,” Higbie told Virginia talk radio DJ John Fredericks. “How many times have you said something on radio that could possibly be construed as very controversial when taken completely out of context? What, daily?”

Higbie went on to tout his time spent “in low-income, urban minority communities” as well as his “mission trips in high school to Dominican Republic, Central America [and] South America” before saying he made a “statistical observation” about black people as a race.

“It fit their narrative,” he said of KFILE’s reporting that led to his resignation. “And because I made a statistical observation, they think that’s racist.”

CNN noted that America First Policies, Higbie’s employer, has hosted a number of events that have been attended by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is scheduled to attend another such event tonight where the staffer will reportedly be. The super PAC also used to employ Pence’s chief of staff before he took his job in the White House.

[Raw Story]

Trump Stands By His ‘Muslim Ban’ Campaign Rhetoric: ‘There’s Nothing to Apologize For’

President Donald Trump apparently stood by his campaign calls for a “Muslim ban” in a news conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, telling a reporter he has “nothing to apologize for” regarding his rhetoric.

The first question of his joint presser went to Washington Times reporter S.A. Miller, who pointed out that the opposition to the Trump administration’s travel ban in court rests on his campaign rhetoric calling for the ban of Muslims from the U.S.

“The lawyers for your opponents said if you would simply apologize for your rhetoric from the campaign, the whole case would go away,” Miller noted.

“I don’t think it would,” Trump replied. “And there’s no reason to apologize. Our immigration laws in this country are a total disaster, they’re laughed at all over the world, they’re laughed at, for their stupidity.”

“We have to have strong immigration laws,” Trump continued. “So I think if I apologized it wouldn’t make ten cents of a difference to them. There’s nothing to apologize for. We have to have strong immigration laws to protect our country.”

Despite the administration’s claims that its immigration ban on seven Muslim-majority countries is not a ban on Muslims, it has struggled against opponents in court cases who use Trump’s campaign rhetoric calling for a “Muslim ban” against him.

[Mediaite]

Media

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Democrats Voting Against Pompeo Don’t ‘Love’ America

As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prepares to vote on President Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared on Fox & Friends Monday morning and accused anyone planning to vote against him of being unpatriotic.

“Look, at some point, Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president,” Sanders said on Fox News. “And they have to decide that they want to put the safety and the security and the diplomacy of our country ahead of their own political games. And we’re very hopeful that they will.”

Sanders cited the fact that Pompeo was “top of his class” at Harvard and “first in his class” at Westpoint, but those credentials have little to do with the opposition to Pompeo from every Democratic member of the committee in addition to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

During his confirmations hearings earlier this month, Pompeo was forced to defend his hawkish positions on Iran and Russia and refused to apologize for Islamophobic comments he had made in the past. “My record is exquisite with respect to treating each and every faith with the dignity that they deserved,” the current CIA director insisted.

Last fall, Pompeo delivered false and misleading statements about the intelligence community’s findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election. While Pompeo said at a security conference, “The intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election,” the official report directly stated, “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

“Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State,” President Trump tweeted on Monday, shortly after his press secretary’s appearance on Fox & Friends. “The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!”

[Daily Beast]

Media

HHS official shared post saying ‘forefathers’ would have ‘hung’ Obama, Clinton for treason

A political appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services shared an image in 2017 that said “our forefathers would have hung” Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for treason, a CNN KFile review has found.

Ximena Barreto is a far-right political pundit who in December 2017 joined the Trump administration as deputy director of communications at the department.

Barreto was placed on leave by the department on Monday after the liberal watchdog Media Matters reported that Barreto called Islam “a cult” and pushed the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which alleged that Clinton was part of a child-sex ring based in part at a Washington, DC, pizza restaurant.

A subsequent KFile review of her Twitter account “RepublicanChick” found that Barreto also repeatedly used the hashtag #BanIslam and twice shared conspiracy theories about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Barreto also shared a conspiracy theory that French President Emmanuel Macron was controlled by the Rothschild family and that Clinton and Obama were controlled by investor and Democratic mega-donor George Soros. Both the Rothschilds and Soros are frequent targets of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

A department spokesperson did not comment on tweets unearthed by KFile and reiterated to CNN that Barreto has been placed on administrative leave while they look into the matter.

Prior to joining HHS, Barreto was a far-right political pundit and Trump-supporting blogger.
She co-hosted a YouTube show called “The Right View by Deplorable Latinas.” A now-removed biography on her personal website said she “has worked as a political activist, and worked hundreds of hours with Republican candidates (sic) campaigns, including John McCain, Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump.”

Here’s what Barreto tweeted:

On Barack Obama

In May of 2017, Barreto retweeted an imagesaying the “our forefathers would have hung” Clinton and Obama for treason.
In August of 2017 Barreto retweeted an image of a statue of Obama labeling him “a Muslim terrorist.”
In January of 2017, Barreto wrote in a tweetthat Obama was a “pansy and a traitor.”

On Seth Rich

In October 2016, Barreto implied Rich was killed by either Clinton or the Democratic National Committee, using the hashtags #KilledByTheDNC #HillaryBodyCount #ClintonBodyBags
In May, 2017, Barreto retweeted a video about Rich, saying that “the media blackout and the silence from Washington on Seth Rich should scare the hell out of you.”

On Islam

On five separate occasions found by KFile’s review, Barreto tweeted the hashtag “#BanIslam” in asserting that those participating in the Women’s March had turned their back on “real oppression.”
She also tweeted “#DeportLSarsour,” referring to Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour.
In other tweets, she called for a boycott of Amazon for an ad that showed a Christian priest and Muslim imam together, saying that “an Imam would never sit with a priest FYI”.

On Hillary Clinton, Democrats and Emmanuel Macron

In a tweet in August of 2016, Barreto falsely claimed that Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s family had terrorist ties.
In April of 2017, Barreto spread a conspiracy theory that Macron was controlled by the Rothschilds and that Clinton and Obama were controlled by Soros.
“Macron is just a political puppet of the Rothschilds, just like Obama and Hillary are Soros Puppets!” she wrote.

[CNN]

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