Trump embraces pro-Confederate anti-immigrant Senate nominee Corey Stewart

Trump tweeted about another GOP primary in a way that is sure to give Republicans heartburn.

While national Republicans are likely to distance themselves from Corey Stewart — the GOP nominee in Virginia’s Senate race who has embraced Confederate symbols and neo-Nazi figures — Trump congratulated Stewart on his win.

“Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!”

Trump’s praise of Stewart is far different from other Republicans, who lament the fact that Stewart won and have condemned Stewart’s embrace of Confederate symbols.

“I am extremely disappointed that a candidate like Corey Stewart could win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate,” Bill Bolling, a Republican and former lieutenant governor of Virginia, tweetedTuesday night. “This is clearly not the Republican Party I once knew, loved and proudly served. Every time I think things can’t get worse they do, and there is no end in sight.”

[Mic]

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director to speak at hate group event

ICE deputy director Thomas Homan will be at the National Press Club on Tuesday morning to participate in an event hosted by the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

Homan’s participation comes just days after news that President Trump tapped a CIS fellow, Ronald Mortensen, to serve as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Unfortunately, Homan will be lending further credibility to a group that for over three decades has published a litany of reports and blog posts demonizing immigrants and blaming them for virtually all of the United States’ ills. Founded by white nationalist John Tanton, CIS has also circulated white nationalist content thousands of times.

Last year, former CIS staffer Jon Feere was appointed to serve as Homan’s special adviser and Homan himself has made a number of hardline, anti-immigrant statements. In June 2017, Homan sounded a warning to undocumented immigrants: “If you’re in this country illegally… you should be uncomfortable. You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried.”

Homan, like Trump and the broader anti-immigrant movement, has made attacking so-called sanctuary cities a priority. In January 2018, Homan threatened elected officials in these jurisdictions, telling Fox News, “We gotta take [sanctuary cities] to court and we gotta start charging some of these politicians with crimes.” In April, Homan announced that he will resign this summer. His resignation comes at a time when ICE is under major scrutiny for militaristic worksite raidsand separating migrant parents from their children.

The Trump administration’s entire immigration policy regime has pulled directly from the anti-immigrant movement, including populating it with personnel from groups like CIS and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Homan’s appearance on Tuesday further cements that relationship.

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/06/04/us-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-acting-director-speak-hate-group-event-tomorrow#.WxVs39Y9Qig.twitter

Germans Appalled by Threat From Trump’s Ambassador to Help Far-Right Nationalists Take Power Across Europe

THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT demanded a formal explanation from the United States on Monday of what, exactly, the new U.S. ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell, meant when he promised to use his office to help far-right nationalists inspired by Donald Trump take power across Europe.

In an interview with Breitbart News, published on Sunday, Grenell said he was “excited” by the rise of far-right parties on the continent and wanted “to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders.”

Grenell was apparently not asked if that group includes the far-right Alternative for Germany — known by its German initials AfD — the largest opposition party in the German parliament, but he did praise Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a center-right politician who is in coalition with the Freedom Party, which was formed in the 1950s by a former Nazi officer.

A spokesperson for the German foreign ministry told reporters that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had “asked the U.S. side for clarification” as to whether the remarks “were made as reported.”

Grenell, a former Fox News pundit whose abrasive Twitter style had already alienated many Germans, tweeted on Monday that it was “ridiculous” to suggest that he would endorse candidates or parties, but stood by his claim to Breitbart that Europe, like America, was “experiencing an awakening from the silent majority — those who reject the elites and their bubble. Led by Trump.”

Leaving aside that Trump was, in fact, elected by a hypervocal minority of American voters, his envoy’s apparent willingness to cast off diplomatic neutrality and meddle in the internal affairs of European countries caused an uproar.

Sevim Dagdelen, a member of the left-wing German opposition party Die Linke, suggested that Grenell had revealed himself to be Trump’s “regime change envoy.”

The leaders of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, the junior coalition partner in Merkel’s government, were similarly unstinting in their condemnation. “Europe’s citizens cannot be told how to vote by a Trump vassal,” the party’s vice chair, Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, wrote on Twitter. “A U.S. ambassador who meddles in democratic contests is simply out of place,” he added, perhaps hinting that the ambassador could be asked to go home.

Martin Schulz, the former leader of the Social Democrats, accused Grenell of behaving less like a diplomat than “an extreme-right colonial officer.”

Omid Nouripour, the foreign policy spokesman for Germany’s Green party, told Der Spiegel that “the American people should be able to expect partisan neutrality from their representative in Germany, because he represents all Americans, not just Breitbart and Fox News.”

Guy Verhofstadt, a former prime minister of Belgium who now leads the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, a free-market group in the European Parliament, tweeted: “We have to defend Europe against Trump. It’s not up to his ambassador to influence our elections and steer our society. We respect the sovereignty of the U.S., they have to respect ours.” Verhofstadt added the hashtag #GrenellRaus — “Grenell Out” — to his tweet.

There was, however, one political leader in Berlin on Monday who demonstrated his support for the embattled American ambassador. Israel’s far-right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced at a news conference with Merkel that he had agreed to a brief meeting with Grenell, at the ambassador’s request, before leaving the German capital.

Before he was confirmed by the Senate, Grenell — a hyperpartisan Republican activist whose farewell party in New York was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Wayne Newton, and a half-dozen Fox News personalities — had promised to stay out of German politics.

[The Intercept]

Dinesh D’Souza on His Pardon From Trump: He Called Me a ‘Great Voice for Freedom’

Conservative provocateur Dinesh D’Souza appeared on Fox & Friends today to continue his celebrations after President Trump pardoned him yesterday for his criminal violations of campaign finance law.

D’Souza said the pardon was not something he expected, and he also reiterated what Trump said yesterday about how the case against him was unfair and he wanted D’Souza to be a bigger voice.

“The president said Dinesh, you have been a great voice for freedom. And he said that I got to tell you man-to-man have you been screwed. He goes I have been looking at the case. I knew from the beginning that it was fishy. But he said upon reviewing it he felt a great injustice had been done and that using his power he was going to rectify it and clear the slate, and he said he just wanted me to be out there and be a bigger voice than ever defending the principles that I believe in.”

D’Souza went on by continuing his argument that he was a victim of “selective prosecution” in which the Obama-era justice system targeted him and other conservatives.

“This was a vindictive political hit that was kind of aimed at putting me out of business, essentially making, destroying my credibility, making it impossible for me to make movies, write books. And that has failed but it still left a cloud over me. I would be a lifelong felon. I would never be able to vote and never have my full rights. So I’m very grateful to President Trump for giving me those rights back.”

D’Souza also took the opportunity to take more shots at Preet Bharara, the Obama-era U.S. attorney whose office oversaw the prosecution against him. He said that he only pled guilty to campaign finance violations because the justice system used “legal bludgeoning tactics” to force his admission, or else the government would’ve filed more charges against him.

[Mediaite]

Reality

D’Souza once praised the 9/11 hijackers as “warriors.” This is who Trump pardoned.

Media

Trump praises conservative activist Candace Owens as a ‘very smart thinker’

President Trump on Wednesday praised conservative activist Candace Owens, who he said “is having a big impact” on American politics.

“Candace Owens of Turning Point USA is having a big impact on politics in our Country,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“She represents an ever expanding group of very smart ‘thinkers,’ and it is wonderful to watch and hear the dialogue going on…so good for our Country!”

Owens is the communications director for Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that focuses on working with students on college campuses.

Rapper Kanye West recently heaped similar praise on Owens and the two later met in person.

“I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” West wrote on Twitter.

The president last year praised the founder of Turning Point USA just one day after an investigation revealed that an official with the organization had sent racist text messages. The organization fired the employee following the report.

“’The President has accomplished some absolutely historic things during this past year.’ Thank you Charlie Kirk of Turning Points USA,” Trump wrote at the time on Twitter, referring to the organization’s founder.

“Sadly, the Fake Mainstream Media will NEVER talk about our accomplishments in their end of year reviews. We are compiling a long & beautiful list.”

[The Hill]

Reality

The inflammatory Owens used a TMZ appearance to come to the defense of neo-Nazis and call the police killings of black men a trivial issue. She insisted that Trump has neither proposed harmful policies nor made offensive remarks towards African Americans.

Corey Lewandowski flashes white power ‘OK’ symbol on stage at Trump’s Michigan rally

Corey Lewandowski, who was campaign manger for Donald Trump in 2016 until being fired for being charged with battery after he grabbed a female reporter, joined Donald Trump on stage in Michigan Saturday night.

Lewandowski briefly took the microphone, and confusedly introduced Trump as “the next president of the United States.”

But not before he appeared to flash the “OK” symbol, as captured by Fox News cameras which had a wide-view shot at the time.

The “OK” symbol is widely used by white supremacists like Richard Spencer, though alt-right types like Stephen Miller and random interns also use it.

While the symbol is used by white supremacists as a symbol of their common beliefs, they also claim it’s a meta-troll and that people are getting angry about an “OK” symbol. The Anti-Defamation League says it’s not a hate symbol—it’s just a symbol made by right-wingers who want to show they have an affinity with Nazis but who are not Nazis.

[Raw Story]

Trump nominee to lead migrant agency shared Clinton, DNC conspiracies

President Trump’s pick to lead a United Nations migrant relief organization made hundreds of comments pushing conspiracy theories about Islam and Democrats, according to a CNN investigation published Thursday.

Ken Isaacs, the Trump administration’s choice to lead the UN’s International Organization for Migration, has faced additional scrutiny after CNN uncovered old social media posts where he appeared to equate all Muslims with terrorists.

On Thursday, CNN published a new trove of past comments.

CNN found that Isaacs also shared conspiracy theories about the Clintons and about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

In the summer of 2016, Isaacs tweeted that Switzerland should consider building a wall in the Alps to keep refugees from crossing the border, and responded to a terrorist attack in Nice, France, by saying Islam “is not peaceful.”

Last August, he retweeted a user who claimed climate change is a “big hoax,” and wrote that scientists “can’t predict path of a visible storm yet but certain of manmade climate change.”

Isaacs previously apologized after CNN uncovered his initial comments about Muslims, saying his social media use was “careless.”

He declined to comment on Thursday’s story, and the State Department pointed to a past statement of support for his nomination.

If confirmed, Isaacs will lead the International Organization for Migration, which oversees the use of roughly $1 billion in migrant aid across the world.

[The Hill]

Trump HUD appointee spread conspiracy about Hillary Clinton’s satanic ritual

Joe Gibbs, one of President Trump’s appointees in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, spread the false rumor that Hillary Clinton is a Satanist during the 2016 election, CNN reports.

John Gibbs was a conservative commentator tapped to join HUD as the head of a program aimed at spurring economic development and now holds the title of senior adviser in the community planning and development division.

On Twitter, Gibbs used the “#spiritcooking” hashtag, helping spread the rumor that Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta participated in a Satanic ritual involving the consumption of bodily fluids. #Spiritcooking evolved into the better-known #pizzagate despite being debunked at every turn.

The tweets from Gibbs are archived on the Wayback Machine.

He also used the term “cucks” in a defense of Milo Yiannopoulos and defended anti-Semitic alt-right commenter Ricky Vaughn when he was banned from Twitter.

[RawStory]

Trump Interior Secretary Defends Confederate Statues

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says that the Trump Administration will not remove Confederate monuments from federal lands out of consideration for the feelings of “native Indians.”

“Where do you start and where do you stop?” Zinke asked a Breitbart reporter in an interview published Sunday. “It’s a slippery slope. If you’re a native Indian, I can tell you, you’re not very happy about the history of General Sherman or perhaps President Grant.”

This is a mildly innovative take on the “where do you draw the line?” argument that various members of the Trump administration — and countless conservative commentators — have been rehearsing, ad nauseam, since a bunch of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville successfully revived the defense of Confederate monuments as a national political issue. But Zinke’s iteration of the question isn’t any harder to answer than its predecessors.

It simply isn’t very difficult to find a limiting principle that would allow one to take down statues of Confederate generals, while preserving most other monuments to key figures in American history. Here are two:

1) Is the individual in question historically noteworthy primarily for their service to an evil cause? In other words, was their contribution to said cause their principal legacy?

2) Was the monument in question erected with the explicit intention of celebrating that evil cause?

William Sherman was a racist who participated in what we would now call ethnic cleansing operations against Native American tribes. But this is not what he is primarily remembered for, nor is it his principal contribution to our nation’s history. Rather, Sherman is best known for helping to preserve the union — and thus, end American slavery — by bringing total war to the American South. That Ulysses S. Grant is not primarily remembered for his (terrible) treatment of the Plains Indians would seem to go without saying.

By contrast, Robert E. Lee’s principal historical legacy was taking up arms against the United States in defense of the Southern elite’s right to enslave — which is to say, rape, beat, breed, and kill — human beings with dark skin, at will.

To see the absurdity of Zinke’s rhetorical question, imagine a German official saying that it would be misguided to take down a statue of Adolf Hitler, because then the Chinese might start complaining about statues to Kaiser Wilhelm, who instructed German troops to “mercilessly” put down the Boxer Rebellion.

Now, this is not to say that one shouldn’t judge historical figures by their treatment of Native Americans. But the fact that Grant and Sherman made other significant contributions to our history means that when American communities memorialize them with statues, they do not, typically, do so as a means of celebrating the mistreatment of indigenous peoples.

And here lies the most important distinction between statues of Confederate generals and those of Union ones: The latter were not typically built during the Jim Crow era, to celebrate the restoration of White Supremacy after the end of Reconstruction; the former, typically were.

In his Breitbart interview, Zinke said, “When you try to erase history, what happens is you also erase how it happened and why it happened and the ability to learn from it.”

But when Zinke suggests there is no distinction between monuments to Union and Confederate generals, he erases how the latter were erected — and why.

[New York Magazine]

Trump Again Blames Both Sides for Charlottesville Violence

President Donald Trump is not backing off his defiant response to violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia last month.

The president told reporters on Thursday that he told Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in a one-on-one meeting that “you have some pretty bad dudes” opposing white nationalists. His comments echoed the most divisive remarks he has made as president, which drew criticism from bipartisan lawmakers, business leaders and his own advisors.

Trump invited Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, to the meeting Wednesday in what the White House reportedly called a demonstration of his commitment to positive race relations.

Trump says he told Scott that violence by some in the so-called antifa movement — far-left groups who oppose white nationalists — justified his remarks condemning “both sides” for the Charlottesville violence. A suspected white nationalist is accused of ramming a car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, killing one woman and injuring many others.

Here’s Trump’s summary of his meeting with Scott, according to pool reporters aboard Air Force One:

I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there. You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that’s what I said. Now because of what’s happened since then with Antifa. When you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have a point.’ I said there’s some very bad people on the other side also.

Scott’s office responded to Trump’s comments by saying he was “very, very clear about the brutal history surrounding the white supremacist movement and their horrific treatment of black and other minority groups.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, and to expect the president’s rhetoric to change based on one 30 minute conversation is unrealistic,” the statement said. “Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but white supremacists have been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison.”

Last month, when Trump said “very fine people” marched with the white nationalists in Virginia, his remarks drew widespread condemnation. The comments led to the dissolution of two business councils advising Trump and caused White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, among others, to publicly rebuke the president.

Scott also commended Trump for saying he wanted to diversify his staff. He also said he was encouraged by Trump considering his Investing in Opportunity Act, which aims to invest in economically distressed communities.

[CNBC]

Reality

Donald Trump AGAIN said the people who were run over and killed by Nazis driving their car through a crowd in Charlottesville were just as much to blame for violence as the actual Nazis who ran their car through a crowd to kill protester.

This is unbelievable coming from a President of the United States.

Trump took particular aim at Antifa, a small and insignificant anti-fascist movement that right-wing media like Fox News uses to paint the entire left as a violent agitators.

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