Horrific Living Conditions for Migrants Building Trump Dubai Golf Course

Immigrant workers in Dubai building a golf course bearing Donald Trump’s name are packed in labor camps that are low even by the city’s “unbelievably low standards,” according to a report aired by Vice in April.

“The conditions of the guys building the Trump International Golf Course were the worst I’ve ever seen,” said correspondent Ben Anderson. “Having guys live 21 to a room with rats running around above them; having to work extremely hard in extreme heat for two years just to break even, just to pay off the debts they accrued getting there.”

During his report, Anderson tailed a group of buses taking workers back to their camp after working on the course. The camp, he learned, was two hours outside of Dubai in an area that lacked even an access road. One worker said he earned $231 a month, but could not leave because the company that contracted him took his passport.

Besides being stuffed into dormitories, he said, workers had to make do with restrooms that “didn’t look fit for human beings.”

Their working situation, Anderson explained, was described by Human Rights Watch officials as looking “like a trafficking network.”

According to the Daily Beast, the golf course is not being built directly by a company belonging to the Republican presidential candidate, which released a statement saying it has “a zero tolerance policy for unlawful labor practices at any project bearing the ‘Trump’ name.”

Anderson said the horrific conditions workers endure in Dubai are endemic to the United Arab Emirates, where service workers are particularly in danger of mistreatment.

“Trump is just the latest in a long line of Westerners who have gone there, taken — I assume — large amounts of money and turned a blind eye to something which is very obvious and very well-documented,” he said.

(h/t Vice, Raw Story)

Media

Links

Vice episode on HBO Go and HBO Now.

Biker Vigilantes Patrol Trump’s Rallies

Bikers for Trump

If somehow the Secret Service, local law enforcement, and Donald Trump’s own security detail fail to protect him, the Republican presidential frontrunner has a biker gang to back him up. Ever since Trump was forced to cancel a rally in Chicago because of protesters, a group of 30,000 motorcyclists called Bikers for Trump has been patrolling his campaign events to help out law enforcement, Politico reports.

The group, which initially formed to hold independent rallies for Trump, is now appearing at Trump events across the country under the leadership of Chris Cox, a former advance man for former Vice President Dan Quayle. Though the group is doing this of their own accord, Politico reports that Trump’s campaign isn’t exactly hindering their efforts. Earlier this month, the bikers showed up in Albany to form a “protective barrier” between Trump supporters and Trump protesters. Just last week, the men showed up at a rally inside the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex where Politico reports they were “assuming functions typically reserved for paid security and police — patrolling the dirt floor of the arena, snatching and tearing protesters’ signs, and following close behind law enforcement officials as they dragged protesters from the arena, ready to lend a hand.”

Next up, the bikers plan to head to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and California — and then on to the convention in Cleveland. “We’re not here to make headlines,” Cox told Politico, “we’re here to prevent them.”

(h/t The Week)

Reality

We’ve searched the news and so far and thankfully there hasn’t been any incidents involving Bikers for Trump as of this date. However biker gangs do not have the best track record when it comes to security.

Media

Links

“Meet the Vigilantes That Patrol Trump Rallies” – Politico

Bikers for Trump website

Trump Institute Fired Veteran For ‘Absences’ After He Was Deployed To Afghanistan

Trump University logo

Huffington Post – Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been vocal about the need to take care of U.S. veterans. He’s said that if elected, he’ll “put our service men and women on a path to success as they leave active duty.”

But that’s not what the Trump Institute, a get-rich-quick real estate seminar, did for Richard Wright, a senior master sergeant in the Air Force reserves who worked for the company in 2006 and 2007. Wright was deployed to Afghanistan in the spring of 2007. When he came home to his job, the Trump Institute fired him. “All of your absences,” Wright’s boss at the Trump Institute told him, had forced the company to “reevaluate your position with the Trump Institute.” It is a violation of federal law to penalize an employee for absences caused by military service.

When Wright accepted a job at the Trump Institute in December 2006, he thought he’d be working directly with Trump.

“Having a chance to work with him was a dream come true,” Wright, now 48, said of Trump in an email to The Huffington Post.

Dozens of former customers of the Trump Institute and Trump University, a real estate instruction program, have also described being told that Donald Trump was personally overseeing the programs that bore his name, and that instructors were “hand-picked by Mr. Trump.” Judging from the information on the Trump Institute’s (now defunct) website, it’s easy to see why:

It was only after Wright started the job that he realized Trump had little to do with the day-to-day operations of the Trump Institute.

Trump provided his name, along with his image, his reputation, his video endorsements and his promises to help the Trump Institute lure potential customers and employees. But like many of the hundreds of businesses and real estate projects that have borne Trump’s name, the Trump Institute was actually a joint venture between Trump and an outside company — in this case, a Florida-based business called National Grants Conferences. Trump was paid franchise fees, but the details of his profits from the schools are a well-guarded secret.

Michael and Irene Milin, NGC’s founders, spent decades in the get-rich-quick business before linking up with Trump. NGC promised to teach its clients how to access millions of dollars in “free money” from the government. In reality, NGC seminars were little more than elaborate sales pitches for yet more NGC events, and the company, which has since been dissolved, had a long history of legal troubles and fraud investigations that spanned multiple states.

NGC’s free-money seminars provided the framework for the Trump Institute’s signature offering, the Donald Trump Way to Wealth Seminar. Trump Institute clients paid as much as $35,000 to learn the “Donald Trump Way To Wealth,” and to receive coaching from mentors like Wright.

In the clip below, from an infomercial that appears to date to 2006, Trump tells potential customers how important it is that they enroll in the Trump Institute. He also hits on the woman interviewing him.

That same year, the Trump Institute hired Wright as a tele-consultant (or “mentor,” in Trump parlance). His job was to speak on the phone with clients who had purchased “memberships” in the Trump Institute, and give them advice about investing in real estate.

On paper, Wright and his fellow mentors were technically employed by Xylophone, LLC, a foreign limited liability company controlled by Irene Milin. But to the outside world, they were working for the Trump Institute.

Two months into the job, Wright was called up for active duty, and in early February 2007, he wrote to his boss, Jay Shavin, to say he would be deployed to Afghanistan starting around March 1.

In Afghanistan, Wright was assigned to the 451st Air Expeditionary Group at Kandahar Airfield, near the country’s southern border with Pakistan. Wright was awarded three different medals for outstanding service in the six weeks he was overseas.

Wright arrived home to Florida on Monday, April 16, 2007. He asked his boss to approve two personal days for him to get his bearings, do laundry and so on.

Before Wright left for Afghanistan, he had approximately 40 different clients whom he was advising on how to buy real estate “the Trump Way.” Like the other Trump Institute mentors, Wright was promised commissions on his clients’ deals — $250 each time a client bought property and rented it out “using Trump methods,” and $750 each time a client bought and then sold a property, a process known as “flipping.”

In his first week back home, Wright emailed some of his clients to let them know he was “back safe and sound,” according to court documents.

On Monday, April 23, Wright got this note from Shavin:

I specifically told you NOT to contact your old clients. Jeff was in the office when we had the discussion. I also emphatically stated that you were not to contact your old clients. You are so concerned about your closings that do not exist, that your employment is in jeopardy. I told you that I put your former client into a deal that has not closed and would give it to you.

It is apparent that you do not listen to instructions. You are to report to my office tomorrow before you do anything. You have been here less than three months (deducting your time off for the Air Force Reserve). I find it insulting that you would make a request to be paid for time you did not work and/or personal time you did not earn.

You are still on probation. With all of your absences and inability to adhere to specific instructions, you force me to reevaluate your position with the Trump Institute.

Wright replied, in part: “I don’t think your previous comments were called for or appropriate. I am a good mentor & have always been a team player & do not appreciate being spoken to that way.”

“You needn’t be offended by my remarks,” Shavin wrote back. “Your employment is hereby terminated.”

In subsequent emails, Shavin denied that Wright was fired because of his time in Afghanistan. He also said that any further emails from Wright would be considered “harassment.”

A year later, Wright sued the Trump Institute and its parent company, Xylophone, for wrongful termination under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. That law, passed in 1972, requires that military service members called up to active duty from civilian jobs “be restored to the job and benefits you would have attained if you had not been absent due to military service.” Under the law, the burden falls on the employer to prove that it did not fire a service member for absences related to his or her military service.

The Trump Institute ultimately reached a settlement with Wright that forbids him from talking about the case. Shavin died in 2014. Lyn Miller, another former Trump Institute employee, said Shavin was “a knowledgeable and awesome guy.”

Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel of the Trump Organization, provided a statement to HuffPost when asked about Wright’s experience.

“The Trump Institute was a licensee of Trump University and was not owned or controlled by Mr. Trump or any of his companies,” Garten said. “As such, Mr. Trump had nothing whatsoever to do with the employment of any of the Trump Institute’s employees or mentors, had no involvement in the development or enforcement of any of the Trump Institute’s employment policies and has no knowledge of this matter. Mr. Trump has always been a great supporter of the men and women who have served in this country’s armed forces and has devoted much of his campaign to improving the lives of veterans.”

Trump’s attempts to distance himself from the companies that paid him money and bore his name haven’t shielded him from lawsuits over their conduct.

In 2013, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Trump and Trump University for civil fraud. Included in his case filings were scores of complaints from Trump Institute clients. In California and New York, Trump University is facing allegations of fraud, and in the California case, the company faces a class action lawsuit with more than 5,000 plaintiffs.

HuffPost attempted to contact the Milins multiple times at the number listed for their charitable organization, the Milin Family Foundation, but there was never any answer.

Wright doesn’t blame Trump for his firing, even though the Trump Institute bore Trump’s name, benefited from Trump’s endorsement and paid money to Trump in franchise and licensing fees.

“He was really just the name on the box & had nothing to do with the inner workings of the company,” Wright said in an email to HuffPost. “At the time I really needed a job & I loved what I was doing.”

This fall, Wright, who still invests in real estate, hopes to vote for Donald Trump for president.

“I am a HUGE Trump fan and supporter and think he would make an excellent leader,” he said. Trump “is saying all the things that politicians have been afraid to say over the years. That is why they are nervous and siding against him. He threatens what they have worked so hard to build. As a veteran, I LOVE that he is wanting to make America great again.”

(h/t Huffington Post)

Reality

It is a violation of federal law to penalize an employee for absences caused by military service.

Some may argue that since Senior Master Sargent Wright himself does not put any direct blame on Donald Trump then therefor the buck should stop with the owners and operators of the Trump Institute. This, however, is not how the business world works. For example, in 1996 it was discovered that a clothing line by talk show host Kathy Lee Gifford was being manufactured by children as young as 12 in Honduran sweatshops. Even though Wal-Mart was responsible for producing the Kathie Lee Gifford clothing line the court of public opinion turned harshly against her. It was a business decision by Kathie Lee to place her name, her image, and her reputation on the line unchecked. (No pun intended.)

Donald Trump is running for the Republican candidacy for the President of the United States of America on qualifications that he is a “great businessman” so it is entirely fair to challenge him on his record. Donald Trump put his name and support behind companies, such as Trump University and the Trump Institute, which engaged in fraudulent and illegal activities. A great businessman would have either been more careful with where they invested or had more control in a company that they stamped their name on.

Trump Flip-Flops on North Carolina Transgender Bathroom Bill

Donald Trump answers questions on transgender bathroom use.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is tweaking his stance on North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law less than a day after he voiced his opposition to the legislation and suggested the state should just “leave it the way it is.”

“I love North Carolina, and they have a law, and it’s a law that, you know, unfortunately is causing them some problems,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview Thursday night. “And I fully understand that they want to go through, but they are losing business, and they are having people come out against.”

“I think that local communities and states should make the decision,” he went on to say. “And I feel very strongly about that. The federal government should not be involved.”

“In other words, let the state decide,” Hannity responded. “Kind of like your positions on education, give it back to the states.”

“Yeah, let them decide,” Trump said. “Absolutely.”

Reality

Trump has been flip-flopping on more and more issues lately. This is probably because he caught heat from the far-right wing of the Republican party for not being as insensitive as he usually is.

The North Carolina bathroom bill is a solution in search of a problem. There have been 0 reported cases of sexual assault by transgender individuals in public bathrooms. Coincidentally there have been 3 cases of Republican lawmakers arrested for sexual assault in a public bathroom.

Trump Terrifies World Leaders

Politico President Barack Obama is trying but failing to reassure foreign leaders convinced that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. They’re in full-boil panic.

According to more than two dozen U.S. and foreign-government officials, Trump has become the starting point for what feels like every government-to-government interaction. In meetings, private dinners and phone calls, world leaders are urgently seeking explanations from Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Trade Representative Michael Froman on down. American ambassadors are asking for guidance from Washington about what they’re supposed to say.

“They’re scared and they’re trying to understand how real this is,” said one American official in touch with foreign leaders. “They all ask. They follow our politics with excruciating detail. They ask: ‘What is this Trump phenomenon? Can he really win? What would it mean for U.S. policy going forward or U.S. engagement in the world?’ They’re all sort of incredulous.”

Obama hears world leaders’ fears about the Republican front-runner so often that he has developed a speech meant to ease their nerves.

First, he walks them through the Republican primary process: Trump has had success, but there are big states yet to vote and the front-runner could still stumble. Then he explains the complications of the GOP convention and how weak rules and convoluted balloting could leave Trump a loser. And finally, Obama assures America’s allies that Hillary Clinton can defeat the Manhattan billionaire.

It’s a familiar routine but not a particularly successful one. They respond — sometimes directly to Obama and other top administration officials, sometimes stewing privately about being brushed off again — that the Obama administration has been downplaying Trump’s odds for six months.

“Most people said that he didn’t have the wit, wisdom or wealth to get very far in the primaries,” said Peter Mandelson, a member of the British Cabinet under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as well as a former European commissioner for trade who remains in touch with many leaders. “And they’ve been wrong.”

Now, world leaders cop to being afraid of a Trump presidency, and they’re making preparations: scrambling to get deals done with the Obama administration while they still have the chance.

Leaders, members of their governments, even their aides are so spooked that they don’t want to say anything, and many privately admit that it’s because they think he’ll win, and a quote now could mean a vengeful President Trump going after them personally next year.

“As we’re on the record, I’m rather hesitant to give you big headlines on this,” said Olli Rehn, the Finnish minister of economic affairs. “In Europe, we are concerned about the U.S. possibly turning toward a more isolationist orientation. That would not be good for United States, good for Europe, good for the world. We need the U.S. engaged in global affairs in a constructive, positive way.”

They’re not caught up in some gushy lament about what’s become of American politics, as Obama has sometimes framed the conversations when he’s talked about them publicly. They’re worried about what it means for them: for their arms deals, for their trade deals, for international funding and alliances that they depend on.

“However much people recoiled from George W. Bush or have been disappointed by Obama, they see Trump as off the Richter scale,” Mandelson said. “The reason for that is not that he must be stupid — nobody thinks that — but that he’s disdainful, unscrupulous, prepared to say anything to harvest the populist vote. And that makes people frightened.”

Then there are the more parochial concerns: that Trump’s rise will encourage and empower their own nationalists.

“Trump solutions for me are false solutions, but they’re not original. They’re things that we have heard in Europe from extremist sections,” said Sandro Gozi, a member of the Italian parliament and undersecretary for European affairs in Prime Minister Mateo Renzi’s Cabinet.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

White House aides are bracing for more of these conversations — at the Persian Gulf leaders’ summit that wraps up in Riyadh on Thursday, a stay in London over the weekend and a trip to Germany that will include a joint meeting of Obama, Merkel, Renzi, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande.

“It’s not the America that they’re used to dealing with,” another senior administration official said. “Our message back to them is we’re committed to the policies we’re pursuing now. That is not going to change. A message of reassurance, but we can’t control the campaign rhetoric, the election process. But we can control what we’re doing and are committed to.”

Many governments have stepped up their requests for information from their embassies, and a number of leaders ordered up expanded briefings while in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit.

“We are trying really to understand the different kinds of messages,” said Andris Razans, the Latvian ambassador to the United States, where Trump’s praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin has sparked fears in the media that as president he would hand Ukraine, Syria and the Baltic region to the Russian autocrat. “It is part of our daily business to understand how the picture is unfolding.”

When Razans raises questions in private about Trump, he said the Obama administration tries to assuage any concerns by saying the candidate won’t be able to follow through on his most provocative pronouncements if he lands in the White House.

“People say, ‘Well it is an election campaign and when things come down to governing after the elections, they are often changing because there are some realities that simply one has to take into account,’” Razans said.

Larger European nations have been more patient, reassured by embassies in Washington that tend to have more experience monitoring and interpreting American politics, though they are annoyed to be portrayed as useless freeloaders by Trump on NATO and other issues.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said that during a recent congressional trip to Africa he was startled in meetings with many heads of state and their ministers “with very spotty records of their own, to put it mildly,” mentioned their shock at Trump’s success.

Representatives of Arab governments have, so far, seemed the calmest, still largely laughing off Trump and dismissing his chances.

The Israelis are walking their own weird tightrope: Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has been perennially at odds with the Obama administration, but with the prime minister condemning the Muslim ban proposal and ducking a meeting on what was supposed to be a Trump tour of the Holy Land in December — all while his U.S. ambassador and confidant, Ron Dermer, consulted with the candidate’s son-in-law, who was writing Trump’s speech to AIPAC last month.

Asked about their interactions with the Obama administration and views on Trump, Israeli Embassy spokesman Aaron Sagui declined comment altogether.

Asia-Pacific countries have long been expressing the most concern that Trump and what he represents will lead to an American withdrawal from the region, particularly on trade negotiations, that will empower China, and since Trump’s comments about the North Korean nuclear threat and other Asian issues in his extensive foreign policy interview with The New York Times last month, they’ve gotten manic.

“They want to know if this represents a fundamental change. Is this retrenchment? Retreat?” said a senior State Department official, citing “angst and concern” across the region that decades-long American commitments on security and trade might be in jeopardy.

In South Korea and Japan in particular, the official said, “there is a backlash” over Trump’s repeated — and false — assertions that those countries do not contribute financially to the U.S. security umbrella. “They take that personally.”

American officials have begun pointing to Jimmy Carter to ease frayed nerves. When he was running in 1976, then-candidate Carter pledged to pull all U.S. troops out of South Korea. He didn’t follow through. “That provoked a huge crisis in the alliance,” the State official said. “The older people remember that.”

Administration officials, though, see an upside: Trump anxiety overseas has translated to a surprising eagerness on the part of foreign governments to ink new agreements.

At the Department of Energy, which interacts daily with foreign nations to address climate change, boost the security of nuclear weapons, and cooperate on a host of civilian power projects, the deep uncertainty has translated into an unusual level of engagement, according to a top official.

“It has really focused people on getting work done with us,” said Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, citing a new high-level commission to cooperate with South Korea on nuclear energy and a formal discussion with the United Arab Emirates to build new partnerships on civil-nuclear cooperation, energy and nuclear security, and climate change.

“We come with opportunities that are serious and important to them,” Sherwood-Randall said. “They want to do everything they can to get it done.”

Rehn, the Finnish minister, pointed to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations between the United States and the European Union. “At least on the European side, there is an effort to try to speed things up,” Rehn said.

There’s always some interest in closing up negotiations with an outgoing administration rather than waiting for a new one to get on its feet. The prospect of Trump has heightened that, said the American official who’s in touch with foreign leaders.

“They see that this is an administration that they can work with, and they don’t know what’s going to come next,” the official said.

Certainly, there’s some schadenfreude at play, too, particularly in Germany. After years of being lectured about democracy by Americans, they’re taking in over a million refugees while Trump’s talking about a ban on Muslim immigration. That say that gives them the moral high ground, and a sense of the erosion of America’s soft power in Europe.

But all over the world, leaders are trying to decipher how serious Trump is about what he’s saying. Some are convinced he’ll back away from the policies he’s espoused on the campaign trail, while others worry that he’ll have to stick to at least some of it — and for them, any percentage would be a problem. In Germany, for example, gauging Trump’s commitment to his promises is the extent to which they’ve brought him up with their American counterparts.

Gozi said allies are just as concerned about what a new world order would be like if Trump holds firm to his promises as they are if he starts to drop some of them.

“We would open a more and more complicated phase if he does what he’s saying he would do,” Gozi said. “If he doesn’t, it’ll be a big question mark.”

(h/t Politico)

Trump Would Change GOP Platform on Abortion

Donald Trump discussing abortion on Today

Donald Trump said Thursday he would change the Republican Party platform’s position on abortion to include exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Trump made the remarks during a town hall on the “Today” show on NBC on Thursday morning when host Savannah Guthrie asked him about abortion exceptions.

“The Republican platform every four years has a provision that states that the right of the unborn child should not be infringed,” Guthrie said. “And it makes no exceptions for rape, for incest, for the life of the mother. Would you want to change the Republican platform to include the (abortion) exceptions that you have?”

“Yes, I would. Yes, I would. Absolutely,” Trump said. “For the three exceptions, I would.”
Currently, the Republican platform abortion policy reads: “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”

While the official party platform doesn’t explicitly outline or endorse any abortion exceptions, GOP presidential candidates in the past have supported them, including Mitt Romney, John McCain and both Bush presidents.

Among Trump’s remaining GOP presidential rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has said he opposes exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich has said he supports them.

(h/t CNN)

Reality

After flip-flopping all week about his abortion position back in March, Trump’s current positions on abortion exceptions are not out of line with some of the other candidates. Trump has also stated that women who get abortions should be faced with punishment, then backtracked and said doctors should be punished. Also in his 2000 book “The America We Deserve,” Trump then wrote that he supported a woman’s right to choose. Then changed his tune to pro-file in July 2015 after declaring his candidacy.

Abortion has been legal in the United States since 1973.

The official Republican stance on abortion is very extreme as it gives zero exceptions for any reason. Historically only 15-20% of Americans are in line with the Republican party and believe abortion should be completely illegal, compared to around 50% believing that abortion should be legal in some instances, and around 30% believe it should be legal in all instances.

Links

Historical poll results on abortion.

Trump Rally Veers Toward Chaos in Harrisburg

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa., on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News/TNS)

With a crowd of thousands still piling into the stands and onto the dirt floor, the PA system at the Farm Show Complex’s large arena crackled to life with an unusual announcement, one it had likely never made before.

“If you see a protester, do not harm them. This is a peaceful event,” said the man’s voice on the other end.

It was an unusual public appeal, not only for the venue, but also given the context.

This was a presidential campaign stop by a presidential front runner.

But Donald Trump’s campaign has been unusual in almost every-way. Unusual in its nose-thumbing at political leaders. Unusual in its imperviousness. Unusual in its polarizing effect.

And so it was no more than five minutes into Trump’s event Thursday, with thousands still in a line snaking around the palatial Complex, that the first protester was spotted.

“Get him out. Get him out,” Trump said with a swipe of his hand.

Minutes later there was a second one, this time chanting “Black Lives Matter.” The man was snatched up by police and rushed through a cattle chute and into the hallways outside.

Halfway into the event, ejections of protesters had become so commonplace that Trump developed a rhythm.

“Aren’t Trump rallies fun,” he said to uproarious applause.

“The protesters are giving up ’cause we like it, we have fun with it,” he added.

And they certainly did.

But for every dissenter inside, there were more out.Donald Trump protesters outside of rally in Harrisburg More than a hundred protesters faced off with Donald Trump supporters outside of Trump’s rally in Harrisburg on April 21, 2016.

Outside the building, hundreds of protesters had gathered, growing from just a handful earlier in the day. After the event, they faced off with Trump supporters as they filed out of the arena and toward their cars.

They traded barbs earlier in the day, which later escalated into verbal threats and taunts.

Inside, Trump got in on it, too.

“Let him go. He’s got no voice. I can’t even hear him,” Trump said of one protester before commending police for the speed of their extraction.

A Capitol Police officer told PennLive that protesters would be told to leave the building and could face arrest if they returned. The officer added that some could be arrested on the spot depending on the severity of the disturbance they created. That did not appear to be the case on Thursday. But there was at least one person taken into police custody outside, before the event ended and the unrest grew.

During his speech, Trump took aim at his detractors, insinuating the protest movement was something other than homegrown.

He said protesters in New York, when pressed by media, expressed ambivalence about their anti-Trump message or favor for the candidate himself. He pointed to signs and placards he said appeared mass-produced, hinting at a third party’s involvement.

But those outside the Harrisburg event said their own convictions led them to protest his appearance here.

One of them, Keith Bentz of Harrisburg, blamed Trump and his campaign for a divisive tone that he feels has the nation “splitting itself down the middle.”

Another man, Michael Betsill of Harrisburg, helped organize Thursday’s protest through social media platforms, and said of Trump, “what other campaign has caused this ever? What other candidate has ever caused so much chaos among a nation and that’s why we’re here.”

He added, “Everybody that’s involved and seems to be supporting [Trump’s campaign] has one vision for what America should be. America is already great, there’s not one person who is gonna make this country great again.”

Across the police barrier, Trump supporters dismissed characterizations of the campaign or Trump’s message as racially incendiary and said the protesters were likely just supporters of a political opponent, such as Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

Ryan Leonard said Trump’s stance on issues like immigration weren’t about race, but about “what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s legal and illegal.”

Another supporter, Chanse Firestone of Denver, Pa., said it wasn’t about race, but rather the refusal of some in this country to buy into the American Dream.

“Everybody says it’s about race. It’s not about race. It’s about putting America to work.”

Around him, other supporters shouted “get a job,” and “no more handouts,” at members of the opposing group. There was a moment when the sides pushed in toward the middle and a flashpoint seemed inevitable.

But cooler heads prevailed.

Inside the event, meanwhile, Trump was back on the subject of his protesters, saying most were there to disrupt and agitate.

But he assured the rabid crowd of thousands that he was in control.

“Remember what I said, the safest place on earth is a Trump rally.”

(h/t PennLive)

Media

Video of outside protesters

Video of protester being removed

Trump: Transgender People Can Use Whatever Bathroom They Want

Donald Trump answers questions on transgender bathroom use.

Transgender people should be able to use whatever bathroom they want, Donald Trump said Thursday.

“Oh, I had a feeling that question was going to come up, I will tell you. North Carolina did something that was very strong. And they’re paying a big price. There’s a lot of problems,” the Republican presidential candidate said during a town hall event on NBC’s “Today.”

Referring to comments from an unnamed commentator who on Wednesday said North Carolina should “leave it the way it is right now,” Trump said he agreed.

“Leave it the way it is. North Carolina, what they’re going through with all the business that’s leaving, all of the strife — and this is on both sides. Leave it the way it is,” he said, referring to companies that have canceled plans to move or expand businesses in the state as a result of the law, which bans transgender individuals from using a bathroom that does not match their gender at birth.

“There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go. They use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate,” Trump said. “There has been so little trouble. And the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the economic — I mean, the economic punishment that they’re taking.”

Matt Lauer then asked whether Trump has any transgender people working for his company.

“I really don’t know. I probably do. I really don’t know,” Trump said, answering that he would allow, say, transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner to use whatever bathroom she wanted at Trump Tower.

He added, “You know, there’s a big move to create new bathrooms. Problem with that is for transgender, that would be—first of all, I think that would be discriminatory in a certain way. That would be unbelievably expensive for businesses in the country. Leave it the way it is.”

(h/t Politico, Today)

Reality

Trump has been a little more progressive with LGBT rights in the past, for example allowing Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant, but he also is not progressive, in the same interview telling a joke comparing her name to “genitals”. He also supported amending the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

However it is important to remember that Trump still supports traditional marriage.

Ted Cruz directly responded to Trump’s comments in a very Ted Cruz way.

Media

 

Trump Team Tells GOP He Has Been ‘Projecting an Image’

The Celebrity Apprentice

Donald Trump’s chief lieutenants told skeptical Republican leaders Thursday that the GOP front-runner has been “projecting an image” so far in the 2016 primary season and “the part that he’s been playing is now evolving” in a way that will improve his standing among general election voters.

The message, delivered behind closed doors in a private briefing, is part of the campaign’s intensifying effort to convince party leaders Trump will moderate his tone in the coming months to help deliver big electoral gains this fall, despite his contentious ways.

Even as his team pressed Trump’s case, he raised fresh concern among some conservatives by speaking against North Carolina’s “bathroom law,” which directs transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificates. Trump also came out against the federal government’s plan to replace President Andrew Jackson with the civil-rights figure Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

The developments came as the GOP’s messy fight for the White House spilled into a seaside resort in south Florida. While candidates in both parties fanned out across the country before important primary contests in the Northeast, Hollywood’s Diplomat Resort & Spa was transformed into a palm-treed political battleground.

Trump’s newly hired senior aide, Paul Manafort, made the case to Republican National Committee members that Trump has two personalities: one in private and one onstage.

“When he’s out on the stage, when he’s talking about the kinds of things he’s talking about on the stump, he’s projecting an image that’s for that purpose,” Manafort said in a private briefing.

“You’ll start to see more depth of the person, the real person. You’ll see a real different way,” he said.

The Associated Press obtained a recording of the closed-door exchange.

“He gets it,” Manafort said of Trump’s need to moderate his personality. “The part that he’s been playing is evolving into the part that now you’ve been expecting, but he wasn’t ready for, because he had first to complete the first phase. The negatives will come down. The image is going to change.”

The message was welcomed by some party officials but criticized by others who suggested it raised doubts about his authenticity.

“He’s trying to moderate. He’s getting better,” said Ben Carson, a Trump ally who was part of the GOP’s front-runner’s RNC outreach team.

While Trump’s top advisers were promising Republican leaders that the GOP front-runner would moderate his message, the candidate was telling voters he wasn’t ready to act presidential.

“I just don’t know if I want to do it yet,” Trump said during a raucous rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Thursday that was frequently interrupted by protesters.

“At some point, I’m going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored,” he said, predicting that the size of his crowds would dwindle if he dialed back his rhetoric.

Ben Carson, on an appearance on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show also made a statement saying the public “reality show” person is different from the real man.

(h/t AP)

Reality

Even if Trump’s public persona should change, and should he win the Republican primary, he’ll have a mountain of evidence to contend with.

Trump Wants Harriet Tubman on $2 Bill

Trump suggesting Tubman should be put on the $2 bill.

The Treasury Department’s decision to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with abolitionist Harriet Tubman was met with mixed results. Donald Trump has weighed in, saying the move was “pure political correctness.”

“Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill. Andrew Jackson had a history of tremendous success for the country,” Trump said during a town hall on NBC’s “Today Show.”

While he called Tubman “fantastic,” he suggested she appear on a different bill.

“I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill or we do another bill. I don’t like seeing it. Yes, I think it’s pure political correctness,” he said.

Trump joined with his former GOP presidential rival Ben Carson, who called for Tubman on the $2 bill. The neurosurgeon told Fox Business, “I love what she did, but we can find another way to honor her.”

The $2 bill currently features the image of Thomas Jefferson.

Andrew Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, was revered for being the first “common man” elected as president. But the darker side of his legacy includes slave-owning and expelling thousands of Native Americans from their homes, forcing them on the walk now referred to as “The Trail of Tears.”

And while Jackson owned slaves, Tubman’s life mission was to free them. An abolitionist and Union spy, Tubman was responsible for leading hundreds of slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad, an elaborate network of safe houses.

Tubman will become the first person of color and the first woman to grace a U.S. paper currency.

(h/t ABC News)

Reality

By taking a simple suggestion to avoid language or behavior that any particular group of people might feel is unkind or offensive and twist it to be a label for things that you don’t agree with, Donald Trump is simply evoking a tired old Republican trope known as “conservative correctness“.

Who is this offending? Andrew Jackson’s descendants? But with the statement that Tubman should appear on the $2 he is equally offending Thomas Jefferson’s descendants.

And finally, isn’t it interesting that conservatives would be “okay” with a black woman on a bill, as long as it is the most rare bill that the United States prints?

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