Trump, Asked by Reporter If Soros Is Funding the Caravan, Says ‘I Wouldn’t Be Surprised’

Speaking outside the White House on Wednesday, President Donald Trump refused to rule out the possibility that George Soros might be behind the migrant caravan.

Trump was first asked if he thought someone was funding the caravan.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Trump replied.

George Soros?” a reporter pressed.

“I don’t know who, but I wouldn’t be surprised,” Trump continued on. “A lot of people say yes.”

A “lot of people” includes Fox News folks like Lou Dobbs and Laura Ingraham, as well as pro-Trump Congressman Matt Gaetz who tweeted out this:

The conspiracy theory — which apparently dates back to March — may also have contributed to the synagogue slayings in Pittsburgh.

Standing on the White House lawn on Wednesday, Trump gave no further indication about why he would “not be surprised” that Soros was involved, although blaming Soros has proven popular among Trump’s base.

[Mediaite]

Kellyanne Conway cites ‘anti-religiosity’ in Pittsburgh shooting

Kellyanne Conway cited “anti-religiosity” on Monday in discussing the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Conway’s remarks during a discussion on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” came less than 72 hours after the deadliest attack on Jews in American history. The alleged shooter, Robert Bowers, targeted Jews online and made anti-Semitic comments during the shooting, law enforcement officials said.

“The anti-religiosity in this country that is somehow in vogue and funny, to make fun of anybody of faith. To constantly be making fun of people who expresses religion,” said Conway, who serves as counselor to President Donald Trump.

“The late night comedians. The un-funny people on TV shows. It’s always anti-religious. And remember, these people were gunned down in their place of worship’,” Conway continued. “As were the people in South Carolina several years ago. And they were there because they’re people of faith and it’s that faith that needs to bring us together.”

As the weather gets colder and furry intruders start looking for shelter, the only animals people want in their houses are their family pets.

“This is no time to be driving God out of the public square. No time to be making fun of people.”

Conway’s comments, which went unchallenged on the program, were made just before she told reporters that she was “very happy” that Trump condemned anti-Semitism following the massacre, which left 11 dead. The President’s combative rhetoric has been scrutinized in the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting as well as last week’s potential explosive devices that were sent to several of Trump’s political opponents.

“I was very happy he came out with very strong words over the weekend though, condemning anti-Semitism and asking the country to rise above hate and evil and unify,” she said outside the White House on Monday.

Conway was referring to comments Trump made on Saturday in Illinois as he responded to news of the shooting. “It looks definitely like it’s an anti-Semitic crime, and that is something you wouldn’t believe could still be going on,” he said at the time.

Asked if Trump would denounce white nationalists, Conway said, “Please don’t lose the lesson of today which is anti-Semitism in all forms. It is evil and it still is being perpetrated around this world. Please remember the 11 who were murdered because of their faith.”

Conway’s husband, George Conway, a frequent public critic of the President despite his wife’s position, also weighed in on Monday morning. Instead of directly commenting on the matter, Conway tweeted a quote from a Washington Post op-ed published on Sunday by Patti Davis, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan.

“This president will never offer comfort, compassion or empathy to a grieving nation. It’s not in him. When questioned after a tragedy, he will always be glib and inappropriate. So I have a wild suggestion: Let’s stop asking him. His words are only salt in our wounds,” the tweet read, citing Davis’ op-ed.

[CNN]

Trump Blasts ‘Crazed & Stumbling Lunatic’ Tom Steyer Days After He Was Targeted By Bomb

Mere days ago, President Donald Trump was calling for a new “tone and civility” in politics after the arrest of a man accused of mailing pipe bombs to several top Democratic leaders. On Sunday, that was all out the window as he slammed Democratic donor Tom Steyer following an interview with CNN. Steyer was the intended recipient of one of the more than a dozen pipe bombs that were sent to Trump critics.

On Sunday, Steyer talked on CNN about the “political violence” that Trump and the Republican Party had created across the country. Shortly after the interview, Trump took to Twitter to blast the billionaire Democratic activist. “Just watched Wacky Tom Steyer,” Trump wrote. “He comes off as a crazed & stumbling lunatic who should be running out of money pretty soon. As bad as their field is, if he is running for President, the Dems will eat him alive!”

Steyer, who has repeatedly called for Trump’s impeachment, hit back at the president on Twitter. “It is unthinkable that in the midst of the horrible political violence our president would resort to name-calling instead of repairing the damage to the fabric of our country,” Steyer wrote.

During the interview with CNN, Steyer said that while there had been “bad behavior” by members of both parties, he noted Republicans are less likely to condemn those who say violent things. “You don’t find prominent Democrats who are leading chants with violent overtones like ‘Lock her up,’ ‘CNN sucks’ ― all the kinds of attempts to play to people’s strongest emotions,” Steyer said. “That creates an atmosphere where anything can bubble up and anything is bubbling up.”

[Slate]

Trump laughs about locking up George Soros moments after calling for national unity

President Donald Trump on Friday briefly tried to strike a conciliatory tone when it came to condemning political violence — but he quickly reverted back to attacking his political foes, including musing about having billionaire Democratic donor George Soros arrested.

While addressing the Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House on Friday, Trump went on the attack against “globalists” whom he accused of undermining American sovereignty.

“I like the globe too, but we have to take care of our people,” the president said.

While Trump talked about “globalists,” many audience members started yelling, “Soros!” while another member yelled, “Lock him up!”

The president smiled and pointed to the audience member and laughingly repeated, “Ha, lock him up!”

Trump’s laughter about the prospect of locking up Soros comes after Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc was arrested on Friday on suspicion of sending explosive devices to Soros and several top Democrats. Sayoc’s Facebook and Twitter feed are loaded with attacks on Soros and other liberals.

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on Twitter

The anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that George Soros, a wealthy Hungarian-American businessman who has donated millions of dollars to progressive causes, is paying people to protest President Donald Trump is a staple of the conservative ecosystem.

Last week, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham tweeted “SOROS STRIKES AGAIN” after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was confronted in a Senate elevator by survivors of sexual assault.

Now the President of the United States is getting in on the anti-Semitic action, claiming that protests against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, were “Paid for by Soros and others” in a Friday tweet.

This was the first time Trump has mentioned Soros on Twitter, per the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale. However, The Atlantic’s David Frum noted Soros was one of the “three identifiable “faces of international finance”” featured in a 2016 Trump campaign ad that was widely criticized for its anti-Semitic overtones.

The Washington Examiner’s Dave Brown noticed that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) floated the conspiracy theory about Soros paying Kavanaugh protesters during an appearance on Fox Business less than 90 minutes before Trump’s tweet.

Ana Maria Archila, one of the sexual assault survivors who was filmed confronting Flake last week, responded to Trump’s tweet in a statement, saying, “No one can pay for someone’s lived experiences.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, “The Hungarian Jewish billionaire, Holocaust survivor and philanthropist figures prominently in anti-Semitic tweets, with claims that he directly uses his largess to fund false flag events. One noteworthy allegation claims that Soros was responsible for the deadly ‘Unite the Right’ rally in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Va. Other tweets refer to his Jewish heritage in pejorative terms and claims that he’s trying to undermine Western civilization.”

ThinkProgress’ Casey Michel recently explained the anti-Semitism behind conservatives’ Soros conspiracy theories:

Of course, as with most conspiracies, there’s a far darker reality lurking behind the notion that Soros is responsible for all the ills facing down nationalist movements. While most of those pushing Soros-based conspiracies don’t come out and say that Soros is evil because he’s Jewish, it doesn’t take much sleuthing to discern the anti-Semitism behind the conspiracies. Between the imagery of Soros pulling strings to the fact that Soros has effectively replaced “the Rothschilds” as the go-to for any conspiracy about an international cabal thwarting the people’s will, it’s not hard to catch the bigotry lacing the rising conspiracies about Soros.

Conservatives have a history of attempting to smear survivors of traumatic events as paid “crisis actors.” Sexual assault survivors’ attempts to confront Kavanaugh’s supporters have not been received well by Republicans.

The Washington Post reported in January 2017 that people were paid to attend Trump’s campaign launch announcement.

[ThinkProgress]

Trump Promotes Antisemitic, Conspiracy Website: I ‘Wish the Fake News Would Report’ Like This

President Donald Trump shared an article about the website magapill.com showcasing his “accomplishment list” — though, aside from including a faulty link, the Twitter account associated with the site frequently posted content that was antisemitic or conspiratorial in nature.

“Wow, even I didn’t realize we did so much. Wish the Fake News would report! Thank you,” tweeted the president — promoting an article from a site that believes Seth Rich was “murdered” by Hillary Clinton and banking is corrupted by “certain bloodlines.”

The front page of the website is titled “President Donald Trump’s Accomplishment List.” This page touts articles — in a Drudge Report style format — that supposedly reflect the president’s successes on the economy, crime, and business.

However, things get significantly stranger and disturbing when examining MAGAPill’s Twitter account, as the site obsesses over conspiracy theories — including the idea that Luciferianism, in part, controls the world, along with George Soros and the Vatican.

In the same wild flow chart, the account shares the theory that “banking families” — a seeming reference to the Jewish community — control all of the world’s financial institutions for their gain. “Banking families, Certain bloodline families have dominated global financial institutions, including: BIS, FED, IMF, World Bank, Wall Street,” states the chart.

Ironically, Trump’s tweet praising the work of MAGAPill came just after a post in which he attacked CNN as “fake news.”

[Mediaite]

Rex Tillerson is Intentionally Leaving the State Dept.’s Anti-Semitism Monitoring Office Unstaffed

The U.S. State Department’s office to monitor and combat anti-Semitism will be unstaffed as of July 1.

A source familiar with the office’s workings told JTA that its remaining two staffers, each working half-time or less, would be reassigned as of that date.

The Trump administration, which has yet to name an envoy to head the office, would not comment on the staffing change. At full staffing, the office employs a full-time envoy and the equivalent of three full-time staffers.

The State Department told JTA in a statement that it remained committed to combating anti-Semitism – and cited as evidence the tools, including the department’s annual reports on human rights and religious freedom, that existed before Congress mandated the creation of the envoy office in 2004.

“We want to ensure the Department is addressing anti-Semitism in the most effective and efficient method possible and will continue to endeavor to do so,” the statement said.

“The Department of State condemns attacks on Jewish communities and individuals. We consistently urge governments around the world to address and condemn anti-Semitism and work with vulnerable Jewish communities to assess and provide appropriate levels of security.

“The Department, our Embassies, and our Consulates support extensive bilateral, multilateral, and civil society outreach to Jewish communities,” the statement continued. “Additionally, the State Department continues to devote resources towards programs combating anti-Semitism online and off, as well as building NGO coalitions in Europe. We also closely monitor global anti-Semitism and report on it in our Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and International Religious Freedom Report, which document global anti-Semitism in 199 countries.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress in testimony earlier this month that he believed special envoys were counterproductive because they provided an excuse to the rest of the department to ignore the specific issue addressed by the envoy.

Congressional lawmakers from both parties have pressed the Trump administration, in letters and proposed bills, to name an envoy and to enhance the office’s status. They have noted that unlike other envoys, whose positions were created by Trump’s predecessors, the office of the envoy on anti-Semitism is a statute and requires filling.

“As the author of the amendment that created the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, I remain hopeful that these critical positions will be filled,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who authorized the 2004 law, said in a statement to JTA.

Jewish groups have lobbied President Donald Trump to name an envoy, saying that despite Tillerson’s testimony, the position has been key to encouraging diplomats and officials throughout the department to focus on anti-Semitism. Hannah Rosenthal, a special envoy on anti-Semitism in the Obama administration, instituted department-wide training on identifying anti-Semitism.

“The idea of having a dedicated envoy who can travel around the world to raise awareness on this issue is critical,” the Anti-Defamation League CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, told JTA in an interview.

“That doesn’t mean there isn’t value for all ambassadors and every embassy in addressing issues of anti-Semitism and bigotry in countries they operate,” he said. “But if the administration is truly committed” to combating anti-Semitism, “maintaining the special envoy for anti-Semitism seems like a no-brainer.”

The ADL, coincidentally, launched an online petition Thursday to the White House to fill the position.

Officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which has enjoyed a good relationship with the Trump administration, said that if the unstaffing was coming ahead of a reorganization of the office, that was understandable. But positions remain unfilled in all of the major federal departments and agencies since Trump took office.

“However, we are almost in July and there is still no one of proper rank at the State Department whom the Wiesenthal Center and others can work with to re-activate US leadership in the struggle against anti-Semitism at a time when global anti-Semitism is rising,” said an email from Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the center, and Mark Weitzman, its director of government affairs.

Jason Isaacson, the American Jewish Committee’s director of government and international affairs, said the position was essential.

“It’s not as though the need for a special envoy has diminished,” he told JTA in an interview. “If anything it has increased.”

[Jewish Telegraph Agency]

Sean Spicer Causes Uproar With Hitler Gaffe

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer came under fire Tuesday after saying that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” against his own people like Syrian strong man Bashar Al-Assad.

He later sought to clarify his remarks in three separate statements.

Spicer, speaking from the White House podium at the daily press briefing, said that Hitler, whom he called “despicable,” did not use “the gas on his own people the same way Assad used them.”

The outrage on social media was swift, with reporters and public figures blasting Spicer’s comments — and saying they were particularly offensive coming during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect called on President Donald Trump to can Spicer.

“Sean Spicer now lacks the integrity to serve as White House press secretary, and President Trump must fire him at once,” Steven Goldstein, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum used Spicer’s gaffe as a moment to remind of the horrors of the Holocaust.

At the briefing, Spicer pointed out that Assad dropped chemical weapons in the “middle of towns.”

U.S. officials said the Assad regime used Sarin in strikes on the Syrian people in a deadly attack last week that prompted U.S. military strikes in retaliation.

Nazis murdered Jews in gas chambers during the Holocaust by the millions with the use of chemical gas agents like Zyklon B.

Spicer acknowledged that Hitler did bring gas “into the Holocaust centers…I understand that.”

He later sought to clarify his remarks in multiple statements and said he was not trying to diminish the Holocaust.

“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust,” Spicer said in his third attempt at clarification. “I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”

(h/t NBC News)

Media

 

 

Trump Suggests Jewish Center Threats Are ‘To Make People Look Bad’

President Trump reportedly told state attorneys general that bomb threats to Jewish community centers and other anti-Semitic attacks may be coming from the “reverse.”

In interviews with Buzzfeed and Billy Penn, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that the president told the officials on Tuesday that the threats could be “to make people … look bad.”

Shapiro, a Democrat, noted that Trump denounced the threats in general, calling them “reprehensible.”

“Hopefully, he’ll clarify a bit more about what he means about the reverse possibly being true,” Shapiro said, according to Philly.com.

Shapiro later said in a statement that he didn’t know what the president meant by the “reverse” statement.

“But I am grateful that the president took the time to meet with the attorney generals and was willing to take questions from us,” he said. “I asked my question because we need a strong commitment that the U.S. Department of Justice will work with the states to help find and prosecute the individuals responsible for these acts of hate.”

More than 100 Jewish sites have received threats this year. On Monday alone, there were bomb threats to 23 community centers and eight Jewish day schools, according to the JCC Association of North America.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci, tweeted, “It’s not yet clear who the #JCC offenders are.” He then pointed to a Breitbart News story from 2016 that claimed Democrats were inciting violence at Trump campaign rallies.

The Democratic National Committee said in a statement that the president questioning the threats was “beyond the pale.”

The president is expected to address anti-Semitism during his joint address to Congress on Tuesday night, CNN reported.

(h/t USA Today)

AG Sessions Says DOJ to ‘Pull Back’ on Police Department Civil Rights Suits

Donald Trump’s attorney general said Tuesday the Justice Department will limit its use of a tactic employed aggressively under President Obama — suing police departments for violating the civil rights of minorities.

“We need, so far as we can, to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness. And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“So we’re going to try to pull back on this,” he told a meeting of the nation’s state attorneys general in Washington.

Sessions said such a move would not be “wrong or insensitive to civil rights or human rights.” Instead, he said people in poor and minority communities must feel free from the threat of violent crime, which will require more effective policing with help from the federal government.

While crime rates are half of what they were a few decades ago, recent increases in violent crimes do not appear to be “an aberration, a one-time blip. I’m afraid it represents the beginning of a trend.”

Sessions said he will encourage federal prosecutors to bring charges when crimes are committed using guns. Referring local drug violations that involve the use of a firearm, for example, to federal court can result is often a stiffer sentence than would be imposed by state courts.

“We need to return to the ideas that got us here, the ideas that reduce crime and stay on it. Maybe we got a bit overconfident when we’ve seen the crime rate decline so steadily for so long,” he said.

Under the Obama Administration, the Justice Department opened 25 investigations into police departments and sheriff’s offices and was enforcing 19 agreements at the end of 2016, resolving civil rights lawsuits filed against police departments in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, New Orleans, Cleveland and 15 other cities.

On Monday, Sessions said he is reviewing the Justice Department’s current policy toward enforcing federal law that prohibits possession of marijuana, but has made no decision about whether to get tougher.

His opposition to legalization is well known, and he emphasized it during an informal gathering of reporters . “I don’t think America will be a better place when more people, especially young people, smoke pot.”

States, he said, can pass their own laws on possession as they choose, “but it remains a violation of federal law.”

The current policy, spelled out in a 2013 memo from former deputy attorney general James Cole, said federal prosecutions would focus on distribution to minors, involvement of gangs or organized crime, sales beyond a state border, and growing marijuana plants on federal land.

(h/t NBC News)

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