Whether or not Newt Gingrich has officially joined the likes of Sarah Palin and Jan Brewer on Donald Trump’s vice presidential shortlist, it appears that Gingrich is having a major impact on the presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign.
According to a recent National Review article, the Trump and Gingrich speak to each other every day and the former House speaker has had “his hand in every major policy effort” by Trump’s campaign.
Certainly, the two share an almost unrivaled egomania and are skilled in the art of ridiculing liberal media “elites.” While he has developed a wonky reputation, Gingrich has also joined Trump in engaging in conspiracy theories about President Obama.
Back in 2012, Gingrich alleged that “we know so little about this president,” urging conservative activists to “raise a whole range of questions about Barack Obama.”
“Where’s his senior paper at Columbia?” Gingrich asked. “Where’s his application to go to Columbia? All sorts of stuff that we don’t know. In some ways we know less about this president than almost any president in modern times.”
Gingrich has also attacked the “elite media” for failing to investigate Obama’s past: “Do you think you are going to see two pages on Obama’s Muslim friends? Or two pages on the degree to which Obama is consistently apologizing to Islam while attacking the Catholic Church? Do you see anybody in the elite media prepared to say, gee, isn’t this kind of odd, that we really worry a lot about the Quran and nothing about the Bible?”
Gingrich defended birthers, such as his potential running mate, by blaming the president for the rise in conspiracy theories surrounding his birth: “I think that Obama creates very powerful emotions about him, largely because of the radicalism of his views. And I think that that's a key fact. I mean, nobody runs around and asks whether Colonel [Allen] West was born in the United States. He's an African-American, you know. He's a congressman. Nobody runs around and says, 'Is Tim Scott born in the United States?' He's a congressman. He's African-American. So the idea of asserting that any charge against Obama somehow manages magically in the media to get back to racism, I think is just one more device to protect Obama.”
Just as Trump now says that it’s “payback time” for voters who believe that America’s leaders are running the country into the ground and abandoning patriotic values, Gingrich once called on “the 80 percent of the country that actually believes in classical America” to fight “to take back power from the minority elite.” On another occasion, he warned that America would soon turn into “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”
Rather than adding intellectual heft to Trump’s conspiracy-theory-ridden campaign, Gingrich would just intensify Trump’s paranoid style of politics.
Televangelist Jim Bakker declared on his television program last week that only a “sick” person would believe that God is blessing America. He suggested that God is punishing America with an uptick in earthquakes due to the legalization of abortion (rather than the fracking process), and that America is now in the time of “sorrows,” noting that “we don’t know the difference between boys and girls, that’s how sick we are.”
“You think grown men should go into girls’ bathrooms?” he asked. “Is that what you all believe? Are you in agreement? This nation is sick, people. I’m not against anybody who is going through a problem or serious situations. But we as Americans, 99 percent of the people do not have to give up their sanity because 1 percent want to be insane.”
Bakker added that God told him that “certain things” will happen in the future but he doesn’t know what exactly.
“It’s coming apart,” he said. “There’s going to be things hit. We’re going to see some major things. God spoke to me 24 hours ago. There’s going to be certain things that are going to be like pre-earthquakes, they’re going to be — a smaller crisis, even part of the grid may go down. I don’t know for sure what it’s all about but I know God is speaking to my heart. The people are warning, he warns them, but they won’t listen, and God says I’m going to have to shake the people to get them to obey me.”
Bakker said God also spoke to him about Donald Trump, but he is holding back on revealing exactly what God told him.
Bakker’s cohost Zach Drew warned that if Democrats win the White House, the Supreme Court will become more liberal, which means “less rights as a Christian for you” and “more rights for the gay community and more abortion.”
Bakker, meanwhile, lamented Sadiq Khan’s election as mayor of London, seeming to imply that Khan supports terrorism: “London, a week or so ago, elected a Muslim mayor for London. I’m not against people. I am against when people have a plan to kill you and me.”
Next month, Donald Trump will host a meeting with some of the country’s most radical anti-LGBT and anti-choice leaders in New York City.
Trump, who has already recruited a variety of far-right activists and conspiracy theorists to his campaign, is set to take part in a convening organized by Ben Carson, a former rival turned campaign surrogate, aimed at bringing reluctant Religious Right leaders to his side.
According to a copy of the invitation to the event obtained by the National Review, Trump will be joined by Religious Right activists including Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Penny Nance, Jim Garlow, Rick Scarborough, Phil Burress, Ken Cuccinelli, Lila Rose, E.W Jackson, Harry Jackson, Tim Wildmon, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Cindy Jacobs.
The meeting will be cohosted by the Family Research Council, Vision America and AFA Action, the political arm of the American Family Association, three of the most vicious anti-LGBT hate groups in the country.
Trump has already pledged to use nominees to the Supreme Court to pave the way for the reversal of the landmark rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality and has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, key priorities of right-wing activists.
Here is a brief introduction to some of the far-right extremists Trump will be meeting with next month.
Donald Trump frequently attempts to get away with spouting wild conspiracy theories by claiming that he doesn’t necessarily believe in the conspiracy theories in question, but is simply asking the question.
This rhetorical trick, one perfected by Fox News hosts and right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck, enables Trump to insert a conspiracy theory into the news narrative without taking any responsibility as to whether the allegation is true or not.
Take, for example, his interview yesterday with the Washington Post, where he mentioned the thoroughlydiscredited claim that Bill and Hillary Clinton murdered Vincent Foster, a former aide who died of suicide. While bringing up the debunked conspiracy theory, Trump insisted that he wasn’t bringing it up, but was only saying that other people have said Foster was killed.
“He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide,” Trump said. “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
“It’s the one thing with her, whether it’s Whitewater or whether it’s Vince or whether it’s Benghazi. It’s always a mess with Hillary,” Trump said in the interview.
One issue on Trump’s radar is the 1993 death of Foster, which has been ruled a suicide by law enforcement officials and a subsequent federal investigation. But some voices on the far right have long argued that the Clintons may have been involved in a conspiracy that led to Foster’s death.
When asked in an interview last week about the Foster case, Trump dealt with it as he has with many edgy topics — raising doubts about the official version of events even as he says he does not plan to talk about it on the campaign trail.
He called theories of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.”
“He had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump said, speaking of Foster’s relationship with the Clintons at the time. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”
He added, “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
Alex Jones is continuing to escalate his feudwithGlennBeck, as the two far-right conspiracy theorists have repeatedly mocked and criticized one another as maniacal and insane.
In a video clip posted yesterday, Jones suggested that Beck is a “marionette” who is being controlled by “spiritual slave masters,” adding that he has cried on air over Beck’s actions “because when you see a Judas Iscariot tarot card, an archetype, when you actually see Judas Iscariot in the modern world, a true Benedict Arnold, and just the spirit of deception and true manifest evil, it’s very painful.”
“He is a very evil person,” Jones said. “Very evil.”
Jones particularly took issue with how Beck acted during a meeting between conservative activists and Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, after allegations surfaced that the social media giant suppressed posts from conservative outlets.
“Like a rat leaving a sinking ship, he’s scurrying into the arms of Zuckerberg, who just is the very vision of a vampire,” Jones said of Beck. “We can put a photo of him up. Not just the giant canine teeth, the psycho eyes. You can look at him and see an evil that may rival Beck’s. Look at Hillary. These are monsters.”
Progressives like Zuckerberg and Clinton, Jones explained, are using people like Beck to lead a “false opposition” in order to usher in a one-world government and destroy humanity.
“Where we’re going,” he warned. “Is a place like hell on earth.”
Jones added: “Beck is the government, Beck is the Democratic Party, Beck has always been Zuckerberg’s buddy, they’ve always been this snickering, evil team. He is a narcissistic, power-mad Satanist in my view…. The guy is literally such a predator. He looks like a serial killer. My cells cry out against him.”
Televangelist Jim Bakker offered yet another extremely vague prophecy while pitching his survival food buckets last week, telling viewers to purchase his $100 “30-Day Fiesta bucket” because God told him that “major events” will occur at some point in the future.
After recounting the Mexican food items in the Fiesta Bucket, which he says “passes the official Mexican test” and “is Mexican food that real-life Mexicans approve of,” Bakker told viewers, “I believe there’s going to be some events take place.”
“I believe there’s going to be major events that’s literally going to, like a shot across the bow, is going to warn us,” he said. “God’s been dealing with me. I’m so unrestful about it because I know things are coming.”
Not content with just spreading birther conspiracy theories about the president, at least one far-right broadcaster is now looking into whether Michelle Obama is lying about her gender, while conservative “investigator” James O’Keefe blows his latest operation.
Yesterday, American Family Association official Sandy Rios criticized the confirmation of Eric Fanning to be Army secretary. Rios didn’t find anything wrong with Fanning’s qualifications, she was just upset that he is a gay man.
As a gay man, Rios said, Fanning cannot be an “alpha male.”
“When it comes to leading men into battle, when it comes to being secretary of the Army, I’ll take an alpha male any day,” she said. “I’m sorry. I know these war-like men too well and I don’t think most of them — very few of them are gay. You that are in the gay community, if you were to describe your friends and colleagues who are in this community, I don’t think you would describe them as warriors. I’m sure there are some, but still, I would prefer an alpha male.”
“That’s where we’ve come: an openly gay man is the secretary of the army while the founder of the Delta Force, because he disapproves of transgender bathrooms in North Carolina, is fired from teaching at a college,” she said. “It’s just amazing.”
Yesterday, Breitbart legal editor and former Family Research Council official Ken Klukowski guest-hosted the FRC’s “Washington Watch” radio program, where he interviewed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell about the presidential election and the future of the Supreme Court.
Both Perry and Blackwell urged listeners to get behind Donald Trump, saying that while potential Trump nominees to the bench would emulate the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a Democratic president like Hillary Clinton would nominate more people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
When Klukowski asked Perry, who attacked Trump as an unchristiandemagogue before endorsing him, to “make the case for Mr. Trump,” Perry replied: “Let me make it as a simple as I can. Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump. Supreme Court appointment.”
“This isn’t about just the next four years,” he said, “as a matter of fact, it’s not about the next eight years, if we were to have a candidate that won successive terms. This is about the next 40 or 50 years because of those Supreme Court appointments. Listen, Hillary Clinton, we know exactly what she’s going to appoint, she’s going to appoint an individual, a raging liberal, an individual that keeps the left happy.”
He said that no matter how Clinton governs, “we know what she’s going to do on the Supreme Court” since the “activists in the Democratic Party, they’re going to force an individual upon this country through that presidential appointment of the Supreme Court of the most absolute radical, making laws from the bench, as you can imagine.”
Klukowski said Clinton “wouldn’t need any forcing” to make such an appointment, “she’d be leading the charge, they’d be chasing to catch up in terms of getting a committed liberal like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another one of those on the Supreme Court.”
“Or [Sonia] Sotomayor, I think Hillary Clinton’s appointments to the Supreme Court would make those individuals look almost moderate,” Perry said.
Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state and a vocal conservative activist, said voters in the presidential election will determine “the direction of the Supreme Court.”
“If they choose Hillary Clinton, we know what they will get: an expansion of abortion rights, more stringent gun control laws, a vanishing capital punishment, a continued attack on religious liberty,” he warned.
Praising the list of potential high court nominees Trump released yesterday, Klukowski said that several jurists on the list are “some of the most conservative judges in the country” while “all of them are conservative of one stripe or another.”
“When you’re voting for the president, you’re also going to be voting for the U.S. Supreme Court,” he added.
Blackwell said that in this election, “It’s the courts, stupid.”
As Ari noted last week, these claims come at a time when women’s “access to birth control is still a matter of public debate and gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals can still face discrimination across wide swaths of our country in the workplace, in housing, and even when attempting to access basic services.”
Indeed, anyone paying attention to the actions of House Republicans over the last few days can see that the party is still committed to undermining LGBT rights.
“During debate on a military spending bill, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to nullify a provision in a separate bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, that the House passed late Wednesday,” Jennifer Bendery of the Huffington Post writes today. “The provision opens the door to government contractors citing religious liberty as grounds for firing or harassing employees who are LGBT.”
When the amendment was on the verge of passing, GOP leaders convinced seven Republicans to switch their votes, successfully defeating the amendment by one vote. The Associated Press reports:
The vote was 213-212. President Barack Obama has issued an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., had offered an amendment to a spending bill that would have prohibited using taxpayer dollars to violate the order.
The vote for Maloney’s amendment peaked at 217, one short of the majority needed for passage, before it began a slow, sporadic decline. Members of the Republican whip team, whose job is to round up needed votes, were stalking the House chamber’s aisles where GOP lawmakers seat, openly pleading for support.
“Need two more votes,” Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., one of the GOP whips, said loudly as he prowled among Republicans.
Russell was the same congressman who introduced the anti-LGBT amendment that, according to the Advocate, allows groups “doing business with the U.S. government to fire or punish any employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity” under the guise of religious freedom.