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5 Conservatives Who've Admitted Trump Won't Actually Build A Border Wall

Donald Trump's acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention was high on fear-mongering and low on policy specifics. Not surprisingly, one specific policy he did bring up was his promise to "build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities." (Although, as the Washington Post pointed out, he left out his promise to make Mexico pay for it.)

Trump's promise to build a wall along the entire border with Mexico has been a cornerstone of a campaign that has cast Mexicans and Mexican Americans as frightening outsiders and criminals.

And the promise is just that: a rhetorical prop for a campaign that relies on stirring up fear of outsiders, not a serious policy proposal.

As the Anti-Defamation League has explained, building a wall along the entire border would be "impractical and very likely ineffective":

A wall or a fence along the entire border with Mexico would be impractical and very likely ineffective. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. It spans difficult terrain, including deserts and mountains. Rivers flow along two thirds of the border. Much of the area is private property, which the government would have to buy from the owners to build a fence or wall, and many do not want to sell the land. The logistics alone make building a wall very difficult, if not impossible.

A handful of conservatives, recognizing this reality, have recently attempted to give Trump an out by acknowledging that he won't actually build a wall but is instead talking about a "virtual" or metaphorical wall.

Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, an enthusiastic supporter of Trump, said earlier this month that "it's going to end up having to be a virtual wall," saying that aerial surveillance and "strategically placed walls" in urban areas are a more effective border control strategy than a literal wall along 2,000 miles of border. "You can buy a predator drone for what two miles of wall costs," he said.

Another Republican congressman who's supporting Trump, Rep. Chris Collins of New York, has also claimed that Trump's wall will be "virtual," telling a newspaper, “Maybe we will be building a wall over some aspects of it; I don’t know.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has also endorsed Trump, has also claimed that Trump is speaking only metaphorically about a wall, saying, "It’s a wall, but it’s a technological wall, it’s a digital wall … There are some that hear this is going to be 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso, 30-foot high, and listen, I know you can’t do that. ”

Even Dan Stein, the head of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform, has acknowledged that Trump's wall isn't a real thing.

“The wall is a surrogate for getting the border under control,” Stein said last month. “There have been physical structures in place down there since the 1980s. You need physical structures at certain high entry points to channel traffic. Ranchers who are out there in the middle of nowhere, they don’t see why you would need a border wall.”

“The wall is a surrogate for border control operations,” Stein added. “What [Trump’s] saying is he’s gonna get the job done. People who believe he’s actually gonna put a brick on every centimeter of 2,000 miles are in a sense mistaking his intention. The language he’s using is what you use in a political campaign, and if you take Hillary Clinton at her word, then she wants to embrace a limitless immigration platform.”

None other than manic Trump supporter Alex Jones has also admitted that Trump's wall promise is baloney, telling The New Republic, "The border wall is just a metaphor. It’s ridiculous."

These aren't people who object to Trump's fiercely anti-immigrant agenda. But they do acknowledge that his wall proposal would be an ineffective way to achieve even his draconian anti-immigrant goals.

Trump is conning his supporters with tales of his building prowess and vows to build a "big, fat, beautiful wall."

He isn't proposing a border wall as a serious solution to a serious problem. Instead, it's a rhetorical prop in his campaign of demonizing and scapegoating immigrants, and even some of his allies are admitting it.

Religious Right Group: GOP Platform 'Looks Like Something That Was Written By Us'

Paul Weber, the president and CEO of the Family Policy Alliance, the political wing of Focus on the Family, praised the Republican Party's new ultra-conservative platform yesterday, saying that the platform "looks like something that was written by us and placed on our own website."

In an interview posted on the organization's website, Weber specifically praised the platform's calls for overturning Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.

Weber also indirectly addressed the concerns of some conservative Christians in voting for Donald Trump, advising viewers to "compare the candidates" and telling them that they "have to vote."

"Seek the welfare of the state," he said. "We have two candidates. You have to choose the best of the two."

Frank Gaffney: Obama May Have To 'Preemptively' Pardon Hillary Clinton

One person who was convinced by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's make-believe one-man prosecution and conviction of Hillary Clinton at the Republican National Convention last night was Frank Gaffney, who declared on his "Secure Freedom Minute" broadcast today that the only way out for Clinton now is to seek a preemptive pardon from President Obama for crimes that she has not even been charged with but for which she will eventually be "tried and convicted in the court of public opinion."

Interestingly, Gaffney once accused Christie of "misprision of treason" for appointing a Muslim-American judge to the bench.

It's now just a question of time. Specifically, when when will President Obama pardon Hillary Clinton? That question was the inevitable takeaway from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's powerful indictment, literally, of the former secretary of state in his address to the GOP convention last night.

The one-time federal prosecutor methodically laid out the litany of lies, malfeasant and other criminal activities with which Mrs. Clinton could and should be charged. The crowd found her guilty again and again. Naturally, the most politicized Justice Department ever won't prosecute the incipient Democratic presidential nominee but Gov. Christie showed how, all other things being equal, Hillary Clinton will be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

The only possible way out is for President Obama to pardon her preemptively and soon. It may not change the ultimate verdict but it would commute Hillary's sentence.
 

Colorado's Demon-Hunting State Legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt Loves Mike Pence

One person who is unambiguously thrilled with Donald Trump's choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate is Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, the demon-hunting Religious Right activist who is currently serving out the end of his term as Republican member of Colorado's state legislature.

Klingenschmitt's activist career is grounded in his claim that he was fired from a post as a military chaplain because he prayed "in Jesus' name." In reality his lost the job because he violated military rules in appearing at a political event in uniform. When Klingenschmitt sued, a federal judge found that he had never been ordered not to pray in the name of Jesus and that along with defying orders by appearing in an official capacity at the political event he had been found to have an "unsatisfactory" job performance.

But those facts didn't stop Klingenschmitt from sending out an email to his followers on Sunday recalling how Pence, when he was the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee in Congress, had met Klingenschmitt in a "divine appointment" in the halls of Congress and championed his cause.

Klingenschmitt credits Pence with spearheading a letter from a few dozen conservative members of Congress objecting to a Bush administration Pentagon policy that The Hill described at the time as calling for "nonsectarian prayers" after the emergence of "allegations that evangelical Christians wielded so much influence at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment had become pervasive."

Not surprisingly, Klingenschmitt was also a big fan of the RFRA bill that Pence signed in Indiana that was meant to enable anti-gay discrimination.

From Klingenschmitt's email:

If you remember my story, you know in 2005 the U.S. Navy punished my chapel sermons in writing, then wrote a policy that banned praying "in Jesus' name" which cost my career.

That year I walked the halls of Congress, meeting any Members who'd defend religious freedom for Chaplains.  Friends told me "go see Mike Pence" the Congressman from Indiana who was then chairman of the powerful Republican Study Committee, composed of the 70 most conservative Congressmen. 

So I went to Congressman Pence's office.  I had just missed him, but I glanced at his official photo to get a visual impression of his face, (something I never did otherwise), and a half-hour later I turned a hallway corner, and literally bumped into him.  It was a divine appointment.

"You're Mike Pence!"  I said, immediately recognizing his face from the photo.

"Yes I am!" he smiled.

He was very attentive, and although he was on the way to another meeting Congressman Pence said to me, "walk with me and tell me your story."  We walked and talked for 10 minutes together.

I told Pence how 65 Chaplains were suing the Navy, all denied promotion for praying and preaching "in Jesus' name."  I showed him documents how they punished me for quoting the Bible in chapel.

He looked me in the eye and said "OK, I get it.  I'm with you 100%." 

Pence kept his word.  The next week every member of his committee, all 70 members led by Mike Pence and Walter Jones, signed a letter to the President on my behalf, demanding he let Chaplains pray "in Jesus' name." 

One year later Congress ordered the Navy to reverse their bad prayer policy and we won.

I know from personal experience, Mike Pence is a Christian, Conservative, Republican, as he freely admits "in that order" and I've seen him stand up for chaplains' rights.

Steve King: A History Of Racism

Last night, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, defended his party's relative homogeneity by arguing that white people have "contributed more to civilization" than "any other subgroup of people."

The comment was particularly fitting coming during the convention at which the Republican Party is set to nominate Donald Trump, who has fueled his presidential campaign with appeals to racial animus. And it fit in with a long pattern from King, who is a leader in shaping the GOP's immigration policy and who once said that a "good amount" of Trump's policy plans are "a copy-and-paste from things that I've done."

King made plenty of headlines back in 2013 when he argued against the DREAM Act by claiming that most of the young undocumented immigrants whom the bill would help “weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

In a very Trumpian move, King later tried to claim that his remark was accurate and even complimentary.

Like Trump, King makes racial dog-whistles a centerpiece of his anti-immigrant politics. He has repeatedly warned of the changing “demographics” produced by immigration, saying last year, “I like the America we had.”

This style of rhetoric also comes out when King is discussing non-immigration issues. During the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014,King said that racial profiling wasn’t a concern there because the small segment of people who had been rioting and looting were all of the same “continental origin.” King recently raised eyebrows when he filed a bill to defund the plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, insisting that it would be “racist” to add Tubman to the currency. Just last week, King defended keeping a Confederate flag on his office desk, saying that his critics don’t understand the “real history of the Civil War” and the fact that only a “small part of it was about slavery.” He once falsely claimed that President Obama had “apologized to Africa for slavery” when in fact “there’s nothing for us to apologize for,” and promoted the racist birther conspiracy theory.

While King endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz in the presidential primary, Trump has shown himself to be a fan of King. At one memorable press conference in Iowa in 2014, Trump, who had traveled to the state to campaign for King, stood behind the congressman smirking and nodding as King warned that the U.S. was becoming a “third-world country” thanks to immigration.

Operation Save America To Police: End Violence By Outlawing Abortion

Operation Save America, the organization that grew out of the abortion protest group Operation Rescue, is in Wichita, Kansas, this week commemorating the 25th anniversary of Operation Rescue’s 1991 Summer of Mercy, in which thousands of people were arrested blockading abortion clinics. (The group that is now called Operation Rescue, which has long been in a bitter feud with OSA about its name, has tried to distance itself from the event.)
 
This week’s event has drawn a few hundred people, about half of them from out of state — a sizable group but a far cry from the phenomenon that was the Summer of Mercy. The activists are meeting up to protest in front of clinics and throughout the city in the morning and attending rallies in the evening, where they’re hearing a series of lectures on what OSA leader Rusty Thomas calls the need for a “paradigm shift” in how the anti-abortion movement approaches its cause.
 
Last night, attendees heard from Matt Trewhella, a pastor who runs a group called Missionaries to the Pre-born out of Milwaukee. Trewhella has written a book called “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates,” which argues that “lesser magistrates,” meaning everyone from state governors to county clerks, have the duty to “interpose” to stop unjust laws being enforced by a higher authority. (Marriage equality and abortion rights are two examples; Trewhella also believes that adultery should be a criminal offense.)
 
Thomas riffed off this concept yesterday when he released an “open letter to the police in America” in which he urged police officers to demand that their legislatures call special sessions to “immediately outlaw abortion, grant the police the authority to shut down any death camp in their jurisdiction, and arrest those who participate in the barbaric act of abortion.”
 
The “violence, carnage, terrorism, and massacres” in America, Thomas wrote, are the result of the nation’s “blood guilt” stemming from Roe v. Wade. Also displeasing God, he wrote, is the willingness of law enforcement to be neutral on “sodomy, gay marriage, transgendered bathrooms etc.”
 
“Peace will never come to America as long as our country protects violence in the womb,” he wrote.
 
The swearing of the oath of every police officer ends with these words, “So help me God.” Thus, the oath of office taken by police officers does not just merely acknowledge God, but also implores His help to fulfill this ministry of good for our nation. Ultimately, police officers are called to be faithful to God from whom their lawful authority is established. Again, civil government is a delegated authority under God. Tragically, in recent decades, this oath has been greatly challenged by those who practice evil, (abortion, sodomy, gay marriage, transgendered bathrooms etc.). These subversive entities expect law enforcement to be “neutral” despite the fact that their activities are not only sinful, but criminal according to God. The federal government through immoral, unjust, and unconstitutional decrees has decriminalized their crimes.
 
 
 
The thin blue line that separates the criminal element from society is fading fast. Anarchy runs rampant while government tyranny grows. O ur nation stands in awkward amazement as violence, carnage, terrorism, and massacres are becoming a common everyday experience in our nation. To our horror, this violence has now targeted our law enforcement agencies. Why is this happening? There is only one answer from God’s Word, Blood guilt!
 
America has made a covenant of death with those who seek to murder innocent babies in the womb for blood money. Roe vs. Wade violated the sacred trust of law enforcement, which is to protect life and stop the shedding of innocent blood. Our nation has been defending the indefensible ever since.
 
Law enforcement officers, whom God has appointed to protect the most innocent amongst us are being used to protect those who would harm them. We call upon law enforcement to come out of the shadows of neutrality and join the Church of Jesus Christ to break this covenant with death. We charge them to lend their voice and influence to help end the violence that is not only savaging our nation, but our brave police officers as well.
 
We beseech police departments throughout America to rise up and demand the governor of their perspective states to call a special session. Police officers need to insist their states immediately outlaw abortion, grant the police the authority to shut down any death camp in their jurisdiction, and arrest those who participate in the barbaric act of abortion. Peace will never return to America as long as our country protects violence in the womb. We can shout black lives matter, blue lives matter, or all lives matter till the cows come home, but until preborn lives matter, no lives matter, including the police.

 

Meet the Speakers: RNC Speaker Once Suggested Gay Lawmaker Wanted To Protect Pedophiles

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.
 
One speaker at today’s session of the Republican National Convention was former Colorado state Rep. Libby Szabo, now a Jefferson County commissioner.
 
Szabo raised eyebrows in 2013 when she went on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program and suggested that the Colorado House speaker, who was openly gay, was “protecting somebody” when he opposed a bill that would have imposed harsh mandatory minimum sentences on people convicted of sexual assault against children. (Critics said that the bill was unnecessary and that current law already provided the protections needed.)
 
ThinkProgress transcribed Szabo’s conversation with O’Reilly:
 
O’REILLY: Now this Ferrandino I understand he is the — what, t he first openly gay House Speaker in Colorado. He was a fervent gay marriage person. He objected when gay marriage was first tabled because they sent it into the same committee to kill it that he sent Jessica’s law in. All that true so far of this guy?
 
SZABO: So far you’re correct.
 
O’REILLY: All right. So this guy doesn’t want tougher mandatory sentences. Have you talked to him about it? Has he said anything to the press about why not?
 
SZABO: You know, I don’t know that the press in Colorado, they covered this issue very well on — on my side of the issue and on Mr. Lunsford’s side of the issue. But I don’t believe he was willing to speak to them because obviously he’s protecting somebody. Obviously the victims hold more credence with him — I mean not the victim— the perpetrators hold more credence with him than the child victims do.
 

 

Meet The Speakers: On Immigration, RNC Tries To Send Conflicting Messages

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.
 
Tonight’s schedule at the Republican National Convention is organized around the Donald Trumpian theme of “Make America Safe Again,” featuring speakers who are poised to talk about immigration, law enforcement and the 2012 Benghazi attack.
 
We’ve already profiled Sheriff David Clarke, the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, law enforcement official who is likely to throw plenty of anti-Black Lives Matter, anti-Obama, anti-Clinton red meat the crowd. (And who has a troubling sideline as a cheerleader to anti-government groups.) Also on the docket for tonight is former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who we don’t expect to be all that friendly to Black Lives Matter either.
 
On the issue of immigration, the convention’s organizers seem to be trying to walk a fine line between encouraging the anti-immigrant sentiment that has been a cornerstone of Trump’s campaign and attempting to present a more moderate face to a national audience.
 
One notable speaker tonight is Rachel Campos Duffy, who will be speaking alongside her husband, Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. Although the RNC’s schedule presents Campos Duffy as a sidekick to her husband, she has a prominent role in conservative politics in her own right as the national spokesperson for the Libre Initiative, a Koch-funded organization that has been trying to win over Latinos to support conservative candidates.
 
Campos Duffy has chastised her party for what she calls a “tonal problem” on immigration. “Some of the harsher voices within this party have been able to sort of hijack [the immigration debate], in a way, and I think present a face that doesn’t really I think reflect the way so many of us feel about immigrants, about Hispanics,” she said in a 2013 speech.
 
We are not optimistic that she will address this “tonal problem” while speaking at the convention where Donald Trump will be nominated for the presidency.
 
Also reflecting the fact that the GOP’s problem with Latinos is more than just “tonal” is the prominent speaking slot being given tonight to Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
 
Sessions has had a close relationship with Trump’s campaign, especially when it comes to shaping the candidate’s draconian immigration policies. A Trump campaign source told journalist Gabriel Sherman in April, “ When Jeff Sessions calls, Trump listens .” Trump consulted with Sessions when he drafted an immigration plan last summer. Earlier this year, a top Sessions aide left to join Trump’s campaign and, shortly afterward, Trump named Sessions the chairman of his foreign policy advisory committee.
 
It’s easy to see why Trump and Sessions get along. In the Senate, Sessions has been a leading critic of immigration reform, helping to defeat immigration reform efforts in 2007 and 2013. In doing so, he has worked closely with the network of anti-immigration organizations started by John Tanton, an immigration restrictionist with a white nationalist bent. Sessions himself has dismissed immigration reform as “ethnic politics” and warned that allowing too many immigrants would create “cultural problems” in the country. Sessions first gained national attention when, in 1986, a bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination to a federal judgeship in the midst of charges of racial bias.
 
In another attempt at a balancing act on immigration, the convention’s organizers have invited three people, Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden and Jamiel Shaw, to speak as “victims of illegal immigrants.” Mendoza, Durden and Shaw are all grieving parents whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants; Shaw’s son was shot by a gang member and Durden and Mendoza’s children were killed in car crashes.
 
All three have become involved in the Remembrance Project, a group that uses genuinely tragic stories like that of these parents in a cynical attempt to paint undocumented immigrants as criminals. As we wrote in a profile of the group’s founder, Maria Espinoza, in 2014:
 
Espinoza has carved herself a specific niche in the anti-immigrant movement: highlighting cases where American citizens have been killed by undocumented immigrants in an attempt to tie individual crimes to undocumented immigrants as a whole.
 
Espinoza travels the country with her “Stolen Lives Quilt,” which features pictures of people who have been killed by undocumented immigrants, and is sometimes joined by family members of those featured on the quilt. The crimes that Espinoza highlights are indeed tragic, but the subtext of her project is dangerous.
 
Espinoza has close ties to the anti-immigrant movement, has written for a white nationalist magazine, and has even promoted writing from the racist website Daily Stormer. Trump, embracing Espinoza’s message, has promoted her and her group on the campaign trail.
 
These parents have very sad stories to tell. But Trump and the RNC are exploiting those stories to promote the myth of immigrants as criminals that has been a theme of Trump’s campaign from the very beginning.

Anti-Choice Leader: Tax Evasion A 'Serious Consideration' If Hyde Amendment Repealed

Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said last week that anti-choice activists should take into “serious consideration” refusing to pay taxes if the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds from going to most abortion services, is repealed.

Dannenfelser told the Media Research Center after a speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday that a tax protest would be "something to think about" if the Hyde Amendment were repealed, as proposed in a draft of the Democratic platform.

"If it were repealed, how should pro-lifers react?" MRC's Katie Yoder asked Dannenfelser. "Should they go so far as to refuse to pay taxes?"

"That would be a serious consideration," Dannenfelser responded. "That would be a serious consideration. When you're made complicit in the killing of another person, you have to weigh the consequences of all your actions, so it would be something to think about."

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/15/16

  • Joe.My.God: Trump Says Franklin Graham Will Speak At Convention Which Comes As News To Franklin Graham
  • Brad Reed @ Raw Story: Ivanka Trump’s rabbi pulls out of the RNC — after he’d planned to lead a prayer against bigotry
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