Kevin McCarthy

Plenty Of Anti-LGBT Speakers At Trump's Convention

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.

As Peter noted earlier today, speculation that Donald Trump may move the Republican Party into greater acceptance of LGBT people is hard to take seriously given the GOP platform committee’s approval this week of an exceptionally anti-LGBT platform, not to mention the anti-LGBT activists whom Trump himself has enthusiastically embraced in his quest for the presidency.

A preliminary list of this year’s Republican National Convention speakers should also put that idea to rest.

Along with the many businessmen and celebrity buddies of Trump who appear on the speakers list are a number of activists and politicians who have long records of anti-LGBT activism.

Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell and one of Trump’s earliest endorsers from the Religious Right, has a speaking slot. Falwell is the head of Liberty University, the school founded by his father, which is well known for itsanti-gay politics and student policies discouraging homosexuality. Liberty University is closely affiliated with Liberty Counsel, the anti-gay legal group that represented Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her quest to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Also speaking will be three former GOP presidential rivals to Trump who are known for their anti-LGBT politics.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who hooked his presidential campaign on an appeal to Religious Right voters, will have a speaking slot. As we previously wrote , Huckabee managed to cover plenty of extremist ground just in his 2016 campaign:

After all, Huckabee had vowed to outlaw abortion with a sweeping presidential decree,promised to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling before it criminalized Christianity and destroyed America, and literally turned Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ release from detention into a campaign rally, volunteering to go to jail on her behalf. The former Arkansas governor even pledged to boycott Doritos because the company released rainbow-colored chips benefiting an LGBT suicide prevention group and starred in a bizarre anti-gay film.

Then there’s Ben Carson, who attracted plenty of attention during his presidential run forclaiming that prison rape proves that being gay is a choice. Carson insisted that “abnormal” LGBT people shouldn’t get “extra rights” and called for the impeachment of justices who back gay marriage. He also argued, as Brian has summarized, that the gay rights movement is “part of a wideranti-American, anti-God, anti-Constitution plot conjured up by communist subversives and the New World Order.”

Then there’s Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who, along with repeatedly lying about LGBT people, accused the gay community of waging a “jihad” against people of faith:

Cruz and Huckabee were both so eager to win the votes of anti-gay extremists that they attended a conference last year at which the organizer, radical pastor Kevin Swanson, repeatedly declared that the Bible demands that gay people be put to death.

And there are many more. Newt Gingrich, when he was running for president in 2011, signed the National Organization for Marriage’s candidate pledge to support a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and said that he would reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In 2008, Gingrich warned that "there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, is prepared to use harassment.” Mike Pence, who’s now being reported to be Trump’s vice presidential pick, has a long record of opposing LGBT rights, including signing a bill in Indiana last year that would authorize broad discrimination against LGBT people, before backing down under public pressure to amend the law.

While few sitting members of Congress are showing up to the convention, among those invited to speak are several with strongly anti-LGBT records. Just this year, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy personally twisted arms to ensure the last-minute defeat of a provision that would have protected LGBT people from employment discrimination from federal contractors, creating a chaotic scene on the House floor. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was instrumental in making the 2012 Republican platform reach new levels of anti-LGBT sentiment (although this year’s platform is even worse). Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, when she was a state legislator, tried to get a referendum on the ballot in an effort to overturn the state supreme court’s landmark marriage equality ruling. She has claimed she wants to leave the marriage issue to the states, but at the same time has said that she would support a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage.

Five Of The GOP's Craziest 'Benghazi Cover-Up' Conspiracy Theories

The 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, was viewed by some on the Right as the subject of “the biggest cover-up in history” and a sign of the coming apocalypse, so it came as no surprise that House Republicans eventually organized a special committee to investigate the attack, which had already been examined by several other congressional and executive panels.

Republicans have tried for years to use the terrorist attack — which led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens — to go after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is testifying before the committee today. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently admitted that the special committee was formed to bring down Clinton’s popularity in advance of the 2016 presidential election.

Of course, uncovering facts has never been the GOP’s primary motivation when it comes to Benghazi (or much else). As these five instances show, Republicans and their allies in the conservative media have been much more concerned with creating bizarre scenarios to claim that the administration, and fellow Republicans, are suppressing the truth of the attack.

1) ‘No Evidence’ But What The Hell…

Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch unveiled an elaborate conspiracy theory earlier this year, alleging that the Obama administration wanted Libyan militants to kidnap Stevens in order to then do a prisoner swap for terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted in the U.S. for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. However, the compound attackers botched the job after Stevens died, Fitton said, and therefore we can never know if the administration was actually ready to release Abdel-Rahman.

Fitton conceded in an interview with WorldNetDaily’s Jerome Corsi, a fellow Benghazi truther, that there is “no evidence” to support his theory.

“Given what we know now, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the terrorist attack on Benghazi could have been a kidnapping attempt aimed at releasing the Blind Sheik,” Fitton said.

He noted, however, there is “no evidence” that the Obama administration may have been complicit in any kidnapping plot related to the Benghazi attack.

And since he can’t find any evidence to substantiate this claim, Fitton is pretty sure that there must have been a cover-up, insinuating that the State Department was trying to stop his group from receiving corroborating information.

2) Cover-Up Of The Cover-Up!

When President Obama first proposed bombing the Syrian regime after it used chemical weapons on civilians in Ghouta, Glenn Beck knew that Obama didn’t want to stop such war crimes — but instead wanted to cover up what really happened in Benghazi.

According to one conspiracy theory, Stevens was actually organizing an operation to transfer weapons from Libya to Syria to aid Islamic extremists (which of course raises the question of why these extremists would then want to attack the American post in the first place).

Seizing on that conspiracy theory, Beck speculated that it wasn’t the Assad regime that used the chemical weapons in Ghouta, but rebels using weapons delivered from the U.S. via Benghazi. Now, Beck reasoned, Obama wanted to bomb Syria because he was “covering the trail of the lost weapons from Benghazi.”

Beck later claimed that David Petraeus stepped down as CIA director not because he leaked classified information to his mistress but because he was about to blow the Benghazi scandal wide open. Beck’s theory ran into a slight hitch when Petraeus publicly praised Clinton’s response to the attack.

Beck has also alleged that the administration “let them die” in Benghazi after issuing a stand-down order, an accusation refuted on his very own news website.

3) ‘I Don’t Have Any Proof’

The arms-running conspiracy theory cited by Beck emerged in the right-wing outlet WorldNetDaily, a home of credible journalism such as “Is Obama Biblical ‘Lord of the Flies’?” and “Does Bible Code Predict President Romney?.”

While we weren’t surprised that Beck would pick up a conspiracy theory from such a website, it was a bit more shocking when a U.S. senator brought up WND’s conspiracy theory in a hearing with Clinton. At a 2013 hearing, Sen. Rand Paul demanded that a dumbfounded Clinton tell him if the U.S. was transferring weapons from Libya into Syria via Turkey.

Paul admitted that he didn’t “have any proof” before suggesting that the gun-running scheme was what was really happening “and the cover-up was an attempt to massage and get over this issue without getting into the gun trade.”

Investigations, including one led by Republicans, have found that Stevens was trying to find weapons, but in order to keep them out of the hands of extremists, with no evidence at all that he then sent those weapons to Syrian groups.

4) Marijuana A Benghazi Distraction!

Ben Carson is very upset about the Obama administration’s push to reform American drug laws. The GOP presidential candidate told Joseph Farah, the editor of WorldNetDaily (notice a theme?), that the administration’s push to liberalize laws on marijuana, along with its stance on the trademark of the Washington Redskins, is all part of a plot to “distract people” from the Benghazi attack.

Carson told Farah last year that most people now just think Benghazi “is a singer.”

“And these people vote and they have no idea,” he lamented.

Carson isn’t the only one to latch onto the “distraction” theme. Conservative activist Robert Knight of the American Civil Rights Union dedicated a column in the Washington Times about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s since-lifted suspension by insisting that the “Deflategate” scandal was part of an effort to distract people from Benghazi. Iowa radio broadcaster Steve Deace similarly wonder if NFL prospect Michael Sam’s decision to come out of the closet was also just a Benghazi distraction.

5) Benghazi Special Committee Is Part Of The Benghazi Cover-Up!

Since every single official committee, including ones led by Republicans, that has investigated the Benghazi attack has ended up debunking the conspiracy theories percolating through the right-wing media, a group of conservative activists has launched the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi to find the real truth.

This unofficial committee has embraced so many conspiracy theories surrounding the attack that its members even believe that the GOP-led Benghazi Special Committee is aiding the cover-up!

One member, Ret. Navy Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, told, guess who, WorldNetDaily, that committee chairman Trey Gowdy needs to go, lamenting that “this is a continued cover-up.”

Kevin McCarthy's Wife Says She Is Losing Her 'Right To Be A Christian'

David Brody has been teasing out clips of an interview he did this week with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his wife, Judy. At one point in the interview, she played into the Religious Right’s persecution narrative by claiming that Christians like herself are losing their freedom of religion.

“People are sympathetic to different things and different causes, but when you bring up Christian, there is no sympathy whatsoever. They do not think you should be able to have that belief,” she said. “You’re not pushing that on someone else, it’s your own belief, you’re living it, I’ve never seen it the way it is now, I do think it is really scary actually, I think that they don’t want you to have the right to be a Christian.”

Tuesday's Primaries Reflect a Hard Right Turn for the GOP

A Republican incumbent held on against his upstart Tea Party challenger in Mississippi, but let’s be clear: Radical right-wing candidates secured their place on the ballot in races for federal, state and local office yesterday.

People PFAW’s Right Wing Watch follows closely like:

Gordon Klingenschmitt, a candidate for state representative, in Colorado, who:

And Michael Peroutka, a far-right activist and county council candidate in Maryland who:

On the congressional front…

We knew that after Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss to an even bigger Tea Party extremist that the GOP would shift even farther to the right.

Well, they have not wasted a single minute.

Newly elected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made his very first official appearance at Religious Right icon and former Christian Coalition Director Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition conference over the weekend.

The event was nothing more than an extremist hate fest, featuring a butcher shop’s worth of red meat for right-wing activists from the likes of Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Allen West and John Bolton, and even pictures of President Obama placed in the men’s room urinals.

Then on Sunday, McCarthy appeared on Fox News to assure the GOP base know that Republicans are unifying around a more extreme right-wing issue agenda.

This is the same political party that is backed by endless special interest cash and will be pulling out every distortion and dirty trick to take over the U.S. Senate this year.

These recent happenings are just the latest example of why 2014 is a fight we can’t lose.


Meet the Leadership: Corporate America and the Religious Right’s New Team in the House

In this Right Wing Watch: In Focus report, PFAW profiles the House Republicans slated to take important party and committee leadership positions in the 112th Congress. The incoming leaders and chairmen profiled share a fealty to corporate America, eagerness to please the Religious Right, and, often, antipathy toward the core purposes of the committees they’re set to head.

Meet the Leadership: Corporate America and the Religious Right’s New Team in the House

In PFAW's latest Right Wing Watch: In Focus report, we profile the House Republicans slated to take important party and committee leadership positions in the 112th Congress. The incoming leaders and chairmen profiled share a fealty to corporate America, eagerness to please the Religious Right, and, often, antipathy toward the core purposes of the committees they’re set to head.
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