Marco Rubio

It's Time to Hold "Trumpublicans" Accountable in 2016

"Trumpublicans" might claim to oppose Trump's agenda of hatred and bigotry, but they're still working to protect his interests and advance his agenda -- like by holding a Supreme Court seat open for him to fill.
PFAW

PFAW Launches “Trumpublicans” Campaign with Bilingual Radio Ads

Today, People For the American Way (PFAW) is launching its new campaign, “Trumpublicans: Reject Trump and the Republicans” / “Trumpublicanos: Rechaza a Trump y los Republicanos,” with radio ads, digital ads, and an event in Arizona with civil rights leader and PFAW board member Dolores Huerta. The campaign, aimed at Latino voters in Arizona, North Carolina, and Florida, emphasizes the importance of voting against Trump and Republican Senators standing with him.

“Donald Trump has made clear time and time again that he’s campaigning for the presidency on the backs of Latinos and immigrants. His hateful rhetoric began on Day One of his campaign, and we won’t let him take his bigotry to the White House,” said civil rights leader and PFAW board member Dolores Huerta. “But it’s not just Trump. Republicans – even those who at times have criticized him – are still voting for him and are still blockading President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in the hopes that Donald Trump will fill the seat. At the ballot box, Latino voters will make our voices heard against the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino Donald Trump and the Republican Party by voting against them.”

“Republicans can’t have it both ways. We know that anyone who stands with Donald Trump stands against us,” said PFAW Director of Latinos Vote! Lizet Ocampo. “We’ve launched our ‘Trumpublicans’ campaign to hold Donald Trump and the Republicans responsible for demonizing our communities and standing against our priorities. They’ve failed us at every level, from blocking comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship to opposing raising the minimum wage to voting against efforts to make college more affordable.”

The bilingual radio ads began running this morning in North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona. Each features a child speaking in English and Spanish, asking her mother, who speaks in Spanish, if Trump will win the election. The mother emphasizes that through voting not just against Trump, but against Republicans down ballot, Trump and Republicans will lose. “We take a multigenerational approach in this innovative ad to reflect the times we live in. We see more and more families where older generations speak primarily Spanish to their children and grandchildren, who often speak both English and Spanish or Spanglish,” explains Ocampo. While the ads are similar in theme, each is locally tailored. Listen to the ads and read the transcripts here.

Later today, civil rights leader and PFAW board member Dolores Huerta will join Latino leaders in Arizona to denounce Donald Trump and John McCain. Huerta will tell the story of how the Si Se Puede / Yes We Can chant started there with the organizing she and Cesar Chavez did with the United Farm Workers there. She'll address how Latino voters can again use their power, this time to decide the outcome of this November’s elections in Arizona.  You can also read her op-ed in the Arizona Capital Times published earlier this week, "Latino voters deciding the election? Si se puede!" To schedule a remote or in-person interview with Dolores Huerta, please email media@pfaw.org.

In addition to the radio ads and the event, PFAW will  target Latino Twitter users through paid posts in Arizona, North Carolina, and Florida. Here are the graphics we'll be promoting in Arizona:

 

For questions about the campaign or to speak with Dolores Huerta or Lizet Ocampo, please email media@pfaw.org.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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Marco Rubio: Vote For Donald Trump To Have More Scalia-like Justices On The Supreme Court

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio may stand by his belief that Donald Trump is a dishonest “con man,” but in an interview last week with the Christian Broadcasting Network, he said that pastors should support Trump anyway, noting that “Donald Trump is committed” to appointing Supreme Court justices in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia.

“I just don’t believe there’s any chance at all that Hillary Clinton will ever appoint someone to the Supreme Court with the views that Scalia had,” he added.

Theodore Shoebat Longs For Days When Marco Rubio Would Be Hung From The Gallows

Last week, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump spoke at a Florida Renewal Project event along with a variety of anti-LGBT Religious Right activists. While Trump used his speech to make absurd promises and ask for help getting into heaven, Rubio delivered a slightly different message, warning those in attendance about the dangers of discriminating against and passing judgment on gays. (This was perhaps an attempt to absolve himself for appearing with some of the most virulent anti-LGBT activists in the country.)

Rubio's message, of course, did not sit well with militant anti-gay activist Theodore Shoebat, who posted a video yesterday in which he longed for the days when traitors like Rubio would be hung from the gallows.

The Florida senator was "kissing up to the sodomite mafia," Shoebat declared, which proves that he is "a fake and an infiltrator and really just another tool for the sodomite agenda and the sodomite mafia." 

Shoebat warned that Rubio has now become "an agent for the perverts," which means that Rubio is among "the most wickedest of them all because [he] will use the scripture to defend homosexuality."

"In a proper setting," Shoebat said, "in a medieval Christian setting, Marco Rubio and all the schmucks like him would be hung by the gallows."

In Their Own Words: Meet Donald Trump And Marco Rubio's Unhinged Anti-LGBT Allies

Following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said he was so affected by the tragedy that he changed his mind and decided to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, while Donald Trump claimed that he would best represent the LGBT community by opposing Muslim immigration.

“Ask the gays” who their true friend is, Trump said.

Now, Trump and Rubio are both set to appear in Orlando two months after the Pulse nightclub shooting.

But rather than stand in solidarity with the LGBT community, as they pledged to do, they will be addressing a summit on the dangers of “homosexual totalitarianism” organized by some of the country’s most extreme anti-LGBT activists.

While Rubio has denied that the “Rediscovering God in America” event has anything to do with LGBT issues, its chief organizer, David Lane of the American Renewal Project, said explicitly that the gathering will focus on how LGBT equality endangers religious liberty.

Besides Lane, Trump and Rubio will be joining Religious Right activists Mat Staver, David Barton, Bill Federer and Ken Graves. That Trump and Rubio would stand with these activists shouldn’t be surprising, since both have promised to back anti-LGBT legislation and support judicial nominees hostile to LGBT rights, but it does show how their promises to defend the LGBT community only amounted to cynical and shallow political ploys.

Here is just a sampling of what Trump and Rubio’s far-right allies have said about the LGBT community:

David Lane

David Lane, the main organizer of the Orlando event, said in 2013 that God would punish America over the appearance of a gay poet and a pro-gay-rights priest at President Obama’s inauguration, including with car bombings in cities across the country:

Lane has also written extensively about the LGBT rights movement, describing it as a “pagan onslaught” that “has threatened our utter destruction.”

“Homosexuality is debauchery,” he wrote, adding: “Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and—more so—is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation.”

Mat Staver

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver has been fighting LGBT rights for years, representing clients like Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who both defied the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, and Lisa Miller, who during a custody battle with her former female partner, kidnapped their daughter and fled to Central America.

As we’ve reported, Staver “believes that the gay rights movement is ‘doing the bidding of the Devil ’ and is part of the spirit of the Antichrist and ‘demonic.’”

He has repeatedly compared LGBT activists to terrorists and warned that they are “forcinghomosexuality onto people, while at the same time he has frequently praised countries that criminalize homosexuality and pro-gay speech and has floated the possibility of civil war and revolution to stop marriage equality.

Staver has described gay people as child molesters who seek to transform groups like the Boy Scouts into “a playground for pedophiles” where they can “go and have all these boys as objects of their lust.”

In the wake of the Pulse nightclub attack, Staver criticized churches for participating in memorial events that he saw as “a homosexual love fest.”

David Barton

David Barton, a Republican Party activist and self-styled historian, has a long record of attacks against the LGBT community.

Several times, Barton has said that God is preventing scientists from finding a cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS because such a discovery would remove the divine punishment for homosexuality, arguing that homosexuality is a curse on people and society, while “chasing the sodomites” out of a community would lead to revival.

He once warned parents of public school students that “unless you’re willing to monitor what’s going on in that classroom,” he could “guarantee” that their children “are getting homosexual indoctrination,” lamenting that many children identify as gay because schools have decided to “force them to be homosexual.”

He has also falsely claimed that ex-gay conversion therapy is now part of the scientific mainstream and insisted that gay marriage harms the economy and leads to national collapse.

Barton has evencalled for the federal regulation and outlawing of gay sex because it is ‘very repugnant’ and ‘reprehensible and disgusting.’ He has warned that gay marriage will force male and female students to share the same locker rooms, that it has legalized pedophilia and bestiality and will now force churches to hire child molesters to run their day care centers.”

Ken Graves

Longtime LGBT rights opponent and Maine pastor Ken Graves appeared at an Orlando rally last year where he warned that “militant homofascism seeks to take over our land and make it Sodom” and is working in conjunction with those trying to establish Islamic rule and a “secular humanist caliphate.”

Bill Federer

Bill Federer, like Barton, styles himself as a historian, and one of his historical insights is that LGBT equality leads to Islamic domination:

It is no wonder that groups including the Equality FloridaHuman Rights Campaign, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, People For the American Way and many others have condemned Trump and Rubio’s appearance at the event.

PFAW Statement on Trump Appearance at Orlando Event Organized By Anti-LGBT Extremists

According to news reports today, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump will be attending an American Renewal Project event along with Sen. Marco Rubio later this week in Orlando, scheduled to take place exactly two months after the horrific Pulse nightclub shooting. The event includes some of the most extreme anti-gay activists in the country and is organized by an activist who has said that God would punish the country with “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines” for the LGBT-inclusive program at President Obama’s inauguration.

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“That the GOP standard bearer is choosing to rub shoulders with some of the most extreme anti-gay voices in the country speaks volumes about the Republican party today. These are people who revile gay people, calling them ‘demonic,’ and who claim that LGBT rights will lead to the ‘utter destruction’ of our country. But the GOP presidential candidate seemingly has no qualms about casting his lot with these dangerous anti-gay voices.”

People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch was the first to report that Sen. Rubio is scheduled to speak at the Orlando event. You can read Right Wing Watch’s latest report on the event, including examples of the participants’ anti-LGBT records, here.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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Donald Trump To Address Extremist Anti-LGBT Summit In Orlando

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to attend a radical anti-LGBT event in being held in Orlando this week exactly two months after the Pulse nightclub shooting, according to news reports from Jenna Browder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News.

As we reported last week, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and a host of anti-LGBT extremists are slated to address the “Rediscovering God in America” event, which is sponsored by the American Renewal Project.

Self-described “political operative” David Lane founded the American Renewal Project as a way to mobilize conservative Christian voters and inspire right-wing pastors to run for elected office. He told Jacobs that he intends to quiz Trump on how he plans to fight “homosexual totalitarianism” and the gay rights “militants.”

Lane, a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, has said that “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” in 2012 would cause “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa” as a sign of God’s judgment and that the “pagan onslaught” of the LGBT rights movement will lead to the destruction of America.

According to an invitation posted by the group Liberty Counsel Action, the speakers will also include:

  • Maine pastor Ken Graves preaches against “militant homofascism” that he says “seeks to take over our land and make it Sodom” and argues that gay people cannot build happy families because they are “depressed.”

Despite his own anti-LGBT record, Trump depicts himself as a champion of the LGBT community and demands that reporters “ask the gays” how much they support him.

Equality Florida plans to protest the event, citing the extremists addressing the rally, and Florida’s two Democratic senatorial candidates have criticized Rubio for his scheduled appearance.

Marco Rubio Defends Radical Anti-LGBT Orlando Event

As first reported on Right Wing Watch, Sen. Marco Rubio is slated to speak at an event in Orlando next week that will feature some of the country’s most extreme anti-LGBT activists.

Rubio has denied that the “Rediscovering God in America” event, which will take place exactly two months after the horrific shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub, has anything to do with anti-LGBT activism. In response to criticism last week, the senator attacked “the media and liberal activists” for labeling “a gathering of faith leaders as an anti-LGBT event” when it is “nothing of the sort.” He also called for more courteous dialogue in the debate over marriage equality that is “respectful of the views and the dignity of those on both sides.”

The Florida senator has clearly misrepresented the nature of the event, which is being led by political activists with a clear anti-LGBT agenda.

The Florida event is part of a series of “Rediscovering God in America” events hosted by David Lane, a self-described “a political operative” intent on infusing the U.S. government with his own brand of Christian nationalism. Lane has said that God will punish America for its growing acceptance homosexuality with “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa” and potentially the total destruction of America.

At least as of recently, Lane’s American Renewal Project, which organizes these events, functioned as part of the American Family Association, one of the most vehemently anti-LGBT groups on the Religious Right.

The very first Rediscovering God in America event, which took place in Iowa in 2011, was clearly political. At that event, Mike Huckabee called on participants to become “spiritual warriors” to fight marriage equality, and David Barton, who will also be addressing the Florida event, claimed that Jesus Christ opposed the minimum wage.

Barton is also not a pastor but a GOP activist who was a member of the Republican Party platform committee and is a former leader of the Texas Republican Party.

Barton has a lengthy anti-LGBT record, as we’ve reported:

Barton is delighted by the fact that God is preventing researchers from finding a cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS. According to Barton, HIV/AIDS is a punishment for sin and therefore God will block a potential cure: “God says, ‘Hey you’re going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.’” He argues that HIV/AIDS is a divine “penalty” for gay people’s “shameful sexual acts.” On a similar note, Barton has called homosexuality “absolutely reprehensible and disgusting” and said that marriage equality means we “are going down as a nation.”



Barton “guaranteed” listeners that if they have children going to public schools “they are getting homosexual indoctrination.” He even said that public schools will “force them to be homosexual.” Barton’s gay rights conspiracy theories don’t end there: Before the passage of the 2009 Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Barton said the law was “designed to single out preachers in the pulpit” and would put pastors in prison if they condemn homosexuality. Of course, that never happened.

The appearance of Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver alongside Rubio at the Orlando event should also put to rest the claim that this is an apolitical event.

Staver has claimed that gay rights advocates are terrorist-like minions of Satan who are paving the way for the destruction of America and a second revolution. When the Boy Scouts of America rescinded its ban on gay members, Staver said that the group would turn into “a playground for pedophiles,” claiming that gay people “entrap” and “groom” children and “force people into a lifestyle of destruction.” Besides pedophilia, Staver has also linked homosexuality to the 2008 financial crisis and violent crime.

He has also claimed that gay people are “forcing homosexuality on everyone by force of law” and that the Obama administration of mandating “forced homosexuality.”

Staver, whose clients include anti-gay heroes such as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moorehaspraised moves in RussiaIndiaMalawi and Nigeria to outlaw homosexual relationships or speech in favor of gay rights.”

Other speakers at Rubio’s event will include Maine pastor Ken Graves, who rails against “militant homofascism,” and activist Bill Federer, who thinks gay rights will usher in Islamic rule in the U.S.

While Rubio may try to deny that the event is in any way anti-LGBT, even a cursory glance at the rally speakers and principal organizer reveals that the senator’s statement flies in the face of reality.

If Rubio really believed that people should be “respectful of the views and the dignity of those on both sides,” aligning with radical activists who want homosexuality outlawed and smear gay people as pedophiles and Satanists is not a good start.

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/5/16

Marco Rubio To Headline Radical Anti-LGBT Event

When Marco Rubio cited the deadly attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando as a reason he was changing his mind and running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, many LGBT allies immediately noted that the Florida senator and failed presidential candidate has never been an ally of the LGBT community.

“To be using the tragedy in Orlando as a time to reflect on his Senate career, when his career and his promises on the campaign trail have been anti-LGBTQ consistently, it’s just staggering to think he would be using this moment for his own personal ambitions,” said Jay Brown of the Human Rights Campaign at the time.

It comes as no surprise, then, to see that Rubio is slated to address an event in Orlando next month that will feature some of the country’s most vehement anti-LGBT activists.

The Orlando-based Liberty Counsel Action, an extreme anti-LGBT group whose affiliate is famous for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her stand against the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, announced in an email today that the Florida Renewal Project will be hosting an event called “Rediscovering God in America” in August. The event will be headlined by Rubio, who will speak alongside anti-LGBT activists David Barton, Bill Federer, Ken Graves and Mat Staver.

The Florida Renewal Project is an affiliate of conservative activist David Lane’s American Renewal Project, which hosts “Rediscovering God” conferences around the country.

The event will put Rubio in the company of some of the most extreme anti-gay activists in the country:

  • David Lane, whose organization is hosting the event, believes that gay rights will lead to the “utter destruction” of the U.S. and “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.” (Learn more about David Lane here).
  • Mat Staver, whose Liberty Counsel Action sent out the invitation to the event and who is scheduled to speak, has gained a national reputation by representing Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore through the affiliated Liberty Counsel. Last month, Staver denounced memorial gatherings for the victims of the Orlando nightclub attack as “homosexual love fests.” Staver has claimed that gay people are “demonic,” seek to abuse children and are similar to terrorists, and has warned that gay rights victories could lead to “forced homosexuality” and “another civil war.” At the same time, he has praised countries that outlaw same-sex relationships. (Learn more about Mat Staver here).
  • David Barton, a Republican Party activist who styles himself as a historian, thinks that God is justly preventing a cure for HIV/AIDS because it is a divine “penalty” for homosexuality, and has lamented that public schools try to “force” students “to be homosexual” when homosexuality really should be regulated by the government. (Learn more about David Barton here).
  • Maine pastor Ken Graves preaches against “militant homofascism” that he says “seeks to take over our land and make it Sodom” and argues that gay people cannot build happy families because they are “depressed.”

View the invitation here:

Marco Rubio To Run For Senate Job He Hates

After six years in the Senate, where his main achievement has been renouncing an immigration reform bill that he helped to write, Florida Republican Marco Rubio has decided to reverse his pledge to retire and run for re-election.

Rubio has gained a reputation for hating his job and seems to have all but given up on doing it, racking up the Senate’s “the worst attendance record, missing 35 percent, or 120 of the 339 roll votes” last year. He even skipped votes on bills that he talked about on the presidential campaign trail. One of his presidential campaign surrogates, ex-rival Rick Santorum, was unable to name a single accomplishment of Rubio’s since he joined the Senate:

Back in October, the Sun Sentinel editorial board called on Rubio to resign because of his absenteeism:

Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he's MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead.

"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," he told CNN on Sunday. "I'm running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again."

Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.

If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.

Despite receiving significant support from party leaders and glowing media coverage, Rubio underperformed in presidential primary contests and wasn’t helped by his robotic debate performances.

Amazingly, Rubio has cited the attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando as a reason he is seeking a second term in the Senate, where he would surely continue to push his anti-LGBT viewsshow fealty to the NRA and position himself for yet another presidential bid:

The senator has told colleagues and advisers that he would like to run for president again, either in 2020 or 2024. But he increasingly came to believe that doing so from the private sector would be difficult.

The Unimpressive Result Of Bill Kristol’s Valiant, Desperate Effort To Stop Trump

Desperation can lead people to do desperate things. Bill Kristol has been pleading for major Republicans like Mitt Romney to enter the presidential race as an independent to give conservatives an alternative to the unserious, unbelievable, unpredictable huckster at the top of the ticket. Over the weekend Kristol tweeted, “There will be an independent candidate — an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.”

The prospect was titillating to political junkies, but the reality has been far less so. Turns out, according to some news reports, that all the political figures Kristol approached turned him down, leaving him with David French, a far-right lawyer and pundit with no experience in public office and near-zero name recognition outside the sphere of conservative media.

As MSNBC’s Steve Benen has noted, one of Kristol’s needs was to find “someone who could appeal to #NeverTrump neoconservatives and #NeverTrump evangelicals, simultaneously.” French certainly fits that bill.

Now a staff writer at National Review, French has worked for two of the Religious Right’s major legal groups, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the American Center for Law and Justice. Working for ACLJ and ADF certainly gives French the anti-LGBT cred he needs to win support from the Religious Right. He has argued that it was wrong for society to destigmatize homosexuality. He has declared that “when you’re talking about the conversion of marriage from a God-given and God-created institution into a contract between consenting adults, the victim is our culture.”

French has also argued that government anti-poverty programs have been harmful because they reduce poor people’s dependence on churches. He said that “in many circumstances, particularly in this country, poverty is the result of an awful lot of bad choices.” Here’s more:

A lot of our poverty is the result of behaviors that often require heart-level repentance to change. Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps are not going to get you to turn away from behaviors that are destroying your life, but the Gospel will.

It’s a problem, he said, that government assistance prevents poor people from having to seek help from the church, which could also provide them with “the much more important spiritual sustenance.”

In a troubling sign for Kristol’s effort to find a candidate with a commitment to reality, French has appeared repeatedly on David Barton’s WallBuilders show. Barton is the self-styled historian whose popularity among Religious Right leaders seems impervious to evidence that he has repeatedly misrepresented American history, other issues, and apparently even his own life. His Christian publisher withdrew his book about Thomas Jefferson after Christian historians were among those who challenged its accuracy. But French praised Barton in 2012 for “bringing truth about America’s heritage into the public square.”

French also has the neo-cons covered. He’s an unrepentant supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and a defender of Islamophobia-promoting hardliners like Robert Spencer and David Horowitz.

Romney has made some initial supportive comments about French, who just last week was urging Romney to run again, saying, “You’re the only man who can save us from future calamity.” French had “worked tirelessly” for Romney in 2008 and 2012; he and his wife even launched Evangelicals for Mitt. French, then at ACLJ, praised Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan, “a man completely committed to the cause of life,” for his running mate.

French has been sharply critical of conservative supporters of Trump, saying that “their much-vaunted conservatism” has been revealed to be “a mere means to an end.” Added French, “Virtually every character defect or ideological blind spot they condemned in others, they overlooked or even justified in Trump.”

Back in 2012, French had similarly strong opinions about Newt Gingrich and the conservatives who were backing him. In fact, French could repurpose those words for Trump with little if any alternation necessary:

If character counts, then so do values like fidelity, honesty, humility and charity. Sadly, Gingrich fails on all these counts ... Churchgoing evangelicals have one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. Gingrich is a thrice-married, serial admitted adulterer.

While the former House speaker tries to change the subject, biblically literate Christians understand that his conduct is a real and present issue. Simply put, a man doesn’t cleanse the moral stain of adultery by marrying his mistress….

[I]s there a more arrogant public figure in American political life than Gingrich? His self-regard is legendary…His self-congratulatory statements fill press releases, and former colleagues tell tales of his erratic and bullying behavior. Is that the right witness for evangelicals?

It’s awfully hard to imagine French gaining much traction, even if some of the Trump-resistant funders and backers of Ted Cruz were to rally around him. Still, you have to give Kristol some credit for not joining Marco Rubio and the pathetic parade of conservative leaders who are abandoning their principles to back Trump, a spectacle that former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson has called the “most depressing moment of the 2016 race.” Well, it’s early. 

Samuel Rodriguez Gives Trump Chance To 'Redeem The Narrative' With Latinos

Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez has a consistent political strategy: position himself as a nonpartisan advocate committed “not to the agenda of the elephant or the donkey but the lamb,” all while trying to convince Hispanic Christians to support socially conservative causes and politicians.

You might think that the immigration-reform-promoting Rodriguez would be in a bind with immigrant-demeaning Trump as the Republican nominee. But even though Rodriguez has been publicly critical of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, he seems to be positioning himself to encourage Hispanic evangelicals to support the Republican candidate. He has said Trump blew it with his early campaign rhetoric and that the candidate must “redeem the narrative” with Latinos.

This week Bloomberg reported that Trump would be delivering a videotaped message to be shown at this weekend’s meeting of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), which Rodriguez heads, and whose board includes Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver. The pro-immigrant group America’s Voice called on Rodriguez not to let Trump deliver a message to the group given Trump’s “hateful, incendiary rhetoric directed at our communities.”

(Just days ago, Trump attacked NHCLC board member Russell Moore, a leading Southern Baptist official, as a “nasty guy with no heart.” Rodriguez, who co-authored with Moore a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Trump’s immigration rhetoric and policies last July, said at the time that “an attack on Russell Moore is an attack on the entire evangelical community.”)

Rodriguez told the Washington Post earlier this week that he would wait to see if the message was “respectful” before deciding whether to show it. Today it is clear that Trump has satisfied Rodriguez, because the NHCLC put out a press release saying the group would show video messages from Trump and from Hillary Clinton on Friday evening.

While Rodriguez says he will not endorse a candidate, it’s hard to take him seriously as some kind of honest broker between the staunchly pro-choice Clinton and the muddled punish-the-woman Trump, who has said he would nominate Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.  As we recently noted, Rodriguez has said, “I’m going to vote for protecting the Supreme Court from judges that are activists, that run counter to our Judeo-Christian value system.” And he has made it clear that he believes Hispanic Christians must make opposition to abortion, not support for immigrant families, the basis of their vote.

In an interview being promoted by Glenn Beck’s The Blaze today, Rodriguez doubles down on that message, saying it would be “morally reprehensible” for Christians to vote for a candidate who supports Planned Parenthood, saying they would need to “repent.”

“I want to speak to every single African American, Latino, and Anglo Christ follower who believes in biblical orthodoxy — how can we justify supporting anything — be it Republican or Democrat — that in any way, form or shape defends Planned Parenthood?”

Trump has repeatedly praised Planned Parenthood but says he wants to defund the women’s health organization unless they agree to stop providing abortion services.

Rodriguez told The Blaze that it would take “a miracle” for Trump to win over the Latino community, but suggested it could be possible if he apologizes and chooses a Hispanic running mate, mentioning Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez and Ted Cruz.

The supposedly nonpartisan Rodriguez has filmed a video promoting the Republican Party’s faith-outreach project. Only 16 percent of American Latinos identify themselves as evangelical, according to the Pew Research Center, but they are more likely than other Hispanics to vote Republican.

National & Local Latino Leaders in Miami Speak Out Against GOP Presidential Candidates' Extremism

Miami, FL – Last week in Florida, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta joined local voters and Latino leaders to encourage voters to turn out to vote in tomorrow’s primary and to send a strong message that the rhetoric and priorities of Cruz, Rubio and Trump are far out of line with Latino communities in Florida and across the country. Photos from the roundtable, organized by 1199SEIU Florida, Latino Victory Project, and People For the American Way, are attached. Following the roundtable, 1199SEIU Florida contacted thousands of its members over the weekend and today reminding them to vote leading up to the primaries.

Key Statements:

Dolores Huerta, civil rights leader & board member, People For the American Way: "Donald Trump is the face of the Republican Party. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz also share the same values as Donald Trump. They’re all against immigration reform. They want to defund Planned Parenthood. They want to deprive women and families of the services they need.

“We know that we, Latino voters, will decide who will be the next President of the United States. We have a very powerful weapon in our hands – the vote.”

Pili Tobar, Communications Director of Latino Victory Project: “This November the stakes for Latinos in Florida and throughout the country couldn’t be higher. Republican presidential candidates have shown that they have no respect for our community, and they are on the wrong side of the issues the Latino community cares about. Whether we’re talking about immigration, worker’s rights, minimum wage, equal pay or taking care of our environment, the GOP field represent special interests at the expense of our community.

“This is why we have to participate, register, and come out to vote, it’s the only way we’ll truly hold Republican candidates accountable for their hateful words and their damaging policies."

Mayte Canino, the Miami Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood of South East and Norther Florida: “If any of the GOP candidates were elected they have said time and time again they would block over a million people from care at Planned Parenthood health centers, including 575,000 Latinos, many of whom rely on Planned Parenthood as their primary health care provider.

Just last week, here in Florida, the local legislature passed a bill that would strip thousands of women of their access to basic health care, such as cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and well-woman exams by blocking their access to Planned Parenthood.  These are the same kind of wrong-headed policies we’re seeing from every single Republican candidate."

Marilyn Ralat, Registered Nurse and Delegate of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers in Florida: “We need to educate our community in Florida about the importance of voting and mobilize them to the polls. I am here to invite all Latinos to vote, especially our large Puerto Rican community of which I’m part of.”

Viviana Ivalo, undocumented mother and community leader from Women Working Together USA: “We've been attacked by candidates since day one, it's important to come out and remind the candidates that we are going to vote."

To schedule a follow-up interview with any of the roundtable participants, or for photos of the event, please email Laura Epstein at lepstein@pfaw.org.

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National & Local Latino Leaders in Miami Speak Out Against GOP Presidential Candidates' Extremism

Miami, FL – Last week in Florida, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta joined local voters and Latino leaders to encourage voters to turn out to vote in tomorrow’s primary and to send a strong message that the rhetoric and priorities of Cruz, Rubio and Trump are far out of line with Latino communities in Florida and across the country. Photos from the roundtable, organized by 1199SEIU Florida, Latino Victory Project, and People For the American Way, are attached. Following the roundtable, 1199SEIU Florida contacted thousands of its members over the weekend and today reminding them to vote leading up to the primaries.

Key Statements:

Dolores Huerta, civil rights leader & board member, People For the American Way: "Donald Trump is the face of the Republican Party. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz also share the same values as Donald Trump. They’re all against immigration reform. They want to defund Planned Parenthood. They want to deprive women and families of the services they need.

“We know that we, Latino voters, will decide who will be the next President of the United States. We have a very powerful weapon in our hands – the vote.”

Pili Tobar, Communications Director of Latino Victory Project: “This November the stakes for Latinos in Florida and throughout the country couldn’t be higher. Republican presidential candidates have shown that they have no respect for our community, and they are on the wrong side of the issues the Latino community cares about. Whether we’re talking about immigration, worker’s rights, minimum wage, equal pay or taking care of our environment, the GOP field represent special interests at the expense of our community.

“This is why we have to participate, register, and come out to vote, it’s the only way we’ll truly hold Republican candidates accountable for their hateful words and their damaging policies."

Mayte Canino, the Miami Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood of South East and Norther Florida: “If any of the GOP candidates were elected they have said time and time again they would block over a million people from care at Planned Parenthood health centers, including 575,000 Latinos, many of whom rely on Planned Parenthood as their primary health care provider.

Just last week, here in Florida, the local legislature passed a bill that would strip thousands of women of their access to basic health care, such as cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and well-woman exams by blocking their access to Planned Parenthood.  These are the same kind of wrong-headed policies we’re seeing from every single Republican candidate."

Marilyn Ralat, Registered Nurse and Delegate of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers in Florida: “We need to educate our community in Florida about the importance of voting and mobilize them to the polls. I am here to invite all Latinos to vote, especially our large Puerto Rican community of which I’m part of.”

Viviana Ivalo, undocumented mother and community leader from Women Working Together USA: “We've been attacked by candidates since day one, it's important to come out and remind the candidates that we are going to vote."

To schedule a follow-up interview with any of the roundtable participants, or for photos of the event, please email Laura Epstein at lepstein@pfaw.org.

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On Eve Of Super Tuesday Religious Right Continues To Split

On the eve of Super Tuesday, the dream of Christian-nation advocates like David Lane to get evangelicals to coalesce around one of their own in the Republican primary is fading away as Donald Trump pulls ahead of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in national polling, and among evangelical voters in particular.

The ongoing split is reflected among right-wing political leaders.  Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach both endorsed Trump for his anti-immigrant policies. But first-term Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, the former president of a Christian college, wrote a public letter explaining why he would not vote for Trump in the general election if he became the party’s nominee.

And while Ted Cruz, his father, and Glenn Beck are frantically making the case that Cruz is God’s chosen candidate for the presidency, one of the country’s most prominent Christian business leaders has endorsed Marco Rubio.

David Green is the founder of the Hobby Lobby arts & crafts empire.  Green and his family have become right-wing folk heroes for successfully arguing that their massive for-profit company deserved a religiously-based exemption from the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that its insurance plans include contraception. Over the weekend, Green declared Rubio “a man who is prepared to be president.”

Cruz continues to build his own list of often-extreme Religious Right backers.  Jerry Johnson, president of National Religious Broadcasters, put out a video endorsement of Ted Cruz, who he called the most conservative candidate who can win the election. Johnson said Cruz will fix the economy by cutting taxes and regulation, “and he’s going to eliminate the IRS, and I like that.” Johnson also focused on the future of the Supreme Court.

Ted Cruz will make the right appointments on the Supreme Court. He’ll make conservative appointments. He’ll appoint justices that defend the sanctity of innocent human life and oppose abortion. He’ll appoint justices that protect your First Amendment freedom to believe and to live out your faith. He’ll appoint justices that will protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Johnson added that Cruz will rebuild the military, secure the border, and defeat and destroy ISIS. He said the fact that Cruz can’t get along with politicians in Washington, D.C. is a “badge of honor.”

Jan Morgan Expects Rubio To Soon Announce Endorsements From Hamas And ISIS

During a Republican presidential forum yesterday, Marco Rubio condemned an Oklahoma gun range for refusing to allow an Army reservist to use the range because he is a Muslim, saying that such discrimination is "wrong" and "immoral."

Today, Bryan Fischer brought Second Amendment zealot Jan Morgan onto his radio show to get her reaction to Rubio's comments and she was predictably unimpressed.

Morgan, who has also infamously banned Muslims from her gun range, told Fischer that "Marco Rubio sounds like a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood front organization CAIR."

"Marco Rubio has made a grave mistake," she declared, "which is why Donald Trump is slaughtering him in his own home state of Florida ... If Marco Rubio thinks that training and putting guns in the hands of people who align themselves with a theocracy that commands them to kill innocent people, if that's his definition of immoral, then he needs to be running on another ticket and I expect, any day now, to hear him announcing endorsements from the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, Hamas and ISIS."

GOP Refuses To Meet With Obama On SCOTUS, But Obama's The 'Divisive' One!

Update: Grassley and McConnell have at last accepted Obama’s invitation to discuss potential nominees at the White House, although they are still refusing to hold hearings or a vote on any potential nominee. 

As Senate Republicans close ranks in an attempt to prevent President Obama from nominating the next Supreme Court justice, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have declared that they will refuse to hold a hearing on Obama’s nominee, no matter who it is. On top of that, the Des Moines Register reports that the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, hasn’t even responded to an invitation from the White House to discuss possible nominees.

The Republicans’ unprecedented Supreme Court blockade exposes the lie that has undergirded eight years of GOP obstructionism: that President Obama is “the most divisive” president in history and that he refuses to reach across the aisle.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who just an hour after the news broke of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, made it clear that he didn’t intend to consider any Obama nominee to fill Scalia’s seat, has called Obama the “most divisive” president he’s worked with. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican senator and presidential candidate, has said that Obama is the most “divisive” political figure in modern history. The claim has been repeated over and over again in talk radio and the halls of Congress. Texas Republican senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz complained after Obama’s final State of the Union address last month that the president “lectures us on civility yet has been one of the most divisive presidents in American history."

As Paul Waldman wrote in “The Week” last month, the primary example of the “divisive” Obama that Republicans point to is that he “crammed ObamaCare down our throats” — a strange way to explain a bill that became law through the legislative process.

Waldman noted:

Let's just remind ourselves of how Republicans have treated Obama over his seven years in office, with a few of the greatest hits. You can start right on the day of his inauguration, when congressional Republicans gathered for a dinner at which they decided that rather than seek areas of cooperation with the new president, they would employ a strategy of maximum confrontation and obstruction in order to deny him any legislative victories.

They followed through on this plan. As Mitch McConnell explained proudly in 2010, "Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny Barack Obama a second term."

The Affordable Care Act itself was designed as something of a political compromise solution, containing elements of plans previously championed by Republicans. But Republicans in Congress closed ranks against the reform, eventually shutting down the government in protest of the law.

Senate Republicans’ attitude toward Obama’s judicial nominees has followed a similar pattern,even before the current Supreme Court showdown. As we noted last week, right-wing pressure groups and their allies in Congress, including Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, were trying to shut down the federal judicial confirmation process in Obama’s final year before Scalia’s death.

If Grassley is really now refusing to even meet with Obama to discuss potential Supreme Court nominees, the Right should finally retire its talking point that it’s Obama who refuses to reach across the aisle.

'Maybe I'll Go Down As The Biggest Fool Ever': Glenn Beck Unleashes Another Self-Righteous Rant

Glenn Beck closed out his radio broadcast today by attacking Marco Rubio using a clip from the Frank Capra film "State of the Union" in which a once-idealistic presidential candidate played by Spencer Tracy admits to having sold out his principles for power and denounces his own campaign.

Beck said that while he once had great admiration for Rubio, he no longer does because Rubio "doesn't care about the truth" and has seemingly lost his soul in the process of running for president.

"What this guy is accusing himself of doing is exactly what Marco Rubio has done," Beck said in introducing the clip of Tracy's climatic speech.

After playing the clip, Beck — a vocal Ted Cruz endorser and campaign surrogate — went on another of his self-righteous rants about how he refuses to wallow in the "cesspool" of American politics.

"When I came out and I said I'm sorry for anything I've ever done to divide this country," Beck began screaming, "I'm sorry, I tired to do my best, I didn't mean to, but I tried to warn people about what was coming. I tried to warn people in 1999 about Osama bin Laden, I tried to warn people in 2006 about the banking crash, I tried to warn people in 2010 about the caliphate. Nobody would listen and I'm warning you now!"

Beck fumed that while he has apologized for playing a role in dividing the nation, no politician or member of the media would follow suit and admit their own culpability, but that doesn't matter because he still believes in the ideals represented by Frank Capra's movies.

"I don't want to live in a country and I don't want to live in a time when they can't exist, when I can't believe that they're out there," he bellowed. "When I can't believe that the guy we're going to elect president of the United States actually has some courage and actually has some integrity! Maybe I'll go down as the biggest fool ever, but I'd rather die with hope that there's some common decency in this world than be a part of the cesspool that we seem to embrace."

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