Fighting the Right

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/18/16

  • McKay Coppins @ BuzzFeed: Confessions Of A Dishonest Slob: How The Haters And Losers Got Trump This Close To The White House. 
  • Alan Colmes: Trump: I don’t need to read much because I make decisions ‘with very little knowledge.’

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/18/16

  • Arthur Schaper writes, "If I were black person, I would stand up to every 'Gay Pride Parade' and shout 'Get back in the closet! Stop stealing our movement!'" 
  • William May warns that LGBT-friendly curricula in schools "provide our children with a corrupted understanding of love, sexuality, marriage and family." 
  • Joseph Farah says President Obama "seems to favor radical, authoritarian Sunni Islamists, while opposing religious minorities in the Middle East. Make of it what you like." 
  • Larry Klayman claims Obama "is simply the most compromised, corrupt and evil president in American history." 
  • Barbara Simpson asks of the president: "Is he blind? Stupid? Stubborn? A liar? A traitor? Or is he really a Muslim bound to support that belief regardless?"

RNC Speaker Asks God For Democratic Defeat In November

South Carolina pastor Mark Burns, a controversial Donald Trump campaign surrogate, delivered the benediction at today’s meeting of the Republican National Convention, where he used what is often an opportunity for nonpartisan prayer to call on Republicans to unite against “Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.”

“Father God, in the name of Jesus, Lord, we’re so thankful for the life of Donald Trump,” he said. “We’re thankful that you are guiding him, that you are giving him the words to unite this party, this country, that we together can defeat the liberal Democratic Party, to keep us divided and not united. Because we are the United States of America, and we are the conservative party under God.”

He asked God to protect Trump and to “give him the words, give him the peace, give him the power and the authority to be the next president of the United States of America.”

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.

RNC Descends Into Chaos When Presiding Chair Blocks Never Trump Delegates

The Republican National Convention broke into disarray today when Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, who was serving as the presiding chair, walked off the stage after ruling against a last-ditch effort by Never Trump forces to save their cause. The Never Trump delegates had demanded a roll call vote on the adoption of the convention rules, which they hoped to change in their Hail Mary effort to stop Donald Trump’s nomination.

Politico described the showdown:

The anti-Trump delegates opposed the rules and hoped to vote them down in the roll call vote. Their ultimate goal is to get a new set of rules that allow delegates to vote against Trump even if they are pledged to him based on the results of their state's primary or caucus rules, though they appear unlikely to have the votes to do either.

Womack eventually returned to say that the group pushing for a vote on the rules did not have sufficient support after several states, which he didn’t name, withdrew from the effort.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli led the protests of Womack’s decision to approve the rules on a simple voice vote rather than call for a roll call vote, and the Colorado delegation walked out of the proceedings entirely.

Alex Jones: Donald Trump Is Bringing Our Views Into The Mainstream

Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, held a pro-Donald Trump rally in Cleveland outside of the Republican National Convention today, where he thanked the soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee, a past guess on Jones' bizarre radio program, for bringing his ideas into the mainstream.

“We see the information that we talk about that was seen as radical becoming mainline,” Jones said. “We have to be ready to win. We have to be ready to take the system back and restore the republic.”

Later, Jones invited comedian Eric André onto the stage. André asked Jones to have sex with his wife, talked about his urine and repeated conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks, which Jones applauded since “I exposed all that.”

“You said something legitimate,” Jones told him.

GOP Rep: Donald Trump Won't Build A Border Wall

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, hailing him as a “dealmaker” who “will get some stuff done.”

However, Farenthold said in an interview last week with Virginia radio host John Fredericks that he doesn’t think Trump will actually fulfill his signature policy proposal, building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border that is paid for by the Mexican government, and instead will settle for a “virtual wall.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and anti-immigrant activist Dan Stein have similarly said that they believe Trump will not really build a border wall.

Earlier in the interview, Farenthold criticized President Obama for tossing “a can of gasoline on the fire” of race relations in America, claiming that the president knows “he can only win through dividing.”

“He gives lip service to uniting but you listen to the next sentence or two and it’s all about us against them and divisiveness,” he said.

He then criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, saying, “I think it’s 'all lives matter' and I think everybody can get behind that. Why do we have to differentiate between different groups? We need to come together. As long as we keep talking about division, it increases the tension between the different groups and puts us on the wrong path.”

Donald Trump: 'There's Something Going On' With Obama's Body Language

Today on “Fox & Friends,” Donald Trump repeatedly used one of his favorite lines — “There’s something going on” — while addressing President Obama’s response to the recent shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge.

Trump, who has previously used the phrase to suggest that President Obama is a terrorist sympathizer, said that “there’s something going on” with the president’s “body language” that shows that his praise of the work of police officers isn’t sincere.

“You know, I watch the president, and sometimes the words are okay but you just look at the body language and there’s something going on. Look, there’s something going on, and the words are not often okay, by the way,” he said. “There’s just bad feeling and a lot of bad feeling about him. I see it too. There’s a lot of bad feeling about him. We have a country that has not been like this since I can remember it.”

Trump also made the baseless claim that the Baton Rouge shooter was a radical Islamist, a mistake that an adviser later blamed on the fact that the interview took place early in the morning.

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

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/15/16

  • Speaking of AFTAH, Peter LaBarbera has uncovered "Barack Obama's radical LGBT legacy -- an immoral transformation of America."
  • “Remember where you read it first”: Joseph Farah predicts that Donald Trump will “win big” in November.

Trump Tells Far-Right Radio Host Many Immigrants 'Are Not Well People'

Among the many far-right conspiracy theorists that Donald Trump has embraced in his quest for the presidency is conservative talk radio host Michael Savage, who offers a steady stream of conspiracy theories and bigotry on his nationally syndicated program. Yesterday, as he was preparing to announce his vice presidential pick, Trump appeared yet again on Savage’s radio program, where he declared himself to be a loyal listener, praised Savage for the “great job” he is doing, and engaged with Savage in a discussion of what the radio host called “diseased immigrants” coming into the country.

After Trump casually mentioned something that Savage had said about not “liking” the videos of the two black men killed by police earlier this month, Savage asked Trump if he had heard that from listening to his show.

“I heard you say it, I heard you say it on the show,” Trump confirmed. “And, you know what, I heard you say it on the show, I do listen to your show, a lot of people listen to your show, I don’t even know if you know how many people. So many people come up and they say, ‘Michael Savages loves you.’ I say, ‘Well, that’s good news, I think that’s true.’”

This led Savage to ask if Trump would induct him into the Radio Hall of Fame in November. While the candidate said he couldn’t make the promise this far in advance because he might be busy negotiating a trade deal with China, he told Savage that “you deserve it” and promised that “if I could be a part of it in some way, I would be a part of it. You are doing a great job and you’ve been loyal to me from the beginning and I appreciate it.”

Later in the program, Savage declared that President Obama “has not only been flooding America with immigrants who cannot or will not work, he’s bringing in people who have brought back illnesses that were once basically eliminated in America” and offered to “help” Trump with the problem if he’s elected president.

“It’s a disaster to bring in diseased immigrants, don’t you agree?” Savage asked.

“Well that’s what’s happening,” Trump said, “and people don’t like talking about it and certainly it’s not politically correct to talk about it and that’s why they don’t do it, because everything we do today has to do with political correctness. If something’s a little bit off, off just a little bit, they say, ‘Oh, please don’t mention that.’ Even my people tell me ‘don’t mention that’ and I decide to mention things anyway, even though I know it’s going to end up being a firestorm I mention them anyway. But there’s something that’s one of the other elements, and the people are pouring into this country and, in many cases they’re not well people, in many respects.”

Mike Pence Backed Personhood Bills To Criminalize Abortions Nationwide

There's a reason anti-choice groups are celebrating Donald Trump's decision to tap Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate: Pence has spearheaded congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, even if it meant shutting down the government, signed anti-abortion measures into law in Indiana and rallied opposition to President Obama's effort to roll back prohibitions on stem-cell research.

Pence, who pledged at an anti-choice rally to send Roe v. Wade, which he called "the worse Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott," to "the ash heap of history," also cosponsored anti-choice "personhood" resolutions while serving in Congress.

The Life at Conception Act, which Pence cosponsored, called for Congress to "implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn person," defining legal personhood as beginning at the "moment of of fertilization."

Pence also cosponsored the Right to Life Act, a similar personhood bill.

Advocates of federal personhood bills believe that if Congress passes legislation defining “personhood” as beginning at conception, they can bypass and nullify Roe v. Wade, criminalizing abortion nationwide with no exceptions. While the personhood movement has traditionally sat on the far-right fringes of the anti-abortion movement, in recent years Republican politicians like Pence have brought the extremist cause into the GOP mainstream. Unlike more established abortion rights opponents that seek to cut off access to abortion and gradually outlaw the procedure, personhood activists want the government to immediately end abortion in all cases.

Trump, of course, has taken several contradictory positions on abortion rights throughout the campaign, including saying that women who have abortions should face legal punishment. While many anti-abortion groups condemned his remarks, his call for punishing women who have abortions was completely compatible with the message of personhood groups like Personhood USA, which praised the prosecution of a Tennessee woman for murder last year after she attempted a do-it-yourself, coat-hanger abortion.

Now, with Pence as his running-mate, Trump has decided to fully bring the personhood movement into his campaign.

Rep. Steve King Defends Confederate Flag On Desk: Slavery Just 'Small Part' Of Civil War

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, landed in some hot water this week after he gave an interview to a local TV station in his Sioux City district office and viewers noticed that he kept a Confederate flag on his desk.

In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jeff Angelo on Wednesday, King explained that the flag had been on his desk, along with an American flag and a Gadsden flag, for “a long, long time” and “no one has ever commented about it” until now.

He told Angelo that his critics don’t understand the “real history of the Civil War” and that only a “small part of it was about slavery.” He claimed that nobody minded the Confederate flag until the past year or so when people starting using the flag as a “pretext in order to divide us.”

“This is a free country and there’s freedom of speech,” he said, “and, by the way, I’d encourage people to go back and read the real history of the Civil War and find out what it was about. A small part of it was about slavery, but there was a big part of it that was about states’ rights, it was about people that defended their homeland and fought next to their neighbors and their family. And on both sides of that, roughly 600,000 Americans lost their lives in the Civil War and we put an end to slavery, a stain upon our country. And we’ve lived with respecting the South and their way of life for 150 years and now, after 150 years, there has to be an issue about a Confederate flag?”

King told Angelo that he had ancestors who had fought and died in the Union Army.

“Our family cares a lot about unity but also about the truth and accuracy in history,” he said, “and so that Confederate flag has been here for a long, long time, it just does a reflection of our history, it’s not meant to be anything else. And, by the way, up until about a year ago, it never occurred to me that anyone would think that it has something to do with — that it was an advocacy for anything other than, let’s just say, a piece of our history that we should remember and remember the right lessons from.”

“I’m watching our civilization digress,” he added, “because people are pitting — they are looking for pretext in order to divide us, and this is the pretext that they have chosen upon. And so I’d say to them the same thing the Texans say about their flag with the cannon on it: ‘You see this flag? Come and take it.’”

Glenn Beck Will Not Vote For Donald Trump Because He Doesn't Want To Answer To God

Glenn Beck spent a portion of his television program last night debating with audience members who are not very happy with his refusal to support Donald Trump, which Beck continues to insist he cannot do because voting for Trump carries eternal consequences.

To vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton is to give his approval to genuine evil and "darkness," Beck said, and so unless God tells him otherwise, he cannot vote for Trump.

"We have to do what we feel the Lord would want us to do," Beck explained. "All I'm looking for now is to be seen in eyes of favor. Lord, I know who you are and I can't imagine standing in front of you and saying, 'But you don't understand, you weren't there.' He was there. And I don't want to say, 'I didn't have enough trust in you to hold the line on my principles' because those principles were right! Even if they were going to throw me in jail and crucify me upside down, I'm not wavering because I believe what I believe in and hopefully the Lord will recognize those who have trust in Him."

David Whitney: Dallas Shooting Was Either False Flag Or Symptom Of Evolution Being Taught In Schools

The Institute on the Constitution’s David Whitney published a doozy of a response on Wednesday to the assassination of five police officers in Dallas, claiming that the sniper attack was likely a government-orchestrated false flag and, even if it wasn’t, it was the result of teaching evolution in schools.

Whitney first laid out the “false flag” theory, that the government orchestrated the shooting in order to “establish the New World Order, another name for the kingdom of Satan”:

… This sniper event couldn’t have happened at a more propitious time as the Congress is pushing through more gun control legislation. Could the timing just be just coincidental? Consider some similar sniper events.

In March 2011 the “spontaneous democratic protest” in Daraa led to carnage as trained snipers killed seven policemen and four protesters, escalating the crisis and launching the five-year long devastation of Syria. That sniper event was carefully planned and well coordinated in an attempt to destabilize that country and its government. In February 2014 paramilitary snipers (later identified as Gladio operatives) opened fire on protestors and police forces in Ukraine, escalating the crisis and putting the final nail in the coffin of Yanukovych’s rule. Now here in July 2016 unidentified snipers opened fire at an otherwise peaceful protest in Dallas. Is there a pattern here?

Could this be another false flag?

The difficult thing here as in other such events is that we cannot always get at the truth. We know the media, particularly the mainstream media, is lying to us regularly. We know our civil government in general is not to be trusted – they have their own agenda which is to establish the New World Order, another name for the kingdom of Satan. They will stop at nothing to achieve it, including murdering policemen. They are of their father the Devil and the works of the Devil they do. As he was a murderer from the beginning so murder is part of their playbook.

Whitney then explains that even if the shooting was not a false flag, it shows that legal abortion and teaching evolution in schools leads people like the Dallas shooter to mass murder:

By they way. If the narrative presented by the media and government were actually true, and I doubt that it is, what should be done? So we have an irate black man with a gun killing police officers. What should be done? Take away everyone’s guns? That begs the question, what brought this man to this point where he considers murdering others a good thing? How was he educated?

In a school house where the Bible was forbidden, prayer illegal, the Ten Commandments could never be seen by him or any student …

Add to that his school taught him evolution – that he was just a compilation of mutations and mistakes, just an overgrow ape. Add to that the notion of relativism, that there are no absolutes, nothing absolutely right or wrong. Compound that with the preaching from the school house that each individual is entitled to make up their own moral value system. Then top it of by showing the student for more that forty years murdering is not only valued as a social good, it has such an exalted status that the government will pay you to murder, provided you are female and it is your own child in the womb you are choosing to murder.

Given all these facts, that the government indoctrination centers have raised a generation of barbarians, what surprises me is that we don’t see more wholesale murder taking place in our already blood soaked land. In spite of the relentless Satanic propaganda drilled in by the government run schools, some survivors of those indoctrination camps still have a semblance of a conscience remaining.

RNC Preview: Dominionists To Hold Pre-Convention Christian Nation Prayer Rally

For the past couple of months, Christian-nation advocate David Lane and dominionst Doug Stringer have been organizing a day-long prayer rally that will take place in Cleveland this Saturday. Timed to coincide with the Republican National Convention, the event will be the latest in the series of “The Response” rallies organized around Republican politicians. They are modeled after a series of “The Call” events organized by dominionist “apostle” Lou Engle.

The first Response, which was promoted by some of the most extreme and divisive Religious Right figures, served as the unofficial launch of Rick Perry’s doomed presidential bid in 2011. The Perry event reflected Lane’s perennial goal of uniting conservative evangelicals behind a single candidate. Other Response rallies have been hosted by Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Pat McCrory of North Carolina.

Stringer has been on the ground in Cleveland meeting with local clergy to promote Saturday’s event as a nonpolitical opportunity for Christians to come together across racial and denominational lines to pray for America. That was also the message delivered on a pre-Response conference call last week, on which Stringer and other organizers described the event as a time of unity and prayer so that the Christian church can be a source of healing and hope at this “providential time” in our nation.

That’s the bait part of the bait-and-switch nature of these events. The switch comes at the rallies themselves, which, along with prayer and praise music, promote the Religious Right’s political agendas on abortion, LGBT rights and separation of church and state.

As we noted when the Cleveland Response was announced:

Lane and Stringer took the Response to Charlotte, North Carolina, in September 2015. At this “nonpolitical” event, Religious Right rock star David Benham talked about gay rights groups who he said were out to “force” their agenda on the country, portraying a “spiritual battle that is now waging before us in this nation, the home of the brave and the land of the free.” Lane opened the “nonpolitical” North Carolina Response rally with a prayer that talked about the lack of prayer and Bible reading in the public schools, abortion, and “homosexuals praying at the inauguration.” Another speaker prayed for God to “help us be like Kim Davis, obeying the Constitution and defying federal criminals.”

Event sponsor David Lane is an intensely political operative who believes America’s mission is to advance the Christian faith. He has been trying to organize “an army” of conservative pastors to run for office in hopes that each of them will mobilize hundreds of volunteers to help turn out the evangelical vote.

While Lane’s dream of getting Religious Right leaders to coalesce around a single candidate was, to a significant extent, achieved this year with nearly unanimous backing for Ted Cruz, many evangelical voters did not follow the script. Lane is now putting his faith in Trump, who he believes “can be one of the top 4 presidents in American history.”

Another hint of the “nonpolitical” nature of the Cleveland event comes from its promotional materials, which included a video from E.W. Jackson, a failed Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia; Jackson has called the Black Lives Matter movement “demonic,” said promotion of LGBT equality is “spitting in the face of Almighty God,” and accused President Obama of being more interested in “defending Islam” than “defending America.”

Also gathering in Cleveland before the RNC is the Council for National Policy, a secretive network that brings together activist leaders from right-wing to far, far right. Politico reported this week that Ted Cruz is meeting with the group on Friday, which may act as a quiet launch for a 2020 White House run.

 

Mike Pence: Donald Trump On Decaf

Donald Trump’s 2016 effort was born in the bowels of conservative talk radio. Former staffer (and current litigant) Sam Nunberg described, “listen[ing] to thousands of hours of talk radio” in order to hone the nascent campaign’s message in 2014.  

It should therefore come as no surprise that Donald Trump has reportedly chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a former talk radio host who once described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” as his running mate.

For months Trump’s campaign has been forced to confront a disturbing pattern of violence at its events and rallies. Just as Trump has defended supporters who have turned violent, Pence defended a conservative protestor who carried an assault rifle at an Obama event in 2011. The man had previously attended a church where the pastor "pray[ed] for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.” Responding to this incident, Pence compared carrying a weapon in close proximity to the president to carrying “placards” at an anti-war protest.

Numerous organizations (including us) have already pointed to Pence’s extreme anti-choice record. Like Trump, his rhetoric is on this issue is extreme, strange, and way out of sync with most Americans. In 2011, Pence spoke at the March for Life in Washington and defended House Republicans’ decision the previous year to vote on an anti-abortion bill before working on the core economic issues they had promised voters they would address.

“Amidst these struggles, some would have us focus our energies on jobs and spending. We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged,” Pence told the anti-abortion protestors. “Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life have forgotten the lessons of history. As in the days of a house divided, America's darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles.”

In other words, Pence believed — and proudly said — that it was a greater priority for Congress to pass a divisive anti-abortion than to address creating jobs.

Pence was also a cheerleader for the do-nothing Congress, bragging about the GOP’s ability to say “no” to progress on any issue. In 2010, he told a crowd of conservative activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC):

Some folks like to call us the 'party of no.' Well, I say 'no' is way underrated in Washington, DC. Sometimes 'no' is just what this town needs to hear. When it comes to more borrowing, the answer is no. When it comes to more spending, the answer is no. When it comes to more bailouts, the answer is no. And when it comes to some health care summit that is nothing more than a photo-op to pave the way for Obamacare 2.0, the answer is no.

Pence, like Trump, has also show a disdain for the free press. As governor of Indiana, he attempted to thwart the media in his state capital by creating his own propaganda outlet, paid for with taxpayer dollars. The state-run news website, according to official documents, would “break news — publishing information ahead of any other news outlet. Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such ‘exclusive’ coverage remain under discussion.” Ultimately, after a public outcry about this abuse of government funds and runaround of the First Amendment, Pence scrapped the concept.

Extreme statements on social issues, defenses of guns at political rallies and attempts to thwart the press —  Pence might not be as loud and brash as Trump, but he shares many of his worst traits. Perhaps just on decaf.

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.

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