Trump praises conservative activist Candace Owens as a ‘very smart thinker’

President Trump on Wednesday praised conservative activist Candace Owens, who he said “is having a big impact” on American politics.

“Candace Owens of Turning Point USA is having a big impact on politics in our Country,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“She represents an ever expanding group of very smart ‘thinkers,’ and it is wonderful to watch and hear the dialogue going on…so good for our Country!”

Owens is the communications director for Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that focuses on working with students on college campuses.

Rapper Kanye West recently heaped similar praise on Owens and the two later met in person.

“I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” West wrote on Twitter.

The president last year praised the founder of Turning Point USA just one day after an investigation revealed that an official with the organization had sent racist text messages. The organization fired the employee following the report.

“’The President has accomplished some absolutely historic things during this past year.’ Thank you Charlie Kirk of Turning Points USA,” Trump wrote at the time on Twitter, referring to the organization’s founder.

“Sadly, the Fake Mainstream Media will NEVER talk about our accomplishments in their end of year reviews. We are compiling a long & beautiful list.”

[The Hill]

Reality

The inflammatory Owens used a TMZ appearance to come to the defense of neo-Nazis and call the police killings of black men a trivial issue. She insisted that Trump has neither proposed harmful policies nor made offensive remarks towards African Americans.

Corey Lewandowski flashes white power ‘OK’ symbol on stage at Trump’s Michigan rally

Corey Lewandowski, who was campaign manger for Donald Trump in 2016 until being fired for being charged with battery after he grabbed a female reporter, joined Donald Trump on stage in Michigan Saturday night.

Lewandowski briefly took the microphone, and confusedly introduced Trump as “the next president of the United States.”

But not before he appeared to flash the “OK” symbol, as captured by Fox News cameras which had a wide-view shot at the time.

The “OK” symbol is widely used by white supremacists like Richard Spencer, though alt-right types like Stephen Miller and random interns also use it.

While the symbol is used by white supremacists as a symbol of their common beliefs, they also claim it’s a meta-troll and that people are getting angry about an “OK” symbol. The Anti-Defamation League says it’s not a hate symbol—it’s just a symbol made by right-wingers who want to show they have an affinity with Nazis but who are not Nazis.

[Raw Story]

Trump nominee to lead migrant agency shared Clinton, DNC conspiracies

President Trump’s pick to lead a United Nations migrant relief organization made hundreds of comments pushing conspiracy theories about Islam and Democrats, according to a CNN investigation published Thursday.

Ken Isaacs, the Trump administration’s choice to lead the UN’s International Organization for Migration, has faced additional scrutiny after CNN uncovered old social media posts where he appeared to equate all Muslims with terrorists.

On Thursday, CNN published a new trove of past comments.

CNN found that Isaacs also shared conspiracy theories about the Clintons and about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

In the summer of 2016, Isaacs tweeted that Switzerland should consider building a wall in the Alps to keep refugees from crossing the border, and responded to a terrorist attack in Nice, France, by saying Islam “is not peaceful.”

Last August, he retweeted a user who claimed climate change is a “big hoax,” and wrote that scientists “can’t predict path of a visible storm yet but certain of manmade climate change.”

Isaacs previously apologized after CNN uncovered his initial comments about Muslims, saying his social media use was “careless.”

He declined to comment on Thursday’s story, and the State Department pointed to a past statement of support for his nomination.

If confirmed, Isaacs will lead the International Organization for Migration, which oversees the use of roughly $1 billion in migrant aid across the world.

[The Hill]

Trump HUD appointee spread conspiracy about Hillary Clinton’s satanic ritual

Joe Gibbs, one of President Trump’s appointees in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, spread the false rumor that Hillary Clinton is a Satanist during the 2016 election, CNN reports.

John Gibbs was a conservative commentator tapped to join HUD as the head of a program aimed at spurring economic development and now holds the title of senior adviser in the community planning and development division.

On Twitter, Gibbs used the “#spiritcooking” hashtag, helping spread the rumor that Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta participated in a Satanic ritual involving the consumption of bodily fluids. #Spiritcooking evolved into the better-known #pizzagate despite being debunked at every turn.

The tweets from Gibbs are archived on the Wayback Machine.

He also used the term “cucks” in a defense of Milo Yiannopoulos and defended anti-Semitic alt-right commenter Ricky Vaughn when he was banned from Twitter.

[RawStory]

Trump Interior Secretary Defends Confederate Statues

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says that the Trump Administration will not remove Confederate monuments from federal lands out of consideration for the feelings of “native Indians.”

“Where do you start and where do you stop?” Zinke asked a Breitbart reporter in an interview published Sunday. “It’s a slippery slope. If you’re a native Indian, I can tell you, you’re not very happy about the history of General Sherman or perhaps President Grant.”

This is a mildly innovative take on the “where do you draw the line?” argument that various members of the Trump administration — and countless conservative commentators — have been rehearsing, ad nauseam, since a bunch of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville successfully revived the defense of Confederate monuments as a national political issue. But Zinke’s iteration of the question isn’t any harder to answer than its predecessors.

It simply isn’t very difficult to find a limiting principle that would allow one to take down statues of Confederate generals, while preserving most other monuments to key figures in American history. Here are two:

1) Is the individual in question historically noteworthy primarily for their service to an evil cause? In other words, was their contribution to said cause their principal legacy?

2) Was the monument in question erected with the explicit intention of celebrating that evil cause?

William Sherman was a racist who participated in what we would now call ethnic cleansing operations against Native American tribes. But this is not what he is primarily remembered for, nor is it his principal contribution to our nation’s history. Rather, Sherman is best known for helping to preserve the union — and thus, end American slavery — by bringing total war to the American South. That Ulysses S. Grant is not primarily remembered for his (terrible) treatment of the Plains Indians would seem to go without saying.

By contrast, Robert E. Lee’s principal historical legacy was taking up arms against the United States in defense of the Southern elite’s right to enslave — which is to say, rape, beat, breed, and kill — human beings with dark skin, at will.

To see the absurdity of Zinke’s rhetorical question, imagine a German official saying that it would be misguided to take down a statue of Adolf Hitler, because then the Chinese might start complaining about statues to Kaiser Wilhelm, who instructed German troops to “mercilessly” put down the Boxer Rebellion.

Now, this is not to say that one shouldn’t judge historical figures by their treatment of Native Americans. But the fact that Grant and Sherman made other significant contributions to our history means that when American communities memorialize them with statues, they do not, typically, do so as a means of celebrating the mistreatment of indigenous peoples.

And here lies the most important distinction between statues of Confederate generals and those of Union ones: The latter were not typically built during the Jim Crow era, to celebrate the restoration of White Supremacy after the end of Reconstruction; the former, typically were.

In his Breitbart interview, Zinke said, “When you try to erase history, what happens is you also erase how it happened and why it happened and the ability to learn from it.”

But when Zinke suggests there is no distinction between monuments to Union and Confederate generals, he erases how the latter were erected — and why.

[New York Magazine]

Trump Again Blames Both Sides for Charlottesville Violence

President Donald Trump is not backing off his defiant response to violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia last month.

The president told reporters on Thursday that he told Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in a one-on-one meeting that “you have some pretty bad dudes” opposing white nationalists. His comments echoed the most divisive remarks he has made as president, which drew criticism from bipartisan lawmakers, business leaders and his own advisors.

Trump invited Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, to the meeting Wednesday in what the White House reportedly called a demonstration of his commitment to positive race relations.

Trump says he told Scott that violence by some in the so-called antifa movement — far-left groups who oppose white nationalists — justified his remarks condemning “both sides” for the Charlottesville violence. A suspected white nationalist is accused of ramming a car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, killing one woman and injuring many others.

Here’s Trump’s summary of his meeting with Scott, according to pool reporters aboard Air Force One:

I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there. You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that’s what I said. Now because of what’s happened since then with Antifa. When you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have a point.’ I said there’s some very bad people on the other side also.

Scott’s office responded to Trump’s comments by saying he was “very, very clear about the brutal history surrounding the white supremacist movement and their horrific treatment of black and other minority groups.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, and to expect the president’s rhetoric to change based on one 30 minute conversation is unrealistic,” the statement said. “Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but white supremacists have been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison.”

Last month, when Trump said “very fine people” marched with the white nationalists in Virginia, his remarks drew widespread condemnation. The comments led to the dissolution of two business councils advising Trump and caused White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, among others, to publicly rebuke the president.

Scott also commended Trump for saying he wanted to diversify his staff. He also said he was encouraged by Trump considering his Investing in Opportunity Act, which aims to invest in economically distressed communities.

[CNBC]

Reality

Donald Trump AGAIN said the people who were run over and killed by Nazis driving their car through a crowd in Charlottesville were just as much to blame for violence as the actual Nazis who ran their car through a crowd to kill protester.

This is unbelievable coming from a President of the United States.

Trump took particular aim at Antifa, a small and insignificant anti-fascist movement that right-wing media like Fox News uses to paint the entire left as a violent agitators.

Trump Unloads On GOP Leaders, Clapper and Media in Typo-Riddled Twitter Rant

President Trump fired off a series of tweets on Thursday morning, attacking Republican leaders in Congress, defending the wildly shifting tones in his recent speeches and retweeting a crude photo collage of him “eclipsing” former President Barack Obama in a typo-riddled tirade.

Trump began by accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan of not following his advice on debt-ceiling negotiations.

“I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval,” the president tweeted. “They didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!”

Those tweets came just hours after the White House issued a statement saying Trump and McConnell “remain unified on many shared priorities” and will meet when Congress returns from its August recess.

The statement seemed to be in response to a New York Times report that the relationship between the president and McConnell has “disintegrated” to the point where the Senate majority leader is now privately questioning whether Trump can even save his presidency.

According to the Times, Trump “berated” McConnell during an Aug. 9 phone call “that quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.”

“During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue,” the Times reported. “He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

The president also criticized the media’s scrutiny of the shifting tone of his back-to-back-to-back speeches, misspelling the words “there” and “too.”

“The Fake News is now complaining about my different types of back to back speeches. Well, their was Afghanistan (somber), the big Rally (enthusiastic, dynamic and fun) and the American Legion – V.A. (respectful and strong),” Trump tweeted. “To bad the Dems have no one who can change tones!”

He wasn’t done.

Trump then ripped James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, who told CNN on Tuesday that the president’s fiery speech in Phoenix left him questioning the commander in chief’s fitness for office.

“James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?” Trump tweeted.

Amid the barrage, the president paused to retweet a meme-like photo of his face crossing in front of Obama’s, above the message “Best Eclipse Ever.”

[Yahoo News]

Update

Jerry Travone, whose meme Trump retweeted, turns out to be another white supremacist. Trump has a pattern of retweeting them.

Trump Cites “Anti-Police Agitators,” in Boston, Then Thanks Crowds For Protesting “Hate”

President Trump decried “anti-police agitators” in Boston Saturday, after thousands of demonstrators with anti-Nazi and anti-racism signs and chants drowned out a small group of white nationalists holding a “free speech” rally.

The president, taking to Twitter to praise police as “looking tough and smart,” thanked them and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for their handling of the event.

Police did appear to scuffle with a large crowd of counter-protesters Saturday, but the president’s response to the event that drew tens of thousands of largely peaceful counter-protesters is sure to spark criticism. Mr. Trump is already under fire for saying there were “very fine people” among the white nationalist protesters in last week’s deadly events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and for claiming “many sides” were to blame for the violence.

The president also said protest is sometimes necessary to “heal” the nation.

But Mr. Trump’s Twitter account later thanked people for protesting “bigotry and hate.”

The group that organized the “free speech” rally had until recently intended to have speakers with ties to white nationalism. Boston police did experience some confrontation against them, the Boston Police Department’s Twitter account seems to indicate. The police commissioner said 27 people were arrested throughout the day.

[CBS News]

Trump sides with white nationalists and praises ‘beautiful’ Confederate statues

President Donald Trump followed up his early morning tweet storm on Thursday by lamenting that Confederate statues are being taken down all across the U.S. and saying it’s “sad.”

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” wrote the president, who has come under the heaviest fire of his administration in recent days over his gross mishandling of the response to the violence in Charlottesville, VA.

He followed up by saying, “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”

And then, “Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

[Raw Story]

 

Trump Lawyer Forwards Email Echoing Secessionist Rhetoric

President Trump’s personal lawyer on Wednesday forwarded an email to conservative journalists, government officials and friends that echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda and declared that the group Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.”

The email forwarded by John Dowd, who is leading the president’s legal team, painted the Confederate general Robert E. Lee in glowing terms and equated the South’s rebellion to that of the American Revolution against England. Its subject line — “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” — was a reference to comments Mr. Trump made earlier this week in the aftermath of protests in the Virginia college town.

“You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington,” the email reads, “there literally is no difference between the two men.”

The contents of the email are at the heart of a roiling controversy over race and history that turned deadly last weekend in Charlottesville, where white nationalist groups clashed with protesters over the planned removal of a statue of Lee. An Ohio man with ties to white nationalist groups drove his car through a crowd, killing one woman and injuring many others, authorities say.

In a fiery news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Trump blamed “both sides” for that violence. He said many of those who opposed the statue’s removal were good people protesting the loss of their culture, and he questioned whether taking down statues of Lee could lead to monuments of Washington also being removed.

His words were widely criticized in Washington but were praised by white supremacists, including a former Ku Klux Klan leader.

Mr. Dowd received the email on Tuesday night and forwarded it on Wednesday morning to more than two dozen recipients, including a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, The Wall Street Journal editorial page and journalists at Fox News and The Washington Times. There is no evidence that any of the journalists used the contents of the email in their coverage. One of the recipients provided a copy to The New York Times.

Mr. Almon said he hoped Mr. Dowd would circulate his email.

“I was hoping it would get in the hands of President Trump — I quite frankly hope he would review it right now because his presidency is on the line,” Mr. Almon said in the interview. “I don’t believe the president is getting the correct advice or proper information. Someone reading what I sent to Dowd will view Robert E. Lee differently.”

There is no evidence that Mr. Dowd sent the email to Mr. Trump. Other recipients include Washington lawyers and members of Mr. Dowd’s family.

Mr. Dowd circulated the email hours after the White House issued its own talking points to Republicans defending the president.

“The president was entirely correct — both sides of the violence in Charlottesville acted inappropriately, and bear some responsibility,” the White House said. Those talking points, circulated on Tuesday night, did not address Mr. Trump’s comments about Lee and Washington.

The email that Mr. Dowd forwarded, however, issues a full-throated endorsement of those comments. It declared that Lee “saved America” by opting to surrender rather than launch guerrilla attacks in the final days of the Civil War.

Professor Giesberg said it is true that Lee rejected such tactics, but his decision did not save America.

“It’s like a history I don’t even recognize,” she said.

In an interview, Mr. Almon said he is not a Republican and that he does not reflexively support Mr. Trump.

“I’m against racism,” he said.

Mr. Almon said that he had also provided information about the F.B.I. to the office of Representative Devin Nunes of California, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

An email Mr. Almon provided to The Times showed that he had been in communication in March with Mr. Nunes’s office. There is no evidence that Mr. Nunes circulated that email.

[The New York Times]

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