Federal judge halts Trump attempt to discharge service members deemed ‘unfit’ only because they are HIV-positive

A federal judge has issued a ruling from the bench halting the Trump administration’s attempts to discharge service members merely due to their HIV-positive status. The order goes into effect immediately for the U.S. Air Force after two airmen sued Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

“The two Airmen serving as plaintiffs, who filed pseudonymously, were given discharge orders at the end of last year after being found ‘unfit for continued military service’ despite compliance with medical treatment and physical fitness requirements,” Lambda Legal announced Friday.

The lawsuit was filed by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, with partner law firm Winston & Strawn.

“These decisions should be based on science, not stigma, as today’s ruling from the bench demonstrates,” Lambda Legal’s Scott Schoettes said, calling the judge’s decision, ” a major victory.”

Equality Cases Files published a copy of the ruling here.

[Raw Story]

Trump calls on Omar to resign over remarks condemned as anti-Semitic

President Trump on Tuesday called on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to resign for comments on Israel that were criticized as anti-Semitic.

“I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” Trump said of the freshman lawmaker.

Omar apologized on Monday for suggesting that U.S. support for a Jewish state is the result of money flowing from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

The comments were quickly condemned by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders. But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told Roll Call that Omar would not be stripped of her committee assignments. 

The president said Omar’s comments are “deep seated in her heart” and called her apology “lame.”

Trump was similarly critical of Omar on Mondaynight but had stopped short of calling on the congresswoman to step down.

“I think she should be ashamed of herself,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.  

Asked at the time what an appropriate response would be for Omar, Trump said, “She knows what to say.”

Omar prompted criticism from members of both major parties on Sunday evening when she retweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald’s response to a story about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promising “action” toward the Minnesota lawmaker and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over their alleged anti-Semitism.

She captioned that retweet with the message, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” referring to money.

Conservatives have touted GOP leaders’ decision last month to strip Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) of his committee assignments after he questioned why the term “white supremacist” is offensive, contrasting it to Democrats’ response to Omar.

But some Democrats have called Republicans’ punishment for King too little too late, pointing out that the Iowa lawmaker has made inflammatory comments about Hispanic immigrants for years.

[The Hill]

A Trump Supporter Attacked Journalists After The President Blasted The Media At His Texas Rally

A man wearing a Make America Great Again hat barreled into the press pit at Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas, Monday night and started shoving reporters, knocking over their equipment, and yelled “fuck the media,” minutes after the president had lashed out at journalists.

About half way through his lengthy, campaign-style speech, Trump ridiculed the media for “refusing to acknowledge” his administration’s successes, invoking loud boos and jeers from the crowd.

“I guess 93% of the stories are negative. No matter what we do, they figure out a way to make it that,” the president said, rattling off topics, such as North Korea, the economy, and manufacturing, which he feels that the media has unfairly skewed.

As Trump went on touting how his successes, a man in a red MAGA hat suddenly burst toward the group of reporters and photographers who were covering the speech, pushing them over, knocking their cameras and tripods, and repeatedly yelling, “fuck the media.”

“I was trying to tweet and watch the president and all of the sudden the riser started shaking and two tripods in front of me fell on top of one another and then a guy almost fell on me,” Yasmine El-Sabawi, a producer with TRT World, a Turkish news channel, told BuzzFeed News.

A photographer dropped his camera as she and other reporters quickly tried to figure out what was happening.

“Then it set in that someone was here who wasn’t supposed to be here and then you saw the red hat and it sinks in and you get it,” El-Sabawi said.

The attacker “went straight for the BBC camera man,” El-Sabawi added.

Several members of the BBC who were at the rally shared their footage and accounts on Twitter.

In one clip, a BBC camera steadily trained on Trump’s podium suddenly falters and blurs. Eleanor Montague, the outlet’s Washington editor, tweeted that it was because he was “attacked by a Trump supporter.”

“The crowd had been whipped into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night,” she wrote.

Trump: ‘Some of the Most Dishonest People in Media Are the So-Called Fact-Checkers’

President Donald Trump used part of his Monday night rally in El Paso, TX to rail against a particular branch of the media: fact checkers.

As Trump slammed former president Barack Obama‘s “you can keep your doctor” promise from the Affordable Care Act, he accused fact-checkers of never calling out the falsity of that claim.

“Where are the fact-checkers? Some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called ‘fact-checkers’…That didn’t turn out to be what he said.”

Trump’s remarks come after he got on Twitter earlier today and parroted Fox News opinion host Jesse Watters who said “the fact-checkers have become fake news.”

To put some perspective on Trump’s complaints, Politifact has figured that approximately 70 percent of Trump’s political statements are factually-challenged to varying degrees, plus Washington Post‘s fact-check finds that Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims throughout his presidency so far.

[Mediaite]

Trump Quotes Inane Media Criticism From Fox News Host Jesse Watters: ‘So True!’

President Donald Trump quoted a mind-numbingly inane piece of media criticism from a Fox News host Monday morning in an attempt to undermine fact-checkers.

Jesse Watters, who hosts a Saturday night show on Fox News, kicked off last week’s iteration with a lazy generalization: “The media fact-checkers are lying to you.”

Watters’ dismissal of fact-checkers relied on reports that Trump’s recent false claims about violent crime in El Paso were false. Watters took issue with a specific headline from Vox, which he called a “distortion.”

“The fact-checkers have become fake news,” he declared confidently.

Trump parroted the remark on Twitter Monday, calling it “So True!”:

Fact checkers can slip up — we’ve chronicled bad fact-checking on this very site — but to dismiss the entire practice as “fake” is, of course, remarkably stupid. There’s no doubt why Watters is taking aim at fact-checkers, however, and why the president is parroting his attack. The Washington Post‘s running fact-check found that in his first two years in office, Trump made a mind-blowing 8,158 false or misleading claims. That’s an average of 5.9 PER DAY.

[Mediaite]

Trump Gets Toe Tagged and Bagged by Black Twitter After ‘African-Americans Are Very Angry’ Tweet

In the CVS receipt-long list of people who should never speak on behalf of black folks, Donald Trump and Uncle Ruckus are engaged in a bloody duel for last place. But lo and behold, Melania’s Baby Daddy took to Twitter to come to our alleged rescue Sunday morning and speak on behalf of our collective outrage at all the blackface and sexual assault allegations pouring out of Virginia.

“African-Americans are very angry at the double standard on full display in Virgina!” he tweeted through a haze of hypocrisy, while resisting the undying urge to refer to us as “The Blacks”.

His tweet was in reference to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring’s apparent penchants for blackface and the widespread calls for each them to resign. In addition to Northam’s would-be successor, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, whose spent the past week being hammered by allegations of sexual assault by two women.

But again, this is Donald fucking Trump we’re talking about here. So Black Twitter politely declined his heroics and told him to go fuck himself in variety of colorful ways:

[The Root]

Trump says Democrats ‘cannot legitimately win’ 2020 presidential election

Donald Trump has claimed the Democratic Party “cannot legitimately win” the 2020 presidential election, in an angry tweet condemning congressional oversight of his administration.

“The Democrats in Congress yesterday were vicious and totally showed their cards for everyone to see,” Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.

“When the Republicans had the Majority they never acted with such hatred and scorn! The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”

The US president’s comment, in response to a grilling of his acting attorney general by the House judiciary committee, echoed similar ones he made in 2016 when he threatened to not accept the results of the “rigged” presidential election should he have lost.

Ned Price, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama, accused Mr Trump of launching an early bid to sow doubts about the legitimacy of next year’s vote.

“The first two sentences are laughable. The third is frightening—especially the use of the adverb “legitimately”, he tweeted.

“He’s setting the stage, months in advance, to be able to say the 2020 election was stolen. It’s fair to start asking whether Trump would cede power peacefully.”

Prominent lawyer and Trump critic David Leopold accused the president of attacking “the legitimacy of the 2020 election which he increasingly expects to lose”.

“That’s what thugs in power do,” he added.

Sam Vinograd, a former director on the National Security Council, said Mr Trump was aligning with Russia in “undermining confidence” in American democracy.

Mr Trump went on to claim on Twitter, without providing evidence, that America would be in recession if he had lost the election to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“We have a great economy DESPITE the Obama Administration and all of its job killing Regulations and Roadblocks,” he wrote. “If that thinking prevailed in the 2016 Election, the U.S. would be in a Depression right now! We were heading down, and don’t let the Democrats sound bites fool you!”

The president’s outburst came the day after Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, was repeatedly pressed by judiciary committee members on his relationship with the White House and his views on Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation.

Mr Whitaker, an appointee of Mr Trump, at one point caused the committee and audience members to gasp in disbelief when he avoided answering a question from the chairman by telling him his time had run out.

“Mr Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up,” he said in response to Jerrold Nadler.

The heated exchange arrived after the committee chairman asked Mr Whitaker whether he had “ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the special counsel”.

[Independent]

Trump Mocks Warren With Reference to Trail of Tears, Which Killed Thousands

When Senator Elizabeth Warren formally announced her 2020 presidential bid this weekend, President Trump responded with a familiar line of attack.

He mocked Ms. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, for her claims to Native American ancestry, again calling her by the slur “Pocahontas.” Mr. Trump then appeared to refer to the Trail of Tears, the infamously cruel forced relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century that caused thousands of deaths.

“Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore?” Mr. Trump tweeted. “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”

(Ms. Warren had recently apologized to the Cherokee Nation for taking a DNA test to prove her ancestry.)

(Ms. Warren had recently apologized to the Cherokee Nation for taking a DNA test to prove her ancestry.)

The comments drew immediate blowback on social media, with accusations that the president was making light of one of the worst tragedies Native Americans have experienced. Mr. Trump previously invoked the Wounded Knee massacre, one of the deadliest attacks on Native American people by the United States military, in another jab at Ms. Warren.

“He actually is condoning a narrative that supports a genocide and a forced removal,” said Betsy Theobald Richards, who works on changing cultural narratives for the Opportunity Agenda, a social justice organization.

Ms. Richards, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, said most people have been taught only the “dominant narrative” of history in the United States, which she said has long devalued the experiences and voices of Native American people.

“People don’t really realize these are real people who live among you,” she said. “These are their ancestors that are survivors, or carry on the memory of the people who were massacred or removed.”

For those who need a refresher, here is a brief history of the Trail of Tears:

In the 1830s, federal and state officials forced thousands of Native Americans from their land in the southeastern United States, including Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The forced relocation affected thousands of Cherokees, as well as the Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole tribes, among others.

The Native people were forced out of their homes and put in internment camps before they were pushed westward to designated Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma, according to the Trail of Tears Association, a nonprofit that works to preserve the historic trail and promote awareness.

Some 15,000 Native people died during the journey from exposure, malnutrition, exhaustion and disease, including about 4,000 Cherokees.

“It’s a terribly tragic event in Cherokee history and looms large,” said Jace Weaver, the director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia, who has studied the Cherokee removal.

[The New York Times]

‘KEEP OUT!’: Trump tells non-Americans to stay out of the country in border tweet

President Donald Trump’s latest tweet about the border outright told all foreigners to “KEEP OUT!”

“With Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country, Republicans must be prepared to do whatever is necessary for STRONG Border Security. Dems do nothing. If there is no Wall, there is no Security. Human Trafficking, Drugs and Criminals of all dimensions – KEEP OUT!” He wrote in a corrected tweet after misspelling “dimensions.”

[Raw Story]

Trump ramps up attacks on media: ‘Crazed lunatics’

President Trump on Monday ramped up his attacks against the press, calling the media “crazed lunatics” that have “given up on the TRUTH.”

Trump also said in a trio of tweets that the “Fake News” has “never been worse” and accused members of the press of intentionally making up stories to make him and his administration look bad.

“With all of the success that our Country is having, including the just released jobs numbers which are off the charts, the Fake News & totally dishonest Media concerning me and my presidency has never been worse. Many have become crazed lunatics who have given up on the TRUTH!” he tweeted.

“The Fake News will knowingly lie and demean in order make the tremendous success of the Trump Administration, and me, look as bad as possible. They use non-existent sources & write stories that are total fiction. Our Country is doing so well, yet this is a sad day in America!” Trump continued in a subsequent tweet.

In a third tweet, Trump labeled the press the “enemy of the people” and the “opposition party,” comments he has made before.

“The Fake News Media in our Country is the real Opposition Party. It is truly the Enemy of the People! We must bring honesty back to journalism and reporting!” he wrote.

Trump did not specify what reporting sparked the series of tweets.

His tweets come as an ongoing partial government shutdown, which is now in its third week, has continued to dominate the news cycle.

The shutdown was prompted when Trump refused to sign a spending bill last month that didn’t include his requested $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border. Democrats have vowed not to approve any funding for the wall and have offered $1.3 billion for border security.

The president has frequently lashed out against the press during his presidency, labeling negative stories “fake news” while targeting some media organizations as “the enemy of the people.”

He tweeted or retweeted the phrase “fake news” nearly 200 times last year and has already used the phrase several times on Twitter in the first days of 2019.

[The Hill]

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