On Friday morning in Washington, D.C., President Trump spoke at the Values Voter Summit, making him the first sitting president of the United States to speak at the controversial evangelical event. The conference often attracts fringe conservatives, and that was certainly the case Friday. At the event, guests were handed flyers warning about the “health hazards of homosexuality” and the “disproportionate disease in the GLB [sic]community.”
The summit’s primary sponsor is the Family Research Council, an anti-gay lobbying group that also opposes abortion and pornography. Now in its 11th year, the event has become a staple in conservative politics, with up-and-coming figures on the right filling the speaker’s list every year. This year will feature speeches from Steve Bannon, Laura Ingraham, former Rep. Michele Bachmann, two members of the Duck Dynasty family, and more.
When guests walked through the door to attend this year’s event, they were given a pamphlet titled “The Health Hazards of Homosexuality.” An advertisement for a book of the same name, the pamphlet declares that the “sexual revolution and mainstreaming of homosexuality have created a public health crisis affecting us all,” and accuses the media of giving “little attention to the danger of ‘gay’ and lesbian sexual practices and the resulting health problems.” It was released by MassResistance, an anti-gay activist group based in Massachusetts.
The president is addressing the Values Voter Summit today. Here’s what they’re giving guests in a swag bag: “The Hazards of Homosexuality” pic.twitter.com/eRufvSncc0
While running for president, Trump pledged to be a friend to LGBT Americans, telling them, “I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.” Since his inauguration, however, he’s taken a hard turn in the opposite direction: Trump’s administration has banned transgender troops from serving the military, withdrawn protections for transgender students in public schools, declined to prosecute businesses that refuse to serve same-sex customers, and withdrawn a rule that required Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to treat same-sex marriages the same as straight ones.
The pro-LGBT media monitoring group GLAAD denounced both the pamphlet about homosexuality and Trump’s decision to speak at the conference, saying that the president’s appearance there “normalize[d]hate speech.”
“Given that the Values Voter Summit is a conference of fringe extremists with a viciously anti-LGBTQ agenda, it is not surprising that unequivocally false and baseless materials like [the pamphlet]are appearing there,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told BuzzFeed News. “MassResistance is an identified hate group and Trump becoming the first sitting president to address this event is the latest example of a clear and distributing pattern of using the presidency of the United States to promote and normalize hate speech.”
Although Trump acknowledges that he’s never asked God for forgiveness for anything, the crowd of evangelical Christians gave him a standing ovation Friday when he pledged to use the phrase “Merry Christmas” during the 2017 holiday season.
“We’re saying Merry Christmas again,” Pres. Trump tells Values Voter Summit.
“We’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore,” Trump said. “They don’t use the word ’Christmas’ because it’s not politically correct. … Well, guess what? We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.” Trump did not mention same-sex marriage, which is generally the focus of both the event itself and the Family Research Council more broadly.
The Southern Poverty Law Center noted on Sunday, however, that in addition to attracting prominent anti-gay activists, the Values Voter Summit has also become a hot spot for anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim speakers, which the SPLC calls “a nod to the growing cross-pollination between the anti-LGBT Christian Right and the anti-Muslim lobby.”
“At least 10 of the speakers are representatives of anti-Muslim organizations or have a well-documented history of espousing anti-Muslim rhetoric,” the organization wrote on Sunday. “These include figures like Brigitte Gabriel head of ACT for America, the largest anti-Muslim group in the country who has said that practicing Muslims ‘cannot be loyal citizens of the United States’ and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, head of the anti-Muslim think tank Center for Security Policy (CSP).”
On its official website, the summit advertises itself as “a forum to help inform and mobilize citizens across America to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government that make our nation strong.”
Republican Block Investigation into NRA’s Illegal Russian Donations
Late last week, the two Republican FEC commissioners blocked an investigation into whether Russians used the National Rifle Association (NRA) to pump millions of dollars into the effort to help Donald Trump get elected in 2016.
Early last year, McClatchy DC reported that the FBI was investigating whether Russian banker Alexander Torshin, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, had illegally donated large sums to the NRA to get Trump elected.
In March, the FEC launched a preliminary investigation into the matter. Now, however, the commission’s Republicans have blocked the agency from investigating further.
“This is an abandonment of the Commission’s basic duty to investigate wrongdoing, and is contrary to law,” commented FEC chairwoman Ellen Weintraub in a statement.
“All our lawyers had to do was pick up the phone, call the FBI, and ask: Are you, in fact, investigating the Respondents for the violations alleged? But when I suggested that the Commission instruct OGC to do so, the Republican commissioners refused,” Weintraub wrote. “We still do not know the answer to this foundational, eminently knowable, question.”
Her Republican colleagues rejected the accusations. Commissioner Caroline Hunter told Newsweek that Weintraub’s “statement is long on conjecture and short on the evidence and the law.”
“Some allegations are too serious to ignore,” Weintraub stated, “Too serious to simply take Respondents’ denials at face value. Too serious to play games with.”
By voice and vote, Communications Workers censure Trump’s racism
By voice and by vote, in statements from leaders and members and in a blistering resolution, the Communications Workers convention strongly censured GOP President Donald Trump’s racism.
Trump’s “naked appeal to white supremacy” is “dividing the country in ways we haven’t seen in half a century and probably haven’t seen since the Civil War,” union President Chris Shelton declared during his keynote address on July 29 to the convention’s 2,000 delegates.
The blast at Trump was one of several highlights of opening day of the union convention, held in Las Vegas. Another was exhortations to build on past political momentum, and victories, in the run-up to the 2020 national election.
“It’s not just the president,” Shelton explained, after citing the need to beat Trump next year. “We also have to hold the (U.S.) House. And nationally, Senate races won’t be easy. But the road to a majority runs through North Carolina, Maine, Georgia, Arizona, and Colorado.”
Vulnerable GOP senators from those states, along with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., and 16 other Republican senators, are up next year. Democrats hold 45 Senate seats, plus two Democratic-leaning independents, and are defending 12. A five-seat Democratic gain would turn over the Senate.
“We must do everything we can to win the Senate and ask American politicians to serve the American people again.”
And the union’s women’s committee – whose report noted a dearth of women in top posts at CWA, in unions and in politics — pledged to put a woman in the White House and add so many women into top ranks that CWA would have to set up “a men’s committee” to tackle their problems.
But Trump’s racism, especially his vitriolic “go back where you came from” attacks against progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City, Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, Ayanna Pressley of Boston and Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis, were the focus of ire, and not just from Shelton.
“In times like these, we need to be united as a union and as a country,” said Diane Bailey of Local 4310 in Columbus, Ohio, during the brief discussion. “Division only works against us. We must not go backward; we can only move forward.”
“White nationalism is wrong. Racism is wrong,” declared Local 4123 President Charles Daniels of Pontiac, Mich. “The president of the United States telling four women of color to ‘go back where they came from’ is wrong.”
“We stand up to bullies and we have to stand up now because it is the president of the U.S., so it’s incumbent on us to say ‘no.’ As powerful as he is, it’s wrong,” Daniels said of Trump’s statements.
The resolution was in a similar vein.
After citing the Statue of Liberty’s poem by Emma Lazarus, the resolution said, “that is the America we believe in. Apparently, the president of the United States does not share that belief.”
The resolution says Trump’s attacks on the four first-year lawmakers, all women of color and all Democrats, are “offensive, demagogic, dangerous and racist.” Trump’s language “poses a particular danger to Omar, given the barely hidden networks of armed white supremacists whose hatred of Muslims hardly needs to be stoked by” Trump.
Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim American women ever elected to Congress. Omar is a refugee from the Somalian civil war. Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, and Pressley are native-born.
CWA not only denounced Trump but demands other unions, legislatures and community groups do so, too. Earlier in July, the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union, did so. But CWA also demanded Trump’s GOP colleagues to “denounce his un-American rhetoric.”
“All too many have been silent in this controversy,” it notes. As a matter of fact, the number of elected GOPers nationwide – senators, representatives, and governors – who have blasted Trump’s racism can be counted on fewer than the fingers of two hands.
Though the delegates censured Trump, impeaching him did not come up in either in the convention resolutions committee or on the floor. That seemingly runs counter to continuing grass-roots sentiment among rank-and-file Democrats. But the party’s leaders, in Congress and in organized labor, either oppose the move (Congress) or are silent so far (labor).
The union’s denunciation of Trump “is about his racism, not necessarily his policies,” one speaker said, attempting to reassure those CWA members, and other workers, who voted for Trump in 2016.
“Real leaders unite us so we can move forward, build unity around the American dream and fulfill the bold promise of the Statue of Liberty: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free,’” quoted Shelton, a New Yorker and former New York Telephone lineman, whom delegates re-elected that afternoon by acclamation. They also re-elected Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, a News Guild member, by acclamation to the union’s #2 post.
Gallery: Inside Melania Trump’s Extreme Forced Plastic Surgery
Melania Trump has opted for some major cosmetic procedures to stay looking young for the President (especially because Donald Trump reportedly had a scalp reduction to correct balding, and maintains his complexion with heavy-handed spray tans).
There have been so many, despite denials, that it’s often questioned whether FLOTUS is actually Melania Trump, or perhaps a new model that Trump had imported. However, most insiders have claimed that Melania was forced to have these extreme treatments, so much that she looks nothing like the original.
- Republican Block Investigation into NRA’s Illegal Russian Donations
- By voice and vote, Communications Workers censure Trump’s racism
- FBI to Investigate Gilroy as Misogynistic Domestic Terrorism
- Inside Candace Owens’ $37,500 Reparation Check
- Gallery: Inside Melania Trump’s Extreme Forced Plastic Surgery