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a hard turn in the opposite direction: Trump’s administration has banned transgender troops from serving the military, withdrawn protections for transgender students in public schools, declined to prosecute businesses that refuse to serve same-sex customers, and withdrawn a rule that required Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to treat same-sex marriages the same as straight ones.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.”
Stormy Daniels Booking Strip Clubs Left and Right Since Trump Affair Revealed
Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who’s made headlines recently for an alleged affair with President Donald Trump years ago, has been performing in Strip Clubs around the United States.
Born Stephanie Clifford, Daniels became a national topic in January after the Wall Street Journal reported the actress received a payment from Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, in 2016 to not discuss an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. Last week, Cohen told The New York Times he had paid Daniels $130,000 of his own money, but declined to say why.
New dates added! Here is my updated/latest schedule! pic.twitter.com/cxaMB5VERr
— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) February 19, 2018
Did Trump Almost Lose The Nuclear Football?
A new report has surfaced suggesting that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and an unnamed member of the U.S. Secret Service got into a physical altercation with Chinese security personnel over the so-called “nuclear football,” a secure communications device inside an aluminum Zero Halliburton briefcase that enables the president of the United States to order a nuclear strike from virtually any location in a time of crisis. The Secret Service has denied that anyone got “tackled” during the alleged dispute, which may have occurred during President Donald Trump’s visit to China in 2017, but has not said outright that the incident did not happen at all.
On Feb. 18, 2018, Axios, citing five anonymous individuals, first reported about the events, which happened on Nov. 9, 2017, while Trump was in Beijing as part of a larger tour of countries in Asia. As the president and his entourage made to enter the Great Hall of the People, a large government building in Beijing that serves as a meeting place for gatherings of the Chinese Communist Party and other ceremonial affairs, such as state visits, a Chinese security officer apparently attempted to block the individual carrying the football from following them for unknown reasons. That U.S. military aide is supposed to be near the president at all times.
“We’re moving in,” Kelly, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, reportedly said after hearing what was going on from where he was in an adjoining room and hurrying over to take charge of the situation. After arriving he pointedly told the aide and other members of Trump’s team to just keep walking into the hall.
In the ensuing kerfuffle, a member of the Chinese security detail assigned to the Americans apparently grabbed Kelly, who shoved him away. According to Axios, a nearby Secret Service agent then tackled the Chinese officer, likely in response to what they interpreted as a potential threat to a senior U.S. official.
Axios reported that the aide assigned to carry the football never lost control of the signature black briefcase during the scuffle and that clearer heads prevailed and calmed things down quickly. The unnamed individuals told the outlet that the Chinese apologized for the incident and both sides agreed not to make a public issue out of it, as well.
Trump Proposes Budget Cuts to School Safety and Security Funding
Even after this last school shooting, Trump can’t do anything right. The Trump administration’s budget unveiled earlier this week contains millions of dollars worth of CUTS to programs designed to keep schools safe and combat mental illness.
As Politico pointed out, the fiscal year 2019 budget would slash $25 million from a program that promotes school safety and a $400 million grant program that schools can use to deal with bullying and mental health issues.
The budget would also stop funding the School Emergency Response to Violence program (Project SERV), which received $1 million in federal money last year. Department of Education spokesperson Liz Hill told Politico the fund still has $5.2 million in its bank account, however, which she said would likely be enough to cover its needs through 2019.
Former Obama administration official Scott Sargrad, who worked at the Department of Education, told Politico the programs and grants proposed to be cut “are the kinds of things that can help students, staff and teachers respond and recover” after a school shooting such as the one that occurred in Florida on Wednesday.
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