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a hard turn in the opposite direction: Trump’s administration has banned transgender troops from serving the military, withdrawn protections for transgender students in public schools, declined to prosecute businesses that refuse to serve same-sex customers, and withdrawn a rule that required Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to treat same-sex marriages the same as straight ones.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.”
Russians Are Buying US Farm Land As Trump Tariffs Kill Farmers
Foreign investors, mainly Oligarchs from Russia, acquired at least 1.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land in 2016, the largest increase in more than a decade, according to a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting of the latest available federal data.
The data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that foreign investors control—either through direct ownership or long-term leases—at least 28.3 million acres, valued at $52.2 billion. That area is about the size of the state of Ohio.
“Foreign integration into the United States agribusiness sector has been steadily increasing over the last few decades,” agricultural law experts Marisa Bocci, Kari Larson and Paulina Wu wrote in a September 2018 report published in the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law.
The state with the most foreign ownership and investment is Maine, which has 3.1 million acres that are foreign-controlled, followed closely by Texas at 3 million acres.
Estimates of foreign ownership of agriculture land may be underreported as data can be inconsistent and the latest release is more than two years old. Still, it gives a strong indication of amount of foreign ownership and lease information.
Already, six states have laws banning foreign ownership of farmland. Those states are Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota and Oklahoma.
Trump Defends Withdrawal from Syria Because of “A lot of Sand.”
Yes, you read that right: President Trump is defending his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, saying, “It’s not our problem,” and that “they’ve got a lot of sand over there. There’s a lot of sand they can play with.”
He said the Kurds, longtime U.S. allies, are “much safer right now,” and added, “They’re not angels.”
Trump has been facing severe bipartisan criticism for having U.S. forces stand aside as the Turks moved into northeast Syria last week to attack the Kurds, who were allies of the United States in the campaign against Islamic State.
Trump spoke at a photo opportunity before meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday. The two are also holding a joint news conference.
John Bolton Ordered Staff to Report Trump and Guiliani Because of Illegal Ukrainian “Drug Deal.”
The New York Times is reporting that, responding to the Ukraine scandal, Trump aide John Bolton warned “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everyone up.”
Seems he was fired because he would have no part of President Donald Trump’s off-the-books shadow government Ukraine extortion scandal. Bolton also apparently implicated both the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and the president’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvany.
“I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs Fiona Hill to tell White House lawyers, The New York Times reports in a bombshell article late Monday night.
Bolton, who resigned from the Trump administration hours before President Trump tweeted he had fired him, instructed Hill “to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council that Mr. Giuliani was working with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on a rogue operation with legal implications,” Hill told House of Representatives investigators on Monday.
- Russians Are Buying US Farm Land As Trump Tariffs Kill Farmers
- Trump Defends Withdrawal from Syria Because of “A lot of Sand.”
- John Bolton Ordered Staff to Report Trump and Guiliani Because of Illegal Ukrainian “Drug Deal.”
- EMERGENCY: Turkey Holding US Nukes Hostage
- EXPOSED: The Russian Spy Who Worked for Trump