Election 2016

Tony Perkins Hopeful Religious Right Leaders Will Sway Donald Trump

Earlier today, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios broadcast her daily radio show live from the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall Summit, where she chatted with FRC president Tony Perkins about the defeat of their preferred presidential candidate, Ted Cruz.

Perkins told Rios about his role in organizing an event in June featuring presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and various Religious Right leaders, while noting that he has not yet endorsed Trump.

However, “knowing what the alternative and having experienced almost eight years now of Barack Obama’s radical policies, that has truly fundamentally changed America,” Perkins said, “I want to be able to be supportive of Donald Trump.”

“I want to move him to the point where he is acceptable and he’ll make certain commitments,” he added.

Rios said that a Hillary Clinton presidency is far scarier prospect than a White House controlled by Trump, warning that Clinton would undermine the Second Amendment and religious freedom.

“Look at the court,” Perkins interjected. “It starts with the court.”

The two urged conservative Christians to stay involved in the political process, with Rios warning that one day it “will be so bad we’ll be running for the hills.”

“Well, scripture says that’ll be happening in the End Times,” Perkins said. “I think we’ve got to make the best of a bad situation. This is a reflection, I believe, of where I believe our nation has sunk and, in a large part, it’s because the church has taken its hands off, its removed itself from the culture. So we can’t wring our hands and say we’re walking away when in part we’re responsible for the mess.”

Will Donald Trump Pick Fellow Conspiracy Theorist Newt Gingrich For VP?

Whether or not Newt Gingrich has officially joined the likes of Sarah Palin and Jan Brewer on Donald Trump’s vice presidential shortlist, it appears that Gingrich is having a major impact on the presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign.

According to a recent National Review article, the Trump and Gingrich speak to each other every day and the former House speaker has had “his hand in every major policy effort” by Trump’s campaign.

Certainly, the two share an almost unrivaled egomania and are skilled in the art of ridiculing liberal media “elites.” While he has developed a wonky reputation, Gingrich has also joined Trump in engaging in conspiracy theories about President Obama.

Back in 2012, Gingrich alleged that “we know so little about this president,” urging conservative activists to “raise a whole range of questions about Barack Obama.”

“Where’s his senior paper at Columbia?” Gingrich asked. “Where’s his application to go to Columbia? All sorts of stuff that we don’t know. In some ways we know less about this president than almost any president in modern times.”

Gingrich has also attacked the “elite media” for failing to investigate Obama’s past: “Do you think you are going to see two pages on Obama’s Muslim friends? Or two pages on the degree to which Obama is consistently apologizing to Islam while attacking the Catholic Church? Do you see anybody in the elite media prepared to say, gee, isn’t this kind of odd, that we really worry a lot about the Quran and nothing about the Bible?”

He has embraced a line pioneered by Dinesh D’Souza that Obama exhibits “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior,” arguing that Obama “refuses to behave like an American president.”

Gingrich defended birthers, such as his potential running mate, by blaming the president for the rise in conspiracy theories surrounding his birth: “I think that Obama creates very powerful emotions about him, largely because of the radicalism of his views. And I think that that's a key fact. I mean, nobody runs around and asks whether Colonel [Allen] West was born in the United States. He's an African-American, you know. He's a congressman. Nobody runs around and says, 'Is Tim Scott born in the United States?' He's a congressman. He's African-American. So the idea of asserting that any charge against Obama somehow manages magically in the media to get back to racism, I think is just one more device to protect Obama.”

Just as Trump now says that it’s “payback time” for voters who believe that America’s leaders are running the country into the ground and abandoning patriotic values, Gingrich once called on “the 80 percent of the country that actually believes in classical America” to fight “to take back power from the minority elite.” On another occasion, he warned that America would soon turn into “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

Rather than adding intellectual heft to Trump’s conspiracy-theory-ridden campaign, Gingrich would just intensify Trump’s paranoid style of politics.

Dennis Prager Will Support Trump Over Clinton Because Sometimes 'Mature People' Have To Support A Stalin To Defeat A Hitler

On yesterday's edition of "The Hagee Hotline," conservative commentator Dennis Prager explained that he'll grudgingly be voting for Donald Trump in November because "mature people" recognize that sometimes you have to support a Joseph Stalin in order to defeat an Adolf Hitler.

Prager said that he would have preferred any of the other Republican presidential primary candidates to Trump, but since Trump is going to be the nominee, he'll support him despite his terrible character flaws and lack of values because Hillary Clinton, and Democrats in general, don't share the proper American values. 

"I'm going to vote for him because I have no choice," Prager said, asserting that people cannot simply refuse to vote because they don't like the candidates.

"In life, mature people have to recognize [that] most of the time in life, we don't have a choice between good and bad," he said, "we have a choice between bad and worse. The United States supported the mass-murdering Stalin against the mass-murdering Hitler not because we shared Stalin's values but because, at the time, the right thing to do was to support Stalin against Hitler."

"Mature people have to live in a world where you don't get your ideal but you better defeat the worst," Prager asserted.

Pat Buchanan: 'Shrill' Hillary Clinton Sounds Like 'My Cat'

Pat Buchanan joined the sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton last week, bursting out laughing in an interview with the Catholic television network EWTN as he called Clinton “extremely shrill” and said that when he has heard her on television, “I thought my cat had come back to life.”

EWTN host Raymond Arroyo, who started the program by asking Buchanan if he thought of himself as “the John the Baptist of Donald Trump,” asked him to discuss polls showing a tight general election race between Trump and Clinton.

Buchanan responded that he thinks Clinton is “in deep, deep trouble,” adding that he thought that she was an “outstanding candidate” when she ran for president in 2008 but that she’s “not as good a candidate anymore.”

“She’s, excuse me, she’s extremely shrill at times. Maybe it’s because they pick the tapes and put them on the air —” he said, unable to finish his sentence before bursting out in laughter.

“I thought my cat had come back to life,” he said. “No, it’s very loud and shrill and it does not come off well.”

“Yeah, her voice, yeah, she’s been shouting a lot,” Arroyo agreed.

Donald Trump To Court Anti-LGBT Hate Groups, 'Prophets' And Televangelists

Next month, Donald Trump will host a meeting with some of the country’s most radical anti-LGBT and anti-choice leaders in New York City.

Trump, who has already recruited a variety of far-right activists and conspiracy theorists to his campaign, is set to take part in a convening organized by Ben Carson, a former rival turned campaign surrogate, aimed at bringing reluctant Religious Right leaders to his side.

According to a copy of the invitation to the event obtained by the National Review, Trump will be joined by Religious Right activists including Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Penny Nance, Jim Garlow, Rick Scarborough, Phil Burress, Ken Cuccinelli, Lila Rose, E.W Jackson, Harry Jackson, Tim Wildmon, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Cindy Jacobs.

The meeting will be cohosted by the Family Research Council, Vision America and AFA Action, the political arm of the American Family Association, three of the most vicious anti-LGBT hate groups in the country.

Trump has already pledged to use nominees to the Supreme Court to pave the way for the reversal of the landmark rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality and has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, key priorities of right-wing activists.

Here is a brief introduction to some of the far-right extremists Trump will be meeting with next month.

Pat Robertson

Televangelist Pat Robertson has long track record of making derogatory and bizarre statements about LGBT people and others, including remarks that he would rather have the public not know about. For instance, Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network tried unsuccessfully to expunge the web of a video segment in which Robertson said that gay people secretly wear dangerous rings that cut the hands of the people they meet in order to spread HIV/AIDS:

Robertson also joined Jerry Falwell in blaming the 9/11 attacks on gay people, feminists and People For the American Way.

Cindy Jacobs

Self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs claims that she receives direct messages from God about assassination plotsterrorist cells and imminent attackssuch as 9/11hurricanesfloodswarscoups; and Native American-induced curses. She also claims to have the power of bringing the dead back to life.

But Jacobs may be best known for her claim that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell led to the mass death of birds in Arkansas.

Harry Jackson

During the fight over marriage equality in Maryland, Bishop Harry Jackson led a Religious Right rally by lambasting the demonic principalities that he claimed were bringing same-sex marriage into the state. “The Enemy wants it to be a legacy, or a seed that is planted in this generation that corrupts, perverts and pollutes generations to come,” he said of same-sex marriage.

It is no wonder that Jackson has also accused gay people of trying to “recruit your kids” and acting like Nazis.

He was also featured in an anti-gay film where he warned that the “homosexual agenda” is “one of those icebergs that if we don’t navigate around them correctly, will take us under.”

Rick Scarborough

Vision America head Rick Scarborough is an outspoken anti-LGBT activist who once suggested filing a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality modeled after the successful litigation against tobacco companies.

While his lawsuit still hasn’t materialized, Scarborough continues to lambast LGBT people, declaring that HIV/AIDS is a form of divine punishment against gay people, whom he insists on calling “sodomites” and accusing LGBT people of leading their children “into an early grave called hell.” While railing against President Obama’s appointment of several gay ambassadors, he declared that it would be “perfectly just” if God allowed a nuclear attack to destroy America in response.

Scarborough is so passionate about his contempt for LGBT rights that he said that he is ready to burn to death, “if necessary,” to stop marriage equality:

Tony Perkins

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins likes to pass himself off as a mainstream conservative leader, but is in reality a far-right zealot who has attacked gay people as pawns of Satan and defended Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” legislation.

Prior to the Supreme Court's landmark marriage equality ruling, Perkins frequently predicted that Americans would launch a revolution to block same-sex marriages, warning that advances in LGBT equality would lead to an anti-Christian holocaust and a rise in terrorism.

Perkins, like Trump, has engaged in all sorts of conspiracy theories, everything from birtherism to the belief that the government is behind “the promotion of same-sex relations” as a means of “population control.”

E.W. Jackson

Virginia-based pastor E.W. Jackson has compiled a long record of anti-LGBT and anti-Obama diatribes over the years.

Jackson, who in 2013 was the unsuccessful GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, has said of gay people: “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality.” Gay people, Jackson said, are “spiritually darkened” and have caused God to stop blessing the U.S. military. It is no wonder that Jackson said at a press conference that he was ready to die to fight gay marriage.

Jackson has similarly attacked President Obama as a man “with an evil presence” who helped influence the Democratic Party to have “an agenda worthy of the Antichrist.”

Jim Garlow

California-based pastor Jim Garlow, as we’ve previously noted, has “claimed his prayers helped secure the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which 'saved us from the bondage and enslavement that would come upon us if gay marriage actually passed in a state'; described the 'radical homosexual agenda' as a tool of Satan and 'almost like an Antichrist spirit'; and warned that marriage equality will lead to America’s destruction, widespread persecution and even death.”

Lila Rose

Lila Rose of the anti-abortion group Live Action has gained widespread notoriety over her smear campaigns against Planned Parenthood, telling supporters that she wants to battle Satan and “take out Planned Parenthood,” while comparing herself to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai.

Rose has said that abortions should be “done in the public square” until they can be banned.

James Dobson

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is one of the creators of the modern Religious Right movement. He has:

  • Alleged that Obamacare will deprive the elderly of life-saving treatments.
  • Insisted that bisexuality means “orgies.”

Leading White Nationalist Predicts Trump Administration Will Be Stacked With 'People Who Think The Way We Do'

Earlier this month, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said that it was the job of white nationalists like himself to give Donald Trump “space” so that he can eventually publicly embrace anti-Semitism.

Jared Taylor, the leading white nationalist who heads the organization American Renaissance, expressed a similar hope in a May 16 interview on an “alt-right” podcast, saying that he could “imagine” a scenario in which Trump, once president, would publicly back “white people wanting to remain a majority in their own country” and endorse bogus theories about racial differences in intelligence. Taylor also predicted that Trump would hire people “at all sorts of levels in his administration” who “think the way we do.”

The blog Hail to the Gynocracy, which tracks the alt-right, captured segments of the interview that Taylor gave to the “This Alt-Right Life” podcast, hosted by Matt Forney.

“I’m more optimistic now than I have been at any point in 25 years of trying to wake white people up to this terrible crisis that they face,” Taylor said. “I think that Donald Trump is certainly an important ingredient in that.

Trump, Taylor said, is saying things that he has been saying for years, only it’s impossible for people to ignore him because he’s raising these questions at “a level at which they’ve never been raised ever before.”

Transcript courtesy of Hail to the Gynocracy:

I’ve been saying for 25 years we don’t need any more Muslims, but I can be ignored. The SPLC can say I’m a hatemonger and then people will ignore me. The SPLC can say all it wants that Donald Trump is a hatemonger, but if he is the Republican nominee, then he is in an entirely different position.

And when people start thinking in those terms, Well, wait a minute, are Muslims really of any use to the United States? Then the next step, of course, is to say, Well, are there any other groups that are of no use to the United States? What do, oh, Guatemalans, for example, bring to our country? What do Somalis bring to our country? What do Haitians bring to America? Do we really need 30,000,000 Mexicans living in this country? When you start thinking in terms of group differences, then the camel’s nose is under the tent. That opens the door to all kinds, all kinds of anti-orthodox, subversive thinking. And so Donald Trump has played a huge role in breaking down the gates of orthodoxy and making it possible to raise these questions in a way that they’ve never been raised, at a level at which they’ve never been raised ever before.

Taylor said that although Trump is not a “sophisticated racialist,” he has “good instincts.” He said he could imagine a scenario in which Trump goes beyond his promises to deport undocumented immigrants and ban Muslims from entering the country and specifically embraces white nationalism.

I think that he has committed himself so strongly to those ideas that it would look very bad if he were to back out on them. Even if he did only those things and nothing more, that would be a radical transformation of the way America does politics when it comes to immigration, and that would be a wonderful thing.

We can then imagine a Donald Trump who goes even further. Donald Trump is the only candidate in the last 50 years of whom I could realistically imagine his tossing off to a group of journalists a question such as, Well, what’s wrong with white people wanting to remain a majority in their own country? I can imagine him saying that. He will not necessarily, but I can imagine it. I cannot imagine any other candidate ever saying such a thing.

I can even imagine him saying, Well you know, ultimately, you just can’t expect as many blacks per capita to be in the advanced placement courses because they’re just not as smart. I mean I can imagine that with a little bit greater difficulty than the remark about being majorities, but that too is not an utterly inconceivable thing for Donald Trump to say. And if the president of the United States makes remarks of that kind, they simply cannot be brushed aside.

Taylor added that he was confident that a Trump administration would be stacked with people who “think the way we do” and “read our web pages” and “listen to our podcasts.”

On the other hand, there is an aspect of this that very few people are talking about. If there actually is a Trump presidency, he will attract, at all sorts of levels in his administration, people who do think the way we do. Even though they’re not publicly associated with racial dissidents, or white advocacy. He will attract people who read our web pages, who listen to our podcasts, and they will work in all sorts of very, very useful ways in all levels of his administration to bring about sensible policies.

I think I can also imagine that some of them, they will be caught out, oh, saying rude things about blacks or rude things about Mexico, and there will be little scandals here and there. But there will be a great number who will infiltrate his administration, his campaign, his advisers in ways that cannot but be extremely useful both to Trump and to us.

Donald Trump Is Just Asking The Question: Was Vince Foster Murdered By The Clintons?

Donald Trump frequently attempts to get away with spouting wild conspiracy theories by claiming that he doesn’t necessarily believe in the conspiracy theories in question, but is simply asking the question.

This rhetorical trick, one perfected by Fox News hosts and right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck, enables Trump to insert a conspiracy theory into the news narrative without taking any responsibility as to whether the allegation is true or not.

Take, for example, his interview yesterday with the Washington Post, where he mentioned the thoroughly discredited claim that Bill and Hillary Clinton murdered Vincent Foster, a former aide who died of suicide. While bringing up the debunked conspiracy theory, Trump insisted that he wasn’t bringing it up, but was only saying that other people have said Foster was killed.

“He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide,” Trump said. “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”

“It’s the one thing with her, whether it’s Whitewater or whether it’s Vince or whether it’s Benghazi. It’s always a mess with Hillary,” Trump said in the interview.



One issue on Trump’s radar is the 1993 death of Foster, which has been ruled a suicide by law enforcement officials and a subsequent federal investigation. But some voices on the far right have long argued that the Clintons may have been involved in a conspiracy that led to Foster’s death.

When asked in an interview last week about the Foster case, Trump dealt with it as he has with many edgy topics — raising doubts about the official version of events even as he says he does not plan to talk about it on the campaign trail.

He called theories of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.”

“He had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump said, speaking of Foster’s relationship with the Clintons at the time. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”

He added, “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”

The GOP presidential candidate used the same rhetorical trick when broadcasting the conspiracy theories that the late Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered and that Rafael Cruz, the father of his then-rival Sen. Ted Cruz, was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He did the same thing when he raised questions about the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate.

For a candidate who claims to have a brash, tell-it-like-it-is manner, he sure does try his best to not to be held accountable for the things he says.

Trump 'Christian Policy' Adviser Is A 'Prophet' Who Stopped A Tsunami, Says AIDS Is Result Of 'Unnatural Sex'

Mario Bramnick, an official with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told Time magazine last week that Donald Trump has taken on Frank Amedia of Touch Heaven Ministries in Ohio as his new “liaison for Christian policy” and that Amedia has been arranging meetings for the Republican presidential candidate with conservative religious leaders.

Amedia, who was once implicated in a bribery scandal in which he attempted to help a car-dealer friend avoid prosecution, is now a self-proclaimed “apostle” who says that he once single-handedly stopped a tsunami from hitting an island in Hawaii.

Amedia got his religious training from Miami pastor Guillermo Maldonado, who is associated with the controversial New Apostolic Reformation, a group of self-proclaimed modern-day apostles and prophets. In a 2012 appearance on Maldonado’s TBN program, Amedia referred to Maldonado as his “spiritual father.”

Amedia, who says he is a former Jew, now identifies as an “apostle” himself. Until recently, his biography on his church’s website read:

Frank Amedia is called as an Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Evangelist, Teacher, and Minister in sound biblical doctrine with gifts of knowledge, healing, and discernment … For over two decades, his clarity of vision, prophetic insight, and revelations of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God in the scriptures have been an enormous blessing to a worldwide audience. Enabled by this extensive experience, Pastor Frank has a unique perspective on the parallel journey of the Church and Israel as he is called as one to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. Thousands of wondrous records of miraculous testimonies of healings, deliverances, re-creative miracles, and physical gifts follow him wherever he goes, even as he gives all of the Glory to God his Father, Jesus his Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.

Like other self-proclaimed apostles and prophets, Amedia claims to be able to control natural events. On Maldonado’s TBN program in 2012, Amedia claimed to have single-handedly stopped waves from the 2011 tsunami in Japan from hitting a Hawaiian island where his daughter was at the time. He boasted that the waves instead moved on to devastate another island:

I stood at the edge of my bed and I said, ‘In the name of Jesus, I declare that tsunami to stop now.’ And I specifically said, ‘I declare those waters to recede,’ and I said, ‘Father, that is my child, I am your child, I’m coming to you now and asking you to preserve her.’ Apostle, it was seen by 400 people on a cliff. It was on YouTube, it was actually on the news that that tsunami stopped 200 feet off of shore. Even after having sucked the waters in, it churned and it went on and did devastation in the next island.

As part of Amedia’s ministry, he runs a North American affiliate of Isaac TV, a Christian evangelist network based in Pakistan. In an undated program broadcast on the station, which was posted on YouTube late last year, Amedia discussed with viewers how faith in Christ could save them from “generational curses,” “traditions and cultures that keep us away from God,” and “an evil lifestyle.”

He went on to discuss how AIDS is the result of “unnatural sex” and can be avoided by practicing a "wholesome life”:

We know that many of the diseases today are avoidable if only we practiced a wholesome life. AIDS is a disease that comes because of unnatural sex. We understand that many of the diseases that we receive is because of exposure that we have to things that we should not be exposed to, lifestyles that are unhealthy or things in our spirit that cause us to become bitter.

He told viewers of a friend of his who “began to hate some people” and then he “lost his mind and he died a horrible death.”

Later in the program, Amedia doled out some faith healings, healing a viewer with “cancer in your tongue” and another who had chapped lips:

True to the spirit of Trump, Amedia has at least one shady business deal in his past. In 2001, he was granted immunity to testify that he had helped try to bribe a prosecutor to drop a case against a car-dealer friend in Ohio who had allegedly been rolling back car odometers. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review recapped the case in a 2011 article about an unrelated case in which Amedia testified:

"Did you not enter into a conspiracy to fix a court case in Mahoning County (Ohio)?" said Jeffrey Wilhelm, a Reed Smith attorney representing BlackRock. He referred to Amedia as "the bag man" in the incident, and said Amedia's admission "demonstrates his dishonesty."

The pointed question referred to Amedia's testimony in 2001 that he tried to bribe a prosecutor in 1994 not to pursue charges against a Youngstown car dealer for rolling back odometers on vehicles.

Amedia admitted he helped arrange a payment of $250,000 through a prominent local businessman, Anthony Saadey. Amedia gave the money to Russell Saddey Jr., Anthony Saadey's nephew, whom Amedia understood was an investigator for the Mahoning County prosecutor's office.

Amedia was never charged in the incident and moved to Florida in 2000. He admitted the attempted bribery in 2001 under grant of immunity for testimony in the prosecution of Russell Saddey on racketeering and other charges.

"I didn't ask for immunity; only that my family be protected," said Amedia yesterday, holding back tears. He said his family members were subjected to "death threats" by mobsters involved in the incident, and noted he received no money for his role in the bribery attempt.

We reported last week on Amedia’s mission work in Haiti after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake, when he linked the country’s troubles to “the curse of Voodoo” and said that he might give up providing aid to Haitians who did not renounce Voodoo.

Trump Offers No Apologies For Rhetoric, But Some Conservative Latinos Warming To Him

As we reported last week, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) president Samuel Rodriguez gave Donald Trump a chance to “redeem the narrative” with Latino voters by showing a videotaped message from the candidate to attendees at an NHCLC gathering last Friday; a video from Hillary Clinton was also played. Rodriguez has criticized Trump’s harsh anti-immigration rhetoric and mass deportation plan, but has also given him political cover, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network last month that Trump is not a racist and blaming such a characterization on “liberal media.”

Rodriguez has said he hopes Trump will apologize for his “hurtful, erroneous, and dangerous statements” about Latino immigrants. And he said earlier last week that he would only show Trump’s video if he deemed it sufficiently conciliatory and respectful.

Conciliatory and respectful are clearly in the eyes of the beholder. Trump’s two-and-a-half minute video, apparently shot on a cell phone while he sat in his private jet reading from a piece of paper, included no apologies for any of the harsh rhetoric that Rodriguez has complained about.

Instead, Trump made the kind of broad promises that have characterized his campaign — creating good schools, safe communities and providing “massive tax cuts” for the middle class — without many details about how he would do so, other than controlling immigration and making “great trade deals.” Hillary Clinton’s video did address Trump’s rhetoric without mentioning him by name, saying, “That is not who we are as a people.”

Trump told Hispanics that poor people would pay nothing under his tax plan: “You’re going to start paying taxes after you’re making a lot of money, and hopefully that is going to be soon.” Other tidbits from his video:

  • “The world is taking our jobs and we’ve got to stop it. We’re going to take care of minority unemployment. It’s a huge problem, it’s really unfair to minorities, and we are going to solve that problem.”
  • “National. Hispanic. Christian. Three great words. We’re gonna to take care of you, we’re gonna work with you, you’re gonna be very happy, you’re gonna like president Trump.”
  • “I’m going to win and we’re going to take care of everybody. Our country is going to be unified for the first time in a long time”

Before the NHCLC conference last week, Trump met privately with some evangelical leaders, in a meeting arranged by Frank Amedia, Trump’s “liaison for Christian policy.” Representing NHCLC at the meeting was Mario Bramnick, who praised Trump’s “genuineness.”

“Donald Trump showed a tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants,” he said. “We all came out really sensing his genuineness.”

He added: “We didn’t get into specifics other than that he wants to work with us, work with the Hispanic community, Hispanic leadership on substantive policy regarding immigration.”

Bramnick also said Trump embraced the Religious Right’s “Christian persecution” narrative, telling Charisma:

"He told us in the meeting that he's very, very concerned that Christians are losing their rights in America, that we no longer can even speak or express what we believe," Bramnick said. "And he did say that if he becomes president, he's going to change things to make sure that we as Christians have our religious liberties restored. He said he's concerned about Christians, he's concerned about Jews, and he wants to help."

In March, Bramnick spoke at Liberty Counsel’s “Awakening” conference, quoting Cindy Jacobs’ prophecy that Florida had determined that George W. Bush would be president and that God would use Florida to shift the nation again. “God by his Holy Spirit can appoint the president that God has ordained,” said Bramnick.

At the Awakening conference, Bramnick prayed:

Father, awaken the sleeping the church. Unite us. We come against the diabolic spirit of division in the body of Christ, that spirit that would put us to sleep, spirits of anti-Christ and witchcraft, and we declare out of Orlando, the church of Jesus Christ is arising, not by power, not by might, but by your spirit. And father we declare out of Orlando, shift for Florida, shift for the United States, and the man you have selected to be our next president, shall be elected president of the United States, and shall usher in the Third Great Awakening…

It’s not just the NHCLC giving Trump another look. Some other Latino conservatives are showing some willingness to rally around him. The Hill’s Ben Kamisar noted over the weekend that last October, Alfonso Aguilar, a former Bush White House official who now heads the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said Trump was “done” in the eyes of the Latino community. Aguilar declared, “If Donald Trump is the GOP candidate, we won’t work to support him and we are sure he will lose the general election because there’s no way a GOP candidate can win the White House if they don’t get more support from Latino voters.” But now that Trump is the nominee, Aguilar is singing a different tune, saying that if Trump were to “seek my support and show he’s willing to change his tone and be open to some form of legalization, I would be willing to reconsider my position.”

BuzzFeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo recently noted that there are a lot of major conferences coming up. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) have both sent formal invitations but “have had difficulties getting responses from the Trump campaign.” The National Council of La Raza has not yet decided whether to invite Trump to its July conference.

 

 

Trump's Christian Liaison Threatened To Withhold Food From Haitians Who Don't Give Up Voodoo

According to a Time report today, Donald Trump is trying to make up with the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, the Hispanic evangelical group headed by Samuel Rodriguez, who has spent much of the presidential campaign cycle criticizing Trump for his anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

An official with NHLC, Mario Bramnick, apparently met with Trump earlier this month and came away thinking that “Donald Trump showed a tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants.”

The meeting was reportedly organized by televangelist Frank Amedia of Touch Heaven Ministries, who is the Trump campaign’s “liaison for Christian policy.”

We had never heard of Amedia before, so we did a news search and found an AP story from February 24, 2010, titled “Voodoo practitioners attacked at ceremony for Haiti earthquake victims”:

Angry crowds in a seaside slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, attacked a group of Voodoo practitioners Tuesday, pelting them with rocks and halting a ceremony meant to honor victims of last month's deadly earthquake.

Voodooists gathered in Cite Soleil where thousands of quake survivors live in tents and depend on food aid. Praying and singing, the group was trying to conjure spirits to guide lost souls when a crowd of evangelicals started shouting. Some threw rocks while others urinated on Voodoo symbols. When police left, the crowd destroyed the altars and Voodoo offerings of food and rum.

Tensions have been running high since the Jan. 12 earthquake killed an estimated 200,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless. More than 150 machete-wielding men attacked a World Food Program convoy Monday on the road between Haiti's second-largest city of Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince. There were no injuries but Chilean peacekeepers could not prevent the men from stealing the food, U.N. spokesman Michel Bonnardeaux said.

Religious tension has also increased: Baptists, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, Mormons and other missionaries have flocked to Haiti in droves since the earthquake to feed the homeless, treat the injured and jockey for souls. Some Voodoo practitioners have said they've converted to Christianity for fear they will lose out on aid or a belief that the earthquake was a warning from God. "Much of this has to do with the aid coming in," said Max Beauvoir, a Voodoo priest and head of a Voodoo association. "Many missionaries oppose Voodoo. I hope this does not start a war of religions because many of our practitioners are being harassed now unlike any other time that I remember."



"There's absolutely a heightened spiritual conflict between Christianity and Voodoo since the quake," said Pastor Frank Amedia of the Miami-based Touch Heaven Ministries who has been distributing food in Haiti and proselytizing.

"We would give food to the needy in the short term, but if they refused to give up Voodoo, I'm not sure we would continue to support them in the long term because we wouldn't want to perpetuate that practice. We equate it with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel."

In a YouTube video posted in 2011 of a post-earthquake visit to Haiti, Amedia channeled Pat Robertson by attributing Haiti’s problems to a lack of literal fatherhood and a relationship with God, saying that the country had been afflicted by “the curse of Voodoo”:

The redemption of the country has to be in the fathering of the country. Pastors need fathers; the president need a father; and the families need fathers. There’s a lack of a fathering spirit here. And once that’s restored, the relationship with the Father in heaven and then the fathers here on earth, and there’s a mentoring and a fathering going on, this land will heal.

It’s the curse of Voodoo that has taken away the fathering in this land.

Steve Deace: Conservatives Using Supreme Court As 'Fig Leaf' As They 'Sell Their Souls' To Trump

After Donald Trump released a list of 11 people he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, some conservatives who had been wary of supporting the presumptive GOP nominee began using it as an excuse to rally behind him. But not all of Trump’s conservative critics are convinced that he would actually pick from the judges on his list, many of whom were hand-picked by the conservative Heritage Society.

Among the skeptics is Steve Deace, the conservative Iowa talk radio host and vocal Trump critic, who said on his radio program yesterday that he did not believe Trump would actually nominate any of those judges when push comes to shove and that conservative activists are just using the Supreme Court list as a “fig leaf” as they “sell their souls” to Trump.

Deace’s guest, Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review, predicted that Senate Democrats would never allow the confirmation of “a true originalist in the mold of Clarence Thomas” and that Trump would end up compromising on his court picks.

Deace agreed. “Why does anybody believe, anybody, unless they just want to be deceived, why does anybody believe that he would follow through on any of those things?” he asked.

“This is being done to offer a fig leaf to give conservative leaders and conservative voters who supported Ted Cruz permission to cross over and to say ‘We can now vote for Trump,’” he said. “And they have plausible deniability, if he doesn’t nominate any of those guys, then they’re victims later on, ‘Well, we went with his words, we had no other alternative, there’s nothing else we could do, we didn’t want Hillary to win, it’s all on his head.’ That’s what this is. It’s nothing more, nothing less, than a fig leaf to give Ted Cruz’s conservative infrastructure permission to sell their souls and to bow the knee and kneel before Zod.”

Rick Perry: Back Trump Because Of The Supreme Court

Yesterday, Breitbart legal editor and former Family Research Council official Ken Klukowski guest-hosted the FRC’s “Washington Watch” radio program, where he interviewed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell about the presidential election and the future of the Supreme Court.

Both Perry and Blackwell urged listeners to get behind Donald Trump, saying that while potential Trump nominees to the bench would emulate the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a Democratic president like Hillary Clinton would nominate more people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

When Klukowski asked Perry, who attacked Trump as an unchristian demagogue before endorsing him, to “make the case for Mr. Trump,” Perry replied: “Let me make it as a simple as I can. Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump. Supreme Court appointment.”

“This isn’t about just the next four years,” he said, “as a matter of fact, it’s not about the next eight years, if we were to have a candidate that won successive terms. This is about the next 40 or 50 years because of those Supreme Court appointments. Listen, Hillary Clinton, we know exactly what she’s going to appoint, she’s going to appoint an individual, a raging liberal, an individual that keeps the left happy.”

He said that no matter how Clinton governs, “we know what she’s going to do on the Supreme Court” since the “activists in the Democratic Party, they’re going to force an individual upon this country through that presidential appointment of the Supreme Court of the most absolute radical, making laws from the bench, as you can imagine.”

Klukowski said Clinton “wouldn’t need any forcing” to make such an appointment, “she’d be leading the charge, they’d be chasing to catch up in terms of getting a committed liberal like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another one of those on the Supreme Court.”

“Or [Sonia] Sotomayor, I think Hillary Clinton’s appointments to the Supreme Court would make those individuals look almost moderate,” Perry said.

Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state and a vocal conservative activist, said voters in the presidential election will determine “the direction of the Supreme Court.”

“If they choose Hillary Clinton, we know what they will get: an expansion of abortion rights, more stringent gun control laws, a vanishing capital punishment, a continued attack on religious liberty,” he warned.

Praising the list of potential high court nominees Trump released yesterday, Klukowski said that several jurists on the list are “some of the most conservative judges in the country” while “all of them are conservative of one stripe or another.”

“When you’re voting for the president, you’re also going to be voting for the U.S. Supreme Court,” he added.

Blackwell said that in this election, “It’s the courts, stupid.”

Samuel Rodriguez Gives Trump Chance To 'Redeem The Narrative' With Latinos

Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez has a consistent political strategy: position himself as a nonpartisan advocate committed “not to the agenda of the elephant or the donkey but the lamb,” all while trying to convince Hispanic Christians to support socially conservative causes and politicians.

You might think that the immigration-reform-promoting Rodriguez would be in a bind with immigrant-demeaning Trump as the Republican nominee. But even though Rodriguez has been publicly critical of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, he seems to be positioning himself to encourage Hispanic evangelicals to support the Republican candidate. He has said Trump blew it with his early campaign rhetoric and that the candidate must “redeem the narrative” with Latinos.

This week Bloomberg reported that Trump would be delivering a videotaped message to be shown at this weekend’s meeting of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), which Rodriguez heads, and whose board includes Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver. The pro-immigrant group America’s Voice called on Rodriguez not to let Trump deliver a message to the group given Trump’s “hateful, incendiary rhetoric directed at our communities.”

(Just days ago, Trump attacked NHCLC board member Russell Moore, a leading Southern Baptist official, as a “nasty guy with no heart.” Rodriguez, who co-authored with Moore a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Trump’s immigration rhetoric and policies last July, said at the time that “an attack on Russell Moore is an attack on the entire evangelical community.”)

Rodriguez told the Washington Post earlier this week that he would wait to see if the message was “respectful” before deciding whether to show it. Today it is clear that Trump has satisfied Rodriguez, because the NHCLC put out a press release saying the group would show video messages from Trump and from Hillary Clinton on Friday evening.

While Rodriguez says he will not endorse a candidate, it’s hard to take him seriously as some kind of honest broker between the staunchly pro-choice Clinton and the muddled punish-the-woman Trump, who has said he would nominate Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.  As we recently noted, Rodriguez has said, “I’m going to vote for protecting the Supreme Court from judges that are activists, that run counter to our Judeo-Christian value system.” And he has made it clear that he believes Hispanic Christians must make opposition to abortion, not support for immigrant families, the basis of their vote.

In an interview being promoted by Glenn Beck’s The Blaze today, Rodriguez doubles down on that message, saying it would be “morally reprehensible” for Christians to vote for a candidate who supports Planned Parenthood, saying they would need to “repent.”

“I want to speak to every single African American, Latino, and Anglo Christ follower who believes in biblical orthodoxy — how can we justify supporting anything — be it Republican or Democrat — that in any way, form or shape defends Planned Parenthood?”

Trump has repeatedly praised Planned Parenthood but says he wants to defund the women’s health organization unless they agree to stop providing abortion services.

Rodriguez told The Blaze that it would take “a miracle” for Trump to win over the Latino community, but suggested it could be possible if he apologizes and chooses a Hispanic running mate, mentioning Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez and Ted Cruz.

The supposedly nonpartisan Rodriguez has filmed a video promoting the Republican Party’s faith-outreach project. Only 16 percent of American Latinos identify themselves as evangelical, according to the Pew Research Center, but they are more likely than other Hispanics to vote Republican.

Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee And The GOP's Phony Populism

Although former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has built a career on a folksy brand of Christian conservatism, it wasn’t all that surprising that he was quick to get behind the presidential candidacy of thrice-married New York billionaire Donald Trump.

While many Religious Right leaders have expressed concerns about Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican Party, Huckabee was quick to embrace his former presidential rival, particularly after Trump vanquished Ted Cruz, whom Huckabee had repeatedly attacked as a phony Christian.

Despite appearances, Huckabee and Trump have plenty in common.

Like Trump, Huckabee is a huckster. And it couldn’t have hurt that the presumptive GOP nominee hired Huckabee’s daughter on his campaign staff.

The two also have a similar pitch to voters. While both claim that they are standing up for the working man against a corporate, ultra-wealthy elite, both of their main economic proposals include deep tax cuts for the super-rich.

Huckabee told the Guardian today that before Trump’s rise, the GOP was on the verge of becoming “a wholly owned subsidiary of the financial community and globalists/neocons,” when the party really needed “to refocus on the American worker, the American infrastructure and rebuilding America.”

“They have created favors for the donor class at the expense of the working class,” he said.

Huckabee, however, has for years promoted an extremely regressive “Fair Tax” proposal to replace the progressive income tax with a national sales tax.

Former Reagan administration adviser Bruce Bartlett has said that under Huckabee’s proposal, “there would be an enormous shift in the tax burden from the wealthy to those with lower and middle incomes.”

Richard Phillips, senior policy analyst at Citizens for Tax Justice, wrote last year:

A study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that under the 'Fair Tax,' the top 1 percent of taxpayers would receive an average annual tax cut of $225,000. Meanwhile, the plan would increase taxes by about $3,200 on average on the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers. In other words, Huckabee’s tax plan would significantly increase taxes on the overwhelming majority of Americans to pay for huge tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans.

Since “very high-income households spend only a fraction of their income, while low- and middle-income people spend all or most of what they make,” wrote Leonard E. Burman of the Tax Policy Center, under Huckabee’s plan, “tax burdens on middle-income households would surely rise while high-income families would get a big tax cut.”

Despite such a radical proposal, Huckabee still markets himself as the defender of the working class against the wealthy elite, even as he promises to raise taxes on the working class and deliver a massive tax cut the rich.

Trump is no different.

Trump claims that he wants to raise taxes on the rich, when in fact his tax plan does the exact opposite.

Under Trump’s massive $12 trillion tax plan, “the top 1 percent of Americans will receive an average tax break of $227,000 per year while the bottom 20 percent will receive an average tax cut of only $250,” according to Citizens for Tax Justice, which found that “the majority of Trump’s tax cut would go to the top five percent of taxpayers.”

But the biggest winners of Trump’s tax cut won’t be the top five percent. They won’t even be the top one percent.

“[T]he benefits would be overwhelmingly skewed to the highest-income taxpayers, with those in the top 0.1 percent (who make $3.7 million or more) getting an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million,” says Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center.



The supposedly populist candidate also promises to pay off the entire $19 trillion national debt in just eight years — “very easy” — but one estimate found that his huge tax cut for the rich alone will grow the debt by almost 80 percent.

Just fulfilling his pledge to balance the budget would be mathematically impossible under the proposal he has laid out to do so.

Trump also boasts that he is boycotting Apple, Ford and Nabisco for building factories outside of the U.S., often bragging that he will never eat an Oreo ever again. And yet Trump has personally invested in all of those companies.

Huckabee and Trump, nonetheless, continue to claim the “populist” mantle. 

It may be their greatest swindle yet.

David Barton: With Ted Cruz Out, Conservative Christians Must Become More Engaged In Electing God-Fearing Candidates To Office

David Barton, the Religious Right psuedo-historian and activist who ran a major super PAC supporting Ted Cruz’s presidential candidacy, released a video today laying out the path for conservative Christian activists to take now that Cruz, the candidate they had long prayed for, has dropped out of the presidential race. 

The results of the GOP presidential primary, he said, drive home three life lessons: 1) Nothing catches God by surprise; 2) God cares how you respond to adversity; 3) All things work together for good according to God's plan.

As such, Barton said that conservative activists cannot now abandon all that they have fought for and must, instead, "become more engaged" and get to work electing people who will operate according to "the timeless principles given to us by God" to local, state and federal offices.

"We become more engaged and we get our neighbors engaged," Barton said. "We need to make sure our neighbors are registered to vote and that they choose God-fearing leaders and that, above all, we teach ourselves and others to think and act biblically."

Trump Releases Supreme Court List, Including Conservative Dream Justices

Donald Trump, faced with conservative jitters over whom he would name to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, has promised to release a list of names from which he would promise to pick nominees. Today, according to the Associated Press, he released that list.

According to the Daily Beast, all of Trump’s 11 picks are white. Just three are women.

Trump’s list includes two possible picks whom he has frequently mentioned on the campaign trail: federal appeals court judges William Pryor and Diane Sykes. It also includes three additional people whom the Heritage Foundation recommended for Supreme Court posts after Trump said he would consult with the conservative group on his list: Raymond Gruender and Steven Colloton, both federal appeals court judges, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willet.

Also on Trump’s list are Thomas Lee, a Utah Supreme Court justice and brother of Republican Sen. Mike Lee; Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia; David Stras, who serves on the Minnesota Supreme Court; and federal appeals court judges Thomas Hardman and Raymond Kethledge.

It looks like Trump has, true to his promise, picked potential justices who would advance the conservative efforts to skew the federal courts far to the right. The libertarian publication Reason, for instance, has gushed over Willett for his willingness to overthrow government regulations.  (Willett, for what it’s worth, does not seem to return Trump’s admiration.)

We profiled Pryor, Sykes and Colloton last month:

William H. Pryor

One possible Supreme Court nominee whom Trump has specifically praised is William H. Pryor, selected by President George W. Bush to be on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Formerly Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor has a history of extreme right-wing activism, severely criticizing not just women’s right to choose under Roe v. Wade but even the constitutionality of the New Deal.

Pryor has called Roe the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” He has claimed that with the New Deal and other measures, the U.S. has “strayed too far in the expansion of the federal government,” and asserted that it “should not be in the business of public education nor the control of street crime.” As a judge, he has helped uphold a restrictive Georgia voter ID law and joined just one other judge on the 11th Circuit in claiming that “racially disparate effects” should not be enough to prove a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, even though the Supreme Court has ruled precisely the opposite.

Pryor came first on a wish list of Supreme Court picks that the Heritage Foundation published shortly after Trump promised to consult them before naming justices.

Diane Sykes

Trump has also repeatedly named Diane Sykes, a Seventh Circuit federal appeals court judge appointed by President George W. Bush, as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Sykes, who previously served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and a trial court, has also won high praise from the Heritage Foundation and from right-wing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

In a series of dissents, Sykes has argued in favor of big business and against consumers and discrimination victims, including cases where she tried to limit corporate liability for product defects and overturn a $1 million damages award, to protect a corporation from having to defend against an employee’s claim of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to reverse a $3.5 million bad faith judgment in favor of a Lutheran church against its insurance company.

She showed her anti-reproductive-choice views in providing a lenient sentence to two anti-abortion protesters who had to be forcibly removed from blocking the entrance to a Milwaukee abortion clinic and had previously been arrested 100 times for such offenses; Sykes nevertheless praised them for their “fine character” and expressed “respect” for the “ultimate goals” the blockade “sought to achieve.”

She asserted in dissent that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld even though there was extensive evidence that one of the jurors did not understand English (including a statement from the juror himself), which disqualified him from serving on a jury under Wisconsin law; that a prosecutor should be immune from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years; and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that the law itself could well be unconstitutional, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.

She asserted in dissent that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld even though one of the jurors did not understand English, that a prosecutor should be immune from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years, and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that the law itself could well be unconstitutional, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.

Steven Colloton

The third name on Heritage’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees is Judge Steven Colloton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, after previous service for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and as a U.S. attorney.

Colloton has been at the forefront of a number of troubling Eighth Circuit rulings, including writing decisions that reversed an $8.1 million award to whistleblowers who helped bring a defective pricing and kickback claim against a large corporation and a nearly $19 million class action judgment against Tyson Foods for violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. He also joined a ruling making the Eighth Circuit the only appellate court in the country that found that the Obama administration’s efforts to accommodate religious universities and other religious nonprofit objectors to the provision of contraceptive coverage under the ACA was insufficient, an issue n ow being considered by the Supreme Court.

Even more troubling, Colloton has dissented from a number of Eighth Circuit rulings that have upheld the rights of employees, consumers and others against big business and government agencies. He dissented from a decision giving African-American shoppers the opportunity to prove discrimination claims against a large department store, and then saw his view prevail by one vote when the full Eighth Circuit reheard the case. In another case, he dissented from a decision finding that a city had violated the Voting Rights Act by improperly diluting the voting strength of Native Americans.

Colloton dissented from rulings that gave individuals a chance to prove claims of use of excessive force and, in one case, that a city’s policy to use police dogs to bite and hold suspects without any warning was unconstitutional. In three separate cases, he dissented from decisions that employees should at least get the chance to prove in court that their employers retaliated against them for filing sex harassment, age discrimination, or other discrimination claims. In two more decisions, he argued in dissent that public employees should not have the opportunity to prove that they were retaliated against for speaking out in violation of their First Amendment rights. Yet he also claimed in a dissent that the First Amendment rights of a candidate for state supreme court justice were violated by a state judicial code of conduct restricting solicitation and other campaign activity in order to promote judicial impartiality and ethical conduct by judges. Even the conservative Roberts Court that decided the Citizens United case has agreed that these concerns justify solicitation restrictions in state supreme court elections.

This post has been updated to clarify the circumstances of a case in which Sykes asserted in a dissent that a jury verdict should have been upheld despite evidence that one juror was disqualified from serving.

Sandy Rios: Possible Lesbian Hillary Clinton 'Embraces Every Sexual Deviancy You Can Imagine'

After spending months promoting the presidential candidacy of Ted Cruz, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios appears to be finally ready to get behind Donald Trump, telling listeners on her radio program today that they must unite to defeat Hillary Clinton in November.

“Hillary Clinton embraces every sexual deviancy you can imagine,” she said, before once again suggesting that the former secretary of state is a lesbian because “there have been more than rumors swirling about her own sexual proclivities since before she became first lady.”

“She’s an advocate of gay marriage, and I mean a strong advocate,” she said. “She’s been endorsed by every radical homosexual activist group in the country, all the major ones, Human Rights Campaign and others, especially in New York. She gets that endorsement for a reason, you know, she gets it for a reason.”

Rios went on to praise Trump for coming out against marriage equality, claiming that it was a “gutsy” thing to do for someone who lives in New York.

John Hagee: God Will Hold You Accountable For Not Voting For Donald Trump

On yesterday's "Hagee Hotline," Pastor John Hagee urged Christians to get out and vote and made it abundantly clear that he'll be casting his vote for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in November.

After mangling Dietrich Bonhoeffer's famous "not to speak is to speak" quote and falsely attributing it to Martin Niemöller, Hagee informed his viewing audience that "God will not hold us harmless" and so they have an obligation to vote.

"I'm going to vote for the candidate that's going to make the U.S. military great again," he said. "I'm going to vote for the party that is going to solve the immigration problem, not the one that has created the immigration problem. I'm going to support the party that brings jobs back from China ... I'm not going to vote for the party that has betrayed Israel for the past seven years."

"If you can read a newspaper, you know who I'm talking about," Hagee said. "No candidate is perfect, but I want you to go vote and may God give us a leader who has the courage to put America first and stand up for we the people."

Samuel Rodriguez: Getting Conservative SCOTUS Trumps Immigration Reform

As head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Samuel Rodriguez has worked to get more Latino voters, especially evangelicals, to back conservative candidates, while at the same time trying to get Republicans to stop trash-talking Latino immigrants and back immigration reform.

But it appears that Rodriguez has thrown his lot in with Donald Trump, the very candidate who kicked off his campaign by trash-talking Latino immigrants and calling for mass deportations.

While he may be an outspoken advocate of immigration reform, when push comes to shove, as it has with Trump’s all-but-certain nomination, Rodriguez makes it clear that he is first and foremost a Religious Right culture warrior.

Rodriguez pushes the Religious Right line that religious freedom is threatened in America. There is an attempt to “silence Christians” in America, he says, and Christians cannot sit out elections because “today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity.” He also believes there is a spiritual battle under way to “annihilate” the family.

In the end, his advocacy for immigrant families takes a back seat to his opposition to legal abortion and marriage equality. He said as much at an Evangelicals for Life event in January, telling Latinos that it’s fine to march for immigration reform —“as long as it’s not amnesty or illegal immigration; we need to stop that” — but “we must be above all things pro-life.”

Although Rodriguez manages to cultivate a public image as a nonpartisan bridge-builder, he regularly partners with some of the most extreme voices within the Religious Right. The stridently anti-gay Liberty Counsel serves as NHCLC’s official “legislative and policy arm” and Liberty Counsel President Mat Staver serves as an NHCLC board member and its chief legal counsel. Last fall Rodriguez called Cindy Jacobs, who has predicted a new civil war between God-loving and gay-loving states,  “one of the most anointed voices, prophetic voices in the Kingdom of God.”

In a story last week by right-wing pundit Todd Starnes of Fox News, Rodriguez dismissed talk by some evangelical leaders that Christians should, in the words of pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Of evils choose none.” Rodriguez says not voting is “sacrificing your Christian worldview on the altar of political expediency. It is silly to talk about not voting for either candidate. Every single Christian should vote.”

And while Rodriguez doesn’t mention Trump by name, it is clear that he will not be voting for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders:

“I will vote my Christian values,” Rodriguez said. “It’s life, the family ethos, it’s religious liberty, it’s limited government. That’s the person I’m going to vote for.”

Rodriquez conceded that the 2016 candidates are not his “dream team” – but he’s only concerned about one issue – the Supreme Court.

“I’m going to vote for protecting the Supreme Court from judges that are activists – that run counter to our Judeo-Christian value system.”

This is a very different message than Rodriguez conveyed in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in July, which he co-wrote with Southern Baptist official Russell Moore, where he described Trump as an unchristian, unethical and unelectable politician.

Trump tweeted earlier this week that Moore is “a terrible representative of Evangelicals” and a “nasty guy with no heart!”

Unlike Rodriguez, Moore is standing by his opposition to Trump.

 

After Meeting With Trump, Roy Blunt Says He's 'For Him'

Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who faces a tough reelection battle in part thanks to Donald Trump’s ascendance to the top of the GOP ticket, was one of the members of Congress to meet with Trump in Washington yesterday, an opportunity that his staff said he would use to warn the presidential candidate about the language he uses on the campaign trail.

In an interview with home-state radio host Jamie Allman this morning, Blunt lamented the nasty rhetoric on “both sides” in the election and, apparently taking a cue from his colleague Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, declined to explicitly say he was endorsing Trump, merely saying that he was “for him.”

“Do you endorse Donald Trump?” Allman asked.

“I’m for him,” Blunt replied, “and look forward to helping them understand what can be done to get regulation under control and move forward.”

Blunt told Allman that he had a “good meeting” with Trump.

“And Donald talked, as you might imagine,” he said, “but he also listened and we had a chance to talk as well and I think there’s some real potential to get things done, like getting the regulators under control and figure out how the Congress can take responsibility for regulation again. I think things like getting Obamacare off the books and getting better health care policies on the books are all very possible with him, and I don’t think they’re possible with Mrs. Clinton at all.”

“Do you think that Donald Trump is a conservative?” Allman asked

Blunt paused for an awkwardly long time before responding: “He says he’s a conservative and I don’t have any reason to doubt that. Do all conservatives agree on everything? No. But I sure think he’s more conservative than Mrs. Clinton.”

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Election 2016 Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Thursday 05/26/2016, 11:35am
Earlier today, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios broadcast her daily radio show live from the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall Summit, where she chatted with FRC president Tony Perkins about the defeat of their preferred presidential candidate, Ted Cruz. Perkins told Rios about his role in organizing an event in June featuring presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and various Religious Right leaders, while noting that he has not yet endorsed Trump. However, “knowing what the alternative and having experienced almost eight years now of Barack Obama... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/25/2016, 11:30am
Whether or not Newt Gingrich has officially joined the likes of Sarah Palin and Jan Brewer on Donald Trump’s vice presidential shortlist, it appears that Gingrich is having a major impact on the presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign. According to a recent National Review article, the Trump and Gingrich speak to each other every day and the former House speaker has had “his hand in every major policy effort” by Trump’s campaign. Certainly, the two share an almost unrivaled egomania and are skilled in the art of ridiculing liberal media “elites.”... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 05/25/2016, 11:22am
On yesterday's edition of "The Hagee Hotline," conservative commentator Dennis Prager explained that he'll grudgingly be voting for Donald Trump in November because "mature people" recognize that sometimes you have to support a Joseph Stalin in order to defeat an Adolf Hitler. Prager said that he would have preferred any of the other Republican presidential primary candidates to Trump, but since Trump is going to be the nominee, he'll support him despite his terrible character flaws and lack of values because Hillary Clinton, and Democrats in general, don't... MORE
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 05/25/2016, 10:22am
Pat Buchanan joined the sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton last week, bursting out laughing in an interview with the Catholic television network EWTN as he called Clinton “extremely shrill” and said that when he has heard her on television, “I thought my cat had come back to life.” EWTN host Raymond Arroyo, who started the program by asking Buchanan if he thought of himself as “the John the Baptist of Donald Trump,” asked him to discuss polls showing a tight general election race between Trump and Clinton. Buchanan responded that he thinks Clinton is... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/24/2016, 3:10pm
Next month, Donald Trump will host a meeting with some of the country’s most radical anti-LGBT and anti-choice leaders in New York City. Trump, who has already recruited a variety of far-right activists and conspiracy theorists to his campaign, is set to take part in a convening organized by Ben Carson, a former rival turned campaign surrogate, aimed at bringing reluctant Religious Right leaders to his side. According to a copy of the invitation to the event obtained by the National Review, Trump will be joined by Religious Right activists including Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Penny... MORE
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 05/24/2016, 2:03pm
Earlier this month, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said that it was the job of white nationalists like himself to give Donald Trump “space” so that he can eventually publicly embrace anti-Semitism. Jared Taylor, the leading white nationalist who heads the organization American Renaissance, expressed a similar hope in a May 16 interview on an “alt-right” podcast, saying that he could “imagine” a scenario in which Trump, once president, would publicly back “white people wanting to remain a majority in their own country” and endorse bogus... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/24/2016, 10:55am
Donald Trump frequently attempts to get away with spouting wild conspiracy theories by claiming that he doesn’t necessarily believe in the conspiracy theories in question, but is simply asking the question. This rhetorical trick, one perfected by Fox News hosts and right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck, enables Trump to insert a conspiracy theory into the news narrative without taking any responsibility as to whether the allegation is true or not. Take, for example, his interview yesterday with the Washington Post, where he mentioned the thoroughly discredited claim that Bill and Hillary... MORE