RNC Speaker Asks God For Democratic Defeat In November

South Carolina pastor Mark Burns, a controversial Donald Trump campaign surrogate, delivered the benediction at today’s meeting of the Republican National Convention, where he used what is often an opportunity for nonpartisan prayer to call on Republicans to unite against “Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.”

“Father God, in the name of Jesus, Lord, we’re so thankful for the life of Donald Trump,” he said. “We’re thankful that you are guiding him, that you are giving him the words to unite this party, this country, that we together can defeat the liberal Democratic Party, to keep us divided and not united. Because we are the United States of America, and we are the conservative party under God.”

He asked God to protect Trump and to “give him the words, give him the peace, give him the power and the authority to be the next president of the United States of America.”

Meet the Speakers: RNC Speaker Once Suggested Gay Lawmaker Wanted To Protect Pedophiles

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.
 
One speaker at today’s session of the Republican National Convention was former Colorado state Rep. Libby Szabo, now a Jefferson County commissioner.
 
Szabo raised eyebrows in 2013 when she went on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program and suggested that the Colorado House speaker, who was openly gay, was “protecting somebody” when he opposed a bill that would have imposed harsh mandatory minimum sentences on people convicted of sexual assault against children. (Critics said that the bill was unnecessary and that current law already provided the protections needed.)
 
ThinkProgress transcribed Szabo’s conversation with O’Reilly:
 
O’REILLY: Now this Ferrandino I understand he is the — what, t he first openly gay House Speaker in Colorado. He was a fervent gay marriage person. He objected when gay marriage was first tabled because they sent it into the same committee to kill it that he sent Jessica’s law in. All that true so far of this guy?
 
SZABO: So far you’re correct.
 
O’REILLY: All right. So this guy doesn’t want tougher mandatory sentences. Have you talked to him about it? Has he said anything to the press about why not?
 
SZABO: You know, I don’t know that the press in Colorado, they covered this issue very well on — on my side of the issue and on Mr. Lunsford’s side of the issue. But I don’t believe he was willing to speak to them because obviously he’s protecting somebody. Obviously the victims hold more credence with him — I mean not the victim— the perpetrators hold more credence with him than the child victims do.
 

 

Meet The Speakers: On Immigration, RNC Tries To Send Conflicting Messages

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.
 
Tonight’s schedule at the Republican National Convention is organized around the Donald Trumpian theme of “Make America Safe Again,” featuring speakers who are poised to talk about immigration, law enforcement and the 2012 Benghazi attack.
 
We’ve already profiled Sheriff David Clarke, the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, law enforcement official who is likely to throw plenty of anti-Black Lives Matter, anti-Obama, anti-Clinton red meat the crowd. (And who has a troubling sideline as a cheerleader to anti-government groups.) Also on the docket for tonight is former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who we don’t expect to be all that friendly to Black Lives Matter either.
 
On the issue of immigration, the convention’s organizers seem to be trying to walk a fine line between encouraging the anti-immigrant sentiment that has been a cornerstone of Trump’s campaign and attempting to present a more moderate face to a national audience.
 
One notable speaker tonight is Rachel Campos Duffy, who will be speaking alongside her husband, Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. Although the RNC’s schedule presents Campos Duffy as a sidekick to her husband, she has a prominent role in conservative politics in her own right as the national spokesperson for the Libre Initiative, a Koch-funded organization that has been trying to win over Latinos to support conservative candidates.
 
Campos Duffy has chastised her party for what she calls a “tonal problem” on immigration. “Some of the harsher voices within this party have been able to sort of hijack [the immigration debate], in a way, and I think present a face that doesn’t really I think reflect the way so many of us feel about immigrants, about Hispanics,” she said in a 2013 speech.
 
We are not optimistic that she will address this “tonal problem” while speaking at the convention where Donald Trump will be nominated for the presidency.
 
Also reflecting the fact that the GOP’s problem with Latinos is more than just “tonal” is the prominent speaking slot being given tonight to Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
 
Sessions has had a close relationship with Trump’s campaign, especially when it comes to shaping the candidate’s draconian immigration policies. A Trump campaign source told journalist Gabriel Sherman in April, “ When Jeff Sessions calls, Trump listens .” Trump consulted with Sessions when he drafted an immigration plan last summer. Earlier this year, a top Sessions aide left to join Trump’s campaign and, shortly afterward, Trump named Sessions the chairman of his foreign policy advisory committee.
 
It’s easy to see why Trump and Sessions get along. In the Senate, Sessions has been a leading critic of immigration reform, helping to defeat immigration reform efforts in 2007 and 2013. In doing so, he has worked closely with the network of anti-immigration organizations started by John Tanton, an immigration restrictionist with a white nationalist bent. Sessions himself has dismissed immigration reform as “ethnic politics” and warned that allowing too many immigrants would create “cultural problems” in the country. Sessions first gained national attention when, in 1986, a bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination to a federal judgeship in the midst of charges of racial bias.
 
In another attempt at a balancing act on immigration, the convention’s organizers have invited three people, Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden and Jamiel Shaw, to speak as “victims of illegal immigrants.” Mendoza, Durden and Shaw are all grieving parents whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants; Shaw’s son was shot by a gang member and Durden and Mendoza’s children were killed in car crashes.
 
All three have become involved in the Remembrance Project, a group that uses genuinely tragic stories like that of these parents in a cynical attempt to paint undocumented immigrants as criminals. As we wrote in a profile of the group’s founder, Maria Espinoza, in 2014:
 
Espinoza has carved herself a specific niche in the anti-immigrant movement: highlighting cases where American citizens have been killed by undocumented immigrants in an attempt to tie individual crimes to undocumented immigrants as a whole.
 
Espinoza travels the country with her “Stolen Lives Quilt,” which features pictures of people who have been killed by undocumented immigrants, and is sometimes joined by family members of those featured on the quilt. The crimes that Espinoza highlights are indeed tragic, but the subtext of her project is dangerous.
 
Espinoza has close ties to the anti-immigrant movement, has written for a white nationalist magazine, and has even promoted writing from the racist website Daily Stormer. Trump, embracing Espinoza’s message, has promoted her and her group on the campaign trail.
 
These parents have very sad stories to tell. But Trump and the RNC are exploiting those stories to promote the myth of immigrants as criminals that has been a theme of Trump’s campaign from the very beginning.

RNC Descends Into Chaos When Presiding Chair Blocks Never Trump Delegates

The Republican National Convention broke into disarray today when Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, who was serving as the presiding chair, walked off the stage after ruling against a last-ditch effort by Never Trump forces to save their cause. The Never Trump delegates had demanded a roll call vote on the adoption of the convention rules, which they hoped to change in their Hail Mary effort to stop Donald Trump’s nomination.

Politico described the showdown:

The anti-Trump delegates opposed the rules and hoped to vote them down in the roll call vote. Their ultimate goal is to get a new set of rules that allow delegates to vote against Trump even if they are pledged to him based on the results of their state's primary or caucus rules, though they appear unlikely to have the votes to do either.

Womack eventually returned to say that the group pushing for a vote on the rules did not have sufficient support after several states, which he didn’t name, withdrew from the effort.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli led the protests of Womack’s decision to approve the rules on a simple voice vote rather than call for a roll call vote, and the Colorado delegation walked out of the proceedings entirely.

David Barton Hails GOP For Adopting 'The Most Conservative Platform In Modern History'

Religious Right activist David Barton, who served as a member of the GOP’s platform committee this year, joined fellow platform committee member Tony Perkins on Perkins’ radio show Saturday, where he proudly noted that the group put together a platform that has been called “the most conservative platform in modern history.”

Barton was particularly happy that conservatives repelled attempts by some delegates to insert LGBT-friendly language into the platform.

“They turned the entire platform meeting into LGBT issues, they get CNN to run the story, and they call us narrow-minded and single-issued?" he said. "My gosh, the only thing that was important to them in this thing was homosexual sex.”

“It took the focus off the things that were important,” Barton continued. “I was particularly in the subcommittee on the Constitution, and man, the declaration we have of the Constitution, the principles of the declaration, the language of the Constitution, all we did with the First Amendment and the Second Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Ninth Amendment, Tenth, we got a powerful platform, and you’re in the family section, what you guys did was so many – I’ve heard it called that this is the most conservative platform in modern history, and I believe that. I think that’s probably true.”

Mychal Massie: Black Lives Matter 'Worse Than The KKK'

On Friday’s episode of “Trunews” with Rick Wiles, WorldNetDaily’s Mychal Massie called Black Lives Matter a terrorist group that is “worse than the KKK.”

“I think that Black Lives Matter are worse than the KKK,” Massie said. “I believe them to be – they’re treated by this administration with the same kind of care, coddling, and warmness that the Obama administration shows toward the Islamic terrorists. And people say, ‘Well, how can you say they’re worse than the KKK?’ Well, they’re worse than the KKK because the KKK did not have a forum in all of the mainstream newspapers and media outlets to spew their hatred, but Black Lives Matter is given that forum. Black Lives Matter and their adherents are given a platform and legitimized to spew forth hatred under the guise that blacks have it so bad in America, so that makes them worse.

“And with respect to my comparison to them and the Islamic terrorists, when’s the last time CAIR came out and just denounced Islamic terrorism?” he continued. “They give left-handed condemnation, but at the same time, CAIR itself has been associated as a terrorist group, a terrorist-sponsoring group. And it’s the same with Black Lives Matter. When you have groups that are advocating for destruction, acrimony, and violence against other Americans, whether they be foreign or domestic, those are terrorist groups, and that is what Black Lives Matter is.”

Massie argued that the White House and Department of Justice should “do everything in the power of the government to take this group down.”

“Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General, is telling them, ‘We support you in your right to protest.’ Well, when have these people gathered peaceably? And we know that they’re calling for people to go to Cleveland for the Republican Convention and carry guns, so that’s an alchemy in and of itself for violence and bloodshed,” Massie said.

Alex Jones: Donald Trump Is Bringing Our Views Into The Mainstream

Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, held a pro-Donald Trump rally in Cleveland outside of the Republican National Convention today, where he thanked the soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee, a past guess on Jones' bizarre radio program, for bringing his ideas into the mainstream.

“We see the information that we talk about that was seen as radical becoming mainline,” Jones said. “We have to be ready to win. We have to be ready to take the system back and restore the republic.”

Later, Jones invited comedian Eric André onto the stage. André asked Jones to have sex with his wife, talked about his urine and repeated conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks, which Jones applauded since “I exposed all that.”

“You said something legitimate,” Jones told him.

GOP Rep: Donald Trump Won't Build A Border Wall

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, hailing him as a “dealmaker” who “will get some stuff done.”

However, Farenthold said in an interview last week with Virginia radio host John Fredericks that he doesn’t think Trump will actually fulfill his signature policy proposal, building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border that is paid for by the Mexican government, and instead will settle for a “virtual wall.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and anti-immigrant activist Dan Stein have similarly said that they believe Trump will not really build a border wall.

Earlier in the interview, Farenthold criticized President Obama for tossing “a can of gasoline on the fire” of race relations in America, claiming that the president knows “he can only win through dividing.”

“He gives lip service to uniting but you listen to the next sentence or two and it’s all about us against them and divisiveness,” he said.

He then criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, saying, “I think it’s 'all lives matter' and I think everybody can get behind that. Why do we have to differentiate between different groups? We need to come together. As long as we keep talking about division, it increases the tension between the different groups and puts us on the wrong path.”

Donald Trump: 'There's Something Going On' With Obama's Body Language

Today on “Fox & Friends,” Donald Trump repeatedly used one of his favorite lines — “There’s something going on” — while addressing President Obama’s response to the recent shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge.

Trump, who has previously used the phrase to suggest that President Obama is a terrorist sympathizer, said that “there’s something going on” with the president’s “body language” that shows that his praise of the work of police officers isn’t sincere.

“You know, I watch the president, and sometimes the words are okay but you just look at the body language and there’s something going on. Look, there’s something going on, and the words are not often okay, by the way,” he said. “There’s just bad feeling and a lot of bad feeling about him. I see it too. There’s a lot of bad feeling about him. We have a country that has not been like this since I can remember it.”

Trump also made the baseless claim that the Baton Rouge shooter was a radical Islamist, a mistake that an adviser later blamed on the fact that the interview took place early in the morning.

Anti-Choice Leader: Tax Evasion A 'Serious Consideration' If Hyde Amendment Repealed

Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said last week that anti-choice activists should take into “serious consideration” refusing to pay taxes if the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds from going to most abortion services, is repealed.

Dannenfelser told the Media Research Center after a speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday that a tax protest would be "something to think about" if the Hyde Amendment were repealed, as proposed in a draft of the Democratic platform.

"If it were repealed, how should pro-lifers react?" MRC's Katie Yoder asked Dannenfelser. "Should they go so far as to refuse to pay taxes?"

"That would be a serious consideration," Dannenfelser responded. "That would be a serious consideration. When you're made complicit in the killing of another person, you have to weigh the consequences of all your actions, so it would be something to think about."

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