TheDove TV’s “Focus Today” show on Monday featured conservative commentator Josh Bernstein, who claimed that if Donald Trump's campaign would hire him, he could "guarantee" to get the presumptive GOP nominee a 20-point lead over Hillary Clinton by August 1, presumably through his brilliant plan to have Trump feature female speakers at the Republican National Convention in an effort to combat his sexist, racist image.
Trump should "turn the convention into literally a Lifetime Channel type of convention,” Benstein advised. “I would have three- or four-to-one female speakers over male speakers, preferably folks that worked for him, that came up through the Trump organization and can tell their personal stories about Donald Trump, because the left and the media has painted him as some kind of sexist or racist and I think that those images can be put on display.”
Bernstein also recommended that the Trump campaign should "hire me, because I guarantee I can get him over 20 points by August 1.”
One legacy of the 2016 presidential campaign may well be a divide between religious and political conservatives who took a principled stance against the racist campaign of the apparently amoral Donald Trump, and those who jumped on board the Trump train in spite of his long record of lies, abusive and divisive rhetoric, and his shameless, transparently cynical use of religion to promote his candidacy.
Those divides may be clarifying in the wake of Trump’s meeting with hundreds of religious conservative leaders on Tuesday in what organizers had laughably described as a nonpolitical conversation. At least it seems to becoming clearer where Samuel Rodriguez and his National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) are going to stand. And it’s not with the immigrants who Trump bashes as a core of his campaign strategy.
As we’ve noted before, Rodriguez loves positioning himself as someone who is above partisan politics even while acting as a Religious Right culture warrior whose main political goal is to get more Hispanics to vote for conservative candidates. Rodriguez has spent years telling conservative white evangelicals that they’re wrong to want to deport millions of Hispanic Christian immigrants, telling them that Jesus-loving Hispanic immigrants can help save Christian culture in America. Conservatives are hurting themselves, he has argued, by pushing Hispanics away with harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Along those lines, Rodriguez has publicly criticized Trump’s bigoted language about Mexicans, Latino immigrants, and Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump has accused of being biased because of his Mexican-American heritage. Last November, NHCLC’s Executive Vice President Tony Suarez said, “The only thing more embarrassing than his campaign is watching preachers support Trump and even manipulate scripture to invent false prophecies regarding Trump.”
In April, Suarez met with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other House leaders to discuss “the political and spiritual direction of the Republican Party.” According to an NHCLC press conference at the time, Suarez “addressed the importance of the Hispanic electorate in the upcoming election and the spiritual implications surrounding the immigration issue.”
"The members of Congress, specifically those that profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, must prayerfully consider the spiritual implications of mass deportation, as well as the current strategies espoused by both Republican candidates," said Suarez. "If a mass deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country were to take place, it would virtually close most Hispanic churches in our country."
After Trump’s perfunctory video message to an NHCLC conference in May included no mea culpa for his anti-immigrant demagoguery, Rodriguez said, “I have no plans on endorsing Donald Trump whatsoever.”
Since then there have been no signs that Donald Trump is willing to reconsider, prayerfully or otherwise, his plans for a “deportation force” or his insistence that he will build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it – a centerpiece of his campaign. And he has not apologized for his despicable smear of Judge Curiel, and by extension all Americans of Mexican heritage.
But politics is politics, and now Suarez, despite his past criticism of Trump, is on Trump’s new “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board” while officially remaining uncommitted to him. And even Rodriguez is telling the Christian Broadcasting Network that yesterday’s meeting could be “a tipping point” for evangelicals and Trump, praising the candidate’s “very well-defined, articulated commitment to religious liberty and life, the Supreme Court especially….”
If you were paying attention, you could see this coming. Rodriguez has given Trump political cover before, saying that Trump is not a racist and blaming liberal media for promoting the idea that he is. And last month Rodriguez declared that it is every Christian’s duty to vote and that getting conservative justices on the Supreme Court is more important than immigration reform.
Another NHCLC leader, Mario Bramnick, was among evangelicals who met privately with Trump last month; Bramnick emerged gushing about Trump’s “genuineness” and “tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants.” Two months earlier, Bramnick spoke at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference, where he declared in prayer that “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.”
Reports from and about the most recent meeting seem to show Trump in typical form, calling himself a “tremendous believer,” questioning the faith of Hillary Clinton, and telling people not to pray for political leaders who “are selling Christianity down the tubes.” Trump pandered to the conservative Christian activists by saying “You really don’t have religious freedom” and pledging to “get rid of” IRS restrictions on electoral politicking by churches. He said he’d make Macy’s put “Merry Christmas” signs in its store windows. And he promised them Supreme Court justices hand-picked by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society.
In putting together this event and building an advisory board without requiring its members to endorse him, Trump’s campaign seemed to be trying to recreate a critical moment in the marriage between the Religious Right and the Republican Party – a day in 1980 in which Ronald Reagan said to thousands of evangelical leaders, “I know you can’t endorse me … but I want you to know that I endorse you and what you’re doing.” In a press release about Trump’s new advisory committee, the campaign said:
The leaders on the executive board were not asked to endorse Mr. Trump as a prerequisite for participating on the board.
Rather, the formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of those diverse issues important to Evangelicals and other Christians, and his desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders as needed. Mr. Trump has received widespread support from Evangelical leaders, communities and voters, winning the majority of the Evangelical vote throughout the primaries.
The meeting appears to have had its intended effect, and not only with Rodriguez. The conservative Townhall reported that Pastor Michael Anthony felt that God was speaking through Trump to encourage pastors to get more involved in politics to defend religious freedom. “I think that no matter what political party you’re a part of, if you were in this room today, you would have to admit there was a unity and a gentleness in this meeting that were remarkable,” said Anthony. “If we can do this in a room of 1,000, I think there’s hope for the nation.”
During his summit with Religious Right leaders yesterday, Donald Trump took time to meet with Troy Newman, the anti-abortion extremist in charge of Operation Rescue.
Newman, who was the co-chair of Ted Cruz’s Pro-Life Coalition, said that Trump is the only candidate left in the race who will challenge abortion rights. Newman’s deputy Cheryl Sullenger said in a statement that Trump pledged to:
1. Appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, which have been pre-vetted by the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.
2. Appoint strong pro-life judges to the Federal Courts.
3. Repeal and replace Obamacare and the abortion mandate that forces the insured to pay for abortions and abortifacient drugs.
4. Actively support and sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
5. Defund America’s largest supplier of abortion, Planned Parenthood.
None of these promises is new, as despite media stories about Trump’s supposedly “moderate” social views, the presumptive GOP nominee has been campaigning on his vow to put anti-choice judges on the court, cut access to reproductive services and defund Planned Parenthood as long as it offers abortion care. Trump has renounced his previous support for abortion rights and quickly backtracked after he recently told CBS that he didn’t want to change abortion laws.
Meeting with Newman would go a long way toward shoring up his anti-choice credentials.
Newman spearheaded the recent smear campaign against Planned Parenthood that falsely accused the organization of selling fetal tissue and has built an entire career around harassing abortion providers . Sullenger, his Operation Rescue colleague, even served “time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s.”
Newman’s views are so extreme that he said a man convicted of murdering an abortion provider was “little more than a political prisoner” who should have been allowed to argue that he was performing a “justifiable defensive action” and “present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.”
He and Sullenger once wrote at length about why it is a government responsibility to execute abortion providers:
In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.
Rejecting that innocent blood is to reject the only standard that is effective against innocent bloodshed, excluding the lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture.
In the same book, “Their Blood Cries Out,” the two also suggest that women who have had an abortion are “murderesses” who shouldn’t be treated any differently than abortion providers or “any other mother” who killed “any other family member,” and that God is now punishing America for abortion rights with terrorist attacks like 9/11, cancer and HIV/AIDS. The California drought,inclement weather and financial turmoil, according to Newman, are all results of the legalization of abortion.
But, as we’ve said before, there appears to be no one who is too extreme to be embraced by Trump.
While speaking with a group of evangelical leaders in New York on Tuesday, Donald Trump appeared to question Hillary Clinton’s faith, according to a brief video clip released by conservative activist E.W. Jackson. “We don't know anything about Hillary in terms of religion,” the presumptive Republican nominee told the audience, according to a transcript by The Hill. “Now, she's been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there's no — there's nothing out there.”
This statement is just Trump’s latest lie — Clinton is a Methodist who has spoken about her faith and its impact on her politics. However, conservatives have for decades used similar falsehoods to attack Democratic presidential candidates.
President Obama has spent eight years facing accusations about his faith. Donald Trump, echoing other conservatives, has accused him of being a secret Muslim. At the same time, conservatives have made the contradictory attack that Obama attended a Chicago church that was racist.
During his presidential campaign in 2004, John Kerry’s Catholicism was called into question. The conservative Weekly Standard called Kerry “a curious kind of Catholic” while some conservative bishops decided to deny him communion.
Bill Clinton, a Baptist, spent his eight years in the White House facing accusations about his faith from the Christian Right. The New York Times reported in 1994, “Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition called Mr. Clinton's inauguration a ‘repudiation of our forefathers' covenant with God.’” This was just one of a litany of attacks, innuendo and unproven accusations hurled at the president by those purporting to represent Christianity.
Even Michael Dukakis faced ugly accusations about his commitment to the Greek Orthodox Church. During the 1988 election, James G. Jatras, who worked for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, called Dukakis a "renegade, an outcast" who "severed [his membership in the religion due to his] marriage outside the church" because his wife was Jewish.
Riling up adherents into believing the latest Democratic standard-bearer represents an antireligious force that must be opposed has long been part of the Christian Right playbook … one that often proves useful in organizing and fundraising efforts.
As the Times noted in their 1994 article, Jerry Falwell’s attacks on Clinton were part of an effort that “sold tens of thousands of the videotapes for ‘donations’ of at least $40 plus $3 for shipping.” The same piece cited other Christian conservatives using direct mail to fundraise off tawdry accusations against the president.
Trump might be rewriting the book on how conservatives campaign for the White House, but when it comes to attacks on Hillary Clinton’s religion, he is just rehashing an old tired pattern of attacks.
Following the meeting that Donald Trump held with hundreds of Religious Right activists yesterday, a handful of leaders sat down for a press conference where they took questions from reporters. At this press conference, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and the Susan B. Anthony List's Marjorie Dannenfelser perfectly displayed just how flimsy their supposed standards are when it comes to backing political candidates.
When it comes to Trump, whose history of unapologetic narcissism, pathological dishonesty and willingness to say whatever benefits him at the moment are undeniable, both Perkins and Dannenfelser made it clear that they simply do not care about any of those things because, right now, Trump is willing to tell them what they want to hear.
Admitting that Trump has a long history of doing things, saying things and taking positions that are in direct contradiction to the supposed values of the Religious Right, Perkins rationalized backing Trump by declaring that forgiveness is the core of the Christian faith.
"One of the things about the evangelical community that people have a hard time understanding," Perkins said, 'is we forgive. We're all sinners, we all have messed up ... When we ask people to say, 'I was wrong, forgive me, I want to do the right thing today going forward,' more than anybody else evangelicals in this country can accept that."
When a reporter pointed out that Trump does not ever actually asks for forgiveness — in fact, Trump once infamously said that he has never asked God for forgiveness — Perkins responded by declaring that "when you look at the leaders that were used throughout scripture in the Bible, almost to a 'T' each and every one of them were flawed in some form or fashion and made bad choices at some point in their life. That's the good thing about the Christian faith is it's going forward, it's not looking back."
Dannenfelser, who earlier this year signed on to a letter urging voters in Iowa "to support anyone but Donald Trump" because "Mr. Trump cannot be trusted" on the issue of abortion, also came to Trump's defense, declaring that the presumptive GOP nominee is working hard "to become the person that he says that he is."
Brushing aside the debacle a few months back when Trump said that if abortion is outlawed, women who receive them should face some sort of punishment, only to then repeatedly flip-flop on the issue, even claiming at one point that he wanted to leave abortion laws the way they are, as he scrambled to do damage control, Dannenfelser spun the episode as something for which Trump deserves a lot of credit.
"To give him a lot of credit, only a person with some humility, which he doesn't get credit for, would go back and correct his comments, which he did," Dannenfelser said. "I've actually found on the abortion issue that he's done that more on that particular issue than almost any other, a willingness to correct himself and move ahead. And I think that shows an ability to become the person that he says that he is."
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver appeared on “Crosstalk” on Monday to reflect on the upcoming anniversary of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, declaring that same-sex marriage will usher in pernicious consequences for America.
Staver, who gained notoriety for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her attempt to defy the ruling, compared gay rights advocates to communist dictators who sought to suppress religious groups, predicting that Davis “is not going to be the last one jailed.”
Same-sex marriage, Staver said, “puts every household at risk because same-sex marriage, by its nature, says that, ‘boys and girls, you don’t need moms and dads,’ that they are completely irrelevant, that two men or two women are just as good as a mother and a father and that’s a complete lie from the pit of hell. It’s just simply not true. To deprive forever a boy of ever having the opportunity of a father or a mother or a girl of a father or a mother is damaging and we will see the damage that is ultimately reaped against these children as they grow up and become our future leaders.”
Later, Staver criticized LGBT rights supporters for using the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando “to promote the homosexual, LGBT agenda — as shameful as that is.”
After six years in the Senate, where his main achievement has been renouncing an immigration reform bill that he helped to write, Florida Republican Marco Rubio has decided to reverse his pledge to retire and run for re-election.
Rubio has gained a reputation for hating his job and seems to have all but given up on doing it, racking up the Senate’s “the worst attendance record, missing 35 percent, or 120 of the 339 roll votes” last year. He even skipped votes on bills that he talked about on the presidential campaign trail. One of his presidential campaign surrogates, ex-rival Rick Santorum, was unable to name a single accomplishment of Rubio’s since he joined the Senate:
Back in October, the Sun Sentinel editorial board called on Rubio to resign because of his absenteeism:
Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he's MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead.
"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," he told CNN on Sunday. "I'm running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again."
Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.
If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.
Amazingly, Rubio has cited the attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando as a reason he is seeking a second term in the Senate, where he would surely continue to push his anti-LGBT views, show fealty to the NRA and position himself for yet another presidential bid:
The senator has told colleagues and advisers that he would like to run for president again, either in 2020 or 2024. But he increasingly came to believe that doing so from the private sector would be difficult.
On Saturday, disgraced former FBI agent John Guandolo joined Greg Corombos on his conservative WorldNetDaily show, where he claimed that Muslim “jihadis” will soon stage “multiple operations in conjunction with the Marxist and socialist groups like Black Lives Matter,” a group he holds responsible for “burning and looting cities.”
Guandolo claimed that under Islam’s Sharia law, Omar Mateen’s murder of 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando was lawful. He warned that “the global Islamic movement says that it’s gonna begin its turn from its total focus on the Islamic world where it is seeking to impose Sharia Islamic law on the Muslim world first, and then on the non-Muslim world, and that turn is gonna begin this year, potentially into early 2017 but likely before the end of this year.”
Guandolo said that once Sharia law is imposed worldwide, “instead of a couple people in San Bernardino, several people in Brussels, and a lone shooter in Orlando, you’re gonna have dozens of jihadis doing multiple operations in conjunction with the Marxist and socialist groups like Black Lives Matter, which will be, you know, burning and looting cities like they did in Ferguson and Baltimore. And if those events are precipitated, which they likely will be, from a cyber attack, power grid attack where power is lost in several states, or something similar to that, then it’s gonna be truly much, much more horrific.”
Tony Perkins Agrees '100 Percent' That Donald Trump Would Be Better For The LGBT Community Than Hillary Clinton
In the wake of the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made the absurd claim that he was a better ally of the LGBT community than Hillary Clinton. And nothing better demonstrates just how absurd this claim is than the fact that Tony Perkins, head of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council, completely agrees with Trump on this point.
"What he was saying is no American, regardless of your political ideology or your life choices, should be living under the threat of a terrorist attack on the streets of the United States of America," Perkins said. "I agree 100 percent with that. No American, no American, which they are under Barack Obama, living in fear because of Islamic terrorists coming to this country; so yes, LGBT, Catholic, Protestant atheist — as one who wore the uniform as a United States Marine and was a police officer, no American, no American should live in fear and that is exactly what Donald Trump was saying and evangelicals believe the same thing."
"That's why our military is filled with evangelicals who are willing to lay down their lives for the rights of people to live in ways they might not agree with, but not to live in fear," he continued. "So, yes, I agree with what Donald Trump said and I think most evangelicals would as well."
- Warren Throckmorton: Eric Metaxas and Ann Coulter Agree: #Nevertrumpers Don’t Want Trump Because He is Too Common.
- Elliot Hannon @ Slate: The Trump Campaign Raised Less Money in May Than the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter.
- Brad Reed @ Raw Story: Catholic Leaguer gloats over killing anti-child abuse bill: It was an attempted ‘rape’ of the church.
- Allegra Kirkland @ TPM: Idaho Officials Rebut Story Of Refugee Gang Rape Hyped On Fringe News Sites.
- Chris Geidner @ BuzzFeed: The Trump Campaign Paid Thousands To “Draper Sterling,” Which Is A Real Thing.
- Zach Carter @ The Huffington Post: A GOP Congressman Wants To Defund The Harriet Tubman $20 Bill. Really.
Pat Robertson: Gays & Islamists Are Allies So 'Let Them Kill Themselves'
6/14/16 @ 11:40am
Tom DeLay: Obama Is A Communist 'Muslim Sympathizer' Who 'Hates America'
6/15/16 @ 3:30pm
Ted Cruz, Who Attended Event Calling For Gays To Be Put To Death, Delivers Characteristically Smug Response To Orlando Attack
6/13/16 @ 2:00pm
Anti-LGBT Pastor Steven Anderson Applauds Orlando Massacre: 'There's Fifty Less Pedophiles In The World'
6/13/16 @ 11:45am
Walid Shoebat: 'The Only Ones Moaning Over Fifty Gays Slaughtered Are Liberals, Idiots And Gay Lovers'
6/13/16 @ 10:15am