I’ve said various mean things about Donald Trump on this blog, and you might think I’m painting his party with too broad a brush, saying the Republican Party totally backs him and no Republican can claim to be free of the stink. You would be mistaken to think that.
Why is this so important to what Iowa Republican leaders decide to do next? Because you are nationally recognized as the staunchest group of Republican defenders of Donald Trump in the entire country. There were no major holdouts from Iowa elected officials, Terry Branstad’s son is running Trump’s state operation, Joni Ernst embraced him as her headline speaker at her Roast and Ride and Chuck Grassley is holding open a Supreme Court seat just for him. The Republican Party of Iowa is the Trump Party of Iowa, now and forever, if you do not move to immediately denounce Trump and withdraw your support. (And, yes, you should have done this for any number of his previous comments, but hey, here we are.)
The Trump campaign says this proves he’s innocent.
The “evidence” concerned the charge of Jessica Leeds that Trump had groped her – putting his hand up her skirt – on a flight from Dallas to New York in 1980. Trump has denied even knowing her. The Trump campaign put forward an Englishman named Anthony Gilberthorpe, now 54, to say that he was on the same flight, sitting nearby, saw the whole transaction, remembers it with “photographic memory,” and observed Leeds flirting with Trump rather than Trump assaulting Leeds. Pretty convincing, right?
- If Gilberthorpe is now 54, he must have been 18 in 1980. I suppose it’s possible that an English eighteen-year-old was flying first class from Dallas to New York, but it’s not especially plausible, and he doesn’t seem to have provided any explanation.
- Trump flatly denied that he’d ever met Leeds. So if Gilberthorpe is telling the truth, Trump isn’t. He also contradicts the narrative of Trump surrogates that the incident couldn’t have happened because Trump is and always has been too precious to fly commercial.
So he either thinks you don’t care whether he sexually assaulted a woman, or he thinks you’re too stupid to see through his lies.
The President of the United States can’t throw his political opponents in jail. A threat to do so is an affront to the Constitution. And yet we now have the spectacle of the Republican nominee pushing for throwing Hillary Clinton in jail, and her attorneys too. It wasn’t a “debate quip,” it’s become a central part of his campaign, repeated in his stump speech and on social media over and over.
“It’s a chilling thought,” said Michael Chertoff, a former federal appeals court judge who also served as the secretary of Homeland Security and head of the Justice Department’s criminal division in the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Chertoff, who has announced that he will vote for Mrs. Clinton, added, “It smacks of what we read about tin-pot dictators in other parts of the world, where when they win an election their first move is to imprison opponents.”
Let’s hear from the Iowa Republican Party on this. Where do they stand on the whole dictatorship thing? You can guess the answer. If you’re voting Republican, campaigning as a Republican, refusing to denounce the Republican Party all the way up and down the ballot, history will record that you were willing to let a fascist take the Presidency.
A solid majority of Republican officials, including all Republican leaders in Congress, still back Donald Trump. But dozens of Republicans are trying to publicly distance themselves from their nominee by withdrawing various endorsements. Why now?
Anyone who bails or rushes to condemn him now implicitly accepted everything that’s come before — his saying Mexicans are rapists, that Megyn Kelly must have been menstruating when she aggressively questioned him at an early primary debate, that Muslims should be banned, that he didn’t know enough about David Duke to condemn the former Ku Klux Klan wizard, that women should be punished for having abortions, all while welcoming the support of Nazis and white nationalists, mocking a reporter for his disabled arm, insisting a judge with Latino heritage couldn’t rule fairly against him, smearing Khizr and Ghazala Khan, suggesting Hillary Clinton be shot, keeping up his birtherism softshoe and encouraging Russian hackers to go after his opponent’s files.
Every candidate running on a Republican ballot line knows who they nominated, and they loved him until now. Suddenly they’re shocked, shocked, to discover their guy is a creep. Be honest now: is anyone, of any party, surprised by this latest atrocity?
By now you know that Donald Trump was, as recently as 10 years ago, bragging about sexually assaulting women. The outrage has been so intense that Trump has taken the unusual step of admitting he could improve.
Trump does say the words “I was wrong, I apologize.” That’s the beginning and the end of the apology, in a statement 247 words long.
- He emphasizes that the video is more than 10 years old—not a strong argument coming from a 70 year old man, especially when
- He again brings up Bill Clinton’s infidelity from 30 years ago,
- As if Hillary were responsible for her husband’s bad behavior.
- He says the video is a distraction from the important issues, which means…what? That treating women like meat isn’t important? That women aren’t important? Or is it just the obvious: please stop paying attention to my sins, and concentrate on those of others?
- He claims “These words don’t reflect who I am.” Literally all the evidence points in the opposite direction. Wasn’t he fat-shaming a woman just days ago?
All the media are calling it an apology, but with Trump, they’re grading on a generous curve. Virtually the whole statement was the opposite of an apology.
This morning the Republican standard bearer, Donald Trump, spoke on veterans issues. It did not go well.
When asked how he would approach mental health issues such as PTSD and if he would support spiritual counseling for veterans affected by them, Trump implied that veterans who are “strong” don’t suffer from such afflictions.
“When you talk about the mental health problems,” he said, “when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in the room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.”
This, from a candidate who avoided military service during the Vietnam War, who claims to respect veterans, as long as they didn’t get captured, who wants to privatize the Veterans Administration, who got caught lying about giving to veterans’ charities. Is this a political party that can get your vote?
You’re probably already aware that “Trump University” was a scam designed to fleece wannabe real estate developers. It turns out that when the Florida Attorney General was investigating whether to prosecute Trump for fraud in the matter, Trump picked that moment to give a $25,000 contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R). Bondi instantly dropped the fraud investigation. We are supposed to believe that these two things are not connected.
Turns out that wasn’t the only Trump gift to Bondi. He gave her bargain rental rates at his Mar-a-Lago resort, $5,000 for the same facility that charged his own campaign $140,000. In other words, he made a $135,000 in-kind contribution to Bondi.
Trump isn’t shy about expecting favors in return for campaign contributions.
“I’ve given to everybody,” he boasted earlier this year. “When I want something I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass. “It’s true. They kiss my ass.”
This is the Republican leader. It’s corrupt all the way down.
Republicans say they’re against racism. And yet:
- Paul Ryan says Trumps attack on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel was “the textbook definition of a racist comment”, but supports Trump for President anyway.
- Reince Priebus, who brokered the Ryan endorsement of Trump, supports Trump.
- Chuck Grassley said Trump’s racist remark was no worse than something someone else said, which wouldn’t justify Trump’s racism even if the remarks were comparable, which they are not.
- Marco Rubio unambiguously said that Trump’s comments were wrong and discredit the Republican Party, but has repeatedly said he would back the Republican presidential nominee, even if it’s Trump.
- Mitch McConnell says he “I couldn’t disagree more with a statement like that” but wouldn’t answer whether he considered it racist. He supports Trump anyway.
- Ben Carson says Trump talks like a racist but is not a racist, and supports Trump anyway.
- Newt Gingrich said the remarks were unacceptable, which is surprising coming from someone who has thus far failed to criticize Trump’s birtherism, anti-Muslim bigotry, misogny and casual racism. He supports Trump anyway.
- Ted Cruz and Chris Christie simply had no comment, and presumably still support Trump.
So let’s see…that’s the current Speaker of the House, a former Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, and four Republicans who ran for President in 2016, and the chairman of the Republican National Committee, all either backing Trump despite admitting he’s a racist, or refusing to admit he’s a racist despite the evidence, or afraid to comment. And that’s just the leadership. We also have the unambiguous polling data showing that racist voters support Trump. And just as icing on the cake, David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan and Trump supporter, says Trump’s not a racist, the problem is the Jewish media.
When the entire leadership of a political party, and a solid majority of the voting members of that party, want to put a racist in the White House, there’s no longer any argument about whether that political party stands for racism. You can’t run as a Republican and claim to stand for something else.
Which of these policy positions are from Donald Trump, Republican, and which are from Benito Mussolini, Fascist?
- Cut taxes on the wealthy.
- Balance the budget.
- Cut federal spending.
- Privatize many functions of government.
- Deport undesirable foreigners.
- Support the majority religion, foment hatred toward minority religions.
- Promote foreign wars.
Trick question. All these are positions taken by both Trump and Mussolini. Because Trump is a fascist.
Trump uses many of the fascist’s tools: a contempt for facts, spreading a pervasive sense of fear and overwhelming crisis, portraying his backers as victims, assigning blame to foreign or alien actors and suggesting only his powerful personality can transcend the crisis. He endorsed the violence done to a dissenter at one of his rallies, and he now floats the idea of making entry to the United States contingent on religion.
And it’s working. Trump has the racist vote locked up. Polling data shows that 20% of Trump supporters think that Lincoln was wrong to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. No, seriously, they actually think Lincoln was wrong to issue an executive order freeing the slaves. And another 13% aren’t sure. About the Emancipation Proclamation.
Conservative military historian Max Boot tweeted: “Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it.”
Trump isn’t a fringe character any more. This is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. The one who won the primaries (with record high Republican voter turnout) and who will win the convention. He represents the Republican Party. He has been endorsed by the entire Republican leadership. Every candidate up and down the ballot who runs on the Republican Party line is willingly sharing the ticket…with a fascist.