Mitt Romney today denounced hate speech in his address to the Values Voters Summit, a virulently anti-gay right-wing extremist convention held and attended by several certified anti-gay hate groups. In response, Bryan Fischer, the public face of the certified anti-gay hate group, American Family Association, called Romney’s speech “tasteless and tawdry.”
“Our values are noble as citizens and they strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today has crossed that line I think. Poisonous language doesn’t advance our cause,” Romney said.
Most believe Romney was referring to Bryan Fischer.
“Romney did in fact use the opportunity to put at least a little distance between himself and Fischer,”Â Right Wing Watch, a watchdog group run by PeopleÂ For the American Way, offered.Â “PeopleÂ For the American WayÂ repeatedlyÂ calledÂ on Mitt Romney this week to denounce BryanÂ Fischer, theÂ radical American FamilyÂ Association spokesmanÂ who immediately followed Romney at theÂ Values Voter Summit and whoseÂ relentless bigotryÂ has beenÂ thoroughly chronicledÂ here at PFAW’sÂ Right Wing Watch.”
â€œMitt Romney clearly realized that his presidential campaign couldnâ€™t ignore the bigotry of Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association,â€ said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. â€œIâ€™m glad that he saw fit to put at least a small distance between himself and the hate speech regularly pushed by Fischer, even if he couldnâ€™t bring himself to call Fischer out by name. Since he began running for President, Mitt Romney has bent over backwards in a desperate attempt to make himself palatable to the extreme right. At least weâ€™ve seen that there are some things heâ€™s willing to speak out against, no matter how tepid his condemnation may be. Itâ€™s disappointing that none of the other candidates have been willing to go even that far.â€
Andrew Harmon at The Advocate added that, “Romney was no model of tolerance in his address. The former Massachusetts governor sought to burnish his own antigay credentials before a crowd that had wildly cheered onstage condemnations of the Pentagonâ€™sÂ recent decisionÂ allowing military chaplains to officiate at same-sex weddings (an ironic reaction from those who normally rail against abridgements of religious freedom, critics charged).”
If elected, Romney pledged to vigorously defend the Defense of Marriage Act and blasted the Obama administrationâ€™s February announcement that it would no longer do so. The Justice Department has since filed briefs in current legal challenges against DOMA and has argued that the law is unconstitutional. â€œI will appoint an attorney general who will defend the bipartisan law passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton,â€ Romney said of DOMA.
Openly gay Republican presidential candidateÂ Fred KargerÂ gave Romney few points for his criticism of Fischer: â€œI hope other Republican presidential candidates will join Mitt Romney and me in condemning Bryan Fischerâ€™s hate speech … but Republican presidential candidates have no business kowtowing to these known hate groups,â€ Karger toldÂ The Advocate.
Surprisingly, GOProud, the gay Tea Party group, praised Romney.Â “We have a country on the edge of fiscal disaster and it is critical that we have a united conservative movement that can make the case to average Americans about why our vision, our values and our policies are right for this country,â€ Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder of the nascent media-savvy organization said. â€œThe last thing we need is a right wing version of Jeremiah Wright, distracting and dividing us, and thatâ€™s exactly what Bryan Fisher is.â€
LaSalvia did not mention any of the anti-gay comments one of his board members, Ann Coulter, regularly makes.
Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches wrote,
After his speech this morning, I asked the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer what he thought of Mitt Romney’s comments about him. His reply:
I thought it was tasteless. I thought he was allowing the New York Times and the Southern Poverty Law Center and People for the American Way to dictate the content of his speech, which I think was a mistake for him to do at the Values Voters Summit. That was kind of an insult to the people in the room. . . .Â I donâ€™t think it helped him.
I then asked Fischer whether he though only an evangelical Christian was qualified to be president. He said, “I didn’t say that,” and to my question of whether he thinks that, he continued to reply, several times over, “I didn’t say that.”
Another reporter asked Fischer whether he thought Mormonism was a cult. He said, “Mormonism is outside the mainstream of historic Christian orthodoxy.” Asked whether being Mormon disqualified someone from being president, he would only repeat: “Mormonism is outside the mainstream of historic Christian orthodoxy.” Given that he hadÂ earlier saidÂ that the president must be “a main of sincere, authentic, genuine Christian faith,” it’s not hard to figure out what he thinks.
If there’s one thing you can say about Bryan Fischer, it that it’s never hard to figure out what he thinks.
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Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’
Legal experts and other experts are urging – or in some cases, daring – Donald Trump to publish a copy of the FBI’s search warrant and the inventory list of the ten cartons of classified documents removed from Mar-a-Lago’s basement Monday, as his supporters openly call for civil war in response to what the former president called a “raid.”
“After the search, the federal agents hauled away roughly 10 more boxes,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
That makes the total number of cartons the former president was storing at his Florida home approximately 25, based on reports that 15 cartons had to be retrieved by the National Archives earlier this year.
Almost immediately upon news breaking that the FBI had executed a search warrant, Trump supporters went wild. They formed a convoy outside Mar-a-Lago, and online countless threats of violence and “civil war” have been made.
Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph, noting the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”
Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that call for civil war and other related threats of violence, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”
And Tuesday afternoon NBC News reported, “After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter.”
Legal experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president – and certainly not a political move, like Trump supporters are falsely claiming.
Former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich, who is also a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York (SDNY) notes that “Trump has the search warrant, specifying the crimes being investigated, and the inventory of the items seized.”
“He has chosen not to share those items publicly although he is free to do so,” Bromwich adds.
Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on MSNBC Tuesday morning:
“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.”
“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.” @neal_katyal pic.twitter.com/j3PH8m8ACI
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) August 9, 2022
“By the way,” noted Richard Stengel, a former U.S. Under Secretary of State, “Trump now has the search warrant and the inventory of what was taken in his possession. If this raid was so egregious and unjustified, why not release them?”
“Trump can release the search warrant and the inventory of what the FBI took. Why hasn’t he?” asked Marc Elias, the DNC’s top attorney who successfully fought more than 60 cases of alleged election fraud brought by the Trump team and his supporters.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, responding to a Fox News tweet with video of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that reads, “‘WE DESERVE ANSWERS NOW'” wrote: “Some of those questions could be answered if Trump released the search warrant as well as the inventory of items seized, which his team presumably has.”
Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeting his article titled, “Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails,” wrote: “One person who could clear most of it up? Trump. He has access to the inventory of records at Mar-a-Lago and likely received a copy of the search warrant. He would also know the nature of the classified documents at issue.”
‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was by Donald Trump‘s side constantly promoting and defending him when he was President, and who was subjected to Trump’s support of rioters and insurrectionists calling to “hang Mike Pence,” is being highly criticized and mocked for again rushing to defend Trump in the wake of the FBI’s raid at Mar-a-Lago.
Experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president.
But not according to Pence, who is strongly believed to be organizing a 2024 presidential run.
“I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump. No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” he writes.
“After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed,” he claims, which is at best a twisting of facts. No FBI agent was found to have taken official action based on personal political beliefs.
“Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately,” Pence demanded.
Pence could have made the exact same demand of Donald Trump, who has a copy of the lawfully executed search warrant and inventory of the likely hundreds or thousands of documents that are the rightful property of the U.S. government, and recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Meanwhile, Pence was singing a very different tune int he weeks before he was elected Vice President.
“We call on the FBI to immediately release all emails pertinent to their investigation,” he tweeted about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on October 28, 2016. “Americans have the right to know before Election Day.”
Trump “and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law,” Pence added just hours later.
Responses to Pence’s remarks on Tuesday were strong.
“Mike he was going to sacrifice you,” tweeted Daily Kos staff writer Gabe Ortíz.
“No President has ever attempted to have an armed mob assassinate his Vice President either,” wrote journalist Marcy Wheeler.
Trump sent a “violent mob to murder you so he could end [the] republic,” tweeted economist David Rothschild. “Trump took boxes of classified documents from White House & is known to destroy documents.”
“Trump won in 2016 because FBI intervened on his behalf over ‘concern’ about Clinton’s document retention & security,” he continued. “Not investigating & prosecuting former president who flaunts breaking law, including leading coup against US, undermines rule-of-law for all of US.”
“You don’t know what the FBI’s warrant said or what evidence was presented to the judge who authorized it,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “Your suggestion that Trump should be beyond accountability to the law, like your silence when Trump called for imprisonment of his opponents as president, harms our country.”
Talking Points memo editor and founder Josh Marshall writes, “this is a good reminder of who Mike Pence is. None of this happened. The FBI never plotted against Trump. To the extent it has org bias it’s toward the right. Everyone knows this. Pence is just repeating anti-‘deep state’ propaganda invented to give Trump cover for his crimes.”
“The pervasive rightwing lie and conspiracy theory that the FBI is controlled by Biden for political purposes is based on the assumption that everyone in the Biden admin, the FBI, the department of justice, the media and secret service is corrupt and abusing power—and trump is not,” wrote Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski.
Vox’s legal expert, Ian Millhiser asks, “Is there anyone on earth more pathetic than Mike Pence? Donald Trump egged on a lynch mob that wanted Pence hanged, and Pence is still Trump’s toady.”
‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’
Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee for Pennsylvania who was at the US Capitol on January 6 and is seen as a central figure in the plot to overturn the election, complied with a subpoena to appear before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack but didn’t answer any questions.
“Trump ally Doug Mastriano’s virtual appearance Tuesday before the House January 6 committee only lasted about 15 minutes,” CNN reports, adding that “‘he didn’t answer a single question,’ according to a source familiar with the matter.”
New York Times reporter Luke Broadwater confirms, adding that Mastriano is “pledging to sue the committee,” although it is unclear on what grounds.
Mastriano is a conspiracy theorist with strong ties to far right wing extremists including antisemitic Gab found Andrew Torba.
CNN adds that “Mastriano’s attorney cut off the virtual appearance soon after it began, the source said. His lawyer, Tim Parlatore, took issue with several procedural matters related to the deposition, and raised questions about the legality of the subpoena that Mastriano received from the panel, the source added.”
As of May the Committee had already interviewed over 1000 people and it appears few, if any, have made these claims.
The New Yorker in May called Mastriano “a leader of the Stop the Steal campaign, and claims that he spoke to Donald Trump at least fifteen times between the 2020 election and the insurrection at the Capitol, on January 6th.”
“He urged his followers to attend the rally at the Capitol that led to the riots, saying, ‘I’m really praying that God will pour His Spirit upon Washington, D.C., like we’ve never seen before.’ Throughout this time, he has cast the fight against both lockdowns and Trump’s electoral loss as a religious battle against the forces of evil. He has come to embody a set of beliefs characterized as Christian nationalism, which center on the idea that God intended America to be a Christian nation, and which, when mingled with conspiracy theory and white nationalism, helped to fuel the insurrection.”
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