Update: Ann Romney Declines To Speak At Anti-Gay Hate Groups Conference
UPDATE: Despite her name appearing as a speaker on Friday just before 12:15 PM at the Values Voters Summit, as the screenshot above, shows, the Romney campaign now states “”Mrs. Romney is not scheduled to attend VVS this weekend,” and adds, “it has not been on our schedule,” Buzzfeed has reported this evening. Which begs the question, is theÂ Family Research Council adding people to their schedule without confirming them, and if so, are they doing it intentionally to seem like they have the support of people they may not?
Buzzfeed, as we also reported, adds:
As of Tuesday evening, the online schedule for the conference, which is hosted by the Family Research Council (FRC), still had Mrs. Romney attending the Friday morning plenary session, from 8:40 a.m. to noon.
Â The remainder of our report, below, is presented as originally published.
* * *
Ann Romney is scheduled to speak at the Values Voters Summit this weekend, according to multiple reports. The Values Voters Summit is an annual event hosted by FRC Action — the lobbying wing of theÂ Family Research Council — and sponsored by the Family Research Council and theÂ American Family Association‘s AFA Action, along with the Heritage Foundation, Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Gary Bauer‘s American Values, and Mat Staver‘s Liberty Council. Both the Â Family Research Council and theÂ American Family Association are certified by theÂ Southern Poverty Law Center as anti-gay hate groups.
While conspicuously not on the list of speakers isÂ Archbishop Timothy Dolan,Â Josh Glasstetter atÂ Right Wing WatchÂ reported this evening thatÂ Ann Romney’s name appears on the schedule at both the Values Voters Summit website and theÂ National Journal’sÂ Daybook.
Itâ€™s an odd move by the Romney campaign. Theyâ€™ve previously deployed her to show the softer side of Mitt. Now theyâ€™re sending her to stand on stage with a man who paid $83,000 toÂ use David Dukeâ€™s mailing listÂ andÂ addressed a white supremacist groupÂ while in public office. The same person â€“ Tony Perkins â€“ alsoÂ praised a law in UgandaÂ to execute gays andÂ warned senatorsÂ they would have â€œthe blood of innocent soldiers on their handsâ€ if they repealed Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell.
The Romney campaign must have its reasons, but it sure seems like an odd way to deploy Ann Romney. They already have Paul Ryan scheduled to address the conference. Do they really needÂ twoÂ headliners reaching out to the Bachmann-Akin wing of the party? Besides, just last week Ann Romney refused to answer questions about same-sex marriage and contraception,Â dismissing them as distractionsÂ “from what the real voting issue is going to be.”
For weeks, the Values Voter Summit website listed Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as invited speakers. When Ryan was added to the ticket in August, the Family Research Council blasted out an email confirming Ryanâ€™s appearance. No one really expected Mitt Romney to show for the event â€“ too radical, too close to the election. Thatâ€™s why, when the conference schedule was recently posted, it was a shock to see not only â€œRomneyâ€ on the lineup, butÂ AnnÂ Romney.
Ryan and Ann Romney, if she appears, will be speaking on stage with Perkins in a lineup that includes Kirk Cameron and Michele Bachmann. Theyâ€™ll be kicking off a conference that features a whoâ€™s who ofÂ Todd Akin backersÂ (e.g. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Steve King) andÂ anti-Muslim McCarthyitesÂ (e.g. Frank Gaffney and Jerry Boykin). And, of course, there will be gay-bashers â€“ featured speakers like Perkins and Liberty Counselâ€™s Mat Staver, whoÂ recently defendedÂ Malawiâ€™s law criminalizing homosexuality. They would push for the same thing here in America if they thought they could pull it off. In fact, FRCâ€™s Peter Sprigg and the American Family Associationâ€™s Bryan FischerÂ have already done so.
These arenâ€™t conservative people pushing conservative values and policies â€“ this is the radical right. America, and the Romney campaign in all likelihood, would be better served if Romney and Ryan followedÂ Dolanâ€™s exampleÂ and skipped the conference. Or they can go cast their lot with the extremists with the national media looking on. Weâ€™ll see what their priorities are this Friday morning.
AsÂ The New Civil Rights Movement reported earlier today, theÂ Southern Poverty Law Center teamed up with six other human rights organizations, asking Paul Ryan and other politicos to forgo the conference and to “not to lend the prestige of your office to the summit.â€
On theÂ Family Research CouncilÂ and theÂ American Family Association, the letter states, â€œthe Family Research Council (FRC), has consistently spread demonizing lies about the LGBT community, and one ofÂ its co-sponsors, the American Family Association (AFA), has linked homosexuality to the Holocaust.â€
The letter, sent jointly by theÂ Southern Poverty Law Center,Â Faithful America, GLAAD, HRC, National Black Justice Coalition, National Council of La Raza, and the People For The American Way Foundation, represents the efforts of a growing trend of like-minded activist organizations working toward common goals.
The Values Voters Summit attendees and speakers list has been a moving target. Here’s a screenshot from a Google cache from just one week ago, showing Mitt Romney as a speaker. His name has since disappeared.
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'GOOD LUCK WITH THAT'
‘Trying to Have It Both Ways’: Ivanka ‘Flailing’ as Trump Indictment Slams Family
While Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have taken to their social media platforms to viciously lash out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting their father on a reported 30 charges, Ivanka Trump posted a rather muted statement on her Instagram account which simply said, “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”
According to Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis, the so-called “First Daughter,” who served in the White House with her father, is trying to stay true to her former president dad, while distancing herself from his legal problems — and it is not going to work for her.
As Lewis put it, Ivanka is “flailing” in her attempts to shed the memory of her participation in the Trump administration that reached its lowest point on Jan. 6 when supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
“It’s hard to argue with anything Ivanka says here, but it is not a statement of moral clarity. Nor is it (conversely) a statement of strong support for her father. She’s flailing and trying to have it both ways,” Lewis wrote before adding, “Now, it’s understandable that a daughter might not want to utterly condemn her father. Further, children are not responsible for their parents’ sins. Except, of course, if you consider the fact that Ivanka served as the primary weapon in the ‘Trump’s not such a belligerent pig as his four decades as a public figure would make you think’ propaganda push.”
RELATED: Trump is so ‘unmoored from reality’ he can’t act as a defense witness: ‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter
Noting that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner — who has baggage of his own — both stuck with Trump in the White House for all four years, Lewis added, “As far as the former first daughter goes, she and her husband might be done with politics, but once you’ve been a party to an administration like Trump’s, it’s going to be a long time before politics is done with them.”
“So, Ivanka, you want to have a seat at the cool apolitical kids’ table? You want to be once again accepted by the socially liberal billionaires’ children you used to go to the Hamptons with and now have Miami Beach playdates with? You want to enjoy the privileges of being a Trump with none of the shame? Good luck with that,” he concluded.
You can read more here.
Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
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