What does the GOP’s election this afternoon of Reince Priebus as Chairman mean for gay rights? Not a lot. And yet, as the man who is tasked with rebuilding the foundering Republican Party, which will have to include massive fundraising, and doling out money to candidates, Priebus will get to decide which candidates are “viable,” and which are not. But considering that so very few, if any, Republicans will support LGBT equality, or support any element of gay rights, there’s little he can do directly to make things worse for us. Whatever candidates out there who support gay rights will not get much cash from the RNC, regardless of who the Chair is.
That said, there’s a lot about Priebus that should make every member of the LGBTQ community, and our supporters, heck, everyone on the Left, truly concerned. Here’s why.
The Chair of the GOP — the Republican National Committee — is as much a behind-the-scenes job as it is the face of the RNC. Now-former Chair Michael Steele, who just lost his re-election bid to Wisconsin’s Reince Priebus, never really understood either of those job descriptions.
Amid the usual cries of “take our country back,” and claims the Democratic party wants to “take our country where we don’t want it to go,” the 168 mostly-very-old-and-mostly-very-white members of the GOP today elected Reince PriebusÂ as their Chair for the next two years. Saying “Barack Obama’s agenda is not good for America,” and adding, “We fired Pelosi,” to his list of accomplishments, Michael Steele, after losing the first four rounds of votes, pulled out of the race and urged his supporters to vote for Maria Cino. As usual, they did not follow his advice.
Reince Priebus, 38, fourteen years younger than Steele, in 2007 became the youngest-ever chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party. In today’s voting, PriebusÂ emerged as the early front-runner, though many were surprised his first-round of votes netted him only one more than Michael Steele, who was widely-expected to lose. Priebus won every one of the seven elimination rounds.
Immediately after the final vote that Priebus won with 97 of 168 votes, Priebus’ first words as newly-elected Chair were, “I want to thank God, I want to thank Jesus for this moment. I am so blessed.” He went on to talk about himself as “a little kid growing up in Kenosha,” and, “my first date with my wife, Lincoln Day dinner with Henry Hyde and Jim Sensenbrenner — which should tell you a little bit something about me.”
Indeed it should.
Henry Hyde was a Republican Congressman from Chicago, Illinois, (he died in 2007) who served as the lead House manager during President Bill Clinton’s 1998-1999 impeachment trial. It was during this time news broke that Hyde himself had had a four-year affair, while married himself, with a married woman.
Hyde was an extreme right-wing Republican whose name was given to the Hyde Amendment, a law that bans any federal funds from paying for abortions.
Jim Sensenbrenner, also a long-time House Republican, was also a manager in the House for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He also introduced the PATRIOT ACT into the House and was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq. He continues to serve in the House, now as the Ranking Republican on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, which should scare anyone who has children or hopes to be alive fifty-years from now.
Introducing himself to America, Priebus chose his words and his role modelsÂ with great care: two extreme right-wing Republican Representatives (not Senators, so he looks more “of the people,”) who were intimately involved with the impeachment of a Democratic president. What could be better?
Priebus, in his acceptance speech, also talked about his “two great kids, Jack and Grace,” and that he could not wait to “rebuild this party.” Saying “the Democrats have taken this country on the wrong path,” he added, “together, we can defeat Barack Obama in 2012.”
Of course, he invoked Ronald Reagan’s “city on a shining hill” quote.
Priebus is staunchly pro-life. He has promised Maggie Gallagher, NOM, and the Susan B. Anthony List that he will support and defend traditional marriage, and he, as you can already tell, talks a lot about God, the bible, religion, and the constitution, such as in his response to the question, “What is your position, how was your position shaped and what experience do you have?”
“I believe we all have to live mission driven lives.Â Certainly we all try to please God.Â Iâ€™m a 100% Psalm 139 pro-life republican.Â I support our Republican platform which I think is rock solid on the issue of abortion.Â I believe Life beings absolutely at the time ofÂ conception so every question after that then you believe the Declaration of Independence, the 14th Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause protects that independent human life.Â If we start there then every single question after that is really easy.Â Thatâ€™s where I start when I think of the issue of abortion.
“My Christian faith is the foundation of my view on the issue of abortion.Â My opinion and view of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution shapes my opinion on the issue of abortion.Â I was involved in a Care Net crisis pregnancy center in Kenosha, WI.Â I helped them get implemented in a town called Racine, WI all in the SE area of Wisconsin which I think is a great place and a safe harbor for women facing difficult situations where pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, food and diapers and an opportunity to share the love of Christ with people who are in real trouble and making some tough decisions.”
On marriage, Priebus told Maggie Gallagher, â€œItâ€™s foundational in our livesâ€¦ I donâ€™t believe anybody should be denied dignity in this discussion, everyone should be loved. But at the end of the day, I believe that marriage â€” through the sanctity of marriage â€” should be between one man and one woman,” because, “Children are better off with a mom and a dad.”
The two LGBT Republican organizations, of course, are thrilled. Both released glowing and hollow statements.
Via Log Cabin Republicans: “As Chairman Priebus statedÂ ‘we must come together over common interests. We must unite'” saidÂ R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director.Â Â “I look forward to continuing our successful partnership with the Republican National Committee, and urge Chairman Priebus to continue the Committee’s strong record of coalition-building which was an important part of GOP success in 2010.Â Â Inclusion wins and our party is strongest when we embrace a big tent philosophy centered on the core principles that unite us as Republicans. It is onward and upward to win back the White House.”
GOProud says, “Today is a good day for conservatives and for the Republican Party. The election of Reince Priebus marks the end of Michael Steeleâ€™s disastrous tenure at the RNC.
â€œLast July, GOProud joined with other foreign policy conservatives in calling on Chairman Steele to resign after his reckless and outrageous comments about the war in Afghanistan. In December, after Steele chose to seek re-election, we urged RNC members to replace him.
â€œMichael Steeleâ€™s tenure as Chairman can only fairly be characterized as an unmitigated disaster. Were it not for the hard work of outside groups, who were forced to step in to fill the void left by an ineffective RNC, success at the ballot box in November would never have occurred.
â€œThe election of Reince Priebus marks a changing of the guard. Finally we will have an RNC Chair who understands that his or her role is to raise money and build party infrastructure, not to sell books, hire friends and family, and pontificate on policy.â€
Blah, blah, blah. Gay Republicans will support anti-gay Republicans any day of the week. (Party First! Which, if you look at GOProud’s Facebook page, seems to have several meanings, but I digress…) Oh, and they seem to prefer the GOP to not take a stand on LGBTQ issues. How they get to that point is beyond me, but, whatever.
Oh, and by the way, Priebus owns five guns. In GOP terms, just enough to win the Chair, though one candidate had sixteen. The one with none lost.
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Pelosi Delivers Brutal Response After McCarthy’s Acting Replacement Orders Her to Vacate Her Office Immediately
Within hours of Kevin McCarthy being ousted as Speaker of the House late Tuesday afternoon, his hand-picked acting successor, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), ordered Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol Hill offices “by tomorrow.”
McHenry, whose title technically now is “Speaker Pro Tempore,” is a staunch McCarthy ally who worked diligently behind the scenes in January to help the now-former Speaker get elected on the fifteenth attempt, had an aide issue the order.
“‘Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,’ wrote a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee,” Politico reported Tuesday night. “The room was being reassigned by the acting speaker ‘for speaker office use,’ the email said.”
Politico adds that “House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker.”
Pelosi, who was honored with the title “Speaker Emerita” in 2022 by the House Steering and Policy Committee in an effort to help unite the House, did not vote for or against McCarthy’s ouster. She remained in California to attend the funeral of her friend and colleague, the late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
But Pelosi, the first and only woman Speaker of the House, who served from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2019 to 2023, did not take McHenry’s order lying down.
“With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” Pelosi said in a statement, according to Politico’s Nicholas Wu. “Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.”
“This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition. As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished,” She noted.
“Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems important to them,” Pelosi added. “Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important to the American people.”
‘Radical Left Marxists’: Trump Launches Attack Hours After Judge Imposes Gag Order
Just hours after New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron imposed a limited gag order and directed Donald Trump to remove his social media post targeting and attacking, by name, the judge’s law clerk, the ex-president Tuesday evening issued an attack targeting the legal system, and apparently, by extension, Attorney General Letitia James.
Judge Engoron’s Tuesday order barred Trump from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” as Politico reported. The judge’s gag order did not extend to any officer of the court, witnesses, or anyone else involved in Attorney General James’ $250 million civil fraud case against Trump.
“Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said Tuesday afternoon. “Failure to abide by this order will result in serious sanctions.”
Judge Engoron had announced in court: “This morning one of the defendants posted to his social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff.”
“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances,” Engoron added.
Politico described Trump’s social media post as “a message alleging [the law clerk] ‘is running this case against me.’ The message was pulled from an account on X with fewer than 200 followers. Trump then linked to an Instagram account for Greenfield’s campaign for a judgeship in Manhattan civil court.”
“’How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!’ Trump added. He also posted a photo of her alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and referred to her as ‘Schumer’s girlfriend.'”
And while the judge ordered the social media post taken down, there’s nothing that can be done about the email blast Trump sent to “millions” of his supporters that included the post, as The New York Times reported.
Tuesday evening, despite having already been given one gag order, Trump appeared to tear into the legal system and Attorney General Letitia James in a series of false claims.
After claiming James’ civil lawsuit against him was unconstitutional and election interference, Trump wrote the decision to apply that statute to him “was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know.”
“It is so unfair that I am being tried under Section 63(12), which is unconstitutionally being used to punish me because I am substantially leading Crooked Joe Biden in the polls,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “It is a Consumer Protection Statute, and not meant, at all, for Election Interference purposes, which is what this is all about! Under this Section of the law, I am not even entitled to a JURY (there is no checking of a box alternative!).This was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
As The New Yorker reported last week, the law Trump is referring to was “passed at the behest of one of” James’ “Republican predecessors, Jacob Javits.”
‘Terrorist Attacks’: Murphy and Cornyn Slam House GOPers Over McCarthy Ouster
After U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and seven of fellow far-right House Republicans voted to oust their own Speaker of the House for supporting a bipartisan vote to keep the federal government of the United States from a shutdown, a powerful Senate Republican and Democrat are both strongly denouncing the work of the few GOP extremists who toppled Kevin McCarthy.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a hard-core Republican of Texas and a former member of the Senate Republican leadership team, blasted the eight House Republicans for their “terrorist attack,” and warned it will happen again.
“We saw a similar thing happen to Boehner, Ryan, and now McCarthy. I’m sure the next speaker is going to be subjected to the same terrorist attacks,” Senator Cornyn said, according to HuffPost’s Igor Bobic.
Responding to a Texas radio talk show host from his official social media account, Sen. Cornyn added, “A handful [of] House members just want to blow up the institution and themselves in the process. Sad.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) called the ouster “a deeply embarrassing moment for America. A consequence of a Republican Party that has become so radicalized that it can no longer function as an organized political party.”
“Nobody should be rooting for this circus,” added Sen. Murphy in video recorded as he watched the House voting to remove McCarthy as Speaker. He warned that the ouster of McCarthy will now take the House away from the critical work of keeping the government open after November 17, “instead of working on a budget.” And he warned that no new funds to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war have been authorized.
“These are life and death stakes,” Murphy said, lamenting this “makes us look so weak and foolish around the world.”
Let me tell you about the real world consequences of Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as Speaker. No one should celebrate this day. This level of dysfunction is terrible for America. pic.twitter.com/7NsQrz7Pro
— Chris Murphy 🟧 (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 3, 2023
Watch Sen. Murphy’s remarks above or at this link.
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