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What Does Election Of Reince Priebus As GOP Chair Mean For Gay Rights?



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 Priebus 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, Priebus 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 models 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.  Certainly we all try to please God.  I’m a 100% Psalm 139 pro-life republican.  I support our Republican platform which I think is rock solid on the issue of abortion.  I believe Life beings absolutely at the time of  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.  If we start there then every single question after that is really easy.  That’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.  My opinion and view of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution shapes my opinion on the issue of abortion.  I was involved in a Care Net crisis pregnancy center in Kenosha, WI.  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, “It’s foundational in our lives… I don’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 — through the sanctity of marriage — 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 stated ‘we must come together over common interests. We must unite'” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director.  “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.  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 Steele’s disastrous tenure at the RNC.

“Last 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.

“Michael Steele’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.

“The 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.”

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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Trump, Wanting to Change News Cycle, Appears to Confess to ‘Openly and Transparently’ Taking Classified Docs



It’s been a tough month for Donald Trump.

After Republicans failed to produce the red wave he claimed he would have been responsible for if it happened, but could not be held responsible if it did not, then refused to take any responsibility, Trump has been held responsible by left and right wing pundits, and even some GOP politicians.

Trump then moved forward with his 2024 presidential campaign announcement, which was widely panned as “low energy” – so low that several guests trying to leave early appeared to be refused access to the exits.

Days later Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that because Trump announced he is running for President, a Special Counsel has been appointed to two of the DOJ’s investigations into Trump. (Some say that’s good news for Trump, some say bad.)

READ MORE: ‘Fraud’: Legal Expert Stunned After Trump Appears to Admit He Used DOJ to Interfere in Florida’s 2018 Election

And then a three-judge panel basically destroyed Trump’s attorney who was arguing the former president’s appeal in his case against the U.S. Government. Trump is arguing both that he declassified all the documents but also they are all his property.

That was all before last week.

Six days ago Donald Trump sat down with his invited guest, the antisemite and racist Kanye West, embattled after losing hundreds of millions in endorsements over his antisemitic remarks. That would have been bad enough, but West brought infamous white supremacist and antisemite Nick Fuentes, along with (reportedly) Milo Yiannopoulos and Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.

Since Wednesday the media has exploded with calls for Trump to denounce white supremacism and white supremacists. He has refused.

READ MORE: Republican Senator Denounces Trump’s Dinner With ‘Racist Antisemites’ – Critics Say His Claim ‘This Is Not the GOP’ Is False

Multiple advisers have urged Trump to denounce Fuentes, who has a long history of promoting white supremacism, but he has been “rejecting” their advice, The Guardian reports, “over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”

Desperate to change the media narrative, late Monday afternoon Trump appeared to confess to stealing thousands of items (some counts say 13,000) including 300 documents with “Classified” and “Top Secret” headers.

“This fully weaponized monster, Jack Smith,” Trump said of the special counsel investigating him, “shouldn’t be let anywhere near the political persecution of ‘President Donald J. Trump.’ I did nothing wrong on January 6th, and nothing wrong with the Democrats’ fix on the Document Hoax, that is, unless the six previous Presidents did something wrong also,” Trump claimed on his Truth Social platform.

That’s when – in a departure from his previous suggestions that the classified documents, which he also claims to have declassified, may have been planted – Trump appeared to confess to the crime.

“When will you invade Bill and Hillary’s home in search of the 33,000 emails she deleted AFTER receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Congress? When will you invade the other Presidents’ homes in search of documents, which are voluminous, which they took with them, but not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?”

It’s the, “not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?” that has set off many.

The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, one of the first to notice Trump’s statement, wrote: “Imagine Trump’s lawyers may not love the final line of his latest Truth Social post. ‘When will you invade the other Presidents’ homes in search of documents, which are voluminous, which they took with them, but not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?'”

Some are suggesting the part, “not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?” appears akin to a confession.

Top national security attorney Brad Moss responded to Dawsey’s tweet, writing, “He has the right to remain silent. Anything he says can and will be used against him. He has the right to an attorney. If he can’t afford one, one will be appointed for him by the courts.”

Journalist Touré commented: “In which Trump admits to taking documents, charges other former POTUSs with also taking documents (without evidence), and says he took the documents in a way that’s somehow better than the way that those other stealing POTUSs did. Same ol Trump.”


Image: Shirley Preston / Shutterstock

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Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill



Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will put the Respect for Marriage Act on the Senate floor late Monday afternoon. It is expected to pass, thanks to about a dozen Republicans who are expected to vote to protect, at least at the federal level, the marriages of same-sex and interracial couples.

Franklin Graham, who unlike his famous father has devoted a great deal of his time to attacking LGBTQ Americans, posted an ugly lie on Facebook to stir up his base of 10 million followers.

The Respect for Marriage Act merely states the federal government is required to recognize any marriage that was legal in any state it was entered into. An amendment to the bill goes a long way in codifying the right to anti-LGBTQ discrimination by faith-based organizations, but LGBTQ activists see it as a win to protect marriages after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called for cases that would help him overturn several laws, including the right to intimate contact and the right to marriage for same-sex couples.

READ MORE: 37 Senators Just Voted Against a Bill Protecting Same-Sex and Interracial Marriages. All Were Republicans.

The bill also ensures states, even if they ban marriage equality, will recognize any legal marriage that happened before any possible ban or that happened in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.

“It is very disappointing that these 12 Republican senators would side with the Democrats and ultra-liberal Senator Chuck Schumer to put the vast majority of Americans who believe in and support marriage between a man and a woman in jeopardy,” Graham wrote in an obvious and ugly lie on Facebook over the weekend.

He then listed the Senators’ names, and add links to their contact information on their government websites.

Graham’s false claim that somehow anyone who believes in or supports marriage between a man and a woman would be put “in jeopardy” by this bill is a dangerous falsehood.

READ MORE: 35 States Still Have Same-Sex Marriage Bans on the Books – Dems Say Same-Sex Marriage Bill Has Enough Votes to Pass

Graham didn’t stop there.

“The deceptively-named Respect for Marriage Act that Senator Schumer is trying to push through is just a smokescreen to give more protections to same-sex marriage—and it doesn’t protect the religious liberties of those who support traditional marriage. In fact, it would make individuals, churches, academic institutions, and organizations who stand with marriage between a man and a woman in danger of persecution and legal attacks because of their convictions,” Graham added, which, again is false.

As NCRM has previously reported, all the religious protections that people of faith currently enjoy would be unchanged – if not strengthened – contrary to numerous false claims of far right extremists and religious extremists, like Graham.

The bill and its accompanying amendment do such a good job of protecting religious liberties that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, has issued a statement supporting it.

READ MORE: Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

Despite decades of demonization by the right, same-sex marriage has become extremely popular, and not one of the false claims Graham and the religious right made before Obergefell has come true.

Same-sex marriage enjoys a favorability rating of 70% (per Gallup), and 61% of Americans say legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society (Pew).

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is the original sponsor of the bill, and Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, an original co-sponsor, is taking the lead for the Democrats.

A joint press release that also includes Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), states an amendment to the bill, which Republicans fought for, ensures no religious rights will be impacted.

The amendment, their statement says, “Protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or Federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.”

Why Graham is telling his flock something greatly different is par for the course.

“The bill strikes a blow at religious freedom for individuals and ministries and is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act,’” Graham said two weeks ago in an egregiously false statement.

“Its sponsors remarkably claim it protects religious freedom. It does not. This disastrous bill sends a message to America that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” Graham added, again, falsely.

Should the Respect for Marriage Act pass it heads back to the House for a final vote, as the House’s version is slightly different. President Biden has promised to sign it into law.

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Republican Senator Denounces Trump’s Dinner With ‘Racist Antisemites’ – Critics Say His Claim ‘This Is Not the GOP’ Is False



U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has become the first sitting Senator to denounce Donald Trump‘s dinner last week with, among other extremists, antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes and Kanye West. But while some are relieved an elected Republican has finally denounced what they say should have been done lone ago, critics are informing the Louisiana Republican that he’s wrong to say, “This is not the Republican Party.”

“President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites. These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party,” Senator Cassidy wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon.

Shortly thereafter U.S. Senator Susan Collins also denounced Trump’s dinner with Fuentes, as Axios reports. Fuentes was a guest of antisemite Kanye West, who has also made racist remarks going back nearly a decade.

READ MORE: Trump’s Dinner With Kanye Also Included a Former Aide Accused in Pay-for-Pardon Play, and White Supremacist Fuentes

“I condemn white supremacy and anti-semitism. The president should never have had a meal or even a meeting with Nick Fuentes,” Collins told NBC News’ Frank Thorp V and Sahil Kapur.

“Spokespeople for nearly two dozen House and Senate Republicans,” Axios adds, “including party leaders, co-chairs of caucuses and task forces focused on Judaism or antisemitism and sponsors of legislation to combat antisemitic hate crimes — did not respond to requests for comment.”

Nearly all House and Senate Republicans are not the only ones refusing to denounce the dinner or Trump’s antisemitic, racist, or white supremacist guests. Despite his advisors’ urgings, Donald Trump has spoken several times to defend himself and paint himself as a victim — not once to denounce his guests’ extremist and vile beliefs.

Some on the left are thanking Sen. Cassidy for speaking up, while many critics are correcting his proposition that the GOP is not the embodiment of today’s far right, including antisemites and white supremacists.

READ MORE: Kellyanne Conway, Who Trump Reportedly Told He Understood He Had Lost to Biden, Testifying Before J6 Committee

“Notable and praiseworthy to see an actually elected Republican lawmaker condemn Trump by name for meeting with antisemites. Of course, whenever someone says ‘there is no place for X in our party,’ it generally means there is! But naming and condemning the thing obviously matters,” wrote The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg.

“Actually embracing ‘racist antisemites for dinner’ is 100% percent today’s GOP. But still good to see a Republican denounce it–although Sen Cassidy has long been a Trump critic,” wrote SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah.

The Dispatch’s senior editor David French, a former Republican who used to write for the right wing National Review, called Cassidy’s statement “Exactly right,” and added: “Thank you.”

“Took almost a week for ONE lone Republican Senator to openly say this,” pollster Natalie Jackson noted. “This is why I continue to say Trump has a chokehold on the party, even if some indicators wane.”

Brianna Wu, the co-founder the progressive political action committee Rebellion PAC, tweeted: “Spoiler. This is definitely the Republican Party.”

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