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Why Richard Cohen Is The Perfect Metaphor For The GOP: It’s Not Me, It’s You

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By far, the top story today, discussed on every cable news show, reported on several times by every major news organization is Richard Cohen’s racist opinion column in the Washington Post.

LOOK: Washington Post Writer: Interracial Couples Make ‘People With Conventional Views’ Vomit

For the sake of the few who might not have read it yet, allow us to present the relevant paragraph at issue. The bolding is ours:

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates explains exactly why this is “horse-shit.”

“The problem here isn’t that we think Richard Cohen gags at the site of an interracial couple and their children. The problem is that Richard Cohen thinks being repulsed isn’t actually racist, but  ‘conventional’ or ‘culturally conservative.’ Obstructing the right of black humans and white humans to form families is a central feature of American racism. If retching at the thought of that right being exercised isn’t racism, then there is no racism.”

Richard Cohen is the perfect metaphor for today’s GOP. He just cannot grasp that America no longer thinks like he does. And even if you buy his argument that he was merely giving voice to those in the Tea Party who do think like that, his previous works really eviscerate that claim.

Which makes it all the more troubling that Cohen’s bosses at the Washington Post not only defended his column once it was clear it was being attacked in seemingly every major news outlet across the nation, but extolled it before the backlash began, as “brilliant.”

Here’s a tweet from the Publisher of the Washington Post, late last night:

 

The Post’s editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, offered to take the heat.

“Anyone reading Richard’s entire column will see he is just saying that some Americans still have a hard time dealing with interracial marriage. I erred in not editing that one sentence more carefully to make sure it could not be misinterpreted.”

Well, that’s false. Let’s look at that again.

“Anyone reading Richard’s entire column will see he is just saying that some Americans still have a hard time dealing with interracial marriage.”

No, what he said was, “People with conventional views” want to vomit when thinking about interracial couples.

And then, there’s the comment that Chirlane McCray “used to be a lesbian.”

Did Hiatt err in not editing that one sentence more carefully, also, to make sure it could not be misinterpreted?

No, I’m pretty sure the Washington Post erred by not firing Cohen by now, and I’m pretty sure that if they opened their eyes and realized that it’s not 1950, they would see just how wrong Cohen is.

Because the fact is that biracial, or interracial couples, today are the norm. President Barack Obama, by the way, is the offspring of a biracial couple.

The dated idea that any of us is “Black” or “white” at this point is a joke — with the punchline being the news yesterday that a white supremacist found out — on TV — that his DNA proves he is fourteen percent African.

“People with conventional views,” Richard Cohen claims, “must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.”

No, actually, people with unconventional views may — but people with conventional views surpassed racists and bigots many years ago.

Apparently, Richard Cohen doesn’t understand this — and thinks that — at least what seems like — the vast majority of Americans who today are calling him a racist, are mean.

“The word racist is truly hurtful,” Cohen told the Huffington Post. “It’s not who I am. It’s not who I ever was. It’s just not fair. It’s just not right.”

“I didn’t write one line, I wrote a column,” he added. “The column is about Tea Party extremism and I was not expressing my views, I was expressing the views of what I think some people in the Tea Party held.”

“I don’t think everybody in the Tea Party is like that, because I know there are blacks in the Tea Party,” he said. “So they’re not all racist, unless I’m going to start doing mind reading about why those black people are there.”

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Regardless, let’s look again at that.

“I was not expressing my views, I was expressing the views of what I think some people in the Tea Party held.”

The only world in which that statement might make sense is if Cohen admits he himself has “unconventional views.”

So while all this “it’s not me, it’s you” excuse-making is swirling in your head, let me share something else with you.

My father was a Brooklyn-born Jew whose parents came from Poland and Lithuania — although we were always told Russia. I’m certain our last name was a lot longer before they landed here. I had relatives we’d see, rarely, on the Jewish holidays, who had numbers burned into their forearms. When I was young I asked why. And I was told we had other relatives who died in the Holocaust. My mother, who denounced the Roman Catholic church after moving to America to attend Columbia University — where my parents met — is from Central America. She has both Spanish and Mayan blood.

Frankly, I have no idea what I’m supposed to call myself.

My sister and I grew up in a household where we called our friends’ parents “Mr.” or “Mrs.” but our parents’ friends by their first names. It wasn’t until high school or college that I even understood that someone with the name Goldberg was probably Jewish. We just never were taught things like that.

I remember growing up, being told by my mother that a friend of hers, who was white, was forced to rent an apartment in her name because her husband was Black and no landlord in Connecticut would rent an apartment to an interracial couple. I didn’t understand how that was possible.

And I remember growing up just assuming that I could never marry because I’m gay.

Today, I’m happily married. My husband is of Irish and German ancestry.

Frankly, with all that “ancestry” sloshing around in our veins, I have no idea what we’re supposed to call ourselves. Bi-racial? Inter-racial? Metro-racial? Legally married will do just fine, thank you very much.

Today, Hawaii became the sixteenth state to extend marriage to same-sex couples. Last week, it was Illinois. Three other states also did this year. Top LGBT organizations promise marriage equality in all 50 states within five years. I suspect it will happen in less time.

Our neighbors down the hall are an interracial couple. I hesitate to use the term bi-racial because I have no idea what their DNA looks like. And I don’t care. They’re lovely people, probably two of the best parents I know.

What I’m certain of is that I don’t know a soul with conventional views who could look at them and their four-year old daughter — who is cute as a button — and be forced to “repress a gag reflex.”

I mention all this merely because, while I acknowledge that being a gay man of mixed ancestry married to a gay man of somewhat less-mixed ancestry, living in Manhattan, may make me, indeed, somewhat “unconventional,” I’m fairly certain there are more of “us” — people of mixed ancestry in interracial marriages and relationships — than “them” — people in monoracial (is that a word?) marriages or relationships.

This is an America that elected — twice — a Black president, an America in which for several years now, the majority has supported same-sex marriage. (“Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?”)

And this, dear friends, is why Richard Cohen is the perfect metaphor for today’s GOP. Today’s dying GOP.

Because they think being racist is when you call someone the “N” word. If you don’t, you’re not. Nuance eludes them.

They think everyone else thinks like they do, because so many on the right only watch Fox News, and so many on the right only read Tea Party columnists, and Breitbart, and Drudge, and listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

And they haven’t a clue that it’s 2013 and they’re a dying breed.

Editorial note: A previous version of this article stated the Post had not reported on Cohen’s column, based on a search of the Post — which when checked after publication later turned up two pieces.

Image: Washington Post

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‘Poisonous’: Former Advisor Says Republicans Have ‘Just Switched Trump Off in Their Brain’

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In an interview with The Guardian, one of Donald Trump’s former senior advisers stated that the word he is getting from people he has spoken to is that they want the former president to be put out to pasture after the poor midterm election results for Republicans weeks ago.

According to John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser, it’s time for the GOP to move on from the former president if the party wants to reclaim the Oval Office in 2024.

Bolton, whose tenure serving under Trump ended acrimoniously, told the Guardian’s David Smith that there are a multitude of reasons to put Trump in the rearview mirror, but the impact that the former president had on GOP fortunes in the midterms seems to be the final straw with many conservatives.

“There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee but the one I’m hearing now as I call around the country, talking to my supporters and others about what happened on 8 November, is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain,” Bolton explained.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump’s new Mar-a-Lago scandal proves why aides want him to stick to a teleprompter

Elaborating, he continued, “Even if they loved his style, loved his approach, loved his policies, loved everything about him, they don’t want to lose and the fear is, given the results on 8 November, that if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him.”

“There’s no doubt Trump’s endorsement in the primary can be very valuable to a candidate in the Republican party. But relying on that endorsement or trumpeting yourself as the Trump-endorsed candidate is poisonous in the general election. So if you actually want to win elections, Trump is not the answer,” Bolton continued. “William F Buckley [the conservative author] once had a rule that in Republican primaries he supported the most conservative candidate capable of winning the general election and, under that theory, Trump loses.”

The Guardian’s Smith notes that Bolton “… joins Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, attorney general William Barr, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and onetime ally Chris Christie in a growing rebellion among alumni making the case – overtly or subtly – that Trump has become an electoral liability.”

You can read more here.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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

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Donald Trump‘s dinner earlier this week with antisemite Kanye West and holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes may also have included two other right-wingers, hinted at by the former president himself.

After Axios‘ reporting confirmed that Fuentes had in fact had dinner with Trump, Trump issued a statement saying, “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

But later, on Friday afternoon via his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote a defense of the dinner with an expanded guest list.

READ MORE: Trump Claims He ‘Knew Nothing About’ the White Supremacist Antisemite Who He and Kanye West Dined With at Mar-a-Lago

“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote. “Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.”

As The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman noted, Trump did not denounce his guest’s extremist beliefs.

“Three of his friends,” according to the far-right wing website Breitbart, apparently includes Fuentes, far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and former Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno.

Breitbart states, “two people who say they were at the dinner on Tuesday evening–Yiannopoulos and onetime Trump aide Karen Giorno–have publicly stated that Fuentes was in fact at the dinner with West and Trump.”

“’Nick attended the dinner and sat across from the president. I sat to the president’s right and Ye to his left,’ Giorno said in a statement to podcaster Tim Poole’s website Timcast,” Breitbart reports. “‘The president was by himself for dinner but invited Ye to meet some people on the patio.'”

Politico reports Giorno “confirmed to Politico that she was also at the dinner with Trump, West and Fuentes,” but does not mention Yiannopoulos as a dinner guest.

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

Referring to Kanye West by his new name, VICE News adds: “Ye, who has been been on an antisemitic spiral in recent months, announced he is going to be running for president in 2024, and Yiannopoulos is his campaign manager. He claimed that he asked the former president to run with him as his vice-president. According to Ye, the dinner involving the billionaire, the rapper, and the white nationalist devolved into screaming and derogatory epithets.”

Yiannopoulos is the former Breitbart editor who became disgraced after saying, “I think in the gay world some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life-affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men.” Earlier this year U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene came under fire for hiring, as an intern, Yiannopoulos, even after he appeared to support sexual “relationships” between boys as young as 13 and older men.

Karen Giorno, The New York Times reported early last year, “had access to people around the president, having run Mr. Trump’s campaign in Florida during the 2016 primary and remaining on board as a senior political adviser during the general election.”

“In July 2018, Ms. Giorno signed an agreement with Mr. Kiriakou, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, ‘to seek a full pardon from President Donald Trump of his conviction’ for $50,000 and promised another $50,000 as a bonus if she secured a pardon,” The Times reports.

Kiriakou is John Kiriakou, who The Times identifies as “a former C.I.A. officer convicted of illegally disclosing classified information.”

On what appears to be her Instagram page, Giorno has photos of herself with numerous Republicans, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mike Flynn, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida attorney general Ashley Moody and several other top Florida elected officials, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, and Sarah Palin, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump Claims He ‘Knew Nothing About’ the White Supremacist Antisemite Who He and Kanye West Dined With at Mar-a-Lago

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Donald Trump and Kanye West had dinner at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night and the disgraced artist who goes by “Ye” brought a guest, the white supremacist, antisemite and “America First” and “Big Lie” purveyor Nick Fuentes. Now the former president is claiming Fuentes was a guest of West, and he knows “nothing” about him.

“Trump’s direct engagement with a man labeled a ‘white supremacist’ by the Justice Department, one week after declaring his 2024 candidacy, is likely to draw renewed outrage over the former president’s embrace of extremists,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu report.

Axios notes that in a video West posted to his recently restored Twitter account, he says, “Trump was ‘really impressed’ with Fuentes because ‘unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist.'”

“Ye, who has lost major sponsorships over his anti-Semitism and recent far-right associations, has said he wants to run for president in 2024,” Axios adds. “The rapper claims Trump started ‘screaming’ at him at the dinner and told him he would lose — ‘most perturbed’ by Ye asking Trump to be his running mate.”

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

Swan says Trump issued a statement in response to his reporting, claiming he does not know Fuentes.

“Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago,” Trump’s statement says, an apparent attempt to minimize his dining with two racists and antisemites. “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman observes that Trump’s “statement does nothing to denounce that background, including Holocaust denialism, or even acknowledge it.”

Trump first claiming West just wanted to see Mar-a-Lago, but immediately after calling it a “meeting” is notable, given that West has since suggested he is running for president.

Axios importantly adds that “Fuentes first gained notoriety after attending the white supremacist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in 2017,” and, “Trump was heavily criticized at the time for his response to the racist violence.”

Journalist Jeff Sharlet is the executive producer of Netflix’s “The Family,” based on his books that exposed the secretive Christian right organization of the same name. The Family, also called The Fellowship, hosts the annual National Prayer Breakfast. Its members were involved in Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

Sharlet warns this is an “inflection point.”

“Trump dinner with Ye, at this point, is a major story,” Sharlet tweeted. “But with Nick Fuentes? That’s an inflection point even for a former president already committed to fascism.”

Journalist and activist Elad Nehorai tweeted: “Never let a single right winger or Republican claim they care about Jews after this. Fuentes openly praises Hitler. He is a Holocaust denier. He is one of the US’s most dangerous white nationalists. Trump hosted him & not one Republican had said a word.”

Attorney and former Republican Ron Filipkowski, who tracks and reports on right wing extremism, says Trump’s statement “reminds me of the time when Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was in the WH in Dec 2020 and said he was just there to check out the Christmas decorations.”

Tarrio told ABC News last year he “got invited to the White House Christmas decorations tour through ‘Latinos For Trump.'”

READ MORE: ‘Standard Bearer of Trumpism’ Marjorie Taylor Greene Bridges White Nationalism and the GOP

Top national security attorney Brad Moss mocked Trump’s claim about the Mar-a-Lago dinner.

“Trump legal team: MAL is a totally secure place where we can be trusted to store classified records,” he tweeted. “Trump PR team: Security at MAL is so lax that a raving white supremacist can just crash Trump’s dinner party with Ye.”

Indeed, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman commented, “It’s not the central issue with meeting with Fuentes, but the fact that people can show up unvetted and meet with Trump at his club is part of what alarmed the DOJ about his retention of government records, including classified material, when he left office.”

She also posted a screenshot from her book, relevant to Trump’s embrace of the two racists and antisemites. She quotes him saying, “A lot of these people vote,” in relation to “Trump’s refusal to condemn David Duke’s support forcefully in early 2016.”

The AntiDefamation League (ADL) in a 2021 report wrote, “Nicholas Fuentes is a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”

Some of Fuentes’ antisemitism has been documented by ADL.

READ MORE: House GOP Whip Denies ‘Knowing Anything About’ Republican Congressman Fundraising With Antisemitic White Nationalist

“Fuentes has made a number of racist and antisemitic comments under the guise of being provocative and ironic,” ADLs report states. “For example, he has referred to Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh as ‘shabbos goy race traitor’ because he works for Jews (Ben Shapiro, a Jewish conservative, runs the Daily Wire). On a livestream episode, Fuentes ‘jokingly’ denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven. On May 24, 2021, Fuentes participated in a debate on right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones’ InfoWars with Robert Barnes, a man described as a ‘constitutional lawyer’ who has legally defended both Jones and Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. During the debate, Fuentes made numerous antisemitic remarks, including, ‘I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians.'”

Fuentes is strongly pro-Trump, as West alluded to.

“Fuentes promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” according to ADL.

 

This article has been updated to include Jeff Sharlet’s remarks.

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