You just won’t believe some of the names on this list of prominent conservatives and Republicans who want same-sex couples to have the legal right to marriage.
Let’s be honest. The Republican Party has been home to almost if not all of the most anti-gay politicians, religious leaders, activists, and power brokers in America. Which is not to say all Republicans are anti-gay, but when being anti-gay is embedded in the actual text of your party’s platform, there’s little room to claim your party supports equality.
So it should come as both a huge surprise and be viewed as a monumental event that over 300 prominent Republicans, some of whom have publicly spoken out against same-sex marriage or LGBT civil rights, have signed on to an amicus brief sent to the U.S. Supreme Court today.
As TIME points out, the brief states its signers “share the view that laws that bar same-sex couples from the institution of civil marriage, with all its attendant profoundly important rights and responsibilities, are inconsistent with the United States Constitutionâ€™s dual promises of equal protection and due process.”
Who’s on that list?
Here are a few of the more than 300 names:
Ken Mehlman, whose name is listed as the person behind the group of conservatives.
Former EBay CEO and GOP nominee for California GovernorÂ Meg Whitman
Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal
Former Bush Dep. Sec. of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
Former U.S. Senator of Missouri and ordainedÂ Episcopal priestÂ John C. Danforth
Ronald ReaganÂ White House Chief of StaffÂ Kenneth M. Duberstein
Sen. John McCain’s former Press Secretary Crystal BentonÂ
Sen. John McCain’s formerÂ National Spokesman Tucker Bounds
Gov. Scott Walker’s former Deputy CampaignÂ Manager Dan Blum
Former U.S. Congresswoman Mary Bono
Komen for the Cure founder and formerÂ US Ambassador to Hungary under George W. Bush Nancy Brinker
Alex Castellanos, CNN contributor and GOP strategist
U.S Senator Susan Collins (Maine)
BushÂ National Security AdvisorÂ Stephen Hadley
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (Illinois)
CNN’s Ana Navarro
Former Pennsylvania Gov. and Homeland Security Dir. Tom Ridge
CongresswomanÂ Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Mitt Romney Press Sec. Andrea SaulÂ
Perhaps one of the most interesting signatories is Ben Domenech, co-founder of RedState, now run by anti-gay religious right radical Erick Erickson, and co-founder of The Federalist, a conservative website that has published extremelyÂ anti-gay articles.
The one take away from the list is it includes many people behind leading anti-gay politicians, like Mitt Romney and John McCain. But it also includes many old guard Republicans, who grew up in a GOP decades before the politics of ignorance were embraced by the Tea Party. And it includes many younger Republicans, 61 percent of whom support same-sex marriage.
One final note about the list: It is extensive and there are many on it who likely deserve to be listed above. We opted to include some of the more surprising names, along with some of the better-known names. There are others who deserve recognition, and we offer our sincere thanks to each and every one.
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‘Dystopian’: Potential Trump Cabinet Picks Send ‘5-Alarm’ Shock Waves of Terror
Attorney General Stephen Miller? Vice President Tucker Carlson? White House Chief of Staff Steve Bannon? CIA Director Kash Patel? A new report detailing a second Donald Trump presidency’s “loyalty first” potential cabinet nominees is sending shock waves over their extremist positions and in some cases an entirely insufficient level of experience for the job.
“Former President Trump, if elected, would build a Cabinet and White House staff based mainly on two imperatives: pre-vetted loyalty to him and a commitment to stretch legal and governance boundaries, sources who talk often with the leading GOP presidential candidate tell Axios,” the news outlet reported in an exclusive Thursday morning. “If Trump won in 2024, he’d turn to loyalists who share his zeal to punish critics, purge non-believers, and take controversial legal and military action, the sources tell us.”
Some of these possible picks for the very top levels of government hold or have promoted white supremacist, Christian nationalist, authoritarian, or fascistic policies or beliefs.
Axios calls them “full, proud MAGA warriors, anti-GOP establishment zealots, and eager and willing to test the boundaries of executive power to get Trump’s way.”
“They want to target and jail critics, including government officials and journalists; deport undocumented immigrants or put them in detainment camps, and unleash the military to target drug cartels in Mexico, or possibly crack down on criminals or protesters at home,” Axios’ Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei report, adding, “They want to scrap rules that limit their ability to purge government workers deemed disloyal.”
“Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas — a former Army infantry officer known for his hard edge, and who wrote a New York Times op-ed in Trump’s first term supporting use of the Insurrection Act against civil disorder — would be considered to head the Pentagon,” according to Axios.
Most of the names mentioned in the Axios report are well-known, and they are being promoted by many surrounding the disgraced criminally-indicted ex-president.
“Donald Trump Jr. has floated [Mike] Davis, the former chief counsel for nominations to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), to be Trump’s interim attorney general — saying it would be a ‘shot across the bow of the swamp,'” Axios reports. “In his public auditions for the job, the bombastic Davis has promised a ‘three-week reign of terror‘ in which he would ‘put kids in cages’ and jail prosecutors and journalists who have gone after Trump — even telling MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan that he has ‘his spot picked out in the D.C. gulag.'”
Meanwhile, Melania Trump is pushing for “booted” Fox News propagandist Tucker Carlson to be Trump’s running mate.
Other vice presidential possibilities mentioned include Arkansas governor and former Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, U.S. Senator J.D Vance, and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Some close to Trump are promoting themselves for the vice presidential role, including U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL).
Axios also reports that “Johnny McEntee, Trump’s loyalty vetter and enforcer, [who] headed presidential personnel in the first term … might return to that role with even more power. He also could be Trump’s gatekeeper as head of Oval Office operations, or could be Cabinet secretary, riding herd on the White House liaisons to each department.”
“By late 2020, McEntee had explicit lists of top officials to fire and hire in a Trump second term, reaching far down the federal bureaucracy in a mission to truly ‘clean out’ the ‘Deep State.’ That project has continued outside of government with a $22 million presidential transition project led by the Heritage Foundation.”
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Axios’ Jim VandeHei, who co-authored the report, dove even further into how concerning these potential picks are, leading the Biden campaign to post a clip of a small portion of his remarks on social media:
Vandehei: For Trump’s Cabinet, Tucker Carlson could be the VP pick. Stephen Miller could be AG and has said that he wants detainment camps and mass deportations. Kash Patel has talked about using government to go after the media and could be the head of the CIA or NSC pic.twitter.com/u62nO4s5ZX
— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) December 7, 2023
Vandehei went on to say, “you might like that, then you’re going to be electrified by this group but if you don’t like it, you’re probably going to be horrified by some of the picks. But what’s in common with all of these people is they share at least a willingness to do all the things that Donald Trump would say.”
And he reminded that none of Trump’s previous team that guarded the American people against his worst instincts will be part of a second Trump administration.
“None of those shackles will exist. He’s going to come in with a group of enablers and a group of executors. So whatever you thought about the first term, he’s going to be able to do things at a velocity rate he wasn’t capable of because he didn’t really know how to govern,” Vandehei added. “Now he knows a little bit better, but he’s surrounded by people and there’s these multimillion dollar efforts outside of his own orbit at the Heritage Foundation.”
“It’s not necessarily about substance,” he said of how the people choosing who becomes part of any next Trump administration would be, “it’s basically an ideological litmus test. Are you willing to believe wholly in Donald Trump, serve loyalty to Donald Trump and then implement his view of what the world should look like? If you can pass that test you might be one of the 50,000 people who get to come into [his] government.”
Meanwhile, critics responding to the Axios report are voicing extreme concern.
“This is about the most dystopian article ever written,” observed The Bulwark’s Tim Miller. “Like asking ChatGPT to write about a fantasy Trump administration cabinet that blends Nazis and celebrities in the style of 2008 Politico playbook.”
Former Biden Commerce Dept. official Caitlin Legacki wrote, “This Axios reporting should be a 5-alarm fire. Terrifying stuff in here and it’s barely making waves.”
U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) warned, “This is what is at stake in 2024 & lurking behind every single thing the extreme MAGA GOP is doing. Don’t lose the plot in their chaos or we will lose our democracy.”
New Jersey Treasury Dept. official Darryl Isherwood summed up what many seemed to be saying: “If this doesn’t scare you, you’re not paying attention.”
Watch the video above or at this link.
Image: Screenshot from Trump’s first cabinet meeting in 2019
Republicans Release Resolution for Expected Vote on Formal Biden Impeachment Inquiry
Republicans have released the text of a resolution ahead of an expected full House vote next week to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, despite having provided to the American people no actual proof of illegal activities or impeachable offenses.
The right-leaning news outlet The Hill, reporting on the resolution Thursday, notes Republicans’ current impeachment inquiry “has struggled to connect President Biden to the activities of his son, and they’ve failed to prove their most salacious allegation — and the one that would be most key for impeachment: that the president accepted a bribe.”
One of the main pillars of Republicans’ allegations against President Biden, the “narrative that President Biden pushed Ukraine to fire its prosecutor to help his son, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burimsa, has largely been refuted.”
The resolution for the formal impeachment inquiry all but admits Republicans have not produced proof to impeach President Biden, by drafting it with no actual allegations. It is a boilerplate document focused on how the inquiry should be conducted, laying out rules and regulations related to handling evidence and testimony of witnesses.
Like his predecessor, now-former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Speaker Mike Johnson has repeatedly pushed for the House to move forward on an impeachment trajectory, despite even some “mainstream” House Republicans voicing concerns over a lack of actual evidence.
“The speaker said he would move forward with a vote that Republicans have long avoided for fear that some in their ranks would refuse to endorse an investigation without incriminating evidence,” The New York Times reported Tuesday. “Republicans have engaged in wide-ranging inquiry into Mr. Biden for months, hunting for evidence to back up their allegations that he corruptly profited from his family members’ overseas business dealings and accepted bribes. To date, they have failed to deliver compelling evidence to back up their boldest claims.”
Last month, Vanity Fair reported “Republicans in Washington have all but owned up to the blatantly political rationale behind their impeachment inquiry against the president,” noting that in “a closed-door meeting, the House Speaker apparently suggested that Republicans can de-prioritize ousting Biden, given his waning popularity in the polls.”
‘Making It Up’: Trump Lawyer’s Claim It’s Not An Insurrection If It’s Only 3 Hours Doesn’t Fly in Court
Donald Trump’s attorney Wednesday tried to argue the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol didn’t constitute an insurrection because it was only three hours long, then quickly admitted his definition was made up, new courtroom footage shows.
Scott Gessler presented arguments to the Colorado Supreme Court considering the appeal of 14th Amendment challenge seeking to block Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot based on its “insurrectionist ban,” CNN reports.
An awkward exchange captured by PBS News Hour shows Gessler struggling to convince the panel that last month’s ruling from a lower court, which found Trump had engaged in insurrection (but that the 14th Amendment does not apply to presidents), was wrong.
“It has to be for a substantial duration,” Gessler said. “Not three hours.”
The Justices retorted that Gessler’s limits did not appear in the definition of insurrection — Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on the subject includes the Jan. 6 attack — and demanded to know his source.
“Where is all that coming from?” a Supreme Court justice asked. “You’ve added a whole lot of conditions there.”
To this, Gessler replied, “We’re all sort of making it up at the end of the day.”
This comment, shared on social media, spurred both outrage and laughter from followers of the contentious legal battle.
“So basically, ‘Yeah I got nothing, but he definitely didn’t do it,'” summarized Bill DeMayo.
Quipped X user Amy: “Trump’s Law Firm: Dewey Cheatem & Howe.”
Gessler’s further argument that the Jan. 6 rioters were not armed at the level “necessary to overcome” police drew rebuke from Justice William Hood, CNN reports.
“There were a lot of makeshift weapons that did a lot of damage,” Hood reportedly said, noting more than 100 officers were hurt.
One Justice did admit the definition of insurrection was up for debate and would play an important role in their ruling as the 14th Amendment doesn’t define it.
Gessler compared the definition of insurrection to a common quip about pornography: “I don’t know a definition of it, but I know it when I see it.”
Watch the video below or click the link.
This was an actual comment made by Trump’s lawyer today in the 14th Amendment case in Colorado as Trump’s lawyers sought to challenge the definition of an insurrection:
Trump lawyer: Now you’re gonna tell me, “Mr. Gessler, you’re making it up.” And I’m going to say, “Well so did… pic.twitter.com/A9iTpJhOA2
— MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch) December 6, 2023
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