Texas GOP In Disarray As Some Leaders Call For Moving Convention From LGBT-Friendly Dallas
Party Chair Opposes Push To Hold Convention In Less LGBT-Friendly City â€“Â Leaders Aim To Revive Indiana-Style Religious Freedom Bills
Social conservatives in the Republican Party of Texas are calling for the state GOP to move its 2016 convention out of Dallas over the City Council’s recent decision to strengthen transgender protections.Â
However, state party chair Tom Mechler opposes the idea, saying it would be too expensive to find a new site at this late juncture.Â
Former Harris County GOP chair Jared Woodfill, a veteran anti-LGBT activist who served as spokesman for the campaign to repeal Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, was the first to call for the party’s 2016 state convention to be moved. Others, including former state GOP chair Cathie Adams, who now serves as president of the anti-LGBT Texas Eagle Forum, have since joined the effort.
But Tom Mechler, current chair of the Texas GOP, said it would cost the party $800,000 to break its contract in Dallas, money he says would be better spent supporting Republican candidates. Mechler said although the decision ultimately rests with the State Republican Executive Committee, moving the convention would also diminish the party’s say in electing the next president.Â
“I share the concerns of a vast majority of Republicans who oppose the ordinance which the Dallas City Council voted on, but I am concerned about proposals that will toy with the health and fiscal stability of the Republican Party of Texas,” Mechler said in a statement provided to the conservative news site Push Junction. “The Dallas City Council has taken an action which many find offensive, but we need to stand united with the Dallas County GOP in their fight to turn the county Republican. We cannot allow the liberals to push us out of a city that is important to the RPT by passing an ordinance that we oppose. Their recent action should strengthen our resolve to move forward. We will stand by the women in our party to ensure their safety and will do so at the convention. And, we will come to Dallas with a Republican grassroots army that is so large and determined to win, the liberals will rue the day they picked a fight with our party.”Â
Contrary to Mechler’s statement, the Dallas City Council is nonpartisan, and the proposal to strengthen transgender protections passed unanimously with support from several conservative members (including Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates, the daughter of Dallas Cowboys Hall-of-Famer Roger Staubauch, a prominent GOP donor). Nevertheless, it’s hardly surprising that Mechler would advocate using LGBT rights as a wedge issue. After all, he once wrote a letter to the editor of The Amarillo Globe-NewsÂ threatening to cancel his subscription if his hometown newspaper published a photo of a same-sex couple kissing.
At the 2016 convention, Mechler is expected to face a challenge for state party chair from Woodfill, who finished third when Mechler was elected to the position last year. Woodfill wants the convention to be moved to Houston, where voters overwhelmingly defeated an Equal Rights Ordinance last month based on opponents’ fear-mongering lie that it would allow men to enter women’s restrooms and prey on victims.Â
A week after the Houston vote, the Dallas council thumbed its nose at anti-LGBT bigots by strengthening the city’s transgender protections, which have been in place since 2002. Not surprisingly, hate groups including Texas Values and the Texas Pastor Council were outraged, and they’ve pledged to try to repeal the Dallas ordinance. But those groups face a much higher bar for getting a referendum on the ballot in Dallas, even if they were to commit rampant forgery like they did in Houston. And that could explain why anti-LGBT activists are focusing their efforts on moving the convention.
Earlier this week, Woodfill sent out a missive from the Eagle Forum’s Adams.Â
“The Republican Party of Texas should take a principled stand concerning a recent immoral decision by the Dallas Mayor and City Council Members to allow men in women’s bathrooms,” Adams wrote.Â “We the people cannot acquiesce to this cruel hoax. It will take time, but the citizens of Dallas will strive to overturn this draconian action perpetrated upon our families.”
Bonnie Lugo, aÂ member of the State RepublicanÂ Executive Committee, also wants the convention moved,Â andÂ she’s accusing Mechler of refusing to release details of the party’s contract with Dallas. Adams and Lugo have also said they believe the City Council’s decision to strengthen transgender protections somehow voided the state GOP’s convention contract.Â
Mechler responded that the contract is available for any SREC member to view, and he notes that the Harris County GOP â€” which Woodfill led until he was defeated for re-election in 2014 â€” overwhelmingly rejected a resolution to move the convention.Â
Needless to say, many LGBT Democrats in Dallas likely would be thrilled to see the GOP convention moved. In 2014, the Republican Party of Texas endorsed “ex-gay” therapy in its platform, which also states:Â “Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that have been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nationâ€™s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples.”Â
Ultimately, though, the transgender convention controversy isn’t even the most embarrassing issue the Texas GOP is facing.Â
TheÂ Houston Chronicle reports that one SREC member plans to introduce a resolution that would place a non-binding measure on the Republican Primary ballot in support of Texas seceding from the union.Â Â
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Trump Indictment Is a Massive 34 Counts: CNN
When he appears in New York next week, Donald Trump will face a 34-count indictment.
CNN’s John Miller on-air Thursday evening announced, “I am told by my sources that this is 34 counts of falsification of business records, which is probably a lot of charges involving each document, each thing that was submitted, as a separate count.”
JUST IN: CNN’s John Miller says Trump will face 34 counts related to falsifying business recordshttps://t.co/XqxXbMBcSC pic.twitter.com/oY1blHS8K0
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 30, 2023
Attorney Tristan Snell, who assisted in the successful prosecution of the Trump University case for the New York Attorney General’s Office, responded via Twitter:
“This is WAY more than expected. If this is correct, it could mean that the indictment covers FAR more than the Stormy Daniels hush money — like Karen McDougal hush money or other hush money/catch-and-kill cases.”
READ MORE: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’
“My hunch for a while,” Snell adds, “given [David] Pecker’s involvement and the drawn-out timetable of the indictment, plus the TWENTY interviews of Michael Cohen with the DA, showed that something far larger than Stormy might be in the works.”
“May still be wrong, of course. But 34 counts is a LOT!”
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’
Donald Trump’s attorneys were notified Thursday afternoon a Manhattan grand jury had voted to indict him on felony charges related to his alleged hush money payoff of a porn star he reported slept with.
The ex-president’ attorney recently said if indicted Trump would travel to New York to turn himself in.
The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has just issued a strongly-worded statement saying it is “coordinating” with Trump’s attorneys for his “surrender.”
“This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” the statement reads.
READ MORE: ‘You Can’t Stand on Fifth Avenue and Just Shoot Somebody’: Donald Trump Indicted – Legal Experts Respond
The Daily Beast’s Jose Pagliery posted the statement to Twitter.
Breaking news: Manhattan DA is negotiating for Trump’s “surrender.” pic.twitter.com/9fFx7heiGA
— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) March 30, 2023
NBC News explains the process, noting he is expected to be arraigned next week.
“After the indictment, Trump will be arrested and taken into custody. He will likely have a mug shot and fingerprints taken,” NBC reports. “Trump will then appear in court to be arraigned, where he will hear charges and enter a plea. Two sources familiar with the situation told NBC News that the former president is likely to be arraigned next week. Trump will either be jailed or released while pre-trial hearings take place.”
'INDICTED FOR HIS BEHAVIOR'
‘You Can’t Stand on Fifth Avenue and Just Shoot Somebody’: Donald Trump Indicted – Legal Experts Respond
Just past 5:00 PM ET The New York Times broke the news that Donald Trump, the ex-president, had been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on felony charges.
It is a historic moment.
Legal experts are weighing in to help guide Americans through an event that has never before happened in this country.
Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman says the fact that this is the first time in U.S. history a president is facing criminal charges is itself a problem.
“I think it would have not been a novel event,” Ackerman said on MSNBC, “if we had done this 49 years ago with Richard Nixon, and he had not been pardoned, this will not be a big event [that] it is today.”
READ MORE: New Poll Sends Trump Damning Message About 2024 if He’s Criminally Indicted
“Everybody should be held accountable,” Ackerman added, citing former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s earlier remarks. Cohen testified repeatedly before the Manhattan grand jury that indicted Trump late Thursday afternoon after a three-hour session.
Ackerman lamented that despite over 30 people being indicted during Watergate, “Richard Nixon was pardoned, he wasn’t held accountable.”
“I think this is very important,” Ackerman continued, “establishing a principle, a line in the sand, that even if you’re the President of the United States, and you commit a crime, you can’t stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and just shoot somebody.”
Ackerman was referring to Trump’s infamous comments during the 2016 election, when he bragged he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
Attorney and civil rights activist Maya Wiley, also on MSNBC, said, “It’s important and sobering that we had somebody who had the highest office of this country who has now ben indicted for his behavior, his acts, in order to win that office, but also faces what are more shoes that will drop, I believe.”
“It is a sobering moment for this country, that we are witnessing this happened to somebody who was entrusted with such power who has now had a jury of his peers, because that is what a grand jury also is, say we believe he had to face the music.”
READ MORE: Here’s How Five Republicans in Congress Are Responding to the Mass Shooting of 3 Children and 3 Adults in Nashville (Video)
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a professor of law, called this a “moment where we would do well to seriously assess who we are as Americans and who we are not as Americans, because we re all so familiar with Donald Trump’s tactics.”
Fmr. federal prosecutor @JoyceWhiteVance joins “The Beat” on news of Donald Trump’s indictment – “A moment where we would do well to seriously assess who we are as Americans and who we are not as Americans.” pic.twitter.com/H4odpLre3C
— The Beat with Ari Melber 📺 (@TheBeatWithAri) March 30, 2023
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