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Texas GOP In Disarray As Some Leaders Call For Moving Convention From LGBT-Friendly Dallas

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Party Chair Opposes Push To Hold Convention In Less LGBT-Friendly City – 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. 

However, state party chair Tom Mechler opposes the idea, saying it would be too expensive to find a new site at this late juncture. 

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. 

“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.” 

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-News 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. 

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. 

“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. “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, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, also wants the convention moved, and 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. 

Mechler responded that the contract is available for any SREC member to view, and he notes that the Harris County GOP — which Woodfill led until he was defeated for re-election in 2014 — overwhelmingly rejected a resolution to move the convention. 

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: “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 nation’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.” 

Ultimately, though, the transgender convention controversy isn’t even the most embarrassing issue the Texas GOP is facing. 

The 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.  

 

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'BAD JUDGMENT'

Mike Pence Quietly Took a Huge Christmas Ski Vacation as Coronavirus Cases Soared – Costing Taxpayers Over $750,000

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More details continue to emerge about the Trump-Pence administration.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said new documents show then-VP Mike Pence showed “bad judgment” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“While coronavirus cases surged to record levels late last December, Vice President Mike Pence went on a ski vacation in Vail, Colorado. The trip came with a massive bill to taxpayers, with Secret Service protection alone costing $757,527.85, according to documents obtained by CREW. At the time of his holiday travel, Pence was the head of the White House coronavirus task force, which put out dire warnings after Thanksgiving as the CDC recommended that Americans stay home over the holidays in order to limit the spread of the virus. Clearly, Pence did not follow the government’s advice, and in the process put dozens of Secret Service agents at heightened risk of infection,” the group said on Thursday.

“Pence’s trip extended from December 23rd to January 1st, and reportedly included a Secret Service entourage of at least 48 agents, contributing to both the high cost and the risk of infection.The agents stayed at several different hotels in the Vail area and rented 77 cars for the trip. The charges included more than $270,000 at the Marriott Vail Mountain and more than $80,000 at the Ritz Carlton,” the group reported.

“This also is not the first time Mike Pence stuck taxpayers with huge bills for his travel. Back in 2019, he traveled to Ireland for government business in Dublin, but stayed overnight at Donald Trump’s resort on the other side of the country in Doonbeg. Travel costs for that were more than half a million dollars, and also resulted in the Secret Service spending more than $15,000 at Trump’s resort,” the group noted. “While Pence’s December trip to Vail was less nakedly corrupt than his trip to Doonbeg, it showed another kind of bad judgment, by putting many government workers tasked with keeping him safe at risk in the midst of a raging pandemic. We would hope that the head of the coronavirus task force would know better.”

Image: Official White House photo by Myles D. Cullen via Flickr

 

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'GAY GAY GAY. WOW.'

Andrew Yang Tried to Get an LGBTQ Group’s Endorsement So He Talked About Wanting to Visit a Lesbian Bar: NYT

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Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who was a surprising breakout success but suffered criticisms about “tone,” and continues to, is running to become New York City’s next mayor. He’s currently the frontrunner in the very early race but once again, as The New York Times reports, his inability to build support among minority groups is hurting him.

Yang spoke to the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, a top LGBTQ organization, on Wednesday.

“It did not go particularly well,” the Times reports.

Yang’s approach and the way he treated LGBTQ people was seen as “outdated,” according to Stonewall’s president, Rose Christ.

“Yang cited gay members of his staff as apparent evidence of his openness to the club’s concerns, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of visiting Cubbyhole, a storied New York lesbian bar, participants said,” the Times reveals.

“He proactively talked about resurrecting the city’s Pride March, but failed to pay sufficient heed to more substantive issues they were actually concerned about, including homelessness and affordable housing, they said.”

“When I see a candidate come in just with Michael Scott levels of cringe and insensitivity, it either tells me Andrew Yang is in over his head or is not listening to his staff,” said Alejandra Caraballo, a member of the organization, referring to the character played by Steve Carell on “The Office.” “Those are both radioactive flashing signs that say he is not prepared to be mayor of New York.”

Yang also repeatedly referred to LGBTQ people as a “community,” telling members of the Stonewall Democratic Club how much he cares about “your community.”

“I genuinely do love you and your community,” Yang told members. “You’re so human and beautiful. You make New York City special. I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic Party.”

Filmmaker and Stonewall member Harris Doran said Yang “kept calling us ‘Your community,’ like we were aliens.”

“We have, like, this incredible secret weapon,” Yang also said. “It’s not even secret. It’s like, we should win everything because we have you all.”

“Gay, gay, gay. Wow,” one person wrote in the chat accompanying the forum, which was later shared with The New York Times. “More to us than just that.”

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Trump Loving Lawmaker Schooled for Claim Founders Oppose DC Statehood: They ‘Never Intended’ for GOP to ‘Commit Sedition’ Either

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Just before the U.S. House of Representatives voted 216-208 on Thursday to make Washington, D.C. a state, Ohio Republican state representative Mike Loychik posted a tweet insisting the “founders never intended for Washington DC to become a state.”

He’s not wrong, technically, but – as many corrected him – given that the founders never intended for many things, including for women and Black people to be allowed to vote, for people who did not own property to vote, and, as some noted, for Republicans to “commit sedition,” what difference does it make?

The founders also did not originally intend for Washington, D.C. to be the seat of government. First it was New York City, then Philadelphia.

Rep. Loychik, who just filed a bill to make Ohio taxpayers spend $300,000 to rename Mosquito Lake State Park in Donald Trump’s honor, did not respond to any of the people educating him, but hours later he posted a tweet attacking Democrats:

Loychik is clearly ignoring the fact that “the Republican Party has historically taken far more effective advantage of the addition of new states,” as The Atlantic reported in 2019.

In 1889 and 1890, Congress added North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming—the largest admission of states since the original 13. This addition of 12 new senators and 18 new electors to the Electoral College was a deliberate strategy of late-19th-century Republicans to stay in power after their swing toward Big Business cost them a popular majority. The strategy paid dividends deep into the future; indeed, the admission of so many rural states back then helps to explain GOP control of the Senate today, 130 years later.

Washington, D.C. could become the 51st state, if Democrats in the Senate can convince six of their Democratic colleagues currently opposed to the measure, and another ten Senate Republicans to support it, or kill the filibuster, which would allow passage with 50 Senate votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

Here’s how some are schooling the Ohio Republican lawmaker:

 

Image: screenshot via Facebook

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