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Trump Promises Evangelical Leaders He Will Strike Down Ban on Tax-Exempt Groups Engaging in Politics

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Also Promises to Appoint ‘Pro-Life Supreme Court Justices’

Facing a group of some 1000 anti-abortion activists, pastors, anti-LGBT activists, hate group heads, and other evangelical leaders, Donald Trump on Tuesday attempted to quell fears among the religious right that he might not be an authentic social conservative, and may not fully adhere to their values.

Trump made two promises to the evangelical leaders at Tuesday’s New York City meeting. He will appoint Supreme Court justices who oppose abortion, The Washington Post reports, hinting he would want to overturn Roe v. Wade. And Trump promised the evangelicals, many of whom run religious non-profits, he will get rid of the Johnson Amendment, a six-decade old law that bans non-profits with a tax-exempt status, including churches, from directly engaging in partisan politics, such as endorsing or opposing political candidates. 

“I think maybe that will be my greatest contribution to Christianity — and other religions — is to allow you, when you talk religious liberty, to go and speak openly, and if you like somebody or want somebody to represent you, you should have the right to do it,” Trump said.

“Christianity, I owe so much to it in so many ways, though life, through having incredible children, through so many other things,” he told the crowd, promising to reinvigorate spirituality across the nation. “We’ve got to spiritize this country,” Trump said following comments about what he saw as a lack of “spirit” in the inner cities. “And I’m not only talking about the inner cities. I’m talking about everywhere,” he added.

According to The Dallas Morning News, event participants expressed deeply skeptical feelings about Trump going into the event. “I know a lot of people who are holding their nose,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, a prominent anti-abortion activist. Expressing a fear common among many in the GOP, Penny Nance, head of conservative Christian women’s advocacy group Concerned Women for America, wondered if the religious right could ever get truly enthusiastic about their nominee. “Probably everybody here will vote for him,” said Nance. “The question is whether they’ll work for him. Will they put their credibility on the line for Donald Trump?”

Afterwards, attendees appeared to have a slightly warmer view of Trump. “It’s hard to be confident when these seem to be recent feelings and beliefs,” said Trey Graham, a pastor from First Melissa Baptist Church in Melissa, Texas. “The positive is, he is expressing those beliefs that concur with what we believe about pro-life justices and religious liberty. Am I comfortable? I’m encouraged.”

Tony Perkins, President of anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, appeared supportive. “He gained a lot by coming here,” he said. Possibly referring to Trump’s history of philandering and divorce, Perkins added, “We’re all sinners. We all have messed up. We did not have a theological discussion today about the eternal security of one’s soul. We were talking about the present threat to America.”

Trump has made several moves recently to broaden his appeal among evangelical Christians. Just hours ago he announced that Tea Party favorite and former Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann would join his Evangelical Executive Advisory board.

But at an hour-long press conference capping off Tuesday’s seven-hour long meeting, without Trump present, none of about six Evangelical leaders, including Perkins, who were taking questions raised their hands when asked if they were ready to endorse the presumptive GOP nominee.

 

EARLIER:

Trump Warns Top Christian Evangelicals America’s ‘Leaders Are Selling Christianity Down the Tubes’

Trump Announces His New Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, List Includes Michele Bachmann

‘Your Lies Are Causing Violence’: Activists Directly Confront Tony Perkins at Trump Evangelical Meeting

NOW: LGBT Activist Group Act UP Holding Huge Anti-Trump Protest at Trump Tower NYC (Photos, Video)

 

 

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Pence’s $10 Million Spending Spree Will Help Trump Campaign on Tax Cuts for the Rich

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Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is not endorsing Donald Trump, is spending $10 million in an effort to preserve the Trump tax cuts that largely benefitted ultra-wealthy millionaires and billionaires, which will help his ex-boss’s re-election efforts.

Advancing American Freedom, Pence’s political advocacy group, “is launching a $10 million campaign to push for an extension of the Trump-era tax cuts, which are set to expire next year and will likely play a key role in the 2024 election,” according to The Hill.

President Joe Biden has said he wants to eliminate Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for those making over $400,000, NBC News reports The tax cuts have added $1 to $2 trillion dollars to the national debt.

“A CBO report in May estimated that extending the provisions of Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would increase deficits by nearly $5 trillion into 2034,” the Associated Press reports, adding that Pence’s group is “press[ing] conservatives not to stray from the fight before the November election.”

READ MORE: How SCOTUS ‘Let Trump Off the Hook’ and ‘Interfered in the 2024 Elections’: Expert

Pence’s group also “released a 13-page blueprint Thursday with arguments being made to Capitol Hill and to voters in swing states, particularly in those that could decide control of the Senate.”

“As of May 2020, the Tax Policy Center estimated the tax cuts would add between $1 and $2 trillion to the federal debt by 2025. The Center for American Progress estimated the bill will have cost roughly $1.7 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2023 on June 30,” according to a 2023 USA Today fact check on the Trump tax cuts.

“The benefits of the 2017 tax changes were overwhelmingly skewed toward the wealthy,” the Center for American Progress reported in April. It provided “the largest tax cuts to the very wealthy,” which “failed to trickle down to ordinary workers.”

“The most significant piece of legislation former President Donald Trump signed during his first term had a dramatic cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent as its centerpiece,” Center for American Progress Action reported last week in “Trump’s $50 Billion Tax Giveaway to the 100 Largest Corporations.”

“That corporate tax cut did not trickle down to ordinary workers but cost $1.3 trillion and helped fuel a record $1 trillion in stock buybacks the year after it passed.”

READ MORE: ‘I Can’t Wait to Be Sued’ Gov. Brags Over Ten Commandments Bill – Rights Groups Vow To Oblige
 

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How SCOTUS ‘Let Trump Off the Hook’ and ‘Interfered in the 2024 Elections’: Expert

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The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to hand down its decision on Donald Trump’s claim of absolute immunity for his “official” acts as President, despite first being asked to do so by Special Counsel Jack Smith 192 days ago. But one expert says, in a way, they already have.

Many court watchers expected the Court to rule on the question of Trump’s claim to immunity from prosecution Thursday morning, but none came.

“Don’t hold your breath waiting for the presidential immunity decision. If you’re wondering whether the MAGA majority on the Court will let Trump off the hook, they already have. By doing so, they have already interfered in the 2024 elections,” charges Michael Podhorzer, former political director of the AFL-CIO, and the political strategist deemed the “architect” of the secret bipartisan shadow campaign that saved the 2020 election, according to TIME magazine.

The Supreme Court has “forced a historic crisis—an irreconcilable showdown between the normal operation of the criminal justice system (which should find Trump in pretrial and trial proceedings for his January 6th crimes over the next five months) and the normal functioning of presidential elections (which should find him campaigning full-time during those months),” Podhorzer wrote on social media Wednesday. “It didn’t have to be this way; it’s a crisis entirely of their own manufacturing.”

READ MORE: ‘I Can’t Wait to Be Sued’ Gov. Brags Over Ten Commandments Bill – Rights Groups Vow To Oblige

Podhorzer was behind something of a “conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes,” a bipartisan effort to tamp down protests or violence when Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, that included “an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans… that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs,” TIME reported just weeks after Joe Biden was sworn into office.

“The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.”

Podhorzer now alleges there has been a “hijacking” by “MAGA judges,” in a social media thread called “powerful” by former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean.

“Imagine you were told that in another country, a president who had been defeated in a free and fair election attempted a coup, for which he was indicted—but four years later, the very judges he had appointed have helped protect him from standing trial so he could return to office” he posits.

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

“Whether it’s in Orban’s Hungary, Erdogan’s Turkey, Putin’s Russia, or now the United States, authoritarian movements consistently attempt to amass and consolidate power by hijacking courts to provide them with post-hoc impunity. In the US’s case, the hijacking we now confront by the MAGA judges is the result of decades of hollowing out judicial independence by the Federalist Society and its revanchist backers.”

And it started, Podhorzer says, with Bush v. Gore, the 2000 Supreme Court decision that placed George W. Bush in the White House.

“Since Bush v. Gore, the GOP-appointed justices have consistently acted to benefit Republicans electorally.”

In his social media thread Podhorzer does not mention that three right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court today were part of the Bush legal team’s effort at the Supreme Court nearly a quarter-century ago: Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

The rest of Podhorzer’s thread recounts at least half-a-dozen instances when right wing justices have worked to help Republicans.

“Let’s be clear,” he concludes. ” All six GOP-appointed SCOTUS justices, and Judge Aileen Cannon, have current or former associations with the Federalist Society. None of them can be impartial about cases involving Trump, because his defeat will also mean the defeat of their hard-fought ideological legacy.”

READ MORE: Republican Who Declared His State a ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ Blocks Senate Bump Stock Ban

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‘I Can’t Wait to Be Sued’ Gov. Brags Over Ten Commandments Bill – Rights Groups Vow To Oblige

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A bill claiming the Bible’s Ten Commandments are “foundational documents of our state and national government” was signed into law Wednesday by Louisiana Republican Governor Jeff Landry. The new law requires a poster of the Ten Commandments, in a “large, easily readable font,” be displayed in all public school classrooms, from kindergarten through college.

“I can’t wait to be sued,” Gov. Landry bragged on Saturday at a GOP fundraising event in Tennessee after announcing he would sign the bill into law. Critics say it is unconstitutional.

A vice president for the civil rights group Americans United for Separation of Church and State is vowing to oblige Governor Landry.

“The 10 Commandment[s] recognize slavery twice in the text. On Juneteenth, LA Gov. Landry signed a law forcing every LA public school to display the 10 Commandments. AU [American United] is gonna sue! That’s right @americansunited, @FFRF, & @ACLU will see Gov. Landry in court,” AU’s Andrew Seidel said on social media, invoking the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Louisiana is the first state in the nation to require the bible’s laws to be posted.

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

“Proponents say the purpose of the measure is not solely religious, but that it has historical significance,” the Associated Press reports. “The displays, which will be paired with a four-paragraph ‘context statement’ describing how the Ten Commandments ‘were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries,’ must be in place in classrooms by the start of 2025.”

As the Louisiana Attorney General, Landry signed onto a letter opposing Critical Race Theory.

“More than two dozen Republican attorneys general are voicing their disapproval over the Department of Education’s proposed priorities for teaching K-12 students about American history and civics education because they would include references to systemic racism and how the history of slavery has shaped the U.S.” the Louisiana Illuminator reported in 2021.

“The state attorneys general argue in a May 19 letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona that public schools should not be given grant funds to teach about critical race theory, ‘including any projects that characterize the United States as irredeemably racist or founded on principles of racism (as opposed to principles of equality) or that purport to ascribe character traits, values, privileges, status, or beliefs, or that assign fault, blame, or bias, to a particular race or to an individual because of his or her race.’ ”

READ MORE: Republican Who Declared His State a ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ Blocks Senate Bump Stock Ban

Last year Republicans in the Texas Senate passed similar legislation to the bill Gov. laundry signed, leading the Texas Lt. Governor to brag prayer was returning to public schools. The House did not vote on the bill during the session, and it failed.

Louisiana newspaper The Advocate reports, “State Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, sponsored the legislation. She argued the law is constitutional, pointing to a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld a public school football coach’s right to pray on the field.”

Critics have said that decision is flawed and based on false claims.

“She added that her bill is not meant to indoctrinate children, but to give them ‘guidelines,’ ” The Advocate added.

“’It doesn’t preach a certain religion, but it does teach a standard,’ she said, adding that the Ten Commandments offer a moral code that God ‘holds us accountable to live by.’

Mississippi Free Press news editor Ashton Pittman, responding to a report on Louisiana’s new Ten Commandments law remarked, “Christian nationalist theocrats doing what they do when they have power. No respect for people of other faiths.”

RELATED: ‘We Must Restore a Biblical Standard’: Mom Tells TX Lawmakers Why She Supports Mandating Ten Commandments in All Classrooms

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