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Trump Administration Working Hard to Ensure Trump Campaign Visit to West Virginia Is Big Success

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If you’re thinking all this looks like the administration is working hard and possibly bending rules so President Trump can look good at a re-election rally in front of his base, that’s because it does.

Just before he concluded his 11-minute Veterans Dept. event at the White House late Thursday morning, President Donald Trump looked into the camera and plugged his re-election campaign event in West Virginia Thursday night. 

“We’re going to West Virginia tonight, by the way,” Trump said that was supposed to be focused on helping veterans access health care more easily. “We’re going to have a very big announcement, which will be very exciting I think for the media and everyone else,” Trump continued.

“But we have a very big announcement tonight. I believe I’ll be making it in West Virginia, so that’ll be very exciting,” he teased.

That “very big announcement,” it turns out, was a well-guarded secret up until about 4 PM, when The New York Times reported West Virginia’s newly-elected Democratic governor will be switching sides, and becoming a Republican. 

Governor Jim Justice, who “is said to have friendly relationships with some members of Mr. Trump’s family,” according to the Times, was a Democrat just long enough to get elected governor in 2016. In 2015 he switched to the Democratic Party, but before that Justice was a Republican. And now he is again.

“In Justice’s latest State of the State address,” CNN notes, “the governor mentioned Trump five times, and said he was good friends with the Trump family.”

That “very big announcement” isn’t the only news Trump is expected to reveal.

As it turns out, the Trump administration has been working hard to make this visit to West Virginia a big success. Trump has proven he cares only about keeping his base happy. Already running for re-election, the President has made a large number of campaign trips outside D.C. – all to states which he won. 

And he won West Virginia big. In fact, it was his largest win over Hillary Clinton: nearly 42 points.

What else does the Trump administration have up its sleeve?

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke appears to have sped up the approvals needed so that tonight President Trump, at a campaign re-election rally, will announce the opening of a new coal mine expected to create 200 jobs.

“In the run-up to President Trump’s visit to West Virginia for a rally Thursday evening in Huntington, administration officials — with help from the coal industry and state political leaders — this week touted work by the U.S. Department of Interior to speed up approval of a permit for a new underground coal mine that could bring 200 mining jobs to the depressed coalfields of McDowell County,” the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.

“But the scope of what Interior officials did to ease the way for approval of a permit for the Berwind Mine, an underground operation that Ramaco Resources wants to open along the Virginia border, isn’t exactly clear yet,” the paper adds.

Here’s the key portion of the Gazette-Mail’s report: 

Coal industry officials and some government sources also revealed this week that top officials within the Interior Department recently quietly approved a state DEP document called, “Guide to Consideration of Potential mining-related Impacts on the Guyandotte River and Big Sandy River Crayfishes.”

That document, obtained by the Gazette-Mail this week, was approved — with a handwritten note in the upper-right corner, signed by Interior energy policy counselor Vincent DeVitor — on June 28. The state mining permit for Ramaco’s Berwind Mine was approved by DEP two days earlier, on June 26, according to state records. And the Fish and Wildlife Service actually signed off on the Ramaco permit, with a permit-specific letter, a week before that, on June 19.

If you’re thinking all this looks like the Trump administration is working hard and possibly bending rules so President Trump can look good at a re-election rally in front of his base, that’s because it does.

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‘Don’t Say Gay’ Florida GOP Lawmaker Quits One Day After Pleading Not Guilty to Federal Felony Fraud Charges

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Joe Harding, the Florida Republican state representative who authored the highly-controversial and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law has just resigned, one day after pleading “not guilty” and assuring his constituents on social media he is working “for a fair and just resolution” to federal felony fraud and money laundering charges.

Harding’s resignation also comes one day after he was stripped of his committee assignments, and is effective immediately, Florida Politics reports.

The charges involve a COVID-related Small Business Administration loan for $150,000, according to the Dept. of Justice, which notes if convicted on all charges he could get 35 years in prison.

READ MORE: Worse Than It Looks: On the Same-Sex Marriage Bill Many More Republicans This Time Really Showed Up – to Vote No

“I want the public and my constituents to know that I fully repaid the loan and cooperated with investigators as requested,” Harding told his constituents via Facebook on Wednesday. “On advice from counsel, I will be unable to say anything more specific about the legal proceedings until a later date and refer any questions or concerns related to this matter to my attorney. I ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers as we work for a fair and just resolution. Thank you, and may God bless you.”

Also on Wednesday Harding shuttered his Twitter account.

In another statement Harding wrote: “To my many colleagues that have reached out to me, including many I have deep policy disagreements with, thank you. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve alongside you for the past two years.”

Florida Politics notes Harding ended his statement with a bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11-12. That verse can have several different meanings depending on the version of the Bible.

READ MORE: Watch: ‘Biblical Conservative’ Republican Likens Bestiality and Polygamy to Same-Sex Marriage in Angry Speech Against Bill

Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, responded to news of Harding’s resignation via social media: “So much harm to students, parents and teachers because of his raw political ambitions. He slandered entire communities and trafficked in lie after lie that has emboldened violent bigotry. He will have his day in court but his legacy is already a despicable one.”

Harding is not the only family member accused of criminal acts.

“Harding’s indictment follows a September guilty plea from his brother-in-law, Patrick Walsh,” Florida Politics notes. “As reported by Fresh Take Florida, Walsh pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges connected to his receipt of nearly $8 million in disaster relief loans.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Worse Than It Looks: On the Same-Sex Marriage Bill Many More Republicans This Time Really Showed Up – to Vote No

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Respect for Marriage Act a second time, approving even stronger religious liberty protections after the legislation was changed in the Senate. But this time was different – this time Republicans really showed up, in even bigger numbers, to vote no.

And it’s worse than it looks.

The bill once again did pass, and will now be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

But how we got here does not bode well for the future of civil rights.

READ MORE: Watch: ‘Biblical Conservative’ Republican Likens Bestiality and Polygamy to Same-Sex Marriage in Angry Speech Against Bill

On July 19, the bill passed the House 267-157, with 47 Republicans voting yes and all 157 no votes also coming from Republicans.

On Thursday the bill passed in a 258-169 vote, with just 39 Republicans voting yes and all 169 no votes again coming from Republicans.

Just looking at the overall vote totals, comparing the vote in July to the vote on Thursday, it’s easy to think eight Republicans (47 minus 39) switched their yes vote to no.

It’s a bit more complicated.

And it’s the no votes that are striking. Because in reality, this time a lot more Republicans voted no.

READ MORE: Watch: Speaker Pelosi Excitedly Announces House Passage of Same-Sex Marriage Protection Bill – 169 Republicans Vote No

Eight Republicans who did not vote in July showed up this time to vote no. Only one who did not vote in July voted yes on Thursday.

Another six Republicans switched their vote from yes in July to no on Thursday.

Two who voted yes in July did not vote on Thursday.

One switched from no to yes.
One switched from yes to present.
One who voted no in July is now deceased.

Republicans on the House floor on Thursday made their message clear.

Republicans like Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, a former anti-LGBTQ activist who worked for an organization created to block same-sex marriage. She literally cried own the floor begging her colleagues to vote no. And Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, who said practically everything wrong in society can be traced back to same-sex marriage.

Here’s the breakdown. (If they are not listed they voted no.)

Here’s how we get to eight fewer yes votes:

Bentz Republican Oregon Yes to No
Mast Republican Florida Yes to No
Meuser Republican Pennsylvania Yes to No
Perry Republican Pennsylvania Yes to No
Salazar Republican Florida Yes to No
Van Drew Republican New Jersey Yes to No

Owens Republican Utah Yes to Present

Kinzinger Republican Illinois Yes to Did Not Vote
Zeldin Republican New York Yes to Did Not Vote

Herrera Beutler Republican Washington No to Yes

Here’s how we get a lot more no votes:

Babin Republican Texas Did Not Vote to No
Burchett Republican Tennessee Did Not Vote to No
Diaz-Balart Republican Florida Did Not Vote to No
Finstad Republican Minnesota Did Not Vote to No
Hartzler Republican Missouri Did Not Vote to No
Lucas Republican Oklahoma Did Not Vote to No
McKinley Republican West Virginia Did Not Vote to No
Miller (WV) Republican West Virginia Did Not Vote to No

Gallagher Republican Wisconsin No to Did Not Vote

Sempolinski Republican New York New Member to No
Yakym Republican Indiana New Member to No

Brady Republican Texas No to Did Not Vote
Walorski Republican Indiana No to deceased

 

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Kellyanne Conway Serves up Some Alternative Facts About Herschel Walker’s Failed Election Bid

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Kellyanne Conway, a political strategist who also served as White House advisor to former President Donald Trump, recently delivered critical remarks leveled at Republican senators.

According to Conway, Republican lawmakers did not stand behind Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker in the days leading up to the state’s highly publicized election runoff.

Walker, who was endorsed by Trump, lost the election by less than 100,000 votes.

On Wednesday, December 7, Conway appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” where she voiced her concerns about the election.

According to Mediaite, Conway also “railed against Walker’s fellow Republicans for abandoning him.”

“To the 49 Republican senators, where were most of you?” Conway asked while appealing to other Republican lawmakers to support members of the party. “Why weren’t you in Georgia?”

Conway continued:

“They all should have been because they should’ve been there in some form, town hall, in person, saying the following: ‘I serve in the United States with Raphael Warnock. He’s a terrible senator. He doesn’t represent Georgia. He’s not fit to serve. He votes with Joe Biden. He voted for the Inflation Reduction Act that doesn’t do that. He said nothing when they pulled out of Afghanistan. He said nothing that Joe Biden has been to Delaware 174 days and down to the border zero days.’ That’s what needs to happen. Where were the other senators to say, ‘I want Herschel Walker, not Raphael Warnock in the Senate with me?'”

Conway’s remarks come shortly after another prominent conservative went on a rant about Walker; however, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) perspective is starkly different from Conway’s.

Speaking to far-right influencer Steve Bannon, Greene said that Walker’s campaign rarely reached out for assistance; something she describes as “insulting.” During the interview, Greene insisted, ″They only asked me a couple of times in my own district, which I find extremely insulting.”

 

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