President Donald Trump, on the night of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, defended the almost entirely white, all-male students from the Kentucky conservative Christian private school who are accused of harassing and disrespecting a Native American Vietnam veteran.
“Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false – smeared by media,” the President tweeted, spelling Sandmann’s name wrong. “Not good, but making big comeback!” he added, unclearly.
Trump then appeared to quote Fox News’ Tucker Carlson: “New footage shows that media was wrong about teen’s encounter with Native American.”
Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false – smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback! “New footage shows that media was wrong about teen’s encounter with Native American” @TuckerCarlson
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019
In fact, those who are defending the male teens are mostly conservatives.
Meanwhile, many other journalists are making clear they believe the public’s initial perception – which was also that of Covington Catholic and the mayor of the town that is home to Covington Catholic – is the more accurate take.
Deadspin’s Laura Wagner, writing at The Concourse, Monday night penned an excellent take: “Don’t Doubt What You Saw With Your Own Eyes.”
Slate’s Ruth Graham: “The MAGA Teens Aren’t Innocent Victims.”
And as Kentucky’s Courier-Journal notes, Sandmann’s family retained the services of a local PR firm, RunSwitch, to produce their son Nick’s statement. The founder of Little Green Footballs and others have made this connection:
Right. This is why whoever hooked this up picked RunSwitch to handle the spin – it’s a very high profile PR firm that specializes in this kind of crisis management. And that’s why it’s important for their role to be exposed. https://t.co/5yNQ4bdrFp
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) January 22, 2019
Exactly what happened on the National Mall when several members of the extremist group known as the Black Israelites interacted with the Covington Catholic teens, and a Vietnam veteran who was on the National Mall exercising his First Amendment rights of religious freedom and free speech felt he needed to intercede may never be known.
But the narrative the teens are innocent bystanders certainly appears to be false – despite what President Trump and Fox News say.
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‘I’m Not a Bigot, I Love People’: Mayor Says New LGBTQ-Inclusive Education Law ‘Is Going to Hurt People’
Why is this bigoted anti-LGBTQ mayor still allowed to teach in public schools?
Barnegat, New Jersey’s Republican mayor is once again attacking a new state law that requires schools to include in their curriculums the contributions made by LGBTQ people. Alfonso Cirulli gained condemnation nationwide after delivering a lengthy, bigoted rant in August during a township committee meeting. And now he’s back for another round.
Mayor Cirulli, who worked for years as a teacher and an administrator, is still allowed in schools, and is still teaching, according to a just-published article by NJ.com.
“I’m not a bigot, I love people,” Cirulli said in his recent interview.
That claim is false, given he called the LGBTQ community “an affront to almighty God” during that highly-publicized summer meeting.
“Sexual preference is a mindset,” Cirulli also claimed. “Don’t confuse this with racial or ethnic discrimination. There is no comparison.”
In his latest interview Cirulli falsely claims teaching students about the contributions made by members of the LGBTQ community “is going to hurt people,” and “is going to cause more problems than they say it’s going to help.”
“I’m worried about kids,” Cirulli claimed. “You’re taking young kids and you start telling them, ‘If you want to be a girl, you can be a girl, if you want to be a guy, you can be a guy.’ And you’re giving them an identity crisis.”
That’s just plain false.
There’s no video of Cirulli’s remarks this time, but during his unhinged August rant he said the “LGBTQ movement is out to crush anybody or any faith that doesn’t embrace their chosen lifestyle,” which is also false.
“For people of faith, make no mistake that this political movement is an affront to almighty God,” Cirulli said, “with the intent of completely trying to completely eradicate God’s law and the foundation that this nation was built on.”
He also called the federal Equality Act “dangerous.”
NJ.com reports Cirulli is “a former assistant principal at Pinelands Regional High School who still teaches woodshop and other classes in the district.”
It’s unclear why, given his very public remarks that may have impacted the very students he teaches, he is still allowed to do so.
DOJ Sticks Its Nose in Lawsuit Against Archdiocese That Fired Gay Teacher – And Urges Court to Rule Against Him
Bill Barr’s Dept. of Justice is spreading its tentacles far and wide. While it has every legal right to do so, most might not expect the federal government to weigh in on a case filed in a state court, even a state superior court. And yet, it has.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana and the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division have filed a “Statement of Interest” telling the Indiana Superior Court it should rule against a teacher who is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis for firing him because he is gay and married to a man.
“The Archdiocese determined that, consistent with its interpretation of Church teachings, a school within its diocesan boundaries cannot identify as Catholic and simultaneously employ a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage,” the DOJ’s statement reads. “Many may lament the Archdiocese’s determination. But the First Amendment forbids this Court from interfering with the Archdiocese’s right to expressive association, and from second-guessing the Archdiocese’s interpretation and application of Catholic law. For these reasons, this action must be dismissed.”
The question many should have is why this case? And why did the DOJ feel the need to weigh in at all?
It seems the DOJ may be laying groundwork.
Attorney Mark Joseph Stern, who writes at Slate, offered this disturbing analysis:
The DOJ argues that the high school’s First Amendment right to “expressive association” allows it to fire a gay teacher.
That reasoning isn’t limited to religious schools. It would give many other schools—and businesses—a constitutional right to discriminate. https://t.co/abu6bi7pRA
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) September 27, 2019
Duhaime’s Law Dictionary defines “expressive association” as a “group that engages in some form of public or private expression,” and pulls this quote from a legal case:
“The courts have long understood as implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.”
The DOJ’s “Statement of Interest” uses the term “expressive association” twelve times.
Imagine where they might be going.
Forewarned is fair-warned.
‘Absolute Fealty at All Times’: New Report Details the Degrading Demands Trump Places on His Aides
In a report for the Washington Post on Thursday, reporters Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker outlined the grueling and “Kafkaesque” standards President Donald Trump places demands of his aides — standards that now-former National Security Adviser John Bolton failed to live up to.
“He tolerates a modicum of dissent, so long as it remains private; expects advisers to fall in line and defend his decisions; and demands absolute fealty at all times,” they wrote.
One anonymous source for the piece explained how his demanding nature is also, at times, excruciatingly paradoxical:
“There is no person that is part of the daily Trump decision-making process that can survive long term,” said a former senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment. “The president doesn’t like people to get good press. He doesn’t like people to get bad press. Yet he expects everyone to be relevant and important and supportive at all times. Even if a person could do all those things, the president would grow tired of anyone in his immediate orbit.”
Anthony Scaramucci described the role of Trump’s staff in particularly degrading terms. In his view, Trump wants “catatonic loyalty” and for his people to act as props. Others told the Post that Trump likes to stage disagreements between his aides and then “play emperor” and decide the winner.
Dozens of Trump aides and appointees have fallen from his grace and been ousted from the administration for failing to play the dutiful role to perfection: former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, former Chief of Staff John Kelly, and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to name just a few.
Notably, Bolton wasn’t going to be a prop in this game. When Bolton entered the White House, it was clear to most observers — though apparently not Trump — that he was committed to enacting his vision of foreign policy, one that contrasted sharply with the president’s preferences. It seems Trump appreciated and tolerated Bolton at times, but Bolton’s goal was to manipulate the president in the end. Once even Trump realized that Bolton wasn’t just a tough-guy war-monger stage prop, but an ideologue using the president for his own purposes, he had to go.
The piece interestingly doesn’t mention the roles of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, in the White House. They seem to defy the usual standards for Trump’s aides, and he clearly doesn’t view them as disposable, like a chief of staff or a national security adviser. Being family is different.
But the piece also doesn’t address some of the outlier aides in Trump’s orbit. Why have, for example, Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller stuck around so long? How did they avoid the fate of so many others — especially when they both have gotten their fair share of bad press?
Fundamentally, though, the account rings true for the vast majority of Trump’s people. For example, consider that, in the video that sparked the “Sharpiegate” story, Trump had the acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan sitting off to the side, voiceless, acting like a prop and displaying the doctored weather map:
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 4, 2019
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