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Apparently Just Christian and Jewish News Outlets Were on Pompeo’s Secret ‘Faith-Based Media Only’ Call

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Democratic Lawmakers Demand Answers

It appears that reporters from only Christian and Jewish media outlets were invited to participate in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo‘s secretive “faith-based media only” conference call Monday night.

Breaking with regular protocol the State Dept. is refusing to release the list of journalists invited or the names of their media outlets. It is also refusing to release the transcript of the conference call or any other details. A representative from the State Dept. went so far as to refuse to even verify that the now highly controversial call even took place.

But one news outlet that was on the call has reported the names of the news outlets that asked questions. They are all Christian and Jewish media. None were from Muslim news outlets or from any other faith. It is possible, although highly unlikely, that news outlets covering the Islamic faith would have been on the call and not asked questions, given the purpose of the call was to discuss “international religious freedom” ahead of Secretary Pompeo’s trip to the Middle East this week.

“While it was not clear which outlets were part of the call, questions were asked by Religion News Service, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Algemeiner, World Magazine and The Leaven, the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. America Magazine also participated in the call,” Religion News Service reports. Algemeiner covers Jewish news, World Magazine is a Christian evangelical outlet, and America Magazine reports on the Catholic faith.

Religion News Service notes it is not a “faith-based” media outlet, but one that “covers religion, spirituality and ethics.” Apparently the State Dept. was unaware of the distinction. One other secular outlet was invited but the invitation was rescinded and they were told it was because they were not “faith-based.”

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are demanding answers from the State Department. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Eliot Engel (D-NY), is demanding “more information.”

Also expressing concern is the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

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MIKE POMPEO, WHO BELIEVES IN APOCALYPTIC HOLY WAR, HAS JUST BEEN CONFIRMED AS SECRETARY OF STATE

STATE DEPT. DOUBLES DOWN ON SECRECY AS POMPEO’S ‘FAITH-BASED MEDIA ONLY’ CONFERENCE CALL DRAWS CRITICISM

STATE DEPT. BARS CREDENTIALED REPORTERS FROM SPECIAL CONFERENCE CALL – ALLOWS ‘FAITH-BASED MEDIA ONLY’: REPORT

 

Image by U.S. Dept. of State via Flickr 

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Right-Wing Militia Spokeswoman Defends Lynching of KY Governor in Effigy: Protesting ‘Is Not the Answer Any Longer’

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A group of right-wing protesters held a demonstration in front of the house of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s mansion this Sunday, at one point hanging an effigy of the governor on a tree in what looked to be a mock lynching. According to CNN, the protest was advertised on Facebook as a Patriot Day Rally to exercise Second Amendment rights.

The backlash against the group’s actions was swift, with even Mitch McConnell slamming the move as “unacceptable.”

“There is no place for hate in Kentucky,” he tweeted.

Responding to the backlash, one of the protest’s organizers took to Facebook and said that this is what happens when people have “stood by and watched this Governor drag people thru the mud and do nothing.”

“People have had enough, the rallies that you attend and speak at, do absolutely nothing to help the people of this State,” Kentucky 3Percenters Inc. State Secretary Patsy Kays Bush on Facebook. “It was not racist it was radical…You can condemn it till the cows come home but screaming and shouting in a microphone is not the answer any longer,….maybe it was in bad taste, maybe it was severe, maybe it was unexpected but at least it was something and I personally will stand by it to the absolute end.”

The protesters, who are part of a militia group that advocates for gun rights, were protesting against Beshear’s coronavirus restrictions at a Second Amendment rally in Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend.

 

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After Declaring Churches ‘Essential’ and Ordering States to Let Them Reopen Trump Spends Sunday at His Golf Club

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Despite having no constitutional authority to do so President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the nation’s governors to allow churches and all houses of worship to reopen “right away.” He threatened to “override” any governor who did not. To support his actions he declared churches “essential.”

On Sunday President Trump headed to the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, according to press pool reports.

About 100,000 people in America have died from the coronavirus.

Sunday’s golf outing follows Trump spending several hours on the links on Saturday, the first time he’s golfed in 76 days.

Several protesters on Sunday stood outside the entrance to Trump’s club resort.

“I care do you, 100,000 dead,” one protestor’s sign read.

Related: Trump Demanded Churches Re-Open After Polls Found ‘Staggering Decline’ in Support From Christian Conservatives: Report

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GOP Sees President’s ‘Re-Election Less Certain’ Now That Voters Have Seen the Real Trump: Report

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According to a report from the Washington Post, Donald Trump, who had hoped to run a campaign on a strong economy before his botching of the coronavirus pandemic led to almost 40 million job losses, is now looking at running a campaign similar to 2016 that was described as “disruptive.”

The Post notes, “Trump’s moves in recent days make clear that the president has decided to revive the disruptive themes of his 2016 bid, aimed at branding his opponent as a corrupt member of the Washington establishment and himself as an insurgent problem-solver. It’s a message that often has seemed incongruent with the present reality as Trump leads the federal government’s response to the worst crisis in a generation,” however, “Trump’s reluctance to recalibrate his political tactics even as the country faces twin health and economic crises could be the gamble that determines his fate in an election less than six months away, according to campaign officials, strategists and pollsters on both sides of the aisle. The approach also stands as a test of whether running again as a disrupter can work in a time of already profound disruption.”

The problem for Trump this go-around is that the public has watched his performance over the past three and a half years, and what was sold in 2016, may not work this time.

“[Joe Biden pollster John] Anzalone pointed to public polling indicating that Trump’s handling of the coronavirus has cost him significantly with voters, who give the president low marks for his stewardship. Biden has gained ground with suburban voters, independent voters and senior citizens, groups that had previously leaned toward Trump but have drifted away during his presidency, Anzalone said,” the Post reports.

The report notes that the pollster explained that, “… some voters who cast their ballot for a ‘hypothetical Trump’ in 2016 have been disappointed with the real version and will be prime targets for Biden in the coming months. He pointed to senior voters, who have had some of the most dramatic swings away from Trump toward Biden in recent polls.”

“It’s different than voting on the hypothetical Trump — someone who’s going disrupt things and be a change agent,” he elaborated. “That hasn’t gone very well for him, and it is perceived by voters that it hasn’t gone very well for him.”

Republican insiders agree, saying Trump faces an uphill battle as the November election nears.

“Some Republicans acknowledge that the political landscape has changed since 2016, making Trump’s pathway to reelection less certain,” the Post notes. “Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, said Trump’s support is stronger with rural voters than it was in 2016, but ‘we’ve still got work to do in suburban parts of the state.’”

Also hindering the President’s 2020 re-election bid is his inability to hold his widely-covered MAGA rallies.

“The campaign has not had discussions with the state party about having rallies in Wisconsin, Jefferson said, a sign that such events might be a ways off. He said the prospect of not having rallies would be ‘disappointing’ but pointed to the effort by Trump’s team to mount a virtual campaign,” the Post reports. “Some Trump advisers have begun to prepare for the prospect that rallies may not be able to return until just weeks before the election. That level of uncertainty has permeated some of the comments of allies who still favor Trump to win but now acknowledge the unprecedented challenge he faces in vying for a second term at a time of public disruption and hardship.”

You can read more here.

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