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Shock and Awe: Trump Used Twitter Likes and Retweets to Maintain His Dangerous Decision to Withdraw From Syria

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It was the week before Christmas, 2018. Out the the blue, President Donald Trump posted a series of tweets that he was pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, immediately.

“We have won against ISIS. We have beaten them and we have beaten them badly,” Trump said. “We have taken back the land and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”

“Our boys, our young women, our men, they’re all coming back,” Trump added later. “And they’re coming back now. We won. And that’s the way we want it. And that’s the way they want it.”

The news shocked the world. Experts called it a threat to national security.

That decision to pull out of Syria despite the threat of ISIS, a decision Trump refused to scale back until weeks later, was the final straw that led Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to resign in protest.

Now, perhaps even more shocking, is that the Commander-in-Chief used the number of “likes” and “retweets” his announcement was getting to try to convince stunned lawmakers who went to visit him in the Oval Office that his decision was correct.

Trump responded to the GOP lawmakers “by calling in the man who oversees his Twitter account,” Politico reports Thursday.

“Get Dan Scavino in here,” Trump called out in the middle of the meeting earlier this year. In walked a man in his early 40s with close-cropped brown hair.

“Tell them how popular my policy is,” Trump instructed Scavino, who, according to two people with knowledge of the exchange, proceeded to walk lawmakers through the positive reaction he had picked up on social media about Trump’s Syria decision.

The sudden pivot from geostrategy to retweets and likes surprised the lawmakers. It was a remarkable moment given that not long ago Scavino was managing Trump’s golf club. But for Scavino himself, it was just another day on the job.

Scavino, who is an attack shark on Twitter, “met Trump as a 16-year-old golf caddie and has spent much of his adult life by his side,” Politico adds.

Today, he sits just feet from the Oval Office and is present at most meetings, tapping away on his laptop in the background. He has joined Trump on trips to Saudi Arabia, Argentina and other far-flung destinations.

And officials say he talks to the president more than just about anybody else aside from Trump’s own family members, ping-ponging in and out of the Oval, sometimes more than a half-dozen times a day.

That one of the top and closest advisors to the supposed leader of the free world is a former golf cabby who went on to become general manager of the Trump National Golf Club Westchester and who now serves officially as Assistant to the President should surprise no one these days.

That he’s now being used to help the President shape foreign and military policy is beyond disturbing.

 

 

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COMMENTARY

Trump Dodges and Gives an Accidentally Revealing Answer When Confronted on His Anti-LGBT Policies

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When President Donald Trump was asked Tuesday about whether he supports his administration’s anti-LGBT policies — including a new rule that would make it easier for employers to discriminate — he gave what seemed to be an unintentionally revealing answer.

The issue was raised by reporter Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade:

Washington Blade: Mr. President, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you OK with those actions?
Trump: Well, you know, I just got an award and an endorsement yesterday from the exact group. You saw that? They gave me the endorsement yesterday. I was very honored. It was Log Cabin. The Log Cabin, and I was very honored to receive it.
I’ve done very well with that community and some of my biggest supporters are of that community, and I talk to them a lot about it. I think I’ve done really very well with that community, as you know, Peter Thiel and so many others, they’re — they’re with me all the way, and they like the job I’m doing, and I just got a big endorsement from the Log Cabin group.
Washington Blade: But what about those actions?

Having ignored the actual substance of the question, Trump didn’t answer the follow-up.

But his answer actually revealed a lot. Despite his claim to “fight for” the LGBT community, Trump has been particularly antagonistic its members as president.

Related: ‘They’re With Me All the Way’: Trump Uses Log Cabin Endorsement as Shield When Asked About Destroying LGBT Rights

And contrary to what he said, the vast majority of the LGBT community does not and has not supported him. In 2016, Pew Research found:

Gay, lesbian and bisexual voters may make up a relatively small share of the American electorate – just 5% of voters in the 2012 general election identified as LGB, according to national exit polls – but they have long been a deeply Democratic constituency and today are overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of Donald Trump.

Nearly nine-in-ten LGB voters (89%) give the Republican presidential nominee a rating of cold on a “feeling thermometer” that ranges from 0 (the coldest, most negative rating) to 100 (the warmest, most positive score). About eight-in-ten (82%) rate Trump very cold, including more than half (54%) who give him a score of 0. Just 9% of LGB voters rate Trump warm.

But this doesn’t matter much to Trump, because he only cares about his supporters. So when asked about the LGBT community, he begins talking about the Log Cabin Republicans, a fringe group that does not represent anywhere close to the majority of the community. (As it happens, Jennifer Horn, a member of the group’s board, resigned in protest over the endorsement. And contrary to Trump’s claim, it did not give him an “award.”) And by mentioning Peter Thiel, a wealthy gay investor, Trump is pulling the laughable “I have a gay friend” excuse for being a bigot. He’s refusing to respond to or even consider the actual LGBT community as a whole because he just doesn’t care.

The president has long made clear that he’s only interested in representing his supporters, not the American people as a whole. That’s why he criticizes California when it experiences natural disasters but promises Alabama “A+ treatment” after tornadoes strike. That’s why Sen. Lindsey Graham could point out that Trump wouldn’t be launching racist attacks at a Somali refugee congresswoman if she were “wearing a MAGA hat.” For him, people only deserve basic dignity and respect if they already support him. Unfortunately, the likes of Thiel and the Log Cabin Republicans have to debase themselves to get this recognition.

 

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Trump Is the Nightmare From Which We Can’t Wake Up

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Every morning we wake up and the nightmare that is Donald Trump seems to go on. Most nightmares, even recurring ones, eventually come to an end. We must hope this one will eventually end as well.

As a columnist, it’s difficult to keep writing about what seems to be the same thing over and over — Trump being a racist, homophobic, sexist pig. Then he, his family or someone in the administration does something else that boggles the mind. Last week, he retweeted a conspiracy theory that the Clintons were responsible for Jeffrey Epstein’s death. Every time you think he can’t sink lower he does.

In my view the only way we can rid ourselves of the nightmare is to vote ‘it’ out of office. I use the word ‘it’ to refer to Trump because there doesn’t appear to be one shred of humanity in his body. But then he himself referred to his wife as ‘it’ when trying to compare her to a former first lady. Who does that?

It ostensibly goes to the site of the latest mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso to give comfort to the wounded and share the grief of the families of those killed. Yet it manages to make it all about itself. It releases a picture of itself and Melania holding a baby who had been orphaned by the white nationalist shooter in El Paso and stands there with a huge grin on its face and gives a thumbs up. What on earth is there to grin about in this tragedy? Any person with a shred of humanity would be crying.

Those who are trying to end the nightmare of Trump really only have one option, which is to vote him out of office in 2020. That opportunity is 15 months away and it will require a total commitment if it is to succeed. Some are calling for boycotts of the businesses of Trump supporters. While that may be satisfying it will not bring out the voters needed to defeat him at the polls. Doing that will require a laser like focus if it is to succeed. I would rather get out the voters and then tax the hell out of all those businessmen and women who are now supporting Trump.

Democrats are in the midst of what could become a brutal primary fight to determine who will be the eventual nominee to take him on. I want each of the candidates to do what Elizabeth Warren did in the last debate when she repeated what she has previously said in Iowa, “This really is our moment and the need for us to get this right couldn’t be more urgent. I’m going to support our Democratic nominee all the way.” We need to demand every candidate running in the primary say that, yes even you Bernie.

Continue reading the full op-ed at The Washington Blade.

 

Peter Rosenstein is a community and Democratic activist based in Washington, DC, where he appears in the media as a commentator on issues including LGBT rights, politics and education. His columns may be found here

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COMMENTARY

Log Cabin Republicans Endorse Trump for Re-Election Days After President Attacks LGBTQ People on Multiple Fronts

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Donald Trump Is the Most Anti-LGBT President in Modern History

With more than a year before the 2020 presidential election a nationwide gay group, the Log Cabin Republicans, have announced they are endorsing President Donald Trump for re-election. The 42-year old group wisely refused to endorse Trump during the 2016 election, but in a flip on Thursday decreed the anti-LGBTQ President has “met his commitments to LGBTQ Americans.”

That’s just plain false.

Log Cabin Republican chairman Robert Kabel and vice chairwoman Jill Homan penned a 751 word Washington Post op-ed, which the paper surprisingly appears to not have thoroughly fact-checked, attempting to justify the turnabout endorsement.

The op-ed comes during the same week that Trump has fired strong and potentially devastating attacking against the LGBTQ community in a clear attempt to further weaken our civil rights.

On Tuesday, as NCRM reported, Trump’s Dept. of Justice was caught attempting to strong-arm the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reverse years of findings and rulings, and declare before the U.S. Supreme Court that discrimination against LGBT workers is legal.

One day later Trump’s Dept. of Labor announced a new rule to make it easier for what it now calls “religion-exercising organizations” that are also federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ workers. Not only would the Dept. of Labor make it easier, it would offer them a roadmap on how to avoid being charged with discrimination.

In their Washington Post op-ed, after pointing to a 1992 speech by former GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchnan, a homophobic white supremacist, the Log Cabin leaders say Trump has made the Republican Party better “by moving past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook.”

And in an astonishing act of gaslighting, Kabel and Homan say Trump “has committed to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years, through the use of proven science, medicine and technology to which we now have access.”

They conveniently leave out of their op-ed President Trump’s actual record on HIV/AIDS.

In June Trump axed federal funding for HIV treatment testing research over the usage of fetal tissue.

In February  The New York Times reported: “Trump Pledged to End H.I.V. But His Policies Veer the Other Way,” The paper offered a litany of examples detailing how the Trump administration has actually worked to reverse progress being made in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“In May 2017,” as HIV Plus Magazine reminded earlier this year, “the White House announced intended and deliberate funding cuts to HIV programs including PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), the Ryan White Program, and the Global Fund.

In June of 2017 six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) resigned, citing President Trump’s lack of interest or strategy to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Trump “simply does not care,” they wrote. Later that year, in December, without warning, Trump fired the remaining 16 members, “via a letter from FedEx.”

NCRM offered many more examples of Trump’s attacks on people living with HIV/AIDS  in an article published in March.

Meanwhile, in yet another astonishing act of gaslighting, the Log Cabin leaders wrote this apparent falsehood:

Trump has used the United States’ outsize global influence to persuade other nations to adopt modern human rights standards, including launching an initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality, which is considered illegal in more than 70 countries. To lead this effort, the president has chosen the highest-ranking LGBTQ individual in the administration, Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, who brings his experience as the United States’ spokesman at the United Nations to bear on this critical campaign.

Trump has done no such thing. In fact, he has time and time again looked the other way and ignored the human rights abuses that occur around the world, despite calls for him to act.

On decriminalizing homosexuality, there is no record that any substantial effort has been made by the Trump administration, and as NCRM reported at the time, when asked about the supposed initiative during an Oval Office press gaggle, President Trump said he knew nothing about it.

This is but a small sampling of President Donald Trump’s attacks on LGBTQ people.

If the Log Cabin Republicans wish to pretend to support the LGBTQ community, they would do better than hitching their wagons to the most anti-LGBTQ president in modern American history.

Donald Trump is the most anti-LGBT President in modern American history.

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