Most Republican leaders sat in shameful silence after President Trump told four women of color in the House of Representatives—three of them born in the U.S—to “go back” to the “crime infested” countries they came from. When called on his racist rhetoric, Trump doubled down and dialed up the volume, accusing these elected officials of hating America and again inviting them and anyone else like them to leave. His followers picked up on his cue, chanting “send her back” after Trump slammed Rep. Ilhan Omar at a political rally.
Trump’s racist rants and policy pronouncements aren’t just a glimpse into his id; they’re part of a strategy for inflaming his supporters against perceived threats from “the other”—people of color, immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people and “socialists”—in order to win elections. And for the right-wing political machine that has embraced him, that’s the key to their real endgame, which is to maintain and increase the access to power that they’ve gained since Trump came into office. That power is apparent in Trump’s massive tax cut for the wealthy, in the administration’s aggressive moves to overturn regulations that protect individuals, communities, and the environment, and in the judges they hope will gut the federal government’s constitutional authority to act on behalf of the common good.
This is not to say that Trump’s racism is not heartfelt. Decades of evidence suggest that it is. But Trump also apparently believes that his campaign tirades against immigrants put him in the White House. And he has clearly decided that he can win re-election by fully embracing that strategy. That’s why his administration has embraced cruelty as official policy, even to the point of stealing babies from their parents—and perpetuating conditions that are traumatizing and, yes, killing children.
For Trump, it’s a playbook for winning. For those who see themselves as pious or otherwise respectable Republicans, what could be worth all the horror and humiliation?
Groups from every corner of the conservative movement are enjoying the fulfillment of long-held wish lists, which is why right-wing leaders—including Trump’s evangelical cheerleaders—will do anything for him, and tolerate or actually cheer anything he says or does, no matter how base or cruel.
Recall that when Trump jumped into the presidential race, it wasn’t as a movement conservative. His candidacy was an ego-stroking power trip that followed the demagogic path cleared by right-wing authors, radio hosts and TV pundits who had primed millions of Americans to resent “illegal aliens” and “political correctness” and not to trust the “liberal media.”
Trump likes to believe he’s the genius who created the conditions for his own victory. It’s true that he brought the strongman bombast his followers love, but the conditions for his success were created by a massive infrastructure of think tanks, media outlets, and political organizations funded for decades by right-wing foundations and wealthy conservatives. Alongside and overlapping that movement is the Religious Right, which spent decades building its own infrastructure and effectively taking over the Republican Party from the bottom up.
Trump’s advisers know where power resides in today’s GOP. When Trump picked Mike Pence as his running mate, he simultaneously signaled the two most important Republican power blocs that had previously been suspicious of him—Religious Right leaders and the Koch brothers’ political networks. And when Trump pledged to turn over the selection of Supreme Court justices to the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, he won allegiance both from activists eager to ban abortion and reverse progress toward LGBTQ equality—and from those eager to further weaken the power of unions and reverse decades of progressive regulation and court rulings.
Which is how we got to where we are today, when white evangelical Christians are the most unapologetic and unquestioningly loyal defenders of the “anointed” Trump, no matter what he says or does or who he hurts. In return, they’re getting the Supreme Court of their dreams and an executive branch that is advancing its anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ policy agendas.
And when Mick Mulvaney, elected to Congress in the 2010 Tea Party wave, is using his power as White House chief of staff to push executive branch agencies to more aggressively reverse regulations that might inconvenience corporations. One advantage of authoritarian governments for those on the inside has always been the power to plunder.
Then there’s the assault on the judiciary. The harmful judges that Trump and Mitch McConnell are putting in lifetime positions on the federal courts are being counted on by his supporters not only to reverse Roe v. Wade and marriage equality and landmark decisions upholding separation of church and state, but also dismantle the administrative state and undo the New Deal and Great Society programs by returning us to a 19th century state-rights-focused interpretation of the Constitution that would drastically restrict the authority of the federal government to regulate corporate behavior.
Trump’s personal goals for his presidency may focus on self-aggrandizement, self-enrichment, and reversing any step taken by the Obama administration. But the right-wing movement’s more audacious goal—to reverse much of the legal and social progress of the past century—depends on keeping Trump in the White House and continuing to pack the courts with judges chosen for their youth as well as their ideology so as to extend Trump’s influence for decades beyond his time in the White House.
Republican leaders and prominent conservatives have apparently made the shameful and cynical calculation that the goal of achieving their turn-back-the-clock agenda is so worthwhile that if achieving it requires creating a brutal humanitarian catastrophe, or undermining constitutional checks and balances, or poisoning our political culture with racist and nativist rhetoric that energizes violent bigots and white nationalists, so be it.
This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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‘Oddest’: Legal Experts Mock Trump’s ‘Nutty’ and ‘Doomed to Fail’ Emergency Supreme Court Motion
It weighs in at 240 pages but legal experts are still mocking Donald Trump’s emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an 11th Circuit Court ruling and allow the special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents retrieved from him Mar-a-Lago home.
“Oddest SCOTUS petition. Very technical and not terribly logical,” observed Andrew Weissmann, an NYU School of Law law professor and former DOJ official who served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as special counsel to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The motion was addressed to Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees the 11th Circuit courts. His wife, Ginni Thomas, is an avowed supporter of Trump and his “Big Lie” claims he won the 2020 election.
“SCOTUS should send him packing,” tweets former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. “No surprise here, this was why he paid former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise $3 million to sign on, no one else on his team could handle this.”
“Just watch SCOTUS turn Trump down 9-0. (Or 8-1 if Thomas dissents . . . ),” writes retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe. “Will The Donald start calling ‘his’ three justices traitors? Will he say they have a ‘death wish’ as he did with McConnell?”
Weissmann took another hit at Trump’s Lawsuit, declaring it “nutty.”
“Trump argument to SCOTUS: 11th circuit had power to stay Cannon decision BUT it [could] not take the classified docs away from SM Dearie review. Nutty and if he won Dearie wd just say he won’t review the docs bc they are not Trump’s.”
University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck says that while the lawsuit is “not *entirely* laughable,” but he thinks “it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds.”
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says, “I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court decides not to hear it.”
Biden Will Include DeSantis in His Visit to Support Florida Hurricane Victims
President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday to support families devastated by Hurricane Ian, and will include the state’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, in his trip, the White House announced Tuesday.
Last week, asked if he would meet with DeSantis, a top detractor of the president, Biden told a reporter who asked, “I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.”
President Biden on whether he plans to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) when he goes to Florida:
“I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.” pic.twitter.com/nJvW9kKH7T
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2022
“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses,” Biden also said last week.
President Biden says he’s had good conversations with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) about Hurricane Ian aid:
“He complimented me, he thanked me for the immediate response we had, he told me how much he appreciated it … This is not about … our disagreements politically.” pic.twitter.com/SymBlqG75X
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2022
DeSantis asked President Biden for financial assistance for his state, battered by what experts say is one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. DeSantis voted against relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy when he served in Congress.
President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel via Air Force One to Fort Myers, one of the hardest-hit areas of Florida by Hurricane Ian.
But Fort Myers is also part of Lee County, where officials delayed evacuation orders.
“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” The New York Times reported. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”
“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” the Times added. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”
The St. Louis Post Dispatch blasted the Florida GOP governor, calling his “flip-flop on hurricane relief” a “study in right-wing hypocrisy.”
“DeSantis’ willingness to shelve his usual attacks on the Biden administration to politely request emergency federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian is an inspiring example of constructive bipartisanship — as is Biden’s announcement that the government will bear a big part of the expense,” the Dispatch Editorial Board stated. “It’s interesting, though, that DeSantis took exactly the opposite stance a decade ago when he joined other hard-right members of Congress who argued against generous federal recovery aid when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast.”
Over the weekend DeSantis was blasted by volunteer relief aid workers who were delayed for hours in distributing “food, water, medicine, diapers, and anything else people needed” so Gov. DeSantis could get a photo-op.
‘It’s a Lot More Nuanced, Peter, You Know This’: Karine Jean-Pierre Forced to Explain to Doocy the Price of Gas
Fox News propagandist Peter Doocy on Tuesday challenged White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the price of gas, suggesting President Joe Biden is responsible for its increase but not its decrease. Jean-Pierre explained what global issues affect the price of gas, while explaining the “historic” steps President Biden has taken.
“You’ve said the President was responsible for gas prices coming down. Is the president responsible for gas prices going up?” Doocy asked.
Jean-Pierre was not about to let that pass to give Fox News a talking point.
“So, it’s a lot more nuanced than that, right, Peter, you know this,” Jean-Pierre pushed back.
“There have been global challenges that we have all have dealt with – when I say all, meaning other countries, as well, have dealt with since the pandemic. There’s been pandemic and there’s been Putin’s war. And Putin’s war has increased gas prices at the pump.”
“We have seen that over the past several months and what the President was able to do, he took some historic steps. When you think about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and making sure that he, we were able to do everything that we can to bring that cost down for American families, give them a little bit more of a breathing room and we saw that we saw that every day this summer, over saving American families, over $1 per gallon. And so that is what the President is going to continue to stay focused on the American consumers. How do we continue to keep to keep prices down? That’s why we we did the inflation Reduction Act that’s why we talk about the Chips Act. All of these things are going to help Americans here in this country.”
Doocy rattled off some of the highest gas prices in the nation, asking, “who can afford that?”
“We understand that,” Jean-Pierre replied, expressing empathy, “that’s why the President worked so hard the past several months, to make sure that he did everything we can to bring gas prices down. We have seen fastest – I know you’re pulling out a couple of areas across the country and I get that, and we understand that there’s more work to do. We have never said we were done here. We have always been very clear that there is more work to do. But we have seen the reality is we have seen the fastest decline in gasoline prices in over a decade. That’s because of what this President has done. And again, prices going down by more than dollar per gallon and these are real savings are talking about $100 per month in savings for average family with two cars.”
Watch this short clip below or at this link.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy: “You’ve said the president was responsible for gas prices coming down. Is the president responsible for gas prices going up?”
White House Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre: “It’s a lot more nuanced than that, right? Peter, you know this.” pic.twitter.com/veQDXk4WRE
— The Recount (@therecount) October 4, 2022
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