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OPINION

Lindsey Graham’s Queer Predicament

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Why the South Carolina senator’s sexual orientation is a story for journalists, Twitter lights up with #LadyG

This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

Let’s begin with Aaron Schock, while I have your attention.

First elected in 2008, he’s the disgraced, former Republican congressman from Illinois who stood against LGBTQ rights — including voting against “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, and coming out against marriage equality — though it was an open secret in Washington and in queer circles that he was gay throughout that entire time. There was discussion that he was gay even before the White House picnic in 2010 and the photo of him in white pants, teal belt and pink gingham shirt that went viral, but he’d denied it in 2004 in an interview.

The youngest person elected to Congress when he took office in 2009, Schock was allowed to present himself in the media as a bachelor whose college friends had all married while he was too busy in politics — but who would presumably marry when the right woman came along.

And yet, the open secret persisted. Schock denied he was gay again when I asked him on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012 for a response to those who believe he is gay and that he had voted against his own people.

“Those questions are completely ridiculous and inappropriate,” he said, becoming tense. When I asked if he was thus confirming that he was not gay, he replied, “I’ve said that before and I don’t think it’s worthy of further response. I think you can look it up.” Then he stormed off.

Schock resigned in 2015 after a report about his Downton Abbey-inspired office set off a chain of investigations about his lavish lifestyle using taxpayer dollars and campaign funds. He was eventually indicted on 24 counts ( though, with a good lawyer, he struck an outrageous sweetheart deal in which all charges were dropped if he paid back the IRS and his campaign).

Then, this past March, Schock finally came out as gay, after living it up as a private citizen for some time, visiting gay vacation destinations and party spots, enjoying the very liberation that he worked with our enemies to try to destroy.

Twitter lights up with #LadyG

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, too, has been discussed as gay for years, with those on both the left and the right hinting at it or saying it outright. He, too, has denied he is gay, most recently in 2018. (To be fair, some of the attacks on Graham that have relied upon gay innuendo — from both the left and the right — have been homophobic, and I’ve defended against that myself.)

To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.

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OPINION

‘This Is for the People to Decide’: Jaw-Dropping CNN Supercut Lays Bare the GOP’s Stunning Hypocrisy on SCOTUS

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As the battle over replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who died Friday from complications of pancreatic cancer — takes shape in Washington, D.C., Republican senators who previously refused to hold a vote on former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick are now having their words thrown in their faces.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper on Saturday played a devastating supercut that features Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explaining why they would not vote on Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said in 2016 — laying out what Cooper described as an “eerily similar” situation as the one currently playing out in Congress. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, ‘Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me and you would be absolutely right.”

“We’re setting a precedent here today, Republicans are, that in the last year, at least of a lame duck eight-year term, I would say it’s going to be a four-year term, that you’re not going to fill a vacancy of the Supreme Court based on what we’re doing here today,” he added. “That’s going to be the new rule.”

In his own floor speech on the matter in 2016, McConnell likewise urged Congress to give the American people a say in the Supreme Court pick.

“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country. So, of course, of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction,” McConnell said.

Cruz — who was shortlisted by Trump as a potential SCOTUS pick earlier this month — also insisted in 2016 that Congress should not move to replace Scalia until after the election.

“I don’t think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term, Cruz said. “I would say that if it was a republican president.”

“President Obama is eager to appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement this year,” he continued. “But do you know in the last 80 years we have not once has the Senate confirmed a nomination made in an election year and now is no year to start. This is for the people to decide. I intend to make 2016 a referendum on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Of course, all three men have now signaled they’re much more likely in 2020 to jam a conservative Supreme Court justice down voters’ throats on the eve of an election. After President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that the Senate has an “obligation” select a replacement for Ginsburg, Graham said he “fully” understands where the president is coming from.

In case that statement seems vague, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman added: ”I will support President [Trump] in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”

And McConnell has also insisted “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

And in perhaps the least surprising flip-flop of all, Cruz on Saturday wrote an opinion piece for Fox News that outlined 3 reasons why the Senate must confirm Ginsburg’s replacement before election day. In it, he touted Trump’s “list of extremely qualified, principled constitutionalists who could serve on the Supreme Court” — which, of course, included himself — and argued that going into an election with an 8 person bench could trigger a constitutional crisis in the event of a contested election.

Amazing how now of the senators were concerned with such a problem when Obama appointed his nominee.

Watch the video below to see the blatant hypocrisy for yourself:

 

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OPINION

Trump Just Set a Trap for Himself and Walked Right in – Commits to ‘Distribution’ of Coronavirus Vaccine Within Weeks

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President Donald Trump for months has been promising a coronavirus vaccine by November 1 – just days before Election Day. It started back in early August, when he told Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera a vaccine would be ready before the end of the year, and it “could be much sooner.”

“Sooner than November 3?” Rivera asked Trump – feeding him an impossible expectation.

“I think in some cases, yes possible before, but right around that time,” Trump replied, taking the bait.

It didn’t take long for the Candidate-in-Chief to power up the campaign lies and wouldn’t you know, America, Trump promised we will have a coronavirus vaccine in early October.

“We’re within weeks of getting it,” Trump promised ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Tuesday night. “You know, could be three weeks, four weeks, but we think we have it.”

On Wednesday Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, pushed that date even earlier, to “potentially by the end of September.”

Trump is all in, and one-hundred percent committed to a vaccine in the next few weeks.

He has laid a huge trap for himself, walked right in, and has no way out.

Trump very easily could have declared, when Americans don’t have access to the vaccine by the end of September, or the beginning of October, or November 1, that he just meant the vaccine would be approved. Ready to be manufactured.

On Wednesday Trump promised “distribution” of the vaccine within weeks, meaning in the hands of doctors and nurses and other medical professionals who will begin to inoculate America. (He also said nothing about safety or effectiveness.)

The Director of the CDC on Wednesday told America a coronavirus vaccine would not be “generally available” until early spring or in the summer.

Trump told reporters Dr. Robert Redfield was mistaken.

And then, he walked right in to his own trap.

“I’m telling you, here’s the bottom line,” Trump said at Wednesday’s press conference, while lashing out at a reporter. “Distribution’s going to be very rapid, he might not know that, maybe he’s not aware of that, and maybe he’s not dealing with the military, etc., like I do. Distribution’s going to be very rapid.”

One hour earlier Joe Biden told Americans they should not trust a vaccine from the Trump administration unless the president can answer three basic questions:

  1. “What criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and effectiveness?”
  2. “If the administration greenlights a vaccine, who will validate that the decision was driven by science rather than politics? What group of scientists will that be?”
  3. “How can we be sure that the distribution of the vaccine will take place safely, cost-free and without a hint of favoritism?”

Voters should judge the candidates by their promises, if those promises are realistic, and if they keep them. And cast their ballot accordingly.

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OPINION

Donald Trump’s Lie About Coronavirus Is Another Impeachable Offense: Signorile

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This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

We’re less than two months away from the presidential election and Donald Trump has now been exposed again as knowing how “deadly” coronavirus was even as he told Americans there would soon be no cases, that it would “fade away” and that it was even a “hoax.” But this time it’s with his own words, on audio recordings. There’s no getting away from it.

Trump continued to hold rallies, fought against mask-wearing and business and school shutdowns even as he knew it was “not just older people” but “it’s plenty of young people.” He even admitted on tape to famed journalist Bob Woodward that, even knowing all that, he wanted to “play it down,” and “I still want to play it down.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg from Woodward’s new book, “Rage.”

The 18 interviews Woodward conducted with Trump go back as early February and March, when Trump was downplaying the virus to the American people.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call with Woodward. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu. This is deadly stuff.”

This was while Trump was giving speeches and press conferences saying the flu was worse than coronavirus and that many more people die from the flu. It’s mind-boggling that he’d give this interview and not have an awareness that six months later it would be public and almost 200,000 Americans would be dead from coronavirus.

To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.

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