This week, Madison Cawthorn, a Republican U.S. House candidate for North Carolina who recently spoke at the Republican National Convention, published a video to his supporters falsely claiming that Mexican cartels on the southern national border are kidnapping tens of thousands of U.S. kids and then selling them on “the sex slave market.”
“Tens of thousands of our children are going missing every year,” he continued, “and it’s because of cartels like MS-13 coming into our country and doing harm.”
The fact-checkers at The Asheville Citizen-Times called his claim a “discredited” and “debunked” one “promoted by the extremist conspiracy theory movement” known as QAnon. QAnon believers think that a Democrat-run “deep state” is trying to stop Republican President Donald Trump from exposing an international child sex trafficking ring.
Though Cawthorn visited the border wall at a July 30 event, the added, “Cawthorn did not provide the source of his information or respond to questions about why he went to the border wall some 1,500 miles from his district, who paid his expenses, or how he knew the organizers.”
According to The Gaily Grind, the Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking organization that operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline, said in a statement to AVL Watchdog, a website that tracks news in Asheville, it “has not seen a trend in reports that would suggest this is happening.”
The Polaris Project said that child trafficking victims usually know their traffickers as “a family member, family friend, or other relationship with the child” and that kids sold into sex slavery are sometimes runaways that become “easy prey for traffickers promising safety and shelter.”
Indeed, if tens of thousands of U.S. kids were being kidnapped from the U.S. border and sold into sex slavery, the media or President Trump might have mentioned it.
In the past, Cawthorn has lied about being accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy before a car crash left him in a wheelchair—the academy actually rejected him before his accident. He also deleted an Instagram post referring to Adolph Hitler as “the führer” (“leader” in German) and calling his visit to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest home in the Alps, a “bucket list” destination.
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Lindsay Graham Says Black People Are Safe in South Carolina… If They’re Conservative
On Friday night, Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham debated his Democratic challenger Jamie Harrison virtually because Graham refused to submit to a COVID-19 test.
As a result, both Graham and Harrison were separately asked debate questions. And on a question about whether he’d met with leaders of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Graham said in part, “I care about everybody. If you’re a young African-American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.”
The context of Graham’s horrid sound bite was that anyone can have a safe and secure political career in the state regardless of skin color as long as they’re conservative. “You can be an African-American and go to the Senate, you just have to share the values of our state,” he said earlier in his response, but his aforementioned closing line seemed to make the Black female moderator stammer as she moved onto the next question.
— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) October 9, 2020
Graham’s response almost sounded like he was saying if you’re white, you’ll be completely okay in the state, but if you’re Black or from another country, you’ll only be okay if you’re conservative like him.
Of course, being conservative or pro-police doesn’t magically protect Black people from being harassed or killed, no matter what state you live in.
Twitter users weren’t impressed with Graham’s creepy answer:
If you’re a young African American in this state, you need to know your place, do as your told, and not bother these good white people. And you can have anything that you want. Except education, healthcare, clean water, fair policing, paved roads…
— Michael Reed (@mr2ed) October 10, 2020
— 🇺🇸~ Roni ~ 🇺🇸 I stand with Gov Whitmer (@paleblueeyes24) October 10, 2020
So a white man still thinks he makes the rules on how BIPOC get to exist? “You can go anywhere in this state” is already an arrogant statement….but then to add “except” just made me burst into flames.
— Primrose Lane (@ridiculoustimes) October 10, 2020
In his best Bob Ross voice to soothe us into believing he didn't just spew the most vile anti-American divisive racist garbage EVER. pic.twitter.com/eFQtmuHnvD
— avalovesyou (@avalovesyou2) October 10, 2020
I have never heard a clearer statement of intolerance from a major politician than this. Graham says clearly, you are welcome here only if you think as I do. This is not the America I love.
— Tia Will (@medwoman1) October 10, 2020
So you will be persecuted? Penalized? So this isn't a free country? You must do what The Republican elite overlords say or you can't be treated with human decency?
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) October 10, 2020
Graham has decided that black people in SC should have GOP or DEM on their clothes to decide how to be treated
— Donald J. Trumptin (@siberiancandate) October 10, 2020
A sitting US Senator, sworn to uphold the basic human rights of every person, suggesting that people of color who aren’t “conservative” can expect to be persecuted?!?!?! No persecution of anyone is allowed.
— Joseph Robertson (@poet_economist) October 10, 2020
And just when I thought it was impossible I think any less of Lindsey Graham he opens up his spare bottle of racism.
— Matthew J. Kuiken (@Juris_Sequoia) October 10, 2020
Republican state leaders threaten violence in “coming war” with Black Lives Matter
This week, two local Republican leaders published and then deleted social media posts which threatened violence in an imminent right-wing clash against Black Lives Matter and Antifa (anti-fascist) activists.
First, Iron County, Utah commissioner Paul Cozzens published a now-deleted picture showing a soldier with a gun and the words: “Warning to BLM & Antifa—Once you’ve managed to defund & eliminate the police, there’s nobody protecting you from us. Remember that.”
— Jesse Harris (@elforesto) September 16, 2020
Cozzens later told Newsweek that he never supports violence against protestors but merely wanted to say that “If we defund the police, fathers and mothers will be forced to protect their families and properties which would descend us into anarchy.”
What Cozzens may not realize is that many Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists already believe that police do a terrible job protecting them from right-wing violence. Such activists have sometimes been subject to violence from the police themselves, bringing into doubt the whole question of whether police “protect” them from anything.
Second, Michael Brown — a Republican member of the Johnson County Commission in Kansas City, Missouri — published a now-deleted Facebook message in which he urged his followers to “buy a firearm and ammunition” for “the coming war” that is both “inevitable” and caused by left-wing police reform activists and Democratic leaders who are “silent” and “weak.”
“[This] isn’t a joke or hyperbole,” Brown wrote. “I’d rather fight and die than live in their dictated world.”
At a time when heated rhetoric rarely surprises me, I have to admit shock in seeing something like this from a local elected. Gross distortions; encouraging constituents to prepare for armed war w/political opponents?
This is reckless. This is racist. This is wrong.
Just stop. https://t.co/Zc50URHgEW
— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) September 14, 2020
In response, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote on Twitter, “At a time when heated rhetoric rarely surprises me, I have to admit shock in seeing something like this from a local elected. Gross distortions; encouraging constituents to prepare for armed war w/political opponents? This is reckless. This is racist. This is wrong. Just stop.”
Brown later said that he had made the post in response to Monday reports of a gunman who opened fire on a parked sheriff’s squad car, killing two officers in Los Angeles. Brown said he was “speaking out against violence and calling on other electeds, community leaders and citizens to do the same.”
Republican Representative tells followers to burn and loot houses of Black Lives Matter supporters
James Spillane, a Republican representative in the New Hampshire legislature, encouraged his Facebook followers to burn and loot any houses that have Black Lives Matter signs.
He’s now being investigated by the New Hampshire Department of Justice to see if he violated the New Hampshire Civil Rights Act for making locals “targets of violence.” Locals are also calling for him to resign.
Spillane’s now-deleted post read: “Public Service Announcement: If you see a BLM sign on a lawn, it’s the same as having a porch light on at Halloween. You are free to burn and loot that house.”
Sean Locke, Director of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Unit, wrote that “members of the public who support the Black Lives Matter movement have expressed fear that they may become targets of violence as the result of Rep. Spillane’s post.”
House Speaker Steve Shurtleff called for Spillane’s immediate resignation. So did Jordan Thompson, a founder of a local Black Lives Matter Nashua and a racial justice organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Hampshire, according to the Concord Monitor.
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