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OPINION

Topics for Final Presidential Debate Announced and Boy Will Donald Trump Be in Trouble

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NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker has just announced the topics for the final presidential debate next week on October 22 in Tennessee.

There are six topics, most of which are policy-driven topics, where Trump routinely is challenged. They were chosen by Welker, and released through the Commission on Presidential Debates, as the Associated Press reports.

They are: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership.

Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been panned by Republicans and Democrats alike, and his approval rating on the issue, which most Americans place as the most important, is 57.4% disapprove, and just 39.8% approve, according to FiveThirtyEight‘s analysis.

The President may be a Republican but he’s never been a “family values” Republican as his sexual misconduct can attest.

Trump fails miserably on race. His handling of the Black Lives Matter protests elicited angry charges of fascism.

The President is a science and climate change denier who claims windmills cause cancer, pulled out of the Paris agreement, and expanded oil and gas drilling into areas never before seen, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. His decision to open the Eastern Seaboard to offshore drilling was criticized even by Republicans.

During the first debate when climate change was a topic Trump criticized that California has not “cleaned” its forests. (Most of California’s forests are federal lands, not state property.)

The President has no national security plans, and is widely known for having no interest in receiving what were once known as Daily Intelligence Briefings. In the Trump White House those are now just “intelligence briefings,” and Trump receives on average just four per month. His last intel briefing was more than three weeks ago, on September 22.

As for leadership, well, here’s what Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska told 17,000 of his constituents recently:

“The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.”

He also said he did not think Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic has been “reasonable or responsible, or right.”

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OPINION

Scam Alert: Trump Knows He Can’t Win, So Why Is He Refusing to Concede While Fundraising to ‘Defend the Election’?

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President Donald Trump cannot win re-election. He’s not really even trying. His “legal team” are D-list Fox News TV hosts and far right wing extremists. And in a class of his own, Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly was under DOJ investigation and has been palling around with an actual Russian agent.

Experts say the Trump legal team’s court filings aren’t designed to help him win re-election or keep him in office, and even if they were successful – which the vast majority have not been – would not change the fact that Joe Biden will be declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

So what is he doing?

Why is Donald Trump refusing to concede?

Why is he spewing vile and dangerous lies about “election fraud” by Democrats, while offering up no proof? Even in court, Trump’s legal filings are being throw out because they’re filled with rumors and accusations but they haven’t poneyed up enough proof.

And yet many times a day the Trump re-election campaign team continues to send out mass email blasts insisting you have to help them defend democracy.

“Trump Election Defense Fund”

“STOP THE FRAUD”

“We need YOU to step up.”

“Join us & DEFEND the Election”

“We have to stop this madness.”

“I need you to FIGHT BACK”

“President Trump is relying on YOU”

“Democrats will try to STEAL this ELECTION”

“The Left wants to undermine this Election”

“They will try to undermine the Election”

“CRUSH the Radical Left”

“Time to DEFEND our Election”

“DEFEND THE RESULTS”

“Mail-in ballots are causing CHAOS”

If you’re assuming those are the titles of some of Trump’s fundraising emails from this week you’d be right.

What’s crazy is those are all from today.

So what’s going on here?

Trump won’t concede, he’s dragging this out as long as possible, and has totally abdicated the presidency.

Trump has barely done the job of “presidenting” for months, but over the past weeks he’s done practically nothing except run for re-election.

And now he’s just occupying the White House – every day his official schedule is empty.

This was what Trump had on his agenda for today – three days after Election Day:

So what’s going on here?

Trump is grifting.

He’s scamming.

Here’s what election law expert Rick Hasen realized earlier today.

Remember that tsunami of fundraising emails above from today, to help Trump “defend” the election and “STOP THE FRAUD”?

Trump’s working overtime to whittle down his campaign debt.

Other emails link to fine print that reads “60% to DJTP for deposit in DJTP’s 2020 General Election Account for the retirement of general election debt.”

Apparently it’s all been a grift, a scam, since the day he walked down the Trump Tower escalator and announced he was running for president because Mexico was “not sending their best.”

Remember?

“They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

It’s a scam.

Is there any reason hard-working Americans should spend their hard-earned cash to clear up Trump’s campaign debt?

UPDATE:
More from Rick Hasen –Trump was told Thursday he had no other legal options. Thursday.

UPDATE II:
Remember, he was told Thursday he had no legal options left. So why is he doing this? See above.

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OPINION

First Lady Melania Trump Teams Up With Log Cabin Republicans to Spread the Huge Lie That Donald Trump Is Pro-LGBTQ

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First Lady Melania Trump and the Log Cabin Republicans are pushing a dangerous lie that the President, Donald Trump, is pro-LGBTQ. Trump’s record of working to destroy the hard-won rights and protections gained under the Obama administration is extensive, and his refusal to acknowledge or support LGBTQ people over the years is damning. In many real ways Trump has harmed LGBTQ people in this country. The fact is, Donald Trump is the most anti-LGBTQ president in modern history.

“Donald has been clear that gays and lesbians will be treated as he has always treated them: equally,” Melania Trump says in a video (below) recorded for the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization that professes to advocate for LGBT conservatives. Supporting candidates who work to strip away rights and protections is not supporting the LGBTQ community.

The First Lady’s claim is a stunning lie, unless the listener does backflips and turns themselves into a pretzel to try to twist the semantics to make “sense.”

Here’s the only way her claim could be marginally viewed as true: “Donald always treated gays and lesbians equally poorly.”  (Note she does not say transgender people, whom he has treated even worse.)

“I was shocked to discover that some of these powerful people,” the First Lady says of her husband’s “many enemies in the political establishment,” “have tried to paint my husband, as anti-gay or against equality. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

That’s a lie, plain and simple. See below.

“Donald is the first president to enter the White House supporting gay marriage,” she says.

Trump has said that Obergefell is settled law, but he also made clear from the start he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn that landmark ruling – and he has never pushed back against justices who say it should be overturned. He’s also made clear he sees “traditional” marriage as superior, and has never done anything to support marriage equality.

In fact, “Trump has been a consistent opponent of marriage equality,” the Human Rights Campaign says. “He said that he opposed it because he was a ‘traditional’ guy, choosing to support domestic partnership benefits instead. Trump later reversed himself and said he also opposed civil unions. Despite a brief flirtation with ‘evolving’ in 2013, Trump has consistently maintained his opposition to marriage equality, sometimes by citing polling and making an analogy to his dislike of long golf putters. After the Supreme Court ruling, Trump said the court had made its decision and, although he disagreed with the ruling, he did not support a constitutional amendment that would allow states to re-ban marriage equality. He later said he would appoint Supreme Court judges who would be committed to overturning the ruling.”

The First Lady wasn’t finished.

“Donald is also the first president to appoint an openly gay official to his cabinet,” she says, referring to Richard Grenell, who briefly served as Acting Director of National Intelligence, a position he, by law, was not qualified for.

Trump goes on to say gay conservatives and Log Cabin Republicans are being “silenced,” “censored,” and “bullied by cancel culture mobs.”

“This is not the America any of us want to live in,” she says, astonishingly hypocritically, given her husband’s daily attacks on his opponents, and even on ordinary Americans.

In August Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler published an analysis on the “absurd claim that Trump is the ‘most pro-gay president in American history’.”

The quote came from Richard Grenell, in a Log Cabin Republicans video from earlier that month.

“Trump is pro-Grenell, but that doesn’t mean his administration is pro-gay. Grenell earns Four Pinocchios,” Kessler concluded.

So much for being pro-equality.

Here’s the First Lady’s video:

 

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OPINION

Trump Is a Threat to Democracy – Even if He Loses: 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.

Here we’ve been for almost four years, worried that Donald Trump will destroy us if he wins re-election in two weeks.

But what about if he clearly and decisively loses? Prepare yourself for the fact that none of us is going to be able to take a vacation — even if he does accept the loss and vacates the White House in January.

Right now, Trump is projecting an air of invincibility. “We are going to win,” he told his campaign staffers yesterday. Later he told reporters, “I’m not running scared. I think I’m running angry. I’m running happy and I’m running very content ’cause I’ve done a great job.”

But this seems like damage control meant to stop the media from continuing to focus in on his rallies over the weekend, in which he pondered what would happen if he lost (“Maybe I’ll have to leave the country”) and begged suburban women for their votes (“Suburban women, please like me”).

According the Associated Press, quoting three campaign and White House officials, “Trump himself has alternated between disbelief and anger at the idea that he could lose to a candidate whom he views as washed up and incompetent.”

He’s freaking out. Even Trump, who often seems so out of touch with reality, sees what’s happening quite clearly. My hunch is that he knows it’s highly unlikely that he can turn things around this late in the game by switching positions, reaching out to women and people of color and others he’s losing badly, since voters are locked in and many despise him. And if he even tries, he’ll depress and possibly enrage his own base.

Another politician in such dire straits might just take that chance — certainly we’re seeing some GOP senators doing that, moving away a bit from Trump, though it’s likely far too late — but for Trump, a loss of support among his base after his re-election bid failed would be a loss of what he sees as a protective mass movement that will do anything for him.

Trump has got to be worried about investigations and prosecutions, and would no longer have the Justice Department, the military or the pardon power to wield as tools. And even if he tries to pardon himself for any crimes, which would ultimately go to the courts — or enacts the scenario his former fixer Michael Cohen envisions, in which he steps down in the lame duck, and Mike Pence briefly becomes president and pardons him — that won’t protect him from state charges.

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

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