It was July 26, 2017. Three and a half years ago, almost to the day, when President Donald Trump shocked the nation with a series of tweets that seemed to have come out of nowhere.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” Trump’s tweets read. “Thank you.”
The Commander in Chief had just placed a total ban on transgender service members. Just like that, in the blink of an eye.
Literally every word of that statement was a lie.
President Joe Biden just a few short hours ago reversed the ban via an executive order.
Trump had not consulted with his generals or military experts. Transgender service members do not carry tremendous medical costs, nor does employing them create disruption. Even the “thank you” seemed false.
Civil rights and LGBTQ organizations sued in federal courts and won, multiple times.
But the U.S. Supreme Court, as it did so many times during his tenure, bowed to Trump and granted him the “right” to ban all transgender military service members.
Only later would Americans learn Trump made the announcement not only for purely political reasons, but at the urging of some of the far right’s and the religious right’s most powerful partisans.
Among them, anti-LGBTQ hate group head Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. Less than one year later Trump would elevate him directly into the administration, to serve on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Perkins is now the Chair of that group. Trump announced his trans ban just days after Perkins asked him for it.
Also, Ginni Thomas, the conspiracy theorist and far right lobbyist who happens to be the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She met with Trump in January of 2019, apparently in part to force him to enact the ban he had announced 18 months earlier, that was tied up in the courts.
And then-Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), who would later become Trump’s White House chief of staff, reportedly took a “significant role” in pushing for the transgender military ban. (Politico reports today Meadows, now out of the White House, is so unemployable he is now forced to consider taking a job with the Trump Organization post-presidency.)
According to ThinkProgress, Arkansas megachurch pastor Ronnie Floyd, who also sat on Trump’s evangelical advisory board, along with Perkins, both “had the ear of the president and have used it to advocate against allowing transgender people to serve their country.”
Floyd actually joined other evangelical leaders at the White House two weeks beforeTrump announced the ban on Twitter last year, where they openly advocated for the president to reverse the Obama administration’s decision to let trans people serve.
There was more to Trump’s out-of-the-blue ban on transgender service personnel.
Perkins, ThinkProgress adds, “personally took credit for lobbying Trump for the ban, and admitted to knowing it was coming even though the military’s leadership did not. Perkins also contributed to a secret working group impaneled by Vice President Pence to overrule any trans-friendly recommendations made by a military study group. Documents show that the official military panel only heard testimony in favor of letting trans people serve, yet the final recommendations somehow called for the opposite.
And then there’s Vice President Mike Pence.
According to Slate in 2018, “a ‘panel of experts’ has been crafting a report, also released on Friday, designed to provide pretextual justification for Trump’s ban. According to multiple sources, Vice President Mike Pence played a leading role in the creation of this report, along with Ryan Anderson, an anti-trans activist, and Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ lobbying group.”
“House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill stacked with his campaign promises, including money to build his border wall with Mexico,” Politico reported at the time. “But an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill. And House GOP insiders feared they might not have the votes to pass the legislation because defense hawks wanted a ban on Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations — something GOP leaders wouldn’t give them.”
They turned to Trump, who didn’t hesitate. In the flash of a tweet, he announced that transgender troops would be banned altogether.
In other words, he didn’t bat an eye, just made up a lie to push his agenda forward. Didn’t even think twice about the tens of thousands of lives that would be affected.
Two years later, he was still lying about the ban.
“They take massive amounts of drugs,” Trump told a UK news outlet about transgender people, which is a lie, “they have to — and, also you’re not allowed to take drugs in the military, and they have to after the operation.”
Those “drugs,” as NBC News reported when Trump made the offensive remarks, are prescription medication, and “the military does not prohibit service members from using prescription drugs — including hormones.”
HRC posted this video at the time:
The total cost of extending medical care to trans service members would make up a fraction of 1% of the total health care budget of the military.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 5, 2019
Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr
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Christian Nationalist, GOP Nominee for Governor Doug Mastriano to Testify Before J6 Committee
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack will receive sworn testimony from Doug Mastriano, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania’s nominee to be governor. Mastriano, who has strong ties to far right wing extremists, is a current state senator, and an anti-democracy Christian nationalist who has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory. He attended Donald Trump’s January 6 rally and reportedly was seen at the Capitol that day.
The New York Times has described Mastriano as a “prominent figure in former President Donald J. Trump’s futile efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results,”
Mastriano was subpoenaed to testify before the Committee in June, and is expected to testify on Tuesday.
He reportedly paid Gab, a far right wing social media platform headed by Andrew Torba, a white Christian nationalist with antisemitic views, $5000. Mastriano has praised Torba, saying, “Thank god for what you have done.”
Late last week Mastriano was reportedly trying to renege on his commitment too testify, Politico reported. His attorney wanted to record the deposition, which the January 6 Committee likely refused to allow.
But now he is scheduled for Tuesday.
Mastriano, “who was on the restricted grounds of the Capitol on Jan. 6, is set to appear for a virtual deposition with the Jan. 6 Committee on Tuesday, his attorney confirms,” tweets NBC News Justice reporter Ryan Reilly, citing reporting from NBC’s Julia Jester.
The New Yorker in May called Mastriano “a leader of the Stop the Steal campaign, and claims that he spoke to Donald Trump at least fifteen times between the 2020 election and the insurrection at the Capitol, on January 6th.”
“He urged his followers to attend the rally at the Capitol that led to the riots, saying, ‘I’m really praying that God will pour His Spirit upon Washington, D.C., like we’ve never seen before.’ Throughout this time, he has cast the fight against both lockdowns and Trump’s electoral loss as a religious battle against the forces of evil. He has come to embody a set of beliefs characterized as Christian nationalism, which center on the idea that God intended America to be a Christian nation, and which, when mingled with conspiracy theory and white nationalism, helped to fuel the insurrection.”
The Times last month reported Mastriano was “addressing a far-right conference that mixed Christian beliefs with conspiracy theories, called Patriots Arise. Instead of focusing on issues like taxes, gas prices or abortion policy, he wove a story about what he saw as the true Christian identity of the nation, and how it was time, together, for Christians to reclaim political power.”
“The separation of church and state was a ‘myth,’ he said. ‘In November we are going to take our state back, my God will make it so.'”
Trump Rambles for 108 Minutes in CPAC Speech Filled With ‘Unapologetic Fascism’: Report
Former President Donald Trump spoke for nearly two hours in his closing address at the CPAC summit in Dallas.
In Trump’s view, America has been destroyed in the 18 months since he left office, with out-of-control crime, inflation, and oddly enough unemployment, which Trump estimates to be three times the official number.
Trump took the stage to the song “God Bless the USA” and began by thanking the “proud patriots” in attendance.
Trump said he was proud to be joined by Rep. Ronnie Jackson (R-TX), who was his White House surgeon.
“He was an admiral, a doctor, and now he’s a congressman,” Trump noted, saying he asked him which was the best.
“And he sort of indicated doctor, because he loved to look at my body. It was so strong and powerful,” Trump said.
Trump then introduced Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
“This is no time for complacency,” Trump warned. “We have to seize this opportunity to deal with the radical left socialist lunatic fascists. We have to hit them very, very hard. It has to be a crippling defeat.”
He went on to complain about Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed a procedural vote after Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote while Trump was speaking, resulting in harsh words for GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“But McConnell is the most unpopular politician in the country, even more so than crazy Nancy Pelosi, and something has to be done,” Trump urged.
Trump said Biden “surrendered our strength and our everything [in Afghanistan], they surrendered our dignity.”
Michael Hardy, senior editor at the Texas Monthly, was one of the local journalists covering the speech. He said that line had “echoes of the Nazi ‘stab in the back theory’ of losing WW1.”
Trump then described crime in “Democrat-run (sic) cities” in very dark terms.
“The streets of our Democrat-run cities are drenched in the blood of innocent victims,” Trump claimed. “Bullets are killing little beautiful little children who never had a chance. Car jackers lay in wait like predators.”
Hardy described that as “some literal blood-and-soil rhetoric.”
And Trump went on saying “we need to courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done,” which Hardy said “is a rallying cry for street violence and worse.”
Trump went on to call for a military takeover of San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Portland.
“Trump’s rhetoric is significantly more extreme than even a few years ago,” Hardy said. “This might be most frightening speech I’ve ever heard. Full-on, unapologetic fascism. Trump has either been reading Mein Kampf or having someone read it to him.”
Trump repeated his lies about election fraud and teased a 2024 presidential comeback.
Former RNC official Tim Miller said, “I know everyone in the DC GOP is just hoping Trump will die but it’s impossible to watch this CPAC speech and not come to the conclusion that he’s going to run and be very hard to beat in a primary. Sorry to be the bearer of bad weekend news.”
After his speech, Trump danced on stage to the song “Hold On I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave.
“Don’t you ever feel sad; lean on me when times are bad,” Sam and Dave sang. “Then the day comes and you’re down; in a river of trouble and about to drown. Just hold on, I’m coming. Hold on, I’m coming.”
Listen: Candidate to Oversee All Minnesota Elections Questions if Non-English Speaking Citizens ‘Should Be Voting’
A Republican candidate to become the Minnesota Secretary of State is questioning if citizens in that state who don’t speak English or who have a disability should even be allowed to vote.
Kim Crockett, a former vice president at a conservative think tank, was speaking about a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that found people with a disability and people who do not speak English can be allowed to receive help in voting.
“So, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that indeed you can help an unlimited number of people vote if they are disabled or can’t read or speak English, which raises the question, should they be voting?” she said during a September 2020 radio interview, HuffPost reports.
If elected as Minnesota’s Secretary of State Crockett would oversee all elections statewide, and be responsible for enforcing election laws while ensuring citizens are allowed to vote, and ensuring policies are in place to help them do so.
Crockett has a history of antisemitic remarks and supporting Donald Trump’s Big Lie that he won the 2020 election.
HuffPost reports on Crockett’s antisemitic remarks:
“I think of America, the great assimilator, as a rubber band, but with this — we’re at the breaking point,” Crockett said, according to The New York Times. “These aren’t people coming from Norway, let’s put it that way. These people are very visible.”
The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party put out a press release noting that in 2022, “Crockett was heavily criticized for playing an anti-Semitic video during the Republican State Convention, which depicted a Jewish philanthropist as a puppet master controlling Minnesota’s Secretary of State, who is also Jewish and election lawyer Marc Elias, who is also Jewish. Casting a Jewish individual as a puppet master who controls events is a common anti-Semitic trope.”
Heartland Signal published the audio of Crockett’s remarks, which you can hear below or at this link.
GOP candidate for Minnesota secretary of state Kim Crockett, who would be the state’s chief election officer, says that people requiring assistance because they do not speak English or are disabled “raises the question: Should they be voting?” pic.twitter.com/hoCKBBXq1e
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) August 5, 2022
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