Saturday’s rally in support of Jan. 6 Capitol rioters has put GOP lawmakers in an “awkward” position — because a significant portion of the party’s base believes the insurrection was “justified” and is calling for “civil war,” according to a new report from Politico.
Facing this “uncomfortable reality,” GOP lawmakers have done their best to change the subject or ignore questions about the “Justice for J6” rally organized by a former Trump campaign aide — which law-enforcement officials fear could become violent.
Even Republicans who’ve called Capitol rioters “political prisoners” — such as Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Louie Gohmert of Texas — have not said whether they plan to attend the Justice for J6 rally.
However, one GOP lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity acknowledged that the rally has created a “conundrum” for the party’s leaders in Congress.
“The majority of the Republican base feels that Jan. 6 was justified. And because those people didn’t have arms, they shouldn’t be incarcerated right now,” said the lawmaker, who reportedly is from a safe red district.
“Every day, I hear the word ‘Civil War’ — every day,” the lawmaker told Politico, adding when he returned to his district after Jan. 6, he “expected sympathy and disgust about the attack on Congress and instead heard constituents commenting in support.”
According to Politico, “Other Capitol Hill offices reported similar calls from constituents who insisted the rioters did not go far enough in the weeks after the attack, which included more than 1,000 violent acts against law enforcement and is tied to multiple deaths of rallygoers as well as police officers.”
While Democratic leaders say the Capitol is more prepared for Saturday’s rally than it was prior to Jan. 6, “Monday’s announcement of the arrest of a man found with a bayonet and machete and parked near the Democratic National Committee headquarters, just blocks from the Capitol, has heightened concerns about violence,” Politico reports.
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‘Lowest Common Denominator’: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacist He Dined With Despite Advisers’ Urgings
It’s been nearly a week since Donald Trump had dinner at his home at Mar-a-Lago with antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, and yet he continues to refuse to denounce him or his extremist views.
Multiple advisers have urged Trump to denounce Fuentes, who has a long history of promoting white supremacism, but he has been “rejecting” their advice “over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”
Fuentes, according to Trump, came to dinner at the behest of Kanye West, the former president’s invited dinner guest. He says the disgraced artist did not tell him in advance he was bringing “friends.” In addition to Fuentes, those friends reportedly include Milo Yiannopoulos, who has advocated for older men having sex with young teen boys, and Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.
West has also been increasingly viewed as antisemitic, especially after threatening to “go death con 3 on Jewish people.” That remark “conveyed a clear violence to many who saw it,” The Times of Israel reported last month.
Trump has a long history of refusing to denounce white supremacists and white nationalists. His refusal to denounce former KKK leader David Duke, when still a presidential candidate in 2016, has become an infamously defining moment for Trump.
“I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Trump told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with ‘white supremacy’ or ‘white supremacists,’” Trump insisted. “I know nothing about white supremacists.”
“I have to look at the group,” Trump continued, when asked he would condemn white supremacists and say he does not want their vote. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about?”
That’s extremely similar to Trump’s initial response when news broke he had dined with Fuentes.
Trump on his Truth Social platform described the white supremacist as someone “whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”
On MSNBC Monday morning, Politico’s Jonathan Lemire noted, “this strain of white nationalism is becoming more central to what today’s Republican Party is about.” He added that Trump is “trying to play to the lowest common denominator to try and keep some supporters in check.”
Fuentes is not just a white supremacist, a white Christian nationalist, a Holocaust “denier,” and a supporter of authoritarianism – along with holding other extremist views. He is a political commentator who has a large following and is seen as the head of a white supremacist movement. Fuentes is also the founder of the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), a white nationalism alternative to the already extremist Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) last year warned Fuentes is “a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”
But ADL also notes Fuentes “promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide “Stop the Steal” protests,” and “served as an organizer and speaker at many ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” which may be yet another reason Trump has refused to denounce him.
Watch: NBC Reporter Urges ‘Come to Jesus Moment’ for Media in Wake of Colorado Springs Anti-LGBTQ Mass Shooting
NBC News’ senior reporter Ben Collins is calling for media outlets to have a “come to Jesus moment” – a dose of reality in order to make a major change – in the wake of the Colorado Springs hate crime mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub, Club Q, that left five people dead. A clip of his segment is going viral, with many agreeing the media needs to do a better job.
On MSNBC Tuesday morning, Collins, who covers what he calls the “dystopia beat,” meaning extremism, noted he’s been reporting on far-right extremism and its attacks on the LGBTQ community for months, apparently suggesting his articles were a warning.
“I do you want to say though, am I doing something wrong here?” Collins asked rhetorically, as if to suggest another anti-LGBTQ mass shooting hate crime had only been a matter of time.
“Here are some headlines that I wrote the last six months,” he said, reading them off.
“‘Fueled by parents far right machine anti-LGBTQ threats shut down trans rights and drag events.’ Remember,” Collins said after his voice initially appeared to crack, “there was a drag event happening to Colorado,” at Club Q the night of the mass shooting.
“‘Anti-trans stalkers at Kiwi Farms,’ which is an anti-trans website that stalks people, ‘are chasing one victim around the world. Their list of targets is growing,’ – that was a couple months ago,” Collins added.
“‘Doctors under threat from far right activists for providing trans care.’ ‘Boston Children’s Hospital faces bomb threat after right-wing harassment campaign’ – there were three of those bomb threats. ‘FBI charges Massachusetts woman with Boston Children’s Hospital bomb threats’ – so they found one of the people. ‘At least 20 Republican politicians have claimed that schools are making accommodations for students who identify as cats.’ That was before the midterms.”
“Here are three more from my colleagues in the last three weeks,” Collins continued, reading those headlines. “‘As election nears some conservative groups have ramped up anti-trans campaign ads.’ ‘Far right figures appear to be testing Twitter’s boundaries for anti-LGBTQ speech.’ ‘GOP senator targets Tiktok influencer with anti-transgender taunt.'”
After reading the headlines, Collins posed the question important for all journalists.
“And I’m just wondering, what could I have done different? Seriously, as reporters what can we do different? Because there are five dead people in a strip mall – because that was the only place they felt safe, as gay or trans people in this town in Colorado Springs.”
“And I am trying to thread this needle here. I’m trying to say that this is happening. This targeted stuff has real life impacts,” he continued.
“And I’m going to fail by the way, I’m going to freak out because it’s happening. Because I wake up and I see that there are five dead bodies. But I think we have to have a come to Jesus moment here, as reporters. Are we more afraid of being on Breitbart for saying that trans people deserve to be alive? Or are we more afraid of the dead people? Because I’m more afraid of the dead people. I don’t want to wake up on a Sunday and see that all these headlines came to fruition.”
On Twitter Collins says this is “an inflection point in this country right now, specifically for reporters.”
I talked this morning about an inflection point in this country right now, specifically for reporters:
What are you more afraid of? Being on Breitbart for saying that trans people deserve to be alive?
Or are you more afraid of waking up to the news of more dead people? pic.twitter.com/1B4FqNrZSQ
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) November 22, 2022
Saying, “Thank you, Ben Collins,” Shannon Minter, the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), commented: “Reporters & media outlets have a responsibility not to lend fuel to dangerous political attacks on vulnerable minorities—including by stories like recent pieces by Reuters & the NYT that deliberately stoke fears & misconceptions about transgender kids.”
Watch the Collins’ clip above, the full MSNBC segment below, or both at this link.
Anti-LGBTQ Congressman for Colorado Springs Deluged With Angry Responses Over Club Q Tweet That Doesn’t Say Gay
Sunday afternoon U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) posted a tweet about the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in his district and didn’t mention anything about the victims or that it was a crime of hate. He’s received so many angry responses he turned off responses.
Congressman Lamborn, first elected in 2006 after serving eight years in the state Senate, has a long history of anti-LGBTQ actions and a few racist ones as well.
“I am saddened to hear of the senseless loss of life in the shooting last night. Law enforcement and first responders are to be commended for their rapid response. All people should pray for the victims and their families,” Rep. Lamborn tweeted. He posted the exact same message to Facebook, and received similarly angry responses. Lamborn also issued the exact same statement as a press release.
Nothing in his tweet mentioned it was (even at that time) likely an anti-LGBTQ attack, nothing about the name of the nightclub, no support for the LGBTQ community in his district or across the country. Not even any mention that the patrons and not police were the ones who subdued the gunman.
His tweet doesn’t even mention it was a mass shooting and that it took place in his district. It was a tweet so generic it could be used for any shooting that takes place any night of the week anywhere in the country.
Many of the responses noted that Congressman Lamborn recently voted against a House bill to protect marriages of same-sex couples should the Supreme Court strike down rulings like Obergefell. Others noted he once called for PBS to be defunded after of a gay cartoon character’s wedding.
Rep. Lamborn, who represents Colorado Springs, once tried to defund PBS because of a gay wedding plot on the children’s TV show Arthur https://t.co/Qzi8H7MVpZ
— Gillian Branstetter (@GBBranstetter) November 20, 2022
Michael Aaron, the publisher and editor of QSaltLake Magazine tweeted that Rep. Lamborn “co-sponsored the natl anti-drag story hour bill, sponsored a bill to defund PBS over a gay rat wedding, voted against Respect for Marriage bill, opposes gun control.”
Lamborn indeed is a co-sponsor of the “Stop the Sexualization of Children” bill, which falsely characterizes drag queen story hours across the country as “sexually-oriented events.”
Lamborn has a long anti-LGBTQ history. In 2012 ThinkProgress published a report on “The 7 Most Anti-Gay U.S. Representatives.” Lamborn made the list.
“Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), a third-term Republican who came under fire for racially insensitive comments that associating with President Obama was like “touching a tar-baby.”
Earlier this year Lamborn was chastised by Jewish leaders for an inaccurate and insensitive tweet about Easter and Passover.
See some of the responses below or at this link.
You need to look inward and stop spreading hate. pic.twitter.com/q6pMp2cJDV
— Thee Nikki 💛🐝 (@NikkiBrinksCO) November 20, 2022
You contribute to the climate that leads people to commit senseless acts like this. Your anti-lgbtq bigotry inspires these people, which makes the whole ‘thoughts and prayers’ even more hollow than all the other times you have no more to offer.
— link122 (@link12213) November 20, 2022
Your words mean nothing—specifically because both your words and deeds gives permission for bigots to target LGBTQ+ people. Your own hatred is the cause for these deadly attacks.
— David Lytle (@davitydave) November 20, 2022
good try doug! it was actually 2 customers of the club that stopped the shooter. also pretty cool that even lauren boebert directly says she’s praying for the victims and you can’t manage that. what do you represent exactly? cause it’s obviously not the people in colorado springs
— the blasto (rat very fied) 🐀 (@blastomisty) November 20, 2022
Over and over again you try to prevent the LGBTQ+ community from having rights, dignity and safety. Your words are pathetically hallow. pic.twitter.com/aw6BIMJyjO
— Jess P. (@Jessnj4554) November 20, 2022
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