U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday morning was forced to respond to repeated Republican false claims about his memo directing the DOJ to hold “discussions” with local leaders about threats of violence made against school board members, and several times had to push back hard against false accusations made by GOP Congressmen.
Franklin Graham, Stephen Miller, and countless others on the right for weeks have been falsely claiming that Garland has ordered DOJ to investigate parents merely for opposing school board decisions, mostly on mask mandates and what they claim is “critical race theory.”
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) on Wednesday during a Judiciary Committee hearing falsely suggested Garland was calling parents’ challenging school boards domestic terrorists.
“One example of a so-called terrorist incident was a parent, merely questioning whether school board members had earned their high school diplomas. Now that might have been rude, but does that seem like an act of domestic terrorism that you or your Justice Department ought to be investigating?” Chabot asked.
“Absolutely not,” Garland replied. “And I want to be clear the Justice Department supports and defends the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish, about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools. That is not what the memorandum is about at all, nor does it use the words ‘domestic terrorism’ or ‘Patriot Act.’ Like you, I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”
As NCRM has previously reported, school board members and educators in at least nine states this year have been targeted with threats, death threats, and often racist death threats, including in Virginia, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont, according to local news reports.
Ironically, it was Congressman Chabot who, a decade ago, was legitimately accused of violating the First Amendment when his staffers directed local police to confiscate video cameras at the Congressman’s town hall event, held in a public school.
Chabot, ruffled and rebuffed by Garland’s response, decided to end the inquiry there.
“Thank you I’m nearly out of time.”
Garland: That is not what the memorandum is about at all nor does it use the word domestic terrorism or patriot act pic.twitter.com/6vJqDDPcBf
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 21, 2021
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Charlie Kirk, Purveyor of ‘Rigged’ Election Lie, Complains GOP Lost ‘Because a Lot of People Do Not Trust the System’
Far right wing activist Charlie Kirk complained on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show Tuesday that many Republicans in Arizona lost their elections earlier this month because they “do not trust” the election system. Kirk is a purveyor of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” and has repeatedly promoted the false claim that U.S. elections are “rigged.”
“400,000 people that showed up for Donald Trump or voted for Donald Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election,” Kirk told his audience. (NCRM has not verified these numbers and could find nothing to support the claim.)
“Now, I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system,” Kirk claimed.
Why does Charlie Kirk believe “a lot of people do not trust the system”?
Because he told them not to. Over and over and over again.
In January on his show Kirk hosted Mollie Hemingway, the editor in chief of The Federalist, a right wing website founded by Ben Domenech and Sean Davis. The Federalist has been a purveyor of false election claims, according to Reuters, which reports the claims “are presented inaccurately.” Twitter had to append a “cautionary label” to a Federalist tweet after The Federalist wrongly stated, “Yes, Democrats Are Trying To Steal The Election In Michigan, Wisconsin, And Pennsylvania,” according to The Daily Beast.
Hemingway is also the author of the book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.”
The title of that episode of The Charlie Kirk Show? “Why Conservatives Can’t Turn Our Backs on Rigged Elections with Mollie Hemingway.”
(The Federalist was also cited by The New England Journal of Medicine for belong create a “superspreader” event of false information about the effectiveness of masks in the fight against COVID-19.)
In April Kirk hosted right wing activist David Bossie, president of the political lobbying group Citizens United, and a former Trump 2016 campaign official.
The title of that episode?
Kirk likes the word “rigged.” On Twitter he’s used it a lot to suggest that the U.S. elections are “rigged.”
“The same people who spent the last 4 years falsely saying Russians rigged our elections are now saying there’s no way an election could be rigged by illegal ballots and voter fraud. How does that work?” (Nov 6, 2020)
“BREAKING: A mail carrier was just charged with attempted election fraud after changing party affiliations on mail-in ballots Still think there aren’t any issues with rigged elections due to mail-in voting? RT so the media has to report on the DANGERS of mail-in voter FRAUD!” (Apr 16, 2020)
“Democrats should be livid. This is a rigged game to protect the ruling class Thank goodness the GOP is a true grassroots party where ANY voice or person can win Democrats corruption will not allow fair or free elections” (Feb 4, 2020)
Or this tweet from 2019.
Must suck to be a Democrat:
You lose the election you rigged to win in 2016
And in 2019, the rigged hoax you created to make up for losing in 2016 gets blown up by the man who led the investigation
Not sick of winning!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) July 25, 2019
On November 9, this was the opening of a New York Times article.
“On the morning of Election Day, Charlie Kirk, the conservative talk show host from Arizona, shared a video on Twitter about broken voting machines in Maricopa County, followed by a series of posts suggesting that the problems were intentional,” The Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Steven Lee Myers wrote. “’This is manufactured chaos,’ he wrote, calling for those responsible to be arrested.”
“The video was shared nearly 20,000 times and liked by more than 30,000 users, including many prominent accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. The post and others like it on a dozen online platforms kindled a false narrative of widespread voting shenanigans among those predisposed to believe that the country’s elections are rigged.”
In addition to hosting his talk show, Kirk is also the founder of right wing student activist group Turning Point USA, and he is a member of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).
Fast forward to Tuesday.
Here’s Kirk complaining to Steve Bannon that Republicans didn’t vote in the November, 2022 election several weeks ago, “because a lot of people do not trust the system.”
Charlie Kirk says there was a poor Republican turnout in AZ because their voters think elections are rigged: “400,000 people that voted for Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election. I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system.” pic.twitter.com/UJvHiCQfQm
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) November 29, 2022
Watch Kirk’s video above or at this link.
RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses
Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is launching two advisory groups in an effort to expand the party’s appeal to voters and examine what went wrong in the wake of stunning, historic midterm election losses – and she’s turning to some of the right’s most extreme leaders to perform the investigations.
Political analysts on both sides of the aisle generally agree that Donald Trump, Trumpism, the party’s lurch to far right wing extremism including white nationalism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, fascism, and the “Big Lie” of stolen elections hurt, not helped candidates in the 2022 midterms.
McDaniel has now tapped some of the very purveyors of that failed extremism to lead the shrinking party’s efforts to broaden its outreach and correct its errors.
“The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a ‘Republican Party Advisory Council’ – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year,” Politico reports.
Tony Perkins is a far right wing religious extremist and anti-LGBTQ activist who decades ago reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups, which he has denied. For decades he has been president of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
Deeply embedded in Republican theocratic politics, Perkins was appointed twice by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government body that has a history of advancing the agenda of America’s Evangelical Christian movement.
He is also a past president of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).
CNP’s members are believed to include far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, whose attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results have been the subject of numerous reports. Also, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, which has faced allegations of racism, and far right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Other members of the Council for National Policy include two other heads of organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups: Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel; and Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association.
“The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from ‘consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,'” Politico reports.
Masters is a “Big Lie” purveyor who has also promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement,” which falsely claims immigrants – people of color – are “replacing” white Americans.
Separately, Politico adds, the RNC is commissioning an investigation into what went wrong, commonly referred to as an “autopsy” to ensure in future elections the same decisions are not made. That work will be lead by current RNC members.
‘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.
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