President Joe Biden has appointed Karine Jean-Pierre to be the White House Press Secretary. The historic move makes Jean-Pierre the first Black person and first out LGBTQ person to be the top administration spokesperson.
In a time when the civil rights of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people are being dismantled by the right Biden’s move sends a strong signal to not only the nation but the world that protecting civil rights and positioning exceptionally talented people for the world to see is among his top priorities.
“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people,” President Biden said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.”
Jean-Pierre, currently the Principal Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President will officially become Press Secretary and Assistant to the President May 13, when Jen Psaki will officially step down. From the beginning of her service Psaki had communicated to the White House she would be in that role for only a year.
“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,” President Biden added. “I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”
Calling it a “historic appointment,” GLAAD praised the move.
“Karine Jean-Pierre is a brilliant communicator and person of tremendous intelligence, humor and poise, skills that will serve her and our country well in her new role,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “There are few jobs more visible or more important to our democracy than to share information with the White House press corps and answer their questions. To have an out queer person of color speak for the President of the United States says everything about Karine’s talent and heart, and recognizes that LGBTQ people can belong, contribute and succeed in every room. Our whole community looks forward to seeing Karine deliver for our nation and represent every LGBTQ person with pride.”
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Trump’s Authoritarian Movement Is ‘Determined to Restore the Original Racial and Religious Foundation of America’: Columnist
New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall on Wednesday shined a light on the conspiratorial religious nationalism that has overwhelmed the Republican Party thanks in large part to former President Donald Trump.
In describing the Trump movement as a “chilling amalgam of Christian Nationalism, white replacement theory and conspiratorial zeal,” Edsall argued that their overall goal is “to restore what they see as the original racial and religious foundation of America.”
Edsall then quotes a series of experts on Christian Nationalism in the United States who note there are several different strands of it, and that not all of them are explicitly about white supremacy.
Ruth Braunstein, a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, tells Edsall that there is a difference between what she calls “white Christian nationalism,” which “explicitly fuses whiteness, Christianity, and Americanness,” and “colorblind Judeo-Christian nationalism,” which “either ignores race or uses colorblind language to describe ideal Americanness.”
Robert Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, tells Edsall that Christian Nationalist attitudes show up most clearly in polling on immigration, where they’re mostly likely to describe immigrants as “invading” the United States.
“Among all voters, according to Jones, 29 percent believe that immigrants are invading our county; among Republicans, it’s 60 percent; among Democrats, 11 percent; among QAnon believers, 65 percent; among white evangelicals, 50 percent; and among white non-college voters, as pollsters put it, 43 percent,” writes Edsall.
Edsall concludes with a warning about Christian Nationalists potentially resorting to violence, and he cites “their ambition to restore an imagined past, by any means necessary.”
Madison Cawthorn Projected to Lose Seat – GOP Nominee Will Face LGBTQ Democrat
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to have lost his primary Tuesday night and be a one-term Congressman.
Dave Wasserman, the U.S. House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report first made the call Tuesday night:
I’ve seen enough: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R) has lost renomination to state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R) in the #NC11 GOP primary.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) May 18, 2022
Business Insider also reports Cawthorn was “ousted.”
Republicans in Cawthorn’s North Carolina district had eight candidates to choose from and picked state Senator Chuck Edwards. As recently as last week Edwards was “polling a distant second at 21 percent,” Newsweek reported.
Edwards will face a formidable Democrat, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. A Buncombe County Commissioner, Beach-Ferrara is an ordained Christian minister and the founding Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE).
Beach-Ferrara has a strong focus on policy. Unlike many modern-day candidates, especially on the right, her website lists her positions on 16 different issues: Agriculture, Children’s Issues, Choice, Climate Issues, COVID, Economic Opportunity & Job Creation, Education, Healthcare, Higher Education & Student Loan Debt, Legalizing Marijuana, LGBTQ Rights, Opioid Crisis, Racial Justice, Social Security & Medicare, Veterans, and Voting Rights & Independent Redistricting.
“Jasmine and her wife, Meghann Burke, live in Asheville with their oldest child Cal, twins Lily and Wyatt and dog, Ruggles,” her campaign website says. “They love hiking, swimming, exploring every playground in the county, and BBQ-ing. Jasmine is a fan of the UNC Tarheels, Carolina Courage, and Carolina Panthers.”
Chuck Edwards was endorsed by several Republicans, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, Phil Berger, the President pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore.
But Cawthorn’s constituents reportedly had grown tired of his immaturity, including, as Newsweek noted, “being stopped by police three times since October—for alleged speeding and driving with a revoked license—being caught for the second time with a gun at airport security and accusations he was involved in illegal insider trading in relation to his ties to a ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ cryptocurrency.”
“Images have also been leaked of him wearing women’s lingerie. Another leaked video appeared to show him naked in bed thrusting against another person. Cawthorn said he was being ‘crass with a friend.'”
UPDATE: 10:24 PM ET –
MSNBC reports Cawthorn has conceded the race.
Image via Facebook
‘Here We Go’: Legal Experts Discuss New DOJ Request for Transcripts From Jan. 6 Committee for ‘Criminal’ Investigation
The U.S. Dept. of Justice has formally requested transcripts from the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, saying their extensive interviews “may contain information relevant to a criminal investigation we are conducting.” The House Select Committee has conducted interviews with more than 1000 people, including former Trump associates and even his family members.
The New York Times, which broke the story Tuesday, reports the request comes “as Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appears to be ramping up the pace of his painstaking investigation into the Capitol riot,” and calls it “the clearest sign yet of a wide-ranging inquiry at the Justice Department.”
Also telling is that the request came from Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the assistant attorney general for the criminal division, and Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
But House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) says not so fast, according to The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell:
New: Jan. 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson tells CBS that they won’t turn over transcripts to DOJ right now: “They made a request. We told them that as a committee, our work product was ours, and we’re not giving anyone access to the work product.”
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) May 17, 2022
Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega suggests Chairman Thompson’s remarks may be to ensure no one thinks there was coordination behind the scenes:
“DOJ will get what it needs from the January 6 committee. There might have to be some negotiation, maybe even grand jury subpoenas, but the committee doesn’t want to be seen as working hand in glove with DOJ.”
Meanwhile, Glenn Kirschner, a federal prosecutor for 30 years who is now a popular NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst notes the Dept. of Justice may get access to a wealth of testimony that it might not have been able to obtain otherwise:
“Whether this was always the DOJ plan (& whether the J6 committee knew it or not), important info has been developed by the [January 6 Committee] that would not have been developed had the witnesses been subpoenaed to the grand jury (as they would have pled the 5th).”
(In March, Kirschner concluded that Donald Trump “will be charged” after remarks Attorney General Merrick Garland made.)
National security and civil liberties expert and journalist Marcy Wheeler also suggests this may have been the plan all along, and implies it is a smart strategy:
Outsourcing to Jan 6 allowed the following:
1) Biden to waive privilege w/o learning anything about the DOJ Jan 6 investigation
2) A co-equal branch of govt to beat back the privilege fight
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) May 17, 2022
“And YES, it allowed Jan 6 to interview people against whom DOJ did not and/or would never get probable cause a crime had committed to share evidence,” she adds.
But former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig, now a CNN legal analyst, is less complimentary of Garland and DOJ, calling the request for access to transcripts “an obvious and overdue move.”
MSNBC legal analyst Daniel Goldman, the well-known former Lead Counsel for the House Impeachment Inquiry, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for SDNY agrees it’s wise for the Jan. 6 Committee to focus on its own work and deal with DOJ after the public hearings.
The 1/6 Cmte is wise to let the hearings play out – which will reveal more information about Trump and Pence – and then pursue Trump and Pence testimony. Public pressure will be much greater after the hearings. Trump and Pence would be a sideshow and detract from the hearings. https://t.co/son6VNQ5hF
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) May 17, 2022
Former U.S. Attorney and national security prosecutor Barb McQuade, now a well-known MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst and law professor summed up what many appear to be thinking: “Here we go.”
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