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OPINION

‘Lying’: Johnson Slammed for Latest Claim on Trump Respecting Peaceful Transfer of Power

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Wednesday celebrated Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with House and Senate Republicans, barely blocks away from where the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and on democracy itself took place. Many hold the-then president and his “Big Lie” responsible for the insurrection, and he has been indicted on charges related to it.

Johnson was asked if the ex-president is committed to and respects the peaceful transfer of power.

The Speaker’s response has angered some critics.

Johnson has a tenuous grip on his gavel and on the House GOP majority. He has already faced one vote to remove him, and survived it thanks to House Democrats. To shore up his power, Johnson has traveled to Mar-a-Lago to appear with the indicted and now criminally-convicted ex-president, and has promoted several pieces of legislation critics say only serve as messaging vehicles to please Trump.

Pointing out that this will be the first time Trump has met with both House and Senate Republicans in D.C. since the January 6 insurrection, a reporter Wednesday morning asked the Speaker, “are you committed or have you spoken about basically not doing anything like that again and committing to respecting the American tradition of peaceful transfer?”

READ MORE: Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

Johnson, whose emotions are often on view, repeatedly frowned and looked irritated as the reporter spoke.

“Of course he respects that,” Johnson said frustratedly. “And we all do and we’ve all talked about it ad nauseam.”

“We’re excited to welcome President Trump back and he’ll be meeting with the Senate Republicans of course, after he has a breakfast with us. And there’s high anticipation here and great excitement.”

Ahead of Johnson’s remarks CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane had posted where Thursday’s meeting with House Republicans and Donald Trump will take place.

If there were no question about Donald Trump’s commitment to the peaceful transfer of power – and there is given to this day he calls insurrectionists, “warriors,” “victims,” “hostages,” and “patriots” – the Speaker would not need to be discussing it “ad nauseam.”

As a backbencher before being elevated to Speaker, Johnson was not just a little-known congressman, he was an architect of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Johnson spread election fraud conspiracy theories and lies, as a CNN investigation published in April confirmed.

READ MORE: Speaker Johnson on Why He Thinks Hunter Biden’s Conviction Is Valid but Donald Trump’s Is Not

Also back in April, Johnson tried to rewrite history, whitewashing the role of insurrectionists and those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, saying some of them were “innocent, you know, people who were there and just happened to be walking through the building.”

Highlighting those remarks, The New Republic reported, “the Republican leader seemed to suggest that the 2,000 people who charged the halls, destroyed federal property, and interrupted the peaceful presidential transfer of power—1,265 of whom have been charged by federal authorities—were actually mere innocent bystanders.”

Critics were quick to call out Johnson’s remarks.

Veteran journalist John Harwood responded, saying, “by lying here, Johnson shows he understands that what he and House GOP helped Trump do in Jan 2021, and what Trump intends to do again if necessary, is wrong.”

He added, “if he weren’t ashamed of it, he’d tell the truth.”

Award-winning CNBC/NBC News reporter Carl Quintanilla responded to Johnson’s remarks with a 4-second clip of a someone who appears to be attacking law enforcement with the American flag on January 6.

“Bullshit,” declared former Tea Party Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh. “Trump is humanly incapable of accepting an election loss. He will NEVER respect the peaceful transfer of power. And Mike Johnson knows that.”

The Biden campaign reposted the video and remarked, “(No, he clearly does not).”

Media critic and former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob responded with: “Mike Johnson is a lying traitor.”

Mother Jones D.C. bureau chief David Corn wrote: “Given that Trump has promised to pardon the 1/6 insurrectionist rioters who attacked the Capitol, he’s not showing much respect for the rule of law or the peaceful transfer of power. Johnson is lying for Trump. That’s not very Biblical.”

Watch Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

See the video and social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: Many Republicans Don’t Believe Trump Was Indicted or Aren’t Sure – But Say He’s Not Guilty

 

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OPINION

Trump Divides GOP Ahead of RNC Convention

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In 2008, as the Democratic National Convention approached, eyes were not only on the party’s presumptive nominee, but on his top challenger, Hillary Clinton, as many wondered if she would embrace Barack Obama for the good of the party and the nation. NBC News would go on to call it an “epic duel.”

She did.

In 2016, having won the Democratic nomination, the focus turned from Clinton, the presumptive nominee, to Bernie Sanders, her main challenger, to see if he would support the her. The Washington Post called it “a bruising primary season.”

He did.

At the 2008 convention, Hillary Clinton released her delegates and formally nominated Barack Obama to be the party’s nominee, saying, “let’s declare all together with one voice right here and right now that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president.”

At the 2016 convention Hillary Clinton delivered a speech designed to unite the party, telling Sanders supporters, “I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause.”

Nothing like that will happen next week at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, because those who opposed the party’s presumptive nominee have not been invited to speak. Donald Trump has made no attempt to unite the party by embracing his critics within the party – and now he will exclude them.

READ MORE: ‘Wildly Irresponsible’: NY Times Blasted Over Debunked Parkinson’s Doctor ‘Innuendo’

As “Republicans happily watch Democratic turmoil over Biden” after the President’s poor debate performance nearly two weeks ago, the GOP has many internal battles of its own that threaten party unity.

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s former UN Ambassador, was the last candidate opposing him to drop out. After having denounced the “chaos” her former boss brings, and after declaring his mental fitness was in “decline,” in May she warned: “Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me, and not assume that they’re just going to be with him.”

In January, Trump had warned he would blacklist Haley donors.

On Tuesday she released her delegates and called for “unity,” but stopped short of endorsing him.

Haley has not been invited to the Republican National Convention and will neither speak nor attend, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was once considered the best chance Republicans had to defeat Donald Trump, in January dropped out of the race and endorsed the ex-president.

He, too, has not been invited to speak at the convention next week.

“DeSantis will be in Milwaukee, but only on the periphery of the convention,” USA Today reports. “The two-term Florida governor is scheduled to participate in a Moms for Liberty panel discussion and a breakfast with his state delegation. But a source familiar with the planning said DeSantis won’t have a spot on the convention stage during the four-day affair.”

It’s not just on the national stage next week that voters will see how Trump has attempted to stomp out any dissent.

Following the release of the draft Republican Party platform, reportedly in part written by Donald Trump, which “could read like a MAGA rally,” The New York Times reported, former Trump Vice President Mike Pence denounced the document.

Claiming it “removed historic pro-life principles that have long been the foundation of the platform,” Pence said, “I urge delegates attending next week’s Republican Convention to restore language to our party’s platform recognizing the sanctity of human life and affirming that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.”

Other leaders among the Christian far-right, which is one of the largest portions of Trump’s base, have also denounced the RNC platform because it has removed some anti-abortion language, despite it actually paving the way for “fetal personhood.”

RELATED: ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ to Trump: Draft RNC Platform Spins Abortion and LGBTQ Issues

In March, Pence announced he would not support Trump’s re-election bid.

“It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” Pence said.

“Pence has joined a faction of conservatives decrying the updated Republican National Committee platform rubber-stamped by former President Donald Trump for its inclusion of softened language on abortion, a marked change from past cycles,” ABC News reports. Anti-LGBTQ hate group head Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a member of the RNC platform committee, and in an act of defiance submitted a minority report opposing the abortion language.

It’s not just GOP leaders. After the Trump-endorsed platform was pushed through the committee with little debate, one platform committee member from Utah told WISN News (video below), “they rolled us.”

“It’s never happened before,” Gail Ruzicka said as she shook her head. “There was no committees, we’ve always had subcommittees where we can go in and work on a section of the platform.”

But leaders “didn’t allow any amendments,” or discussion, she lamented.

“Everything they told us they were going to do isn’t what happened.”

“I didn’t vote for this,” she said, adding, “I’ve never been treated so badly, to have them force this vote on us.”

Ruzicka said they were given the draft language, had time just to glance at it before a motion was made and the committee voted on it. That platform will be voted on at the convention Monday.

Tony Perkins confirmed Ruzicka’s description.

In a statement he blasted the RNC:

“Unfortunately, the choreographed process — which allowed no amendments to be discussed or voted upon — was unbecoming of a party that champions free speech and due process. Delegates were given the platform this morning when they entered the convention hall with no time to review, much less the 72 hours that Republican lawmakers call for in the House of Representatives. Delegates were only given a few minutes of discussion before ‘debate’ was ended and a vote was taken.”

And on Capitol Hill, Trump’s impact is imploding the far-right House Freedom Caucus.

“The House Freedom Caucus Monday night voted to eject Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) — who supported the victorious Trump-endorsed candidate over the group’s own chair Rep. Bob Goode in his failed primary last month — spurring pro-Trump Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) to resign and sources to warn of more departures to come,” Raw Story reported Tuesday.

Watch the video above or at this link.

READ MORE: Josh Hawley: ‘I’m Advocating Christian Nationalism’

 

 

 

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OPINION

‘Wildly Irresponsible’: NY Times Blasted Over Debunked Parkinson’s Doctor ‘Innuendo’

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The New York Times is under fire after publishing a report Monday critics call “wildly irresponsible” and “not journalism,” which – at least in its headlines – implies President Biden has Parkinson’s, or might have Parkinson’s, despite the White House and the White House Physician point-blank stating he does not.

“Parkinson’s Expert Visited the White House Eight Times in Eight Months,” was The Times’ headline. The print edition, The Times noted, ran this headline: “Parkinson’s Expert Visited White House 8 Times in 8 Months, but Why Is Unclear.”

The context is important — The Times has published over two hundred stories on President Biden’s debate performance – now nearly two weeks ago – and published an editorial from the Editorial Board calling on President Biden to drop out of the race. On Tuesday The Times’ Editorial Board for a second time called on the President to end his re-election campaign.

Media critic Dan Froomkin noted Monday night that The Times was “still front-paging a story on Biden and Parkinson’s based solely on innuendo and now thoroughly debunked by the White House.” He added that the print edition headline ran after the White House denied President Biden has Parkinson’s.

READ MORE: Josh Hawley: ‘I’m Advocating Christian Nationalism’

The Times, which has a habit of re-working stories without noting changes, early on Monday had published this sub-head: “The White House has said that President Biden has no signs of the disease and that there has been no reason to update the most recent testing, conducted in February.”

But later, changed it to read: “The White House said President Biden had met with a neurologist only three times in more than three years in office, and implied that the doctor’s visits were related to treating other people.”

And later still: “The White House said President Biden had met with a neurologist only three times in more than three years in office. But it would not say whether the visiting expert was consulting with the president’s physician about his health.”

What The Times did not include in its report, as many critics have noted, is that last week President Biden signed major legislation in a public ceremony, the “National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act.”

“An expert on Parkinson’s disease from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center visited the White House eight times in eight months from last summer through this spring, including at least once for a meeting with President Biden’s physician, according to official visitor logs,” The Times report reads. “The expert, Dr. Kevin Cannard, is a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders and recently published a paper on Parkinson’s. The logs, released by the White House, document visits from July 2023 through March of this year.”

In the middle of The Times report, it acknowledges: “Records from the Obama administration, when Mr. Biden was vice president, show that Dr. Cannard made at least 10 visits in 2012 plus a family tour; four in 2013; one in 2014; four in 2015; and eight in 2016. Mr. Trump rescinded Mr. Obama’s voluntary White House visitors disclosure policy, so records are not available for his four years in office.”

As many have noted, The Times appears to have based the bulk of its report on visitor logs.

David Ryan Miller, an Assistant Professor of Government at American University, wrote: “The mistake journalists made yesterday was speculating about the *purpose* of these visits based on their *existence.*”

“COULD they have been to treat Biden? Yes. But without knowing more than their existence, reporting like this from @nytimes was wildly irresponsible.”

READ MORE: ‘Where’s Trump?’: Ex-President Hasn’t Held Any Public Events Since Day After the Debate

During Monday’s White House daily press briefing reporters attacked Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, causing tumult to a degree rarely seen in that room.

Late Monday night the White House was forced to release a two-page statement from the Physician to the President, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, stating, “Dr. Cannard has been the Neurology Consultant to the White House Medical Unit since 2012,” and, “President Biden has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physical.”

He made clear, President Biden does not have Parkinson’s, or any “other central neurological disorder.”

“The results of this year’s exam were detailed in my February 28th letter,” Dr. O’Connor added, citing those findings: “An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis, nor are there any signs of cervical myelopathy. This exam did again support a finding of peripheral neuropathy in both feet. No motor weakness was detected. He exhibits no tremor, either at rest or with activity. He demonstrates excellent fine motor dexterity.”

On CNN Monday night, attorney and political commentator Baraki Sellers, a Democratic former U.S. Congressman from South Carolina, blasted the media’s coverage and suggestions President Biden has Parkinson’s.

“I think it’s patently absurd that we’re having this discussion, to be completely honest with you,” Sellers told his CNN colleagues Monday night (video below). “I think we’re chasing this rabbit of The New York Times saying that I believe a Parkinson’s expert visited the White House eight times without even corroborating that, with whether or not the President was there or who that doctor actually saw.”

“It’s extremely clear now that he did not see the President of the United States. And to use visitor logs to simply say or deduce that someone has Parkinson’s is not journalism, it is beyond the pale,” Sellers said.

“We spend more time talking about Joe Biden’s age, then we have Project 25, than we have the Chevron ruling, than we have what the Supreme Court did about presidential immunity. And I think that’s an utter disservice to the, it’s a disservice to voters in this country.”

He added, “President Joe Biden is old, he is old. But there is an argument about policy and what he has done and the question that people have to ask themselves, and the question that the mainstream media is not asking themselves, and journalists are not asking themselves about is his ability to lead. Has he not led us from COVID? Has he not led us to a bipartisan infrastructure bill? Has he not led us to a bipartisan infrastructure Reduction Act? Has he not selected a Black woman as Vice President, has he not put a Black woman on the Supreme Court? I mean, let’s talk tangibly about the things that he has done, because he’s old. And you know, the question is, do you want someone old or do you want a sociopath? That is legitimately the question.”

“But we still we are harping on this mainly because there are a lot of journalists within the beltway who feel as if somehow they’ve been lied to or betrayed, or emotional, and that emotionalism is not journalism.”

Communications expert Susan Bordson on Monday blasted the media’s response to the Parkinson’s speculation: “The way our collective political press and our dumb American culture is acting and responding right now, how a person’s feet perform is ranked as greater in importance for executive governance than one’s critical thinking, principles, experience, wisdom, character, etc.”

Media critic Jennifer Schulze observed, “This @nytimes set off a feeding frenzy with this speculative story about a ‘Parkinson’s doctor.’ We now know the doctor saw Biden 3 times & other patients the other times. The main headline & story should be crystal clear about that right at the top.”

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell added more details Monday night.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘You Keep Talking About Donald Trump’: Exasperated Fox Host Tries to Turn Dem Against Biden

 

 

 

 

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OPINION

‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

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Suggesting there is an actual “method to the madness,” as the saying goes, in April The New York Times published “The Method Behind Trump’s Mistruths,” implying the falsehoods and lies Donald Trump tells almost if not daily are part of some coherent and intentional plan.

The Times’ Angelo Fichera offered explanations for why Trump lies with tremendous frequency. A few excerpts: “He grossly distorts his opponents’ records and proposals to make them sound unreasonable,” “He exaggerates and twists the facts to make his record sound better than it is,” “He relies on both well-worn and fresh claims of election rigging to suggest he can lose only if his opponents cheat,” and “He makes unverifiable claims about what the world would have been like had he secured a second term.”

Tuesday night, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, who started listening to or reading Trump’s every public statement during the 2016 election cycle, debunked 30 of the ex-president’s falsehoods and lies at his Wisconsin rally earlier that day. It took him just three minutes:

Barb McQuade, the well-known MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst, professor of law, and former U.S. Attorney responded to the CNN video: “The lies have become a tribal pose. Some Trump supporters believe his lies. Others don’t care. It is all about allegiance to the tribe over truth.”

Sarah Longwell, the executive director of the Republican Accountability Project and publisher of The Bulwark, earlier this year in The Atlantic wrote: “Trump Supporters Explain Why They Believe the Big Lie.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Desperate Scramble to Stop Steve Bannon From Going to Prison

“For many of Trump’s voters, the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. It’s more of an attitude, or a tribal pose,” she added.

John Stoehr, editor of the Editorial Board, said of Dale’s fact-checking, “What interesting here is Dan Dale isn’t just fact checking Trump’s lies. He’s fact checking his delusions. More of that would highlight his habitual incoherence.”

Trump’s public remarks, in interviews and on stage at rallies, do seem to have taken a turn. Some critics, like Stoehr, have pointed out that at times the criminally-convicted ex-president’s words aren’t just false, they don’t make sense.

Journalist Aaron Rupar, founder of Public Notice, has watched and recorded countless hours of Trump’s remarks.

In this clip from just a few weeks ago, he says Trump was “not coherent.”

This video from earlier this month got a lot of attention, with Trump talking about shark attacks, and electrocution from boats.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump offered one reason why Trump might have injected sharks and electric-powered boats into a campaign speech, despite it being to a crowd in landlocked Nevada: Trump’s New York criminal trial was “centered on Stormy Daniels,” who “explained that one of their encounters overlapped with the Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ programming. As the two sat in Trump’s hotel room, he volunteered how much he hated sharks and wished they all would die.”

But that semi-logical divining still does not explain Trump’s “cognitive questions” – perhaps best exposed most recently by the author of a new book on Trump, “Apprentice in Wonderland.”

READ MORE: Republican Who Declared His State a ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ Blocks Senate Bump Stock Ban

“Ramin Setoodeh, who interviewed Trump six times after he left office in 2021, told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that there were points during those sessions when Trump seemed to think he still had some presidential powers,” HuffPost reports.

Saying he is the “journalist who spent the most time” with Trump, post-election, Setoodeh notes, “Donald Trump had severe memory issues.”

And while the anecdotes are disturbing, Setoodeh’s summation is far worse: “there was some cognitive questions about where he was and what he was thinking and he would he would, from time to time become confused.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins told Setoodeh, “you talked about his memory, you wrote that, you know, on some days I have the feeling he has no idea who he’s even talking to that he actually forgot, or didn’t remember that the two of you had spoken at your first sit down interview.”

Setoodeh responded, “right.”

It’s not just telling the truth Trump has a problem with, it’s his actual speech.

On Tuesday Raw Story‘s Sarah K. Burris reported on several verbal stumbles Trump made during his Wisconsin rally.

Trump, she wrote, “struggled to remember ABC News host George Stephanopoulos’ name, making a couple of efforts to pronounce it: ‘George Stopalopodis … George Stopodiaiiee.’ ”

“Trump mispronounced citizenship by calling it ‘citizensip.’ ”

“‘Joe Biden is forming granting mass–thinkit,’ Trump meandered in a section of the speech, with an excerpt of the video quickly spreading online.”

Back in March, Salon‘s senior politics writer Chauncey DeVega wrote: “In a recent conversation with Dr. John Gartner, a prominent psychologist and contributor to the bestselling book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,’ the former faculty member at Johns Hopkins University told me that based on Trump’s speech, memory, recall, and other behavior, he appears to be ‘hypomanic’ and cognitively deteriorating at a rapid rate.”

DeVega quotes Gartner saying, “in my opinion, Donald Trump is dangerously demented.”

“I had to speak out now because the 2024 election might turn on this issue of who is cognitively capable: Biden or Trump? It’s a major issue that will affect some people’s votes,” Gartner said. “Not enough people are sounding the alarm, that based on his behavior, and in my opinion, Donald Trump is dangerously demented. In fact, we are seeing the opposite among too many in the news media, the political leaders and among the public. There is also this focus on Biden’s gaffes or other things that are well within the normal limits of aging. By comparison, Trump appears to be showing gross signs of dementia. This is a tale of two brains. Biden’s brain is aging. Trump’s brain is dementing.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Democrats Have One Way to Correct Corruption of Justices Thomas and Alito: Expert

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