Posts Tagged ‘KKK’

Donald Trump’s ‘working visit’ to UK dropped as tensions with Theresa May grow over president’s far-Right retweets

December 1, 2017

Cancelled: US diplomats have quietly shelved plans for a ‘working visit’ by Donald Trump to Britain in the new year CREDIT: AP PHOTO/EVAN VUCCI

By 

U.S. diplomats have dropped plans for Donald Trump to conduct a visit to Britain in January amid a war of words between the two countries’ leaders.

Mr Trump, the US president, had been pencilled in for a ‘working visit’ in the first month of 2018 to formally open America’s new London embassy.

The trip, a scaled down version of a state visit with no meeting with the Queen, was intended to allow Mr Trump to come to the UK while avoiding the mass protests a full state visit would likely trigger.

However, The Telegraph can reveal that the trip has been pushed into the long grass, with no new date in the diary picked.

A senior US diplomat said: “The idea of a visit has obviously been floated, but not December and not January. I would not expect a Trump visit in January.”

It comes with relations between Theresa May and Mr Trump deteriorating in a public spat over the US president’s tweeting of…

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/30/donald-trumps-working-visit-uk-dropped-tensions-theresa-may/

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 (The Wall Street Journal)

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UK reeling as Trump upbraids May in anti-Muslim tweet row — Britain First hailed Trump for his support, Joined by the KKK (David Duke)

November 30, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Dario THUBURN | British Prime Minister Theresa May visited US President Donald Trump at the White House in January

LONDON (AFP) – Britain was reeling Thursday after US President Donald Trump castigated Prime Minister Theresa May over her rebuke to him for posting anti-Muslim tweets, but the government sought to play down the row.Plunging headlong into a high-profile spat with one of America’s closest international partners, Trump suggested May focus on defending Britain rather than criticising him after he retweeted anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right group.

“@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” Trump tweeted late Wednesday.

Trump had to delete an earlier tweet with the same message after he used the wrong Twitter handle for May, instead tagging @theresamay, who is reportedly a 41-year-old mother from Bognor Regis with just six followers.

There were calls for Trump’s planned state visit to Britain, which has been highly controversial ever since May extended the invitation at her first meeting with him at the White House in January, to be cancelled.

– ‘Betrayal of special relationship’ –

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has been involved in a series of spats with Trump, said it was “increasingly clear that any official visit at all from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed”.

He said Trump’s actions were “a betrayal of the special relationship between our two countries”.

“The prime minister of our country should be using any influence she and her government claim to have with the president and his administration to ask him to delete these tweets and to apologise to the British people.”

Trump drew fierce condemnation at home and abroad for retweeting three incendiary anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy head of the British far-right group Britain First, who has been convicted of a hate crime.

– Trump was ‘wrong’ –

May said through a spokesman that Trump was “wrong” to promote the “hateful narratives” of the group.

Local Government Minister Sajid Javid said Trump had “endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”

But the immediate response from the government after Trump’s rebuke appeared muted.

“In the end, our relationship with the United States has a longevity to it that will succeed long after presidents come and go,” Education Secretary Justine Greening said.

“This is a president that behaves unlike any other in the nature of the tweets he puts out. I don’t believe that should be able to undermine an overall important relationship with our country,” she said on BBC Radio.

Ann Coulter, a right-wing US commentator who is followed by Trump on Twitter and may have inspired his retweets, defended him in an interview with BBC radio.

“I think he has only given as good as he gets. I think he has been verbally attacked from the mother country for a lot longer than he has been attacking Britain.”

Coulter said she had not researched Fransen’s background before retweeting.

“People retweeting videos are not researching the bios of the people who sent the video,” she said.

Trump’s interventions in British politics have strained the so-called “special relationship”.

He has infuriated British authorities with his tweets on terrorism in Britain.

Before Trump’s latest missive, the White House had scrambled to limit the fallout, saying that even if the anti-Muslim videos were misleading, the president was pointing out a real problem.

“The threat is real, and that’s what the president is talking about,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

– ‘Facts do matter’ –

One of the videos falsely claims to show a Muslim migrant beating up a Dutch boy on crutches.

The Dutch embassy in Washington took the unusual step of publicly criticising a sitting US president on Twitter.

“@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law.”

Another video is described as showing an Islamist mob pushing a teenager off a rooftop, without any context — it appears to be footage filmed during unrest in Egypt in 2013. A man was executed for his role in the teen’s death.

The third video allegedly depicts a Muslim smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Britain First hailed Trump for his support.

The group was formed in 2011 and is known for picketing outside mosques. It has run and lost in several British and European parliament elections.

by Dario THUBURN
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 (The Wall Street Journal)

A Brief History Of Donald Trump Stoking Islamophobia

November 30, 2017

With a series of casual retweets, the president has once again spread anti-Muslim sentiment.

President Donald Trump is once again promoting anti-Muslim propaganda.

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On Wednesday, the president retweeted a series of overtly Islamophobic videos shared by British far-right activist Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader for the anti-Muslim group Britain First.

The videos purportedly show Muslims committing violent crimes ― but, like many things on social media, they are misleading. One video, captioned “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” depicts a boy beating another boy. But the video’s original caption on a Dutch website does not mention race or religion, and local media reported that the 16-year-old pictured in the video was not actually a migrant.

The British government denounced Trump for casually retweeting Fransen’s posts. Downing Street said the U.S. president was “wrong” to retweet videos from a group that “peddles lies” and is “overwhelmingly rejected” by the British public.

Trump has a track record of stoking Islamophobia. Nearly a year before he won the presidential election, he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” following deadly terror attacks in California and France.

Trump followed his proposal with an email to reporters in December 2015: “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”

Trump did not distinguish between fringe groups of violent extremists and the rest of the world’s nearly 2 billion Muslims.

Several months later, he declared, “I think Islam hates us” in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. He went on to say that his objection was to radical Islam, but added: “It’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”

The president’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has hampered his efforts to impose a travel ban on non-visa holders from several countries, including five with majority Muslim populations. The Trump administration has claimed the proposal doesn’t constitute a “Muslim ban,” though Trump has called it one. And judges have pointed to the president’s numerous Islamophobic comments to question the ban’s legality.

“There is nothing ‘veiled’ about a press release titled ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,’” U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson wrote in March.

During his campaign, Trump liked to tell an apocryphal story about an American general shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. He also made the dubious claim that he saw “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey “cheering” as the twin towers fell, failing to note that Muslim Americans lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 attacks, too.

Trump additionally suggested that the mother of a fallen Muslim American soldier wasn’t allowed to talk while her husband spoke at the Democratic National Convention. And Trump’s inauguration in January included prayers from a pastor who thinks Islam is “evil.”

After a Muslim American man killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Trump called for increased surveillance of mosques and warned that radical Muslims were “trying to take over our children.”

The month after the election, an anti-Muslim hate group bragged about its influence in the White House, saying it had a “direct line” to the incoming Trump administration.

Early on in his presidency, Trump surrounded himself with a number of known Islamophobes, including former national security aide Sebastian Gorka and former political adviser Steve Bannon. Trump’s pick for national security advisor, Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn ― who was fired after 24 days on the job ― called Islam a “cancer” and said fear of the religion was “justified.” Senior Trump adviser Frank Wuco has claimed that Muslims “by and large” want to “subjugate” non-Muslims.

Trump’s comments have been accompanied by growing Islamophobia and a rise in anti-Muslim incidents in the U.S., which last year reached the highest levels since the period immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Last year, a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center showed that the number of anti-Muslim groups in the U.S. had tripled in 2016.

Meanwhile, the president has been largely silent on attacks on Muslims, demonstrating a double standard in how he reacts to acts of terror.

After a man participating in a white supremacist rally drove a car into a crowd in Charlottesville, Virginia, this August, killing a woman, Trump insisted that he needed to know the facts before making a statement.

But mere hours after an Uzbek immigrant inspired by the self-described Islamic State killed eight people by plowing a pickup truck down a bike path in lower Manhattan in October, Trump was already tweeting about ISIS and about placing heavier restrictions on the country’s immigration system.

In a November segment of “The Daily Show,” host Trevor Noah summed it up by saying: “When it was a Nazi, Trump needed more facts. When it was a Muslim, that was the only fact that he needed.”

 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-islamophobia-history_us_5a1eeea2e4b01edb1a819c9e?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

Trump anti-Muslim video retweet sparks condemnations — “Sure looks racist.” — David Duke (of the KKK) Supoported the President’s Tweets….

November 29, 2017

Reuters and France 24

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-11-29

Britain criticised U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he retweeted anti-Islam videos originally posted by a leader of a far-right British fringe party who was convicted earlier this month of abusing a Muslim woman.

Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the anti-immigration Britain First group, posted the videos which she said showed a group of people who were Muslims beating a teenage boy to death, battering a boy on crutches and destroying a Christian statue.

Trump’s decision to re-tweet the videos prompted criticism from both sides of the Atlantic, with some British lawmakers demanding an apology and U.S. Muslim groups saying it was incendiary and reckless.

“It is wrong for the president to have done this,” the spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said.

“Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people.”

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the videos and Fransen herself said they had come from various online sources which had been posted on her social media pages.

“I’m delighted,” Fransen, who has 53,000 Twitter followers, told Reuters, saying it showed the U.S. president shared her aim of raising awareness of “issues such as Islam”.

As a candidate, Trump called for “a Muslim ban” and, as president, has issued executive orders banning entry to some citizens of multiple countries, although courts have partially blocked the measures from taking effect.

“Look, I’m not talking about the nature of the video,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. “The threat is real and that’s what the president is talking about is the need for national security, the need for military spending, and those are very real things. There’s nothing fake about that.”

Ban on Islam

Britain First is a peripheral political party which wants to end all immigration and bring in a comprehensive ban on Islam, with anyone found to be promoting the religion’s ideology to be deported or imprisoned.

The group, which rarely garners any media attention but attracts a few hundred protesters to its regular street demonstrations, states on its website it is a “loyalist
movement”. Critics say it is simply racist.

Fransen was fined earlier this month after being found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment for shouting abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.

Last week, she was charged by the police in Northern Ireland with using threatening, abusive or insulting words in a speech at a rally in Belfast in August.

Along with the group’s leader, she was also charged in September with causing religiously aggravated harassment over the distribution of leaflets and posting online videos during a court trial involving a number of Muslim men accused and later convicted of rape.

Politicians in Britain condemned Trump, with Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, describing his tweets as “abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society”.

U.S. civil rights and Islamic organisations said the posts amounted to an incitement to violence against U.S. Muslims.

“These are actions one would expect to see on virulent anti-Muslim hate sites, not on the Twitter feed of the president of the United States,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest U.S. Muslim civil rights organisation, said in a statement.

David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, praised Trump. “He’s condemned for showing us what the fake news media won’t,” Duke wrote on Twitter. “Thank God for Trump! That’s why we love him!”

Fransen, who used similar language to thank Trump, said the president’s re-tweets showed his outrage at her treatment by the media and the authorities.

“The important message here is Donald Trump has been made aware of the persecution and prosecution of a political leader in Britain for giving what has been said by police to be an anti-Islamic speech,” she said.

“He (Trump) stands for free speech and he won’t be deterred by any petty left-leaning journalist in Britain saying he shouldn’t be re-tweeting any individual.”

(REUTERS)

Gary Cohn: Trump Team ‘Must Do Better’ to Condemn Hate Groups

August 25, 2017

JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Gary Cohn, the top economic adviser in the Trump White House, is now on-the-record criticizing the president’s botched response to the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville this month. “This administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities,” he told the Financial Times in an interview published Friday. Cohn, who is Jewish, additionally revealed he faced “enormous pressure” to resign after the president blamed “hatred on many sides” for the deadly violence and later claimed there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazi groups protesting to protect Confederate-era statues. “As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post,” he said, “because I feel a duty to fulfill my commitment to work on behalf of the American people. But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks.” Cohn took a not-so-veiled dig at his boss’ equivocating on hate groups, saying, “Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.”

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Trump ‘must do better’ in condemning hate groups after Charlottesville, Gary Cohn says

August 25, 2017

By Peter Jacobs

Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, criticized the White House’s response to Charlottesville, Virginia in his first public remarks after the deadly violence earlier this month.

“This administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities,” Cohn told the Financial Times.

Cohn said he feels compelled “to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks.”

Cohn, who is Jewish, was reportedly “disgusted” and “appalled” with Trump’s response to white nationalists’ role in the violence in Charlottesville. The president blamed “both sides” for the violence that left one counter-protester dead.

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Infra

“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” Cohn told the FT.

After Trump’s remarks, Cohn said, he felt “enormous pressure” both to resign and stay in the administration. However, he told the FT he is “reluctant” to leave based on a “commitment” to the American people.

False rumors that Cohn was leaving the White House after Trump’s remarks spooked Wall Street, causing a sharp dip in the S&P 500.

As Business Insider’s Bob Bryan notes:

Finance-focused political analysts warned after the rumors that there could be a serious loss of investor confidence if Cohn were to depart Trump’s administration. Some observers doubt the business-friendly and economically stimulative policies on taxes and infrastructure promised by Trump can actually materialize without Cohn in the White House.

Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is Jewish, also faced pressure to resign following the president’s remarks.

Nearly 400 of Mnuchin’s Yale University classmates signed a letter strongly urging him to resign.

Unlike Cohn, Mnuchin put out a statement actively defending his boss.

“While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president in no way, shape or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways,” Mnuchin wrote.

Cohn and Mnuchin both worked at Goldman Sachs and are now charged with leading the Trump administration’s tax reform efforts. Cohn is also Trump’s preferred pick to lead the Federal Reserve after Janet Yellen’s term expires in February.

http://www.businessinsider.com/gary-cohn-trump-must-do-better-after-charlottesville-2017-8

Afghanistan and Economic Growth — We Can Get It Done: The most important difference is President Donald J. Trump is the Commander in Chief

August 24, 2017

Image result for Donald Trump, arizona, photos

PHOTO: RALPH FRESO/GETTY IMAGES

By LT. GEN. (RET.) KEITH KELLOGG

23 Aug 2017

I have seen the devastation of war. I have witnessed the final moments of young men in distant lands, far from all they love and hold dear. I have watched my daughter deploy to combat in Afghanistan and soon might my son. I recognize the personal courage required to make difficult decisions. I know the cost of war. More importantly, I know the price of freedom.

Monday night President Trump announced to the Nation the recommitment of America’s will, military, and diplomatic might to the fight in Afghanistan. He signaled to all that this Nation will not back away from hard sacrifice to ensure our safety. Undoubtedly, you will hear the hue and cry from the President’s detractors recalling a need to withdraw from Afghanistan and their rallying cries of failed campaign promises and abandonment of America First. Do not listen to them.

Image result for Breitbart, Logo

Make no mistake, I have been with the President since nearly the beginning, well before he was the Republican Presidential nominee. I wrote on the campaign trail that he was the leader who will take us forward and I still deeply believe that today. In the less than 24 hours since President’s Trump speech, there have been dozens of articles and opinion pieces touting that this is more of the same. They could not be more mistaken. They are overlooking the most important difference: President Donald J. Trump is the Commander in Chief.

Our President’s decision reflects an understanding that the promise to Make America Great Again must include cleaning up the mess left behind in Afghanistan from the fits and starts of the past 15 years. The President does not have the luxury of starting from nothing, of beginning from scratch. There is no such thing as a clean slate. However, there is now the opportunity for fresh perspectives, new ideas and the outsider advantage.

Over the past several months, I have been privileged to see and listen as the President has taken the time for counsel and to weigh different options for Afghanistan and the region. He has heard from his commanders in the field and, yes, he has listened to his Generals. I have heard him ask the tough questions and demand accountability from those responsible for leading our men and women in harm’s way. He has listened to strong recommendations from his National Security team and has engaged them in deep and thoughtful discussions. He has demanded a way forward placing primacy on the safety of America and her citizens.

From the beginning, President Trump has sworn to put America First. Monday, he outlined a course that places us closer to that vision than ever before. The path forward is not more of the same. Through strength we seek a negotiated political settlement that protects our interests. We do not seek territorial conquest or occupation. We do not intend to create a government after our own image. We will not set arbitrary timelines. We will use our integrated military, political, and economic efforts to promote stability in the region. We will demand that nations ultimately provide for their own security. Those that harbor terrorist networks must eliminate them.

We will fight those that threaten us wherever they may be. We will fight them at night, in the day, in their supposed sanctuaries. We will give them no rest nor will we grow weary. While our brave men and women in uniform are waging battle on the ground and from the air, President Trump will be using every diplomatic and economic tool at his disposal to bring about an end state that does not allow another country to become a breeding ground for radical Islamic terrorism.

The President has made the necessary hard decision. It is what all of us, as Americans, expect from our Commander in Chief. President Trump has demonstrated the courage to lead, the confidence in our military to deliver results, the trust in our diplomats to bring peace, and faith in our citizens’ patience to see our Nation to victory.

LTG (Ret) Keith Kellogg is Assistant to the President, Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff of the National Security Council. A highly decorated Vietnam War Veteran, he served over 30 years in the United States Army to include serving as Commanding General of the U.S. Army’s elite 82d Airborne Division and as the Director for Command, Control and Communications on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. He joined the Trump Campaign as a National Security advisor in February of 2016.

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Trump’s neo-Nazi rally comments thrust GOP doubts into open — “A current feeling of deep frustration and despair.”

August 21, 2017

Donald Trump

By JULIE PACE and BILL BARROW
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s racially fraught comments about a deadly neo-Nazi rally have thrust into the open some Republicans’ deeply held doubts about his competency and temperament, in an extraordinary public airing of worries and grievances about a sitting president by his own party.

Behind the high-profile denunciations voiced this week by GOP senators once considered Trump allies, scores of other, influential Republicans began to express grave concerns about the state of the Trump presidency. In interviews with Associated Press reporters across nine states, 25 Republican politicians, party officials, advisers and donors expressed worries about whether Trump has the self-discipline and capability to govern successfully.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” clash with counter-protesters as they enter Lee Park during the “Unite the Right” rally, Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader from Virginia, said Republicans signaled this week that Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville protests was “beyond just a distraction.”

“It was a turning point in terms of Republicans being able to say, we’re not even going to get close to that,” Cantor said.

A car slammed into a group of counterprotesters after a rally by white nationalists on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. killing at least one and injuring at least 19. Credit Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress, via Associated Press

Chip Lake, a Georgia-based GOP operative who did not vote for Trump in the general election, raised the prospect of the president leaving office before his term is up.

“It’s impossible to see a scenario under which this is sustainable under a four-year period,” Lake said.

Trump’s handling of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, has shaken his presidency unlike any of the other self-created crises that have rattled the White House during his seven months in office. Business leaders have bolted from White House councils, wary of being associated with the president. Military leaders distanced themselves from Trump’s assertion that “both sides” — the white supremacists and the counter-protesters — were to blame for the violence that left one protester dead. And some members of Trump’s own staff were outraged by his combative assertion that there were “very fine people” among those marching with the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and KKK members.

Importantly, the Republicans interviewed did not line up behind some course of action or an organized break with the president. Some expressed hope the recent shakeup of White House advisers might help Trump get back in control of his message and the GOP agenda.

Still, the blistering and blunt statements from some Republicans have marked a new phase. Until now, the party has largely kept its most troubling doubts about Trump to whispered, private conversations, fearful of alienating the president’s loyal supporters and upending long-sought GOP policy goals.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a foreign policy ally of the Trump White House, delivered the sharpest criticism of Trump, declaring that the president “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to” in dealing with crises.

Bob Corker

Corker’s comments were echoed in the interviews with two dozen Republican officials after Trump expressed his views in Tuesday’s press conference. More than half spoke on the record, while the others insisted on anonymity in order to speak candidly about the man who leads their party and remains popular with the majority of GOP voters.

A handful defended Trump without reservation. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, an early supporter of the president, said he “proudly” stands with Trump and said he was succeeding despite a “constant barrage of negative attacks from the left.”

But others said recent events had shifted the dynamic between the president and his party.

“I was never one that was convinced that the president had the character to lead this nation, but I was certainly willing to stand by the president on critical issues once he was elected,” said Clarence Mingo, a Republican state treasurer candidate in Ohio. “Now, even where good conservative policies are concerned, that progress is all negated because of his inability to say and do the right things on fundamental issues.”

In Kentucky, Republican state senator Whitney Westerfield called Trump’s comments after the Charlottesville protests “more than a gaffe.”

“I’m concerned he seems to firmly believe in what he’s saying about it,” Westerfield said.

 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (pictured) has avoided criticizing Trump publicly, but aides say the Kentucky lawmaker is privately furious with the President

 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured) has avoided criticizing Trump publicly, but aides say the Kentucky lawmaker is privately furious with the President

Trump has survived criticism from establishment Republicans before, most notably when GOP lawmakers across the country distanced themselves from him in the final weeks of the campaign following the release of a video in which the former reality television star is heard making predatory sexual comments about women. Many of those same lawmakers ultimately voted for Trump and rallied around his presidency after his stunning victory.

GOP efforts to align with Trump have largely been driven by political realities. The president still commands loyalty among his core supporters, though some recent polls have suggested a slight weakening there. And while his style is often controversial, many of his statements are often in line with those voters’ beliefs, including his support after Charlottesville for protecting Confederate monuments.

Brian Westrate, a small business owner in western Wisconsin who is also chairman of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Party, said Trump supporters long ago decided to embrace the unconventional nature of his presidency.

“I don’t think that anything has fundamentally changed between now and when the election was,” he said. “The president remains an ill-artful, ill-timed speaker who uses Twitter too often. That’s not new. … The president is still the same guy and the left is still the same left.”

Some White House officials do privately worry about slippage in Trump’s support from congressional Republicans, particularly in the Senate. GOP senators couldn’t cobble together the 50 votes needed to pass a health care overhaul and that same math could continue to be a problem in the fall, as Republicans work on reforming the tax code, which is realistically the party’s last opportunity to pass major legislation in 2017.

Tom Davis, a Republican state senator representing a coastal South Carolina district, said that when Trump can move beyond the crisis of the moment, he articulates policies that could help the country’s economic situation. But Davis said Trump is also part of the reason not much progress has been made.

“To his discredit, he’s been maddeningly inconsistent in advancing those policies, which is part of the reason so little has been accomplished in our nation’s capital these past six months,” Davis said.

Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican strategist who most recently tried to help Jeb Bush win the 2016 GOP presidential primary, said the early optimism some Republicans felt about their ability to leverage Trump’s presidency has all but evaporated in the days following the Charlottesville protests.

“Most party regulars have gone from an initial feeling of guarded optimism that Trump would be able to stumble along while Mitch (McConnell) and (Paul) Ryan do the big lifting and pass our Republican agenda to a current feeling of deep frustration and despair,” Murphy said.

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Barrow reported from Atlanta. AP writers Julie Bykowicz in Washington, Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Beam in Frankfort, Kentucky, contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and Bill Barrow at http://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP

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Petition Calls on Trump to Officially Recognize ‘Antifa’ as a Terrorist Organization

August 20, 2017

A White House petition created Thursday is calling on President Trump to officially recognize the radical left-wing Antifa movement as a terrorist organization.

“Antifa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States,” the petition reads.

Antifa has been known to provoke right-wing activists, and has made appearances in Berkeley, California, in March and Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

In the most recent incident in Charlottesville, the violent protesters clashed with right-wing activists protesting the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Although Trump has not called out “Antifa” by name, he did condemn white supremacists and violent “alt-left” protesters.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump told reporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday. “What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. That was a horrible, horrible day.”

The petition had 29,169 signatures as of Saturday evening – still shy of just over 70,000 signatures before it is eligible for an official response from the White House.

Other petitions demanding that Trump take action against similar advocacy groups have circulated through the White House’s petition site, like one attempting to get Trump to recognize Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization, but none have gotten an official response from the White House.

The Rise of the Violent Left — After Charlottesville, People Want To Know About Antifa

August 20, 2017

Antifa’s activists say they’re battling burgeoning authoritarianism on the American right. Are they fueling it instead?

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Antifa is a far-left militant political movement of autonomous, self-described anti-fascist groups in the United States. The term is loosely used to refer to anti-racistanti-sexistanti-homophobia, as well as anarchist and anti-capitalist groups.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifa_(United_States)

By PETER BEINART

September 2017
The Atlantic

Since 1907, portland, oregon, has hosted an annual Rose Festival. Since 2007, the festival had included a parade down 82nd Avenue. Since 2013, the Republican Party of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, had taken part. This April, all of that changed.

In the days leading up to the planned parade, a group called the Direct Action Alliance declared, “Fascists plan to march through the streets,” and warned, “Nazis will not march through Portland unopposed.” The alliance said it didn’t object to the Multnomah GOP itself, but to “fascists” who planned to infiltrate its ranks. Yet it also denounced marchers with “Trump flags” and “red maga hats” who could “normalize support for an orange man who bragged about sexually harassing women and who is waging a war of hate, racism and prejudice.” A second group, Oregon Students Empowered, created a Facebook page called “Shut down fascism! No nazis in Portland!”

Next, the parade’s organizers received an anonymous email warning that if “Trump supporters” and others who promote “hateful rhetoric” marched, “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade … and drag and push those people out.” When Portland police said they lacked the resources to provide adequate security, the organizers canceled the parade. It was a sign of things to come.

For progressives, Donald Trump is not just another Republican president. Seventy-six percent of Democrats, according to a Suffolk poll from last September, consider him a racist. Last March, according to a YouGov survey, 71 percent of Democrats agreed that his campaign contained “fascist undertones.” All of which raises a question that is likely to bedevil progressives for years to come: If you believe the president of the United States is leading a racist, fascist movement that threatens the rights, if not the lives, of vulnerable minorities, how far are you willing to go to stop it?

In Washington, D.C., the response to that question centers on how members of Congress can oppose Trump’s agenda, on how Democrats can retake the House of Representatives, and on how and when to push for impeachment. But in the country at large, some militant leftists are offering a very different answer. On Inauguration Day, a masked activist punched the white-supremacist leader Richard Spencer. In February, protesters violently disrupted UC Berkeley’s plans to host a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart.com editor. In March, protesters pushed and shoved the controversial conservative political scientist Charles Murray when he spoke at Middlebury College, in Vermont.

As far-flung as these incidents were, they have something crucial in common. Like the organizations that opposed the Multnomah County Republican Party’s participation in the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, these activists appear to be linked to a movement called “antifa,” which is short for antifascist or Anti-Fascist Action. The movement’s secrecy makes definitively cataloging its activities difficult, but this much is certain: Antifa’s power is growing. And how the rest of the activist left responds will help define its moral character in the Trump age.

Antifa traces its roots to the 1920s and ’30s, when militant leftists battled fascists in the streets of Germany, Italy, and Spain. When fascism withered after World War II, antifa did too. But in the ’70s and ’80s, neo-Nazi skinheads began to infiltrate Britain’s punk scene. After the Berlin Wall fell, neo-Nazism also gained prominence in Germany. In response, a cadre of young leftists, including many anarchists and punk fans, revived the tradition of street-level antifascism.

In the late ’80s, left-wing punk fans in the United States began following suit, though they initially called their groups Anti-Racist Action, on the theory that Americans would be more familiar with fighting racism than fascism. According to Mark Bray, the author of the forthcoming Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, these activists toured with popular alternative bands in the ’90s, trying to ensure that neo-Nazis did not recruit their fans. In 2002, they disrupted a speech by the head of the World Church of the Creator, a white-supremacist group in Pennsylvania; 25 people were arrested in the resulting brawl.

By the 2000s, as the internet facilitated more transatlantic dialogue, some American activists had adopted the name antifa. But even on the militant left, the movement didn’t occupy the spotlight. To most left-wing activists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, deregulated global capitalism seemed like a greater threat than fascism.

Trump has changed that. For antifa, the result has been explosive growth. According to NYC Antifa, the group’s Twitter following nearly quadrupled in the first three weeks of January alone. (By summer, it exceeded 15,000.) Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.’ ” An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.”

Those responses sometimes spill blood. Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.

Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of “kinetic beauty.” Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, “I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.”

The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators—at least some of whom were associated with antifa—punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the “righteous beatings.”

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor
An antifascist demonstrator burns a Blue Lives Matter flag during a protest in Portland, Oregon, in June. (Scott Olson / Getty)

Antifascists call such actions defensive. Hate speech against vulnerable minorities, they argue, leads to violence against vulnerable minorities. But Trump supporters and white nationalists see antifa’s attacks as an assault on their right to freely assemble, which they in turn seek to reassert. The result is a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s. A few weeks after the attacks in San Jose, for instance, a white-supremacist leader announced that he would host a march in Sacramento to protest the attacks at Trump rallies. Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento called for a counterdemonstration; in the end, at least 10 people were stabbed.

A similar cycle has played out at UC Berkeley. In February, masked antifascists broke store windows and hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at police during a rally against the planned speech by Yiannopoulos. After the university canceled the speech out of what it called “concern for public safety,” white nationalists announced a “March on Berkeley” in support of “free speech.” At that rally, a 41-year-old man named Kyle Chapman, who was wearing a baseball helmet, ski goggles, shin guards, and a mask, smashed an antifa activist over the head with a wooden post. Suddenly, Trump supporters had a viral video of their own. A far-right crowdfunding site soon raised more than $80,000 for Chapman’s legal defense. (In January, the same site had offered a substantial reward for the identity of the antifascist who had punched Spencer.) A politicized fight culture is emerging, fueled by cheerleaders on both sides. As James Anderson, an editor at It’s Going Down, told Vice, “This shit is fun.”

Portland offers perhaps the clearest glimpse of where all of this can lead. The Pacific Northwest has long attracted white supremacists, who have seen it as a haven from America’s multiracial East and South. In 1857, Oregon (then a federal territory) banned African Americans from living there. By the 1920s, it boasted the highest Ku Klux Klan membership rate of any state.

In 1988, neo-Nazis in Portland killed an Ethiopian immigrant with a baseball bat. Shortly thereafter, notes Alex Reid Ross, a lecturer at Portland State University and the author of Against the Fascist Creep, anti-Nazi skinheads formed a chapter of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice. Before long, the city also had an Anti-Racist Action group.

Now, in the Trump era, Portland has become a bastion of antifascist militancy. Masked protesters smashed store windows during multiday demonstrations following Trump’s election. In early April, antifa activists threw smoke bombs into a “Rally for Trump and Freedom” in the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington. A local paper said the ensuing melee resembled a mosh pit.

When antifascists forced the cancellation of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, Trump supporters responded with a “March for Free Speech.” Among those who attended was Jeremy Christian, a burly ex-con draped in an American flag, who uttered racial slurs and made Nazi salutes. A few weeks later, on May 25, a man believed to be Christian was filmed calling antifa “a bunch of punk bitches.”

The next day, Christian boarded a light-rail train and began yelling that “colored people” were ruining the city. He fixed his attention on two teenage girls, one African American and the other wearing a hijab, and told them “to go back to Saudi Arabia” or “kill themselves.” As the girls retreated to the back of the train, three men interposed themselves between Christian and his targets. “Please,” one said, “get off this train.” Christian stabbed all three. One bled to death on the train. One was declared dead at a local hospital. One survived.

The cycle continued. Nine days after the attack, on June 4, Trump supporters hosted another Portland rally, this one featuring Chapman, who had gained fame with his assault on the antifascist in Berkeley. Antifa activists threw bricks until the police dispersed them with stun grenades and tear gas.

What’s eroding in Portland is the quality Max Weber considered essential to a functioning state: a monopoly on legitimate violence. As members of a largely anarchist movement, antifascists don’t want the government to stop white supremacists from gathering. They want to do so themselves, rendering the government impotent. With help from other left-wing activists, they’re already having some success at disrupting government. Demonstrators have interrupted so many city-council meetings that in February, the council met behind locked doors. In February and March, activists protesting police violence and the city’s investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline hounded Mayor Ted Wheeler so persistently at his home that he took refuge in a hotel. The fateful email to parade organizers warned, “The police cannot stop us from shutting down roads.”

All of this fuels the fears of Trump supporters, who suspect that liberal bastions are refusing to protect their right to free speech. Joey Gibson, a Trump supporter who organized the June 4 Portland rally, told me that his “biggest pet peeve is when mayors have police stand down … They don’t want conservatives to be coming together and speaking.” To provide security at the rally, Gibson brought in a far-right militia called the Oath Keepers. In late June, James Buchal, the chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, announced that it too would use militia members for security, because “volunteers don’t feel safe on the streets of Portland.”

Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism. Many of its activists oppose the very notion of a centralized state. But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation. Unlike the politicians they revile, the men and women of antifa cannot be voted out of office. Generally, they don’t even disclose their names.

Antifa’s perceived legitimacy is inversely correlated with the government’s. Which is why, in the Trump era, the movement is growing like never before. As the president derides and subverts liberal-democratic norms, progressives face a choice. They can recommit to the rules of fair play, and try to limit the president’s corrosive effect, though they will often fail. Or they can, in revulsion or fear or righteous rage, try to deny racists and Trump supporters their political rights. From Middlebury to Berkeley to Portland, the latter approach is on the rise, especially among young people.

Revulsion, fear, and rage are understandable. But one thing is clear. The people preventing Republicans from safely assembling on the streets of Portland may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/the-rise-of-the-violent-left/534192/