Ex-GOP chair to Trump-supporting evangelicals: “Shut the hell up”

I have several bones to pick with Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee.  But now that he’s out of power, he seems to have some clarity about the Party of Trump that he helped create.

Evangelicals love a president who cheats on all of his wives, brags about assaulting women by grabbing their pussies, and pays hush money to a porn star to keep her from talking to the press about his sex affair with her. Tony Perkins of the right-wing Family Research Council, said Trump gets “a do-over” because evangelicals “were tired of being kicked around by Barack Obama and his leftists.” But Michael Steele, the former Republican National Committee chair, has one thing to say to evangelicals about their unwavering support for the unfaithful Trump: “I have very simple admonition: just shut the hell up and don’t preach to me about anything ever again,” he said on MSNBC.

“After telling me who to love, what to believe, what to do and what not to do and now you sit back and the prostitutes don’t matter, the grabbing the you-know-what doesn’t matter, the outright behavior and lies don’t matter, just shut up!” Steele blasted.

“They have no voice of authority anymore for me,” Steele concluded.

Ernst defends Trump, audience guffaws

Joni Ernst embarrassing herself in Red Oak:

Republican senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have been back home in Iowa to hold small town halls in rural areas, places they probably thought would be ‘safe spaces’ from angry voters. WRONG. The rural voters who turned out were not happy with Donald Trump and they unloaded on Ernst and Grassley. In one particularly embarrassing moment for Sen. Ernst in Red Oak, Iowa (population 5,476), she drew laughter and scorn after this exchange:

SEN. ERNST: “He is standing up for a lot of the countries, um… where we have seen…”

CONSTITUENT: “Name a few, could you name a few?”

SEN. ERNST: “Yeah, you bet. Norway…”

 

Trump: “…if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

This reminder of who wants to shut down the federal government is brought to you by the President of the United States.  Trump was already threatening a government shutdown back in August.

Now, the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.

And if the government shuts down at midnight tonight, it will be because there aren’t enough Republican votes to prevent it.

Republicans defend Trump’s “shithole countries” comment

You know by now, because everyone in the world now knows, that the President of the United States called African countries and Haiti “shithole countries,” according to “several people briefed on the meeting.”  Trump later bragged about it to friends.

In the minds of Republican lawmakers, this is a problem.  Not the racist garbage the President said, but the fact the someone repeated it to the public.  Rand Paul is now telling us there can’t be an immigration compromise if people are running around calling the President a racist.

The premise that racist sentiments spoken by party leaders in private should not be repeated in public because allowing party leaders to be racist in private is important for legislative comity is word-for-word the argument used by decades of past southern Republicans. Presenting the two as equal sins—speaking racist things, and informing the public when racist things have been spoken—using the rhetoric of “both sides” behaving badly is the sort of moral grease fire Republican senators have long loved to simmer in.

And why would they turn on him now, after backing Trump for so long?  It’s not as if they didn’t know he’s a racist; white supremacy is his brand, and a core value of the Republican Party.

Republicans totally focused on protecting Trump and stopping Russia investigation

We now have the transcripts of the closed-door Senate testimony of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, regarding the evidence of criminal activity by the Trump campaign with the Russians.  It is not pretty.  Senator Grassley should resign in disgrace for what happened in his Judiciary Committee.

Every question asked by Republicans in the meeting—every single question—focused on trying to find information they could use to demean and defame the witness. They wanted to paint Fusion GPS as a “Democratic operation.” They were determined to turn Christopher Steele’s visit to the FBI into a partisan act. They used every moment of their time to find something Fusion had done wrong, or that Steele had done wrong … some way that both the company and the information they had gathered could be dismissed. In a day-long interview that was supposed to further the investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, no Republican expressed the slightest interest in that topic.

Republicans protecting the crooks

At some time in the future, when a Republican tries to distance himself from the disgrace of Donald Trump, remember how it really was at the beginning of 2018.  At a time when new evidence is making an even stronger case that the President has obstructed justice,

In perhaps one of the most coordinated episodes of their entire tenure of single-party rule, House Republicans began a campaign to end their own Russia probe and oust Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senate Republicans recommended the indictment of a key Trump-Russia whistleblower, the Justice Department decided to reinvestigate Hillary Clinton’s email use, and the FBI is taking aim at the Clinton Foundation—again.

I keep saying it because it needs saying:  the Republican Party is the Party of Trump.  Never let them live it down.

If it walks like a fascist and quacks like a fascist…

If Donald Trump says all those racist things when he’s putting on his best face for the cameras, what must he be like when the cameras are off?  We don’t have to speculate.  In June of 2017, this was Trump in front of his staff:

  • He said Afghanistan was a terrorist haven.
  • He said of legal Haitian immigrants, they “all have AIDS.”
  • He said of legal Nigerian immigrants, that once they had seen the United States, they would never “go back to their huts.”

That’s right.  The President of the United States said that people from the most populous country in Africa live in huts.  About what you’d expect from the guy who thought there were “fine people” among those making Nazi salutes in Charlottesville.

Yes, you may be thinking, but it’s a long way from being a racist to being a fascist dictator.  Not so long, perhaps.  Trump has just asserted, with regard to the Russia investigations, that he has the “absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department,” a claim that Richard Nixon would have been embarrassed to make.  I’d like to see a comment on this article, from a Republican who has one of those little copies of the Constitution in his pocket, explaining why this shouldn’t alarm the rest of us.

 

 

Abandoning even the pretense of caring about human rights

An internal State Department memo explicitly confirms what we already knew about the Trump administration’s foreign policy priorities.

Apparently, a deputy named Brian Hook, a former Bush administration official, wrote up a memo for Tillerson explaining how the U.S. looks at human rights. And guess what? After nearly half a century we’re back to Henry Kissinger’s foreign policy from the 1970s. According to Politico, which got a peek at the memo, Hook explained to the neophyte diplomat that “the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.” As Tom Malinowski, former assistant secretary of state under Obama, told Politico, this “tells Tillerson that we should do exactly what Russian and Chinese propaganda says we do — use human rights as a weapon to beat up our adversaries while letting ourselves and our allies off the hook.”

Apparently Secretary of State Tillerson read and agrees with the memo.

Moore fails despite best efforts by Republicans

Roy Moore had the backing of damn near every Republican, including Donald Trump, the Republican National Committee, most evangelical Christians, and Sean Hannity, despite being twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for misconduct, despite being disbarred, despite numerous credible allegations that he is a child molester, despite his support for getting rid of all the Constitutional amendments after the Tenth (including the ones that banned slavery and gave women the right to vote), despite his anti-Semitism.

Credit is due to the tiny minority of Republicans who didn’t go along, including the 1.7% of Alabama voters who wrote in someone else (giving the 1.5% margin of victory to Doug Jones), and the Nebraskan who quit the RNC over its support of Moore.  One wonders what it would take to get those people to quit the Republican Party.

Can the Republican Party ever live down their support of such a candidate?  It’s up to us to give a resounding “hell no” in answer to that question.  No forgiveness, no normalizing of a party that is openly racist, no legitimacy.  The Republican Party is permanently beyond the pale of democracy.

Duterte: “I am a fascist”

Photo: AP
A lot of bleeding heart liberals, myself included, have been using the word “fascist” to describe Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. But now Duterte openly brags of being a fascist. No, really:

I will follow America, since they say that I am an American boy.  OK, granted, I will admit that I am a fascist. I will categorize you already as a terrorist.

It’s not clear who he means by “you” in that last sentence, perhaps the journalist to whom he was speaking.  Note that he says he’s following the lead of America.  Duterte enjoys a warm relationship with Donald Trump, who the aforementioned bleeding heart liberals have also characterized as a fascist, and if you doubted those liberals were correct before, perhaps you should reconsider.

If you, or one of your parents or grandparents, was among those who fought in World War II to defeat fascism, would you please speak up in the comments, and describe your feelings as you read that the Republican Party is on the opposite side today?