CHEAT SHEET: Chaos Convention Guest Speakers Night 4
August 27, 2020
Tonight is the final night of the Republican convention. Trump is putting his failed leadership on full display, delivering remarks to guests with absolutely no social distancing and using the White House as a political prop. But first we have to hear from these Trump allies.
Amid mass layoffs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Ivanka Trump launched a campaign urging out-of-work Americans to “find something new”
Washington Post: “Ivanka Trump urged out-of-work Americans to ‘find something new’ Tuesday as part of a new jobs initiative designed to tout the benefits of skills training and career paths that don’t require a college degree.”
Washington Post: “Many saw the campaign as insensitive given the suffering of Americans whose livelihoods disappeared as the pandemic forced companies to shutter or sharply curtail operations. And for many, Ivanka Trump — the daughter of a billionaire and a multimillionaire in her own right — is the wrong person to speak to the challenges of finding a job.”
Trump’s march through Lafayette Square and church photo op were Ivanka Trump’s idea.
New York Times: “After a weekend of protests that led all the way to his own front yard and forced him to briefly retreat to a bunker beneath the White House, President Trump arrived in the Oval Office on Monday agitated over the television images, annoyed that anyone would think he was hiding and eager for action. He wanted to send the military into American cities, an idea that provoked a heated, voices-raised fight among his advisers. But by the end of the day, urged on by his daughter Ivanka Trump, he came up with a more personal way of demonstrating toughness — he would march across Lafayette Square to a church damaged by fire the night before.”
McConnell is refusing to take up hundreds of House-passed bills on subjects ranging from election security and voting rights to gun violence and health care.
Newsweek: “‘Grim Reaper’ Mitch McConnell Admits There Are 395 House Bills Sitting In The Senate: ‘We’re Not Going To Pass Those.’”
Associated Press: “Facing criticism that the Senate has become little more than what one member calls an ‘expensive lunch club,’ Congress returns for the fall session Monday with pressure mounting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to address gun violence, election security and other issues. The Kentucky Republican has promised a ‘Grim Reaper’ strategy focused on burying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s legislative priorities, but without a robust GOP agenda it could prove unsatisfying for lawmakers facing restive voters ahead of 2020 elections.”
Axios: “The Democratic-led House passed a similar bill to restore the Voting Rights Act in 2019, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has declined to bring it up for a vote.”
McConnell has not responded with urgency to the coronavirus crisis and pushed for states hit hard by the virus to be allowed to go bankrupt.
Roll Call: “Senate Breaks For August Recess With No Coronavirus Deal In Sight.”
Washington Post: “An Economic Crisis In Kentucky Has Workers, Businesses Furious With McConnell.”
Washington Post: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) drew flak Thursday from governors in both parties after suggesting that states hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak should be allowed to seek bankruptcy protections rather than be given a federal bailout. McConnell’s comments, made during a radio interview Wednesday, came amid a renewed push from states for help from Washington to cover lost tax revenue that has been among the dire consequences of the ongoing pandemic.”
After blocking Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, McConnell said he would fill an election-year Supreme Court vacancy under Trump.
CNN: “In Reversal From 2016, McConnell Says He Would Fill A Potential Supreme Court Vacancy In 2020.”
Washington Post: “In 2016, he left a vacant Supreme Court seat open until after a Republican won the White House so that his party could fill it. In 2020, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is willing to do the opposite. ‘Oh, we’d fill it,’ McConnell told supporters in Kentucky on Tuesday when asked what he would do if a Supreme Court justice died in 2020 while President Trump was still in office, as CNN reported.”
Carson has cast doubt on the seriousness of Covid-19 and joined MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in encouraging Trump to push the FDA to approve an unproven “cure” for the virus.
Axios: “To the alarm of some government health officials, President Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the Food and Drug Administration to permit an extract from the oleander plant to be marketed as a dietary supplement or, alternatively, approved as a drug to cure COVID-19, despite lack of proof that it works. Driving the news: The experimental botanical extract, oleandrin, was promoted to Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July. It’s embraced by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell, a big Trump backer, who recently took a financial stake in the company that develops the product … HUD Secretary Carson has enthusiastically promoted oleandrin to Trump administration officials and to the president himself.”
News 5 Cleveland: “‘The likelihood of children affected by this is very small. The number of children who have died from COVID is much smaller than the number who have died from regular flu, and yet, when regular flu occurs, we don’t talk about shutting down the schools,’ Carson said.”
WBUR: “On whether the U.S. would be prepared if there’s a second wave of coronavirus[:] ‘“If” is the keyword there. Because it’s not clear that there will be a second wave. But if, in fact, there is, obviously, we’re much better prepared for it now than we were previously’.”
Carson’s lack of experience in housing policy has been on full display during his tenure as HUD secretary.
USA Today: “HUD Secretary Ben Carson Mixes Up A Real Estate Term And Oreo Sandwich Cookies.”
The Hill: “HUD Watchdog Looking Into Involvement Of Carson’s Family At Agency.”
Washington Post: “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended President Trump and his characterization of Baltimore as a ‘rodent infested mess’ and said that while working as a pediatric neurosurgeon in the city, he hesitated to send children back to ‘infested’ homes.”
Carson has a history of transphobic comments, and has instituted policies that are dangerous to transgender individuals seeking temporary housing.
Washington Post: “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson expressed concern about ‘big, hairy men’ trying to infiltrate women’s homeless shelters during an internal meeting, according to three people present who interpreted the remarks as an attack on transgender women.”
Vox: “The proposed rule, first announced by HUD in a press release issued on July 1, would essentially reverse the Obama-era rule that required homeless shelters to house trans people according to their gender identity. While the new rule would bar shelters from excluding people based on their transgender status, it would also allow shelters to ignore a person’s gender identity — and instead house them according to their assigned sex at birth or their legal sex. In other words, a trans woman can’t be turned away from a shelter for being trans, but she can be forced to go to a men’s shelter.”
Cotton repeatedly pushed the fringe, debunked conspiracy theory that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.
Washington Post: “Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) repeated a fringe theory suggesting that the ongoing spread of a coronavirus is connected to research in the disease-ravaged epicenter of Wuhan, China.”
New York Times: “The rumor appeared shortly after the new coronavirus struck China and spread almost as quickly: that the outbreak now afflicting people around the world had been manufactured by the Chinese government. The conspiracy theory lacks evidence and has been dismissed by scientists. But it has gained an audience with the help of well-connected critics of the Chinese government such as Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist. And on Sunday, it got its biggest public boost yet. Speaking on Fox News, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, raised the possibility that the virus had originated in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak.”
Cotton called slavery “a necessary evil.”
CNN: “Tom Cotton Describes Slavery As A ‘Necessary Evil’ In Bid To Keep Schools From Teaching 1619 Project.”
Giuliani repeatedly touted coronavirus misinformation and was integral in promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine to Trump.
Washington Post: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was in the center of the impeachment storm earlier this year as an unpaid private attorney for President Trump, has cast himself in a new role: as personal science adviser to a president eager to find ways to short-circuit the coronavirus pandemic … However, Giuliani said he has spoken directly to Trump ‘three or four times’ about a potential coronavirus treatment, describing to him the results of an initial small-scale study in France that suggested the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine may help treat covid-19.”
Business Insider: “President Donald Trump’s attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani called Dr. Stella Immanuel — a doctor seen in a viral video spreading coronavirus misinformation — his ‘hero’ on his radio show on Wednesday. ‘Well, you’re my hero,’ Giuliani said after Immanuel paid him the same compliment. Giuliani went on to say that he’d been following the use of hydroxychloroquine and that he also believes that the medication is effective at treating COVID-19 in the ‘early stages’ of the disease.”
Giuliani has had a hand in the Trump administration’s shadiest dealings and is likely under federal investigation.
Politico: Giuliani “has ties to two indicted Ukrainians, has consorted with a third whom the Trump administration says is a conduit for Russian propaganda and figured in Democrats’ impeachment case against Trump more than 500 times on the Senate floor.”
CNN: “With the presidential election fewer than 90 days away, federal prosecutors in New York face a narrowing window in which to take overt steps — including bring charges — in their investigation of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, and his Soviet-born associates.”
Giuliani took a leading role in the propaganda campaign to oust Yovanovitch and undermine Joe Biden.
Politico: “Giuliani helped engineer the smear campaign that preceded the ouster of Marie Yovanovitch, the career foreign service officer and longtime U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.”
Washington Post: “The materials also include a letter Giuliani wrote to Ukraine’s then-president-elect, Volodymyr Zelensky, requesting a May 14 meeting with the new leader in Giuliani’s ‘capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent.’ Giuliani scrapped his planned trip, and the meeting never took place.”
McCarthy is a Trump loyalist above all else, with Trump even calling McCarthy “my Kevin.”
Washington Post: “A cluster of GOP lawmakers is starting to privately question whether the California Republican is putting loyalty to the president over the good of the conference … One House Republican was blunt in criticism of McCarthy, whom Trump has referred to as ‘my Kevin’: ‘He does nothing but lick Trump’s boots. That’s all he cares about — so no, it’s not helpful.’”
McCarthy backed QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Green.
CNN: “Top Republicans, including President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are embracing their party’s nominee for a House seat in Georgia, despite her history of racist and anti-Semitic remarks and promotion of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. Trump gave a full-throated endorsement of Marjorie Taylor Greene on Wednesday after she won a primary runoff in Georgia, calling her a ‘future Republican Star‘ and ‘a real WINNER! ‘ in a tweet … A McCarthy spokesperson, who declined to be named, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that House Republicans ‘look forward‘ to Greene’s victory in November.”
A month before Trump won the GOP nomination, McCarthy reportedly told fellow GOP leaders that he thought “Putin pays” Trump.
Washington Post: “A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin. ‘There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,’ McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia … Some of the lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s comment. Then McCarthy quickly added: ‘Swear to God.’”
Scavino was behind Trump’s anti-Semitic tweet that used a star of David and a pile of cash to accuse Hillary Clinton of being corrupt.
The Hill: “Scavino played a major role in President Trump’s 2016 campaign and is one of his closest aides. He has also withstood a series of staff shake-ups at the White House. The social media director, for the most part, has avoided being in the headlines. However, he was the subject of backlash in 2016 after he posted an image of former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in front of what appeared to be a Star of David, with the caption ‘most corrupt candidate ever!’ Scavino responded to the backlash in a tweet, invoking his wife’s Jewish heritage.”
Scavino has repeatedly promoted QAnon imagery and many QAnon followers interpret messages from him as promoting symbols associated with the movement.
New York Times: “For his part, the president has often reposted QAnon-centric content into his Twitter feed. And QAnon followers have long interpreted messages from Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media, as promoting tongue-in-cheek symbols associated with the movement.”
Scavino has fallen for hoaxes during natural disasters, regularly promotes conspiracy theories, and retweeted an anti-Semitic cartoonist to attack Dr. Fauci.
The Independent: “The President’s Official Tweets Are Now Written By A Man Who Regularly Promotes Fake Stories On Twitter.”
Politico: “President Donald Trump’s social media adviser posted a cartoon critical of Dr. Anthony Fauci on Facebook over the weekend, sharing the work of an artist who was barred from the White House last year for anti-Semitic imagery. Dan Scavino, the Trump administration’s deputy chief of staff for communications, posted a Ben Garrison cartoon to his Facebook page on July 12. The cartoon depicted the country’s top infectious disease expert as a faucet drowning Uncle Sam and the economy with demands to close schools, impose lockdowns, and cancel the NFL season. ‘Sorry, Dr. Faucet! At least you know if I’m going to disagree with a colleague, such as yourself, it’s done publicly — and not cowardly, behind journalists with leaks. See you tomorrow!’ Scavino wrote in the post’s caption. Scavino’s post garnered more than 12,000 reactions and 6,000 shares on Facebook.”
Washington Post: “And like his boss, Scavino has also been connected to some questionable social media decisions. He fell for a hoax during Hurricane Irma, tweeting an incorrectly attributed video from his own account, claiming that it showed the Miami airport (it did not). One of his tweets violated the Hatch Act, according the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.”
Graham, a longtime Trump backer, has defended Trump on everything from the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, to Stormy Daniels, and slurs against Haiti and Africa.
New York Times: “Franklin Graham has defended the president on television and social media through the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA., the crackdowns on immigrants and refugees, the Stormy Daniels scandal, and the slur against Haiti and Africa.”
Charlotte Observer: “In the Sunday post, Graham questioned the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, ‘a memorial that had been in place since 1924, regardless of the possible repercussions.’ And though Graham denounced bigotry and racism on Sunday, he added ‘be it black, white or any other’ – a statement that appeared to suggest moral equivalency between the protesters and the white supremacists. Graham was also widely criticized after the Sunday Facebook post for mostly blaming Satan for what happened in Charlottesville. ‘Satan is behind it all,’ he wrote. ‘He wants division, he wants unrest, he wants violence and hatred.’”
Graham fanned the flames of Trump’s birther conspiracy theory about Obama.
New York Times: “When Barack Obama was president, Franklin Graham fanned the ‘birther’ conspiracy that claimed the president was not an American citizen. He falsely suggested that Mr. Obama was not a Christian and might secretly be a Muslim.”
Jeff Van Drew:
When Van Drew switched parties, he declared his “undying support” for Trump.
New York Times: “Jeff Van Drew Switches Parties, Pledging ‘Undying Support’ For Trump.”
Van Drew downplayed the seriousness of Covid-19.
VAN DREW: “Remember, this is not mass disruption. This is not 9/11. This is certainly a terrible situation that has happened. But at the same time, we know that we deal with the flu every year.”
Trump encouraged Dana White’s UFC to lead the way on holding in-person events during the coronavirus pandemic, even as fighters have tested positive.
New York Times: “White believes that holding U.F.C. events can help show that it is safe to end stay-at-home orders and to resume holding public events. That belief, in part, appears to stem from his longtime friendship with President Trump — who, according to White, was looking at U.F.C. 249 as a blueprint.”
New York Times: “On Friday after the official weigh-ins, the fighter Ronaldo Souza participated in a stare-down with his opponent, Uriah Hall, and bumped fists with White. Seconds later, the fighter Michelle Waterson hugged White before her stare-down and embrace of her opponent, Carla Esparza. A few hours later, the U.F.C. announced that Souza and two of his cornermen had tested positive for the coronavirus in the widespread screenings mandated in the U.F.C. 249 plan.”
The UFC warned fighters they could lose significant amounts of money if they “suggest or communicate” that UFC events are being held without proper covid health precautions.
New York Times: “U.F.C. 249 fighters could lose significant amounts of money if they ‘suggest or communicate’ that the event is being held ‘without appropriate health, safety or other precautions,’ according to a copy of a participation agreement obtained by The New York Times. If fighters violate this provision, the U.F.C. may ‘revoke all or any part of any prize monies or awards won by the Participant.’”
New York Times: “U.F.C. fighters do not receive regular salaries; they are paid only when they enter the octagon. And because White controls when they will compete in the future, as well as fight-night bonuses, fighters could fear they are risking their careers by speaking up if they do not believe it is safe to compete.”
Reyes defended his role in the ongoing GOP effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Salt Lake Tribune: “The Trump administration and Republican attorneys general across the country — including from Utah — are filing briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court this week in a case aimed at ending the Affordable Care Act even as Americans grapple with new upswings in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes had signed on to the effort to dismantle the health care law, also known as Obamacare, and defends his decision because he believes the ACA to be unconstitutional.”