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tony perkins

 

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

According to an LAPolitics report, right-wing activist and former Louisiana state representative Tony Perkins is considering running for Congress in Louisiana’s 6th District, a seat that is currently held by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R).

Even by the far right-wing standards of this House of Representatives, Perkins — who is best known as the president of the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as an anti-gay hate group — is too extreme to serve as a representative in the people’s House.

Here are five reasons why Tony Perkins is unfit for Congress.

Bought A Mailing List From The KKK

kkk

In 1996, while serving as the campaign manager for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Woody Jenkins, Perkins paid $82,500 to former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke for his mailing list. The Federal Election Commission would later fine Jenkins’ campaign $3,000 for attempting to hide the transaction.

Photo: Arete13 via Flickr

Addressed A Hate Group In Front Of A Confederate Flag

In 2001, Perkins delivered a speech to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a hate group that considers African-Americans to be “a retrograde species of humanity.”

Perkins would later claim that he was unaware of the group’s racist ideology — which is rather hard to believe, considering that he delivered the speech in front of a Confederate flag:

Slammed Anti-Bullying Campaign As “Disgusting,” “Immoral”

It Gets Better

Most of Perkins’ career at the Family Research Council has been devoted to spreading anti-LGBT propaganda. Among the most egregious examples came in 2011, when Perkins signed a fundraising letter ripping the Obama administration for supporting the “It Gets Better” project, which encourages people to speak out against the bullying of LGBT teens.

After describing the campaign as “aimed at persuading kids that although they’ll face struggles and perhaps bullying for ‘coming out’ as homosexual (or transgendered or some other perversion), life will get better,” Perkins labeled the effort “disgusting” and “part of a concerted effort…to recruit [children] into that ‘lifestyle.'”

“Can you imagine George Washington, Ronald Reagan, or any other president telling children that it’s okay to be immoral and that they’ll eventually feel better about it?” Perkins asked.

Photo: skampy via Flickr

Defended Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Uganda

In perhaps his most offensive anti-gay crusade, in 2010 Perkins spoke out in favor of Uganda’s infamous “kill the gays bill,” which would make being gay punishable by life in prison, and allow the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Perkins argued that the egregious human rights violation was actually an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.”

Photo: CIDSE via Flickr

Spreads Outrageous Conspiracy Theories

Tony Perkins

Perkins has proven himself to be very willing to push some conspiracy theories so ridiculousthey would make would-be colleagues like Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann blush. Among countless other examples, Perkins and the Family Research Council have warned that the government promotes same-sex marriage as part of a population control plot, that the Obama administration plans to ban anyone identified as an “evangelical, Bible-believing fundamentalist” from purchasing firearms, and that ACORN will use the Affordable Care Act to commit voter fraud (despite no longer existing).

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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