Tag: donald trump
Tim Scott

The Racial Cynicism Driving Tim Scott's Presidential Campaign

Watching Tim Scott's announcement speech, I was struck by how differently I would have responded to his message 10 years ago. In 2013 I wrote: "It's to their credit that Republicans are obsessed with getting the government to address its unconscionable and unmanageable debt, freeing up the productive private sector to create economic growth and maintaining the nation's military preeminence."

Ten years on, I'm sadder and (hopefully) wiser. As the intervening years have shown, the GOP has abandoned good faith altogether. Kevin McCarthy and his band of nihilists wouldn't recognize good faith if it hit them on the fanny. The Republicans who are beating their chests for "fiscal discipline" were obedient lapdogs when Trump increased deficits by 50% — and that was before COVID. In total, they grinned along to an additional $7.8 trillion in national indebtedness. Did I mention that they quietly raised the debt ceiling three times during Trump's term?

Sen. Tim Scott was along for the ride on all of this, so when he objected on Monday in his presidential campaign announcement that we have "spent decades getting deeper and deeper into debt to the Chinese Communist Party," it rings a little hollow.

It's not that there is nothing to like or admire about Scott. He did rise from poverty. His grandfather picked cotton. When he says, "My family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime," he has every right to be proud. And while he wasn't exactly a profile in courage in calling Trump out, he wasn't a total sniveling coward either. After the Charlottesville "fine people on both sides" disaster, he said: "What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised. ... There's no question about that."

When asked about raging inequality, Scott talks about education, praising the work of entrepreneurs like Eva Moskowitz, whose Success Academy schools have made such a dramatic difference in the lives of poor kids. "The quality of your education shouldn't depend upon the accident of your ZIP code," he declares. Even after years of bitter disillusionment with conservatives and (especially) Republicans, I still believe that our schools are a disgrace and reforming education is the best route to reducing poverty and hopelessness. Maybe I wouldn't use the expression "less CRT and more ABCs," but OK, it's politics. Let that pass. One cheer on policy.

I would also offer one cheer on message. During his announcement speech, Scott insisted that "We must show compassion for those who disagree with us," arguably not the most congenial sentiment for the perpetually roiled GOP base that has moved from laughing at cruelty to cheering on brutality.

Scott's boosters hope that his message of patriotic optimism (he even used Reagan's "city on a hill" cliche) will be an implicit rebuke to the dark turn the party has taken with Trump, to which one can only say, lots of luck. A party that makes Kyle Rittenhouse a pin up, dangles pardons for convicted murderers of Black Lives Matter protesters, and describes the January 6 rioters as citizens engaging in "legitimate political discourse" doesn't seem to be pining for a return to sunny optimism.

Does Scott have one unique advantage here? Sure. Republicans do love Black conservatives. I used to think Republicans lavished so much love on Black candidates and others (like Condoleezza Rice) because they were keen to prove that they harbored no racism in their souls. But since 2015, it looks different. The mask has slipped so often: Trump's Charlottesville outrage. The "s—-hole countries." The smearing of immigrants. A senator said Democrats favor reparations for "the people who do the crime." Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tucker Carlson mainstreamed the "great replacement" theory.

So Scott's pitch that his life is proof of America's virtue and lack of racism seems discordant. It seems less an affirmation of patriotism than a cynical play for Republican votes: "I'm the candidate the left fears the most." Translation: I'm the Black candidate who affirms your racial innocence. "We can choose victimhood or victory," Scott intones. "Grievance or greatness." Sure, there are people on the left who wallow in grievance, but what fair-minded person can fail to notice the victimhood and grievance that billows from every GOP outlet? "I will be the president," Scott promises, "who destroys the liberal lie that America is an evil country." Seriously? It's more like he will be the candidate who erects the biggest straw man to attack.

Is this unjust to Scott? Perhaps, though someone once said, "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up." Here is Scott, the breath of fresh air, the neo-Reaganite, on the events of January 6: "The one person I don't blame is President Trump." And here is his 2022 response to Maria Bartiromo on whether he'd be open to the VP spot with Trump: "I think everybody wants to be on President Trump's bandwagon, without any question."

If you're keen to prove that America is not an evil country, maybe start by ruling out running with or even voting for a truly evil figure.

Mona Charen is Policy Editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Trump and DeSantis

Trump Blasts Plutocratic 'Club For No Growth' Over Backing Of DeSantis

Donald Trump late Saturday leveled an attack against the "Club for Growth," a conservative advocacy group that recently criticized the former president in an ad, for supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Trump posted on Truth Social, his own social media platform that he created after being banned from most other platforms in the wake of his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection attempt, that the group is attempting to counter DeSantis' own policy decisions.

"The very stupid, China loving 'Club for No Growth,' which has been backing Ron De Sanctimonious as his poll numbers have been absolutely CRASHING, has just spent some of the RINO money they have accumulated on an ad campaign hoping to counter the fact that Desanctus, just off the worst Presidential 'Launch' in history, opted three times to cut & destroy Social Security, even lifting the minimum age to 70," Trump wrote. "He also voted to cut Medicare & institute a 23% National Sales Tax. Ron is a loser!"

It was previously reported that the war between Trump and the Club for Growth was threatening to undermine the Republican Party's plans for the 2024 election and that could blow up endorsement plans.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Alvin Bragg

Manhattan Prosecutors Tell Trump He's On Tape With Witness

Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial have notified the ex-president’s attorneys they have a recording of him and a witness. The notification comes in the form of an automatic discovery form, CBS News reports, which “describes the nature of the charges against a defendant and a broad overview of the evidence that prosecutors will present at Trump’s preliminary hearing or at trial.”

CBS reports prosecutors have handed the recording over to Trump’s legal team.

It’s not known who the witness is, nor are any details known publicly about what the conversation entails, or even if it is just audio or if it includes video.

According to the article’s author, CBS News’ Graham Kates, via Twitter, prosecutors say they also have recordings between two witnesses, a recording between a witness and a third party, and various recordings saved on a witness’s cell phones.

Trump is facing 34 felony counts in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case related to his allegedly unlawful attempt to hide hush money payoffs to a well-known porn star by falsifying business records to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.

See the discovery form above or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Experts Predict Charges After Report On Trump's Handling Of Documents

Experts Predict Charges After Report On Trump's Handling Of Documents

Citing a just-published Washington Post report, top legal experts are predicting the Justice Department (DOJ) will charge Donald Trump, and those charges will include obstruction of justice and violations of the Espionage Act.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday afternoon that the ex-president had classified documents unprotected in his Mar-a-Lago office, showed classified documents to people visiting his office, and held a “dress rehearsal” for moving documents around even before receiving a DOJ subpoena, and before the FBI executed a search warrant to retrieve classified and top secret documents.

“Two of Donald Trump’s employees moved boxes of papers the day before FBI agents and a prosecutor visited the former president’s Florida home to retrieve classified documents in response to a subpoena — timing that investigators have come to view as suspicious and an indication of possible obstruction, according to people familiar with the matter,” The Washington Post report reads.

“Trump and his aides also allegedly carried out a ‘dress rehearsal’ for moving sensitive papers even before his office received the May 2022 subpoena, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a sensitive ongoing investigation.”

“Prosecutors in addition have gathered evidence indicating that Trump at times kept classified documents in his office in a place where they were visible and sometimes showed them to others, these people said.”

Ryan Goodman, an NYU School of Law professor of law, and international and national security law expert, pointed to that last sentence from the Post and wrote, “I expect this will result in Espionage Act charges. Dissemination is key.”

MSNBC anchor and legal contributor Katie Phang, responding to the Post report, tweeted one word in all-caps: “OBSTRUCTION.”

But Goodman goes even further.

“The reported facts are now far beyond just an obstruction case,” he says. “Willfully disseminating to third parties is also easily distinguishable from Pence, Biden, other instances in which DOJ has declined to prosecute.”

Goodman adds: “Trump’s reported conduct of RETAINING classified documents is already more serious than average case in which Justice Department DOES indict. COMMUNICATING or TRANSMITTING classified documents to third parties is considered much more egregious.”

Further dissecting the Post’s report, Goodman finds an “interesting detail.”

“A second employee who helped Walt Nauta move boxes into storage room a day before FBI visit on June 3,” he writes. “The next day… ‘the employee helped Nauta pack an SUV ‘when former president Trump left for Bedminster.'”

That, Goodman suggests, points to both obstruction and willful retention.

Former U.S. Attorney and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, a frequent MSNBC guest, pointed to the portion of the Post’s report that said Trump showed classified documents to others.

“That could be a whole new crime if evidence is solid,” he said on Twitter.

Attorney, author, and former diplomat Norm Eisen, a board chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a former White House Special Counsel, and former co-counsel for Trump’s first impeachment, also weighed in.

“I helped draft the classified document handling rules that Trump violated,” Eisen said via Twitter.

“And I know this,” he added. “He’s gonna get charged if he was part of a dress rehearsal for moving the boxes & if he showed classified docs as WaPo reports.”

Meanwhile, Goodman’s earlier remarks also build on his prior claims.

Earlier this week he said that Special Counsel Jack Smith had struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents from the White House.

“Special Counsel Smith strikes gold,” tweeted Goodman, himself a former special counsel at the Department of Defense, and the founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security, an NYU website on U.S. national security law and policy.

“Moving boxes of documents the *day before* the FBI and DOJ came to visit?” observed former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. “It’s easy to see why Special Counsel Jack Smith and his team are very suspicious. It sure looks like an indictment in the Mar-a-Lago investigation is likely.”

The government watchdog CREW simply responded to the Post’s report, saying, “This is a big one.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.