Tag: marco rubio
Donald Trump

Unanimous Jury Verdict Against Trump In Carroll Lawsuit Enrages Republicans

On Tuesday, a jury of his peers found Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse and awarded E. Jean Carroll $5 million for physical and verbal attacks, along with the smears he made against her after she spoke up. This is the “grab ‘em by the pussy” Trump we all knew about in 2016. It’s the same Trump who put every House and Senate member in physical danger when he unleashed a violent mob on the Capitol on January 6. And the Republicans he endangered just can’t quit him.

After the historic verdict was announced, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) slammed the jury. “The jury’s a joke. The whole case is a joke,” he told reporters. “If someone accuses me of raping them and I didn’t do it, and you’re innocent, of course you’re going to say something about it … it was a joke.”

This is the same guy who blasted Trump as “a man who in rallies has told his supporters to basically beat up the people who are in the crowd and he'll pay their legal fees, someone who has encouraged people in the audience to rough up anyone who stands up and says something he doesn't like” after losing to Trump in the 2016 primary. But sure, that guy wouldn’t assault a woman in a department store dressing room.

Then there’s the walking GOP zeitgeist who is Sen. Tommy Tuberville, from Alabama. “It makes me want to vote for him twice.” Which is an okay thing to do, if you’re a Republican. “They’re going to do anything they can to keep him from winning. It ain’t gonna work ... people are gonna see through the lines; a New York jury, he had no chance.”

Hating on New York is their theme. “I don’t know the facts,” the other Florida Man, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), said before assuming that of course Trump didn’t do it. “It’s a New York jury, too,” he added. Trump caddy Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina added: “When it comes to Donald Trump, the New York legal system is off the rails.”

No Republican said they wouldn’t support Trump in 2024. Even the ones who don’t like him. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney wouldn’t say it directly. “I hope the jury of the American people reach the same conclusion: we need a different nominee to be the nominee for president,” Romney said. “He is in no position to be the president of the United States.”

There was a lot of that passive voice among the Republicans who don’t want to be associated with Trump but are too scared to say so. “I would have a difficult time” voting for him, Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said. Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said the whole thing “creates concern.” (There was no immediate word on Maine Sen. Susan Collins’ level of concern.)

“People who love him will still support him and people who don’t, won’t,” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told reporters, adding it’s “too early to tell” what it will mean for 2024. (That’s a dodge.)

Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dodged the question too, using the excuse of having been too busy with their debt ceiling meeting with President Joe Biden to have any opinion. They will undoubtedly remain too busy. So much for leadership.

Even former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a 2024 contender for the presidential nomination against Trump, says she sees "no need" to respond to the verdict against Trump. "That’s something for Trump to respond to," she told Hugh Hewitt. "I think the focus has to be not to be distracted. That’s why we’ve got to leave the baggage and the negativity behind … it’s not my case. It’s his case."

Trump wasn’t wrong back in 2016: "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" he told a group of supporters. He wouldn’t lose the support of Republicans in Congress, either. "It's, like, incredible." That’s true, too. Not in a good way.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Republican Senators Attack U.S. Military's Successful Inclusion Programs

Republican Senators Attack U.S. Military's Successful Inclusion Programs

A new report released by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) criticizes military efforts to increase diversity, even though the U.S. military itself, along with experts and military leaders, say increased diversity improves military effectiveness.

Rubio and Roy provided early access to the report, titled "Woke Warfighters," to Fox News, which has publicly campaigned against anti-LGBTQ equality for years.

"We need to spend more time thinking about how to counter Chinese aircraft carriers and less time thinking about pronouns," Rubio wrote in the report. Roy wrote, "[President Joe] Biden's woke Pentagon is using taxpayer dollars to promote blatant anti-American ideology."

The report features photos of Black and transgender military leaders and members and claims that programs aimed at diversity have become so much of a priority in the armed forces that they are undermining fighting capability.

The Army has put emphasis on diversity in the military since before Joe Biden became president. In 2020, while Trump was in office, the Army launched "Project Inclusion," an initiative designed to increase diversity and equity across the branch.

In a document accompanying the program's announcement, the Army stated that it was important because "The strength of the Army comes from its diversity. Developing and maintaining qualified and demographically diverse leadership is critical for mission effectiveness and is essential to national security."

The Biden administration has committed to increased diversity across the military. The National Security Strategy released by the White House in October stated, "We will strengthen the effectiveness of the force by promoting diversity and inclusion." Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has overseen initiatives designed to address extremism within military ranks.

In March 2021, Biden removed restrictions on transgender military service that had been put in place by former President Donald Trump.

Dartmouth College professor Jason Lyall has studied the effects of diversity on military effectiveness and preparedness. He said in an analysis published by the Washington Post in July 2020, "My research shows that inclusive armies fight harder, suffer lower rates of desertion and defection, and exhibit more creative problem-solving on complex battlefields than armies drawn from marginalized or repressed groups."

Lyall wrote: "Victory on the battlefield over the past 200 years has usually gone to the most inclusive armies, not the largest or best-equipped ones. Inclusion, in other words, is good for military effectiveness."

In May, a group of former Defense Department leaders released a letter in support of increased diversity and inclusion in the armed forces. Among those who signed the letter were Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel, who served as secretary of defense under former President Barack Obama, and Mark Esper, who served in the same position under Trump.

"Diversity is a strength of the U.S. military, and our experience as senior defense leaders tells us that capable and diverse teams are more effective in today's complex environment," the authors said.

Active members of the armed forces have also spoken out in favor of increased diversity.

Col. Andrew Deaton, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, wrote in a column for the nonprofit Association of the United States Army, "When leaders are able to leverage the holistic diversity of their soldiers, the unit and mission benefit."

Gen. Mark Milley, current chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a 2021 speech at an ROTC ceremony at Howard University: "Opportunity in our military must be reflective of the diverse talent in order for us to remain strong."

Rear Adm. Keith Davids of the Naval Special Warfare Command was quoted last month on the Navy's official website as saying, "Diversity is a force multiplier and makes us a stronger and more capable fighting force."

Voters have rejected attacks on diversity from Republican officials and candidates. Gubernatorial candidates such as Tudor Dixon in Michigan and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, who made anti-LGBTQ positions a key part of their campaigns, were overwhelmingly defeated. Anti-LGBTQ Senate candidates such as Mehmet Oz and Blake Masters also lost their races.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

McConnell, McCarthy Challenged As Hill Republicans Bicker Over Wreckage

McConnell, McCarthy Challenged As Hill Republicans Bicker Over Wreckage

Calls are growing from within the GOP for their Congressional caucus to hold off on leadership elections in light of the party’s underwhelming midterm performance and narrowing path to victory in both chambers.

As things stand, the partisan breakdown of the forthcoming 118th Congress remains unclear: Major networks called the Arizona Senate race for Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) late Friday, putting Democrats in a prime position to grasp a 51 - 49 majority in the U.S. Senate, with incumbent Democratic senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) favored to outdo their Republican challengers.

NBC News currently projects a slim GOP House majority of “220-215” in the next Congress, with a “+/- 7” margin of error, positing — regardless of insurrectionist Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO)’s sudden lead in Colorado’s third Congressional district race — the slight but real possibility Democrats could hold the House, albeit by a tiny margin.

Despite this remarkable outcome on the horizon, which has stunned lawmakers of both parties, Senate GOP leaders reportedly plan to hold leadership elections next week, inciting the ire of other right-wing lawmakers demanding a delay and posing a direct challenge to McConnell.

Senators Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have publicly demanded the postponement of next week’s secret election, in which McConnell is expected to win re-election, the Washington Postreported Friday.

Hawley and Cruz have called for a stay in GOP Senate election proceedings until after the Georgia Senate runoff on December 6, the Post noted in its report.

“We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not,” Johnson, Lee, and Scott wrote in a letter circulated to other GOP senators, according to Politico.

“Holding leadership elections without hearing from the candidates as to how they will perform their leadership duties and before we know whether we will be in the majority or even who all our members are violates the most basic principles of a democratic process,” the senators added.

Rubio tweeted Friday that leadership elections should not hold until the party is “sure that those who want to lead us are genuinely committed to fighting for the priorities & values of the working Americans,” a sentiment Hawley quickly agreed with.

A Rubio advisor told the Post that the senator wants “Senate Republicans to figure out ‘what in the world happened’ before they elect their next leaders” and didn’t rule out Rubio, who won his race by a large margin, going for a leadership spot.

According to CNN, the internal back-biting may have been incited, to some extent, by the beleaguered former President, Donald Trump, who is seeking to shift blame for the GOP’s devastating midterm losses to McConnell, presenting a new headache for the Senate minority leader.

Representatives for McConnell didn’t return the Post’s request for comment. However, Senate GOP leaders are moving forward with plans to hold the election despite the bubbling dissension, reports Politico.

“After presentations from candidates, and there is every opportunity to address questions from every member, we will complete leadership elections,” Sen. John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, wrote to his colleagues on Friday afternoon in a letter, an excerpt of which Politico published.

Tough Reality For House Republicans

Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House, who — like their Senate counterparts — believed they would cruise to a smashing victory, are finally contending with the reality that the GOP might fall short of a large majority, if they win at all, quashing their prospects of enacting pre-planned legislation and leadership maneuvers.

The Post reported that House Republicans understand Democratic votes would be crucial in a lower chamber narrowly dominated by the Republican Party.

“It’s an unworkable majority. Nothing meaningful will get passed,” a senior House Republican told the Post on the condition of anonymity.

In a statement to the Post, outgoing Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) blamed the Republican party’s grim outlook on the extremism perpetuated by its conspiratorial far-right caucus, which culminated in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

“By midnight on January 6, it was obvious that if we continued to sleepwalk down the path of crazy we’d face a rude awakening,” Meijer said.

“Instead of facing those facts, the GOP spent the last two years heading in the same direction and actively avoiding any internal reckoning. After Tuesday, we have no choice but to heed voters when they say that ‘the grass is green, the sky is blue, and by the way, you just got your ass handed to you.’ But waking up to that reality is going to be rough,” he added.

Like McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has pushed on with his speakership bid, defying opposition from factions of House Republicans opposing his efforts.

On Friday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said in a tweet that the House GOP ought to “put our star players in a position to shine brightest so that we can attract more people to our policies and ideas” and denounced McCarthy and his allies as the “C-team.”

“There are people who swear upon firstborn children that they’ll never vote for McCarthy,” an aide to a senior Republican lawmaker told the Post, anonymously discussing internal party consternations.

Members of the House's far-right pro-Trump faction, the Freedom Caucus, have also reportedly withheld their support for McCarthy’s drive until its laundry list of demands is met, per reporting by the Post and CNN.

Marco Rubio, ‘States’ Rights’ Advocate, Endorses National Abortion Ban

Marco Rubio, ‘States’ Rights’ Advocate, Endorses National Abortion Ban

United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced on Wednesday afternoon that he has become a co-sponsor of a national abortion ban that was first proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday.

The legislation would outlaw the procedure after 15 weeks with limited exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

Less than three weeks ago, Rubio told CBS News Miami's Jim DeFede that he believes that abortion should be regulated by the states.

“[A]ll the Supreme Court said is that now that debate is not going to happen in Washington — where it wasn’t happening at all because of Roe v. Wade — now that decision has to be made at the state level.... Every state will have its own [law]," Rubio said as noted by MSNBC's Steve Benen on Wednesday.

"Well, I think that right now this issue is appropriately before the states," Rubio added. "That’s where it should’ve always been; that’s where it is now; and I think that’s where it’ll be for the foreseeable future.... Frankly, I think this issue is better decided at the state level."

Rubio's opponent in the hotly-contested race for his Senate seat, House Democratic Representative Val Demings, blasted the incumbent's move on Twitter.

Rubio "just cosponsored the bill to ban abortions and criminalize doctors. He’ll stop at nothing to strip women of our constitutional rights. We have to hold him accountable in November," Demings wrote.

In response, Rubio parroted Republican comparisons to reproductive laws across Europe, where citizens enjoy universal health care, comprehensive sex education, and public assistance when an abortion is needed.

"Restricting abortions to the first 4 months is more lenient than virtually every country in Europe," Rubio tweeted. "The extremists are people like Congresswoman Val Demings who opposes any restrictions & has voted for taxpayer funded abortion for any reason, at any time, up to the moment of birth."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.