Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.
Turning Point USA is often associated with the time its members wore diapers in an attempt at “triggering” liberals, but this should not be the only public failure the group is remembered for. The conservative organization, which focuses on increasing right-wing political influence on college campuses, has a long history of involvement in racist incidents that are now permanently linked to its name.
TPUSA’s founder and executive director, Charlie Kirk, has repeatedly denied that his organization is racist, yet the incidents of blatant bigotry involving members of TPUSA keep happening, even as leaks show white nationalists plotting to infiltrate it. Kirk, the right-wing “boy wonder” who has used Fox News to turn fear-mongering about left-wing ideology on college campuses into a profitable grift, has also successfully leveraged his “perfectly incoherent” sycophancy for the Trump administration into a cozy relationship with the president’s family — a relationship seemingly unaffected by TPUSA’s pattern of racism.
Here are incidents of racism involving TPUSA:
- Former TPUSA National Field Director Crystal Clanton sent text messages to another TPUSA employee that said, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.” Kirk had previously said about Clanton: “Turning Point needs more Crystals; so does America.”
- After firing Clanton when her racist text message became public, Kirk hired Shialee Grooman and Troy Meeker. HuffPost reported that Grooman had written several anti-gay and racist tweets that included the n-word and Meeker had also tweeted an anti-Black slur. HuffPost also reported that former TPUSA Midwest regional manager Timon Prax was pushed out because of his record of using “bigoted language in tweets and texts,” including racist jokes and messages that “made fun of black people and referred to them as slaves.”
- A former TPUSA field director recalled watching speakers at one of the organization’s annual student summits who “spoke badly about black women having all these babies out of wedlock. It was really offensive.” Speaking to The New Yorker in 2017, the former employee said that “looking back, I think it was racist.”
- TPUSA defended Florida Atlantic University professor and TPUSA chapter faculty adviser Marshall DeRosa after The Nation reported his ties to white nationalist group League of the South.
- In her resignation letter addressed to TPUSA field director Frankie O’Laughlin and regional manager Alana Mastrangelo following the group’s disastrous diaper protest, far-right Infowars personality Kaitlin Bennett pointed out that O’Laughlin had “liked” tweets from white supremacist YouTuber James Allsup.
- Kirk’s own Twitter feed has featured anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim tweets, and he once tweeted a flawed statistic that minimized police brutality against black people: “Fact: A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male, than an unarmed black man is to be killed by a police officer.”
- At a December 2017 TPUSA conference, attendee Juan Pablo Andrade was recorded telling several other conference attendees, “The only thing the Nazis didn’t get right is they didn’t keep fucking going!”
- Members of the TPUSA chapter at Florida International University shared “racist memes and rape jokes” in the group’s chat messages. According to the Miami New Times, a prominent chapter member had to tell other TPUSA members to “avoid using the n word and don’t reference Richard Spencer too much and don’t Jew hate … all the time.”
- TPUSA Director of Urban Engagement Brandon Tatum told anti-Semitic YouTuber Bryan “Hotep Jesus” Sharpe that Sharpe was banned from TPUSA events because of “the optics of the anti-Semitic rhetoric.” Tatum summarized TPUSA’s position as being “between a rock and a hard place” because while “personally, none of us have a problem with you — we want you here. It’s the optics. The media.”
- TPUSA originally listed Gab, a white supremacist-friendly social media platform, as a sponsor for its 2018 Student Action Summit but “quietly dropped the company” shortly before the event.
- TPUSA’s Iowa State University chapter reportedly invited white nationalist YouTuber Nick Fuentes to speak on campus.
- Speaking at the December 11 launch of Turning Point UK, then-TPUSA Communications Director Candace Owens said, “If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. … I have no problems with nationalism.”
- TPUSA Chief Creative Officer Benny Johnson kicked off a TPUSA event by saying, “Oh my God, I’ve never seen so many white people in one room. This is incredible!”
- Most recently Riley Grisar, president of TPUSA’s University of Nevada chapter, praised white supremacy, saying, “We’re going to rule the country! White power!” and using the n-word in a video uncovered by the anti-fascist website It’s Going Down News. Watch the video:
In viral video, leader of #LasVegas chapter of Turning Point USA seen giving Alt-Right "OK" sign while friend screams, "We're gonna run the world! White Power! Fuck N*****s!" Was seen giving same hand sign at recent "Build the Wall" rally. CW: Racial Slurs https://t.co/f0IwuCWAsR pic.twitter.com/qcQIFTzk8i
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) May 10, 2019
We don’t hear about her much, but President Donald Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a notable figure in her own right. She’s been a federal judge on the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where she was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999.
And she just did something very suspicious.
At 82, she’s been an inactive senior judge on the court not hearing cases, according to a New York Times report Wednesday night. But she just stepped down from her position, officially retiring.
The reason? It’s not certain, but it appears to be prompted by the Times’ previous investigative story that “the Trumps had engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the inherited wealth of Mr. Trump and his siblings.”
The report noted: “Judge Barry not only benefited financially from most of those tax schemes, The Times found; she was also in a position to influence the actions taken by her family.”
As a result of the Times’ revelations about the Trump family taxes, the court opened an investigation into her potential misconduct. (The Times has noted that, while it found the Trumps broke the law, the crimes have likely passed the statute of limitations for any criminal charges.)
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