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Tag: trump rally

Trump’s Georgia Rally Drew Only 5000 — And Some Kooky Candidates

Saturday evening, former failed President Trump was in Commerce, Georgia, for a rally. Trump’s mouthpiece claimed the crowd was “massive,” and that the “Fake News Media” didn’t show it. But local reporters from Georgia say the gathering was scant and similar to others held across the state recently.

Greg Bluestein, a politics reporter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tweeted: “This is the smallest crowd I’ve seen at a rally of his in Georgia since he won the 2016 election—significantly smaller than the crowd in Perry [Georgia] in September.”

Georgia Public Broadcasting reporter Stephen Fowler tweeted: “It’s almost time for Trump to speak here in Georgia and there’s probably no more than 5,000 people here, the smallest Trump rally I’ve ever covered here. Way less than the Perry rally in 2021 (closer to 10k).”

Trump was in Georgia to stump for a bunch of Republican primary candidates. But, mostly he spent his time ravaging Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for their lack of support in overturning his loss in 2020 to President Joe Biden.

"You know what, if Kemp wins, I think Herschel Walker is going to be very seriously and negatively impacted because Republicans that happen to like Donald Trump—MAGA Republicans—are not going to go and vote for this guy Kemp," Trump said Saturday. "And if they don't vote for Kemp, they're not going to be able to vote for a great man right there, Herschel Walker. And we don't want that to happen. So a vote for Brian Kemp, RINO, in the primary is a vote for a Democrat senator who shouldn't be in the Senate."

And Trump’s tone set the tone for the evening. GOP candidate after GOP candidate slammed Kemp and alleged a stolen election.

Gubernatorial candidate David Perdue chummed the audience with the old standby conspiracy that the “elections were absolutely stolen.”

Of course, the blame was placed directly on the shoulders of Gov. Kemp, even stoking the crowd with a promise that if he wins the governor's seat, he would send “whoever was responsible” for the alleged theft to “jail.” The MAGA crowd went wild, and began shouting, “Lock him up!”

Perdue wasn’t alone in using the Big Lie to rile up Trump supporters for 2024, true deplorable Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as “supposed” and Sen. Burt Jones, who’s running for lieutenant governor, declared a ban on ballot drop boxes and an end to “cursed Dominion machines,” according to the AJC.

Even virtually unknown John Gordon, who is challenging Chris Carr for Attorney General insisted that if elected, he would open an investigation into the 2020 presidential election.

“We are going to uncover the facts, we will expose the truth and we are going to hold the people responsible accountable,” Gordon ranted, per the AJC. “It will never happen again.”

Despite the fact that some in the Republican party have suggested that it’s in fact time to move on from the Big Lie, it seems like it remains a requisite in order to keep Trump’s support. Ask GOP candidate for Senate in Alabama, Mo Brooks.

Brooks mentioned his desire to move past Trump’s loss in 2020, prompting the petty former president to pull support of him.

According to one AJC reporter, the mini-crowd Saturday only really roared to life when the candidates decried Kemp and cited the bogus conspiracy of a stolen election.

“I’m doing my research, but I know I’m backing Perdue. Kemp threw Trump under the bus after the election,” Dale Branham, a teacher from Sandy Springs, told the AJC. “Everyone else who watched what went on knew what was going on. And David Perdue never doubted what happened.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Trump Says He'll Pardon Riot Defendants If He Wins In 2024

During an incendiary speech at a Saturday evening rally in Conroe, Texas, former President Donald Trump urged his followers to mount street protests across the country if the federal and state prosecutors currently investigating him and the Trump Organization "do anything illegal."

Denouncing all of those prosecutors as guilty of “prosecutorial misconduct at the highest level,” Trump clearly meant to invite mob action should they issue any indictment of him – a sign of fear and desperation as he faces the likelihood of criminal liability.

"If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington DC, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt," he said. "In reality, they're not after me, they're after you, and I just happen to be the person in the way.” He repeated the “racist” slur several times in referring to the prosecutors, presumably because two of them – Letitia James in New York and Fani Willis in Atlanta – happen to be Black women and a third, Alvin Bragg in Manhattan, is a Black man.

James is investigating tax fraud and other possible crimes by the Trump Organization, while Willis is investigating Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election outcome in Georgia by influencing state officials. He is also facing probes by the US Attorney in the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan District Attorney.

"They're going after me without any protection of my rights by the Supreme Court or most other courts," Trump said. In fact, Trump has employed the services of multiple defense attorneys and has not seen any of his rights violated.

Beyond his dog-whistling call for a violent response, Trump went still further by suggesting he will pardon the hundreds of criminal defendants currently under investigation and prosecution for the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Alluding to his potential presidential candidacy in 2024, Trump said: "If I run and I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly….And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly."

Trump has played this pardon game before, abusing the power granted in the Constitution to discourage witnesses from cooperating with investigation or prosecution of his alleged crimes. He dangled pardons, successfully, to interfere with the Mueller probe of his campaign’s 2016 collusion with the Kremlin -- and then delivered pardons to the likes of Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone.

The nation would have benefitted greatly if Trump had been prosecuted for his corrupt abuses of the pardon power. Having gotten away with it already, he is attempting to run the same crooked game again.

More broadly, he is attempting to intimidate prosecutors and Congressional investigators in the style of a mob boss – threatening mass violence like the riot that he fomented and then failed to curtail on January 6. But his menacing speech was nothing if not a signal of his own consciousness of guilt -- and his own gnawing fear that he will ultimately face justice.

‘They’ve Lost Control Of The Mob’: Trump Booed For Boosting Vaccination

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

You know we've reached a low point as a country when even the loyal-to-a-deadly-and-illogical-fault supporters of former President Donald Trump boo him when he recommends vaccinations against COVID-19. "I believe totally in your freedoms, I do, you gotta do what you gotta do, but I recommend take the vaccines," the former president said at a rally on Saturday in Cullman, Alabama. "I did it. It's good." The crowd responded with boos.

"That's okay, that's alright," Trump pressed on. "But I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know. But it is working. You do have your freedoms, you have to maintain that." Trump is only the latest Republican to make the 180-degree turn from denying the virus to falling in line with efforts to see the general public vaccinated. "These shots need to get in everybody's arm as rapidly as possible, or we're going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don't yearn for, that we went through last year," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last month. "Ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice."

JUST IN: "Take the vaccine" shouts Trump

Fox pundits took similar stances. "Please take COVID seriously," Fox News host Sean Hannity told his viewers last month. I can't say it enough. Enough people have died. We don't need anymore death. Research like crazy." Hannity added: "Talk to your doctor, your doctors, medical professionals you trust based on your unique medical history, your current medical condition, and you and your doctor make a very important decision for your own safety. Take it seriously. You also have a right to medical privacy. Doctor-patient confidentiality's also important, and it absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination."

GOP Rep. Barry Moore went from calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "tyrant" for enforcing a mask mandate to encouraging people to talk to their doctors about getting the vaccine. Catching COVID-19 apparently led to the difference in messaging for him. Moore posted on Facebook Friday:

"I'm sad to share that Heather and I have tested positive for COVID-19. To every extent possible, I will continue working virtually while recovering in quarantine.
While I believe every American has the freedom to make their own health-related decisions, I encourage talking with your doctor about the different vaccines and therapies available and making an informed decision about the prevention and treatment that is best for you. Now is the time to act—don't wait until you or someone you love is sick.
Please join me and Heather in praying for our country and world as we fight this horrible virus. We're thankful for the support and prayers on our behalf."

Not every Republican leader, however, is embracing reality, and the result has been a dangerous trickle-down effect of conspiracy theories and lies. Since states have started re-implementing mask mandates and urging vaccinations amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, entitled protesters have taken to voicing their concerns in the most inappropriate ways, some also turning to violence. "A parent in Northern California barged into his daughter's elementary school and punched a teacher in the face over mask rules," Associated Press reporters wrote. "At a school in Texas, a parent ripped a mask off a teacher's face during a 'Meet the Teacher' event."

Dozens of unmasked demonstrators lined the entrance of Hawaii's Lt. Gov. Josh Green's condo building, where he lives with his wife, their 14-year-old, and their 10-year-old. "They should protest me at my place of work, where I'm the lieutenant governor," Green told the AP. "But it's different than flashing a strobe light into a 90-year-old woman's apartment or a strobe light into a family's apartment, where they have two kids under age 4."

Hawaii. Gov. David Ige told KHON last month that the only thing more alarming where the pandemic is concerned than the six-day triple-digit spike in COIVD-19 cases was the lagging number of people getting vaccinated. "We administered about 15,000 vaccinations per week in the month of July," Ige told the news station. "So that's significantly lower than, for example, in May, it was at 72,000 per week. So based at that pace, it would probably go into September before we hit 70%."

Ige "took a lot of heat" for keeping a mask mandate in place even in May when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that those who are fully vaccinated don't have to wear masks, KHON writer Lauren Day wrote. The CDC has since changed that guidance to advise that masks be worn indoors.

Green, an emergency room doctor, told the AP he wasn't home during the recent anti-masking and anti-vaccination protest. Instead, he was treating COVID-19 patients on the Big Island. "I will personally be taking care of these individuals in the hospital as their doctor when they get sick from refusing to wear masks and refusing to be vaccinated," he said.

The California father banned from his daughter's school in the Amador County Unified School District could face criminal charges after he became enraged when his daughter returned from school one day wearing a mask, the AP reported. Vaccinated teachers were permitted to take their masks off, Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Torie Gibson told the Associated Press. When the parent caught wind of the rule, he went to the principal's office, and the teacher later joined them. That's when the father got violent, the AP reported. "The teacher had some lacerations and bruising on his face and a knot on the back of his head," Gibson said.

He was treated and able to return to the classroom the next day, but the incident triggered a fearful and hesitant atmosphere at the school. "The teachers have definitely been on edge. They are fearful because the last thing they want is to have an issue with a parent," Gibson told the AP. "They definitely looked over their shoulder for quite a few days, but I think things are now a little bit more calm."

Trump’s Criminal Defense Already Has A Big Problem

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

One section of former President Donald Trump's rally speech on Saturday night in Florida stood out to many observers: his response to last week's indictment of his company and its chief financial officere Allen Weisselberg.

Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were hit with a 15-count indictment from the Manhattan District Attorney, Cy Vance, alleging a scheme to defraud the government and avoid paying required taxes on more than a million dollars worth of non-salary compensation the CFO has received for over a decade.

Trump himself was not charged in the scheme, though many argue it's hard to believe he wasn't aware of this allegedly criminal conduct — and indeed, it's hard to believe this kind of criminality wasn't widespread under his leadership. But if Vance ever chooses to try and bring a case against the former president, Trump will likely try to claim he was unaware that these crimes were occurring, or that he was unaware that what was being done was illegal. On Saturday, he started roadtesting this type of defense — which, if true, would undermine the case that he had the criminal intent required to be found guilty of the crimes in question — for his fans:

"You didn't pay tax on the car or a company didn't pay tax, or education for your grandchildren — I, don't even know what do you have to put? Does anybody know the answer to that stuff?"

Some legal commentators argued it was clear Trump was trying to establish this narrative to exonerate himself:

However, there's a big problem with this defense. It directly contradicts what Trump himself has said about his own understanding of tax law and his own company's finances. In 2017, he told the New York Times:

I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most. And if I didn't, I couldn't have talked all these people into doing ultimately only to be rejected.

And this wasn't just out of thin air — it literally followed his own discussion of businesses' tax liabilities:

The tax cut will be, the tax bill, prediction, will be far bigger than anyone imagines. Expensing will be perhaps the greatest of all provisions. Where you can do something, you can buy something. … Piece of equipment. … You can do lots of different things, and you can write it off and expense it in one year. That will be one of the great stimuli in history. You watch. That'll be one of the big. … People don't even talk about expensing, what's the word "expensing." [Inaudible.] One year expensing. Watch the money coming back into the country, it'll be more money than people anticipate.

His remarks aren't particularly articulate about the subject matter, but given his interest in the topic, it's a stretch to believe he was completely in the dark about what kinds of company expenses created tax obligations for him and which did not.

In 2016, too, he also suggested that he's able to pay low or no taxes because he's "smart." He also said: "As a businessman and real estate developer, I have legally used the tax laws to my benefit and to the benefit of my company, my investors and my employees. Honestly, I have brilliantly — I have brilliantly used those laws."

This could and should be interpreted as mostly candidate bluster, but it severely undermines his ability to later claim to a court that he's completely befuddled by the mechanics of paying taxes.

Regardless of these and similar comments, Trump might still get away with claiming that he didn't have a clue about the tax practices at his own company. The DA may feel he lacks the evidence to prove Trump's intent beyond a reasonable doubt, and he may be unwilling to go forward against such a high-profile defendant without a rock-solid case. But if charges are forthcoming, Trump has still undermined what would likely be his best defense with his boasting. And if he's allowed to skate free because he persuasively argues that he was clueless about his illegal tax practices, he'll undermine a pillar of his own ostensible political appeal. Though perhaps he's become such a symbolic figure for the right wing that the substantive case he made for his own political prowess is now largely irrelevant.

Doctors Beg Trump To Cancel Upcoming Super-Spreader Events In Pennsylvania

Donald Trump will hold three more campaign rallies in Pennsylvania this coming weekend. But despite five "MAGA" rallies over three previous visits this month, polls continue to show him trailing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the vital swing state ahead of the general election next week.

Pennsylvania doctors recently begged Trump to stop holding mass rallies in the state, noting that with their large numbers of people crowded together, often without masks, they carry the risk of becoming coronavirus superspreader events. A Center for American Progress analysis this week noted that at least 11 large Trump rallies nationally immediately preceded significant COVID-19 case spikes in the communities in which they were held.

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Did Obstreperous Trumpsters Break The Law At Virginia Polling Site?

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The photo showed six mask-less Trump supporters waving Trump-Pence signs outside the entrance to Fairfax County Government Center on September 19, Virginia's second day of early voting. The accompanying New York Times report describing their loud electioneering in the populous blue county outside Washington inflamed passions and went viral.

"No gang of goons is going to deter Fairfax from voting," tweeted Nate Jones, an area resident, who noted that local officials moved the line inside the center, where people still had to wait several hours to vote, as it was the county's only open early voting site.

The photo showed six mask-less Trump supporters waving Trump-Pence signs outside the entrance to Fairfax County Government Center on September 19, Virginia's second day of early voting. The accompanying New York Times' report describing their loud electioneering in the populous blue county outside Washington inflamed passions and went viral.

"No gang of goons is going to deter Fairfax from voting," tweeted Nate Jones, an area resident, who noted that local officials moved the line inside the center, where people still had to wait several hours to vote, as it was the county's only open early voting site.

"What happened was they just came in revving truck and cars around the parking lot where there was this mile-long line that you have been seeing on the national news," said Kristin Cabral, co-chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Party's election law and voter protection committee, speaking on an activist call on Monday. "Then they got out of their cars with all sorts of banners and sticks and the like, not wearing face masks, and they gathered on the center plaza, which is basically where the front entrance, the front door, is."

"They were creating such a ruckus," she said. "This is the start of election interference, voter intimidation, that we can expect throughout early voting and on Election Day itself… The one thing that I was surprised, here in the open-carry state of Virginia, which is also the headquarters of the NRA, [was] that more folks did not have their weaponry on them."

Cabral was hoping the county's prosecutor, an elected Democrat, would file charges to send a message. Other non-Virginians on the call suggested that activists and election officials meet with local police "who don't know anything about election law," to be clear on what constitutes disturbing the peace and intimidating voters.

The episode was, at best, a cautionary tale, and, at worst, a portent for battleground states. Inviting a police presence to polls is dicey. What some people see as protecting voters may be seen by others as intimidating voters.

The law, too, has inconsistencies. While federal law is clear on what constitutes voter intimidation, state law primarily regulates elections and has widely varying standards. In some states, electioneering activity—anything that urges voters to support one candidate or cause—has to stop hundreds of feet away from polling place entrances. In other states, it can follow voters up to the doors or even go inside.

Federal law says that "whoever intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote" can be fined or jailed up to a one year.

State law draws different lines. This chart, from the National Association of Secretaries of State, and updated as of January 2020, lists the varying distances that campaigners must stand from polls. Sometimes that distance is measured in feet from the entrance. Sometimes it is the distance from building's perimeter. Sometimes it is how far a partisan campaigner must stand from a voter in a hallway.

Louisiana has the largest berth, "a radius of 600 feet from the entrance to any polling place." In most states, that distance is 100 feet or more from the entrance. But there are exceptions in some 2020 battleground states.

In Virginia, electioneering has to stop "within 40 feet of any entrance." Pennsylvania partisans "must remain at least (10) ten feet distant from the polling place." North Carolina's line is 50 feet from the entrance door and 25 feet from the rest of the building.

In Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin, it's 100 feet. In Georgia, it's 150 feet. In Mississippi and Alabama, it's 30 feet. In Missouri, it's 25 feet. In Vermont, electioneering must stop at the entrance to a building. In New Hampshire, it can continue inside, but voters must be given "a corridor 10 feet wide."

"I think what we have to do is meet with our boards of elections, meet with our mayors and city councils," said Joel Segal, a former House Judiciary Committee legal staffer who lives in North Carolina, speaking on Monday's activist call. "It is not unconstitutional to tell people that there's a limit on your freedom of assembly. I don't remember anything that said that could you block the entrance for people voting."

SNL Cold Open Spoofs The Trump Rally From Hell

For this week’s Saturday Night Live cold open, Alec Baldwin returns as Donald Trump — headlining a MAGA rally in “Albacore,” meaning Albuquerque, with a stunning roster of SNL regulars and veterans. “New Mexicans,” he tells the cheering zombie-like supporters, “are my favorite Mexicans.”

The skit is a merciless takedown of Trump supporters.Cecily Strong comes up to the stage with a misspelled T-shirt, babbling about the “deep state lizard conspiracy” that includes “the CIA, the FBI, the M-I-C, the K-E-Y, and the M-O-U-S-E.” Mikey Day is a member of “Bikers For Trump” (a real group), and warns that if Trump is impeached, “we’re gonna RIDE.” And there are a couple of special SNL cameos, too.

Click and chuckle.





Trump Insulted El Paso’s GOP Mayor During ‘Comfort’ Visit

Trump couldn’t make it through his recent visit to El Paso without insulting the city’s mayor, according to PBS’s “Frontline.”

In an interview with Frontline, Republican Mayor Dee Margo relayed a conversation he had with Trump during a car ride from the airport.

“He said, ‘You’re a RINO,'” Margo said. RINO, or “Republican in name only,” is an insult insinuating that a particular politician is not conservative enough.

“I said, ‘No, sir. I am not a RINO,'” Margo said. “I said … ‘I simply corrected the misinformation you were given by [the Texas] attorney general, and that’s all I did.'”

Trump’s insult stemmed from a dispute following his State of the Union address in February, when Trump lied about violent crime in El Paso. In the speech, Trump claimed that a fence along the border turned El Paso from one of the most violent cities in America into a city with less violent crime.

After the speech, Margo called out Trump’s lie, which Trump was using to justify spending billions of U.S. taxpayer money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (Trump has long since abandoned his campaign pledge that Mexico would pay for such a wall.)

Trump’s insult came during a visit that was already being criticized by the residents of El Paso. Trump ostensibly went to comfort a grieving city in the wake of a mass shooting where a white supremacist walked into a Walmart and killed 22 people. The shooter later told the police that he wanted to kill “Mexicans” and used other hateful and racist language about immigrants that bore a striking resemblance to that used by Trump.

Before his visit, El Paso’s Democratic congresswoman, Veronica Escobar, said Trump wasn’t welcome.

“Words have consequences. And the president has made my community and my people the enemy,” Escobar said. “He has told the country that we are people to be feared, people to be hated.”

One woman credited with saving at least 40 lives in the massacre did not mince words about Trump’s responsibility for what happened.

“You preach and you say things, and this is what happens,” Adria González said in a video posted after the shooting, gesturing to the crime scene at the site of the killings.

Trump visited El Paso in February for a campaign rally, and he wasn’t welcome at that time, either. The rally followed on the heels of Trump insulting the city during the State of the Union address.

To add further injury to the city, Trump has thus far refused to pay El Paso for debts incurred during the campaign rally. His campaign still owes the city more than $569,000 for providing security during the visit.

The mayor wasn’t even the only person Trump insulted while he was in town. During a visit to a local hospital, Trump used his time in the city to lie about the size of his February rally and attack former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for president and the person who formerly represented El Paso in Congress.

Trump was only in El Paso for a few hours last week, but even during his brief visit, he simply could not restrain himself or muster the appropriate presidential demeanor a grieving city would expect.

Published with permission of The American Independent.