The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: turning point usa

How Republicans Learned To Stop Worrying And Love January 6

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

As the nation approaches the one-year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a disturbing trend has emerged in the right-wing media ecosystem: the open approval and valorization of the event.

Such thoughts first emerged that very day, when far-right commentators like former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka and right-wing site The Gateway Pundit cheered on the “patriots” who had “taken over Capitol Hill.” But after the coup attempt failed, right-wing media proceeded in the following days and months to come up with other explanations of what had happened. While they painted various conspiracy theories of left-wing infiltration or claimed there had been no insurrection at all, they also urged strongly against any attempts to investigate the event further — which did not exactly demonstrate much confidence in the alternative hypotheses.

But more and more, conservative media outlets are collectively ending up right back where they started, with a full embrace of the event, consistent with former President Donald Trump’s claims that “the insurrection took place on November 3rd,” and that January 6 was a “protest of the rigged election.” (This has also spread through official Republican circles, such as the local Republican Party in suburban Cobb County, Georgia, which is preparing to hold a “Candlelight Vigil for J6 Patriots.”)

This right-wing media campaign to excuse the Capitol attack is seemingly reflected by views among the rank-and-file GOP: A recent CBS News/YouGov poll finds that Republican voters have become less disapproving of the events of January 6 than they once were. While the vast majority still say they disapprove, a deeper look finds that this opinion has become spread between those who “strongly disapprove” and a plurality who only “somewhat disapprove.” Moreover, only 21 percent of Republicans will describe the riot as an “insurrection,” while 47 percent describe the people who entered the Capitol as having been motivated by “patriotism,” and 56 percent say they had been “defending freedom.” Moreover, 38 percent of Republicans say that political violence could be justified over election results.

Indeed, much of the response to January 6 has depended on the source’s view about whether such an event could succeed — or only result in ignominious defeat. Far-right activist and talk show host Charlie Kirk, in the days following January 6, deleted a tweet in which he had boasted that his organizations were sending “80+ buses full of patriots” to Washington in order to “fight for this president.” A Turning Point Action spokesperson claimed that the organization had sent only seven buses, but it also later emerged that at least one suspect in the Capitol insurrection had traveled to D.C. on one of Turning Point Action’s buses.

It is also worth looking at what Kirk now has to say about political violence. When an audience member at one of Kirk’s events asked this past October, “How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” Kirk responded that the questioner was “playing into all their plans,” because their opponents were “trying to make you do something that will be violent that will justify a takeover of your freedoms and liberties.” (Others pointed out that Kirk’s supposed objection to violence was based on its high probability of failure instead of any moral qualms.)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has created a propaganda series claiming that the attack was a false flag operation mounted by government elements in order to persecute conservatives, has also for long time cultivated a parallel narrative in which the insurrectionists were just regular citizens who “talked about the Constitution, and something called their rights.” Moreover, Carlson has claimed, they “were correct” that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged against Trump — and “if a mass of people show up angry at the Capitol, you should at least pause for a second,” and “maybe we should address their concerns.”

And on New Year’s Eve, right-wing site American Greatness — whose contributors have spread lies about the 2020 election and attacked Capitol Police officers — upped the ante with a piece titled “Of Reichstags and Bastilles.” Repeating a series of false claims that there was “overwhelming evidence of widespread voter fraud in multiple swing states,” contributor Eric Lendrum declared that “thus, the protesters were justified.”

The piece also claimed that Ashli Babbitt, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who was killed by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to climb through a broken window leading to the Speaker’s Lobby, was “an actual hero … who was willing to give her life for her country—and ultimately did just that, albeit in a far more tragic way.” (Babbitt had posted online the day before the Capitol attack that “Nothing will stop us,” further adding: “They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours… dark to light!”)

Lendrum concluded his piece with a declaration that conservatives should “stop trying to qualify their stances on January 6 with an obligatory disavowal,” and instead openly celebrate the actions of that day as “a reaction to a long train of abuses and usurpations perpetrated against the American people by an entrenched elite class that has infected our institutions.”

"The only course of action at this point is to be just as firm in our stance as the Left is. If they truly want to address January 6 by making dramatic historical comparisons, then so should we. If their aim is to make January 6 their Reichstag Fire, then we should go forward celebrating the events of that day as our Storming of the Bastille; a day where a symbol of the degeneration of our ruling class into total corruption and tyranny was challenged, and the elites were shown just what happens when millions of freedom-loving citizens finally grow sick and tired of a boot perpetually stomping on their necks."

Another peculiar set of visuals and commentary came Monday night on the far-right One America News.

OAN host Natalie Harp interviewed right-wing author Lee Smith about how the events of January 6 had supposedly been used to defame Trump supporters in general, with Harp calling the date a “plot against the people.” (This phrasing was in contrast to a book that Smith published in 2019, The Plot Against the President, denouncing the Trump-Russia investigations.)

While OAN aired B-roll photos and video of the January 6 attack itself, Smith claimed that the investigations were “effectively the demonization and in some cases the criminalization of opposition” to the Obama and Biden “faction” in American politics. “It’s despicable, but that's what we're up against. We're up against a very, a very ugly faction of the American public sphere.”




What Charlie Kirk's Potential Venues And Sponsors Need To Know

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

At an event this week in Boise, Idaho, right-wing commentator and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk was asked a friendly question by an audience member: "When do we get to use the guns?" the audience member said, even further adding that this was "not a joke." He asked: "I mean, literally, where's the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?"

Read Now Show less

At Idaho Event, Far Rightist Asks 'When Do We Kill These People?'

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The politics of eliminationism—in which ordinary democratic discourse is replaced by the constant drumbeat of demonization that depicts one's political opponents as inhuman objects fit only for extermination—has been growing steadily in America for well over a decade, reaching a fever pitch during Donald Trump's tenure in the White House.
Read Now Show less

Capitol Rioter Who Assaulted Police Traveled On Turning Point USA Bus

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

A retired firefighter who threw a fire extinguisher at police officers during the January 6 Capitol insurrection was put under pretrial house arrest on Tuesday. Robert Sanford had surrendered himself to federal authorities on multiple charges nearly a week after the insurrection. HuffPo's Ryan J. Reilly reported that according to Sanford's attorney, the defendant traveled to Washington, D.C., on a bus organized by Turning Point Action, founded by Trump loyalist Charlie Kirk.



Following the insurrection, Kirk deleted a January 4 tweet saying his organization was sending 80 buses of Trump supporters to the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6. A Turning Point Action spokesperson claimed that the organization had sent only seven buses to the capital and that the student protesters were not involved in the day's violence.

During his January 4 podcast, Kirk stated, "Turning Point Action is being financially supportive of that rally. We are sending buses."


Charlie Kirk:

He also said during that episode: "We are at Turning Point Action helping with the big event in Washington."


00:0

In the weeks leading up to the insurrection, Kirk spread misinformation and dangerous rhetoric involving the attempted election coup. He called on former Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally discard state electors. He also criticized Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for congratulating President Joe Biden on his election victory, saying, "You typically don't use the term 'congratulations' when someone just stole a bank."

After the attack on the Capitol, Kirk called the violence "bad judgment" and said it was "not wise," continuing, "However, 'not wise' does not mean you're an insurrectionist."

r

Insiders Cashing In At Questionable Trump-Linked College Outfit

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

This election, one of President Donald Trump's most influential advocates is 26 year-old Charlie Kirk, who has developed a unique bond with the first family. The conservative star dines with the president at Mar-a-Lago and rang in the new year there. During each of the last two winters, he used the club to hold a formal fundraiser for his nonprofit, Turning Point USA, that featured Donald Trump Jr.

At a Turning Point event in June, the president, addressing the crowd, said, “Let us also show our appreciation to my good friend, Charlie. I'll tell you, Charlie is some piece of work who is mobilizing a new generation of pro-American student activists." On a Turning Point webpage soliciting donations, Trump Jr., a close friend of Kirk's, is quoted as saying, “I'm convinced that the work by Turning Point USA and Charlie Kirk will win back the future of America."

Read Now Show less

Trump Jr. Booed Off UCLA Stage By Far-Right Hecklers

Donald Trump Jr.’s appearance Sunday at a university to talk about his new book on liberals and free speech was marked by an argument between him and the audience over why he would not take questions, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Members of the audience of about 450 people at the University of California, Los Angeles, were vocally angry that Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, declined to take questions because of time constraints, The Guardian reported. Trump was at UCLA to promote his new book Triggered: How The Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.

After initially being greeted with shouts of shouts of “USA! USA!” when he first appeared on the stage of a lecture hall, members of the audience eventually turned to louder, openly hostile chants of “Q and A! Q and A!” after they were told he would not take questions, the newspaper reported.

The Guardian said that Trump Jr. told the audience that taking questions from the floor risked creating soundbites that left-wing social media posters would abuse and distort.

Guilfoyle told audience members that they were being rude, according to the Guardian. Salon reported that the former Fox News host then angered the crowd further by suggesting, “I bet you engage and go on online dating because you’re impressing no one here to get a date in person.”

Shortly thereafter, she and Trump Jr. left the stage.

Outside the lecture hall, several dozen protesters organized by the Los Angeles chapter of Refuse Fascism protested. The Los Angeles Times reports that protesters chanted “UCLA protects fascists” and “humanity first.”

Andy Stein, a supporter of Donald Trump, told the Times that he came to UCLA to listen to Trump Jr. because he sees the son as a “chip off the old block” and admires his “feistiness.”

According to the Guardian, one of the loudest protesters in the audience at UCLA on Sunday was 21-year-old Nick Fuentes, an extreme-right activist and podcaster who has become a figurehead among the more outwardly xenophobic, racist, and homophobic corners of the far-right movement.

Fuentes and his followers have targeted others on the far right, notably Charlie Kirk, the 25-year-old founder of Turning Point USA, one of the sponsors of Trump Jr.’s book tour. Kirk appeared alongside the younger Trump on Sunday.

In a tweet Sunday evening, Fuentes said he and his followers were not upset with Trump Jr., whom he called a “patriot,” but rather Turning Point USA, which he claimed “SHUTS DOWN and SMEARS socially conservative Christians and supporters of President Trump’s agenda.”

“We are AMERICA FIRST!” he wrote.

 

WATCH: Racists Run Amok In Trump Family’s Favorite ‘Student’ Group

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 protestfar-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:

 

 

 

This Week In Crazy: Anti-Gay Chick-Fil-A, Criminal Sexting, And Stormy

Chick-Fil-A causes a dean to dropout, teen sexting leads to anal sex, and paying off a mistress proves your family values.  No, you’re not in Kansas, Dorothy. It’s This Week in Crazy!

5. Ronald Beaty, Jr.

This county commissioner from Cape Cod, Massachusetts is known for putting out some idiotic tweets. However, he took the cake last month when he tweeted out the following:

Beaty posted this tweet, reacting to two LGBTQ members being granted leadership roles in his legislature. Clearly, this Barnstable County resident forgot that Provincetown (a gay Mecca) is in his county. Or perhaps the homophobe knows all too well. So, what did this closeted bigot do when the media scrutiny hit? He pulled his Trump card. “I pretty much only do what President Donald Trump does relative to his social media postings. If it is good enough for our president, whom I support 100 percent, then it is good enough for me as well.” Hear that? Golden showers for Beaty on his next trip to P-Town!

4. Cynthia Newman

Okay, what’s in the chicken at Chick-Fil-A? Chick-Fil-A has a long-standing history of donating millions to companies that push religious agendas…including conversion therapy for homosexuals. And they’re using chicken lovers to bankroll the operation. In fact, now some of their devotees are even willing to commit career suicide. Currently, ten universities have decided against allowing the bigots who own Chick-Fil-A to open up shop on their campus. One of these colleges is Rider University’s College of Business. Their decision not to do business with Chick-Fil-A had Dean Cynthia Newman crowing, “What the cluck!” Ms. Newman  stepped down as dean over what she perceived as an attack on religion. The cock-a-doodle-dean stated, “I endeavor every day to do exactly what Chick-fil-A puts forward as its overarching corporate value: to glorify God.” Newman added a touch of unintentional comedy when she added that all her accomplishments are “God’s working in and through me.”

3. Turning Point USA

I’ve been to a white party, but this past week, Turning Point USA threw a white privilege party. Turning Point USA describes itself as a “youth organization that promotes the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.” Naturally, they invited Donald Trump, Jr., some Proud Boys, conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman, and a bunch of other deplorables. The invite to this soiree included a dabbing astronaut and concluded with the Shakespearean-esque, “Dilly dilly.” Things got even more crunk with a drink list that captured the rapey vibe perfectly:

https://twitter.com/jaredlholt/status/1101279663765245952/photo/

Come to think of it, This Week in Crazy regular, Laura Loomer, was there too. Yikes, hope she didn’t have a Kavanaugh along with those red pills she was talking about.

2. Mike Rounds

If you love your spouse, you will not let them know you cheated on them…by any means necessary. That is the marks of a true man and a true president. At least, in the eyes of Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD). Rounds is making the media rounds (see what I did there). The conservative senator is defending President Trump for arranging hush money payoffs with Stormy Daniels while he was on the job.

Rounds has a point. Trump paid off Stormy because he loves his family. It’s the same reason why he slept with her in the first place, right? The South Dakotan senator hit the nail on the head when he concluded, “it has as much to do with trying not to have public discussions about something that is, for him, a private matter that he didn’t want to have discussed with his family.”

1. Brad Klippert

If you thought hickeys leading to sex was a problem, well, sexting is a gateway portal to anal. So says Washington State Rep. Brad Klippert. Washington’s legislature passed House Bill 1742, decriminalizing sexts between minors. This set Klippert off on a rant that would make a gaggle of sailors blush:

Under HB 1742, a minor in possession of explicit content sent from another minor will be charged with a misdemeanor rather than a felony. This bill passed on the grounds that the underage sender knowingly distributed the photo to the consenting minor.According to Klippert, HB 1742 also subjects minors to “oral to genital, anal-genital, oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, or between humans and animals.” He concluded with a stirring rendition of the definition of sodomy. Was it from a text he picked up during his dinner date with Ronald Beaty, Jr. at Chick-Fil-A? Hopefully, they’ll have a lot more to talk about after appearing in This Week in Crazy!