Kevin McCarthy averred Rep. Steve King’s latest racist remarks are “not the party of Lincoln.” The implication is, other than King, today’s Republican Party is Lincoln’s party. The GOP loves to say this. But that is hogwash, to use the “language of Lincoln.” If Honest Abe were here today, he would be chastising his former party. I say “former” because if he were here today, he would have withdrawn from the GOP in an Illinois second. Today’s Republican values are antithetical to Abraham Lincoln’s values. (scroll down for full article)
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“A panel of Republican leaders voted unanimously Monday to keep veteran Iowa lawmaker Steve King off House committees, a firm rebuke to an influential opponent of illegal immigration who sparked outrage last week after openly questioning whether the term ‘white supremacist’ was offensive. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the decision by the Republican Steering Committee, which seats lawmakers on House committees, followed his own recommendation and was meant to send a message about the GOP at large. ‘That is not the party of Lincoln,’ he said of King’s comments. ‘It is definitely not American. All people are created equal in America, and we want to take a very strong stance about that.’”
(DeBonis, Mike; “House Republican Leaders Move to Strip Rep. Steve King of His Committee Assignments Over Comments About White Nationalism”; The Washington Post; 1/14/2019.)
There is a lot to unpack in this bit of news. I’m going to start with the “party of Lincoln” reference by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). McCarthy averred King’s latest racist remarks are “not the party of Lincoln.” The implication is, other than Steve King, today’s Republican Party is Lincoln’s party, as many of today’s Republicans love to claim.
POLINO (Party of Lincoln in Name Only)
But that is hogwash, to use the language of Lincoln. If Honest Abe were here today, he would be chastising his former party. I say former because if he were here today, he would have withdrawn from the GOP in an Illinois second. Today’s Republican values are antithetical to Abraham Lincoln’s values.
If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), President Donald J. Trump (R-N.Y.), and the rest of them were in office in Lincoln’s day, they would have capitulated to the South and slavery would have been legal for another half-century. There’s no way today’s Republicans would have supported Lincoln’s policies and voted for the Thirteenth Amendment in the political climate of the mid-1860s.
So the Republican Party is the party of Lincoln in name only: POLINO (“poe – LIE – no”). Like RINO (“RYE – no”), Republican in name only. RINO is the opprobrious term right-wing conservatives and white evangelicals like to call members of their own party who show any modicum of moderation or compromise.
The next time any Republican references their party as the party of Lincoln, you yell out “You lie!” — no wait, that was GOP Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) at President Barack Obama’s 2009 State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. Classy. No, you yell out “POLINO! Party of Lincoln in name only!” That’ll get ‘em.
Steve King Denunciation: Why Now?
“Republicans rarely rebuked [Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)] until recently, with some suggesting that Mr. King’s language and views were new to them. ‘This just popped up on Friday,’ Representative Steve Scalise, the second-ranking House Republican, said on Sunday. …
“Yet Mr. King, who won a ninth term in November, has publicly promoted white nationalists and neo-Nazis on Twitter and disparaged nonwhite groups for years.”
(Gabriel, Trip; “A Timeline of Steve King’s Racist Remarks and Divisive Actions”; The New York Times; 1/15/2019.)
Here’s a sampling:
— “On the House floor, Mr. King demonstrates a model of a 12-foot concrete border wall topped with electrified wire that he designed: ‘We need to do a few other things on top of that wall, and one of them being to put a little bit of wire on top here to provide a disincentive for people to climb over the top or put a ladder there. We could also electrify this wire … We do that with livestock all the time.’” (2006)
— “At a rally in Las Vegas, Mr. King calls the deaths of Americans at the hands of undocumented immigrants ‘a slow-motion Holocaust.’ He claims that 25 Americans die daily because of undocumented immigrants, an unsupported and illogical leap from government statistics, which years later influences talking points by President Trump.” (2006)
— “On a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference with Peter Brimelow, an open white nationalist, Mr. King referred to multiculturalism as ‘a tool for the Left to subdivide a culture and civilization into our own little ethnic enclaves and pit us against each other.’” (2012)
— “Mr. King on why he opposes legal status for Dreamers, who were brought into the country as children: ‘For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.’” (2013)
— “Mr. King invites the far-right, anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders to Washington and appears with him at the Capitol. Mr. Wilders has called Islam ‘not a religion,’ said the Quran was ‘worse than Mein Kampf,’ and called for the closing of mosques. Mr. King tweets a selfie with Mr. Wilders in front of a portrait of Winston Churchill. Mr. Wilders praises Mr. King for having ‘the guts to speak out.’” (2015)
— “‘The idea of multiculturalism, that every culture is equal — that’s not objectively true … We’ve been fed that information for the past 25 years, and we’re not going to become a greater nation if we continue to do that.’” (2016)
— “In a tweet during a meeting in Amsterdam with Mr. Wilders and Frauke Petry, the leader of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany party, Mr. King says, ‘Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.’” (2016)
— “‘Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,’ Mr. King tweets in his endorsement of Mr. Wilders in Dutch elections.” (2017)
— “Mr. King tweets agreement with Viktor Orban, Hungary’s authoritarian leader: ‘Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.’” (2017)
— “In an interview with a web publication in Austria, unzensuriert.at, which is linked to the far-right Freedom Party, Mr. King again praises the [1973 racist] novel ‘Camp of the Saints’: ‘This narrative [supporting keeping immigrants out] should be imprinted into everyone’s brain. When you are importing people, even importing one single person, you are importing their culture.’” (2018)
— “Mr. King endorses a Toronto mayoral candidate, Faith Goldy, who had recited the ‘14 words’ used by neo-Nazis and gave an interview to a podcast for the neo-Nazi website ‘The Daily Stormer.’” (2018)
(Ibid.; Gabriel; 1/15/2019.)
But the final straw for congressional Republicans?
— “‘White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?’ Mr. King said in an interview with The New York Times published last week.” (2019)
(Ibid.; Gabriel; 1/15/2019.)
I guess Steve King’s 2018 endorsement of the neo-Nazi slogan the Fourteen Words (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”) wasn’t that bad. I mean, Republicans in Congress really wanted to be fair before denouncing a fellow GOP legislator for racism. Besides, it had only been 12 years since he called illegal immigration a “slow-motion Holocaust” — and demonstrated a model of an electrified border wall on the House floor stating, “We do that with livestock all the time.” And besides, besides, he’s only been making those types of public comments a few times per year since then.
Why Not Trump?
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
That’s what finally did in Steve King from Iowa.
The big question of the news cycle, however, is this: Why aren’t Republicans also denouncing President Trump’s racist remarks? Donald’s statements over the years — and as president — have been just as vile as Steve’s. Glenn Kessler and Meg Kelly of The Washington Post wrote an article this morning illustrating the two men’s ideological bond. In a 2014 Iowa radio station joint interview, Trump said of King, also on the line, “I am just a big fan in what he stands for.”
As you can see from the King quotes above, there was and is no doubt about what Steve King stands for.
Kessler and Kelly juxtaposed comments from each of the men on various subjects over the past few years. They are in close agreement on issues such as these:
— Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right” protests (both adamantly support Confederate symbols as representations of history not hate and slavery);
— billionaire Democratic supporter George Soros (both believe in conspiracy theories purporting Soros’ desire to undermine U.S. democracy in favor of Jewish liberals);
— former Arizona sheriff and anti-immigrant racist Joe Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt of court for continued mistreatment of prisoners (Trump pardoned him, King said he was “good” for Arizona, and both believe he was treated “unfairly”);
— Western Civilization, as code for “white-led society” (both believe only Caucasian societies have made meaningful contributions to the world); and
— Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (both vehemently fight this policy by disparaging most of the prospective recipients).
So why, only now, after all these years, condemn the bigotry and hatred of GOP Rep. Steve King but continue to ignore — and even enable — the same bigotry and hatred spewed by President Trump?
The reason is that turning against Steve King, long after polite society has done so, will not cost Republican elected officials politically. It might help some of them. Their condemnation of Mr. King — way late but better than never — is a reflection of their fear that racism is becoming perceived as a Republican Party platform plank.
But they can’t condemn the president because they fear being primary-ed in their next election by Trump’s base. Look at Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) who is up for re-election in 2020 and has done a complete about-face toward the president. He used to call Trump “a kook” and “unfit for office.” Now he denigrates those who call the president “a kook” and “unfit for office.” Scores of Republican pundits and other political thinkers are astonished at Graham’s blatant hypocrisy. But they understand Lindsay’s naked political survival tactics, free of any ethical restraint.
So Republicans are riding the hypocritical fence. Steve King: Bad. Donald Trump — who is just as bad if not worse: Good.
Russia, Russia, Russia
We try to give the subject of Russia a break. Then what happens? Two of the biggest stories to date emerge that take your breath away — that is, if you have any semblance of a caring American wanting the best for our country.
This week, The New York Times broke the story that in the wake of President Trump firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, the Bureau was so concerned about Donald’s pro-Putin behavior that they opened an investigation into whether he was a Russian asset:
“In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as FBI director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests. … The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence. The investigation the FBI opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.”
(Goldman, Adam & Schmidt, Michael S. & Fandos, Nicholas; “FBI Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia”; The New York Times; 1/11/2019.)
In the days following this article, pundits and foreign policy experts have near-concluded that Donald’s obstruction of justice is the collusion, and that the president of the United States is a national security threat. He has been obstructing the investigation — not only to cover up his own complicity but also — to cover up Putin’s efforts to steal our election for Trump.
Yesterday, this significant snippet of the Trump-Russia timeline came into focus:
— July 7, 2017: President Trump attended the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, during which he had a private sideline meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. This was a second, initially undisclosed, near-one-hour meeting. Trump spoke through Putin’s interpreter — the U.S. interpreter only spoke Japanese (apparently, each leader was allowed only one interpreter at the dinner). There is no U.S. record of the discussions during this meeting. Only Trump, Putin, and the two interpreters were present. Neither Donald nor the American-Japanese translator took notes.
— July 8, 2017: “The New York Times first reports that Trump Jr. arranged to meet with [Russian lawyer Natalia] Veselnitskaya during the presidential campaign, two weeks after Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, on June 9, 2016, at Trump Tower, and that [campaign chair Paul] Manafort and [adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared] Kushner also attended the meeting.”
(“A Timeline Surrounding Donald Trump Jr.’s Meeting With the Russian Lawyer”; CBSNews.com; 7/12/2017.)
— July 8, 2017: While President Trump was flying home from the Hamburg summit on Air Force One, we now know he personally dictated a false media response — under Don Jr.’s name — to address news reports that three of his top officials had met with Russians during the campaign.
“It was a short introductory meeting. I [Don Jr.] asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up. I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”
— July 8, 2017: Also while President Trump was flying home from the Hamburg summit on Air Force One, he made a personal phone call to a Times reporter to convince him that Vladimir Putin has been falsely accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The burning question presented by this timeline and what we now know is this: Did Putin direct Trump to take these two actions: lie about the Trump Tower meeting and lobby the Times in favor of Putin’s innocence?
Speaking of What We Now Know
One more thing.
“President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials. … Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg [the first of two] that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.
“The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries. As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.”
(Miller, Greg; “Trump Has Concealed Details of His Face-to-Face Encounters With Putin From Senior Officials in Administration”; The Washington Post; 1/13/2019.)
Additionally, consider the favors President Trump has done and is doing for Vladimir Putin: 1) changed the GOP platform to favor Russia; 2) compared Russia’s authoritarian tactics (such as murdering journalists and dissidents) to America, saying we’re just as bad; 3) has continued to mirror Russian propaganda points throughout his campaign and presidency; 4) slashed the U.S. State Dept. budget and purged its Russia experts; 5) supports Brexit and weakening the EU; 6) has undermined Germany; 7) supports Russia’s readmission to the G7 intergovernmental forum (they were thrown out after they invaded Ukraine); 8) is withdrawing troops from Syria; 9) defended Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan; 10) promotes far-fetched, pro-Russia foreign policy canards (e.g., Poland is preparing to invade Belarus, Montenegro is a threat to its neighbors); 11) bashes and threatens to withdraw from NATO; 12) is lifting Russian sanctions; 13) continues publically to negate Russia’s interference in our elections (believes Putin’s denials); and 14) is obstructing the special counsel investigation, to cover up Russia’s involvement in U.S. election interference.
“There is no [public] evidence that Mr. Putin is dictating American policy. But it’s hard to imagine how he could do much better, even if he were.”
(Rice, Susan E., former [Obama] national security adviser; “How Trump Helps Putin”; The New York Times; 6/8/2018.)
If it quacks like a Russian asset — yada, yada … ■
Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget