Connect with us

National

Trump blames ‘both sides’ for violence in Charlottesville

Emboldened White Supremacist groups headed to Bay Area

Published

on

President Trump surprised both sides of the political aisle during his Tuesday press conference in Trump Tower. Trump essentially equated the alt-right with a made-up term, the “alt-left,” saying both groups were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend that killed a young woman and injured 20 others protesting white supremacy.

Often with the assembled reporters who questioned why it took so long for the president to condemn the racism evident at the Charlottesville rally, Trump said, that “before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.”

He claimed he watched the events unfold and felt the “alt-left” groups were “very, very violent,” charging at the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups gathered to protest the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee monument from a park. There is “blame on both sides.”

Trump then equated the Confederate General who lead the South during the Civil War to America’s Founding Fathers. “Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said. “This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

“How about Thomas Jefferson? Do you like him? Okay. Good. Are we going to take down the statue? He was a major slave owner,” Trump said. “You’re changing history, you’re changing culture.”

Trump defended the white national groups angry over the Lee statue removal. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch,” he said, noting that his first statement about the events was “very nice.”

Trump doubled down on the off-script remark he made Saturday, saying “many sides” were to blame for the violence. “You had a group on one side and the other, and they came at each other with clubs, and it was vicious and horrible. It was a horrible thing to watch,” he said. “There is another side. There was a group on this side—you can call them the left. You have just called them the left—that came violently attacking the other group. You can say what you want. That’s the way it is.”

Trump insisted that there are “two sides to a story. I thought what took place was horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country.”

And, even though images and statements were broadcast all day Saturday, including statements by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke that they were following through with the promise of Trump’s presidency—and he insisted that he watched the protests “much more closely than you people watched it,”—nonetheless, he said, “There was no way of making a correct statement that early,” about the violence. “I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters. I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts.”

Trump insisted that people were “bad” on both sides. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he said. “Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now. You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”

Trump seemed to equate what he called the “alt left” with the KKK and neo-Nazis. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said.

David Duke instantly tweeted this thanks. “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville.”
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman also tweeted: “Trump says the mother of the woman killed said ‘the nicest things about me.’” Apparently Trump has not yet called the mother of Heather Heyer, a 32 year old paralegal who was mowed down by a car allegedly driving by 20-year old white supremacist James Field Jr.. Field is being held without bail on charges of murder and malicious wounding in Heyer’s death.

White Supremacist Richard Spencer and conservative commentator Anne Coulter were pleased with Trump’s news conference—which was supposed to be about infrastructure:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted right after the news conference:

Apparently, white supremacists are claiming victory for the bloody demonstrations in Charlottesville and now, with bluster from alt-right friend President Trump safety-pinned to their Nazi and Confederate flags, they’re ready for more.

“We’re going to be more active than ever before,” Matthew Heimbach, a white nationalist leader, told the Associated Press on Monday.  The large turnout of alt-right white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and others supporters yielded “an absolute stunning victory.”

Emboldened white provocateurs such as Richard Spencer are targeting universities for speaking gigs and a neo-Confederate group wants to rally around Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee again, this time in Richmond, Virginia.

Coupled with the alt-right’s co-opting of the 1960s Berkeley “Free Speech” movement (of which out former California Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg was a leader ) – the fight to protect Old Southern Confederate memorials from destruction has become a rallying point for whites who feel victimized.

“It’s an assault on American freedoms. Today it’s Confederate monuments. Tomorrow it may be the Constitution or the American flag,” National Socialist Movement head Jeff Schoep said, sounding much like Trump at his Trump Tower news conference.

One of the many places the white supremacy groups plan to hold rallies is San Francisco. “A permit has been issued for a Patriot Prayer group to gather Aug. 26 at Crissy Field in San Francisco, according to Sonja Hanson, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“The group is ostensibly religious, but its purpose is really ‘an attempt to provoke black-clad ideologues on the left into acts of violence,’ according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.”

Not much has been made in the media of the “Fuck You Faggots” chant bolstered the neo-Nazi crowd before the violence in Charlottesville. Holding a rally specifically in San Francisco surely sends a message to the LGBT community that the alt-right crowd doesn’t care about Trump’s now discredited comments http://www.newsweek.com/news-donald-trump-lgbt-community-642204 about protecting gays.

The nation waits for the Republican response to Trump’s news conference and what some think might be a turning point in the president’s command of the office.

Here’s the full transcript of the news conference.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

The White House

White House, Don’t Say Gay law: “This is discrimination, plain and simple”

“State officials who claim to champion liberty are limiting the freedom of their fellow Americans simply to be themselves”

Published

on

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (The White House)

WASHINGTON – The White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement Friday as Florida’s notorious ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law took effect, saying “[…] state officials who claim to champion liberty are limiting the freedom of their fellow Americans simply to be themselves.”

President Biden also tweeted about the law prior to leaving for Camp David to spend the July 4th holiday weekend, calling the law “the latest attempt by Republicans in state houses to target LGBTQI+ students, teachers, and families.”

In her statement, Jean-Pierre said:

“Today, some of Florida’s most vulnerable students and families are more fearful and less free. As the state’s shameful “Don’t Say Gay” law takes effect, state officials who claim to champion liberty are limiting the freedom of their fellow Americans simply to be themselves.

“Already, there have been reports that “Safe Space” stickers are being taken down from classrooms. Teachers are being instructed not to wear rainbow clothing. LGBTQI+ teachers are being told to take down family photos of their husbands and wives—cherished family photos like the ones on my own desk.

“This is not an issue of “parents’ rights.” This is discrimination, plain and simple. It’s part of a disturbing and dangerous nationwide trend of right-wing politicians cynically targeting LGBTQI+ students, educators, and individuals to score political points.

“It encourages bullying and threatens students’ mental health, physical safety, and well-being. It censors dedicated teachers and educators who want to do the right thing and support their students. And it must stop.

“President Biden has been very clear that every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom.

“The Department of Education will be monitoring this law, and any student or parent who believes they are experiencing discrimination is encouraged to file a complaint with the Department’s Office for Civil Rights.

“Our Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family—in Florida and around the country.”

Continue Reading

Florida

Florida county’s school policy critics say “essentially targets LGBTQ+ kids”

“Sending out a parent notification could be seen as placing a target on a student’s back,” said Lauren Kelly-Manders, a Tallahassee resident

Published

on

Screenshot/YouTube students in a classroom generic news coverage

TALLAHASSEE – The Leon County School Board this week unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide” after a rancorous and at times heated debate Tuesday. At the heart of the new policy are guidelines that critics charge will harm LGBTQ+ youth in the school system.

The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported what drew the most debate was a provision that a school will notify parents — by form — if a student who is “open about their gender identity” is in a physical education class or on an overnight trip. 

Some teachers and students during the Tuesday night meeting said the policy will “out” LGBTQ+ students — revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity without their permission. 

While the policy language does explicitly say a student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression “should not be shared with others without their input and permission,”  advocacy groups and activists claim that in “real world” application the policy’s danger to Outing LGBTQ+ kids remains regardless.

Los Angeles-based writer and actor Benjamin Siemon took to Twitter angrily noting that the policy “essentially paints these children as sex offenders that require warnings.”

Supporters of the school board’s new policy included the Leon County chapter of Mom’s for Liberty, a national far-right anti-LGBTQ+ activist group which has sought to ban LGBTQ+ books and curriculum nationwide. But the sticking point for the group is the provision doesn’t go far enough.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Sharyn Kerwin, head of the Leon County chapter of Mom’s for Liberty and who also served on the advisory committee to the School board as it crafted the new policy, told board members and the audience Tuesday: “Any attempt to withhold information from a parent or try to influence a child in a knowing way is against Florida law.”

Kerwin and other parents argued that the Parental Rights in Education bill, HB 1557, colloquially referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law requires school administrators to notify parents and many in the audience Tuesday citing biblical verses maintained discussions about sexual orientation have no place in schools.

Opponents charge that this policy will effectively weaponize bigotry and target LGBTQ+ kids, especially trans youth.

Critics of the notification policy say the district’s language is equating “gender identity” with LGBTQ sexuality. They note that even someone who is “straight” expresses themselves via their clothing choices or appearance and can be “open about their gender identity,” the Tallahassee Democrat noted.

“Sending out a parent notification could be seen as placing a target on a student’s back,” said Lauren Kelly-Manders, a Tallahassee resident. 

In the end, even with the policy approved, none were happy with the outcome as one side claiming not enough consideration was given to parental rights and opponents charging this will simply increase bullying of LGBTQ+ kids.

“Normally when we have something on the agenda, we have a group that’s for, and a group that’s against,” school board Vice Chair Alva Striplin noted adding, “Well, tonight we had everyone against.”

The school board voted to approve the guide unanimously 4-0.  According to the Tallahassee Democrat school board members will schedule another meeting to revisit the guide in six months to adjust the policy if needed. 

Continue Reading

The White House

White House announces 17 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

The nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom will be presented to those named at the White House on July 7, 2022

Published

on

Megan Rapinoe, an Out Olympic gold medalist is among those named ((Screenshot/YouTube via U.S. Soccer )

WASHINGTON – The White House today released President Joe Biden’s selection of recipients for bestowing the nation’s highest civilian honor,  the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The awards will be presented at the White House on July 7, 2022.

Included among the seventeen honorees are Megan Rapinoe, the Out Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion. She also captains OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League. She is a prominent advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights.

Also selected by the president for a posthumous recognition was Richard Trumka, the powerful labor leader and longtime Democratic ally of the LGBTQ+ community who passed away last August. Trumka had led the AFL-CIO since 2009 and who throughout his career, was an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ Americans, social and economic justice.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.

Presidential Medal of Freedom (The White House)

The following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Simone Biles
Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history, with a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. Biles is also a prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.

Sister Simone Campbell
Sister Simone Campbell is a member of the Sisters of Social Service and former Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice organization. She is also a prominent advocate for economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare policy.

Julieta García
Dr. Julieta García is the former president of The University of Texas at Brownsville, where she was named one of Time magazine’s best college presidents. Dr. García was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president and dedicated her career to serving students from the Southwest Border region.

Gabrielle Giffords
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, serving first in the Arizona legislature and later in the U.S. Congress. A survivor of gun violence, she co-founded Giffords, a nonprofit organization dedicated to gun violence prevention.

Fred Gray
Fred Gray was one of the first black members of the Alabama State legislature since Reconstruction. As an attorney, he represented Rosa Parks, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King, who called him “the chief counsel for the protest movement.”

Steve Jobs (posthumous)
Steve Jobs (d. 2011) was the co-founder, chief executive, and chair of Apple, Inc., CEO of Pixar and held a leading role at the Walt Disney Company. His vision, imagination and creativity led to inventions that have, and continue to, change the way the world communicates, as well as transforming the computer, music, film and wireless industries.

Father Alexander Karloutsos
Father Alexander Karloutsos is the former Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After over 50 years as a priest, providing counsel to several U.S. presidents, he was named by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as a Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Khizr Khan
Khizr Khan is a Gold Star father and founder of the Constitution Literacy and National Unity Center. He is a prominent advocate for the rule of law and religious freedom and served on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom under President Biden.

Sandra Lindsay
Sandra Lindsay is a New York critical care nurse who served on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response. She was the first American to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials and is a prominent advocate for vaccines and mental health for health care workers.

John McCain (posthumous)
John McCain (d. 2018) was a public servant who was awarded a Purple Heart with one gold star for his service in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. He also served the people of Arizona for decades in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and was the Republican nominee for president in 2008.

Diane Nash
Diane Nash is a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who organized some of the most important civil rights campaigns of the 20th century. Nash worked closely with Martin Luther King, who described her as the “driving spirit in the nonviolent assault on segregation at lunch counters.”

Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe is an Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion. She also captains OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League. She is a prominent advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights.

Alan Simpson
Alan Simpson served as a U.S. Senator from Wyoming for 18 years. During his public service, he has been a prominent advocate on issues including campaign finance reform, responsible governance, and marriage equality.

Richard Trumka (posthumous)
Richard Trumka (d. 2021) was president of the 12.5-million-member AFL-CIO for more than a decade, president of the United Mine Workers, and secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO. Throughout his career, he was an outspoken advocate for social and economic justice.

Wilma Vaught
Brigadier General Wilma Vaught is one of the most decorated women in the history of the U.S. military, repeatedly breaking gender barriers as she rose through the ranks. When she retired in 1985, she was one of only seven women generals in the Armed Forces.

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington is an actor, director, and producer who has won two Academy Awards, a Tony Award, two Golden Globes, and the 2016 Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also served as National Spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for over 25 years.

Raúl Yzaguirre
Raúl Yzaguirre is a civil rights advocate who served as CEO and president of National Council of La Raza for thirty years. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic under President Barack Obama.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular