Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage - things to come?

Postby Meno_ » Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:36 pm



Pennsylvania GOP launches ‘super MAGA Trump’ primary
Never mind Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Palm Beach, Fla., is where the party's Senate nomination is likely to be decided.


PHILADELPHIA — The likely GOP candidates in Pennsylvania’s open Senate race come in three familiar flavors: anti-Trump, Trumpy and Trumpiest.

Though President Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania in 2020 and will have been out of office for nearly two years by the time voters cast their ballots in the Senate election, the Republican primary here is already revolving around him — creating a potential dilemma for the GOP in one of the nation’s most important races next year.

Multiple former Trump administration officials are eyeing the Senate seat. One likely contender has close ties to the Trump family that could give him a major leg up in the primary. Behind the scenes, other candidates have fostered relationships with former Trump aides or are working hard to develop them.

“The way I divide it is you’ve got super-MAGA Trump, Trump-adjacent and not-so-much Trump,” Christopher Nicholas, a longtime Pennsylvania-based Republican consultant, said of the likely GOP Senate field. “All of the former appointees would obviously be in the super-MAGA-Trump part. A Jeff Bartos, I think, would be in the Trump-adjacent part. A [former Rep.] Ryan Costello-type figure, or himself if he gets in, would be in the more not-so-Trumpy part.”

Bartos, a real estate developer and the most high-profile contender to officially declare his candidacy, has been cast by his allies as a middle-of-the-road Republican who could win over suburbanites in the Philadelphia collar counties where he lives.

Yet at the same time, Bartos donated and helped raise money for GOP poll watchers at the Philadelphia Convention Center in 2020 when the ballots were being counted. And he traveled to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort and residence, for a recent GOP donors retreat. Bartos was also careful to give a nod to the former president in his campaign launch video.

“Donald Trump represented someone listening to millions of Pennsylvanians who felt like no one was fighting for them,” Bartos said in the ad, which featured him driving around the state. “And we cannot go back to the days when elected officials in Washington thought of Pennsylvania as just two cities and a whole lot of farmland in between.”

Along with Bartos, Sean Parnell, a former congressional candidate who spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention and is close to Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., has been talking with state party leaders about running. Mike Kelly and Guy Reschenthaler, two House members from Pennsylvania who have been Trump loyalists, are possible contenders. Also considering: Kenneth Braithwaite, who served as Trump’s Navy secretary; Carla Sands, Trump’s ambassador to Denmark; and John Giordano, a member of Trump’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in 2019.


Former Rep. Ryan Costello, a vocal critic of Trump, has expressed interest in campaigning as well. And 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette and attorney Sean Gale have thrown their hats in the ring. A news release announcing Gale’s run said that “the only path to victory” is with a candidate who is pro-Trump.

“President Trump is still very popular among Republicans,” said former GOP Rep. Lou Barletta, a top Trump ally in the state. “There’s no denying that the Republican Party in Pennsylvania is still a party of Trump.”

Earlier this year, Steve Bannon, a former White House chief strategist to Trump, told POLITICO that “any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 must be full Trump MAGA.”

Potential and declared Senate candidates are making the case to local party leaders that they are the best-equipped to win the endorsement of Trump himself.

With so many boasting ties to the former president and his administration, many are hopeful they will win his imprimatur. For instance, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted in February, “My friend @SeanParnellUSA is a strong America First conservative and has my support for any office he decides to run for in 2022!!!”

“When you talk to these people, everybody thinks that they’ll have the former president’s support,” said Sam DeMarco, chair of the Republican Party in western Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County. “These people all believe, because there’s a connection there, they could possibly get his endorsement.”

A similar Trump-centric dynamic is playing out in the 2020 gubernatorial race. Barletta is looking at possibly running for governor and said he will make a decision in the next few weeks. A recent poll by Susquehanna Polling & Research, a firm whose clients have included conservative groups, found Barletta with an early lead in the primary.

William McSwain, a former U.S. attorney under Trump, has taken steps toward running for governor. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who visited Trump at the White House after the 2020 election and helped lead a hearing on unsubstantiated election fraud, is another likely contender.

And at least one potential gubernatorial candidate has paid a visit to Trump at Mar-a-Lago, said an aide to the politician: Rep. Dan Meuser.

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Pennsylvania’s 2018 midterms revolved around Trump as well. After Barletta became one of the first elected officials to back Trump in 2016, Trump returned the favor and endorsed the northeastern Pennsylvania politician early in the Senate primary, which he went on to win. Scott Wagner, a then-state senator who boasted in 2016 that he was going to buy 20,000 Trump signs, captured the gubernatorial nomination that year.

Both candidates were defeated in the general election by double digits, prompting some voices in the Republican Party to make the case for a bigger-tent approach. But that hasn’t yet come to fruition. Instead, many GOP activists have demanded more loyalty tests to Trump: Earlier this year, several county parties in Pennsylvania censured Republican Sen. Pat Toomey for voting to impeach Trump after the insurrection at the Capitol.

However, amid calls among some Republicans to avoid divisiveness ahead of 2021 local elections and the midterms next year, the state GOP declined to censure Toomey and voted to rebuke him instead.

Some party officials argue that with President Joe Biden in the White House, Republicans are rapidly putting aside their differences and will be united for the 2022 primary, regardless of which candidate captures the nomination and how closely they tie themselves to Trump.

“The media wants that to be the crux of the campaign. I think the campaign is going to be much more than that,” said Charlie Gerow, a GOP strategist in Pennsylvania. “The primary campaign is going to be about individual candidates and their individual views for the country’s future and their individual abilities.”

Still, when he listed a number of issues that will likely dominate the race — China, immigration, Biden’s spending — it is clear how much Trump is still influencing the party. And there is no doubt that GOP contenders will be scrutinized by party activists and operatives on how closely they align themselves with the former president.

Nicholas, talking about Bartos’ nod to Trump in his introductory video, said, “What I took from it is someone who said the minimum he needed to say about 45, so as to not have people think, ‘Why didn’t you mention 45?’”

Bartos spokesperson Conor McGuinness quickly struck back and said that he included a mention of Trump in the spot “because no one has ever fought harder for the forgotten men and women of Pennsylvania than President Trump.”

“The only person who would manufacture that as an issue,” he added, “is a swampy DC consultant.”

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Re: Trump enters the stage - political

Postby Meno_ » Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:50 pm

.GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run

WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left the White House, the race to succeed him atop the Republican Party is already beginning.

Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has launched an aggressive schedule, visiting states that will play a pivotal role in the 2024 primaries, and he has signed a contract with Fox News Channel. Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, has started a political advocacy group, finalized a book deal and later this month will give his first speech since leaving office in South Carolina. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been courting donors, including in Trump’s backyard, with a prominent speaking slot before the former president at a GOP fundraising retreat dinner this month at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort where Trump now lives.

Trump ended his presidency with such a firm grip on Republican voters that party leaders fretted he would freeze the field of potential 2024 candidates, delaying preparations as he teased another run. Instead, many Republicans with national ambitions are openly laying the groundwork for campaigns as Trump continues to mull his own plans.

They’re raising money, making hires and working to bolster their name recognition. The moves reflect both the fervor in the party to reclaim the White House and the reality that mounting a modern presidential campaign is a yearslong endeavor.

“You build the ark before it rains,” said Michael Steel, a Republican strategist who worked for Jeb Bush’s presidential 2016 campaign, among others. “They’re going to do the things they need to do if he decides not to run.”

Trump, at least for now, is giving them plenty of leeway, convinced they pose little threat to his own ambitions.

“It’s a free country. Folks can do what they want,” Trump adviser Jason Miller said in response to the moves. “But,” he added, “if President Trump does decide to run in 2024, the nomination will be his if you’re paying any attention to public polling of Republican voters.”

Polling does indeed show that Trump remains a commanding figure among GOP voters, despite his loss in November to Democrat Joe Biden. Republican leaders, including those who may hope to someday succeed him, have been careful to tend to his ego and make clear they have no plans to challenge his standing.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, last weekend awarded Trump a new “Champion for Freedom Award,” which the group publicized — complete with a photo of a smiling, golf-attired Trump holding a small, gleaming cup — even after the former president went after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in a profanity-laden speech.

A day later, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, considered a top-tier 2024 candidate, told The Associated Press that she will sit out the race if Trump runs again.

“I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it,” she said in Orangeburg, South Carolina. “That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made.”

The deference is, in part, an acknowledgement of Trump’s continued power. Even out of office and without his Twitter megaphone, Trump remains deeply popular with the GOP base and is bolstered by an $85 million war chest that can be shared with endorsed candidates, spent on advertising and used to fund travel and pay for polling and consultants.

Trump is making plans to soon increase his visibility, with aides discussing options to hold rallies as soon as late spring or summer. “There’s a pretty strong demand out there to get President Trump on the road,” Miller said.

Many Republicans acknowledge Trump would leap to the front of the pack if he chooses to mount a bid to become the only president other than Grover Cleveland to serve two nonconsecutive terms. Still, there is deep skepticism in many corners of the party that Trump will run again.

While people close to him insist he is serious, many see Trump’s continued flirtations as a means to maintain relevance as he has settled into a comfortable post-White House life. At Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, he’s courted by candidates and met by rounds of applause and standing ovations whenever he enters the dining room.

In the meantime, other could-be-candidates are making moves, even as many of their aides insist their focus is squarely on next year’s congressional elections and helping Republicans win back control of the House and Senate.

Jeff Kaufmann, the chair of the Iowa Republican party, said the activity in his state has begun even earlier this year than in the past two election cycles, with every candidate on his potential 2024 list having already visited or thinking of visiting the first state on the GOP nominating calendar.

“I know of no one — honestly no one — that is hesitating to come out,” he said. “Now some are a little more subtle than others, but that may not necessarily be tied to Donald Trump. That may be just tied into their campaign style and not wanting to get too far ahead of their skis until they see if they have any traction whatsoever.”

Pompeo, arguably the most aggressive to date, is among those who have already spent time in Iowa, as well as New Hampshire, and this week past he addressed Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network in New York, where he was introduced by video by Republican megadonor Miriam Adelson. And on Saturday, he headlined the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner at Mar-a-Lago along with Scott and DeSantis.

DeSantis, who is up for reelection next year, recently hired a top Republican strategist who served as executive director of the Republican Governors Association. DeSantis also has been using the race to build a deep fundraising network that could support him if he chooses to run nationally.

The party, which for a time appeared to be paralyzed by division, has grown more united in its opposition to Biden, even as Trump continues to spar with McConnell and works to defeat incumbents who voted for his impeachment. Republicans in Congress have found common cause railing against Biden’s border policies, voting against his COVID-19 relief bill and pushing for new restrictions on voting, while railing against corporate interference in the voting rights debate.

“I think you would find broad agreement in our party that we need to be having the debate about policy,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican, who continues to face enormous backlash after voting for Trump’s impeachment. “We need to be talking about policy,” she said while speaking to Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service last week.

Regardless of Trump’s ultimate decision, his critics and acolytes alike say they see the future of the party as dependent on maintaining their appeal to Trump voters, while at the same time winning back the suburban voters who abandoned them last fall.

“I think everyone’s trying to find that magic combination of ‘Trump-plus,’ of continuing to appeal to the new voters that President Trump brought to the Republican coalition while also bringing back some of the college-educated suburban folks that were repelled by his antics,” said Steel.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Revenge or Being true to party

Postby Meno_ » Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:16 am



Why Is Trump Going to War Here?
Driven by revenge, the former president has staked his control over the GOP on an unlikely Ohio district.


04/23/2021 04:30 AM EDT

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio—The crowd crammed into an indoor-outdoor bar at a sprawling mall in this teeming suburb south of Cleveland. The head of the local Republican club took to the mic on a small stage—and pledged vengeance.

“Sign the petition to ask Congressman Anthony Gonzalez to resign,” Shannon Burns said to a burst of cheers. “If you’re looking at your neighbor right now and saying, ‘What’s he talking about?’ … get with it!”

The second-term representative “betrayed his constituents,” in Burns’ assessment, when he voted in January with nine other House Republicans and every Democrat to impeach Donald Trump.

top: a man speaking into a microphone; bottom: two women sitting at a table with a U.S. flag
At a Strongsville GOP event at the Brew Garden, Shannon Burns (top), the group's president, greets guests including (bottom, left to right) Jenny Sirocky, 35, and Wendy Benning, 52.

“He thinks a year from now when it’s election time for the primary you’re all going to forget and he’s going to get reelected,” Burns went on, eliciting snickers and jeers. “And I’m telling you right now: We’re going to make sure you don’t forget.”

In a normal political world and in a normal political time, a second-generation Cuban-American former NFL player from the Rust Belt with an MBA from Stanford would be considered practically by definition a rising GOP star. But Gonzalez’s impeachment decision made him a traitor in the eyes of the man who is manifestly the unofficial leader of the party. It’s the reason Trump wasted no time endorsing Max Miller—a former aide with next to no name ID plus an arrest record—to try to take out Gonzalez. And it’s why the 16th District of Ohio is now a singular early battlefield in the former president’s intensifying intraparty war.

“Anthony Gonzalez should not be representing the people of the 16th District because he does not represent their interest or their heart,” Trump said in a statement barely more than a month after he left office. “Max Miller has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

A 32-year-old Cleveland native, Miller has been endorsed, too, by the Club for Growth, which commissioned a poll that suggests he has a wide lead at this early stage. “If the election was today, Anthony Gonzalez would lose,” Jim Renacci, the pre-Gonzalez Republican congressman here, told me last month. “He’s done,” said Harlan Hill, a Trump-aligned consultant who’s done work in the district. “Max is going to beat the hell out of Anthony.”

top: miller and trump (photo by Evan Vucci); bottom: gonzalez (photo by Susan Walsh)
Top: Deputy Campaign Manager for Presidential Operations Max Miller, left, speaks to President Donald Trump before his speech to the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 27, 2020. Bottom: Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, speaks during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, Feb. 11, 2020. | AP Photos

But it’s not that simple, according to more than three dozen interviews with strategists, analysts and current and former elected officials from both parties who know the region well. As battlefields go, Ohio as a whole is more red than purple, and so is the 16th District—but it’s replete as well with warning signs for Trump that his quest for retaliation might succeed only in further tearing the party apart.

Gonzalez, 36, from the west side of Cleveland, is a former Ohio State star with a family steel business background who voted in line with Trump nearly 86 percent of the time—a quickie biography and a record as a lawmaker that made him at least pre-impeachment something of a GOP up-and-comer.

Miller, meanwhile, is an electoral novice and the scion of a wealthy, politically connected family from the opposite side of Cleveland in a city in which many believe that divide still matters. And since he announced his bid, his critics say, he’s been hanging around the Trump stronghold of Southeast Florida more conspicuously than he’s been out and about in Northeast Ohio.

“Everyone in the Republican Party is flocking down to South Florida, because that’s where the money is,” Miller told me this week. But he acknowledged he has work to do on the ground at home. “There’s no greater endorsement that anyone in the Republican Party can get than President Trump’s,” he said. “However, it’s going to be on me to go out and persuade voters and for them to get to know me personally in order for them to vote and believe in me.”

Miller has a rap sheet, too, that’s from his late teens but nonetheless looms as largely undetonated ammunition for his opponents. Gonzalez operatives talk privately about Miller not with trepidation so much as relish. “It ain’t gonna be pretty,” one of them told me. “It’s just not.” Aside from what’s assuredly to come in this tussle, Gonzalez outraised Miller in the first quarter (although, to be fair, Miller didn’t declare until late February) and has more than double the cash on hand, Miller isn’t even the lone Trump-lane candidate, parts of the district are actually getting a tick more blue—and, in probably the biggest variable of all, the district is set to be redrawn in ways that could reshape the race.

Scenes from Ohio's 16th congressional district.

All of this makes Ohio’s 16th worth watching as an early, distilled look at the potential limits and pitfalls of Trump’s shoot-first, aim-later style, his personality-driven, fealty-fueled, viscerally scattershot politics of retribution. “Anthony’s disloyal, and Max will be a loyalist,” Hill said. “No more complicated than that,” confirmed a person close to Trump. “Trump is such an emotional decider,” former Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Eckart said. This nascent race then could help Trump cement a sweeping and lasting influence—or play out as a case study in the ways in which his inchoate urge for revenge might begin to run into reality.

Is Gonzalez “going to have a spirited primary? Yes,” Republican strategist Barry Bennett, a 2016 Trump adviser who’s from Ohio and has extensive experience in the state, told me. “Is he the underdog? I don’t think so.”

“Everything depends on the redraw, but I think this race is really emblematic of what’s happening within the party across the country,” said Dave Cohen, a political scientist at the University of Akron.

“It’s a perfect example of how Trump could really hurt not just the near term but the future of the Republican Party,” said David Pepper, the former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “It’s all about a loyalty test to him that almost will put targets on the backs of some of their best people.” The issue within the Republican electorate, of course, is that there is fierce disagreement about who those “best people” are.

And here at the Brew Garden at the monthly meeting of the Strongsville GOP, overlooking an asphalt vista of big-box stores, where the Cuyahoga County suburbs start to blend into the Medina County exurbs on the way down to the district’s more rural reaches around Wadsworth and Wooster, the sold-out, 300-strong throng offered at least one side of that debate.

The evening’s featured speaker, Cleveland conservative radio host Bob Frantz, the local iteration of the late Rush Limbaugh, called Democrats “evil,” said “systemic racism” “does not exist,” stressed the importance of the Second Amendment because “people need to have the means to have another revolution” and decried a corporate America “gone woke.” The people gathered clamored for boycotts of baseball and Coke. They booed Joe Biden, obviously, but they also hissed at mentions of Mike DeWine—Ohio’s Republican governor who’s been more pandemic-stringent than some of his counterparts around the country like Ron DeSantis of Florida. They wore Trump shirts. They wore Trump hats. They wore—in defiance of DeWine’s statewide mask mandate—vanishingly few masks. A 60-year-old woman literally pulled mine down below my nose and mouth—worried as she was, she explained, that it was more likely to make me sick.

But that palpable discontent was something less than laser-focused. Some of the attendees I talked to seemed to have their sights set on Gonzalez—I heard him called a “turncoat” and an “asshole”—but others seemed to have only passing knowledge of him or his impeachment vote. I found myself not merely asking questions but having to explain who was running against whom and why. It was a useful reminder of the relatively low level of engagement a year before an election—including even among citizens willing to come to political shindigs like this.

Whether they know it or not, though, these voters are living on a front that’s going to get more and more hot as the calendar hurtles toward 2022. For Trump—for his prospects for his future control of his party—there’s simply too much at stake.

“A year from now, everyone will know about it,” Burns told me. “If I was a betting man, I’d say President Trump’s gonna come in himself—and make sure people remember.” He predicted that would be “the kiss of death.”

Strongsville is a de facto capital of the 16th District. It’s one of its biggest concentrations of Republican voters. It’s the site of Gonzalez’s main non-Washington office. About a half an hour north, just shy of the shore of Lake Erie, is the tip-top of the district’s current contours—the more affluent suburb west of Cleveland called Rocky River. It’s where Gonzalez lives, and it’s where Miller lives now, too.

Gonzalez grew up just to the west, in Avon Lake, and went to high school a bit to the east, at Cleveland’s prestigious Saint Ignatius, the private Roman Catholic Jesuit institution that has doubled as a football powerhouse. He was a philosophy major and an Academic All-American and a wide receiver at Ohio State. He was a first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts and played five seasons in a career hampered and ultimately ended by injuries. He got his graduate degree at Stanford in 2014 and was the COO of Chalk Schools, a San Francisco startup, before moving back home. His Ohio roots based on his sporting past and in particular his Buckeye bona fides were a key piece of his pathway into politics.

Jack Torry, a retired Washington correspondent for a pair of Ohio newspapers, last month sent me a YouTube video of Gonzalez making an extraordinary and basically game-winning catch against archnemesis Michigan in 2005. “Beating Michigan,” Torry told me, “is a big political plus.”

Nostalgia for Gonzalez’ on-field heroics, of course, wasn’t the only engine of his initial electoral foray. His Cuban-born father, the president of a metal processing company with outposts in Ohio, Michigan and Mississippi, helped seed his bid with a PAC. Gonzalez earned the endorsement of perhaps the most prominent fellow Cuban-American politician—Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. He got the nod as well as financial help from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And he was classified as “On the Radar” of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program for promising GOP prospects.

But the quality of his opposition was as important as his level of support. In the primary in his run in 2018, it’s worth recalling, his chief foe then, too, was a markedly Trump-tinged candidate. Christina Hagan fashioned herself as an enthusiastic Trump acolyte, while Gonzalez was more Trump-cautious—at one point even citing anti-Trump Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska as a role model. The result? Gonzalez won by more than 12 points. Which meant in a safe Republican district he was on his way to Congress—a GOP winner in a cycle in which Democrats would retake control of the House. The day before Election Day, at a MAGA rally in Cleveland, Trump name-checked Gonzalez. He called him “a special person.”

Top: Rocky River is an upper middle class city in the northern part of Ohio's 16th district. Bottom: A water treatment plant just outside of Rocky River.

“In 2018, he ran against what was a very imperfect Trump candidate,” Columbus-based Republican strategist Ryan Stubenrauch told me, referring to Hagan—a then-twentysomething ultraconservative state rep who wasn’t even endorsed by Trump. “And he beat her by a little more than 7,000 votes.” (It actually was almost 8,000—but point taken.) “Does voting to impeach the president and being a former Trump official as a primary opponent plus an active role from Donald Trump in the race,” Stubenrauch said, “pick you up 7,000 votes in a Republican-leaning district?” He answered his own question. “It certainly seems like it could be done,” Stubenrauch said, “given the influence Donald Trump has on the Republican Party in Ohio and certainly within the 16th District.”

But Miller, too, is his own kind of imperfect Trump candidate.

Few people in and around Cleveland have heard of Max Miller. But very few people in and around Cleveland haven’t heard of his grandfather. Sam Miller, a real estate developer and philanthropist who died at 97 a little more than two years ago, was the poor son of immigrants from Russia and Poland before becoming over the course of an epic life one of the city’s preeminent political fundraisers and donors to candidates of both parties. He was a power broker. He was a kingmaker. And near the end of his life his company sold for $6.8 billion. “His influence,” onetime Cleveland mayor and former Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich said upon his death, “was total.”

Sam Miller had four children with his first wife, née Ruth Ratner—the sister of his business partner of nearly three-quarters of a century, Albert Ratner, another all-time Cleveland kingpin. One of their children: the former diplomat and Middle East and foreign policy expert (and POLITICO contributor) Aaron David Miller. Another: Abe Miller—the co-owner of a company that makes baseball caps and the father of Max.

Max Miller grew up in old money Shaker Heights in a more than 8,000-square-foot house. He graduated from Shaker Heights High in 2007. He graduated from Cleveland State in 2013.

Miller’s Ohio arrest record was first reported by the Washington Post in 2018. He was charged with assault and disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in 2007 after a fight in which he punched another man in the back of the head and ran from police. He pleaded no contest to a pair of misdemeanors, and the case was dismissed on account of a program for first offenders. He was charged with underage drinking in 2009, the case dismissed due to the same program. And he was charged with disorderly conduct in 2010 following a fight after leaving a hookah bar in the wee hours in which he bloodied his wrist by punching a glass door. “I did make mistakes in my youth, as many of us have,” Miller said in a statement to Cleveland’s Plain Dealer earlier this year. “Since then I’ve served my country in the Marine Corps Reserves and hold a very high-level security clearance (TS-SCI) approved by the FBI and CIA—which was granted after extensive background checks into my record and character.”

“You have a congressman who can’t run on his record, so he’s going to choose to do a smear campaign,” Miller told me. “He’s going to try to use things from when I was a teenager.” He described it as “shameful.”

Top: Max Miller, as director of presidential advance, arrives with White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham for a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump at the White House, Sept. 20, 2019. Bottom: President Trump talks with Miller before his RNC speech at the White House, Aug. 27, 2020. | AP Photos

A Marine reservist, Miller got a gig as an aide on Trump’s 2016 campaign thanks to a cousin who had a connection—Eli Miller, who’s now a managing director for an investment management firm, according to his LinkedIn page, but in 2015 and ’16 was a deputy finance director for Rubio’s presidential campaign before shifting to be the COO of finance down the general election stretch for the Trump campaign. After Trump won, Max Miller worked in Washington in the office of presidential personnel, helping with the placement of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs appointees. After that, he was the director of advance. On the 2020 campaign, he was a deputy campaign manager. “He’s been with him for the entire presidency in various roles that were up close and personal,” a senior Trump adviser told me about the former president’s relationship with Miller, “and he likes him a lot.”

Congressional candidates don’t need to live in their districts. For his run for Congress, though, Miller’s move to Rocky River was kind of a must. For all the ways in which he’s ancestrally an insider in the area, Miller’s more an outsider in this specific congressional district.

“Cleveland has this cultural thing where it’s very East Side-West Side, like there are almost two separate cities in terms of the suburbs,” Monique Smith, a Democrat in the state Legislature who represents a handful of suburbs on the West Side, told me. “Max Miller comes from the other side.”

“Max Miller comes from one of Cleveland’s wealthiest and most prominent East Side families,” said Jim Simon, who lives in Akron and is a member of the Ohio Republican State Central Committee. “I don’t know how Max Miller’s background and privilege plays in this West Side district.”

When I talked to Miller, he downplayed the divide. “It’s more of a rivalry,” he said. “It’s like, if you went to Shaker, you played Rocky River in baseball, right?”

Miller’s generally been sparse with his interviews in the going on two months since he announced his candidacy, sticking mostly to friendly, partisan platforms. He’s gone on Newsmax and OAN. He’s gone on Frantz’s show. To my eye and ear, he has … room for improvement, often presenting as somewhat stilted, nervous or rehearsed. My reporting says I’m not the only one who’s noticed. “It is clear he’s not yet gotten his feet underneath him,” said a Republican strategist who knows Ohio.

Gonzalez declined to talk to me for this story. It’s not hard to see why he might not want to call additional attention to the ways he’s at odds with the Trump-torqued chunk of his Republican base. But in interviews with NBC News, the Dispatch podcast and the conservative radio host Frantz in the immediate aftermath of his vote, he’s tried to divorce his decision from the pure pick-a-side politics of the moment.

“In the long arc of history, I believe it was the right vote,” he said. “Twenty years from now, 30 years from now, 50 years from now, what are people going to say about Jan. 6?” he said. “What this was was an attempt by the president of the United States to circumvent the Constitution to overturn an election,” he said. But he’s clear-eyed about the possible consequences. “I’m not an idiot,” he said. “I understand what this vote means and what it could potentially mean for my political career.”

He also, though, in the middle of January capped his appearance on the air with Frantz by trying to start to make amends with his constituents who feel livid or just let down.

“Every single person listening, every conservative listening right now,” Gonzalez said, “we have Joe Biden coming into office in a couple of days, we have a Democratic Senate, we have a Democrat-controlled House. We are going to have to be unified and pushing back on the agenda that we know is so bad for this country. We have to be. I know I took a vote that everybody can’t stand. I get that. But the priority moving forward, for me, for my office, for I hope every conservative across the country and certainly listening to this radio program, is to make sure that we stay together and prevent D.C. statehood, to prevent socialized medicine, to prevent all these crazy things that have been campaigned on by liberal politicians.”

Frantz told him he had “guts for coming on” his show “after the vote.” On subsequent shows, though, talking with Miller and with Burns, the popular host also called Gonzalez’s vote “shameful” and concurred that it constituted apostasy.

If Ohio can be seen as “the ultimate microcosm” of the country overall—“an ur-place,” “an uncannily complete everyplace,” “a reflection of the nation,” in the estimation of the Ohio writer David Giffels—then the 16th District could be considered a microcosm of that microcosm.

In winning Ohio twice, Trump took the district in 2016 with 56.2 percent and upped that to 56.5 last year. But it’s true, too, that Biden did better in the 16th (42.2 percent) than Hillary Clinton did (39.5). And Gonzalez? He did better than Trump—winning 63.2 percent of the vote.

Western Cuyahoga County, furthermore, is home to the lone state House district in Ohio that flipped in 2020 from red to blue. In Bay Village, Westlake, North Olmsted, Fairview Park and Rocky River, Monique Smith edged out Dave Greenspan—making Smith, a Democrat, Gonzalez’s (and now Miller’s) state rep. “The reason my part of the district flipped,” Smith told me, “was it was following that trend that we started to see in 2018, where suburban voters were just repulsed and disgusted by the political tone they saw coming from the president.”

The Ohio State Board of Education district that roughly corresponds to the 16th District also flipped from red to blue. While technically a nonpartisan election, Christina Collins, a Democrat, beat by a hair Lisa Woods, not just a Republican but a Republican who last year traveled to Bethesda, Maryland, to attend the vigil outside Walter Reed hospital when Trump was there sick with Covid. “To me,” Collins said when we talked this month, “that indicated that there are some moderate voters in there—have to be.” She couldn’t and wouldn’t have won without them.

Top: Trump signage on display in April in various parts of Ohio's 16th congressional district. Bottom: A home in Wooster, in the southwestern part of the district, hangs a "thin blue line" (pro-police) flag.

None of these finer, quieter crosscurrents, of course, were detectable in the midst of the Strongsville throng.

One man told me matter-of-factly that he believed Covid vaccines were going to kill 50 million people and that Trump hadn’t actually been inoculated in spite of what he’s repeatedly said. “He already knows the people that voted for him will not get the vaccine,” said Joe Poldruhi, 55, a maintenance man from nearby Olmsted Falls. “All the people that voted for Biden and hate Trump are taking the vaccine. Trump has no problem with that. Because they’re going to be dead.”

He told me he thought Trump “was going to win California, and when they called California as fast as they called it, I said, ‘Something is not right. There’s something that’s not right.’ He was sweeping everything—and then all of a sudden they stopped counting. I’m, like, ‘OK, Trump was right. He was absolutely right.’ He said, ‘They’re going to steal it.’ And they stole it. We watched ’em steal it.”

He said he used to be a big-time Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Now he doesn’t watch the Steelers or any professional football because of the kneeling players, or any sports at all, he said, because of what he considers increasingly liberal and activist athletes.

I looked around, taking in the buzzy Brew Garden scene.

“This is your sports,” I said.

“This is my sports,” he said.

“Joe Biden is not my president. Donald Trump is still my president.”

Notably not among the 300 Republicans on hand: Miller or Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was in town but spent the day visiting a couple of businesses in Brunswick before returning to Washington. Miller was missing on account of a delayed flight back from Florida. He had been down there for a weekend of GOP and Trump-tied fundraisers and festivities.

The only 16th District candidate present was the other Trump-lane candidate. Jonah Schulz is even younger and nothing if not eager. He lives in Cleveland, outside the district, and ran in the 11th District in 2020, losing in that Republican primary. Still, he’s a threat to siphon at least some Trump supporters’ votes. “I’ve been going to three to four events per week, and I have not run into Max,” Schulz said in March the first time we talked. “I’ll be interested to meet him,” he told me drily when we chatted near the back of the bar.

Jonah Schulz, top center, is the only primary candidate to appear at the Strongsville GOP event held at the Brew Garden on April 12.

“Schulz needs to get out of the race,” Harlan Hill told me. “Don’t split the Trump vote. It’s time to consolidate behind Max Miller. He’s got the endorsement.”

“He should see,” Miller said, “that I’m in better position to unseat Gonzalez.”

But some Republican consultants argued right now it’s not about what Schulz needs to do as much as it is about what Miller does. “You can’t win a primary in the middle of Ohio from Palm Beach,” said one GOP strategist with Ohio experience. “Max,” said Barry Bennett, “needs to get out of Mar-a-Lago and into Medina.”

“Max raises money at Mar-a-Lago with President Trump,” said a Republican strategist familiar with the dynamics of the race. “Anthony Gonzalez is stuck doing Zoom calls with John Boehner.”

In the 16th, with some exceptions, a general rule of thumb is this: The more south you go, south from Rocky River, south from Strongsville, the more Trumpy it gets. I drove that way.

It’s impossible to know for sure which parts of the district will stay and which parts will go.

“Who knows what it’ll look like in ’22?” said Pepper, the former Ohio Democratic Party chair.

“That’s the thing,” Susan Moran Palmer, Gonzalez’s opponent in the general election in ’18, told me. “You don’t know what the district’s going to be.”

“Redistricting,” granted Strongsville’s Burns, “is going to be a little bit tricky.”

A Trump flag waves on a road in Hinckley Township, an exurb near the center of Ohio's 16th district.

And Chris Glassburn, a North Olmsted city council member and a redistricting expert who assisted Ohio Democrats in the 2010 cycle, told me the 16th could become more suburban, less rural and “considerably less” Republican.

The shape and the breakdown are wait-and-see wild cards. For now, though, I got off the interstates and zigzagged from Strongsville to Medina, from Wadsworth to Wooster, shifting from suburban to exurban to residually agrarian to authentically and stubbornly so, from low-slung strip malls to horse stables and silos, through four-way stops and rundown towns, over verdant hills and past rows of crops, past Blue Lives Matter flags, past NO STEP ON SNEK flags, past Trump flags and still-up signs in yards and on porches and in windows, past a T-R-U-M-P painted in black block letters on big brown boards, past a tattered MAGA banner twisted into a tree at the front of an empty lot.

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Re: Trump enters the stage ~ Deposed from show?

Postby Meno_ » Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:17 am



Has Tucker Deposed Trump as the Troller in Chief?
Measured in liberal outrage, he’s been unbeatable of late.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson discusses 'Populism and the Right' during the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


04/28/2021 06:17 PM EDT

Jack Shafer is Politico’s senior media writer.

Nobody is more adept at rolling the liberal nerve between his thumb and forefinger than Tucker Carlson. The Fox News Channel proved his skill at extracting pained howls from the blue faction this week with a defiant monologue in which he urged viewers to authorities if they saw a child wearing a mask outside. “That should be illegal,” Carlson said. “Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact child protective services.”

The Carlson tirade produced the precise reaction he intended as the news gang covered it, and members of the commentariat sent an avalanche of protest his way. The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan laid into him. “Is Tucker Carlson losing his mind?” the POLITICO Playbookers asked. “This is really, really dangerous,” CNN analyst Asha Rangappa tweeted. “Tragic and dangerous,” agreed Strongman author Ruth Ben-Ghiat. “The right wing cancel culture is out of control,” wrote Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on
For the better part of a day, Carlson’s mask thing was Topic A, something that had to make him and his Fox bosses happy no matter how inconsistent his approach was. Putting aside completely the wisdom of masks for a moment, Carlson’s natural position on the issue of masked children would seem to be that it’s not the state’s business—or the business of a passer-by—how you parent your child as long as you’re not damaging them, which the Atlantic’s David A. Graham just pointed out. But in Carlson’s world, ideological consistency doesn’t pay the sort of emotional rewards that damning a symbol of liberal overreach does. This isn’t conservatism that Carlson is practicing, it’s Trumpism without Trump, as CNN’s Brian Stelter and others have recognized. With Trump retired from the stage, Carlson has now replaced him. As Graham put it, Carlson has become “the most visible face of the new conservative movement.”

That’s just about right. But what’s truer is that with Trump gone, Carlson has become the most audible mouth in the agitation-provocation space.

Like Trump, he labors to produce the incendiary and infuriating to attract attention and the very commendations he found himself buried neck-high in after his monologue. He lives to generate outrage from Democrats and the hall monitors at Media Matters for America. Has the #firetuckercarlson hashtag started to trend on Twitter? From Carlson’s point of view, nothing could be better. Has Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple, who has become Tucker’s Inspector Javert, started making calls to child protective services to see if people are actually phoning in reports of children being abused because their parents have forced masks on them? Bait taken. The Anti-Defamation League has called for his sacking for his “replacement theory“ segment? All the better! The indictments against him, the hashtags, all of those Wemple pieces attacking him, and Media Matters’ saturation coverage of Carlson’s show work better to connect him to potentially new audiences and seal his appeal with regulars than a billboard in Times Square or on the Sunset Strip might. Like Trump before him, the fact that certain people hate Carlson only endears him to others. Like Trump before him, Carlson’s premeditated lunacy serves as a promise that newer, even more lunatic lunacy is forthcoming. And like Trump, Carlson has mastered the art of putting his audience on the edge of its seat in anticipation of what he’s going to say next.

Saying wild things to own the libs is not something Carlson just stumbled on. He’s been mining the outré vein for at least 15 years as this Media Matters chronology of his wildest comments on air shows (see also these round-ups at Insider and the Independent). If Carlson’s comments grate liberal ears more today than they previously did, perhaps it’s because he’s no longer competing with Trump for honors. It’s almost as if the kayfabe of news requires somebody like Carlson or Trump or Steve Bannon or Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck or Pat Buchanan to wave the flag of nuttism for the amusement of the red-staters and the protestations of the blues. If Carlson were to retire tomorrow, a new villain (or hero, depending on your political temperament) of discourse would rise to take his place.

Was podcaster Joe Rogan channeling Carlson this week when he recently advised young, healthy people to avoid the Covid-19 vaccine? It’s almost a miracle that Rogan beat Carlson to the half-logic of his formulation, which was guaranteed to produce howls from all the usual places. If you want to see liberals squirm—and what non-liberal doesn’t—then the media response to Rogan’s take was better than paid advertising. Even Trump nemesis Anthony Fauci reprimanded Rogan, which will work as a kind of counter-endorsement for the podcaster.

Half-baked ideas like those offered by Carlson and Rogan only stand to attract a minority audience, but in today’s media world, you can make a lot of money serving the correct minority. After all, we elected a minority president in 2016 and gave him the run of the country.

What do you do with a problem like Tucker Carlson? Well, to begin with, avoid framing your relationship with Carlson’s utterances as a problem. He depends on blue-state counteraction to his actions every bit as much as Trump did for his, and he’s no more likely to surrender his nightly revilements than our former president was to surrender his. Fox isn’t going to fire him for his effrontery, which was argued in this space last week. As long as Carlson can cause liberals pain and give his supporters a little pleasure by rolling his forefinger and thumb together, he will continue apace. Feel free to chart his outrages and publicize them, as we all must be accountable for what we say and do. Even call for his firing if that makes you feel good. But if you continue to give him access to your nerve tissue to do that thing that he does so well, then the onus is on you.


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Re: Trump enters the stage _ The big lie rebutted

Postby Meno_ » Mon May 03, 2021 8:00 pm

Cheney calls out Trump's latest attempt to promote 'BIG LIE' amid criticism from within her own party

(CNN)Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, publicly rejected former President Donald Trump's most recent false charge that he would've won the 2020 election if not for "fraudulent" votes, her latest rebuke of the former president that has put her at odds with many members of her own party.

Cheney has repeatedly pushed back on Trump's baseless assertions that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. She was one of only 10 Republicans to vote to impeach the former president for "incitement of insurrection" after the deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6.

"The 2020 presidential election was not stolen," Cheney tweeted on Monday. "Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system."

Cheney's remarks were in response to Trump, who said in a written statement on Monday, "The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!"

Cheney's outspoken criticism of Trump has led to some House Republicans to accuse her of dividing the conference and distracting from the party's goals. Some have recently warned that Cheney could face a vote to oust her from her spot in the House Republican in leadership, although Cheney survived a similar test earlier this year.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy has the power to call for that vote, but it's unclear if he will do that as soon as next week, according to multiple House GOP sources.

But multiple Republican lawmakers and aides say that Cheney is on very shaky ground internally and whether she can hang on to her post in a secret-ballot election is highly uncertain.

When Cheney easily survived a bid to oust her in February, McCarthy came to her defense and called on the House GOP Conference to keep her in the spot in a speech delivered behind closed doors.

This time, however, could be different. A House GOP source who has been in contact with McCarthy said the GOP leader has been "furious" at her for weeks amid her comments about Trump.

If Cheney were to be ousted, it's unknown who would replace her. There are several Republicans viewed as potential candidates for the No. 3 job, including Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York and Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana.

Banks, who chairs the influential Republican Study Committee, told CNN he hopes "we can avoid" a vote to oust Cheney. But he made clear his displeasure with her.

"I would like to see my friend Liz join the focus and share the mission to regain the majority," said Banks.

"She seems very, very focused on the past and tearing down other Republicans like myself," Banks added, referring in part to her criticism of a memo he authored to take back the House majority.

The conference meets in full for the first time next week. At that point, McCarthy can call for a vote if he chooses to do so. If McCarthy doesn't go that route, then there are special procedures in place to ultimately force another vote, but those steps can take weeks to play out.

In January, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in a deluded effort to overturn the 2020 election as Congress certified the vote. While nearly the entire House GOP conference voted to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial, Cheney blamed the riot -- and the death of five people -- directly on him, saying he "summoned," "assembled" and "lit the flame of this attack."

Matt Gaetz rails against Liz Cheney in Wyoming
"There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," Cheney said.

Cheney's vote to impeach Trump sparked a backlash among the House Republican conference and in Wyoming, which Trump won in 2020 with nearly 70% of the vote, the most of any state in the country. Cheney has also faced criticism after leaning in to greet President Joe Biden last week, as he made his way down the aisle for his speech to a joint session of Congress.

But Cheney appears to be uninterested in backing away from her views, despite the intraparty pressure in Washington and primary challengers lining up to take her on in Wyoming. Cheney has recently opened the door to running for president in 2024 and blasted colleagues in the Senate who supported efforts to challenge the election results on January 6.

In February, Cheney overwhelmingly kept her leadership position in a secret ballot vote 145-61 -- but some Republicans have grown increasingly irritated that she continues to publicly attack Trump.

Last week, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked if Cheney was still a good fit for leadership. He declined to endorse her, instead saying Cheney's future would be determined by the conference.

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Re: Trump enters the stage _ The big lie rebutted

Postby Sculptor » Tue May 04, 2021 10:08 am

Meno_ wrote:Cheney calls out Trump's latest attempt to promote 'BIG LIE' amid criticism from within her own party

(CNN)Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, publicly rejected former President Donald Trump's most recent false charge that he would've won the 2020 election if not for "fraudulent" votes, her latest rebuke of the former president that has put her at odds with many members of her own party.

Cheney has repeatedly pushed back on Trump's baseless assertions that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. She was one of only 10 Republicans to vote to impeach the former president for "incitement of insurrection" after the deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6.

"The 2020 presidential election was not stolen," Cheney tweeted on Monday. "Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system."

Here we are seeing the beginning of the end for Trump.
What the US people need is a good easy to grasp SLOGAN.
Their febrile minds now have something not too complicated to grasp. The "BIG LIE" meme will grow. FInally the GOP has grown some balls, seeing that the only way they can recover their traditional support is the throw the bigfatorangebabyman to the sharks.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Intermission befire act 2?

Postby Meno_ » Thu May 06, 2021 8:24 am


'A total disgrace': Trump lashes out at big tech companies after Facebook ban is upheld
Trump’s last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told Fox News that it was “a sad day for America, it's a sad day for Facebook.”

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at three of the biggest tech giants after Facebook’s quasi-independent Oversight Board upheld the social media platform’s ban on him.

“What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country,” Trump said in a statement.

“Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before,” he continued. “The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process.”

Trump also began fundraising off of the Facebook announcement, texting supporters with a link to donate to his joint fundraising committee Save America. The webpage said, “President Trump is still BANNED from Facebook! Ridiculous! We are handing him a Donor List with the names of EVERY PATRIOT who publicly stood with THEIR PRESIDENT when the Left came after him. If you step up in the NEXT 10 MINUTES, we’ll make sure your name is the FIRST name on the list. Please contribute ANY AMOUNT IMMEDIATELY to stand with President Trump and to get your name at the TOP of the Official Donor List!”

The social media company banned Trump from using its platforms — Facebook and Instagram — the day after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The board said Wednesday that Trump “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible” by maintaining a narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, tweeted: “Our right to freedom of speech comes from the Constitution, not Facebook’s 'Oversight Board.' Big Tech has become an extension of the left’s woke mob and Congress should hold them accountable.”

Some of Trump’s GOP allies also denounced the decision to keep the ban.

Trump’s last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told Fox News on Wednesday that it was “a sad day for America, it's a sad day for Facebook.”


'A total disgrace': Trump lashes out at big tech companies after Facebook ban is upheld
He criticized the amount of influence that big tech companies have on free speech and media content, saying: “Google and Facebook and YouTube actually control much of what America sees, whether it's you and I talking right now and it gets reposted on any of those platforms, they have the ability to actually raise that profile or lower it. And so it is time that we break up big tech, not just regulate them.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, tweeted, “Break them up,” and Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., on Fox News described social media companies’ employees as “practically Bolsheviks.”

“Now that's OK, this is America,” Kennedy said. “You can believe what you want. But no one believes that these social media platforms will regulate or censor, let's say, Sen. Bernie Sanders like they would former President Donald Trump or Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., called the decision “extremely disappointing” in a statement. She has previously criticized Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for “silencing conservatives” on their platforms.

Democrats applauded the oversight board's decision. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted: “There's no Constitutional protection for using social media to incite an insurrection. Trump is willing to do anything for himself no matter the danger to our country. His big lies have cost America dearly. And until he stops, Facebook must ban him. Which is to say, forever.”

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Re: Trump enters the stage - strength against odds

Postby Meno_ » Sat May 08, 2021 3:01 pm


Sen. Lindsey Graham says the GOP can't move forward without Trump
Graham made the remark ahead of an expected vote to oust Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference next week.

May 7, 2021, 12:57 PM EDT

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Thursday that the Republican Party cannot continue without former President Donald Trump.

“I would just say to my Republican colleagues: 'Can we move forward without President Trump?' The answer is no,” Graham said in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.

Graham, who became a close ally of Trump during his presidency, made the remark ahead of an expected vote to oust Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., as chair of the House Republican Conference next week because of her efforts to publicly denounce Trump's lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

“I've always liked Liz Cheney, but she's made a determination that the Republican Party can't grow with President Trump. I've determined we can't grow without him,” Graham told Hannity.

People are attracted to the “Trump Republican Party,” Graham said, because of economic populism and the “America first” agenda.

“If you don't get that as a Republican, you're making the biggest mistake in the history of the Republican Party,” he said. “The reason our party is growing with minorities and with working men and women is because President Trump appears to be on the side of people working really hard, appears to be on the side of opportunity not dependency, because he is.”

Graham was a fierce defender of Trump throughout his four years in office, though that came after the South Carolina Republican voiced warnings about the businessman-turned-politician during the 2016 presidential campaign. Graham also ran for the GOP nomination that year, during which time he claimed a Trump presidency would lead to another 9/11 attack.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says the GOP can't move forward without Trump
After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Graham said on the Senate floor that Biden's election was legitimate and criticized Trump for his efforts to cast doubt on the outcome.

"Trump and I, we've had a hell of a journey," Graham said. "I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it. From my point of view he's been been a consequential president. But today, first thing you'll see. All I can say, is count me out, enough is enough."

In order for Cheney to be removed as the third-ranking Republican in the House, a motion would have to be raised before the conference, which will then have to vote. That could happen as early as May 12, when the House is back in session and Republicans are likely to hold their next conference meeting.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who has vigorously defended Trump and in recent days promoted his baseless claims of election fraud, has emerged as a possible front-runner to replace Cheney. Both Trump and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise publicly backed Stefanik on Wednesday, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was heard telling "Fox and Friends" host Steve Doocy off-air ahead of a live interview Tuesday that he has "lost confidence" in Cheney.

"I've had it with her. You know, I've lost confidence," McCarthy said in the recording, which was reported by Axios and has not been obtained by NBC News. "Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.”

Cheney will not step down from her leadership role, her spokesman said Wednesday.

In a Washington Post op-ed article published Wednesday afternoon, Cheney argued: "While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country."

Cheney voted in January to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. She has since come under fire for that vote and her efforts to speak out against the former president.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Help Trump

Postby Meno_ » Sun May 09, 2021 5:42 am

"Communist China & Antifa allowed on FB but Trump is BANNED. Big tech caters to the Radical Left & must be stopped. Join my fight: -Newt Gingrich"

An ad promoting Trump today 5, 8, 2021
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