Impeach Trump and dump treasonous Republicans

Let’s put this into language that the disgraced president of the United States can understand: “It’s time to impeach the corrupt bastard!”

Donald Trump bragged during his campaign for president in 2016 that he could gun somebody down on Fifth Avenue in New York City and nothing would happen to him.

Then he’s proven that claim over and over again duirng his first disgusting term as presdident.

Aided by a corrupt gaggle of Republicans in Congress, and cowards on the Democratic side of the House leadership, Trump has ignored the Constitution, shredded norms of decency and legality, piled up more blatant lies than any president in history, looted the treasury for his personal benefit and imperiled the nation.

“We have devoted our lives to the service and security of our country, and throughout our careers, we have sworn oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States many times over. Now, we join as a unified group to uphold that oath as we enter uncharted waters and face unprecedented allegations against President Trump,” wrote seven freshman members of Congress in the Washington Post this morning.

They continue:

We believe these actions represent an impeachable offense. We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly, and we call on our colleagues in Congress to consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us, including the power of “inherent contempt” and impeachment hearings, to address these new allegations, find the truth and protect our national security.

Everything we do harks back to our oaths to defend the country. These new allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect. We must preserve the checks and balances envisioned by the Founders and restore the trust of the American people in our government. And that is what we intend to do.

The freshmen members are Reps. Gil Cisneros of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.  All are Democrats.

“Our lives have been defined by national service,” they add. “We are not career politicians. We are veterans of the military and of the nation’s defense and intelligence agencies. Our service is rooted in the defense of our country on the front lines of national security.”

“Republicans only pretend to be patriots,” writes Paul Krugman in The New York Times.  “Democrats need to expose them for what they are.

He continues:

We have a president who really is unpatriotic to the point of betraying American values and interests. We don’t know the full extent of Donald Trump’s malfeasance — we don’t know, for example, how much his policies have been shaped by the money foreign governments have been lavishing on his businesses. But even what we do know — his admitted solicitation of foreign help in digging up dirt on political rivals, his praise for brutal autocrats — would have had Republicans howling about treason if a Democrat had done it.

Yet almost all G.O.P. politicians seem perfectly fine with Trump’s behavior. Which means that it’s time to call Republican superpatriotism what it was long before Trump appeared on the scene: a fraud.

“Republicans were never the patriots they pretended to be, but at this point they’ve pretty much crossed the line into being foreign agents,” Krugman writes.  “If a party is willing to rig political outcomes by preventing minorities from voting, if it’s willing to use extreme gerrymandering to retain power even when voters reject it, why won’t it be equally willing to encourage foreign powers to subvert U.S. elections? A bit of treason is just part of the package.”

There’s a reason why GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell is now known as “Moscow Mitch.”  He sold out America.  So has his party.

I say this as a former GOP operative.  I worked, and in most cases succeeded,” to elect Republicans to Congressional offices for more than a half-dozen years in the 1980s.  That is not the only reason that I should face enternal damnation, but it is a primary one.

Donald Trump and the GOP are flushing America down into the toxic sewer where politics swamps patriotism and benefit of self blankets service to our nation.

It’s time to dump Trump and his infected allies into that hell hole and seal it forever

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Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

McConnell waiting on Trump to decide on any actions to control guns

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Congressional Republicans are waiting for the White House to chart a path forward on gun violence legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, effectively putting the burden on President Donald Trump to decide the GOP’s legislative response to the spate of mass shootings that included another deadly attack in Texas over the weekend.

Asked about prospects for a Senate vote on legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House to expand background checks for gun purchases, McConnell said, “The administration is in the process of studying what they’re prepared to support, if anything.”

The Kentucky Republican said he expects an answer from the White House next week, adding that he wants to make sure that senators “would actually be making a law and not just having serial votes” on proposals to stem gun violence.

McConnell’s comments point to the challenge ahead as Congress returns to a gun debate that emerged during their summer recess, when mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 people dead. While Trump has said he wants to work with Congress to “stop the menace of mass attacks,” he’s waffled on support for expanding background checks, making the next steps uncertain. Trump and other Republicans have talked of pursuing other measures to address mental health or codify “red flag” laws that allow guns to be taken from people who pose harm to themselves or others, but even those measures face skepticism among GOP lawmakers.

The dynamic appears unchanged even after a shooting rampage in West Texas over the weekend that killed at least seven people. The Texas gunman obtained his AR-style rifle through a private sale, allowing him to evade a federal background check that previously blocked him from getting a gun, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.

A bill passed by the House in February would require background checks on all gun sales, including those between strangers who meet online or at gun shows. The Senate has not taken up legislation, and McConnell appeared to set a high bar for Senate action when lawmakers return next week after a five-week recess. If Trump favors background checks or other legislation he has discussed publicly in recent weeks, and senators “know that if we pass it it’ll become law,” then he’ll put it on the Senate floor for a vote, McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Trump in a tweet Tuesday urged Congress to “get back to work,” but omitted any reference to guns, focusing instead on prescription drug prices, healthcare and infrastructure.

Trump said Sunday that any gun measure must satisfy the competing goals of protecting public safety and the constitutional right to gun ownership.

“For the most part, sadly, if you look at the last four or five (shootings) going back even five or six or seven years … as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it,” Trump said. “So it’s a big problem. It’s a mental problem. It’s a big problem.”

Trump’s comments were reminiscent of his wavering last year, when he vowed to support background checks in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, only to relent after receiving pressure from the National Rifle Association.

This time there seems to be more sustained momentum to produce some sort of measure after Trump asked aides to pull together a comprehensive list of ideas. White House officials have been meeting with lawmakers and congressional staff as they try to formulate a plan that Trump can support without risking backlash from his political base.

“We’re looking at a lot of different bills, ideas, concepts. It’s been going on for a long while,” Trump told reporters Sunday after returning to the White House from Camp David.

NRA head Wayne LaPierre has repeatedly spoken to Trump and warned him about losing support from NRA members. But White House aides contend the president’s base would stick with him regardless. They point to strong support for background checks among Republicans and gun owners and believe they can fashion a proposal that the gun lobby — while not supporting — may not vehemently oppose.

Among the proposals being considered: red flag laws, more money for mental health and making sure juvenile information gets into existing background checks. Additionally, White House aides have said Attorney General William Barr is drafting legislation to speed up the death penalty for mass shooters.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a leading gun control supporter, said Trump has told him personally that he remains committed to working on expanding background checks.

Even so, the Connecticut Democrat rates the chance of Congress actually approving anything at “less than 50-50,” especially if Trump appears willing “to give the NRA veto power” over legislation such as a bipartisan bill to expand background checks being pushed Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

“I am skeptical that these efforts are going to bear fruit. I think it’s very hard to negotiate with this White House when the president’s public positions seem to change by the day,” Murphy said last month. “I’m going to try … because the stakes are so high.”

As senators continue conversations, House Democrats are moving ahead on other bills, with the House Judiciary Committee set to consider a host of proposals to address gun violence at a hearing next week. The panel postponed a hearing originally scheduled Wednesday because of Hurricane Dorian.

The committee will consider bills to ban high-capacity magazines, establish a federal program for “red flag” laws and expand bans on firearm ownership to people convicted of certain hate crimes. The panel will also hold a hearing later this month on a bill to ban military-style assault weapons.

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Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Washington, Jonathan Lemire in New York and Jill Colvin in Dublin, Ireland, contributed to this story.

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Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Voters to GOP: ‘Time to act on guns. What’s wrong?’

Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters about guns following a visit to a grocery store pharmacy in Phoenix, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Jonathan J. Cooper)

Following the news has grown stressful for Angela Tetschner, a 39-year-old nurse raising four children in this sprawling Phoenix suburb of tile roofs, desert yards, young families and voters who are increasingly up for grabs.

“Sometimes I do think about the school shootings,” said Tetschner, who doesn’t pay much attention to politics but has been disappointed in President Donald Trump, days after sending her 5-year-old boy to kindergarten. She’d like to see Congress tighten gun laws, but her expectations for action are low.

“You can’t not put your kid in school,” she said. “I just hope and pray that nothing happens.”

Tetschner’s worries are weighing heavy on Republicans in Arizona and elsewhere in the wake of recent mass shootings. The party has seen once-reliable suburbs turn competitive as women worry about their children’s safety and bristle at Trump’s harsh rhetoric on race and immigration, and they embraced Democratic alternatives in last year’s midterm elections.

GOP candidates looking ahead at tough races increasingly are eyeing new ways to address anxieties about gun violence, and to do that without crossing the party’s base, which sees gun restrictions as an infringement on the constitutional right to bear arms.

“Republicans’ backs are already against the wall among suburban voters, particularly college-educated women,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican consultant. “And the inability of our political system to pass what most Americans see as commonsense reforms related to gun violence only makes the matter worse.”

That tension is palpable in Arizona, a state with an ardent gun culture as well as a growing population of newcomers seeking sun, jobs and affordable housing in the suburbs that ring Phoenix.

Republican Sen. Martha McSally’s challenge is to navigate that divide. The freshman senator is facing a difficult reelection fight, probably against Democrat Mark Kelly , a former astronaut who became a prominent gun-control advocate after his wife, then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head in an attempted assassination in Tucson in 2011.

While gun control often fades from the conversation weeks after a high-profile shooting, the issue is likely to be a steady presence in this race, but not determine the outcome by itself. “It’s a part of their decision-making process, but it’s only a part of it,” said David Winston, a Republican pollster who advises GOP congressional leaders.

Pressure on McSally has been evident since shootings in California, Texas and Ohio. She has adopted a softer tone and spoken forcefully against hate and domestic terrorism. A vocal supporter of gun rights who once called universal background checks unconstitutional, McSally now says she is open to talking about new gun laws. She also says she intends to introduce legislation to make domestic terrorism a federal crime.

“We all need to do our part, whether there’s a federal element, a state element, a society element,” McSally told reporters in Phoenix on Thursday. “Let’s figure out what we can do that’s meaningful, that’s thoughtful, that’s not political theater in order to stop these crimes.”

McSally’s message echoes what other Republicans are saying.

After two shootings killed 31 people in less than 24 hours, President Donald Trump started talking about tougher background checks on gun buyers and prominent Republicans expressed support for laws that make it easier for authorities to seize weapons from people deemed suicidal or dangerous.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a longtime opponent of gun control laws, said the Senate could not fail to act, although he ignored a push by Democrats to call lawmakers back from summer recess to debate the issue.

McSally’s hopes for holding her seat hinge on holding onto voters in suburbs such as Gilbert, Mesa and Scottsdale where Republicans have traditionally performed well but saw their fortunes wane in last year’s midterms. Before she was appointed to the seat held by the late Sen. John McCain, McSally narrowly lost a 2018 Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, partly due to voters on the outskirts of Phoenix who split their tickets, voting for both Sinema and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

McSally said her talk about changing gun laws is not new. She said that as a congresswoman, she sponsored an National Rifle Association-backed bill to improve background checks by making sure the database of people barred from owning guns is complete. But her openness, at least rhetorically, to new restrictions is a departure from her responses to earlier large-scale shootings.

After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last year, McSally told an Arizona newspaper: “We have to address how we deal with those dealing with mental health issues.”

The Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of about 50 GOP members of Congress representing suburban districts, believes women in suburbs overwhelmingly support action.

Suburban women “want their guns, but they also want some kind of background checks,” said Sarah Chamberlain, the group’s president and CEO.

Democrats have reason to be skeptical of Republican pledges on gun legislation. Trump has shifted gears before, under NRA pressure. McConnell has not taken up a House-passed bill approved in February that would require background checks for most private sales, including online and at gun shows, and not just for transactions involving registered gun dealers.

McSally, who may face a primary challenge from an opponent of gun restrictions, is against the House bill. She said the shooters in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, were cleared to buy firearms. She said she is concerned about making criminals of people who lend a gun to their family members or close friends without a background check.

Kelly called on the Senate to approve the House bill.

“To do nothing is irresponsible and dangerous,” Kelly said in a statement released by his campaign.

Polls show McSally’s red line on universal background checks does not align with the views of most Americans and may even face skepticism in Arizona.

Sixty-two percent of midterm voters in the U.S. and 56 percent in Arizona said gun laws should be made tougher, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the 2018 electorate. A March poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found about 8 in 10 Americans in favor of a federal law requiring background checks on all gun buyers, including at gun shows and by private sale. Three-quarters of Republicans backed the idea.

“Should a gun be sold online to just anybody? No,” said Brittany Barnum of Mesa, Arizona, a 32-year-old mother of a 3-year-old. Barnum, who voted for Trump, said she’s considered homeschooling her son out of concerns about school shootings.

Tetschner, the mother who lives outside Phoenix, said she is not against gun ownership, but would like to see “strict rules” to ensure people with psychological issues do not buy them.

“It’s kind of getting old,” she said, keeping a close eye on her two younger children chasing jets of water shooting from the ground of a splash pad on a hot morning. “It’s to the point where I guess I assume nothing’s going to get done, because it’s happened a few times and nothing’s been done.”

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Associated Press writer Matthew Daly and AP polling editor Emily Swanson in Washington contributed to this report.

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Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Last chance for GOP members of Congress to show leadership?

Sources inside Republican Congressional offices say response back in home districts and states may decide how to deal with troublesome president Donald Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior that ramps up racism, nationalism and hate.

House members want to hear from constituents in open meetings and forums in their home districts while Senators are commissioning polls to sample statewide public opinion on Trump’s behavior.

“Obviously, something must be one,” says one senior staff member of a Republican senator, “but we must tread carefully and make sure we have the support of our constituents.”

“The silence of Republican leaders appeared to suggest either that they agreed with the views expressed by their standard-bearer or that he has so effectively consolidated his control over their party that they have grown disinclined to voice dissent,” writes Isaac Stanley-Becker in The Washington Post.

While some Republicans (11 so far) are speaking out about Trump’s controversial statements, most hide from the public and stay silent.

Democrats have denounced Trump and so have leaders around the world but no member of the president’s Cabinet has said a word in criticism.

Most GOP members of Congress who have called out Trump for his racism are now ex-members, including former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who called one of Trump’s racist comments “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

Former Republican Senator Bob Corker, once considered for a Cabinet post by Trump, later said: “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence fo demonstrate in order to be successful.”

That comment sent Corker’s poll numbers down in Tennessee and he retired.

Notes Amber Phillips in the Post:

Seeing a theme here? Republicans who have spoken out forcefully and memorably about Trump are no longer Republican officeholders. It is overly simplistic to say these Republicans retired because of their battles with Trump — though in Ryan’s case, a new book suggests that might be true. But all of them saw the writing on the wall: I can either speak out about Trump, or keep my job. In this Republican Party, you can’t do both.

This is why GOP Senators and Representatives want to listen to constituents back home over the August recess.

Some are still willing to speak out.

Fred Upton of Michigan said what Trump said is “really uncalled for, very disappointing.”  Paul Mitchell of Michigan said “these comments are beneath leaders.”

Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said Trump “was wrong to say any American Citizen, whether in Congress or note, has any ‘home’ besides the U.S.” but then tempered his criticism with praise for the president’s immigration antics.

“That’s the way Trump has engineered the Republican Party, to be able to get away with whatever he wants to say,” adds Amber Phillips.  “And it’s working.”

In the end, the decision of whether Trump stays or goes, rests with the voters.

Perhaps enough of them will confront their Representatives or their Senators over the August recess and convince them to be leaders.

Or we may have to wait until November of next year to see if the voters can retake control of what little is left of the country that a tyrant named Trump is destroying.

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Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

Trump: Rabid racist who must be stopped

For those of us who report what is or is not happening in our government, the time has come to accept one obvious and unreputable fact:  America has a racist president who hates this country.

That is the real news that must be reported.  Donald Trump is an unrepentant bigot, a white supremacist who sees America in black and white terms where white must reign supreme and black must be driven from our shores.

Reports David Brooks in The New York Times:

In Trump’s version, “American” is defined by three propositions. First, to be American is to be xenophobic. The basic narrative he tells is that the good people of the heartland are under assault from aliens, elitists and outsiders. Second, to be American is to be nostalgic. America’s values were better during some golden past. Third, a true American is white. White Protestants created this country; everybody else is here on their sufferance.

Trump’s vision is radically anti-American.

Says lawyer George Conway:

Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president. Trump could have used vile slurs, including the vilest of them all, and the intent and effect would have been no less clear. Telling four non-white members of Congress — American citizens all, three natural-born — to “go back” to the “countries” they “originally came from”? That’s racist to the core. It doesn’t matter what these representatives are for or against — and there’s plenty to criticize them for — it’s beyond the bounds of human decency. For anyone, not least a president.

Writes Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post:

Let’s give that hateful crowd of Trump supporters in Greenville, N.C., some credit here.

With their chants of “send her back,” about a nonwhite member of Congress who happens to be an immigrant, they have laid bare the fact that President Trump is building his hopes for a second term on a foundation of racism.

Notes Darivd Maraniss:

The spectacle of men and women at President Trump’s rally in North Carolina on Wednesday chanting “ Send her back !” depressed me so much that I could only watch for 10 seconds before turning the channel to a baseball game for mental relief. To see the president intentionally provoke hateful cheers against Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, U.S. citizen and elected member of Congress, was a reminder to me that America has been through this too many times in too many ways.

And a lesson for us all. How do you love America? Stand up against narrow-mindedness and racism. Don’t turn away. Stay with it until you have done all that you can do.

Adds Jamelle Bouie:

The chanting was disturbing and the anger was frightening, but what I noticed most about the president’s rally in Greenville, N.C., on Wednesday night was the pleasure of the crowd.

His voters and supporters were having fun. The “Send her back” chant directed at Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota was hateful but also exuberant, an expression of racist contempt and a celebration of shared values.

This dynamic wasn’t unique to the event. It’s been a part of Trump’s rallies since 2015. Both he and his crowds work from a template. He rants and spins hate-filled tirades; they revel in the transgressive atmosphere. The chants are their mutual release. Sometimes he basks in them.

To watch raucous crowds of (mostly) white Americans unite in frenzied hatred of a black woman — to watch them cast her as a cancer on the body politic and a threat to a racialized social order — is to see the worst of our past play out in modern form.

I first saw what Bouie describes firsthand 61 years ago at night in a field outside Farmville, Va, when I watched and photographed a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan.

I had snuck through the woods and took photos from the woods with a beat-up YaschicaMat twin-lens reflex camera. I sold one of those photos and a story about the meeting to the local newspaper.  I was 10 years old and decided on that night that all I ever wanted to be in life was a newspaperman.  I would cover other Klan meetings, racist violence and civil rights protests over the next six decades.

Trump, who decries any news that makes him look bad (which most legitimate news reports do) decries anything he disagrees with as “fake news.”

He is a fake president. His racism is not fake news.  It’s an accurate portrayal of what he is:  A vile racist who gets away with far too much because of a Republican Senate controlled by racists like Mitch McConnell and obstructionist House Republicans like Kevin McCarthy.

Every time that each Republican in Congress looks away and does nothing about Trump’s anti-American racist actions paints them with the same brush of bigotry and hate.

That’s reality, not “fake news” and, from this point forward, this news publication will refer to the president of the United States as the “racist Donald Trump” and refer to those who support his un-American ways as fellow conspirators.

This is war and it is a war for the soul of our nation.  We have identified the enemy and now we must work together to rid them from our government.

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Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

Racist Trump & GOP bigots who support him

The vile Donald Trump, the most racist president in modern American history, continues his bigoted rhetoric, cheered on the racists and bigots who voted for and continue to support his destruction of this nation.

Notes Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, a 2020 contender for president “It’s vile. It’s cowardly. It’s xenophobic. It’s racist. It defiles the office of the President. And I won’t share it here. It’s time to get Trump out of office and unite the country.”

Good points.  Why restate the vitriolic hatred that spills out of Trump’s mouth like verbal diarrhea.  His words should come out of his rectum.  They stink that much.

Responds Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the four targets of Trump’s hate:

I want to tell children across this country . . . no matter what the president says, this country belongs to you and it belongs to everyone.

Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy.

I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!  You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Adds former vice president Joe Biden, also a candidate to unseat Trump in 2020:

These members of Congress — children of immigrants, just like so many of us — are an example of exactly what makes America great. So, Mr. President, I am here to tell you this. This is OUR country: The United States of America. You’ll never understand what makes us strong.

Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy.

Trump depends on the weak minds that pad his “base,” along with hate, paranoia and fear.

“Trump views his racist and white-nationalist provocations as key to his reelection effort,” writes columnist Greg Sargent.

He continues:

Trump views energizing his base around such tropes as central to his reelection. The Associated Press reports that Trump and his campaign believe that placing “racial polarization at the center of his call to voters” carries “far more benefits than risks.”

We know what Trump is doing here. The reporting has established a pattern, in which Trump’s racist provocations are employed deliberately to foment racism, rage and/or hate among his supporters. Trump’s belief that his base would cheer was partly what drove his attacks on African American athletes and his refusal to condemn white-supremacist violence.

A lot is at stake here. As Vox’s Sean Illing notes, the sight of Trump “leading a white mob in a chant” about sending a black Congresswoman “home” will be “featured in history books for decades to come.”

Conservative columnist Max Boot also sees Trump as a vile racist:

What Trump said on Sunday is not legitimate criticism. It is as blatant an example of racism and xenophobia as we have seen in our politics in my lifetime.

This is the kind of rude imbecility that I have heard in recent years from anonymous Trump trolls. They regularly tell me, a Russian Jewish immigrant, that I should go back to where I come from; their only uncertainty is whether that is Russia (the place where I was born and whose citizenship I lost when we left in 1975) or Israel (a place where I have never lived). Their xenophobic and anti-Semitic intent is clear. So is Trump’s racist intent. It doesn’t matter that all four members of the Squad are American citizens or that three out of the four were born here. (Omar was born in Somalia.) In the world according to Trump, anyone who is not a white, native-born Christian is not a real American.

Trump is a bigot and doesn’t even bother to hide it. In fact — and this is the truly appalling part — he parades his bigotry in the expectation that it will win him votes. And — what is even worse — he may well be right. Such appeals to prejudice might be exactly what Trump needs to mobilize some blue-collar, white voters in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida.

All Republicans who stand mute in the face of Trump’s latest racism are telling you who they really are. It’s an ugly picture of a morally bankrupt party that has now embraced racial prejudice as a platform.

I am ashamed to have spent most of my life as a Republican. I have significant differences with Pressley, Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez and Omar — perhaps even greater differences on the issues than I have with the president — but they are better Americans than Trump.

The bigotry and racism that Republicans, at large, endorse by ignoring Trump’s vile white nationalism, is a sad testament to what is happening in America.

They choose political desires over the needs of America. Like Trump, the bigot they embrace with cultlike obedience, they are racists and a putrid threat to the nation they are willing to destroy.

As Boot writes: “There is nothing — nothing — more important in the United States than racism. Where you stand on that one issue defines who you are as a human being. Silence is complicity.”

When the Democratically-controlled House voted overwhelmingly to condemn Trump for his racist remarks, four Republicans joined them, along with Republican-turned-independent Justin Amash.

Four.  Not that many, but maybe it’s a start.  Maybe, other Republicans may learn that putting America first is what matters and that means getting rid of racist Donald Trump and the bigots who support him.

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Copyright © 2019 Capitol Hill Blue

Battle lines are drawn: Racists against socialists

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

With tweets and a vote, President Donald Trump and House Democrats established the sharp and emotionally raw contours of the 2020 election campaigns.

In the process, they have created a fraught political frame: “racists” vs. “socialists.”

Trump’s aggressive condemnation of women of color in Congress has allowed House Democrats to mend, for now, their own political divisions as they put the president on record with a resolution condemning his words as racist.

But by pushing the House majority into the arms of the squad of liberal freshman women, Trump also adds to his narrative that Democrats have a “socialist” agenda, a story line he started to bring into focus during his State of the Union address.

Political triumphs are being claimed on all sides. Yet it’s unclear whether either approach is what’s needed to sway independent-minded voters who typically determine congressional and presidential elections. And at a time when polling shows Americans sense a worsening of racial attitudes, the searing attacks along Pennsylvania Avenue are tapping potentially explosive emotions.

On Wednesday, it was all set to escalate as Trump was jetting off for a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, and the House prepared a symbolic vote on impeachment, though it was not expected to pass.

The state of affairs offers “a very clear choice,” said Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee on Wednesday.

“The Democrat party is now a socialist party, and these four women have become the de facto speakers of the Democrat House,” she said on Fox. “So he’s saying, do you want socialism or do you want what we’re delivering with higher jobs, higher wages, more jobs, a strong economy.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that Americans have already heard enough from Trump, with his “disgusting” remarks “denigrating” the nation’s values.

“The president knows the arguments that are being made against him and therefore he wants to distract from them,” Pelosi said. “Let’s not waste time on that,” she said. “We’re talking about what we’re going to do to help the American people.”

The four freshmen, in their own appearance together, portrayed the president as a bully who wants to “vilify” not only immigrants, but all people of color. They’re fighting for their priorities to lower health care costs, pass a Green New Deal addressing climate change, they say, while his thundering attacks are a distraction and tear at the core of America vales.

“America has always been about the triumph of people who fight for everyone versus those who want to preserve rights for just a select few,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, perhaps the most recognizable of the newcomers.

“And there is no bottom to the barrel of vitriol that will be used and weaponized to stifle those who want to advance rights for all people in the United States,” she said on “CBS This Morning.”

Taking a fresh dig at the group, Trump on Wednesday tweeted a new slogan — “One ‘squad’ under God” — with a video featuring clips of him meeting with law enforcement and military personnel juxtaposed with patriotic scenes, set to Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American,” which often serves as a soundtrack to his campaign rallies.

The action middled out a week that has already been extraordinary, even by the new standards of the Trump presidency.

In a political repudiation, the Democratic-led U.S. House voted Tuesday to condemn Trump’s “racist comments” against the congresswomen of color after he told them to “go back” to their own countries .

The women, Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, all were born in the U.S. except for Omar, who became a U.S. citizen after fleeing Somalia as a refugee with her family.

Democrats eased the resolution through the chamber by 240-187, joined by four Republicans and one Republican-turned-independent congressman.

Trump accused the women of “spewing some of the most vile, hateful and disgusting things ever said by a politician” and added, “If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave !”

Republican operatives swiftly dispatched their own attacks on nearly 30 of the House Democratic freshmen who helped take the majority in 2018 by winning seats from areas that Trump also won in 2016. They are seen as the front liners needed to retain control of the House, and many face tough re-election races in 2020.

“Deranged,” read the missives from the National Republican Congressional Committee. The committee is raising money off Ocasio-Cortez as the face of the “socialist” agenda and drawing links to the party’s presidential contenders, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and other liberal front-runners.

“This wasn’t what people in the Trump districts elected them to do,” said Bob Salera, a spokesman for the GOP’s campaign committee.

Democrats believe Trump’s attacks will have the opposite effect, turning off the suburban voters, particularly women, who helped elect Trump but also turned out for Democrats in last fall and are tiring of it all. Trump tried a similar approach last fall, invoking fearful warnings of “caravans” of immigrants pouring into the U.S., but voters tuned him out to give Democrats control of the House. The party will try again to persuade voters away from Trump’s vision of America.

But Democrats also know they now need to return to their core campaign messages — lowering health care costs, conducting oversight of the administration — or risk having Trump define them and the 2020 candidates.

Behind closed doors Wednesday, party leaders laid plans for reviving those issues, starting with an event next week to mark their accomplishments so far on the 200th day of the House Democratic majority, and into the summer August recess campaigns.

“I’m trying to represent my district, a very diverse district,” said Tlaib. “This is a distraction.”

When asked if they, as the four newcomers, were also a distraction, Omar, a Muslim-American, objected to the question: “He wants you to focus on that, and you should be asking, Why is it that we are being criticized?”

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Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Zeke Miller and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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