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“Martinez Is Not Having It”: Latina GOP Governor Susana Martinez To Trump: ‘I Will Not Be Bullied’

When the chairwoman of the Republican Governor’s Association and the only Latina governor in the United States of America failed to endorse Donald Trump before he was set to campaign in her state on Tuesday night, dismayed Republican political strategists nationwide held their breath: What Would Donald Do?

Trump came out swinging.

“Since 2000, the number of unemployed people in Albuquerque has nearly doubled. Come on folks. What’s wrong here? It’s your fault? Is it your fault or is it your government’s fault? It’s your government’s fault…”

“We have to get your governor to get going! She’s got to do a better job, okay? Your governor has got to do a better job, okay? She’s not doing the job.”

“Hey! Maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico, I’ll get this place going! She’s not doing the job. We got to get her moving, come on, let’s go, governor!”

“Syrian refugees are being relocated in large numbers to New Mexico. If I was governor, that wouldn’t be happening. I couldn’t care less. They say the governors have no choice? If I’m governor, I have a choice, okay? Believe me.”

Fact check: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of unemployed people in a given month in Albuquerque in 2000 was 15,052. In March of 2016, according to the most recent preliminary data, the total number of unemployed in the city was 22,562. Trump’s guess was twice as large as reality, and Gov. Susana Martinez has only been in office for five of those years.

According to factcheck.org, over Martinez’s entire term, only 10 refugees of the Syrian Civil War have been relocated to New Mexico. And if Trump was governor, he would have no legal authority to stop refugees from traveling to New Mexico. Doing so would create a constitutional stand-off.

Gov. Martinez was not having it.

“Apparently, Donald Trump doesn’t realize Governor Martinez wasn’t elected in 2000, that she has fought for welfare reform, and has strongly opposed the president’s Syrian refugee plan,” Martinez’s press secretary said in a statement.

“But the pot shots weren’t about policy, they were about politics. And the governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans. Governor Martinez doesn’t care about what Donald Trump says about her — she cares about what he says he will do to help New Mexicans. She’s disappointed that she didn’t hear anything about that last night.”

Spurred by all the commotion, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio offered some encouragement on Twitter.

The truth is @ Gov_Martinez is one of the hardest working and most effective Governors in America. https://t.co/QcADopQCYe

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 25, 2016

Martinez is the exact wrong person for Trump to be bullying, in the middle of a awkward span of trying unite his supporters with establishment Republicans, and at the first signs of a long, expensive general election fight against Hillary Clinton.

Paul Ryan reiterated Tuesday, in response to reports floating around D.C. to the contrary, that he hadn’t “made a decision” about endorsing Trump yet, and though the two speak on the phone near daily, a spokesman for Ryan clarified that it wasn’t “an endorsement call.”

Ryan responded to Trump’s comments about Martinez by saying that she was a “great governor” and “a friend of mine.” Asked about pressure from the Trump campaign to endorse him, Ryan said “I don’t worry about that stuff.”

Somewhere in the labyrinthian halls of the expansive home of the suspiciously-named billionaire Los Angeles real estate investor Tom Barrack, where tickets to a fundraiser featuring Donald Trump Wednesday cost $25,000 — or $100,000 for a picture with Trump — the reality television star stared deeply into a mirror and repeated to himself:

“I will unite the Republican Party. I will unite the Republican Party. I will unite the Republican Party.”

 

By: Matt Shuham, The National Memo, May 26, 2016

May 27, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Latinos, Susana Martinez | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Here’s How The Media Should Fight Trump (It’s Easy!)”: Ask Him Questions Presidents Need To Know How To Answer

This week we’ve seen a flurry of media activity that, up until the start of this election, wouldn’t have been noteworthy at all. Three days in a row, the likely Republican presidential nominee was… challenged by a journalist.

Yep, that’s it. Welcome to 2016.

On Monday, #NeverTrump-er and conservative Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes held Trump’s feet to the fire on his bullying and complete lack of policy knowledge.

On Tuesday, Anderson Cooper challenged Donald Trump to defend the hallmark of his campaign, acting like a semi-matured toddler on Twitter, and then didn’t let up when Trump tried to dodge it.

On Wednesday, Chris Matthews wouldn’t let Trump snake out of a question about punishing women for having abortions, even though it was clear mid-interrogation that Trump didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

Good. These aren’t “gotcha” questions. They’re questions. Anyone who wants to lead the free world should have to answer them.

I’m not asking for much. All I want is for the national media, rather than asking Donald Trump about the controversies he purposefully creates to divert their attention, to ask him about him. Ask him questions he hasn’t heard before. Ask him policy questions to which you know he doesn’t know the answer, but that you would expect any other presidential candidate to answer easily.

It’s no secret why this hasn’t happened: Donald Trump is a money machine for media outlets. Personalities like the Morning Joe bunch don’t want to lose access to Trump’s campaign, so they let him call in to their show, or lob him softball questions at a specially-programmed town hall.

Or they simply let him have the floor, like when Fox and Friends asked, “Were you right?” in response to the Brussels bombings. Trump had previously called Brussels a “disaster.”

Donald Trump calls everything a disaster.

If there’s a single quote that explains this entire election cycle, it’s from CBS Chairman Les Moonves, about all of the free media his company gave Donald Trump:

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

The news networks can hide behind a false sense of neutrality — Look at how many millions of his supporters agree with building an impossible wall— but to do so ignores their responsibility to report for the sake of the public good, instead of just for the… public.

When you really listen to them, it’s crystal clear: If Trump goes down, so does our bottom line.

Enough is enough. The overlap between “Questions presidents need to know how to answer” and “Questions we haven’t asked Donald Trump” is incredibly large, and perhaps larger for Trump than any major candidate in recent history. We need to ask them — and demand a straight answer.

Better to ask those questions now than find out how Trump answers them with his finger on the gold-plated nuclear button. It’s a beautiful button, really. The best.

 

By: Matt Shuham, The National Memo, March 31, 2016

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Campaign Press, Donald Trump, Media | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“The Right To Feel Safe”: MSNBC Anchor Lives Every Female Journalist’s Nightmare

He threatened to kill my children.

He posted photographs of my house and my Atlanta-based advertising agency. He promised to send a “double-tap” my way, a marksman’s jargon for pumping two shots in close succession to my head.

He even posted “November 5, 1973”—the date of my father’s murder.

I reported the ominous messages to Twitter and sent screenshots to MSNBC executives, where I worked as a political contributor at the time. Using his Twitter handle, several followers were able to track him across various white supremacist message boards. They found his real name and the IP address he was using from a church in suburban Dallas.

“That bitch will get what’s coming to her,” he continued tweeting.

The messages were as brazen as they were brutal in nature. I remember pleading for help, demanding that someone in law enforcement take the threats seriously.

Ultimately, it would take three days and the intervention of NBC corporate security before Twitter suspended the anonymous account. The real danger, I was told by an in-house detective, might come from someone inspired by those hideous messages to carry out the threat. I was walking a friend’s daughter to summer camp at a nearby park that morning and suddenly felt vulnerable.

The damage had been done. If someone wanted me to be afraid, they had accomplished that mission many times over.

Like many of us in the public square, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry has endured her share of malicious threats online. Monday night in an Iowa hotel, the Wake Forest professor came face-to-face with the sum of our collective fears. As caucus-goers crammed into various polling locations around the Hawkeye State, Harris-Perry was watching the cable news coverage on a television in the lobby when she noticed a man standing oddly close to her.

There was an initial query about the subjects she taught, and then a more pointed question about how she got her job at MSNBC.

“What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC…”

“Well. It is not exactly a credential…” she said.

“But why you? Why would they pick you?”

His voice was angry then, she said, and he’s standing closer to her, so close that she can feel his breath.

“I just want you to know why I am doing this,” he told her. He then said something about “Nazi Germany” and “rise to power.”

Harris Perry was paralyzed in fear, as he continued telling her what he was going to do to her and why. Then she sprang from her seat, put a table between them and a friend came to her defense. The stranger was scared away by their yelling and sped away in his car.

“I don’t know if he was there to kill me,” she wrote on a university blog. “I know they [her students] were there to save me.” Her immediate fear was not just of dying, but being killed in front of her students.

Hotel security seemed hardly bothered by the incident, according to Harris-Perry, even after she explained the torrent of death threats she receives regularly.

I know what that feels like. I know what it feels like to be told that I am “making a big deal” out things. So much so, that I now only report the most egregious offenses and I no longer host public meet-ups among my social media followers. I assess and triage each and every message. In every instance, I have to bet on being right.

I can certainly deal with the mocking attitudes of those who do not agree with my politics or policy positions. That comes with the territory. However, every few days or so, someone creates a fake Twitter account in my name in an attempt to assail my public reputation with malicious and sometimes lurid posts. At last count, one anonymous user has created more than 50 accounts specifically dedicated to trolling me. The most virulent threats came during the George Zimmerman trial. The night of the verdict, I spent hours blocking thousands of intemperate and sometimes threatening strangers.

The social tools afforded by Twitter and other social networks aren’t enough. But even the most effective security features would not have prevented what happened to Harris-Perry.

The goal is to terrorize, to make it too uncomfortable for us to continue taking public stands on any number of issues. All too often, they target women. For me, it doesn’t matter if it happens to Harris-Perry, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, or a housewife in Minnesota. We have the right to feel safe—online, in a public space, or in our homes.

 

By: Goldie Taylor, The Daily Beast, February 3, 2016

February 4, 2016 Posted by | Journalists, Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC, White Supremacists | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Trump Holds An Unflattering Mirror To GOP, Fox News”: The Important Message Is That Trump Dominated Fox News

The GOP debate he wasn’t attending hadn’t yet begun, but Donald Trump, safely tucked into the plush leather seats of his 757, declared himself the winner.

He was right.

Political commentators would spend the next several hours parsing his feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly. They would rehash the more genteel tone of the GOP debate that went on without Trump and try to determine if he offended Iowa voters by not appearing at the debate in Des Moines, attending his own event a few miles down the road instead.

They were missing the point. The tiff had little to do with Trump fearing Kelly’s stern and persistent questions as one of the debate moderators. It had to do with Fox News boss Roger Ailes’ role as GOP kingmaker.

If you are going to run against the Republican establishment, that means running against Fox News. Trump knew it; Ailes knew it (which is why premier Fox talent scurried to placate Trump); and now everybody knows it.

Ailes built his network empire by defining it against the so-called mainstream media. At the same time, he was building it as a sort of “oppo” research and broadcast arm of the Republican Party, a talent incubator for conservative media stars and a source of comfy sinecures for past and aspiring Republican candidates. Whatever part of the Republican Party Fox News doesn’t own, it keeps in line with its ideological beat cops.

Fox News has been a great brand, but now Trump has decided he has to rough it up to build his own brand as a candidate. So far, it’s working.

Trump reiterated in interviews before the debate that he had to stand up to Fox News. This isn’t just the narcissistic bluster we’ve come to expect from Trump. It’s true. Forget about his counter-event and whether it succeeded or disappointed on its merits. The important message is that Trump dominated Fox News — and that is unprecedented.

The squabble with Fox News illustrates how Trump has become such an appealing candidate. It’s a peek into the brain under the pompadour.

A lot of what he does is shtick, as you might expect from someone with a background in pro wrestling and reality TV. Consider the interview he gave on his plane with CNN correspondent Brianna Keilar before taking the stage at his veterans event

“I was insulted by Fox,” he said, following a well-honed script. Of voters, he added: “I think they are going to say he’s the one person who stands up for himself. And we need that.”

Claim that you are being mistreated and disrespected by the political establishment — a victim, if you will. It takes a lot of chutzpah to do that when you’re Donald Trump. But that has been the script at Fox News since forever, and now Trump is making it his own.

Another Fox News trope that Trump has turned against the network is its grievance over political correctness. While for years the network (and conservatives generally) have prissily wailed against this form of supposed oppression, Trump has run his mouth and Twitter account, violating decorum and decency with reckless and unapologetic abandon. When he did so against Kelly, Fox News was put in the uncomfortable position of having to acknowledge that such standards should exist.

Fox News — and the Republican Party it has remade — likes to bully. Its audience likes to see it bully. Now comes the spectacle of Fox News and the Republicans being bullied, outright dominated by a free-lancer nobody took seriously. Democrats and Republicans alike may despise Trump, but he understands all too well the populist strategy that lifted Fox News and the Republican Party to commanding heights in American politics.

How do you take down this verbose bully? If you’re the Republicans, you probably can’t. The other GOP candidates can’t beat him at his own game. He’s too good and they’re so lame. The verbal ribs that the other candidates lobbed at Trump in his absence at the debate came off flat. Spontaneity and authenticity are not their forte. Political life has stilted them.

Trump is a different story. What you see is what you get, and it’s very entertaining.

Republicans can’t attack his simplistic prescriptions for foreign policy and the economy. (2,000-mile border wall? Deporting millions? Good luck with that.) Facts do not matter to the Republican base — and haven’t for some time. So appealing to reality is futile.

Substance is not what is drawing people to Trump. It’s the allure of strength, the thrill of watching somebody assert his will against the weak.

In the upside-down world that has become the 2016 race, it’s the leading Republican candidate that is showing us what a corrupt and sick institution his party has become.

 

By: Mary Sanchez, Opinion-Page Columnist for The Kansas City Star; The National Memo, February 1, 2016

February 2, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Fox News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump’s Palin-Like Word Salad About Tonights Debate”: Trump And Sarah Palin Had The Same English Teacher In School

As of this writing, it looks like Donald Trump will not participate in tonights Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News. I qualify that because – knowing the two sides involved in this battle – it wouldn’t surprise me to see further developments throughout the day. But here is Trump answering questions about all this yesterday at a press conference.

What struck me as I listened to it was that – based on his sentence structure – I’m guessing that he and Sarah Palin had the same English teacher in school. They both seem to have an appetite for the same kind of word salad.

The best I can make of Trump’s diatribe was that he has three problems. The first, of course, is that he doesn’t like Megyn Kelly. He also talks repeatedly about how “they” should donate money to Wounded Warriors. Those sound like excuses to me. What he really didn’t like is the statement Fox News issued when one of his spokespersons issued this threat.

In a call on Saturday with a FOX News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so.

Here is the Fox News response that Donald is so upset about:

We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.

That last part has to do with the fact that Trump asked his twitter followers to weigh in on whether or not to participate in this debate. But what it comes down to is that Trump tried to bully Megyn Kelly and the folks at Fox News made him the brunt of their joke.

What seems clear to me about all of this is that the best way to get under Trump’s skin is to challenge his “testicular fortitude.”

I don’t offer that as any serious political commentary – after all, when it comes to a battle between Donald Trump and Fox News, I don’t have a dog in that fight. But it is a perfect example of just how dumbed-down this whole spectacle has become.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, January 28, 2016

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primary Debates, Sarah Palin | , , , , , | 4 Comments

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