Patterico's Pontifications

8/19/2020

Trump Refuses to Condemn Q’anon: Hey, As Long As They Like Me, Right???

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:37 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Because I’m disinclined to give any politicians the benefit of the doubt these days – especially those with a track record of proving themselves not deserving of such grace – I believe that Trump is utterly disingenous in the video below, and is, in fact, fully familiar with Q’anon, their nutty conspiracy theories, bigotry, and massive support for him. Much more so than he lets on in the video below:

I was laboring to transcribe Trump’s comments, only to discover that someone else had already done the heavy lifting:

Untitled

Here is a brief overview of Q’anon:

QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory and loosely organized network centered around the belief that the U.S. is controlled by a cabal of child sex trafficking, Democratic elites hell-bent on bringing down President Trump.

Followers believe these elites, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, have gone so far as to manufacture the coronavirus to bring Trump down. They heed cryptic online dispatches of someone named Q who’s anonymous — hence QAnon — who claims the highest government security clearance.

QAnon adherence includes people young and old of many backgrounds who try to push their “deep state” narrative into the mainstream. They show up at Trump rallies in Q merchandise, shirts and hats. President Trump has retweeted Q-supporting accounts many times — including at least 90 times since the pandemic began, says Alex Kaplan of Media Matters.

It is simply appalling that the President of the United States is unwilling to wholly condemn this group. Not for a second do I believe that he doesn’t know what Q’anon is about. But of course, he won’t condemn it, or the people involved because that would not be in *his* best interest. How much support might he lose if he were to publicly disavow them? Better to be a weasel when confronted with questions about the group. It’s incredible that even after he is given a specific (and preposterous) example of their nuttery, he still refused to disavow them, and instead, played coy. This is shameful behavior by the President and should be immediately condemned by politicians on both sides of the aisle. But the Republicans should lead the charge in pushing back against the President, otherwise, we might as well assume that this is indeed what today’s GOP is all about, and this is the new level to which the party has sunk. However, none of this should really be surprising. After all, it was just a week ago when he offered his congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Green for winning the nomination in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Green is known for embrace of Q’anon conspiracy theories, and support of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views:

Via Jake Tapper, comes this troubling reminder:

The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat…

The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

I want to also note that, if you ever had doubts about Trump’s massive ego, vanity, and narcissism, this should remove them all. Because who else but a true narcissist like Trump would be flattered by the suggestion that a group of established crazy and dangerous fringe-conspiracists believes that he is here to save the world from evil? The reporter’s question was a straight-shot appeal to his vanity, so how could he possibly condemn them? They love him! They need him! They see him as the savior! How could someone like Trump resist such an appeal, and say no to that? And most importantly, why on earth would he consider condemning an organization that loves him that much? After all, this is his lifeblood that we’re talking about.

–Dana

Open Thread: Ex-FBI Lawyer Kevin Clinesmith Pleads Guilty To Falsifying Document

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:22 pm



[guest post by Dana]

CNN reports:

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith formally pleaded guilty on Wednesday to changing text in an email when working to renew the surveillance application of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2017.

Judge James Boasberg of the DC District Court accepted his plea at a hearing that lasted about an hour Wednesday.

Clinesmith admitted to one charge of inserting the words “not a source” into an email in 2017 about Page’s history with the CIA, when Page had been a contact. The email was part of preparations officials were making to apply for a renewal to Page’s wiretap in 2017. The Justice Department has since invalidated that renewal application, and several officials have harshly criticized FBI procedures in the handling of surveillance applications.

“At the time I believed the information I was providing in the email was accurate. But I am agreeing that the information I inserted into the email was not originally there and I inserted that information,” Clinesmith told the judge over the phone on Wednesday.

Clinesmith will be sentenced Dec. 10.

–Dana

New Trump Campaign Ad Goes After Biden’s Mental Fitness

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:22 am



[guest post by Dana]

Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the President’s re-election campaign, announced last weekend that the campaign would “be everywhere” in a big way during the Democratic convention:

With that, the Trump campaign released a new political ad airing at the same time as the Democratic National Convention. The new ad, “What Happened to Joe Biden,” targets Joe Biden’s mental fitness. Apparently the Trump campaign was concerned about going after the 77-year old Biden this way because it might offend the senior citizen voting bloc. But in spite of concerns, the ad was released:

It’s a smart ad. The contrasting then and now clips are compelling and speak for themselves. The ad does a good job showing viewers how much Biden has aged, and how much less verbally fluent he appears than just a few years ago. However, I feel like Biden’s team could just as easily produce a similar counter ad with some clips of Trump’s many incoherent word salad performances over the years.

A Trump campaign official defended the ad:

We think it’s very important that voters fully assess Joe Biden’s qualifications and fitness to be president. Our data show that people are concerned about his ability to do the job.

Here is the Biden camp’s response to the ad:

Donald Trump is spectacularly failing every conceivable strategic test by ramping up mentions of this subject at all. Joe Biden sounded the alarm about the outbreak early, whereas Donald Trump is still promising us the virus will magically ‘disappear.’ Joe Biden has highlighted the advice of medical experts throughout the pandemic, but Donald Trump publicly encouraged COVID-19 victims to inject themselves with disinfectant. Joe Biden has highlighted the advice of medical experts throughout the pandemic, but Donald Trump publicly encouraged COVID-19 patients to inject themselves with disinfectant. Trump has even said that we should nuke hurricanes out over the water. And if that’s not enough for you, ‘Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.‘”

And bingo, a new Biden counter ad! A 30-second reel of nothing but Trump repeating his blithering 5-word brag: Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.

–Dana

Nutcase Laura Loomer Wins GOP Florida Congressional Primary

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Of all the “Florida man” or “Florida woman” stories you could pick, “Florida men and women vote for Laura Loomer” is the looniest:

Conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer has decisively won the Republican primary for the U.S. House of Representatives seat that represents President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

. . . .

During a production of “Julias Caesar” in Central Park in 2017, she rushed the stage shouting, “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!”

In November 2017, Loomer tweeted that she could not find a “non-Muslim cab or @Uber @Lyft” driver so she was late to a meeting. After a day of tweeting about Muslims, Uber and Lyft announced she was banned from using their services.

. . . .

In November 2018, in protest of what she calls Twitter’s shadowbanning of conservatives, she handcuffed herself to Twitter’s office in New York.

Well, at least cooler heads are prevailing in the wise leadership of the Grand Old Party.

President Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago estate is in Loomer’s district, retweeted at least four posts about her win and tweeted himself, “Great going Laura. You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!”

Oh.

This is the party you want me to rejoin?

Hard pass.


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