Hillary Clinton on Friday defended her 2016 campaign strategy after 2020 Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg criticized his party’s previous nominee for being too hopeful and not understanding the struggles of everyday Americans.
“I really do believe that we always have to appeal to our better selves because the wolf is at the door, my friends,” Clinton said during an appearance at the 10th Annual Women in the World New York Summit. “Negativity, despair, anxiety, resentment, anger, prejudice, that’s part of human nature and the job of the leader is to appeal to us to be more than we can be on our own, to join hands in common effort.”
“I was well aware that we had problems that we had to solve, but it’s been my experience that anger, resent, prejudice are not strategies,” the former first lady, secretary of state and senator from New York added. “They stop people from thinking. They don’t enlist people in the common effort to try to find solutions.”
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told the Washington Post in a profile published January that President Trump connected with the concerns of ordinary Americans in a way Clinton did not.
“Donald Trump got elected because, in his twisted way, he pointed out the huge troubles in our economy and our democracy,” he said. “At least he didn’t go around saying that America was already great, like Hillary did.”
A senior Clinton adviser blasted Buttigieg’s comments last month via Twitter as “indefensible.”
“[Hillary Clinton] ran on a belief in this country & the most progressive platform in modern political history. Trump ran on pessimism, racism, false promises, & vitriol. Interpret that how you want, but there are 66,000,000 people who disagree. Good luck,” Nick Merrill tweeted.
“It’s pretty simple. Slam HRC…lose my vote,” and another who chimed in: “It is unfortunate when people as smart as @PeteButtigieg engage in this fantasy fiction about 2016. And as a gay American it is disappointing because @HillaryClinton ran a campaign which amongst its many values championed our community,” Merrill also wrote.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters Friday the Pentagon stands ready to dispatch more troops to the border region if President Trump follows through with his pledge to increase the military presence along the U.S.-Mexico boundary.
Trump said after touring a section of recently upgraded border fencing in Calexico, Calif., last week, “We’re going to bring up some more military” to deal with what he said were more than 70,000 illegal migrants rushing the border.
Shanahan said the Pentagon has had conversations with the Department of Homeland Security but has yet to receive a formal request.
“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’ll provide more support to the border,” he said in response to a reporter’s question as he prepared to meet with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. “Our support is very elastic, and given the deterioration there at the border, you would expect that we would provide more support.” Shanahan said he anticipates the support will be similar to what the military has already provided with several thousand troops, barrier construction, transport, and surveillance.
Shanahan will meet with a planning team at the Pentagon over the weekend to prepare for the potential request, he said.
“It will follow up with where are we on barrier construction, where do we stand on troops deployed, and then in the areas we anticipate, what type of preliminary plans should we be doing prior to receiving a request for assistance,” he said.
Democrats have been highly critical of the deployment of active-duty troops to the border, and many have cited a leaked internal memo the Marine Corps commandant sent to the Navy secretary warning that unexpected expenses, such as hurricane damage and border operations, could force him to cancel routine training and degrade combat readiness.
But in Senate testimony this week, Gen. Robert Neller insisted his memo was being misconstrued. “To say that going to the border was degrading our readiness is not an accurate statement,” Neller told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.
Neller’s March 18 memo listed eight categories of unfunded and unexpected expenses. Hurricane recovery was at the top of the list, but a number of expenses were included, such as the raise for civilian employees, which was not in the budget.
“We have a shortfall of just under $300 million, of which the border mission is less than 2 percent,” Neller said. “So my intent was to just simply lay out for my boss what these were and ask for support in trying to figure out how we might fund them.”
Pressed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Neller conceded some Marines, who are not doing the jobs they would normally do, could see a small degradation in their unit readiness, but he said it depended on the unit.
“Some of the units have gone down there and they’ve done tasks that are more in line with their core mission. Like engineer units or MP units. Aviation units that were assigned to that early on have actually improved their readiness because they are able to fly certain profiles and things,” he testified.
Neller reports to his civilian boss, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, who requested the memo and jumped to Neller’s defense at the hearing.
“The main stress that we were dealing with at the time, senator, was the hurricane, which was imposing the greatest cost on the Marine Corps,” Spencer told Warren. “Five hundred men for a month at the southern border is $1.25 million. In my mind, is that affecting my readiness stress? No, it’s not.”
Neller said so far border operations have cost the Marine Corps $6.2 million.
Thousands of Twitter accounts known as “bots” targeted Bernie Sanders supporters to rally support for the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election after Sanders’ loss to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic primary.
Researchers at Clemson University collaborated with the Washington Post on a report that found tens of thousands of tweets sent from bot accounts controlled by Russian agents drew parallels between the populist, working-class messages of the Trump campaign and that of Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont.
“#BlackMenForBernie Leader Switches to Trump! I will Never Vote for Hillary, Welcome aboard the Trump Train,” said one tweet sent by a Russian bot. The account described itself as a “Southern., Conservative Pro God, Anti Racism” Twitter user from Texas.
Another Russian bot, called “Red Louisiana News,” tweeted: “Conscious Bernie Sanders supporters already moving towards the best candidate Trump! #Feel the Bern #Vote Trump 2016.”
In an effort to have Sanders’ supporters defect from Clinton’s Democratic Party, the bots also highlighted questionable tactics Sanders’ supporters claimed took place in order to rig the Democratic nomination process for Clinton.
“I think there is no question that Sanders was central to their strategy. He was clearly used as a mechanism to decrease voter turnout for Hillary Clinton,” said Darren Linvill, researcher and Clemson University associate professor of communications.
The analyzed tweets “give us a much clearer understanding of the tactics they were using. It was certainly a higher volume than people thought.”
Nearly 12% of voters who supported Sanders in the Democratic primary crossed party lines and voted for Trump in the general election, according to a post-election survey by NPR. The numbers are particularly stark in light of Trump’s upsets in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, which clinched the election for him.
Last month, Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary committees, briefing them of the “principal conclusions” in Mueller’s Russia investigation. The summary said the special counsel did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Does Vice President Mike Pence care about your sexuality? And will the Left and the media ever get over it if the answer is no?
During a speech a few days ago to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said “If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Buttigieg was lauded for really taking the argument to Pence.
The comments were made in response to Pence’s recent comments … oh, that’s right, there were no Pence comments. In fact, the two seemed to have a very pleasant relationship while both served the people of Indiana, Buttigieg as mayor of South Bend and Pence as governor.
The Daily Caller points out that “In 2014, for example, Pence called Buttigieg on the day of his deployment to Afghanistan — USA Today described Pence as “noticeably moved” during the call. Pence responded with support in 2015 when he heard Buttigieg had come out as gay, asserting, “I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot.”
Buttigieg’s answer to an argument Mike Pence didn’t make is a good one. But if you have to build up straw-men with which to argue, perhaps it’s because Mike Pence isn’t the guy you think he is.
There so much common wisdom about Mike Pence that has so little basis in reality. At the top of that list is that “Mike Pence believes in gay conversion therapy.” But there is no evidence that Pence supports or has ever supported the odious practice, which purports to “electro-shock” away the gay.
The Snopes website states “Pence never stated that he supported the use of electric shocks or ‘gay conversion therapy.'” The rumor is based on a clause Pence wanted added to a AIDS funding bill which read, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” That can mean institutions that promote safer sex, that can mean institutions that work against promiscuity. That people took that line and decided it meant “gay conversion therapy” is, frankly, insane. That this idea continues to go unchallenged is a failure of our media.
When Joe Biden got in trouble a few weeks ago for calling Pence “a decent guy,” actress Cynthia Nixon took to Twitter to call Pence “America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader.” She didn’t explain what made him so LGBT and no one called her on it. Instead, Biden apologized for complimenting Pence.
The obsession over gayness isn’t Pence’s, it belongs to his critics.
Last year, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver put out a book A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a parody of the children’s book Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, written by Pence’s wife and daughter. In the Oliver book, the bunny is, wait for it, gay. How daring. The book, of course, got fawning write-ups in places like the New York Times.
Last month, the media was obsessed with the Irish prime minister bringing his boyfriend to meet Pence. Article after article chronicled Pence’s reaction, which was to treat the prime minister and his boyfriend exactly as he treats anyone else.
In January, sites got their clicks by urging you to “Watch Mike Pence swear in the first openly bisexual Senator, Kyrsten Sinema.” If you watched you’d find that the vice president swore her in without incident or any marked discomfort.
And in 2018, the media wanted you to know that “Pence swears in Trump’s most prominent openly gay official” at the ceremony for Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany.
Pence either has the world’s best poker face or else he doesn’t actually have an issue with gay people. In fact, one of Pence’s very few tweets mentioning the word “gay” is one where he notes “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.” He simply doesn’t live up to his caricature.
Pence is a private person. He’s not a tweeting machine like President Trump. This lets people project their intense anti-administration feelings onto him. The problem is that these people never get any pushback from the media, who only claim to care deeply about facts. The facts have shown Mike Pence not to be the homophobe his foes imagine him to be.
Karol Markowicz is a columnist for the New York Post.
Both the White House and Republican lawmakers are looking for ways to narrowly change the nation’s immigration policy to stop a massive surge in illegal immigration along the southern border.
The GOP senator leading the charge is Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee. Johnson told the Washington Examiner he plans to introduce legislation “shortly” after lawmakers return from a two-week recess in April that would address the way immigration officials determine who can claim asylum to remain in the United States.
He hopes the measure can be bipartisan and believes, based on comments from the Democrats on his committee, that both parties will be on board.
“I was very encouraged by a number of Democrats walking by me, on the dais, just basically saying lets get to work on this, we have to fix this,” Johnson said.
Johnson held a hearing last week to examine the latest surge of illegal immigration along the southwest border. At the hearing, Johnson displayed a chart he’s been distributing around the Capitol lately as he tries to draw attention to the ways in which illegal immigration surges are tied to the nation’s immigration policy.
So far this year, Johnson’s chart points out, 240,000 migrants have been apprehended, some at ports of entry but most at points in between along the southwest border.
Much of the increase, the chart notes, accelerated after July 2015, when a federal judge ruled that illegal immigrant parents must be released with children soon after they are apprehended.
The court ruling attracted mass family migration from Central America as adults learned bringing children to the U.S. border would prevent them from being detained or immediately sent home.
The White House is moving along a parallel track in seeking ways to make changes that would discourage mass migration. The Trump administration is planning changes that don’t require congressional approval, which, despite Sen. Johnson’s optimism, could prove to be difficult to obtain in the House where Democrats are in charge.
Trump kicked off the effort to reform the Department of Homeland Security by ousting Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Her departure was soon followed by the resignation of other top DHS officials. The purge has caused bipartisan alarm on Capitol Hill.
According to a senior administration official, the Homeland Security Department will be directed to employ a higher threshold for allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the United States under the “credible fear” standard. Up to 90% of Central American migrants are allowed to remain in the United States initially after making such a claim to agents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Only 10-15% of those making such claims are ultimately determined to qualify for asylum when their cases are more thoroughly reviewed by asylum officers. More than 90% of those initially let go under the “credible fear” claim end up staying in the country illegally.
“Individuals conducting the exam are part of the problem,” the senior administration official said. “One of the biggest frustrations is that USCIS hasn’t changed its culture from the Obama years. The reflexive tendency is to believe stories even if they don’t stand up to fact.”
The Trump administration is also seeking new regulations that would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold families and children for much longer than 20 days in order to provide time for a more thorough review of asylum claims.
Johnson said he is working with the Senate Judiciary Committee to craft legislation that would alter the nation’s asylum policies and the law governing how long illegal immigrant families can be detained.
“Right now, when 85% of asylum claims are denied, there is something wrong with that initial determination,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he’s not in favor of changing the current standard for granting asylum in the United States, “but change the bar for that initial determination.”
Johnson has the backing of Senate Republican leaders, who have criticized Trump for his recent purge at Homeland Security but have long agreed with him that the surge in illegal immigration along the border is rooted in bad policy and has to be fixed.
“We desperately need some immigration legislation,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said last week on Fox News “Special Report.” “The president’s entirely correct about the crisis at the border and the fact that our immigration laws do not allow us to deal with the crisis at the border.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Monday he was concerned about reports of more imminent departures in the White House after the latest shakeup of top immigration positions.
During a Monday night interview on Fox News, Grassley said he was caught off guard by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen submitting her resignation but understood that President Trump has the prerogative to decide who he wants to run the department.
“I am very surprised. But the president has a right to have whoever he wants,” Grassley said. “And the acting person is very well qualified.”
Trump announced Nielsen’s departure over Twitter Sunday after a heated meeting on the border and immigration. But Grassley said he is more concerned about reports that others could be on the cutting board, according to the Washington Post.
L. Francis Cissna, the head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and John Mitnick, a senior member of Nielsen’s team, might be pushed out next, and Grassley said this makes him “very, very concerned.”
“One, those are good public servants,” he said. “Secondly, besides the personal connection I have with them and the qualifications they have, they are the intellectual basis for what the president wants to accomplish in immigration.”
When Grassley served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cissna and he worked closely together.
“The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,” Grassley said, noting he has been in contact with Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, about the issue Monday.
The senior senator from Iowa also knocked Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s senior policy advisers and an immigration hardliner who reportedly played a big role in orchestrating Nielsen’s ouster.
“I think it would be hard for him to demonstrate he’s accomplished anything for the president,” Grassley said.
This shakeup also includes the coming departure of Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, who Trump reportedly called “Dumbo” behind his back. James Murray was named as Alles’ replacement and Nielsen is set to be replaced by Kevin McAleenan.
The departures come days after the nomination of Ron Vitiello, who was to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was suddenly pulled from consideration.