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  • The Complete History Of Donald Trump's Relationship With The White Nationalist Movement

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Donald Trump's presidential campaign has engaged in a disturbing courtship with the racist white nationalist movement that is unprecedented in recent American political history. That effort has taken on new life with Trump's hiring of Breitbart News chief Stephen Bannon.

    Bannon oversaw Breitbart News’ attempts to normalize and embrace the white nationalist movement. As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted, Breitbart "has undergone a noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas."

    White nationalist themes have been at the center of Trump's campaign since its inception. He began his campaign by smearing Mexican immigrants as violent criminals and rapists and later called for a ban on Muslim immigration, moves which endeared him to his growing white nationalist support. When Trump attacked the Mexican heritage of an American-born judge and smeared the family of a fallen Muslim-American soldier, his white nationalist fans cheered. Trump also initially refused to condemn the support of David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. 

    White nationalists haven't only praised Trump from afar: They've rubbed elbows with the campaign. Trump himself has repeatedly retweeted white supremacist messages and accounts, such as “WhiteGenocideTM.” Trump surrogates have directly courted white nationalists by giving interviews to white nationalist media outlets. A “pro-white” radio host received press credentials to cover a Trump rally and the Republican National Convention. And Trump selected the leader of a white nationalist political party to be a convention delegate (he resigned following media exposure).

    White nationalists have used Trump's tacit and direct support to breathe new life into their movement. The movement’s leaders have said they have seen "unprecedented interest" in their activities and message. They have used Trump to fundraise and build up their organizations. And white nationalist leaders say they and their ideas are now "firmly in the mainstream" thanks to Trump.

    The following is a history of the Trump campaign’s disturbing relationship with the white nationalist movement.

    White Nationalist Leaders Are Supporting Trump, Who See Him As Their “Last Stand”

    White Nationalists Have Praised Trump And His Actions Throughout The Campaign

    Trump And His Campaign Have Had Disturbing Interactions With White Nationalists

    White Nationalists Say Trump Has Helped Them Grow Their Movement

    White Nationalist Leaders Are Supporting Trump, Who See Him As Their “Last Stand”

    Associated Press: “Experts Say White Supremacists See Trump As 'Last Stand.'” The Associated Press reported that “Trump and his campaign are expressing ideas similar to those espoused by white supremacists, legal, media and civil rights experts say. In addition, the experts said Wednesday, white supremacists are using the 2016 presidential elections to attempt to control the culture of politics.” From the piece:

    Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group, noted that Trump has retweeted posts from white supremacist accounts on Twitter.

    Twitter is Trump's biggest microphone, and his rhetoric correlates with some of the beliefs of white supremacy organizations and communities, Carusone said.

    Sophie Bjork-James, a Vanderbilt University lecturer and expert in white supremacist social movements, said white nationalists are attempting to increase their numbers through Trump's campaign. [The Associated Press, 8/11/16]

    David Duke: “Voting Against Donald Trump At This Point Is Really Treason To Your Heritage.” David Duke is a white supremacist radio host and former Ku Klux Klan wizard. He is currently running for the U.S. Senate and cited Trump as an inspiration for his run. [BuzzFeed, 2/25/16; Media Matters3/1/167/22/16]

    “Pro-White” Radio Host James Edwards: "Trump Will Be The First Republican Nominee That I Have Ever Voted For." James Edwards is the host of the “pro-white” radio program The Political Cesspool. Edwards is a David Duke acolyte and he “has probably done more than any of his contemporaries on the American radical right to publicly promote neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, raging anti-Semites and other extremists," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Edwards has written: “For blacks in the Americas, slavery is the greatest thing that ever happened to them. Unfortunately, it's the worst thing that ever happened to white Americans”; “MLK's dream is our nightmare”; and “Interracial sex is white genocide.” [Media Matters, 7/24/16; Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16]

    Hate Publication Leader Kevin MacDonald: "Trump Is Saying What White Americans Have Been Actually Thinking For A Very Long Time." The Southern Poverty Law Center described Kevin MacDonald as “the neo-Nazi movement's favorite academic” who “published a trilogy that supposedly ‘proves’ that Jews are genetically driven to destroy Western societies.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    Neo-Nazi Site Daily Stormer: "Vote For The First Time In Our Lives For The One Man Who Actually Represents Our Interests." The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi website headed by Andrew Anglin that has endorsed Trump and is enthusiastically supporting his campaign. The website regularly defends Adolf Hitler, attacks “kikes,” and has a section documenting the purported “Jewish Problem.” [Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    Hate Group Leader Jared Taylor: "Trump May Be The Last Hope For A President Who Would Be Good For White People." The Southern Poverty Law Center writes that Taylor “is the founder of the New Century Foundation and edits its American Renaissance magazine, which, despite its pseudo-academic polish, regularly publishes proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black and anti-Latino racists. Taylor also hosts a conference every other year where racist intellectuals rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    Hate Group Leader Richard Spencer: “Trump Thinks Like Me. … Do You Think It's A Coincidence That Everybody Like Me Loves Trump And Supports Him?” Richard Spencer is the head of the white nationalist National Policy Institute. The Associated Press reported that Spencer “matter-of-factly called for removing African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews from the United States” while at the Republican National Convention. [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; The Associated Press, 7/25/16]

    Stormfront Founder Don Black: “We Are All Pulling For Him, Voting For Him If We Can.” The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Black is a “former Klan state leader and long-time white supremacist” who created “Stormfront.org, the first major Internet hate site.” [BuzzFeed, 3/25/16; Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16]

    White Nationalist Political Party Leader William Johnson: “I Urge You To Vote For Donald Trump.” William Daniel Johnson heads the American Freedom Party and “has called for a whites-only United States and the deportation of other races and ethnicities.” He also founded the pro-Trump group American National Super PAC, was initially selected as a Trump convention delegate, and issued pro-Trump robocalls in key primary states. [The Washington Post, 5/11/16; Talking Points Memo, 1/9/16

    White Nationalists Have Praised Trump And His Actions Throughout The Campaign

    Early In Primary Campaign, White Nationalists Praised Trump’s Stance On Immigration. Trump’s stance on immigration drew white nationalists to his campaign during the early months of the Republican primary. They said Trump was "doing the Lord's work," remarked that his plan was the "most explicit any presidential candidate has ever been," and said Trump could halt "the speed with which whites are reduced to a minority." [Media Matters, 8/27/15]

    White Nationalist Media Backed Trump's Anti-Muslim Plan. White nationalists praised Trump’s plan "for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." They called Trump's proposal "so wonderful" and "100% reasonable" because Muslims purportedly provide "absolutely nothing of value to this once-great nation." [Media Matters, 12/8/15]

    Trump’s White Nationalist Backers Applauded His Racist Attacks On Federal Judge. White nationalists praised Trump’s racist attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel for purportedly being biased because “he’s a Mexican.” They called the judge a “terrorist spic,” claimed “Diversity is not strength, and it above all is not an impartial judiciary,” said the attacks against Trump are because of “Jewish manipulation,” and celebrated that Trump “is waking up” white Americans “from their collective hypnosis.” [Media Matters, 6/7/16]

    White Nationalists Hailed Trump For “Stunning” Anti-Semitic Tweet. White nationalist leaders praised Trump for tweeting an anti-Semitic image attacking Hillary Clinton. They wrote that the tweet represented “dog-whistling by The Leader” about “filthy Jew terrorists,” proof that “Trump is not backing down,” and that it’s “Nice to see Mr. Trump slipping some 'Red Pills' to the American people.” [Media Matters, 7/5/16]

    White Nationalists Praised Trump’s Convention. White nationalists praised Trump and the 2016 Republican National Convention. They celebrated that their tweets were featured in the convention hall, defended Melania Trump’s plagiarism from attacks by “the filthy Jews,” and hailed that the Republican Party “is becoming the de facto white party.” They also praised Trump’s convention speech, stating that they “couldn't have said it better” and “couldn’t be happier”; and said that Trump was focusing on the “negative effects” of immigration and using “codewords” that appeal to whites. [Media Matters, 7/20/16, 7/22/16]

    White Nationalists Loved Trump’s Attacks Against Muslim-American Gold Star Parents. White nationalists praised Trump for his “rightful” attacks against Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Khizr Khan delivered a convention speech honoring son Humayun Khan, who was killed while serving in Iraq, and criticizing Trump. White nationalists said that Trump’s anti-Muslim comments prove he’s “the real thing,” claimed the fallen soldier was a “terrorist” infiltrator, and called for the Khans to be deported. [Media Matters, 8/2/16]

    White Nationalists Rejoiced At Trump’s Hiring Of Breitbart News Chief Stephen Bannon. The Southern Poverty Law Center noted that under Bannon, Breitbart.com “has undergone a noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas.” The Daily Beast similarly wrote that “Bannon did a lot to normalize the racist, anti-Semitic world of the alt right.” VDare’s Peter Brimelow praised Bannon’s hiring in the Daily Beast, saying that “Breitbart emerged as a nationalist site and done great stuff on immigration in particular.” Richard Spencer also approved of the hiring, stating, “Breitbart has elective affinities with the Alt Right, and the Alt Right has clearly influenced Breitbart.” The Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin supported Bannon’s hiring, stating that “Breitbart has, over the last year, gone from Fox News-style cuckism to full-on Stormer-tier on most issues (not the Jews, of course).” [Southern Poverty Law Center, 4/28/16, Daily Beast, 8/17/16; Daily Stormer, 8/18/16

    Trump And His Campaign Have Had Disturbing Interactions With White Nationalists

    Trump Has Repeatedly Retweeted White Supremacist Accounts. The New York Times wrote of Trump’s penchant for promoting white nationalists on Twitter:

    But on the flatlands of social media, the border between Mr. Trump and white supremacists easily blurs. He has retweeted supportive messages from racist or nationalist Twitter accounts to his nine million followers. Last fall, he retweeted a graphic with fictitious crime statistics claiming that 81 percent of white homicide victims in 2015 were killed by blacks. (No such statistic was available for 2015 at the time; the actual figure for 2014 was 15 percent, according to the F.B.I.)

    In January and February he retweeted messages from a user with the handle @WhiteGenocideTM, whose profile picture is of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party. A couple of days later, in quick succession, he retweeted two more accounts featuring white nationalist or Nazi themes. Mr. Trump deleted one of the retweets, but white supremacists saw more than a twitch of the thumb. “Our Glorious Leader and ULTIMATE SAVIOR has gone full wink-wink-wink to his most aggressive supporters,” Mr. Anglin wrote on The Daily Stormer.

    In fact, Mr. Trump’s Twitter presence is tightly interwoven with hordes of mostly anonymous accounts trafficking in racist and anti-Semitic attacks. When Little Bird, a social media data mining company, analyzed a week of Mr. Trump’s Twitter activity, it found that almost 30 percent of the accounts Mr. Trump retweeted in turn followed one or more of 50 popular self-identified white nationalist accounts. [The New York Times, 7/14/16]

    Trump Repeatedly Refused To Denounce David Duke. Trump created an uproar when he repeatedly refused to disavow David Duke for supporting his campaign. Trump later bizarrely blamed a “bad earpiece” for failing to denounce Duke during the interview. [CNN.com, 2/29/16; Washington Examiner, 2/29/16]

    Trump Refused To Denounce Neo-Nazi Supporters Who Threatened Reporter. During a May interview, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Trump if he would denounce anti-Semitic death threats against a reporter who wrote a profile of Melania Trump. Trump refused to condemn the threats, saying he was unaware of them and adding, “I don’t have a message to the fans. A woman wrote a article that was inaccurate.” [Media Matters, 5/6/16]

    Trump Selected White Nationalist Leader As Delegate. As Mother Jones noted, the Trump campaign selected “William Johnson, one of the country's most prominent white nationalists,” as a convention delegate from California. Johnson later resigned following criticism, and the Trump campaign blamed a "database error" on the selection. [Mother Jones, 5/10/16]

    Trump Campaign Was Forced To Return Donation From Johnson. The Trump campaign accepted a $250 donation in September from Johnson and returned it after Media Matters and People for the American Way criticized Trump. [Media Matters, 3/11/16]

    Trump Adviser And GOP Congressmen Gave Pro-Trump Interviews To White Nationalist Radio Host James Edwards At The RNC. Several members of Congress and Trump campaign official Gary Berntsen gave pro-Trump interviews to James Edwards and his “pro-white” radio show The Political Cesspool during the Republican National Convention. [Media Matters, 7/24/16]

    Trump Campaign Gave Press Credentials To James Edwards. Trump's campaign gave press credentials to Edwards and The Political Cesspool to cover a Tennessee rally in February. [Media Matters, 3/1/16]

    Donald Trump Jr. Gave Interview To James Edwards. Donald Trump Jr. gave an interview to white nationalist leader James Edwards. The interview aired on the Liberty RoundTable, which is hosted by Edwards’ syndicator and guest host Sam Bushman. Edwards appeared on the program as a guest and questioner. The Trump campaign later claimed they were not aware of Edwards’ views; Edwards hit back at the campaign by claiming that the interview happened because "a press agency that's scheduling interviews for" Trump Jr. reached out to him. [Media Matters, 3/3/16]

    Trump’s Convention Displayed Tweets From White Nationalist Accounts. The Republican National Convention displayed tweets from white nationalist accounts on its ticker. The tweets came from the accounts “@Western_Triumph” and VDare.com. [Time, 7/22/16]

    Trump Adviser Retweeted An Anti-Semitic Message. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is advising Trump’s campaign and was reportedly considered as a potential running mate, shared a tweet that read, "Not anymore, Jews. Not Anymore." Flynn later apologized, claiming it “was a mistake.” [CNN.com, 7/24/16]

    Trump Surrogates Promoted Campaign In Interview With Neo-Nazi. Diamond and Silk, two YouTube personalities who serve as surrogates for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, promoted his candidacy in an interview with neo-Nazi and Trump supporter John Friend. Friend believes the Holocaust is "one of the most egregious and outrageous falsehoods ever perpetrated," "Jews Did 9/11," and Adolf Hitler was "the greatest thing that's happened to Western civilization." [Media Matters, 3/24/16]

    White Nationalists Say Trump Has Helped Them Grow Their Movement

    Politico: “White Supremacist Groups See Trump Bump.” Politico reported in December of Trump and white supremacists:

    The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.

    As hate group monitors at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League warn that Trump’s rhetoric is conducive to anti-Muslim violence, white nationalist leaders are capitalizing on his candidacy to invigorate and expand their movement.

    “Demoralization has been the biggest enemy and Trump is changing all that,” said Stormfront founder Don Black, who reports additional listeners and call volume to his phone-in radio show, in addition to the site’s traffic bump. Black predicts that the white nationalist forces set in motion by Trump will be a legacy that outlives the businessman’s political career. “He’s certainly creating a movement that will continue independently of him even if he does fold at some point.” [Politico, 12/10/15]

    Politico: Experts Say “Trump Is Energizing Hate Groups And Creating An Atmosphere Likely To Lead To More Violence Against American Muslims.”

    Meanwhile, analysts from the two leading organizations that track violence against minority groups say Trump is energizing hate groups and creating an atmosphere likely to lead to more violence against American Muslims.

    According to experts at the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center who monitor hate groups and anti-Muslim sentiment, Trump’s call on Monday to halt the entrance of Muslims to the United States is driving online chatter among white supremacists and is likely to inspire violence against Muslims. [Politico, 12/10/15]

    N.Y. Times: “Trump Has Galvanized The Otherwise Marginal World Of Avowed White Nationalists.” The New York Times wrote in July:

    Some are elated by the turn. In making the explicit assertion of white identity and grievance more widespread, Mr. Trump has galvanized the otherwise marginal world of avowed white nationalists and self-described “race realists.” They hail him as a fellow traveler who has driven millions of white Americans toward an intuitive embrace of their ideals: that race should matter as much to white people as it does to everyone else. He has freed Americans, those activists say, to say what they really believe. [The New York Times, 7/13/16]

    Wall Street Journal: “White Nationalists See Advancement Through Donald Trump’s Candidacy.” The Wall Street Journal reported in May:

    White nationalists are hailing Donald Trump’s elevation to presumptive Republican presidential nominee, while also trying to boost their own political profiles and activity.

    Although Mr. Trump has spurned these extreme groups’ support, the level of interest within them for the White House candidate rivals that for segregationist George Wallace, who won five states in the 1968 election, and for conservative Republican Pat Buchanan, who denounced multiculturalism in the 1990s.

    Mr. Trump is being heralded by these groups for his proposals to bar Muslim immigrants, deport millions of people living illegally in the U.S., and build a wall along the southern border. [The Wall Street Journal, 5/17/16]

    Daily News: “Trump’s Racist Rhetoric Emboldens White Supremacist Groups, Neo-Nazis Spouting Hate On The Internet.” New York Daily News reported in December that Trump’s “decision to push divisive rhetoric and policy has opened the door for an array of white supremacy groups, that suddenly feel emboldened and legitimized by Trump’s hateful bombast, to rejoin the national conversation.” [New York Daily News, 12/10/15]

    Washington Post: “White Supremacist Movement Is Seizing On Donald Trump’s Appeal.” The Post reported:

    Rachel Pendergraft — the national organizer for the Knights Party, a standard-bearer for the Ku Klux Klan — told The Washington Post that the KKK, for one, has a new conversation starter at its disposal.

    You might call it a “Trump card.”

    It involves, say, walking into a coffee shop or sitting on a train while carrying a newspaper with a Donald Trump headline. The Republican presidential candidate, Pendergraft told The Post, has become a great outreach tool, providing separatists with an easy way to start a conversation about issues that are important to the dying white supremacist movement. [The Washington Post, 12/21/15]

    Anti-Defamation League: “Trump’s Rhetoric Resonates With White Supremacists.” The New York Times wrote in July:

    “Trump’s rhetoric resonates with white supremacists,” said Joanna Mendelson, an investigative researcher with the Center on Extremism, a branch of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

    “They’ve been essentially energized about Trump’s candidacy, and they’ve been very vocal about their support of Trump and his policies on immigration and globalism,” Mendelson said.

    In February, the ADL published a list of 10 prominent white supremacists who actively support Trump. Then, in April, it urged the candidate to drop the phrase “America First” as a campaign slogan, pointing out it had been used by Charles Lindbergh, a prominent Nazi sympathizer, in the 1940s. [The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, 6/2/16]

    White Nationalists Are Using Trump’s Campaign For Fundraising. White nationalist websites like VDare.com and American Renaissance have been using Trump’s candidacy to raise money. Fundraising solicitations hail Trump for spurring "unprecedented interest in" white nationalism and putting their ideas "firmly in the mainstream." [Media Matters, 1/12/16]

  • Politico Gives Anti-Immigrant Advocate A Platform To Justify Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” Proposal

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Politico Magazine published an article written by anti-immigrant economist George Borjas, who defended Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposal to implement “extreme, extreme vetting” for immigrants, including temporarily banning refugees from an undisclosed list of countries. Borjas is linked to anti-immigrant think tanks known for shoddy research and himself has skewed information in a crusade against immigrants.

    In an August 17 Politico op-ed republished from his blog, Borjas slammed media figures for criticizing Trump’s proposals, citing a number of discriminatory policies throughout history that have blocked, deported, or discouraged certain immigrants from coming to the United States, and defending Trump’s extreme proposal by arguing that “immigration vetting is as American as apple pie.” He also refers to the 1917 Immigration Act, “which, in addition to effectively barring immigration from Asia, listed the many traits that would make potential immigrants inadmissible” as one of his “favorite examples” of “extreme vetting.”

    A 2006 New York Times profile of Borjas stated that his approach to immigration “carries an overtone of ethnic selectivity that was a staple of the immigration debates a century ago,” which “makes many of Borjas’s colleagues uncomfortable.” He also has ties to conservative think tanks known for expounding false information about immigrants, including the nativist Center for Immigration Studies and the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which have both been described as organizations that “stand at the nexis of the American nativist movement.” Borjas continued to express these attitudes in his Politico op-ed, despite acknowledging that some immigration restrictions were rolled back “for good reason”:

    As early as 1645, the Massachusetts Bay Colony prohibited the entry of poor or indigent persons. By the early 20th century, the country was filtering out people who had “undesirable” traits, such as epileptics, alcoholics and polygamists. Today, the naturalization oath demands that immigrants renounce allegiance to any foreign state. Even our Favorite Founding Father du jour, Alexander Hamilton (himself an immigrant), thought it was important to scrutinize whoever came to the United States.

    [...]

    In other words, immigration vetting is as American as apple pie.

    [...]

    In 1882, Congress suspended the immigration of Chinese laborers, and added idiots, lunatics and persons likely to become public charges to the list for good measure.

    One of my favorite examples of the extreme vetting is the 1917 Immigration Act, which, in addition to effectively barring immigration from Asia, listed the many traits that would make potential immigrants inadmissible.

    [...]

    In other words, even a century ago we had put in place ideological filters against anarchists, persons who advocate the destruction of property, and persons who believe in overthrowing the government of the United States.

    Of course, some of these filters, such as those restricting the entry of epileptics or Asians, have long since been rolled back—and for good reason. But many of them—especially those pertaining to criminals, and people who are likely to work against U.S. interests—remain in current law, with additions that reflect the changing security landscape.

  • Here's What To Expect From A Breitbart News Infused Trump Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon has been hired as chief executive for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign following months of shilling for the candidate on the website, relentlessly promoting Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and defending his blunders.

    Media figures were appalled by the news of Bannon’s new role in the Trump campaign, labeling the move “insanity” and saying the hire makes the relationship between Trump and Breitbart “official.” CNN’s Chris Cuomo commented that Bannon makes campaign chairman Paul Manafort look “like a puppy” and scandal-ridden former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski look “like a kitten.”

    Based on the way Bannon has run Breitbart News and according to statements he’s made in the past, here’s what can be expected from the Trump campaign under his leadership:

    1. Attacks Against The Clinton Campaign Will Rely On “Clinton Sex Stuff”

    Noting that “Few have done more than Bannon to help draw the 2016's version of the Clinton ‘cartoon,’” NBC News reported that Bannon’s hiring “is widely seen as a sign Trump will devote the remainder of his campaign to lurid rumors and scandalous accusations” like those “about Bill Clinton's sex life.” In addition, a 2015 Bloomberg profile of Bannon suggested that he was open to attacking Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with her husband’s old scandals, which he referred to as “Clinton sex stuff”:

    Bannon does, indeed, have a touch of Clinton Madness. When we met in January, Bill Cosby’s serial predations had just exploded into the news after laying dormant for many years. Bannon was certain this signaled trouble for Bill Clinton, whose own sexual history some conservatives long to revive as a way of hampering his wife’s campaign. His conviction stems from the group of young, female Breitbart News reporters whom he’s dubbed the Valkyries. When I expressed skepticism about the value of reintroducing old scandals, Bannon countered that the Valkyries—a sort of in-house focus group of millennial voter sentiment—were unfamiliar with Clinton contretemps that most older people consider settled. "There’s a whole generation of people who love the news but were 7 or 8 years old when this happened and have no earthly idea about the Clinton sex stuff,” he says.

    2. Recycling Debunked Smears About The Clinton Foundation

    Bannon co-wrote and co-produced the anti-Clinton documentary Clinton Cash, based on a book by the same name written by Peter Schweizer. The book is a trainwreck of sloppy research and shoddy reporting that pushes the evidence-free claim that while serving as secretary of state, Clinton did favors for foreign entities that donated to the Clinton Foundation. A Media Matters analysis of the book found that it contained more than 20 errors, fabrications, and distortions, several of which were later corrected in the Kindle version of the book. Clinton Cash heavily relied on innuendo in the absence of evidence, prompting Slate writer Jamelle Bouie to write, “Peter Schweizer’s attack on the Clintons leads with his conclusions and never connects the dots.”

    Trump has cited Clinton Cash as the source for some of his attacks on Clinton, drawing criticism from the media. After Trump gave a June 22 speech targeting Clinton, CNN’s David Gergen said he “was really surprised he leaned as heavily as he did upon the Schweizer book, called the Clinton Cash, that book has been basically discredited.” But Bannon’s new role in the Trump campaign signals that these attacks will be a prominent feature during the rest of the campaign.

    3. Conspiracy Theories

    CNN’s Brian Stelter has predicted that after Bannon’s hiring, “nothing is off limits” for the Trump campaign. While appearing on the August 17 edition of CNN’s New Day, Stelter pointed out that Bannon’s role as chief executive indicates that “the most fringy ideas” will “bubble up to the surface.” Trump, who often parrots conspiracy theorist Alex Jones quasi verbatim, is no stranger to conspiracy theories, but by joining the campaign in an official capacity, Bannon might elevate the absurd conspiracy theories that are Breitbart News’ bread and butter to official campaign positions. Some of the conspiracy theories that can be found on Breitbart.com include baseless speculations about Hillary Clinton’s health, “birther” attacks against President Obama, and fear mongering that election machines could rig the upcoming presidential elections.

    4. Anti-Immigration Rhetoric And Nativism

    Inflammatory rhetoric against immigrants has been a feature of the Trump campaign since its kick-off, but the way that Bannon turned Breitbart News into the “media arm of the ‘alt-right’” by presenting “racist ideas” and “anti-immigrant ideas” as news doesn’t forecast a change in tone. In their anti-immigrant slant pieces, Breitbart News often cites the work of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), an organization with a reputation for producing shoddy research. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), CIS belongs to the “nativist lobby” and has been tied since its foundation to organizations the SPLC considers hate groups. Breitbart News does not shy away from these extreme connections; they have hosted anti-immigrant summits featuring speakers from nativist organizations like NumbersUSA.

    5. Doubling Down On Islamophobic Rhetoric

    Breitbart News has staunchly defended Trump’s widely criticized proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S and elevated those who support it. The website has published articles in favor of profiling Muslim individuals, and technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos responded to the Orlando massacre with an inflammatory column writing ““f*** you” to Islam.” As reported by the SPLC, the site produced a video fear mongering about Sharia law seeping into the United States, and it defended anti-Muslim known misinformer Pamela Geller -- whose writing has frequently been published on Breitbart.com -- after she promoted a contest meant to offend American Muslims.

    6. Outright Lies, Fabrications, And Distortions

    Under Bannon, Breitbart News routinely promoted and rigorously defended many of Trump’s fact-free talking points, including his baseless claim that American Muslims had celebrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Breitbart News also defended his comment that Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” by writing that “Trump is right” and that “without Trump’s typically blustering comments, the media would still be ignoring the problem of illegal immigrant criminality.” The website has a history of reporting falsities that extends beyond Trump as well, including questioning whether Shaun King, a Black Lives Matter activist, was “lying to the public about his race,” attributing a fake quote to an Obama advisor to attack the Iran nuclear talks, and attempting to attack Loretta Lynch’s nomination for attorney general by going after the wrong Loretta Lynch.

  • NRA Compares Hillary Clinton To “Deranged” Fictional Murderer: “Put The Bat Down, Hillary”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association’s online magazine compared Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to ax-wielding murderer Jack Torrance, the character in The Shining portrayed by Jack Nicholson.

    The NRA has frequently pushed the lie that Clinton opposes all gun ownership and would ban and confiscate privately owned guns as president. The organization recently spent $3 million on an ad that claimed Clinton “doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.” That claim was rated false by independent fact-checkers.

    During an August 16 rally in Philadelphia, Clinton explained her position on gun regulation, saying, “I am going to take on the gun lobby to try to save lives here in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania. And as I said here in Philadelphia in my speech, that doesn’t mean I want to abolish the Second Amendment. That doesn’t mean that I want to round up people’s guns. What that means is I want to keep you from being shot by somebody who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”

    In an August 18 article in America’s 1st Freedom, the NRA responded to Clinton’s comments at the rally, writing, “In other words, Clinton is like a deranged Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’: ‘I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.’ Reasonable people are not persuaded by such verbal antics.”

    The NRA confusingly concluded its analogy between Clinton and Jack Torrance by writing, “Put the bat down, Hillary.” In the scene the NRA is referring to in The Shining, a raving Jack Torrance says that line to his wife Wendy as she attempts to fend him off with a baseball bat.

  • WSJ Video Instructs Viewers To “Trust” Climate Science-Denying Fossil Fuel Front Group

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In a video interview posted on The Wall Street Journal’s website, Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel told viewers that if they are “confused about the science surrounding climate change,” they should “trust” Rod Nichols, chairman of a climate science-denying fossil fuel front group known as the CO2 Coalition. During the interview, Nichols denied that human activities such as burning oil and coal are responsible for recent global warming, claiming that “[c]limate change has been going on for hundreds of millions of years,” that “[t]here is not going to be any catastrophic climate change,” and that “CO2 will be good for the world.” Kissel asked Nichols, “why don't we hear more viewpoints like the ones that your coalition represents,” and concluded that the CO2 Coalition’s research papers are “terrific.”

    Here's the August 17 video:

    MARY KISSEL (Wall Street Journal editorial board member): Are you confused about the science surrounding climate change? Don't know who to trust? Well, we have help for you! Rod Nichols is chairman of the CO2 Coalition ... Rod, I want to start with the CO2 Coalition. What exactly is it, and who's involved?

    RODNEY NICHOLS (CO2 Coalition chairman): We formed about a year ago -- a group of scientists, mostly physicists, a few chemists, engineers, economists -- who are convinced that the public is being misled about carbon dioxide. CO2. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is not a pollutant. But if you read the editorial pages and the news pages of most papers the word "pollutant" is always used with CO2. 

    KISSEL: So does that mean that your group doesn't believe in climate change? Or doesn't believe in something called "catastrophic climate change"?

    NICHOLS: Climate change has been going on for hundreds of millions of years. Everybody should recognize that there is climate change. There is not going to be any catastrophic climate change. CO2 will be good for the world. CO2 enhances agriculture. Crops tend to grow on the average of 15 percent more per year given more CO2. And even more important, crops don't need as much water when they're growing if they have more CO2. You can see this at the edges of deserts where struggling little green plants -- you couldn't see them 35 years ago. Thirty-five years later the satellite photos clearly show that these little green plants -- with more CO2 and needing less water at the edge of deserts -- they're fluorishing!

    KISSEL: So this is a completely opposite viewpoint than what is represented in, as you say, most of the media, most of our college classrooms. How did they get to this point, Rod? Why don't we hear more viewpoints like the ones that your coalition represents?

    NICHOLS: Well, that's a really good question that I don't have a completely satisfactory answer to. I shy away from conspiracy theories, I don't think -- but it's true in the scientific literature, you can find "skeptics" as we are sometimes called who are arguing against what appears to be a consensus but their views are not covered. Their views are not debated. If nothing else, the CO2 Coalition wants to open up a real debate. Science thrives with discovery and debate. And the subtitle of our first report, about six months ago, was called "See For Yourself."

    KISSEL: So where do viewers go to find out more information about what you're doing and to get educated on science about climate change?

    NICHOLS: Good questions. CO2Coalition.org is a storehouse of very reliable data. We've surveyed data over decades published in our reports. One is called White Paper 1, and White Paper 2. You can get these, we'd be glad to send them to you.

    KISSEL: And you don't need to be a scientist to understand these papers?

    NICHOLS: They're prepared to be readable by any intelligent citizen. Even my daughter found them readable and she's not an environmentalist, she's not an alarmist, she's an art history major. She loved them.

    KISSEL: Maybe even I will find it readable. In fact, it is readable. I have read these papers. They're terrific. CO2Coalition.org, go check it out, Rod Nichols is the chairman, thanks for joining us.

    Related:

    Climate Nexus Analysis: How The Wall Street Journal Opinion Section Presents Climate Change

    Previously:

    Breitbart News: Go-To Outlet For "Academics-For-Hire" By The Fossil Fuel Industry?

    Slate Destroys Climate Denier Myth That CO2 Is Not A Pollutant

    The Wall Street Journal: Dismissing Environmental Threats Since 1976

  • With Trump-Breitbart Alliance, The Right-Wing Media’s Civil War Just Got A Whole Lot Worse

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    A growing list of horrified conservative commentators have watched Donald Trump swallow the Republican Party this year, convinced he’s dooming the GOP with a major November loss. One of their key complaints has been that the erstwhile candidate has embraced dark elements of the far-right media; that Trump is just recycling irresponsible nonsense pushed by sites that are blindly loyal to him, like Breitbart News.

    Wednesday’s news that Trump has tapped Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon to help run his campaign will only inflame those concerns, and pundits will likely see the move as yet another nail in the campaign’s coffin.

    Immediately following the Bannon news, former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro, who quit the site in March over its obvious cheerleading for Trump, wrote that his former boss “openly embraced the white supremacist” movement of the extreme right. Shapiro added, “It’s clear that Breitbart News is indeed Bannon.com and Trumpbart News. That’s pathetic and disgusting.”

    In other words, the Trump-inspired civil war that has consumed the right-wing media for months just got a whole lot worse. And the long-term implications could mean big problems for the movement, long after November.

    With Trump’s unorthodox campaign igniting especially deep passions among conservatives, the Right-Wing Noise Machine’s famously loud megaphone has transformed itself into something of a circular firing squad. “Trump is choosing to end his campaign living in the alternate reality that Breitbart creates for him on a daily basis,” The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes announced.

    The civil war is now consuming the movement. (National Review Online, post-Bannon: “There are no good options left for conservatives, only disputably less bad ones.”) The irony is that the non-stop bickering and name-calling threatens to burn to the ground what had been a movement built on message discipline; on everyone singing off the same page. Today, those songs sheets are being torn up day after day.

    For decades, it’s been a media movement where internal disagreements were virtually always set aside in time for presidential general elections, and where commentators unified around their contempt for the Democratic foe. When finely tuned and focused, the conservative media machine served as a battering ram for the GOP.

    Not this year, and not with Trump.

    Increasingly, it’s Trump who generates the most visceral response among conservative commentators. It’s Trump who’s viewed and denounced by the right as the looming danger facing America. All the while, Clinton widens her lead in the polls.

    Indeed, some of the media attacks on Clinton this cycle seem somewhat muted, or less focused, given the widespread lack of enthusiasm for Trump on the right. Unable to project a unified, anti-Clinton message when they’re so busy denouncing their own nominee -- and when fighting with his remaining media fans -- conservative pundits are unraveling the distinctive fabric of the far-right press: message discipline.

    Of course, the Trump-inspired split isn’t new. During the wildly fractured GOP primary, Trump was denounced from inside the conservative media as a "vicious demagogue," a "con man," a "glib egomaniac," and "the very epitome of vulgarity."

    How bad has the sniping gotten this summer?

    Lead Trump cheerleader Sean Hannity has been derided as “pathetic” and “stupid or dishonest.” He’s Fox News’ “dumbest anchor.” He’s a Donald Trump enabler whose weeknight show resembles a Trump “infomercial.” In fact, Hannity might even be rooting for a Clinton win.

    And that’s just what Hannity’s fellow conservatives are saying about him.

    And the brawling isn’t limited to Trump-specific issues. This week, Breitbart News unleashed a broadside against Glenn Beck, who has been vocal in his contempt for Trump. Breibart belittled Beck for cozying up to Black Lives Matter, accusing him of “actually repeating a talking point of the Black Lives Matter founders themselves.”

    Meaning, Breitbart has its enemies list and is more than willing to take down conservatives like Beck if they get in Trump’s way. And that was before the site’s chief took over the Trump campaign. At the same time, Beck has been knocking longtime Trump ally Matt Drudge, calling him unreliable and claiming he’s gone to “this weird conspiratorial” place since he starting “hanging out with” radio host Alex Jones, another of Trump’s far-right supporters. 

    In terms of the traditional right-wing media campaign megaphone, the internal feud is diminishing its effectiveness.

    For starters, a site like Breitbart has very little mainstream appeal. Unlike The Weekly Standard or National Review, which routinely tout Republican candidates (but now refuse to back Trump) and are viewed as legitimate by the Beltway media, Breitbart’s long, and at-times comical, history of concocting falsehoods makes it hard for mainstream media observers to take it seriously.

    Another example of the diminishing right-wing media megaphone: Hannity recently rushed out to be the point person of a sloppy, irresponsible smear campaign against Clinton, suggesting her health is in serious decline and that her medical records are shrouded in mystery. It’s guttural stuff for sure (“Is it possible she had a stroke?”), but not unusual for a carnival barker like Hannity. Increasingly though, it looks like Hannity led a very small army into battle over Clinton’s health record.

    Meaning, with large portions of the conservative media openly mocking Hannity for what they see as his disingenuous and sycophantic support of Trump (the same goes for Breitbart), Hannity’s foray against Clinton’s health failed to pick up much meaningful support.

    That’s significant because it means the power of the collective right-wing media megaphone, effective when angry voices are yelling in unison, loses its punch. And without its vaunted message discipline, the Noise Machine can’t move the campaign needle.

    Another long-term effect from the open civil war is that members of the conservative media are finally calling out the avalanche of lies and misinformation the conservative press itself has peddled for so many years. Pushed to the breaking point by the Trump nomination and the lies that fuel it, more commentators are willing to admit, in public, that so much of the conservative media content is garbage.

    From longtime conservative radio talk show host Charlie Sykes:

    We have the InfoWars, we have the Breitbarts, we have the Drudges, in which information is passed, things that that bear no resemblance to reality whatsoever. So I'm in the position of having on a regular basis to basically say, look, that information is not valid, that's not true, that's not accurate.

    And from The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens:

    If you spend your time listening to certain cable shows all the time, listening to nobody else, if you're prone to the kind of conspiracy theories that whiz around on Twitter or certain fringes of the internet, you end up having this kind of conversation that's just increasingly divorced from reality.

    What happens after the election? Are conservatives just going to pretend that all the lies and misinformation shoveled to readers, viewers and listeners weren’t denounced from within the conservative press during the campaign?

    For now, the right-wing media chorus, that Tabernacle Choir of misinformation where every voice is hitting the same note, has been muted.

  • Hannity’s Shameless Trump Town Hall Includes Lies That Trump Opposed Iraq And Opposed Troop Withdrawal

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Sean Hannity’s town hall with Donald Trump included several lies about the war in Iraq that were repeated by Hannity throughout the night.

    In one of the first questions of his town hall, Hannity suggested that Trump opposed the war in Iraq initially but wanted troops to remain later in the war to keep the country stabilized, arguing that “even though you were opposed to [the war], you were opposed to leaving.”

     

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let me ask you this, I know it was being controversial when you said that the founder of ISIS is Obama and the co-founder is Hillary, but yesterday -- yesterday you went into a lot of detail. You and I, actually, I remember debating you, because I did support Iraq, but I didn't support leaving early without finishing the job. We had so many Americans bleed and die and risk their lives for Mosul, Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, and Tikrit, they won those cities. And you talked about, even though you were opposed to it, you were opposed to leaving.

    DONALD TRUMP: Look, look, I said one thing right from the beginning, I wanted to get out. We should have never been there, and I wanted to get out and I've been against it ever since. You can look back to 2004, 2003. In fact, on Neil Cavuto's show before the war started, I said let's not do it, we have other things we have to do, including fix our economy, which was a mess, to put it mildly. The way we got out was ridiculously. But I've been saying something since I've known you, keep the oil. Have I said that?

    During the interview with Hannity, Trump cited a 2003 interview he gave to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto as proof that he opposed the war. But Trump did not say during that interview he opposed the war, instead he urged President George W. Bush to make a decision, saying “either you attack or you don’t attack.” Furthermore, during a 2002 interview with radio host Howard Stern, Trump said that he supported the invasion of Iraq.

    Trump also called for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2007 saying  America should “declare victory and leave” Iraq, and in 2008 he said “I’d get out of Iraq right now.”

  • ABC's World News Tonight Ignores Stephen Bannon’s Extremism

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    ABC’s World News Tonight ignored Steve Bannon’s long history of extremism and racism in their report on the Breitbart News CEO’s new job as chief executive for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.  

    ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir characterized Bannon as “a onetime Goldman Sachs banker and film director, stepping down from his current job as head of ultra-conservative Breitbart News,” reporting Bannon had previously attempted to make sure Trump “would not be swayed by Republican leaders calling for a more moderate tone”:
     

    TOM LLAMAS: Today, at Trump Tower, cameras ushered in for what looked a lot like a Trump cabinet meeting. Donald Trump surrounded by his top advisers, and now, some fresh faces. There, at the end of the table, his new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, and new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. Trump not saying much during this photo op, but his actions today, that campaign shakeup, sends a clear message: Trump is going back to his way of doing things. 

    [...]

    Bannon, a onetime Goldman Sachs banker and film director, stepping down from his current job as head of ultra-conservative Breitbart News. He's never worked on a campaign, but today, the Trump team touting in a press release a magazine article calling him "The Most Dangerous Political Operative In America." Trump, a guest on Bannon's radio show in May, Bannon making sure the candidate would not be swayed by Republican leaders calling for a more moderate tone.

    In contrast to ABC’s reporting, both CBSEvening News with Scott Pelley and NBC’s Nightly News with Lester Holt highlighted Bannon’s history of anti-immigrant and nationalist rhetoric. 

     

  • White Supremacists Love Trump’s New Hire

    Daily Beast: Bannon Turned Breitbart Into A “Safe Space For White Supremacists”

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    White nationalists and hate group leaders are praising Donald Trump’s hiring of Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon as the new chief executive of his campaign, calling it “great news” and citing Bannon as someone who shares their views.

    An August 17 Daily Beast report detailed the disturbing list of white supremacists and hate group leaders praising the hiring of Bannon and his effort at Breitbart News to mainstream their views. White supremacist website VDARE.com editor Peter Brimelow called the hire “great news,” while white nationalist think tank leader Richard* Spencer lauded Bannon as someone whose website has shown “elective affinities” for his ideas.

    The Daily Beast further highlighted the turn Breitbart.com took towards bolstering white supremacy under Bannon’s leadership:

    Bannon didn’t just make Breitbart a safe space for white supremacists; he’s also welcomed a scholar blacklisted from the mainstream conservative movement for arguing there’s a connection between race and IQ. Breitbart frequently highlights the work of Jason Richwine, who resigned from the conservative Heritage Foundation when news broke that his Harvard dissertation argued in part that Hispanics have lower IQs than non-Hispanic whites.

    Bannon loves Richwine. On Jan. 6 of this year, when Richwine was a guest on the radio show, Bannon called him “one of the smartest brains out there on demographics, demography this whole issue of immigration, what it means to this country.”

    And, unsurprisingly, Bannon heaps praise on Pamela Geller, an activist in the counter-Jihad movement who warns about “creeping Sharia.” When she appeared on the SiriusXM Breitbart radio show that Bannon hosted, he called her “one of the leading experts in the country if not the world” on Islam.

    The white nationalist movement has been celebrating Trump throughout his campaign and used his candidacy to recruit followers, fundraise, and spread their message. The Trump campaign has frequently interacted with the white nationalist movement, providing access to their surrogates for white nationalist media, giving a white nationalist radio host press credentials, failing to condemn their support, and retweeting them.

    *name corrected

  • Trump’s Kitchen Cabinet, Continued: What The Media Needs To Know About The Nominee’s Top Advisers And Supporters

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Donald Trump has allied himself with a cast of characters and hangers-on who, should he win the presidency, would likely have his ear. Below is an updated guide -- first published in May -- to the people the Republican presidential nominee has chosen to surround himself with.

    Stephen Bannon

    Bannon

    The Trump Connection

    Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon was named as the chief executive of the Trump campaign.

    What You Need To Know

    Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News has recently made a “noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-Immigrant ideas,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Several anonymous Breitbart staffers alleged that “the company’s top management was allowing Trump to turn Breitbart into his own fan website” and claimed the candidate paid the site in exchange for favorable coverage. (Bannon denied the allegation.)

    After news surfaced that then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields had allegedly been manhandled by Trump’s campaign manager, Bannon sided with the campaign over his employee, leading to the defection of several staffers.

    Several former Bannon employees have spoken out about his hiring by the campaign. Former Breitbart editor at large Ben Shapiro called Bannon a “legitimately sinister figure” who has led Breitbart News to embrace the “white supremacist alt-right.” Former Breitbart News spokesperson Kurt Bardella told Media Matters that Bannon is a “pathological liar” whose hiring signals a “dangerous" shift by the campaign.

    Kellyanne Conway

    Conway

    The Trump Connection

    Kellyanne Conway served as a senior adviser and pollster for the Trump campaign, and was recently named campaign manager.

    What You Need To Know

    Conway has long been involved in conservative politics, mostly as a pollster working with conservative groups like the NRA, Family Research Council and Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann.

    Conway once said that people “don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbian mothers” and suggested the representation of same-sex parents in children’s programming was a “corrupting” influence.” She also once argued that “political correctness” could create a situation where there were “air traffic controllers who don’t speak great English” leading to “two planes crashing in the sky.”

    She also argued that “revulsion towards men” is “part and parcel of the feminist movement” and that “baby girls [are] being killed just because they’re girls” in America.

    Paul Manafort

    Manafort

    The Trump Connection

    Republican strategist Paul Manafort was hired by Trump as a senior aide to his political campaign. Manafort was later promoted to campaign chairman and chief strategist.

    What You Need To Know

    Manafort was partners with Roger Stone in the lobbying and consulting firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly. After a congressional investigation, Manafort admitted that the work he performed after receiving consulting fees was “influence peddling.”

    Manafort and his firms have worked with several unsavory clients including “a business group tied to Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator of the Philippines; Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted Ukrainian president and ally of Vladimir Putin; and Lynden Pindling, the former Bahamian prime minister who was accused of ties to drug traffickers.”

    During the Republican primaries, Manafort accused Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign of engaging in “Gestapo tactics” in order to win over convention delegates.

    Manafort’s consulting work on behalf of a Ukrainian political party has come under scrutiny as a result of his role in the Trump campaign.

    The Associated Press reported that Manafort “helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.”

    The New York Times reported that “handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort” by the pro-Russian political party he consulted for in Ukraine.

    Roger Stone

    Stone

    The Trump Connection

    Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone is a longtime Trump ally. Stone worked on his campaign until August of 2015, continues to serve as a prominent advocate for Trump’s candidacy, and regularly speaks with Trump, including recommending top aide Paul Manafort to the campaign.

    What You Need To Know

    In addition to his political dirty tricks, Stone has an extensive history of violent, racist, and sexist comments. He started an anti-Hillary Clinton group in 2008 with the acronym “C.U.N.T.,” and has called for her to be executed. He called cable news commentators a “stupid negro” and “Mandingo,” and he promotes conspiracy theories about the Clinton and Bush families murdering dozens of people. His next book is about how the Clintons purportedly murdered JFK Jr. “because he was in the way.”

    Stone’s racist and sexist tweets resulted in him being banned from appearing on CNN and MSNBC.

    While advocating for Trump, Stone has peddled several outlandish conspiracy theories. He accused the Clintons of murdering several more people, argued that the 2016 election will be “rigged” via the manipulation of voting machines, and alleged that a top Clinton campaign aide was connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Stone also attacked the family of Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

    Alex Jones

    Jones

    The Trump Connection

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones has been one of Trump’s loudest and most passionate supporters. And the feeling is apparently mutual. In addition to promoting Trump on his show incessantly, Jones hosted Trump for an interview, praised him as a “George Washington” figure, and encouraged listeners to donate to his campaign. (During the appearance, Trump praised Jones for his “amazing” reputation and promised, “I will not let you down.”) Trump confidant Roger Stone has also become a regular on Jones’ show, and the two worked together to organize protests on Trump’s behalf at the Republican convention. After Trump essentially clinched the nomination, Stone went on Jones’ show and told the host, “Trump himself told me that he has seen so many of your supporters and listeners at his rallies,” adding, “I’m certain that he is grateful for your support.”

    What You Need To Know

    Alex Jones is a self-described “founding father” of the “9/11 truth movement” who believes that the terrorist attacks were a “false flag.” Jones also has promoted conspiracy theories alleging that events like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Aurora movie theater shooting were all government-orchestrated attacks.

    Jones publicly asked Trump to raise the conspiracy of the general election being “rigged,” which the candidate did days later. He praised Trump as being “totally synced” with the conspiracy theory movement and said it is “surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word-for-word hear Trump say it two days later.”

    General Michael Flynn

    Flynn

    The Trump Connection

    Retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is reportedly “a trusted Trump adviser and go-to man on intelligence and national security.”

    What You Need To Know

    Flynn was forced out of his position in 2014 after clashing with senior officials. He has complained that “‘political correctness’ has prevented the U.S. from confronting violent extremism, which he sees as a ‘cancerous idea that exists inside of the Islamic religion.’” Flynn accuses the U.S. government of concealing “the actions of terrorists like bin Laden and groups like ISIS, and the role of Iran in the rise of radical Islam.”

    Flynn has publicly supported Trump’s idea that the families of terrorist suspects should be killed, and he also backs Trump’s proposal for a ban on Muslim travel to the United States. Flynn has written that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

    In 2015, Flynn flew to Moscow and was filmed having a formal dinner with Vladimir Putin. The Daily Beast reported that “Pentagon brass were taken by surprise that he didn’t notify the department.”

    Flynn was paid by the state-funded Russian television network RT for his appearance at the network’s anniversary gala.

    Flynn spoke on Trump’s behalf at the Republican National Convention, saying that “war is not about bathrooms” in reference to controversy over anti-transgender laws. He also retweeted an anti-Semitic pro-Trump message which read in part, “Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore.” He later described the incident as “a mistake.”

    Rudy Giuliani

    Giuliani

    The Trump Connection

    Trump told Fox News that former New York City mayor and failed presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani might be his choice to head up a commission to review his proposal for a temporary Muslim ban.

    What You Need To Know

    Giuliani has a long history of anti-Muslim comments and statements. He argued in favor of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) idea that one way to fight terrorism is to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods,” said sexual assault in Germany proved that “these [Syrian] refugees are inherently a problem,” and praised Rep. Peter King (R-NY) for holding anti-Muslim hearings in Congress.

    Speaking before Trump at a campaign rally, Giuliani said, “Under those eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States,” omitting the September 11, 2001, attacks. PolitiFact rated this claim “false.”

    Ed Klein

    Klein

    The Trump Connection

    Disgraced journalist Ed Klein said he has known Trump for 35 years and claimed, “I understand him better than most people outside his immediate family.” Klein recently had lunch with Trump as he campaigned in Indiana. Trump has repeatedly promoted Klein’s books on his Twitter account.

    What You Need To Know

    Journalists have described Klein’s columns and books attacking the Clintons and Obamas as “fan fiction” and “smut.” He has launched numerous unfounded smears, including the claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped Hillary (he later walked back the allegation). Publisher HarperCollins reportedly dropped Klein’s Blood Feud because it “did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers.” Klein has repeatedly distorted quotes in his work, and even conservative figures have expressed skepticism about the veracity of his reporting.

    Jeffrey Lord

    Lord

    The Trump Connection

    Lord, a contributor to the conservative American Spectator, has been a big booster of Trump’s candidacy. CNN hired Lord to present a pro-Trump point of view. According to Lord, Trump helped land him the gig. ThePatriot-News reported last year, “Lord said Trump complained to CNN execs that the network only featured commentators who didn't get him, so CNN asked The Donald who in the world of conservative media he would suggest, and he said Jeffrey Lord.”

    What You Need To Know

    Lord infamously tried to prove that a black man who was beaten to death was not technically lynched, a position that was even condemned by his colleagues at the Spectator. During his CNN appearances, Lord has defended Trump’s attack on Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, excused Trump’s failure to disavow the KKK, and described the Klan as a “leftist terrorist organization.”

    Lord blamed the pro-choice movement for gun violence and attacked the family of deceased Army Captain Humayun Khan for speaking at the Democratic National Convention. He also echoed the Trump campaign by promoting the conspiracy theory that the election “could be stolen.”

    Ben Carson

    Carson

    The Trump Connection

    Carson endorsed Trump after he dropped his presidential bid and was then tasked with being Trump’s liaison between his campaign and Speaker Paul Ryan. Carson also apparently had some role in Trump’s vice presidential selection team.

    What You Need To Know

    Carson has caused controversy with a series of bizarre and offensive comments as an author, a Fox News contributor, and during his short-lived presidential campaign. During a Fox News appearance, Carson infamously compared marriage equality supporters to those who would advocate bestiality and pedophilia, and argued in his 2012 book that marriage equality could destroy America “like the fall of the Roman Empire.” Carson also claimed that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grain, said being gay was a “choice,”described Obamacare as “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” and argued that Jewish people could have prevented the Holocaust if they had guns.

    Speaking on stage at the Republican National Convention, Carson compared Hillary Clinton to “Lucifer.”

    Michael Savage

    Savage

    The Trump Connection

    Radio host Michael Savage was an early backer of Trump in the conservative media who has describedhimself as “the architect of Trump’s messaging." Trump has appeared on his program multiple times -- in one appearance, Savage offered himself up to head the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a suggestion that Trump described as “common sense.”

    What You Need To Know

    Savage has a long history of outrageous and violent rhetoric. In 2008, he warned, “I fear that Obama will stir up a race war … in order to seize absolute power.”

    Savage also claimed that President Obama “wants to infect the nation with Ebola” and is gearing up the government to “fight a war against white people.” Savage accused Obama of engaging in “genocide” against the white race.

    Savage has described PTSD and depression sufferers as “weak” and “narcissistic” “losers.” Referencing military veterans suffering from PTSD, Savage said, “no wonder ISIS can defeat our military.”

    Additionally, Savage has called for a “revolution” in response to multiculturalism, said “I’d hang every lawyer who went down toto Guantanamo” Bay, accused President Obama of being the “new Mao,” theorized that Democrats would declare martial law, and said “the radical left and the radical Muslims are natural blood brothers.”

    Savage and Trump swapped notes on the conspiracy theory that Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered.

    Ann Coulter

    Coulter

    The Trump Connection

    Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has repeatedly promoted Trump’s candidacy. Trump called Coulter’s anti-immigrant book, Adios, America! “a great read.” In return, Coulter said she believes that Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric was inspired by her.

    What You Need To Know

    Coulter has developed a reputation over the years for making hateful and disgusting public comments, often with a bigoted message that even conservatives have recoiled from. The conservative National Review dropped her column when, after 9/11, she said America should “invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

    Coulter’s book was apparently modeled on the rhetoric of white nationalists and other anti-immigrant extremists, and she credited white nationalist Peter Brimelow as an “intellectual influence” on her work.

    While defending Trump, Coulter called South Carolina-born Governor Nikki Haley an “immigrant” who “does not understand America’s history,” and made derogatory attacks on Jews while complaining about Trump’s rivals in a primary debate.

    She has also regularly offered bigoted anti-immigrant rhetoric, including the claim that “immigrants are more dangerous than ISIS” and “‘real’ Hispanics are on welfare.”

    Laura Ingraham

    Ingraham

    The Trump Connection

    Radio host Laura Ingraham has been a staunch supporter of Trump’s candidacy and has praised his anti-immigrant rhetoric. She once compared Trump to Abraham Lincoln.

    What You Need To Know

    Ingraham has often used her show to demonize and attack immigrants. Ingraham said Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people,” called the children of undocumented immigrants “anchor fetuses,” andsuggested that deported immigrants attempting to re-enter the country should be “shot.”

    Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Ingraham demanded that Trump’s primary rivals “honor your pledge” and “support Donald Trump now.”

    Chris Christie

    Chris Christie

    The Trump Connection

    New Jersey governor Chris Christie endorsed Trump after he dropped out of the campaign and has served as a leading surrogate for the candidate

    What You Need To Know

    Christie has become infamous for his public arguments with voters and other figures. He told a critical voter he was “a real big shot shooting your mouth off,” called a reporter “a complete idiot,” and told a resident asking about stalled rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy to “sit down and shut up.”

    In addition to his demeanor, Christie’s administration was involved in the Bridgegate scandal, where his subordinates conspired to block traffic on the George Washington Bridge as payback for political slights against the governor.

    Larry Kudlow

    Kudlow

    The Trump Connection

    Larry Kudlow was part of the Office of Management and Budget in Reagan’s first term, and is now a columnist and on-air personality for CNBC. Trump enlisted Kudlow (along with Stephen Moore) to work on changes to his economic plans.

    What You Need To Know

    Kudlow was a big supporter of George W. Bush’s economic policies and was infamous for missing the warning signs of the coming economic meltdown.

    Kudlow dismissed people concerned about the real estate bubble in the mid-2000s as “bubbleheads who expect housing-price crashes.” In December 2007, as the National Bureau of Economic Research marked the beginning of the Great Recession, Kudlow wrote, “there’s no recession coming.”

    Stephen Moore

    Moore

    The Trump Connection

    Conservative economic columnist Stephen Moore was enlisted, along with Larry Kudlow, to tweak Trump’s economic policy in the general election.

    What You Need To Know

    Like Kudlow, Moore has a terrible track record when predicting the effect of both conservative and progressive policies on the economy. He also regularly makes false claims to attack policies like taxes, regulation, the minimum wage, and Obamacare.

    The editorial page director of the Kansas City Star declared she “won’t be running anything else from Stephen Moore” after he used false employment numbers in a column attacking economist Paul Krugman.

    In a column promoting Trump's candidacy, Moore wrote, "It is striking that Trump is the anti-Obama in every way."

    Scottie Nell Hughes

    http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/uploader/image/2016/05/23/kitchen-hughes.jpg

    The Trump Connection

    Scottie Nell Hughes is a cable news pundit and CNN contributor who has often spoken in defense of Donald Trump. Glamour notes she “has been on the front line for Trump campaign since she introduced him at a September mega rally in Dallas.”

    What You Need To Know

    Hughes was previously the news director for the “Tea Party News Network.” She uses odd logic to launch defenses of Trump’s actions.

    When some called for riots at the Republican convention in defense of Trump, Hughes told CNN “it’s not riots as in a negative thing.” Hughes said that Trump’s statement that women should be punished for abortions had been “misconstrued,” and that the media paying attention to Trump’s sexist tweets is unfair.

    Hughes lamented that Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) uses Spanish in his speeches, saying, “I’m hoping I’m not going to have to kind of start brushing up back on my Dora the Explorer to understand some of the speeches given” during the Democratic convention.

    She also claimed that Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination is “tearing down men.”