Wash. Post Reporter Robert Costa: Trump Surrounds Himself With Conspiracy Theorists Like Ed Klein, Roger Stone, And Alex Jones
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The Washington Post noted today that many of Donald Trump’s fans are routinely calling presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a “bitch.” The sexist attack isn’t just common among Trump fans -- it’s also been regularly used by Trump’s leading media supporters and allies.
The Post noted that many T-shirts calling Clinton a bitch are “sold at nearly all of Trump’s rallies” and “many Trump supporters spotted wearing the shirts at rallies over the past six weeks don’t think the term is that bad.” (Trump, who has a long history of making sexist remarks, claims he does not approve of the term for Clinton.) The Daily Caller has also promoted a Clinton “bitch” T-shirt in its “Daily Dealer” section:
Here are examples of Trump media supporters Roger Stone, Ted Nugent, Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and Alex Castellanos calling Hillary Clinton a bitch over the years.
Stone, a longtime Trump friend and ally, heads a pro-Trump super PAC after working for his campaign last year. He has a long history of sexist commentary, especially about Hillary Clinton. In 2008, Stone established the anti-Hillary Clinton 527 group Citizens United Not Timid. The group -- now defunct -- emphasized the acronym by bolding the first letter in each word. The group claimed to "educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is." Stone said also he spent "hours trying to come up with words for B.I.T.C.H. and just couldn't do it." He also tweeted that Chelsea Clinton is a “total bitch.”
Nugent has called Clinton a "lying America destroying criminal ass bitch," a "worthless bitch," a "toxic cunt," and a "two-bit whore." In May, Nugent shared a video depicting Clinton being shot; he remarked, “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!”
Fellow Trump supporter Sean Hannity refused to disavow Nugent’s attack against Clinton as a "worthless bitch," stating on his Fox News program in 2007: "No, I like Ted Nugent. He's a friend of mine."
In August 2015, after the deadly shooting of a Virginia journalist and cameraman, Jones said: “Hey Hillary, you got bodyguards. Are their guns bad too? Why can’t I have a gun to protect myself, you bitch?”
In a May 2016 interview, Savage said of Hillary Clinton: “There is a word for this kind of individual in the dog world, but I can’t use it on your show. It begins with a b.”
Castellanos, a political commentator and Republican strategist, works for the pro-Trump super PAC Rebuilding America Now.
During a May 2008 segment on CNN, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin mentioned a news column in which "the punch line was a line that … Clinton was a 'white bitch.'" Castellanos, who was working as a CNN political commentator, responded: "And some women, by the way, are named that and it's accurate.” He then said: “She is a tough -- that tough lady, tough in politics, that's been her great strength. But let's face it, she can be a very abrasive, aggressive, irritating person, and a lot of voters, I think, see her that way." Castellanos later apologized for his remarks.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump counts among his allies a stable of fringe right-wing conspiracy theorists who’ve made a name for themselves advancing conspiracy theories that include the myth that President Obama is a secret Kenyan Muslim, Lyndon Johnson assassinated John F. Kennedy, and the CIA is paying Beyonce to create mayhem. Trump’s conspiracy theorist allies also regularly wish violence upon political and media figures who they disagree with.
Warning: This post contains graphic language and sexual content.
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Jones: “I Charge Obama, And I Charge The LGBT Community In General With Endangering America”
Conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Alex Jones blamed President Barack Obama and the American LGBT community for the shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse, which took the lives of at least 49 innocent men and women, stating, “I charge the LGBT community in general with endangering America."
Right Wing Watch reported that Jones charged President Obama and the American LGBT community with “endangering America, and with the blood of these 50-plus innocent men and women, who did not deserve to die, who did not deserve to have bullets fired into them.” Jones’comments come after he claimed the shooting was a “false flag” attack designed to ban “your speech” and “guns”.
ALEX JONES (HOST): This gentleman was openly claiming responsibility, and he had been watched for two years. They knew he was about to do it, ordered a stand down just like San Bernardino, and it took until later in the afternoon, eight, nine hours after everybody had gotten up, and knew about this horror -- for the media to go, OK, it’s Islamic terror.
But Obama wouldn’t say that, he said it’s an attack on us all, because an attack on a gay nightclub is just the heart of everything, so it’s an attack on us all. And my issue is I hate any group of people being attacked, period, but now we’re going to hear the grandstanding, and the LGBT training of the kids in school, and America did this, and this is a part of -- hey, this guy killed more homosexuals than any other gay basher has done in the US in the last 50-plus years. I mean, there might be one death a year, and they act like it’s the end of the world.
And then you’ve got the very same left, allied with radical Islam, in the belly of the West that has given them all this freedom, and they’re desecrating it, and they’re spitting on it -- and I’m talking about the LGBT crowd that the media speaks for, and that speaks for everybody else, and just sits up there and shoots its mouth off all day, you know, about how they control the culture. It’s a bunch of bullies, who bring in even worse bullies, and are just running around murdering people en-masse.
And so I charge the left, and I charge Obama, and I charge the LGBT community in general with endangering America, and with the blood of these 50-plus innocent men and women, who did not deserve to die, who did not deserve to have bullets fired into them.
Jones has a history of demonizing the American LGBT community, asserting the U.S. government uses juice boxes to “encourage homesexuality with chemicals so people don’t have children,” and claimed that non-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people protect “fake rights,” and will make “transvestites [...] throw up all over the walls” in public bathrooms.
Though Alex Jones has been relegated to the fringes of conspiracy media, Jones has been aggressively courted by Donald Trump and Trump surrogates. Donald Trump has previously appeared on Jones’ show, praising his “amazing” reputation. Jones has previously hosted Trump senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, and has repeatedly hosted Trump ally Roger Stone.
Conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Alex Jones claimed President Obama let the tragic mass shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse happen because he wants to ban “your speech” and “guns.” Trump and his campaign surrogates have been heavily courting Jones and his audience during the presidential campaign.
Jones hosts The Alex Jones Show and is the proprietor of Infowars.com. He believes in toxic conspiracy theories about national tragedies, including the Oklahoma City bombing, Boston Marathon bombing, the Newtown, CT, school shooting, and 9/11.
While Jones for years has operated at the fringes of conspiracy media, he has been courted by Trump and advisers like Roger Stone and Stephen Miller. As a result, Jones has become one of the leading media allies for Trump’s campaign.
Jones repeatedly called the deadly Orlando terror attack a “false flag” and accused the government of letting the attack happen for political reasons. Jones’ website defines a false flag as a covert and deceptive operation that is used to “influence elections, guide national and international policy, and [to] cynically ... formulate propaganda and shape public opinion as nations go to war.”
Jones posted a YouTube video shortly after the shooting and claimed the “attacks on Orlando were a false flag terror attack. But before the mainstream media takes that out of context, I want to be clear. Our government and the governments of Europe allowed these huge hordes of radical jihadis in and have even allowed them in without vetting them on record, landing at airports across the country and not even checking their passports, IDs or visas. Our governments are bringing these people in and they’re allowing them to operate openly in our society so they can attack us and then have our freedoms taken.” He then concluded that President Obama “let it happen” so he can “pass laws and hate laws banning your speech” and taking “your guns.”
During the June 12 broadcast of his program, Jones claimed Obama is “not the president. He is a globalist, Wahhabist.” He then said that “our governments of Europe and the United States are bringing” in terrorists and when “they attack, they come out and say it’s your fault. … It’s your fault, the veteran, the gun owner, the patriot.”
While appearing on Fox News in the wake of the Orlando shooting, as The Huffington Post wrote, Trump implied “that President Barack Obama harbored some sort of connection, perhaps even sympathies, to Muslims who had committed acts of terror in the United States.”
InfoWars Is The Nation's Leading Conspiracy Theory Website
BuzzFeed’s D.C. bureau chief reported on Twitter that he was barred from attending Donald Trump’s June 7 speech.
Well that's a new one. Wasn't even let on the premises of trump's golf course for his press conference.
— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) June 8, 2016
On a serious note. I've been a reporter for almost 20 years, and I've never been barred from attending a press conference until tonight
— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) June 8, 2016
And I've pissed off a whole rack of petty, small minded politicians
— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) June 8, 2016
Trump’s campaign did provide credentials to InfoWars, the conspiracy theory website headed by Alex Jones.
Jones has heavily promoted Trump’s campaign on his show. In return, Trump has personally praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation, and Roger Stone, a key Trump ally, regularly appears on Jones’ show. Jones is a self-described “founding father” of the “9/11 truth movement” who believes that the terrorist attacks were a “false flag.” Jones has also suggested that the government orchestrated a variety of horrific events including the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Aurora, CO, movie theater shooting.
The Trump campaign’s banning of Stanton from its event is part of its larger war on the media. In addition to regularly banning reporters from his events after their outlets publish pieces damaging to his campaign, the presumptive Republican candidate has pledged to “open up our libel laws,” threatened to retaliate against media outlets with the power of government agencies, issued scathing personal insults against journalists, and repeatedly sued or threatened to sue media figures.
Some conservative media figures are still backing up presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s absurd argument that a federal judge overseeing the lawsuit against Trump University supposedly has a conflict of interest due to being “Mexican” or because he is a member of a Latino Bar Association group, saying Trump’s claim is not “a stretch,” is not “unreasonable,” and that the judge “is all too willing to associate himself with his ethnicity.” However, long-standing legal precedent has repeatedly ruled out a judge’s race or ethnicity as valid grounds for recusal.
Trump Ally Roger Stone Joins Racist Rant, Slams Judge Gonzalo Curiel As "A Mexican Radical"
From the June 4 edition of Genesis Communication Networks’ The Alex Jones Show (emphasis addded):
ALEX JONES (HOST): Today, we are going to look at this judge who has been ruling basically against [Donald] Trump and doing unprecedented things in the Trump University case. And I'll be honest with you, I've kind of ignored Trump University to a certain extent -- I've done some research. But after Trump came out and said this guy is a Mexican, and by Mexican his loyalty is to Mexico. And so, I did some research and found out wow, Trump needs to go further here. This guy is the head lawyer over a lawyer group based in California, that for decades has been promoting, basically, race-based brainwashing.
Now, I don't like the Ku Klux Klan, but MEChA [Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán] and [the National Council of] La Raza and organizations like this ... these guys basically operate just like the Klan. They say for those inside our race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing. La Raza means "the race," so I see Trump say this about this judge, and I think well you're just saying because he's Mexican in his heritage that he ruled against you. Has Trump gone too far? And I go look it up, and the guy is worse than what Trump's saying. And that's the problem, Trump will just throw something out that's true, but then I guess with the soundbites not get into the whole background of it. So, we're going to talk about this judge a little bit right now, but I'll tell you it's a fair headline to say that this judge is the equivalent of a Hispanic grand dragon.
I just hope Trump unloads on him, like this Daily Caller article "Judge Presiding Over Trump University Case Is A Member Of La Raza." And again, that means "the race." People say, well, that's okay because Hispanics can say we’re a racial group, but whites if you say we're in a racial group that's bad. No, when people organize politically and say "we're only for our group," classically liberal views are that's dangerous and bad, a la Adolf Hitler. Roger Stone, what do you have to say?
ROGER STONE: Well, Alex, I think first of all that it's important to establish that the judge is not only a Mexican radical. He's also a Hillary Clinton contributor.
The sister of late White House deputy counsel Vince Foster wrote a Washington Post op-ed strongly condemning presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for reviving the conspiracy theory that the Clintons killed her brother.
Trump recently told the Post that the circumstances of Foster’s death were “very fishy” and Foster “knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”
Sheila Foster Anthony responded to Trump’s “wrong,” “irresponsible,” and “cruel” remarks in a May 26 piece headlined, "Vince Foster was my brother. Donald Trump should be ashamed." She wrote: “For Trump to raise these theories again for political advantage is wrong. I cannot let such craven behavior pass without a response.”
She noted that five investigations concluded that Foster’s death was a suicide and he “told me he was battling depression” days before he committed suicide.
“Never for a minute have I doubted that was what happened,” she added.
Anthony noted that after Foster’s death, she began to read “countless conspiracy theories spun by those who claimed that the Clintons had Vince murdered because he knew something about Whitewater” and “These outrageous suggestions have caused our family untold pain because this issue went on for so long and these reports were so painful to read.”
Asked about Anthony’s op-ed, Trump today said, “I really know nothing about the Vince Foster situation.” He also claimed it shouldn’t be a part of the campaign “unless some evidence to the contrary of what I’ve seen comes up.”
Leading conservative media figures and outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News have pushed conspiracy theories about Foster and the Clintons in the years after his death.
Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones on May 24 claimed “there’s a cover-up going on, so we don’t know what it is, but that’s good for an open investigation with the death. .... The Clintons thought they would just have their past not looked at, but Donald Trump is willing to do it.” Jones is one of Trump’s most vocal allies and has hosted the candidate on his program.
WND, best known for obsessing over President Obama’s birth certificate, recently claimed that Trump’s conspiracy is “backed by new evidence.” The site’s 2015 “man of the year” was none other than Donald Trump, who called the accolade an “amazing honor.”
The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin explained that because presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “‘whole frame of reference’” for his campaign strategy has been conservative media outlets and discredited conspiracy theories, he’s “obliterated” the line separating elected officials and “conservative mischief makers.”
Trump has long had a symbiotic relationship with conservative media. Fox News and other right-wing news outlets have built up his campaign and repeatedly defended his controversial policies and rhetoric while Trump has echoed their talking points and peddled their conspiracy theories -- most recently including the claim the Clintons were involved with the death of aide Vince Foster. Trump regularly surrounds himself with and lauds known conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, an infamous 9/11 truther, and Roger Stone, a notorious dirty trickster who alleges the Clintons are murderers.Trump has also courted and pushed the claims of discredited author and conspiracy theorist Ed Klein, whose conspiracies on the Clintons have been called “fan faction” and “smut.”
In a May 25 piece, Martin noted that Trump has obliterated “the line separating the conservative mischief makers and the party’s more buttoned-up cadre of elected officials and aides.”Martin also quoted Republican strategists explaining that Trump’s “whole frame of reference is daytime Fox News and [Alex Jones’] Infowars.” From the May 25 New York Times piece:
Ever since talk radio, cable news and the Internet emerged in the 1990s as potent political forces on the right, Republicans have used those media to attack their opponents through a now-familiar two-step.
Political operatives would secretly place damaging information with friendly outlets like The Drudge Report and Fox News and with radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh — and then they would work to get the same information absorbed into the mainstream media.
Candidates themselves would avoid being seen slinging mud, if possible, so as to avoid coming across as undignified or desperate.
Yet by personally broaching topics like Bill Clinton’s marital indiscretions and the conspiracy theories surrounding the suicide of Vincent W. Foster Jr., a Clinton White House aide, Donald J. Trump is again defying the norms of presidential politics and fashioning his own outrageous style — one that has little use for a middleman, let alone usual ideas about dignity.
“They’ve reverse-engineered the way it has always worked because they now have a candidate willing to say it himself,” said Danny Diaz, who was a top aide in Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, speaking with a measure of wonder about the spectacle of the party’s presumptive nominee discussing Mr. Clinton’s sexual escapades.
With Mr. Trump as the Republican standard-bearer, the line separating the conservative mischief makers and the party’s more buttoned-up cadre of elected officials and aides has been obliterated. Fusing what had been two separate but symbiotic forces, Mr. Trump has begun a real-life political science experiment: What happens when a major party’s nominee is more provocateur than politician?
Roger J. Stone Jr., the political operative who is Mr. Trump’s longtime confidant and an unapologetic stirrer of strife, called Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney “losers” for their more restrained approaches.
But that is precisely what has many Republicans, and some Democrats, nervous.
“He’s never been involved in policy making or party building or the normal things a candidate would do,” said Jon Seaton, a Republican strategist. “His whole frame of reference is daytime Fox News and Infowars,” a website run by the conservative commentator Alex Jones.
Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s former chief of staff, said Mr. Trump was making common cause with “the lunatic fringe,” citing his willingness to appear on the radio show of Mr. Jones, who has claimed that Michelle Obama is a man.
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Michael Gerson, syndicated columnist and former aide to President George W. Bush, explained in The Washington Post that presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy is “fueled by conspiracy.”
Trump has peddled numerous conspiracy theories, including leading the charge in questioning the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate, and claiming vaccines cause autism, that the government lied about the dangers of Ebola, that Muslims cheered on 9/11, and that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered, among others. Trump regularly surrounds himself with and lauds known conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, an infamous 9/11 truther, and Roger Stone, a notorious dirty trickster who alleges the Clintons are murderers.
In a May 23 opinion piece for the Post, Gerson wrote Trump “is not flirting with the fringes” by pushing “conspiratorial nonsense,” but “is French-kissing them.” Gerson explained that “Trump emerged in conservative circles by questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship, and thus the legality of his presidency,” and has since peddled numerous conspiracy theories and has “succeeded by appealing to stereotypes and ugly hatreds.” Gerson warned “every Republican official endorsing Trump” that the conspiratorial “company he keeps … is the company you now keep.” From the May 23 Washington Post opinion piece:
But it was Donald Trump who led the opposition. He tweeted: “The U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our ‘borders.’ Act fast!” And: “Ebola is much easier to transmit than the CDC and government representatives are admitting.”
Health officials were not lying. Travel to and from West Africa was essential for medical personnel and aid workers to defeat the disease at its point of origin. Trump’s ban would have made Ebola materially more likely to spread beyond control.
What kind of politics is ascendant in the United States? A distrust of institutions that borders on conspiratorial. Here is Trump again: “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes — AUTISM.” And: “I am being proven right about massive vaccinations — the doctors lied.” And: “So many people who have children with autism have thanked me — amazing response. They know far better than fudged up reports!”
Lying doctors. Fudged reports. It would all be disturbing — if it were not conspiratorial nonsense. No connection has ever been demonstrated between vaccinations and autism. And this particular nonsense is potentially deadly. Trump is undermining a consensus for vaccination that builds up “herd immunity” and saves the lives of children.
Does Trump really believe that liberals may have ordered a hit on a Supreme Court justice? Who knows? We do know he finds such ideas useful. Trump emerged in conservative circles by questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship, and thus the legality of his presidency. This required the existence of a conspiracy to hide the circumstances of Obama’s birth. “They cannot believe what they’re finding,” he said of “people that have been studying it.” Having actually discovered nothing, Trump doubled down on a deception.
As a leader, Trump has succeeded by appealing to stereotypes and ugly hatreds that most American leaders have struggled to repress and contain. His political universe consists of deceptive experts, of scheming, of criminal Mexicans, of lying politicians and bureaucrats and of disloyal Muslims. Asked to repudiate David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, Trump hesitated, later claiming a “bad earpiece.” Asked to repudiate the vicious anti-Semitism of some of his followers, Trump responded, “I don’t have a message to the fans.” Wouldn’t want to offend “the fans.”
This is not flirting with the fringes; it is French-kissing them. Every Republican official endorsing Trump should know: This is the company he keeps. This is the company you now keep.
Media Matters Releases Video Of Trump Insider Boasting About Trump Giving Willey Money
The media is highlighting a new web video from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that features former White House aide Kathleen Willey accusing Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s. In video obtained by Media Matters -- published here for the first time -- close Trump ally Roger Stone says Trump himself gave money to Willey so she would be able to attack the Clintons during Hillary Clinton’s current presidential run. The Office of the Independent Counsel reviewed Willey’s allegations but declined to press charges after determining that Willey repeatedly shifted her story, lied to the FBI, and urged a friend to falsely support her story. She subsequently suggested that the Clintons had murdered her husband in the same way they supposedly murdered former White House aide Vince Foster.
According to Fox's Bill O'Reilly, feminist journalists should not be allowed to report on Donald Trump because “Trump is the antithesis” of feminism. By O’Reilly’s standard, any journalist Trump may have offended would be disqualified from reporting on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
On the May 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly speculated on whether "the national media can cover Trump with any fairness," suggesting that editors should not let feminist journalists report on Trump because his past in the beauty pageant world would bias feminists against him (emphasis added):
BILL O'REILLY: She is a feminist. Trump is a beauty contestant purveyor. Do you let a feminist report on a beauty contestant person who is now turned politician?
O’REILLY: Wait, wait. If I'm an editor and I know there is a feminist woman in my newsroom who is brilliant, because I think this woman is an excellent reporter, I don't let her report on a guy like Trump because Trump is the antithesis of that. And so I don't want any margin of error here. There are plenty of reporters who can do the story. Do you not see that?
Based on O'Reilly's logic, anyone who has reasons to find Trump's positions problematic is unfit to cover him. This standard disqualifies a lot of people:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
Under this rubric, the only people left to cover Donald Trump would likely be those who have made softball interviews of the candidate their specialty, like Sean Hannity, those amplifying Trump’s conspiracy theories like Alex Jones, or people who share a “personal friendship” with the candidate, like O’Reilly. Following O’Reilly’s logic, media’s role of vetting, fact-checking and challenging a candidate, would become a thing of the past.