Newswire: Trump, media assaults on Omar a new low for American Politics

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

American politics appears to have hit a new low.
According to reports, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has beefed up security following the vicious attacks she’s received and even news reports that paint her as un-American. What’s worse, the attacks stem from tweets made against her by President Donald Trump.
“The criticisms of Congresswoman Omar, what Trump has been saying about her, is reprehensible,” said New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democratic presidential candidate. “It is trafficking in Islamophobia, and should be condemned by everyone,” Booker said.
One of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, Omar has come under repeated attack from the president and others, including Fox News as a result of her questioning America’s relationship with Israel.
“We will never forget,” Trump tweeted in all-capital letters recently, attaching a video that spliced together comments Omar made with footage of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Some media favorable to the president have also attacked Omar and despite death threats made against her, Trump has continued his assault by calling her –without any supporting evidence and against her denials – “anti-Semitic,” and “anti-Israel.”
Booker noted that Trump has also attacked other African American women leaders like California Rep. Maxine Waters. “The kind of language this president uses, especially about black women in power, is toxic,” Booker said.
That Trump claims he’s not racist isn’t satisfactory, Booker said. “It’s not enough to say, I’m not a racist. We must all be anti-racist,” he said. The rhetoric by Trump and his allies against Omar have resulted in the Senator ramping up security, particularly as she’s received death threats.
Recently, a Rhode Island man allegedly threatened to “kill every Democrat in the world,” federal officials said. Matthew Haviland, 30, of North Kingstown was charged after sending approximately 28 threatening emails on March 10 to a college professor, whose name and affiliation was withheld by federal officials. Haviland is facing federal threat charges and cyberstalking.
In an affidavit, FBI task force officer Richard Laft, Jr. wrote that the professor told authorities Haviland’s “views regarding abortion and politics have become more extreme” within the last year.
The professor, who had been friends with Haviland for about 11 years, believed Haviland’s views changed because “of the way the news media portrays” President Donald Trump, Laft wrote.
Authorities said Omar was among the Democrats whom Haviland threatened to kill.
Latagia Copeland-Tyronce, a writer and journalist out of Detroit, said as a black woman and social justice advocate, she knows “all too well what it feels like to be attacked for speaking up and out.”
“And, as such, I believe that there should be a zero-tolerance policy in regards to our black representatives in Congress,” Copeland-Tyronce said.
“We, as a people, cannot allow our black leaders to be attacked for their advocacy. I am a proponent of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, however, abuse and racism crosses the line and should be called out when and where it rears its ugly head,” she said.
Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, an American University professor and director of Upstander International, said it’s imperative that all stand up to bigotry.
“We need to fight fire with facts. I know that President Trump has ushered in the era of fake news and alternative facts, but I believe at the end of the day, the reality of his policies of lies and dissension will do him in, even with his followers as the effects of [Former President] Barack Obama’s positive economy begin to dwindle and they realized he never cared about them in the first place,” Dibinga said.
Shiwon Oh of Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, said Trump’s presidency exposes a racist underbelly of America that has always been there from the beginning.
“He just gave validation to their opinions and beliefs that its influence is now seeping into mainstream media channels like Fox News,” Oh said.
“All people can do is continue countering the lies with facts, voicing their opposition to racial oppression, and urging their communities to be on the right side of history, even if it means being ridiculed by some,” she said.

NAACP president: Trump ‘kind of Jim Crow with hairspray and a blue suit’

By Ashley Young, CNN

 

NAACP President William Cornell Brooks

NAACP President
Cornell William Brooks

(CNN)NAACP President Cornell William Brooks on Monday condemned Republican front-runner Donald Trump and said he represents a “kind of Jim Crow with hairspray and a blue suit.”
“The fact of the matter is this is hateful. It is racist. It is bigoted. It is xenophobic. It represents a kind of Jim Crow with hairspray and a blue suit,” Brooks told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” “Let’s not underestimate what we’re dealing with.  This is a very, very ugly moment in America.”
But Brooks said he doesn’t hold anything against
Americans who support Trump. “I don’t blame the people –- American citizens — for their economic anxieties and a sense of desperation. The fact that their grasping at straws and they grasped onto a bigoted, demagogic  billionaire speaks to their desperation, not necessarily his appeal or the strength of his platform,” he said.
CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment, with no response.
The billionaire’s rallies have turned increasingly violent in the past week as supporters have clashed with protesters. Trump was forced to cancel a rally in Chicago over the weekend and was given a scare when a protester rushed the stage Saturday.
And a former Breitbart reporter filed an assault charge against Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, alleging he yanked her violently from Trump last Tuesday.
“The fact of the matter is he’s engaged in rhetoric that represents a kind of apologetics, if you will, of violence,” Brooks said.
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina said Monday they are weighing whether to press charges against Trump for inciting a riot during that rally where the protester was sucker punched by a 78-year-old white man. Trump has said he is considering paying the legal fees for the supporter charged with assault.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks flatly rejected the premise of the investigation into Trump’s role in the violent altercation.”It is the protesters and agitators who are in violation, not Mr. Trump or the campaign,” Hicks said Monday in a statement.
Hicks added that Trump’s speech was “extremely well thought out and well received” and instead focused on the role of protesters, who she said “in some cases … used foul language, screamed vulgarities and made obscene gestures, annoying the very well behaved audience.”
Brooks believes Trump’s behavior is “contemptible” but will “leave that for the prosecutors in North Carolina to determine.” He added there “absolutely” is a racial aspect to business mogul’s increasingly violent rallies.
“When you call Mexicans rapists, when you use code words like ‘thug,’ where you suddenly can’t distance yourself from the Klan. The fact of the matter is we’ve been in this ugly movie before. In the 1920s the Klan combined an anti-immigrant sentiment in the country with a kind of un-American patriotism with a venue of Christianity,” Brooks said.
Blitzer pointed out that Trump eventually did disavow the Klu Klux Klan.

Obama urges rejection of violence at campaign rallies

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and GARDINER
HARRIS, NY Times

Obama gives speech

President Obama delivers remarks on campaign

WASHINGTON — President Obama said on Tuesday that the violent scenes playing out at rallies for Donald J. Trump threatened to tarnish “the American brand,” and he called on politicians in both parties to reject them. Speaking at the Capitol for the annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon with lawmakers, Mr. Obama did not mention Mr. Trump by name, but he criticized the protesters who have interrupted the candidate’s campaign events and the violent response from Mr. Trump’s supporters.
Violence has broken out at Trump rallies in Chicago, North Carolina and Ohio as protesters increasingly seek to disrupt the events.
On Friday, Mr. Trump canceled a rally in Chicago, sending thousands of people home, after his supporters clashed with protesters at an arena there.
Mr. Obama said the actions of both sides damaged American politics and the nation’s reputation around the world. Politicians should think of the effect their language has on children who are watching, he said.
“We should not have to explain to them this darker side” of the political system, Mr. Obama said as lawmakers — including the leaders of the Republican Party — sat nearby.
The audience remained hushed for Mr. Obama’s remarks, listening as the president turned to address the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, who was the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012.
Mr. Obama told Mr. Ryan that he disagreed with him on most policy issues. “But I don’t have a bad thing to say about you as a man,” he said. Mr. Ryan nodded in agreement as Mr. Obama continued. “I know you want what’s best for America,” the president said.
Mr. Obama’s comments about the rallies echoed remarks he has made repeatedly about Mr. Trump, who is vying for the Republican presidential nomination, in the last several weeks. On Friday, Mr. Obama mocked him during remarks at a Democratic fund-raiser in Austin, Tex., criticizing Mr. Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail.
“We’ve got a debate inside the other party that is fantasy and schoolyard taunts and selling stuff like it’s the Home Shopping Network,” Mr. Obama said, referring to a news conference in which Mr. Trump showed off an array of products bearing his name.
The president said Republicans should not be surprised by the language Mr. Trump and some of his rivals were using in an effort to win the nomination.
“They can’t be surprised,” Mr. Obama said, “when somebody suddenly looks and says: ‘You know what? I can do that even better. I can make stuff up better than that. I can be more outrageous than that. I can insult people even better than that. I can be even more uncivil.’ ”
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Obama had decided to criticize Mr. Trump during the annual Capitol Hill celebration of Irish heritage because the camaraderie and fellowship at the event “is in stark contrast to the kind of vulgarity we see on the campaign trail.”
Mr. Earnest noted that the event celebrated immigration, an issue that has become politically toxic among Republican presidential candidates.
“After all, Irish immigrants have thrived in America,” Mr. Earnest said. Borrowing part of Mr. Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again,” he added: “The president has long believed that’s an important part of what makes America great.”
Mr. Earnest said Mr. Obama was likely to speak again about divisive campaign language.
“I think the president is concerned about the corrosive impact of the tone of the political debate,” Mr. Earnest said.
Responding to a statement by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, urging Mr. Trump to condemn violence regardless of its cause, Mr. Earnest said Republican leaders should not condemn Mr. Trump’s divisive statements while also supporting his bid for the presidency.