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Trump V.P. Contender Byron Donalds Says Jim Crow Wasn’t All That Bad

Byron Donalds is pandering to Donald Trump—and his new comments about Jim Crow are sick.

Representative Byron Donalds looks off camera
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative Byron Donalds, one of Trump’s possible vice presidential picks, seems to believe that Black families were better off under the segregation of the Jim Crow era.

Donalds was speaking Tuesday at a “Congress, Cognac, and Cigars” event at a cigar bar in Philadelphia with Representative Wesley Hunt, which was meant to promote “Black Americans for Trump.”

Sports journalist Michelle Tafoya, who moderated the event, was leading a discussion on the GOP’s outreach to Black Americans when Donalds began claiming that Democratic policies  have eroded Black family values. Specifically, Donalds said that Black voters had embraced those policies after becoming loyal to the Democratic Party when the Civil Rights Act passed.

“You see, during Jim Crow, the Black family was together. During Jim Crow, more Black people were not just conservative—Black people have always been conservative-minded—but more Black people voted conservatively,” Donalds said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“And then H.E.W., Lyndon Johnson—you go down that road, and now we are where we are,” Donalds added, referring to the former U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries responded to Donalds’s remarks the next day, calling them “factually inaccurate” and an “ignorant observation.”

Connecting desegregation to the decline of the Black family is probably not the best way for the Republicans to win more Black voters, even if the message is coming from a Black conservative like Donalds. Plus, the social programs that Donalds laments were rolled back by Democrats in the 1990s, led by President Bill Clinton.

But it’s only the latest example of Donalds saying something he shouldn’t have. Also on Tuesday, he attempted to criticize Democrats on Newsmax, only to inadvertently describe the GOP’s propensity for gaslighting. He continues to back Trump, even when the Republican presidential nominee and convicted felon spouts outlandish conspiracy theories. And Donalds went as far as to declare that the federal government should not be involved in managing elections.

Is this the kind of devotion Trump is looking for in a vice president, a sycophant who can defend Trump and the Republican Party’s racist history by the virtue of his own identity?

Idiot James Comer Helped Import Chinese Weed

The House Oversight Committee chair has repeatedly hounded the Biden family for business ties to China.

James Comer speaks
Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative James Comer once accidentally imported Chinese marijuana on behalf of one of his donors. The massive Mary Jane mistake, from a politician who has gone on to decry doing business with the foreign superpower, was never made public—until now.

Correspondence obtained by The Daily Beast from a third-party group through a records request, shows that a shipment of “hemp” Comer acquired nearly a decade ago tested 10 times higher than the legal limits for THC. While the emails suggest there were plans to destroy the gaffed ganja, it’s still unclear what became of the shipment, which the U.S. government would classify as marijuana.

After Comer was elected as Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture in 2011, he embarked on an industrial hemp pilot program, which he has since touted as one of the triumphs of his career.

As part of the program, Comer worked with Caudill Seed, a company that he’d previously awarded as a “Kentucky Proud Partner in Excellence.” Brothers and company executives COO Sanford “Dan” Caudill and CEO Pat Caudill reportedly only became interested in working with hemp seeds after speaking with Comer when he was running for the office. That year, both brothers donated the maximum to Comer’s campaign, according to the Beast.

Comer was reportedly aware that Caudill Seed had a relationship with Chinese suppliers, and in June 2014, a box labeled “rape seed” arrived at Comer’s office from China. Caudill Seed had pushed Comer’s office to order hemp seeds from China because it did not require an export permit. When Comer’s chief of staff questioned why the box was mislabeled, Caudill Seed employees Lori Thomas and Carl Gering speculated that it was mislabeled “as a decoy.”

The Morehead State University School of Agriculture, which had agreed to test the seeds, planted them shortly after. When it came time to harvest in September, it was clear that something was off. Gering wrote an email to MSU Dean Tony Brannon beginning, “FYI—your eyes only,” disclosing that after the shipment had been transported on a permit from Comer’s office, the driver had complained that the shipment smelled overwhelmingly like weed.

When the plant was tested for THC levels, the results confirmed the driver’s sense of smell. “We have hemp seed with a THC content of 1.87 and 2.74%,” Gering wrote in an email to his boss, results which the Beast has confirmed. The legal limit for hemp is 0.3 percent. Anything higher is considered marijuana.

During the following months, a back-and-forth ensued between Caudill Seed, Comer’s office, and MSU about what to do with their pot; retest or destroy seemed to be the two prevailing options. Despite the growing problem, in November, Caudill Seed threw Comer a fundraiser for his gubernatorial campaign, which netted more donation max-outs from the brothers and their family members. In January, another round of testing confirmed the hemp was not up to standard.

Caudill, Brannon, and Gering agreed to destroy the plant and keep the incident quiet, but they reached out to Comer’s office anyway. Brannon submitted MSU’s production report to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, including the THC results, but did not comment on them. An official with Comer’s office advised holding off on destroying the plant until the KDA could oversee its disposal. After that, the correspondence ends, and it’s unclear what happened to the plant.

Comer later sent a memo to his office, insisting that there was “nothing criminal occuring with the projects” and that the program was “in compliance with both state and federal regulations; there is nothing to hide.” The same email advised employees not to comply with requests for testing samples from the federal government and to instead contact the KDA.

Donations from the Caudills and Brannon have slowly shrunk as Comer moved into Congress, where he has adamantly opposed doing business with China and criticized President Joe Biden for giving China “access to our markets” during his time as vice president. Comer has also repeatedly attacked Biden’s son Hunter for business dealings with China.

“The most illegal thing in the world for anyone in Washington is to take money from foreign nationals from China,” Comer told Mike Huckabee last August.

Chicago Police Chief Gives Ominous Warning on DNC Protests

The Chicago police seem to be directly warning protesters ahead of the Democratic National Convention.

Two silhouettes in front of a large screen that reads "DNC 2024" and "Democratic Natioanl Convention"
Scott Olson/Getty Images

During a briefing on Tuesday about security plans ahead of this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Police Superintendent Larry Snelling told reporters, “Protesting peacefully doesn’t always mean you’re protected by the First Amendment.” His comment quickly sparked confusion and concerns of police repression for anticipated large-scale protests outside the DNC.

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The comment came in a larger conversation where Snelling also hinted at changes to Chicago police’s mass arrest policy. “Mass arrest is a last resort,” Snelling said. “But we know the realities of these types of situations, especially when the number of people we’re expecting to converge upon Chicago is inevitable that there is a possibility for vandalism. There is a possibility for violence, and we are prepared to deal with that.”

Per WQAD, more than 50 groups have indicated plans to protest the DNC, and Chicago police have denied permit requests for protests near the venue. Groups whose permits were denied reportedly plan to sue and have vowed to march regardless.

Fox 32, which first reported the statements, followed up to note Snelling was speaking to acts of civil disobedience. Snelling’s comments, initially shared without context, continued: “First Amendment protection is only there if you’re not committing a crime. You can be acting out peacefully and still breaking the law. If you sit in a roadway, or you’re blocking a venue or private property, and you refuse to leave, those are crimes.”

The First Amendment grants “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” However, police departments across the country have exploited local laws to violently repress recent mass protests against genocide. In New York City, for example, the NYPD has frequently restricted pro-Palestine protests to sidewalks, making violent arrests on protesters who spill out into the street or for using megaphones without a permit.

Shameless Liar Trump Gives E. Jean Carroll More Ammo to Sue Him Again

The former president can’t stop lying about the case.

Donald Trump gestures as he speaks into a microphone
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Donald Trump can’t seem to stop talking about E. Jean Carroll, financial consequences be damned.

Speaking with Newsmax’s Greg Kelly on Tuesday, Trump continued to claim his innocence, despite being found liable for sexually assaulting Carroll in a Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s, and then defaming her two separate times.

“Other than the fact that she had a picture taken many, many years ago, I’ve never met this woman. I don’t know this woman. And I’m supposed to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a fictional story,” Trump told Kelly.

Trump owes Carroll a total of $88.3 million for sexually abusing and defaming her, and his repeated insistence that he’s never met Carroll could well invite further legal action from her. Trump took the opportunity during the Tuesday interview to complain about the judges in his various other legal cases, mentioning by name Carroll defamation suit Judge Lewis Kaplan, and Judge Arthur Engoron, who presided over the civil fraud case related to the Trump Organization’s overvaluation of property.

Trump has also repeatedly publicly criticized Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the hush-money case in which the former president was convicted on 34 counts of business fraud.

“This is a cabal,” Trump said.

Merchan levied a gag order on Trump and has threatened to jail him for violating it. After his conviction, Trump’s lawyers requested that Merchan lift the order. If his comments on Carroll, who he’s already twice been found guilty of defaming, are any indication, they know, even in the face of fines and jail time, Trump just can’t help himself.

How Israel Used Fake Social Media Accounts to Target Black Democrats

A new report exposes how Israel secretly targeted U.S. lawmakers—and Black Democrats in particular—to gain support for its deadly war on Gaza.

splitscreen of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Ritchie Torres
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Israel paid for a foreign influence campaign to disseminate pro-Israel propaganda and disinformation to U.S. lawmakers, The New York Times confirmed on Wednesday. The campaign had been flagged and reported on for months across numerous social media platforms, but it was unclear the extent to which the Israeli government was involved in the operation. Turns out, the Israeli government directly commissioned the whole thing—and it was targeting Black Democratic lawmakers in particular.

The influence operation—which seeks to sow criticism of pro-Palestine and campus protests and to bolster support for Israel’s attacks on Gaza—began in October, according to the Times. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, identified the operation last week. Meta described the campaign as “likely AI-generated” with ChatGPT posts from accounts posing as Jewish students, Black Americans, and “concerned citizens,” according to Reuters, and a focus on audiences in the United States and Canada.

The Times reports the campaign is still active on X (formerly Twitter), where fake accounts posing as real Americans spammed pro-Israel propaganda in reply to predominantly Black U.S. lawmakers. The campaign targeted Ritchie Torres, a Democratic representative from New York well known for routinely espousing pro-Israel propaganda, as well as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Both, coincidentally, are two of AIPAC’s largest donation recipients: Both Torres’s and Jeffries’s largest donor is AIPAC, while Jeffries is AIPAC’s top recipient.

Israeli-based newspaper Haaretz also reported numerous examples of the fake accounts and included one reply from a ChatGPT-fueled fake account posing as a Black woman in response to U.S. Representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who represents California.

“Israel’s role in this is reckless and probably ineffective,” Achiya Schatz, the executive director of Israeli disinformation watchdog FakeReporter, told The New York Times. That Israel “ran an operation that interferes in U.S. politics is extremely irresponsible.”

According to sources involved in the campaign who provided documented evidence to The New York Times, the campaign was commissioned by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs—a government body largely focused on pushing pro-Israel and pro-Netanyahu talking points to U.S. Jews and advocating for a highly controversial proposed definition of antisemitism. The ministry paid $2 million for the campaign, tapping Israeli political marketing firm Stoic.

The exposure of the government agency behind the influence campaign is almost entirely too convenient: In January, a Tel Aviv University report called to shutter the ministry and fold its initiatives into the offices of the prime minister and the foreign ministry, consolidating power around far-right figureheads Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz.

Judge Cannon Hands Trump Another Massive Win—This Time, on Jack Smith

Judge Aileen Cannon just won’t stop giving Donald Trump huge wins in his classified documents case.

Donald Trump smiles and waves
James Devaney/GC Images

Judge Aileen Cannon has agreed to Donald Trump’s request for a hearing on whether Jack Smith’s appointment as special counsel in his classified documents case is legal, and she’s allowing parties not involved in the case to take part.

On Tuesday, Cannon granted motions from Trump’s legal team for parties not involved in his classified documents case to participate in an expanded hearing on the legality of Smith’s appointment.

Tweet screenshot Anna Bower

These parties include conservative lawyers Josh Blackman from the Landmark Legal Foundation and Gene Schaerr from Citizens United. The other side will include Matthew Seligman, a legal scholar who thinks that Trump’s motion is “meritless.” None of these parties are otherwise involved in the case. Oral arguments on Smith’s appointment will begin June 21.

It’s an odd long-shot strategy in the case that probably would have been shot down by any other judge, but the Trump-appointed Cannon has made several questionable decisions in the classified documents case that favor the convicted felon and Republican presidential nominee.

Cannon has also agreed to hear Trump’s arguments that the FBI plotted to assassinate him—a completely made-up conspiracy theory. Last week, she blocked a gag order request from special counsel Jack Smith because it was “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” Last month, she effectively delayed Trump’s case indefinitely to resolve pretrial motions. Even one of Trump’s former lawyers, Ty Cobb, thinks that Cannon is doing a terrible job with the case.

The frequently delayed case has not reflected well on Cannon, a former federal prosecutor and University of Michigan law school graduate. One hearing with a Trump co-defendant devolved into a shouting match, and Cannon seems to misunderstand basic legal proceedings and principles in court, forcing legal counsel to explain them to her as the trial proceeds. Whether her actions are due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to help Trump, he has made no secret of his appreciation.

Trump Jr. Hits Disgusting New Low as He Sucks Up to His Convicted Dad

The younger Trump mocked Democrats calling out Republican support for his dad.

Donald Trump Jr. looks up
Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Conservatives, those supposed defenders of law and order, are struggling to spin Donald Trump’s felony conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election. As a result, they’re resorting to a well-practiced reflex: gutter racism.

Donald Trump Jr., the 46-year-old self-proclaimed “Meme Wars General” and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, on Monday posted an image of George Floyd on his Instagram.

“Democrats: ‘I don’t know how you can support a felon,’” he wrote on the photo.

“The mental gymnastics here are staggering!!!” Trump Jr. captioned the image. He also posted a version of the photo to his Instagram story.

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Trump Jr.’s post, which at the time of writing has been liked more than 240,000 times, seems indicative of a broader conservative talking point in the making. When asked earlier this week about Trump being a convicted felon, Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene responded, “Yeah, so was George Floyd, and everybody—and you all too, the media—worship George Floyd. Democrats worship George Floyd. There were riots burning down the f—ng country over George Floyd.”

It’s unclear whether the disingenuous attempt to compare Floyd, an unarmed Black man murdered by police officers in 2020, to Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is a coordinated strategic effort by conservatives, but it tracks with the right-wing embrace of racist conspiracy about Floyd’s death and celebration of vigilante violence during the 2020 protests. Conservative abuse of Floyd’s image is by now a yearslong phenomenon. But that doesn’t make Trump Jr.’s post any less shameless or disgusting.

Trump Doubles Down on Fascism with New Campaign Partner

Meet Charlie Kirk, the campaign’s new fascist twerp.

Charlie Kirk speaks into a microphone
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The GOP’s junior ranks are increasingly being staffed by open racists, in what some commentators have called the “groyperfication” of the party. And Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is no exception.

Last week, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk announced that his organization would be officially partnering with the campaign to get out the vote.

“Breaking right here on this show: Turning Point Action’s ballot chase initiative, and remind you, we are working directly in coordination with the Trump campaign, that’s the new FEC rule and regulation. Charlie, I don’t want to get over my skis there,” Kirk’s podcast co-host, Andrew Kolvet, announced.

“We’re allowed to work in harmony on doors and canvassing, that’s what the law says,” Kirk said.

Turning Point USA has been a force in right-wing media and campus conservative organizing, and has held events at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound. But the organization has previously been mostly limited to maintaining a watch list of supposedly subversive leftist professors, encouraging followers to violate Covid-19 masking regulations, and enriching its brass, and has never officially partnered with a campaign.

Kirk, the group’s founder and apparently the Trump campaign’s newest canvasser, is a model of the new student conservativism: He has impugned the character of Martin Luther King Jr. and questioned whether MLK Day should be a federal holiday, implied that affirmative action is allowing unqualified Black pilots to fly planes, and expressed “impatience for American Jews that have put up with the anti-white sentiments the last decade.”

Turning Point USA’s national field director was fired after texting another TPUSA employee, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all.… I hate blacks. End of story.” The organization also has been accused of organizing bus trips to the Capitol on January 6.

The Trump campaign has already proven it will go to any lengths and partner with any group, no matter how unsavory, to gain an edge against Joe Biden. That it’s partnering with bigots such as Kirk, then, isn’t surprising, but it provides a harrowing preview of the future of Republican Party organizing. The fever doesn’t appear to be breaking anytime soon.

Trump Stooge’s Attempt to Troll Democrats Hilariously Backfires

Byron Donalds told voters to defeat people who “gaslight” you about their lies.

Byron Donalds speaks into microphones
Alex Kent/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Byron Donalds attempted to skewer Democrats, but his tirade dipped into the uncanny valley and ended up looking a lot more like his own party.

During an interview Tuesday on Newsmax, Donalds lamented Dr. Anthony Fauci’s testimony earlier this week in front of a GOP-led subcommittee on the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only did the hearing quickly go off the rails, but Fauci made it through without validating any of the bonkers Republican claims about him. Donalds seemed incensed, but his argument sounded all too familiar.

“We have people in this government, Tony Fauci is a part of that ilk, that truly believe that they are omnipotent, that they are never wrong,” the Florida Republican said. “And when you catch them in their lies, then they try to gaslight you, gaslight the American people, and say, ‘No, no, no, we agreed with you the entire time,’ or, ‘There simply is no evidence to support your conspiratorial claims.’

“These people are gone, they have lost it, so there is no reasoning with them, they simply have to be defeated,” said Donalds, who is reportedly on Donald Trump’s short list of vice presidential contenders.

The inconsistent but dogmatic attitude to which Donalds alluded sounds all too akin to his Republican counterparts, who break their backs daily to stay in Trump’s good graces as he flits between different stances on a number of issues, including immigration, abortion, and of course, criminal justice.

Increasingly, it appears that Republicans are disappointed with the outcome of Fauci’s hearing, as they were pitifully unable to pin their grievances on one man. In front of Congress, Fauci has called the GOP conspiracies about his leadership of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases “seriously distorted.”

More about Republican attacks on Fauci:

Trump and Biden Both Suffer Huge Hits With Protest Vote in New Mexico

Tuesday’s primary election in New Mexico delivered a serious warning sign to both Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden splitscreen (both are speaking in front of mics)
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Protest votes have continued to dog Biden and Trump, both presumptive nominees, eating a chunk of their leads in New Mexico in Tuesday night’s primary results.

Trump saw yuge losses in the New Mexico Republican primary, with nearly 12 percent of votes going to anyone but him. Nikki Haley’s zombie campaign pulled 8.6 percent of Republican primary voters, and uncommitted votes took another 3.3 percent. In total, he pulled just 78,716 votes in the state—84.5 percent.

In 2016, Trump faced off in a much more crowded field of dead campaigns in New Mexico, collecting just over 70 percent of the vote against five other zombie candidates. Trump lost the battleground state in that year’s general election to Hillary Clinton and again to Joe Biden in 2020. Tuesday night’s showing suggests Trump may lose the state’s general election again, as Biden picked up over 31,000 votes more than Trump.

Turnout was sluggish overall in the land of enchantment for the newly convicted Trump: New Mexico’s Republican primary on Tuesday turned out nearly half as many votes for Trump as he received in the 2020 primary—78,716 down from 144,067.

Meanwhile, an ongoing primary protest against Biden’s support of Israel and handling of Israel’s unconstrained devastation of Gaza continues to sink its teeth into Biden’s primary numbers.

In New Mexico, the uncommitted campaign pulled over 12,000 votes—taking nearly a tenth of the vote from Biden. The protest vote was aided by another 6.7 percent of voters choosing Marianne Williamson, for a whopping 16.4 percent of votes yanked from Biden.

In New Jersey, uncommitted protest votes pulled an astonishing 41,415 votes from Biden, or 8.7 percent. The gimmick campaign of an anti-abortion extremist also took votes away from Biden, bringing in just 2.8 percent but pulling Biden’s overall vote tally down to 88.5 percent. In 2020, protest votes for Bernie Sanders’s dead campaign stole 14.6 percent from Biden who, in total, collected 814,188 votes. This year’s New Jersey primary, Biden collected half that—just 419,020 votes in total.