Donald Trump’s attempt to portray himself as a uniter, not a divider, was undermined by a shout from the crowd during his victory speech in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
"Kill Obama" I see this is off to a fantastic start. ????pic.twitter.com/kUryVpKENh
— Andrew HammondAP (@ahammsportsgeek) November 9, 2016
Others suggested the plea was to “jail Obama,” but the moment stunned many viewers, raising fears that, just as the victory of nationalists in Britain’s vote to leave the European Union was followed by an ugly wave of hostility towards foreigners, Trump’s election might seem to ratify the open racism and calls to political violence that had punctuated his campaign.
A Trump supporter just shouted "Kill Obama!" during his acceptance speech. This your new America.
— Derek DelGaudio (@derek_del) November 9, 2016
Someone yelled "kill Obama." This is wild. #ElectionNight
— deray mckesson (@deray) November 9, 2016
— Jaremi Carey (@PhiPhiOhara) November 9, 2016
Trump's America officially began with someone feeling comfortable enough to shout "Kill Obama!" during his acceptance speech.
— Nasty Woman Gingie (@VelvetMcIntyre) November 9, 2016
"Kill Obama" was yelled, clearly heard by those on the stage, and was completely ignored. Perfect example of what we're in for.
— Patti LaHelle (@_maleficentt) November 9, 2016
Like this is real life right now.. somebody had the nerve to say "Kill Obama"… this is the kinda America we just unveiled
— Edgar Allen Po' Girl (@Tre_mason5) November 9, 2016
While Trump’s young son, Barron, appeared to express shock at the outburst, the president-elect, if he heard it, chose not to react.
This would have been a good opportunity for him to diffuse the hate, but no.
— Travis Barney (@travenasty) November 9, 2016
Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Donald Trump appeared to lay the foundation for contesting the results of the presidential election by referring to a handful of reports of voting machine errors as a widespread problem that might make it impossible for him to accept defeat.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 8, 2016
“I have to look at what’s happening,” Trump said, when asked if he might contest the result. “I have to look at reports that are coming out. There are reports that, when people vote for Republicans, the entire ticket switches over to Democrats — you’ve seen that — it’s happening at various places today, it’s been reported.”
“In other words, the machines,” he continued, “you put down a Republican and it registers as a Democrat, and they’ve had a lot of complaints about that today.”
NBC News reported on Tuesday afternoon that 19 Trump supporters in six Pennsylvania counties had complained about touch-screen machines not letting them cast their votes. The Trump campaign is reportedly considering legal action to compel authorities in those counties to take the voting machines out of service and conduct the rest of the election on paper ballots.
As Sheera Frenkel of Buzzfeed reports, one incident, documented on video by a voter in Philadelphia, spread widely online, even though the voter said that he had, eventually, been able to cast his vote for Trump.
this is what I was talking about, they fixed it but it was on some nut shit at first. pic.twitter.com/GO5Y9FCnYN
— ædonis | hotep (@lordaedonis) November 8, 2016
The voter explained in another tweet that the machine had to be reset to allow him to vote for Trump, which he did.
Trump’s comments to Fox, casting doubt on the integrity of the voting process as it took place, were unprecedented for a major party candidate in the United States.
Although Trump’s statement to Fox mixed together rumors and “reports,” election officials have been debunking many such claims. As the Toronto Star’s Washington correspondent Daniel Dale noted, three complaints about such machine error in a county outside Scranton, Pennsylvania — caught by voters themselves before the votes were recorded — were called unfounded by technicians.
In many cases, claims of machine error, discovered on confirmation screens that flash up before votes are recorded, have been attributed to errors made by voters.
After one rumor of voting machine error during early voting in Texas was shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook last month, Trump complained, without pointing to any evidence, that the problem was widespread.
A lot of call-ins about vote flipping at the voting booths in Texas. People are not happy. BIG lines. What is going on?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2016
A Texas election official said last month that after one reported incident of a machine not working properly, which was caught before the vote was registered, the voter was allowed to use a different machine and had no problems.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, one voting machine in Georgia was taken offline after a voter said that it had failed to register his vote for Hillary Clinton, assigning it instead to Trump.
Update: After apparently regaining control of his Twitter account from aides, Trump used the social network to incorrectly report that officials in Utah, who confirmed problems with voting machines in one county, said there were “voting machine problems across entire country.”
Just out according to @CNN: "Utah officials report voting machine problems across entire country"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2016
As Jake Tapper of CNN explained, Trump’s error appeared to be writing “country” instead of “county,” which is “the difference of an ‘r,’ but kind of an important one.”
CNN's Jake Tapper: Trump is lying about nationwide voting machine problems. pic.twitter.com/HfPt0wHxmp
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) November 8, 2016
As Donald Trump arrived to vote for himself at a polling place near his home in Manhattan on Tuesday, he heard boos and jeers from people waiting to vote, residents of the area and bystanders.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) November 8, 2016
NEW – Trump arrives at PS59 in midtown Manhattan with Melania & Ivanka pic.twitter.com/X8aGKXAC5v
— Chris Snyder (@ChrisSnyderFox) November 8, 2016
— Harrison Greenbaum (@harrisoncomedy) November 8, 2016
Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times reported that the catcalls and heckling continued even after the native New Yorker went inside to cast his ballot.
As Trump cast his ballot people inside and outside of the polling station at PS 59 booed and heckled him. Here's the outside crowd. pic.twitter.com/OVcdhJcgOU
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) November 8, 2016
Inside the polling place, video recorded by CNN appeared to show Trump glancing over at his wife Melania’s ballot as they voted behind privacy screens.
When you trust your wife to vote for you, but not really. pic.twitter.com/tLprW7iXI3
— Master of None (@Gabbienain) November 8, 2016
After Trump finished, some voters waiting on line laughed and one man told him, “You’re gonna lose!”
— Josh (@joshmbarn) November 8, 2016
The heckling resumed as Trump departed, although at least one of his supporters could be heard shouting “Go Donald!” as another person nearby countered with “Loser!”
— Harrison Greenbaum (@harrisoncomedy) November 8, 2016
Katy Tur of NBC News, a journalist who has been singled out for abuse by Trump on the campaign trail, reported that some construction workers above the street did cheer for him.
Amidst the boos and heckles as Trump went to vote a group of construction workers cheered him on yelling, "Lock her up Donald! Lock her up!"
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) November 8, 2016
Before Trump arrived at the polling place inside a public school on East 56th Street, two activists from Femen, a feminist protest group that started in Ukraine, ripped off their shirts to reveal anti-Trump slogans painted on their chests.
— Sharon Clott Kanter (@sharonclott) November 8, 2016
At a series of rallies on the final day of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump tried to change the terms of the competition he is engaged in with Hillary Clinton — to make it less about who can get the most votes based on their qualifications for the job and more about who is the more popular entertainer.
“I see she’s doing fine in the polls,” Trump said of Clinton. “I don’t know how, nobody goes to her rallies.”
He also devoted a lot of energy to parsing a question that most Americans had not previously considered important. Why is it, the candidate asked — at stops in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — that Clinton did not mind the rapper Jay Z cursing and using the N-word in his songs, but was offended when Trump was caught on tape boasting that he liked to force himself on women and “grab them by the pussy?”
“The language was so bad,” Trump said, a rally in Sarasota, Fla. on Monday morning, apparently referring to Jay Z’s performance of “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” on Friday night in Cleveland, where he and Beyoncé appeared on stage with Clinton.
Apparently unaware that what was wrong with the words he was recorded saying in the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape was not that they were obscene but that they described sexual assaults he had carried out, Trump called Clinton a hypocrite.
“Isn’t it amazing that when Jay Z and Beyoncé use the filthy language that they use, using words that if I ever said those words it would be the reinstitution of the death penalty,” Trump said. “They use these words and she comes on and hugs them, like everything’s alright. Yet, with me, ‘He’s very lewd.'”
Trump was echoing a complaint made over and over on Fox News all weekend, as the pro-Clinton Media Matters for America noted.
Trump also seemed to be channeling a frequent complaint made in the right-wing media, that it is somehow unfair to white people that African-American performers have reappropriated the N-word. Last month, rumors surfaced that outtakes from “The Apprentice” might show that Trump himself had used the word as a racial slur on the set.
Last month, Stanley Leibowitz, a former rental agent for the Trump Management company told NBC News that Trump was once present when his father, Fred Trump, used the N-word when ordering the agent to not rent an apartment to an African-American woman.
At his rallies one Monday, Trump made no mention of what Jay Z actually said in his endorsement of Clinton. “This other guy, I don’t have any ill will towards him, but his conversation is divisive, and that’s not an evolved soul to me, so he cannot be my president — he cannot be our president,” the musician said.
Jay Z: "I don't have any ill will toward (Trump), but his conversation is divisive … he cannot be our president" https://t.co/eJlbbkpxXZ
— CNN (@CNN) November 5, 2016
Rather than replying to the substance of that argument, Trump instead told supporters at a rally in Raleigh, N.C. that he likes Jay Z and Beyoncé well enough, “but I get bigger crowds than they do.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 7, 2016
In Scranton, Pa. later, Trump also claimed, falsely, that most people had left by the time Clinton appeared on stage with Beyoncé and Jay Z in Cleveland.
Trump: Jay-Z uses “the worst language I have ever heard” – and most people left the rally when he and Beyoncé left https://t.co/SdLJx1z9qM
— CNN (@CNN) November 7, 2016
What he seemed bizarrely unaware of as he boasted about how much better he is at drawing crowds is that the contest he is engaged in with Clinton is about something else, getting votes, and that her events are organized to encourage people who attend to actually go to the polls.
He, by contrast, seems convinced that entertaining the specific group of people in front of him is the main goal. At the Florida rally, for instance, he stopped for a minute to display a “beautiful” mask of his head that one supporter tossed on stage. “Nice head of hair,” Trump joked as he held it up.
After tossing the mask back, Trump asked, rhetorically, “Is there any place more fun to be than a Trump rally?”
— ????????VOTE TRUMP???????? (@JenWoodruff79) November 7, 2016
Unlike so many of the other pointless fights Trump has picked in recent months — with the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, or the Gold Star father, Khizr Khan — the decision to try to tarnish Jay Z’s reputation appeared to be part of a deliberate campaign strategy.
Before Trump expressed his faux shock at the rapper’s language at his rallies, one of his campaign surrogates, Scottie Nell Hughes, had appeared on CNN to point out that a video for one of Jay Z’s songs shows protesters hurling what she called “Mazel Tov cocktails” at the police.
Now that Donald Trump’s aides have reportedly wrested away control of his Twitter account, the candidate is no longer able to play an outsized role in spreading internet conspiracy theories about his rival.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) November 7, 2016
Trump’s most ardent supporters, however, have been working overtime on his behalf to fill social networks with disinformation about Hillary Clinton in the campaign’s final days.
The effort, coordinated on Reddit, has led to the production, on an industrial scale, of fake Twitter memes and YouTube videos in the style of Hillary Clinton’s campaign ads. All of the hoax messages are designed to mislead Clinton’s supporters, either by spreading misinformation about how to vote for her, or just misrepresenting the policies she has promised to pursue.
One series of fake ads, urging Clinton supporters to vote for her from home by text message, led Twitter to suspend the accounts of Trump supporters who shared them.
100% Fake, put out by Trump supptrs/trolls/bots 2 suppress the vote. U can not text or call in your vote or vote online. Share quickly pic.twitter.com/DrgouLCArd
— Sybil4Hillary (@Sybil4Hillary) November 4, 2016
Please report this account. Also the source of Sid Miller's C-word tweet. pic.twitter.com/NrSOOAM5kI
— Robert McNees (@mcnees) November 1, 2016
One of the most widespread parts of the effort has been the production of elaborately crafted print and video ads falsely claiming that Clinton has promised to start wars with Russia and Iran and compel young women to fight in them.
Peter Thiel wants to end war.
— Mike Cernovich ???????? (@Cernovich) October 31, 2016
— Hotep Jesus (@VibeHi) October 28, 2016
— DeplorableMB ???????? (@DeadManBlazer) October 27, 2016
— AltRight Networking (@_AltRight_Anew) October 28, 2016
— VOTE TRUMP! ???????? (@JaredWyand) October 28, 2016
— Deplorable Tso Tofu (@GeneralTsoTofu) October 28, 2016
The fakes are widespread on Twitter, and on YouTube. In one clip, uploaded to a hoax YouTube account using the name of Clinton’s campaign manager, a web ad for Always sanitary pads on the theme of empowering women and girls was recut to make it seem like an endorsement of drafting young women into the military.
In another, video of Clinton’s actual comments on women serving in the military was reedited to add hoax statements like, “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran.”
The hoax campaign stems from Clinton’s stated support for a bill introduced in Congress earlier this year that would compel not just young men but also young women to register with the Selective Service System, which could be used in the case of a national emergency to reinstitute the draft.
Oddly enough, that bill, the “Draft America’s Daughters Act of 2016,” was originally introduced in February by Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, as a form of trolling. Hunter intended to demonstrate what he sees as the absurdity of treating men and women equally in terms of military service by daring his colleagues to vote in favor of a provision to amend the Military Selective Service Act to require women to register as well as men.
As the comedian Seth Myers explained in May, Hunter was visibly astounded when his colleagues voted to adopt his suggestion.
The measure was eventually dropped from a large defense authorization bill by the Republican leadership in the House, but a similar provision was approved in the Senate. After the Senate vote, Clinton was asked if she supported the measure and said that she did. Given that the United States military is all-volunteer, and there is little prospect of ever returning to conscription, the measure is considered largely symbolic.
Like all sequels, F.B.I. Director James Comey’s follow-up to his “October surprise” letter was always likely to disappoint many fans of the original.
Even so, there was widespread gnashing of teeth from supporters of Donald Trump when Comey wrote to Congress on Sunday to announce that the bureau had turned up nothing new in its review of emails belonging to Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, found last month on the laptop of her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
FBI Dir just informed us "Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Sec Clinton"
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) November 6, 2016
— ABC News (@ABC) November 6, 2016
Comey making fool of FBI laughable shows how desperate CORRUPT Clintons are. MASSIVE VOTER NEXT. Trump only chance to save USA.
— Jerome Corsi (@jerome_corsi) November 6, 2016
To many old enough to remember the early days of “Saturday Night Live,” the perfect characterization of Comey’s “November Surprise” was the catchphrase made famous by Gilda Radner’s character, Emily Litella, who was hard of hearing and famous for overreacting to news events.
Comey pulls an Emily Litella: "Never Mind." In 2 days the racist misogynist moron and his hatred will be reduced to one word: LOSER Go HRC!!
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) November 6, 2016
Jim Comey channels Emily Litella. https://t.co/79BNQzRv1w
— Gwen Moritz (@gwenmoritz) November 6, 2016
All of this underscores how wrong it was for Comey to send his late October letter upsetting the whole election only to say "Never mind" now
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) November 6, 2016
Comey letter was a Clinton scandal in miniature: Hubris, disaster, leaks, rumors of indictment, then… never mind.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) November 6, 2016
According to NBC, sources in the Justice Department explained that nearly all of the emails on the laptop were duplicates of messages already reviewed by the F.B.I. before it closed its investigation in July, having decided that Clinton and her staff had not violated the law.
NBC's Pete Williams reports that nearly all of the e-mails found on the Weiner laptop were duplicates of e-mails FBI already reviewed.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) November 6, 2016
Introducing Donald Trump at a rally in Reno on Saturday, the chairman of the Nevada Republican party complained to a largely white crowd that voters in another part of the state, with a large Latino population, were allowed to vote late the night before.
“Last night, in Clark County, they kept a poll open till 10 o’clock at night so a certain group could vote,” the chairman, Michael McDonald, said. “The polls are supposed to close at 7.”
What McDonald failed to explain is that some polling places were open later than 7 p.m., and polls routinely stay open late to allow anyone waiting in line when they close to cast their ballots.
"We will not turn people away," Election Dept spox tells me, saying voting places will stay open as long as it takes.
cc: Adelson News
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 5, 2016
Despite these facts, and the chilling sound of a politician casting doubt on the rights of members of an ethnic minority to exercise their right to vote, Trump then claimed that the votes cast in a Clark County polling place in a Mexican supermarket — most likely against him — were evidence of fraud.
“It’s being reported that certain key Democratic polling locations in Clark County were kept open for hours and hours beyond closing time to bus and bring Democratic voters in,” Trump said. “Folks, it’s a rigged system,” Trump added, as the crowd booed.
Here in Reno, Trump complained about NV polling station being kept open https://t.co/yvlWDbJnnD
— Jose A. DelReal (@jdelreal) November 6, 2016
Just to be clear, both Trump and the Nevada GOP chair have now criticized the decision to allow people more time to VOTE
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) November 6, 2016
The Republican frustration was no doubt fueled by the very large turnout in early voting of the state’s registered Democrats, particularly in Clark County, which is 30 percent Latino. As a country spokesman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Friday was “the largest single-day, early voting turnout” in the county’s history.
According to Jon Ralston, a political reporter for KTNV Las Vegas, the surge in early voting by Democrats suggested that Trump’s chances of carrying the state were very slim.
Images of voters waiting hours to cast ballots at a polling place in a Cardenas Market in Las Vegas suggested that Mexican-Americans had not forgotten that Trump began his campaign by calling their relatives drug dealer and rapists.
— Jorge Neri (@Jneri312) November 5, 2016
— Jose Macias (Goloso) (@josemacias8) November 5, 2016
— Jose Macias (Goloso) (@josemacias8) November 5, 2016
Looks like Trump got his wall after all. A wall of beautiful voters. https://t.co/cIx3IQdlwD
— Yvanna Cancela (@ydc226) November 5, 2016
Hispanics waiting on line for hours to vote against Donald Trump in the state that could block him from the presidency is just too much.
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 5, 2016
"They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, will stop me from being president."
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 5, 2016
Later at the Trump rally, the candidate was suddenly rushed off stage by the Secret Service after someone in the audience shouted that a protester, who reached for a sign, had a gun.
After the man was attacked by members of the crowd, and dragged from the arena, the Secret Service confirmed that he was not, in fact, armed. The protester, Austyn Crites, told reporters that he had only wanted to hold up a “Republicans Against Trump” sign, and was kicked and choked by Trump supporters before being saved by the police.
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) November 6, 2016
Despite the truth of the matter, rumors flew on social media that Trump had survived “an assassination attempt.” One of Trump’s sons and his social media director shared tweets that described the incident that way, and a Lebanese Maronite Catholic priest who spoke before the candidate at a rally in Denver later blamed the media for “an attempt of murder against him” in Reno.
Trump social media director retweeted a tweet claiming this was an assassination attempt pic.twitter.com/TTUCH4Zbb8
— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) November 6, 2016
Trump intro speaker in Denver saying their was an attempted murder against him in Reno (there wasn’t) https://t.co/mf2R7KVZ9M
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) November 6, 2016
Donald Trump’s advertising campaign is ending as it started, with footage of migrants in Europe, lifted from the internet and passed off as video of immigrants streaming across the border from Mexico into the United States.
Near the start of the new ad, as the candidate complains of “massive illegal immigration,” thousands of people are shown walking along a highway.
That video, however, was not shot along the southern border of the U.S. — where Trump has promised to build a great wall — but in Hungary, at the height of the migrant crisis last year, as Syrian refugees, desperate for safe passage to Germany, marched out of Budapest.
— Nabih (@nabihbulos) September 4, 2015
— Nabih (@nabihbulos) September 4, 2015
The video was shot by Nabih Bulos, a foreign correspondent working for the New York Times last year. He confirmed to The Intercept that that the footage was not licensed from him, and he would not have approved its use if asked. “When this footage was taken, thousands of refugees were on an odyssey through the Balkan corridor and Europe to escape the cataclysm ripping their country apart,” he wrote. “As a son of two Palestinian refugees who benefited from Jordan’s largesse, a naturalized American welcomed to the country even after 9/11, as well as a working conflict journalist, the last thing I would want this footage to be used for is to embody Trump’s xenophobic, repugnant message.”
If the footage was used in error, it would be an odd slip, since the Trump campaign was ridiculed for doing the exact same thing in their first ad, at the start of the year. In that commercial, released in January, as a narrator promised that Trump would “stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for,” images flashed on the screen of migrants surging across a border fence. That video, however, was recorded in a Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, Melilla, in 2014.
It seems possible, however, that the ad is intentionally misleading, and hopes to conflate the situation in the U.S. with the huge number of migrants seeking refuge in Europe from wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the closing stages of the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum in June, fear of immigrants was stoked by the nationalist politician Nigel Farage, a Trump ally, using billboards showing those same migrants and refugees entering Eastern Europe.
— PoliticsHome (@politicshome) June 19, 2016
Breitbart, the website of Trump’s campaign chairman, Steve Bannon, obsessively covers the migrant crisis in Europe, using it to boost extreme nationalist parties across the continent whose rhetoric echoes that of Islamophobic and white supremacist groups in the U.S.
As Josh Marshall argues, perhaps the most disturbing part of the new ad, “Donald Trump’s Argument For America,” is its use of anti-Semitic tropes. As Trump complains about “those who control the levers of power in Washington” and “global special interests” who “put money into the pockets of handful of large corporations,” the villains displayed on screen are all prominent Jews: George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire who funds progressive causes, Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, and Lloyd Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs.
Trump's final pitch to voters is a dramatic reading of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. https://t.co/Nl29D92fIu
— Gregg Carlstrom (@glcarlstrom) November 6, 2016
Speaking in Ohio on Friday afternoon, Donald Trump told supporters that an F.B.I. inquiry into the Clinton Foundation, which has been described as unwarranted by Justice Department officials, is likely to yield an indictment.
"The FBI says their investigation is also likely to yield, perhaps, an indictment" Trump says leaning on a walked back Fox report.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) November 4, 2016
What Trump is either unaware of, or unconcerned with, is the fact that the sole source of that report, Bret Baier of Fox News, appeared on the channel on Friday morning to apologize for getting the facts wrong.
Here is my 11am live shot –about the Clinton investigations and my reporting of them. https://t.co/8wAzzkDiy3
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) November 4, 2016
It was the second straight day that Baier had attempted to undo the damage he caused by telling his colleague Brit Hume on Wednesday that unnamed sources told him that agents — described in other reports as a pro-Trump cell, chomping at the bit to indict Hillary Clinton — planned to keep digging and an indictment was “likely.”
— Partisan Politics (@PartisnPolitics) November 2, 2016
On Friday, Baier said that his report was “a mistake — and for that, I’m sorry. I should have said, ‘They will continue to build to build their case.'”
“Indictment is a very loaded word,” Baier added, “and no one knows if there would or would not be an indictment, no matter how strong investigators feel their case is.”
On the campaign trail, Trump had cited Baier’s initial report as evidence that his rival for the presidency would soon be indicted.
"The FBI agents say there is likely to be an indictment" – Donald Trump speaking in Jacksonville, Florida. https://t.co/nLjzbUHGWy
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) November 3, 2016
Trump has apparently decided not to back away from that claim, even after Baier retracted it.
On Thursday night, after NBC News reported that there was no truth to the idea that indictments were coming, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, observed, with no apparent concern for the truth, “Well, the damage is done to Hillary Clinton, no matter how its being termed.”
Donald Trump repeats a lot of lies about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account he hears on cable news, but an attack ad released on Thursday seems to be based entirely on his own imagination.
The ad, which is based on innuendo and leaks from pro-Trump sources inside the F.B.I., asserts without evidence that Clinton is under investigation because “her emails were found on pervert Anthony Weiner’s laptop.”
In fact, at the time the ad was produced, there was no such claim even in the flood of leaks from the F.B.I. to reporters about their review of email found on the laptop belonging to Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who was one of Clinton’s closest aides during her tenure as secretary of state.
The primary source for the accusation appears to be Trump’s own sexist assumption, first articulated last year, that Abedin must have shared classified information with Weiner, since, he said, any woman who is “in love with” her husband would certainly do so.
“Are there any women in this room who are in love with their husbands who wouldn’t be telling them everything?” Trump asked supporters at an event in Massachusetts. When one woman said she did love her husband but would not break an oath to keep classified information secret, Trump replied dismissively, “No, you will.”
Several hours after the new attack ad was posted online, CBS News reported that the F.B.I. found emails “sent to or from an email address connected to the private Clinton sever,” on Weiner’s laptop that agents had “not previously reviewed.”
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) November 3, 2016
An email sent to or from an email address connected to the private Clinton sever. Doesn't mean it's HRC's email. https://t.co/rCffNR9v2C
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) November 3, 2016
However, that does not mean that any of Clinton’s own emails were found on the laptop or that there is any secret information there. As Abedin told the F.B.I. in April, as a longtime aide to Clinton, she had an email account of her own on Clinton’s private server — [email protected] — “which she used for matters related to Clinton’s personal affairs, and to communicate with Clinton’s personal staff and friends.”
According to the F.B.I. transcript of her testimony, Abedin also said that, because she found it difficult to print email she received on her State Department email account, “she routinely forwarded emails from her state.gov account to either her clintonemail.com or her yahoo.com account so she could print them.”
Since, Abedin explained to the F.B.I., Clinton herself did not use a computer at all, she would often ask aides to print out emails or attachments for her to read. Indeed, a search of the 33,572 emails Clinton turned over to the State Department that are now online reveals that 4,279 of them included the shorthand phrase “pls print.”
Often, as in the case of a Nov. 30, 2010 email from Clinton to Abedin, which Abedin then forwarded from her state.gov account to her clintonemail.com account, the messages simply contained articles someone had advised Clinton to read. (On that day, it was the full text of a New Yorker article critical of WikiLeaks that was making the rounds in the State Department, two days after diplomatic cables leaked by Chelsea Manning were first published.)
In other words, the CBS report could mean nothing more than that the review of Abedin’s email on her husband’s laptop had turned up messages from her own account connected to the server in Clinton’s home, and might not include any government secrets.
On the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly distorted reports sourced to unnamed officials in the F.B.I. that there are 650,000 emails on the laptop, claiming that some or all of those emails belonged to Clinton. “Last night, CBS News just confirmed that the 650,000 emails include brand new emails not previously seen by authorities,” Trump told supporters in New Hampshire on Friday.
“She said she gave them all in, right?” he added. “Hillary Clinton lied to Congress under oath when she said she turned over all of her work-related emails.”
At another rally in Ohio on Friday, Trump claimed, again without evidence, that the emails on Weiner’s laptop (which might well be almost all his own) included 30,000 personal emails Clinton had deleted as unrelated to her work at the State Department, and that some of them were “beyond classified.”
"Some of those emails are so bad they are beyond classified" Trump says.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) November 4, 2016
Read this entire riff from Trump in Ohio on whether Huma Abedin should be fired, the cloud, and Anthony Weiner: pic.twitter.com/vSe8naWVWR
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) November 4, 2016
While Trump seems perfectly capable of making things like this up from whole cloth, a report by Wayne Barrett for the Daily Beast suggests that there could be an alternative explanation for how this attack ad was produced before any information on what was on Weiner’s laptop even leaked to the media.
As Barrett explains, it seems likely that pro-Trump F.B.I. agents have been providing information on the email investigation directly to Trump’s campaign via Rudy Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor with close ties to the bureau’s New York office.
In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Giuliani admitted that anti-Clinton agents inside the bureau have been in touch with him as he has been campaigning for Trump.
— Correct The Record (@CorrectRecord) November 4, 2016
Abedin, meanwhile, has been off the campaign trail as the F.B.I. reviews her email. As she was greeted by Anna Wintour at a fundraiser for Clinton in Washington on Thursday night, video showed that Trump supporters heckled her by referring to the debunked conspiracy theory that she is a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Huma Abedin DC fundraiser. Refuses to answer Muslim brotherhood inquiry. pic.twitter.com/FZd42Wp7Eu
— George McIntyre ?? (@GeorgeMcIntyre_) November 3, 2016
Well, one at least: Slavoj Zizek.
In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News on Friday, the Slovenian philosopher essentially endorsed Donald Trump — even though he is “horrified at” the prospect of his presidency — as a means of disrupting the American center-left consensus in favor of the global market economy.
Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek? says he would opt for Donald Trump as the apparently less dangerous choice in the US election. pic.twitter.com/3kuC1Ytf2j
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) November 3, 2016
“If Trump wins,” Zizek argued, “both big parties, Republicans and Democrats, would have to return to basics, rethink themselves and maybe some things can happen there.”
Zizek explained his perhaps overly optimistic dream of a Trump presidency inspiring a radical leftist takeover of the Democratic party in more detail in August, writing:
The leftist call for justice tends to be combined with struggles for women’s and gay rights, for multiculturalism and against racism. The strategic aim of the Clinton consensus is clearly to dissociate all these struggles from the leftist call for justice, which is why the living symbol of this consensus is Tim Cook. Cook, the CEO of Apple, proudly signed a pro-LGBT letter to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and can now easily forget about hundreds of thousands of Foxconn workers in China assembling Apple products in slave conditions. He made his big gesture of solidarity with the underprivileged by demanding the abolition of gender-segregated bathrooms….
Trump is not the dirty water one should throw out to keep safe the healthy baby of U.S. democracy. He is the dirty baby who needs to be thrown out to make us believe that we got rid of the dirt, i.e., in order to make us forget the dirt that remains, the dirt that lurks beneath the Hillary consensus. The message of this consensus to the Left is: You can get everything, we just want to keep the essentials, the unencumbered functioning of the global capital. With this frame, President Barack Obama’s “Yes, we can!” acquires a new meaning: Yes, we can concede to all your cultural demands, without endangering the global market economy—so there is no need for radical economic measures.
“This is why WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is right in his crusade against Clinton, and the liberals who criticize him for attacking her, the only person who can save us from Trump, are wrong,” Zizek added. “The thing to attack and undermine now is precisely this democratic consensus against the villain.”
Of course, as one of the many Slovenians not married to Donald Trump, Zizek does not have a vote in Tuesday’s election. Another hero of the left, and a fellow Bernie Sanders supporter, Noam Chomsky, does have a vote, and he has taken the opposite view. In an essay published in June, Chomsky and John Halle called on voters in closely contested swing states to cast their ballots — in “a corrupt system designed to limit choices to those acceptable to corporate elites” — for Hillary Clinton, arguing that her presidency would clearly be “the lesser evil.”
In a defense of “lesser evil voting,” Chomsky and Hall wrote:
1) Voting should not be viewed as a form of personal self-expression or moral judgement directed in retaliation towards major party candidates who fail to reflect our values, or of a corrupt system designed to limit choices to those acceptable to corporate elites.
2) The exclusive consequence of the act of voting in 2016 will be (if in a contested “swing state”) to marginally increase or decrease the chance of one of the major party candidates winning.
3) One of these candidates, Trump, denies the existence of global warming, calls for increasing use of fossil fuels, dismantling of environmental regulations and refuses assistance to India and other developing nations as called for in the Paris agreement, the combination of which could, in four years, take us to a catastrophic tipping point. Trump has also pledged to deport 11 million Mexican immigrants, offered to provide for the defense of supporters who have assaulted African American protestors at his rallies, stated his “openness to using nuclear weapons”, supports a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and regards “the police in this country as absolutely mistreated and misunderstood” while having “done an unbelievable job of keeping law and order.” Trump has also pledged to increase military spending while cutting taxes on the rich, hence shredding what remains of the social welfare “safety net” despite pretenses.
4) The suffering which these and other similarly extremist policies and attitudes will impose on marginalized and already oppressed populations has a high probability of being significantly greater than that which will result from a Clinton presidency.
5) 4) should constitute sufficient basis to voting for Clinton where a vote is potentially consequential-namely, in a contested, “swing” state.
Firefighters in Greenville, Mississippi who responded to a fire that gutted a historic black church on Tuesday night found “Vote Trump” graffiti spray-painted on the side of the building when they arrived.
This is so heartbreaking. Not so much for the message on the building, but this is a church that's been around for so long in the community. pic.twitter.com/h8hJqoOgpH
— Angie Quezada (@imangieq) November 2, 2016
Officials in Greenville, a Mississippi Delta town of about 34,000, told reporters on Wednesday that the fire was not accidental and the attack on the 111-year-old Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church “appears to be a race crime.”
Police Chief Delando Wilson called the pro-Trump graffiti on the burned church a clear act of “intimidation,” aimed depriving the town’s African-American residents of their “right to vote whatever way they choose to vote.”
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are assisting in the investigation and trying “to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed,” according to the F.B.I. field office in Jackson, the state capital.
Angie Quezada, a local reporter who photographed the aftermath of the attack, noted that a crowd-sourced effort to help pay for the rebuilding of the church was underway.
— Angie Quezada (@imangieq) November 2, 2016
The GoFundMe appeal asked for $10,000 to help repair the church. More than $105,000 was raised in the first 11 hours of the campaign.
Trump, who is favored to win Mississippi easily, campaigned in Jackson in August alongside Nigel Farage, a nationalist politician from England who stoked fears about immigrants ahead of this summer’s referendum in favor of a British exit from the European Union. He told Trump’s overwhelmingly white audience that the vote for Brexit was a sign that “if the real people” were “prepared to stand up and fight,” they could “take back control of their country, take back control of their borders and get back their pride.”
The Trump campaign said in a statement on the fire: “We are deeply saddened for the members of the Hopewell M.B. Church community and condemn in the strongest terms this terrible act that has no place in our society.”
Closing in the polls and basking in the warmth of the crowd’s love in Miami on Wednesday, Donald Trump suddenly paused during a speech to pursue a personal vendetta against an NBC reporter, Katy Tur, accusing her of refusing to report on the size of his rallies.
“We have massive crowds,” Trump said, before launching into the entirely false claim he repeats at every gathering, that the attendance at his rallies is a major story the reporters following his campaign refuse to report. “There’s something happening — they’re not reporting it,” he said.
Trump then pointed at Tur in the press pen, adding: “Katy, you’re not reporting it, Katy. But there’s something happening, Katy. There’s something happening, Katy.”
— Media Matters (@mmfa) November 2, 2016
As Trump turned the crowd’s attention on Tur, some of his supporters could be seen pointing in her direction, and her colleagues reported that she was jeered.
Heard a guy behind the press pen repeatedly yelling "report that Katy!" as a result of this.
— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) November 2, 2016
Trump calls out @KatyTurNBC from the stage in the middle of a riff bashing media and now this guy behind me is just endlessly taunting her
— Holly Bailey (@hollybdc) November 2, 2016
Last December, he singled her out for abuse on Twitter calling her “dishonest” for reporting, accurately, that he had abruptly ended a speech after a primary campaign event was disrupted by protesters.
Four days after that tweet did not lead to Tur’s firing, Trump turned on her again, after news crews covering his speech in North Carolina refused his order to pan the room, to show the size of the crowd. “Some of the media’s terrific, but most of it — 70 percent, 75 percent — is absolute, dishonest — absolute scum,” Trump said. He then praised a right-wing blog, Gateway Pundit, for echoing his claim that Tur had lied.
“They did the most beautiful story about what a lie it was from NBC,” Trump said, pointing to Tur at the back of the room. “She’s back there, little Katy, she’s back there,” he said, as the crowd erupted in boos. “Katy Tur, he added. “Third. Rate. Reporter. Remember that.”
After the event, Tur wrote, the atmosphere was so hostile that she had to be escorted to her car by the Secret Service. She has endured death threats on social networks ever since.
In July, when Tur pressed Trump on his extraordinary call for Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email server — to steal and release the messages she had deemed private and deleted — he bristled at her questioning. “Mr. Trump, do you have any qualms about asking a foreign government — Russia, China, anybody — to interfere, to hack into the system of anybody in this country?” Tur asked.
Trump tried to deflect the question, but when Tur persisted, he interrupted her, saying: “Be quiet. I know you want to, you know, save her.”
Trump’s denunciation of the media is by now so routine that his fans harassed reporters before the rally in Miami even started on Wednesday, with one of them claiming the “lying press” was willing to “sell out for a few shekels.”
Man shouts at press for selling out "for a few shekels" at Trump rally in Miami pic.twitter.com/f4MApeMgxa
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) November 2, 2016
During the event, as BBC reporter filmed the crowd while Trump said, “there has never been anywhere near the media dishonesty like we’ve seen in this election,” one of his supporters could be heard shouting, “nasty media!”
— Rajini Vaidyanathan (@BBCRajiniV) November 2, 2016
Update: Late Wednesday night, Tur responded to Trump’s taunting of her, and reported that the candidate had previously told journalists who follow him that he is aware of the fact that the pool camera that records his speeches cannot also pan away to show the crowds.
Watch NBC's Katy Tur respond to Trump singling her out during rally https://t.co/yAp0OOK63w
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 3, 2016
A newspaper published by the Ku Klux Klan in Arkansas endorsed Donald Trump, signaling that white supremacists see in his “America First” campaign coded support for their racist ideology.
The newspaper’s support for Trump generated headlines recently after an image of it was posted on Twitter by a resident of Harrison, Arkansas, who was distressed to find a copy left outside her home.
I live in the South, where racism is favored over diversity. Came home today to find a KKK newspaper in my driveway. Promoting Trump. pic.twitter.com/BW5IVN3fu5
— Casey (@pari_passu) September 23, 2016
The image spread gradually on the social network after the Twitter user, a Democratic activist, shared it several times. In another update, the horrified recipient of the paper explained that Harrison, where it is published, is also “where the director of the Knights of the KKK resides and prominent citizens are members.”
This edition of the quarterly newspaper was available at the KKK headquarters in Harrison as early as August, when it was spotted there by Imran Garda, a South African journalist.
Whenever we're working on a film, Jerome just loves his newspapers.
— Imran Garda (@ImranGarda) August 27, 2016
Garda was in Harrison to interview Pastor Thomas Robb, the Klan leader who wrote the front-page editorial, for a report on Trump’s white supremacist supporters for Turkey’s TRT World, an English-language channel of the state broadcaster.
“We’ve been saying for a long time, white people in the country as a whole would follow our ideas if we had the power and the finances and the ability to get it into their heads — to broadcast it to them, into their hearts — if they could hear what we have to say,” Robb told Garda. “Donald Trump has in a sense validated what we’ve been saying. For the most part, he’s saying the very same things we’ve been saying.”
As Rachel Maddow reported, the same edition of Klan newspaper, The Crusader, also includes a bizarre celebration of the Saturday Night Live sketch “Racists for Trump,” under the headline, “Trump Candidacy Moving Dialogue Forward.”
Other features in the issue are devoted to the surge in media attention for the Klan owing to Trump’s campaign, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and photos of a recent gathering attended by William Johnson, a white supremacist Trump supporter who just paid to broadcast a homophobic attack ad in Utah in support of the Republican candidate.
The Crusader also drew attention to a speech against “non-white immigration” given in Austria by a Croatian-American white supremacist, Tom Sunic. Sunic, a Trump supporter who was educated in California but now lives in Zagreb, recently spoke alongside Johnson at a conference of extreme nationalists in Germany.
— Tom Sunic (@Tom_Sunic) October 27, 2016
Sunic, whose Twitter feed also features images from all-white beauty pageants in Europe, has been rallying support for Trump from his fellow American expatriates.
— Tom Sunic (@Tom_Sunic) October 31, 2016
After the Klan’s endorsement was reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday night, a spokesman for Trump said “the campaign denounces hate in any form,” and called the publication “repulsive.” There was, however, no repudiation of the Klan’s support from the much larger platform of Trump’s own Twitter account.
As the Post noted, Trump was slow to reject the support of the former Kan leader David Duke earlier in the campaign. Duke, who is now running for the United States Senate in Louisiana, released an ad last week urging his supporters to vote for Trump.
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) October 27, 2016
(Updated, 22:28 p.m.) A rarely used Twitter account, sharing links to material released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, became fodder for partisan argument on Tuesday when, without explanation, it drew attention to Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich in 2001, on the final day of his presidency.
William J. Clinton Foundation: This initial release consists of material from the FBI's files related to the Will… https://t.co/Y4nz3aRSmG
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) November 1, 2016
Coming days after F.B.I. Director James Comey was criticized for announcing a fresh review of emails from Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, the tweet prompted accusations that supporters of Donald Trump inside the bureau are ignoring Justice Department guidelines to avoid any actions that might be perceived as attempts to influence next week’s election.
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) November 1, 2016
FBI release of old Clinton docs seven days before election show the bureau under Comey is out of control.
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) November 1, 2016
WTF is "FBI Records Vault" and WTF is it doing?
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) November 1, 2016
The documents, which were posted online Monday, are of little obvious interest, since they are heavily redacted and relate to an F.B.I. investigation of possible corruption that closed 11 years ago with no charges. Still, those rooting against Hillary Clinton’s campaign were elated, largely because of the mistaken belief that the records were related to a new investigation of the Clinton Foundation that has reportedly made little headway.
FBI finally releases some records of its investigation into the Clinton Foundation https://t.co/ZAAhln4TcB
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 1, 2016
In fact, the F.B.I. files relate to accusations that Bill Clinton had pardoned Rich, who was indicted for tax evasion and sanctions-busting, because the wealthy oil trader’s former wife, Denise Rich, had donated money to help build the Clinton presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Clinton foundation, originally set up to fund that project, was later relaunched as an international philanthropic organization that has both done good and raised questions about possible conflicts of interest.
Hillary Clinton’s press secretary, Brian Fallon, called the timing of the F.B.I. release of the documents “odd,” since it seemed to ignore the pre-election guidelines, and there was no obvious reason the files had to be made public this week.
Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd.
Will FBI be posting docs on Trump's housing discrimination in '70s?https://t.co/uJMMzX6rtI
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) November 1, 2016
The fact that, until the early hours of Sunday morning, the @FBIRecordsVault Twitter account had not been used to share links to new material since the middle of 2015 fueled suspicion that whoever is in charge of social media at the F.B.I. archive seemed to be in an unusual rush to draw attention to these documents before the election.
Three of the other document collections referred to when the account suddenly sprang to life at 4 a.m. on Sunday could also be described as election related: an archive of documents from the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state; a similar trove from the probe of David Petraeus (whose case is constantly compared to Clinton’s by Trump); eight pages about Fred Trump, the Republican candidate’s late father.
Hillary R. Clinton: Hillary Rodham Clinton served as U.S. Secretary of State from January 21, 2009 to February 1,… https://t.co/9e7TYx2GVQ
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) October 30, 2016
David Howell Petraeus: This release concerns an investigation into the compromise of classified material. The dat… https://t.co/BP66zxmaEh
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) October 30, 2016
Fred C. Trump: Fred C. Trump (1905-1999) was a real estate developer and philanthropist. This release consists of… https://t.co/21KgtPpmzk
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) October 30, 2016
The few pages of F.B.I. files about Fred Trump relate to routine record searches from 1966 and 1991. They do not, as Fallon noted, include any records from the federal investigation of Fred and Donald Trump from 1973, when the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division sued the family business for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against potential tenants on the basis of their race. The Trumps were eventually forced to operate according to the terms of a consent decree, but only after their lawyer, Roy Cohn, was rebuked by a judge for accusing F.B.I. investigators gathering evidence of “gestapo-type conduct,” according to Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice.
The Rich case has some contemporary resonance, given scathing criticism by former Attorney General Eric Holder of Comey’s decision to announce that his investigators are reviewing newly discovered emails to and from Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s closest aide. Holder, as Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general at the time, was involved in the decision to grant the Rich pardon. Comey, then a federal prosecutor, ultimately decided in 2005 to close the investigation into that pardon without bringing charges.
In a statement released late on Tuesday, the F.B.I. gave no explanation for the flurry of pre-election activity from a long-dormant Twitter account, but insisted that Freedom of Information Act requests triggered the release of documents relating to the pardon. “Per the standard procedure for FOIA,” the bureau said in the statement, these materials became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI’s public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures.”
Apparently concerned about the real possibility that Donald Trump could lose the state of Utah to a third-party candidate, Evan McMullin, a political action committee run by a white supremacist backing Trump plans to target Mormon voters there with homophobic voice-mail messages.
The recorded message, urging voters to support Trump, features the voice of William Johnson, a Los Angeles lawyer and self-described “white nationalist” who narrowly missed out on being a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention this summer.
The complete audio, obtained and posted on Soundcloud by Talking Points Memo, mocks McMullin’s mother for being “a lesbian married to another woman,” and goes on to suggest, without evidence, that the former intelligence agent and congressional staffer is himself “a closet homosexual.”
McMullin, who told the Salt Lake Tribune last week that he supports his mother even though he disagrees with her about same-sex marriage, posted a link to a Daily Beast report on the robocall on Twitter, calling the effort a “desperate attack.”
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) October 31, 2016
The ad was paid for by Johnson’s American National Super PAC. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Johnson defended the innuendo in the recording, claiming that it was supported by rumors on Reddit.
McMullin, who is supported by anti-Trump Republicans in Utah repulsed by the party’s nominee, continued to attack Trump for the ad, even though there was no sign of coordination with the campaign.
This attack is consistent with @realDonaldTrump's bigoted, deceitful campaign and vision for America. Utahns won't be fooled.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) October 31, 2016
Will Utah GOP leaders continue to stand with @realDonaldTrump and white nationalists' as they attack my faith and spread baseless lies?
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) October 31, 2016
In an interview with CNN earlier this month, McMullin said Trump “has certainly empowered the white nationalist/ white supremacist movement, absolutely, and he’s brought them in to the Republican base.”
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) October 18, 2016
During the Republican primary campaign, Johnson recorded a similar call in support of Trump urging voters in Vermont and Minnesota to fight the “gradual genocide against the white race,” by rejecting Ted Cruz and Marco Rudio. “Don’t vote for a Cuban,” the call said. “Vote for Donald Trump.”
A Donald Trump supporter who went into an anti-Semitic tirade during the candidate’s rally in Phoenix on Saturday — screaming “Jew!S!A!” as the crowd chanted “U!S!A!” — called the whole thing a misunderstanding in an interview with Buzzfeed News.
The man, George Lindell, claimed that his pronunciation of the letter “U” in the name of his country just sounds like “Jew” because, as a house painter, “I’m around Mexican people all the time,” who mispronounce it that way.
“That’s the way I say U.S.A.” he insisted.
What his absurd excuse failed to account for was the fact that he was clearly recorded, by three different members of the media, explaining his chant at the time by shrugging his shoulders and saying, “We’re run by the Jews, okay?”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 30, 2016
Lindell, who was wearing a “Hillary for Prison” t-shirt purchased from the far-right conspiracy site Infowars, also prefaced his remarks by pointing into the media pen at the back of the rally and saying to reporters, “You’re going down — you’re the enemy! You’re the ones working for the devil!”
Alex Jones, the Infowars founder, claimed on his radio show last week that a “Jewish mafia” dictates policy to the United States government.
The incident came after Trump started his remarks by accusing camera crews at the rally of refusing to pan away from him to show the size of the crowd he attracted. “I wish the cameras would turn, people don’t have any idea what’s going on,” he said. “They know,” Trump continued, pointing at the reporters Lindell would berate minutes later. “They are the most dishonest, corrupt people,” Trump added.
Lindell’s outburst, which was accompanied by a hand sign similar to ones used to denote “white power,” came shortly after Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton was controlled by “organized money.”
This was not, strangely, Lindell’s first moment of viral fame. In 2011, after he gave an unintentionally funny interview to a local news station about a car accident he was involved in, that video was transformed into a song, “Reality Hits You Hard, Bro,” by the Gregory Brothers, the comic remixers responsible for “Auto-Tune the News” and “The Bed Intruder Song.”
That Lindell was already a known quantity to some on the internet led some Trump supporters to claim that his appearance at the rally had been set up to embarrass the candidate. However, both a Lindell Paints Twitter feed maintained in his name, and an associated Facebook page, have been devoted for over a year to sharing conspiracy theories from far-right sites like Infowars, with headlines like, “Putin Just Brought the Rothschild World System to Their Knees,” “Synagogue of Satan,” and “Russia Today Declares 9/11 Was An Inside Job!”
At a rally the next day, in Las Vegas, when Trump again suggested that the media was not showing the crowd to conceal his popularity, reporters were given the finger, and subjected to homophobic slurs.
When Trump tells the crowd to boo the media pic.twitter.com/jjaSuvIPun
— Nick Corasaniti (@NYTnickc) October 30, 2016
Man yells as Trump calls for cameras to pan the crowd in Vegas: "Put the camera on us faggot! Put the camera on us queer!"
— Ben Schreckinger (@SchreckReports) October 30, 2016
Trump supporter in Vegas screams at camera operators to show him, then flips them off. pic.twitter.com/2ZSVWsTsl7
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) October 30, 2016
This post was updated at 14:37 p.m.
Updated | Oct. 30, 22:00 p.m.
Donald Trump has, for years, treated the lurid fantasies and conspiracy theories that animate the far-right imagination as fact, but that tendency reached new heights on Saturday, as he speculated wildly about the F.B.I. director’s announcement that investigators plan to examine a collection of emails from Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin.
At a rally in Colorado, Trump insisted, without basis, that F.B.I. director James Comey’s vaguely worded letter to Congress must mean that “now the evidence is so overwhelming — because they wouldn’t have done this unless the evidence was overwhelming.”
“I will tell you, without knowing anything,” Trump told supporters in Phoenix a few hours later, “the only reason that they did this action that you saw yesterday was: very, very serious things must be happening, and must have been found — very, very serious things, very, very serious things.”
In fact, the F.B.I. director has no idea if there is anything at all related to Clinton’s use of a private email server in the thousands of Abedin emails discovered on a laptop she shared with her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner — who is now under federal investigation for allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to a minor — since investigators have not yet read any of the messages.
Comey’s initial notification to Congress, which led Trump to pronounce Clinton’s use of private email server “worse then Watergate,” failed to note what the director made clear in an internal memo to F.B.I. employees leaked to the Washington Post: agents are still “seeking access” to the emails and taking “steps to obtain and review them.”
As of Saturday night, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News reported, “the F.B.I. had still not gotten approval from the Justice Department for a warrant that would allow agency officials to read any of the newly discovered Abedin emails.”
(On Sunday night, the F.B.I. did obtain a warrant to examine the Abedin emails on Weiner’s computer, Pete Williams of NBC News reported. Agents plan to use an automated system to see if the emails are merely duplicates of messages already examined, Williams said. “Officials say if this all goes quickly, and nothing potentially classified is found, it is possible that the F.B.I. could come out and say so within the next few days,” he added.)
As Matthew Miller, a former public-affairs director at the Justice Department, told the New Yorker, Comey’s initial statement was damaging because, “The public always assumes when it hears that the F.B.I. is investigating that there must be something amiss. But there may be nothing here at all.”
Seeking to stem the flow of misinformation, and conflicting reports in leaks to the press, four Democratic senators — Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Ben Cardin and Tom Carper — wrote to Comey and his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, demanding a briefing by Monday on what, exactly, is known about the Abedin emails.
Just in: Dem Sens Feinstein, Carper, Leahy and Cardin send ltr to DOJ/FBI requesting more info on Clinton server investigation by MONDAY: pic.twitter.com/dVPHT3mr4T
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) October 29, 2016
At the Phoenix rally on Saturday, Trump also congratulated himself on what he took to be confirmation that his sexist claim, first made last year, that Huma Abedin must have divulged classified information to her husband — because, he said, no wife could keep secrets from a man she loved — was proven correct.
“Do you think there’s even a 5 percent chance that she’s not telling Anthony Weiner… what the hell is coming across?” Trump asked, rhetorically, at a fundraiser in Massachusetts in 2015. “Do you think there’s even a little bit of a chance? I don’t think so.”
Referring to those comments on Saturday in Phoenix, Trump said: “It’s called instinct folks. I had no idea I was going to be that accurate — boy, that was right on the nose.”
There is, however, as yet no evidence at all that Abedin either stored emails that contained classified information on the laptop she shared with her husband, or that he had access to the email account she used for work during her tenure at the State Department.
As Trump continued to insist that the unread emails prove that Clinton is a criminal, the rally in Phoenix was interrupted several times by chants of “lock her up,” and at least one stream of anti-Semitic invective was hurled at the media by a man wearing an Infowars.com “Hillary for Prison” shirt.
So this just happened near the press pen at Trump's Phoenix rally. Man chanting "Jew.S.A.!" pic.twitter.com/DpG9G6BtqO
— Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) October 29, 2016
Speaking to the conservative Catholic broadcaster EWTN, Donald Trump sought to defend his outlandish claim that the election might be rigged against him by lying repeatedly about comments on election security made by then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008.
Trump, who built his base of support among conspiratorially minded Republican voters by fostering the myth that Obama was not born in the United States, grossly distorted the president’s remarks on the campaign trail in 2008, telling EWTN, “Obama said it was, I mean he said the electoral process is rigged.”
“If you look at Obama’s statements from eight years ago, take a look at what he said about it,” Trump added, in an interview recorded on Tuesday but broadcast Thursday night. “I saw it last night, it was like, incredible, he was far more outgoing as far as that’s concerned than I am.”
In fact, the only thing “incredible” about Obama’s 2008 remarks is the lengths to which Trump and his supporters are now going to mischaracterize them.
As the Trumpdown explained earlier this week, the Republican candidate’s campaign re-edited video of Obama’s reply to a voter who had asked, on September 3, 2008, how the Democrat could be sure that election would not be rigged or stolen by officials in Ohio.
Watching the unedited, original video of Obama’s complete answer shows that, far from arguing that the election system is rigged, he acknowledged that, in the past, both parties had been guilty of tampering with ballots, and called for strong federal oversight of the process and paper receipts for electronic voting machines to assuage those fears.
Trump began referring to Obama’s comments earlier this week — first by pointing reporters to copies of the complete video posted on YouTube under misleading headlines, and then by posting a heavily edited version of the remarks on Twitter that distorted their meaning.
Trump is splitting the white, non-Hispanic Catholic vote with Hillary Clinton, with 44% each, according to recent polling. That means Trump lags far behind the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, who won white Catholics by 19 points. Among Latino Catholics, Trump is losing to Clinton by a 76-13 margin.
Given that recent polls also show that a clear majority of Americans approve of the job Obama has done as president, Trump seems unlikely to benefit from continuing to appeal to the minority that hates him.
Donald Trump’s new campaign commercial, seeking support from Indian-American voters, has attracted attention mainly for the comical way the candidate stumbles through the Hindi phrase, “Abki Baar Trump Sarkar,” or, “This Time, a Trump Government,” a slogan adopted from the one used by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In that speech, Trump made common cause with the conservative Hindus over the threat of “radical Islamic terrorism.” He also heaped praise on Modi, a Hindu nationalist who was, until recently, barred from the United States for failing to stop Hindu mobs from killing more than 1,000 Muslims in communal violence in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002.
Trump’s address to the gathering was preceded by a live, Bollywood-style song and dance number in which Muslim terrorists, wielding light sabers, took the dancers hostage, before being overwhelmed by U.S. special forces.
At the Republican Hindu Coalition gala this month, a dance number featured jihadists being overwhelmed by Navy Seals pic.twitter.com/uBrn8cAK4X
— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) October 27, 2016
The same event featured heavy-handed propaganda against Hillary Clinton, who was blamed for pursuing an anti-Modi agenda as secretary of state.
Pretty insane sign at Edison, NJ event, ostensibly titled 'Humanity Against Terror' (where Trump is scheduled to speak) pic.twitter.com/ifMQFdaHfF
— Versha Sharma (@versharma) October 15, 2016
As my colleague Lee Fang reported, in addition to sharing an obsessive hatred of Muslims, Trump has business ties to Modi’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, “having signed a licensing deal in 2014 to construct the Trump Tower Mumbai with Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a real estate mogul and BJP state legislator.”
Earlier in the campaign, Trump’s candidacy was also endorsed by a small group of anti-Muslim extremists in India, the Hindu Sena, who held a prayer ritual for him. “Trump has said Muslims should be banned from entering America,” the Hindu Sena leader Vishnu Gupta said. “Everyone should support that.”
“Trump is about to become the king of the world,” Gupta added. “How will we attack Pakistan without his support?”
But while Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has won him such visible support from Hindu nationalists, it is worth keeping in mind that polling suggests he is widely disliked by most Indian-Americans.
During the primary campaigns this year, one survey found that 62% of Indian-Americans viewed Trump unfavorably, while 65% had positive views of the Democratic Party.
Asked by researchers if they would vote for a candidate for office they otherwise agreed with if that person “expressed strong anti-Muslim views,” 59% of Indian-Americans said they would choose another candidate.
A recent national poll of Asian-Americans, directed by Karthick Ramakrishnan of the UC Riverside School of Public Policy, found that Trump was viewed unfavorably by 79% of Indian-Americans, while Clinton was viewed favorably by 70% of the community.
Among registered Indian-Americans voters in the same poll, Clinton enjoyed a massive lead over Trump: 70% to 7%.