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Michael Bender and Maggie Haberman revealed in a New York Times report that behind the scenes, former President Donald Trump was shocked that his endorsement didn't mean a blowout win for Mehmet Oz.
Trump infamously told a crowd of his supporters that Oz was going to win because he was on television.
"I’ve known him a long time. He’s on that screen," Trump said. "He’s in the bedrooms of all those women, telling them good and bad. And they love him."
Trump assumed Oz was going to win because his show was once a successful one and he got the Trump brand behind him. Yet, Trump has quickly realized that he can't control the MAGA world he created. At one point, Oz was even booed by a Trump audience.
After Tuesday's races, there's reason to believe that Trump doesn't quite have the power that he thinks he does. He lost the governor's races in Idaho and Nebraska and Rep. Madison Cawthorn's (R-NC) primary. In Pennsylvania's gubernatorial race, Trump only endorsed Doug Mastriano a week before the election, after it was clear he was going to win. He never did anything to help Mastriano, despite the state senator's loyalty to Trump and the belief that the 2020 election went down in a conspiracy.
In the Senate race in Pennsylvania, however, Trump thought it would be a huge response for Oz. Instead, MAGA supporters questioned his dedication to the "America First" agenda, not to mention the "Big Lie." Kathy Barnette saw a huge response after ads began airing about her Club for Growth endorsement. She along with hedge funder David McCormick, who had a number of Trump's old staff working for him, ended up with a lot of MAGA support.
"Long known for being dialed into his voters, Mr. Trump increasingly appears to be chasing his supporters as much as marshaling them," Bender and Haberman wrote. "Republican voters’ distrust of authority and appetite for hard-line politics — traits Mr. Trump once capitalized on — have worked against him. Some have come to see the president they elected to lead an insurgency as an establishment figure inside his own movement."
“The so-called MAGA movement is a bottom-up movement,” said Ken Spain, a Republican strategist. “Not one to be dictated from the top down.”
The report recalled the January event with Trump and former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly who told the audience that they'd been vaccinated and boosted. The crowd booed and the men seemed shocked.
"There’s no obvious heir apparent when it comes to America First — it’s still him," said Kellyanne Conway, the 2016 campaign manager and pollster. "But people feel they can love him and intend to follow him into another presidential run — and not agree with all of his choices this year."
Ironically, however, Trump appears to run into problems when he isn't Trumpy enough for the audience.
Meanwhile, Kathy Barnette made it clear that Trump doesn't own the movement anymore. “MAGA does not belong to President Trump,” she said during the Senate debate.
Activist Diante Johnson, who founded the Black Conservative Federation, explained that after years fighting the Republican establishment, there is now a kind of "Trump establishment."
"The knife came to her and she didn’t back up," he said. "Every Trump establishment individual that came after her, she stood there and fought."
Barnette’s rise "stunned" Trump, advisers told the Times. He'd never considered the possibility of endorsing her candidacy. In fact, he told the Fox network that she'd never win and that's why he didn't want her to be the candidate. It wasn't Trump's dedication to the MAGA movement or the "America First" agenda. He appears only concerned about "winning" a Senate race and installing his own loyalists in office.
His base staying true to the philosophy shouldn't surprise anyone, the story explained.
New York AG opens probe into social media platforms that Buffalo shooter was active on before massacre
New York Attorney General Letitia James has opened an investigation into social media companies in the wake the mass shooting in Buffalo carried out by a white supremacist Payton Gendron, Axios reports.
The investigation will look into online resources the shooter reportedly used to develop and plan his attack that killed 10 and wounded three. The platforms targeted by the investigation include Twitch, 4chan, 8chan and Discord.
“The terror attack in Buffalo has once again revealed the depths and danger of the online forums that spread and promote hate,” James said in a statement.
“The fact that an individual can post detailed plans to commit such an act of hate without consequence, and then stream it for the world to see is bone-chilling and unfathomable," she added.
In his writing, the 18-year-old suspect said he came by his views while surfing the often radical discussion site 4chan and other conspiracy-theory websites amid "extreme boredom" during Covid lockdowns.
Much of his manifesto is lifted directly from the "Great Replacement" text posted by the Christchurch killer, Brenton Tarrant, which claims that white Europeans were threatened by "ethnic replacement" and "genocide."
"Brenton started my real research into the problems with immigration and foreigners in our white lands, without his livestream I would likely have no idea about the real problems the West is facing," Gendron wrote.
Gendron spelled out in meticulous detail his plans for the attacks, choosing the target, selecting his arms, body armor, and other equipment, and how he would live-stream it with a helmet-mounted camera, just as Tarrant had done.
With additional reporting by AFP
Exclusive: Senate Republicans bristle after being asked about white supremacy in wake of Buffalo shooting
White supremacists are an growing threat in America, according to the FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, and Department of Homeland Security. But Republicans on Capitol Hill beg to differ, no matter the mounting evidence to the contrary from Buffalo, El Paso, and even last year’s attack on their own office building, the United States Capitol, on Jan. 6.
In the wake of this weekend’s deadly Buffalo shooting – by an alleged gunman who said on social media he was targeting Blacks – most Republicans deny there’s a trend.
“I think it's tragic. I don't know if you could call it a trend or not,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told Raw Story on his way to a closed-door intelligence briefing in the underbelly of the Capitol.
The close ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell represents El Paso, which is still healing from the 2019 attack that left 23 dead – and another 23 injured – at the hands of a racist who released a manifesto before his cowardly act. But to Cornyn, whether it’s El Paso, Charleston, Charlottesville, or the Jan. 6 attack – where Black officers were repeatedly called the N-word as they fought to protect Cornyn and others – there’s no white supremacy to see in America, a nation founded on the doctrine that Blacks were only 3/5ths human.
“It's just a cop out, trying to blame this on – I mean, it's violence committed by either criminal people or people who are deranged,” Cornyn said. “And if people want to put that in a pigeonhole or category – whether it's ‘hate crime’ or whatever – it doesn't make it any less evil.”
Other Republicans see conspiratorial tinges when they have to even entertain questions about white supremacists – even days after a self-appointed white supremacist allegedly slayed innocent Black shoppers. The problem is the question itself.
“I think it's awful. I think it's grotesquely divisive,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told Raw Story while riding up an elevator just off the Senate floor. “What it is is the media's showing themselves for who they are, which are advocates for the radical left. And they're just trying to cover up for Biden now.”
Recently, Johnson served as chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee.
“We see gangs. We see cyber threats. I mean, I think there's actually more threatening threats,” Johnson continued, “I mean, there's more serious threats facing this nation than what's posed by white supremacists. Now again, I condemn it. Obviously.”
The Wisconsin senator then pointed to Chicago and all the murders there that are “Black on Black.
“Now, I'd be concerned about that. Again, I'm concerned about all violence. But I mean, I would focus my attention on where the murders are actually occurring,” Johnson said on Tuesday, three days after 10 people were killed in Buffalo. “And I'd be focusing my attention on what can we do to start preventing overdose deaths.”
Down in Indiana, there may be white supremacists – more than 15 white supremacist hate groups are being tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Hoosier State alone – but the state’s senior senator isn’t worried. He won’t even answer questions about it.
“Oh gosh,” Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) told Raw Story while heading into a Republican-only lunch at the Capitol. “I'll tell you, what's on most Hoosier’s minds is inflation, border security, war in Europe. I think the president and our national Democratic leaders would be well served by finding some solutions to our most pressing challenges.”
To other Republicans, it’s a problem, but they’re not sure anything can be done to stop white domestic extremists.
“The question is: can you find a lone actor?” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) told Raw Story, before stepping in to buy lunch in the Capitol basement.
The former Senate Intelligence Committee chair helped ramp up domestic and foreign surveillance in the wake of 9-11, but says these cases – involving angry, homegrown white boys – are different.
“Unless you're going to surveil somebody 24/7 – and it didn't sound like it raised to a level to do that – there's that vulnerability in a free society,” Burr said, explaining U.S. law now makes it easier to surveil foreign terrorists. “We have different tools to surveil them versus domestic. I think you get into some very big constitutional questions pretty quickly.”
There’s no reason to focus attention on white supremacist violence – even in the wake of white supremacist violence – according to current Senate Intelligence Vice-Chair Marco Rubio (R-FL) who waxed philosophical when approached by Raw Story on his way to a classified meeting.
“Sadly, there isn't an ideology – or, frankly, religion – in the world that doesn't have adherents that commit horrifying atrocities. These deranged people can justify it anywhere they want, but we've had Black nationalist shootings in America. We had a Chinese immigrant go after Taiwanese immigrants in California the day after that shooting in Buffalo. We've had a congressional shooting here targeted by a socialist,” Rubio continued, “So once people make up their mind about some ideology or some belief system, they can justify it. You know, radical Islam. History has been replete with people that justify violence with Christianity. So it's a terrible part of the human condition.”
“Oh my God,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said, her voice dropping, after Raw Story relayed what her Republican colleagues have been saying about white supremacists in the wake of the Buffalo shooting.
“That continues the false narrative that Fox News puts out,” Gillibrand continued, “White supremacy is a scourge. It’s something that we have to address head on. It is proliferating evil and hate and division in this country, and we all have to stand up and fight against it.”