Earlier this year, the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) held a conference titled "American Uncanceled." Organizers attempted to showcase how their political opponents are the intolerant, and that conservatives were the true defenders of the ability to speak their minds. But what would happen when House Republicans would vote on a conservative Trump critic? And what do surveys say about how the GOP faithful deal with criticism of Trump, compared to how Democrats deal with critiques of Biden?
A CPAC organizer claimed "The radical left will not tolerate any dissenting point of view." Another organizer argued "contemporary moral panic-mongers are redoubling their bullying to cleanse the culture of what they consider unacceptable opinion, which often, simply means 'conservative,'" he argued. He claimed that the hunted prey includes supporters of Donald Trump. "That is the most un-American thing I can imagine. Our nation was founded on the idea that people who disagree can still be part of a civil society."
Ironically, just before the conference, an anti-Semitic speaker was canceled before his speech. I agree with the decision to not reward these words with a prime speaking spot. But after boasting about that America uncanceled position, it was an awkward moment for the organizers.
Then came May 11, and the House Republican voice vote to purge Rep. Liz Cheney from the party's House Leadership team. There was no secret ballot or even a public discussion or debate. Some members hadn't even arrived before Cheney's ouster began. Back in February of 2021, Rep. Cheney won her House leadership position with a secret ballot by a 145-61 margin. But to support Cheney out loud in conference would be a kiss of death, according to Donald Trump Jr.
Liz Cheney wasn't dumped because she's insufficiently conservative or even holds different policy views from Trump (they are a 93% match). Her reported successor is far-less conservative. But Cheney criticized Trump's speech before the January 6 Insurrection, and doesn't believe in the conspiracy theory that claims the 2020 election was "stolen." Perhaps CPAC leaders are right…true conservatives like Cheney are going to be targeted.
"What a lot of folks are starting to realize here in the States is that President Trump really is the Republican Party," a Trump advisor said in an interview before CPAC.
The Pew Research Center found that only 43 percent of those who claim to be Republican, or lean Republican, say that elected officials who criticize Trump should be accepted within the GOP. For conservatives, it's only 37% who will be very or even somewhat acceptant of elected officials who criticize Trump.
More than two-thirds of Democrats or those who lean Democratic say that the Democratic Party should be very or at least somewhat accepting of elected officials who openly criticize Joe Biden. For self-described liberals, that Pew Research Center survey says that 73% of them tolerate such criticism of President Biden.
Some Republicans are aware of the drag Donald Trump's been on the party. He's the first major presidential candidate to finished second twice in a row in the popular vote for president since Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s. He's cost the GOP their control of the House, and now the Senate. He shifted the Republican Party brand away from their ideology of economic freedom and a foreign policy of standing up to authoritarian regimes like Russia and North Korea. But party members are terrified of offending him and his political supporters, the majority of whom do not support any criticism of the former president.
Muslims around the world began marking a sombre Eid al-Fitr on Thursday amid rising hostilities between Israel and Palestinians, in the second celebration in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-day festival, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, is traditionally celebrated with mosque prayers, family feasts and shopping for new clothes, gifts and sweets.
But casting a pall on the festival, already subdued due to the raging pandemic, was deadly violence between Israel and Palestinians, with fears growing that it could spiral into full-blown conflict.
Tensions have soared over Israel's planned eviction of Palestinians from a district in annexed east Jerusalem, which the Jewish state sees as part of its eternal capital but is considered occupied by the United Nations.
Israel on Thursday scrambled to quell riots between Arabs and Jews on its own streets after days of exchanging deadly fire with Palestinian militants in Gaza.
In Gaza, 83 people have been killed so far -- including 17 children -- and more than 480 wounded in days of relentless Israeli air strikes on the crowded coastal enclave.
Echoing the mood in much of the Muslim world, Saudi Arabia's King Salman voiced scathing criticism of Israel in a phone call Wednesday with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion of Eid.
The king "stressed Saudi Arabia's strong condemnation of the Israeli measures in Jerusalem and the acts of violence carried out by Israel... (and) affirmed that the kingdom stands by the Palestinian people," the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
- Prayers and hope -
State media broadcast images of King Salman, 85, performing Eid prayers in the planned megacity of NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia.
Mask-clad worshippers entered the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca along socially distanced paths to pray before the Kaaba -- a cube-shaped structure sacred to Muslims.
The scene was in contrast to Eid last year, when mosques in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, were largely devoid of worshippers and sermons were banned due to strict coronavirus curbs.
The Prophet's Mosque in the holy city of Medina separately announced its "complete readiness" to receive worshippers for Eid prayers, state media reported.
In Afghanistan, a three-day Eid ceasefire agreed by the warring Taliban and government came into force, offering a glimmer of hope to war-weary Afghans after weeks of deadly violence.
Fighting has intensified since the United States missed a May 1 deadline, agreed with the Taliban last year, to withdraw all of its troops.
"I feel so relaxed and peaceful today because it is Eid and there is no fighting," said Mirajuddin, who was visiting Kabul zoo with his five children, all dressed in new clothes.
In Iran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was set to pardon or commute the jail sentences of more than 2,000 convicted prisoners for Eid, according to his website.
Eid al-Fitr starts later this week in Iran.
But tragedy befell Bangladesh, where five people died Wednesday on an overcrowded ferry carrying more than a thousand passengers, officials said.
The South Asian nation has seen a dangerous rush of people in recent days as they defy a coronavirus lockdown to head home for Eid.
© 2021 AFP
Law enforcement officials in Donald Trump's new hometown are preparing for the possibility of the former president getting indicted.
Officials in Palm Beach County, Florida, have taken part in planning sessions in case Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance secures an indictment against Trump while he's at his Mar-A-Lago residence -- and working out what might happen if Gov. Ron DeSantis invokes an obscure state law to protect his fellow Republican, two high-ranking county officials told Politico Playbook.
"The statute leaves room for interpretation that the governor has the power to order a review and potentially not comply with the extradition notice," said Joe Abruzzo, circuit court clerk for Palm Beach County.
A clause in Florida's interstate extradition gives DeSantis the power to investigate whether an indicted person -- in this case, Trump -- must be surrendered to law enforcement officials from another state, but the twice-impeached one-term president is planning to relocate soon to his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort as Mar-A-Lago closes for the summer.
New Jersey's extradition statute is similar to Florida's, but Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is far less likely to intervene on Trump's behalf.
Trump's attorneys could potentially negotiate terms of surrender if he was indicted, which would cut out local law enforcement, but the former president's allies could try to make a big deal out of Abruzzo's past association with President Joe Biden's younger brother, Frank, although the county clerk says his friendship would play no role in this case.
"The full extent of the law will be followed and carried out appropriately, without bias," Abruzzo told Playbook.
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