WASHINGTON - President Trump paints a rosy picture of an improved Department of Veterans Affairs under his watch, where accessing electronic medical records is "so easy and so good" and health care is freely available without any delays. The problem: It's not true. At a campaign-style event in Ohio this week, Trump's claims of progress were…
When Lara Trump was a guest on Jeanine Pirro's Fox News show, "Justice with Judge Jeanine" on June 12, she slammed the Biden Administration for its immigration and U.S./Mexico border policies — and singled out Vice President Kamala Harris. Vanity Fair's Bess Levin, in a scathing column published on June 14, finds that claim ironic in light of how badly her father-in-law, former President Donald Trump, handled immigration policy during his four years in the White House.
Lara Trump, who is married to Eric Trump (one of the former president's sons and a Trump Organization executive), told Pirro that President Joe Biden only picked Harris because she is a woman — an attack Levin describes as "wildly misogynistic." Trump said of Harris, "I guess she assumed that she could just skirt by without doing anything…. We knew that Joe Biden was going to pick a woman as his running mate because all they do is virtue signal on the left, and this is the problem when that is your M.O. — when you actually don't care about their qualifications or preparedness for a job."
Levin, in response, slams Lara Trump's Fox News appearance as a perfect example of how out-of-touch members of the Trump family are.
The Vanity Fair columnist writes, "Something you may have picked up on between 2016 and 2020 is that Donald Trump was laughably unqualified to be president and didn't get better as the years went on. In addition to having no prior relevant experience whatsoever upon entering the White House — weirdly, a failed line of steaks and vodka doesn't count — he was almost defiantly ignorant about what the gig entailed and refused to educate himself in a way that would have benefited the country. So, it's a little rich to hear a Trump family member claim someone — anyone! — currently working in the federal government doesn't know what they're doing. But hey, that's them — i.e., the most un-self-aware people to walk the planet."
The 38-year-old Lara Trump, during her interview with Pirro, did echo one thing Harris said during her recent visit to Guatemala and Mexico. The vice president and former U.S. senator advised Guatemalan refugees against simply showing up at the U.S./Mexico border, as it's a dangerous trip — and Trump told Pirro, "These people should never make this dangerous journey here." Unlike Harris, however, Trump implied that Americans living near the border should arm themselves because of illegal border crossings.
Trump told Pirro, "I guess they better arm up and get guns and be ready, and maybe they're going to have to start taking matters into their own hands."
Levin, in her column, responds, "Of course, Trump wasn't on the show just to claim a former state attorney general and U.S. senator doesn't have any qualifications to be vice president. She also stopped by to seemingly suggest people living at the border should shoot migrants they see crossing…. Which is perhaps an idea she got from her father-in-law, who in March 2019, openly mused about shooting migrants, and his disappointment that only 'other countries' are officially allowed to do that."
Conservative Newsmax host Greg Kelly facing investigation over controversial tweets that may 'appeal to racists'
Newsmax host Greg Kelly is now at the center of an investigation being conducted by the conservative news network following a string of tweets he posted and deleted on Sunday about racism and the U.S. military.
On Monday, June 14, Newsmax spokesperson Brian Peterson released a statement addressing the situation as he acknowledged Kelly's tweets that appeared to "appeal to racists." According to the network, Kelly, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Reserve lieutenant colonel, posted a series of tweets that may have crossed the line, New York Daily News reports.
"We understand a series of tweets were posted by Mr. Kelly that, in their totality, indicated his opposition to racism. We at Newsmax never countenance the posting of racist views or views that appeal to racists. We are currently reviewing the matter," Peterson said in the statement.
While Kelly deleted most of his Sunday evening tweets, The Washington Post did manage to capture one before it was removed. It read, "Military life had its Perks, but it was also a major pain. I will tell you what took 'the sting out of it' – that when I was flying around the Pacific Ocean off of ships, I knew there was a Secretary of Defense who was white, just like me! Made a big difference with 'morale.'"
Reports about Kelly's series of deleted tweets have also confirmed other remarks he made at the time.
"So that's the USS America aircraft carrier that I'm 'fixin' to land on," Kelly reportedly wrote in another tweet. "Just knowing that President Clinton, who was in office at the time, was a Caucasian male made it 'all worthwhile' – ask any white male officer who served under him. So appreciative of his Race were we."
Kelly's presumed attempt at damage control also drew more criticism and skeptical reactions when he made a reference to late New York City Mayor David Dinkins (D), a Black man, who officiated Kelly's wedding.
"Now the TRUTH: being a MARINE had nothing to do with RACE. It didn't matter. It wasn't "a thing"—the EXPERIENCE brought us together, no matter what we were," he wrote. "The late Mayor David Dinkens, a WWII Marine, and hence, my brother. Below in 1991, and officiating my wedding in 2017."
According to the publication, critics suggested that remark invoked "the problematic proposition that a white person with a Black friend can't possibly be racist."
The idea that the Republicans are the party of the working class is now conventional wisdom among some members of the Washington press corps. That has bothered me for a variety of reasons, but I don't recall reporting the following annoyance. If the Republicans are the party of the working class, what does that mean in terms of class? We don't know, because most of the press corps does not bother asking the question.
Instead, we are left to read between and among the lines. The working class is drawn to the Republicans on account of the Republicans standing against things and people and ideas that the working class stands against. Those "things and people and ideas" have a certain color and a certain gender such that the Republicans are the party of the working class less in terms of class and more in terms of bigotry and prejudice. We are not talking about a working class so much as a whites-only working class. This is what lurks between and among the lines but the press corps never comes out and says it.
To the whites-only working class, Trump was their hero. To the whites-only petty bourgeoisie, he was their ideal. To both, he was the means by which they stayed white or got whiter.
There are intimations of class, though. The people who twice broke for Donald Trump were largely the very obscenely rich as well as Americans believing they deserve to be very obscenely rich but for whatever reason are not. They live in every city and town. They are businessmen, property-owners and church members. They are respected and admired. They work hard and give back. They didn't go to college, which to the press corps means they are working class. To everyone else, they are the local upper crust.
That's not usually reported either. Neither is the root of the local upper crust's support for their idol. The Republicans, when they had control of the Congress, did one thing. They passed tax cuts benefiting the very obscenely rich. To the extent they benefited a petty bourgeoisie that's resentful of not being very obscenely rich, it was by treating the petty bourgeoisie as if they were very obscenely rich. That they got little or nothing materially is beside the point. The point was being seen as being like Donald Trump.
In this, the former president was a unity figure. In him was embodied the right combination of "cultural" factors that were capable of transcending real class divisions between the whites-only working class and the whites-only petty bourgeoisie for whom the whites-only working class worked. By "cultural," of course, I mean bigotry and prejudice. In this context, I think, we would profit from reconsidering the relationship between class and race (and other identifiers). To the whites-only working class, Trump was their hero. To the whites-only petty bourgeoisie, he was their ideal. To both, I'd suggest, he was the means by which they either stayed white or got whiter.
We're all familiar with the idea of upward mobility. If you work hard and play by the rules, the American dream can be yours. But what if, as Editorial Board member Kaitlin Byrd has argued persuasively, the US economy was built in accordance with white supremacy? Then class and upward mobility, in reality, are indistinguishable from systemic racism. That would mean the whites-only working class panics when the economy crashes. Being white no longer protects them. They need a savior. That would mean the whites-only petty bourgeoisie rejoices at the sight of their idol signing massive tax cuts for the very obscenely rich. Though they are not and never will be very obscenely rich, it doesn't matter. They got to be like Trump. They got to be whiter.
Seen from this perspective, one has to wonder how the whites-only working class is feeling in 25 states, where the Republican governors have shut off pandemic relief funding at the behest of a whites-only petty bourgeoisie that does not want to pay more in wages than the whites-only working class is receiving in unemployment benefits. Where Trump was capable of transcending the real class divisions between these camps with appeals to their whiteness, these GOP governors are inflaming divisions by taking whiteness away from one while maintaining it for the other.
We don't usually talk this way, because the (mostly white) press corps doesn't talk this way. It doesn't have, or doesn't want to have, the language with which to convey these felt realities. Instead, it talks about class as if it were only about class. It talks about race as if only Black people had a race. I hope someday we will all have access to a new American social vocabulary. In the meanwhile, I'll have to settle with being annoyed.
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