Things That Matter

VIDEO: Trump Laughed When Rally-Goer Suggested Shooting Migrants, Now Victims Of This Weekend’s Shootings Blame Trump For These Massacres

@realDonaldTrump / Twitter

President Trump held a rally in the Florida panhandle on May 8. During the rally, Trump spoke to his audience in Panama City Beach about what he claims to be a crisis at the border and the ongoing recovery of Puerto Rico. His silence and laughter when someone shouted migrants at the border should be shot has taken new meaning after a white man went to El Paso, Texas seeking to intentionally kill as many Mexicans as he could.

President Trump hosted a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida on May 8 and controversy followed his laughter when told migrants should be shot.

During the rally, Trump lamented about what he sees as a crisis at the southern border. According to Trump, it is an invasion as people reach the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum, which is a legal process.

“And don’t forget — we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons. We can’t,” Trump said about Border Patrol officers. “Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people? You can’t.”

It was then that a woman, according to numerous eyewitnesses, shouted, “Shoot them.” The outburst was followed by audience members and the President laughing about the idea of shooting migrants legally seeking asylum at the border.

Trump’s own words have sown so much division and hatred on race and immigration lines that Texans are telling him not to come during this horrific time.

Credit: @TexasTribune / Twitter

Trump has made a political career out of attacking immigrants and asylum seekers. His rallies often digress into bully pulpit sermons dehumanizing and demonizing people desperately seeking asylum. As seen in his Panama City Beach, Florida rally, he finds it amusing that his supporters are calling for the killing of people crossing the border.

Make no mistake. His willingness to laugh at those jokes, to stoke those racial flames and his inability to call out white supremacy is aiding in the terrifying uptick of hate crimes we are seeing in this country. Trump has made denigrating migrants and asylum seekers the crux of his political career.

“From my perspective, he is not welcome here. He should not come here while we are in mourning,” Rep. Veronica Escobar, whose district includes most of El Paso, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I would encourage the president’s staff members to have him do a little self-reflection. I would encourage them to show him his own words and his actions at the rallies.”

Trump’s reaction to someone suggesting that migrants be shot at the border has been followed with a strong backlash.

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The rally was hosted the day after a deadly and traumatic shooting at a Colorado high school. Kendrick Castillo, a Latino student at the STEM school, sacrificed his life so save the lives of his fellow classmates.

The tone of the Trump rally after the shooting resonated with people for all the wrong reasons.

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The way the crowd erupts in laughter at the thought of innocent people being shot at the southern border has outraged many on social media. Most outrageous for some was how the president joined in on the “joke” about violence.

“That’s only in the Panhandle, you can get away with that statement,” Trump said while laughing. “Only in the Panhandle!”

Despite everything else Trump said at the rally, the conversation today is around the threat of violence on the border.

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The Trump administration has single-handedly caused a humanitarian crisis at the southern border through hurtful and xenophobic policies. The most harmful policy was when the Trump administration enacted a zero-tolerance policy that tore families apart with no intention to reunite them. According to The New York Times, the Trump administration admitted that it would take two years to reunite families that were torn apart because they did not keep records as to which children came from which family.

People are also pointing out that this rhetoric is likely what is behind the increase in hate crimes in places Trump visits.

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A recent study examined the counties that hosted Trump rallies and their correlation with hate crimes. The study found that counties that hosted Trump rallies saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes following the rallies. There have been multiple studies that showed Trump’s presidency has led to an increase in hate crimes across the country.

At the same rally, Trump took time to attack Puerto Rico as an applause line.

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“What the Democrats want to do, they want to give more and more,” Trump told the crowd in Panama City Beach, which is still recovering from Hurricane Michael, about Puerto Rico. “They complain, they want more money.”

Trump has consistently tried to downplay the disaster that has left Puerto Rico devastated for over a year.

Trump falsely claimed that the U.S. government has provided Puerto Rico with $91 billion in aid.

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His comments go further than to discredit the disaster that continues to impact those living on the island. His comments to the crowd in Panama City Beach are being used to pit two groups of disaster victims against each other.

Both Puerto Rico and the Florida panhandle experienced devastating hurricanes and both deserve the appropriate amount of aid to recover. What Trump has done with this rally was to create a false narrative that if Puerto Rico receives aid than the Florida panhandle will be left without. However, that is not how that works. Emergency assistance can be given to both communities without using them as pawns to downplay the other’s tragedy.

After criticizing Puerto Rico, Trump then pledged $448 million for recovery in the Florida Panhandle.

Funding for the Florida panhandle after the category 5 hurricane were stalled at the beginning due to Trump’s government shutdown over his border wall. Now, Trump is telling desperate people in Florida that Democrats are to blame for the lack of funds. However, the stalling of disaster funds is because the Trump administration has refused to work with Congress to pass a bill that allocates funds for further Puerto Rico recovery.

READ: She’s Not Running For President, But Oprah Did Just Donate Two Million Dollars for Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico

Here Are The Businesses Supporting A Trump 2020 Reelection

Things That Matter

Here Are The Businesses Supporting A Trump 2020 Reelection

Here in America, capitalism gives us all the opportunity to vote with our dollars. That means individuals can make an impact on seemingly untouchable issues, like animal testing (buy cruelty-free), funding immigrant detention camps (stop buying Microsoft), gay rights (adiós Chik-Fil-A), and another four years of Trump in power. If the connections between these issues and their consequent direct action seem random, por favor, read on.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re constantly voting with our dollars. For example, folks who signed up for SoulCycle classes and Equinox memberships didn’t understand the significance of how the companies’ owner would spend his profits. Stephen M. Ross, the billionaire owner of Equinox and SoulCycle hosted a major fundraiser for Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign at his mansion in the Hamptons. Spokespersons for these wealthy Trump supporters will tell you that the company profits itself are not used to fund politicians. While the corporation itself will not make contributions to Trump 2020 in the company’s name, the company does issue the largest paychecks to its CEOs. Board members and owners of these companies would not attain the power and wealth to influence campaign elections without every single individual’s choice to funnel their dollars through their companies.

Individuals can do whatever they want their money. Ross can donate to Trump 2020. But you don’t have to direct your hard-earned money towards someone who will create a society you don’t want to live in. If you don’t want Trump 2020 to happen, boycott these companies:

1. Estée Lauder (& its subsidiaries)

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Estée Lauder’s board member Ronald Lauder donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory committee in 2017. Estée Lauder also owns Aveda, Origins, Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone London, M.A.C. Cosmetics, Smashbox, and other subsidiaries. Boycotting Estée Lauder and its subsidiaries is a win for animals, too! The company continues to sell its products in China where they are legally required to subject rabbits and other small animals to painful chemical tests.

2. The Home Depot

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Bernie Marcus and Ken Langone co-founded The Home Depot and have collectively donated over $7 million to PACs seeking Trump’s reelection. Another $100k went directly to Trump’s inaugural committee straight from the founders’ pockets. We also can’t shop at Hobby Lobby anymore because its CEO David Green actually urged Americans to support Donald Trump.

3. CVS Pharmacy

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The Boston-based drugstore chain donated in the company’s name to help get Trump reelected. CVS Health Corp. donated $35,000 to Trump’s Victory PAC and $500,000 to America First Policies, a nonprofit that promotes anti-immigration rhetoric and policies. Once word got out that an official from America First Policies’ had spewed (surprise!) racist and sexist rhetoric, CVS said they would no longer contribute to that particular group. 

4. Las Vegas Sands Group (The Venetian, The Sands, and Marina Bay Sands hotels)

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The biggest donor to Trump’s inauguration was Sheldon Adelson, owner of Las Vegas Sands, which owns The Venetian, The Sands, and Marina Bay Sands hotel resorts in Las Vegas. Adelson donated $5 million to the inaugural fund. He donated $25 million in “soft money” to Super PACS dedicated to getting Trump elected, which are immune to election finance laws that limit the max donation to $360,000.

5. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsAPP, Spotify, Lyft and Airbnb

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Besides the obvious lack of action from Facebook to prevent Russia from fear-mongering and influencing American votes, Facebook board member Peter Theil has donated $250,000 to Trump 2020 and is Trump’s 7th largest donor. Oh, and Theil’s tech company, Palintir, has a $1.5 billion contract to protect ICE’s surveillance network. 

6. Taco Bell

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We all have an opinion on Taco Bell, and apparently Taco Bell franchise owners are highly opinionated, too. Together, they donate to a TACO PAC, which donated $53,625 to Republicans this year alone. According to Food and Wine, t also donated $5,000 to Trump’s re-election bid so far.

7. Marvel Entertainment

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Former CEO and now Chairman of Marvel Entertainment, Isaac Perlmutter, is a long-time friend of Donald Trump. Perlmutter donated $360,000 to Trump’s victory committee in 2017. He wrote another $360,000 check last month that went directly to Trump 2020. That’s not even the half of it. Perlmutter donated $5 million to a Super PAC whose mission it is to re-elect Trump and his comrades.

READ: In A Seriously Awkward Announcement, Vice President Pence Went To Florida To Launch A ‘Latinos For Trump’ Coalition

Puerto Rican Art Groups Are Getting A Leg Up Thanks To This Foundation Created By The ‘Hamilton’ Family

Entertainment

Puerto Rican Art Groups Are Getting A Leg Up Thanks To This Foundation Created By The ‘Hamilton’ Family

Flamboyan Foundation / Facebook

Maintaining funding for the arts is a challenging enough task during the best of times. For Puerto Ricans, those “best of times” have long been gone. A backlog of corruption scandals coupled with the most devastating natural disaster in the island’s history has exacerbated the arts organizations resources. Two years after Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Puerto Rico, hope for maintaining the culture and arts of Boricuas has arrived.

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeffrey Seller, the play’s producer, have partnered with the Flamboyan Foundation to establish an art fund for struggling arts organizations in Puerto Rico.

The Flamboyan Foundation was established just earlier this year, funded by ticket sales from “Hamilton.”

@theatermania / Twitter

Even better, the $14.7 million that was raised for the fund were all raised by Puerto Ricans. The “Hamilton” cast and crew up and went to Puerto Rico for a 17-day run. The Flamboyan Foundation, named after the flamboyán tree native to Puerto Rico, established the arts fund in 2018. “The Flamboyan Arts Fund is an extension of our deep commitment to ensuring that Puerto Rico is thriving economically and socially,” Flamboyan Puerto Rico Executive Director Carlos J. Rodríguez-Silvestre said in a statement. “We cannot be more excited to partners with our 12 inaugural grant recipients as well as the new grantees that we will welcome following this round of applications.  This is just the beginning!”

So far, at least 12 grant recipients have been named.

@ElNuevoDia / Twitter

“It’s the first time that we have funds guaranteed for the beginning of the year so it’s been very important, Lolita Villanúa, executive director of Andanza told NBC News. Andanza is a dance company and school that has been giving back to Puerto Rico since 1998, but not without struggles. “The search for funds has always been very difficult,” she said. One year, the government gave Andanza just $8,000 for a full year of operations.

Villanúa felt the grant “was like a big prize on our 20th anniversary because we [have been] working tirelessly and intensely for the country.”

The trickle-down effect goes to benefit young scholarship students.

@ynohabialuz / Twitter

One Andanza dance student, Paola Morales López is just 15 years old and wants to make a career out of dancing. “I feel super grateful because I see that they support me and that they believe in me,” Morales López told NBC News. “Andanza is like my second family.” Another 18-year-old ballet student, Gabriela Arroyo, said that, “Dance has helped me. It’s a form to escape reality, and it’s also a way to stay healthy.”

Of course, the “Hamilton” funds will also go to help local theaters stay open.

@ynohabialuz / Twitter

Another grant went to a collective of seven artists who started the San Juan theater company, Y No Había Luz (“And There Was No Light”) when they were just students at the University of Puerto Rico. For the last 15 years, the group has continued to stay open, using their literal theater platform to advocate for social change and to humanize Boricuas.

Without the grant, Puerto Ricans may have never witnessed a play centered around an ancient tree that fell during Hurricane Maria.

@ynohabialuz / Twitter

Y No Había Luz created the play “Centinela de Mangó,” which retells the experience of the town of Orocovis, which survived Hurricane Maria only to find the tree that symbolized the island’s identity had fallen. The company has been able to bring the play to New York City, as well, where many Hurricane Maria victims were directed by FEMA. The company wants to turn the story into a children’s book, forever immortalizing the tree’s meaning into words that will be passed down for generations.

With rent paid, the art grant recipients can dream even bigger.

@ynohabialuz / Twitter

“For three years I can plan and create a healthier structure for my team. I can make dreams more long-term,” Yari Helfeld of Y No Había Luz told NBC News. She added, “My dad always told us that we should do what we wanted and not let anyone tell you what to do.” Thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda and the “Hamilton” family, dreams are being made a reality for art directors and young children alike. The arts will have a safe home in Puerto Rico for the foreseeable future.

READ: Puerto Rico, Still Recovering From Hurricane Maria, Is Losing Recovery Dollars To Fund Part Of The Border Wall