Things That Matter

Trump’s Latest Direct Pitch To Hispanic Voters Was Truly Bizarre, Even By Trump Standards

Despite the election being more than 400 days away, the 2020 Election campaign season is in full swing. We’ve got Democrats debating substantial policy ideas in debate after debate and then we’ve got Donald Trump blurring the line between campaign rallies and presidential events.

Trump has been busy jetting from state to state (largely staying in states that supported him in 2016) to spread his message of falsehoods and hate.

Until now. 

Is Trump starting to change his ways just in time for the 2020 campaign? 

If you pay attention to the news, you’ll of heard about Trump’s “pitch” to Hispanic voters.

It makes sense that Trump would put effort into Latino outreach in New Mexico, which has the highest percentage of Latinos of any state of the country. But remarking on the tone of an ally’s skin and suggesting Latino voters have dual loyalties are probably not the best ways to do it. Trump’s comments unsurprisingly seemed to play well to his supporters in the room, but they are unlikely to win many new ones in a state where he can use all the supporters he can get

But oh, it was so much more.

President Donald Trump did his best to appeal to Latino voters during his rally on Monday evening in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. His “best,” however, was profoundly bizarre.

In one especially odd moment, Trump remarked upon how white one of his key Latino surrogates looks.

“He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out because he looks more like a WASP than I do. So I haven’t figured that one out. But I’ll tell you what — there is nobody that loves this country more or Hispanic more than Steve Cortes,” Trump said. (Cortes is a pro-Trump television commentator and member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council.)

“Nobody loves the Hispanics more!” Trump continued, before asking Cortes a question that suggested Latinos have dual loyalties: “Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics? He says the country. I don’t know, I may have to go for the Hispanics to be honest with you. We got a lot of Hispanics! We love our Hispanics.”

In anticipation of Trump’s New Mexico rally, the ACLU but up billboards that obviously hit some important points. 

Another one said “No Ban, No Wall, No Hate In Our State.”

While another group had this to say:

Apparently New Mexico has some legit billboard game. Who knew?

Many in New Mexico wondered why Trump was visiting a state to share his hateful views in a state that is overwhelmingly Democratic.

Trump is not doing well with Latinos in particular or in New Mexico in general. Polls consistently show his approval rating at about 30 percent.

Trump’s poor performance is dragging him down in New Mexico, a state he lost by 8 points to Hillary Clinton in 2016. According to Morning Consult’s tracking polls, Trump’s approval rating in the state has dropped a whopping 34 points since his inauguration, and as of last month, sat 17 points underwater.

Not to mention the President’s hurtful, hateful, and dangerous rhetoric used against immigrants, refugees, and basically anyone who isn’t cis white.

Nonetheless, during his rally on Monday, Trump insisted he plans to win New Mexico in 2020. His sales pitch largely centered around low Latino unemployment rates and stoking fears about immigration — but these were also key components of his campaign message heading into last year’s midterms elections, and Republicans ended up losing all five statewide races in New Mexico. At this stage, there’s little reason to believe things will be different next November.

But of course, Trump wasn’t just in Mexico to awkwardly talk about ‘Hispanics.’

He was also there to repeat many of the lies he’s now become so famous for. 

Trump spoke for 95 minutes at the rally in New Mexico on Monday night, among the longest speeches he’s given as President. And, according to CNN, he made at least 26 false claims — most of them ones he’s said before in recent months.

From blaming a former Google executive for him losing “up to 10 million votes” to saying San Diego’s mayor agrees with Trump on the wall (hint: he doesn’t), Trump was in typical Trump form. 

From New Mexico, Trump departed for deep blue California.

After leaving New Mexico, Trump headed for California — another state he lost by millions of votes in 2016. He’s there to raise funds for his 2020 re-election but he’s also getting in some attacks on the heavily Democratic state. 

Before even arriving, Trump had been shaming California cities over a very real issue — homelessness. It’s out of control from San Diego to San Francisco but many doubt that the administration is going to help address the issue with any substantial policy. Meanwhile, the President is also set to revoke California’s ability to set stricter standards on vehicle emissions, which would set up yet another legal battle between Trump and California. 

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Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Things That Matter

Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Yander Zamora/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration, Trump has moved to put Cuba back on the list of nations that allegedly sponsor terrorism.

Obama had taken Cuba off of that list in 2015 and with four years to Cuba back on the list, many agree that Trump has simply put Cuba back on the list to make life difficult for President Biden.

The Trump administration has put Cuba back on the list of countries that “sponsor terrorism.”

With just days left in office, Trump has moved to label Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in a last-minute move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified the controversial move which reverses Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to remove Cuba from the list after more than three decades – by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

Pompeo also alleged Cuba was engaging “in a range of malign behavior across the region”, highlighting its support for Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro who Trump has unsuccessfully tried to overthrow.

The controversial step places Cuba alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria as state sponsors of terror.

However, most officials agree that Trump’s claims about Cuba are bogus.

Many international observers – including U.S. allies – aren’t impressed by the administration’s claims that Cuba is sponsoring terrorism.

In an interview with The Guardian, Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House, said “These are trumped up charges. Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

Groups that favor greater U.S. engagement with Cuba criticized the announcement.

“There is no compelling, factual basis to merit the designation,” according to Ric Herrero, executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington DC-based organization that supports engagement with the island. “Instead it appears to be another shameless, last-ditch effort to hamstring the foreign policy of the incoming Biden administration and set the stage for the next election in Florida, all at the expense of the Cuban people and relations between our countries.”

Many observers agree that Trump’s move is simply a gift to party hardliners in Florida, and likely a deliberate attempt to make life difficult for the incoming Biden administration who may wish to end deténte with Cuba.

Of course, Cuban officials reacted angrily to the announcement.

After the announcement, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted: “We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism. The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.”

Reversing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s action would require the Biden administration to certify to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership in Cuba and that the government is not supporting acts of international terrorism, has not for the previous six months and will not do so in the future.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Star Offers Reward To Find Who Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’

Things That Matter

Guardians Of The Galaxy Star Offers Reward To Find Who Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’

Michael Wood/Stocktrek Images

Just when we thought Trump supporters couldn’t disgust us more, one disfigured a manatee by etching “Trump” into its back.

Sadly, last week, a manatee was found in Florida’s Homosassa River with the name “Trump” scratched into its back. The discovery has prompted federal officials to open an investigation into the disfigurement of the threatened species.

A mutilated manatee was found over the weekend with the name Trump scratched into its back.

According to a report published by the Citrus County Chronicle, it is unclear when and how the manatee was mutilated. It is also unknown whether the current investigation has made any leads in regards to the perpetrators. Still, footage of the abused animal has sparked outrage online.

Douglas Nowacek, a professor of Conservation Technology at Duke University told Vice that the incident is “one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen done to a wild animal.” In a separate email, Ruth Carmichael, a Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and a Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama described the act a “horrific” to VICE saying “I have no words to express how deeply troubling, thoughtless, and potentially cruel this is.” 

Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista has offered a $20,000 reward to anyone who finds the person who etched “Trump” into the Florida manatee’s back.

Bautista offered the reward on Twitter, writing “if there’s not already a reward for the arrest and conviction of the low life scummy MAGATs that did this I’ll throw in $20,000. And I promise there will be bonuses to that reward!”

Marine biologists say that it is unclear just how much harm the mammal endured.

“It’s a little hard to see the extent of damage from the video,” Carmichael explained. “It is harassment regardless. If the scrape penetrates the skin, then it likely caused some pain and stress. The animals have nerves and sensory hairs in the skin. Additionally, open wounds could become infected.” 

According to Graham Worthy, Department Chair and Pegasus Professor at the University of Central Florida who spoke to VICE the letters could mostly be shallow, and may mostly be algae scraped off the animal’s back making“ injury would be virtually non-existent.”

Still, physically hurt or not, the manatee in question was clearly harassed by a person. As such the perpetrator could face severe penalties if found. 

“Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act may result in fines of up to $100,000 and one year’s imprisonment for individuals and up to $200,000 for organizations,” Worthy told Vice. “It is illegal to approach and make contact with these animals let alone deface or injure them. It is illegal to feed or harass wild marine mammals including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions, and manatees. You are not allowed to feed, swim with, or harass these marine animals… They should be observed from a distance of at least 50 yards.”

The mutilated manatee is a West Indian manatee and is a herbivorous mammal found in coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Up until 2017, the species was considered endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, conservation status is listed as “threatened.”  

As many users of social media have noted, perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the images that humans already cause so much pain and suffering to innocent animals. When does it stop?

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