Things That Matter

President Trump Furthers Speculation Of Ties To White Supremacy After Sharing Video With White Supremacist Symbol

Once again, Americans are left questioning whether Trump’s campaign simply needs more competent researchers and video editors or if its legitimately using imagery that invokes an adoration for white supremacy. President Donald Trump posted a new campaign video to his Twitter account on August 28 that included the regular content we’ve come to expect: his high approval rating among Republicans, low unemployment rates and stock market growth. Sure. Then, it ended with a symbol of lion’s head, wearing a star-spangled collar and red stripes for a mane. 

Various white supremacist groups have clung to the exact same symbol as a “Lion Guard” for Trump supporters.

“Thank you for the support as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Trump tweeted alongside the video.

Credit: @realdonaldtrump / Twitter

“Record low employment” the video claims, with the words “Blacks, Latinos, Veterans” fading into view. It boasts that zero federal dollars have gone to Planned Parenthood in a claim to protect life and liberty. Then, an “I stand with Trump in 2020. DO YOU?” scene fades in, followed by the sound of a lion’s roar and the above image.

White supremacist outlet, VDARE, self-describes as “America’s Immigration Voice,” and has been using this exact symbol since before Trump’s election.

Credit: @vdare / Twitter

The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated VDARE as a white nationalist hate group, calling it an “anti-immigrant hate website,” which describes its mission as “dedicated to preserving our historical unity as Americans into the 21st Century.” White nationalist Peter Brimelow founded VDARE and has given a platform to white supremacists around the country, including Jason Kessler, the organizer of 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

VDARE’s own founder, Peter Brimelow, has posited that Latinos “specialize in rape, particularly of children.”

Credit: @letsgomathias / Twitter

Not only has he suggested this, but he’s lauded Trump for reflecting that sentiment in his immigration policies. In a 2017 American Renaissance conference, he said, “But there’s no doubt that something in that book got to [President Donald Trump] because the way his speech was set up. His announcement speech went to the question of Hispanic crime, specifically rape. And [Ann Coulter]’s book is a very powerful statement of the fact that crime in this country is ethnically variegated. There’s ethnic specialization in crime. And Hispanics do specialize in rape, particularly of children. They’re very prone to it, compared to other groups.”

Then, there’s the dedicated Fascist militia, called the “Lion Guard.”

Credit: @DustinGiebel / Twitter

The “Lion Guard” was born on March 15, 2016, and describes itself as an “informal civilian group dedicated to the safety and security of #Trump supports by exposing Far-Left infiltrators and saboteurs.” Its website homepage commemorates the controversial moment that Trump retweeted a quote from Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini: “Better to be a lion for a day, than a lamb for eternity.” The “Lion Guard” is essentially a right-leaning Internet troll group, which aims to monitor Trump protesters by posting images of citizens who plan to protest Trump rallies. The “Lion Guard” has also idolized Communist Mao Zedong, tweeting “Mao had the Red guard, Bernie has the #BernOut Guard.”

That said, those white nationalist groups didn’t design the symbol, but have taken it to new depths of meaning.

Credit: @thewooga / Twitter

“For normies, like a kids soccer jersey logo etc, nah, probably not,” writer Dustin Giebel replied. “Politics? Duh! Especially if it connects to extremists groups. This is elementary stuff. They—being the campaign—should understand all the logos and emblems they’re sharing. Only took you two mins, right?” So, again, we ask the question. Is the Trump campaign that deft or do they know they’re dog-whistling the “Lion Guard,” and the white nationalists to come out to the polls?

One lawyer did some digging and found that the symbol was first used by a Dutch white supremacist that Trump retweeted in 2015.

Credit: @puckthecat1 / Twitter

Trump retweeted Twitter user @keksec_org’s message, “I truly believe you are the best #MakeAmericaGreatAgain” with a “Thank you so much!” Meanwhile, @keksec_org’s own Twitter bio read “#KekSec/Stop #WhiteGenocide/White Preservist/Programmer/Dutch Patriot/Race War when?” Talking Points Memo also noted that the user defended slavery and colonialism, and fears for white genocide. When Black folks called out his racism, he called them “melanin enhanced” or condescended to the “feeble mind of the African American negro.”

The account has since been suspended. According to the Daily Beast, Trump has retweeted 178 unverified users, 10 percent of whom have been suspended.

You can watch the full video below.

READ: Trump Campaign Posts ‘Summer Of Winning’ Video In Response To Criticism

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Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

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Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

BILL PUGLIANO / GETTY

After four long years, we finally know why Trump didn’t want to release his tax returns: abominably, he thought his terrible haircuts and adult age children were worthy of write-offs. Oh yeah… and the year he was elected he only paid $750.00.

Long before his 2016 presidential election bid, Trump dodged calls to reveal his tax returns. At the time of his bid, however, he refused to take part in a 40-year tradition carried out by presidential nominees to release tax returns to the public. During his initial run, Trump falsely claimed that he was unable to release his returns publicly while they were under audit, and throughout his presidency, he has avoided sharing them despite grand jury subpoenas. Fortunately, thanks to a piece published by The New York Times, they’re finally getting a chance to see the light of day.

On Sunday, The New York Times published the first of several reports examining Trump’s tax information.

In 2016, Trump became the first president since 1976 to not release his tax records. The decision promptly roused dismay and questions about whether the records carried “undisclosed conflicts of interest that may impair his ability to make impartial policy decisions.”

According to NYT’s latest exposé, Trump (a man who has long boasted about his wealth and has also claimed a net worth of billions of which he has also declared to be self-acquired) paid a mere total of $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

While the Times report did not cover 2018 and 2019 tax filings, the newspaper looked into 18 years of Trump’s tax returns. They also looked into his business dealings as far back as 2000 and found that in 10 of those years, the president of the United States failed to pay any income taxes “largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”

The Times also revealed that Trump “racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes” despite millions in income and property. In a statement for the piece, Alan Garten an attorney for the Trump Organization claimed to the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts, appear to be inaccurate.” NoteL the Times underlined that Garten appeared to be “conflating income taxes with other federal taxes.”

According to the article, beginning in 2010, Trump had been given a $72.9 million tax refund from the IRS.

The Times article explains in detail how Trump has managed to handle his business and categorize his wealth. The paper found that most often, Trump claimed his expenses as deductions from his tax bill chalking them up to business expenses. These include nearly $70,000 in hairstyling costs for his time on NBC’s “The Apprentice” over $300,000 for landscaping of the Mar-a-Lago Club and $95,000 written off for hair and makeup done for his daughter Ivanka. That’s right, the president wrote off his own adult children.

Addressing the report, the Times noted that they would not include the actual tax documents in its coverage to avoid outing its sources.

“We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances,” Times editor Dean Baquet wrote in an editor’s note. “Every president since the mid-1970s has made his tax information public. The tradition ensures that an official with the power to shake markets and change policy does not seek to benefit financially from his actions.”

In response to the reports, Trump called the story “fake news” during a White House press conference on Sunday.

Speaking about the piece, Trump bemoaned that the IRS “does not treat me well.” “It’s totally fake news. Made-up, fake,” he continued. “We went through the same stories, people you could’ve asked me the same questions four years ago. I had to litigate this and talk about it. Totally fake news… Actually, I paid tax, and you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns — it’s under audit,” Trump went onto explain. “They’ve been under audit for a long time. The IRS does not treat me well. … They don’t treat me well; they treat me very badly. You have people in the IRS, they treat me very, very badly…But they’re under audit. And when they’re not, I would be proud to show you, but that’s just fake news.”

It’s important to note that even an audit could not prevent Trump from releasing his tax records to the public.

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Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into Disinformation Campaign Aimed At Florida’s Latino Voters

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Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into Disinformation Campaign Aimed At Florida’s Latino Voters

H2Woah! / Flickr

A disturbing disinformation campaign is taking place in Florida and it is targeting the Cuban-American community. The racist insert in The Miami Herald recently brought a spotlight to the wide reaching disinformation campaign made to convince Cuban-Americans to stay loyal to the Republican Party.

Politicians are growing concerned about the increasingly aggressive disinformation campaign in southern Florida.

From Whatsapp clips to Facebook groups, there has been an aggressive and seemingly success disinformation campaign aimed at Cuban and Cuban-Americans in southern Florida. QAnon and conspiracies are mainstays in Spanish-language YouTube channels and other social media sites. The ads claim things as extreme as President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were secretly selling uranium to Russia.

The campaign to mislead Latino voters in one of the larget swing states is causing alarm.

“People see the videos and the disinformation so many times that it gets to them. They feel they can’t trust the media, and that’s the most worrisome part,” Democratic strategist Evelyn Pérez-Vedía told NBC News. “Now they call Spanish-language media fake news.”

Politicians are calling for an investigation into the disinformation campaign to end it.

Representatives Joaquin Castro and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell are calling on the FBI to launch a formal investigation. The disinformation is aiming to move Latino voters to President Trump. A recent influx of Puerto Ricans who fled natural disasters has put the Republican hold on the Florida Latino vote in jeopardy.

Rep. Murcasel-Powell is sounding the alarm that the disinformation situation in Florida is akin to the Russian influence of the past.

“As we rapidly approach election day, Latino circles in South Florida have witnessed a surge in posts containing false or misleading information on social media…While disinformation on social media is, itself, problematic, even more concerning is the fact that disinformation originating on social media is now shaping and pervading more traditional media outlets in South Florida,” reads a letter from Reps. Castro and Mucarsel-Powell “As the FBI works to secure our elections, we urge you to keep the Latino community in mind and consider efforts of foreign actors to spread disinformation and sow doubt in our election systems among Latinos, especially in South Florida.”

It’s a reminder that it is important to be critical of what you see in social media.

It is always very important to double check your sources and do your research. Don’t just believe everything you see on social media, even if it is something that your friends and family are sharing and talking about. It is also important to keep those you love accountable and let them know when they are sharing things that just aren’t true.

READ: Florida Republican Representative Shows Off Cuban Man He Claims Is His Stepson

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