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

Beto O’Rourke Dropped Out Of The Presidential Race But Julián Castro Is Holding On

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Beto O’Rourke Dropped Out Of The Presidential Race But Julián Castro Is Holding On

juliancastrotx / Instagram

As the primary race draws closer, the restrictions on who is allowed on the debate stage are getting tougher. Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro had announced mid-October that if his campaign didn’t raise $800,000 by Halloween his campaign would be over. While fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke announced the end of his campaign on Oct. 31, Castro’s campaign successfully pushed to raise enough money to keep his campaign going. In fact, he announced that they raised over $1 million for the month of October, well above the campaign goal.

“We’re not going anywhere,” campaign manager Maya Rupert told Politico. “Julián will keep being a voice for the voiceless, and a champion for the Americans who have been left behind. We will keep lifting up important issues others choose to ignore, and demonstrating by example why Secretary Castro is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump.”

Castro implored his supporters to keep his campaign going.

Credit: @MauraBarrettNBC / Twitter

In an email sent out to supporters, Castro put it bluntly: “If I can’t raise $800,000 in the next 10 days—I will have no choice but to end my race for President. The truth is, for our campaign, these debates have offered our only guaranteed opportunity to share my vision with the American people. If I can’t make the next debate stage, we cannot sustain a campaign that can make it to Iowa in February.”

Beyond logistics, Castro acknowledged the integrity of the campaign donors. “I started this campaign on a shoestring budget in the neighborhood I grew up in. I didn’t grow up a frontrunner. I didn’t have personal wealth to pump into this race,” he wrote in the email. “And we’ve built this campaign without a cent from super PACS or billionaires.” 

The Mexican-American politician now needs to poll higher than 3 percent in four national polls to qualify for the next debate.

Credit: juliancastrotx / Instagram

With the funds needed to campaign in battleground states, Castro is better poised to meet that DNC qualification. He has the 165,000 donors required to qualify but is still polling in low single-digit numbers. According to FEC filings, Castro’s campaign only had about $672,000 on hand at the end of September. Money goes far in elections, but it isn’t the deciding factor for campaign longevity. Beto O’Rourke had $3.3 million on hand by the end of September, a significantly higher amount than Castro, and Beto conceded.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders remains the Democratic candidate with the highest sum of cash on hand, at a whopping $33.7 million by the end of September. Both Sanders and Castro refuse to accept donations from super PACS or billionaires. Trump, however, had a reported $83 million on hand by the end of September.

Even, AOC asked her supporters to make a contribution, though she’s endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

On Nov. 1, Castro shared the good news from the backseat of a vehicle, saying, “I am so happy to announce today that, because of grassroots contributions from all over the country, we hit our $800,000 goal for the month of October.” Even better, he said, “We raised just over $1 million.” Castro effused gratitude as he spoke to the individual donors that make his campaign possible, “I just want to express my appreciation and say thank you to each and every one of you…Whatever you gave, I appreciate it. Thank you for believing in a campaign that is focused on lifting up the most vulnerable folks in our country and making sure that all of us can prosper in the years to come.”

The night before the deadline, Castro’s team hosted a call-a-thon to raise the remaining estimated $200k.

Credit: @juliancastro / Twitter

Of course, Castro’s campaign has a long way to go. He made sure to tell his supporters, “I also want you to know that this campaign, not only is it going to keep on going, but it continues to need your support. Spread the word. Talk to your friends, your family, your coworkers. We’re going to make a strong push to try and get onto the debate stage and go on. Take care.”

Halloween wasn’t so scary for Castro’s campaign after all.

Credit: juliancastrotx / Instagram

“THANK YOU!” Castro tweeted Friday. “With the help of tens of thousands of donors across the country, we reached our $800k fundraising goal—and crossed the $1M mark for the month of October. We’re going to keep pushing to make the debates and raise issues others won’t address. Thank you for your support.”

In response, one supporter tweeted, “You are very welcome! Keep fighting for racial justice in public policy hermano! We stand with you and your vision for humane and dignified treatment for our communities 🦋.”

READ: Julián Castro Is Rolling Out A $10 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change

Migrants Are Using $100 Saws To Dismantle Trump’s $10 Billion Wall

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Migrants Are Using $100 Saws To Dismantle Trump’s $10 Billion Wall

Recently, at a Mississippi campaign rally, Trump claimed that there isn’t a tool that exists that can cut through the combination of construction materials used for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. However, this weekend, The Washington Post reported that smugglers are sawing through new sections of Trump’s wall with $100 power tools and simply walking across the border.

Within a matter of minutes, smugglers have been able to saw through the steel and concrete bollards by simply fitting a popular cordless saw with special blades, according to The Washington Post.

Hours before The Washington Post broke its news, Trump told a Mississippi crowd, “It’s a different form of cut.”

Credit: @atrupar / Twitter

It seems as if the Army Corp of Engineers presented Trump with three construction material options. “I did all three,” he boasted to a crowd that exploded with applause. “Because it’s a different form of cut,” he explained, seemingly about the power tool required to cut through all three materials. “It can cut through steel but it can’t through the concrete and then you can’t through the hardened rebar. We got it all.” It’s difficult to say what “it” is referring to because of the lack of descriptive nouns in his language.

Later, Trump doubled down on the reason for “The Wall:” that MS-13 gang members were “not human beings.”

Credit: @JoaquinCastrotx / Twitter

“These gangs are the worst people,” he told the crowd. “These people, they are not human beings. I said that once before and ‘Crazy Nancy Pelosi’ said, ‘How dare you say they’re not human?'” Trump doubled down and bragged for refusing to apologize. “You ever see these people?” he asked the cheering crowd. “And they slice people up with a knife because it’s more painful than using a gun. And then I have to defend myself when I say they’re animals. But you know what? I never changed. I didn’t say, ‘Oh I’d like to apologize, Crazy Nancy.'”

Meanwhile, Joaquin Castro visited the Hispanic Caucus’ ofrenda dedicated to honoring the migrants who have tragically died in U.S. custody.

“We also need see-through,” Trump stated.

@MGuarinoedu / Twitter

Presumably, Trump means to say that he’d like a transparent material that also fortifies the border. “Gotta see whose on the other side. That makes sense, right? Not just concrete,” he expanded. Currently, the most protected border sections have two, 30 feet high fences with a paved road in between. But nearly a dozen U.S. Border agents and administration officials have blown the whistle on Trump’s “virtually impenetrable” wall to The Washington Post, on the condition of anonymity.

There are two methods migrants are using to cross the $10 billion tax-payer funded barriers, says The Washington Post.

Credit: @dvillella / Twitter

Of the two methods reported by The Washington Post, the simpler method relies on the use of the popular household cordless saw. The saw is able to cut through the first layer of steel rebar, ten feet of concrete and a rebar core within a few minutes, engineers told The Washington Post. The bollard is attached to a panel at the top of the “wall,” which, when sawed through, is left dangling, ready to be pushed to the side by a migrant who can now simply walk across the border, according to the Post.

The second method is with a custom made ladder, usually made of rebar, which includes a rope ladder that is released down the other side to descend, says The Washington Post. Once on the other side, the ladder can be easily passed through the space between the bollards, and carried to the second barrier, according to The Washington Post.

Migrant smugglers are tricking CBP officers with putty the paper reported.

@DahVeedP / Twitter

An anonymous senior administration official told The Washington Post that while the new bollard system has “significantly increased security and deterrence,” sawing breaches have occurred often enough that CBP officers know how to look out for them. Smugglers, a CBP official admitted to the publication, have an array of strategies to trick CBP officers into bypassing an altered bollard. They might put the bollard back where it was, hoping an agent won’t do a routine boot-kick to test for a breach, an official admitted to the paper. Alternatively, smugglers have also learned to use putty to mask the cut in such a way that it looks like a welding crew had already repaired the bollard, The Washington Post reported.

But those vulnerable spots will soon be fortified with electronic sensors.

Credit: @USBPChief / Twitter

The newspaper’s sources say that the saw trick has primarily worked in places where the electronic sensor system isn’t operational just yet. Once powered on, officials claim that it will alert CBP to vibrations that occur when someone is, say, sawing through “The Wall.”

According to CBP, the Trump administration has constructed 76 miles of new border barriers, with another 158 miles under construction. Trump plans to complete 450 miles of border barriers by the end of 2020.

READ: Twitter Is Cackling Over Trump’s ‘Really Big’ Border Wall He Said Is Being Built In Colorado