President Donald Trump’s decision not to make a full statement on opposing white supremacists during the first presidential debate was met with fiery criticism. Some of his opponents took the opportunity in the media to argue that his lack of response means he actually supports the hate groups.
Nothing could be further from the truth, stated the Trump Campaign’s Strategic Advisor and Jewish Voices for Trump Co-Chair, Boris Epshteyn.
He told this reporter in an exclusive interview Wednesday that Trump condemns white supremacists and the fact was “clear as day” at the debate Tuesday night.
Trump’s comments Tuesday were as follows:
“Sure, I’m willing to do that. But, I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing… I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace,” Trump said in response to Fox News host Chris Wallace, who asked him to condemn white supremacist groups.
Wallace wasn’t satisfied with that response, and again pressed Trump.
“What do you want me to call them? Give me a name. Go ahead, who would you like me to condemn? Who,” Trump then asked Wallace,
Wallace specified that Trump should condemn ‘white supremacists and Proud Boys.’
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,. But, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem, this is a left wing problem,” Trump said before Biden interrupted him to clarify that ‘Antifa is an idea, not an organization,’ citing FBI Director Christopher Wray’s earlier comments.
Epshteyn responded, “President Trump did condemn white supremacists. When Chris Wallace asked him that as part of asking whether Joe Biden condemned Antifa, Chris Wallace ended up asking President Trump if he condemns white supremacists and he said yes, he said ‘sure.”
“And then Joe Biden jumped in with his mumbo jumbo and really didn’t know what day it was I guess… and then even specifically to the Proud Boys, President Trump said ‘stand back,’ so it’s pretty clear where President Trump stands,” added Epshteyn. “It’s absolutely clear where he stands. He’s been clear on it for a long time now going back to the Jake Tapper interview and denouncing David Duke and so on and so forth.”
He added, “President Trump has been clear that he denounces white supremacists and he did that also in his speech about Charlottesville that the left likes to lie about so much, including Joe Biden, who lies about it all the time. The President condemned white supremacists then.”
Epshteyn was born in the former Soviet Union. He and his family escaped communism in the region as Jewish refugees to the United States in 1993.
He said Trump has championed the fight against antisemitism, which Epshteyn understands personally.
“I’m Jewish and I’m proud to work for a president who’s done so much to combat antisemitism, signed the Never Again Holocaust Education Act into law, which gave $10 million towards Holocaust education in this country, signed the Just Act into law, which makes it easier for victims of the Holocaust and their descendants to receive restitution and then signed an executive order which absolutely classified antisemitism as a hate crime and enable the federal government, federal agencies to use their full resources to combat antisemitism, and that’s just domestically,” Epshteyn explained.
He continued, “He’s done so much on the international front in terms of standing with the State of Israel, moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, something that president after president had promised, tearing up the terrible Iran deal, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and then the historic Abraham Accord.”
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WSJ: Corporate Dirty Pool in Washington’s Senate Race
The Wall Street Journal’s, Kimberly A. Strassel wrote a piece identifying how the Democrats are so worried about Washington Senator Patty Murray’s re-election “that Seattle’s corporate heavyweights are playing dirty pool on her behalf.”
Murray, a leftwing progressive, has faced little competition while in office; until now. Tiffany Smiley, a Republican nurse and entrepreneur “is pummeling Ms. Murray from every direction and laying out her own detailed reform agenda” adds the WSJ.
A RealClearPolitics average has Ms. Murray winning by 8 points. Another poll has Smiley within 2 points. Regardless, It’s close enough that “Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently transferred $500,000 of his own campaign cash to Ms. Murray’s campaign.”
Money from Schumer isn’t the only liberal panic dough. “Starbucks, the Seattle Times and the Seattle Seahawks—are actively attempting to sabotage the Smiley campaign, albeit in a distinctly underhanded fashion” writes the WSJ. “Their targets are two effective Smiley campaign ads.”
At the center of the fight are two of Smiley’s ads: “Game Day” and “Cup of Coffee.”
In “Game Day” the Republican is in a kitchen preparing to watch a football game, hitting Ms. Murray and Democrats for the spiraling cost of food. In “Cup of Coffee,” she stands in front of a derelict building. Barely visible at the top, and seen backward, is the store’s faded Starbucks sign. Ms. Smiley hits Ms. Murray for rising crime, while the ad flashes two Seattle Times headlines, one of which reads: “Starbucks to Close 5 Seattle Stores Over Safety Concerns.”
“Game Day” hit the airwaves Sept 1. Five days later, according to documents I obtained, the Smiley campaign received a terse email from the Seahawks claiming a trademark violation. The ad briefly shows Ms. Smiley’s husband, Scotty—a retired U.S. Army Ranger who was blinded by shrapnel in Iraq—expressing alarm that “even beer” prices are rising. You only see his shoulders above a tall couch—and if you get a magnifying glass you might make out a letter or two from the word “Seahawks.” The letter insisted the Smiley campaign “immediately cease” its “unauthorized commercial use.” Nothing like your local sports franchise dumping cease-and-desist orders on wounded veterans.
“Cup of Coffee” went live on Sept. 20. The next day, the Seattle Times sent an email to the “Jane Smiley” campaign—apparently without running it past its fact-checking desk—accusing it of “unauthorized use of The Seattle Times logo and two headlines” in violation of the paper’s “copyright and trademark.” It demanded the campaign remove any references to the paper not only in its own ad, but in an NBC News article about the ad’s launch.
Two days later, Starbucks sent a certified letter saying the campaign was appropriating its intellectual property, and complaining it might “create an unfounded association in the minds of consumers between Starbucks and your campaign.” It insisted the campaign either pull the ad or alter it to strip both the (barely visible, backward) sign and the Seattle Times headline referencing Starbucks.
One such letter may be the product of an overzealous lawyer, but three in a row looks like more than a coincidence. One might even wonder if some Murray staffer was putting bugs in Seattle business leaders’ ears. And while corporate political-action committees routinely play politics by making donations, it’s something else for individual companies to go to bat for a candidate via behind-the-scenes threats based on tenuous legal claims. These letters were bound to cost the Smiley campaign money and headaches and might have pushed it off the airwaves.
The campaign didn’t roll over. It made a painless accommodation to the “Game Day” ad, blurring the jersey colors to obscure anything distinct. In a legal letter sent Thursday to Starbucks, the campaign rebutted the company’s infringement claims, running through political speech protections and noting that no reasonable person would ever think a factual ad about shuttered Starbucks stores amounted to a coffee-chain endorsement. It suggested Starbucks focus on its own problems, like its recent union woes.
The Seattle Times also received a letter refuting its claims, but it got something in addition. The Smiley campaign on Thursday filed a Federal Election Commission complaint, charging the paper with providing the Murray campaign a prohibited in-kind contribution. It turns out that Ms. Murray has also used a Seattle Times headline in her ads. Her “First 2016 Ad” sports the newspaper’s logo under the headline: “Patty Murray’s and Paul Ryan’s Teamwork Is a Model for Congress.” It seems the Times has a different legal standard for candidates it endorses.
As the FEC complaint notes, the Smiley campaign would have to spend an estimated $5,000 to remove and update the ad—“costs that Patty Murray does not have to accrue.” It cites FEC regulations that provide “if a corporation makes its resources available for free, it must do so for all candidates.”
Don’t expect the Seattle corporate set to do anything on behalf of Ms. Smiley soon. But it shouldn’t be too much to ask that they do their politicking straight—and out in the open.
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