GOP Congressman Says Dead Palestinian Babies Aren’t All That Innocent

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GOP Congressman Says Dead Palestinian Babies Aren’t All That Innocent

A Republican representative believes that Palestinian babies are not innocent civilians but “terrorists” who should be killed.

Florida Representative Brian Mast made the horrifying comment when confronted by Code Pink protesters outside his office on Wednesday.

In a video, Mast can be seen calmly telling the demonstrators, “It would be better if you kill all the terrorists and kill everyone who are supporters.”

When asked if he has seen the images of Palestinian babies killed in Israeli attacks, Mast says, “These are not innocent Palestinian civilians.”

“The babies?” the activists asks in astonishment.

Mast then says that the “half a million people starving to death” should have elected a pro-Israel government.

When one protester points out that much of Gaza’s infrastructure has been destroyed, Mast says, “And there’s more infrastructure that needs to be destroyed.”

“Did you not hear me? There’s more that needs to be destroyed,” he says again for emphasis.

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More than 27,000 Palestinians have been killed since October in Israel’s constant bombardment of Gaza. The majority of the victims have been women and children.

Mast’s horrific comments—and the chilling way in which he delivered them—should come as no surprise. In November, just a few weeks after the war began, Mast compared Palestinian civilians to Nazis and implied that they are all guilty for Hamas’s atrocities.

“I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of ‘innocent Palestinian civilians,’ as is frequently said,” he said on the House floor.

“I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”

On Pro-Palestine Activism:

Republicans just earned their first intraparty “no” vote on their sham impeachment effort against Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas: Colorado Representative Ken Buck.

“The people that I’m talking to on the outside, the constitutional experts, former members agree that this just isn’t an impeachable offense,” Buck told reporters Thursday outside the House chamber.

“It’s maladministration. He’s terrible,” the Republican representative added, referring to Mayorkas. “The border is a disaster, but that’s not impeachable.”

Buck’s announcement raises doubts as to whether the House will even be able to push forward an impeachment vote, as Republicans grapple with a razor-thin two-seat majority in the lower chamber. While the effort may still have a shot with the help of some Democrats in swing districts, a solid “no” vote from inside the party certainly doesn’t help.

In an interview with MSNBC, Buck argued that a policy disagreement isn’t a valid basis to oust the Cabinet member, specifying that Mayorkas’s decisions on the border don’t constitute a “high crime or misdemeanor.”

“This is a policy difference,” Buck said. “If we start going down this path of impeachment with a Cabinet official, we are opening a door, as Republicans, that we don’t want to open. The next president who is a Republican will face the same scrutiny from Democrats. It’s wrong, and we should not set this precedent.”

Buck had been undecided on the vote prior to speaking with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green and committee staff, reported NBC News. House Republican leadership did not make an effort to speak with him, he told the outlet.

Republicans plan to bring the impeachment articles to the House floor next week. Should the effort prove successful, it will force a trial in the Senate.

The effort to impeach Mayorkas gained new traction on Sunday when the House Homeland Security Committee released two articles of impeachment, the first of which described the Biden administration’s border policies as a crime and the second accused Mayorkas of lying to Congress and obstructing an official investigation.

Tensions have been boiling over between the two parties since Texas defied a Supreme Court ruling that determined that state’s use of concertina wire along the Rio Grande section of the U.S.-Mexico border went beyond its authority. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to stall on a legitimate border security deal in a thankless attempt to bolster Donald Trump’s reelection campaign—a move that a growing number of conservative lawmakers appear to disagree with, including Senator Kevin Cramer and Representative Dan Crenshaw.

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday that 10 Republican state senators have disqualified themselves from the upcoming election, after staging a record-long walkout last year to block bills on abortion access, transgender health care, and gun restrictions.

The 10 senators staged a six-week boycott last year, the longest in Oregon’s history, stalling hundreds of bills and paralyzing the legislature. Oregon’s secretary of state determined in August that the senators had violated a voter-approved constitutional amendment disqualifying lawmakers from the ballot if they have more than 10 unexcused absences.

The boycotters sued Secretary LaVonne Griffin-Valade, arguing they should be allowed to run in November. But the state’s high court upheld Griffin-Valade’s decision on Thursday.

Oregon voters overwhelmingly approved the change to the state constitution in 2022, after Republicans had staged similar boycotts the three previous years. The amendment states that if a lawmaker has missed more than 10 sessions, that lawmaker is not allowed to run “for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.”

Democrats control the Oregon statehouse, but legislature rules require two-thirds of lawmakers to be present in order to pass legislation. The amendment’s goal is to prevent lawmakers from staging walkouts that gum up legislative works.

The 10 senators who walked out last year were primarily boycotting two measures: one that would have expanded access to abortion and gender-affirming care and another that would have cracked down on so-called ghost guns, or undetectable firearms. The legislative session resumed only after Republicans managed to extract concessions from Democrats on both these bills.

The boycotters argued in the state Supreme Court that they should be allowed to run for reelection in 2024 since their terms aren’t technically “completed” until 2025. They would then be ineligible in the 2028 election cycle.

But the justices pointed out that even if the amendment itself is ambiguous, the information provided ahead of the ballot initiative was not.

“Those other materials expressly and uniformly informed voters that the amendment would apply to a legislator’s immediate next terms of office, indicating that the voters so understood and intended that meaning,” the justices wrote in their ruling.

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has plans to force a vote on another censure resolution against Representative Ilhan Omar on Thursday—except this time, Greene is attempting to punish the first Somali American legislator in Congress for words she never said.

Omar, who is also one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, has spent the better part of the week under fire by her colleagues across the aisle over a speech she delivered at the Minneapolis Hyatt Hotel on Saturday, celebrating an election in a region of Somalia. During the speech, she spoke in Somali about a dispute between Somalia and the breakaway republic Somaliland—but Republican interpretations of Omar’s language have been far from accurate.

Several Republicans have called for an ethics investigation, accusing Omar of being a “foreign agent,” while others, like wannabe House Speaker Tom Emmer, are demanding she “resign in disgrace,” condemning Omar for her “Somalia-first comments.”

According to the translation Republicans keep using, and the one cited by Greene’s resolution, Omar allegedly said that “the U.S. Government will only do what Somalians in the U.S. tell them to do,” and that she would “protect the interests of Somalia from inside the U.S. system.”

Greene and other Republicans also keep alleging that Omar said we are “Somalians first, Muslims second.”

But third-party translations of Omar’s speech, published in full by The Minnesota Reformer, reveal that Omar never actually said any of that. The Reformer commissioned two translations, and neither showed Omar saying, “Somalians first, Muslims second.”

“So when I heard that people who call themselves Somalis signed an agreement with Ethiopia, many people reached out to me and said I needed to talk to the U.S. government. They asked, what would the U.S. government do?” Omar said, according to the outlet.

“My answer was that the U.S. government will do what we tell the U.S. government to do. That is the confidence we need to have as Somalis. We live in this country. This is the country where we pay taxes. This is the country that has elected a woman from your community. For as long as I am in Congress, no one will take over the seas belonging to the nation of Somalia and the United States will not support others who seek to steal from us,” she continued.

“So feel comfortable, Somali Minnesotans, that the woman you sent to Congress is aware of this issue and feels the same way you do,” she added.

In an email to the local paper, Omar noted that the attacks were “disingenuous attempts to malign my character and question my loyalty to my home, America.”

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is openly plotting revenge against the Republicans who ousted him.

McCarthy was unceremoniously booted from the speakership in October when eight Republicans, led by Representative Matt Gaetz, joined all Democrats in voting to vacate the chair. McCarthy left Congress in December, shrinking his party’s already narrow majority in the chamber.

Now, Politico reported Thursday, citing anonymous sources, McCarthy ally Brian Walsh is working to recruit primary challengers to those eight turncoats. The group is known on Capitol Hill as the “Crazy Eight” or “Gaetz Eight” (because the “hateful eight” was already taken).

McCarthy is ready to mobilize his still-sizeable donor network to mount primary challenges—focusing on three representatives in particular. His allies believe that Representatives Nancy Mace, Bob Good, and Eli Crane are the most vulnerable right now and are looking to recruit other Republican candidates in their districts.

“These traitors chose to side with Nancy Pelosi, AOC and over 200 Democrats to undermine the institution, their fellow Republicans and a duly elected Speaker,” Walsh told Politico in a statement. “There must be consequences for that decision.”

Mace’s turning on McCarthy must be especially bitter, because she was a member of his inner circle before voting to oust him. McCarthy reportedly encouraged her former chief of staff to resign and then run for her seat.

McCarthy’s revenge plans may continue beyond this election cycle. One member of the Gaetz Eight told Politico anonymously they had heard from a potential primary challenger who turned down recruitment attempts from a McCarthy associate. So the former speaker may keep pushing in future elections.

Of course, the biggest target is still Gaetz, who introduced the motion to vacate the speaker. Recently leaked private messages from Gaetz reveal the Florida Republican wanted to oust McCarthy because of the House Ethics Committee’s renewed probe into Gaetz’s alleged payments to a minor for sex.

McCarthy has shown before that he has a vindictive streak. In November, McCarthy allegedly elbowed Representative Tim Burchett, another Gaetz Eight member, in the halls of Congress.

Burchett called McCarthy a “jerk” and accused him of having “no guts.”

“What kind of chicken move is that?” he demanded. “You’re pathetic, man, you are so pathetic.”

Donald Trump’s courtroom dramas are beginning to overwhelm his political ambitions.

The GOP front-runner’s reelection campaign spent millions more than it took in over the course of 2023, with the vast majority of expenditures going to Trump’s legal fees, reported Politico.

According to the outlet’s analysis of Trump’s campaign finance filings, made public Wednesday, the real estate mogul’s “web of committees”—which include his campaign, Save America, Make America Great Again PAC, his joint fundraising committee, and MAGA Inc.—tossed money back and forth between them, spending roughly $210 million during the last year. That’s $10 million more than it raised.

Perhaps even more writing on the wall for Trump: The former president used approximately $50 million in donations to cover his legal fees over the course of 2023.

Save America, Trump’s leadership PAC, spent more than $25 million on consulting and legal fees in the second half of the year alone—paying dues to more than 47 law firms and attorneys. That’s on top of some $21 million that the PAC spent on the former president’s mounting legal bill in the first half of the 2023. And the Make America Great Again PAC, which pulls most of its funding from Save America, put an additional $4 million toward Trump’s tab in the latter half of 2023, as well.

That reportedly left just $5 million in the tank for his leadership PACs, according to Politico.

Meanwhile, Republicans will need to be tightening their belts, as well, with recent filings suggesting that the conservative party wasn’t quite so fiscally minded last year. An end-of-year Federal Election Commission filing revealed that the Republican National Committee had just $8 million on hand, per The Guardians Hugo Lowell.

Trump’s campaign is still in the green, however, thanks to a surplus in fundraising from previous years. But the high expenditures signal bad omens ahead for Trump as he grapples with not just the general election but also 91 felony charges across four separate, upcoming trials.

A Florida school district has drawn over the illustrations in multiple award-winning children’s books in its libraries after the chair of the local Moms for Liberty chapter complained that some of the characters were shown naked. One of the offending characters? A goblin who showed his backside.

Jennifer Pippin submitted multiple formal challenges in November and December to the Indian River County school district, Popular Information reported Thursday. One of the books she took issue with was the book Unicorns Are the Worst, which won a Florida state children’s literature award, because the main character (a goblin) is shown with its butt facing the audience. Here is the offending butt in question:

5. Pippin challenged several other picture books, including Unicorns are the Worst, a book about a goblin upset that so many people like unicorns.

It features an image of goblin butt, which Pippin said is pornographic. The district agreed to clothe the goblin. pic.twitter.com/M2udGzDEQp

— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 1, 2024

She challenged the book No, David! for the same reason (although the offending posterior in that book belongs to a young boy). Pippin also challenged In the Night Kitchen, a Caldecott Honorwinning book by Maurice Sendak. The protagonist, a young boy named Mickey, is sometimes drawn naked.

And she submitted yet another complaint about Draw Me a Star, by Eric Carle, the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In classic Carle style, though, very few features are actually distinguishable on the adults Pippin complained about.

6. Another book Pippin sought to remove was Draw Me A Star by Eric Carle. Pippin was concerned about this image of “two adults that were naked.” She said that her concerns were addressed when the district librarians drew “board shorts on the man” and “put the girl in a bikini.” pic.twitter.com/dSFHPzuU9l

— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 1, 2024

After meeting with Pippin, school district officials suggested drawing clothes over the illustrations to hide their nudity. Pippin agreed that this would resolve the issue.

Pippin told Popular Information that she submitted challenges to these books because she felt that the depictions of nudity were “harmful to minors” under two Florida state laws. The first law relates to obscenity and prohibits showing minors any “nudity or sexual conduct.” The second law allows state residents to demand libraries remove any book that “depicts or describes sexual conduct.”

But the thing is, both of these laws specifically apply to sexual conduct, not just straight nudity. It says more about Pippin that she viewed these illustrations, which are intended to make children laugh, as inherently sexual.

David Flynt, whose children attend Indian River County schools, noted as much when he criticized Pippin’s challenges to the book. In an interview with Popular Information, Flynt asked why Moms for Liberty was “sexualizing” a drawing “of a goblin’s bare backside.”

The illustration “was not [included] to cause arousal, and was of a fictional character,” Flynt said.

He also pointed to Pippin’s challenge to the book Sofia Valdez, Future Prez.  Pippin claimed that the main character’s grandfather was shown wearing a pro-LGBTQ pin. While the illustration could be considered to include a pink triangle, an LGBTQ pride symbol, the drawing is so small that it could really be anything.

8. Flynt was especially upset about @Moms4Lberty’s challenge of Sophia Perez Future Prez. The challenge was based on this image, which Pippin says includes a pro-LGTBQ symbol (circled in red). It has been removed from Indian River schools pending review. pic.twitter.com/eD6vkRxFcf

— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 1, 2024

Pippin indicated in her challenge to Sofia Valdez that she has not actually read the book.

Florida has banned multiple books in the past year, for covering topics including race, gender, and sexuality. Pippin’s challenges are not the first time a school district has had to remove a book long considered innocuous. Recently, another school district removed editions of the dictionary from its library shelves because the reference text includes definitions of sexual conduct.

E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer has revealed in a new interview that Donald Trump has only himself to blame for his two massive losses to the writer.

Roberta Kaplan represented Carroll in both of her lawsuits against Trump—and won both of them in the span of less than a year. Just last week, a jury determined Trump owes Carroll $83.3 million for defaming her in 2019 after she revealed he sexually abused her in the mid-1990s.

In an interview with Politico published Thursday, Kaplan said that Trump was the master of his own downfall.

“The single most important thing that convicted Donald Trump—both from his deposition and from the trial—is Donald Trump’s own behavior,” she said.

Carroll is far from the only woman to accuse Trump of sexual assault, with at least 26 other women accusing him of some form of misconduct. Trump has vehemently denied all of the allegations, but he aimed particular vitriol at Carroll, singling her out both when she first accused him and multiple times during this most recent trial.

Targeting Carroll specifically is what ultimately landed Trump in legal trouble, Kaplan explained. In her deposition, Carroll alleged she had also been assaulted by television executive Les Moonves in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s.

In 2018, multiple other women accused Moonves of sexual assault. He stepped down as CEO of CBS and denied all of the allegations, including Carroll’s when she accused him a year later. Carroll said she didn’t sue Moonves because he had issued a blanket denial.

“If Donald Trump had done that here, I wouldn’t have sued him,” Carroll said, according to Kaplan. “She also said if Donald Trump had said that it happened, but he thought she consented, she wouldn’t have sued him. What was so offensive about it was the idea that she was just making it up to sell a book or two as part of a Democratic plot.”

Carroll accused Trump in her 2019 memoir of raping her in the Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. He repeatedly claimed that she only accused him in order to garner publicity for her book. Her first lawsuit against him was for the assault and for posts he made about her on social media in November 2022.

During that first trial, Carroll’s lawyers played part of Trump’s video deposition, in which he brags about being able to get away with assaulting women. In the second trial, which Trump attended, he repeatedly got in trouble with the judge for his disruptive behavior. Kaplan believes that contributed to the massive amount of damages he now has to pay.

“One of the flaws—one of the huge mistakes that he made—is he really thought that showing up was going to make a difference,” Kaplan said. “He thought that the jury was going to be like at a MAGA rally. And he could not have been more mistaken in that regard.”

Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert is still getting skewered by her fellow lawmakers for getting caught groping a date back in September.

On Wednesday, Representative Lisa McClain mocked that she’d have no patience for any funny business ahead of the Washington Press Club Foundation Dinner. Then she called Boebert out by name.

“If everyone could, please keep their hands above the table. And I know it’s date night for some of you, but no inappropriate touching,” McClain said.

“That includes you Lauren Boebert. No vaping, either,” she added, to a round of shocked laughter.

McClain, a self-described “Trump-lovin’ MAGA Republican,” also spent the lighthearted evening throwing digs at “Oscar winner, an Emmy winner, a two-time Olympian” George Santos, and warned the press club to be careful around the silverware with Senator Bob Menendez, who’s indicted on bribery charges.

McClain: Please keep your hands above the table. I know it’s date night for some of you but no inappropriate touching. That includes you Lauren Boebert. pic.twitter.com/4TyhZ2vwoj

— Acyn (@Acyn) February 1, 2024

But the fallout with Boebert stems specifically from a September incident, when the freshman congressman was ejected from the Buell Theatre in Denver for “causing a disturbance” during an evening screening of Beetlejuice. Patrons allegedly made several complaints about Boebert’s inappropriate behavior, which included vaping, singing along, and recording the show, before security officials escorted Boebert and her date out of the show.

In a clip of released security footage, Boebert can be seen initially refusing to leave her seat. Police were called to the scene and stayed in the theater lobby until the congresswoman and her date had left the premises.

On their exit, Boebert allegedly told employees “do you know who I am,” gave security the middle finger, and claimed that she would contact the mayor over the incident, according to a report issued by the theater.

Texas Representative Troy Nehls on Wednesday urged Congress not to do anything about the border at all.

“Congress doesn’t have to do anything to secure our southern border and fix it. Joe Biden, you destroyed it, you can fix it on your own through executive order,” Nehls said while waving a cigar around steps away from the U.S. Capitol, according to a video obtained by Rolling Stone.

“Why would I help Joe Biden improve his dismal 33 percent, when he can fix the border and secure it on his own? He can secure it on his own through executive order.”

“Donald Trump, the greatest president of my lifetime, he did it. We had Paul Ryan, he was the speaker. What did he do? Very little. We had both chambers, did very, very little. Donald Trump did it all on his own,” Nehls continued.

“So this bipartisan border security bill is not border security,” he added.

— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) January 31, 2024

It’s not clear which Trump executive order exactly Nehls sees as inspiration. But many of the former president’s attempts to single-handedly rewrite immigration law were found to be unconstitutional.

Republicans have spent months clashing with the federal government and one another over a border security deal as well as the applications of actual, physical security measures along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, seemingly all to appease Trump’s re-election bid where he plans to make immigration a central issue.

But some lawmakers appear to be fatiguing from the runaround, arguing that their own chances for re-election will be shot if they fail to take advantage of the bipartisan opportunity.

“I don’t see that coming back as a reward to us,” North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer told CNN. “If we don’t try, then shame on us.”

President Joe Biden also took a more aggressive stance on the issue over the weekend, following a Supreme Court decision that launched a standoff between Texas state officials and federal border patrol agents.

“Give me the power, I asked them the very day I got into office,” Biden said. “Give me the Border Patrol, give me the people, give me the judges, give me the people who can stop this and make it work,” he added.

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