Tag: Donald Trump

Trump Judicial Nominee Said Transgender Children Are Part of ‘Satan’s plan’, Defended ‘conversion therapy’

In a pair of 2015 speeches, President Donald Trump’s nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas described transgender children as evidence of “Satan’s plan,” lamented that states were banning conversion therapy and argued that sanctioning same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality.

Jeff Mateer, the current first assistant attorney general of Texas, was serving at the time as general counsel of the First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty advocacy group known before 2016 as the Liberty Institute. He faced criticism from LGBT rights groups for his work with the organization, such as opposing the expansion of nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people in the city of Plano. If confirmed by the US Senate, he will serve on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

In a May 2015 speech, titled “The Church and Homosexuality,” Mateer discussed a Colorado lawsuit in which the parents of a transgender girl sued her school for preventing her from using the bathroom of her choice.

“In Colorado, a public school has been sued because a first grader and I forget the sex, she’s a girl who thinks she’s a boy or a boy who thinks she’s a girl, it’s probably that, a boy who thinks she’s a girl,” Mateer said in a video posted on Vimeo in 2015 and reviewed by CNN’s KFile. “And the school said, ‘Well, she’s not using the girl’s restroom.’ And so she has now sued to have a right to go in. Now, I submit to you, a parent of three children who are now young adults, a first grader really knows what their sexual identity? I mean it just really shows you how Satan’s plan is working and the destruction that’s going on.”

Mateer’s nomination comes as the Trump administration has unveiled a series of actions aimed at rolling back advancements for gay and transgender rights. Trump vowed to fight for the LGBT community during his presidential campaign and said last April that people should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” Since taking office, however, Trump has withdrawn an Obama administration directive that allowed transgender students in public schools to use the bathroom of their choice and issued a directive banning transgender military recruits.

In that same May 2015 speech, Mateer said that the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage could lead to what he called “disgusting” new forms of matrimony.

“I submit to you that there’ll be no line there,” he said. “And actually in the arguments Chief Justice Roberts, who’s in the center there said, I mean, what is the limiting? Why couldn’t four 4 people wanna get married? Why not one man and three women? Or three women and one man? And we’re gonna spare you some of those slides. We actually have a presentation that we get into it. And I’ll tell you, we say it’s PG-13, it may be R, or what do they call the next one? NC-17 or whatever?”

He continued, “I mean, it’s disgusting. I’ve learned words I didn’t know. I mean, other than…my assistants here, have you ever heard the word ‘throuple’?’Throuple’ so that’s three people coming together of different sexes, maybe mixed sexes. Them coming together. There are people who marry themselves. Somebody wanted to marry a tree. People marrying their pets. It’s just like — you know, you read the New Testament and you read about all the things and you think, ‘Oh, that’s not going on in our community.’ Oh yes it is. We’re back to that time where debauchery rules.”

Later that year in November 2015, Mateer lamented that states were banning gay conversion therapy at a conference hosted by controversial pastor Kevin Swanson, who preaches that the Biblical punishment for homosexuality is death.

“Biblical counselors and therapists, we’ve seen cases in New Jersey and in California where folks have gotten in trouble because they gave biblical counseling and, you know, the issue is always, it’s same sex,” Mateer says in audio obtained by CNN’s KFile. “And if you’re giving conversion therapy, that’s been outlawed in at least two states and then in some local areas. So they’re invading that area.”

Groups like the American Psychiatric Association and the American Pediatric Association have condemned the practice as having no scientific basis and the potential to do mental harm.

Mateer did not respond to a request for comment. A Department of Justice spokesperson declined to comment on Mateer’s remarks.

Trump to UN: ‘Rocket Man is on a suicide mission’

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President Donald Trump warned Tuesday that the US would “totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself or its allies.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said during his first address to the UN General Assembly.

“It is time for North Korea to realize that its denuclearization is its only responsible future,” Trump said.

Trump also warned that Kim Jong Un — whom he again referred to as “rocket man” — “is on a suicide mission for himself.”

“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself,” he said.

Trump’s strong words came after he made the case that North Korea is a “country that imperils the world” and said that it is in no country’s interest that North Korea continue on its current path of nuclear and ballistic missile development.

He also offered strong words for countries that trade and finance North Korea: “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a nation but would arm supply and financially support a country that imperils the world.”

Trump also suggested on Tuesday he plans to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, saying it was a mistake to enter into the agreement at all.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions,” Trump said.

“That deal is embarrassment to the US and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me,” Trump said, a sign he’s preparing to weaken the deal.

Trump faces a mid-October deadline for re-certifying Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

Trump noted that terrorists are gaining strength around the world but that peace is possible around the world.

“To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril,” Trump said.

“Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet,” Trump said near the beginning of his remarks.

Trump stated bluntly that certain parts of the world are “going to hell,” suggesting it was within the UN’s power to reverse course.

“Major portions of the world are in conflict and some in fact are going to hell,” Trump said.

“The powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations can solve many of these vicious and complex problems,” Trump said.

He said the United States was prepared to combat global instability through military might.

“Our military will soon be the strongest it’s ever been,” he said.

Trump told world leaders that he would not seek to insist their countries adopt US values.

“In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch,” Trump said.

He said he would continue to place America’s interests ahead of other countries’, suggesting his counterparts do the same with their own populations.

“As President of the United States, I will always put America first,” he said. “All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own nations.”

Trump opened his remarks touting his economic record, a nod to his core campaign promises of prosperity at home ahead of a major foreign policy speech.

“The United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8,” Trump said. “The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level.”

He cited “regulatory and other reforms” for an economic boom.

Trump has delivered major foreign policy addresses before, to a gathering of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia and in a packed central square in Poland. But the issues at the United Nations are broader, and the geographic spread of Trump’s audience wider. His message here will resonate in capitals worldwide, where officials and leaders are still seeking a cohesive foreign policy doctrine from new American leader.

His speech is a “deeply philosophical address,” according to a senior administration official involved in its drafting, one that frames his foreign policy as a rational attempt to move countries toward working in their own self-interests.

“It’s an incredible moment and an enormous opportunity to demonstrate US leadership and US values,” the official said, saying that was “why (Trump) spent so much time honing and crafting this address to express that vision to the world.”

For a President whose election and elevation to the White House was among the most improbable in modern political history, the United Nations stage represents a presidential setting, even if some in the audience still find the sight of Trump in front of the iconic green marble jarring. Trump’s three eldest children — Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric Trump — were expected to attend his speech, a source familiar told CNN.

Trump has offered a wide range of views on the UN in the past, most recently determining the body is underperforming and inefficient.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said Monday during a meeting about reforming the UN, his first remarks during a hurried week of diplomacy here. “We are not seeing the results in line with this investment.”

Despite the criticism, Trump has seen some of his top foreign policy victories emerge from the UN’s Security Council, which has passed rounds of sanctions on North Korea for its ballistic missile program.

Trump Pushes Back on Dems’ Claims of DACA Deal

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President Donald Trump pushed back Thursday morning against claims by top congressional Democrats that a deal has been reached over legislation to protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants and that a border-security package would not include a wall along the US-Mexico border.

“No deal was made last night on DACA,” Trump tweeted. “Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.”

Late Wednesday, Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi said they had “agreed to enshrine the protections of (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides” following a dinner at the White House.

But Trump also refuted that specific assertion by the Democratic leaders about a border wall, tweeting on Thursday, “The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.”

Trump also defended on Twitter the undocumented immigrants protected under DACA, calling them “good, educated and accomplished young people” who “have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own.”

If a deal on some immigration and border issues happens, it would be the second major agreement between Trump, Schumer and Pelosi this month following their pact last week to raise the debt ceiling and extend government funding into December that left the GOP and some of Trump’s closest allies flabbergasted.

DACA had protected nearly 800,000 individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation. The Trump administration announced last week it would give Congress six months to pass legislation preserving those provisions before the program was terminated.

The bipartisan DREAM Act — a more comprehensive immigration bill that was proposed years ago but never passed — would be part of the arrangement, a person briefed on the meeting said.

A White House official said in a statement Wednesday that the topics discussed at the dinner included tax reform, border security, DACA, infrastructure and trade.

“This is a positive step toward the President’s strong commitment to bipartisan solutions for the issues most important to all Americans,” the statement said. “The administration looks forward to continuing these conversations with leadership on both sides of the aisle.”

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short confirmed that the President and Democrats agreed to work to find a legislative fix for DACA, but he called Democrats’ claim of a deal that would exclude wall funding “intentionally misleading.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders immediately pushed back on the idea the wall would be dropped.

“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” Sanders tweeted on Wednesday.

Schumer’s communications director Matt House retweeted Sanders’ statement, then added that Trump had indeed agreed to leaving the border wall out of the equation — at least for this round.

“The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement,” House tweeted.

Conservatives outraged

Schumer and Pelosi’s statement on Wednesday quickly sent shockwaves through Trump’s conservative base, as his hardline stance on immigration was a core tenet of his campaign.

“Unbelievable! Amnesty is a pardon for immigration law breakers coupled with the reward of the objective of their crime,” tweeted Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham tweeted that “Dems’ “Border security” pledge is MEANINGLESS.” Staunch Trump ally Sean Hannity added, “Weak R’s have betrayed voters. @POTUS needs to stay the course and keep his promises or it’s over! Pelosi and Schumer can never be trusted.”

And Breitbart News, run by Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, headlined news of the alleged deal Wednesday with “Amnesty Don.”

Amid the criticism Wednesday night, Trump weighed in on tax reform and his former election rival, Hillary Clinton, waiting to respond to the reaction until Thursday morning.

GOP leaders absent from dinner

Making a deal that finds a way to keep the individuals who benefit under DACA in the United States shows the challenge of striking bipartisan deals in Washington.

Congressional Republican leaders were absent from Wednesday’s dinner, which featured Chinese food and chocolate pie for dessert, sources said, and it was not immediately clear how they would handle such legislation on Capitol Hill.

The dinner took place the same day House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with Democratic leadership and representatives from groups in the Capitol.

“It’s the beginning of a listening that the President asked us to do,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got a broken immigration system we’ve got to fix. It was the beginning of a discussion where we were listening to concerns.”

Trump Says ‘all options on table’ After North Korea Launches Missile Over Japan

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US President Donald Trump has warned that “all options are on the table” after North Korea launched a missile over Japan early Tuesday.

The missile was fired just before 6 a.m. in Japan, where the launch set off warnings in the northern part of the country urging people to seek shelter.

“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear,” Trump said in a statement. “This regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also denounced Tuesday’s launch, saying it represented a “most serious and grave” threat.

The unidentified missile flew over Erimomisaki, on the northern island of Hokkaido, and broke into three pieces before falling into the Pacific Ocean, about 1,180 kilometers (733 miles) off the Japanese coast.

The missile was in flight for about 15 minutes, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at an emergency press conference. “There is no immediate report of the fallen objects and no damage to the ships and aircraft,” he added.

Tuesday’s launch is the first time North Korea has successfully fired a ballistic missile over Japan. Various stages of launch vehicles have overflown Japan during Pyongang’s attempts to launch satellites into space in 1998, 2009, 2012 and 2016.

This is the fourth missile North Korea has fired in four days — Pyongyang tested three short-range ballistic missiles, one of which failed, from Kangwon province that landed in water off the Korean Peninsula.

This time, the missile was launched near the capital of Pyongyang, a move CNN’s Will Ripley, who is reporting from Pyongyang, say is rare and “highly provocative.”

The test shows the mobility of North Korea’s arsenal, and may have been intended to deliver a message that pre-emptive US strikes on missile launch facilities could land uncomfortably close to civilians, Ripley said.

North Korea has launched missiles from various positions across the country in recent months, and it possesses trucks that have been converted into transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) — vehicles for quickly deploying and launching missiles — including some from China.

It also is developing missiles that use solid fuel, which are much quicker to deploy than their liquid-fueled counterparts.

Ripley said that as of about 6 p.m. Pyongyang time, the news had not been broadcast to people inside North Korea.

Abe speaks to Trump

Soon after the launch, Abe called it a “unprecedented serious and grave threat to Japan” that “significantly undermines the peace and security of the region.”

The Japanese leader said he spoke with US President Donald Trump for 40 minutes.

“Japan and the US completely agreed that an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council should be held immediately and increase the pressure towards North Korea.”

Trump reiterated that the United States “stands with Japan 100%,” Abe said.

While the missile flew over Japanese territory, one analyst said it wasn’t necessarily intended as a threat to Japan.

“If they’re going to launch to a distance they’ve got to go over somebody. It looks to me like a risk reduction measure, they want to reduce the populated areas they fly over just in case anything goes wrong,” said Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

South Korea response

South Korea responded by conducting a bombing drill at 9:30 a.m. local time to test its “capability to destroy the North Korean leadership” in cases of emergency, an official with the country’s Defense Ministry told CNN.

Yoon Young-chan, the head of South Korea’s Presidential Public Affairs Office, told reporters that four F-15K fighter jets dropped eight one-ton MK-84 bombs at a shooting range.

The operation was meant “to showcase a strong punishment capability against the North,” he said.

“We are fully ready to counter any threat from North Korea and will make unwavering efforts to protect the lives of our people and the security of our nation,” South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said.

Alerts in Hokkaido

Analysts believe Tuesday’s launch shows a new level of confidence from the North Koreans.

“It is a big deal that they overflew Japan, which they have carefully avoided doing for a number of years, even though it forced them to test missiles on highly lofted trajectories, and forced them to launch their satellites to the south, which is less efficient than launching to the east (due to the Earth’s rotational motion),” said David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Pyongyang’s missile tests are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions, but that hasn’t stopped North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from attempting to rapidly develop his country’s nuclear and missile programs.

This time, the missile was launched near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, which is rare.

CNN’s Will Ripley, who is on the ground in Pyongyang, said the news had not been broadcast to people inside North Korea as of 9:45 a.m. local time.

Minutes after the missile was launched, residents in northern Japan received a text message urging them to seek shelter in a strong structure or a basement.

“We were awoken by sirens and messages from the government telling us to take cover,” one local resident told CNN.

China, North Korea’s only real ally and economic patron, called for restraint from relevant parties.

“China urges the relevant parties not to take actions that would provoke one another and escalate tensions in the region,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Peaceful pressure

Japan was quick to condemn the launch as an unprecedented provocation.

“We will make a firm response,” said Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono. “The United States made clear both in written and spoken statements that President Trump had instructed to put all options on the table regarding North Korea, and I highly value that stance.”

US President Donald Trump’s administration has been pursuing what it calls a strategy of “peaceful pressure” to rein in North Korea’s weapons programs.

The goal is to put enough diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang in order to push them to the negotiating table.

Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump hinted that the strategy appeared to be working.

Trump mused at a rally in Phoenix that Kim might now respect the United States. At a State Department briefing Wednesday in Washington, Tillerson said the brief respite in the missile launches may have been an example of North Korea demonstrating restraint.

“If Trump and Tillerson believed North Korea backed down, they were sorely mistaken,” said Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for American Progress.

“They’re not going to volunteer to do this (give up their weapons). Ever,” he said. “It’s a matter of bargaining. And North Korea has signaled over and over again that the price is really high.”

Analysts say North Korea believes developing a nuclear weapon that can fit atop a missile powerful enough to reach the United States is the only way Pyongyang can deter any US-led efforts at regime change.

“They cross line after line in an effort to say this is the new reality and you should accept it and go easy on us,” Mount said. “I think that’s a pretty unambiguous signal that they’re no longer going to be restrained by the United States.”

‘Very dangerous’

The launch was likely a signal to Japan, analysts say, as it comes the day after the Northern Viper military drills ended between the United States and Japan on Hokkaido — part of a North Korea strategy to drive a wedge between the US and its two main allies in the region — Japan and South Korea.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told reporters this launch “could endanger peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. It is also very dangerous and problematic in terms of the traffic safety of planes and ships.”

The United States is currently participating in its annual 10-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises with South Korea, which began on August 21.

Those drills are more logistical and defensive in nature — though Pyongyang sees them as provocative — whereas the Northern Viper drills could be considered more operational, Mount said.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry condemned the North Korean launch as “yet another provocation despite grave messages of warning,” in a statement Tuesday.

“The North Korean regime needs to realize that denuclearization is the only true path to securing its security and economic development and needs to come to the path for nuclearization dialogue instead of conducting its reckless provocation,” the statement said.