In a stinging interview Friday one-time presidential candidate Hillary Clinton compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, and his political rallies to Nazi gatherings.
She zeroed in on Trump’s rally last week in Youngstown, Ohio, where members of the crowd raised a stiff-armed, one-finger QAnon salute to the former president in a gesture chillingly reminiscent of the “heil Hitler” salute.
The QAnon gesture stands for WWG1WGA, or: “Where We Go One We Go All.”
“I remember as a young student, you know, trying to figure out how people get basically brought in by Hitler. How did that happen?” Clinton asked during an onstage interview at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.
“I’d watch newsreels and I’d see this guy standing up there ranting and raving, and people shouting and raising their arms. I thought, ‘What’s happened to these people?’” she added.
“You saw the rally in Ohio the other night,” Clinton noted. “Trump is there ranting and raving for more than an hour, and you have these rows of young men with their arms raised. What is going on?”
She added: “I think it is fair to say we’re in a struggle between democracy and autocracy.”
Trump had another rally in North Carolina yesterday. He did plenty of ranting and railing, but his security people stopped audience members who raised their arms in the “heil Hitler”-like gesture. Either Trump or his advisers must have been paying attention to the negative public reaction.
From Eric Garcia, reporter at The Independent, who attended the rally: QAnon, the Big Lie and misogyny: Inside Trump’s Wilmington rally. Trump was supposedly there to support Republican candidates; but, as usual, the rally was all about him and his many grievances.
Former president Donald Trump held a rally in Wilmington on Friday, his first since New York attorney general Letitia James announced her civil lawsuit against him, his three eldest children, his business associates, and the Trump organisation this week….
Indeed, before Mr Trump took the stage, the two monitors on the sides of the stage played a segment from Fox News’ host Jesse Watters comparing Mr Trump’s storage of documents with that of the previous four former presidents.
But the former president also used the rally to air his grievances against Ms James’s lawsuit against him, his family and his business organization, which she called “The Art of the Steal” at a Wednesday press conference.
“There’s no better example of the chilling obsession with targeting political opponents than the baseless, abusive and depraved lawsuit against me, my family, my company, by the racist attorney general of New York state,” he said, giving her the moniker “Letitia ‘Peekaboo’ James.” [….]
Mr Trump’s dislike of female public figures who challenge him – be they Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Meryl Streep or Rosie O’Donnell – is well-known. But throughout his speech, he repeatedly ridiculed Ms James, a Black woman, in incredibly personal terms, saying that she is more focused on attacking him than focusing on violent crime.
“This raging maniac campaign for office ranting and raving about her goal – her only goal is, we got to get Donald Trump,” he said about Ms James. “In fact, I was watching it and I said ‘boy, that woman is angry, I don’t think she likes me too much.’”
Garcia on the QAnon salute:
During his rally in Ohio last week, Mr Trump and rally goers confused many when he played dramatic music while attendees pointed one finger in the air. Mr Trump repeated the practice this time, albeit it looked like fewer people raised their fingers in the air during the rally.
A few people who attended the rally had QAnon memorabilia, with some attendees wearing QAnon hats and one truck having an image of Mr Trump with John F Kennedy Jr and former president John F Kennedy, prominent figures in the QAnon conspiracy theories.
Gay Gaines said she approved of the use.
“I loved it, it was very emotional, very touching, very inspirational, very uplifting, and hopeful,” she said. “Good way to end it.”
Trump has been “retruthing” QAnon messages regularly on his imitation Twitter website, but yesterday he really outdid himself. Insider: Donald Trump shares Truth Social photo proclaiming him as second only to Jesus.
Former President Donald Trump shared a post on his Truth Social account on Friday, declaring him as “second” only to Jesus.
The post by Truth Social user @austinnegrete said: “Jesus is the Greatest. President @realDonaldTrump is the second greatest.”
It accompanied an image of a painting of Jesus by artist Dan Wilson.
Trump “ReTruthed,” or reposted, the Jesus comparison to his 4.1 million Truth Social followers.
Of course this is ridiculous, as is the QAnon craziness; but we know from past experience that Trump’s ranting and his sway over his audiences is dangers. Mark Follman writes at Mother Jones: Trump Continues to Escalate His Dangerous Incitement.
As the ex-president faces advancing federal and state investigations ranging from Mar-a-Lago to New York to Georgia, he has escalated an insidious form of political incitement, behavior that seems to signal a growing desperation over his legal predicaments. As I first reported beginning two years ago, Trump has long honed a rhetorical method that security experts call “stochastic terrorism”: By continually demonizing his “enemies,” he stirs random violence from extremist supporters as a means to exert and try to maintain political power.
Investigation of the January 6 insurrection showed the consequences of this technique on a mass scale—and further revealed Trump’s explicit willingness to resort to it after attempts to overturn the 2020 election via Congress and the courts had failed. According to sworn testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide in the White House, Trump knowingly urged armed supporters to descend on the Capitol that day and had wanted to lead them there. Ever since, Trump has successfully spread the use of incitement among GOP leaders, as I documented recently.
Repetition across various media is key to the technique and increases the likelihood of violence, according to recently published research from threat assessment experts. Trump has delivered on that in recent weeks: He has continued to target various agencies and individuals using his Truth Social platform, speeches at political rallies, and interviews on Fox News and other more fringe media outlets.
And he has used particularly grim rhetoric. At a Sept. 3 rally in Pennsylvania, Trump calledthe FBI and Justice Department “vicious monsters” and President Biden an “enemy of the state.” During an interview on a right-wing radio show on Sept. 15, he predicted there would be “big problems” in the country if he were to be charged by the Justice Department. “I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it,” he told host Hugh Hewitt. On Truth Social, Trump promoted a QAnon meme featuring him as a heroic icon of the lunatic conspiracy-theory movement regarded by the FBI as a domestic terrorism threat. Soon thereafter, Trump gave an apocalyptic speech at an Ohio rally where he used music evoking a QAnon theme song, prompting fascistic salutes from the crowd.
Trump hammered home similar messages again on Wednesday in a lengthy sit-down at Mar-a-Lago with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity. Asked by Hannity to comment on a new lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James over alleged financial fraud by Trump, the ex-president laid into the state’s top lawyer and her staff: “They were demeaning me constantly, these people,” he said. “There’s something wrong with them. I really believe they hate our country.”
His effort specifically to provoke feelings of contempt among his supporters is no accident and furthers the risk for violence.
Read the rest at the link.
On MSNBC this morning, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen had a few choice words for his former boss. Raw Story: Cornered Trump ‘doesn’t care if he burns the country down’: former adviser.
Speaking with host Ali Velshi, Cohen said the former president has big legal troubles coming at him from different directions and painting him into a corner.
He then predicted the former president won’t go down quietly.
“What stands out to you, what’s the thing you’re most thinking about right now?” host Velshi asked.
“There are so many investigations and you wouldn’t believe — if this was a television show you would turn around and say, ‘it’s too stupid! I can’t watch this, it’s stupid, it can never happen,'” Cohen exclaimed. “But it is happening in real-time in our lives.”
“Our democracy is in peril because of one man; one man who goes ahead and weaponizes the United States Department of Justice against his critics, against the country against anybody who was not one of his supporters, he is willing to go after.”
“He doesn’t care if he burns the country down in doing it,” Cohen
Enough about Trump. Let’s turn to the Trump wannabe in Florida who is also a danger to democracy could end up running for president in 2024–Ron DeSantis. Could he be facing a serious backlash from Florida voters?
Greg Sargent at The Washington Post: Ugly new details about Ron DeSantis’s stunt point to a deeper scam.
Who paid for the migrants to be transported from Texas to Florida?
That question emerges from new revelations about Gov. Ron DeSantis’s vile stunt, in which he transported two planeloads of migrants from Texas to Florida and on to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
The Florida Republican refuses to release the state contract that funded the flights. That suggests DeSantis is seeking to bury critical facts even as reporters fill in details about the flights — and their questionable legality.
This potentially points to a deeper scam. DeSantis — whose presidential ambitions emit a stench akin to Limburger rotting in an old sock — is gushing with own-the-libs bluster, vowing to keep shoving migrants in the faces of elite liberals everywhere. But the ones truly getting “owned” by this farce are right-wing voters and Florida taxpayers. The more information that comes out, the clearer this will become.
In a useful piece NBC News’s Marc Caputo reports that the outfit contracted to ship migrants — Vertol Systems Company Inc. — has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to super PACs backing Florida GOP candidates. One funded Matt Gaetz, a right-wing media troll who moonlights as a congressman.
That company has been paid $1.6 million so far, per NBC, and the contract totals $12 million, supposedly to cover future shipments of migrants to other states. NBC also reports:
“But the state budget authorizing the program specifies that “unauthorized aliens” are supposed to be flown from “this state” of Florida — not any other state — and Republicans who crafted the program this year said publicly that Venezuelans seeking asylum are not considered “unauthorized aliens” because they’re allowed to be in this country.”
So a big question is whether state funding of the transport of migrants from Texas to Florida violated that budgetary language. On this basis, a Democratic state senator filed a lawsuit Thursday to block further funding for the flights.
Read more at the WaPo.
Could DeSantis be facing serious backlash over his treatment of asylum-seekers? Check this out:
The Hill: DeSantis risks voter backlash in Florida with migrant flights.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is facing mounting scrutiny in his home state over his controversial decision last week to fly dozens of mostly Venezuelan migrants to the elite resort island of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
While the move was lauded by conservatives as a powerful protest of the Biden administration’s approach to border security, it has sparked a wave of criticism from Democrats and members of Florida’s vast Hispanic community, a politically influential force in the Sunshine State.
“With this move, this stunt, obviously he made his base very happy,” said Adelys Ferro, the executive director of the Venezuelan American Caucus. “But there are many people more toward the middle and people who are independents that are very disgusted and that reject all of this.”
“We are Venezuelan Americans and we vote, and we’re going to vote in November,” she added. “And we’re never going to vote for somebody who does this.
DeSantis has been busy attacking teachers and mistreating immigrants, but will he be ready to deal with an approaching hurricane? CBS News: Tropical Storm Ian strengthens over Caribbean and could approach Florida as major hurricane.
Tropical Storm Ian strengthened as it moved over the Caribbean Saturday and could approach Florida early next week as a major hurricane, according to forecasters. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said early Saturday that Tropical Storm Ian was 270 miles south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, moving west at 15 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
“Early next week, Ian is forecast to move near or over western Cuba as a strengthening hurricane and then approach the Florida peninsula at or near major hurricane strength, with the potential for significant impacts from storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall,” the National Hurricane Center said.
On Friday, DeSantis signed an executive order issuing a state of emergency for 24 Florida counties which could be in the storm’s path. The order also places the Florida National Guard on standby. DeSantis also put in a request for a federal “pre-landfall emergency declaration.”
Finally, what’ happening with Trump’s idol and mentor Vladimir Putin?
The Washington Post: As Russian Losses Mount in Ukraine, Putin Gets More Involved in War Strategy.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has thrust himself more directly into strategic planning for the war in Ukraine in recent weeks, American officials said, including rejecting requests from his commanders on the ground that they be allowed to retreat from the vital southern city of Kherson.
A withdrawal from Kherson would allow the Russian military to pull back across the Dnipro River in an orderly way, preserving its equipment and saving the lives of soldiers.
But such a retreat would be another humiliating public acknowledgment of Mr. Putin’s failure in the war, and would hand a second major victory to Ukraine in one month. Kherson was the first major city to fall to the Russians in the initial invasion, and remains the only regional capital under Moscow’s control. Retaking it would be a major accomplishment for President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
Focused on victory at all costs, Mr. Putin has become a more public face of the war as the Russian military appears increasingly in turmoil, forcing him to announce a call-up this week that could sweep 300,000 Russian civilians into military service. This month, Moscow has demonstrated it has too few troops to continue its offensive, suffers from shortages of high-tech precision weaponry and has been unable to gain dominance of Ukraine’s skies.
Read more at the WaPo.
The New York Times: Putin’s Draft Draws Resistance in Russia’s Far-Flung Regions.
President Vladimir V. Putin’s surprise draft to reinforce his invasion of Ukraine ran into growing resistance across Russia on Friday as villagers, activists and even some elected officials asked why the conscription drive appeared to be hitting minority groups and rural areas harder than the big cities.
Some of the greatest anguish played out hundreds or thousands of miles away from the front line, in the Caucasus Mountains and the northeastern region of Yakutia, a sparsely populated expanse that straddles the Arctic Circle. Community leaders described remote villages where much of the working-age male population received conscription notices in recent days, leaving families that subsist off the land without men around to work ahead of the long winter.
“We have reindeer herders, hunters, fishermen — we have so few of them anyway,” Vyacheslav Shadrin, the chairman of the council of elders for a small Indigenous group known as the Yukaghirs, said in a phone interview. “But they are the ones being drafted most of all.”
Mr. Putin announced the call-up on Wednesday, describing it as a “partial mobilization” necessary to counter Ukraine and its Western backers, who he said were seeking Russia’s destruction. It was a move he had long delayed making, even as supporters of the war clamored for a draft in order to allow Russia to intensify its assault.
Russia will mobilize about 300,000 civilians, defense officials said, focusing on men with military experience and special skills, though some Russian media that now operate outside the country reported that the number could be much higher.
But by Friday, even some of the hawkish commentators who had been urging a draft were criticizing the sweeping and uneven way it appeared to be rolling out.
Read the rest at the NYT.
That’s it for me today. What’s on your mind? What stories have you been following?