Tag Archive for: Presidential Politics

Eerie Parallels: Trump’s Shooting Echoes Teddy Roosevelt’s in 1912

The former president with a larger-than-life personality — out of office for four years and with a long list of enemies — campaigns for another term and has a close call with a would-be assassin.

The former president, despite visible bleeding, not only survives the attempt on his life, but exhibits a strong show of strength, rallying his supporters. But the inflammatory rhetoric aimed at the candidate was even blamed for inspiring “vicious minds” to engage in political violence.

It was just after 8 p.m. on Oct. 14, 1912, when former President Teddy Roosevelt — seeking a nonconsecutive third term— was exiting the Gilpatrick Hotel to go deliver a speech at the Milwaukee Auditorium. Then, a former saloonkeeper, John Schrank, pulled a Colt .38 revolver just about five feet away and shot Roosevelt in the chest. The bullet was blunted by a folded-up 50-page speech and a thick eyeglasses case.

While the failed assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump late Saturday afternoon occurred north of Pittsburgh in Butler, Pennsylvania, the 45th president will deliver a speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination this week at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee — the same city where Roosevelt went on to speak for 84 minutes after taking a bullet.

In the case of Trump, the bullet grazed his ear, and the would-be assassin was fatally shot by Secret Service agents at the scene.

When Roosevelt was shot, his supporters called for killing the shooter. Several leapt on him and landed several punches. Roosevelt said, “Don’t hurt him. Bring him here. I want to see him.”

The attempted assassin was brought face-to-face with his target, and Roosevelt asked Schrank, “What did you do it for?” Schrank didn’t answer, so Roosevelt said, “Oh, what’s the use? Turn him over to the police.”

Roosevelt initially didn’t see any blood and presumed the bullet didn’t penetrate. A nearby doctor told the driver to get the former president to a hospital, but the former president said, “You get me to that speech.”

At the Milwaukee Auditorium, Roosevelt told the stunned audience, who in the absence of TV or social media would hear the news for the first time, “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot.”

In a line perhaps comparable to Trump’s pumping his fist to reassure his Pennsylvania audience on Saturday, Roosevelt gained a rousing ovation from the Wisconsin crowd affirming, “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose.”

Earlier in 1912, Roosevelt — a former Republican president, who served from 1901 to 1909 — lost his bid for the GOP nomination when he challenged his successor, President William Howard Taft. Roosevelt ran as the candidate of the Progressive Party, which was nicknamed the Bull Moose Party.

The two assassination attempts have many parallels, but many differences as well. Perhaps most evident is that the Roosevelt shooting was at close range and with a revolver. The Trump shooting was at long range with an AR-style rifle.

The nature of the wounds were also different. A bullet fragment was lodged between Roosevelt’s ribs not far from his heart, but doctors determined it was best not to remove it. The bullet on Saturday grazed Trump’s right ear, and left a bloody face. Roosevelt was shot just before his political rally, while Trump was shot during his rally.

After the Trump assassination attempt on Saturday, much of the anti-Trump rhetoric has come to the forefront, as Democrats and many media outlets have claimed that he’s an “existential” threat to democracy, and even compared him to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Political opponents and many newspapers of the era said Roosevelt was a power-hungry traitor to his country for breaking the tradition of serving two terms, according to History.com.

In his Milwaukee speech with a blood-soaked shirt, Roosevelt said: “It is a very natural thing, that weak and vicious minds should be inflamed to acts of violence by the kind of awful mendacity and abuse that have been heaped upon me for the last three months by the papers.”

The assertion was somewhat borne out by Schrank’s diary, which said afterward: “I did not intend to kill the citizen Roosevelt. I intended to kill Theodore Roosevelt, the third termer.”

It was Roosevelt’s final presidential campaign. A former vice president, he had ascended to the presidency after the assassination of President William McKinley. He served out most of what would have been McKinley’s second term, and was elected in his own right in 1904.

Roosevelt lost the 1912 election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson, but his third-party candidacy finished in second place, outpolling incumbent Republican Taft.

This article originally appeared in The Daily Signal.


Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas serves as chief news correspondent and manager of the Investigative Reporting Project for The Daily Signal.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Who Is J.D. Vance? Ohio Senator Tapped as Trump VP Candidate

Former President Donald Trump announced Monday that he had selected Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) as his vice presidential running mate, touching off rounds of praise and occasional statements of condemnation from the pro-life community.

Vance, who is presently serving his first term in the U.S. Senate, mirrors President Trump’s views on immigration and the importance of elevating the American middle class. The two men made a surprise appearance at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, shortly after delegates nominated the ticket.

Vance memorialized his underprivileged upbringing and chaotic family life in his 2016 memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” which was made into a well-received movie directed by Ron Howard in 2020. After joining the Marines, Vance graduated from Yale Law School and worked at Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm before starting his own, where he raised more than $90 million. He has become a critic of Wall Street, called for higher corporate taxes, and supported raising the minimum wage.

Vance’s supporters say he has never lost touch with the struggling region of Appalachia that formed him. “There are few leaders in America that understand the challenges our families and children are facing today like Senator J.D. Vance,” Aaron Baer, president of the Ohio-based Center for Christian Virtue, told The Washington Stand. Jeremy Carl, author of the best-selling “The Unprotected Class,” has noted that “Vance comes from the forgotten white working class, and he has made concern for the people he came from the centerpiece of his career from the beginning. That’s incredibly important.”

David Closson, the director of the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council, congratulated Vance on Monday, noting that “Senator Vance was one of only five senators who received a perfect score on FRC Action’s scorecard for votes taken in 2023.” Vance once compared abortion to slavery. Vance also scored an A- from Students for Life Action and an A+ from SBA Pro-Life America. Michael New of the Charlotte Lozier Institute highlighted positive aspects of Vance’s abortion record, including his opposition to Ohio’s Amendment 1 and his decision to speak at the Ohio March for Life.

While running for office in 2022, Vance said the states could “have different abortion laws” but that there should also be a reasonable “minimum national standard.” He viewed the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions,” which would limit abortion to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, or longer in the cases of rape or incest, as such a reasonable bill. The measure would allow more than nine out of 10 abortions in the United States to take place. Yet he attacked his opponent, former “pro-life Democrat” Tim Ryan, for supporting abortion until birth. “As much as you call me an extremist, you’re the extremist on this issue,” Vance told him in 2022.

As Trump’s vice presidential list narrowed to Vance, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (R), Vance stepped back from his pro-life voting record to match the nominee.

“On the question of the abortion pill, what so many of us have said is that … the Supreme Court made a decision saying that the American people should have access to that medication. Donald Trump has supported that opinion. I support that opinion,” said Vance on the July 7 episode of “Meet the Press.” He went on to praise Trump’s view that Dobbs returned the issue of abortion to the states alone. “Donald Trump is the pragmatic leader here. He’s saying most abortion policy’s going to be decided by the states,” said Vance.

That outraged some pro-life leaders. “Both J.D. Vance and President Trump support the legalization of abortion pills,” said Lila Rose, founder of Live Action. “This is heartbreaking and wrong. Vance was once strongly against the murder of all preborn babies. Both men can still change their positions, and we will pray and work for them to do so.”

“The reality is this: we are dealing with two pro-abortion legalization tickets, with the Biden/Harris ticket supporting abortions on babies through all nine months of pregnancy as well as the political persecution of pro-life people,” Rose noted.

Yet abortion lobbyists decried Vance as an alleged right-wing crank on abortion. Planned Parenthood Action derided Vance as an “unqualified, anti-abortion politician who won’t protect any of your rights.” (Bold in original.) Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL) called Vance “an anti-abortion extremist” who is “out of step with the majority of Americans.” EMILY’s List said erroneously that Trump and Vance constitute “the most anti-abortion presidential ticket in history,” although President Ronald Reagan supported a Right to Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have protected all children from abortion. (Joe Biden voted for the amendment during the Reagan administration.) The pro-abortion PAC insisted, “a vote for Trump is a vote for a national abortion ban and an end to access to other essential forms of reproductive health care,” possibly a reference to Vance’s opposition to childhood transgender surgeries.

The Ohio senator has strongly opposed the transgender industry’s profit-fueled desire to carry out procedures on underage children. Last July, Vance introduced the Senate version of the Protect Children’s Innocence Act, which would protect minors from transgender surgeries and chemical injections, in an effort “to save countless young Americans from a lifetime of suffering and regret.” He also urged Ohio lawmakers to override the veto of a similar house bill, H.B. 68, by Governor Mike DeWine (R), which legislators proceeded to do.

“He is strong on this issue, and I support him, because I believe he will stop other kids from facing the harm that has plagued my childhood and has forever altered the course of my life,” said detransitioner Chloe Cole.

Vance became a longstanding and outspoken advocate for increasing the birthrate of native-born U.S. citizens, pointing out the political and economic problems of lower population. Vance has called for introducing economic incentives for families to have more children, such as making births “free” at the point of service.

“Students for Life Action has been proud to work with the senator’s team to provide additional benefits for young families and pregnant mothers, which is part of the hard work of protecting life in law and in service at every stage of life,” Students for Life Action President Kristan Hawkins told TWS. “But it will be important to talk with this ticket about the realities of how the Biden administration has weaponized policy and the law against pro-life Americans and the preborn children.”

At a time of record-breaking illegal immigration, Vance scored an A (90%) from the immigration watchdog, NumbersUSA.

Vance has admitted that his Christian faith has grown in recent years. He grew up in a family that identified as Christian but did not regularly attend church. Yet he learned lifelong lessons attending his father’s evangelical congregation. “I saw people of different races and classes worshipping together. I saw that there were certain moral expectations from my peers of what I should do,” Vance told Deseret News. When he entered Yale Law School in 2010, Vance revealed, “I would have called myself an atheist.” In 2015, he began seeking clarity about his Christian views. Vance selected the Roman Catholic faith due to its importance in the life of people close to him, as well as its intellectual depth. He was baptized for the first time in his life as a Roman Catholic in August 2019, according to his friend, Rod Dreher.

“I’ve seen how his sincere Christian faith gives him courage to stand for what’s right, even when it doesn’t make him popular with the most powerful forces in culture,” Baer told TWS.

If elected, J.D. Vance would be only the second Roman Catholic vice president in U.S. history. (Former Vice President Joe Biden also identifies as Catholic.) Vance, who will turn 40 years old on August 2, would also rank as the third-youngest vice president in U.S. history, behind former Vice Presidents Richard Nixon (who had just turned 40) and John C. Breckenridge (36 years old).

Vance met his wife — Usha Chilukuri Vance, who was born in San Diego to Indian immigrant parents — when both were students at Yale Law School. They got married in 2014 and have three children: Ewan, Vivek, and Mirabel. Like her parents, Mrs. Vance is a Hindu. “That was one of the things that made them such good parents, that made them really good people,” she told Fox News. Yet Senator Vance described his wife as “very supportive” when he began to “reengage with my own faith.”

“I knew that JD was searching for something. This just felt right for him,” said Mrs. Vance.

The couple seemingly has little trouble raising their sons and daughter in an interfaith home, because they “agree a lot” on family rearing and “talk a lot,” said Mrs. Vance.

Pro-life supporters hope Vance will take a strong stand for the unborn if elected. “With approximately 750,000 babies in states like California and New York still lacking basic protections, we need champions whose boldness will not waver,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, in a statement emailed to The Washington Stand. Her organization has committed to spending $92 million to reach 10 million voters in eight battleground states this election cycle.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: Vivek Ramaswamy floated as possible Senate replacement for JD Vance in Ohio

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Senator Graham: ‘If We Change Our Platform … We’re Going to Be in a World of Hurt’

The fireworks launched Thursday are expected to continue in at least one city — Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As Republican delegates descend on the site of the GOP convention this week, some have come ready for a fight. The news that Donald Trump’s team wants to “simplify” the 60-page platform isn’t sitting well with longtime conservatives who believe the document is the party’s anchor to core values. “Presidential candidates come and go,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pointed out, but the platform “is foundational.” “There’s no reason to change it. Let’s stick with what got us here.”

Veterans of the platform debate, including Bill Gibbin — who drafted eight of the last 10 GOP documents — are increasingly troubled by what they see from the former president’s senior aides. Pointing to the secrecy with which this platform is set to be drafted, Gibbin wrote ominously in National Review, “Unfortunately, the 2024 GOP platform process is a throwback to 1972, when the Nixon White House, in its imperial-presidency phase, micromanaged everything. But even then, Nixon didn’t treat the delegates as if they were in a witness-protection program.”

Gibbin goes on to point to the history of the platform and its significance in assuring Donald Trump’s election. “The 2016 Trump campaign’s involvement with the platform text consisted of one meeting at the RNC for his representative, John Mashburn, to read the draft. He suggested two small deletions. Many would argue that the remainder of the document helped the candidate win in November by appealing to Evangelicals and others wary of his earlier behavior — an example of winning by policy commitments rather than personality.” At the end of the day, he insists, “For guidance on ensuring a good Republican platform, look to the past.” In other words, resist Trump’s pressure to “streamline.”

Like so many other Republican leaders watching the events in Milwaukee with concern, Senator Graham warns that radically changing the platform takes away an important, motivating contrast with Democrats for voters. “You try to say, ‘Here’s who I am as a Republican.’ And let’s talk about the life issue,” which, as most media outlets have pointed out, is the greatest source of contention for the party. “For over 40 years, we have stated as a platform, as a doctrine of faith, that an unborn child is a member of the human family and deserving protection under the 14th Amendment. … Democrats basically would allow abortion up to the moment of birth. They think the unborn child is a blob of cells. We believe it to be a member of the human family that is foundational to who we are,” he insisted to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a delegate at the convention, on Friday’s “Washington Watch.”

Graham pointed to the near-dozen GOP governors who won reelection in 2022 after signing strong pro-life protections. Despite the Left trying to “demagogue the abortion issue,” he said, “they won.” “So the narrative that being pro-life hurts you politically is a false narrative perpetrated by the liberal media, who wants us to be ashamed or afraid of embracing pro-life policies. … If you listen to the chattering class, the gun issue and the life issue hurts us. It does not. … We’re going to be in a world of hurt if we don’t stick with the pro-life community. We’re going to be in a world of hurt,” he repeated.

The South Carolinian used his own reelection campaign as an example why. “People give me money, and I appreciate it,” Graham said. “I raised $112 million in my last race, the highest in the history of the Senate, except my opponent, who raised $132 million. We had money from all over the country, $5 and $10, a bunch of money coming in. You know what got me elected by over 10 points? It [was] people who knocked on doors and made phone calls on my behalf, the people who believe in the sanctity of life … the activists. All the people who write these [big] checks,” the ones, he claims who think social issues hurt the GOP, “are not going to make one phone call, and they’re not knocking on one door.”

“Do not be ashamed of being pro-life,” Graham urged. “It is a responsible position to take. It is a position the American people will understand if you advocate it right. If you look scared and you act scared, you will lose no matter what the issue is. So be not afraid. Be pro-life.”

Perkins, who this week launched a major effort, the Platform Integrity Project, to safeguard the language of the GOP’s guiding document, strongly agreed. “We’ve heard this slogan ‘Making America Great Again,’” he told Graham. “But for the United States to be great again, we must first be good morally. We must have a moral foundation. So this platform must address issues like the sanctity of human life to defend the most vulnerable, the family, religious freedom — those things that are fundamental to a strong and prosperous nation.”

He also pointed to 2022 as a perfect example of what can happen when Republicans are “confident in who we are and we can defend the positions we have.” Ultimately, it “expose[s] the weakness in the policy positions of others,” he underscored, and “we win.” “The Democrats are the ones who have the extreme positions,” Perkins reminded everyone. “And when that is exposed, abortion up until the moment of birth at taxpayers’ expense, the American people get it.”

Another thing to remember, Graham emphasized, is that this will never be “just a states’ rights issue.” For one, the Left doesn’t treat it that way. “The Democratic Party is hell-bent on nationalizing the abortion issue [by] shutting down every pro-life law in every state, federalizing abortion rights so that you can have an abortion. Literally, late-term abortions will be legal. There’ll be no limits. All the exceptions consume the rule there. They want to create a national law allowing abortion-on-demand in all 50 states up to the moment of birth.”

Exactly, Perkins said. “So just so people are clear on this, it is only one party and an element of one party talking about this being strictly a state issue.” And it’s important for Americans to know, Graham chimed in, “Democrats are saying they want to [not only codify] Roe. … They go well beyond that. The law they introduced — we voted on it — goes well beyond what the Roe standard was. What are we trying to do?” he asked. “We’re trying to take it from the courts to elected officials.” But that includes elected federal officials, Graham argued.

“I support President Trump,” the senator said. “I want him to win. I’m going to help him [by doing] everything I can. He believes this is a states’ rights issue. He talks about the downside, the [horror] of late-term abortions. What I think we should be doing is saying, ‘Yes, it is a state issue, but it’s also about the child itself.’ So what I want to do is not change our platform,” which carves out specific roles for Congress in defending life. “If we change our platform and we buy into the narrative [that] being pro-life is bad politics … we’re going to be net losers, because the people who believe like we do are going to abandon us because we’ve abandoned what makes us different.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Words, War, and the Imago Dei: Making Sense of the Left’s Latest Temper Tantrum

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this week on presidential immunity, leftists have evinced the sort of temper tantrum that would shame and frighten even the loudest and wildest of toddlers. No doubt this tantrum has been directly guided by Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion and tangentially exacerbated by the realization that Joe Biden should have retired roughly a decade ago. Sotomayor explicitly suggested, in her flippant response to the court’s majority holding, that the president might order a Navy SEAL team to assassinate a political opponent and fellow American.

If the president “[o]rders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune,” Sotomayor wrote, clearly (and perhaps willfully, given her 15 years of experience on the highest judicial bench in America) misunderstanding, misconstruing, and misrepresenting the majority’s opinion. The warped point was quickly latched onto and further distorted by leftist plebians and proletariats. Social media erupted with suggestions that Biden might use his office to assassinate former President Donald Trump.

A prime example of this hysterical behavior which hits all the more savagely salient points came from “comedian” and self-declared “big butch d*ke” Lea DeLaria. In a social media rant, the seriously unfunny performer called on Biden to drone strike Trump. “Joe, you’re a reasonable man. You don’t want to do this,” DeLaria said, addressing the octogenarian president whose own party is considering replacing him due to his cognitive decline. “But here’s the reality: This is a f***ing war. This is a war now and we are fighting for our f***ing country. And these a**holes are going to take it away. They’re going to take it away.”

“Joe, you now have the right to take that b*tch Trump out,” the self-identifying lesbian continued. “Take him out, Joe. If he was Hitler, and this was 1940, would you take him out? Well, he is Hitler and this is 1940. Take him the f*** out! Blow him up, or they’ll blow us up.” While DeLaria’s is certainly a colorful meltdown, it is by no means an uncommon one and is, in fact, rather indicative of the general tone and tenor of the collective hissy-fit being thrown by leftists across the nation at present.

Of course, Donald Trump is in no substantive way comparable to Adolf Hitler, nor is the year 1940. DeLaria may want to ask her doctor if she suffers from the same cognitive disorder as the president she so casually addresses by his first name. But this is a common rhetorical theme among leftists: comparing those they disfavor to Hitler. Conservative leaders like Trump or Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis or the U.K.’s Nigel Farage or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán are frequently called “Hitler,” while the conservative citizens who appreciate, admire, or support such leaders are labeled “Nazis” or “fascists.” This is more than just the garden variety of hysterical hyperbole but is, in fact, a core tenet of the leftist worldview.

Since the leftist does not recognize the supremacy of a Creator — instead, the leftist desires to declare himself creator; he considers his rights derived from his own self, his own desires, or, in many cases, from the consensus of his fellow creatures, as that is often the only authority he recognizes as larger than himself — his only frame of reference is the created world. Christians, of course, recognize the supremacy of the Creator and can thus clarify that our rights are derived not from any whim or desire, not from any polling data, not from any political institution, nor even from our own selves, but from God, in Whose image and likeness we are made. Our rights are thus finite, bounded by the imago Dei. No man, for example, has a right to wantonly slaughter his kindred, as God does not confer this right and, indeed, as one’s kindred are also bearers of the imago Dei.

The leftist has no conception of the imago Dei, and would revile and resent it if he did. What we would call “human dignity,” he has no words for. Conversely, the Christian — recognizing that Christ shed His blood for all mankind — has no words for a human without human dignity, but the leftist does: “Hitler,” “Nazi,” “fascist.” This theme makes an appearance, too, in the diabolical practice of child sacrifice often blithely called “abortion.” There is, in the leftist’s lexicon, no unborn child, no baby in the womb, but merely a “clump of cells,” a “fetus,” or even a “parasite.” This is the closest the leftist comes to recognizing the imago Dei, to recognizing inherent human dignity: by completely and totally denying it.

And on whose authority is it denied? By what office or decree does the leftist so callously and carelessly deny and reject the God-given dignity of his fellow creature? None, save his own. The leftist views himself as God, he has followed in the footsteps of Satan and declared, as Milton so famously put it, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” The leftist has listened too well and too long to the Serpent’s whisper: “[Y]ou will be like gods” (Genesis 3:5). The leftist recognizes no authority higher than himself, which is why the majority of leftist agendas and political regimes are hailed as “liberating” or “liberal,” as they grant license to even the most depraved whims and desires that the most twisted of souls can concoct. The LGBT agenda is evidence of this, with its voracious appetite for more and more “rights” and broader and broader recognition as legitimate or “normal.”

The words that we use, the names that we go by and call others by are not, of course, all-encompassing or essential (that is to say, comprising the essence of the thing), but are nonetheless crucial. Recall that the fracturing and obscuring of language at the Satanic Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) was a curse. It is no triviality or accident that Christ is referred to throughout Sacred Scripture as “the Word of God.” It is words which allow us to articulate things that are known and, indeed, to know things better. It is words which allow us to know ourselves and each other. In fact, it is words which we use to reflect reality.

The leftist’s favorite smears then — such terms as “Hitler,” “Nazi,” “fascist,” “dictator,” and all the rest — constitute more than just impotent rage, more than mere mudslinging, but are core to the leftist’s reality. It may come as a shock to hear and read of a whole swath of Americans calling for the assassination of a former president and current presidential candidate, but it should not. Leftists have been saying for years, with the only words they have for it, that Trump and Republicans and conservatives and all those who do not bow before their own degenerate agendas are less than human.

This distinction is key not only to understanding the leftist’s lexicon and worldview, but also to responding to them. One thing that DeLaria and her leftist ilk were absolutely right about is war: there is a war raging for the soul of America. But just like a war fought with guns and bayonets or swords and shields, there are rules to it.

For Christians and conservatives, it is tantamount — no matter how savage the fighting becomes, no matter how brutal the blows dealt by either side — to bear in mind the imago Dei. Unlike the leftist, we recognize the supremacy of the Creator and fight under His banner. We must therefore conduct ourselves according to His will. If this distinction is lost, if conservatives lose sight of human dignity and devolve to simply seeking political gain, they will be no better than the leftists they claim to fight against.

Instead, the Christian truth of the imago Dei must be the standard under which conservatives march. In hoc signo vinces: victory will be assured if Christ captains the army.


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

DNC Could Lawfully Replace Biden as Democratic Nominee, Says Legal Expert

As President Joe Biden’s inner circle coalesces around him following last week’s calamitous debate performance, Democratic commentators are continuing to call for the president to step aside and let another candidate come forward to represent the party with the November election looming in just four months. As rumors swirl about possible replacements, many are questioning whether another candidate can lawfully become the Democratic presidential nominee in light of the fact that Biden has already captured more than enough primary delegates to secure the nomination.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported Monday that leaders within the Democratic Party intend to head off the controversy by formally nominating Biden weeks before the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Chicago next month. “Democratic Party leaders are pushing ahead with plans to formally nominate Biden in a virtual roll call Aug. 5, two weeks before their convention” on August 19-22, the Post stated.

Still, with influential forces within the Democratic Party like The New York Times editorial board calling for Biden to step aside, the possibility of the commander-in-chief being replaced on the presidential ticket does not appear far-fetched. On Monday, Phill Kline, an associate professor of law at Liberty University School of Law, joined “Washington Watch” to break down the legitimacy of this possible scenario.

“Yes, they can,” Kline stated when asked by former Congressman and guest host Jody Hice if the Democratic Party could legally replace Biden on the ballot. “The Democratic Party rules allow for their delegates to vote based on their conscience at the Democratic convention. That rule was changed in 1982 to allow them to do so, so they’re not strictly beholden to President Biden and his nomination. They can change it. Most likely, if Mr. Biden is to be replaced, it would involve a withdrawal of his candidacy, which would free those delegates naturally, and they could select somebody to replace him. If he withdraws after the convention and after he receives the nomination, the Democratic rules allow the DNC, in consultation with Democratic governors and Congress, to replace him as the Democratic nominee, so they are capable of doing it. The rules allow it to happen.”

Kline continued, “It’s a difficult process because the Democratic Party has some factionalism built into their superdelegate numbers at their convention. So these interest groups have specific and higher authority to impact who might replace Biden on the ticket. And, of course, they have the natural presumptive nominee in Vice President Harris that many of the Democrat delegates do not want to support as an alternative. So it’s messy, but it can be done legally.”

Kline, who formerly served as attorney general of Kansas, went on to detail some state efforts to change primary rules.

“In the past, almost all states have allowed the parties to determine the method to select their nominees,” he observed. “Now, interestingly, the Democrats have been fighting to change state law so that that party rule is not available to them. For example, here in Virginia, the Democrats have successfully changed the law to not allow closed primaries … to prevent others from participating. So there is some effort to change this. But right now in America, generally, the party gets to select its nominee, and these delegates are selected based on a pledge to support Mr. Biden. … [P]arty rules now say they can vote their conscience so that even though they made the pledge to Biden, if their conscience somehow dictates they should vote otherwise, they can, even without a formal release.”

However, as Kline further pointed out, the campaign money raised by Biden cannot be reassigned to another candidate. “I think President Biden is sitting on [$264] million, and those funds can’t be transferred to any other candidate but the vice president, and otherwise they go to a super PAC or a charity [or] a nonprofit. And there are many, unfortunately, leftist partisan nonprofits that could accept these monies and impact the election. So it is [a] messy [situation] and it’s going to be fascinating to watch.”

Democratic strategists like James Carville have floated a number of names to potentially replace Biden as the presidential nominee, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, former New Orleans mayor and Biden re-election campaign co-chairman Mitch Landrieu, and Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

Other names put forward include former First Lady Michelle Obama, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.


Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Abortion Extremism, Warfare, and More: Fact-Checking the First 2024 Presidential Debate

Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump faced off in Atlanta on Thursday night before an empty arena and two CNN moderators for what was billed as the first presidential debate of 2024. While a lackluster performance by Biden dominated headlines and sent Democrats’ tongues wagging about possibly replacing him at the head of the ticket, Biden embraced abortion-on-demand without limit and made a number of factually erroneous statements.

Roe v. Wade allows late-term abortion

The debate turned to abortion early, as CNN’s Dana Bash asked Biden, “Do you support any legal limits on how late a woman should be able to terminate a pregnancy?”

“I support Roe v. Wade, which had three trimesters,” said Biden. He then seemed to say Roe v. Wade allowed the state to protect life in the third trimester, without endorsing any specific pro-life protection.

“Under Roe v. Wade, you have late-term abortion,” retorted President Trump. “We don’t think that’s a good thing. We think it’s a radical thing. We think the Democrats are the radicals, not the Republicans.”

“They’re radical, because they will take the life of a child in the eighth month, the ninth month, and even after birth,” said Trump. Turning to Biden, he said, “He’s willing to, as we say, rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month and kill the baby,” returning to a memorable line from his 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton.

“You’re lying,” insisted Biden, who slurred his words badly all night. “Roe v. Wade does not provide for that. That’s not the circumstance. Only woman’s life is in danger. She’s going to die. That’s the only circumstance which that can happen. But we are not for late-term abortion, period — period, period.”

However, Roe v. Wade merely allowed states to begin protecting life after the point of viability — originally set at 28 weeks, well into the third trimester. Its companion case — Doe v. Bolton, which was decided the same day — allowed abortion to protect the “health of the mother.” This included mental and emotional health, and sometimes financial circumstances, in effect allowing third-trimester abortions at any time.

Biden has endorsed the Women’s Health Protection Act, which goes far beyond the terms of Roe to strike down nearly every state and local pro-life law and ordinance. The Democratic Party platform endorses taxpayer-funded abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Biden went on to defend the intellectual integrity of Roe v. Wade, which held that abortion, while not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, was protected by the emanation of a penumbra thereof. “The vast majority of constitutional scholars supported Roe,” said Biden. “This idea that they were all against it is just ridiculous.”

In fact, far-left Ruth Bader Ginsburg described Roe as “heavy-handed judicial intervention.” A former clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the Roe decision, said“Roe borders on the indefensible,” because “it has little connection to the constitutional right it purportedly interpreted. A constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent.”

A pandemic of women being raped by their sisters?

In the same exchange, Biden said America needs abortion-on-demand, because “there’s a lot of young women who are being raped by their in-laws, by their spouses, brothers and sisters.” He did not explain how a woman’s sister could impregnate her. Rape accounts for approximately 1% of all abortions, with incest another 1%. While the law rightly punishes rape harshly, no legal code in the world considered being conceived by rape a capital crime for which the baby deserves the death penalty.

Ronald Reagan wanted abortion returned to the states?

Donald Trump also muddied the waters a bit while boasting of his role in returning the issue of abortion to the democratic process after 50 years of judicial diktats. “I put three great Supreme Court justices on the court, and they happened to vote in favor of killing Roe v. Wade and moving it back to the states,” he said of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, all of whom ruled for the 2022 Dobbs decision. Yet Trump seemed to see state sovereignty over the issue as the primary focus of the pro-life movement.

“Ronald Reagan wanted it brought back” to the states, said Trump. In fact, President Reagan supported federal legislation to protect life incrementally, as well as a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting all children from abortion. (Then-Senator Joe Biden voted in favor of the abortion-abolishing constitutional amendment in 1982.)

Trump also seemingly endorsed the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to challenge the FDA’s rushed and irregular approval of the abortion drug, mifepristone. “The Supreme Court just approved the abortion pill, and I agree with their decision to have done that, and I will not block it,” he said of FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. Abortion pills account for approximately two-thirds of all abortions nationwide, and climbing.

Trump added that he supported “the exceptions” to allow abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. “Some people don’t,” Trump acknowledged. “Follow your heart.”

Inflation: Biden says he’s worried about the cost of groceries, gasoline, and housing

Biden spoke of his brief few years as a child in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “I come of household where the kitchen table — if things weren’t able to be met during the month, was a problem. Price of eggs, the price of gas, the price of housing, the price of a whole range of things,” he said in a disjointed speaking style that dominated the evening. During Biden’s presidency, groceries have risen 26%, eggs 85%, gasoline 46%, housing approximately 19%. Overall inflation is up approximately 20% since Biden took office.

When asked how he would respond to black Americans who do not feel they have gotten ahead fast enough, Biden replied, “I don’t blame them for being disappointed. Inflation is still hurting them badly.”

Biden accepted no blame for the situation, stating, “The combination of what I was left with and corporate greed are the reason why we’re in this problem right now.” Critics accurately predicted Biden’s extra COVID-19 stimulus when the economy was already rebounding, coupled with his $800 billion Inflation Reduction Act, would trigger inflation. Biden seemingly contracted himself later, acknowledging, “There was no inflation when I became president. You know why? The economy was flat on its back.”

Biden claimed he inherited “15% unemployment.” The unemployment rate in January 2021 was 6.3%.

Trump added Biden’s “big kill” on black economic fortunes is the open border. “They’re taking black jobs and they’re taking Hispanic jobs,” he said.

Trump increased taxes?

“This guy has increased your taxes.” Yet in the opening of the debate, Biden admitted, under President Trump, “we had the largest tax cut in American history, $2 trillion,” referring to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which Trump wants to extend. “Now you want a new tax cut of $5 trillion over the next 10 years, which is going to fundamentally bankrupt the country,” Biden said.

“I said, nobody even making under $400,000 had a single penny increasing their taxes and it will not. And if I’m reelected, that’ll be the case again.” President Biden endorsed several budget proposals that would have raised taxes on those making less than $400,000, including increasing fees for gun registration and cigarette taxes, or reinstating Obamacare’s $695 penalty.

No U.S. soldiers died under Biden?

Joe Biden claimed the “truth is, I’m the only president this century, that doesn’t have any, this decade, that doesn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world, like he did.” In reality, 13 U.S. soldiers died during a suicide bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after Biden ordered the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from the war-torn nation. The withdrawal left sophisticated military equipment, and U.S. citizens, behind enemy lines. Biden attended the dignified transfer of the troops, where cameras caught him looking at his watch. In January, another three U.S. servicemen died in Jordan by a drone strike the administration pinned on an Iranian-backed militia.

Trump called Biden’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan “the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country.”

Trump wants to exit NATO?

“This a guy who wants to get out of NATO,” stated Biden. President Trump has never talked about exiting NATO, although he told foreign leaders, if they fail to meet their defense obligations, he would reconsider sending U.S. troops to their defense as required by Article 5.

Climate change “the only existential threat”

“The only existential threat to humanity is climate change,” said Biden. Yet decades of environmental warnings about impending global catastrophes have failed spectacularly. Trump said the real challenge to global stability is that the Biden administration has kicked off “wars that will never end,” such as Biden’s breaking up peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. “He will drive us into World War III, and we’re closer to World War III than anybody can imagine.”

Immigration: No terrorists crossed the border under Biden?

Biden seemingly denied the possibility of terrorists entering the open southern, and increasingly porous northern, borders, although his administration has documented monthly occurrences. “The only terrorist who has done anything crossing the border is one who came along and killed three under his administration, killed — an al-Qaeda person in his administration, killed,” said Biden. He later backtracked, saying, “I’m not saying no terrorist ever got through.”

The Biden administration’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded encountering 316 people who are on the terror watchlist since last October, as well as 736 in 2023, 478 in 2022, and 173 in 2021.

“We had the safest border in history,” said Trump. “Now we have the worst border in history.”

An additional debate is scheduled for the fall, but after Biden’s meandering statements, it is unclear whether such a debate will take place — and, in a growing number of Democrats’ minds, whether he will be their nominee.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

A Preview of the Highly Anticipated Trump-Biden Showdown

Former President Donald Trump will face off against incumbent Joe Biden Thursday night in a highly anticipated presidential debate, but experts are warning that the debate may be less “Trump vs. Biden” and more “Trump vs. the network.” The debate will be broadcast by CNN, long considered a left-wing network, and moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, both of whom have been openly critical of Trump in the past.

Tapper has called Trump a “nightmare,” a “disaster,” a liar, and “100% insane,” in addition to comparing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Bash, meanwhile, has accused Trump of “race-baiting,” sexism, and anti-Semitism. Both anchors have called Trump a threat to democracy, harshly criticized his policies, and faulted him for the actions of others during the events of January 6, 2021.

Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt blasted CNN on Monday for what she predicted would be unfair treatment of the former president. Leavitt told CNN personality Kasie Hunt that Trump “is knowingly going into a hostile environment on this very network, on CNN, with debate moderators who have made their opinions about him very well known over the past eight years in their biased coverage of him.” Hunt responded by applauding Tapper and Bash as “professionals,” adding, “If you’re attacking the moderators, you’re usually losing.” When Leavitt pointed out that Tapper’s criticism of Trump in particular was well-documented, her microphone was cut and the interview was abruptly ended.

With both Tapper and Bash being accused of clear personal and political bias, CNN has defended its moderators, according to a memo obtained by The Hill. “Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are well respected veteran journalists who have covered politics for more than five decades combined,” the news outlet claimed. “They have extensive experience moderating major political debates, including CNN’s Republican Presidential Primary Debate this cycle. There are no two people better equipped to co-moderate a substantial and fact-based discussion and we look forward to the debate on June 27 in Atlanta.”

CNN CEO Mark Thompson has also attempted to distance himself from potential controversy surrounding the debate. In an interview with The New York Times, Thompson said, “Much of the reaction of the public, the rest of the media and other politicians is going to depend on President Trump and President Biden, who are the stars of the show.” He claimed that the format of the debate is designed “to get as much light as possible, and not to be overwhelmed with heat.”

While Trump has been campaigning extensively over the past days and weeks, regularly delivering two-hour-long speeches at various rallies and conferences, Biden has retreated to Camp David with campaign staff and advisers to prepare for the debate. Biden’s former chief of staff Ron Klain is reportedly in charge of debate prep for the 81-year-old incumbent. Former White House physician Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) suggested that much of Biden’s time at Camp David will be spent “experimenting with doses” of performance-enhancing drugs. As a former physician to both Trump and Barack Obama, Jackson has repeatedly alleged that Biden’s performance in speeches such as the State of the Union is likely fueled by drugs. He has demanded that performance-enhancing drug tests be conducted both before and immediately following Thursday night’s debate.

Jackson’s suggestions of performance-enhancing drugs come as Americans continue to worry about Biden’s age and his cognitive state. The White House has frequently had to address video footage of the octogenarian president freezing onstage, wandering away from events, and mumbling incoherently. A survey conducted ahead of the debate found that 70% of Americans expect Biden “to mess up his words” during the debate, 49% expect him “to forget where he is,” 41% expect him “to walk off the wrong side of the stage,” and 40% expect him “to have problems standing up.” Half of voters expect Trump to win the debate, while less than 40% expect Biden to do well.

“Does Joe Biden make it through 90 minutes without a significant gaffe?” asked Brett O’Donnell, president of O’Donnell and Associates communications firm and former debate coach at Liberty University, on Tuesday night’s episode of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.” O’Donnell added that Biden’s frequent bumbles and blunders are “an indication of what age might be doing to him in terms of his competence for office.”

O’Donnell also urged Trump to make it clear that he will not allow Biden and the Democratic Party to federalize abortion. “This is definitely an issue that’s going to get debated, because I think Democrats feel like they have a good deal of offense they can generate because of the space being opened up by the overturning of Roe,” the debate coach predicted. He also advised Trump to go “on the offense” against Biden’s policies, noting that “there’s a lot of offense for him to generate, whether it’s the economy, immigration, or even on the life issue, because to this day, Democrats continue to try and pass a law that would legalize abortion on demand up until the minute before babies are born, at taxpayer expense.”

O’Donnell continued, “That is the position of the Democrats in the House and the Senate. Virtually no Democrats voted against the bill legalizing abortion up until the minute before a baby is born at taxpayer expense. And so, yes, Trump should be on offense on that issue, as well as all of the other issues, whether it’s the economy, energy, immigration, crime, so many different things where the public, en masse, believes Joe Biden has been a complete failure.”

Additionally, O’Donnell recommended that Trump contrast himself against the extremism of Biden’s policies. “It doesn’t matter what issue you look at, Joe Biden is a radical leftist liberal who is behind policies that have completely failed America and are ripping our country apart,” O’Donnell said, specifically noting Biden’s promotion of abortion, transgenderism, and illegal immigration. “None of those positions are popular with the American public,” he stated. “Joe Biden is out of step, that’s why he’s doing so miserably in many of the polls.”

Finally, O’Donnell suggested that Trump be “aggressive but not offensive” in Thursday night’s debate. “He should make this race a referendum on Joe Biden’s failed policies, because Joe Biden’s going to have a hard time defending any one of his policies,” O’Donnell said. “Donald Trump should litigate the case against Joe Biden on a policy level, to show just how miserably his policies have failed. And then present the solutions that he would bring in. … If he does that work in the debate, he’s going to have a successful night.”


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘Our Allegiance Is Not to Them’: Trump Encourages Christians to Vote

Former President Donald Trump is calling on Christians to vote in November, warning that incumbent Joe Biden’s administration poses a serious threat to Christian values. At the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Trump told conservative Christians in attendance, “We have to get out there, we have to vote, we have to make sure everything’s honest.”

Referring to voter fraud, Trump reminded his audience that Americans can “police” their votes.” He quipped, “If I knew there was not going to be corruption, if I knew that everything would be honorable and honest as it should be, I’d stop campaigning right now, we’d have this thing won.”

The presumptive Republican nominee for president continued to tout the work done by the Faith & Freedom Coalition, saying, “You are truly, and I mean, indispensable. This is a great group of people and you’re warriors, in the truest sense.” However, Trump did observe, “The evangelicals and the Christians, they don’t vote as much as they should. … They go to church every Sunday, but they don’t vote.” He proceeded to urge American Christians to vote “just this time,” asking, “Do you know the power you would have if you would vote?” Trump promised to “straighten things out” if reelected and declared to Christian voters, “Working side by side, we’re going to defeat crooked Joe Biden, we’re going to defend our values, and we’re going to make America great again.”

Borrowing a famous line from his former reality show “The Apprentice,” he added, “We need Christian voters to turn out in the largest numbers ever to tell crooked Joe Biden … ‘Joe, you’re fired. Get out of here. You’re no good, you’ve been the worst president ever, you’re fired, Joe. Get out.’”

“The radical Left is trying to shame Christians, silence you, demoralize you, and they want to keep you out of politics. They don’t want you to vote, that’s why you have to vote,” Trump stated, continuing, “If you vote, we cannot lose. They don’t want you to vote. But Christians cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. If Joe Biden gets in, Christianity will not be safe in a nation with no borders, no laws, no freedom, no future.”

“You see what they’re doing?” he asked. Comparing the Biden administration’s actions to those of a “third-world dictator,” Trump went on to note that the incumbent president has violated and undermined the rule of law to target political opponents, has aggressively prosecuted pro-life Americans, and has promoted “radical gender ideology” in schools, concluding, “It’s a disgrace what’s happened to our country in such a short period of time.”

He pointed to the Biden administration’s targeting of American Catholics and asked, “What’s going on with Catholics? They are being persecuted. Catholics. What is that all about?” Under Biden, the FBI has been accused of illegally spying on American Catholics, relying on left-wing think tanks to declare Catholics “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” according to a memo leaked last year.

Biden’s Justice Department has also targeted pro-life Catholics like Mark Houck, who was accused of a Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act violation. Houck had previously agreed to cooperate with prosecutors if charges were filed and he was quickly acquitted in court, but not before approximately two dozen FBI agents armed with automatic weapons and riot gear raided his home and arrested him in front of his wife and children.

Although Biden claims to be Catholic, numerous leaders in the Catholic Church have condemned his open opposition to Catholic moral teaching, including on such subjects as abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism. Trump quipped that Biden may have “no idea what the hell is happening,” adding, “I don’t think he knows he’s alive, if you want to know the truth.”

“The reason the radical Left will always come after religious believers is simple,” Trump stated. He continued, “Because they know that our allegiance is not to them, our allegiance is not to them. Our allegiance is to our country and our allegiance is to our Creator. And we do not answer to the bureaucrats in Washington, we answer to God in Heaven.” The former President noted, “You’re not even allowed to say that anymore. Today, if you say that, they want to arrest you.” Referring to a recent Louisiana law requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools, Trump laughed and commented, “They think it’s such a bad thing. I said, ‘Has anyone read this? Though shalt not steal, thou shalt not’ — I mean, has anybody read this incredible stuff? It’s just incredible. They don’t want it to go up.”

Trump also touted his presidential record, recounting, “In my first term, I defended Judeo-Christian heritage like no president in the history of our country. And with your help, I will continue to fight for our values and our civilization for four more years in the White House.” He continued, “We’re going to straighten it out, we’re going to straighten it out fast,” highlighting his defense of religious liberty and freedom of speech, as well as his support for conscience protections in the medical field and his role in appointing U.S. Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade.

“Thanks to these justices,” he said, “we have also achieved what the pro-life movement fought to get for 49 years and we’ve gotten abortion out of the federal government and back to the states.” He added, “If the radical Democrat extremes [sic] get their way, they will have a federal law for abortion to rip the baby out of the womb in the seventh, eighth, and ninth month and even execute the baby after birth.” Trump also noted that Democrats “are the radical ones on this issue, far and away the radical ones, not us.”

He continued, “Above all, in the Republican Party, we will always support family, babies, life — very, very important to the Republican Party. By contrast, Joe Biden is weaponizing the Justice Department to viciously persecute pro-life activists and Americans of faith.” Referring to pro-life Americans imprisoned by the Biden administration, Trump said, “This is just crazy. We’re going to get that taken care of immediately, first day. But let’s call these brave Americans what they really are: persecuted Christians, that’s what they are, persecuted.”

“I always say we’re a nation in decline, we’re a nation in really serious, serious decline,” Trump lamented. He pledged, “But we will rapidly review the cases of every political prisoner who’s been unjustly victimized by the Biden regime … so we can get them out of the gulags and back to their families where they belong.” The former president also repeated his promise to form a “federal task force on fighting anti-Christian biases.” He explained, “It’s mission will be to investigate all forms of illegal discrimination, harassment, persecution against Christians in America. … Never again will the federal government be used to target religious believers, Americans of faith.”

As Matt Carpenter, director of FRC Action, told The Washington Stand, “The former president is right to remind Christians they ultimately answer to God. As much as the current administration might want us to think we answer to their judges and prosecutors, Christians know who ultimately is in charge.”

He went on to note, “I don’t think in 2020, when these two candidates first met in the presidential election, Christian voters thought for one minute the DOJ would be arresting pro-lifers for praying in abortion clinics or trying to erase Resurrection Sunday with ‘Transgender Day of Visibility,’” he pointed out. “Like the sons of Issachar, I think many of them understand the times we are living in and are ready to send a message to Washington, D.C. in a few months.”


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Trump Blasts Left-Wing Ideology in Schools, Promises to Shutter Dept. of Education

Former President Donald Trump is vowing to gut the U.S. Department of Education if he retakes the White House in November. During a speech on Saturday at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Trump pledged to shift education policy from the federal government “to the states.” Noting that America ranks “at the bottom of every list” in education, Trump said, “We’ll be able to cut education [spending] in half and get much better education in some of the states. We’ll have the best education anywhere in the world.”

In comments to The Washington Stand, Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies Meg Kilgannon said, “Almost every Republican nominated to run for President of the United States has suggested or promised to close the U.S. Department of Education. But it is still here.” She continued, “We can take a promise from President Trump more seriously in this regard, because he has kept similar promises, like moving the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Kilgannon warned that dismantling the Department of Education is “not quite as simple as the president just signing an executive order to close it down. There are nearly 250 statutes that require the Department of Education to perform this or that function, oversee programs, etc.” However, she did suggest that portions of the Department could be shifted to other agencies. “For example, sending the Federal Student Loan program to the Department of Treasury, or letting the Department of Justice handle civil rights issues instead of the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Education Department.”

“If the federal budget for education were given to states in block grants, it would be much more efficient than the system we have now,” Kilgannon concluded. “These kinds of steps would help begin the process of shutting down the Department and they would improve outcomes for students and families.” Trump himself acknowledged that some states “won’t do as well” if left to manage education themselves. “There are a couple of states like, I would say, Gavin Newsom [and California] will not do well,” the former president posited.

Schools in California have increasingly become dominated by left-wing ideology, supported and even advanced by state executives and legislators. A bill put forth in the California Assembly last year would require middle schoolers and high schoolers to undergo lessons on “pregnancy prevention and care, including, but not limited to, guidance regarding contraceptive methods and abortion,” which would further include providing children as young as 12 with lists of abortion businesses and facilities and promote “inclusivity and support in conversations surrounding abortion.”

Another piece of Golden State legislation imposes fines on school boards and teachers for rejecting either critical race theory (CRT) or LGBT classroom content. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) last year slapped a school district with a $1.5 million fine for rejecting an LGBT-themed textbook. According to Parents Defending Education, nearly 1,100 school districts in the U.S. maintain policies requiring teachers to hide students’ gender transition attempts and efforts from parents. Well over half of those school districts are in California. California teachers have been penalized for opposing such policies and the state legislature is currently advancing legislation to make hiding children’s gender transitions the law of the land.

During his speech Saturday, Trump lambasted a number of left-wing policies that have found their home in such states as California, promising to combat them at every turn. “On day one, I will sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing critical race theory, transgender insanity, and any other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content onto our children,” the former president declared. “And I will not give one penny to any school that has a vaccine mandate or a mask mandate.”

“And I will keep men out of women’s sports on day one,” he pledged. Shortly afterwards, referring to biological males who identify as transgender and compete in girls’ or women’s sports, Trump asked, “How embarrassing is it for me to say that we will keep men out of women’s sports? Who would want men to play women’s sports?” Under incumbent President Joe Biden, Title IX of the Education Amendments has been “radically rewritten” to promote and favor biological males playing in women’s sports. Numerous Republicans have opposed the measure and it has been blocked in at least six states so far.

This is not the first time that Trump has promised to dismantle the Department of Education. At a rally in March, he pledged to “close it up.” He said, “It’s time. Close it up. When you look at the list of countries, we’re always at the bottom [on education]. We spend more money per pupil and we’re always at the bottom of a list of 40 countries.” Trump explained that the federal government “should close it up and let local areas, and frankly, states, handle education.”


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Johnson on Trump-Biden Debate: ‘CNN Is Going to Rig It as Much as Possible’

Getting President Biden ready for any public appearance these days is time consuming. But it’s nothing compared to prepping him for a high-stakes debate with former President Donald Trump that could decide the November elections. Desperate to convince voters that the 81-year-old is mentally fit, aides and strategists are hunkering down for days of “debate camp” before the showdown with his predecessor. “This is the entire election, as far as I’m concerned,” former Obama advisor Van Jones warned. “… If Biden goes out there and messes up, it’s game over.”

As far as most Republicans are concerned, the president’s policies should already spell disaster for Biden’s reelection chances. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) who was just with Trump in Mar-a-Lago, said the 45th president is chomping at the bit to call out Biden’s last three years of White House failures. “I’ll tell you what,” the Louisianan told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, “he’s excited to get on that debate stage. And I think it’s going to be a serious mismatch,” Johnson predicted. “President Biden has not done well in his public appearances and speeches in recent months, and we’ve all seen that. And President Trump, clearly, he’s on his A game. I mean, he’s sharp as ever and as anyone is.”

Even in his hay day, no one is quite sure how Biden could possibly explain away the crises he’s created on the border, on the global stage, and in the economy, with his LGBT indoctrination wreaking havoc on schools, sports, workplaces, and business. And unfortunately for Biden, his challenger already has an impressive track record putting out the fires sparked by the Democrats’ extreme agendas.

“He can’t wait to … talk about these issues,” Johnson said on Saturday’s “This Week on the Hill,” “how he’ll improve our world stage by projecting strength again. We have plans and answers for all the great challenges facing the country, and he’s looking forward to laying a lot of that out to the American public. I expect everybody will be watching. I also expect that CNN is going to rig it as much as possible and make it as favorable as they possibly can for President Biden, but I don’t think it’s going to work.”

One of the more interesting things about this match-up, Perkins pointed out, is how few undecided voters there are. “So we are going into what is [turning out to be] a base election. … Nearly every national presidential poll has the candidates within the margin of error — meaning, it’s a dead heat.” That’s bad news for the Left, who thought their sustained lawfare against the former president would have a bigger impact on voters. And yet, the FRC president explained, “The outlandish trial and conviction of former president Trump in Manhattan did not have the impact the Left had hoped. It didn’t move his support.”

Overall, the speaker believes, “I think people see this as a battle between two worldviews [and] competing visions of what America is and will be — and also the records of these two candidates. That’s what’s different about this presidential cycle than any one in recent memory. … You can see what the [two administrations] actually produced and you can see which one’s better for you and your family.”

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the polls say. It matters who shows up to vote. And part of the problem is that too many people look at the news or read the paper and decide their candidate doesn’t need them to show up. That’s not true, activists say. If every Christian in America voted, Scott Presler told Breitbart, “we would never lose another election.” And for 30% of those evangelicals, he explains, “it’s not that they don’t even vote — 30 percent are not registered to vote.” People of faith, Presler declared, “are going to be a very important coalition” in this election.

It comes down to the intensity factor, Perkins said. “That intensity has increased as candidates draw clear contrasts.” In Atlanta, there’s no shortage of issues where Trump can paint himself as counterweight to the Left’s radical policies on the economy, foreign policy, and Big Government. “But he must, once again, draw the contrast on core issues of moral values, just like he did in 2016,” Perkins underscored. “I was at the last presidential debate in Las Vegas when Donald Trump took on Hillary Clinton over her position on abortion” in the last month of pregnancy and said:

“I think it’s terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that’s OK and Hillary can say that that’s OK. But it’s not OK with me, because based on what she’s saying, and based on where she’s going, and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that’s not acceptable.”

That was the exact moment Donald Trump “ignited pro-life voters,” Perkins recalled. “[And] not to just vote but to believe that a pro-life America was possible. He needs to do the same on Thursday night. Post-Roe, the Democrats’ position on abortion has only become more extreme. The Republicans cannot abandon their decades-long campaign for the sanctity of human life. If America is to be great again, it has to first be good, and it starts with the recognition that all life is valuable because it is created in the image of God regardless of what zip code it is conceived in or the state it is born into.”

While rumors continue to swirl that moderates are planning an attack on the pro-life planks of the Republican platform next month in Milwaukee, conservatives continue to argue that the best way to shore up Trump’s support is leaning into those issues — not away from them. GOP candidates, Johnson assured listeners, “are talking about these things not only with the right message, but in the right tone. … These are policy choices [that] got the country in the mess that we’re in right now, and it’s policy choices that will get us out of it. And so when we can sit down and explain [our agenda]… we’ll have a big effect on election turnout and the outcome in November. We’re excited about that.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘Israeli Parents Aren’t Willing to Endanger Their Children Just to Help Biden Win Michigan’: Expert

Joe Biden may think he’s scoring points with his anti-Semitic base, but his Israeli approval rating is probably taking on more water than his Gaza floating pier. For months, the Jewish state has watched the president boast of his “ironclad” support of Israel, only to undermine their war efforts at every turn. It’s “inconceivable” that the Biden White House would keep withholding weapons from Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared this week. But not when you consider that Biden only cares about winning one thing this year — and it isn’t the war against Hamas.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu wouldn’t have given that message if he didn’t feel that it was absolutely necessary,” Israeli affairs expert Caroline Glick insisted on “Washington Watch” Wednesday. “And the Biden administration’s response, which was really effectively to have a temper tantrum against the prime minister and insult him in just the most obnoxious ways” shows where their loyalties really lie.

After Netanyahu called out Biden’s munitions delay in a public video, an “enraged” White House retaliated by canceling a meeting with the prime minister on Iran. “… [T]here are consequences for pulling such stunts,” a U.S. official relayed to Axios.

It’s quite a contrast to how the president bends to Ukraine’s every whim, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins pointed out. “The Biden administration is telling Ukraine, ‘Yeah, you can go ahead and use our munitions to strike directly into Russia,’ but at the same time tying the hands of our most strategic ally, Israel. How do you square that?” he asked Glick.

You can’t, the senior contributing editor at the Jewish News Syndicate replied. The reality is, “The administration is advancing a policy that opposes Israeli victory in this war. They’re willing to allow Israel to defend itself. But the only way that we can defend ourselves is by going on offense and actually defeating our enemies. And that’s something that the White House does not want to countenance — that [it] will not countenance — whether it’s in relation to Hamas or it’s in relation to Hezbollah, which is the looming threat in the North.” And frankly, she pointed out, that’s not just looming, “it’s escalating before our eyes.”

The threat of Hamas, Glick reminds people, is small compared to the danger of Hezbollah in the north. “Israel is being shelled every day, and it’s civilian homes that are being shelled. Over a thousand of them have been destroyed over the months of the Hezbollah missile offensive,” she shook her head. “But it’s not only that. It’s military bases, it’s forest preserves, it’s agriculture. And most important, from a military perspective, it’s also strategic sites in Israel. Just [this week], Hezbollah released drone footage … taking pictures of strategic sites. … So we’re talking about a [grave] threat … given the fact that Hezbollah has 150,000 projectiles pointed at Israel, more if you count their drones, which you should.”

The danger, she warns, rises to a nuclear level with the amount of firepower they can bring to bear in a full-scale war. “This is not theoretical,” Perkins reiterated. “This is happening. It’s been happening since October.” And there will be “no future for Israel as a free and safe nation without addressing this threat.”

A lot of people wonder if the internal shake-up of former Minister of Defense Benny Gantz stepping aside is a cause for concern. Glick reassured people that none of this weakens Netanyahu or Israel. “It doesn’t mean anything in terms of the stability of the government,” she insisted. “The Left and a lot of the people in the United States … want very badly to overthrow Netanyahu. It’s funny because the same forces [have no problem leaving] Hamas in charge of Gaza. So it shows you where their brain is. … So they’re making it seem as though Benny Gantz’s departure from the War Cabinet is going to destabilize the government. But we had a stable 64-member majority coalition making up the government before October 7th and before Benny Gantz came in on October 11th. And that coalition still remains now.”

If you talk to the Israeli people, they still care about the same two things that they did on October 7: national unity and victory in the war. But if the choice is between Benny Gantz staying in the War Cabinet and beating Hamas, the majority, Glick says, want to eradicate the terrorists.

“The majority of Israelis recognize that this is a zero-sum game,” Glick said. “Either we stay alive and they die, or they’re defeated and their ability to kill us is removed, or we’re dead. … There’s no happy middle. … [W]e are facing genocidal foes. They showed that very clearly on October 7th. … Nobody was able to delude themselves into thinking that what happened was something else.”

As for the chaos Biden is causing, the White House’s real priorities are no secret. “I think that the sense among Israelis is that the American election is playing into the American antagonism — meaning, it was one thing when most Israelis trusted Biden and felt that he was our ally in this war, and that he meant it when he said that he had Israel’s back, and that his commitment to Israel’s security was ironclad,” Glick acknowledged. “… But what Israelis have seen over the past three months … is that Biden is openly hostile to Israel’s goal of victory.”

It’s all a very transparent political ploy, she knows. “The widespread sense among Israelis is that what’s motivating him is not some sort of a substantive, understandable, rational disagreement about tactics to reach the common end with Netanyahu, but rather his electoral fortunes. And Israeli parents aren’t willing to endanger their children just to help Biden win in Michigan.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: High-Profile Republicans Set To Appear Alongside Left-Wing Activists At Dark Money-Backed Media Festival

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Johnson: ‘We Don’t Take Anything for Granted, but We’re Feeling Very, Very Bullish about November’

It was a glitzy, star-studded affair in Los Angeles, but even Hollywood may have trouble writing a new ending for Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. Leaning on big names like George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack Black, and his old boss Barack Obama, the president raked in more than $30 million dollars Saturday night — a big haul, but not big enough, many believe, to help him crawl out of the basement of his historically low approval ratings. In his sit-down with Jimmy Kimmel, Biden told the crowd, “All we gotta do is remember what it was like” when Donald Trump was in the White House. His biggest problem is that most voters do. Fondly.

Biden reminded the audience how much “is at stake in this election,” an understatement most would say, before proceeding to rewrite the history of his last three years. “We have the strongest economy in the world today,” he claimed, adding, “we try to give ordinary people an even chance.” Of course, those “ordinary people” can’t even afford fast food these days, thanks to inflation that’s spiked the prices of everything from a Happy Meal to a five-layer burrito more than 150% since the former vice president took office.

The 45th president, meanwhile, was touring Michigan, promising to slash taxes and help struggling families — a theme Trump reiterated on the Hill last week in his meetings with both sides of the Capitol. It’s part of what’s contributing to this feeling of “energy and excitement,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins during Saturday’s “This Week on the Hill.”

“I am convinced — and I think a rising number of people in the country are convinced, including pollsters now — that the 45th president will be the 47th president in just under 140 days now,” Johnson insisted. “We did a press conference right after he had breakfast with us this week, and we had every House Republican there. And it really was like a pep rally. There’s a good feeling going around. We don’t take anything for granted, but we’re feeling very, very bullish about November.”

Of course, the GOP is trying not to get too ahead of itself. “We don’t take it for granted,” the speaker wanted people to know. “So we have to run like we’re 10 points behind, as you do in any campaign. But we’re looking at polling that is very encouraging, [and] that polling is now affirming what we know intuitively.” In his trips around the country, going to campaign events for his Republican members, Johnson says the atmosphere is electric. “There’s just a real feeling out there that something is happening. And President Trump used that very phrase when he spoke to us this week. He said, ‘Something’s happening out there.’”

In the data he’s looked at, Johnson believes there’s a very strong chance that Republicans can grow their House majority, retake the Senate, and reelect Trump. “So what we talked about [with the former president] was the strategy on how to do that, how to achieve that desired end. And then when we do win, what we’re going to do when we govern. We’ve got to be prepared to lead, we have to have a very specific plan and strategy, a very aggressive first 100 days agenda when the new Congress and the new administration begins in January. And we’re taking the appropriate steps right now to prepare for that. President Trump is deeply involved in all of that discussion.”

If anything concerns him, Johnson said, it’s election integrity and security. And he’s not alone. “Wherever I go in the country, the first or second question always in every public forum is: Can we trust the election? And that’s a really searing question. In a constitutional republic, you want people to assume that they can trust the election. … And because of recent events in the last few election cycles, people have reason to doubt that.”

His goal is for conservatives to be “ambassadors of hope” and to encourage people that “massive improvements have been made.” As Perkins pointed out, almost two dozen states have addressed these problems legislatively between 2020 and 2024. Even so, he insisted, “vigilance is required.”

Exactly, the speaker nodded. “We’ve got to ensure, for example, that illegals — the millions and millions of illegal aliens who’ve come into the country under Joe Biden’s administration in the last three and a half years — are not going to participate in the federal election in November. You know, it is a matter of federal law, statutory law that only U.S. citizens can decide U.S. elections. But we know that illegals are being registered to vote in various places around the country, so we have legislation we’re moving through Congress to ensure that doesn’t happen, but we need everyone at the local and state level to be on guard to ensure that there’s no voter fraud…”

But, as Johnson explained, the Republican Governors Association “is dialed into this,” along with the secretaries of state around the country, the Republican National Committee (RNC), and the National Republican Congressional Committee. “All of our organizations are spending a lot of time and resources on that.”

As if to emphasize his point, RNC Co-Chair Lara Trump announced over the weekend that the GOP’s worked to raise “a veritable army” of “over 100,000 poll watchers and over 500 lawyers to deploy” at election stations all across the country. “I believe if we have a free, fair and transparent election that there’s no question we’ll all be going to bed early on November 5,” the former president’s daughter-in-law insisted.

At the end of the day, Perkins explained, it’s “an election of contrasts between the two parties.” When he asked Johnson some of the areas where the two parties’ differences are most pronounced, the speaker replied, “Well, all of them really.” That’s why House and Senate conservatives are working together to put together a cohesive strategy for 2025, he says. When Republicans win, “We want to be positioned well to solve all the great challenges facing the country. We have the answers for those things, and we’ll do it in the order that the American people demand and deserve.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Biden Campaign Plans to Appear at 200+ Pride Events in June

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign plans to appear at more than 200 LGBTQ Pride events and launch a media blitz at LGBTQ voters during the month of June, campaign spokespersons told NBC News recently. This announcement comes months after the Biden campaign declared in January it would make the abortion issue “front and center.”

The campaign plans Pride appearances in 23 states, including all battleground states, featuring not only campaign surrogates but top figures as well. Vice President Kamala Harris greeted 150 LGBT activists in Los Angeles last weekend. First Lady Jill Biden made an unannounced stop at a Pride festival in Pittsburgh.

The Biden campaign will “culminate the so-called celebration of Pride with a huge fundraiser in New York City” on June 28, where President Biden “plans to be the keynote speaker,” narrated David Closson, director of Family Research Council’s Center for Biblical Worldview, on “Washington Watch” Friday. “You’d better believe it will be the president himself waving that rainbow flag.”

Closson said he was “not at all surprised” at the Biden campaign’s decision, even though it was a “pretty significant” investment. “President Biden has really presided over the most aggressive pro-LGBTQ administration that we’ve ever seen,” he explained, championing the Equality Act, pushing the “so-called Respect for Marriage Act that codified gay marriage” over the finish line and rewriting Title IX, “the legislation that’s supposed to protect women and girls.”

Under the Biden administration’s leadership, the culture wars are “no longer just about the LGBT movement seeking affirmation,” Family Research Council Action President Jody Hice agreed. “Those in the movement are trying to force their supporters and even their opponents … to bow their knee, and they want to demonize anyone who refuses.”

The Biden campaign’s “plan to aggressively campaign at Pride events” comes as “Big Business has scaled back on its public support of all things LGBT,” observed Hice. “Many companies and businesses are not nearly as all-in [on Pride Month] as they have been in years past. No doubt this is due in large part to the backlash over Bud Light and Target.” But, as corporate America withdraws from this unpopular position, the Biden campaign “is really making an aggressive push” on LGBTQ Pride, Closson noted.

Hice also noticed “quite a difference, a contrast in how the Biden and the Trump campaigns are messaging on LGBT issues,” both in the priority they give to the issue and on the position they take. Whereas the Biden campaign is emphasizing Pride events, the Trump campaign is focusing on crime, the economy, and immigration, said Closson. “This is not an issue they’re really running heavily on.”

However, Closson continued, “when they’ve had opportunity,” the Trump campaign has “highlighted the importance of religious freedom, whereas the Biden campaign really is kind of all-in on this whole gamut of LGBT issues.” He added that “we don’t have to guess what the second Trump administration would look like because we have a four-year record [reflecting what the] Trump administration did on issues related to religious liberty.”

Closson highlighted the Trump State Department’s leadership on the international religious freedom ministerial, an executive order protecting religious freedom, the Department of Health and Human Services designating clergy as essential workers and protecting the conscience rights of doctors, and the Justice Department intervening to support religious liberty for everyone from private citizens like Jack Phillips to churches seeking the freedom to assemble together. “When it comes to religious liberty,” Closson concluded, “the contrast between the Biden administration and the first Trump administration is actually quite stark.”

This policy difference between the presumed nominees for America’s two major political parties is “why Christians really need to be paying attention” to the Biden campaign’s emphasis on Pride events, urged Hice. “This is not simply an issue of sexual preference or whatever. This goes far beyond that to impact your church, my church, our religious liberties, the doctors, where they work … [even] teachers at school.” Closson agreed. “Elections really do have consequences.”


Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Johnson: Dems ‘Pushed the Pendulum Too Far’ with Trump, It’s ‘Backfiring’

Washington, D.C. has been unusually drama-free with Congress scattered for the Memorial Day break. Of course, New York was more than happy to pick up the slack with its sham trial against former President Donald Trump — a prosecution, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) warned Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, that’s put our entire country at “a crisis point.”

The Republican leader, like so many conservatives, has watched the proceedings with alarm, understanding all too well the political volatility that might result. “I’m hearing a lot of frustration, and I’m hearing dismay,” Johnson said on “This Week on the Hill.” “You know, people are losing faith in our institutions across the board,” he warned, “… not the least of which is our system of justice.” Frankly, the speaker pointed out, this whole charade “is a serious threat to a constitutional republic. … And I think we’re at a crisis point, because people see what is happening here.”

The facts are clear, Johnson insisted. Americans “see that President Trump is quite obviously being targeted because he is the nominee of the Republican Party for president, and he is a threat to them. He’s leading in the polls, as we mentioned earlier; he’s leading in the swing states — almost all of them now against President Biden. And they’re terrified that he’ll be reelected, the radical Left. And so what do they do? They use the justice system to go after him, try to diminish him, try to keep him off the campaign trail, and do real damage to his chances to win back the White House. I don’t think it’s going to work … but I do think it’s doing serious — and hopefully, not permanent — damage to the people’s faith and our system of justice.”

On the flip side, the case has certainly seemed to galvanize Republicans, who sent the former president a resounding message of support with their dollars after the guilty verdict. In a stunning windfall, Trump’s campaign headquarters said it was inundated with contributions after the 45th president was convicted of 34 felonies. The $53 million haul shattered records, nearly matching what the GOP candidate had raised in the last six months of 2023. And according to two of Trump’s advisors, “This momentum is just getting started.”

And that’s exactly what should worry Democrats. “In a funny kind of way,” former Speaker Newt Gingrich argued, this whole conviction may “backfire on the Left and leave them, I think, weaker than they were if they never [had] gone down this road.” He’s right, according to ABC, who found Trump’s favorability actually increased after the verdict. Across a large swath of the country, he pointed out, “I think people just looked up and said, ‘This is now so sick that I have to get involved.’”

Johnson, who’s been in 112 cities since last October, can testify to that. In his conversation with Perkins, he pointed to one of the biggest signs of momentum for Trump, which is the “enthusiasm gap” between conservatives and the Left. “The Republican Party is animated. And the more … the Democrats try to abuse our justice system and engage in lawfare against our nominee, President Trump, the more energy and enthusiasm there is in the Republican base. It actually is [boomeranging] on them pretty fantastically.”

Then, of course, there are all the actual problems from the last three years of Biden’s policies — “the economy, the cost of living, the rising of crime rates, the open border” — each failure digging the hole deeper for this White House. “I mean, every issue hits home to people,” the speaker insisted. “And I think that the Republicans and an increasing number of other demographics that have never been reliably Republican — [the] Hispanic community, African American community, the Jewish community — I think they’re going to come out and vote in droves for the Republican side, and they’re going to return the levers of power in Washington back to our side, because they desperately need and deserve answers to all these great challenges, and we’re going to supply them.”

In the meantime, Johnson is celebrating the news that Republicans have reinforcements in the form of Vince Fong, who’s taking Kevin McCarthy’s seat from California. “He will bring our Republican majority back to 218 votes. So I will double my majority,” he half-joked. “I can’t wait.”

It will certainly be helpful to the GOP, which has its work cut out for itself in the six-month ramp-up to the election. “When we get back after Memorial Day,” Johnson wanted people to know, “we’re going to address this [anti-Israel] International Criminal Court madness that we talked about. Congress will move on our legislation, and then we’ll shift immediately into and concurrently be working on our appropriations cycle. We’re trying to get our 12 separate appropriations bills done. We have a very aggressive schedule now through the end of July to move that through the process. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of work,” he underscored.

But jumping back into the work of the American people will also help Johnson’s party paint a stark contrast to what the Left is focused on: jailing Trump. “I mean, as fed-up as everyone is with virtually everything right now, every metric of public policy having been destroyed by the Biden administration, people are very optimistic that we can turn this around. They really are. And that’s what the latest polling shows.” The only election ad Democrats are running is a “raw abuse of power.”

As far as the speaker is concerned, the president’s party “pushed the pendulum too far. I think it truly is going to be swinging back in the right direction. … I’m telling you,” Johnson emphasized, “something’s happening out there, and it’s going to be very positive for November.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘We’re a Nation in Decline’: Jury Convicts Trump in N.Y. Trial

After having spent over a month on trial in a Manhattan courtroom and off the campaign trail, former President Donald Trump was convicted Thursday evening on 34 felony counts in what has been described as a Soviet-style political prosecution.

Trump was indicted last year on charges alleging that he had falsified business records in order to use his personal money to pay for a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Ordinarily, falsifying business records is classified as a misdemeanor under New York law; if committed in order to cover up or assist in the commission of another crime, it is elevated to a “Class E” felony. Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg claimed the NDA was a means of unlawfully influencing the 2016 election, thus elevating the charges to a felony and extending the statute of limitations, despite the fact that Trump has not been convicted of unlawfully influencing the 2016 election. This was only one of four sets of indictments levelled against Trump by Democratic prosecutors over the course of 2023.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York had previously investigated the allegations against Trump and determined that there was not evidence to suggest that Trump understood campaign finance laws or intentionally violated them. No charges were brought against the then-president.

The trial was presided over by Judge Juan Merchan, who had donated to the Biden campaign in 2020 and whose daughter is a political consultant to Democratic candidates and politicians, including Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. Merchan held Trump in criminal contempt and imposed gag orders upon the former president over the course of the trial. When Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche urged the jury to consider whether there is enough evidence to “send someone to prison,” he was reprimanded by Merchan.

As the trial concluded, Merchan delivered at least an hour’s worth of instructions to the jury, which jurors had to request to hear a second time during deliberations due to the length. The judge reminded jurors that, in order to convict, they must unanimously agree that Trump either falsified business records or caused someone else to do so in order to cover up or facilitate a crime, although he told jurors that they did not need to agree on what that crime was or whether Trump was covering it up or facilitating it. At the end of the second day of deliberations, Thursday, the jury convicted Trump on all 34 felony charges.

Conservatives reacted to the news within minutes of the conviction. “This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump himself stated. “This was a rigged, disgraceful trial. The real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people. And they know what happened here. And everybody knows what happened here.” He continued:

“And it’s okay, I’m fighting for our country. I’m fighting for our Constitution. Our whole country is being rigged right now. This was done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt an opponent, a political opponent. And I think it’s just a disgrace. And we’ll keep fighting. We’ll fight till the end, and we’ll win because our country has gone to hell. We don’t have the same country anymore. We have a divided mess. We’re a nation in decline, serious decline, millions and millions of people pouring into our country right now from prisons and from mental institutions, terrorists, and they’re taking over our country. We have a country that’s in big trouble. But this was a rigged decision right from day one, with a conflicted judge who should have never been allowed to try this case. Never. And we will fight for our Constitution. This is long from over. Thank you very much.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins commented, “Our Republic only thrives when justice is blind, it dies when justice is blinded by politics and power. This is a sad day for our Republic.” In an interview with Perkins, Trump ally and renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson called the conviction the result of a “kangaroos court.” He added, “I think the vast majority of people … understand that if we go down this road, we’re done as a fair country. And I think that people will respond appropriately.”

Florida Governor and former U.S. Navy lawyer Ron DeSantis (R) said that the verdict “represents the culmination of a legal process that has been bent to the political will of the actors involved: a leftist prosecutor, a partisan judge and a jury reflective of one of the most liberal enclaves in America — all in an effort to ‘get’ Donald Trump.” He continued, “It is often said that no one is above the law, but it is also true that no one is below the law. If the defendant were not Donald Trump, this case would never have been brought, the judge would have never issued similar rulings, and the jury would have never returned a guilty verdict.” DeSantis concluded, “In America, the rule of law should be applied in a dispassionate, even-handed manner, not become captive to the political agenda of some kangaroo court.”

“The weaponization of our justice system has been a hallmark of the Biden Administration, and the decision today is further evidence that Democrats will stop at nothing to silence dissent and crush their political opponents,” House Speaker and constitutional lawyer Mike Johnson (R-La.) posted on social media. “The American people see this as lawfare, and they know it is wrong—and dangerous. President Trump will rightfully appeal this absurd verdict — and he WILL WIN!” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former Solicitor General for the state of Texas, called the trial and its conclusion “a grotesque abuse of the justice system,” adding that Merchan’s handling of the trial “diminished the credibility of every judge in the country.”

President Joe Biden, however, celebrated the political prosecution of his opponent. “In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law,” his campaign said in a statement. “[T]oday’s verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality. There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box.”

But Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., previously a lifelong Democrat, warned, “This will backfire in November. Even worse, it is profoundly undemocratic.” He continued, “America deserves a President who can win at the ballot box without compromising our government’s separation of powers or weaponizing the courts. You can’t save democracy by destroying it first. The Democrats are afraid they will lose in the voting booth, so instead they go after President Trump in the courtroom.” Kennedy added, “The Democratic Party’s strategy is to beat President Trump in the courtroom rather than the ballot box.”

Kennedy’s prediction seems to be accurate so far. Shortly after the verdict, donations to Trump’s presidential campaign began pouring in, reportedly resulting in his campaign’s donations website crashing. One of those who donated to Trump was Shaun Maguire, a Sequoia Capital partner and longtime Democrat. “I just donated $300k to Trump. I’m prepared to lose friends,” Maguire wrote on social media. He noted that he had voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and did not vote in 2020, adding, “Now, in 2024, I believe this is one of the most important elections of my lifetime, and I’m supporting Trump.” The venture capitalist described the “lawfare” campaign Democrats have waged against Trump as “radicalizing,” explaining, “Fairness is one of my guiding principles in life and simply, these cases haven’t been fair for Trump.”

Polling also shows that the Democrats’ “lawfare” campaign against Trump isn’t bolstering blue votes. According to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, 55% of American voters believe the prosecutions against Trump — including the now-concluded New York trial — are evidence that “Democrats are engaged in using the legal system in biased ways to take out a political opponent.” Additionally, 60% of voters believe that Trump will be judged unfairly because his trials are centered in “heavily Democratic jurisdictions like New York City or Atlanta, Georgia…” Trump would also beat Biden 49% to 43%, with 8% unsure who to vote for, according to the poll. When “unsure” voters are asked who they lean towards, Trump beats Biden 53% to 47%.

A March survey from McLaughlin and Associates concluded that almost 70% of Americans agree that the indictments and prosecutions against Trump are politically motivated, with nearly 60% of voters (including over a third of Democrats) saying that Biden has played a role in targeting Trump. Additionally, nearly 60% of voters (including a third of Democrats) said that they believe that “Joe Biden wants to stop President Trump from winning the election by putting him in jail…”

Following Thursday’s conviction, Trump is slated to be sentenced on July 11 — just four days before delegates will gather at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they are expected to cast their votes for Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. The former president could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison. Trump’s legal team intends to appeal the conviction.


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

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