April 10, 2017: Fire Kushner, Keep Bannon | Aiming for Christians | TrumpBot
1. Fire Kushner and Keep Bannon
By now, it’s clear that Trump’s “America First” alt-right base and media supporters were not happy with his strike on Syria last week. As anger coalesced over the weekend, the focus of the alt-right ire fell particularly hard on Trump’s son-in-law and key advisor, Jared Kushner. Kushner is Jewish and many of the attacks use the word “globalist,” which is sometimes but not always a code word for Jew. There has also been a related movement on social media to rally around Steve Bannon #KeepBannon.
Trump did get back-up from some America Firsters, including Rush Limbaugh, who was busy trying to reassure the troops not to panic. He made essentially two arguments for the attack:
- It puts to rest the notion that Trump is colluding with Russia. “Now, if you are thinking this is not the stuff we heard from Trump during the campaign, you’d be right. I mean, there’s no arguing that. Tillerson is still scheduled to go to Moscow next week. If the attack had not happened, then I guarantee you the story today would be that Tillerson going to Moscow would be used as further evidence of a collusion between Trump and the Russians. But now that’s kind of kind of been blown to smithereens, hasn’t it?”
- It will make Trump look like a tough guy whom other world leaders will be afraid to mess with. Russians are saying, “ ‘Ah, ah, don’t blame us. We can’t get this guy to do everything we want.’ They are putting distance between themselves and Assad. I mean, this is a huge backpedal on the part of the Russians. And I’m just telling you this, folks. We would have never seen this during the Obama days. We would have never seen any foreign government backpedaling. (sigh) This is the one thing that is just a stark difference to me. During the Obama presidency, there is no way Putin would have acted frightened or deferential.”
National Review, in the traditionalist camp, was also positive and agreed that bombing Syria made Trump suddenly look, well, presidential…
“Donald Trump’s many detractors tend to forget something important: The power of his office is such that simply by deploying the military might of the United States, he can change the national conversation in an instant. By ordering a missile strike on the Syrian airfield from which the Assad government — and, perhaps, its Russian enablers — attacked civilians with chemical weapons, Trump did just that.
It isn’t clear yet whether this is the beginning of a more muscular, sensible approach to foreign policy in general and to Syria, Russia, and Iran in particular. But what we do know is that Trump has just demonstrated a capacity to rethink his previously held positions and to act decisively in response to an outrageous crime — in other words, the capacity to act like a commander-in-chief. This is something few of his critics thought he possessed.”
Although her husband, Jared, took the brunt of the blame, Ivanka Trump was a target of the fury as well. She was portrayed as a spoiled princess who made her father bomb Syria because she was upset over a few pictures. Like the slang word “cuck,” used on the Alt-Right to describe establishment Republicans, “Thot,” we noticed, is emerging as the insulting term of the moment. It is used to mean whore and now might also just mean spoiled rich bitch. It is increasingly seen in the Twittersphere as invective against Ivanka. These tweeters have small followings but we’ll give you a sense of their tone:
From Baron Alkalar @BaronAlkalar:
#FireKushner— Baron Alkalar (@BaronAlkalar) April 7, 2017
Hey Trump, grow a pair and STOP FOLLOWING THOT ORDERS! We did not vote for Ivanka or her snake of husband (((Kushner))).
And Spicy Anglo @BenThe175PitBul:
2. Terror Attacks: What About the Christians?
Fear of ISIS as a clear and present danger and Radical Islam’s hatred of Christianity frequently appear as themes in conservative communications. They appeared again this weekend as the lens through which the Red Media interpreted terrorists attacks in Stockholm and Egypt after the Syrian bombing.
“ISIS Clearly Targeted Christians During Palm Sunday Mass,” announced LifeZette in its headline on a story about two bombings in Egypt on Sunday. “As the faithful were beginning the holiest week of the year, violent Islamic radicals left two Egyptian churches in ruins.”
What We Are Watching:
Some on the Alt-Right who opposed the attack in Syria wondered why U.S. military muscle wasn’t used in response to the Egypt church bombings:
Ann Coulter, with 1.46million followers, retweeted this from Based Monitored @BasedMonitored after Trump’s United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, held up pictures of gassed Syrians to make the administration's case to the international body:
3. TrumpBot Alert: How Rice Rumor Caught Fire
Since Trump’s election, many articles have explored the funding and mechanics of the alt-right media universe. Last week, BuzzFeed published this helpful explainer about a Twitter bot controlled by an anonymous account that specializes in making pro-Trump news and conspiracy theories go viral.
BuzzFeed’s piece used the allegations last week against Susan Rice, the former national security adviser, as a case study. The bot helped blow up the charges into a national issue that consumed cable news and social media for days. The alt-right’s narrative is that Rice “unmasked” Trump advisers who were incidentally caught up in wiretaps of shady foreign leaders. Buzzfeed wrote:
“MicroMagicJingleTM is the latest incarnation of MicroChip, a notorious pro-Trump Twitter ringleader once described by a Republican strategist as the "Trumpbot overlord.” He has been suspended from the service so frequently, he can’t recall the exact number of times. A voluminous tweeter, his specialty is making hashtags trend. Over the next 24 hours, following his own call to arms, MicroChip tweeted or retweeted more than 300 times about Rice, including everything from a photoshopped image of Donald Trump eating her head out of a taco bowl to demands that she die in jail, and almost always accompanied by the tag #SusanRice.
Meanwhile, in massive threaded tweets and DM groups, he implored others to do likewise. By 9 a.m. Monday, the tag was being tweeted nearly 20,000 times an hour, and was trending on Twitter; by 11 a.m., 34,000 an hour. (As of Tuesday morning, the tag was still trending, partially thanks to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr.) At 4:48 p.m. Monday, 18-odd hours after he started his campaign, MicroChip was ready to call it a success.
And By the Way:
We wrote previously that The Blaze asked the blond bomb-thrower Tomi Lahren to step down from her post as pundit at large after she made pro-choice comments on ABC’s “The View.” Well, on Friday, The Dallas News reported that Lahren was suing The Blaze founder, Glenn Beck.
“Lahren's suit alleges that the hubbub surrounding her comments was ‘a public smear campaign’ orchestrated to ‘inflate Beck's profile, from what has become a mediocre following, all at [Lahren's] expense.’ The suit also says that The Blaze won't allow Lahren access to her Facebook page, where she has 4.2 million followers, which has ‘irreparably harmed’.”
4. Tillerson vs. Haley vs. McMaster
The Right has been trying its best to make sense of the divide between Nikki Haley, UN Ambassador who advocated for regime change in Syria on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who argued on ABC’s “This Week” that such a move could make things worse.
HotAir, a conservative site that gets 5.4 million hits a month, according to Alexa, argued the rift was more tactical than substantive:
Maybe the way to bridge the gap between them on Assad is to focus on the fact that they’re both speaking pragmatically rather than on principle. Haley’s not saying the U.S. categorically refuses to accept Assad remaining in power because of his atrocities (I think); she’s saying that, as a practical matter, it’s impossible to believe that his enemies in Syria would agree to a peace deal at this point that leaves him in charge. Tillerson seems to find it more believable, or at least he wants to project that assumption in order to give Russia and Iran, Assad’s sponsors, more of a reason to come to the table. The disagreement between Haley and Tillerson may not be substantive so much as it is tactical.
Scott Greer @ScottMGreer, deputy editor and columnist of The Daily Caller, was less forgiving.
The White House needs to issue an official statement on regime change. Tillerson and Haley are giving two different agendas today— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) April 9, 2017
The Alt-Right, unhappy about the situation in Syria, sided with Tillerson and targeted Haley as the outlier. The white supremacist leader Richard Spencer @RichardBSpencer wrote:
This is a call for regime change. If Haley is contradicting policy, then Trump needs to fire her pronto. pic.twitter.com/poHfRb550z— Richard 🇸🇾 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) April 9, 2017
Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio was highly critical of Tillerson. He told George Stephanopoulos on “This Week”;
"What I'm telling you is I think the strategy he seems to be outlining is based on assumptions that aren't going to work. There is no such thing as Assad, yes, but ISIS, no. This focus that you can defeat ISIS as long as Assad is there is not true. They are two sides to the same coin. This idea that we can defeat ISIS and then figure it out, it won't work."
Then, later yesterday, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster came out with his own statement in an interview with Fox News. He said he supported removing Assad, but said the U.S. was "not going to be the ones who affect that change." He then addressed Haley and Tillerson’s differences:
"While people are really anxious to find inconsistencies in those statements, they are in fact very consistent in terms of what is the ultimate political objective in Syria. The resolution of the conflict will entail both of the elements that you're talking about."
Rather than point to incompetence, miscommunication, or growing divides in the party, one Twitter user and loyal Trump fan Boca Vista @bocavista2016 linked to an old news conference clip with Trump and tweeted:
5. Nostalgia Watch: A George Will Sighting
Bespectacled, often bow-tied, coiled tight to leap to high dudgeon at the slightest liberal indulgence, George Will once embodied conservatism on the television screen. His was a more cerebral brand, one that referenced literature, history, the constitution and the verities of the good sport of baseball.
Will seemed out of sync in the pugnacious Trump era. Last year, disgusted with the raucous upstart real estate developer and his following, he left the Republican party in a huff, rebirthing as an unaffiliated voter. We’ve seen less and less of Will on television. (Fox didn’t renew his contract.) We’ve often thought of him as the grumbling, ancient, mutton-chopped prig of an editor sent packing by Charles Foster Kane and his cohort of yellow journalists in a poignant scene in “Citizen Kane.”
We checked in on Will the other day-- he still writes for The Washington Post -- and found a column of his pegged to the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into World War I. No ode to the wise use of American power, the column instead spoke of the degradations of the war on the homefront -- the losers, the victims, the tightening of civil liberties, the propaganda, the political witchhunts, the suffering of African-Americans at the time.
Keep swinging, Mr. Will, keep swinging.