SHADOW Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said that Westminster will be forced to step in to prevent Theresa May from running down the clock before the Brexit date.
Gay Republican group endorses Trump in reversal from 2016
The Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest collective of LGBTQ conservatives, has officially endorsed the re-election of President Donald Trump — after its board of directors voted against endorsing him in 2016 — stating that Trump has advanced LGBTQ rights and helped the GOP move past “culture wars” during his tenure.
In a Washington Post Op-Ed published on Thursday evening, Robert Kabel, chairman of the group, and Jill Homan, its vice president, wrote that “for LGBTQ Republicans, watching the 2016 GOP convention before Donald Trump was like a dream fulfilled” and marked the beginning of Trump removing gay rights “as a wedge issue from the old Republican handbook” and “taking bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community.”
The group, which announced new board leadership in March, cites Trump’s commitment to end HIV/AIDS in 10 years, which was met both was cautious optimism and flat-out skepticism, and his work with Richard Grenell, the openly gay U.S. ambassador to Germany, to encourage other nations to end the criminalization of homosexuality, as examples of his dedication to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
It also states that other Trump policies, which were not specifically delineated as LGBTQ policies, such as his tax cuts, trade deals and “hard line on foreign policy,” have benefited gay Americans.
Though the Log Cabin Republicans are lending their support to Trump, the group said that it does not agree with all of his and his administrations’ actions, including the so-called transgender military ban.
“We are committed to letting all qualified Americans serve in the military,” the Log Cabin Republicans wrote. “We oppose the transgender service restriction and will continue to press the administration to reconsider.”
The Log Cabin Republicans endorsement of Trump comes as it marks a reversal from its 2016 stance.
The former president of the Log Cabin Republicans, Gregory T. Angelo, has been critical of policies enacted under Trump in the past. Three years ago, he issued a statement against Trump’s election platform, which he called “the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history.”
“Opposition to marriage equality, nonsense about bathrooms, an endorsement of the debunked psychological practice of ‘pray the gay away’ — it’s all in there,” he wrote at the time. “This isn’t my GOP, and I know it’s not yours either.”
Yet, Angelo appears to have had a change of heart, writing on Twitter Thursday night that the Log Cabin Republicans’ endorsement of Trump should have come in 2016.
Not all members of the Log Cabin Republicans agree with the group’s assessment of Trump’s track record on LGBTQ issues.
Jordan Evans, who became the only openly transgender Republican elected official after she was elected the Town Constable of Charlton, Massachusetts, in 2017, said she was “extremely upset” by the group’s endorsement.
“I’m awestruck that they would endorse Trump, given his track record that’s been nothing but detrimental to the LGBTQ community,” Evans said. “Especially because we have another Republican candidate — Bill Weld — so to not even give him a chance or to wait to make an endorsement until after the RNC convention is unexplainable.”
Evans added that the group’s endorsement was indicative of the “greater disconnect” between Republicans and LGBTQ individuals and that it would make it harder for the Log Cabin Republicans to collaborate with other queer groups who were already “weary” to work with them.
“We keep falling back on the queer issues of yesterday, but we need to approach this new horizon, which includes fighting for public accommodations and transgender rights,” Evans said. “We should be focusing on how we can have an effective voice, not going backwards.”
A number of gay Democrats have also disavowed the endorsement.
“Hey @LogCabinGOP, that endorsement seems even more #%** stupid today…,” Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, wrote on Twitter.
“You’re an embarrassment. And a sympathizer for a racist, queerphobic regime,” Jonathan D. Lovitz, senior vice president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, wrote in response to a tweet from Richard Walters, the chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, sharing news of the endorsement. “History will always remember where people like you and the @LogCabinGOP stood.”
In addition to the president’s contentious transgender military policy, which bars transgender personnel from serving openly and denies them access to gender-affirming medical care, the Health and Human Services Department proposed a new rule in May suggesting that federal laws banning sex discrimination in health care don’t apply to patients’ “gender identity.”
United States citizenship has also been denied to some children of LGBTQ couples, and just this week, the Trump administration unveiled a proposed rule that would greatly expand the exemption that allows religious entities to ignore anti-discrimination laws by broadening the definition to include federal contractors that declare themselves to be religious — a rule that LGBTQ advocates have decried as a license to discriminate.
While the Log Cabin Republicans are a significant endorsement for Trump, LGBTQ voters are a reliable part of the Democratic base, according to exit polls. In the 2018 midterm elections, over 80 percent of LGBTQ people said they voted for the Democrat in their local federal election, while just 17 percent voted for the Republican. And in 2016, 78 percent of LGBTQ voters said they voted for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, while just 14 percent reported supporting Donald Trump.
Trump calls supporter whose weight he mocked after mistaking him for a protester
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump called a supporter from Air Force One on Thursday night after mistakenly identifying him as a protester during a campaign rally and mocking him from the stage.
“That guy’s got a serious weight problem,” Trump said earlier that night in New Hampshire, as security officers confronted a group of protesters seated in the stands behind the president’s podium. “Go home. Start exercising. Get him out of here, please,” he added.
“Got a bigger problem than I do,” Trump added, making a self-deprecating joke about his own weight struggles.
The president appeared to have mistaken Frank Dawson, a retired law enforcement officer, for a protester, as Dawson got mixed in the shuffle while trying to break up the protestors’ disruption.
In an interview after the rally with Fox News’ Griff Jenkins, Dawson said he did not hold the president’s mockery against him, characterizing it as a misunderstanding and laughing about the incident.
“He didn’t see me rip the signs away from those three people sitting near us,” Dawson said, wearing a navy blue “Trump 2020” T-shirt. “They were trying to cause a ruckus and they jumped up and started yelling.”
Trump called him from Air Force One Thursday night after the rally and left a voicemail, according to a senior administration official.
A man who answered the phone at Dawson’s home and identified himself as the Trump supporter said he had not seen the president’s call on his phone until he got home because of poor cell service at the venue.
He said the voicemail had not been an apology. “[Trump] did not apologize to me, nothing to apologize for,” he said. “He thanked me for his support. It was a ‘thank you,’ he did not apologize to me.”
“I owe [Trump] depth of gratitude because he called me,” he added. “I was honored to be called…. He’s a stand-up guy.”
Asked for his reaction to the president’s apparent commentary on his weight, Dawson brushed it off. “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me. … I really don’t care.”
Sally Bronston and Kristen Welker contributed.
AG Barr’s Justice Department has whole lotta love for Led Zeppelin
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is coming to the defense of Led Zeppelin in a copyright dispute over the opening passage from one of rock’s best-known anthems, “Stairway to Heaven,” a melody and chord sequence that nearly every aspiring guitarist tries to master.
The Justice Department filed a friend of court brief late Thursday supporting Led Zeppelin against a claim that it stole the musical passage from an earlier recording, “Taurus” by Spirit. The legal battle of the bands has played out in federal courts in California for the past five years.
Trustees for the songwriter of “Taurus,” Randy Wolfe — who called himself Randy California and has since died — accuse Led Zeppelin of violating his copyright by appropriating the “distinct plucked guitar line and melody.” The case went to a jury, which ruled for Led Zeppelin in 2016.
At the trial, the jury heard from a member of Spirit, Led Zeppelin musicians Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and musical experts — but jurors never heard the actual recording of either song in court. The judge ruled that because “Taurus” was written in 1967, it fell under an older version of federal copyright law, which protected only the sheet music for the song, not the sound recording.
A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the case sent back for another trial, ruling that the jury should have heard the recordings to demonstrate that Led Zeppelin had access to “Taurus.” But in June, the full Ninth Circuit said it would hear the appeal again.
In its brief filed Thursday, the Justice Department said the trial judge got it right when he ruled that the only work subject to copyright protection was the sheet music, because the song was written before Congress changed the law in 1972, which gave protection to sound recordings.
The similar-sounding qualities of the two passages, consisting of an A-minor chord and descending bass line in a chromatic scale, deserve protection only if they are virtually identical, the government said. And under that test, the brief said, Led Zeppelin should prevail.
A victory for Spirit would re-write a chapter of music history, involving bragging rights to one of rock’s most famous guitar passages. “Stairway to Heaven” is number 31 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
The appeals court will hear the case in September.
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