Defending Trump, Gen. Kelly Opens His Heart About Death of Soldier-Son –

WASHINGTON — In heart-felt remarks about his own loss, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a former general whose Marine son was killed in Afghanistan, said Thursday he was “stunned” by a Florida lawmaker’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s condolence call to a fallen soldier’s wife.

Kelly described himself as “broken-hearted” coming to work at the White House on Wednesday as he saw Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., on news networks disclosing the private details of Trump’s call to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was among four soldiers killed this month in Niger.

“The only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go walk among the finest men and women on this earth” — those buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Kelly said, adding he walked among the graves for an hour and a half.

Wilson’s comments, Kelly told reporters during the White House press briefing, violated one of the few “sacred” things the country had left — honoring those who have given their lives in service of the U.S.

Kelly strongly defended Trump, who touched off the controversy on Monday by falsely claiming President Barack Obama did not call the families of fallen soldiers.

Kelly called Trump “brave” for attempting to make the difficult condolence calls to families who have lost a loved one.

There is “no perfect way to make that phone call,” Kelly said, disclosing that when he became chief of staff he had advised Trump not to make condolence calls to the grieving families “because it’s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to.”

Kelly, recalling the meaningful calls he and his family received after his son died, said the most important calls are from those in the military who served with their children.

Trump asked Kelly how to make the calls, to which Kelly said he replied that if you have never worn the uniform and have never been in combat “you can’t even imagine how to make that call.”

Watch Kelly’s full remarks here:

Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room, Kelly disclosed what he was told when informed that his son, 1st Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, died when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, Kelly recalled of the person who informed him of his son’s death, said his son “was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that one percent (who serve the nation). He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. And when he died…he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends.”

Kelly added, “That’s what the president tried to say to the four families the other day.”

Kelly’s explanation gives additional context to Trump’s comments that were so harshly criticized by Wilson, who ripped the president for telling Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.”

A spokesperson for Wilson told NBC News after Kelly’s remarks that the congresswoman would not be making any further comment on the issue “because the focus should be on helping a grieving widow and family heal, not on her or Donald Trump.”

The president told reporters Tuesday to ask Kelly if President Barack Obama called him after his son was killed. Kelly confirmed Thursday that Obama did not call but the chief of staff made clear he did not intend any criticism of Obama and was only stating a fact.

While taking questions from reporters after his comments, Kelly said he would only call on reporters who personally knew Gold Star families.

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John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff whose son died in combat, defends president’s call to Gold Star widow – Washington Post

White House chief of staff John F. Kelly said Thursday that President Trump “bravely” called families of four fallen soldiers, lending his credibility as a retired four-star general and the experience of losing his son in battle in defense of a president accused of politicizing tragedy.

Kelly told reporters in the White House briefing room that he counseled Trump on what to say to families of those killed on the battlefield. He also said “it stuns me” that Democratic Rep. Frederica S. Wilson listened in on a call, which was heard on speakerphone, between Trump and the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger.

Kelly confirmed Trump’s claim that then President Barack Obama had not called his family when his son, 1st Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan seven years ago. But Kelly said he did not fault the former president for that choice. Kelly added that he had recommended to Trump that he not make such calls.

“I said to him, ‘Sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families,’” Kelly said.

Kelly’s voice grew thin at points during an extraordinary and emotional briefing called as questions about Trump’s handling of the Niger deaths and other military losses swamped the White House this week.

[Sgt. La David Johnson, the slain soldier ensnared in a Trump controversy]

Kelly took the podium from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about two minutes into the daily briefing, and the room of reporters fell silent. He spoke for about 18 minutes, answering a few questions before departing, and ignoring others that were shouted at him as he left.

Kelly did not bring up — nor was he asked — how he felt about Trump thrusting his son’s death into the political debate this week.

Trump had been asked Monday about his uncharacteristic silence following the deaths of four Special Forces soldiers on Oct. 4. Trump responded, in part, by saying that Obama and other predecessors had not called each family as he claimed he does. Trump invoked Kelly on Tuesday, saying “you could ask Gen. Kelly” whether Obama had called him when Robert died.

Kelly, one of several former military men Trump has brought into his administration, angrily called the actions of Wilson “selfish” and shocking.

The congresswoman spoke “in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise,” Kelly said.

Wilson, a family friend of the fallen soldier, had criticized Trump’s tone and choice of words in a call he made Tuesday to widow Myeshia Johnson.

In media interviews and on Twitter, Wilson said the president had been callous in telling Myeshia Johnson that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”

Trump denied saying that, and accused the lawmaker of trying to score political points.

Kelly, who was listening in on the call, did not dispute or directly address the substance of Trump’s remarks to Johnson, but said the president had done a hard job well.

“He elected to make phone calls in the case of four young men who were lost in Niger. … Then he said, ‘How do you make these calls? If you’re not in the family, if you’ve never worn a uniform, you’ve been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call. But he very bravely does make those calls.”

Trump had said Wednesday that the lawmaker’s account was “totally fabricated.”

“John Kelly’s trying to keep his job,” Wilson told Politico on Thursday. “He will say anything. There were other people who heard what I heard.”

Kelly, who became the highest-ranking military official to lose a child in Iraq or Afghanistan, watched both his sons follow him into the Marine Corps. When Robert died after stepping on a land mine in southern Afghanistan in 2010, Kelly and his sons had participated in 11 combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Kelly noted Thursday that his surviving son is currently serving in Iraq. He has been private about Robert’s death, even though both his and his sons’ military service clearly informs his thinking on White House foreign policy and national security decisions, several White House officials said.

“In my case, hours after my son was killed, his friends were calling us from Afghanistan, telling us what a great guy he was. Those are the only phones calls that really matter,” Kelly said.

“If you elect to call a family like this — and it’s about the most difficult thing you could imagine — there’s no perfect way to make that phone call.”

Kelly began his remarks with a stark and meticulous explanation of what happens to fallen military personnel overseas.

“Their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud, puts them on a helicopter as a routine and sends them home,” he said. Their first stop along the way is when they’re packed in ice, typically at the airhead, and then they’re flown to,usually, Europe, where they’re then packed in ice again and flown to Dover Air Force Base.”

“Where Dover takes care of the remains, embalms them, meticulously dresses them in their uniform with the — with the medals that they’ve earned, the emblems of their service, and then puts them on another airplane linked up with a casualty officer escort that takes them home,” he said.

He also walked through the process of what happens when “a casualty officer” visits the home of a fallen soldier..

“The casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member and stays with that family until — well, for a long, long time,” Kelly said. “Even after the internment. So that’s what happens. Who are these young men and women? They are the best one percent this country produces.”

Kelly said he had taken a 90-mionute walk among the graves at Arlington National Cemetery to clear his head Wednesday morning, when Wilson’s claims and Trump’s rebuttal dominated news coverage.

Kelly said little about the circumstances of the soldiers’ deaths in Niger, an African nation fighting an Islamist insurgency.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, asked Thursday at the Pentagon if he was angry that Gold Star families have been dragged into a political dispute, kept his response succinct.

“We honor our fallen in America, and that’s all I’ll say.”

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Kelly Speaks About Son’s Death and Criticizes Congresswoman Wilson – New York Times

WASHINGTON — John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, delivered an emotional, personal defense of President Trump’s call this week to the widow of a slain soldier, describing the trauma of learning about his son’s death in Afghanistan and calling the criticism of Mr. Trump’s call unfair.

Mr. Kelly said that he was stunned to see the criticism, which came from a Democratic congresswoman, Representative Frederica S. Wilson of Florida, after Mr. Trump delivered a similar message to the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger. He said afterward that he had to collect his thoughts by going to Arlington National Cemetery for more than an hour.

In a remarkable, somber appearance in the White House briefing room, Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general whose son Second Lt. Robert Kelly was slain in battle in 2010, said he had told the president what he was told when he got the news.

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“He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed,” Mr. Kelly recalled. “He knew what he was getting into by joining that one percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we were at war.”

“I was stunned when I came to work yesterday, and brokenhearted, when I saw what a member of Congress was doing,” he said. “What she was saying, what she was doing on TV. The only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go walk among the finest men or women on this earth.”

Mr. Kelly, who had long guarded his personal story of loss even as he served as a high-profile public official, broke that silence in dramatic fashion on Thursday. With no advance notice to reporters, Mr. Kelly offered poignant criticism of the news media and the broader society for failing to properly respect the fallen.

The appearance came after Mr. Trump and the White House were consumed by criticism after the president’s actions this week — first appearing to criticize former presidents for failing to call the families of fallen service members and later for the words Mr. Trump chose to use in speaking with the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson.

Mr. Kelly defended Mr. Trump by offering a detailed, even excruciating description of what happens to those killed in combat, including how the remains are packed in ice for the flights back to the United States. He testified to the deep pain that parents feel when they get an early-morning knock on the door from an official there to tell them that their son or daughter has been killed in action.

“The casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member,” Mr. Kelly said, his eyes reddening as he spoke.

He said that presidents often are not among those who call family members directly, and he confirmed what Mr. Trump had alluded to publicly this week: that former President Barack Obama had not called him after Lieutenant Kelly was killed.

“That was not a criticism, that was simply to say I don’t believe President Obama called,” Mr. Kelly said, adding that President George W. Bush and other presidents did not always make personal phone calls to family members. He said Lieutenant Kelly’s friends in Afghanistan called him in the hours after his son died.

“Those were the only phone calls that really matter,” Mr. Kelly said. “Yeah, the letters count to a degree. But there’s not much that can take the edge off.”

The controversy over Mr. Trump’s remarks began even before he made the calls to the families, when former Obama administration officials took offense at the suggestion that Mr. Obama had not done as much as Mr. Trump to pay honor to the fallen.

Mr. Kelly said that Mr. Trump did not intend that to be a criticism of his predecessor, but rather was repeating what Mr. Kelly had briefed him on before he got the question at an impromptu news conference on Monday in the Rose Garden.

Mr. Kelly expressed frustration and even anger at the fact that the conversation between Mr. Trump and Sergeant Johnson’s widow was exposed to the world by Ms. Wilson, a friend of the family, who was in the car with the family when the president’s call came in.

“I thought at least that was sacred,” Mr. Kelly said, expressing dismay at other aspects of society that were no longer sacred, including women, religion and Gold Star families.

Ms. Wilson had publicized her criticism of Mr. Trump’s call, saying that the president had told Sergeant Johnson’s widow that he “knew what he signed up for,” and that the family was offended by Mr. Trump’s words.

Mr. Kelly said that Mr. Trump had tried, in the call, to express what Mr. Kelly had talked to him about ahead of time — that people like her husband were doing what they loved, and what they had chosen to do, when they were killed serving the country.

“That’s what the president tried to say to four families,” Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Kelly said that he was so upset on Wednesday that he went to the cemetery to walk among the service members who had died fighting for the country.

“Some of them,” he said, “I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.”

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Sure, There’s A Health Care Deal. That Doesn’t Mean It Can Pass – NPR

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, talks to reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

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Carolyn Kaster/AP

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

A bipartisan coalition of 24 senators — 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats — has signed on to health care legislation to prop up the individual insurance market and keep premiums down. With the expected support of all Senate Democrats, it could have the votes to pass the chamber. But questions remain over when it might actually get a vote, as well as whether President Trump and House Republicans would bring the bill over the finish line.

“This is a first step: Improve it, and pass it sooner rather than later. Our purpose is to stabilize and then lower the cost of premiums in the individual insurance market for the year 2018 and 2019,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on the Senate floor. Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., crafted the compromise bill.

Alexander and Murray have been working on this legislation for months. Negotiations initially began after the Senate failed to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare back in July.

Most Americans get health insurance through their employer or from the government. About 18 million Americans get their insurance through the individual market established by the Affordable Care Act. “They’re the ones we’re worried about; they’re the ones we’re seeking to help,” Alexander said, noting that includes about 350,000 people in his home state.

“I have to say that after seven years of intense partisanship on these issues, which would lead everyone to believe there was no hope for Republicans and Democrats to come together and work to strengthen our health care, I’m really pleased with this common ground we’ve been able to find,” Murray said on the Senate floor.

President Trump’s decision last week to end subsidies to insurance companies that were allowed under the ACA revived congressional talks. The Trump administration argued — and initial court rulings backed it up — that the payments were illegal because they had not been appropriated by Congress, which has the constitutional authority to spend the government’s money. Although the 2010 health care law required insurers to provide discounts to some low-income consumers and said the government would reimburse them, without authorizing the spending.

The Alexander-Murray proposal would appropriate those subsidies for two years, and tie them to permanent changes to the law that give states more flexibility to seek waivers from the Health and Human Services Department from the ACA’s requirements. It would also allow insurances companies to sell less comprehensive plans to all customers, not just those under age 29 as is the case under current law.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that without the subsidies, premiums will go up, the deficit will rise and up to 16 million Americans could live in counties with no insurance providers at all.

“Unless they are replaced with something else temporarily, there will be chaos in this country and millions of Americans will be hurt,” Alexander warned.

Alexander said Trump has been privately encouraging of the talks, but the president cast doubts on the legislation this week by suggesting it was a “bailout” for insurance companies that he could not support. However, the bill’s sponsors counter that the legislation requires that the subsidies go directly to the consumer to keep premiums down.

The bipartisan bill has potentially critical GOP support from Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona. The trio played a defining role in the defeat of previous GOP health care bills this year. It also has the backing of Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who have competing legislation to dismantle the ACA and replace it with a block grant system to the states.

GOP backers say the bill does not pre-empt the party’s ongoing effort to end Obamacare but rather buys time to keep working on legislation that can muster enough support to pass Congress. Conservatives have balked at Alexander-Murray as a tacit admission that Obamacare will remain the law of the land. House Speaker Paul Ryan said through a spokesman Wednesday that the speaker believes the Senate should remain focused on legislation to end Obamacare, not prop it up.

The proposal puts the GOP in a bind between the policy necessity to act to protect millions of Americans from premium hikes and the political necessity to continue to keep up its effort to dismantle the current system. An August poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 60 percent of Americans think Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for what happens to the ACA in the future.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not taken a position on the bill, but he is unlikely to bring something to the floor unless it has Trump’s support and the 60 votes needed to clear a potential filibuster, which it should if all 48 Senate Democrats support it along with the 12 Republicans who have signed on. The legislation crowds an already limited legislative calendar. It would need to become law before the end of the year when Congress needs to pass a spending bill package to keep the government running. That spending bill would be the vehicle to fund the insurance subsidies.

Along with Alexander, Collins, Murkowski, McCain, Graham and Cassidy, the additional GOP co-sponsors include Sens. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

The Democratic co-sponsors joining Murray include Sens. Angus King, independent of Maine, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Tom Carper of Delaware, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

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Today in Conservative Media: Trump’s Gold Star Comments Might Be the Stupidest Controversy Yet – Slate Magazine (blog)

Trump outside the White House on Tuesday.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images


A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

Conservatives surveyed the controversy over whether President Trump told the widow of a soldier killed earlier this month in Niger that he “knew what he signed up for.” National Review’s Rich Lowry called the matter—which came out of Trump’s claim Monday that Obama and other presidents hadn’t called the families of fallen soldiers—perhaps the “stupidest and most unworthy controversy of the year.” “[T]rump’s “knew what he signed up for” statement seems horrible in isolation, but it’s hard to know what to make of it except in context and listening to the conservation,” he wrote. “Now, Trump is engaged in a fight over what he really said. Is it too much to ask that everyone back off this one and not to add to anyone’s distress and leave condolence calls — if nothing else — out of our poisonous political debate?”

Michelle Malkin joined Trump in accusing Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson, who first disclosed Trump’s remarks, of lying. Wilson’s story has been corroborated by the soldier’s mother.

I call bullshit. This is hearsay, uncorroborated, and out of context pot-stirring by Dem partisans riding the impeachment bandwagon–and recycled by lemmings masquerading as journalists.#fakenews

— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 18, 2017


At the Resurgent, Erick Erickson warned against rushing to judgement:

I would like to hear the full quote and context before rolling my eyes and saying something not nice about the President.

We live in an age where the false tweet gets 10,000 retweets and the correction gets 100. No one cares about facts, just resistance fan fiction. If it sounds true and makes the President look bad, it is, whether or not it happened.

I think I will wait.


RedState’s Andrea Ruth took on the late-breaking revelation that Trump promised $25,000 to a Gold Star family that was never delivered over the summer. After the Washington Post reported the incident, the White House claimed the check had been sent. “This is reminiscent of the fundraiser Trump held when he acted like a spoiled brat and skipped a Republican debate,” Ruth wrote. “All the monies raised from the event were promised to helping veterans organizations. But until the media shamed Trump after he won the election, the funds stayed in his accounts. I have no hope Donald Trump will learn any lesson from the latest news cycle over his call to LA David Johnson’s widow, but hopefully, he’ll learn not to make promises he doesn’t intend to keep to grieving Gold Star families.”

In other news:

Conservatives continued to weigh in on the national conversation over sexual harassment and assault in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Ann Coulter accused four reporters at the New York Post of sidelining or downplaying details of the Ambra Battilana Gutierrez assault case in multiple articles:

Tina Brown explained exactly how Weinstein controlled reporters: “If there was any stirring of a negative story, Harvey would offer them a book contract, a development deal, a consultancy, and they used to succumb. Journalists are often short of money, and they were also very star-struck with the world that Harvey offered, which was movies and Hollywood.”

So what DID the bitter gossip girls get? Did Mara Siegler, Jamie Schram, Danika Fears or Maria Wiesner end up with phony “consultancies,” “book contracts” or “movie options” with Weinstein’s companies? (Paging the IRS!)

The only other explanation is that the Weinstein-compliant scandal sheets illustrate the oldest primal urge, one even more basic than the compulsion that drove Weinstein: Ugly girls taking their revenge on pretty girls.

Michelle Malkin—who has been behind a campaign defending Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma City police officer convicted of rape and assault in 2015—wrote about the #MeToo campaign and false rape accusations in National Review:

It’s one thing to break down cultural stigmas constructively, but the #MeToo movement is collectivist virtue-signaling of a very perilous sort. The New York Times heralded the phenomenon with multiple articles “to show how commonplace sexual assault and harassment are.” The Washington Post credited #MeToo with making “the scale of sexual abuse go viral.” And actress Emily Ratajkowski declared at a Marie Claire magazine women’s conference on Monday: “The most important response to #metoo is ‘I believe you.’ ”

No. I do not believe every woman who is now standing up to “share her story” or “tell her truth.” I owe no blind allegiance to any other woman simply because we share the same pronoun. Assertions are not truths until they are established as facts and corroborated with evidence. Timing, context, motives, and manner all matter.

The Federalist’s Bre Payton responded to a Medium post listing ways men can support women. “Instead of telling men to act like women, we should be telling them to act like men and accept the responsibilities and expectations that have historically come with that privilege,” Payton wrote. “The women of The Federalist have compiled our own list of ways men can actually support women.” Items on the list included lifting heavy objects, marrying women, killing spiders, apologizing for being wrong, and grilling meat.

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George W. Bush’s anti-Trump manifesto, annotated – Washington Post

Former president George W. Bush spoke on Oct. 19 at a forum for the George W. Bush Institute in New York. (The Bush Center)

George W. Bush delivered an unexpected and rather eloquent speech against Trumpism and its offshoots on Thursday at a George W. Bush Institute event in New York. It marked the first time the former president seemed to weigh in at length on what has happened during Trump’s brief tenure. And while a lot of the blows weren’t totally direct, the target of the speech became clearer as it went on.

Below is the whole transcript, with our annotations. To see an annotation, click on the yellow, highlighted text.

Thank you all. Thank you. Ok, Padilla gracias. So, I painted Ramon. I wish you were still standing here. It’s a face only a mother could love – no, it’s a fabulous face. I love you Ramon, thank you very much for being here.

And, Grace Jo thank you for your testimony. And, big Tim. I got to know Tim as a result of Presidential Leadership Scholars at the Bush Center along with the Clinton Foundation, with help from 41 and LBJ’s libraries.

I am thrilled that friends of ours from Afghanistan, China, North Korea, and Venezuela are here as well. These are people who have experienced the absence of freedom and they know what it’s like and they know there is a better alternative to tyranny.

Laura and I are thrilled that the Bush Center supporters are here. Bernie [Tom Bernstein], I want to thank you and your committee. I call him Bernie.

It’s amazing to have Secretary Albright share the stage with Condi and Ambassador Haley. For those of you that kind of take things for granted, that’s a big deal. Thank you.

We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment. The great democracies face new and serious threats – yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.

Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of free markets, from the strength of democratic alliances, and from the advance of free societies. At one level, this has been a raw calculation of interest. The 20th century featured some of the worst horrors of history because dictators committed them. Free nations are less likely to threaten and fight each other.

And free trade helped make America into a global economic power.

For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership.  This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.

We know, deep down, that repression is not the wave of the future. We know that the desire for freedom is not confined to, or owned by, any culture; it is the inborn hope of our humanity. We know that free governments are the only way to ensure that the strong are just and the weak are valued. And we know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.

This is not to underestimate the historical obstacles to the development of democratic institutions and a democratic culture. Such problems nearly destroyed our country – and that should encourage a spirit of humility and a patience with others. Freedom is not merely a political menu option, or a foreign policy fad; it should be the defining commitment of our country, and the hope of the world.

That appeal is proved not just by the content of people’s hopes, but a noteworthy hypocrisy: No democracy pretends to be a tyranny. Most tyrannies pretend they are democracies. Democracy remains the definition of political legitimacy. That has not changed, and that will not change.

Yet for years, challenges have been gathering to the principles we hold dear. And, we must take them seriously. Some of these problems are external and obvious. Here in New York City, you know the threat of terrorism all too well. It is being fought even now on distant frontiers and in the hidden world of intelligence and surveillance. There is the frightening, evolving threat of nuclear proliferation and outlaw regimes. And there is an aggressive challenge by Russia and China to the norms and rules of the global order – proposed revisions that always seem to involve less respect for the rights of free nations and less freedom for the individual.

These matters would be difficult under any circumstances. They are further complicated by a trend in western countries away from global engagement and democratic confidence.  Parts of Europe have developed an identity crisis. We have seen insolvency, economic stagnation, youth unemployment, anger about immigration, resurgent ethno-nationalism, and deep questions about the meaning and durability of the European Union.

America is not immune from these trends. In recent decades, public confidence in our institutions has declined. Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy.  Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.

There are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned, especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning.  Some have called this “democratic deconsolidation.” Really, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers, and forgetfulness.

We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.

We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.   We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.

We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments – forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge.

In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have a great advantage: To renew our country, we only need to remember our values.

This is part of the reason we meet here today. How do we begin to encourage a new, 21st century American consensus on behalf of democratic freedom and free markets? That’s the question I posed to scholars at the Bush Institute. That is what Pete Wehner and Tom Melia, who are with us today, have answered with “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World,” a Call to Action paper.

The recommendations come in broad categories. Here they are: First, America must harden its own defenses. Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy. And that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats.

America is experiencing the sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions. According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systematic and stealthy, it’s conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions – including cyber-attacks, disinformation and financial influence – should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion.

The second category of recommendations concerns the projection of American leadership – maintaining America’s role in sustaining and defending an international order rooted in freedom and free markets.

Our security and prosperity are only found in wise, sustained, global engagement:  In the cultivation of new markets for American goods. In the confrontation of security challenges before they fully materialize and arrive on our shores. In the fostering of global health and development as alternatives to suffering and resentment. In the attraction of talent, energy and enterprise from all over the world. In serving as a shining hope for refugees and a voice for dissidents, human rights defenders, and the oppressed.

We should not be blind to the economic and social dislocations caused by globalization. People are hurting. They are angry. And, they are frustrated. We must hear them and help them. But we can’t wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution. One strength of free societies is their ability to adapt to economic and social disruptions.

And that should be our goal: to prepare American workers for new opportunities, to care in practical, empowering ways for those who may feel left behind. The first step should be to enact policies that encourage robust economic growth by unlocking the potential of the private sector, and for unleashing the creativity and compassion of this country.

A third focus of this document is strengthening democratic citizenship. And here we must put particular emphasis on the values and views of the young.

Our identity as a nation – unlike many other nations – is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility. We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence. We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. Constitution. We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.

And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.

We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.

Finally, the Call to Action calls on the major institutions of our democracy, public and private, to consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust.

For example, our democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate and fair. Our democracy needs religious institutions that demonstrate integrity and champion civil discourse. Our democracy needs institutions of higher learning that are examples of truth and free expression.

In short, it is time for American institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation.

Ten years ago, I attended a Conference on Democracy and Security in Prague. The goal was to put human rights and human freedom at the center of our relationships with repressive governments. The Prague Charter, signed by champions of liberty Vaclav Havel, Natan Sharansky, Jose Maria Aznar, called for the isolation and ostracism of regimes that suppress peaceful opponents by threats or violence.

Little did we know that, a decade later, a crisis of confidence would be developing within the core democracies, making the message of freedom more inhibited and wavering. Little did we know that repressive governments would be undertaking a major effort to encourage division in western societies and to undermine the legitimacy of elections.

Repressive rivals, along with skeptics here at home, misunderstand something important. It is the great advantage of free societies that we creatively adapt to challenges, without the direction of some central authority. Self-correction is the secret strength of freedom. We are a nation with a history of resilience and a genius for renewal.

Right now, one of our worst national problems is a deficit of confidence. But the cause of freedom justifies all our faith and effort. It still inspires men and women in the darkest corners of the world, and it will inspire a rising generation. The American spirit does not say, “We shall manage,” or “We shall make the best of it.” It says, “We shall overcome.” And that is exactly what we will do, with the help of God and one another.

Thank you.

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George W. Bush demonstrates the problem with trying to criticize Trump while winning over his voters – Washington Post

Former president George W. Bush gave a speech in New York on Thursday during which he took clear aim at the shifts in political thought that brought Donald Trump to the White House.

Former president George W. Bush spoke out on Oct. 19 against nativism, protectionism and isolationism during an event for the George W. Bush Institute in New York. (Reuters)

“We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush said. “At times it can seem that the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions — forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.”

“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism,” he continued. “Forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.”

It’s a demand for a political environment that seems long-lost, with a focus on respect, comity and a faith in the ideals on which the nation was founded. It’s the sort of rhetorical effort that we’ve seen repeatedly over the past 18 months, an effort by more moderate Republicans to both distance themselves from Trump and to call for Americans to aspire to something higher.

What’s happened in the Trump era, though, is that the old Mario Cuomo adage has been reversed. While politicians were once said to campaign in lofty poetry and govern in grinding prose, the leaders of Trump’s party seem to be torn between the desire to offer poetic descriptions of ideals and the need to throw elbows to appeal to an agitated base as Election Day approaches.

Earlier this week, Bush appeared at fundraising events for the candidacy of Republican Ed Gillespie in Virginia, entertaining attendees at one luncheon with “vintage George W. Bush,” in the words of one attendee. Gillespie (who once advised Bush) faces a tough contest against Democrat Ralph Northam, who leads in most polls, though often within the margin of error.

Why’s this relevant? Because Gillespie’s candidacy has been criticized for fomenting precisely the sorts of divides that Bush disparaged Thursday.

Gillespie’s campaign has run severalads that echo Trump’s rhetoric about the criminal threat posed by immigrants in the country illegally. Here’s one example:

The campaign for Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie released an ad attacking Democratic opponent Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam on immigration. (Ed Gillespie for Virginia Governor 2017)

The ad’s connotations are clear. Northam supported sanctuary cities, which provide cover to criminal immigrants like MS-13, who’ve been linked to brutal murders in Virginia.

That summary skips over a lot of important caveats, including that Virginia doesn’t have sanctuary cities, that sanctuary cities don’t actually have more crime than other cities and that MS-13 is a domestic gang that includes both immigrants and native-born Americans. Trump’s focused on MS-13 because it’s a convenient way to link illegal immigration and crime, a line he drew explicitly during an event on Long Island  this year.

What Gillespie’s ad hopes to do, explicitly, is foment fear about immigration to his political advantage. It isolates one vote from Northam on sanctuary cities (which The Washington Post analyzed) to tie him and immigrant populations to violent crime.

To put it another way, Northam is being judged by his worst examples. Gillespie’s ads clearly don’t seem to recall the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.

In one sense, this is just politics. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, won election in 1988 after running one of the most notoriously racially divisive ads in U.S. political history. The elder Bush then went on in his inaugural address to describe the optimism of the “thousand points of light” that community organizations working around the country represented. In other words, there’s always been tension between what a campaign does to win and what the winning candidate does once in office.

But Bush’s speech Thursday wasn’t offered in a normal political moment. It was a deliberate condemnation in the very real shift in American politics that Trump both leveraged and fostered. It was a call for a higher sort of politics. Bush has largely stayed away from politics since leaving office. Trump has clearly inspired him to jump back in.

Gillespie’s ads, similarly, aren’t just normal political mudslinging. Gillespie barely won the Republican primary against Corey Stewart, an unabashed advocate of Trumpism who leveraged that position to great effect. That Gillespie won was certainly a relief to the Republican establishment in the state. But Gillespie’s embrace of Trump’s rhetoric in his efforts to unseat Northam is a sign of how that establishment is incorporating the sorts of divisiveness that Bush just condemned.

Few candidates represent only one idea. Bush endorses Gillespie because he is judging the candidate by his best intentions, recognizing that getting an establishment/more moderate Republican into power in Virginia may mean you have to break a few eggs, including using tactics that you find unpleasant. Maybe, as with George H.W. Bush and his “Willie Horton” ad, Gillespie and Bush would argue that he’s simply using Trumpism to win his race.

The difference between using Trumpism to win an election and dispersing and endorsing Trump’s arguments, though, is a subtle one. It also seems like something that the George W. Bush speaking Thursday fervently advocated against.

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George W. slams Trumpism, without mentioning president by name – Politico

Former U.S. President George W. Bush is pictured. | AP

Former U.S. President George W. Bush speaks at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York on Thursday. | Seth Wenig/AP

‘Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,’ Bush declared.




Former President George W. Bush offered an unmistakable denunciation of Trumpism Thursday without mentioning the president by name, urging citizens to oppose threats to American democracy.

“Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” Bush warned in remarks at the Bush Institute’s Spirit of Liberty event in New York.

Story Continued Below

By chance, Bush was standing in the same spot at the Time Warner Center where former President Barack Obama made a similar plea for democracy and American leadership in late September, shortly after President Donald Trump had finished a belligerent, isolationist speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

But unlike Obama, who campaigned intensely against Trump and has been taking sideways swipes at him since leaving office, Bush has said very little publicly about the current president, or about American politics at all. Thursday’s speech, in which he detailed what he sees as the causes for democratic collapse, the path forward and what were obvious references to Trump — even though, like Obama, he did not utter the president’s name — was a major departure in a speech that called on a renewal of American spirit and institutions.

“Bigotry in any form is blasphemy against the American creed and it means the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation. We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools,” Bush said. “And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children.”

“The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them,” he said.

This “unique moment,” Bush said, includes described a threat that he sees as worldwide, and pervasive throughout American society and politics.

“When we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with protecting and defending democracy,” he said, adding later: “We need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have great advantage. To renew our country, we only need to remember our values.”

Bush spoke at the end of a half-day session that included a genial discussion between Trump’s United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, his former national security adviser and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

But Bush took a wider view, acknowledging the failures of divided partisan politics, paralyzed government, the media, institutions of democracy and more that has created a “deficit of confidence.” The problems of terrorism and nuclear proliferation are real, he said, as are the economic trends caused by globalization — but that is not an excuse for going into hiding.

“People are hurting. They’re angry and they’re frustrated. We must help them,” he said. “But we cannot wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the Agricultural Revolution or the Industrial Revolution.”
The tyrannies in North Korea and Venezuela are obvious and the fraying of democracies is clear in Europe, Bush said, but Americans must face the problems at home, too.

“We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization,” he said. “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions, forgetting the image of God we should see in each other. We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, [and] forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.”

All of this, he said, is even more important in the face of the attacks outsiders have made on American democracy. Citing the conclusion of all the American intelligence agencies about Russian interference in last year’s elections — which Trump has repeatedly dismissed himself —the former president warned against “subversion,” calling for stronger election security protections and cybersecurity, and a recognition of what is being attempted.

“This effort is broad, systemic and stealthy. It’s conducted across a range of social media platforms,” Bush said. “Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home.”

Bush’s speech comes three days after his former rival and fellow Republican, Arizona Sen. John McCain, delivered a similar attack on “spurious nationalism” and call to rediscover American ideals and American democracy in a speech in Philadelphia.

Some of the phrases echoed each other.

“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil,” McCain said. “We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”

Bush’s version: “Our identity as a nation, and unlike many other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility.”

That, Bush said, is why he has confidence that American will weather its current crisis, as he called on the examples of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Self-correction is the secret strength of freedom. We are a nation with a history of resilience and a genius for renewal,” Bush said. The American spirit does not say, ‘We shall manage,’ or ‘We shall make the best of it.’ It says, ‘We shall overcome,’ — and that is exactly what we’re going to do, with God’s help.”

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George W. Bush: ‘Bigotry seems emboldened’ in US – The Hill

Former President George W. Bush said Thursday that “bigotry seems emboldened” in the United States, warning that Americans need to reject “white supremacy.”

The former president also criticized the “governing class,” but did not specifically mention President Trump, Congress or any other politicians in office.

“Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts” in recent years, Bush said in remarks from New York City at a forum focused on security and sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute.


“Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” said Bush, who has generally stayed out of the public spotlight since leaving the White House in 2009.

Bush also said that public confidence in the country’s institutions has declined in recent decades, and warned against “a new era of cyber threats” including Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.

“Ultimately this assault won’t succeed, but foreign aggressions including cyber attacks, disinformation, and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated,” he said.

The remarks by Bush represent a rare entry into the public debate by the former president, whose family was criticized by Trump during an election cycle where he defeated former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for the GOP nomination.

Fears about a rise in bigotry across the country have increased over the last year, making a crescendo with protests in Charlottesville, Va., in August between white supremacist groups and counter-protestors. One woman was killed when a man drove a car into a crowd of counter-protestors.

Trump later came under fierce criticism from politicians in both parties for remarks that blamed both sides for the violence.

“Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed,” Bush said in his remarks.

A spokesman for Bush denied that the former president was criticizing Trump in Thursday’s speech.

“This was a long-planned speech on liberty and democracy as a part of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative,” Freddy Ford told The Hill. “The themes President Bush spoke about today are really the same themes he has spoken about for the last two decades.”

The former president also offered support for globalization, a term increasingly criticized by political figures on the left and the right who see increased trade as eroding U.S. jobs.

Bush, who advocates free trade, promoted multilateral and bilateral trade deals during his presidency. Trump is now demanding that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico be renegotiated, under the threat of a U.S. withdrawal.

“We cannot wish globalization away,” Bush said, urging society to “adapt” to economic and social change.

During his speech, Bush also warned that democracies face “new and serious threats” today.

Economic, political and national security challenges “proliferate,” he said.

“And they’re made worse by the tendency to turn inward,” he said. “The health of the Democratic spirit itself is at issue and the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.”

Bush said that the intensity of support for democracy itself has “waned.”

“Especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning,” he said.

“Some have called this Democratic de-consolidation. Merely, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers and forgetfulness,” he said.

“Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy,” he said.

-Updated 12:53 p.m.

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Richard Spencer, police and protesters descend on Univ. of Florida – CNN

The event, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, will be Spencer’s first planned visit to a college campus since he and others participated in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
University and local officials are concerned that Thursday’s event could also become violent, and they have taken a number of steps to prevent that.
On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Alachua County, where the university is located, to enable law enforcement agencies to work together more efficiently. He also made a provision for the National Guard to be activated if necessary.
“I find that the threat of a potential emergency is imminent,” Scott said in the executive order declaring the state of emergency.
The event puts the university in the middle of an ongoing debate about what constitutes protected speech and the extent of its limits. Spencer is the president of the National Policy Institute and a leader of the white supremacist movement that advocates for a white “awakening” and a white state.
“America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us,” he said in a speech last November.
University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs denounced Spencer’s white supremacist platform as abhorrent in a letter to students but said the school could not stop him from renting the Phillips Center for the event.
Fuchs told CNN there will be more police on campus Thursday than at any time in the university’s history.
“It’s not going to feel like a research university for 50,000 students, and the whole purpose of that is to keep people safe,” he said.
Florida Highway Patrol officers stood outside the Curtis M. Phillips Center on Wednesday as they prepare for Richard Spencer's speech.Florida Highway Patrol officers stood outside the Curtis M. Phillips Center on Wednesday as they prepare for Richard Spencer's speech.
Fara Moskowitz, the president of the Lubavitch-Chabad Student Group at the university, said it was a “very weird time on campus” ahead of the protests.
“There’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of anxiety,” she said. “There’s a lot of just unknown what’s going to happen.”
With scores of police in position, protesters began arriving outside the Phillips Center on Thursday.
Craig Carlisle, from Gainesville, held up a sign saying “No Trump Nazis.” He said he had a message for Spencer: “Don’t be racist.”
Colt Fears, a 28-year-old wearing a pin he described as “an S.S. thing,” came to Gainesville from Houston to support Spencer. He said he agrees with about 75% of what Spencer says, but said he thinks Spencer sometimes “beats around the bush.”
“He won’t address that our entire Hollywood media is run by the Zionist media. He won’t address that. There’s certain things he won’t talk about that people in our movement want him to talk about,” Fears said.

Florida’s response

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Spencer said he was flattered by the state of emergency declaration, which he said put him on par with “hurricanes and invading armies and zombie apocalypses.”
Still, he said he thought the declaration was overkill.
State of emergency declared ahead of white supremacist speech in FloridaState of emergency declared ahead of white supremacist speech in Florida
“The fact is, if the police simply do their job, my speech and the whole event will go off wonderfully,” Spencer said.
Previous speeches from Spencer on college campuses have sparked protests, including at Texas A&M in December and Alabama’s Auburn University in April. He also led a group of supporters carrying torches in May in Charlottesville in a display that critics said evoked images of the Ku Klux Klan.
That rally set the stage for violent protests that erupted in Charlottesville in August between white nationalists and counterprotesters. There, police say a man among the white nationalist demonstrators drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one woman.
Spencer returned to Charlottesville in October with dozens of supporters carrying tiki torches and chanting phrases like “You will not replace us.”
Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chris Sims said the office used the lessons of Charlottesville in planning for the Florida event. The sheriff’s office and Gainesville Police Department had doubled or in some cases tripled their normal staffing levels as of Wednesday morning, Sims said.
Outside the speech venue, law enforcement sectioned off one area for pro-Spencer protesters and another area for anti-Spencer protesters, each about 50 yards apart. The university also banned an extensive list of items, including torches, masks, weapons and athletic equipment that could be used as a weapon.
It remains unclear how many people are expected to attend or protest the speech. A Facebook event called “No Nazis at UF” that planned to peacefully protest against Spencer had about 3,000 marked as going.
Fuchs, the university president, advised students to shun Spencer and to speak against his “message of hate and racism.”
“UF has been clear and consistent in its denunciation of all hate speech and racism, and in particular the racist speech and white nationalist values of Mr. Spencer,” Fuchs said. “I personally find the doctrine of white supremacy abhorrent and denounce all forms of racism and hate.”
By law, the school must pay for the additional costs of security. Given the heightened concerns, the school is providing extra security that exceeds $600,000, Fuchs said.
That cost will essentially be passed on to taxpayers, which Fuchs said was unfair.
“I really don’t believe that’s fair that the taxpayer is now subsidizing through these kind of events the security and having to subsidize his hate speech,” he said.

How we got here

Spencer and the National Policy Institute first requested to rent speaking space at the university in August. After violent white nationalist protests broke out in Charlottesville, the University of Florida administration denied the National Policy Institute’s initial speaking request, citing specific threats of violence.
White supremacist Richard Spencer denied at University of FloridaWhite supremacist Richard Spencer denied at University of Florida
As a public university, Florida is prohibited from stopping the event based on the contents or views of the speech, Fuchs said. The university provided a permit for Spencer to speak, but the event is unaffiliated with the school, and no student groups sponsored the speech or invited Spencer, the university said.
Still, Fuchs did take one positive lesson from what he called Spencer’s “anti-American” message.
“The one thing that comes out of this, though, is it is prompting a great discussion around race and religion and the value of diversity of that on a university campus,” Fuchs said.

CNN’s Rosa Flores and Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

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