President Trump opened a sordid new chapter Tuesday in America’s history of ugly political rhetoric, sharing a tweet that falsely suggests Democratic nominee Joe Biden is a pedophile.
Presidential campaigns long have trafficked in lurid accusations of extramarital affairs, drunkenness and corrupt behavior. But Trump has aimed lower, personally tapping baseless conspiracy theories to smear his opponent.
The latest outrage arrived in the retweet of an anonymous account that was suddenly granted presidential amplification seven weeks before the election.
Someone using the name “Conservative Girl” posted a video clip under the hashtag “PedoBiden.” It showed then-Vice President Biden placing his hands on the shoulder of a woman and whispering to her during the swearing-in ceremony for her husband, Ash Carter, as Defense secretary in February 2015.
Stephanie Carter defended Biden when the photo became a meme, praising him as “a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful.”
The president’s suggestion of child sex abuse echoes the ravings of QAnon, the internet conspiracy theory that falsely claims the president is battling a secret cabal of Democratic pedophiles. The president thanked QAnon last month, saying, “I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate.”
Since taking office, Trump has voiced thousands of falsehoods and insults to provoke the media and excite his fans. He’s gambling now that his harsh rhetoric about Biden will create doubts for undecided voters and light a spark under supporters who might not vote.
In recent days, he has accused Biden of being mentally “shot” and “on drugs,” and implied that the 77-year-old will not be fit to serve within a month of taking office. Trump is 74.
The president blames Democrats for the escalation. Over the weekend, he complained bitterly about a Biden campaign ad that focused on Trump’s reported remarks that U.S. soldiers buried in France were “losers” and “suckers.”
“Pathetic Joe, he’s a pathetic human being to allow that to happen,” Trump told a rally Saturday in Henderson, Nev. “Now I can be really vicious.”
Analysts say the mudslinging may be the worst in U.S. history.
“There are aggressive campaigns. There are nasty campaigns,” said Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University. “But when the president starts tweeting like this, it’s as low as you can go.”
Some of Trump’s attacks are recycled from 2016, when he questioned Hillary Clinton’s health, said she should be imprisoned and demanded she take a drug test before their debates. The relentless attacks helped undermine her campaign.
“This is a campaign from the very beginning that has struggled to define Joe Biden in the way that they did Hillary Clinton,” said Amy Walter, a political analyst from Cook Political Report. “It’s not working this year.”
With Biden leading in the polls, and voters increasingly skeptical of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 195,000 Americans in six months, Trump has sought to convince voters that Biden poses a bigger danger.
“He cannot afford this race to be a referendum on himself,” Walter said. “But he cannot help himself.”
Insults are trickier for Biden, whose campaign is based in part on his claims to decency and empathy.
Still, he called the president a “climate arsonist” on Monday for failing to address global warming as wildfires rage across California and Oregon. His campaign manager on Tuesday blasted Trump’s crowded indoor campaign rallies in a pandemic, saying “people will die because of these types of events.”
Sometimes Biden’s most alarming claims have proved accurate. He drew sharp criticism in April, for example, by speculating that Trump would try to delay the Nov. 3 election. Three months later, Trump suggested doing exactly that, although he has no authority to order a delay.
A spokesman for Trump’s campaign did not respond to questions Tuesday.
Political name-calling is almost as old as the republic. The country’s first political sex scandal exploded in 1797 when Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the Treasury, was blackmailed over an extramarital affair. Hamilton eventually revealed his affair as he fought corruption allegations.
During the 1868 campaign, newspapers called Ulysses S. Grant, the general who led the Union to victory in the Civil War, “brainless as his saddle,” a “man of vile habits” and a “drunkard.” He was elected twice.
In the 1884 race, Grover Cleveland faced accusations that he fathered a child with a woman who wasn’t his wife.
“Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa?” his critics sneered. After Cleveland won, his supporters responded with a taunt of their own — “Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!”
But presidential candidates usually have outsourced the dirty work to surrogates and aides, preferring to appear unsullied.
Trump seems to relish the task. He was a leading proponent of the racist falsehood that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and therefore ineligible to serve as commander in chief.
When Trump launched his 2016 campaign, he caught his Republican rivals off guard with a blizzard of insulting nicknames — “Lyin’ Ted Cruz,” “Low Energy Jeb Bush,” “Little Marco Rubio” — and outlandish claims of wrongdoing by his opponents.
“Trump takes these elements of our politics and he just accelerates them. He puts them on steroids,” Zelizer said. “It’s very hard to get back from that.”
‘Inject Some Bleach in Your Arm’
Former Vice President Joe Biden tore into President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic during Tuesday night’s debate, ticking off a laundry list of some of Trump’s most alarming comments during the public health crisis.
“This is the same man that told you by Easter this would be gone away, by the warm weather it’d be gone, miraculously, like a miracle,” Biden said. “And by the way, maybe you can inject some bleach in your arm and that would take care of it.”
The mention of the bleach comment, one of Trump’s most problematic moments of the pandemic, made Trump try to cut Biden off and declare, “That was said sarcastically.”
On April 23, Trump jumped on an “emerging result” from his own Department of Homeland Security and started spitballing dangerous possible virus treatments that frightened health experts, with one such idea in that briefing including disinfectants.
“And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks [the virus] out [from a surface] in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that [by] injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number,” Trump said during the April 23 briefing.
During the coronavirus-focused portion of the debate, Biden consistently slammed Trump for not having a plan as the coronavirus pandemic rages on and the nation’s death toll climbs past 200,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Trump also declared he wants to keep the country open as he keeps up a far more optimistic view of the nation’s fight against the virus. The president was emphatic again about a quick timeline for getting a coronavirus vaccine, saying during the debate “you’ll have the vaccine soon.” But earlier this month, when CDC Director Robert Redfield told lawmakers that he thought a vaccine wouldn’t be “generally available to the American public” until “late second quarter, third quarter of 2021,” Trump lashed out at the leading medical official and said Redfield was “confused.”
During the debate, Biden followed the president’s vaccine comments with another attack, saying, “Do you believe for a moment what he’s telling you in light of all the lies he’s told you about the whole issue relating to COVID?”
“He still hasn’t even acknowledged that he knew this was happening, knew how dangerous it was going to be back in February and he didn’t even tell you, he’s on record as saying it, he panicked or he just looked at the stock market, one of the two,” Biden said. “Because guess what, a lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter a lot quicker.”
Trump then attacked the former vice president for his choice of using the word “smart” and attacked Biden’s intelligence before championing his own handling of the virus, as the president has done emphatically when he focuses his words on the public health crisis.
On the topic of masks, Trump also once again undercut his own administration’s messaging on the crucial public health measure. Trump said he wears a mask when he thinks he needs it, and then criticized Biden for wearing “the biggest mask I’ve ever seen” during public appearances.
As Biden pointed to Redfield, whom Biden emphasized had “said if… everybody wore masks and social distanced between now and January, we’d probably save up to 100,000 lives,” Trump declared, “They’ve also said the opposite.”
“No serious person’s said the opposite,” Biden responded.
And then Trump proceeded to call out Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whom the president has been more willing to criticize at this stage of the pandemic, despite Fauci being widely seen as one of the more trustworthy public health voices coming from Trump’s administration.
“Dr. Fauci, Dr. Fauci said… he said very strongly that masks are not good,” Trump said. ”Then he changed his mind, he said, ‘Masks good.’”
Read more at The Daily Beast.
Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here
Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!
Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
RPT-Lonza confident of 2020 target for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine supply
(Repeating to add TV in slug)
* Lonza confident on 2020 target for Moderna vaccine
* Swiss locals watching, hoping for project success
* Swiss company focusing on drugs, selling chemicals unit
By John Miller
VISP, Switzerland, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Lonza is confident that U.S. and Swiss plants it is building to help make Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate will be ready for commercial production this year, executives at the Swiss company said on Tuesday.
New production lines at Lonza’s site in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, aim to start making vaccine ingredients in November, while three lines in Visp, deep in a valley in the Swiss Alps – to supply 300 million vaccine doses annually – should begin delivering by December.
There is no approved COVID-19 vaccine yet, but several are in advanced trials, including from Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, whose candidate relies on technology never previously approved that enlists human cells to help trigger an immune response.
Torsten Schmidt, who heads Lonza’s Visp facility, where Moderna’s $210 million production lines are about 50% completed, said he has secured the equipment needed to avoid any last-minute setbacks.
“The delivery of the equipment was critical,” Schmidt said in an interview. “You typically wait 12 months, you’re talking here about 4-5 months. In the end, the CEO has been talking to the CEOs of suppliers, to get the equipment delivered.”
Lonza, whose shares are up 60% this year, has a 10-year contract to supply ingredients to Moderna, including for up to 1 billion doses annually of COVID-19 vaccine.
The ingredients include a synthetic version of messenger RNA (mRNA), genetic material, which is packed inside tiny fat droplets called nanolipids, to instruct human cells to make a non-replicating form of the coronavirus’s spike protein and trigger an immune response in the body.
They will be frozen at -70 degrees Celsius, then shipped from Visp to Spain’s Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi SA for “fill and finish,” the final stage of manufacture.
Lonza is still hiring some of the roughly 200 workers it needs to operate the Moderna production lines in Visp, located where the Alps tip up towards the nearby ski towns of Zermatt, near the famed Matterhorn, and Saas Fe.
In all, Lonza expects to have some 4,000 workers in Visp by January, from 3,500 now, following a hiring spree fueled by its manufacture of drugs for other customers, as well as Moderna. They include Roche, Sanofi and California’s Humanigen, with which it has partnered on another COVID-19 project.
However ready Lonza is, when precisely Moderna’s vaccine becomes available depends on its trials and regulators. The U.S. company has said about 20 million doses should be ready by the year’s end.
Already Lonza’s drugs unit revenue has seen double-digit percentage gains, prompting the Basel-based company earlier this year to seek to offload its $1.8 billion-per-year speciality chemicals business, after sales of products, such as animal feed supplements and resins have stagnated.
Talks with potential buyers are ongoing, Renzo Cicillini, Lonza’s Visp site head, said.
‘A LITTLE PROUD’
In Visp, two hours by train from both Zurich and Milan, Italy, its roughly 8,000 residents are accustomed to Lonza’s taking a behind-the-scenes role in making drugs for better-known companies, the town’s mayor, Niklaus Furger, said.
But the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 1 million people and wreaked global economic havoc, has left the people of Visp hoping for success that would put it on the map.
“The idea that a vaccine might just be produced in Visp with which we could fight against the pandemic, that would be excellent,” Furger told Reuters at Visp city hall. “For certain, the attention of the world would be trained on Visp along with Lonza, something that admittedly would make us all a little proud.” (Reporting by John Miller; editing by Barbara Lewis)
QAnon followers champion Trump as a savior for trafficked children, but federal prosecutions have dropped by a third over the past 2 years
According to believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, President Donald Trump is the country’s savior from liberal elites who are kidnapping children and running a secret child sex trafficking ring.
But data shows that federal sex trafficking prosecutions have actually decreased since Trump took office.
According to the Human Trafficking Institute’s 2019 federal report which was released in May 2020, 73 new federal criminal cases involving the sex trafficking of children only were prosecuted last year, compared to compared to 87 in 2018, and 124 in 2017, Trump’s first year in office.
Experts say QAnon believers are latching on to misinformation to boost their cause but ignore evidence-based solutions to the issue.
Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
QAnon followers have long praised President Donald Trump as a champion for sexually trafficked children.
But data shows that Justice Department prosecutions of such crimes have decreased during his administration.
According to a 2019 report from the Human Trafficking Institute released in May of this year, the cases have fallen by a third since their height in 2017. There were 73 new federal criminal cases involving child-only sex trafficking launched last year, compared to 87 in 2018, 124 in 2017, and 115 in 2016.
The perception of Trump as tough on child-sex crimes originated from the far-right conspiracy movement QAnon. QAnon originated on the internet message board 4chan and has been labeled a potential domestic terror threat by the FBI. It promotes a series of conspiracies around the idea that Democrats are secretly working to take down Trump and other conservatives
Many believers claim that Trump is the country’s savior from the unfounded conspiracy that liberal elites are kidnapping children and running a secret child sex trafficking ring.
The conspiracy is untrue on a surface level, and the Human Trafficking Institute’s analysis of the data shows there have actually been fewer child sex-trafficking prosecutions from the federal government since Trump took office.
According to Jamie Gates, a professor at Point Loma Nazarene University who researches sex trafficking, the scale of child sex-trafficking cases is larger than most people think, but is “being exaggerated by QAnon conspiracy theories.”
“I’m really concerned with the exaggerated data that I see. I see [false stories about] tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of kids being kidnapped and taken to Mexico or taken to another country,” Gates told Insider. “I don’t think groups like QAnon are interested in actual data. They’re interested in the rhetorical use of data.”
The lower case count doesn’t necessarily mean child sex trafficking is happening any less
Erin Albright, a law enforcement consultant who works with human trafficking task forces, told Insider it’s unlikely that the rate of sex trafficking has actually changed, even though the number of federal prosecutions has decreased.
She said more cases could be prosecuted at the state level, current cases could be more complex and require more time, and that US attorneys’ offices may be prioritizing other types of cases.
Albright added that the federal government dialing back on protections for vulnerable populations — including undocumented immigrants and the LGBTQ community — could mean that support for trafficking survivors is harder to come by, and fewer victims are coming forward.
Ultimately, data on sex trafficking is hard to establish, since every organization tracks the issue differently. Child sex trafficking organizations often recirculate out of date statistics to declare the problem is large and growing, according to HuffPost reporter Michael Hobbes, who wrote in an article detailing the difficulty in finding hard numbers on the issue.
“Even as anti-trafficking groups have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in donations and carried out near-constant awareness campaigns, they still have not produced any credible research on the scale or nature of the problem they’re focused on addressing,” Hobbes argued.
According to Gates, the misinformation about trafficking being peddled by conspiracy theorists exaggerates the scale of the issue, obscuring the realities behind it.
“Sex trafficking is real, it’s hidden, and it’s at a larger scale than what most people tend to think about,” Gates told Insider. “But it’s not at the scale that’s being exaggerated by the QAnon conspiracies.”
QAnon uses misinformation to its advantage
According to Gates, many QAnon followers share incorrect statistics to garner concern from passionate people, so they can spread the theory wider.
“The worst part to me is the blurring of the lines between truth and fiction, truth and some other nefarious agenda,” he told Insider.
In addition to the baseless claim that Satan-worshipping liberal elites kidnap children and run a pedophile ring, the QAnon movement is also associated with absurd claims that vaccines are used to control people, that Kim Jung-un is a puppet controlled by the CIA, and that John F. Kennedy Jr. is secretly still alive and will emerge from hiding to become Trump’s running mate.
Trump has praised QAnon during press briefings and retweeted posts from the group’s followers on Twitter. In one briefing in August, he told a reporter that he knew very little about QAnon, but was grateful for support from its members.
The reporter told Trump that QAnon followers have a “belief that you are secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals.”
“Well, I haven’t heard of that,” Trump said. “But is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing? If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there.”
Gates told Insider that QAnon’s move to the mainstream is dangerous.
He pointed to its support of “Save the Children” marches, which he said have helped further spread misinformation by attaching it to an already-established organization that works to help trafficked kids
Albright said that people who are interested in helping prevent sex trafficking should look to assist vulnerable communities like runaways and homeless youth in their area.
She said people should be lobbying for better support that could improve the child welfare system and fund low-barrier, gender-affirming housing.
“By and large, even when you identify people [who are at risk of being trafficked], they still need tremendous support where there’s not a lot of resources, and those systemic factors that enabled it to happen in the first place haven’t really been resolved,” she said.
Read the original article on Insider
- ‘Inject Some Bleach in Your Arm’
- RPT-Lonza confident of 2020 target for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine supply
- “No More Messing Around”- Bubba Wallace Reveals Details on Conversation With Michael Jordan
- This Patriots player is the best rookie in the NFL through Week 3
- QAnon followers champion Trump as a savior for trafficked children, but federal prosecutions have dropped by a third over the past 2 years
- Economic Data, Brexit, and the U.S Presidential Debate to Keep the Markets Busy
- Jermell Charlo vs Jermall Charlo – What Are the Odds?
- Seahawks down to No. 5 in Touchdown Wire’s NFL power rankings
- Congressional panel subpoenas top Homeland official in whistleblower probe
- Central Bank Gold-Buying Seen Climbing From Near Decade Low
Sports News6 days ago
US Olympian Chloe Dygert crashes over guardrail in cycling accident
Entertainment1 week ago
Danish TV show ‘Ultra Strips Down’ records kids eyeing naked adults
Sports News4 weeks ago
Fantasy Football Auction Draft strategy: Tips, advice for spending your 2020 player budget wisely
Sports News3 weeks ago
NBA 2K21 Cover Star Damian Lillard Reveals His Issues With the Game
Tech1 week ago
iOS 14 basics: how to add widgets to your iPhone’s home screen
Sports News1 week ago
Sports News3 weeks ago
NBA playoff bracket 2020: Updated standings, seeds & results from each round
Sports News2 weeks ago
College basketball’s 2020-21 season is officially happening, even if the details are murky