The former butler has made numerous violent remarks about the president on his Facebook page.
Hannah LevintovaMay 12, 2016 5:35 PM
Earlier today, Mother Jones published a story detailing some extreme and threatening statements about President Barack Obama written by Donald Trump's former butler Anthony Senecal on his personal Facebook page. The 84-year-old worked as Trump's butler for 17 years before becoming the in-house historian at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. In the last year, Senecal has written multiple public posts on Facebook calling for Obama to be killed, with remarks such as, "If that means dragging that ball less dick head from the white mosque and hanging his scrawny ass from the portico--count me in !!!!!"
Threatening the president is a federal crime, and the Secret Service told the Daily Beast in a statement Thursday afternoon that it plans to investigate the butler's statements. "The U.S. Secret Service is aware of this matter and will conduct the appropriate investigation," wrote spokesman Robert Hoback in an email to the Daily Beast.
Also on Thursday afternoon, the Trump campaign distanced itself from Senecal's statements. "Tony Senecal has not worked at Mar-a-Lago for years, but nevertheless we totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him regarding the President," campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN.
As the presumptive GOP nominee emerges, the Susan B. Anthony List recalibrates.
Hannah LevintovaMay 10, 2016 6:15 PM
During the Iowa caucuses in January, Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the anti-abortion advocacy group the Susan B. Anthony List, joined other pro-life women leaders in writing a letter to Iowa voters to warn against Trump, saying they were "disgusted" by his treatment of women.
"America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women," they wrote, poking at Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." They continued: "We cannot trust Donald Trump to do either. Therefore we urge our fellow citizens to support an alternative candidate."
When Trump flip-flopped on abortion in March, first stating that he believed women who got the procedure should be punished, but then backtracking, Dannenfelser told Breitbart News that Trump "has completely contradicted himself. If this is his position, he has just disqualified himself as the GOP nominee."
But Trump's rise to becoming the presumptive Republican nominee seems to have inspired Dannenfelser to flip her position on the real estate mogul. On Monday, she wrote an op-ed for the conservative news site Townhall.com titled "The Pro-Life Case for Trump." She cites several of his anti-abortion statements from the campaign trail: his promises to defund Planned Parenthood, to appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court, and to support Congress' proposed 20-week abortion ban, which failed in September 2015 but is being debated again this term.
She writes that it is important to oppose Hillary Clinton, whose promise to fund Planned Parenthood, according to Dannenfelser, is "the most dramatic pro-abortion position espoused by a leading political figure to date."(Abortion care makes up about 3 percent of health services provided annually by Planned Parenthood.) Dannenfelser concludes, "We believe Mr. Trump, who has already taken strong positions on the life issue throughout the primary campaign, will join us on offense."
"A few weeks ago, they were crying foul that Donald Trump didn’t adhere to anti-choice orthodoxy," Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement to the Huffington Post. "Now, Susan B. Anthony List is cozying up to him apparently mollified that his anti-choice policies pass their muster."
In the final hours of the state legislative session, Republican lawmakers pushed through two anti-abortion bills.
Hannah LevintovaMay 6, 2016 6:00 AM
A clinic in Montgomery, Alabama
Alabama lawmakers passed two bills in the waning hours of their legislative session on Wednesday that could close two of the state's five abortion clinics and make it harder for women to receive abortions in their second trimester.
One of the bills prohibits abortion clinics from operating within 2,000 feet of an elementary or middle school—the same restriction that applies to sex offenders. If Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signs the bill, it may force two of the state's five abortion clinics to close, including a clinic in Huntsville that is the only one providing abortion care in the northern half of Alabama. The clinic just moved to its current location, across the street from a school, in 2014, in order to comply with other abortion restrictions passed in Alabama in 2013.
The sponsor of the bill, Alabama state Sen. Paul Sanford, likened the restrictions to those imposed on sex offenders. "We can put a restriction on whether a liquor store opens up across the street and make sure pedophiles stay away from schools," he told the Times Daily in February. "I just think having an abortion clinic that close to elementary-age school children that actually have to walk on the sidewalk past it is not the best thing."
The second bill would ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure.
Throughout the day on Wednesday, Democrats tried to mount a filibuster in order to run out the clock on the legislative session before a vote could be brought on both bills. But Republicans gathered enough votes to move the legislation forward.
Democrats who opposed the bills voiced their concerns over the House's rushed proceedings. "You have no right to continue to cut out debate," Rep. Mary Moore said. "That's what the process is all about. That's what makes democracy different than dictatorships."
After Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard attempted to start a vote on one of the abortion bills, members of the House Black Caucus entered the chamber and began singing "We Shall Overcome." In response, Hubbard called security, saying members couldn't hear the floor vote.
"With two hours left in session, the Republican Caucus shut down debate and bent the rules to jam through this misguided legislation," said Nikema Williams, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood Southeast, in an emailed statement. "This legislation is bad for women and bad for Alabama. It goes to show how issues of racial justice and access to health care are interconnected and cannot be fought alone."
John Kasich announced Wednesday evening that he was dropping out of the presidential race, leaving Donald Trump as the sole Republican contender and almost-certain nominee. Kasich's announcement comes less than 24 hours after Trump's sweeping Indiana primary victory sent shock waves through the political world and prompted Ted Cruz to abandon the race. Following Cruz's announcement, GOP chairman Reince Priebus called Trump the presumptive nominee on Twitter and encouraged Republicans to rally behind the real estate mogul.
Unlike Cruz, Kasich never had much of a shot at becoming the GOP's nominee. On the campaign trail, he touted positions—expanding Medicaid, supporting a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, and more—that seemed removed from the typical attitudes of the GOP electorate. The Ohio governor won only one state primary: his own. But with Cruz out of the race, Kasich represented the GOP's last, long-shot hope for somehow stopping Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination.
Shortly after Cruz dropped out Tuesday night, Kasich's campaign assured voters he would be staying in the game. "It's up to us to stop Trump and unify our party in time to defeat Hillary Clinton," Kasich's campaign manager, Ben Hansen, wrote in an email to supporters.
But Wednesday evening, during a speech in Columbus, Ohio, Kasich changed course. He opened by thanking his family, his wife, and his campaign staff and volunteers. He recounted some of the interactions with voters he had on the campaign trail: "The people of our country changed me with the stories of their lives," Kasich said. He ended on a somber note: "As I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith, that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life."
Get ready to hear much of the same for the next six months.
Hannah LevintovaMay 3, 2016 9:53 PM
After Ted Cruz bowed out of the presidential race on Tuesday night following a devastating loss in the Indiana primary, a victorious Donald Trump—now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee—spoke from Trump Tower.
A subdued Trump opened the speech by thanking his family. He later praised Cruz as "one hell of a competitor," and a "tough, smart guy" with "an amazing future." He also thanked the Republican National Committee, saying he had just gotten off the phone with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. "He had 17 egos," Trump said of Priebus having to deal with the initial Republican field, "and now I guess he's down to one." Earlier in the night, the RNC chairman tweeted that Trump was now the presumptive GOP nominee and called on Republicans to rally behind him to defeat Hillary Clinton.