Here are the 5 biggest right-wing outrages of the week: Trump sycophant Devin Nunes has a cow
This week, all of the mounting expectation finally culminated in the end of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia, and its delivery to Attorney General William Barr. But it is unclear exactly what his report will bring, how much of it will be revealed to Congress and the public, and what its legal and political impact will be.
In the meantime, however, Republicans have found all sorts of remarkable ways to get in trouble this week without any indictments from Mueller.
Here are five of the craziest right-wing moments this week:
- Devin Nunes sues a fictional internet cow for $250 million.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) may no longer chair the House Intelligence Committee, but he is still managing to grab attention with ridiculous stunts. On Monday, Nunes made headlines for a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter, as well as a pair of anonymous Twitter accounts entitled "Devin Nunes' Mom" and "Devin Nunes' Cow."
Nunes alleges Twitter violated his right to free speech by "shadow banning" him, and that the two Twitter accounts were defamatory. "In her endless barrage of tweets, Devin Nunes' Mom maliciously attacked every aspect of Nunes' character, honesty, integrity, ethics and fitness to perform his duties as a United States Congressman," read his complaint. The lawsuit is ridiculous — Nunes was never actually "shadow banned," there is no First Amendment right for public figures to have accounts on private platforms, and the two Twitter accounts are clearly satire, not defamation.
But while Nunes' suit is doomed to failure, he did accomplish one thing: promoting the "Devin Nunes' Cow" account. Within two days of Nunes filing the suit, his fictional cow had grown from 1,000 followers to 440,000, beating out Nunes' own official Twitter account's 395,000.
- Kellyanne Conway tells people to read the manifesto of the New Zealand mosque shooter to prove he's nothing like Trump.
Last week's mass shooting of Muslim worshipers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand has sparked worldwide horror. The tragedy also drew attention to President Donald Trump, as the shooter praised him as a "symbol of renewed white identity" in his manifesto. But counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway says it's nonsense that the shooter was at all like Trump — and that people should go read his manifesto and see for themselves.
"He put out a 70-page manifesto, and I guess everybody scoured it, searched for Donald Trump's name, and there it is, one time," said Conway on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday. "But he also said he aligns closely with the ideology of China. He said he's not a conservative, he's not a Nazi, I think he referred to himself as an eco-naturalist or an eco-fascist. But people should read the entire — in its entirety.
Kellyanne Conway says "people should read the entire" New Zealand shooter's manifesto, so they understand Trump did not inspire the attack. pic.twitter.com/YDsFTTtBuG
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) March 18, 2019
Putting aside the fact that the shooter, in his own words, indisputably did praise Trump, this is appalling advice from a White House official. The shooter did what he did to promote his cause. People should not read his manifesto, and let him succeed. People should not even use his name. A normal administration would not even have to distance themselves from a white supremacist shooter in the first place — but Conway picked the worst possible way of doing it.
- Matt Bevin says he deliberately infected his nine kids with chickenpox.
A chickenpox outbreak recently occurred at a Catholic school in Kentucky — but the Commonwealth's erratic Republican governor, Matt Bevin, doesn't see this as reason to toughen vaccination laws. In fact, he told a Bowling Green radio station on Tuesday, rather than vaccinating his nine children for chickenpox, he just deliberately infected them with the disease! His kids, he said, were "miserable for a few days" but "they all turned out fine."
While most children recover from chickenpox, in serious cases it can lead to bleeding, pneumonia, encephalitis, sepsis, and death. Before the vaccine was developed in 1995, 4 million Americans got the disease every year, with 8,000-18,000 hospitalizations and 100-150 deaths. Bevin's children may all have recovered, but he put them at risk. And now that they all have the Varicella-zoster virus, which can stay in the body forever, they are at risk for shingles in later life — which causes a painful rash, and in rare cases can lead to blindness, deafness, or nerve damage.
"Chickenpox parties" like Bevin's used to be common before the vaccine was available, as some parents feared the disease was inevitable and thought children getting it early was better than in adulthood, when it is more dangerous. Even back then it was not recommended. Now that the vaccine exists, there is not even a theoretical benefit to doing it. Bevin was reckless with his kids' health — and by advertising what he did to his voters, he is being reckless with their health too.
- Joseph DiGenova blasts "Anastasio Ocasio-Cortez" for doing "the Latina thing."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has terrified Republicans, who don't know what to make of a young, working-class woman of color rising to Congress on a staunchly progressive health care and environmental justice platform. But Joseph DiGenova, a former federal prosecutor and right-wing commentator, told Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Tuesday that one of the most annoying things about Ocasio-Cortez for him was the way she pronounces her name.
"She does the Latina thing where she does her, you know, 'Anastasio Ocasio-Cortez,'" complained DiGenova, evidently not even able to remember her name. He added that "I assume she’s going to love" when he pronounces his own name in a ridiculously exaggerated Italian accent.
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) March 20, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez, as is typical, had a retort ready on social media:
If by ‘the Latina thing,’ she means I actually do the work instead of just talk about it, then yeah, I’m doing ‘the… https://t.co/Hv0gHLDGQi— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1553127572.0
- E. W. Jackson says "you'll have to kill us" before we accept LGBTQ people.
By now, even most Republican politicians at least claim to be okay with simply coexisting with LGBTQ persons. Enter Virginia minister E. W. Jackson, who made it clear on a Tuesday radio broadcast that he is very much still not.
"Can I just be perfectly blunt?" said Jackson. "Why in the world should Christians who have spent their time, their energy, their money, their prayers to buy a little bitty bed-and-breakfast with three rooms for guests be forced by the law to have two old, big strapping men go up in one of their rooms and have sex? Now that's disgusting!"
"Homosexuals basically are trying to intimidate and cow Christians into bowing to their will," Jackson thundered. "We Christians are never going to bow down. Never! You'll have to kill us, but we won't bow."
This man, unfortunately, is not a fringe figure in Virginia Republican politics — he was their nominee for lieutenant governor in 2013, losing to Ralph Northam, who went on to become governor four years later.