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‘Get on the team or shut up’: How Trump created an army of GOP enforcers

From the earliest days of his presidency Donald Trump and his political team worked to re-engineer the infrastructure of the Republican Party, installing allies in top leadership posts in key states.

The effect has been dramatic — and continues to reverberate nearly six months after he left office.

In Oklahoma, the newly installed party chair is endorsing a primary challenge to GOP Sen. James Lankford, the home state incumbent who crossed Trump by voting to uphold results of the November election. In Michigan, the state party chair joked about assassinating two Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump. Arizona’s state chair accused Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of nothing less than killing people by restricting the use of hydroxychloroquine, a Trump obsession, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

There and elsewhere, state party chairs have been at the center of a raft of resolutions to censure or rebuke GOP lawmakers deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump.

In red states, blue states and swing states, these leaders — nearly all of whom were elected during Trump’s presidency or right after — are redefining the traditional role of the state party chair. They are emerging not just as guardians of the former president’s political legacy, but as chief enforcers of Trumpism within the GOP.

It figures to be a boon for him if he runs for another term in 2024, but also carries the risk of tying the party’s fortunes too closely to an ex-president whose political brand is toxic to many voters.

“It’s purity tests, 100 percent,” said Landon Brown, a Republican state lawmaker from Wyoming whose state party chair, Frank Eathorne, earned Trump’s public endorsement for reelection this year after the state party censured Rep. Liz Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump. “When it comes to the party, what I have started seeing, especially in the past four to five years … it’s much more a hard-line, defined, ‘If you don’t vote this way, you’re not a Republican.’”

Open warring by state party chairs against elected officials was once rare, and disagreements were typically kept discreet in the interest of party unity. Top party leaders were tasked with party-building efforts and fundraising, and were accustomed to showing deference to home state senators and governors, or working assiduously to advance their political interests.

But Trump’s penchant for intra-party conflict and demands for absolute loyalty changed the equation. As president-elect, he personally intervened in an effort to oust an Ohio state chair who had been critical of him. In endorsing Eathorne’s reelection in April, Trump cited Eathorne’s role in censuring Cheney. In his March endorsement of David Shafer, the Georgia party chair, Trump said, “No one in Georgia fought harder for me than David!”

Shafer had gone so far as to join a lawsuit challenging the November election results, litigating against his own state’s Republican chief election officer. The state party formally rebuked Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, at its convention last month.

Between Trump’s still-domineering hand on the party and a GOP base that remains intensely loyal to the former president, the imperative for state party chairs is to intertwine his interests with that of the party — fearful that failing to do so may alienate supporters. This is despite Trump’s failure to win a second term and the loss of Republican majorities in Congress during his watch.

“The party’s been taken over by people who have been elected since he became the president who in effect said, ‘Get on the team or shut up,’” said Allen Weh, a former chair of the New Mexico Republican Party and a Trump ally.

That dynamic has served to elevate the importance of party chairs as political actors — in some cases rivaling those who are actually on the ballot. The chairs have significant latitude in their states — from candidate recruitment, to deciding which candidates to invite to plum speaking engagements, to how to allocate money for voter registration and other programs. Several state Republican parties canceled their presidential nominating contests entirely in 2020, insulating Trump from long-shot challengers, including in South Carolina. There, the state’s former two-term governor, Mark Sanford, could not even get a hearing.

Bill Weld, a former two-term Massachusetts governor who ran for president in 2020, also hit a wall in his home state. The state party changed the way it awarded delegates to presidential candidates to help ensure that Trump in 2020 would not lose even a single delegate to the state’s former governor, who won reelection in a landslide in the 1990s.

Jim Lyons, the state party’s pro-Trump chair, has clashed bitterly with moderate GOP Gov. Charlie Baker, who’s made clear he’s no fan of Trump. Baker — one of the nation’s most popular governors — has not announced his intentions for 2022 but a Lyons ally and former Trump campaign co-chair in Massachusetts, Geoff Diehl, has already announced his intention to run for governor.

John Thomas, a Republican strategist who works on House campaigns across the country, said the pro-Trump disposition of the vast majority of state party chairs across the country will likely have a “direct impact” on the party’s candidate recruitment and resource allocation ahead of the midterm elections.

“Party chairs, that’s one of their main jobs to recruit candidates, so oftentimes party chairs will recruit them in their image or ideological worldview,” Thomas said, “So I think it’s safe to say, like in Oklahoma, they’re not going to be recruiting candidates that look like [Utah Sen.] Mitt Romney.”

In addition, he said, “Party chairs can decide where to invest in things like voter registration and all that. So, if they have a particular incumbent they don’t like that doesn’t line up with the Trump world view, they can penalize incumbents and potential challengers as well.”

Ultimately, the biggest beneficiary of the party’s shifting composition may be Trump himself, if he runs for another term in 2024. The chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, pledged neutrality when she was reelected to her post following Trump’s defeat. But it’s a different story outside Washington.

“It’s a huge advantage to have a network of support of state party chairs,” said Matt Moore, former chair of the South Carolina Republican Party. “State party chairs have huge megaphones. They choose annual dinner speakers, who gets highlighted in such small things as weekly newsletters. They have a lot of power.”

Drew McKissick, the current South Carolina GOP chair, who was endorsed for re-election this year by Trump not once or twice, but three times, said that Trump “is certainly in a position, because of his experience and the new people and manpower that he brought into the party, to have an incredible number of people support him.”

McKissick said, “He understands the importance of the actual party structure.”

The pro-Trump constellation of GOP state party chairs largely mirrors the sentiment of a Republican electorate that remains overwhelmingly loyal to Trump. And fervent support for the president benefited parties across the country, with a surge in participation at the local level. Georgia Republicans saw record crowds at local organizing meetings earlier this year, with many of the newcomers excited about Trump and furious at the results of the election. The number of activists and volunteers signed up with local parties in South Carolina has roughly doubled since McKissick was first elected in 2017, he said, numbering about 10,000 today.

Though GOP registration in Massachusetts is dwindling, Lyons said Trump has galvanized Republicans at the grassroots level.

At the local level, scores of activists who run local GOP operations have held district or county posts since long before Trump was elected. That’s led some chairs to say the idea that the party has changed dramatically under Trump is overblown. Jennifer Carnahan, the chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, said the party at its core remains largely unchanged since before Trump was elected. Though Trump did “bring new people” into the party, she said, “A lot of these people have been around for decades, right? … I would say the core heart of the Minnesota GOP activist base, it’s largely these real committed individuals that just have a love for our party, our values.”

But public criticism of Trump is almost unheard of at any level within the ranks of state party leadership — and largely isn’t tolerated within a party operation Trump has spent more than four years molding. The attention the chair of the Oklahoma GOP, John Bennett, is now getting for supporting a primary challenge to U.S. Sen. James Lankford is only the most recent example.

In Alaska over the weekend, state party officials endorsed a primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who has been critical of Trump. Before that, it was Kelli Ward, the bombastic state party chair, undermining Ducey in Arizona. Eathorne, the Wyoming party chair, was in Washington the day of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, though he said he participated only in peaceful protests.

Brown, the Wyoming state lawmaker, objected to the state party’s censure of Cheney, and he called for Eathorne to resign after the state party chair floated the idea of secession earlier this year.

“I will not attend state party meetings while he is still in office,” Brown said. “It’s an echo chamber in our state party.”

‘Get educated!’ Dan Walker slams culprits who sent players racial abuse after Euro defeat

Following a nail-biting game, England and Italy went head-to-head in a penalty shootout in a bid to win the Euro 2020 trophy. Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions unfortunately lost to their rivals after the final penalty, taken by Bukayo Saka, was saved.

His fellow teammates Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also didn’t manage to get the ball in the goal.

Since England’s defeat, the three players have been subjected to racial abuse online.

Dan Walker, amongst other celebrities, have spoken out to condemn the behaviour on social media.

Taking to his Instagram page today, the BBC Breakfast star shared a picture of the England squad having a group hug following their loss.

READ MORE: John McEnroe’s rant about royals at Wimbledon: ‘They should bow!’

“I know a lot has come from abroad. People who track those things have been able to explain that. But not all of it.

“It’s just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.

“We heal together as a team now, and we’re there for them, and I know that 99 per cent of the public will be as well.”

He added of his youngest player: “Bukayo in particular has been an absolute star in this tournament.

‘Get off my TV screen’ Furious radio host rages at Dr Hilary in rant over mask ‘hypocrisy’

TalkRADIO host Patrick Christys has branded Dr Hilary Jones a “rampant hypocrite” after he was spotted not wearing a mask while watching the tennis at Wimbledon this week. Dr Hilary, who regularly appears on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and This Morning, also faced a backlash from viewers after footage of his appearance emerged. Mr Christys proclaimed that it was “one rule for them, and another rule for us” during his furious radio rant on coronavirus restrictions. 

Mr Christys said: “There is a TV doctor, Dr Hilary Jones.

“He is a suave man, he is always on your telly on Good Morning Britain or This Morning, saying we all need to wear masks in public.

“He says everyone has a deep-seated public duty to abide by the rules. Then he goes to Wimbledon, sits in the royal box and doesn’t have a mask on in a crowd full of people.

“You rampant hypocrite! Get off my TV screen. How dare you sit there in Wimbledon without a mask on, when you tell us we need to wear masks in public.”

JUST IN: Boris Johnson set to announce ‘mandatory covid passports’

He continued: “You’re responsible for the fear and the panic.

“You’re responsible for the fact that 70 percent of people still want restrictions to continue after coronavirus. Where do you get off?

“We should book him on the show because I’d love to have it out with him.

“It has really wound me up. It’s one rule for them, one rule for us. They are Project Fear.

“How can you say that was a Covid-secure event? Absolute lunacy, the hypocrisy of these people.”

He added: “They’re being cautious, they’re being sensible, and it’s a big, vast open-air arena.

“So these are mitigating circumstances so, you know, I obeyed the rules.

“Of course I got the negative feedback like everybody else, but I abided by the rules.

“If we live with Covid we have to use these mitigating behaviours.”

Earlier this week, an Ipsos Mori poll for the Economist found that a sizeable minority of people in the UK would be happy for Covid restrictions, including a 10pm curfew, to be in place indefinitely.

Around 70 percent of those polled said they thought the rules on wearing masks in shops and public transport should remain in place for at least another month.

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‘Ghosts’ tell couple to ‘get out’ when they accidentally stumble on haunted cave

Beth and Tony Ferguson were looking around a 300-year-old cave wen they heard a sinister voice out of nowhere. According to the couple, the presence gave them a clear warning to “get out” of the cave – something which the pair originally thought they had imagined.

It was only when they returned from their visit to Carnglaze Caverns in Liskeard, Cornwall, earlier this month and rewatched what they’d captured on camera, that they realised it may have been more real than they thought.

According to the Fergusons, two apparitions were caught zooming past them on camera – with the terrifying voice of what sounded like a little girl saying “hello” also being audible on the tape.

Although something like this would leave most people terrified, the pair are used to spiritual sightings as they are paranormal activity hunters in their free time.

Mr Ferguson, who also works as a personal trainer, said: “I’ve been to countless haunted locations in the UK and all over the world, but this place surprised me. I felt very uneasy.

“We hadn’t even had any reports about this being a haunted location, we were just visiting and it was something to do.

“As we were walking around, I felt like we were being followed, as if there was something behind us.”

The 42-year-old is convinced then decided to start recording the occurrence and now believes that that what he and his wife experienced was supernatural.

He added: “I usually carry my cameras with me so I just started laying them around and I couldn’t believe what we managed to capture.

READ MORE: Ghost ships satellite developed by MoD in huge science breakthrough

“Out of nowhere this white mist flew right in front of me and appeared to stop and shapeshift before disappearing. We could constantly hear voices whispering but the most freaky was when we heard a voice telling us ‘get out’.”

The Fergusons accidentally came across the man-made caves during their trip, which are over 300 years old and were mined for slate before being used by the Royal Navy to store rum in the Second World War.

Sensing there might be spirits around, the Fergusons then laid down cameras and catballs, which only light up when they are touched, to capture the two “ghosts” on film.

Mr Ferguson said: ”I wasn’t expecting to get so much from this visit, we had been to Bodmin Moor doing some other paranormal research and this was just something else to do close by.”

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‘Get your own song!’ Eamonn Holmes hits out at England fans after Euro 2020 victory

Last night, Kane again scored the winning goal – taking his shot after a missed penalty, causing celebrations across the country.

However, as the celebrations got underway, Sky News’ David Blevins tweeted: “Official: Commentator confirms that England fans have stolen ‘Sweet Caroline’ from Northern Ireland fans. I prefer the word ‘borrowed’ myself.”

“Get yer own song Ingerland [sic],” added Irish Mirror’ Jilly Beattie.

After seeing the post, Eamonn responded: “Guys, I’ve been itching about this all night. Not a single reference to us. #GAWA Football or Boxing. @NeilDiamond would have got nowhere with that Song if it wasn’t for Our Wee Country.”

Author: Daniel Bird
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Celebrity News

Piers Morgan slams Keir Starmer after Labour Party loses votes in election ‘Get a grip!’

Jill Mortimer, a North Yorkshire farmer, comfortably won the Hartlepool by-election for the Conservatives with a majority of 6,940, overturning a Labour majority of more than 3,500 at the 2019 election. 

A cabinet minister claimed that “something has fundamentally shifted” in the political landscape.

While Sir Keir said he took “full responsibility” for the opposition party’s disastrous performance. 

A senior backbencher for the party said: “Keir needs to decide whether he is serious about wanting to be leader or not.

“Because if he does it is going to take some tough decisions, including looking at who is in the shadow cabinet, who is in his office and who is in the party structure.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Did Channing Tatum Say He Has to ‘Get Better at Acting’ So He Doesn’t Have to be ‘Naked’ in Movies?

Channing Tatum has played many comedic, romantic, and action-heavy roles in his acting career, but he is perhaps most well-known for playing a stripper in the “Magic Mike” movies.

During a May 4, 2021, interview on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” Tatum talked about working out for his on-screen roles. He said, “As someone who works out for a job, I promise you I would not look like this unless I had to be naked in most of my movies mostly. At some point, I got to get better at acting so I don’t have to be naked in all of them.”

Watch the full interview here:

Tatum also applauded those who managed to fit in full-time jobs, child care, and family duties alongside working out and self-care.

Given that he said this in an interview that is available to watch online, we rate this claim as “True.”

Author: Nur Ibrahim
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com

Britney Spears Vows To ‘Get In Shape’ So She Can Keep Up With Her Boyfriend’s ‘Hotter Than Hot’ Body

Author: Allison Swan
This post originally appeared on Hollywood Life

Britney Spears is working on her fitness — and she has her super hot boyfriend Sam Asghari to thank for keeping her motivated.

Britney Spears, 39, looks totally incredible! The pop princess took to Instagram on April 27 to share a fun Reel of her looking super svelte in two different bikinis and revealed that she recently decided she had  to “get in shape.”

Britney explained in her caption that she has spent the past two weeks eating (mostly) clean and working out a ton, in order to keep up with her fitness model boyfriend Sam Asghari, 27.

“In the past two weeks I’ve said that’s it,” Britney wrote on the social media app. “I have got to get in shape considering my boyfriend’s body is hotter than hot !!!! I was like SHIT where the hell am I supposed to start.. so I run a lot and try to eat clean and be mindful with my food unless I cheat, like last night when I ate a container of peanuts!!!!”

“And then it hit me … I might look better but I felt too vulnerable in my skin being this small,” Britney continued. “I didn’t like it so I started boxing so now I feel stronger too!!!! We all have our own ways to work on our bodies and I respect that cause we all should … I just hope I don’t see an @innout burger any time soon!!!!

Britney Spears Get In Shape Video
Britney Spears is on a mission to get into top shape. [Shutterstock]

In the video Britney shows off the results of her hard work by modeling a hot pink bikini that perfectly showcases her signature abs and belly button piercing. She also rocks a rust colored bikini and both suits look so good it’s hard to choose a favorite.

Britney’s fit physique was on full display over the weekend when she wore a figure-flattering dark blue mini dress to a special night out.  She wore matching heels, a necklace, and sunglasses but her best accessory was her hunky boyfriend Sam! Her boyfriend of 3 years was by her side for the event and later shared a photo of their coordinated look to his Instagram page.

“About last night #vaccinated #thankyouscience,” Sam captioned the post. Britney and Sam’s many fans flooded the comments section with compliments. “Y’all look AMAZING 😍 so glad to see britney have fun, thank you for sharing with us ❤️,” one follower wrote while another called them a “beautiful couple.”

‘Vaccinated queen’: Tennis ace Bouchard says jabs will ‘get us back to real life’, likens treatment to a Willy Wonka golden ticket

Tennis favorite Genie Bouchard has proudly displayed the medical evidence of her Covid-19 jab, likening her appointment to winning a golden ticket while being hailed as a “vaccinated queen” by former US Open champ Sloane Stephens.

While the question of being vaccinated has divided figures across tennis, the 27-year-old was unequivocal in her excitement about receiving the treatment – adding that it made her feel as if she had received a hallowed ‘golden ticket’ to visit Willy Wonka’s confectionary production house, as made famous by the film ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

Breaking away from her usual displays of modeling stylish clothes and lounging in exotic locations, Bouchard posed with her post-vaccination plaster visible at the top of her left arm and the documentation of her treatment held in place on her chest by a bag strap.

“Got my Willy Wonka golden ticket,” added the Canadian it-girl, having previously told her Instagram following of more than 2.1 million that she was “vaccine-bound” while wearing a mask and looking into the camera.

The topic of vaccinations has been a particularly thorny one in tennis. Many top players and coaches have said they are reluctant to have a jab, explaining that they feel the existing vaccines have not been sufficiently tested.

Last week, former champion Pat Cash claimed that women’s governing body the WTA was encouraging stars to be vaccinated without giving them any information or alternative options, and there has been uproar in some quarters over mooted ‘vaccine passports’ that could dictate whether players, their entourages and fans are allowed to travel and attend events.

Bouchard playfully shared an unverified story from Twitter that was purportedly posted by someone who had vaccinated themselves, and shared a screenshot from dating app Bumble – an issue that may be close to her heart, given her previous insights into her varied love life – that showed a woman offering to “give it a shot” with potential suitors as long as they had been jabbed.

Several cautionary responses inevitably surfaced under Bouchard’s photo. “Walking, talking virtue signaling billboard with not an original thought or action in its empty head,” one viewer said of the snap, while another added: “Good little sheep.”

The Miami-based 2014 Wimbledon finest hit back at one of her respondents while mocking another who warned her that “most of the kids who got the Wonka golden tickets either died or were horribly injured or deformed.”

“Best reply,” laughed Bouchard, adding that a vaccine card “will get us back to real life.”

Ex-world number three Stephens, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2017, was fulsome in her praise for Bouchard’s bravery, receiving a heart emoji in reply.

The top two female players in the world, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka, have said they would be happy to be vaccinated, while world number three Simona Halep became one of the first to receive the treatment.

World number five Elina Svitolina is among those who has said vaccines for Covid-19 are unproven, joined by players including two-time Grand Slam winner Aryna Sabalenka.
Also on rt.com Tennis icon claims bosses have ‘skirted side effects’ of ‘experimental vaccine’ and FIFA or the IOC could have ‘manipulated virus’

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