Campaign Week in Review: Anti-Choice Groups Cheer Trump’s Latest Hire

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Campaign Week in Review: Anti-Choice Groups Cheer Trump’s Latest Hire

Ally Boguhn

Anti-choice groups began this week to change their mind about Donald Trump, praising the Republican’s latest campaign hire, and a new report showed a rise in anti-Muslim violence amid the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election.

Anti-choice groups began this week to change their mind about Donald Trump, praising the Republican’s latest campaign hire, and a new report showed a rise in anti-Muslim violence amid the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election.

Anti-Choice Groups Cheer Donald Trump’s New Domestic Policy Hire

Despite spending months questioning Donald Trump’s opposition to abortion rights, anti-choice groups are now singing the presumptive Republican nominee’s praises after he reportedly hired John Mashburn, an anti-choice advocate, as a policy adviser.

“This is an excellent hire, especially for the pro-life movement and our legislative priorities,” wrote Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-choice organization Susan B. Anthony List, in a post for the Pulse. “I have known and respected John Mashburn for many years. He is a smart strategist with deep pro-life roots. … If I were running for president, I would want John Mashburn as a top advisor, too.”

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Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, told the Washington Examiner that Mashburn “is a rock solid pro-lifer” and “[s]omeone we can work with.”

Mashburn has worked for late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), who sponsored the Helms Amendment, ensuring that “no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.”

The anti-choice group’s praise for Trump seems to signal new support for the GOP candidate. Officials from Priests for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List told the Washington Times Wednesday that their organizations would back Trump now that many believe he will face Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the general election.

“Hillary Clinton can hardly find an abortion she doesn’t like,” Fr. Frank Pavone, national director for Priests for Life, said in a statement to the Washington Times. “She’s virtually for unrestricted abortion. Here, on the other hand, we have a man in Donald Trump who has said that abortion is wrong. He wants to protect the unborn, and he’s committed in fact to very specific steps.”

Study Finds Increase in Islamophobic Hate Crimes Since 2016 Election Cycle Started

A study conducted by Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, which conducts academic research on Islamophobia, found a rise in violence against Muslims in the United States since the start of the 2016 presidential election.

Since the election season began in March 2015, “there have been approximately 180 reported acts or threats of anti-Muslim violence, including: twelve (12) murders; thirty-four (34) physical assaults; forty-nine (49) verbal assaults or threats against persons and institutions; fifty-six (56) acts of vandalisms or destruction of property; nine (9) arsons; and eight (8) shootings or bombings, among other incidents,” according to the report.

Though researchers caution that the rise in violence was not necessarily caused by the election cycle, spikes in anti-Muslim activities rose at the same time Republican presidential candidates’ inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims made news.

In one such example, after Trump called for mosques to be closed in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, and the mass shooting in San Bernardino California in late 2015, “anti-Muslim attacks initially tripled with nearly half of those attacks directed against mosques.”

The report suggested that Republican presidential candidates have contributed to already rising anti-Muslim sentiments throughout the country.

“Before and after terrorist attacks, American Muslims have been consistently and increasingly singled out in a growingly hostile, increasingly violent atmosphere of anti-Muslim sentiment. Irresponsible statements by presidential candidates, especially Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, have only contributed to the tension and fear that have spurred violence against a vulnerable American minority group,” the Bridge Initiative concluded. 

“Rather than urge calm and encourage unity in the wake of terrorist attacks—in Paris, San Bernardino and most recently, Brussels—that hurt Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Trump and Cruz have suggested, and stood by, policies to ban Muslims from entering the United States and patrol so-called ‘Muslim neighborhoods,’ respectively.”

What Else We’re Reading

Trump’s defense of his comments about punishing those who have abortions should the procedure be made illegal “is the worst defense anyone has ever given of anything,” according to Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley.

A Colorado-based PAC is asking white men not to run for office. The Can You Not PAC “was started by white men, for white men, asking white men that one important question: ‘Bruh, can you not?’” Feministing reports that the PAC, whose advisory board is “made up of progressive women, LGBTQ folks, and people of color,” will issue endorsements for the upcoming election “with the aim of defeating mediocre white dudes and elevating candidates from marginalized communities.”

More than 2,000 doctors signed onto an editorial and paper published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday, supporting Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” health-care proposal.

Trump’s claim that Clinton is playing the “woman’s card” to get ahead in the election led to a massive $2.4 million fundraising haul in three days for the Democratic presidential candidate.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may have dropped out of the presidential election, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about him: ThinkProgress’ Emily Atkin and Alice Ollstein detail ”some of the ways Cruz will likely try to wreak havoc now that he can focus his full attention on the Senate.”

Bloomberg Politics reports that big money groups are pouring millions into ballot initiatives across the country and have already raised more than $125 million for their causesa 74 percent increase from what was raised at this point in the 2014 election cycle.

Simon Moya-Smith explains the casual racism behind Clinton’s use of a phrase about Native Americans that “has nothing but very offensive roots.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R)who notoriously slashed food assistance and came under fire in January for making “racist” remarks—told a town hall Wednesday that if Trump didn’t give him a spot in his administration, the governor would challenge Sen. Angus King (I) for his seat.

Republicans lawmakers in Virginia are planning to file a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s recent restoration of voting rights for more than 200,000 people who have served time for a felony.