Team Kasich: No, we didn’t file enough valid signatures to qualify for the Pennsylvania ballot

Last week, we reported that a challenge to John Kasich’s ballot petitions was filed in Pennsylvania. A college student filed a challenge alleging that enough of his signatures were invalid to prevent Kasich from meeting the minimum threshold of 2000.

Yesterday was the court hearing for the challenge.

John Kasich’s lawyer agreed with the plaintiff that he did not file enough signatures to make the ballot. But he may get away with it, depending on how the court interprets what exact time of day was the deadline to file a challenge. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

HARRISBURG — Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s own lawyer agrees the presidential campaign submitted fewer valid signatures than are required for the candidate to appear on Pennsylvania’s primary ballot. But he argued in court Wednesday that it doesn’t matter because an objection to Mr. Kasich’s nominating petitions was filed 13 minutes too late.

At issue is whether challenges to Pennsylvania nominating petitions are due by 5 p.m. or 11:59 p.m. on the last day to file.

Attorneys for Mr. Kasich and the objector have stipulated that the campaign filed no more than 2,184 signatures with the state, and that 192 of those signatures were not valid. Republican and Democratic candidates for president must submit 2,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.

And from Penn Live:

Kasich’s campaign has stipulated it does not have enough valid signatures from registered Republican voters to meet state ballot requirements. As a result, it is hoping for a technical reprieve to help the governor keep his Great Lakes strategy afloat.

Wow.

What’s really crazy here is that apparently Pennsylvania does not validate signatures turned in on petitions. Under such a system, somebody could submit pages of invalid signatures, and the state puts the burden of proving that they are valid on the general public, with only 7 days to do so.

Here in Ohio, individual county boards of elections review signatures to make sure they are valid, such as confirming voter registration, address and political party. Apparently not so in Pennsylvania.

Kasich still has a very real chance of being removed from the ballot. Or he could remain due to a technicality, since we now know that he didn’t meet the same requirements that the other candidates apparently did. Remember that Pennsylvania is a big part of his “home game” strategy, since it is next door to Ohio and the state where he grew up.

We will find out what the courts rule within the next couple of weeks.


ORP cries foul over logo use on mailers

Most average voters are unaware of this, but in Ohio’s primary on March 15th, we won’t just be nominating candidates for the GOP ticket in November’s races. We’ll also be choosing who makes up the State Central Committee for the Ohio Republican Party.

There is a man and a woman elected in each of Ohio’s Senate districts, for a total of 66 members.

The ORP committee routinely votes every year to endorse themselves (all the incumbent members) and uses party money to promote keeping themselves in their current seats, instead of using donor money to defeat Democrats.

However, we have covered past instances of the party using dirty tricks to avoid endorsing and supporting certain members that they don’t like. Weeks ago, we showed you how they filed a bogus challenge against one member, so that they had an excuse not to endorse and support him. Even after their bogus complaint was dismissed by the local board of elections, ORP refused to support him like they do for all the other incumbent members.

Here in my district, there are challengers to the incumbent State Central Committee members for the 13th district. Mr. Michael Witte and Ms. Kirsten Penton Hill are campaigning together and sent out postcards to the GOP voters in the district. Below is one of their postcards.

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Normally, voters only receive mailers from the ORP endorsing the incumbent members, so it’s clear that these two candidates are determined and working hard to earn votes.

Not long after these cards went out, however, Mr. Witte says that he received a threatening letter from Chairman Matt Borges over the use of the ORP logo.

They are running for a position in the Ohio Republican Party, after all. And the cards do not claim that they are endorsed.

I asked Witte about the mailers and the letter from Borges. Here was his response.

We had the cards printed prior to the week of 2/14 and they were mailed on Tuesday Feb 16. When formulating the layout, we considered using the Ohio Republican Party Logo, as we are Republicans, in Ohio, running for a position on the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee.

We discussed this with others who are also running, and the consensus was that there was nothing prohibiting it, so we included the Logo on our mailer.

On Friday, Feb 19, I received a letter from Matt Borges dated Feb 18, stating the use was an unauthorized use of their (The ORP) trademarked logo. This was disturbing to me, as I was under the impression that there was no trademark.

So I researched it, and found that the Logo in question is not registered on the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) database. Searching the Ohio SOS site, I found that the subject Logo was registered as of Wednesday, February 17, 2016.

Here is the letter he received from Borges.

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Indeed, Witte is correct in his assertion that at the time he sent his post cards, the logo was not registered. The ORP only rushed out and registered the logo after the fact, and then sent out the letter. The registrations with the Secretary of State’s office, on 2/17/16, can be viewed here and here.

Borges’s letter also contains mistakes. He accuses Witte of representing the NW Ohio Conservative Coalition. But Witte says he is not associated with them in any way. Lorain County isn’t even located in NW Ohio. Borges also refers in the letter to an included exhibit, but none was included.

All that being said, I can understand the ORP’s desire to control their own brand and intellectual property. But since they hadn’t registered the logos, it appears they were quite sloppy in doing so.

For his part, Mr. Witte says that now that the logo is registered to the ORP, he will no longer use it.

I can only laugh about this, because it reminds of the old adage, “Turnabout is fair play”. Years ago, when the ORP sent out mailers to promote their incumbent members, they emblazoned the postcards with a logo that proclaimed “Tea Party Values”.

One last note about Mr. Witte’s race. He is challenging incumbent member Matt Cox. Cox was recently featured in the blog RedState for being a big donor to Democrats, including Sherrod Brown, Chris Redfern and John P. Carney, among others.

Some of the names many not be familiar, but John Carney was running to unseat Republican Dave Yost who is the Ohio Auditor of State. Chris Redfern is the former Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party and a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Sherrod Brown is a left wing Democrat who defeated Josh Mandel (currently the Ohio State Treasurer) in 2012 in his re-election fight.

It doesn’t make much sense his PAC gave money to candidates looking to defeat Republicans.

Cox was appointed to his current seat on the SCC on the recommendation of Chairman Borges, after Bob Rousseau passed away while occupying the position.

Yes, you heard that right. Borges recommended and placed on the Republican SCC a person who donated major funds to defeat the same Republicans that the ORP was trying to elect or reelect.

I can tell you one thing. I have never seen such an effort in a SCC race. Witte and Penton Hill have blanketed the district with signs, which is pretty unheard of in these types of races. (Apologies for the poor picture, it was obviously raining!) The handwritten note on their postcard was also a nice touch. They are working hard.

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There is also a second challenger in the race, but I have yet to see any campaigning from that party. Whether Cox continues to hold his seat or he is replaced will be up to the GOP voters of Lorain and Huron Counties on March 15th.

Mysterious letters sent to Ohio Cruz and Rubio supporters urging them to vote for Kasich

I received a letter today. It was postmarked as being mailed from New York City but had no return address. This is what I found inside with the letter.

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My phone was also inundated with messages from other people who received the same letter. They were also sent to people who support Ted Cruz.

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The letter was sent from someone named Eric Hoffman, who purports to be a born-and-raised Ohioan who now lives in Connecticut. He doesn’t explain why the letter was mailed from New York City.

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(Update: Mr. Hoffman contacted me and said that he works in NYC and mailed the letters from there.)

He explains in his letter that he looked up who the delegates for Cruz and Rubio are in Ohio, and is sending them the same letter in hopes that we can help swing the vote in Ohio to John Kasich in order to stop Trump. (I am a delegate for Rubio). The full letter can be viewed here: Page 1, Page 2.

Mr. Hoffman’s idea sounds like a strategic one. After all, Mitt Romney advised people in Ohio to vote for Kasich to stop Trump. But Romney also advised voters in Florida to vote for Marco Rubio to deny that state to Trump.

I emailed him and asked him if he also contacted Cruz and Kasich delegates in Florida to urge them to vote for Rubio, and he said he did not.

I do take some issue with his letter. A vote for Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio is also a vote against Trump. Even if I was tempted to follow his advice, which I am not, it’s too late anyway, since I already voted early.

As long as Mr. Hoffman is not connected to the Kasich campaign or his supper-PAC, what he did was perfectly legal. What’s not known is if Mr. Hoffman is trying to help Kasich, or truly wants to stop Trump.

I agree completely with him that Trump would be a horrible choice as our nominee, but as a delegate for Rubio, I promised to support Rubio, so that’s what I will be doing. I presume the Cruz delegates and my fellow Rubio delegates feel the same way.

Could John Kasich be removed from the Pennsylvania primary ballot?

Ohio Governor John Kasich faces the possibility of being removed from the primary ballot in his home state of Pennsylvania. In the days before the deadline, I heard rumors that his campaign may have fallen short of qualifying for the ballot. Those rumors appeared to be disproved when he was approved to appear on the ballot. However, there is now a legal challenge to the validity of hundreds of the signatures on his petitions.

Kasich’s campaign filed 2,184 signatures to appear on the ballot in the Keystone State. 2,000 signatures were required for the primary election to be held on April 26.

But Nathaniel Rome, a University of Pennsylvania student who supports Marco Rubio, claims that over 800 of the signatures are not valid and has filed a challenge.

Specifically, Rome claims that many of the signatures of Kasich’s electors do not match the signatures of their voter registration cards. Other electors, he says, are either not registered to vote, are not registered in the specified district or are not registered as Republicans. In several instances, the petition challenges illegible signatures or handwriting that appears to belong to third parties other than the stated elector.

As a result, Rome is asking the court to set aside Kasich’s nominating petition and remove him from the state’s April 26 primary ballot.

Rome would not have filed the challenge if he were not confident that at least 185 signatures were invalid or ineligible, Bravacos said.

There is a hearing scheduled for March 9th, where we will find out whether this is frivolous or legitimate.

The Kasich campaign is no stranger to ballot challenges. In 2014, Kasich and Ohio Republican Party associates spent half a million dollars to have Libertarian candidate Charlie Earl removed from the May primary ballot. Before Kasich’s Democratic opponent, Ed Fitzgerald, had a campaign meltdown, it was feared that Earl would siphon away voters from Kasich. The circulators for Earl’s petitions failed to disclose that they were being paid, and the petitions were thrown out, removing Earl from appearing on the ballot.

If indeed Kasich is found to have not qualified for the primary ballot, it would be an embarrassing episode to the campaign that has frequently boasted about its ground game, especially in the state right next to Ohio where the governor grew up.

According to Real Clear Politics, Pennsylvania is a winner-take-all state and a treasure trove of all 71 ballots are up for grabs. Assuming he is still on the ballot, Kasich has a real shot of winning the primary there. A recent poll shows him trailing Donald Trump by 7 points and Marco Rubio by 1 point.

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Pat Fischer is the better choice for Ohio Supreme Court

Lost in the craziness of Trump and the nomination fight is a hotly contested Supreme Court race here in Ohio between two Court of Appeals judges.

Judge Pat Fischer is from the First District Court of Appeals and has the support of numerous groups across a broad spectrum of the Republican Party. Just a few include Cincinnati and Ohio Right to Life as well as several county Republican parties and the ORP. He’s had support in the past from the Cincinnati Tea Party and Women for Liberty.

His opponent, Colleen O’Toole, is a name that some may remember for being sanctioned by the Supreme Court for an ethics violation. She claims to be running an anti-establishment campaign, but the facts don’t add up.

It’s no secret that I disagree with the ORP often, but this time they got it right.

O’Toole has repeatedly told crowds that she didn’t seek the support of the Ohio Republican Party, despite clear evidence to the contrary. In fact, we have been told that when she screened for the endorsement on June 15, 2015 she told the ORP Screening Committee that she wanted to “be their champion.” Hardly the words of someone who now claims to be “anti-establishment”.

In addition, Fischer received a rating of “highly recommended” by the Ohio Bar Association, while O’Toole’s rating is “not recommended”.

These races matter, and having a strong Republican majority on the Supreme Court is important. Pat Fischer is our best candidate to put forward and will help keep that majority.

Millions of Republicans and I will not vote for Donald Trump in November

I’ve voted Republican my entire life. None of the candidates were perfect. Many of them weren’t “100% pure”. But they were always better than the Democrat alternative.

But if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee, I will vote third party or just leave the ballot blank for president. Why so many people are falling for Trump’s con game, just like the people he scammed with Trump University, is mind-boggling. The man holds absolutely no principles whatsoever, except his own self-promotion.

And millions upon millions of fellow Republicans will join me.

The main arguments were his authoritarianism, his lack of any principle besides the further aggrandizement of one Donald J. Trump, his racism and misogyny, and his erratic behavior, which led a whole lot of people to write that they were afraid to have him anywhere within a thousand miles of the nuclear launch codes.

Elected officials from U.S. Senators to city councilmen are now speaking up and making it known that they can not and will not support this man as the nominee for our party. A friend and city councilman, Phil Van Treuren, wrote this to our county newspapers:

I’m an elected Republican officeholder, a Republican precinct committeeman, and have supported Republican candidates for the last two decades. But I won’t vote for Donald Trump if he wins the GOP nomination.

Like most voters, I could never support a candidate who mocks the disabled, is slow to disavow the KKK, belittles women, and quotes fascist dictators. Trump is a thin-skinned, vindictive bully who would be a dangerous president. Unfortunately, many Republican voters are falling for the con job Trump is pulling on our party, in spite of his constant contradictions on important issues like taxes, abortion, healthcare and our military.

Yesterday, Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost announced that he is #NeverTrump:

I’ve voted Republican all my life. But if Donald Trump wins the nomination of the Republican Party, I will break ranks with my party and will not support him.

In spite of his powerful, legitimate criticisms, Mr. Trump’s candidacy is about only one principle: power. He has changed his positions on abortion, Syrian refugees, the flat tax, Afghanistan and more in his pursuit of power.

He wants that for himself, though he says he will use it on our behalf. But in the decades he has possessed power by virtue of his wealth, he has wielded it for himself.

Every political candidate has flaws, because they are human. Mr. Trump is not merely flawed — his thirst for power at any cost makes him unfit for public trust. What would he not do with public power?

I cannot support a man who will change any belief and associate with any evil in order to gain power, or who will use the power of government to silence his critics, or who is dismissive of people he doesn’t like. Everybody counts, or nobody counts.

Nor can I support a man who steals the clothing of Christianity but claims to have never had a need to repent of anything.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska wrote a very thoughtful open letter to Trump voters two days ago. You should really read the entire thing, but here are some good excerpts.

I’m as frustrated and saddened as you are about what’s happening to our country. But I cannot support Donald Trump.

My current answer for who I would support in a hypothetical matchup between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton is: Neither of them. I sincerely hope we select one of the other GOP candidates, but if Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option.

So let me ask you: Do you believe the beating heart of Mr. Trump’s candidacy has been a defense of the Constitution? Do you believe it’s been an impassioned defense of the First Amendment – or an attack on it?

Which of the following quotes give you great comfort that he’s in love with the First Amendment, that he is committed to defending the Constitution, that he believes in executive restraint, that he understands servant leadership?

Statements from Trump:
***“We’re going to open up libel laws and we’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before.”
***“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. They were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak…”
***Putin, who has killed journalists and is pillaging Ukraine, is a great leader.
***The editor of National Review “should not be allowed on TV and the FCC should fine him.”
***On whether he will use executive orders to end-run Congress, as President Obama has illegally done: “I won’t refuse it. I’m going to do a lot of things.” “I mean, he’s led the way, to be honest with you.”
***“Sixty-eight percent would not leave under any circumstance. I think that means murder. It think it means anything.”
***On the internet: “I would certainly be open to closing areas” of it.
***His lawyers to people selling anti-Trump t-shirts: “Mr. Trump considers this to be a very serious matter and has authorized our legal team to take all necessary and appropriate actions to bring an immediate halt…”
***Similar threatening legal letters to competing campaigns running ads about his record.

Again, I have a favorite in this race, and believe that Marco Rubio is our best candidate. But I would have no problem whatsoever voting for Ted Cruz or John Kasich over Hillary Clinton.

But Donald Trump is a bridge too far. He isn’t a Republican. He isn’t a conservative. And I will have no part, zero, in making him either our nominee or our president.

Kasich stands up for life, signs bill defunding Planned Parenthood

Last July, we suggested that Governor Kasich take steps to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio. He has been a consistently strong pro-life governor. Yesterday, he did exactly that when he signed House Bill 294.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. John Kasich signed legislation Sunday to strip government money from PlannedParenthood in Ohio, a day after the Republican presidential contender’s weak performance in his party’s South Carolina primary.

The expected action came despite calls for a veto by some legislative Democrats and several newspaper editorials.

The governor did not sign the bill in public. His office made the announcement in a statement.

The legislation targets the roughly $1.3 million in funding that Planned Parenthood receives through Ohio’s health department. The money, which is mostly federal, supports HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and prevention of violence against women.

The legislation prohibits such funds from going to entities that perform or promote abortions, their affiliates and those that contract with an entity that performs abortions.

Planned Parenthood and their Democrat puppets, who run their campaigns on the blood money Planned Parenthood donates to them, are of course squealing like stuck pigs.

“This legislation will have devastating consequences for women across Ohio,” Richards said in a statement. “John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns; he is leaving thousands without vital STD and HIV testing, slashing a program to fight domestic violence, and cutting access to essential, basic health care.”

That’s false, of course. Planned Parenthood is NOT the only organization who provides women’s health care for the poor. And the money wasn’t cut. It’s still earmarked for providing low-income women’s health care. It just won’t be spent at organizations that also provide abortions.

This is the right thing to do, and it exposes Democrats’ true motives. They don’t care that the money is still being spent to help women. They only care that it goes to abortion mill Planned Parenthood. As a whole, Democrats love abortion, and they love the abortion money that flows into their campaign warchests. That’s what this is all about. End of story.

One other positive note is that there is one Ohio House Democrat that not only supported the bill, he co-sponsored it. Rep. Bill Patton of Cleveland stood with unborn children and helped make it a reality that Ohios taxpayer’s dollars won’t be subsidizing abortions any further.

Thanks go out to Rep. Patton, all the Republicans in the legislature (except 2) and Governor Kasich for standing up for life in Ohio.

Fellow Ohioans, a vote for John Kasich is now a vote for Donald Trump

Governor Kasich has run a serious and determined campaign for President. However, in this years cycle, where we had as many as 16 candidates seeking the nomination, he has struggled to break out of single digits in any national poll.

His gamble in New Hampshire did pay off to an extent. He finished in second place, but with only 16% of the vote. And to do that, he had to spend many months there as a temporary resident. That’s obviously not possible in any of the remaining contests.

We have had many other successful and respected Republican governors as part of this race. But there came a time for them to realize that it just wasn’t going to happen. Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Chris Christie and now Jeb Bush have come to recognize the reality that they didn’t have the support necessary to continue.

When you take the majority of national and state polls, its now clear that we essentially have a 3-man race between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Donald Trump is leading the race as he has been for months. It saddens me to see that so many who call themselves Republicans are supporting a man whose record and positions are so indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton, but that’s where we are.

There is an immediate need for sane Republicans to stop dividing their votes amongst the quality candidates and coalesce around one in order to stop Trump.

Jeb Bush recognized that he didn’t have the support to be that candidate. For the good of the party and of the nation, Governor Kasich needs to come to the same realization.

One only has to look at the latest NBC/WSJ poll to see that Kasich doesn’t have the support to beat Trump, even in a 2-man race.

Rubio: 57    Trump: 41
Cruz: 56      Trump: 40
Trump: 52  Kasich: 44
Trump: 54  Bush: 43

Kasich also gets only half the support of the next highest candidate in the RCP average of national polls.

Now, it’s no secret that I have supported Rubio from day one. But if the situation between Rubio and Kasich were reversed, I would be calling for Rubio to drop out. I would crawl over broken glass to vote for John Kasich over Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

But that’s not where we are. Trump must not become our party’s nominee. It will ensure the election of Hillary Clinton and possibly destroy the Republican Party. It will guarantee that the GOP loses their Senate majority, which is already tenuous.

Our own Senator Rob Portman is in a close race, and Trump at the top of the ticket will almost certainly lead to Senator Ted Strickland as his replacement. Governor Kasich would be wise to think about this.

Our governor should be proud of the campaign he has run. But he also should do as Governor Bush and his fellow governors have done, and withdraw from the race to let the strongest candidate beat Donald Trump.

All indications are, however, that Kasich intends to continue.

If he does, voters in Ohio and elsewhere need to think about their votes. There is nothing Donald Trump would love more than for Kasich to stay in this race and bleed votes and delegates from Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. There’s a reason Trump hasn’t attacked Kasich since before the new year.

There is also no disloyalty to Kasich in making the choice to stop Trump instead of voting for the governor. You know that Governor Kasich would be sickened by the notion of Trump as our nominee, even if he still erroneously believes he himself has a path to victory. Don’t throw your vote away by voting for someone who’s going to come in 4th or 5th place.

Don’t let Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton win. The rest of us sane Republicans are counting on you.

Ted Strickland channels Donald Trump

strickland-AP-640x480In an attempt to attack Senator Rob Portman, Ted Strickland pulled a trick out of an unlikely playbook today. Donald Trump’s. Check out this tweet about the Trans Pacific Partnership that even Strickland’s buddy Barack Obama supports.

Donald Trump tried to make a similar argument in the Milwaukee debate in November.

“The TPP is horrible deal,” Trump said. “It’s a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.”

“If you look at the way China and India and almost everybody takes advantage of the United States — China in particular, because they’re so good. It’s the No. 1 abuser of this country,” Trump said. “And if you look at the way they take advantage, it’s through currency manipulation. It’s not even discussed in the almost 6,000-page agreement.”

Rand Paul then delivered one of that debate’s most memorable moments by correctly interjecting that China is not part of the TPP.

Politifact even gave Trump a “Pants on fire” rating for the statement that China would benefit from the TPP.

We asked experts if there was any way China could possibly take advantage of the TPP. The experts all agreed: The trade deal will most likely negatively impact China.

Joel P. Trachtman, an international law professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said the deal “would mean there would be zero tariffs on goods coming to the United States from places that compete with China.”

“It certainly wouldn’t be expected to help China,” he said.

To Trump’s assertion that the trade deal was designed for China’s benefit, experts say it’s actually the opposite. While Blanchard said experts are reluctant to suggest the agreement is a way of taking a shot at China, the TPP does allow the United States to shape trade practices in the Pacific before China can.

Not only is China not a part of the TPP, but the experts we talked to all agreed: The TPP isn’t exciting news for China. There’s a chance that China could join the TPP down the line, but not without robust changes to its economy. Until then, China doesn’t stand to gain much from having trade diverted to other countries.

Ted Strickland may want to get his facts straight before he goes off spouting the same nonsense that Donald Trump does.

Trump promotes another Jew-hating white nationalist on Twitter

Donald Trump continues to repost tweets from white supremacists.

In November, we showed you the tweet where he promoted a racist, false graphic that lied about murder statistics.

Today, he shared a tweet from a Hitler apologist who calls himself “WhiteGenocideTM” whose Twitter profile says he lives in “Jewmerica”.

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Who is @WhiteGenocideTM? Just take a look at his Twitter feed. There’s some pretty disgusting stuff on there.

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His profile also contains a link to a website that idolizes Adolf Hitler and purports to tell the “real truth” about him.

Trump has a huge following from white supremacists who hate blacks, hispanics and Jews. And Trump has reposted their tweets all throughout this campaign.

As long as they praise him, Trump will retweet them, no matter how detestable they may be. This man belongs nowhere near the White House.