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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Monday, February 29, 2016

Jeff Sessions, Virulent Opponent to 2013 Immigration Bill, Endorses Donald Trump

New York Times
By Ashley Parker and Matt Felgenheimer
February 28, 2016

Donald J. Trump unveiled his first Senate endorsement at a rally here Sunday night, bringing Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama up onstage with him and praising him as “really the expert as far as I’m concerned on borders.”

Mr. Sessions is known for his virulent opposition to the immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013, which included a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants already in the country, and Mr. Trump has made a tough stance on immigration a pillar of his campaign.

“I told Donald Trump, this isn’t a campaign, this is a movement,” Mr. Sessions said, looking out over the crowd of thousands. “Look at what’s happened.”

In a statement, Mr. Trump said he was honored to have Mr. Sessions’s support.

“He led the fight against the Gang of Eight, against Obama’s trade deal, against Obama’s judges, and for American sovereignty,” Mr. Trump said in his statement. “He has stood up to special interests as few have. There is no more respected man in Congress and we are closely aligned on many issues, including trade and illegal immigration, and I am proud to consider Jeff Sessions an adviser, friend and ally.”

Alabama is one of the states that heads to the polls on Tuesday, and Mr. Sessions’s endorsement comes as Mr. Trump has begun to consolidate more establishment support behind his bid. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, previously one of Mr. Trump’s rivals for the nomination, endorsed him on Friday, and last week the real estate billionaire picked up the support of two House Republicans.

The endorsement was a major blow to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who has long counted Mr. Sessions among his few allies in the Senate. On the campaign trail, he has invoked Mr. Sessions repeatedly as a partner in stifling immigration legislation in 2013 — an episode that is central to Mr. Cruz’s argument against Mr. Trump’s signature issue.

On Sunday, as news of the endorsement trickled out, Mr. Cruz, who had publicly wooed Mr. Sessions, declined to weigh in.

“I’ll wait to comment on endorsements until they actually happen rather than to comment on speculation of endorsements,” he told reporters in Oklahoma City.

Both Mr. Rubio and Mr. Sessions discussed securing the nation’s borders and immigration in their remarks, and the endorsement also highlights the weakness of Senator Marco Rubio, who was a co-author of the controversial Senate bill, with the Republican base just two days before voters head to the polls in a string of conservative Southern states.

The news also serves as a boost to Mr. Trump as he is coming under the most sustained paid media assault of his candidacy, and as he has made a series of stumbles, including declining to denounce support from David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and to disavow a quote from Benito Mussolini that he promoted on his Twitter account.

There were signs that Mr. Sessions was impressed with Mr. Trump, especially on the issue of immigration. The Alabama Senator appeared with Mr. Trump at one of his early rallies, and in January, Stephen Miller, a top aide to Mr. Sessions in the Senate, left to join Mr. Trump’s campaign as a senior policy advisor.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

To Fight Critics, Donald Trump Aims to Instill Fear in 140-Character Doses

New York Times
By Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman
February 26, 2016

Cheri Jacobus, a Republican political strategist, did not think she had done anything out of the ordinary: On a cable television show, she criticized Donald J. Trump for skipping a debate in Iowa in late January and described him as a “bad debater.”

But then Mr. Trump took to Twitter, repeatedly branding Ms. Jacobus as a disappointed job seeker who had begged to work for his campaign and had been rejected. “We said no and she went hostile,” he wrote. “A real dummy!” Mr. Trump’s campaign manager told the same story on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Mr. Trump’s Twitter followers, who number about six million, piled on. For days, they replied to his posts with demeaning, often sexually charged insults aimed at Ms. Jacobus, including several with altered, vulgar photographs of her face.

“Cheri is a nutcase,” wrote @LegendaryTrump. Another Twitter user, @stockedwood, wrote, “How the hell does a woman like her get on the air???”

With his enormous online platform, Mr. Trump has badgered and humiliated those who have dared to cross him during the presidential race. He has latched onto their vulnerabilities, mocking their physical characteristics, personality quirks and, sometimes, their professional setbacks. He has made statements, like his claims about Ms. Jacobus, that have later been exposed as false or deceptive — only after they have ricocheted across the Internet.

Many recipients of Mr. Trump’s hectoring are fellow politicians, with paid staff members to help them defend themselves. But for others, the experience of being targeted by Mr. Trump is nightmarish and a form of public degradation that they believe is intended to scare off adversaries by making an example of them.

And as more mainstream forces in the Republican Party try to unite to stop his march to the nomination, they are finding that the fear of taking on Mr. Trump is discouraging his would-be opponents from signing on to the fight.

“I’ve never encountered an American politician at this level that people are literally afraid of — donors are afraid of him,” said Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, a magazine that has criticized Mr. Trump. He added, “If it was Hillary Clinton that was doing it, the entire right-wing world would erupt in outrage, understandably and correctly.”

It is not just that Mr. Trump has a skill for zeroing in on an individual’s soft spot and hammering at it. It is that he sets a tone of aggression against the person, and his supporters echo and amplify it.

“Over and over and over again: You were rejected by him, you’re a scorned woman,” Ms. Jacobus said, paraphrasing the hundreds of online attacks she faced.

Ms. Jacobus sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mr. Trump and his top aide, citing electronic messages that showed the Trump campaign had courted her and not the other way around.

“I have been trashed and ruined on Twitter,” Ms. Jacobus said. She said that Mr. Trump’s lawyers had responded to her letter, but that they had not yet reached a resolution.

Even when Mr. Trump moves on to something or someone else on Twitter, his followers linger on the last fight.

Mr. Lowry, who devoted an issue of his magazine to critiquing Mr. Trump and has welcomed the candidate’s scorn, said he received a flood of hostile Twitter attacks from Mr. Trump’s followers after the issue was published. Their posts, he said, regularly include “some really vile, neo-Nazi-issue white nationalist, heinous personal abuse, kind of racially tinged stuff.”

As Mr. Trump has risen in the Republican race, he has only dialed up his tactics. This week, he sent out a menacing message on Twitter about the Ricketts family, a wealthy clan of Republican political donors, after it was reported that Marlene Ricketts donated $3 million to a group opposed to Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

“They better be careful,” Mr. Trump wrote of the family, “they have a lot to hide!”

“It’s a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom,” Marlene Ricketts’s son, Tom, later told reporters.

Every political marriage involves a bit of calculation, and in the case of the Christie-Trump endorsement, both men have a lot to gain.

Others say Mr. Trump’s actions go beyond the outlandish and cross into more sinister territory. Parry Aftab, a lawyer who leads the Internet safety group WiredSafety, said Mr. Trump’s behavior was a textbook example of cyberbullying.

In particular, she said his methods were characteristic of “mean-girl cyberbullying” because he enlists others to mimic his attacks. She said his conduct resembled the violent and abusive language her organization can often get removed from Facebook and Twitter.

“At what point does it cross the line into something that’s defamatory and might be actionable?” Ms. Aftab said. “At what point does it cross the line into encouraging violence against groups and individuals?”

In Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr. Trump savaged local power brokers who had endorsed other candidates and criticized his campaign. He called Joseph W. McQuaid, the publisher of The New Hampshire Union Leader, a “psycho” and a “dirty dog,” and he accused him of trying to force Mr. Trump to advertise in his newspaper before it endorsed Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Mr. McQuaid, who has roundly denied Mr. Trump’s claims, said he still gets occasional Twitter messages and letters from readers about his clash with Mr. Trump, weeks after the Feb. 9 primary. “I think his goal,” Mr. McQuaid said, “is to shut down opposition.”

Corey Lewandowski, the Trump campaign manager, said his candidate’s practice of battering opponents on social media showed that Mr. Trump was “the ultimate counterpuncher,” a tough candidate unwilling to take even the slightest criticism lightly.

“When someone attacks him, should he just not respond?” Mr. Lewandowski said. “That’s not fair.”

Mr. Lewandowski said he was unaware of a cease-and-desist letter from Ms. Jacobus, and he described the Trump fans who follow the candidate’s lead as people who “trust Donald Trump to, when he has to, take action” against those who wish him ill.

If Mr. Trump’s merciless methods have seemed to help him so far, there could be a political down side over the long run. His attacks have opened wounds in the Republican ranks that are unlikely to heal anytime soon. Several people he has targeted have said they would have difficulty supporting him in a general election.

Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical activist in Iowa, said it might be impossible for him to vote for Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump wooed Mr. Vander Plaats for his endorsement early on and turned on him bitterly after Mr. Vander Plaats instead backed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

In late January, Mr. Vander Plaats recalled, he was about to go on television when his phone beeped, as it does whenever his Twitter handle is mentioned. This time, the mention was by @realDonaldTrump, who accused Mr. Vander Plaats of seeking free hotel stays for his family in exchange for his endorsement of Mr. Trump. Mr. Vander Plaats said the charge was flatly false.

“I mean, the wind gets knocked out of you,” Mr. Vander Plaats said. “And the reason the wind gets knocked out of you is you think: This is going out to millions of people. And your mom’s going to read it. And it’s going to be in the newspapers.”

Asked if he could ever vote for Mr. Trump, under any circumstances, Mr. Vander Plaats paused before answering, “It would be very difficult, today, to say I could cross that bridge to get there.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

More Than Half of Trump’s Retweets Are White Supremacists Praising Him

New York Magazine
By Jay Hathaway
February 27, 2016

Last week, presidential candidate Donald Trump caused a minor stir by retweeting someone with the Twitter handle @whitegenocideTM, which some saw as making explicit the connection between Trump and American white supremacists. But that’s just one data point, right? A one-off thing that could have been an intern’s mistake? Unfortunately, no: the data shows that 62 percent of the accounts Trump has retweeted recently have white-supremacist connections.

Marshall Kirkpatrick, of social-media analytics company Little Bird, took a look at the 21 people the Donald has blessed with his fantastic, luxurious retweets this week, and discovered that six of them follow major white-nationalist accounts, and 13 of them follow multiple accounts that have used the #whitegenocide hashtag.

Conclusion? “It turns out that Donald Trump mostly retweets white supremacists saying nice things about him.”

It’s hard to separate cause from effect here. Is Trump riling up the white nationalists by lending them his 5-million-follower megaphone whenever they praise him? Or are racists, who love Trump for his anti-immigration polemics, just more likely than others to send our future hairpiece-in-chief the kind of praise he likes to retweet?

Either way, Trump and white nationalism seem to be caught in a positive-feedback loop, each emboldening the other.

Although being associated with @whitegenocideTM would likely hurt any other candidate, it seems Trump’s national polling numbers are bulletproof. Is that in spite of, or because of, the things the white pride crowd loves about him?

Something to think about.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Donald Trump Retweets Post With Quote From Mussolini

New York Times
By Maggie Haberman
February 28, 2016

Donald J. Trump on Sunday morning used his Twitter feed to post a quote attributed to Benito Mussolini, the founder of the fascist movement, from a parody account. The tweet compared the Italian dictator to Mr. Trump, the Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination.

The tweet was posted by Mr. Trump’s account at 6:13 a.m.

The @ilduce2016 feed is a parody account, with a profile picture that is a composite of Mr. Trump’s hair and Mussolini’s face. “Il Duce” was how Mussolini was known by Italians.

Some conservative critics of Mr. Trump’s rhetoric about use of power, both in the United States and abroad, have suggested that his declarations fall along the lines of fascist oratory.

Mr. Trump is an avid Twitter user, and he often goes on posting sprees in the middle of the night or early in the morning. At times, his retweets have been questionable, including posts from accounts associated with white nationalists.

The website Gawker claimed credit for creating the parody account about Il Duce (which translates to “the leader” in Italian.)

Mr. Trump, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said he was unaware that it had been a quote from Mussolini. But he didn’t seem to care.

“It’s a very good quote,” said Mr. Trump. “I didn’t know who said it, but what difference does it make if it was Mussolini or somebody else — it’s a very good quote.”

Asked whether he wanted to be associated with Mr. Mussolini, Mr. Trump replied, ‘No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes.” And he added, “Hey, it got your attention, didn’t it?”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Poll Watch: Trump Tries to Court Hispanic Voters

New York Times
By Giovanni Russonello
February 27, 2016

Donald J. Trump bragged during Thursday night’s Republican debate that he had won almost half the Hispanic vote in the Nevada caucuses on Tuesday. “Nobody else was close,” he said. Looking forward, he said, “I will do really well with Hispanics.”

Will he?

Mr. Trump’s history of making disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants is well known, and as he looks to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, he faces an uphill battle in building trust among the Hispanic electorate.

A Washington Post/Univision poll released on Thursday showed that among likely Hispanic Republican primary voters nationwide, Senator Marco Rubio was by far the leading choice, with 34 percent support. Mr. Trump had the backing of 22 percent.

And those who don’t support Mr. Trump are not likely to be swayed. Just 6 percent of Republican Hispanic voters named him as their second choice. With first and second choices combined, 53 percent said they could envision backing Mr. Rubio, and 38 percent said so for Senator Ted Cruz. For Mr. Trump, the number was 28 percent.

Looking beyond Republicans, to all Hispanic voters nationwide, Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular. Four in five have an unfavorable view of him, and only 16 percent view him positively.

Also of note: The Nevada entrance polls that Mr. Trump cites included interviews with just over 100 Hispanic caucusgoers, a very small sample; some analysts cautioned against reading too much into those results. Tuesday’s Hispanic voters represented only about 1 percent of the state’s Hispanic population.

By margins of more than three to one, Hispanic voters nationwide trust the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party to handle immigration, health care and same-sex marriage, according to the Post/Univision poll.

On the Democratic side, Hispanic voters favor Hillary Clinton by a two-to-one margin, although the same proportion of Hispanic voters views her and Senator Bernie Sanders favorably. Mrs. Clinton is seen favorably by 67 percent and unfavorably by 30 percent; Mr. Sanders is viewed well by 60 percent and looked on poorly by 23 percent.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Two Former Presidents of Mexico Compare Trump to Hitler

February 27, 2016

U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's political rhetoric is "racist," and evocative of Adolf Hitler, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon told reporters at an event in Mexico City on Saturday.

"This logic of praising the white supremacy is not just anti-immigration," Calderon said. "He is acting and speaking out against immigrants that have a different skin color than he does, it is frankly racist and [he is] exploiting feelings like Hitler did in his time," Calderon said.

Trump has accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners across the U.S. border and has said he will make Mexicans pay for a wall on the border.

Felipe Calderon was president of Mexico from 2006-12.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, Calderon's predecessor, also compared Trump to Hitler in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN.

"He reminds me of Hitler," Fox told Cooper on Friday.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Donald Trump Wavers on Disavowing David Duke

New York Times
By Alan Rappeport
February 28, 2016

Donald J. Trump came under fire on Sunday for declining to disavow the support of David Duke, the white nationalist and ex-Ku Klux Klansman who has called him “by far the best candidate.”

Facing criticism from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Trump later moved to distance himself from Mr. Duke. However, the sequence exposed Mr. Trump to questions about his judgment and fitness to be president.

“Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with CNN. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”

Mr. Duke has not formally endorsed Mr. Trump, but he has embraced the Republican presidential candidate’s cause wholeheartedly.

“Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage,” Mr. Duke told his radio audience recently.

Mr. Duke expanded on his support of Mr. Trump in a Facebook post over the weekend.

“I think he deserves a close look by those who believe the era of political correctness needs to come to an end,” Mr. Duke said, calling for a leader who would secure the border and dismantle the “Jewish controlled” financial industry.

The discussion of Mr. Trump’s support among white supremacists comes on a day when he also re-posted a tweet quoting Benito Mussolini, the founder of the fascist movement, and called for libel laws to be weakened so that he could more easily sue the press when it covers him critically.

The campaigns of Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz pounced on Mr. Trump for failing to distance himself from Mr. Duke on Sunday.

“If you need to do research on the K.K.K. before you can repudiate them, you are not ready or fit to be president,” said Joe Pounder, a spokesman for Mr. Rubio.

Mr. Cruz wrote in a tweet that the situation was “sad.”

“You’re better than this,” Mr. Cruz said, addressing Mr. Trump. “We should all agree, racism is wrong, K.K.K. is abhorrent.”

Some civil rights groups also expressed concern about a mainstream politician failing to denounce white supremacist ideology.

“Condemning David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan at every opportunity should be the easiest thing anyone can do,” said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The hatefulness of their ideas and actions are well established and should be condemned forcefully by all responsible political leaders.”

Mr. Trump’s lack of knowledge of Mr. Duke was surprising because he said as recently as Friday that he did disavow Mr. Duke’s support.

Mr. Trump also expressed his disapproval of Mr. Duke back in 2000 after deciding not to embark on a presidential bid in the Reform Party.

“The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,” Mr. Trump said in a statement, referring to Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani, the former standard-bearer of the New Alliance Party and an advocate of Marxist-Leninist politics. “This is not company I wish to keep.”

But on Sunday, Mr. Trump insisted that he would not condemn someone who he does not know anything about.

“I don’t know David Duke,” he said. “I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.”

After the flurry of blowback over his comments, Mr. Trump responded on Twitter on Sunday and retreated to the position he took when asked about Mr. Duke last week.

“I disavow,” he wrote.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Trump rivals blast him on reticence to denounce David Duke support

USA Today
By David Jackson
February 29, 2016

Donald Trump declined repeated invitations Sunday to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke — even though he did just that on Friday.

"I don't know anything about David Duke, OK?" Trump said on CNN's State of the Union. "I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don't know."

After the broadcast, amid a torrent of criticism, Trump tweeted out his answer to a similar question during a Friday news conference — he said then he didn't know about Duke's endorsement, but "I disavow, OK?"

This is somewhat in contrast to his stance in 2000, the year Trump declined a presidential bid for the Reform Party.

As Buzzfeed noted, Trump sent out a statement that year that “the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. (Pat) Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. (Lenora) Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.”

This year, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups have called on the Republican front-runner to condemn the support of Duke.

Trump on CNN Sunday: "I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists.  And so you're asking me a question that I'm supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about."

With Donald Trump looking strong in Super Tuesday polling, reports say some Republicans are turning toward the front-runner while others vow to fight. Video provided by Newsy Newslook

Pressed by State of the Union host Jake Tapper, Trump said: "You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look.  If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them.  And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong."

On his radio program, Duke recently told his listeners that supporting someone other than Trump is "really treason to your heritage."

Trump's rivals blasted the GOP front-runner's refusal to distance himself from Duke on Sunday. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called Trump's responses "really sad," adding that the New York billionaire was "better than this."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, addressing Trump's comments, said at a Virginia rally: "Not only is that wrong, it makes him unelectable. How are we going to grow our party with a nominee that refuses to condemn the Ku Klux Klan? Don't tell me he doesn't know who the Ku Klux Klan is."

Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted that "hate groups have no place in America."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who's seeking the Democratic nomination, also slammed Trump on Tuesday, tweeting that the nation's "first black president cannot and will not be succeeded by a hatemonger who refuses to condemn the KKK."

Among those retweeting Sanders' tweet was his rival in the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Donald Trump declines to disavow David Duke and the KKK

By Matthew Yglesius
February 28, 2016

Appearing this morning on Jake Tapper's State of the Union, Donald Trump was asked to disavow support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and other white supremacists and politely declined.

Trump, being a cautious sort and not one to just talk without gathering all the facts and giving a matter serious consideration, said he would have to do more research because at the moment he lacked sufficient information to disavow them.

The question arose when Tapper asked Trump about the Anti-Defamation League's request that he disavow Duke's endorsement and that of other white supremacist groups.

Here's their exchange which you can watch here:

Trump: I have to look at the group. I mean, I don't know what group you're talking about. You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I'd have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong. You may have groups in there that are totally fine -- it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I'll let you know.

Tapper: Ok. I'm just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but —

Trump: Honestly, I don't know David Duke. I don't believe I've ever met him. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him. And I just don't know anything about him.

This is the kind of situation where Trump's lack of support from the broader institutions of American conservatism is going to end up hurting him.

It's not inconceivable to me that these remarks could be spun away as simply a clumsy answer to a hostile and somewhat unfair line of questioning if there were people out there eager to do the spinning.

But because most of the conservative movement has decided it doesn't like Trump, conservative pundits are piling on with criticism of these remarks. And that makes it entirely kosher for "objective" journalists to report as a factual, non-contested story that Donald Trump is endorsed by white supremacist organizations who he has refused to disavow.

Here's the American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis, for example.

 And here's Republican media consultant Rick Wilson:

At any rate, Trump has certainly said enough things that enough people were sure would make his campaign implode that I am not offering any predictions about the impact of these remarks on the primaries on Super Tuesday. But it's certainly an indication that he would be a toxic element in a general election.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

NY Daily News targets Christie over Trump support with KKK cover

The Hill
By Elliot Smilowitz
February 27, 2016

A major New York newspaper critical of Donald Trump is turning its fire on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for endorsing Trump for president.

Saturday’s New York Daily News front page calls Christie “MAN WITH A KLAN,” displaying the governor alongside hooded Ku Klux Klan members.

Below the headline, the newspaper says: “Just days after ex-KKK leader urges haters to vote for Donald, Christie endorses him.”

The newspaper has run a series of front pages critical of Trump’s candidacy and supporters.

Most recently, its Friday edition focused on former KKK grand wizard David Duke’s praise for Trump, writing: "Ex-KKK leader: Vote for Donald, he's just like us!”

The Daily News lamented Trump’s win in New Hampshire earlier this month with a “DAWN OF THE BRAIN DEAD” headline.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Donald Trump Returns Ire Against His Latest Enemies: New York’s Attorney General and ‘Little Rubio’

New York Times
By Maggie Haberman
February 27, 2016

Donald J. Trump suggested Saturday a lawsuit filed against him by the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, over his Trump University was part of a conspiracy involving President Obama.

He also mentioned that the judge in the case is Hispanic, and said that he might ask the judge to recuse himself from the case.

At a rally in Bentonville, Ark., on Saturday, where he was introduced by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Mr. Trump repeatedly defended himself over questions about the educational seminars known as Trump University, which is the subject of Mr. Schneiderman’s lawsuit claiming it defrauded students.

“So the attorney general gets a campaign contribution from the law firm that’s suing me,” he added, saying that Mr. Schneiderman is “not respected in New York.”

“He meets with Obama, gets a campaign contribution, I think,” said Mr. Trump, adding, “And all of a sudden, he meets with Obama in, I believe Syracuse, and the following day or two he brings a lawsuit against me.” He insisted that he has won most of the case, but that it should have been thrown out.

“There is a hostility toward me by the judge — tremendous hostility — beyond belief,” Mr. Trump said. “I believe he happens to be Spanish, which is fine. He’s Hispanic, which is fine. And we haven’t asked for a recusal, which we may do. But we have a judge who’s very hostile.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to an email asking on what grounds he would seek a recusal.

In a statement, Mr. Schneiderman said, “There is no place in this process for racial demagoguery directed at respected members of the judiciary. The State Supreme Court has already ruled that Trump University operated illegally in New York as an unlicensed educational institution, and we look forward to prevailing on the rest of our claims as the legal process moves forward.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida seized on the Trump University issue during the Republican debate on Thursday in Houston, and an outside political group is now running ads featuring some of those who claim they were defrauded.

Mr. Trump on Saturday also kept his sights on Mr. Rubio, whom he called “little Rubio,” and who has been lancing Mr. Trump with criticism about his looks, his skin tone and, more significantly, his claims of success as a businessman. Both Mr. Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump said, are “world-class liars.”

Mr. Trump said neither Mr. Rubio nor Mr. Cruz could have the kind of successes that he has had, noting that he got into the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton business school. “The Rubios of the world could not get into that school. Oy. They don’t have the capacity.” He allowed that Mr. Cruz, a Princeton graduate, might be smart enough.

“I will address little Rubio,” Mr. Trump said at one point. “The guy has a fresh mouth.” He repeated one of Mr. Rubio’s main charges against him, saying, “The last thing I am is a con man.”

Instead, he insisted it was Mr. Rubio who has committed fraud, alleging he “stole from the Republican party” of Florida, a reference to a controversy over paving-stone charges for Mr. Rubio’s driveway that were on a party credit card. He has said he pulled out the wrong card and reimbursed the party, but the issue has been used against him in the past.

The biggest surprise of the day may have been Mr. Trump receiving a supportive nod from Jean-Marie Le Pen, the far-right founder of the National Front in France, and who was tossed from the party over racially-tinged rhetoric. “If I were an American, I would vote Donald Trump,” said Mr. Le Pen in a Twitter post in French. “But may God protect him.”

His support for Mr. Trump could be an attack line exploited by Democrats should Mr. Trump become the G.O.P. nominee.

Also Saturday, Mr. Trump’s campaign announced the endorsement of Jan Brewer, the former Arizona Republican governor. She signed a tough-on-illegal-immigration bill in 2010, but also took the Medicaid expansion offered under Mr. Obama’s signature health care law, upsetting some conservatives.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

On the Campaign Trail: G.O.P. Race Grows Cruder and More Aggressive

New York Times
By Jeremy Peters and Ashley Parker
February 28, 2016

It is the kind of campaign he said he would never run. But Senator Marco Rubio, seeing his path to the Republican nomination grow narrower with each contest, has determined that the only way to beat Donald J. Trump is to fight like him: rough, dirty and mean.

The acidity coming from Mr. Rubio these days, and the gleefully savage way Mr. Trump has responded, have sent an already surreal presidential campaign lurching into the gutter with taunts over perspiration, urination and self-tanner.

On Sunday, the hits were more substantive, but no less aggressive: Mr. Rubio scoffed at Mr. Trump’s clothing line — “those tacky ties” — and criticized him for making them in China. He said Mr. Trump’s education business, Trump University, was a scam that essentially stole tens of thousands of dollars from its students. And he expressed astonishment that during a television interview Sunday morning, Mr. Trump refused to repudiate the white supremacist David Duke or the Ku Klux Klan.

“We cannot be a party who nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists,” Mr. Rubio said, to roaring approval from the crowd.

Mr. Trump, who has been accused of stirring up racial strife, handed his critics more ammunition on Sunday when he refused the opportunity to distance himself from Mr. Duke and the Klan. Asked repeatedly to do so in an interview with CNN, he demurred. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about,” he said. “I would have to look.”

Later he backtracked, posting on Twitter, “I disavow.”

Mr. Rubio’s headfirst lunge into a bout with Mr. Trump is a striking turnaround that the Florida senator himself calls disappointing. But it also reflects a conclusion that his above-the-fray approach was ineffective against a front-runner who seems to gain popularity with each fight he picks.

“I had hoped that this would be a campaign only about ideas,” Mr. Rubio told the crowd of more than 3,000 here, in the far suburbs of Washington, as he accused Mr. Trump of being a fraud, a threat to national security and possibly even a racist.

“I need your vote Tuesday,” Mr. Rubio told his audience, which was about as rowdy and animated as any he had drawn. “Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

Virginia is one of more than 10 delegate-rich states that will vote in the Super Tuesday contests this week — others include Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Massachusetts — most of which Mr. Trump is favored to win.

But Mr. Trump was not content on Sunday to rest on his polls: He picked up the endorsement of Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a vehement opponent of the immigration overhaul that Mr. Rubio championed in 2013, in a boisterous late-afternoon rally outside Huntsville, Ala.

“I told Donald Trump, ‘This isn’t a campaign, this is a movement,’ ” Mr. Sessions said, looking out over a crowd of thousands.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, campaigning in Oklahoma, tried to keep himself in the thick of the Republican fight by attacking Mr. Trump over his use of foreign workers. But Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, all but conceding the Super Tuesday contests, lamented the demolition derby-like state of the primary contest, hoping his sense of decorum would help him win over voters in Massachusetts.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont both attacked Mr. Trump, as Mrs. Clinton all but ignored Mr. Sanders in courting black voters in Tennessee, while Mr. Sanders, campaigning in Oklahoma and Colorado, declared that “love trumps hatred.”

Mr. Rubio has seemed to sense that he could pay a price if he is seen as engaging in the kind of bullying that Mr. Trump has trademarked.

“These are facts,” he said, explaining his attacks on Sunday, “about an individual who wants access to the nuclear codes for America.”

As they watched Mr. Trump clinch his third straight victory with a win in the Nevada caucuses last week, Mr. Rubio and his aides concluded that the only way to beat him was to get inside his head, by stooping to his level: Taunt, insult, mock and have a blast doing it.

They seem satisfied that it is working.

“We came to the conclusion that if being a part of the circus is the price you have to pay in order for us to ultimately be able to talk about substantive policy, then that’s what we’re going to do,” said Todd Harris, a senior Rubio adviser.

Mr. Harris noted that Mr. Rubio’s speeches were now being carried live on television. And if the price of admission, he added, was talking about “how Trump is a con man, with a bad spray tan,” so be it.

What has followed is a race that looks more like a variety show than a campaign to elect the most powerful leader on earth.

So far, Rubio supporters seem surprised by, if open to, his change in tone.

Alison Whiteley, a retiree in her 50s who saw Mr. Rubio speak in Oklahoma City on Friday, said the race had turned “uglier” this cycle, but she did not blame Mr. Rubio, whom she supports. “Rubio would not be acting like this if it wasn’t for Trump,” she said. “He has to stand up for himself because Trump is just running all over everybody.”

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Marco Rubio Pushed for Immigration Reform With Conservative Media

New York Times
By Jason Horowitz
February 27, 2016

A few weeks after Senator Marco Rubio joined a bipartisan push for an immigration overhaul in 2013, he arrived alongside Senator Chuck Schumer at the executive dining room of News Corporation’s Manhattan headquarters for dinner.

Their mission was to persuade Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the media empire, and Roger Ailes, the chairman and chief executive of its Fox News division, to keep the network’s on-air personalities from savaging the legislation and give it a fighting chance at survival.

Mr. Murdoch, an advocate of immigration reform, and Mr. Ailes, his top lieutenant and the most powerful man in conservative television, agreed at the Jan. 17, 2013, meeting to give the senators some breathing room.

But the media executives, highly attuned to the intensifying anger in the Republican grass roots, warned that the senators also needed to make their case to Rush Limbaugh, the king of conservative talk radio, who held enormous sway with the party’s largely anti-immigrant base.

So the senators supporting the legislation turned to Mr. Rubio, the Florida Republican, to reach out to Mr. Limbaugh.

The dinner at News Corporation headquarters — which has not been previously reported — and the subsequent outreach to Mr. Limbaugh illustrate the degree to which Mr. Rubio served as the chief envoy to the conservative media for the group supporting the legislation. The bill would have provided a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants along with measures to secure the borders and ensure that foreigners left the United States upon the expiration of their visas.

It is a history that Mr. Rubio is not eager to highlight as he takes on Donald J. Trump, his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, who has made his vow to crack down on illegal immigration a centerpiece of his campaign.

Those discussions of just a few years ago now seem of a distant era, when, after the re-election of President Obama, momentum was building to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

The senators embarked on a tour of editorial boards and newsrooms, and Mr. Rubio was even featured as the “Republican savior” on the cover of Time magazine for his efforts to change immigration laws. He already was being mentioned as a 2016 presidential contender.

Now Mr. Trump has become the Republican leader in national polls by picking fights with Mr. Ailes and offending the Latino voters whom Mr. Rubio had hoped to bring into the Republican fold. And while Mr. Rubio ultimately abandoned the bipartisan legislation in the face of growing grass-roots backlash and the collapse of the conservative media truce, he, and to a certain degree Fox News, are still paying for that dinner.

Fox’s ratings remain strong, but its standing among Republican viewers, influenced by Mr. Trump’s offensive, has dropped to a three-year low, according to YouGov BrandIndex. And Mr. Rubio’s opponents, for whom Mr. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, has become the ultimate villain, continue to depict the Florida Republican as a duplicitous establishment insider.

“If you look at the ‘Gang of Eight,’ one individual on this stage broke his promise to the men and women who elected him and wrote the amnesty bill,” Senator Ted Cruz said of Mr. Rubio during Thursday’s Republican debate. And as Mr. Rubio defended himself, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, posted “MARCO ‘AMNESTY’ RUBIO” on Twitter.

The so-called Gang of Eight was four Democrats and four Republicans, including Mr. Rubio, who drafted an immigration bill in 2013. It passed the Senate but was stymied by conservative opposition in the House.

Details of the dinner, and a previous one in 2011, were provided to The New York Times by an attendee of one of the meetings and two people with knowledge of what was discussed at both get-togethers.

None of the attendees agreed to be identified for this article because the conversations were supposed to be confidential.

But on Monday, Mr. Limbaugh shed light on his interactions with the senators when he told a caller frustrated with his criticism of Mr. Rubio that the immigration position the senator had advocated “comes right out of the Gang of Eight bill.”

Mr. Limbaugh added, “I’ve had it explained to me by no less than Senator Schumer.”

Mr. Schumer declined to comment for this article. But before Mr. Obama’s re-election and soon afterward, he could hardly stop talking with conservative senators and media power brokers about the chance to pass comprehensive immigration legislation.

As early as March 9, 2011, Mr. Schumer joined Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and another eventual member of the Gang of Eight, at the Palm restaurant in Manhattan, where they made their case to Mr. Murdoch, Mr. Ailes and Mr. Limbaugh in a private room. The senators argued how damaging the word “amnesty” was to their efforts, and walked Mr. Limbaugh through their vision for an immigration overhaul.

The senators were especially eager to try to neutralize conservative media, which proved lethal to a big push for immigration changes in 2007. A study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism showed that conservative news shows had devoted about a quarter of their time to immigration.

In late 2012, after Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, lost the presidential election in part because of his dismal performance with Latino voters, Mr. Rubio joined the fight. On one Sunday alone in April 2013, he made an appearance on seven talk shows to advocate the immigration overhaul, including on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Rubio also reached out to other conservative power brokers, including the radio hosts Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, telling them that the legislation did not amount to amnesty. The Fox anchors Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly became more supportive.

At the time, The Washington Post reported that Mr. Rubio’s advisers were monitoring to the minute how much time the hosts devoted to immigration, and that “they are heartened that the volume is much diminished.”

Mr. Rubio publicly and privately worked to assuage the fears of Mr. Limbaugh, who on air called him a “thoroughbred conservative” and assured one wary listener that “Marco Rubio is not out to hurt this country or change it the way the liberals are.”

On Jan. 29, 2013, the same day Mr. Obama highlighted immigration in Las Vegas, Mr. Limbaugh had Mr. Rubio on as a guest to talk about immigration and called him “admirable and noteworthy” during a warm conversation about the bipartisan immigration plan.

“I know for you border security is the first and last — if that doesn’t happen, none of the rest does, right?” Mr. Limbaugh lobbed.

“Well, not just that,” swung Mr. Rubio. “That alone is not enough.”

The conversation concluded with Mr. Rubio saying: “Thank you for the opportunity, Rush. I appreciate it.”

“You bet,” Mr. Limbaugh said.

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