John Morganelli is running for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District. But in actuality, he’s a right-wing conservative who has repeatedly touted hateful and bigoted views.
Morganelli once compared immigrants to the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks. He blamed President Barack Obama and other Democrats for migrant children who had been raped, kidnapped, and killed at the border. And he has openly sucked up to Trump while echoing his worst hate speech.
Until recently, he was proud of his affiliation with the hardcore conservative movement that nominated, elected, and backs Trump. But now that it could come back to haunt him, he’s trying to bury it.
Morganelli currently serves as district attorney in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. He brags on his campaign website that he’s a “prosecutor who fights for us.” Yet his own past words put the lie to that claim.
He now touts his supposed commitment to “protecting minorities.” But a 2014 video shows him smearing immigrants and attacking Democrats who have advocated on their behalf.
Morganelli was speaking to the Lehigh Valley Tea Party, a local offshoot of the groups that notoriously used racist signs and slogans against President Obama.
His invective-filled speech echoed many of the xenophobic themes Trump would later employ in his campaign for the presidency.
Morganelli spoke out against giving undocumented immigrants drivers’ licenses, a practice which has been shown to contribute to public safety. And his supposed justification was downright abhorrent.
“The terrorists that blew up the World Trade Center and killed thousands of Americans all used fraudulent driver’s licenses,” he said.
Most of the speech continued in this vein. Morganelli complained that “a driver’s license is a ticket into the American mainstream” because it could “allow people to open bank accounts, to establish identities, and gain a foothold in our communities.”
Research has shown that immigrant families, once established, have been great contributors to communities, paying billions in taxes. But Morganelli was apparently unaware of or uninterested in facts that belied his bigoted views.
a. most senior DA,” he tweeted. “I am Pa.most senior prosecutor waiting to hear from transition,” read another post.
When CNN asked him about the tweets, Morganelli said he changed his mind after Trump’s inauguration speech. “His administration got off to a terrible start and has continued beyond that,” he stated. But again, his words show marked dissonance with his own past.
After Trump pushed his Muslim travel ban, CNN noted that Morganelli’s Facebook post “suggested that he agreed” with the bigoted policy.
He also purged tweets in which he had amplified right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin, a strident anti-immigrant voice.
He may be running in the Democratic primary. But it’s clear from Morganelli’s record that his mindset is firmly in the Trump wing of the Republican Party. He marches in lockstep with fellow conservatives in demonizing immigrants and the Democrats who back them.
Morganelli would be an ally to Trump if he is elected by Pennsylvania voters. He would certainly not be the friend to beleaguered communities that he claims to be. And he would truly be a “Democrat” in name only.
Top nuclear expert resigns from State Dept after Trump kills Iran deal
One of the State Department’s top nuclear experts abruptly resigned this week following Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and leave the U.S. in violation of the international agreement.
Richard Johnson, acting assistant coordinator in the agency’s Office of Iran Nuclear Implementation, announced his decision to leave in an email to his colleagues this week, according to Foreign Policy, which obtained his resignation email.
Johnson had been involved in talks with key U.S. allies working to save the Iran deal in recent weeks, but ultimately those efforts failed.
On Tuesday, Trump announced that he had decided to back out of the pact, a move that was described as “calamitous” and as a “major strategic mistake.”
Johnson stopped short of explicitly stating that he was resigning because of Trump, but his email made it clear that Trump’s decision to violate the terms of the international deal was weighing heavily on his mind.
“I am proud to have played a small part in this work, particularly the extraordinary achievement of implementing the [deal] with Iran, which has clearly been successful in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Johnson wrote.
State Department officials told Foreign Policy that Johnson’s departure was unexpected. One official said Johnson had not planned on leaving the agency until Trump announced the Iran deal decision, and another described his exit as a “big loss.”
Johnson’s resignation is just the latest sign of trouble in the State Department under the Trump administration, reflecting a “brain drain” in the agency that has resulted in a mass exodus of career diplomats and civil servants. About 60 percent of top-ranking career diplomats have fled the agency since Trump took office.
In late March, more than 200 retired career diplomats signed a letter sounding the alarm about the corrosion of the State Department, warning that the Trump administration’s neglect of the institution has “crippled” its capacity.
At the time, eight of the nine senior leadership positions in the State Department were unfilled, 50 ambassadorships were vacant, and 16 of the 22 assistant secretary positions were empty.
Among the vacant posts were senior positions involving nuclear nonproliferation and arms control, along with the lead coordinator overseeing implementation of the Iran nuclear deal — a position that Trump never even filled.
Meanwhile, Trump’s decision to exit the Iran deal has made the rest of the world lose trust in American leadership and placed us at odds with some of our closest allies, increasing the need for effective diplomacy just as he guts our capacity to engage in it.