Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Following the Tuesday night Republican presidential debate, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and contributor Charles Krauthammer debated whether Donald Trump was serious when he said he would kill the family members of Islamic State militants.

The real estate mogul has previously said he would go after terrorists' families, and on Tuesday night confirmed he would be open to such a strategy, despite Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) note that doing so would violate the Geneva Convention.

Trump responded to Paul's remark by asking, "They can kill us, but we can’t kill them?"

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Ahead of the CNN Republican presidential debate on Tuesday, Ben Carson released his plan to defeat the Islamic State and protect the United States form terror attacks, calling for the country to declare war on ISIL.

"We can no longer dawdle while ISIS continues to persecute Christians, enslave young girls, oppress civil societies and perpetrate terrorist attacks against the free world," he said in a statement. "We must destroy their caliphate and prevent their terrorists from infiltrating our homeland. We must also secure our borders, identify radical Islamic extremism by name and root out its agents and collaborators in our own country."

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At a meeting with White House advisers on Monday, the leader of a Muslin group urged the federal government to prosecute violence against Muslims as hate crimes, citing an uptick in incidents since the Paris terrorist attacks.

"We believe the level of hate violence has reached a crisis point, and that’s why it’s crucial that the federal government needs to send a message to the public, in the strongest terms, that these hate crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Farhana Khera, the executive director of Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy group in San Francisco, told the New York Times after the meeting.

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Both Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh have been cheerleaders for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, declining to condemn outright his proposed ban on Muslims immigrating to the United States.

But both on Monday bashed the real estate mogul for attacking Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and calling the senator a "maniac" who cannot work with his Senate colleagues.

Limbaugh described Trump's negative comments about Trump as a "huge mistake" during his radio show on Monday.

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This post has been updated.

A protester was removed from a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas on Monday night, prompting some of the Republican presidential candidate's supporters to yell racial slurs and call for the protester to be lit on fire, according to a report from Buzzfeed News.

Toward the beginning of his speech at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort, Trump brought a supporter on stage whose son was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant gang member, according to Yahoo News. The supporter, Jamiel Shaw, said that Americans "need Trump."

While Shaw was on stage, protester Ender Austin III yelled and called for gun control, he told Yahoo News.

Austin, a Black Lives Matter supporter who attended the rally with a group called Unity Vegas, was then removed from the event by security. A video captured by Buzzfeed News reporter McKay Coppins shows Austin being detained by event security.

A Trump supporter can be heard yelling, "Light the motherfucker on fire!"

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After the Dec. 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino by a Muslim husband and wife suspected of having become radicalized, Muslim Americans and mosques throughout the country have been targeted with threats and violence.

It's not clear how significant the uptick in reported attacks has been, but Oren Segal, the director of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism told CBS News last week that he's counted at least three dozen threats and attacks.

"We're talking at least three dozen that we're aware of, and I'm sure there are many more incidents that haven't been reported," he said. "With legit terror attacks and the public discourse about them, it has created an atmosphere ripe for these types of stereotypes and incidents."

And numerous news outlets, including The Intercept, have rounded up the reported threats and attacks on Muslims and mosques in the country.

Below is a list of incidents reported since the Dec. attack:

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Dr. Ben Carson on Sunday continued to threaten to leave the Republican party if GOP officials plot how to handle a contested Republican convention if Trump is still in the race.

In a statement last week, Carson railed against Republicans for holding a meeting to discuss a potential contested convention and threatened to leave the party.

"If this was the beginning of the plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace them with the will of the political elite, I assure you Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party," Carson said, referencing a report that Republican National Committee and other top Republicans may plan to stop Trump at the convention if the race is still contested.

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As Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) rises in popularity with Iowa Republican voters, Donald Trump has started taking swings at the Texas senator, who continues to shrug off Trump's attacks.

Though Cruz has refrained from criticizing Trump in public, he questioned the real estate mogul's "judgement" during a private fundraiser last week. He later tried to downplay the comments, noting that voters will have to decide whether each candidate has good judgement.

Trump last week called out Cruz for attacking him in private but refusing to do so in public. But the senator would not accept Trump's challenge to take his attacks out into the open.

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Kansas Republican state Rep. Steve Brunk this month accepted a job with a nonprofit group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. But Brunk is planning on keeping his legislative seat, and he has been pretty open about his ability to act as an incredibly effective advocate for his new employer while continuing as a state representative.

The group, the Kansas Family Policy Council, has announced Brunk's hire, even though the lawmaker himself claims he has yet to make a decision. But he was very candid with the Wichita Eagle about the amount of influence he could have as a representative of the Family Policy Council and as a lawmaker, even though state law does not allow elected representatives to also work as lobbyists.

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This post has been updated.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia on Friday condemned the state's refusal to process the food stamp application for a Syrian refugee family that arrived in Georgia this month, questioning whether the move is constitutional.

"The ACLU of Georgia has consistently maintained that our constitution grants basic protections of the law to citizens and individuals who are legally in the United States. Any action to limit those protections based on nationality -- including Governor Deal's failure to process service benefits for lawfully present families in Georgia -- raise serious constitutional questions," Nora Benavidez, staff attorney at the ACLU of Georgia, said in a statement to TPM. "We are concerned for those families that have arrived and we are committed to advocating with our partner organizations to ensure the rights accorded to them."

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