Summer Concepcion

Summer Concepcion is the front page editor of Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Previously, she covered the 2016 presidential election for Fusion and worked as a researcher at The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. She's an LA native and former Chicago transplant. Reach her at

Articles by Summer

President Trump said he condemns hate “on many sides” after violent clashes at a white nationalist rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia left one dead and at least 19 injured.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said in a brief statement. “It has been going on for a long time in our country – not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”

In his remarks, Trump failed to mention the white nationalists who planned the rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.

“What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives,” Trump said. “No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.”

Trump said he spoke with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and they “agreed that the hate and division must stop.” McAuliffe declared a state of emergency after hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other at the rally.

He concluded his statement by saying, “We have to heal the wounds of our country.”

Trump tweeted earlier in the day that “there is no place for this kind of violence in America.”

Minutes before Trump spoke, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement saying he “stands united behind the President condemning the violence in Charlottesville.”


However, several Republican senators have come forward in criticizing the President for not calling out the rally’s organizers as white supremacists.

Read More →

President Trump tweeted there is “no place for this kind of violence” amid reports of violent clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency after hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other at the rally. Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler organized the Saturday rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.

First Lady Melania Trump also tweeted just minutes before the President’s initial response.

Ironically, Trump’s history of calling for violence is well-known, despite his claims to the contrary.

Trump is currently at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is spending a 17-day working vacation.

Read More →

During a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said the event is in line with President Trump’s “promises.”

“This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back,” Duke said. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler organized the Saturday rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency in response.

Duke never shied away from his support for Trump since the Republican primary in 2016, in which Trump also came under fire for not initially disavowing the former KKK leader’s endorsement.

Previously, Duke served one term as a Louisiana state representative. Duke’s most recent foray into politics involved a failed run for the Louisiana Senate.

Read More →

Following North Korea’s threat this week to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles towards Guam, President Trump spoke with the U.S. territory’s governor over the phone on Friday.

“Mr. President, as the governor of Guam … and as an American citizen, I have never felt more safe or confident with you at the helm,” Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo (R) said to Trump in a video posted to his Facebook page.

I just got off the phone with Chief of Staff General John Kelly and with the President of the United States of America. They called me from the White House this morning and both assured me that the people of Guam are safe. In the President's words they are behind us "1000 percent."As the head of the Government of Guam, I appreciate their reassurances that my family, my friends, everyone on this island, are all safe. God Bless the people of Guam and God Bless the United States of America.

Posted by Eddie Baza Calvo on Friday, August 11, 2017

“Don’t worry about a thing,” Trump said in response. “They should have had me eight years ago.”

Trump went on to say Calvo will become “extremely famous” in light of Guam making headlines lately.

“I have to say, Eddie, you’re going to become extremely famous,” Trump said, with Calvo chuckling in the background. “All over the world they’re talking about Guam and they’re talking about you.”

Trump also praised the possibility of rising tourism in Guam.

“And your tourism, I can say this, your tourism is going to go up like tenfold with the expenditure of no money, so I congratulate you,” Trump said. “It looks beautiful, you know I’m watching…it’s such a big story in the news. It just looks like a beautiful place.”

When Trump told Calvo he seems like a “hell of a guy,” Calvo responded by saying he wishes “there would be less partisanship” and this is a time when “everyone should be unifying behind our president.”

The call came just hours after Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “will regret it fast” if he continues his threats to U.S. territories and allies. Trump tweeted earlier on Friday morning that the U.S. military has solutions “fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”

Guam residents have displayed growing concerns over being in the middle of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

Guam’s Office of Civil Defense began distributing fact sheets on Friday to help residents prepare for the possibility of a missile attack.

Read More →

The White House confirmed President Trump declined Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s phone call request on Friday amid growing political and social turmoil in the country.

“Since the start of this Administration, President Trump has asked that Maduro respect Venezuela’s constitution, hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, cease all human rights violations, and stop oppressing Venezuela’s great people,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. ‘The Maduro regime has refused to heed this call, which has been echoed around the region and the world. Instead Maduro has chosen the path of dictatorship.”

The statement also said the US is in solidarity with Venezuelans and Trump will speak to Maduro when “democracy is restored.”

‘The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime,” Sanders said. “President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country.”

The statement came shortly after Trump told reporters that all options remain on the table in response to anti-democratic actions in Venezuela, including military intervention.

The Trump administration has already placed sanctions on Venezuela in the wake of a crackdown on opposition leaders.

Read More →

While visiting Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on Thursday, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said that despite President Trump’s intended transgender military ban, “any patriot” should be allowed to serve.

“We will process and take direction on a policy that will be developed by the secretary (with) direction from the President — and march out smartly,” Spencer told reporters, according to The Daily Press. “As I said before, on a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military.”

Spencer was confirmed a week after Trump’s tweets on his plans to ban transgender people from serving in the military, a move that would reverse an Obama-era policy allowing transgender individuals to serve openly.

Spencer’s comments came as Trump said he is “doing the military a great favor” with the intended ban. Earlier this week, five active-duty service members filed a lawsuit against Trump claiming his directive violates the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment.

Spencer isn’t the only one at odds with Trump, as the President has come under fire from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and the Coast Guard.

A Quinnipiac poll released last week found a majority of American voters believe transgender individuals should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military.

Read More →

Amid growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, two key aides to Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have resigned.

Haley tweeted on Wednesday night that Communications Director Jonathan Wachtel and Chief Of Staff Steven Groves were leaving due to “family concerns.”

Two people with contacts inside the U.S. Mission to the United Nations confirmed the resignations to Politico, although an exact date for when the resignations will take effect is unclear. The resignations were first reported by journalist Laura Rozen.

Before joining Haley’s staff, Groves served as a research fellow at the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, while Wachtel reported on the UN for Fox News.

Politico also reported that “despite his conservative bona fides, Groves never really broke into Haley’s inner circle.” Groves argued for the U.S. to end relations with the UN Human Rights Council over its criticism of Israel and should pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.

Haley recently oversaw the passage of a UN Security Council resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program.

Read More →

A day after controversial White House adviser Sebastian Gorka defended President Trump’s silence on the bombing of a Minnesota mosque, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released his own critical response.

“The President’s failure to condemn the terrorist attack on the Bloomington Islamic Center is an outrage,” Ellison said in a statement through the DNC, where he serves as deputy chair. “It suggests that his oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, including the right to equal protection under the law, only extends to people who meet certain racial and religious criteria.”

Although the explosion broke windows and damaged a room at the mosque as worshippers prepared for morning prayers, nobody was found injured. The FBI is seeking suspects and has yet to determine whether it was a hate crime.

Since the attack, public outcry from local leaders continues to increase over Trump’s silence.

“Every second that goes by that he fails to address the attack shows that he is not serious about his oath,” Elllison said of Trump.

Appearing on MSNBC Tuesday, Gorka said Trump would speak out about the Minnesota attack after the conclusion of an investigation. Gorka also suggested that the incident could be a hoax, saying, “When you have people fake hate crimes in the last six months with some regularity, I think it’s wise, don’t you, to find out exactly what’s going on before you make statements, when in fact they can turn out to be not who you are expecting?”

Ellison said Gorka’s comments demonstrate what the congressman said was the administration’s “disdain for the Muslim American community.”

Ellison criticized Gorka for how his comments defending Trump serve as a distraction and demonstrate “disdain” towards Muslims.

“Even worse, Sebastian Gorka, one of Trump’s top aides, is trying with no evidence whatsoever to distract the public’s attention from the real story: that a group of Americans who were peacefully worshipping were the target of a terrorist act,” Ellison said. “By minimizing the attack and insinuating that the ‘left’ is behind this act, the Trump administration is once again showing its disdain for the Muslim American community.”

As the first Muslim elected to Congress, Ellison has faced anti-Muslim messages by Republicans in his own state. Ellison also called Trump’s move to instate a Muslim travel ban “the typical behavior of a dictator.”

Read More →

As the public outcry increases over President Trump’s silence after a mosque in Minnesota was bombed, controversial White House adviser Sebastian Gorka defended the President’s decision to remain tight-lipped so far.

“When we have some kind of finalized investigation, absolutely,” Gorka said on MSNBC when host Stephanie Ruhle asked him if the White House would issue a statement on the bombing. “All initial reports are false. You have to check them, you have to find out who the perpetrators are … Let’s allow the local authorities to provide their assessment and then the White House will make its comments.”

Ruhle pressed Gorka further by pointing out how quick Trump was to comment on the recent London attack before information was confirmed.

“Sometimes an attack is unequivocally clear for what it is,” Gorka said. “When somebody shouts Allahu Akbar as they’re stabbing a police officer, it’s pretty clear it’s not a case of the mafia robbing a bank, wouldn’t you say so?”

When co-host Ali Velshi asked Gorka if he considers the bombing of a mosque as “fuzzy ground,” the White House adviser referred to “alleged hate crimes by right-wing individuals” he claimed were “propagated by the left.”

“When you have people fake hate crimes in the last six months with some regularity, I think it’s wise, don’t you, to find out exactly what’s going on before you make statements, when in fact they can turn out to be not who you are expecting?” Gorka said.

Ruhle then suggested Trump could still denounce the bombing without having to jump to conclusions on who the perpetrator is. Gorka replied that would be “fine” and he’s “sure the President will do that.”

Gorka ended the interview by refusing to give “social media advice” to Trump and urging the public to “hold your horses, count to 10, and the President will do what he deems fit.”

A controversial member of Trump’s cabinet, Gorka previously came under fire for his reported ties to anti-Semitic movements in his parents’ native Hungary and supporting a nationalist Hungarian militia, among other things.

Recently, Gorka has served as the Trump administration’s favored surrogate to spar with cable news personalities on the President’s behalf.

Watch the exchange below:

Read More →