Hyatt Hotels says stage resembling Nazi rune is 'abhorrent'
The Hyatt Hotels Corporation called symbols of hate “abhorrent” on Sunday after the design of a stage at the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at one of its hotels drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during the second world war.
High-profile Republicans including former president Donald Trump were attending the four-day event in Orlando, Florida, as conflict raged between Trump allies and establishment politicians trying to distance the party from him.
A photo of the CPAC stage went viral on social media on Saturday, with thousands of Twitter users sharing posts comparing its distinctive design to an othala rune, also known as an odal rune, one of many ancient European symbols that Nazis adopted to “reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past”, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The ceiling of the conference room featured a lighting display in the same shape as the stage, according to Reuters photographs.
Hyatt said all aspects of conference logistics, including the stage design, were managed by the American Conservative Union, which organized the conference.
The comparisons were “outrageous and slanderous”, Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, said on Saturday. He added the organization had a “long standing commitment to the Jewish community” and that the conference featured several Jewish speakers.
In its statement on Sunday, Hyatt said: “We take the concern raised about the prospect of symbols of hate being included in the stage design at CPAC 2021 very seriously as all such symbols are abhorrent and unequivocally counter to our values as a company.”
Some Trump supporters who launched a deadly insurrection against the US Capitol on 6 January carried Confederate flags, which many Americans see as a symbol of oppression and slavery. Extremism experts said some of the rioters were members of white nationalist groups.
The rune was seen at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 that saw violent fights with counter-protesters and one civil rights activist killed when a neo-fascist drove his car into the crowd.
Joe Biden cited that event and Trump’s assessment at the time that there were “very fine people on both sides” as a factor in his motivation for running for the Democratic nomination, winning the presidency in November 2020.
Trump’s presence has dominated this year’s CPAC, with his supporters parading a larger-than-life golden statue of him through the lobby of the hotel.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.
The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.
Donald Trump called Joe Biden a “mental retard” during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Biden went on to beat Trump by more than 7m in the popular vote and by 306-232 in the electoral college, a result Trump deemed a landslide when it was in his favor against Clinton in 2016.
The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.