Matt Gaetz Brags That Republicans Are Fleeing Congress Thanks to Him

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Matt Gaetz Brags That Republicans Are Fleeing Congress Thanks to Him

Nobody likes Representative Matt Gaetz, and he wants everyone to know it!

The Florida Republican took to social media to snag credit for the recent GOP exodus from Congress, bragging about how much his own party hates him.

“I love this @cnn article. The fundamental premise is that I’ve made congress so miserable for so many members that they are leaving. Wonderful!” Gaetz wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, sharing a CNN article that only mentioned him twice.

“We can’t save America with the current Republican team. We have to get tougher and smarter. We need newer, bolder voices in the House,” he continued. “If you want to be a Paul Ryan/Kevin McCarthy Republican—THEY DON’T WORK HERE ANYMORE!”

“The next phase of our plan is to REPLACE the droves of retiring members with America First Patriots,” he added, urging Republican primary voters to “do their part” and send him “more backup.”

So far, 45 representatives in both parties have announced their retirements, with an additional six expected to be replaced before the general election (seven if you include George Santos’s replacement just last week).

That includes several legacy Republican policymakers, including Representatives Kevin McCarthy, Bill Johnson, Ken Buck, and Debbie Lesko, who are hanging up their hats and resigning early in a bid to escape seemingly endless grandstanding, gridlock, and complete dysfunction from House Republicans.

The beef between the Republican establishment and Gaetz hit an apex in October, when the MAGA lawmaker led a coup, dubbed the “Gaetz Eight,” to strip McCarthy of the gavel over a renewed House Ethics Committee probe into Gaetz’s alleged payments to a minor for sex.

“It’s unfortunate because you think of the brain trust you are losing. I blame a lot of the ‘crazy eights’ led by Gaetz. They want to make this place dysfunctional to try to wear people out,” McCarthy told reporters outside the Capitol. “It’s very sad.… It makes it more difficult for getting people to run in the current climate.”

Donald Trump decided to weigh in on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s mysterious death, taking to Truth Social to memorialize … himself?

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country,” Trump posted to Truth Social on Monday, three days after Navalny’s death was first reported. “It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction. Open Borders, Rigged Elections, and Grossly Unfair Courtroom Decisions are DESTROYING AMERICA. WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION! MAGA2024.”

Somehow, in his chaos of word vomit, Trump omitted a key figure at the center of the Russian political dissenter’s curious disappearance: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After Tucker Carlson’s paltry Putin interview, Trump’s comments are yet another example of a startling shift for far-right members of the conservative party, which somehow straddles the razor wire between condemning former leaders of the Soviet Union while kowtowing to the proto-dictatorship that exists under Putin in modern Russia.

Hours later, Trump continued to make the moment about himself, deriding the nearly $355 million judgment he received on Friday for committing real estate–related bank fraud in New York.

“ALL POLITICAL PROSECUTIONS OF YOUR FAVORITE PRESIDENT, ME, MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY,” Trump wrote. “THIS IS ELECTION INTERFERENCE, AND MUST BE IMMEDIATELY STOPPED. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO GO THROUGH ANY FAKE PROSECUTIONS BEFORE THE ELECTION. THIS IS COMMUNISM, AND A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY. OUR COUNTRY WILL NOT STAND FOR IT. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”

In another post, Trump likened the ruling—which he has just 30 days to come up with the money to appeal—to a “Stalinist nightmare.”

Representative Lauren Boebert is struggling to gain traction in her new district’s primary election, as nearly every Republican voter and lawmaker seems to loathe her intensely.

Boebert, who currently represents Colorado’s 3rd district, announced in December that she would run for election in the 4th district in 2024, instead. But if she expected to cruise to victory in the Republican stronghold, then she couldn’t have been more wrong.

At a recent event in Elbert County, southeast of Denver, Republican voters were deeply skeptical of Boebert’s candidacy, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. While some people said they still supported Boebert, others said they had grown tired of all the drama she courts.

“I don’t appreciate, as a Christian, people saying they’re Christian to get your vote and then turning out to be a lowlife, and now I just kind of think of her as a lowlife,” Judy Scofield, a retired university employee, told the Journal.

Many people highlighted the fact that Boebert had switched districts, making them trust her less.

“On Facebook, she’s not been well received by Republicans,” said GOP voter Tammi Flemming. “It’s the shenanigans and the drama and moving districts.”

Retired medical contractor Chris Ware was more blunt: “I will not vote for her. Period. She’s not one of us,” he said.

Boebert decided to switch districts after she was reelected in 2022 by such a narrow margin that the election nearly went to a recount. Her public image has taken a massive battering in recent months, as well, after she and a date received national backlash when they were caught on security cameras talking, using their phones, vaping, and groping each other while seeing a performance of Beetlejuice.

Her fellow primary competitors have continually accused her of carpetbagging, and the Elbert County event was no different. “You don’t need someone who’s going to go from district to district because they can’t win,” Weld County Councilman Trent Leisy told the crowd.

Boebert comes to the 11-person race with $1.3 million in campaign funds and plenty of name recognition, which could help her stand out from the crowd. But that fame has yet to help her out. During the first primary debate in January, Boebert ranked fifth out of eight candidates in an informal straw poll. While on stage, none of her opponents said they would support her if they ended up dropping out.

“The idea that because [the district is] a Republican stronghold, that they’re going to nominate a fringe conservative like a Boebert in the primary is a wrong notion—this thing is a horse race,” Republican strategist Josh Penry told the Journal.

A new ruling out of Alabama may spell the beginning of the end of the third-party fertility industry—and its reasoning partially relies on a verse from the Bible.

On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court decided that embryos created through in-vitro fertilization would be protected under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, effectively classifying single-celled, fertilized eggs as children. 

The case, known as LePage v. Mobile Infirmary Clinic, Inc, rested upon an argument by several intended parents that their “embryonic children” had been victims of a wrongful death when an intruder broke into the IVF clinic, dropping trays containing some of the embryos and ultimately destroying them.

In a 7–2 decision, Alabama’s highest court ruled that the clinic had been negligent, allowing the parents to proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit. The court also ruled that it is “the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life,” referring to the Alabama Constitution’s Sanctity of Life Amendment, ratified in 2018.

“Here, the text of the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act is sweeping and unqualified,” wrote Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Jay Mitchell in the majority’s opinion. “It applies to all children, born and unborn, without limitation. It is not the role of this Court to craft a new limitation based on our own view of what is or is not wise public policy. That is especially true where, as here, the People of this State have adopted a Constitutional amendment directly aimed at stopping courts from excluding ‘unborn life’ from legal protection.”

But the opinion also quotes the Bible as reasoning for functionally killing IVF access within the aggressively pro-life state, turning to an eyebrow-raising verse from Jeremiah 1:5 for guidance before deciding to make it harder for Alabamans to have a family.

“We believe that each human being, from the moment of conception, is made in the image of God, created by Him to reflect His likeness. It is as if the People of Alabama took what was spoken of the prophet Jeremiah and applied it to every unborn person in this state: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I sanctified you.’ Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV 1982),” the opinion read.

It’s a devastating hit to the third-party fertility industry, which is comprised of large networks of agencies, clinics, and egg banks around the nation.

“Alabama’s Supreme Court ruling is a terrifying development for the 1 in
6 people impacted by infertility who need in-vitro fertilization to
build their families,” said Barb Collura, president and CEO of Resolve: The National Infertility Association. “This anti-family ruling will likely have
devastating consequences, including impacting the standard of care
provided by the state’s five fertility clinics. This new legal framework
may make it impossible to offer services like IVF, a standard medical
treatment for infertility. It also remains unclear what this decision
means for families who currently have embryos stored at these clinics.”

This article has been updated.

Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers on Monday signed new legislative maps into law, which could help Democrats retake the state legislature in the fall.

The new maps, which go into effect immediately, will replace ones that were widely recognized as some of the most gerrymandered in the country. Despite Democrats winning 14 of the last 17 statewide elections, Republicans have carried the majority of the districts—and thus controlled the state legislature—for the past decade.

“This is an important day and historic day for our state and for every person who calls Wisconsin home,” Evers said before signing the maps into law. “This will be the first time in over 50 years that Wisconsin will have fair legislative maps enacted through the legislative process rather than through the courts.”

“When I promised I wanted fair maps, not maps that are better for one party or the other, including my own, I damn well meant it,” he said. “Wisconsin is not a red state. It is not a blue state. Wisconsin is a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact.”

“The people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around.”

BREAKING: WI Gov. Tony Evers (D) breaks a Republican gerrymander, signs new legislative maps into law:

“Wisconsin, when I promised fair maps, I damn well meant it … People should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around.” pic.twitter.com/MwHTJT4YEM

— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) February 19, 2024

State Democrats have tried to challenge the legislative maps for more than a decade, but they hadn’t been successful until Wisconsinites overwhelmingly elected state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz last year. The day after Protasiewicz was sworn in, in August, lawmakers filed a lawsuit against the maps.

The high court ruled in December that the legislative maps were unconstitutional, with Protasiewicz providing the tie-breaking fourth vote. The justices ordered the state legislature to adopt new maps and warned they would draw up new lines if the lawmakers could not pass maps that Evers would sign.

Evers, lawmakers from both parties, and three independent groups submitted map options to the court for review. Independent consultants hired by the court found that the maps submitted by legislature Republicans and a conservative law firm were “partisan gerrymanders,” leaving only Democratic-drawn maps left to choose from.

The legislature passed Evers’s maps last week, to avoid having the high court draw the new district lines.

Under the new maps, Democrats are widely expected to gain seats in both the state Assembly and state Senate. They could even take control of the legislature, which Democrats have not done since 2010, giving them a trifecta with Evers in office until the end of 2026.

If Donald Trump needs to raise money to pay off his legal dues, he needs to step up his game. And no, that doesn’t mean selling $399 sneakers.

The former president launched a line of self-branded sneakers at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. The gold “Never Surrender High-Top Sneaker” retails for $399, and features an American flag on the back and a “T” on the side.

Fashionados can also buy a gold-and-white low-top sneaker for $199, or a red pair also for $199. Trump also launched branded fragrance, the “Victory 47” cologne and perfume, for $99, presumably so his fans don’t get too smelly when working out in their new running shoes.

Although Trump was booed off the stage at Sneaker Con, that reaction belied the true popularity of the shoes. All 1,000 pairs of the high-tops sold out within hours of Trump unveiling them.

Unfortunately for Trump, that amounts to just $399,000—barely a drop in the bucket of his hundreds of millions of dollars in legal dues.

Trump was hit Friday with a $354 million ruling for committing real estate-related financial fraud in New York state. In order to pay that off, he would need to sell 1,127,820 pairs of the high-top sneakers. That’s a lot of kicks.

The former president can appeal the ruling, but he would first have to pay the entire amount plus interest, which could add as much as an additional $100 million.

And that’s not to mention the fact that Trump also owes writer E. Jean Carroll $88.3 million for sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s and then defaming her twice when denying it. That’s an additional 471,929 sneakers that Trump would have to sell. And this still excludes all the fines Trump racked up during the trials for attacking courtroom staff, and the $400,000 he owes The New York Times.

One of Trump’s supporters launched a GoFundMe over the weekend, but that has so far raised just $452,000—again, not nearly enough to put a dent in the total amount he now owes.

A fundraiser mounted over the weekend by Donald Trump’s beguiled supporters isn’t likely to make a dent in his whopping legal dues.

On Friday, the former president was hit with a $354 million financial ruling for committing real estate–related bank fraud in New York State—and that’s before interest, which could tack on as much as another $100 million.

In just two days, a GoFundMe organized by Elena Cardone, the wife of wealthy private equity fund manager Grant Cardone, raised more than $452,000. In its description, Cardone argues that the crowdsourced effort is “not merely about raising the ‘ruling’ amount. It’s about making a stand.”

But her reasoning in raising $355 million on behalf of the GOP front-runner is as interesting as it is alarming. Despite what Justice Arthur Engoron ruled as frauds that “shock the conscience,” Cardone frames Trump as a beleaguered businessman whom she claimed “never defaulted” and “caused no financial damage to anyone,” making Trump’s fight against the judicial system every American’s fight.

“This is more than a legal fund; it’s a call to all businesses owners and entrepreneurs to rally in defense of all businesses and for [a] man who has never hesitated to stand in defense of us,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, Trump has been scrambling with his own strategies to raise capital. On Saturday, Trump stopped by a sneaker convention in Philadelphia to announce his own line of kicks, smartly called “Trump Sneakers.”

One pair, titled the “Never Surrender High-Top Sneaker,” retailed on his site for $399. By the end of the night, what existed of the 1,000-unit inventory had sold out. Though at that rate, Trump would need to sell a few more—just 1,127,820 pairs—in order to pay off the remaining $450 million.

Trump has less than 30 days left to come up with the money or secure a bond if he wants to appeal Engoron’s ruling.

Television host John Oliver has offered Clarence Thomas a busload of reasons to resign immediately, amid mounting reports that the Supreme Court justice secretly accepted lavish gifts from Republican billionaires for decades.

Thomas has refused to recuse himself from cases despite widespread concerns that his opinions can be swayed by the gifts. So Oliver offered a solution Sunday night at the end of his comedy-news show Last Week Tonight: He would personally pay Thomas $1 million a year and give him a new $2.4 million luxury R.V.—if he resigns within 30 days.

Oliver quipped that Thomas was overworked, from “stripping away women’s rights to hearing January 6 cases you definitely shouldn’t be hearing, to potentially helping roll back decades of federal regulations.”

“You deserve a break, you know, away from the meanness of Washington so you can be surrounded by the regular folks whose lives you made demonstrably worse for decades,” Oliver said.

“I think you’re thinking, what would my friends say if I take this offer? Will they judge me as they sit in their boardrooms and megayachts and Hitler shrines? Will they still treat me to luxury vacations and sing songs about me off their phones? Well, that’s the beauty of friendship, Clarence. If they’re real friends, they’ll love you no matter what your job is. So I guess this might be the perfect way to find out who your real friends actually are.”

John Oliver offered Justice Clarence Thomas $1 Million a year and a $2.4 million motor-coach to stepdown from the Supreme Court. I mean it sounds like a mockery, but no more than Thomas already mocks judicial decorum, impartiality & legitimacy.@LastWeekTonight @iamjohnoliver pic.twitter.com/kokDtQ7GYr

— Doug Winfield 🪩 (@d2k) February 19, 2024

A series of ProPublica reports last year revealed that Thomas has accepted millions of dollars in gifts from Republican billionaire megadonors—and reported none of it on his financial disclosure forms. Thomas reportedly began accepting this steady stream of gifts just a few months after he publicly complained that Supreme Court justice salaries are too low.

One of those generous souls is billionaire Harlan Crow, who has been friends with Thomas for more than two decades. In that time, Crow—a Nazi memorabilia collector—has repeatedly lavished Thomas with expensive gifts. These include island-hopping yacht vacations, private school tuition for Thomas’s nephew, and buying and renovating a Thomas family property, where Thomas’s mother still lives.

Crow also regularly brought Thomas as his guest to the Bohemian Grove, which ProPublica has previously described as a “secretive all-men’s retreat in Northern California” that attracts major corporate and political players.

By 2003, Thomas’s wife, Ginni, had begun working at the Heritage Foundation and was making a salary in the low six figures. The Heritage Foundation is part of the Koch brothers’ network. By at least 2010, Clarence Thomas began secretly participating in Koch donor network events, which put him in touch with wealthy and influential conservatives.

More on the Supreme Court:

It took about an hour for Justice Arthur Engoron’s ruling to sink in, but once it did, Donald Trump had a full blown, nail-biting, venom-spitting meltdown on Truth Social over his $354 million penalty for committing real estate–related bank fraud in New York.

In several rapid-fire posts on Truth Social, Trump slammed New York Attorney General Letitia James—a Black woman—as “racist,” branded the court judgment as “illegal” and “unAmerican,” bemoaned, once again, that Mar-a-Lago had only been estimated at $18 million, and swore that Engoron’s decision would be “reversed again.”

But the former real estate mogul seemed particularly hurt by a stipulation that he could no longer serve as an officer or director of a New York company for three years, including his own. His sons were similarly banned from doing business in the state, albeit for a span of two years.

“I helped New York City during its worst of times, and now, while it is overrun with Violent Biden Migrant Crime, the Radicals are doing all they can to kick me out,” he wrote, possibly referring to his fraudulent business deals, the luxury real estate developments he built thanks to $885 million in decades-long tax breaks, or that time he took all the credit for redeveloping Central Park’s Wollman Rink on the city’s dime while short-changing taxpayers.

(The city, meanwhile, has made its position perfectly clear on Trump, even celebrating when the former president swapped his permanent residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Florida.)

But Trump’s diatribe didn’t dim there.

This “decision” is a Complete and Total SHAM,” he continued, before seemingly admitting to some of the fraud. “There were No Victims, No Damages, No Complaints. Only satisfied Banks and Insurance Companies (which made a ton of money), GREAT Financial Statements, that didn’t even include the most valuable Asset—The TRUMP Brand, IRONCLAD Disclaimers (Buyer Beware, and Do your Own Due Diligence), and amazing Properties all over the World.”

Trump also repeated his lie that the case had “no jury allowed,” apparently forgetting that his own attorney, Alina Habba, failed to ask for one.

“We cannot let injustice stand, and will fight Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized persecution at every step. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump concluded in his four-post rant.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron didn’t mince words in his damning ruling against Donald Trump, his two adult sons, and the Trump Organization—on whose collective backs he hoisted a $364 million penalty for rampant fraud.

In a brutal 92-page decision released on Friday, Engoron took the Trump family to task for their repeated refusal to admit any error.

“The English poet Alexander Pope … first declared, ‘To err is human, to forgive is Divine,’” Engoron wrote. “Defendants apparently are of a different mind. After some four years of investigation and litigation, the only error (‘inadvertent’ of course) that they acknowledge is the tripling of the size of the Trump Tower Penthouse, which cannot be gainsaid.”

“Their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological,” he added.

“They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money. The documents prove this over and over again. This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin. Defendants did not commit murder or arson. They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff. Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways. Instead, they adopt a ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ posture that the evidence belies.”

“This court is mindful that this action is not the first time the Trump Organization or its related entities [have] been found to have engaged in corporate malfeasance,” Engoron wrote elsewhere in the ruling. “This is not defendants’ first rodeo.”

Trump himself was ordered to pay $355 million in fines, while Donald Jr. and Eric Trump were fined $4 million each. Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, was penalized an additional $1 million.

Moreover, Trump cannot serve as an officer or director of any New York company for the next three years—including his own companies. His two adult sons are also banned from doing any business in New York for the next two years.

Last, the ruling bans them from applying for loans from financial institutions in New York for the next three years. Which probably makes sense, given it was a fraud trial after all.

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