Ron DeSantis Finally Admits War on Books Has Been a Total Disaster

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp
Ron DeSantis Finally Admits War on Books Has Been a Total Disaster

Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday came out in support of a proposal to limit book bans in schools—the direct result of his own stupid policies.

In a press conference, DeSantis tried to claim that accusations that he has enabled book bans in the state of Florida are “a fraud” and “a big hoax.”

He blamed “activists” on both the left and right for “hijacking” the process of banning books, accusing them of submitting book challenges solely to create a media narrative.

And finally, he directed the Department of Education “to take appropriate action to deal with some of the bad actors who are intentionally depriving students of rightful education by politicizing this process.”

Even as DeSantis basically admitted he made a huge mistake, he used a press release to link to a strange video he posted on Rumble, with the warning “***EXPLICIT CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN***.” The video showcases so-called “non-age-appropriate books” that have “rightly” been banned by libraries, while defending “classic” books like The Diary of Anne Frank. (At least one Florida school has removed an Anne Frank novel, thanks to DeSantis.)

It’s clear that DeSantis is trying to walk back these sweeping book bans—and creating a distinction between justified and unjustified bans.

Essentially, DeSantis is now trying to point fingers at anyone besides himself and his allies, calling the book bans “theater” and “performative.”

In reality, these ridiculous book bans are a direct cause of DeSantis signing House Bill 1069 into law in May 2023. Other legislation in Florida, including the Parental Rights in Education Bill and the Stop WOKE Act, have also led to ruther restrictions.

Under DeSantis, Florida allowed anyone to challenge books in school libraries that they deem to be inappropriate, often books that feature characters or topics on race, sex, and gender. Sometimes books have been banned thanks to a single challenge.

DeSantis has been celebrated by Moms for Liberty, the “parental rights” group inciting many of these blanket bans. The group has thanked the governor for “blazing a trail” on school book bans. He even appointed a co-founder of Moms for Liberty to the Florida Commission on Ethics.

And now, he seems to be backtracking. “If you’re somebody who doesn’t have a kid in school and you’re going to object to 100 books, no I don’t think that’s appropriate,” said DeSantis at the press conference.

He also floated the idea of having the legislature limit the number of challenges and making future challenges contingent on whether you actually have kids in school, a move that could impact Moms for Liberty’s activism. “We’re not trying to incentivize frivolous objections.”

The Florida House is looking to pass a bill (HB 7025) which would impose a $100 fine for unsuccessful book objections, which the Florida governor says he would support.

It’s possible that DeSantis is covering his tracks after a lawsuit from PEN America last month was affirmed in federal court. U.S. District Judge Kent Wetherell issued a ruling against Escambia County School Board, which has banned above 1,500 books, including the dictionary, under House Bill 1069. The judge ruled that book removals violated the First Amendment and rejected the state’s argument. (DeSantis is not named in the lawsuit.)

DeSantis also on Thursday claimed that “no district in Florida has removed any dictionaries or thesauruses.” That’s literally not true.

Judge Aileen Cannon isn’t buying Donald Trump’s newest delay tactic in the classified documents case.

On Thursday, Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, shot down the GOP front-runner’s latest effort to postpone pretrial deadlines, instead opting to keep that date set on February 22.

But the ruling comes with an exception—noting that she’ll still consider measures filed at the eleventh hour if the legal teams can prove they’re necessary.

Although small, it’s another recent indication that Cannon—who has reportedly taken a leisurely approach to the case’s pre-trial proceedings—is looking to push forward.

Last week, Cannon pushed back against another Trump team request with a similar friendly addendum, refusing to delay the trial itself while writing in a nine-page order that they could revisit the schedule come March.

Postponing this criminal trial until the November election means that Trump will possibly never have to answer for allegedly stealing droves of classified documents from the federal government. Should he win re-election to the White House, Trump is expected to direct the Department of Justice to shut it down

Trump faces 40 felony charges in the case: 32 charges for violating the Espionage Act by retaining at least 102 documents with classified documents, six charges for obstruction, and two for making false statements regarding his possession of the documents.

Two of his associates are also charged in the case—longtime aide Walt Nauta, who’s charged with six felonies, and Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos De Oliveira, who faces four felonies. Both of them, along with Trump, attempted to destroy security footage after federal officials requested it, according to a superseding indictment released July 2023.

The trial is currently scheduled for May 20, in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis was visibly furious on Thursday as she took the stand in a trial deliberating her future prosecuting Donald Trump’s alleged election interference in Georgia.

Willis is accused of hiring special prosecutor Nathan Wade—a man she had a relationship with and whom her office paid $650,000 to help build the case against Trump—for personal financial gain. The two have taken several international vacations together, which critics have claimed were partially bankrolled by public funds.

“I’ve been very anxious to have this conversation with you today,” Willis told defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

“It’s ridiculous to me that you lied on Monday and yet here we are,” she added.

Willis and Wade have maintained that their relationship started after he was hired onto the case. But a former friend and co-worker of Willis’s, former Fulton County District Attorney’s Office employee Robin Yeartie, told the court on Thursday that she had “no doubt” that Willis and Wade’s romantic relationship began at a municipal judge conference in 2019—three years earlier than the couple claims.

But Willis quickly refuted that narrative after taking the stand, calling the suggestion that she began sleeping with and dating Wade shortly after meeting him “highly offensive,” while describing Wade as a “good friend” and “personal mentor.”

Further in her defense, Willis fiercely rebutted any significant attachment to Yeartie.

“Robin did not go to my college,” Willis contested. “I met her through some people I knew in college. We hung out a bit, not much because she was in Baltimore and I was in D.C. … after college I lost contact with her. I probably didn’t see her again until seven or eight years ago, a chance meeting in Atlanta. But we did not have a consistent relationship.”

“There’s a saying, ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ I think that she betrayed our friendship,” she added.

And in regards to the money—Willis claims she paid for all her share of the vacations out of a stockpile of cash she keeps in her home, which she noted can add up to $15,000 at times.

“You’re confused. You think I’m on trial; these people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I’m not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial,” Willis told Merchant.

Willis: You’re confused, you think I’m on trial, these people are on trial for stealing an election in 2020. I’m not on trial. pic.twitter.com/YgARkEgJB6

— Acyn (@Acyn) February 15, 2024

It was a hearing filled with frustrations for the district attorney, who grew more visibly irate as the proceeding continued. At one point, Willis held up several packets of documents, claiming that Merchant “lied” in each of them—an explosion that resulted in the court taking a five-minute break.

Willis’s removal from the case would be an incredible blow to one of four criminal trials that Trump is anticipated to undergo before the 2024 general election, adding an additional delay that may prolong the amount of time before the former president is tried on racketeering charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

Trump is trying any legal defense he can get his hands on, and making up entirely new ones.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday outside his hush-money trial, Trump tried a new defense: Even if he’s found guilty, he didn’t commit a crime or at least shouldn’t be punished for it.

“I shouldn’t be in a courthouse,” said the former president, clearly spinning out over having to attend his first criminal court case of many.

“Even if he was guilty of something, there is no crime,” Trump told reporters outside the courthouse, speaking in the third person.

It’s unclear what Trump means here, but it’s clear he’s making it up on the fly. Trump is accused of 34 felony charges over falsifying business records for his payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, in exchange for their silence ahead of the 2016 election. Something that is absolutely a crime.

“We want delays,” Trump added in the press conference. Unfortunately, he won’t get them.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan decided at the hearing on Thursday that the trial will begin March 25 as planned.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Republican primary is less than 10 days away, and Trump is stressed about how to make it to all his court appearances and campaign stops.

“How can you run for election and be sitting in a courthouse in Manhattan all day long?”

We’re asking the same question.

After Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip lost the New York special election to replace George Santos’s empty House seat, Representative Matt Gaetz made sure to take time to tear down his fellow party member.

“It turns out DEI isn’t a real good strategy for Republican candidate recruitment,” Gaetz said in an interview with Newsmax.

Gaetz went on to trash Pilip, who was born in Ethiopia and holds both American and Israeli citizenship, calling her a “very foolish woman.” Donald Trump used the exact same words in a Truth Social post Tuesday night, and added that Pilip lost because she did not endorse him.

Similarly, Gaetz’s main line of attack, besides dog whistles, was criticizing Pilip for not fully embracing Trump. “Look, if you don’t want to run as a Donald Trump Republican, what are you even doing running in 2024 on our side? Get on board.”

“George Santos stood with President Trump, backed the America First agenda, and he ultimately prevailed, so now the very New Yorkers who threw George Santos out see their own ranks diminished and they welcome back Democrat Tom Suozzi,” Gaetz continued.

There are plenty of reasons Republicans lost this seat: Santos’s antics, the GOP’s do-nothing disaster of a term, or even the fact that the district often leans Democratic— but DEI isn’t the boogeyman Gaetz makes it out to be. 

With Santos replaced by a Democrat, the House GOP majority will further shrink. The razor-thin majority means even more tension for Speaker Mike Johnson, who was already struggling to get his party to pass any legislation.

More on the New York election:

Things suddenly don’t look so good for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, whose statements on the duration of her relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade was directly contradicted by a friend taking the stand on Thursday.

Robin Yeartie, a college friend of Willis’s and former Fulton county district attorney’s office employee, told the court that Willis’s relationship with Wade began in 2019—three years earlier than the couple claims, and before Wade was hired on in the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants. Yeartie added that the couple’s relationship remained constant.

“You have no doubt that their romantic relationship was in effect from 2019 until the last time you spoke with her?” asked defense lawyer Ashleigh Merchant.

“No doubt,” Yeartie said.

Yeartie also mentioned that she had stopped speaking to Willis in March 2022 over a “situation” that led to the end of her friendship with Willis and a professional fork in the road—resign or be fired.

Meanwhile, Trump and several of his co-defendants have used the romantic entanglement as a legal basis to request that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee disqualify her and throw out the case entirely.

In a court filing, Trump’s legal team alleged that Willis and Wade had an “improper intimate personal relationship,” taking lavish vacations including Caribbean cruises paid for in part by $650,000 that Wade billed Willis’s office to prosecute the case.

Willis has denied those allegations, claiming that their relationship began in 2022, after Wade was introduced to the case, and that they each paid their own share of the vacation.

“The state has admitted a relationship existed, and so what remains to be proven is the existence and extent of any financial benefit, if there even was one,” McAfee said.

Willis’s removal from the case would be an incredible blow to one of four criminal trials that Trump is anticipated to undergo before the 2024 general election, adding an additional delay that may continue to prolong the amount of time before the former president is tried on racketeering charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

More on Trump in the courts:

Donald Trump’s recent memory failures sure do look like some kind of cognitive decline. In the last few months, Trump has mixed up President Joe Biden with former President Barack Obama, slurred his words, bragged about his favorite type of violent death and that he calls corn “non-liquid gold,” insisted you need voter ID to buy bread, and confused his GOP competitor Nikki Haley for California Representative Nancy Pelosi, claiming that the former failed to act during January 6.

But during a campaign rally on Wednesday, Trump had a new excuse for all that, claiming all of his short circuits are actually just sarcastic jokes.

“But when I say that Obama is the president of our country bah bah bah, they go, ‘He doesn’t know that Spiden [sic], he doesn’t know.’ So it’s very hard to be sarcastic,” Trump said.

“When I interpose—cause I’m not a Nikki fan, and I’m not a Pelosi fan. And when I purposely interpose names, they said, ‘He didn’t know Pelosi from Nikki. From Tricky Nikki. Tricky Nikki. He didn’t know.’ I interposed,” he added, seemingly forgetting the definition of the word “interpose,” which per Merriam-Webster means to put oneself between or intrude.

“And they make a big deal out of it. I said, ‘No, no, I think they both stink. They have something in common. They both stink.’ And remember this: When I make a statement like that about Nikki, that means she will never be running for vice president. She will never be running [unintelligible] vice president,” he added.

Trump: It’s very hard to be sarcastic. When I interpose— I’m not a Nikki fan and I’m not a Pelosi fan. When I purposely interpose names, they say he didn’t know Pelosi from Nikki. pic.twitter.com/UFjnRq4Qg6

— Acyn (@Acyn) February 15, 2024

Since a special counsel investigation accused 81-year-old President Joe Biden of having a feeble mind, Trump—who is just four years younger—has desperately been trying to reframe the narrative, accusing Biden of being “too incompetent” but “not too old.”

(Unfortunately) More on Trump:

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin wasn’t impressed by Tucker Carlson’s pathetic attempts to interview him.

The ousted Fox News host was in Moscow last week, when he sat down with Putin for what he claimed would be a hard-hitting, unbiased interview. In reality, it was anything but.

Speaking to Russian state television on Wednesday, Putin said that prior to the interview, he believed that Carlson would be an aggressive interviewer, a dangerous person who would “ask so-called sharp questions.”

“And I wasn’t just ready for that, I wanted it, because it would have given me the opportunity to respond sharply in kind,” Putin added. “But he chose a different tactic.”

“He tried to interrupt me several times, but still, surprisingly for a Western journalist, he turned out to be patient and listened to my lengthy dialogues, especially those related to history, and didn’t give me reason to do what I was ready for. So frankly, I didn’t get complete satisfaction from this interview.”

Indeed, as Putin claimed, the interview seemed more like a propagandistic history lesson than anything else.

The interview lasted over a grueling two hours, during which Carlson avoided topics like Russian war crimes in Ukraine, political prisoners, or even Russia’s upcoming presidential election. “Are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?” Putin asked.

Before the interview even hit the halfway mark, Putin was interviewing Carlson and mocking Carlson’s CIA dreams.

The whole thing was longer than Carlson’s previous self-published interviews with Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The only person Tucker Carlson’s interviewed for longer? Alleged rapist and sex trafficker Andrew Tate.

Carlson claimed the goal of the interview is to enable Americans to understand Russia’s view of the war. “He fulfilled his plan,” said Putin, “but how meaningful it was in the end is not for me to judge.”

More on this stupid interview:

GOP front-runner Donald Trump is officially headed to court next month, the first of his four upcoming criminal trials expected sometime this year.

On Thursday, Trump headed to New York for a court hearing on his hush-money case. Judge Juan Manuel Merchan ignored his requests for a delay and determined the trial would start on March 25, when jury selection will begin, and last approximately six weeks.

Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He’s facing 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Trump’s legal team tried to protest the decision to go to trial, citing the legal load attached to so many disparate criminal trials for one individual.

“We have been faced with compressed and expedited schedules in every one of those trials,” Todd Blanche, an attorney also representing Trump in his classified documents case, told the judge. “We—meaning myself, the firm and President Trump—have been put into an impossible position.”

Blanche also attempted to make a political argument against heading to trial, bemoaning the fact that Trump is “in primary season” and that “it is a different landscape” than it was during the last hearing.

But Judge Merchan wasn’t having any of it, quickly sidestepping Team Trump’s further attempts to delay the trial.

“You don’t have a trial date in Georgia. You don’t have a trial date in Florida,” he retorted.

Trump has already started his habitual mudslinging against the court and the trial itself, claiming over the last year that Merchan, who has acknowledged a $15 donation to President Joe Biden, is a Trump-hating judge appointed by a Democrat—even though all the judges in his trials have been randomly selected. Meanwhile, Trump has whined on TruthSocial that going to court for his alleged misdeeds counts as “election interference.”

“There was no crime here at all. This is just a way of hurting me in the election because I’m leading by a lot,” he told a crowd of reporters shortly before entering the courthouse. “They want to rush it because they want to get it desperately before the election.… They wouldn’t have brought this—no way—except for the fact that I’m running for president and doing well.”

Cohen, who is anticipated to be a star witness in this trial, has no doubts that the former president will be found guilty.

“I can tell you from everything I know about it, he’s going to be found guilty,” Cohen, the former Trump lawyer, said during The New Republics Stop Trump Summit in October.

“This is the Al Capone theory,” he added. “They didn’t get him on murder, extortion, racketeering, prostitution, etc., they got him on tax evasion. I truly believe the Alvin Bragg case is the easiest case to prove of all of the criminal cases.”

The dates for Trump’s three other indictments are not yet on the books. His January 6 election interference trial, which was originally slated for March 4, was postponed while the Supreme Court reviews appeals on Trump’s presidential immunity claim.

This article has been updated.

Frank Luntz foresees disaster for Republicans if they don’t course-correct following the brutal New York special election that cost them a House seat.

“Tonight is the final wakeup call for the @HouseGOP. If they ignore or attempt to explain away why they lost, they will lose in November as well,” the Republican pollster tweeted. “The issue agenda is on their side. Their congressional behavior is not.”

Democrat Tom Suozzi on Tuesday handily defeated Republican Nassau County legislator Mazi Pilip to reclaim his House seat after it was vacated by George Santos.

While it’s fair to question Luntz’s analysis that Republicans have winning issues, it’s hard to disagree with his comment on their recent actions in Congress.

On the campaign trail, Suozzi hit at Pilip for opposing the border deal brokered in the Senate, a position Pilip shared with House Speaker Mike Johnson and former President Trump. In doing so, some say, Suozzi outflanked Pilip on the issue of immigration, even as House Republicans have attempted to portray Democrats as overly soft on the border. The GOP Congressional Leadership Fund’s $1.5 million ad buy aimed to tar Suozzi as dismissive of the “migrant crisis,” but those attacks didn’t seem to stick.

This isn’t the first election postmortem to forecast doom for Republicans after disappointing results. In the aftermath of Democrats’ surprising fending-off of a predicted Republican bloodbath in the 2022 midterms, analysts blamed the GOP’s extremist slate of candidates and their doubling down on a cruel anti-abortion and anti-trans platform for their historic underperformance. Then Republican candidates did the same in 2023 and lost again.

Now, though, with Luntz, the call is coming from inside the house, and it’s not anti-trans hysteria but recalcitrance on passing bipartisan legislation that threatens to hurt Republicans in 2024.

The smart money is on House Republicans continuing to fearmonger about immigration, but will these attacks land now that their vote against a harsh border bill is on the record? Will House Republicans get their act together before November? Whatever the answer is, they won’t be able to say Luntz didn’t warn them.

More on House Republicans’ shenanigans:

Read More

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles