Connect with us


‘Political Theater’: Conservative Rips Ron DeSantis for ‘Sucking Up to the Anti-Vaxxers’



Far-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t officially announced a presidential run for 2024, but his admirers — from author Ann Coulter to Fox News’ Rupert Murdoch to writers at the National Review — are hoping that he will. As they see it, a DeSantis presidential campaign would be the way for the Republican Party to quit Donald Trump (who announced his 2024 campaign in mid-November) while still satisfying the MAGA base. And if DeSantis does run, he may have found a way to show MAGA voters how he differs from Trump: pandering to the anti-vaxxer crowd.

Never Trump conservative and former GOP strategist Rick Wilson is quite skeptical about DeSantis’ prospects as a 2024 presidential candidate. Wilson, a North Florida resident, believes that DeSantis, for all his bombast, will be crushed in a Republican primary if Trump fully unleashes his cruelty on the Florida governor (who was reelected by 19 percent in the 2022 midterms).

In a biting article published by The Bulwark on December 15, Never Trumper Amanda Carpenter emphasizes that DeSantis’ latest anti-vaxxer theatrics are designed to fire up “fringe” MAGA voters ahead of a likely presidential run.

READ MORE:‘He is so done’: Ann Coulter doubles down on Republicans to abandon Donald Trump

“As he seeks to elevate his profile further and distinguish himself from potential 2024 presidential rivals, DeSantis is sucking up to the anti-vax crowd and styling himself as a crusader against what he calls the ‘biomedical security state,’” Carpenter explains. “And, like most of DeSantis’ political stunts, his overtures to the fringe are pretty cringey. On Tuesday, (December 13), as the state legislature was embroiled in a complex debate about skyrocketing home-insurance rates, DeSantis hosted a roundtable in West Palm Beach that brought doctors and scientists together with other Floridians to question the efficacy and safety of COVID vaccines.”

DeSantis, Carpenter notes, featured Steven Ordonia — an anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorist who claims that COVID-19 vaccines have “horrible side effects” that the “mainstream media” are covering up.

“When the roundtable concluded,” Carpenter observes, “DeSantis made a series of planned announcements. He called for investigations into vaccine manufacturers and public officials who he alleges lied about the life-threatening side effects of shots.”

These theatrics, according to Carpenter, reflect “a desperate wish to kiss up to cranky, conspiracist anti-vax voters.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s garbage’: Media critic tears apart Donald Trump’s defamation lawsuit against CNN

DeSantis’ anti-vaxxer pandering is quite a contrast to Trump’s messaging on COVID-19 vaccines, which the former president has exalted as a major scientific achievement and tried to take credit for. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, governor-elect of Arkansas and former White House press secretary in the Trump Administration, has echoed Trump’s messaging and described COVID-19 vaccines as “the Trump vaccine.”

Carpenter points out that when Trump was still in the White House in 2020 and was pushing his Operation Warp Speed program, DeSantis was “advocating” COVID-19 vaccines rather than promoting the claims of “fringe” anti-vaxxers. And she views DeSantis’ recent anti-vaxxer theatrics as a flawed political strategy.

“As DeSantis elevates vaccine skeptics and picks fights with vaccine manufacturers and public health officials, a new Wall Street Journal poll shows him significantly outpacing former President Trump as the preferred 2024 nominee among GOP primary voters,” Carpenter writes. “Is DeSantis making these gains because of his overtures to the fringe activists in the party, or because Republican voters see him as a more palatable alternative to Trump? Probably both, but sucking up to the anti-vaxxers probably doesn’t play that well outside a very distinct slice of MAGA.”

Carpenter continues, “Further, as the WSJ poll attests, DeSantis’ likely 2024 candidacy is already approaching liftoff. Running to the right of Trump on COVID is a high-risk maneuver without a clear political justification. It’s hard to see the payoff for someone in the governor’s position…. DeSantis embraces this sort of political theater even though he appears to lack a natural aptitude for showmanship.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert



The first of 19 co-defendants in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ RICO and election interference case against Donald Trump has pleaded guilty in what is being described as a “plea deal.”

“Under the terms of an agreement with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office, Hall pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy, and conspiracy to defraud the state,” NBC News reports. “Under the terms of the deal, he’s being sentenced to five years probation.”

CNN previously reported “Hall, a bail bondsman and pro-Trump poll-watcher in Atlanta, spent hours inside a restricted area of the Coffee County elections office when voting systems were breached in January 2021. The breach was connected to efforts by pro-Trump conspiracy theorists to find voter fraud. Hall was captured on surveillance video at the office, on the day of the breach. He testified before the grand jury in Fulton County case and acknowledged that he gained access to a voting machine.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a professor of law and frequent MSNBC contributor, says Hall “was in the thick of things with Sidney Powell on Jan 7 for the Coffee County scheme involving voting machines. If he’s cooperating, it’s a bad sign for her.”

Hall’s plea deal “spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell,” says former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU Law professor of law. Goodman posted a graphic showing the overlap in charges against Hall and Powell, which he called “alleged joint actions.”

See the graphic above or at this link.


Continue Reading


Far-Right Republicans Kill GOP Bill to Keep Government Running in ‘Embarrassing Failure’ for McCarthy: Report



With a shutdown less than 36 hours away, far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon voted against their party’s own legislation to kept the federal government running. Democrats opposed the content of the bill and voted against it. Just 21 far-right members of the GOP conference were able to effectively force what appears to be an all but inevitable shutdown at midnight on Saturday.

“HARDLINE HOUSE RS take down stopgap funding bill. 21 GOP no votes. 232-198,” reported Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman just before 2 PM Friday.

NBC News reported that a “band of conservative rebels on Friday revolted and blocked House Republicans’ short-term funding bill to keep the government open, delivering a political blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and likely cementing the chances of a painful government shutdown that is less than 48 hours away.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

“Twenty-one rebels, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a conservative bomb-thrower and a top Donald Trump ally, voted Friday afternoon to scuttle the 30-day funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, leaving Republicans without a game plan to avert a shutdown. The vote failed,” NBC added. “The embarrassing failure of the GOP measure once again highlights the dilemma for McCarthy as his hard-liners strongly oppose a short-term bill even if it includes conservative priorities. It leaves Congress on a path to a shutdown, with no apparent offramp to avoiding it — or to quickly reopen the government.”

A bipartisan group of at least 75 U.S. Senators has passed two bills this week that would keep the government running. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has refused to allow it to come to the floor for a vote.




Continue Reading


‘Wannabe Dictator’: Milley Appears to Slam Trump After Ex-President Suggested He Should Be Executed



General Mark Milley, the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military advisor to the President, during his retirement speech Friday appeared to deliver strong criticism of former President Donald Trump, who appointed him to that post but since has waged war against him.

One week ago the ex-president had said that “in times gone by” General Milley would have been executed for treason. Trump in 2021 had called for General Milley to be “tried for treason.”

“Trump’s rhetoric is dangerous, not just because it is the exact sort that incites violence against public officials,” professor of global politics and political scientist Brian Klass wrote at The Atlantic after Trump’s most recent attack on the Chairman, “but also because it shows just how numb the country has grown toward threats more typical of broken, authoritarian regimes.”

READ MORE: Trump Goes on Wild Rant Targeting Judge and Attorney General After Being Found Liable for Fraud

Trump had written, “if the Fake News reporting is correct,” General Milley “was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States. This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH! A war between China and the United States could have been the result of this treasonous act.”

Milley was acting within his duties in a White House approved conversation, according to Klass.

On Friday, Milley appeared to blast Trump.

“We don’t take an oath to a tribe. We don’t take an oath to a religion. We don’t take an oath to a king, or queen, or a tyrant, or dictator. We don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator,” Milley declared. “We don’t take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America, and we’re willing to die to protect it.”

“Every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, Guardian and Coast Guardsmen, each of us, emits our very life to protect and defend that document, regardless of personal price to a country.”

READ MORE: ‘He Knows I’m Right’: Democrat Mocks ‘Scared’ McCarthy and Blows Off Chairman Comer in ‘Very Unserious’ Hearing

Vanity Fair on Thursday reported General Milley “said he has taken security precautions to protect himself and his family after Donald Trump all but called for his execution last week.”

Watch Milley’s remarks below or at this link.


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.