On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Anna Fusco, the president of the Broward County, Florida teachers' union who is defying Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order banning mask mandates, tore into the Republican governor for his threats against local leaders for following CDC recommendations.
"Anna, is the governor's latest order making things worse when you already have people hurling insults, protesting, burning masks?" asked anchor Erin Burnett, playing a clip of DeSantis calling masks a "symbol of tyranny and child abuse."
"It's much worse," said Fusco. "It shows poor leadership when we elect a governor to take care of our state and he's making decisions, God knows why, and it is affecting everybody. As you said earlier, our state is in a crisis with this COVID spreading, not everybody's vaccinated, trying to get people to get vaccinated is a chore, whether unsure or whether they just can't get it because of medical reasons."
She then used an adjective to describe DeSantis that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton infamously used to describe some supporters of former President Donald Trump.
"To have our governor jump on board with, you know, going against our school board and threatening us to have no funding, is extremely deplorable," said Fusco. "We wouldn't expect to see this from an official, especially the governor of Florida."
Anna Fusco slams Ron DeSantis' "extremely deplorable" mask mandate ban www.youtube.com
Donald Trump was hardly the first U.S. president to voice his support for authoritarians. But while President Richard Nixon saw it as practical to have an alliance with Spain's dictator Gen. Francisco Franco — arguing that at least El Generalísimo kept Soviet troops out of the streets of Madrid — he never praised Franco as a role model for the United States. Trump and his loyalists, in contrast, have openly praised far-right authoritarians like Hungary's Victor Orbán, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro.
This open admiration for authoritarianism among Trump supporters is the focus of articles by The Bulwark's Charlie Sykes and Vox's Zack Beauchamp. Sykes, a Never Trump conservative, has stressed that one doesn't have to be a liberal to believe in liberal democracy — and he warns that democracy is something that the MAGA right is outright contemptuous of."
Something genuinely odd and disturbing is happening on the right," Sykes observes in his column. "Ideas that would have been unthinkable just moments ago are now being normalized, and if anything, the drift toward authoritarianism seems to be accelerating. This includes the explicit embrace of the idea of an American dictator — an American Caesar. Literally and seriously."
Sykes cites some specific examples of Trumpian authoritarianism. In Arizona, State Sen. Wendy Rogers, a far-right MAGA Republican, has advocated imprisoning the "entire Maricopa County Board of Supervisors" over a dispute about the 2020 election. And the pro-Trump publication American Greatness has praised Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar.
Sykes explains, "The publication that unironically calls itself American Greatness likes to think of itself as the 'intellectual' home for MAGA World. Despite its dalliance with raw racism and a fetish for sedition, American Greatness's roster of contributors includes such right-wing luminaries as Victor David Hanson, Seb Gorka, David Harsanyi, Conrad Black, Roger Kimball, Mark Bauerlein, Josh Hammer, Ned Ryun, Dennis Prager and Salena Zito. It recently published an endorsement of military coups by a retired military guy with close ties to Trumpworld."
Recently, Sykes notes, American Greatness published an article by Christopher Roach praising Salazar. And similarly, Sykes writes, Fox News' Tucker Carlson has been embracing Orbán.
In his Vox article, meanwhile, Beauchamp discusses a pattern of "conservative anti-Americanism.""Conservative anti-Americanism still pays lip service to love of country," Beauchamp writes. "Its proponents declare themselves the true patriots, describing their enemies as the nation's betrayers. But when the cadre of traitors includes everyone from election administrators to Olympians to the Capitol Police, it becomes clear that the only America they love is the one that exists in their heads. When they contemplate the actual United States — real America, if you will — they are filled with scorn."
Beauchamp quotes Paul Elliott Johnson, a University of Pittsburgh communications professor, as saying, "They see no role or place for themselves in America now." And Beauchamp describes "conservative anti-Americanism" as "hyper-patriotism gone sour — a belief in a fictional ideal of a perfect right-wing America that's constantly betrayed by reality, leading to disillusionment and even disgust with the country as it actually exists."
According to Beauchamp, the fact that Carlson and Fox News' Laura Ingraham were recently mocking police officers attacked during the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 is a blatant example of "conservative anti-Americanism." Another example is an essay by writer Glenn Elmers for the Claremont Institute's website the American Mind. Elmers wrote, "Most people living in the United States today — certainly more than half — are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term."
Scholar David Walsh, who has studied the history of the American right at the University of Virginia, told Beauchamp, "For most parts of the right, there was this idea that you could still redeem the country — that you could reverse these long-term trends by political organizing, electing conservatives to political office, etc. Today, there is this move away from even the trappings of the American democratic tradition — and I think that is linked to the broader sense that this country can no longer be redeemed."
Last week was a difficult week for the Trump-led Republican Party and the Lincoln Project captured it in one damning video that perfectly illustrates the non-stop absurdity that has taken over the Republican Party.
They went after Fox News hosts eager to destroy Capitol Police officers who testified about their injuries and experience after the Jan. 6 attack. They showed the sad and pathetic way that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was shouted down by a whistle.
But among the best was the unique way they highlighted a squirming Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) as he desperately tried to explain whether or not he spoke to Donald Trump on Jan. 6. Another came from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who had his own "stable genius" moment when he explained that he has the "Florida virus" a.k.a. "the freedom virus."
See the hilarious video below:
Last Week in the Republican Party – August 2, 2021 www.youtube.com
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