By Elizabeth C. Tippett, Assistant Professor, School of Law, University of Oregon. World leaders listen to President Trump speak at the General Assembly. AP Photo/Seth Wenig President Trump on Sept. 19 gave his inaugural speech to the United Nations General Assembly, where he characterized North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as a “rocket man on a suicide…
The Republican governors of Texas and Florida are in an informal competition to be the most Trumpian leader.
In a new analysis, Bloomberg News noted that a half day after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banned vaccine mandates, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis floated legislation to do the same.
"It's a tit-for-tat that's been playing out for months between the best-known Republican governors in the U.S. — and potential presidential candidates in 2024. Abbott and DeSantis, both lawyers by trade, have followed similar political playbooks over the past few years when it comes to showing their conservative bona fides, from banning mask mandates in schools, to calling for harsh clamp-downs on undocumented immigrants," Bloomberg News noted.
Both candidates are considered 2024 presidential hopefuls.
"The rivalry shows how Republicans in two of the biggest states are under pressure to pursue the types of populist efforts that would please Donald Trump and his loyalists, even at the risk of alienating moderates and businesses worried about recruiting candidates turned off by restrictive social policies," Bloomberg News explained. "Hard-line approaches like curtailing school rules aimed at coronavirus safety are losers in polls, but rules framed as expanding 'freedom' serve as an extension of Trump's fire-up-the-base strategy. Far from turning the page on Trump's GOP, both men are trying to out-Trump one another."
Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida, described the two as "frenemies."
One may have a clear advantage.
"For now, DeSantis may be coming out ahead in the quest to establish his credentials nationally, already sitting atop some early polls for the Republican spot on the 2024 presidential ballot assuming Trump doesn't run. The 43-year-old former U.S. congressman has experienced a swift rise since he landed Trump's endorsement in the 2018 GOP primary for Florida governor, which he parlayed into a surprise victory in America's largest swing state. He's been broadly aligned with Trump ever since," Bloomberg News explained. "DeSantis' political action committee had raised more money than Abbott's through the first six months of the year — $36.2 million to $20.9 million — and did so from a large pool of out-of-state donors, led by Citadel's Kenneth Griffin, who gave $5 million."
Read the full analysis.
The FBI interview transcript of their interrogation of a Trump supporter accused of tasing Officer Michael Fanone on January 6th shows the various excuses the suspect made for his conduct.
Federal prosecutors have charged Daniel Rodriguez with eight counts, including assault on an officer.
"So how did the Danny that stood on the line in between law enforcement and Antifa/BLM, how did you get to that point? What happened in your life? Like, how did you start going to these rallies?" Rodriguez was asked.
"Infowars," Rodriguez replied.
He also addressed why he tasered Officer Fanone.
"So you think that Officer Fanone's being carried out, held by his arms and legs. Why did you taser him?" the FBI asked. "You said he was struggling."
"And you chose to assault him while he's struggling?" the agent asked.
"Well, I just felt that, like -- I didn't know what they were going to do to him," Rodriguez replied.
"And so, you tasered him to protect him?" the FBI asked.
"I mean, that sounds stupid. I don't know if I tasered him to protect him, but maybe just to, like -- so he wouldn't struggle and get hurt, maybe. If they're going to beat him up or injury him or, like -- I don't know if they're going to -- I don't know what was going to happen to him," he replied.
An agent pleaded with the suspect to be honest.
"Then, tell us what happened. Don't leave the story be this crappy story that you're telling us right now, that you were just there to help him and taser him," the agent said.
"I'm not smart," Rodriguez said.
"Think about your mom," the agent said.
"No. I'm just not smart," he said. "I'm not lying to you guys."
The suspect's views on his own intelligence were repeated later in the interview.
"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't know that we were doing the wrong thing. I thought we were doing the f*cking right thing. I thought we were going to be -- I'm so stupid. I thought I was going to be awesome. I thought I was a good guy," Rodriguez said.
"Am I mental? Am I? Am I just that stupid?" Rodriguez asked. "Did we all really just -- are we all that stupid that we thought we were going to go do this and save the country and it was all going to be fine after? We really thought that. That's so stupid, huh?"
The transcript was reportedly released by Rodriguez' lawyer.
Video of the attack was played at Trump's second impeachment trial.
DC Metropolitan police officer Mike Fanone was one of 3 officers who was dragged down the stairs during the Capitol… https://t.co/TYfEjZaPc1— ABC News (@ABC News) 1612996602.0
Fanone also testified before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
November's gubernatorial election in Virginia has become a proxy war for Donald Trump's personal vendetta against the fact he lost the 2020 presidential election.
"Republicans in Virginia are saying what their nominee for governor will not: The governor's race is a proxy for Mr. Trump's grievances," The New York Times reported Saturday.
"The event was billed as a rally for Virginia conservatives ahead of next month's election for governor. But it was mostly about Donald J. Trump," Astead Herndon reported. "Each speaker, addressing the crowd of hundreds just outside the state capital of Richmond, declared the former president the rightful winner of the last presidential election and the assumed winner of the next one. The audience raved when Mr. Trump gave a short address over the phone."
He noted that controversial state Sen. Amanda Chase spoke at the rally.
"But it was the speaker after Mr. Trump who made the pivot from national to local. Amanda Chase, a state senator from Amelia County who has called herself 'Trump in heels,' explicitly tied the former president to Glenn Youngkin, the state's Republican nominee for governor," he reported. "Supporting one required supporting the other, she said."
Youngkin's supporters are essentially making the same argument as Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe.
"Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate and a former governor, has sought to tie Mr. Youngkin to the former president, while the Republican candidate has largely tried to keep some distance from Mr. Trump, to avoid alienating the all-important suburban, moderate voters who could decide the race's outcome," he explained. "Democrats argue that losing the statewide election on Nov. 2 would be a bad omen for them in the 2022 midterms, and Republicans agree. And while Democrats paint Mr. Youngkin as an acolyte of Mr. Trump who would help pave the way for the former president's return in 2024, Republicans at the 'Take Back Virginia' rally on Wednesday explicitly said the same thing. They were willing to make clear what Mr. Youngkin has carefully avoided."
That message was driven home when the crowd pledged allegiance to a flag that flew on January 6th.
"Speakers seemed to one-up each other in expressing their loyalty to Mr. Trump: Some called for the arrest of Mr. Biden. Others compared vaccine mandates to conditions in Nazi Germany or invoked violent periods in American history, including the Civil War and the American Revolution, to describe the stakes of upcoming elections," he explained.
Read the full report.
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