Arizona Republicans discovered what the national GOP did — there's no safe way out of Trump world: columnist
Many Arizona Republicans have made it clear they want nothing to do with the audit from the Senate GOP. But as one Washington Post columnist explained, they've gone so far down the rabbit hole, and there's no real way for them to climb out anymore.
Writing Tuesday, Phil Bump cited the New Yorker's Jane Mayer, who reported that conservative groups had been working on the so-called "election audit" idea before the election was even held.
But he keyed into a "startling and important discovery" in her piece when she points to a county official nammed is Bill Gates. He's not the Microsoft Bill Gates.
"Gates says that Karen Fann, the Arizona Senate's president, confided to him that she knew there was 'nothing to' the fraud charges," Bump said, citing the Mayer report. Fann wouldn't respond to questions about the conversation. "Nevertheless, she buckled under the political pressure and authorized a subpoena of the county's ballots, for the 'forensic audit.'"
Bump said that it's entirely possible that Fann told Gates she didn't think fraud happened but wanted to "grease the wheels" for the effort.
"But it's more likely that Fann, a member of Arizona's legislature for more than a decade, actually recognized that nothing untoward happened," Bump continued. "After all, Arizona had been trending more blue since 2004, in part thanks to its evolving demographics. That the result in 2020 was close was a continuation of that trend; in fact, the shift to the left from 2016 to 2020 was smaller than the shift from 2012 to 2016. Fann herself was elected in a district that includes parts of Maricopa. One assumes she feels pretty confident about those particular results."
Even if she did believe that there was no fraud, she's got two options, he explained. Either she can keep going with the audit and election fraud claims or she can throw up her hands and make a deal that she showed her Trump loyalty.
The problem, Bump explained, is that they have all double, triple, and quadrupled down on the conspiracy. There's no real respectable off-ramp for them anymore.
"Fann, as president of the Republicans in the Arizona Senate, would have been hard-pressed to stay quiet, so she chose to play along. Again, maybe she was lying to Gates, but it's safe to assume that she wasn't. She had little political choice but to go along with the 'review,'" said Bump.
It's the same situation that Republicans are in at the national level. They've gone so far down the road with Donald Trump that there's no real way to divorce themselves from him. They've been given every opportunity to abandon him, but each time they came crawling back. Republicans know how to navigate that path, Bump explained. The path without Trump is a "minefield."
"Whenever there's a discussion of the review in Arizona, the same conclusion emerges: Everyone knows where it is headed, but no one really knows what happens then," he closed. "For the review itself, in other words, there's no off-ramp, just this big, rickety truck rumbling forward with dashboard warning lights going unheeded. The time when this could have been averted came months ago, before the vehicle started moving. But even then, Fann and other Republicans were not offered any easy choice other than to step on the accelerator."
'Tragically nutty' Ron DeSantis hammered by Florida mayor for letting people die 'just to show off to this base'
Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber ripped Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) Tuesday night after another day of high COVID-19 infections in the state of Florida.
Tuesday marks the third straight day in a row where the Sunshine State broke hospitalization records, and they now have more people in the hospital with COVID than they had at any time in 2020.
Speaking to CNN's Chris Cuomo, Gelber explained that it's clear that there is a huge difference: Despite the vaccinations in the state, the unvaccinated population isn't shrinking the way that it should.
Gelber laid blame for this right at the governor's feet.
"First of all, the governor needs to own up to the judgment," said Gelber. "Nobody is accusing him of not doing the things he's supposed to. He's made that part of his campaign. I mean, he has prevented us from implementing mask mandates, he's made vaccine passports illegal for folks like the cruise industry, private sector groups that want to make their customers safer. He regularly, as part of his campaign, ridicules the CDC, Dr. Fauci. I think he needs to own up to what he's doing, which is basically to do everything the opposite of what local government is doing, like me, which is trying to get our residents to first get vaccinated but also to wear masks now that the CDC says that they should inside."
Gelber went on to say that he thinks the governor has simply accepted that there will be people who die as a result of his "brazen political decision ... he's doing in order to gain some political advantage."
"And it really is sort of nutty too -- tragically nutty in a sense that -- you know, I have a kid in high school," he explained. "I want the local school board to decide whether he and his classmates have to wear masks. He's been vaccinated but others may not be. And the point is that the governor has just decided as a show of, really, just to show off to this base that he's currying favor with that he's going to just stop all local officials from having any impact on this."
See the video below:
Miami Beach mayor www.youtube.com
Man who went viral for groping flight attendants won award from college frat for being a 'perfect role model': report
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Maxwell Berry, the airline passenger who went viral after allegedly groping female flight attendants on his flight to Florida and shouting "You guys f*cking suck! My parents are worth $2 million!" previously received an award as a "perfect role model" from his fraternity at Ohio Wesleyan University.
"Mr. Berry graduated in May from Ohio Wesleyan University, where he received a values in action award from the Greek life community for being a 'perfect role model' and for leading 'the fight to dismantle fraternity stereotypes.' The university posted a Zoom video of the presentation," reported the Times' Neil Vigdor. "'Ohio Wesleyan is saddened to learn of this situation with one of our graduates,' Cole Hatcher, a spokesman for the university, said in an email on Tuesday. 'The case does not involve the university, and the incidents depicted do not reflect Ohio Wesleyan's values.'"
According to reports, the flight crew restrained Berry by duct-taping him to his seat, for which they are currently facing potential disciplinary action from employer Frontier Airlines. Berry is being charged with three counts of battery and is being held at the Miami-Dade County Jail.
"The Association of Flight Attendants said that the encounter was emblematic of the hostilities faced by airline crews since the loosening of travel restrictions that had been put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic," said the report. "It came amid a surge of reports filed by airlines with the Federal Aviation Administration about unruly passengers, who have faced steep fines for disruptions."
Airlines have referred over 1,300 passengers to the Federal Aviation Administration for unruly behavior since February — many of them related to passengers disgruntled over COVID-19 mask mandates.
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