ORLANDO, Fla. — Less than 24 hours before the Florida Legislature passed the state’s first medical marijuana law in May 2014, Matt Gaetz and other members of the state House of Representatives rewrote the bill to limit who would be able to get in on the ground floor of what has since become a billion-dollar business. A number of Gaetz’s friends and allies managed to squeeze through that narrow door. Among them: — The brother of Gaetz’s friend and fellow state Rep. Halsey Beshears, who co-founded one of Florida’s first licensed marijuana companies and amassed a fortune currently valued at about...
The candidate Donald Trump endorsed in the GOP primary to replace retiring North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr released an internal poll showing him losing the Republican nomination by 26% points.
Earlier this month, Trump made a surprise endorsement of Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) after his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, announced she would not be seeking the seat.
Shortly after the endorsement, former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory — who is also running in the GOP primary — declared Budd unelectable.
Budd released a poll showing McCrory leading the race by receiving 45% of the primary vote, while Budd only received 19% of the vote.
Trump has repeatedly hyped the power of his endorsements, even though it hasn't always reflected reality.
"For all his power within the GOP, Trump does not have a perfect record as a kingmaker," New York magazine writer Ed Kilgore noted on Saturday, before the poll was released.
"In deep-red and very Trump-y Alabama in 2017 in the special election created when Jeff Sessions (briefly) became attorney general, the president endorsed the appointed senator Luther Strange in the GOP primary and a runoff, and then endorsed the wild man who beat Strange, Judge Roy Moore, in the general election. He went zero-for-three," Kilgore noted.
Columnist Philip Bump penned a frank column Monday confessing that he once thought former President Donald Trump would ultimately be brought down once it was discovered what he was doing behind closed doors.
I used to think that Biden's election posed a risk to Trump's political ambitions, given what might be revealed onc… https://t.co/W6o9daAQgB— Philip Bump (@Philip Bump) 1623699101.0
It was revealed last week by the New York Times that the former president was using the Justice Department to spy on the press, Democratic members of Congress, their staff and their families. For former President Richard Nixon, there was a hit-list of those that he wanted to wiretap, but he never did it. Trump crossed that line.
It was something that Bump confessed he thought would change the way Trump was perceived by Republicans. He assumed Trump's political future would be stymied by inevitable news uncovered once he was no longer in control of the departments he ruled as president.
"There was a theory, to which I once ascribed, that Donald Trump's efforts to remain salient in American politics could be hobbled by what might be learned after he left office. After all, while he was president, there was an obvious protective layer at play, appointees loyal to Trump who would not be eager to reveal any dubious behavior on the part of the president or themselves. Who knew what might emerge, I figured?" Bump wrote. he noted that he assumed anything Trump or his team did would make things difficult in 2024.
He realized that's not going to happen. Bump confessed he has no idea where the hope came from given Americans have seen Trump slip through accountability time after time after time.
"Everything that exists with any blurriness at the edges gives Trump space to cherry-pick some argument about how he was right," Bump wrote. "The media is held to a standard demanding perfection but Trump is happy to present as true theories cobbled together with twigs and chewing gum."
It's already clear Trump is claiming victory on a slew of issues that he mischaracterized in the News section of his website. He explained that nuance is Trump's ally in that Trump can twist anything to his benefit, requiring the opposition to come back with the nuanced answer that doesn't fit into a carefully crafted t-shirt slogan.
"We can pretty easily predict a Trumpian response to this issue: The fake news media got it wrong again (because the headlines or stories didn't match eventual revelations)!" he assumed. "Even if a document emerged showing Trump's signature underneath an order to, say, investigate the personal lives of his enemies, there would be some rationalization or redirection offered that neutered the issue for his base, like that the paper wasn't the right color or his signature looked like a forgery."
He recalled the time Trump tried to say that the "Access Hollywood" tape wasn't him.
"What could emerge that he couldn't wave away? What could be revealed that can't be retrofit into a criticism of his opponents? Nothing has. It seems safe to say that nothing will be," Bump closed.
Scathing Pennsylvania editorial slams far-right Republicans for pushing 'disgraceful' election 'audit'
When now-President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, his campaign had no problem with legitimate bipartisan recounts in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and other states that he won — and those recounts confirmed his victory. But the partisan, overtly pro-Trump GOP "audits" now being conducted in Arizona and other states are not legitimate recounts, and the editorial board of the York Dispatch in York, Pennsylvania slams State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a far-right Republican, and his allies for pushing for such an "audit" in the Keystone State.
In a scathing editorial published on June 14, the Dispatch's editorial board writes, "It will come as small surprise to anyone following the 2020 elections and their sorry aftermath that one of the ringleaders is State Sen. Doug Mastriano. The freshman Republican from Franklin County has worked tirelessly this past year to disenfranchise his own constituents in service to disgraced, disgraceful former President Donald Trump."
The Dispatch's editorial board continues, "It was Mastriano, recall, who orchestrated a post-election Gettysburg panel last November to trumpet unfounded allegations of voter fraud from Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others; who called for Pennsylvania's legislature to overturn Trump's loss in the state; who plotted with Trump more than a dozen times in the weeks after the president's overwhelming electoral defeat; who was in the nation's capital on January 6 along with thousands of other Trump-obsessed insurgents; and who has backed a variety of politically motivated, unnecessary voting restrictions."
The editorial notes that on June 6, the Washington Post's Rosalind S. Helderman reported that in late December, Republicans in Pennsylvania's state legislature were pushing for an unofficial "audit" of the state's election results not unlike the ludicrous Cyber Ninjas "audit" presently being conducted in Maricopa County, Arizona. The Pennsylvania election results were the subject of official bipartisan recounts, which Biden's campaign had no problem with. But what Trumpistas and far-right conspiracy theorists like Mastriano have been pushing for in Pennsylvania isn't legitimate recounts, but fishing expeditions.
The Dispatch's editorial board notes, "In the months following last fall's election, Mastriano was among a group of Pennsylvania Republicans who, the Post writes, 'targeted at least three small counties, all of which Trump had won handily. Their proposal was unorthodox: to have a private company scrutinize the county's ballots, for free — a move outside the official processes used for election challenges'…. So, a private firm given access to state and federally certified elections machines finds alleged 'issues' and uses them to plant suspicion and undermine voter confidence, the better to justify ever-increasing partisan voting restrictions. If that sounds like what's going on in Arizona, that may be less a coincidence than Pennsylvania being something of a dry run."
Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman — who is running for the U.S. Senate seat presently occupied by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — have both been critical of Mastriano's antics, as has Pennsylvania State Republican Seth Grove, a Republican.
"Mastriano is now calling for an Arizona-like audit here, an idea quickly rejected by Gov. Tom Wolf and state Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, who chairs the House's State Government Committee — which oversees elections issues," the Dispatch's editorial board writes. "That opposition is welcome, but not as welcome as the day Mastriano eventually joins the past president he so slavishly emulates as a former office-holder. He has repeatedly shown Pennsylvania's voters he does not value their presence or opinions. Come November 2024, they must return the favor."
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