Minnesota GOP frets they may nominate 'the one Republican that can lose' key congressional seat: report

Not all of the major Republican primary races were decided Tuesday night. Next week, GOP voters in a southern Minnesota Congressional district will decide whom to put forward to run for the seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Jim Hagedorn.

According to a report by The Daily Beast, Minnesota Republicans are concerned that Hagedorn's widow, Jennifer Carnahan, could become their candidate.

Jim Hagedorn was diagnosed with kidney cancer in February 2019, shortly after beginning his first term representing the state's first Congressional district, and died in February 2022.

Two weeks after her husband's death, Jennifer Carnahan announced her candidacy to take over his seat, writing on Facebook, “It was Jim’s wish that I carry his legacy forward. And I promised him I would not let him or southern Minnesota down.”

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"If this were said by someone else - maybe anybody else - it might have been received as an inspirational rallying cry," according to The Daily Beast. "But many of those who actually know Carnahan, beneath the public image, don’t want to see her get anywhere near the position of power her husband left behind."

Carnahan is a polarizing figure in Minnesota GOP politics. Her campaign materials are rife with images of former President Donald Trump, although she does not have his endorsement. Her claim that Jim Hagedorn wanted her to succeed him is far from widely accepted.

Gary Steuart, a local businessman and GOP activist, was a key backer of Hagedorn’s campaigns as well as a personal friend. He says of Hagedorn, “I never heard of him supporting anybody for this seat. When he first got sick [in 2019], he told me within a few weeks of his diagnosis—he said, ‘maybe this would give an opening to a young guy in the district.’”

If Carnahan wins the May 24 primary, some worry her checkered record in the state's Republican Party could put the seat at risk for the GOP.

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"Last summer, after Carnahan’s friend and GOP activist Anton Lazzaro was charged with child sex trafficking, four former executive directors of the party posted a remarkable open letter. They accused Carnahan, among other things, of covering up sexual harassment in the party ranks and ruling 'by grudges, retaliation and intimidation.' Later, a former staffer accused Carnahan of outing her as queer," according to The Daily Beast report.

“If she is the candidate there, every story is going to be, ‘Jennifer Carnahan—by the way, Tony Lazzaro,’” said one Minnesota GOP insider, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. “That’s not good for us. I truly think she’s the one Republican that could lose the seat.”

Watch: Russian military analyst delivers bleak assessment of his country's war efforts on state TV

It's extremely rare for a Russian military expert to criticize the performance of the country's armed forces.

But according to Mikhail Khodaryonok, a defense analyst, his country's war in Ukraine isn't going according to President Vladimir Putin's plan -- and likely is failing.

The BBC's Francis Scarr, who regularly monitors Russian state TV, posted a subtitled video clip on Twitter in which Khodaryonok offered his bleak assessment of the war effort in Ukraine.

"First of all, we shouldn't take information tranquilizers," he said, "because sometimes information is spread about some morale and psychological breakdown in the Ukrainian armed forces, which are allegedly on the verge of some kind of crisis of morale and so on. All of that, to put it mildly, is false."

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Khodaryonok noted that the United States shipments of advanced military weapons to Ukraine is being effective in helping the country defend itself against the Russian onslaught, "despite the resistance of a single senator." Kentucky Republican Rand Paul last week blocked Senate consideration of a new U.S. aid package to Ukraine.

"A million armed Ukrainian soldiers needs to be viewed as a reality of the very near future," Khodaryonok said. "and we need to take that into account in our operational and strategic calculations, that the situation in this regard for us frankly will get worse."

Watch the defense analyst's entire take on the Russian war effort below or at this link.

Buffalo killer's worldview has become 'increasingly central to the identity of the Republican Party': NYT editorial

The twisted view of the world that spurred the 18-year-old gunman to seek out and murder Black people in a Buffalo supermarket increasingly is at the core of the Republican party's identity, argued a scathing New York Times editorial on Tuesday.

The New York Times editorial board is calling out GOP politicians, especially those in leadership positions, for amplifying the false white supremacist conspiracy theory that there is an orchestrated effort is underway to displace white Americans.

The newspaper points out that a recently published poll revealed that almost half of all Republicans believe there is a concerted effort by a group of powerful people in this country who are trying to permanently alter the culture and voting strength of native-born Americans by bringing in large groups of immigrants.

Just like Payton Gendron, those who committed mass killings in recent years in El Paso, TX, Charleston, SC, Pittsburgh and elsewhere all shared the same racist worldview, the newspaper notes.

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"American life is punctuated by mass shootings that are routinely described as idiosyncratic," the editors write. "But these attacks are not random acts; they are part of the long American history of political violence perpetrated by white supremacists against Black people and other minority groups. Politicians who have employed some of the vocabulary of replacement theory generally do not make explicit calls for violence. The office of one of those politicians, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, said in a statement that the Buffalo attack was an 'act of evil' and that she 'has never advocated for any racist position.'"

But as the Times points out, in September, Stefanik’s re-election campaign "paid for a Facebook ad that combined imagery of immigrants with the accusation that 'Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION.' Ms. Stefanik’s ad continued, 'Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.'”

The Times editorial underscores what Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was kicked out of a GOP leadership role after denouncing former President Donald Trump and the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, tweeted on Monday: "The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them."

The Capitol riots ended Trump's dream of hosting this week's PGA Championship at his Bedminster golf course: report

The second major professional golf tournament of the year, the PGA Championship, takes place this week at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, OK. It wasn't supposed to be that way.

Former President Donald Trump's Bedminster, NJ golf club originally was slated to be the venue - that is until the sport's governing organization decided it didn't want to be associated with someone who incited a riot at the U.S. Capitol in an effort to illegitimately retain the presidency.

It took only four days after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection for the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) to decide it would not stage its 2022 signature tournament at the Trump course, even though it had not secured an alternate location.

According to a Golf Digest report, on the day that legendary players Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player were in the East Room of the White House for a ceremony, the leadership of the PGA met to consider how they should respond to "various constituencies, including advertisers, paying fans, TV viewers, broadcast partners, corporate sponsors — and the 29,000 men and women of the PGA of America.

"By Friday afternoon, they had made a decision. The 2022 PGA would not be played at Trump Bedminster. They didn’t know where it would be played, but it would not be there."

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Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, said in a telephone interview with Politico at the time, “We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. And how do we best protect that? Our feeling was given the tragic events of Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster. The damage could have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave.

“My feeling was we could do existential damage to our brand by staying at Bedminster. If we stayed, the 2022 PGA would be about its ownership. People would think we were making a statement by staying there. I felt like we could do permanent damage to the brand if we stayed. As did the board.”

On the evening of Sunday, Jan. 10, the PGA of America put out a one-sentence statement above the name of its president, Jim Richerson, the general manager of Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles: “The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster.”

Trump's Turnberry, Scotland, course also was kicked out of the rotation to host any future British Open championships as a direct result of his actions leading up to and occurring on Jan. 6.

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Trump has given himself 'a massive out' to walk back his pledge to stay off Twitter: securities filing

Former President Donald Trump loudly and proudly proclaimed that he would never return to Twitter after permanently being kicked off the social media platform for violating its policies.

And he's made a big show of trying to launch a competing messaging service called Truth Social, which he claims "encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology."

But in a securities filing, Axios reports, Trump appears to have given himself "a massive out" for a return to Twitter if Elon Musk agrees to reinstate him if the billionaire's acquisition of the social media behemoth is completed.

The caveat is that he will have to post on Truth Social first and must delay posting any similar or identical message on Twitter.

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In a securities filing made by the special-purpose acquisition company that is working to take Truth Social public, it states: "President Trump is generally obligated to make any social media post on TruthSocial and may not make the same post on another social media site for 6 hours. Thereafter, he is free to post on any site to which he has access. Thus, TMTG has limited time to benefit from his posts and followers may not find it compelling to use TruthSocial to read his posts that quickly.

"In addition, he may make a post from a personal account related to political messaging, political fundraising or get-out-the-vote efforts on any social media site at any time."

Many political observers were skeptical of the former president's vow never to go back to Twitter, even after he announced the launch of Truth Social. His new network has struggled to gain traction and, in fact, Trump himself has only posted on the platform infrequently.

Elise Stefanik lashes out at media for reporting she has promoted 'Great Replacement' talking points

New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik issued a statement Monday attacking the media for its reporting that she has promoted the "great replacement" theory. The number three House Republican was attempting to escape criticism of her support of the philosophy that prompted an 18-year-old white supremacist to murder Black shoppers on Sunday at a Buffalo supermarket.

In her tweet, headlined "Disgraceful, Dishonest and Dangerous Media Smears," she included a declaration from senior adviser Alex DeGrasse that "Stefanik has never advocated for any racist position or made a racist statement" and labeled the media that reported her previous statements as "groveling hacks."

In the fall of 2021, Stefanik began campaign ads on Facebook claiming that the Democrats were going to use amnesty for illegal immigrants to "overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.'"

"Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION,” says one version of the ad. “Their [sic] plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate."

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Online Twitter followers of the New York congresswoman have been quick to call her out on the attempted walk-back.

"In case anyone thought @RepStefanik wasn't intentional about employing this rhetoric, here she is today on the House floor reading from prepared remarks invoking the white nationalist conspiracy theory about an 'invasion,'" tweeted one follower.

Stefanik's attempt to distance herself from her previous comments was shot down by none other than Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who wrote: "The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy and anti-semitism."

Here are the high-profile mass shootings inspired by far-right 'Great Replacement' rhetoric: CNN

The Buffalo mass shooting in which Black people specifically were targeted is just the latest example of racist-inspired hate crimes that plague the United States.

As reported by CNN on Monday, a study from the Anti-Defamation League revealed that white supremacists were responsible for more murders than any other political extremists last year, and they account for 55 percent of extremist murders in the past 10 years.

CNN anchor Laura Jarrett recounted a partial list of those horrific incidents.

"In August of 2019 a man walked into a Walmart in El Paso, TX armed with a semi-automatic rifle and killed 23 people, wounding 24 others, the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern U.S. history," she said, noting, "Court papers show that he told police he was targeting, quote, Mexicans." Law enforcement officials believe that suspect also was the person who "wrote a racist manifesto saying he wanted to, quote, stop a Hispanic invasion of Texas."

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The partial list of attacks inspired by far-right racist rhetoric also includes:

  • A 2019 shooting at a San Diego synagogue that killed one and wounded three
  • The 2018 massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue in which 11 people were murdered and six wounded, the deadliest attack ever on Jews in the United States.
  • In 2015 nine black worshippers were killed during a bible study at a church in North Carolina.

Watch the video below or at this link.

'Great Replacement' shooters listedwww.youtube.com

Florida woman held after forcing daughters to drink bleach to cure 'voodoo spell'

A Florida mother of two told police that a "voodoo spell" compelled her to make her three-year-old and eight-year-old daughters drink bleach.

The woman, Joanne Zephir, 36, of Poinciana, admitted she made her children drink bleach and said she then planned to kill herself, according to a Newsweek report.

Zephir was found passed out in the driver's seat of a car outside of the Poinciana Pentecostal Church on May 8. The three-year-old was found unresponsive in the back seat and later was determined to have been strangled. The older sibling was found out on a road near the church. She now is in the custody of other family members.

Zephir was taken into custody by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office on an outstanding arrest warrant in Orange County for attempted murder and aggravated battery.

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Newsweek says that Zephir allegedly blamed a voodoo spell for forcing her children to drink bleach, which likely contributed to the death of her 3-year-old daughter and injuring her 8-year-old. She is said to have admitted guilt to the alleged crime in Orange County to a relative.

Osceola County Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez said she had told them "the 8-year-old was also going to die, and then she would kill herself. When questioned, Zephir is said to have told officers she forced her children to drink bleach before choking the younger girl." According to Lopez: "The reason for doing this to her children was because the victim in Orange County must have put a voodoo spell on her, making her harm her children."

The woman currently is being held in the Osceola County jail.

'Sad state of affairs': Major Pennsylvania newspaper says it can't endorse any GOP candidates this year

The Philadelphia Inquirer, perhaps the most influential and well-respected newspaper in Pennsylvania, says that after an in-depth look at Republican primary candidates for statewide office, it cannot endorse any one of them.

The newspaper's editorial board wrote on Friday, "With Pennsylvania voters headed to the polls Tuesday to choose the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, it’s as if the primaries are occurring on two different planets."

As evidence, the Inquirer cited responses to questionnaires it sent to GOP candidates asking the simple question "who won the 2020 presidential election?"

"Only one candidate — Jeff Bartos — agreed to acknowledge reality," it reports.

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The blistering editorial continued: "If one of these Republicans wins the general election, they will represent Pennsylvania at the next State of the Union address. We guarantee that it will not be Donald Trump who walks into the U.S. Capitol to deliver the speech. The 2020 election is over. A candidate won, he lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and his name is Joe Biden."

The editors then questioned how it was possible to support the election of any candidate who would not acknowledge this basic fact.

"How do you find points of agreement when you can’t reach common ground on facts so basic that they could be used in a field sobriety test?" they asked.

In deciding against supporting any GOP candidate, the editorial board also noted the U.S. Supreme Court's apparently impending ruling to strike down Roe v. Wade: "Given the Supreme Court’s apparent plans, the members of the board asked each other if we could bring ourselves to support a candidate who, if given the opportunity, was all but certain to use their pen as governor to ban abortion once the protections of Roe are no longer in place. We could not."

In conclusion the newspaper asks, "How can this nation come to a place where we reach different conclusions and hold different opinions while operating from the same commonly shared set of facts? We don’t have an answer."

The editorial described the predicament as a "sad state of affairs."

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Democrats have sprung a trap for Republicans if they refuse to comply with Jan 6 subpoenaswww.youtube.com

Ukraine neighbor Moldova begs for Western support over fears of Putin's next move

Millions of people have fled Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin began his bloody assault on the neighboring country to the west. It's been well documented that many Ukrainians have fled to nearby Poland and other western European countries.

But just to Ukraine's southwest, the relatively small country of Moldova has taken in more war refugees per capita than any other European country. Moldova is a former Soviet bloc country and is not a member of the European Union.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Nicu Popescu, Moldova’s minister of foreign affairs and European integration, "called on the United States and the EU to pay more attention to Moldova’s struggle, in order to maintain the economy and security of the country. He asked for 'flexible and rapid aid to Ukraine’s most vulnerable neighbor.'”

Since the first bombs rained down on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa in late February, the 2.6 million residents of Moldova have taken in more than 400,000 refugees. Most of them have moved on to other countries, but about 100,000 remain in the country, straining its resources.

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The founder of the Moldovan media outlet Newsmaker, Vladimir Solovyev, told The Daily Beast that Moldova’s problems have been "piling up" rapidly, and that the West should realize that "Moldova practically has no army, its security threats are huge, and there is an economic crisis."

The country is worried that Putin might soon turn his military attention to it.

The country's foreign minister says it is awaiting a decision on its application to become part of the EU, which it submitted earlier this year.

“Our society strongly votes for independence, for democracy, for joining the European Union as soon as possible,” Popescu told The Daily Beast. “The absolute majority of Moldovan citizens, as well as people in Transnistria, want peace. We hear voices from Russia - some ideas of rebuilding the Soviet Union. But the Soviet Union is dead.”

Rick Scott wants to raise taxes on millions of Americans -- and it's 'embarrassingly easy' to prove: CNN fact checker

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the wealthiest lawmaker in the Senate, recently proposed an 11-point plan to "rescue America."

Central to that plan is his proposal that all Americans pay some level of income tax. That would mean U.S. households that currently are not required to pay income tax would have to send something more to the government in addition to the taxes they already pay for Social Security and Medicare, as well as local sales and property taxes.

After he was hit with considerable criticism -- including from within his own party --- Scott attempted to insist that he would never support a tax increase. CNN fact checker Daniel Dale isn't buying it.

"This is almost an embarrassingly easy fact check," Dale said on Friday. "Senator Scott proposed raising taxes and the proof is in his own plan. This is not complicated -- a two-sentence item. l'll read it: all Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax."

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But as Dale pointed out, the approximately 40% of American households -- about 75 million -- pay no federal income tax "for a variety of reasons."

"Some of them are disabled, some of them are retired," Dale explained. "Some of them are working employed people who don't make enough to hit the minimum threshold to even have to file a tax return."

Requiring them to cut a check to the Internal Revenue Service, he argued, would, in fact, be a tax increase.

President Joe Biden has called out Scott for his proposal to raise taxes on Americans least able to afford it. Instead of taxing the poor, Biden proposed instituting a minimum tax on billionaires and corporations, noting that "55% of the largest corporations paid net-zero in federal taxes on $40 million in profits."

Almost immediately after Scott revealed his plan it was shot down by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“If we’re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I’ll be the majority leader. I’ll decide, in consultation with my members, what to put on the floor,” McConnell said. “Let me tell you what will not be a part of our agenda: We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years. That will not be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda."

You can watch the entire Daniel Dale fact check below.

Rick Scott wants to raise taxes on millions of Americans -- and it's 'embarrassingly easy' to provewww.youtube.com

How a 'shadow Trump administration' is hindering Biden's agenda: report

Former President Donald Trump appointed more than 200 judges to the federal bench during his four years in office. Immigration advocates say those judges today are operating like a "shadow Trump administration" as they decide cases in which President Joe Biden has sought to undo some of his predecessor's strictest policies.

As NPR reports, lawyers for Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri went "judge shopping" when they wanted to go to court to challenge the Biden administration plan to lift Trump's Title 42 pandemic border restrictions. Title 42, under the guise of COVID-19 safety, gave the federal government the power to return migrants at the southern border to their home countries without affording them a hearing.

Instead of filing the challenge in a court in a state capital or near the border, they opted to bring their case in the Western District of Louisiana where it will be heard today in oral arguments in front of a Trump-appointed judge.

U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays is scheduled to hear oral arguments today in a courthouse in Lafayette, LA, which is more than 500 miles from the U.S./Mexico border.

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Immigrant advocates say states are deliberately steering cases to federal judges appointed by Trump, where they believe they'll get a sympathetic hearing.

"To date, these states have brought no less than 17 lawsuits challenging President Biden's immigration moves," said Karen Tumlin, the founder of Justice Action Network, on a call this week with reporters. In effect, these states are using the courts to "keep a shadow Trump administration in office on immigration issues," she said.

Trump is becoming a 'motivational speaker' with ticket prices up to $4K each

Former President Donald Trump has found another way to cash in on his presidency, as he is now the headline "motivational speaker" on the "American Freedom Tour (AFT)."

Tickets to attend the political rally-type events range anywhere from $9 to more than $4,000 -- depending on how much face time with Trump and his cohorts you desire, according to an exclusive Axios report.

The least expensive ticket gets viewers admitted to a conference room where they can watch the event on a television. The most expensive ticket gets the buyer a round table and photo op with the former president, prime seating directly in front of the stage and opportunities to hobnob with former Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, former Trump adviser Dinesh D'Souza and Donald Trump, Jr.

The events are privately run, with the next one scheduled for Saturday, May 14, in Austin.

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Trump's appearances essentially are a way for him to remain in his public's eye, promote his his MAGA agenda and get someone else to pay him to do it. AFT was founded by Chris Widener, a veteran of the lucrative motivational speaker industry. He told Axios "most all of our speakers get paid an honorarium for the event," but he declined to disclose Trump's fee.

Widener said, "The American Freedom Tour is not a Republican-aligned event or a Trump-aligned operation."

But, he added, "both President Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are incredible speakers and we are happy to have them on our tour." The tour's message, he says, is "Faith, Family, Finances and Freedom."

Elon Musk puts Twitter deal 'temporarily on hold'

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Friday morning that he has put his $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter "temporarily on hold." The reason, he indicated, is that he's seeking more "details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users."

Musk provided no other details.

However, the announcement from his official account likely will trigger a free-for-all in the tech and financial worlds. Advertisers already have been skittish about continuing to spend on the platform ever since Musk indicated that one of the goals of his purchase is to cleanse Twitter of fake "bot" accounts.

Lauren Boebert trashed by her former employees: ‘Her head blew up’ and she became a ‘monster’

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has regularly touted her past success as a businesswoman in running Shooters, the restaurant that she co-owns with husband Jayson. She is fond of saying that her election to Congress to represent the a big swath of the state's western slope is the culmination of her "American dream."

But according to a new report in Mother Jones, her American dream has been a nightmare for many of the people who worked at her open-carry, MAGA-friendly diner.

Former Shooters employees say that the high school drop-out turned Congresswoman frequently failed to pay her employees on time.

"Multiple employees say that they were paid in cash, either out of the register or from Boebert’s husband’s wallet, without any taxes deducted," according to the report. "While many workers were struggling to make ends meet, they say Boebert spent exorbitant sums on breast implants, private schooling for her sons, and a new Cadillac Escalade. They describe her as alternately absent, showing up only when news crews were at the restaurant.

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"The second the restaurant blew up, her head blew up, and it became something entirely different,” one former waitress says. “And I got to meet a new version of her that is a monster.”

Despite her professions about being all for gun safety, one worker says that the congressional representative once pointed a loaded gun at him after he told her that he would have voted for a third term for former President Barack Obama.

"She thought it was hilarious," the employee said.

Josh Boyington, a former cook at Shooters, says that when Boebert began aggressively promoting the MAGA agenda, "we lost a lot of our customers." He says that her focus turned to social media popularity. "She was running that business into the ground with all her speeches on Facebook Live."

Mother Jones reports that employees believe that Boebert’s husband, who works as a consultant in the oil and gas industry, was keeping the company afloat.

"There were times when we were waiting for him to get his check, so that way she could get us our check," one former employee says. According to Boyington, "He’s the one who paid the rent, all the bills, everything.

"Shooters don’t make no money," according to Boyington, who left the restaurant in 2017. "I left because I don’t even think we were topping $500 a day."

According to Boebert’s congressional disclosures, Shooters lost $143,000 in 2019 and $226,000 in 2020.

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White Nationalist 'groyper' movement is building coalition with far right Catholicswww.youtube.com