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DeSantis Unironically Says People Who Attack Wokeness Don’t Know What It Means

The Florida governor slips up in his “anti-woke” quest.

Ron DeSantis
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Ron DeSantis sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper for an exclusive interview. Among other things, the self-proclaimed Anti-Woke Wiz claimed that “people who rail against ‘wokeness’ can’t even define it,” with no hint of self-awareness apparently.

“I think there’s an issue about—like not even—no one really knows what ‘wokeness’ is. I mean, I’ve defined it, but a lot of people who rail against ‘wokeness’ can’t even define it,” DeSantis said. “And so I think it’s a sense of: You know, this is not something that’s holding true to the core martial values that make the military unique,” he continued.

“And I can tell you, the veterans—you don’t have to look far and wide—go to a VFW hall, go to an American Legion, uh, there’s huge amount of concern about the direction the military is going with all this.”

DeSantis made the comments while describing his plan to target diversity initiatives within the military. Tapper had pointed out that of all the concerns listed in a survey of military recruits, discrimination against women and ethnic minorities was number two; “wokeness” was number nine.

The Florida governor also made the comments while complaining about recruitment being at an all-time low since the “Vietnam conflict” and end of the draft, seeming to miss that perhaps “conflicts” like America’s fool-hearted Vietnam incursion are part of the reason people don’t want to join the military.

Democrats Still Don’t Have a Plan to Avoid a Voting Rights Filibuster

Congressional Democrats reintroduced the Freedom to Vote Act, which failed to pass last year.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

Congressional Democrats on Tuesday resumed their quest to pass new voting rights legislation, reintroducing the Freedom to Vote Act. Senate Democrats attempted to eliminate the filibuster last year in order to pass the measure, an effort that was stymied by Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who has since registered as an independent.

The Freedom to Vote Act includes provisions to implement automatic and same-day voter registration, ensure early voting, and establish Election Day as a national holiday. It would also require states to conduct postelection audits for federal elections, provide guidelines for redistricting to avert gerrymandering, and require additional disclosures for certain campaign-related fundraising and spending. Democrats first introduced the bill in late 2021.

Despite the unlikeliness of its passage, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would designate the bill S. 1, identifying it as a priority for the Senate Democratic majority. “Make no mistake: Democrats are going to keep fighting,” Schumer said. “We have to be ready to pass this legislation right out of the gate, at the soonest possible opportunity.”

Schumer added that Democrats were aware of the “serious challenge” they’re facing regarding passing the measure, alluding to the difficulty of getting sufficient Republican support to pass it in either chamber of Congress. Representative John Sarbanes, a House co-sponsor of the bill, called the effort to pass it a “relay race.”

Manchin was a co-sponsor of the original Freedom to Vote Act and led the unsuccessful effort to convince enough Republicans to sign onto the bill to avoid a filibuster, and is co-sponsoring the bill again this Congress.*

The bill’s reintroduction comes as House Republicans consider their own election-related legislation, the American Confidence in Elections Act, which would encourage states to adopt voter ID laws, overhaul the elections system in Washington, D.C., and restrict federal funding for states that allow noncitizens to vote. That bill is as unlikely to pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate as the Freedom to Vote Act is to pass in the Republican-controlled House.

Democratic Representative Terri Sewell also said on Tuesday that she planned to reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, named for the late congressman and civil rights icon, which would restore provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.

* This post originally misstated Manchin’s role in the bill.

Well, Well, Well: Looks Like We Have Enough Votes to Censure George Santos

The New York congressman known for his serial lies is on thin ice.

George Santos
Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg/Getty Images
George Santos arrives at federal court in New York on June 30.

It appears Democrats will have the votes to censure George Santos, after six Republicans confirmed Tuesday that they would move to formally rebuke the congressman known for his serial lies.

New York Democrat Ritchie Torres introduced a resolution on Monday to censure Santos. The resolution is privileged, meaning that when Torres calls for a vote, a vote has to be held within 48 hours. Santos is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

New York Representatives Nick Lalota, Marc Molinaro, Anthony D’Esposito, Nick Langworthy, and Mike Lawler, as well as Ohio Representative Max Miller, told Politico they will support the resolution. All six of them are among a surprisingly lengthy list of Republicans who have already called on Santos to resign.

“I was the first to call for his resignation. I’ve said on the floor that he is a stain to our institution and I’d vote to censure,” D’Esposito told Politico.

If these six lawmakers and all the Democrats unite to back the resolution, they will have exactly enough votes needed to pass the measure.

This is the second time Democrats have introduced a privileged resolution on Santos over his many, many lies, moving in May to expel him from Congress. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy managed to convince Republicans to refer the resolution to the Ethics Committee as part of its investigation into Santos.

The new resolution lists more than a dozen of Santos’s many lies, such as his fabricating the bulk of his professional and educational résumé—including that he received a volleyball scholarship for college. The resolution also calls out Santos’s lies that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, his mother died in the 9/11 attack, and four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. He also lied about founding an animal rescue charity and producing the disastrous Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Santos has been federally charged with 13 counts of various types of financial fraud, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He also agreed to a deal with Brazilian authorities investigating him for financial fraud, so that he could avoid prosecution.

James Comer’s New Critic: Giuliani Bud Says He Should Drop Hunter Biden Probe

Lev Parnas is warning House Republicans that their attempt to find dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine is fruitless.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Lev Parnas

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, has warned Representative James Comer that his ceaseless investigation into the Biden family’s alleged corruption has “simply no merit.”

Parnas helped Giuliani get in touch with Ukrainian officials during the latter’s efforts to find incriminating evidence on President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas later testified in the congressional investigation into Trump’s involvement. And now, he’s offering to testify under oath that there’s no point to the Republican smears.

“There is no evidence of Joe or Hunter Biden interfering with Ukrainian politics, and there never has been,” Parnas said in a letter sent to Comer late Monday night. “Statements suggesting otherwise have been debunked again and again.”

Parnas explained that he was present for the entirety of Giuliani’s investigation, often acting as an interpreter or go-between for Giuliani, members of Ukraine’s government, and officials at Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden served on the board from 2014 to 2019.

“Throughout all these months of work, the extensive campaigns and networking done by Trump  allies and Giuliani associates, including the enormously thorough interviews and assignments that I undertook, there has never been any evidence that Hunter or Joe Biden committed any crimes related to Ukrainian politics,” Parnas said in the letter, which was obtained by The New Republic.

“Never, during any of my communications with Ukrainian officials or connections to Burisma, did any of them confirm or provide concrete facts linking the Bidens to illegal activities. In fact, they asked me multiple times why our team was so concerned with this idea. The truth is that everyone, from Giuliani and the BLT Team to Devin Nunes and his colleagues, to the people at FOX News, knew that these allegations against the Bidens were false.” 

“There has never been any factual evidence, only conspiracy theories spread by people who knew exactly what they were doing,” Parnas warned. “With all due respect, Chairman Comer, the narrative you are seeking for this investigation has been proven false many times over, by a wide array of respected sources. There is simply no merit to investigating this matter any further.”

According to Parnas, Giuliani was hell-bent on finding dirt on the Bidens, continuously demanding more information on what Parnas described as “conspiracy theories.” None of the people they interviewed from Ukraine could produce any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the Biden family.

But Giuliani kept pressing and even tried to get Ukrainian officials to agree to business transactions—such as paying Giuliani a legal retainer—to cement their agreements, Parnas said in his letter.

“These are flagrant examples of Giuliani interfering in Ukrainian politics,” Parnas wrote. “Ironically, the very thing he was desperate to prove that the Bidens were doing in Ukraine—and for which he could find no evidence at all—was what he was guilty of.”

Comer, who chairs the powerful House Oversight Committee, has for months led the charge on investigating the Bidens for corruption. So far, his investigation has produced no concrete evidence, and one of his key informants was just charged by the Department of Justice for spying on behalf of China.

Despite initially saying they would “listen to anyone” with information on the Bidens, Comer said Tuesday, just after news of Parnas’s letter began to break, that the Oversight Committee would “probably not” call on the Ukrainian-born businessman to testify. He argued that if Democrats considered any information from Giuliani to be tainted, then Parnas would likewise be a “tainted witness.”

Another Stupid Flip-Flop from Sinking Ship DeSantis

Team DeSantis is going after Team Trump for lying about how much DeSantis defended him after reports of a potential third indictment.

Ron DeSantis
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ron DeSantis has been plagued by many issues since announcing his campaign for president: everything from the fact that no one seems to like him to the fact that he’s running as a junior varsity fascist, a bench player trying to compete against the real deal. And he can’t seem to free himself from that second issue.

Now—as twice-impeached, twice-indicted, and liable for sexual abuse and defamation former President Donald Trump faces a possible third indictment for his role in the January 6 riots and efforts to overturn the 2020 election—DeSantis is tying himself into pretzels.

On Tuesday, the Florida governor said Trump “should have come out more forcefully” amid the January 6 attack. He did not go further and say anything like Trump should be held criminally liable for inciting the terrorist attack or for attempting to overthrow democracy.

Afterward, a number of Trump surrogates descended upon the extremely bare moment, attacking DeSantis for even suggesting Trump could’ve done things a little differently.

“Ron DeSantis just said that Trump should’ve come out more ‘forcefully’ against ‘what was going on’ on Jan 6!” tweeted Trump-aligned political strategist Alex Bruesewitz. “DeSantis is morphing into Adam Kinzinger! Showing his true colors!”

The tweet came amid scores of other similar tweets from Trump allies and influencers.

And the DeSantis campaign, as per usual, panicked in a frenzy. The infamous DeSantis War Room (which posted that insane and viciously homophobic manosphere ad) tweeted a 638-character tweet clarifying that DeSantis wasn’t actually going after Trump that hard. It tweeted a 1,071-character follow-up tweet showing that DeSantis threw out all the hits: the weaponization of government, Hunter Biden, the FBI and Justice Department … and so, really, DeSantis is on Trump’s side!! We pwomise!

To distill it for you: DeSantis is criticizing Trump. But also criticizing people criticizing Trump. And criticizing Trump’s campaign for not giving him enough credit for not criticizing Trump. Got it?

“Little Bitch”: Republicans Melt Down as Trump Faces Third Indictment

Republicans are tripping over themselves to defend Trump before even seeing the allegations against him—again.

Donald Trump
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Donald Trump might be charged with crimes again, and Republicans, again, are coming out to defend him before even seeing the details of what he might be charged with.

On Sunday, the twice-impeached, twice-indicted, and liable for sexual abuse and defamation former president received a letter from the Justice Department, notifying him he was a subject of their investigation into the January 6 riots and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Naturally he would be a subject, given that these were all events Trump was central to.

And Republicans are melting down, furious at the idea of holding someone accountable for inciting a riot on the nation’s Capitol and attempting to subvert the Constitution and overthrow democracy.

“Well, I guess under a Biden administration, Biden America, you’d expect this. If you noticed recently, President Trump went up in the polls and was actually surpassing President Biden for reelection,” Kevin McCarthy said, arguing that the government is only going after Trump because he is polling well. (Trump has a net negative 16 point unfavorability, according to 538’s latest averages.)

In January 2021, McCarthy said the attack on the Capitol “was undemocratic, un-American, and criminal,” and that “the president bears responsibility.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene outright called Justice Department investigator Jack Smith “a weak little bitch.” Remember: class, “civility.”

“Every time they indict him, his numbers go up,” famously do-nothing Representative Tim Burchett said, echoing McCarthy’s sentiments.

“Donald Trump’s the leader of our party,” Representative Troy Nehls started. “And Donald Trump is going to beat Joe Biden, in 2024, for a second time,” he continued, implying that Trump also won in 2020 (and thus perpetuating the lies that helped lead to the riot Trump is now potentially facing criminal charges for).

Former “moderate” Elise Stefanik—who grew to become a leader in defending Trump, from impeachment to election denialism—tweeted, in usual Trump-lackey fashion, “WITCH HUNT!” with the hashtag #StandWithTrump.

How sad, to center your whole life around being the loudest pawn for a player who would throw you to the side in an instant.

Somehow, Republicans—some of whom indeed condemned Trump for his role in the chaos—can’t fathom this basic logic: that Trump might face consequences for his actions.

So much for personal responsibility.

Kevin McCarthy’s Explanation for Trump’s Third Indictment? He’s So Popular!

The House speaker is bending over backward to try to defend Trump as he faces yet another criminal indictment.

Kevin McCarthy
Alex Wong/Getty Images

According to Kevin McCarthy, the only reason Donald Trump faces criminal consequences is because he polls so well.

McCarthy’s suggestion comes while the twice-impeached, twice-indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former president is now facing a possible third indictment for helping incite a riot on the nation’s Capitol.

Trump announced on Tuesday that he has been notified that he is a target in the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, a sign that he may be charged soon.

This could prove to be a moment of conservatives turning more forcefully against the man who led the party to defeat in 2020, helped it fizzle away high expectations in 2022 and lose special election after special election. But not for McCarthy.

The House speaker wasted no time falling on the sword for the loser and serial criminal.

“Well, I guess under a Biden administration, Biden America, you’d expect this. If you noticed recently, President Trump went up in the polls and was actually surpassing President Biden for reelection,” McCarthy said. “So what do they do now? Weaponize government to go after their number one opponent. It’s time and time again. I think the American public is tired of this. They want to have, see equal justice and the idea that they utilize this to go after those who politically disagree with him is wrong.”

The American public is tired of something, but it might have more to do with Trump’s crimes—and Republicans’ mealy-mouthed defenses of them—and less about Trump actually being held accountable.

It’s not as if McCarthy has no idea what stance he could take instead. In January 2021, for instance, McCarthy sang a different tune, saying the attack on the Capitol “was undemocratic, un-American, and criminal” and that “the president bears responsibility.”

DeSantis Screams at Someone With Pride Flag to Stop “Indoctrinating” Kids

Ron DeSantis is easily triggered.

Ron DeSantis
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Ron DeSantis

Someone held up a Pride flag at a DeSantis campaign event—and promptly triggered the Republican presidential candidate into an unhinged rant about indoctrination.

One of the main planks in Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign platform is his battle against “wokeness,” particularly anything that has to do with the LGBTQ community. DeSantis regularly spouts the popular right-wing smear that LGBTQ people are pedophiles, and he often points to the extreme laws he signed in Florida curbing human rights.

During an event in Tega Cay, South Carolina, on Monday night, DeSantis drilled down on this point. He accused President Joe Biden of ignoring his seventh grandchild but taking too much interest in Republicans’ children.

While DeSantis was speaking, a protester stood up and held up a rainbow Pride flag. Event security quickly descended on the protester and began escorting them out.

“They shouldn’t be worrying about our children, either,” DeSantis shouted after the protester. “We don’t want you indoctrinating our children! Leave our kids alone!”

DeSantis has been struggling since he launched his campaign. Current support for him sits at about 20 percent, far behind front-runner Donald Trump. The Florida governor seems to think that doubling down on anti-wokeness is the key to winning.

But instead of helping his case, it just serves to make him look even more glitchy and out of touch.

It Never Ends: Trump Took Precious Israeli Antiquities to Mar-a-Lago

Israel has been struggling to get back the antiquities after they were lent to the U.S. during the Trump administration.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago bathrooms and ballrooms were not just filled with top secret government documents. He apparently has also been hoarding temporarily loaned Israeli antiquities there for four years.

Haaretz reports that Israel lent the Trump White House antiquities, including ancient ceramic lamps from its national treasures collection, for a Hanukkah candle-lighting event in 2019. Israel Hasson, the then-director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, approved the loan of the antiquities so long as they were returned within weeks.

Hasson told Haaretz that “we wanted our man to go and bring it back, but then Covid broke out, and everything got stuck.” So Hasson’s agency had asked Saul Fox, a major Jewish-American donor to the Antiquities Authority, to keep the items in tow until they could be brought back to Israel. But, Haaretz reports, Israeli authorities discovered several months ago that the antiquites instead ended up at Mar-a-Lago, “where they still remain.”

Eli Eskozido, the new Antiquities Authority head, has asked the Israeli government and Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to Israel to coordinate a return of the antiquities, but to no avail. One source told Haaretz that he wouldn’t be surprised if “the items Israel seeks are also eventually found in some bathroom.”

Republicans have bent over backward to show their inextinguishable support for Israel, but it’s unclear whether they will question why Trump has been harboring Israeli antiquities. After all, they had barely any criticism for his stealing of U.S. national security documents.

Jesse Watters’s Democratic Mom Warns Him on Air to Stop Spreading Conspiracies

His mom phoned in to his Fox News prime-time debut.

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Jesse Watters

Fox News host Jesse Watters made his 8 p.m. debut, and his first show featured a very special guest: his mom.

Mrs. Watters is a Democrat, and she called in to the show Monday night to give her son some advice on how to avoid a lawsuit. She had some pretty good advice, but it’s unlikely Watters—who has a long history of racism, sexism, conspiracy theory peddling, and general grossness—will listen.

“Do not tumble into any conspiracy rabbit holes. We do not want to lose you, and we want no lawsuits,” Watters’s mom said. “In keeping with the Hippocratic oath, do no harm.”

“Use your voice responsibly to promote conversation that maintains a narrative thread. There really has been enough Biden-bashing, and the laptop is old,” she added, referring to Republicans’ fruitless investigation into the Biden family.

“Perhaps you could suggest that your people take less interest, for example, in other people’s bodies, and talk about that,” she continued.

“We’re trying to keep other people’s interest away from children’s bodies!” Watters protested, bringing up a favorite right-wing smear that all LGBTQ people are pedophiles.

His mom didn’t push back, but went on with her list of advice. “I want you to seek solutions, versus fanning the flames,” she said. “You could encourage that Bedminster friend of yours to return to his earlier career on television. Everyone in his audience could wear a red hat. And I’m sure the ratings would soar.”

Let’s hope that not just Watters, but all of Fox News, starts listening to his mom.