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Alina Habba Bizarrely Ditches Her Own Bizarre Attempt to Toss Carroll Trial

Only the very best legal team for Donald Trump

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Donald Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba on Tuesday suddenly backed off her own claim that the presiding judge in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial had a conflict of interest, less than a day after she made the initial court filing.

Habba filed a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan on Monday accusing him of failing to disclose the fact that he had worked at the same law firm as Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan (no relation) in the 1990s. Habba said she believed the judge had shown “preferential treatment” to Carroll’s team and would seek to have both verdicts overturned.

As Ms. Habba well knows, these allegations are utterly baseless,” Roberta Kaplan said in a letter of her own, submitted Tuesday.

Roberta Kaplan explained in her letter that she and Judge Kaplan had worked at the same New York law firm, but they overlapped for less than two years. What’s more, Roberta Kaplan has no recollection of interacting with the now-judge whatsoever.

She also expressed concerns about the sourcing behind Habba’s accusations and the New York Post article cited in her complaint. The Post article cited one anonymous source, who claims that the Kaplans had a mentor-mentee relationship.

“While both the New York Post and Ms. Habba purport to cite the recollections of an ‘unnamed partner at Paul Weiss’ … that partner (if he even exists) clearly has a very flawed memory about events that occurred three decades ago,” Roberta Kaplan wrote.

Roberta Kaplan accused Trump and Habba of pushing “a false narrative of judicial bias” and explained that while she had wanted to respond quickly to Habba’s allegations, she might still seek sanctions against the other attorney.

Within hours, Habba submitted another letter backtracking on her accusations. “The purpose of the letter was simply to inquire as to whether there is any merit to a recently published New York Post story which reported on the alleged existence of such a relationship,” Habba said.

“Since Ms. Kaplan has now denied that there was ever a mentor-mentee relationship between herself and Your Honor, this issue has seemingly been resolved,” she wrote, although she added in a footnote that there were other issues about Judge Kaplan’s conduct, “including potential bias hostility towards defense counsel,” that she would raise in her appeal of the verdict.

Habba butted heads repeatedly with the judge throughout the trial over her disruptive behavior. Kaplan regularly admonished her for breaking the rules he established before the trial even began.

Mike Johnson Finally Admits Why He’s Killing the Border Deal

Republicans have a shot to address the so-called border crisis they keep railing about—and they’re throwing it all away.

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House Speaker Mike Johnson had a foot-in-mouth moment on Tuesday, absentmindedly admitting to reporters that he has courted Donald Trump’s opinion “at length” on the border deal he wants to kill.

“The former president has made it clear that he doesn’t want you guys to move forward on this, and judging by his comments, he clearly wants to campaign on this issue. Have you spoken to him about the Senate proposal, and are you simply trying to kill this to help him on the campaign?” probed CNN’s Manu Raju.

“No, Manu, that’s absurd,” Johnson retorted before ranting about the federal government’s job to “protect its citizens.”

“We have only a tiny, as you know, a razor-thin—actually, a one-vote majority right now in the House. Our majority is small, we only have it in one chamber, but we’re trying to use every ounce of leverage that we have to make sure that this issue is addressed.”

“I have talked to former President Trump about this issue at length, and he understands that. He understands that we have a responsibility to do here. The president, of course—President Trump wants to secure the country. President Trump is the one that talked about border security before anyone else did. He ran on, as you remember, building the wall. Why? Because he saw this catastrophe coming,” Johnson continued.

Republican officials have become increasingly audacious in giving away the game on the border deal. On Friday, Senator Josh Hawley explicitly tied the GOP’s border security grandstanding to a coordinated effort to hurt President Joe Biden’s reelection chances.

“There is absolutely no reason to agree to policies that would further enable Joe Biden,” Hawley told Fox News.

John Bolton Issues Dire Warning on What Exactly Another Trump Term Would Bring

The former Trump appointee is sounding the alarms about what could happen if Donald Trump returns to the White House.

John Bolton wears a suit and speaks at a mic. The background is black.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser has some chilling warnings about what could happen if the former president is elected back into office.

John Bolton laid out his terrifying predictions in the foreword to a new paperback edition of his book The Room Where It Happened, which comes out Tuesday.

“A mountain of facts demonstrates that Trump is unfit to be President,” Bolton wrote. “If his first four years were bad, a second four will be worse.”

“Trump really cares only about retribution for himself, and it will consume much of a second term.”

Bolton’s biggest concern is that Trump will drill down hard on isolationism. This could include pulling the United States out of NATO, cutting support to Ukraine as it battles the Russian invasion, and emboldening China to invade Taiwan. Trump could also seek to reunite with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un or strike some sort of deal with Iran—no matter how bad—to prove his own negotiating skills.

“It is a close contest between Putin and Xi Jinping, who would be happiest to see Trump back in office,” Bolton said.

Bolton served as Trump’s national security adviser from 2018 to 2019. Since leaving the White House, Bolton has become an outspoken Trump critic, particularly regarding Trump’s indictment for hoarding classified documents.

When the indictment was announced in June, Bolton called the case “devastating” and said it should mark the “end of Donald Trump’s political career.” A few weeks later, Bolton said that any 2024 Republican presidential candidates who say Trump shouldn’t be prosecuted for keeping classified material don’t deserve to be president.

This stance is a surprise from Bolton, an Iraq War architect, radical nationalist, and neocon who seemed all too happy to support Trump while the latter was in office. Trump’s campaign seized on this shift in position.

“For someone who professes to have such great disdain for President Trump, ‘Book Deal Bolton’ sure has found a way to grift off the relationship,” Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller told Axios.

“God Awakened Me”: Republicans Suddenly Want to Oust Ronna McDaniel

The Republican National Committee chair is losing control of her own party.

Ronna McDaniel at the Republican candidate debate hosted by Fox Business. She is on the stage with a mic in hand, wearing a light blue blazer. The candidate podiums with mics are behind her.
Gilbert Flores/Variety/Getty Images

Republicans are losing confidence in their party—and in Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.

Days ahead of an RNC meeting, hundreds of conservatives descended upon Las Vegas for a Turning Point Action event meant to be a “wakeup call” to the Republican Party.

“We are at war,” one man shouted from a microphone at the event, reported Politico. “Where are the tools? Where are all the little things that the left is doing but we don’t?”

Most of the attendees of the Restoring National Confidence summit—which by no coincidence shares the RNC’s initials—put that blame on McDaniel’s shoulders, citing her seeming inability to earn them reelections. Some state party officials bemoaned the poor results in 2023, while others held her responsible for party failures even before Trump got her the job in 2016. Altogether, the Republican activists seemed set on going their own way—taking their chances for reelection on their own merits rather than relying on party strategy.

“My county is going to flip to blue if we can’t get control,” Maria Holiday, chair of the Republican Party in Johnson County, Kansas, told Politico. “And I don’t see any effective strategies coming out of the RNC down to the grassroots, and that’s where the people are going to vote.… We’re on our own.”

Event organizer and Turning Point Action’s founder Charlie Kirk also gave the RNC an earful, calling the upcoming, official party convention a “bunch of losers.”

“They know it. The grassroots knows it. The donors know it,” Kirk said. “They lost in ’18. They lost in ’20. They lost in 2022. We have tried to reach out to them many times, and I’m not going to put up with another culture of losing.”

The alternative event points to larger unrest within the party, as national lawmakers worry that their failure to follow through on campaign promises will doom them this election. In October, the GOP witnessed its House representatives cannibalize their own leader for the first time in U.S. history, ousting former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a coup led by just eight members of the party.

The ensuing madness, seeded, stoked, and fueled by Trump, has amounted to a complete divide in the Republican Party, with some members disavowing the formal platform entirely.

“I used to be the establishment when I first got started in politics,” Fanchon Blythe, the RNC committeewoman from Nebraska, told Steve Bannon’s War Room. “But God awakened me.”

Turning Point spokesman Andrew Kolvet told Breitbart News that the impetus for the alternative event was due to “overwhelming demand” from conservatives who were allegedly turning to Kirk and his co-organizer, Tyler Bowyer, for answers.

“How many hundreds of phone calls does Tyler have to take before he’s like, ‘OK, I guess we have to get the band together? I guess we have to do this thing because everyone’s telling me there’s this huge problem.’ The way we see it is people need this,” Kolvet told the far-right publication.

The RNC is meeting behind closed doors this week, after McDaniel’s plan to make Trump the party’s presumptive nominee crumbled due to Republican outrage, reported the Associated Press. Even Trump declared it was too soon to rule Nikki Haley out.

“While they have far more votes than necessary to do it, I feel, for the sake of PARTY UNITY, that they should NOT go forward with this plan,” Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social.

Alina Habba Makes Last-Ditch, Pathetic Attempt to Overturn E. Jean Carroll Trial

Donald Trump’s lawyer is pulling out all the stops to try to throw out the damning $83.3 million verdict.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba stands outside at nighttime before several press mics. She points her right index finger to emphasize what she is saying. She appears to be wearing a black fur coat.
GWR/Star Max/GC Images

Donald Trump’s lawyer has made another desperate bid to throw out E. Jean Carroll’s case against the former president, but legal experts say Alina Habba’s request is doomed to fail.

A jury ruled last week that Trump owes Carroll $83.3 million for defaming her in 2019 after she revealed he sexually abused her in the mid-1990s. But Habba argued in a Monday court filing that the ruling should be thrown out.

In the document, Habba cited a New York Post article that reported Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan had worked at the same firm as Judge Lewis Kaplan (no relation), who presided over both of Carroll’s trials against Trump, in the 1990s. The Post article stated the now judge had been like Kaplan’s mentor.

“The underlying defamation case tried last year, and the damages trial completed last week, were both litigations in which there were many clashes between Your Honor and defense counsel,” Habba said in her letter. “We believe, and will argue on appeal, that the Court was overtly hostile towards defense counsel and President Trump, and displayed preferential treatment towards Plaintiff’s counsel.”

Habba also said that Carroll’s other lawyer, Shawn Crowley, had served as Judge Kaplan’s law clerk, and the judge allegedly co-officiated Crowley’s wedding.

Multiple legal experts brushed off Habba’s attempt to overturn the Carroll verdict. “This is a bogus motion by the Trump team. There’s nothing here,” CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said Monday night. “Every judge in that courthouse knows, socializes with, has worked with, sometimes maybe mentored, dozens, hundreds of attorneys in this city.”

“I used to practice in that courthouse in front of judges who used to be my colleagues, my supervisors,” Honig continued, citing his career as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. “If anything, they were tougher on me as a result of it. That is not enough for a conflict of interest.”

Attorney Andrew Fleischman noted on X (formerly Twitter) that it could be argued that the judge would have had a conflict of interest if Carroll had sued Trump in 1992, “and then the lawsuit languished for 32 years, and one of the original lawyers who filed that suit was still with the firm.” But Carroll didn’t bring her first lawsuit until 2019.

Former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance pointed out that Habba has previously tried to leverage tenuous professional relationships. Habba appeared to suggest in early January that the three Supreme Court justices that Trump appointed owe him allegiance.

This isn’t the first time Trump has tried to get Carroll’s cases against him thrown out, or at least delayed. Trump unsuccessfully claimed that he was protected against the legal proceedings by presidential immunity. In June, Trump ally James H. Brady argued Carroll’s 2019 defamation suit should be thrown out because the former president was being unfairly treated because he is a “white Christian.”

Trump has also demanded a do-over of the first trial, which took place in May. The jury unanimously found Trump liable of sexual abuse and battery against Carroll and of defaming her in 2022. The jury recommended Carroll be awarded $5 million in damages.

Trump claimed that the damages should be reduced, and the second lawsuit thrown out altogether, because he only sexually abused Carroll instead of raping her. So Judge Kaplan clarified the situation, stating that the jury found that the former president did indeed “rape” Carroll based on the common definition of the word.

New York penal law has a “far narrower” definition of the word “rape” than “common modern parlance,” Kaplan said.

“The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was ‘raped’ within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape.’”

E. Jean Carroll Gives Unbelievably Amazing Description of Trump in Court

Writer E. Jean Carroll shared her experience of being in the same courtroom as Donald Trump.

E. Jean Carroll smiles wearing a beige pea coat, a white blazer, a black turtleneck, and sunglasses. A car door is open behind her, and there are other people and cameras in the background.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Writer E. Jean Carroll had some special language to describe Donald Trump, referring to the GOP front-runner as an empty vessel. 

“This team of brilliant young people have, as you said, stood up to the man,” Carroll told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday evening. “Who, by the way Rachel, is not even there. He’s nothing.”

“He is like a walrus snorting, and like a rhino flopping his hands—he is not there. That was the surprising thing to me,” she continued.

“Well on that point, talking about you know being face to face with him, being in the same physical space with him for the first time since when you say he assaulted you in 1996, what you’re describing there, in terms of him being nothing—him feeling like an animal, him feeling not intimidating, was that a shock to you?” Maddow asked.

“No, Rachel—I was terrified. I was just a bag of sweating corpuscles as we prepared for trial. And four days before trial I had an actual breakdown. I lost my ability to speak, I lost my words, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t go on. That’s how frightened I was,” Carroll responded.

“But oddly, we went into court, [my attorney] took the lectern, I sat in the witness chair like this, and she said, ‘Ms. Carroll, good morning. Could you please spell your name for court?’ And amazingly, I looked out, and he was nothing. He was nothing. He was a phantom,” she continued.

“It was the people around him who were giving him power. He himself was nothing. It was an astonishing discovery for me. He’s nothing. We don’t need to be afraid of him. He can be knocked down.”

Carroll won her defamation case against Trump on Friday, earning her $83.3 million in a historic verdict that octupled her legal team’s original asking price for damages after the former president was depicted bragging about his wealth during a legal deposition.

The jury awarded $7.3 million for damage to Carroll’s reputation, $11 million for emotional harm, and $65 million for punitive damages.

It was Carroll’s second defamation case against Trump, which came after the Apprentice host spent years attacking the writer’s character and claimed that he didn’t harass or even know Carroll, even after he was found liable by a jury for sexually abusing her.

On Monday, Carroll revealed she was looking forward to using cash for “something Donald Trump hates”—a “fund for the women who have been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump.”

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Sets Up Showdown on Medicaid Abortion Ban

A new ruling from the court could massively change abortion law in the state.

An abortion rights protest with dozens of people in the photo. A large pink sign in the foreground reads "My body my choice." Another in the background threatens that "You will lose" if you wage war with women. (Part of the text is cut off.)

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ruled Monday that a 40-year-old law banning Medicaid from covering abortions could be considered discriminatory based on sex, and sent the case back to a lower court, setting up a battle to establish financial coverage for the procedure.

The case stems from the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982, which prohibits Medicaid from covering abortions unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or it puts the patient’s life at risk. A state Supreme Court ruling three years later established that the law is not a form of sex discrimination, meaning it cannot be challenged under the Pennsylvania Equal Rights Amendment.

In 2019, a coalition of seven state abortion providers filed a lawsuit arguing that the law discriminates based on sex and therefore violates the ERA. The plaintiffs urged the justices to recognize that the state constitution guarantees people the right to abortion access.

On Monday, the justices stopped just short of stating a constitutional right to abortion, but they did rule 3–2 that the state’s ERA applied to Medicaid coverage of abortion access. Justices Christine Donohue and David Wecht, who were in the majority, said that “the right to reproductive autonomy, like other privacy rights, is fundamental.”

In the 219-page majority opinion, Donohue wrote that “the right to make healthcare decisions related to reproduction is a core important right encompassed by the enmeshed privacy interest protected by our Charter.”

“Whether or not to give birth is likely the most personal and consequential decision imaginable in the human experience. Any self-determination is dependent on the right to make that decision,” she said.

Justice Kevin Dougherty, who concurred with the overall majority decision, called Donohue and Wecht’s argument “incredibly insightful.” But he said he felt the gist of the current case was too narrow to decide the constitutionality of abortion.

Donohue noted that refusing to cover abortion discriminates against people trying to exercise the right to reproductive autonomy and therefore violates state constitutional protections against discrimination by the government.

“The government does not bear a constitutional obligation to provide medical care to the indigent, nor is the government required to financially support the exercise of a fundamental right, including a woman’s exercise of her right to reproductive autonomy,” Donohue wrote.

“However, once the government chooses to provide medical care for the indigent, including necessary care attendant to pregnancy for those women exercising their right to reproductive autonomy who decide to carry a pregnancy to term, the government is obligated to maintain neutrality so as not to intrude upon the constitutional right to full reproductive autonomy, which includes the right to terminate a pregnancy.”

The case will now return to the lower Commonwealth Court to determine if Medicaid should cover abortion and if abortion is constitutionally protected. The state government must prove that banning Medicaid from covering most abortions does not violate the ERA.

David Cohen, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, told The New Republic that the Pennsylvania government has a “very high bar” to clear to justify Medicaid excluding abortion coverage after this ruling.

The government must prove it has a “compelling state interest” in prohibiting Medicaid from covering abortion, and no other “less intrusive methods” to implement the policy, Cohen, who is also a constitutional law professor at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law, explained. The “least intrusive method” is a way of analyzing laws to determine whether they do the least amount of harm possible in achieving the measure’s stated goal.

“The court said that [the law] is a form of sex discrimination and that sex discrimination under the state’s Equal Rights Amendment needs to be very strictly scrutinized,” Cohen said. “But it’s not an absolute bar. It’s not like the court didn’t say all sex discrimination is prohibited. It’s just a very difficult hurdle for the state to overcome.”

Kyrsten Sinema Stuck Taxpayers With a Massive Private Jet Tab

A new report shows the Arizona senator loves private jet travel a little too much—and she’s totally OK with using taxpayer money to pay for it.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema has spent an outsize portion of her U.S. Senate office budget on charter private jets.

The former Green Party turned Democrat turned independent politician has reportedly spent roughly $210,000 of her $4.1 million taxpayer-funded budget on private jet travel, shipping herself and her staff around the country, according to a public records analysis by The Daily Beast.

Since 2020, Sinema has booked at least 11 private trips, with almost half of them occurring in 2023 alone. Nearly all of the flights were chartered for travel within the boundaries of Arizona, shuttling Sinema and her staff around the state on one- or two-day trips, reported the Beast.

On August 8, 2023, Sinema flew herself and four staffers from Washington to the Grand Canyon with Florida-based Monarch Air Group—which cost a whopping $50,250—for a national park law signing featuring President Joe Biden and other federal and state politicians.

While it isn’t against the rules for lawmakers to use their annual budgets for private air travel, there are several reasons why it’s problematic. Being scrupulous with your money means you can stretch your budget further and spend taxpayer money, instead, on things like hiring extra aides and staff to help accomplish the job you were elected for.

In Sinema’s case, the Arizona lawmaker has spent more on private jets in just one year than she paid practically every member of her staff. Her flight to the Grand Canyon alone cost nearly as much as the annual income of her deputy press secretary or her military and veterans affairs representative, according to reports by the secretary of the Senate.

Arizona’s other Senate representative, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, has never used his Senate budget for privately chartered jets, despite the fact that he is more often than not traveling to the same locations as Sinema, according to the Beast.

Watch: GOP Congresswoman Tries to Take Credit for Bills She Voted Against

Representative Maria Salazar freaked out after being reminded how she actually voted on the funding projects.

Representative Maria Salazar wears a blue blazer and red glasses. She is speaking outside and gesturing with her index finger raised.

Florida Representative Maria Salazar said she doesn’t remember voting against two key pieces of legislation—even though she’s regularly claimed credit for their successes in her congressional district.

In an interview on CBS News Miami, Salazar aggressively skirted direct questions about her voting record on the CHIPS and Science Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, at one point telling the host that she needed to speak to her staff to remind her of her voting record in Washington, D.C.

“The money that you talk about—the $40 million that you bring back to the district—sometimes that money comes from bills that you voted against,” pressed CBS News’s Jim DeFede. “You voted against the CHIPS Act and yet you praise the fact that the south Florida climate resilience tech hub is going to be started in Miami, right? You voted against the infrastructure bill and you talk about all the money that comes back to the airport.”

“So, at the same time that you’re taking credit for the money that you bring back to the district in Washington, you’re voting against these projects on party line votes,” he added.

“Listen I, that was, I think, last cycle, I cannot really remember right now, but just look, just look at the Americas Act,” Salazar started before DeFede cut her off, asking why she doesn’t want to explain her vote.

“I mean right now, and I’m not trying to be a politician, there’s so many bills that I’ve introduced and I know that many of them—,” Salazar continued while DeFede interjected again that she had voted against the bills.

“I understand and, but, the—OK. Sometimes I vote, and sometimes I don’t, but let’s look at the positive, let’s look at the $40 million that I brought, and let’s look at the dignity,” she said, still trying to take credit for the funding she voted against.

Conservatives Go Next-Level Crazy With Taylor Swift Super Bowl Conspiracies

Now that the Kansas City Chiefs have made it to the Super Bowl, the far right is freaking out about Taylor Swift again.

Travis Kelce throws his arm around Taylor Swift's shoulders. They're standing on the football field smiling. Kelce wears a cap and a shirt that says "AFC Champion Chiefs Are All In." Taylor Swift wears a red sweater and red lipstick.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The far right is convinced that the Super Bowl will be rigged in favor of the Kansas City Chiefs so that Taylor Swift can get more attention before she endorses another competition-rigger, President Joe Biden.

The Chiefs defeated the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night and will go on to defend their Super Bowl champions title. Much of the buzz around the recent Chiefs games, though, is due to the presence of music superstar Swift, who is dating the Chiefs’ tight end, Travis Kelce.

The relationship has won her no friends on the right, for reasons of staggering strangeness. But this new wave of acrimony has got to be the weirdest yet.

Former presidential candidate and current Donald Trump toady Vivek Ramaswamy tweeted Monday that he wonders “who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month.”

“I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall,” he continued. “Just some wild speculation over here, let’s see how it ages over the next 8 months.”

Ramaswamy was replying to a tweet from Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, who managed to link Swift to billionaire George Soros, Republicans’ favorite scapegoat. (It’s worth noting that Swift has enough money to rig a football game on her own.)

Since the Chiefs’ victory Sunday night, other right-wing accounts have also accused Swift of being an “op.” Far-right activist Jack Lombardi insisted Swift and Kelce would use the extra media attention to endorse Biden, while conservative podcast host Mike Crispi claimed they would announce their endorsement during the half-time show.

Georgia GOP district chair Kandiss Taylor said Swift uses “witchcraft” that is “demonic, evil, and Luciferian.” Meanwhile, in its rush to bash Swift, Fox News pulled a 180 on acknowledging climate change is real, and accused Swift of making things worse with her private jet travel to the game.

Not all the hate is directed at just Swift. Republicans also dislike Kelce because he has promoted vaccines, Bud Light beer, and Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest.

But Swift is the target of the majority of GOP vitriol. In early January, Fox News contributor Stewart Kaplan claimed she was a Democratic psyop, after Swift posted on social media encouraging people to register to vote.

Swift rarely weighs in on politics, instead tending to encourage her fans to act without telling them how to do so. She did endorse Biden in 2020 but has given no indication that she intends to throw her support behind any candidate this time around.

The reason why conservatives get so up in arms about Swift, as Edith Olmstead wrote for The New Republic in September, shortly after Swift and Kelce went public as a couple, is “less about the content of her political worldview and more about her vast, earth-moving popularity.”

“It’s not because she is rich, famous, and beautiful,” Olmstead noted. “It’s because of her vast influence over a younger demographic that conservatives have famously struggled to attract or exert an influence upon themselves.”