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Florida Governor Ron Desantis

Many across the nation were shocked and outraged after Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis‘s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, entered the battle over the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, saying anyone who opposes the legislation is “probably” grooming children for sex. Many immediately took that to mean she is calling them, especially LGBTQ people, pedophiles.

The far-right, often the religious right, for decades have falsely accused LGBTQ people of being pedophiles. Studies prove LGBTQ people are no more likely to engage in pedophilia than their heterosexual counterparts.

Yet Pushaw was only too happy to push the vicious, damaging, and discredited lie.

“The bill that liberals inaccurately call ‘Don’t Say Gay’ would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill,” Pushaw tweeted Friday evening.

She didn’t stop there.

“If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules,” she added.

To be clear, the spokesperson for the governor of the nation’s third-largest state is saying nearly half his constituents are “probably” grooming children for sex, or “complicit” in grooming children for sex.

Recent polling shows just four in ten Floridians support the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and virtually half – 49 percent – oppose it. The bill is expected to be on the state Senate floor Monday and receive a final vote on Tuesday. DeSantis has signaled he supports it.

Equality Florida blasted Pushaw over the weekend, saying, “Governor DeSantis’ spokesperson said the quiet part out loud: that this bill is grounded in a belief that LGBTQ people, simply by existing, are a threat to children and must be erased.”

“He chose Pushaw to speak his mind to the public. He owns this unbridled hatred. This same bigoted insinuation has long been been used to stigmatize our families, justify denying us the ability to adopt children, and is being used to justify the tracking of transgender children by government agents in Texas and threats to imprison their parents. Make no mistake — this is a tacit announcement from the Governor that he supports the true intent of the Don’t Say Gay bill: the erasure of LGBTQ people.”

Democratic state Senator Annette Taddeo is calling for action against Pushaw:

“Less than 5 weeks ago I sent a letter to Governor DeSantis when his spokeswoman Christina Pushaw politicized Nazis demonstrating in Orlando by questioning their motives calling for him to take action,” Sen. Taddeo said in a statement. “Today, she posted a meritless tweet where she alluded to multiple openly gay members of the legislature being pedophiles. This pattern of posting reckless, unfounded allegations warrants action by the Governor.”

Florida Democratic state Senator Shevrin Jones in a statement to Florida Politics said:

“Gov. DeSantis personally owes millions of Floridians an explanation as to why his spokesperson — whose salary is paid wholly with tax dollars — believes it is acceptable to label opponents to this bigoted bill as ‘groomers,’ a code word for pedophiles. It is outrageous that the Governor’s Office continues to use taxpayer resources to advance a radical, partisan agenda. Students, educators, and families across the state overwhelmingly agree: enough of the intimidation and targeted assaults on Florida’s most vulnerable.”

Democratic state Reps. Angie Nixon and Carlos G, Smith:

Other social media users blasted Pushaw:

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Doug Mastriano

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Doug Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and January 6 insurrectionist who this week won the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania governor. Mastriano is also anti-Muslim: He previously shared an image with the words, “Stop Islam” and a post claiming that “the American People have a right to be fearful of the prospect of a large number of muslims being elected to congress, specifically if they practice Sharia law.”

In addition to running for governor, Mastriano is a Pennsylvania state senator, a right-wing commentator, and a frequent guest in right-wing media. He regularly pushes lies about the 2020 election being stolen from former President Donald Trump.

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