Tag: byron donalds
Byron Donalds

Fox News Promoting Inexperienced Byron Donalds For Speaker

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) is emerging as the right-wing media favorite among the clown car of House Republicans currently vying to become House speaker. Donalds, a second-term member who voted against certifying the electoral votes following the January 6, 2021, insurrection, has little legislative experience but maintains a constant presence on right-wing outlets such as Fox News.

The House has been mired in chaos for weeks since a handful of attention-seeking Republican members ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). First House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and then Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) were selected speaker-designate by the GOP caucus, but each stepped down after it became clear he could not amass enough votes on the floor. Nine declared candidates for the post will make their case to their peers on Monday night.

Former President Donald Trump reportedly opposes the candidacy of House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), who was quickly denounced by pro-Trump media figures including Steve Bannon. Notably, Emmer, who was No. 3 in the caucus leadership before McCarthy’s speakership collapsed, is one of only two would-be speakers who voted to certify the 2020 electoral votes.

Meanwhile, Donalds, who still denies that President Joe Biden’s election was legitimate, is picking up Jordan's mantle as the speaker candidate favored by the right-wing press. Donalds, like the Ohio Republican and other members of what I call the Fox News Caucus, uses his regular interviews on right-wing outlets to bootstrap himself to national relevance.

Donalds has appeared on weekday Fox News programs 193 times since August 2017. He’s been interviewed nearly four times as frequently as Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), the speaker candidate with the second-most Fox appearances, and nearly nine times as frequently as Emmer, who has the third-most.

The disparities are all the more startling given Donalds’ recent entry to national politics — both Emmer and Johnson are members of the House Republican Caucus leadership and entered Congress in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

Donalds has the fifth-most weekday Fox appearances of all elected officials since January 2021, when he began his first term in office. Only Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jordan, Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) received more interviews on the network during this time.

Donalds is a particular favorite of Fox’s prime-time hosts, who serve as influential kingmakers within the GOP. He has appeared in Fox weekday prime time at least 67 times, including 38 interviews on The Ingraham Angle and 25 interviews on Hannity. The only other speaker candidates who have appeared in prime time are Johnson (14 times) and Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) (once).

Donalds has promoted those Fox appearances to solicit funds from donors, telling supporters that “the next time I go on Hannity, I want to show Sean a list of all the grassroots patriots who stood with me in my hour of need.”

Sean Hannity, the Fox prime-time host and GOP operative who functioned as Jordan’s biggest booster, has floated Donalds for speaker.

“Byron Donalds' name is probably the name I hear the most,” he told his radio audience on Friday.

Donalds’ profile in right-wing media is not limited to Fox; he’s made dozens of appearances on the far-right One America News Network and drawn fulsome praise from right-wing influencers including Charlie Kirk and Roger Stone. He was lauded by conspiracy theorists like Dom Lucre and Benny Johnson over the weekend for going on Fox and saying that as speaker, he would release all security footage from the January 6 insurrection.

Right-wing media demagogues have spent years encouraging their audience to demand leaders who embrace the same brand of radicalism. Donalds is just the latest in a long line of Republican politicians to grasp that Fox and other propagandists constitute their real path to power.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Ron DeSantis

As DeSantis Feuds With Black Republicans, His Campaign 'Reboot' Sputters

Finding its candidate dropping in the polls and burning through money at a fast clip, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign announced this week that it was going to undergo a reboot in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

“Following a top-to-bottom review of our organization, we have taken additional, aggressive steps to streamline operations and put Ron DeSantis in the strongest position to win this primary and defeat Joe Biden,” Generra Peck, DeSantis’ campaign manager, said in a statement to the Associated Press on July 25. “DeSantis is going to lead the Great American Comeback and we’re ready to hit the ground running as we head into an important month of the campaign.”

Yet just a few days later, DeSantis’ attempted reboot is floundering as DeSantis and his team continue to earn negative press.

On Tuesday, the campaign announced that it laid off more than three dozen staffers in an effort to stop hemorrhaging the cash it needs to make it through the long slog of the GOP primary.

Among the staffers that were let go was Nate Hochman, a DeSantis speechwriter who made a pro-DeSantis video that included a symbol often used by Nazis and white supremacists.

That same day, four vehicles in DeSantis’ motorcade were involved in a car accident while traveling to a fundraiser in Tennessee. DeSantis was not injured and made it to the planned event, the Associated Press reported.

DeSantis’ troubles this week didn’t end there.

On Wednesday, a group of DeSantis staffers got into a feud with Rep. Byron Donalds, the lone Black Republican in the Florida congressional delegation.

Donalds tepidly criticized the new Black history curriculum in the state, which will instruct students about “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

“The new African-American standards in FL are good, robust, & accurate,” Donalds tweeted on July 26. “That being said, the attempt to feature the personal benefits of slavery is wrong & needs to be adjusted. That obviously wasn’t the goal & I have faith that FLDOE will correct this.”

Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ rapid response director, responded to Donalds by tweeting, “Did Kamala Harris write this tweet?”

DeSantis press secretary Jeremy Redfern accused Donalds of “laundering a lie for the White House.”

Donalds wasn’t the only Black Republican to criticize Florida’s Black history curriculum.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who is also running for the Republican presidential nomination, said at a campaign event in Iowa “there is no silver lining” in slavery.

“What slavery was really about was separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives. It was just devastating,” Scott said, according to NBC News. “So I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that. People have bad days. Sometimes they regret what they say. And we should ask them again to clarify their positions.”

Vice President Kamala Harris had made a similar criticism to Donalds, saying at the annual national convention of the historically Black sorority Delta Sigma Theta, “In the state of Florida, they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery. They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it.”

DeSantis, for his part, has struggled in the polls since officially launching his campaign in May.

When his candidacy was only rumored in the beginning of 2023, polls showed him neck and neck with former President Donald Trump. DeSantis had reached 40.3 percent in the FiveThirtyEightpolling average in early January, just two points behind Trump.

Yet now, even after Trump has been indicted multiple times, DeSantis has plummeted to just 15.5 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s national polling average, while Trump stands at 52.4 percent as of July 27.

“DeSantis’ path was always ‘Trump, but more electable and with the ability to get things done,’” Sean Trende, an elections analyst with RealClearPolitics, tweeted. “But for some reason DeSantis has opted for ‘Trump, but somehow crazier.’”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Right-Wing Legislators Embrace 'F--- Joe Biden' Meme On House Floor

Right-Wing Legislators Embrace 'F--- Joe Biden' Meme On House Floor

Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) used the phrase "Let's go Brandon," a right-wing meme that stands for "Fuck Joe Biden," on the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday.

"People are understandably frustrated. Actually, they are very angry, and they are not going to sit back and take it much longer," Posey said in a speech.

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Rep. Dan Crenshaw

Biden’s Vaccine Orders Greeted By Violent Rhetoric From Republicans

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republicans are up in arms about President Joe Biden's new plan, announcedon Thursday, for what the White House calls a "Path out of the Pandemic."

The plan includes requirements that all federal employees, workers at hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, and workers at companies with 100 or more employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly testing.

Some GOP elected officials and candidates have called for citizens to "revolt" against the requirements, which are intended to get the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic under control, while others have called Biden's move "authoritarian," even though the U.S. government has been implementing vaccination mandates for more than 170 years, notably for children entering school.

Currently, more than 1,500 people in the United States are reported to be dying of COVID-19 per day, on average, with data showing nearly all of those deaths are among the unvaccinated.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who himself was subject to multiple vaccination requirements during his years of service in the Navy, railed against Biden's new policy.

"Are you people trying to start a full on revolt?" Crenshaw tweeted. "Honestly what the hell is wrong with Democrats? Leave people the hell alone. This is insanity."

Ohio GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel used violent rhetoric in a Thursday night tweet: "Do NOT comply with the tyranny. When the gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do."

A number of Republicans are calling Biden's mandate authoritarian and "unconstitutional." Supporters of Biden's orders call that a false accusation, noting that the Supreme Court has ruled that vaccine requirements are constitutional. In its decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905, the court determined that "it is within the police power of a State to enact a compulsory vaccination law."

Attorney Marc Elias tweeted on Thursday from the ruling in Jacobson, "Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others."

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who served as the White House physician to Barack Obama and Donald Trump before running for Congress, tweeted, "Biden's authoritarian announcement to impose illegal vaccine mandates on businesses is chilling. The decision to get vaccinated should be between you and your doctor, not illegally mandated by President Biden. This is OUTRAGEOUS!"

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) made similar comments, tweeting, "This un-American & tyrannical decision isn't about science; it's about political science in the form of tanking poll numbers. Biden went from saying no mandates by the federal government to this unconstitutional order that would coerce inoculation. [Stop] the authoritarian mandates."

Among those expressing support for Biden's executive orders was the American Medical Association.

"With the rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, alarming increases in COVID-19 related deaths and hospitalizations, and our health system and physicians stretched thin, the AMA is pleased by the Administration's significant efforts to help get this pandemic under control," the AMA said in a statement after Biden's announcement. "Aggressive measures will be needed to prevent further widespread transmission of COVID-19."

And vaccination mandates are popular — despite the vocal opposition from Republican lawmakers and candidates.

A Gallup survey from August found that "majorities of Americans" support vaccine requirements.

The poll found that 61 percent of Americans support proof of vaccination for air travel, 58 percent support it for attendance at events with large crowds, 56 percent support it for dining in restaurants, and 56 percent support it for entering offices and other work sites.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.