To put it mildly, the final weeks of 2022 have not gone swimmingly for Donald Trump. In early November, a large number of candidates he backed for office lost their election bids, leading Republicans to blame him for their poor showing in the midterms. Shortly thereafter, Rupert Murdoch’s conservative media empire declared him a has-been. Few people rushed to endorse him following the announcement he’ll be running for president again. His favorite child made it clear she wants nothing to do with his political aspirations. His family business was found guilty of a whopping 17 different crimes. Multiple news outlets reported that more classified documents were found in one of his storage facilities. Congressional Democrats finally got their hands on his tax returns. People on the inside have said they believe the special counsel appointed by the attorney general to oversee a pair of criminal investigations into Trump’s conduct was brought in as a “hit man” and is likely to indict him. A good witch has not granted him the opportunity to go through life as anyone other than Donald Trump.
Yes, it’s been a pretty, pretty, pretty rough time for the ex-president of the United States, and the hits continued to come this week when a pair of new polls showed Ron DeSantis, his theoretical rival for the 2024 nomination—and an equally horrible human being!—thrashing him at the ballot box.
One of those polls, conducted by USA Today and Suffolk University and released on Tuesday, put the Florida governor ahead of the former president by a massive 23 points. The other, released by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, gave DeSantis a slightly smaller but still quite large 14-point lead over Trump. While Trump does not appear to have commented on the results, one can assume they’ve gone over about as well as the time Donald Trump Jr. allegedly tried to wear a Yankees jersey to a Yankees game. Last month, Trump the Elder basically shat a brick over DeSantis’s ascendancy within the Republican Party, (and in doing so implied he committed a major crime). As one Trump insider put it in a message viewed by The Guardian, the ex-POTUS is “in trouble.”
Of course, DeSantis has not yet actually announced a presidential run in 2024, and while many signs indicate he will, the polls aren’t all in his favor. In a survey conducted by Morning Consult between December 9 and 11, Trump was ahead by 18 points. But that’s probably of little comfort to the guy who clearly knows, on some level, that the GOP wants to trade him in for a younger model.
We’re sure the Texas attorney general demanded information on transgender Texans for entirely innocent reasons
It’s not like the state of Texas has ever given us reason to think otherwise. Per The Washington Post:
Employees at the Texas Department of Public Safety in June received a sweeping request from Republican attorney general Ken Paxton’s office: to compile a list of individuals who had changed their gender on their Texas driver’s license and other department records during the past two years.… After more than 16,000 such instances were identified, DPS officials determined that a manual search would be needed to determine the reason for the changes, DPS spokesman Travis Considine told the Post in response to questions.
The behind-the-scenes effort by Paxton’s office to obtain data on how many Texans had changed their gender on their license came as the attorney general, Governor Greg Abbott and other Republican leaders in the state have been publicly marshaling resources against transgender Texans. In October 2021, Abbott signed a bill banning transgender youths from participating in sports that align with their gender identity at K-12 public schools; this year he ordered the state to investigate the provision of gender-affirming care as potential child abuse. State lawmakers have already proposed more than a dozen anti-LGBTQ measures ahead of the next session in January, including criminalizing gender-affirming care and banning minors at drag shows.
Considine, the DPS spokesman, told the Post that his team “ultimately…advised the AG’s office the data requested neither exists nor could be accurately produced. Thus, no data of any kind was provided.” Paxton’s office did not respond to the outlet’s request for comment.
According to the Post, public records do not show why the AG’s office requested the information, though transgender advocates believe it was clearly for nefarious purposes. “This is another brick building toward targeting these individuals,” Ian Pittman, an Austin attorney, told the outlet. “They’ve already targeted children and parents. The next step would be targeting adults. And what better way than seeing what adults had had their sex changed on their driver’s licenses?”
Former Trump staffer follows up battery conviction with alleged dog-kicking
Is the GOP the party of animal cruelty, specifically against man’s best friend? Without knowing the facts, many people would probably guess yes—though as it turns out, the facts also support this conclusion!
On Tuesday, Politico reported that Brandon Phillips, a longtime Republican operative based in Georgia who has been hired as chief of staff for incoming Representative Mike Collins, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty in November for allegedly kicking a dog. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the dog belongs to a woman named Tifani Eledge, and the alleged kick caused “a cut to the dog’s stomach.” (Phillips and Collins did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.) Phillips previously served as Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign director in Georgia, until he resigned following reports from various news outlets that he pleaded guilty in 2008 to criminal trespassing and battery, for which he was sentenced to three years of probation, several dozen hours of community service, and a fine of $1,567 fine. (His probation was ultimately reduced.)
Phillips joins a long line of Republicans with a history of allegedly not being very nice to canines, one of whom used to be his boss. In 2007, the world learned that presidential hopeful Mitt Romney—for whom Phillips served as Georgia state director during the 2008 primary—once strapped his Irish setter, Seamus, to the roof of the family station wagon for a 12-hour drive. (While Romney—who fully copped to the incident—had only planned to make predetermined stops along the way, that plan was disturbed when a Seamus suffered a bout of what we can only assume was terror-induced diarrhea.)
Of course, that Seamus episode—which may or may not have cost Romney the vote of dog lovers, and thus the election—pales in comparison to the report that emerged in October that then Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz was was allegedly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of dogs and an “entire litter of puppies.” As a reminder, that report, from Jezebel, revealed that, according to a review of 75 studies published by Oz between 1989 and 2010, his research experiments killed at least 329 canines and inflicted “significant suffering on them and the other animals used in experiments.” (Pigs, rabbits, and rodents were also reportedly harmed.) In May 2004, Columbia University, Oz’s employer at the time, was ordered to pay a $2,000 penalty for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Later, the university defended Oz as “a highly respected researcher and clinician” but did not deny any of the allegations of animal cruelty. (In a statement to Patriot-News, Oz campaign spokesperson Brittany Yanick called the Jezebel story “totally false and preposterous” and insisted “Doctor Oz never abused any animals, and suggesting otherwise is ridiculous.” During the fact-checking process for an article about the US Senate race in Pennsylvania, Oz’s campaign, per the publication, “did not deny the allegations about the puppies.”)
Oz ultimately lost the Senate race to John Fetterman, whose own pup appears to be treated like prince.
Meanwhile, though there are no documented incidents of Donald Trump physically harming dogs, he famously dislikes the animal. “Donald was not a dog fan,” Ivana Trump wrote in her memoir, Raising Trump, noting that he hated her dog Chappy (and that the feeling was mutual). He also spent much of his tenure in Washington denigrating ex-employees and other perceived foes by comparing them to dogs, tweeting that his enemies “choked like a dog,” been “dumped like a dog,” been “fired like a dog,” and “kicked out of the ABC News debate like a dog.”
Republican who sent text urging Trump to declare martial law to steal second term has regrets
But perhaps not the one you might have thought! Per HuffPost:
Representative Ralph Norman’s biggest regret about urging the Donald Trump White House to declare martial law so Trump could remain in office seems to be that he did so with bad spelling. The South Carolina Republican texted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 17, 2021, that Trump should declare “Marshall Law” to prevent Joe Biden from taking office.
Asked about the text on Tuesday, Norman said, “Well, I misspelled ‘martial.’” Declaring martial law would entail Trump using the military to suspend ordinary laws and civil liberties and install himself in power.
Norman additionally told HuffPost that he was “very frustrated then” because “President Biden was in his basement the whole year” and “Dominion was raising all kinda questions,” neither of which are true.
Lauren Boebert wants Biden’s Secretary of Homeland Security impeached for being too good at his job