‘Normal’ Republican Ron DeSantis wants to lock up Dr Fauci

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There is much of the conservative elite who view the Republican Party as the parents of a wayward teenager might think of their child – a good kid who was fine until he was led astray by falling with the wrong one. crowd. In this case, the wrong crowd is Donald Trump and his slap, and Republicans are convinced that once Trump is gone, everything will be back to normal.

These Republicans have rallied around a prime candidate: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom they hope to run for president whenever Trump can be coaxed off the stage, hopefully in 2024.

The obvious flaw in their analysis is that the party is not Good. DeSantis turns out to be a case study in the institutionalized nature of his madness. He has been obsessively promoting anti-vaccine madness, including appointing an anti-vaccine to the post of his state’s top health official. And now he’s sending a fundraising email calling for the imprisonment of Dr Anthony Fauci:

The claim is based on the shaky pretext that Fauci allegedly lied to Congress when he testified that the NIH was not funding research into office gain. Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, two other Republicans from the DeSantis wing, claimed that a subsequent letter from the NIH refuted this testimony. As Glenn Kessler notes during a careful fact-check, this is false: “No such admission appears in the letter, and NIH officials continue to insist that the work of EcoHealth using NIH funds did not constitute a search for office gain ”.

Even if Fauci misled Congress, of course, the idea of ​​throwing him in jail would be ridiculously out of proportion to the offense. Imprisonment is not the way the fact-checking of congressional testimony is applied in this country. DeSantis’ call to jail Fauci is a pure echo of the Trumpian call to lock up Hillary Clinton for her violation of State Department messaging protocols. The thinnest pretext for a scandal is an outburst to cover up the raw authoritarian ambition to imprison any figure who anger the right-wing base.

Whether DeSantis is a true bossy maniac or just pretends to be so doesn’t matter. The party structure is such that it encourages these positions and this rhetoric. He may be less off balance than Trump, but DeSantis is leading the way to a future in which the cancer that has plagued the Republican Party continues to grow.

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