Top five embarrassing Republican stories from July

Loyal Lede Readers,

We're already through July! Here's a look back at the month via a story from Heartland Signal's Richard Eberwein, where he catalogues the top five Republican limelight-catchers over the last 31 days.

Who did we miss? Who would make your top 5?

5. Ron DeSantis’ campaign tailspins

GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis stumbled throughout July as the Florida governor frequently made headlines for a variety of embarrassing reasons.

On June 30, the campaign’s “rapid response” account republished an anti-LGBTQ video that attempts to portray Trump as sympathetic to LGBTQ people while highlighting DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ acts as governor, including passing gender-affirming care bans and shutting down Pride events. Despite condemnation from LGBTQ conservatives, the governor doubled down a week later and argued that the former president “injected gender ideology into the mainstream.” And last week, The New York Times found that the original creator of the video, “Proud Elephant,” is not an outside supporter but actually an internal DeSantis campaign account.

Last week, the campaign announced it would lay off a third of its staff to “streamline operations.” This came after a confidential memo was leaked to NBC News the past week, which tried to reassure donors and family that any campaign stagnation was temporary.

And after it got national attention and the ire of Vice President Kamala Harris last week, DeSantis had to defend the most extreme parts of his Board of Education’s updates to teaching Black history. This included required teaching on how slaves “benefitted” from being enslaved as well as teaching how Black people incited racist, anti-Black atrocities like the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. Two of the most prominent Black Republicans in the country, U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-F) and fellow presidential candidate Tim Scott, condemned DeSantis’ policy.

4. Rep. Van Orden drunkenly yells at teenagers ‘defiling’ U.S. Capitol despite taking part in Jan. 6

Punchbowl News broke a story last week where U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) reportedly had a party in his office at the U.S. Capitol where he consumed a few alcoholic drinks. Afterward, Van Orden gave a tour of the building when he stumbled across a group of Senate pages lying on the floor taking pictures of the rotunda above.

Van Orden could not handle the utter disrespect for the Capitol building and launched into a drunken tirade in the name of not defiling the space. One of the pages transcribed the incident, which was obtained and published by Punchbowl.

“Wake the f--- up you little s---s,” Van Orden reportedly yelled. “What the f--- are you all doing? Get the f--- out of here. You are defiling the space.”

Van Orden did not appear to show concern about the day where thousands of people stormed and wreaked havoc on the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. The former Navy SEAL is fine with him and his fellow Donald Trump supporters launching a quasi-coup d'é tat, but you better not let him see you taking pictures of the rotunda after he’s had a few cocktails.

3. Frank LaRose’s blatant attempt to restrict access to abortion

Ohio Secretary of State, and now U.S. Senate candidate, Frank LaRose last week tried to paint himself as “an unbiased referee” in the state’s upcoming fight for reproductive rights. He immediately got laughed at by the City Club of Cleveland audience.

Despite being the architect of Issue 1, a ballot initiative that would increase the threshold for similar measures to get passed in the future from 50% to 60%, LaRose claimed to be completely unbiased. LaRose and his Republican allies are trying to get Issue 1 passed in the Aug. 8 special election make it harder for a future citizen initiative that could protect reproductive rights in Ohio. Polling suggests that the majority of Ohioans support reproductive rights despite the blatant attempts by lawmakers like LaRose to circumvent the will of the people.

LaRose pretty much said himself to a group of constituents that Issue 1 is about denying access to abortion. LaRose also voiced his displeasure at a $15 minimum wage and recreational marijuana in the same speech.

2. Bob Young’s drunken domestic violence

Ohio State Rep. Bob Young (R) faced calls for his resignation earlier this month after News 5 Cleveland discovered the details of his arrest.

Young refused to resign however, even after a grand jury indicted him for two misdemeanor charges for his supposed assault on two of his family members. According to a case report made by the Summit County Sheriff’s office, Young was having an argument with a friend at 1:00 am when his wife Tina tried to get him to stop. He then grabbed her by the arm and struck her with an open hand. When she tried to call the police, he threw her phone in the pool.

Tina then took her children to her brother Michael’s house, where Young showed up in got into a physical altercation with his brother-in-law. After telling Young that he was not welcome, Michael apparently threw Young through a glass door in self-defense.

Despite calls from even the Ohio Speaker of the House Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) to resign, Young released a statement saying he would not leave his position even though his behavior was inappropriate and that he had consumed several alcoholic beverages at the time.

“My behavior, while not criminal, was inappropriate and out of character,” Young said in a statement. “I apologize to everyone involved, including and especially my wife and children.”

1. Tommy Tuberville’s white nationalist comments

Amidst his high-profile hold on military promotions, including the commandant of the Marine Corps, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) gave an interview on CNN where he struggled to condemn white nationalists as racists.

When CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins clarified that a white nationalist is someone who believes that the white race is superior to all others, Tuberville responded by saying, “Well, that’s some people’s opinion.” In another interview later that day, reporters again asked Tuberville about white nationalists where he said, “I’m totally against racism. And if the Democrats want to say that white nationalists are racist, I’m against that too.”

Following the bizarre and tone-deaf comments, Tuberville has continued to stall more than 250 military promotions in opposition to the Department of Defense allowing paid leave for abortions. Tuberville justified his actions by citing how much support he has in his home state of Alabama, in which Republicans are staunchly anti-abortion. But the national security risk to Tuberville’s military stall has both Democrats and Republicans thinking he is going too far to oppose abortion rights.

Subscribe to The Lede

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson