In the latest drama to hit Florida politics, Senate and House leaders have teamed up with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to tell Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler to hit the bricks, y’all, after a murky police report claimed sexual misdeeds. It’s like a Miami Vice episode, but without the cool theme music.
GOP state House Speaker Paul Renner put it plain and simple, saying that it’s time for Ziegler to hang up his chairman hat. He pointed out that these “serious allegations” demand someone’s full attention. Renner continued, “We need someone who can provide the singular focus the party needs.” It’s like when you’re trying to juggle a bunch of oranges, and you drop one, and everyone’s like, “Dude, you need to pay attention to the oranges!”
DeSantis, fresh off a debate with Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), also chimed in, saying that Ziegler should step down. A bold move, like a chess player moving their queen right in front of the other guy’s king. “He’s innocent till proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny,” DeSantis said. Can you imagine if your buddy was always double-dipping in the salsa, and you’re like, “Dude, you’re innocent till proven guilty, but we just can’t have a salsa double-dipper in this house?”
State Senate President Kathleen Passidomo jumped on the bandwagon too, saying that Ziegler needs to hit the bricks over these “serious” allegations. She pointed out that the Governor is the big cheese of the party, so she’s on board with his decision. It’s like when you’re at a party and the host says it’s time to go home, and you’re like, “Well, I guess it’s time to grab my coat and hit the bricks.”
Even the Florida Democrats, of all people, are in agreement with the Republican bigwigs. Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book took to the Twitterverse to say that Ziegler must resign immediately after being “credibly accused of rape.” Democratic House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell also got in on the action, calling the allegations “incredibly serious” and urging Ziegler to skedaddle. It’s like when your siblings team up on you and you know you’re in trouble.
But hold onto your hats, folks, because Ziegler isn’t letting this go without a fight. He fired back, saying the allegations are “false” and that he’s not budging from his leadership post. He even brought his wife into the mix, saying she’s “behind me 150 percent.” It’s like when you try to get out of chores by enlisting your mom’s support, and you’re like, “But mom, I can’t clean my room, I have a country to save!”
In the midst of all this back and forth, a heavily redacted police report from Sarasota raised more questions than answers. The report mentioned a “sexual assault complaint” but left out the juicy details. The Florida Trident, a publication from the Florida Center for Government Accountability, added fuel to the fire by alleging that the woman who accused Ziegler of rape was involved in a “long-standing consensual three-way sexual relationship” with both Zieglers. Drama, drama, drama!
Ziegler’s attorney, Derek Byrd, is standing by his client and is confident that the Florida GOP chairman will be “completely exonerated.” It’s like when your friend says they didn’t eat the last slice of pizza, and you’re like, “I believe you, buddy.” But in this case, it’s more like a real-life episode of House of Cards.
So, the plot thickens in the Sunshine State as the battle rages on. Will Ziegler throw in the towel, or will he fight tooth and nail to keep his chairmanship? Only time will tell, folks. Stay tuned for the next episode of As the Florida GOP Turns!