questionable logic
April 21, 2021

New legislation signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) earlier this week increases criminal penalties for crimes committed during protests. DeSantis called it "the strongest anti-looting, anti-rioting, pro-law-enforcement piece of legislation in the country," MSNBC reports, and it may be part of a trend in Republican-led states, The New York Times writes.

One of the most notable aspects of the law is that tearing down monuments, including Confederate ones, is now a second-degree felony offense, meaning anyone who is charged with doing so would face a maximum of 15 years in prison, the Times reports.

On the other hand, the legislation provides some extra protection for people who injure protesters by ramming into them with their car. If protesters block a road, MSNBC notes, Florida drivers who plow their vehicle into them can claim self-defense, giving them civil (as opposed to criminal) liability protection. That "all but [invites] people to commit vehicular homicide," Paul Waldman argued in The Washington Post. Read more about Florida's anti-protest law at MSNBC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

July 12, 2020

A section of the southern border wall that was privately built in January, using funds raised by supporters of President Trump, is showing signs of erosion, and Trump is taking it personally.

"I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads," Trump tweeted on Sunday. "It was only done to make me look bad, and perhsps [sic] it now doesn't even work. Should have been built like rest of Wall, 500 plus miles."

Trump was responding to a ProPublica and Texas Tribune report on a three-mile section of the fence built by Fisher Industries in South Texas, about 35 feet away from the Rio Grande. The riverbank is starting to erode, ProPublica and the Texas Tribune say, and a judge on Wednesday ordered lawyers for Fisher Industries and opponents of the fence to inspect the area.

The group We Build the Wall was established during the government shutdown in 2018, when Trump was demanding Congress fund his border wall. The group raised more than $25 million to privately build fencing, but the South Texas project turned into a showcase for Fisher Industries, The Associated Press reports, and the organization only contributed $1.5 million. Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, is on We Build the Wall's board, and staunch Trump ally Kris Kobach, Kansas' former secretary of state, is its general counsel.

Experts cautioned that building the fence so close to the river would cause a break in the fence or flooding, AP says, but Fisher Industries still put it up. In May, the company won a $1.3 billion contract from the federal government to build 42 miles of wall in Arizona. CEO Tommy Fisher told AP on Sunday he has "complete respect" for Trump, and thinks he "just got some misinformation on this stuff." Fisher also said rain and the river's natural flow caused some erosion, and if it continues, the gaps will be filled with rocks. "The wall will stand for 150 years, you mark my words," he declared. Catherine Garcia

August 26, 2019

The presidential campaign freshly launched by former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) also appears to be doubling as some kind of an apology — or at least personal accountability — tour.

Walsh, who on Sunday officially announced that he was challenging President Trump in the Republican primary, has routinely come under fire for his own controversial remarks, including a plethora of racist and insensitive tweets over the years. Walsh acknowledged his Twitter feed on Monday in an appearance on MSNBC, and concurred that some of what he said is, indeed, racist. But, as Walsh sees it, that doesn't influence whether he's actually a racist offline, or, as the youth say, "IRL."

When he made his announcement on Sunday, Walsh said he regretted helping "create" Trump by playing into divisive, personal politics, so it seems he's trying to rip off the Band-Aid at the beginning of his campaign and address criticism that was sure to arise otherwise. Read more about Walsh's presidential campaign here at The Week. Tim O'Donnell

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