Tom Zirpoli: Hypocrisy runs deep in Republican politicians | COMMENTARY

Tom Zirpoli: Hypocrisy runs deep in Republican politicians | COMMENTARY

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, recently announced he would be releasing thousands of hours of video of rioters attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

But since the rioters were MAGA Republicans trying to overturn the election of President Joe Biden, he wants to make sure their faces are blurred to protect them from prosecution by the Justice Department.

“As you know,” Johnson said, “we have to blur some of the faces of persons who participated in events of that day because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ and to have other, you know, concerns and problems.”

One might think the highest Republican official in the land, leader of the supposedly pro-police and law and order party, would want to help the Justice Department track down and prosecute rioters. After all, they attacked the U.S. Capitol, killed and injured police officers, and tried to block members of the House of Representatives from completing their constitutional responsibilities.

Today, however, the only interest Republicans have in law and order is how it might apply to Biden and his family. During the same week he announced how he wanted to protect the Republican insurrectionists, Johnson announced that House Republicans needed to move forward with their impeachment investigation of Biden.

This is after three years of Republican investigations, where they had not found any evidence of wrongdoing by the president. Yet, Johnson is releasing an edited video of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to demonstrate that the “events of that day” were nothing more than a group of Republican tourists strolling through the Capitol.

Also high on the hypocrisy list is Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis,  who announced in a Meet the Press interview he will “put a stop” to the “weaponization” of the federal government. This was an interesting statement from DeSantis, according to the Miami Herald editorial board, given his weaponization of the Florida governor’s office.

“The governor who has used and abused the state apparatus to punish Disney over its right to free speech and try to shut down local businesses for hosting drag shows wants Americans to think he will stop the “weaponization” of the federal government,” wrote the editorial board.

The editorial board members reminded DeSantis of his promise that, if he were elected president, he would be “slitting throats” of federal employees. They also reminded him that, as governor, he tried to take away the liquor license from private businesses in Florida that publicly disagreed with his policies.

DeSantis, according to the editorial board, “has injected divisive politics into virtually every corner of state government, who exerted big-government control over what teachers and college professors can say about race in the classroom and what private businesses can include in their diversity training. Yet he wants to persuade Republican voters he’s their last hope against an all-too-powerful state that goes after the enemies of those in power.”

Last, but certainly not least, we have another Florida example of Republican hypocrisy from a married couple who want to manage everyone’s sex life, determine who other people can love, and what our children should be allowed to read, while they engage in — by their standards — questionable, if not illegal — social and sexual behavior.

Christian Ziegler, chair of the Florida Republican Party, is married to Bridget Ziegler, one of the founders of Moms for Liberty, a conservative group whose mission is to ban books that do not meet its conservative standards and regulate sex education in our public schools. She is a member of the Sarasota County School Board and was appointed by DeSantis to serve on the oversight board for Disney World to punish Disney for disagreeing with DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ policies.

Christian Ziegler is under investigation by the Sarasota Police Department for the alleged rape of a woman who reported she had engaged in a three-way sexual relationship with the Ziegler couple.

According to the police report, they had set up another three-way meeting, but Bridget Ziegler could not attend. So, the woman canceled the meeting telling Christian Ziegler that she “was mainly in it for” his wife, the report said.

But Christian Ziegler went to the woman’s apartment anyway and, according to the police report, raped her. Christian Ziegler admits he went to the woman’s apartment and that he had sex with her. But, he says, it was consensual.

The Ziegler couple have been busy trying to manage everyone else’s sex lives, especially those in same-sex relationships. Perhaps they should mind their own business and better manage their own.

As stated by Florida political scientist Aubrey Jewett, the “stunning level of hypocrisy” is the most salient issue. Indeed, most of us mind our own business and don’t try to regulate the sex lives of others, as long as it is with other consenting adults.

DeSantis has called for Ziegler to resign as head of the Florida Republican Party and is trying to distance himself from the couple. That could be difficult given that DeSantis has been friends with them for years and has appointed them to their positions.

For his part, Christian Ziegler is asking why his fellow Republicans are demanding his resignation after having sex — consensual or otherwise — with a woman outside of his marriage. After all, he noted, Donald Trump has been accused of inappropriate behavior, including sexual harassment and sexual assault, over a dozen times.

In fact, Trump has been found guilty of sexual assault by a court. Nevertheless, noted Ziegler, Republicans plan to nominate him as their candidate for president.

Indeed, Mr. Ziegler. Hypocrisy runs deep with Republican politicians these days.

Tom Zirpoli is the Laurence J. Adams Distinguished Chair in Special Education Emeritus at McDaniel College. He writes from Westminster. His column appears on Wednesdays. Email him at

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