Migrant crisis – latest: White House says DeSantis move ‘deeply alarming’, as thousands more flights threatened

‘Just plain wrong’: White House condemns migrant flight to Martha’s Vineyard

The White House said Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ use of migrants to punish leaders of Democratic-led state and local governments is a “deeply alarming” stunt that placed innocent children in danger to score political points.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the two governors were disrupting the federal process for handling migrants and using the migrants as “political pawns”.

Earlier, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis doubled down on his unannounced decision to send two planes carrying 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, a plot that has been widely panned as political grandstanding by his critics and praised in far-right circles as innovative.

“The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with everyday is brought to their front door they all of a sudden go berserk … it just shows you, you know their virtue signalling is a fraud,” said the Florida governor on Thursday.

Elected officials and critics of the governor’s so-called relocation program that sent dozens of migrants to an island under the promise of receiving housing and jobs were quick to call him out for using human beings for a political stunt.

“It’s the abstraction of human life,” said documentarian Ken Burns while appearing on CNN to promote his new film about the Holocaust. “It’s basically saying that you can use a human life and … put it in the position of becoming a political pawn in somebody’s authoritarian game.”

Elsewhere, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent two buses carrying migrants to the doorstep of Vice President Kamala Harris’s home in Washington, DC.

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JFK Library compares DeSantis migrants move to historic ‘Reverse Freedom Rides’

The JFK Library has compared Gov Ron DeSantis flying planeloads of undocumented migrants to Martha’s Vineyard to “Reverse Freedom Rides,” drawing comparisons to what was inflicted on some African-Americans in the south during the civil rights movement.

The presidential library of the 35th president took to Twitter to make the unflattering analogy the day after the Florida governor bragged about his widely-criticized actions.

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Alex Jones lawyer appears to tweet about migrant flights and fall asleep during Connecticut trial

Alex Jones’s lawyer appeared to tweet and fall asleep this week during the right-wing conspiracy broadcaster’s ongoing damages trial in Connecticut.

Mr Jones is notably on trial for making false claims about the Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012.

On Tuesday, as proceedings continued to determine how much in damages Jones owes to Sandy Hook families, attorney Norm Pattis appeared to be on Twitter. Mr Pattis was apparently commenting on news that Florida governor Ron DeSantis helped coordinate two planes full of undocumented migrants to be sent to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Josh Marcus has the story.

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Who is Charlie Crist, the former Florida Republican set to challenge Ron DeSantis?

Former Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist is running to take back his old job, now as a Democrat.

While the 66-year-old has been campaigning for the Democratic nomination, his main focus has been on blasting the Republican Governor of the state, Ron Desantis.

“He’s the most arrogant governor I’ve ever seen in my life,” he told members of a teachers union in Tampa this month, according to The Guardian. “It is shocking, it really is. Enough is enough.”

Primary voters are choosing their candidates on Tuesday and Mr Crist, who has held various elected offices in Florida politics since 1992, is expected to clinch the Democratic nomination against his top challenger, agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried.

Read more about the former Republican govenor, now running as a Democrat, to unseat the Gov DeSantis in the fall from my colleague Gustaf Kilander:

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Gavin Newsom calls on DOJ to investigate Abbott and DeSantis

California Governor Gavin Newsom has called on the Justice Department to investigate the governors of Texas and Florida over their transportation of undocumented migrants.

Mr Newsom tweeted that what Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis “are doing isn’t clever, it’s cruel.”

“I’m formally requesting the DOJ begin an immediate investigation into these inhumane efforts to use kids as political pawns.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis boasted about his “innovative” strategy of sending two planes full of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, WCVB reported.

“A lot want to come because everyone wants to come to Florida. And so, we’ve worked on innovative ways to be able to protect the state of Florida from the impact of Biden’s border policies,” the Florida governor said Thursday in his first public remarks since two planes carrying migrants from his state landed on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday afternoon.

“If you have folks that are inclined to think Florida’s a good place, our message to them is we are not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction. And yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures,” he said.

Read the full report from my colleague Eric Garcia here:

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Democratic candidate Charlie Crist says DeSantis’ policies are making Floridians ‘pay the price’

Former Republican governor of Florida Charlie Crist, who is now running as a Democrat to unseat the Governor Ron DeSantis in the fall, accused his opponent of bankrobbing Floridians for trying to “score political points”.

“Everything Ron DeSantis does is to score political points and feed red meat to his base in his thinly veiled attempt to run for President – but it’s really Floridians who pay the price,” tweeted the Democrat on Wednesday evening after learning of the governor’s plot to send migrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard.

“Florida is spending $12 million to fly innocent migrant children out of our state when that money could be spent on fighting to help Floridians and lower costs. This is just another political stunt that hurts our state,” he added.

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Mitt Romney defends GOP governors DeSantis and Abbott busing migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

Republican Senator Mitt Romney had no sympathy for Democratic leaders in cities and states around the country on Thursday after news broke of GOP governors stepping up efforts to bus groups of migrants to their jurisdictions.

John Bowden has the details.

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Opinion: What insiders say about Ron DeSantis standing for president in 2024

Ron DeSantis is slated as a likely contender for the Republican ticket in the 2024 presidential election. One of the firebrand governor’s selling platforms is his hardline approach to immigration. Frequently in his speeches, he’s floated a line about busing immigrants to Delaware.

With the Florida governor once again making headlines for his controversial policies, it’s worth revisiting The Independent’s recent assessment of what insiders say about the GOP governor’s standing for president in 2024.

The Florida governor has become the conservative golden boy in the past two years by virtue of his lax approach to combating the Covid-19 pandemic and his tough-guy posturing, as well as some significant policy wins for conservatives He now seems to be attracting attention not just from Republicans, but from Democrats too. California Governor Gavin Newsom, whose profile has risen ever since he beat back a conservative-backed recall last year, put out an ad over the holiday weekend bashing DeSantis and urging people who don’t like him to come to California.

Eric Garcia, The Independent

Read the full opinion piece from Eric Garcia below:

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JFK Library tweets about DeSantis migrant flights

The presidential library of the 35th president tweeted an article about “Reverse Freedom Rides” once offered by southern states to Black Americans.

“To embarrass Northern liberals and humiliate Black people, southern White Citizens Councils started their so-called “Reverse Freedom Rides,” giving Black people one-way tickets to northern cities with false promises of jobs, housing, and better lives,” the library tweeted.

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DeSantis boasts about his ‘innovative’ Martha’s Vineyard flight of migrants despite widespread criticism

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis boasted about his “innovative” strategy of sending two planes full of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

“We are not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction,” Mr DeSantis said at an event. “And yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures.”

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