GOP congressman OK with party hosting felon who smeared Parkland teens


Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis defended his party for inviting convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza to a summit, even after D'Souza attacked the survivors of the Parkland shooting.

Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis believes his state party should welcome convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza to its upcoming summit. And even D'Souza's repugnant attacks against teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting weren't enough to change DeSantis' mind.

Florida Democrats have called on the party to disinvite D'Souza from the GOP's 2018 Sunshine Summit.

But DeSantis, who is running for governor, said that he "disagree[d] with what [D’Souza] tweeted but I would not disinvite him."

After the Florida legislature blocked debate on a bill in February that would have banned assault weapons, D'Souza made fun of the teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, who had lobbied for the legislation.

He tweeted that the failed passage was the "worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs." He followed that with a crass "Adults 1, kids 0."

D'Souza only apologized for the statements after they were widely condemned.

In addition to tolerating his attacks on children, Florida Republicans seemingly have no problem with D'Souza's criminal record, either.

D'Souza pleaded guilty to violating federal law after he helped funnel $20,000 in illegal campaign donations to a Republican candidate. He served five years' probation and eight months in a halfway house.

He has since resumed his career producing odious conservative commentary. D'Souza has a penchant for comparing the Democratic Party to Nazi Germany. He wrote a book echoing the same bizarre message, as well as films attacking President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton.

D'Souza embraced a conspiracy theory about President Obama, arguing that he adhered to an "anti-colonial" ideology to hurt America.

His entire career as a conservative pundit has been about promoting half-baked crackpot theories and smearing Democrats, while asserting a revisionist view of history. He has also embraced racist views, such as arguing that low-income blacks are "pathological." And he has insisted that white racism isn't real — just a response to that "pathology."

Yet for DeSantis, none of these vile displays appears to merit removing D'Souza from the GOP's scheduled event. Attacking teenagers, embracing conspiracy theories, dismissing racism — all of it is apparently acceptable.

DeSantis and his party stand by D'Souza, and the connection should reverberate throughout Florida.