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John Oliver condemns ‘Meatball Ron’ DeSantis as ‘a petty autocrat and a bully’


John Oliver delivered a blistering takedown from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a segment of “Last Week Tonight” making the rounds on social media.

On Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” the TV host ripped apart DeSantis’ conservative political views and actions — such as denying gender-confirming care to minors, signing a “15-week abortion ban,” banning books in schools and criminalizing “those deemed rioters at demonstrations”—while denouncing him as “a petty autocrat and a bully … with no interest in hearing dissent.”

“If you add all this up — the books being removed, the meaningless proclamations to shame trans athletes, the sloppy attempts to criminalize protests — and you combine it with everything else — from the support for restrictive abortion bans to the efforts to stop gender. -affirmative concern — it’s really starting to feel like the freest state in America is only free to the extent that someone wants to behave exactly the way Ron DeSantis thinks they should,” Oliver said.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to the Los Angeles Times’ request for comment Monday.

By means of the destructive segmentOliver repeatedly referred to DeSantis as “Meatball Ron” — a demeaning nickname the politician got from his right-wing rival, former President Donald Trump.

“I hate to say it, but Trump still has it,” Oliver said. “It’s completely stupid, childish and hurtful in a way that’s really hard to put into words.”

Despite Trump’s high-profile attempts to discredit DeSantis, the Emmy-winning nighttime host warned Americans not to see DeSantis alone compared to Trump as both men are vying for the Republican presidential nomination.

“While many commentators insist on just mocking him as Trump’s opponent — saying things like, ‘He’s Donald Trump with brains’ — that doesn’t seem to make much sense,” Oliver continued.

“It’s like saying a new restaurant is better than this chicken pot that fell on the sidewalk. That’s it, but you’re not really giving me much useful information there.

While visiting Simi Valley over the weekend, DeSantis went on a rampage against COVID-19 protocols and vaccine mandates. He also bragged about his opposition to critical race theory and limiting classroom conversations about gender identity.

His performance drew about 1,000 supporters and about 100 protesters who waved rainbow flags and placards with messages such as “Say Gay Every Day”—a critique of legislation signed by DeSantis and known to critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law because it bans the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools from kindergarten through third grade.

“You almost have to admire his dedication to being such an idiot,” Oliver said on “Last Week Tonight.”

“You’re going to be hearing a lot of DeSantis versus Trump comparisons in the coming months,” Oliver said. And the truth is, he’s probably going to be fine in a lot of them more or less by default. But that can’t be the bar here. It’s important to consider DeSantis on its own. If Donald Trump never existed… and you are forced to get to know Ron DeSantis all over again without any basis for comparison, then what you would see would rightly have horrified you.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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