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Matt Schlapp Tried to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With Six-Figure Offer

American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp has denied the accusations against him. But a new report says he secretly tried to settle.

Matt Schlapp stands in front of a huge CPAC logo
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Conservative activist Matt Schlapp tried to settle the multimillion-dollar sexual battery and defamation lawsuit against him, but his offer was denied.

Schlapp is the head of the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual Conservative Political Action Committee Conference. He and his wife are being sued by Republican strategist Carlton Huffman, who accused Schlapp of groping him while Huffman was working as a staffer on Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign.

Schlapp in March offered Huffman a sum in the low six figures to settle the suit, The Daily Beast reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources with direct knowledge of the situation. Huffman countered with a significantly higher amount, which Schlapp turned down.

The Schlapps’ publicist denied that they had offered to settle, telling The Daily Beast, “From the outset Mr. and Mrs. Schlapp have been and remain prepared to go to trial and are confident of prevailing in court.”

Huffman’s lawyer called the denial “categorically false.”

Huffman alleges that Schlapp made “sustained and unwanted and unsolicited” sexual contact with him while he was driving the ACU chief back from an Atlanta bar in October. Huffman says Schlapp bought him drinks at two different bars and then proceeded to grope his crotch on the drive back to Schlapp’s hotel. When they arrived at the hotel, Schlapp allegedly invited Huffman to his room.

Huffman recorded several tearful videos of himself describing what happened. “Matt Schlapp of the CPAC grabbed my junk and pummeled it at length, and I’m sitting there thinking what the hell is going on, that this person is literally doing this to me,” he says in one video.

“From the bar to the Hilton Garden Inn, he has his hands on me. And I feel so fucking dirty. I feel so fucking dirty.”

The revelation of Schlapp’s settlement offer may cause more people to doubt his denials. He reportedly made the offer without consulting the ACU board. While a settlement is not technically an admission of guilt, this is the latest step Schlapp has taken without including the ACU.

In addition to not letting the board vote on the settlement offer, Schlapp has refused to allow for an internal investigation and has gone out of his way to avoid discussing the accusation during board meetings. Multiple sources described his actions to The Daily Beast as “bizarre.”

Schlapp’s behavior is also starting to alienate former allies. Charlie Gerow, who resigned as ACU vice president on Friday, used to be a full-throated Schlapp defender. But when he resigned, he urged the board to investigate any and all allegations against Schlapp. The next day, two more sexual misconduct accusations were revealed to have been made.

Former Judge Trashes “Stunningly Stupid” Move From Trump’s Legal Team

Trump’s legal team tried to compare his trial to a landmark Supreme Court case.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s legal team tried comparing his federal trial date to the case of the Scottsboro Boys, a move that a retired judge called “stunningly stupid.”

District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday set Trump’s election interference trial for March 4, 2024. Before she made her final decision, Trump’s lawyers tried to request a later trial date by comparing Trump’s case to Powell v. Alabama, also known as the Scottsboro Boys case. The Scottsboro Boys were nine Black teenagers accused of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931. The boys were rushed to trial, during which they had terrible legal representation, and convicted just days after the alleged incident. The Supreme Court overturned their convictions the following year, and the case is frequently cited as a glaring example of racial injustice in the U.S. legal system.

“The moment in that hearing that struck me, I only have two words to describe it as ‘stunningly stupid.’ And that was when Trump’s attorney compared their desire to delay the case to what happened in the case of Powell v. Alabama,” LaDoris Cordell told CNN Monday night about Trump’s hearing, referring to the Supreme Court case that overturned the Scottsboro convictions.

“What the Trump team did was say that, well, what happened in that trial is what could happen here in this trial, which is absolutely absurd.”

Judge Chutkan, of course, dismissed the comparison and set Trump’s trial date for the heart of the Republican primary season.

Trump was indicted for his role in the January 6 insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, one of four indictments. His legal team proposed the trial begin in April 2026, well after the presidential election. The hope was likely that Trump would have been reelected by then and could avoid federal charges.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who investigated Trump for this indictment and for his alleged mishandling of classified documents, requested that the trial begin in January. Chutkan said neither date was appropriate and set the trial for March—the day before Super Tuesday.

Cordell said she suspected Chutkan, who is Black, was “offended” by the comparison to the Scottsboro Boys. Chutkan has already begun receiving death threats from Trump supporters.

Georgia Republican Says Trump Has “Moral Compass” of “Ax Murderer”

Former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan is not mincing words.

Geoff Duncan surrounded by a crowd. (He looks pretty orange, but it may just be the sun.)
Ben Hendren/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Geoff Duncan, the Republican former lieutenant governor of Georgia

Former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan tore into Donald Trump for his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, slamming the former president as having the “moral compass” of an “ax murderer.”

Trump surrendered to Georgia authorities last week on charges of felony racketeering for trying to overturn the state’s election results after the 2020 general election. Duncan, a Republican, was serving as lieutenant governor to Brian Kemp at the time.

“As a Republican, the dashboard is going off with lights and bells and whistles telling us all the warning things we need to know,” Duncan told CNN Monday night. “Ninety-one indictments, fake Republican, $8 trillion worth of debt—everything we need to see to not choose him as our nominee, including the fact he’s got the moral compass of, more like an ax murderer than a president.”

Duncan also described Trump’s wrongdoings as a “Ponzi scheme of lies” and a “two-plus-year crime spree from coast to coast.”

Trump and his 18 co-defendants will be arraigned in Georgia on September 6. Trump has repeatedly insisted that he did nothing wrong. But the state’s Republican leaders aren’t having any of it.

In addition to Duncan, Kemp is one of the few Republicans to have explicitly shut down Trump’s claims. Trump pleaded with Kemp to get the state legislature to override the election results and appoint new electors who would back Trump, but Kemp refused to cave.

“The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen,” Kemp tweeted after Trump was indicted. “For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward—under oath—and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor.”

Trump also infamously begged former Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—the exact number needed to flip the state’s election results to Trump. Raffensperger has refused to play ball too.

“The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law,” he said after Trump was indicted. “You either have it, or you don’t.

Eminem Has Had Enough, Sends Cease and Desist to Vivek Ramaswamy

Eminem is fed up with the 2024 Republican candidate for using his music.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Eminem has asked Vivek Ramaswamy to stop using the rapper’s songs on his presidential campaign.

Ramaswamy often performed (badly) as a libertarian rapper while he was at Harvard, and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was one of his favorite songs. Ramaswamy has since tried to reclaim his rapper status, freestyling terribly on Fox & Friends and performing “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair.

In a letter dated August 23, Eminem’s lawyer informed Ramaswamy’s campaign that Eminem objected to their repeated use of his music during their campaign stops.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Eminem opposes Ramaswamy using his music. The rapper has long made his political stances clear. He released a protest song against George W. Bush in 2004 that criticized the then president for invading Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. In 2017, Eminem wrote a song in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and released a freestyle rap railing against Donald Trump’s morals, policies, and racist behavior.

Ramaswamy, on the other hand, is more interested in sucking up to Trump, battling “wokeness,” and insisting that 9/11 was an inside job.

Ted Cruz Appears to Endorse Plowing Into Climate Protesters With Cars

The Texas senator approvingly shared a video of law enforcement ramming into peaceful protesters.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ted Cruz on Monday seemed to endorse using trucks to plow into peaceful protesters, when he shared a video of law enforcement doing exactly that.

Protesters set up a blockade on the road to Burning Man on Sunday to demand the Nevada festival ban the use of private jets and single-use plastics. Video captured by one demonstrator shows a police ranger driving a pickup truck into the blockade, knocking one person out of the way. The ranger then gets out, aims a weapon at the protesters and shouts at them to get on the ground. As one protester screams at the rangers that they are peaceful and unarmed and begs them to stop, the officer pushes another protester to the ground and kneels on top of them while handcuffing them.

Cruz retweeted the video, writing, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

This isn’t the first time that Cruz has denigrated peaceful protesters. When the Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked last year, crowds of peaceful protesters gathered outside the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts. Cruz inaccurately slammed the demonstrations as “mob violence.”

For someone who talks so much about protecting First Amendment rights, Cruz seems to have forgotten that the First Amendment includes the freedom of assembly.

House Republican Calls Out Biden Impeachment: “There’s No Evidence”

Kevin McCarthy wants to move forward the Biden impeachment inquiry—and many in his party aren’t happy about it.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is making it increasingly clear that he intends to open an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden—but some of his Republicans are furious with him for it.

Republicans have insisted for months that Biden is guilty of corruption and influence peddling overseas, despite producing no actual evidence. McCarthy has suggested opening an impeachment inquiry into Biden next month, once Congress returns from recess, so that Republicans can access more information and witnesses, which will supposedly lead them to the truth.

McCarthy is doubling down on his threat behind closed doors, CNN reported Monday, but Republicans are not unified behind him.

“There’s no evidence that Joe Biden got money, or that Joe Biden, you know, agreed to do something so that Hunter could get money. There’s just no evidence of that,” one GOP lawmaker, speaking anonymously, told CNN. “And they can’t impeach without that evidence. And I don’t I don’t think the evidence exists.”

Republicans have (inadvertently) admitted before that they have zero proof of wrongdoing by Biden. But even lawmakers who support impeachment proceedings don’t back opening an inquiry now.

Representative Matt Rosendale, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, on Monday called an impeachment inquiry into Biden “long overdue” but accused McCarthy of using the threat to distract from upcoming appropriations votes.

“I’m afraid now that he’s bringing it up just to use it as a distraction so that he can try and push forward this continued resolution which many of us are not going to sign off on,” Rosendale told Newsmax.

Congress has not passed all the necessary appropriations bills, and it is unlikely to do so by its September 30 deadline. Party leaders on both sides have suggested passing a continuing resolution to keep funds flowing until all the bills have passed. But the Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right House Republicans, says it will not support a stopgap. If Congress fails to pass the stopgap measure, the government is at risk of a shutdown.

McCarthy has warned a shutdown would prevent Republicans from continuing to investigate Biden, including by opening an impeachment inquiry, in an attempt to bridge the gap between sides. But it doesn’t seem to be working.

Ken Buck, another member of the Freedom Caucus, slammed all the impeachment inquiry talk in July. “This is impeachment theater,” the Colorado Republican told CNN’s Dana Bash.

“What [McCarthy’s] doing is he’s saying, ‘There’s a shiny object over here, and we’re really going to focus on that. We just need to get all these things done so that we can focus on the shiny object,’” Buck said. “Most of us are concerned about spending.”

Trump Will Go to Trial for Coup Attempt One Day Before Super Tuesday

Trump’s trial is set to begin in March 2024, right as the primary season kicks off.

Donald Trump
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s election interference case is set to begin on March 4, 2024, the day before Super Tuesday.

District Judge Tanya Chutkan made the decision on Monday. The trial date makes Trump’s upcoming campaign calendar incredibly tricky. Super Tuesday is one of the most important days in the primary calendar. It is the day when the largest number of states hold primary elections and caucuses. Trump will have a harder time rallying voters ahead of Super Tuesday because he needs to prepare for the trial.

Trump was indicted for his role in the January 6 insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, one of four indictments. He faces four counts that include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who investigated Trump for this indictment and for his alleged mishandling of classified documents, requested that the trial begin in January. Trump’s team proposed the trial begin in April 2026, well after the presidential election. The hope was likely that Trump would have been re-elected by then and could avoid federal charges.

“These proposals are obviously very far apart,” Chutkan said Monday. “Neither of them is acceptable.”

She said Trump will have to prioritize the trial, and the schedule will not change based on his professional obligations, meaning campaign events. She pointed out that this is no different from how she would treat any other defendant.

This trial will also land just two months before Trump’s trial in the classified documents case. The second trial, which is set for May 20, is expected to take two weeks. If it does, it will overlap with primaries in Kentucky and Oregon. The schedule also would leave no time to host events ahead of primaries in Washington, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota, which will all occur immediately after the trial.

This article has been updated.

Ramaswamy Doubles Down on Comparing Ayanna Pressley to KKK Grand Wizard

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is not backing down from his incendiary rhetoric.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is doubling down on his comparison of Representative Ayanna Pressley to a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.

On Sunday, Ramaswamy received a grilling from CNN’s Dana Bash on his remarks.

“The KKK wasn’t just about rhetoric—they lynched people, they murdered people, they raped people, they burned their homes,” Bash argued. “If you want to have an intellectual discussion do you think that maybe comparing [Pressley] to the grand wizard and the notion of what she said to being a modern leader of the KKK was maybe a step too far, or you stand by what you said?”

Ramaswamy told Bash he stands by what he said.

Ramaswamy first compared Pressley to the KKK grand wizard during a campaign stop in Iowa on Friday.

He was criticizing Pressley, the first Black representative from Massachusetts, for remarks she made in 2019 on how “we don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice.”

The GOP presidential candidate also attacked How to Be an Antiracist author Ibram X. Kendi, pushing the idea that progressives are the real racists. 

“The greatest racism I’ve experienced—and I have experienced racism—comes from the modern left at a scale unimaginable,” Ramaswamy said. “These are the words of the modern grand wizards of the modern KKK.”

Ramaswamy refused to back down from the incendiary words on Sunday, telling Bash he believed Pressley’s comment had the same “spirit” as the KKK.

“I stand by what I said to provoke an open and honest discussion in this country,” he said. “We need to have real, open, honest, raw conversations as Americans. That is our path to national unity.”

Pressley, for her part, called Ramaswamy’s comments “deeply offensive.”

“The verbal assault lobbied against myself and Dr. Kendi is shameful. It is deeply offensive. And it is dangerous,” she said. “I remain squarely focused on the work of undoing the centuries of harm that has precisely been done to Black Americans and charting a path of true restorative justice and racial justice forward.”

Ron DeSantis Booed at Vigil for Victims of Racist Shooting in Florida

What exactly did the Florida governor think was going to happen here?

Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was loudly booed while at a weekend vigil for victims of a racist mass shooting in Jacksonville.

A white man opened fire in a Dollar General store in a predominantly Black neighborhood on Saturday, killing three people, all of whom were Black. The shooter, who then killed himself, used a Glock handgun and an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, at least one of which was painted with a swastika. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said the shooter “hated Black people” and acted alone.

DeSantis attended a vigil Sunday night. But when he tried to give a speech, the crowd began booing him so loudly that he was drowned out. Some people also shouted “Black Lives Matter!” and “Black history matters!” This was a reference to DeSantis’s administration blocking an AP African American Studies course and rewriting the state’s Black history curriculum, which now requires teachers to tell students that enslaved people learned valuable skills from slavery.

Jacksonville Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman stepped in and told the crowd to stop, saying, “It ain’t about parties today. A bullet don’t know a party.”

But the boos for DeSantis are understandable. In addition to his attacks on Black history, the governor has signed multiple bills this year that make it easier for people to access firearms. In April, DeSantis signed a law that would allow people to carry concealed loaded guns without any permits, training, or background checks. A month later, he signed a law preventing credit card companies from tracking firearm and ammunition sales, making it harder to track suspicious weapons purchases.

“Rich Men North of Richmond” Singer Says It’s Ironic His Song Was Played at GOP Debate

Oliver Anthony singer says he wrote the song for the very people on that stage.


The first Republican presidential debate started on an odd note—literally—when the moderators played a song called “Rich Men North of Richmond” for the candidates. The singer and songwriter, Oliver Anthony, thinks it’s extra weird they used his song.

“I wrote that song about those people,” he said in a YouTube video posted Friday, referring to the candidates. “It’s aggravating seeing people on conservative news trying to identify with me like I’m one of them.”

He also addressed how many conservatives have embraced the song as a new right-wing protest anthem. “The one thing has bothered me is seeing people wrap politics up in this,” he said. “It’s aggravating to see certain musicians and politicians act like we’re buddies, like we’re fighting the same struggle here.”

As of Friday, “Rich Men North of Richmond” is number one on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart. The song decries the rich and powerful who exploit working classes.

Despite Anthony’s protests, the debate moderators, Fox News anchors Brett Baier and Martha MacCallum, told Politico Friday they got his permission to use the song.

The song also does have a vein of QAnon conspiracy theory running through it, as well as extremist political undertones. In “Rich Men North of Richmond” and in other songs of his, Anthony appears to embrace popular conservative talking points and conspiracies.

In one line of “Rich Men North of Richmond,” Anthony judges the grocery purchases of overweight “welfare queens.” He also makes references to human trafficking and people taking advantage of children, a clear reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory that Democrats and Hollywood elites run a global sex trafficking ring. And in another song, released Wednesday, Anthony says the U.S. is on the cusp of a new world war—something to which right-wing leaders have also alluded.