In This Episode
- The Chair of Florida’s Republican Party of Florida, Christian Ziegler, was removed from his position on Monday after a closed-door meeting of party members in the state. It’s the latest development in the relatively small but very mighty scandal that also includes Ziegler’s wife, Bridget.
- Pope Francis called for surrogacy to be banned globally on Monday and described the practice as “despicable.” However, the Pope’s position on surrogacy doesn’t necessarily match up with some of his more progressive stances, including the recent allowance for Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples.
- And in headlines: United Airlines said that preliminary inspections into its Boeing 737 Max 9 planes revealed some loose bolts on door panels, President Joe Biden was in Charleston, South Carolina to gain much-needed support from Black voters, and we recap the winners and losers of the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards.
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, January 9th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson and this is What a Day with a message to the producers of the just announced Purple Rain musical.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Cast us! Tre’vell and I would be absolutely perfect as The Kid and Apollonia.
Tre’vell Anderson: Who is who Josie? There is a right answer.
Josie Duffy Rice: It will be revealed once they cast us. And people pay top dollar to find out.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. $150.
Josie Duffy Rice: Every single night minimum. [laughter] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, Pope Francis calls for a worldwide ban on surrogacy. Plus, a piece of the troubled Alaska Airlines plane has been found by a man named Bob.
Josie Duffy Rice: But first, let’s tell you about another hypocritical Florida Republican, though not Ron DeSantis in this case. And a warning this story does include accusations of sexual assault. Christian Ziegler, the chair of the Republican Party of Florida, was removed from his position on Monday after a closed door meeting of Republican Party members in the state. The removal comes after a woman alleged that Ziegler raped her in early October. It’s the latest development in the relatively small but very mighty scandal that includes not just Ziegler, but his wife, Bridget.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, I am ready to dive in. We’ve discussed this in passing on the show before, but let’s catch everyone up here. Who are the Ziegler’s? What are they known for?
Josie Duffy Rice: So the Ziegler’s have been a really big deal in Florida Republican circles for a while now. They are super MAGA, huge supporters of Trump. In fact, they were at the famed January 6th rally in D.C..
Tre’vell Anderson: Of course.
Josie Duffy Rice: Of course. And they’ve had a lot of influence on Republican politics in Florida. So they have actively supported all of the awful policies we’ve seen get passed in the state from, don’t say gay to anti-immigration legislation to punishing Disney for being too woke or whatever that was about. Christian has been chairman of the state Republican Party since February of 2023. And meanwhile, his wife Bridget, is a co-founder of Moms for Liberty, the right wing education organization that seems to believe it is immoral for students to learn about slavery or gay people. She’s also a member of the Sarasota, Florida school board, where she’s helped usher in a very conservative agenda.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. Got you. These people, they are big deals in Florida MAGA circles, I understand that, but how exactly did they become national news?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, because we can’t afford to learn about every big deal Florida MAGA person. [laughter] There is just not enough time in the day. But they have kind of become a big deal. Beginning when Christian was accused of rape last fall. His accuser alleged that she had been in a, quote, “longstanding consensual three way sexual relationship” with Christian and Bridget, which they’ve both admitted at this point. And according to the woman, the three of them had plans to have sex in early October. But when Bridget couldn’t make it, the alleged victim tried to cancel, saying in a text quote, “sorry, I was mostly in it for her.” So, according to the police report, minutes after canceling, she discovered Christian at her apartment door. He just sort of showed up and she says he entered her home and proceeded to rape her.
Tre’vell Anderson: Hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Now, Christian has denied these allegations. He claims that the encounter between him and the woman was consensual. But Instagram DMs between the two indicate that he tried to kind of deflect and minimize the situation in the weeks after and he tried to meet up with her claiming he was quote, “worried about her.” She responded quote, “hell no, not after what you did to me.” Christian has not been charged yet, but he is under investigation.
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. Okay, so this incident, it happened in early October. These allegations came out soon after. What’s happened in the months since?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So despite calls for him to resign, Christian has been fighting like absolute hell to keep his job. He has repeatedly compared himself to Trump, claiming that they’re both fighting false accusations of sexual assault. And therefore, I don’t know, he should be president. I’m not sure like where that logic ends. But regardless, the Florida Republican powers that be have actually not really stood by him since the accusations came to light. Governor Ron DeSantis, US Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and US Representative Matt Gaetz, among others, have said publicly that he should resign. And you know what Tre’vell?
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hm.
Josie Duffy Rice: If Matt Gaetz [laughter] says you have taken sexual assault too far allegedly.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hm.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s not the side of Matt Gaetz you want to fall on.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: In December, party members stripped Christian of his powers and of his salary. He ended up making $1 a year after they stripped him of a salary. And he was not allowed to hire anybody, fire anybody, speak on behalf of the GOP, raise money. Basically, he was chairman in name only, and they warned him that he’d be removed if he didn’t resign. But nevertheless, he persisted. And, uh, as of yesterday, he is no longer chairman of the party in Florida.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, okay, okay. Seems warranted to me.
Josie Duffy Rice: Appropriate. Seems like yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: What about his wife? Has she faced any backlash? Is she still leading the school board? What’s going on with her?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Bridget has faced backlash. She is not being accused of rape. But lots of people are justifiably disgruntled at the gulf between her personal life and her politics. I mean, look, what consenting adults do in their personal lives is their business. I know we agree, but the brazen hypocrisy has got a fair amount of people upset on both sides, Democrats and Republicans. I mean, this is a woman who has made her living essentially calling the LGBTQ community immoral and appropriate. All the while she’s doing what she’s been doing, which again, her business, unless she’s trying to punish other people for doing what she’s doing.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hm.
Josie Duffy Rice: So in December, she resigned from her role as vice president of school board programs at a conservative nonprofit. Also in December, a Moms for Liberty chapter in Pennsylvania split with the national group, with that chairman saying it’s hard to advocate for parental rights when the co-founder is caught up in the scandal. Which I would push back on Moms for Liberty advocating for parental rights in any good way.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: But not wrong about the scandal. But still, Bridget has resisted calls to resign from the Sarasota school board despite overwhelming pressure from not just Democrats, but Republicans. In December, the other four board members, including multiple board members who were appointed by Ron DeSantis, passed a resolution calling for her to vacate her position. She’s still there though, and as one Florida LGBTQ+ advocate stated, quote, “participation in same sex activity is not shameful. However, Bridget Ziegler has done this while simultaneously denigrating our community and working overtime to instill policies that directly marginalize us. That hypocrisy is unacceptable.” So that kind of says it all. And that is your recap of some major drama down in Florida thus far.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m sure we will have more drama to dive into soon. But thanks for that, Josie. Now on to a story about the Pope and why he and the Catholic Church are against surrogacy. On Monday, Pope Francis aka Big Daddy Pope, as I like to call him. Not to be confused with Papa Pope of Scandal fame. Of course, he named the practice of surrogacy right alongside war and terrorism as a threat to peace and humanity, calling for surrogacy to be banned globally. He said, quote, “I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs.”
Josie Duffy Rice: Listen, war and terrorism are those sort of things you just can’t go being like, this is like war and terr- it’s not.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not.
Josie Duffy Rice: Those are not. [laugh]
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s not.
Josie Duffy Rice: Just let’s work on [?] analogies.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hm.
Josie Duffy Rice: So can you explain to me like is the Pope not busy? Does the Catholic Church need more to do? Like why does he care about this?
Tre’vell Anderson: So here is some important context. Pope Francis has been known to rail against consumerism. Now that is important context because while many of us may be looking at surrogacy as, you know, a positive, right, because it allows people who can’t or don’t want to carry to otherwise be able to birth their kids. The Pope is looking at all of this quite differently, though. He sees surrogacy as something that has not only commercialized procreation, but as a practice that disadvantages and exploits poor women in particular. In the past, the Pope has actually called surrogacy, quote unquote, “uterus for rent,” which is a phrase, by the way, used by a lot of right wing and conservative politicians worldwide, including Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. More on her in a moment. And in case you were wondering, the church also opposes in vitro fertilization, in part because of their conceptions of reproduction that are limited to, you know, a man and a woman sha-boinging.
Josie Duffy Rice: Well, don’t tell the Zieglers that. But I just want to say also lots, surrogacy takes a lot of different forms. So lots of–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: –people have their own surrogate agreements with loved ones, etc.. Like it doesn’t just mean this like monetary exploitation in the way that it seems like it’s being framed here.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: And this is like a really conservative position, especially for a pope that just a few weeks ago extended blessings to same sex couples, because obviously some same sex couples use surrogacy as a way of having their own families. So it feels like–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: –a little doesn’t add up.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So, you know, let’s talk about it. Let’s break it down. First off, the surrogacy market, and I hate to really call it that, but here we are. The surrogacy market had a value of over $14 billion dollars in 2022. That’s according to Global Market Insights. Mind you, that’s $14 billion dollars for a practice that is actually already illegal in many parts of the world, like Italy, for example. It, of course, is not illegal in many of these United States that we live in. And so this has led to many folks engaging in forms of what’s called fertility tourism to be able to access these costly procedures and arrangements. Surrogacy can cost prospective parents anywhere from $100,000 to over $300,000 dollars. So, you know, maybe Big Daddy Pope does have a bit of a valid critique on the commercialization point there. And I know many of y’all watched Little Fires Everywhere. So you know how this thing can, you know, turn out in a lot of ways.
Josie Duffy Rice: If you want to come for capitalism, like let’s chat but–
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s just do it right.
Josie Duffy Rice: –it feels fairly narrow. Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Well, you also mentioned that this position by the Pope doesn’t necessarily match with some of the more progressive things he has said as of late. To catch people up, yes. While we were on break a couple of weeks ago, the Vatican said that Pope Francis had allowed priests to bless same sex couples. It was described in The New York Times as, quote, “an innovative contribution to the pastoral meaning of blessings.” But just to be clear here, the church is still embracing that, you know, hate the sin, love the sinner thing that so many of us are familiar with. And that’s because they also made clear that these blessings are not an endorsement of queer people’s actual lives. Right. So the church is more progressive than it’s been before. Absolutely. But is the church really waving the inclusion flag? Not quite. You know.
Josie Duffy Rice: No. Mmhmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: Also, in looking at the way some of the more recent anti surrogacy laws in places like Italy have been used specifically to target queer couples. It also might be a bit hard to only see this as you know, the Pope standing up for poor women. But this is also the guy who likened abortion to, quote, “hiring a hit man to resolve a problem.” So, you know, maybe we need to, you know, level our expectations just a little bit.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. I fear we’ve forgotten that the Catholic Church has just been behind the times.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: Constantly throughout history. No offense to Catholics or the Catholic Church. I just feel like that’s not where I’m going for my progressive direction.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I think that would be wise. [laughter] But that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. [music break]
Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines. Headlines. Starting with a few, frankly, concerning updates on the investigation of the Boeing 737 Max nine incident. First, United Airlines said yesterday that preliminary inspections revealed some loose bolts on door panels of multiple of its Max nine planes. Those are the planes that were grounded after last Friday’s incident. And second, the Alaska Airlines plane that experienced a mid-flight blowout was actually restricted from flying to Hawaii before this incident because a pressurization warning light lit up three different times since just last month. So the company prevented the craft from flying over water in case the light turned on again and the plane needed to return to an airport. That’s what the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, Jennifer Homendy, said during a news conference Sunday night. And Homendy said those lights were reported, tested by maintenance, and then reset. She also said it’s unknown if there’s any correlation between the pressurization lights and Friday’s incident. And lastly, we want to give a shout out to Bob Sauer of Portland fame, who found the panel that flew out of the Alaska Airlines plane and into his back yard. Here’s Homendy once again.
[clip of Jennifer Homendy] Bob contacted us at email@example.com with two photos of the, uh, door plug uh, and said he found it in his backyard. Thank you Bob.
Josie Duffy Rice: Thanks, Bob. [laughter] The door panel will now be examined by investigators to try to find out how the incident happened.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, finally, a good moment in culture for men named Bob.
Josie Duffy Rice: Shout out to the Bob’s.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Now to the 2024 campaign trail. President Joe Biden was in my hometown yesterday, Charleston, South Carolina, trying to gain much needed support from Black voters in order to win reelection. The president gave a speech from the pulpit of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, often called Mother Emanuel. The church is also the site where nine Black parishioners were killed by a white supremacist back in 2015. Take a listen to what the president said during his speech.
[clip of President Joe Biden] The word of God was pierced by bullets and hate of rage, propelled by not just gunpowder, but by a poison. A poison that has for too long haunted this nation. What is that poison? White supremacy.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, let me just say somebody coached Joe Biden very well, giving a speech in front of a Black congregation. He got the rhythm right. You know what I mean? I’m just saying, it sounds like he’s doing and being very intentional here. And without naming them, Biden also took shots at former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. During his speech Monday, Biden was also briefly interrupted by protesters calling for a cease fire in Gaza, with one person shouting that Biden should call for one if he really cares about the lives lost in the US. Take a close listen.
[clip of protester calling for a cease fire in Gaza] If you really care about the lives lost here, then you should [?] lives lost and call for a ceasefire in Palestine.
[clip of protesters calling for a cease fire in Gaza] Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now! Ceasefire now!
[clip of President Joe Biden] That’s all right. That’s all, that’s all right. That’s all right. [?]
Tre’vell Anderson: The audience then started shouting four more years, and Biden went on to say, quote, “I understand their passion” and that he was quietly working to quote, “significantly get out of Gaza.”
Josie Duffy Rice: The U.S. just launched its first space mission, designed to land softly on the moon since 1972. But some technical difficulties could jeopardize whether or not it reaches the lunar surface. On Monday, the aerospace company Astrobotics launched one of its commercial spacecrafts in Florida. Everything went fine with liftoff, but hours after the launch, the company noticed an issue with the rocket’s propulsion system that turned it away from the sun mid-flight. This is a huge problem because a spacecraft needs solar energy to keep it running. Thankfully, Astrobotic said they were able to reorient the ship’s solar panels to charge it up. But this is just the first part of the ship’s journey to the moon. The spacecraft is expected to land on the lunar surface on February 23rd, and the mission is all a part of NASA’s larger goal to get astronauts back on the moon for the first time since the Apollo missions.
Tre’vell Anderson: And finally, the Golden Globes recap. I don’t want to give, but I must. In the film categories, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer won big, taking home the awards for best drama motion picture, Best Director, Best lead Actor and more. Lily Gladstone became the first Indigenous person to win Best Actress for her role in Killers of the Flower Moon.
[clip of Lily Gladstone] This is for every little rez kid, every little urban kid, every little native kid out there who has a dream.
Tre’vell Anderson: And Hayao Miyazaki won his first Golden Globe for his latest film, The Boy and the Heron. More than 40 years after he made his directorial debut. In the TV categories, Succession was named best drama series. Kieran Culkin took home his first ever Golden Globe for his role as Roman Roy, and he took time in his acceptance speech to say this to his competitor, Pedro Pascal.
[clip of Kieran Culkin] Suck it Pedro! Sorry. [laugh] Mine.
Tre’vell Anderson: Ayo Edibiri, also won her first Golden Globe, winning the title of Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in The Bear. But the biggest takeaway of the night was that Jo Koy should never host an award show. The comedian ended up taking on the role of emcee for the Globes after several celebrities passed on the opportunity, but his performance was not well received. Many people took issue with his supposed jokes that he made in his monologues, because many of them came off as sexist. Like this one:
[clip of Jo Koy] Oppenheimer is based on a 721 page, Pulitzer Prize winning book about the Manhattan Project. Barbie is on a plastic doll with big boobies.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes. Not great, not funny.
Josie Duffy Rice: Really not funny.
Tre’vell Anderson: And when Koy noticed that many of his lines weren’t landing during the show, he went on to say this.
[clip of Jo Koy] Yo, I got the gig ten days ago. You want a perfect monologue? I wrote some of these and they’re the ones you’re laughing at.
Tre’vell Anderson: So, you know, I guess we have to give him credit, right, for taking the job, you know, ten days prior. But there’s something to be said, right, about a guy throwing his writers under the bus right after a historic months long Hollywood writers strike. Maybe he should not have, you know, ad libbed that.
Josie Duffy Rice: I agree, and I also just feel like you don’t need ten days to think of a better joke than boobies on Barbies, you need ten minutes. You need ten seconds. I feel like most of us could do better in 10 seconds.
Tre’vell Anderson: Are you making a pitch to host the next Golden Globes again Josie?
Josie Duffy Rice: I am absolutely making a pitch to co-host it with you and Katt Williams. That was your idea earlier.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] Yes, yes.
Josie Duffy Rice: I love this idea. I will not make a single boobies joke. I won’t do it. That’s the Josie Duffy Rice promise.
Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Thanks a lot Bob and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading and not just the growing list of hypocritical Republicans like me, it’s so long, y’all! What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/ Subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
[spoken together] And in karaoke we kill at Purple Rain.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, it’s a crowd pleaser. What can I say?
Josie Duffy Rice: It is. I’m confident that the people who have seen me do karaoke would pay $150 to see me do it on stage. Why not?
Tre’vell Anderson: Why not? [music break]
Josie Duffy Rice: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers. And our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.