“Not our best week ever:” NH GOP’s Nuclear Meltdown
Last week saw a total collapse of the NH GOP from the top to bottom, with every day taking the party to new, staggering depths of incompetence, mismanagement, and malfeasance, culminating in the arrest of a Republican lawmaker and a messy, public resignation of a member of House Republican Leadership.
The cascade of high profile blunders and blowups by Granite State lawmakers led NH GOP Vice Chair to issue a tweet summing up the whole experience as “Yeah, not our best week ever.” MONDAY: Republican State Rep. Mike Belcher (R-Wakefield) echoed hate speech from right-wing political commentator Michael Knowles, who called for the eradication of transgenderism “from public life entirely” — a refrain amounting to genocide.
Rep. Belcher then proceeded to double down on the claim before filing a nonsensical police report against NHDP staff for highlighting his language. His pathetic, angry pleas went ignored by law enforcement and he was mocked and ridiculed online.
TUESDAY: Hundreds of supporters, advocates, and faith leaders showed up at the State House to oppose a number of dangerous Republican bills aimed at rolling back rights and protections for LGBTQ+ students and trans youth.
They were joined by representatives of a number of New Hampshire-based healthcare providers who are using their platforms to cement the importance of gender-affirming healthcare and denounce Republicans’ extreme, politically-motivated legislation.
However, during testimony on anti-LGBTQ+ bill SB 272 in the Senate, Senator Ruth Ward (R-Stoddard) inappropriately ended the public comment period after only two hours without warning, disenfranchising dozens of Granite Staters who attended the hearing from every corner of the state.
The Union Leader reported that many were “stunned” to see the move with so many left still waiting to speak.
WEDNESDAY: Rep. David Testerman (R-Franklin) went on an unhinged anti-teacher rant to justify a Republican bill which would give the Department of Education authority to issue subpoenas to New Hampshire teachers.
In committee, Rep. Testerman said teachers were “not the brightest bunch of people,” and spread a widely debunked assertion that teachers as a profession had the lowest SAT scores as students.
The bill under discussion would allow subpoenas to be issued for breaches of the Department of Education conduct code. The Republican bill is being introduced following passage of politically motivated bans on discussions regarding race and gender in New Hampshire classrooms implemented in 2021.
THURSDAY: Senate Republicans blocked SB 181, the Access to Abortion-care Act, which would have codified abortion protection into state law, denying Granite Staters abortion protections available to every other state
WMUR reported that in defending the position of Republican, State Senator Carrie Gendreau (R-Littleton) took to the floor and said “I have a higher authority, and my constituents are not my higher authority in this case,” “This is a moral and a biblical issue, it's not a political issue." Making clear the Republican State Senate’s biggest priority is to make the law of the church the law of the land.
FRIDAY: WMUR reported Republican State Representative Jeff Greeson was recorded in a violent exchange with the town's highway road agent, cursing at him and grabbing at his phone.
Rep. Greeson is listed as the pastor of the Wentworth Baptist Church in Wentworth, NH He is the original prime sponsor of legislation which would force New Hampshire schools to “out” LGBTQ+ students.
Following the WMUR report, Rep. Greeson was arrested, charged with disorderly conduct, criminal threatening and simple assault.
SATURDAY: The Union Leader reported that Rep. Aidan Ankarberg (R-Rochester) — a senior member of NH GOP House leadership — resigned from his position last week, citing “vicious slander, coercion and outright incompetence” from other members of leadership.
Needless to say, NH GOP Vice Chair Terrell has a point.