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Elie Mystal on Tennessee’s Anti-Drag Ban: GOP Is Pushing Bigotry & Attacking the First Amendment

Written by on 03/04/2023

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Elie, before you go, on Friday, a federal judge in Memphis, Tennessee, temporarily blocked a law, signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, banning drag performances in public. Meanwhile, in an interview on 60 Minutes with Lesley Stahl, the far-right Republican Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene said she stands by her claim that Democrats are a party of pedophiles. This is what she said.

LESLEY STAHL: “The Democrats are a party of pedophiles.”

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: I would definitely say so. They support grooming children.

LESLEY STAHL: They are not pedophiles. Why would you say that?

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: Democrats — Democrats support — even Joe Biden, the president himself, supports children being sexualized and having transgender surgeries. Sexualizing children is what pedophiles do to children.


AMY GOODMAN: That was Lesley Stahl questioning Marjorie Taylor Greene, who’s headed to New York to protest the arrest of Donald Trump. Elie Mystal, your final comments?

ELIE MYSTAL: Yeah, Amy, I’m going to push back on the word that that was Lesley Stahl “questioning.” That was Lesley Stahl laundering Marjorie Taylor Greene and her wackadoodle theories. If Lesley Stahl had been prepared for that, which we knew that Marjorie Taylor Greene was going to say, Lesley Stahl should have been prepared to just come back with Dennis Hastert, who’s a Republican. The point is not Lesley Stahl.

The point here is that Tennessee’s drag ban was always bad law. It was always against the First Amendment. One of the things that these Republicans are trying to do is to directly attack the First Amendment when it suits them to try to push their bigotry against the LGBTQ community. It was obviously against the First Amendment. It was a good decision by a judge to block it. And even with our conservative courts, I expect, generally, that law to not pass muster and to be blocked all the way up to the Supreme Court.

AMY GOODMAN: Elie Mystal, I want to thank you for being with us, The Nation‘s justice correspondent, author of Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution. We’ll link to your recent articles, including “Donald Trump Has Been Indicted. Don’t Get Your Hopes Up,” at

Coming up, we go to Belgrade, Serbia, where we’ll speak with former Guantánamo prisoner Mansoor Adayfi, who gives his first television interview about how likely presidential candidate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis personally watched him be force-fed and tortured while DeSantis was working as a Navy attorney at Guantánamo. Stay with us.

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