DeSantis calls for resignation of embattled FL GOP Chair Christian Ziegler

 December 3, 2023

As more details emerge about a rape allegation leveled against Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler, Republican Ron DeSantis has stepped forward to call for the party official's resignation, as the Associated Press reports.

The controversy began when, as NBC News indicates, it emerged that Ziegler was under investigation for claims of sexual battery and rape in his hometown of Sarasota, allegations said to involve a woman with whom he and his wife -- Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler -- had previously engaged in sexual encounters.

According to reports, the accuser in the case indicated that she had been acquainted with Mr. Ziegler and his wife for some time, having participated in the aforementioned sexual conduct with the couple, and though she had agreed to another such engagement, eventually backed out, allegedly prompting the assault by Christian Ziegler.

DeSantis weighs in

Though no charges have been filed against Ziegler as of yet, DeSantis made his position on the GOP official's appropriate fate as it relates to party duties.

Speaking to Fox News, DeSantis said, “I don't see how he can continue with that investigation ongoing given the gravity of those situations. And so, I think he should step aside. I think he should tend to that.”

“He's innocent till proven guilty, but we just can't have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny,” the governor declared.

DeSantis noted that he has had a friendly relationship with both Christian and Bridget Ziegler, the claims against the former are simply too serious for him to remain in his current post.

Next steps unclear

The Florida Republican Party issued a brief statement on the matter, noting its awareness of the allegations against its chairman.

“An investigation is being conducted by the authorities and RPOF will not comment on an ongoing investigation,” the communication read.

Despite DeSantis' belief that Ziegler should step down for the good of the party, particularly in the run-up to the 2024 presidential contest, the embattled GOP leader has -- at least so far -- resisted the governor's entreaty, as the Washington Examiner notes.

“We have a country to save, and I am not going to let false allegations of a crime put that mission on the bench as I wait for this process to wrap up,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler also suggested that political rivals -- including some on the left -- are promulgating false and salacious misinformation about the substance of the criminal probe.

“To protect the integrity of the investigation at this moment in the process, there is not much more outside of what I just shared and my lawyer's statement at the bottom of this email that I can publicly share about this situation until the investigation is complete,” Ziegler said.

He added, “When we reach that point, I will have a lot more to share about the facts, how this transpired, the motive, and who was behind it,” and, as Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics opined on Saturday, “It doesn't sound like he's going anywhere.”

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