OPINION: Hurricane Donald blows a crazy course of hostility through Georgia

Credit: John Spink

Credit: John Spink

It’s been a whirlwind of late: Georgia has seen two hurricanes in recent weeks.

Hurricane Idalia slogged through southern Georgia Wednesday, leaving it soaked and dark as Georgia Power crews earn overtime.

And before that, Hurricane Donald (aka the Trump indictment) rolled through Atlanta, and the effects are still being felt.

In any Hurricane there’s the center, or the eye; there’s the eyewall, which is the ring of swirling storm that wreaks most of the damage; and there’s the outer ring, or rain bands. Trump, of course, is the eye. And it’s to be debated what level of accompanying nonsense is to be categorized as eyewalls or rain bands.

But since Trump rolled into town to have his mugshot taken, Georgia has seen lots of swirling activity.

Let’s chew through it:

The state Senate, once the center for (comparatively) reasoned debate, has become a hothouse for conspiracy and hostility.

State Sen. Colton Moore, a northwest Georgia back-bencher and auctioneer by trade, is hawking the latest far-right lunacy — the threat of civil war.

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

First, he called for a special session to investigate and possibly impeach Fulton County DA Fani Willis for indicting Trump. Then, when sensible adults in the GOP pushed back saying that was a crazy idea (and they didn’t have enough votes, anyway), Manchild Moore went ballistic, calling his colleagues “buzzard cowards.”

Then, GOP colleagues who weren’t drinking Moore’s Kool-Aid started getting threats.

Undeterred, Moore went on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast — he’s the guy who years ago brought back “heads on pikes” to political discourse. “I don’t want a civil war,” Moore told him. “I don’t want to have to draw my rifle.”

Seeing the base getting restless, and trying to keep himself from getting primaried in his conservative north Georgia district, State Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch tossed out an olive branch to the fire-breathers.

Gooch told my colleague Greg Bluestein that a new board to investigate and remove problematic prosecutors was a “tool in the toolbox” (read “hammer”) that Republicans could use for relief.

The new law, opposed by most district attorneys, was set up to go after ethically challenged prosecutors. But it is also seen as a way to go after left-leaning DAs who are “soft on crime.”

I can say right here that the panel overseeing DAs will have a hard time sanctioning one for bringing a case to a grand jury and getting a true bill.

Ain’t gonna happen. And Gooch knows this.



Rudy Giuliani twice drove his election-denying clown car to state Senate hearings during Trump’s 2020 Stop the Steal campaign. It was during one of these alternative-fact hearings that he got himself in a heap of trouble.

This week, a federal judge ruled him liable for defaming Fulton election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss. They’re the two he slandered, saying they had “suitcases” of fake ballots. Giuliani’s lies led to threats against the women and to his eventual indictment.

Once, he was remembered proudly after 9/11 as “America’s Mayor” and the courageous crime fighter who once brought down John Gotti. Now, he’s known as the guy with sweaty hair dye dripping down his face and for scurrying over to the 2nd Chance Bail Bonds office after his arrest.

U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, widely known as the state’s second kookiest Congress member, this week jumped on the “Investigate Fani Willis Bandwagon,” albeit from the federal sideshow angle.

Clyde, who sports AR-15 lapel pins, likened the January 6th rioters who wandered the halls of Congress to people on a “normal tourist visit” — that is, if vacationers screamed and beat down cops before entering Dollywood.

He’s also a tough-on-crime, anti-gun-control pol who has carved out a nice living selling weaponry. But there’s a twist.

Credit: Nathan Posner for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Credit: Nathan Posner for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

This year, Clyde criticized the ATF for a program that monitors dealers who have sold an inordinate number of guns that end up involved in crimes within three years after sale.

He did not mention that two of his gun stores were placed on that program in 2020 and 2021, according to a New York Times story.

The paper noted the ATF believes guns involved in crimes within 3 years of purchase is “an important indication that a seller might be a popular destination for criminals or the target of so-called straw purchasers who use surrogates to buy guns.”

Clyde’s stores have not been accused of that, although Georgia is a favorite for straw purchases. Clyde told the paper “firearm traces cause a significant administrative burden” for dealers.

— And finally, Harrison Floyd, the former leader of Black Voices for Trump, finally got bailed out of Fulton’s jail. He was accused of trying to intimidate Ruby Freeman into lying that she had tried to help steal the election for Joe Biden.

Floyd seems to be part of a long line of grifters trying to become a martyr for Trump. Republicans once bashed Democrats for playing the “victim card.” Now the GOP has laminated it.

My colleague Chris Joyner noted that a donation site set up in Floyd’s name reported to have raised more than $275,000.

Floyd is also considering a run for Congress.

Surprise, surprise.