CNN drops special report about Clarence Thomas, Gov. DeSantis: They once had a 'big bear hug'

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CNN broke a bombshell story on Tuesday: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) once hugged Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Network anchor Kate Bolduan promised viewers "new details about the close relationship" between DeSantis and Thomas and their alleged mutual friend, conservative legal activist Leonard Leo.

In reality, DeSantis and Thomas' friendship is old news.

The report centered on a Federalist Society event in Florida three years ago. At that event, DeSantis praised Thomas as "our greatest living justice." According to Bolduan, the three men — DeSantis, Thomas, and Leo — shared dinner after that event. CNN then showed video of DeSantis and Thomas hugging one another.

\u201cCNN has a bombshell report on Ron DeSantis and his "close relationship" with Justice Clarence Thomas:\n\nIn 2020, Justice Thomas spoke at the Florida Federalist Society. There, DeSantis called Thomas the "greatest living justice."\n\nAfter the event, they went out to dinner.\u201d
— ( 1686062430

"Didn't you like that big bear hug at the end there?" interjected CNN Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic.

It turned out the report was really a pretext to bash Leo, who once advised Donald Trump on which judges he should consider for the Supreme Court.

"Ron DeSantis, now as a candidate, is taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook and running on the Supreme Court. And he's doing it in part by holding up Clarence Thomas as a model," Biskupic said.

"Interestingly, part of the playbook that Trump had involved using Leonard Leo to advise him on his choices for the Supreme Court. And he effectively sought out three very conservative, anti-abortion justices," Biskupic continued. "And Leonard Leo has also advised Ron DeSantis in his role as governor of Florida and he's chosen his nominees for the Florida Supreme Court."

Unsurprisingly, Biskupic went on to bash "Thomas's approach to the law" — which read more like a progressive's caricature of conservative values.

"Leonard Leo has not said who he's going to support in the sprawling primary... but he has long advised Gov DeSantis," she said. "And Clarence Thomas' approach to the law — anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, anti-press — mirrors what Ron DeSantis has done in the state down in Florida."

The premise of CNN's story, then, is this: Conservatives make friends with other conservatives. Truly earth-shattering reporting.

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