Mike Huckabee Just Sued the County Because It Closed His Beach

Apparently his 10,000-square-foot mansion with a pool isn’t enough space for a quarantine.

Mike Huckabee has been trying for years to keep people off the beach in front of his $6 million McMansion on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Since he bought the house in 2011, he has complained that the 115-foot spit of sugar-sand beach in front of his Walton County property has been fouled by pot-smoking kids and pooping dogs. Most shocking of all, he once saw a young couple strip naked and have sex on a YOLO board there at two in the afternoon. But now that the county has finally closed the beach and kicked out all the spring breakers as part of its pandemic response, Huckabee has sued the county because he can’t go out there either.

On Monday, the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate joined with a bunch of his rich neighbors to sue Walton County, Florida, in federal court, alleging that the county’s beach closing order has left them faced with “threats of criminal prosecution for doing no more than setting foot in their own backyards that they own.” They told the court that the beach closure order constitutes an illegal taking of property without compensation and violates their constitutionally guaranteed property and due process rights. “The county’s ordinance forces family members into a confined space within their house rather than allow them to social distance and recreate in their sandy backyard,” the plaintiffs complained in a court document. (There has been an ongoing and heated legal fight over whether Huckabee really does technically “own” the beach in front of his house, which had been used by the public for centuries before he moved there.)

Ever tone deaf, Huckabee isn’t likely to win many fans as he embarks on this particular fight with Walton County, where like most of America, people are confined in far smaller spaces than the one enjoyed by the Huckabee family. Huckabee does not mention in his lawsuit that his family is “confined” to a 10,000-square-foot monstrosity with six bedrooms, seven-and-a-half bathrooms, and its own private pool where they can recreate, sunbathe, and swim unmolested by the county cops.

The lawsuit stems from a decision by Walton County to close its own beaches on March 19, when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) was still dithering over issuing a state-wide closure as crowds of kids on spring break enjoyed one last hurrah on state beaches. The original county order only covered public beaches. But people continued to flood there from out of town to quarantine in their second homes or condos, many of which have private beaches that were getting too crowded. So, on April 2, the county commission held a meeting and voted to amend its original emergency beach closing order to cover private beaches, too. Some of the property owners complained about the “taking” at the meeting, but they didn’t find much sympathy. “One-third of the people in this county have been laid off probably,”  Commissioner Danny Glidewell said at the meeting. “This is a sacrifice that’s in the best interests of the people of Walton County…and I don’t care who doesn’t like it.”

Undeterred, three days later, Huckabee filed his lawsuit, asking for an emergency injunction that would reopen his little patch of sand. A judge will hear the arguments on Monday. “I don’t know how he sleeps at night,” Daniel Uhlfelder, a Walton County attorney who has tangled with Huckabee before over public access to the beach near his house, told me. “This is a temporary attempt to protect the public. We’re in a pandemic. People are dying. And he’s suing the sheriff in federal court.”  

MS-13 Isn’t the Problem Trump Says It Is

In reality, MS-13 members make up a fraction of Border Patrol arrests and a small part of gang activity in the United States. While the group has committed brutal murders on Long Island, there is no evidence that the gang is increasingly sending members into the country.

..  Rather than a nationwide threat, the group is being used as a political tool used to “turbocharge the xenophobia that underlies the debate around immigration

.. MS-13 members, some 10,000 in number, make up less than 1 percent of the approximately 1.4 million gang members in the United States, according to F.B.I. estimates. Other gangs are several times larger.

.. MS-13’s numbers are stagnant, too. While precise size estimates are hard to come by, authorities have used the same figure of about 10,000 members for over a decade. (The F.B.I. estimates the gang has between 30,000 and 50,000 members around the world.)
.. Far from menacing cities across the country, as Mr. Trump has suggested, the gang’s presence is concentrated in Long Island, Los Angeles and the region outside Washington.
.. In addition, most MS-13 recruits are not migrants but teenagers who live in the United States and are alienated from their communities
.. In those areas, the gang may be the only group that provides a sense of identity
.. Policymakers in Central America have argued deporting criminals from the United States has exacerbated gang problems abroad, ultimately worsening crime in the United States.
.. While MS-13 began in the 1980s as a small and unorganized street gang in Los Angeles, some evidence suggests the group expanded in Central America after the United States began deporting illegal immigrants — many with criminal backgrounds — with greater intensity in 1996. Experts have described this process as “exporting” American-style gang culture to Central America.
.. Poor prison conditions in those countries may have also helped MS-13 become larger and better organized
.. By 2008, law enforcement found evidence that MS-13 leaders in El Salvadoran prisons were ordering assassinations in Washington while making plans to unify gang groups in the United States.

MS-13 was a gang fueled by deportation, not immigration,” Dr. Leap said.

.. Trump uses MS-13 as a political tool

At a rally last month in Nashville, Mr. Trump once again linked MS-13 to his political opponents. He has said on Twitter that Democrats are “weak on crime” along the border and are “protecting MS-13 thugs.”

.. Mike Huckabee, tweeted an incendiary picture of MS-13 members, likening them to the campaign staff for Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader.
.. MS-13 has entered the national conversation because of Mr. Trump’s anti-immigration agenda, not because it has become more threatening, Dr. Cruz said. Because of the gang’s association with Central American countries that Mr. Trump dislikes, “it’s the perfect group for him to blame,” he added.

Donald Trump’s Pick for Israel Envoy Helped Fund Settlers

“If those are the actual policies, then it would be hard to see how Trump as president could actually pursue his preference for peace,” Mr. Ross said. “It is not just that the Palestinians would see little reason to be responsive, but Arab states that are quietly cooperating with the Israelis in tangible ways would also find it difficult to play any role in peacemaking.”

.. The settlement was created with the support of the Israeli government, and has since grown to more than 1,000 families, or roughly 7,500 people, he said. The settlement’s location and ideology is considered hard-line among many Israelis and even some settlers.

.. Yet in its 40-year history, and with help from Bet El Institutions and American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center, the settlement has become one of the most influential in the U.S. in promoting its agenda and winning friends in the U.S, Israeli settlers say.

At a gala dinner earlier this month at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York, former U.S ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and current Israeli ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon were keynote speakers at the $500-a-ticket event to raise money for Beit El Institutions. Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who is a frequent visitor to settlements in the West Bank, was also a previous speaker at the event