An indelible stain on the reputation of Ashley Moody

Judge Moody promised as a candidate that she would not politicize the office of the people’s lawyer.

On June 1, 1950, U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith delivered a speech on the Senate floor known as the Declaration of Conscience in which she took to task her fellow Republican, Sen. Joe McCarthy, a populist forebear of Donald Trump. In doing so, she was fearlessly leaning into the rising storm of anti-communist paranoia and persecution that was McCarthy’s stock in trade.

With Harry Truman in the White House and Dwight Eisenhower running to unseat him, Smith said, “The nation sorely needs a Republican victory. But I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny — Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.”

And with a handful of exceptions among her Republican colleagues — six Senators to be exact — she stood alone for almost four years to the day, until June 9, 1954, when Joseph Welsch, a private attorney representing the Army, which was under attack by McCarthy, called him out at a televised committee hearing.

“You have done enough,” Welsch said. “Have you no sense of decency?” And with that, the fever of McCarthyism broke, and a nation wearied by McCarthy’s excesses turned their backs on him.

Historical parallels have their uses, but they should not be belabored. There probably will not be a Joseph Welsch, who brings Trump to heel and America to its senses at just the right moment with just the right words. It is certain no Welch will be found among the Republicans in the Florida congressional delegation, nine of whom lent their names to the seditious attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election that was the laughable Texas lawsuit curb-stomped by the U.S. Supreme Court last Friday night, and all of whom have since 2016 distinguished themselves by either active collaboration with Trump or sotto voce cowardice when their oaths of office demanded better from them.

Add to this nine Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and Attorney General Ashley Moody, and you have a baker’s dozen of disappointments.

Little was to be expected in this matter of Gov. DeSantis, a Trump creation, and Rubio and Scott, Trump thralls. Still, Moody had the opportunity Bull Halsey had in mind when he said: “There are no great men, there are only great challenges, which ordinary men … are forced to meet.

Moody, a former Circuit Court judge and the daughter of a federal judge, promised as a candidate that she would not politicize the office of the people’s lawyer.

There was every reason to believe her, and believe her we did.

But she lied.

Since being sworn in two years ago, Moody has missed no opportunity to toady to Trump. Apparently bereft of the principles and conscience that Sen. Smith exemplified, General Moody has totally jumped the shark since Election Day, abusing the prerogatives of her office by gratuitously joining in legal attempts to subvert a manifestly open and fair election that even U.S. Attorney General William Barr, a loyal Trump caporegime, has said was free of significant fraud. 

Why? Because political survival is the prime directive for the morally challenged. All of the Florida 10 are likely to be reelected provided they do not skate onto thin ice with Trump and get primaried from the right, which is why they never fail to demonstrate obeisance to Trump regardless of right and wrong. It is such a demeaning and dispiriting spectacle, and, again, for no one more than Ashley Moody. 

And therein lays Moody’s tragedy. She could have been a Margaret Chase Smith, but she failed to meet the great challenge of her time, and she did so in spectacular fashion, abandoning any pretense of fidelity to American democracy for naked partisanship.

Whereas Smith rode to the sound of gunfire when the country was in danger, Moody proved to be the danger.

It is a stain she can never wash off; whatever her political future is.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Sonja Fitch

    December 14, 2020 at 4:14 am

    Bravo! Succinct and to the point…there is no Republican Party! There are only goptrump death cult LOSERS! Sadder is the fact that the goptrump death cult leader Trump has his racist followers do damage to our Democracy! Moody you are a goptrump death cult LOSER!

  • Ocean Joe

    December 14, 2020 at 5:44 am

    Thank you for this. The office is supposed to the represent the people of Florida, not act as legal counsel for a political party. Look back to our most contentious election: 2000, was it Chain Gang Charlie? Whoever it was did not convert the office for the sake of one political party.

    As for the “have you no decency” moment, we’ve been waiting four years, it will never come again because Trump lowered the bar for everyone. Scott sits on 700 million in personal wealth and screeches from the far right corner of the senate blocking relief while Floridians and Americans can’t pay back rents (70B); face eviction (30-40M); are food insecure (26M) and 63% of the country lives paycheck to paycheck since covid. (Moody’s Analytica, et al).

  • Larry Gillis

    December 14, 2020 at 8:05 am


    If you are looking for principled politics, vote Libertarian. Our platform says everything we have to say. Our individual candidates openly acknowledge that they are there solely to deliver the message,

    Try looking for a Republican message: their national party deliberately chose this year to NOT have one. Imagine that: a political party WITHOUT a platform. So, technically, they stand for nothing. What they actually stand for is, of course, Donald Trump. His own platform, for that matter, is — Donald Trump. As to the Democrats, be afraid, very afraid. They actually believe “We are the government; we’re here to help you”.

    So, vote Libertarian.

  • Richard Kszystyniak

    December 14, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Very well-written and honest article. So many have failed to pass what shouldd have been simple character tests.

  • Palmer Tom

    December 14, 2020 at 9:28 am

    Sean Shaw looks better every day.

  • Ray Blacklidge

    December 14, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Trump haters are so deranged by their hate, that they spew out hate towards anyone who would dare support our President. Nothing to see here except hate.

  • James Robert Miles

    December 14, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    No one has been better at bringing HATE to the forefront in the U.S. than Donald Trump and his sucker and loser followers!!

  • Rick

    December 14, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Many of us don’t like the shenanigans with mail in ballots, maybe with the exception of these transplants from the northeast. I applaud Ashley Moody for standing up to all these voting irregularities.

  • Palmer Tom

    December 14, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Ashley Moody is a disappointing political hack, similar to Pam Bondi, her predecessor.

  • Pedro

    December 14, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Ashley Moody should be ashamed of herself. She is an embarrassment to fair and reasonable Floridians. A number of Trump fanatics are in denial about Joe Biden having won this fair, free, and honest election fair and square. This outrageous and shameless Texas lawsuit was an attempt to overturn the will of the voters and steal the election for Trump.

  • john cox

    December 16, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    The ‘so-called’ republicans specific to FLORIDA continue to dfsappoint if not morify. Here’s hoping KARMA strikes hard. Moody certainly knows better, but sold out!

Comments are closed.


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