Joe Henderson: Hillsborough GOP, do better next time than Anthony Sabatini
Anthony Sabatini is bullying members to vote against Ronna McDaniel for RNC Chair. Image via Colin Hackley.

Giving the bombastic lawmaker the Calvin Coolidge Award at the Lincoln Day Dinner is a blunder.

The Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee thinks a lot of state Rep. Anthony Sabatini.

How much? It gave him the Calvin Coolidge Award at its recent Lincoln Day Dinner.

That award is for … oh, please. Do I have to keep a straight face when I say this?

OK, I’ll try. Deep breath. The award signifies “good governance.” It says so, right on the plaque.

Must not laugh. Must not laugh.

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board last year called Sabatini “the worst person in the Legislature.”

Even if that’s not true, which it probably is, comparing him to the 30th President of the United States doesn’t fit.

Start with this: Coolidge’s nickname was Silent Cal.

According to, “The quiet, respectable and frugal President provided a comforting symbol of old-fashioned responsibility and virtue.”

Sabatini is rarely quiet and hardly respectable. Nor is he a comforting symbol of old-fashioned responsibility and virtue. Remember the photo of him wearing blackface? The Lincoln Day Dinner honors the man who freed the slaves. Do I have to say more?

I didn’t think so.

He probably does deserve some awards, though, and I have a few suggestions.

Yes, I’m as crazy as you think I am award. He tweeted a picture of an AR-15 rifle, warning protesters who might head to Lake County “this will be a very common sight upon illegal entry at any Lake County business.” It didn’t seem to occur to him that inciting potential violence is a bad idea. However, self-awareness doesn’t seem to be his defining trait.

Can I get a refund on the money I spent earning a law degree award. He sued multiple municipalities throughout the state to overturn mask mandates while the COVID-19 pandemic put thousands of Floridians in a hospital or in the ground. Sabatini was unsuccessful each time.

A judge even warned him, “The Court urges Mr. Sabatini to reflect on the possibility that, at some point, he could be sanctioned for filing frivolous lawsuits.”

In case you thought I couldn’t do anything crazier than the AR-15 stunt award. He tried to get U.S. Highway 27 renamed for what’s his name from Mar-a-Lago and was unsuccessful.

Maybe I’ll dupe some nutty GOPs into giving me the Calvin Coolidge Award award. Sabatini sought to have Florida’s 2020 election audited, even though his party scored big. Well, not the whole state. He wanted the audit to cover just five counties — Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Boward, Orange, and Palm Beach.

Those counties voted for Joe Biden over what’s-his-name, and no audit will change that.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee swatted that request like the mosquito Sabatini apparently patterns his life after. So now, he wants a law requiring an audit of future elections. That could cost taxpayers millions of dollars, but don’t worry because the bill won’t pass.

Here’s a brief history lesson. Coolidge was a staunch conservative Republican who was President from 1923-29.

His economic policies helped fuel the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties. However, when the bottom fell out in 1929, lots of people blamed him for the Great Depression.

David Greenberg of the Miller Center noted, His failure to aid the depressed agricultural sector seems shortsighted. Nearly five thousand rural banks in the Midwest and South shut their doors in bankruptcy while many thousands of farmers lost their lands.

“His tax cuts contributed to an uneven distribution of wealth and the overproduction of goods. Many Americans were deeply in debt for having purchased consumer goods on easy installment credit terms.”

Other critics said his hands-off foreign policy helped fuel the rise of Nazi Germany, which was really bad.

But hey, Coolidge still deserves better than having a blowhard like Sabatini receive an award in his name.

Do better next time, Hillsborough Republicans.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Alex

    September 7, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Our Sabatini that is right now writing up legislation to copy Texas’ confiscation of a womans right to decide what to do with her own body?
    While himself screaming he and his fellow far right moonbats have a right to decide not to put a vaccine in their body?

    • Lorraine

      September 8, 2021 at 3:03 am

      Wow – just was introduced to Anthony Sabatini by Joe Henderson / thank you a good synopsis of who he is & isnt
      But I think the people that are recommending him tell so much about this person
      Who in their right minds would want this list backing you :
      Endorsed by:
      Sen. Rand Paul
      Rep. Matt Gaetz
      Rep. Paul Gosar
      Rep. Ted Yoho
      Roger Stone

      I am practically rolling on the floor even thinking of any of those idiots

      So not sure when he is up for election again but I will be sure to put my money & my time in my efforts to have him defeated
      And you Alex ? Anything besides knocking the messenger – how about something positive once in a while ?
      Negativity gets boring real quick

  • Charles

    September 7, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    Wow, you are disgustingly biased . Most every article defines hypocrisy and jackassery. Yes, be proud, you own the jackassery crown in Florida. .
    Most old fools know when to retire, however some hang on, embarrassing themselves, and accomplish little. It’s sad buts that you Joe.

    • Alex

      September 7, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      When you’ve got nothing else, attack the media.


    • Lorraine

      September 8, 2021 at 3:06 am

      If you dislike his articles so much -> stop reading them / why not write some facts rather immature adjectives
      Yawn yawn

  • Isabelle Cooke

    September 7, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Here are 7 at-home jobs that pay at least $100/day. And there’s quite the variety too! Some of these work-at-home jobs are more specialized, others are jobs that anyone can do. They all pay at least $3000/month, but some pay as much as $10,000.

  • Tom Palmer

    September 7, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    How about the Yapping Chihuahua Award?

    • Joe Henderson

      September 8, 2021 at 8:16 am

      Well played 😏

  • mwalker

    September 8, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    Excellent article. This little tnrd is my State Congressman. If you want to see absolute stupidity in the public forum, check out little tony tough guy’s Twitter feed!!! I don’t know how he got his undergraduate degree, much less his law degree; without performing certain unsavory acts on his professors!!!

  • Steve Camarano

    September 9, 2021 at 3:43 pm


  • Ocean Joe

    September 10, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    What’s more disturbing than this bantam rooster crowing nonsense is the people in the crowd going along with him.

Comments are closed.


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