Tensions boil as Anthony Sabatini questions whether Joe Biden is President
Anthony Sabatini. Image via Colin Hackley.

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Sabatini initially wasn't going to be allowed to speak, but caused a firestorm.

Pent up frustration on both sides of the aisle boiled over on the House floor Wednesday, erupting into a war of words that saw a member question whether President Joe Biden is the President of the United States.

Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a Howey-in-the-Hill Republican and a congressional candidate who has rubbed both Republicans and Democrats the wrong way with his history of outspoken remarks, fought for time to debate a bill (HB 1B) banning COVID-19 mandates.

Sabatini told members he would be blunt and quick. He was correct on both counts, immediately saying the bill didn’t go far enough. He then made a call to wrest state powers back from the federal government.

“We are living in tyrannical times. Biden is a tyrant. The federal government is out of control,” Sabatini said.

Those remarks initiated shouting from Democrats in the back rows. Democratic Whip Ramon Alexander called out to Speaker Pro Tempore Bryan Avila, who was on the rostrum, calling Sabatini out of order for calling Biden a tyrant. Avila, a Miami Springs Republican, told Sabatini to keep his remarks on the bill.

“We don’t know if he’s really the President, if that were your question,” Sabatini replied, an allusion to the conspiracy theory, proven false repeatedly, that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

That line from Sabatini drew a cacophony of boos and wows in the chamber. Alexander reupped his point of order and called Sabatini a disgrace to the Republican Party.

Avila then told members to temper their remarks about Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was the subject of critiques from Democrats during floor discussion this week.

However, tensions were building Wednesday even before Sabatini was allowed to speak in debate.

Despite being one of the first to demand a Special Session addressing COVID-19 policies, Sabatini was not initially slated to speak on the bill, a pattern developing for the firebrand.

One lawmaker told Florida Politics Sabatini “threw a big fit” after he was told he couldn’t speak.

Sabatini asked for time from Majority Leader Mike Grant, who refused. He then approached the rostrum and asked Avila for an opportunity but was told no. He then tried to find House Speaker Chris Sprowls to ask for time.

In texts to Florida Politics, Sabatini denied asking Avila or looking for Sprowls.

Another member said Sabatini told Lithia Republican Rep. Mike Beltran it was “bullsh*t” that he couldn’t speak.

Ultimately, Grant pulled Sabatini and Brevard County Rep. Randy Fine aside, offering them each two minutes to debate during the time allotted for those in favor of the bill. Fine turned down the opportunity.

“I have no idea why Mike Grant thought it was appropriate to pull me aside with Sabatini,” Fine said.

Regarding the COVID-19 mandate bill, Sabatini has taken a position similar to DeSantis, who, when he announced the Special Session on COVID-19 mandates, initially called for stronger protections for workers. One concern Sabatini raised Wednesday was that the bill doesn’t provide a remedy for people who have already been fired for not being vaccinated.

“It’s a good step forward, but it needs to be drastically amended,” Sabatini said.

Sabatini, a two-term Representative, has been at odds with House leadership for months. Sabatini has repeatedly called Sprowls a “RINO,” or a Republican in name only.”

In one speech during a virtual event in September, Sabatini called Sprowls, ”a complete and total liberal,” called longtime lawmaker Thad Altman a “cuck” and a “senile fool,” and even suggested DeSantis initially acted “cowardly” about pandemic lockdowns and mask mandates.

Soon after, Sabatini was relegated to a Capitol basement office.

House Democratic Co-Leader Evan Jenne has defended Sprowls against Sabatini’s remarks, calling Sabatini a “toddler in a crappy diaper” this month. Alexander on Wednesday similarly told Florida Politics that Sabatini doesn’t have the respect to conduct himself in an “adult-like manner.”

“It is very clear that Anthony Sabatini is beneath the role and responsibility of being a sitting member of the Florida Legislature,” he added.

Rep. Allison Tant, a Tallahassee Democrat, told Florida Politics that Sabatini’s remarks were explosive, crazy, and inappropriate.

“He’s been really difficult with his own leadership team, including the Speaker, and I guess he decided to lash out when he finally did get recognized to speak,” she said.

Orlando Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith was the first Democrat to speak after Sabatini’s debate segment. Central to Democrats’ opposition to the COVID-19 mandate bill and the Special Session is whether this week has been a political stunt.

“I don’t know whether the question was just answered or whether it was just so nakedly exposed,” Smith told members. “All I know is that I’m exhausted and Floridians are exhausted.”

But it’s not just Democrats who are willing to openly criticize Sabatini.

“I personally don’t really care what Anthony Sabatini has to say about this bill, let alone anything,” Fine said.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


22 comments

  • Impeach Biden

    November 17, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    He’s merely asking who Biden’s puppeteer is. Biden is the worst President in my lifetime and I’m no youngster.

  • ScienceBLVR

    November 18, 2021 at 6:47 am

    Joe Biden is president because the majority of voters in this country thought Trump was the worst president ever elected. And I am no kid either.

    • Justin

      November 18, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      Name ONE thing that Trump did that was bad [except for not activating the military, seizing the voting machines, and HANGING the Clintons, Obamas, and Bidens], and also name ONE thing that Biden did that was good.

  • zhombre

    November 18, 2021 at 8:08 am

    Biden is President. A lousy one who won’t last. And the election stunk.

  • Harold Finch

    November 18, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Sabatini is a cancer and needs to be completely censured by the House. And, I am absolutely flabbergasted that people still think Trump won. In five of the states that the election process was questioned, all are headed by Republicans.
    As a moderate Republican I voted for Trump and had a vested interest in him getting reelected. But, he did not! And, many people I talk to now, prefer DeSantis over Trump in 2024.

    • just sayin

      November 18, 2021 at 8:39 am

      Amen! Time to move past Trump.

  • PeterH

    November 18, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Anthony Sabatini is just one of many Florida embarrassments. Zero moral compass.

    • Captain Howdy

      November 18, 2021 at 11:35 am

      Says the Lincoln Project camp follower and cabana boy whose moral compass gets set by trash like Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt, losers and parasites.

      • PeterH

        November 18, 2021 at 12:40 pm

        3,000,000 conservative followers dedicated to destroy the cult of Trump.

        A small but effective contribution to the 8 million Americans who booted your twice impeached racist lying birther fraud from the White House.

        • Captain Howdy

          November 18, 2021 at 12:44 pm

          Blah blah blah blah blah blah fuck’n blah you got little bits of foam at the corners of your mouth, cabana boy, from repeating Lincoln Project taglines. Jump in the pool and cool off. LOL LP jackals are only effective hoovering up money and playing to dopes like you

        • Tom

          November 18, 2021 at 1:37 pm

          Hardy har, har, har, har. Hardy is an extremist.
          Peter h, no words for you.
          300,000 fraudsters yes.
          So you and other neo cons can start endless wars. Thank tough ass want a be Liz Cheney,
          Agree to awful budget debt and spending deals.
          Horrendous trade deals with China. American sovereignty eviscerated.
          Over 2 million illegals peter h entered this year.
          You are a liar and embarrassment.
          You and your Lincoln org should be in jail. You are a pathetic human.

  • Tom

    November 18, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Finch stole Christmas, Science disbeliever, scoundrel peter h, sayin not saying, how about your extremist Omar Hardy.

    What a joke and liar. His 60 mints performance was atrocious. He humiliated himself and his party. He finished last in primary like extremists should. Why doesn’t he go start a voter registration drive. LMAO.

  • Tom

    November 18, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Finch stole Christmas, Science disbeliever, scoundrel peter h, sayin not saying, how about your extremist Omar Hardy.

    What a joke and liar. His 60 mints performance was atrocious. He humiliated himself and his party. He finished last in primary like extremists should. Why doesn’t he go start a voter registration drive. LMAO.

  • chemao

    November 18, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Check it out! Another fake news website bought and paid for by the same people who executed this COUP D’ETAT and STOLE THE PRESIDENCY. It has NEVER been “disproven” and in fact EVERY PIECE OF EVIDENCE SUGGESTS WITHOUT QUESTION that it was in fact stolen.

  • lidija merkouris

    November 18, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Our president is retaliating against we the people because he was never elected by the people he was put in office by corrupt politicians who make laws to make illegals who pour in our country and breaking our laws millionaires given them our money. Robing the taxpayers and giving $450 each to illegals…Who the hell dose that?!? So everyone who speak the truth to reveal the corruption they’re being silenced but we know what is going on in Washington DC!!

    • PeterH

      November 18, 2021 at 7:32 pm

      All lies! Why do you lie?

      • Captain Howdy

        November 19, 2021 at 2:26 pm

        Why do you lie with mangy flea bit dogs like the Lincoln Project grifters, butt boy?

          • Captain Howdy

            November 19, 2021 at 3:28 pm

            What do you think you’re doin, cabana boy? Being clever? LOL. You’re about as clever as a screw driver in a wall socket. The Washington (com)Post has a fuck’n PAY WALL, douchebag.Like I’m going to pay to get the gist of whatever smart aleck reply you THINK you’re making? Try again after you swallow some Prevagen. Or skip the pills and eat some jellyfish.

  • DSH

    November 18, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Amen!

  • Paula

    November 18, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    He isn’t president. Kamala harris, the congressional black caucus are in charge. Biden is a senile old white man to be used.

    The following companies, professional sports support, fund, Joe Biden, the Democrat party, BLM and other far left organizations. Financial BOYCOTT whenever possible the following socialist enablers. Do your part. Patriots, pass this text along….

    *Designates active participant in Biden campaign & BLM.

    Amazon
    American Airlines
    American Express
    Apple
    AT&T
    Bank of America
    Baskin Robbins
    Best Buy
    Calm
    Carl’s Jr.
    *Capital One
    Chase
    *Coca-Cola
    Dell Technologies
    Delta Airlines
    Discovery channel
    Discovery Plus
    Disney
    Dunkin Donuts
    *ESPN
    *Facebook
    Fed-Ex
    Ford Motor Co.
    General Motors
    *Google
    *Goldman Sachs
    IBM
    Jack in the Box
    JetBlue
    Kohls
    Little Caesars
    *Lowes Hardware
    MasterCard
    Microsoft
    *Modello Beer
    *NBA
    Nerd Wallet
    Netflix
    *NFL
    Nordstrom
    Nurtec
    *MLB
    Pacifico Beer
    Oxygen
    *OWN
    PayPal
    PBS
    Peloton
    Rocket Mortgage
    *Shutterfly
    Spectrum
    Subway
    Starbucks
    *State Farm Insurance
    *Target Stores
    *TNT
    Twitter
    United Airlines
    US Bank
    USA today
    Vanguard
    *Varo Bank
    Verizon
    ViacomCBS
    *Vivint
    Walgreens
    Wayfair
    Wells Fargo
    *WNBA

  • jim

    November 18, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Just like Mauyorkas in charge of the border. Another white stooge being used. Can’t have a black or latino allowing hundreds of thousands to flood the country.

Comments are closed.


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