First Read

Florida GOP adds big national names to Statesman's Dinner

The dinner is taking place on Sept. 14 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The Republican Party of Florida released the names of the speakers at their annual Statesman’s Dinner, now including a popular conservative commentator and a prominent anti-trans activist. The dinner is taking place on Sept. 14 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.

Ben Shapiro and former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines will be headlining the $200-a-plate fundraiser. Both Shapiro and Gaines, by the way, have endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis in his 2024 presidential bid.

Shapiro, who has been a nationally syndicated columnist and commentator since he was 17, moved to Florida from the Democratic-controlled California in 2020. Since then, he has publicly advocated for DeSantis, including defending him against attacks from Trump.

Gaines became a figure in the anti-trans movement after she tied in a race with trans swimmer Lia Thomas. She has since hit the media circuit advocating for transwomen to be excluded from women’s sports and talked about Thomas’ genitalia. As governor, DeSantis has also attacked Thomas and backed policies to exclude trans people from sports.

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