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Moms for Libertinage: Sex scandal brings down Republican power couple in Florida

Revelations about the Ziegler couple’s private life and a rape allegation have led to the downfall of the state’s GOP chair and his wife

Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of Moms For Liberty, at a Sarasota, Florida School Board meeting on December 12.
Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of Moms For Liberty, at a Sarasota, Florida School Board meeting on December 12.STEVE NESIUS (REUTERS)
Iker Seisdedos

Christian and Bridget Ziegler’s meteoric rise in American conservatism is matched only by their dramatic downfall.

At the start of 2023, Christian Ziegler was elected for something big: to chair the Republican Party of Florida in an election year, and in a state with two presidential candidates. Bridget Ziegler — the co-founder of the traditional values advocacy group Moms for Liberty — is a member of the Sarasota County School Board, where she represents families crusading against so-called “woke” policies in education. Together, they are a power couple, just like Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in the TV series House of Cards: their influence together is greater than the sum of their parts.

Bridget Ziegler
Christian Ziegler greets Donald Trump at a rally in Kissimmee, Florida, on Nov. 4.Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

But the couple has been rocked by allegations from an unnamed woman, who claims that Christian Ziegler raped her last October. She says that he raped her in her apartment, that they had both known each other for 20 years, and that the initial plan that day was to have a threesome. When Bridget didn’t show up, the woman claims she decided she didn’t want to go through with it, but Christian — who flatly denies the accusations — wouldn’t listen and forced himself on her.

The scandal became public in early December, when a “nonpartisan” group called the Florida Center for Government Accountability released the police complaint filed by the woman. In interviews with officers, Bridget Ziegler acknowledged that she and her husband had been involved in a threesome with the woman about a year ago.

What the Zieglers do in their bedroom would not have caused such a scandal if it weren’t for the fact that Moms for Liberty is an ultra-conservative group known for pushing for book bans in school districts, criticizing critical race theory and attacking the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. In other words, it’s surprising that the co-founder of Moms for Liberty could just as easily belong to a different sort of group: Moms for Libertinage.

At a meeting of the Sarasota County School Board, where Bridget Ziegler has been a member for nine years, a Sarasota resident explained it this way: “Most of our community could not care less what you do in the privacy of your own home, but your hypocrisy takes center stage,” she said, according to The New York Times.

Calls for resignation

At the moment, Bridget Ziegler has not stepped down, even though the school board voted 4-1 for her resignation. Her husband — who claims the encounter was consensual — has not given in to pressure either. The Republican Party of Florida, however, suspended him and cut his salary to $1 in an emergency meeting on Sunday. The move was made as other leading Republicans call for his resignation, including Florida governor and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis.

“Christian Ziegler has engaged in conduct that renders him unfit for the office,” the party’s motion to censure Ziegler said, according to a document posted on the social media platform X by Lee County GOP Chairman Michael Thompson. Thomason added that Ziegler had tried to defend himself at the emergency meeting, but failed.

“Ziegler on soap box trying to defend himself, not working,” Thompson posted shortly before the vote, where the 40-member party executive committee voted unanimously to strip the chair of his power.

Bridget Ziegler
Protesters call for Bridget Ziegler's resignation outside the Sarasota County School Board meeting on December 12.STEVE NESIUS (REUTERS)

The decision to suspend Ziegler was linked to the fact that the 2024 presidential campaign is about to begin. The chair of the Republican Party in a state as important as Florida plays an important role as a fundraiser, and manages a budget of millions of dollars.

Bridget Ziegler founded Moms for Liberty in January 2021 with Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice in response to the school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic and masking rules for students aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Ziegler soon left the group, which has swelled in size: in just two years, Moms for Liberty has grown to 130,000 members. The organization — whose slogan is “we do not co-parent with the government” — draws in parents by claiming that the school system is controlled by leftists who want to indoctrinate their children.

Moms for Liberty also quickly became an influential force in the Republican Party, which has fervently embraced their advocacy of “parental rights” in a bid to win over voters. But in the last school board elections across the country, held in November, many of the candidates supported by Moms for Liberty had disappointing results, in what may be a sign that their influence is waning.

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