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Elizabeth Warren’s GOP Challenger Has a History of Incredibly Blunt Anti-Trump Tweets

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/YouTube
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/YouTube

John Deaton, the Republican cryptocurrency booster who just launched a longshot 2024 challenge against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has a resume loaded with potential campaign-killers.

Deaton has been public about dealing drugs as a teen, with the GOP Senate candidate admitting he once potentially killed a man. He also admits he went on a post-divorce, “coke-fueled sex bender.” And he was once arrested after a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s husband.

But none of those biographical blemishes may be as politically damaging among Republicans as a different violation: trashing Donald Trump.

While plenty of GOP politicians have said negative things about the former president and survived, what stands out about Deaton’s abundant record of anti-Trump tweets is that they are relatively recent—and almost cartoonishly blunt, to an unprecedented degree.

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“You actually may be the worst human being in the US,” Deaton tweeted at the former president’s account in 2020.

In another tweet directed at Trump, Deaton said, "you have without question the mind of a 4 year old.”

Not only did Deaton frequently bash Trump, but he also launched insults at his supporters that make Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” jab look tame.

“Any person that actually believes any of your lies and nonsense is an idiot,” Deaton tweeted at the former president in 2019. “One day maybe justice will have its day and you will be in an orange jumpsuit to match your complexion.”

“I don’t blame or judge anyone who voted for you the first time because they were voting more against Hillary and thought [what the hell] I’ll try Trump,” Deaton tweeted at Trump ahead of the 2020 election. “But anyone that believes the nonsense and BS that you are shoveling now is to be judged as a complete and utter moron.”

If Deaton had only unleashed foul-mouthed tirades on Trump and his followers, that would be problematic enough. But he’s also rejected the current iteration of the GOP and unloaded insults on members of the group he’s seeking to join in the Senate—including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), whom he called a “joke.”

“I’ve never been a liberal,” Deaton tweeted days before the 2020 election, “but the Trump Republican Party Is now just as bad as the liberals!”

“I’m a true conservative, not a Moscow Mitch believer or a [sic] and Trump Chump,” Deaton tweeted in 2020, invoking former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s old nickname for McConnell, which he reportedly loathed.

In 2020, Deaton took aim at Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the most senior member of the Senate GOP, tweeting, “you are a disgrace and I’m an independent conservative saying that!”

When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted that Judge Amy Coney Barrett was a Supreme Court nominee with “character,” “integrity,” and “intellect,” Deaton responded snarkily. “True, she is the opposite of you!”

In another tweet, Deaton went after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who is beloved by the MAGA base, while invoking allegations that Jordan ignored sexual abuse while a wrestling coach at Ohio State University. “Too bad you didn’t protect your wrestlers like you do Trump,” Deaton said. “But you are a trump chump!

In response to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Deaton’s tweets, his campaign manager Michael Gorecki said, “John Deaton is a political outsider, not a Beltway partisan politician like Elizabeth Warren and other entrenched elites in both parties.”

“John’s life is marked by fighting for underdogs and standing up for what he believes—he’ll do the same thing for Massachusetts in the Senate,” he continued.

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Gorecki did not answer specific questions from The Daily Beast about whether Deaton stands by his tweets, if he still believes Trump belongs in prison, or if he still believes Trump supporters are “complete and utter moron[s].”

In deep blue Massachusetts, where Warren won her last re-election race by nearly 25 points, any Republican would face a steep climb to even make this race competitive. In an election cycle when Democrats are defending Senate seats in battleground states like Arizona and Michigan, and conservative states like Ohio and Montana, the Massachusetts race is far from a priority for the GOP.

But Deaton will certainly need to have the support of Trump voters he trashed as stupid just four years ago. And there are reasons to believe Deaton’s challenge could be far more interesting than that of the typical sacrificial lamb candidate, beyond his unhinged tweeting and spotty past.

The biggest reason is Deaton’s advocacy of cryptocurrency and his popularity among industry figures and fans—a group that absolutely loathes Warren, one of Congress’ leading skeptics of digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Super PACs funded with cryptocurrency cash were a significant factor in the 2022 elections, and some are already spending big in 2024: one, called Fairshake, has spent nearly $7 million against Rep. Katie Porter (D), the California Senate candidate and crypto-skeptical Warren protege.

It’s possible that crypto-funded PACs could get involved in Massachusetts by backing Deaton, if only to mess with Warren. While it’s highly unlikely she would lose, an infusion of crypto money being spent in Massachusetts could at least force her to sweat.

A longtime resident of Rhode Island, Deaton appears to have moved to Massachusetts solely to challenge Warren. According to Politico, weeks before launching his campaign, Deaton began renting a house in Swansea, just over the border from Barrington, Rhode Island, where he just sold a $2.5 million property.

At first, Deaton exudes a somewhat unconventional but distinct appeal. Loud, bald, and goateed, his brash tell-it-like-it-is brand of politics recalls figures like Jesse Ventura, the wrestler turned independent Minnesota governor.

Although it is nearly three minutes long, Deaton’s campaign launch video doesn’t mention the fact that he is running as a Republican. Aside from attacking Warren and associating Democratic leaders with “corruption,” the video does not lean much into partisan politics. The first policy priority he mentions is making health care more affordable—often a key Democratic talking point—and he talks about it before the “migrant crisis” and inflation.

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Mostly, the launch video emphasizes Deaton’s hardscrabble upbringing in a “violent neighborhood” in Detroit and his family’s reliance on food stamps. He left Detroit to join the Marines and from there built a law practice in Rhode Island.

“I am running for U.S. Senate to continue my life’s mission to shake things up for people who need it most,” Deaton says.

To the extent Deaton was politically active before this campaign—beyond voting—it was in favor of Democrats.

According to federal campaign finance records, Deaton has only made three political contributions—and they were all to Democrats.

In 2006, he donated $2,000 to the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Matt Brown, a Democratic attorney and activist who has run for several offices in Rhode Island.

In 2012, Deaton gave $750 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s official arm for U.S. House races.

Still, while Deaton clearly relished venting about Republican politicians on social media, he occasionally tried to offend plenty of liberals, too. One in particular, in fact: the progressive commentator Cenk Uygur.

For whatever reason, Deaton dislikes Uygur so much that he encouraged popular podcaster Joe Rogan to severely injure him.

When Uygur challenged podcaster Rogan to a fight in 2022, Deaton tweeted that the only question about the outcome would be whether Uygur would leave in an ambulance or a hearse.

“One of Joe’s calf kicks - he goes to the hospital; one of Joe’s spinning back kicks to the liver - he goes to the morgue,” Deaton wrote.

“The most kind thing @joerogan could do is take his back and choke him out (he wouldn’t need to take his back either) without delivering a strike,” Deaton said. “Joe is such a nice guy he probably would be that kind.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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