Two Trump stalwarts find a new cause: #FreeBritney.

March 12, 2021
In The News

Two Republicans who rose to prominence by defending President Trump have seized on a new issue — the battle over the legal guardianship of Britney Spears, the former teen pop star who has suffered a succession of personal, professional and financial crises.

Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Matt Gaetz of Florida sent a request to the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, asking for an investigation into the role of Ms. Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, in controlling her assets.

“Given the constitutional freedoms at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements, it is incumbent upon our committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships,” wrote the pair in a letter to Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York.

Mr. Gaetz later told Fox News he thought Ms. Spears would make a “great witness” at such a hearing.

Ms. Spears’s situation points to bigger issues involving guardianship, the pair wrote, referencing concerns about their use for older people and those with disabilities raised by the American Civil Liberties Union.

 

Mr. Gaetz even posted a tweet using the #FreeBritney hashtag that has been employed by her supporters. The issue has gained renewed attention after the release of a New York Times documentary about the case.

The issue of Ms. Spears’s treatment is not an especially partisan one. A wide range of critics — including Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Kardashian — have called for the removal of the legal constraints on Ms. Spears, 39, that were imposed by a court in 2008, when she was in her mid-20s.

A spokesman for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Democrats have accused House Republicans, who have been bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 riots and sidelined by the Democratic majority, of desperately trying to stay in the news by grabbing whatever issue can get them airtime or allow them to earn points with Trump supporters.

Mr. Gaetz himself has said in the past that he needs to constantly “reinvent” his image to fit a public attention span he compared to that of a “goldfish.”

On Tuesday, Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio, blasted House Republican leaders for latching onto another pop culture issue — the “cancellation” of Dr. Seuss, over writing that contained racist themes and imagery — instead of helping to pass a majority bill geared at helping unions.

“Heaven forbid we pass something that’s going to help the damn workers in the United States of America!” Mr. Ryan thundered on the House floor, in a video that quickly went viral. “Stop talking about Dr. Seuss, and start working with us on behalf of the American workers!”