Anchor Kate Bolduan promised viewers "new details about the close relationship" between the two men and their alleged mutual friend, conservative legal activist Leonard Leo.
However, the report turned out to be old news, centered on a Federalist Society event in Florida three years ago where DeSantis praised Thomas as "our greatest living justice." CNN then showed a video of DeSantis and Thomas hugging one another.
The report was a pretext to bash Leo, who once advised Donald Trump on which judges he should consider for the Supreme Court. CNN's Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic claimed that "Ron DeSantis, now as a candidate, is taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook and running on the Supreme Court. And he's doing it in part by holding up Clarence Thomas as a model."
Biskupic continued, "Interestingly, part of the playbook that Trump had involved using Leonard Leo to advise him on his choices for the Supreme Court. And he effectively sought out three very conservative, anti-abortion justices. And Leonard Leo has also advised Ron DeSantis in his role as governor of Florida and he's chosen his nominees for the Florida Supreme Court."
Biskupic criticized "Thomas's approach to the law," which read more like a progressive's caricature of conservative values. "Leonard Leo has not said who he's going to support in the sprawling primary... but he has long advised Gov DeSantis," she said. "And Clarence Thomas' approach to the law — anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, anti-press — mirrors what Ron DeSantis has done in the state down in Florida."
In reality, the premise of CNN's story is nothing more than conservatives making friends with other conservatives. The report was a thinly veiled attempt to criticize DeSantis and Thomas for their conservative values and association with Leo. Unsurprisingly, CNN would attempt to bash conservatives, but the network's attempt to turn old news into a scandal is genuinely disappointing.