Were Baugh, Righeimer, Fleischman on Controversial RNC Trip to Israel?

Former Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh, FlashReport blog Publisher Jon Fleischman and Costa Mesa Councilman Jim Righeimer dine at a hotel in Israel.

Former Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh, FlashReport blog Publisher Jon Fleischman and Costa Mesa Councilman Jim Righeimer dine at a hotel in Israel.

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Three prominent Orange County Republicans were in Israel at the same time as a controversial trip to the country for members of the Republican National Committee that drew concerns because it was sponsored by far-right Christian groups known for hate speech against Muslims, Mormons and gays.

Former Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh, Costa Mesa Councilman Jim Righeimer, and FlashReport blog publisher Jon Fleischman were in the middle-eastern country earlier this month, with Fleischman sharing their experiences on Facebook.

According to an article in Politico, the American Family Association and the American Renewal Project sponsored a nine-day foray to the middle-eastern country to learn about Israeli history and “issues of religious liberty.”

Right-leaning groups have criticized the national committee for associating with the groups, which they called “extremists.” And the Jewish Anti-Defamation League warned the RNC that it would be “inappropriate” for committee members to travel to Israel with groups that engage in “incendiary and bigoted” commentary, Politico reported.

Nonetheless, the trip went ahead as planned.

Baugh, Righeimer, and Fleischman apparently decided to tag along.

It’s unclear if the three went as sponsored guests of the groups, or if they were just in Israel at the same time as the committee trip. Fleischman declined to comment, and Righeimer and Baugh didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

But Fleischman did post a Facebook photo of himself and Baugh floating in the Dead Sea and another photo showing the three of them dining at a hotel in Israel, among other images of himself in the country.

Individuals with close ties to the groups have a history of remarks that many have criticized as bigoted.

David Lane, founder of the American Renewal Project, wrote that homosexual desires and marriage are “unnatural” and “a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and nation,” according to Politico.

Bryan Frischer, former spokesperson and director for the American Family Association, has compared LGBT activists to Nazis, the news website reported.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at aelmahrek@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: @adamelmahrek

  • BSC53

    Is it wrong to go on a vacation? No, of course not–however, if one holds a political office and ends up in circumstances like these with the aforementioned group, “tagging along” merits some massive side-eye scrutiny. Throw in refusing to make any comment about this “vacation” to anybody, well, that speaks volumes. Funny thing about politics–the less honest the actions–be it in or out of the public eye–the more suspicious the public becomes.

  • @Dan Chmielewski

    Three guys on vacation? Where are their wives?

  • kwahlf

    “Smears”?

    AFA, a hate group paid for the trip, all expenses paid.

    These “three friends” were guests of AFA.

    Apparently, the facts elude those that have

    commented so far.

    Keep up the good work, Adam.

    Ask those questions- the truth hurts these guys.

  • A Richard Olquin

    So three guys, who happen to be lifelong friends, meet up while on vacation and it becomes some sort of Hate Conspiracy because..because what??? Not really news. Now if there had been a caption by John kidding about who had the most hair after all these years, that would have been NEWS!!!

  • Rintrah

    I would not have known about this without this post. It’s the news, journalism. People are opposed to learning what happened? That said, there is some resemblance to Pedroza’s contemptuous click-bait policy, what with the lame rhetrcal question.

  • Robert Darley

    Wow Adam, for a moment, I thought I was at the Pedroza blog….
    You lose credibility by the day with this shameless shilling.

    • Steve W.

      No kidding. Adam’s even started mimicking Pedroza’s question-mark-headline technique.

      Aren’t reporters supposed to have evidence to support their allegations? Adam admits that he doesn’t, but smears these three anyway.