On Monday, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign team rolled out a series of items they were merchandising, including a T-shirt that read, “Don’t Fauci My Florida.”
NEW TODAY: Our team just dropped EXCLUSIVE merchandise on our brand-new @WINRED storefront.
Trust us… You don’t want to miss out on this. 👀
Shop the store and support your favorite freedom-loving Governor NOW! ⬇️🚨 #KeepFloridaFree https://t.co/618f3mrB5e
— Team DeSantis (@teamrondesantis) July 12, 2021
That triggered wild-eyed ire from leftists eager to pillory DeSantis, who has been a staunch opponent of the harsh lockdowns that ravaged the financial coffers of other states and left them economically gasping for breath.
As The Wall Street Journal reported in April, “With rare exceptions, the states that shut down the longest suffered the most economic harm. … Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis let nearly all businesses stay open after May. Florida’s private GDP had shrunk only 1.1% by year-end, dragged down by weak international and domestic tourism. New York’s food and accommodation industry shrank more than twice as much as Florida’s and the most in the U.S.”
Some sample comments on social media targeting the T-shirt and merchandise included: “Ron literally trying to make money off people dying… stay classy florida.” “May the virus be with you!” “Monsters are running FL. It breaks my heart.” “Is this the scuzbucket store?”
A woman who has served as a correspondent for National Public Radio, contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and an editor for The Hollywood Reporter, sniped, “How did I miss some of the dumbest and most deadly merchandise on offer?”
How did I miss some of the dumbest and most deadly merchandise on offer? https://t.co/SlD3aY0FE0
— Kim Masters (@kimmasters) July 14, 2021
On Tuesday, the DeSantis team noted that one of the other items offered on Monday had become quite popular, showing a red koozie quoting DeSantis: “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?”
A fan-favorite has emerged. 🚨👀
Get your exclusive Team DeSantis koozie before they’re gone! ⬇️🔥 #KeepFloridaFreehttps://t.co/aDOcLvtsYL
— Team DeSantis (@teamrondesantis) July 13, 2021
That quote came when someone asked DeSantis about him watching the Super Bowl without a mask. DeSantis replied, “Someone said, ‘Hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask’ … but how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on? Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win.”
In August 2020, Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul, angered by Dr. Anthony Fauci having lavished praise on New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo for his response to the coronavirus pandemic while studiously ignoring DeSantis’ successful response, fired off a tweet targeting Fauci. Paul tweeted, “FL and NY have an identical number of per capita coronavirus infections but FL has 5X less per capita deaths. Will Dr. Fauci be praising @GovRonDeSantis’ response to the pandemic? Will he point out that @NYGovCuomo’s response allowed a fivefold greater per capita death rate?”
FL and NY have an identical number of per capita coronavirus infections but FL has 5X less per capita deaths. Will Dr. Fauci be praising @GovRonDeSantis’ response to the pandemic? Will he point out that @NYGovCuomo’s response allowed a fivefold greater per capita death rate?
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 3, 2020
As of August 3, 2020, according to The New York Times, New York had reported 421,008 cases of coronavirus with 32,401 deaths; Florida had reported at least 487,100 cases with 7,083 deaths. That amounted to 7.7% of the cases reported in New York eventuating in death, while in Florida roughly 1.5% of the cases resulted in death.
In May, speaking at a news conference in Satellite Beach, Florida, DeSantis ripped into the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), blasting, “If you look at some of the stuff that they’ve done on school openings, where they’re basically doing the teacher’s union’s bidding, when they say these kids should be masked in summer camp outdoors. I’m sorry, that’s not science, that’s politics.” He also slammed the CDC for the calamitous effect its policies had caused for Florida’s massive cruise industry, asserting, “Do you want one unelected bureaucracy to be able to have the power to indefinitely shut down a major industry in this country?”
DeSantis spoke of how keeping Florida open instead of instituting harsh lockdowns had paid dividends, asserting, “You have a surplus of jobs, and particularly in restaurant, lodging, hospitality, that people want to hire. I mean, you see these signs all over the place. Look, that’s a good problem to have. But we also just want to make sure, look, if you’re really unemployed, can’t get a job, that’s one thing, but making sure that you’re doing your due diligence to look for work and making sure those incentives align better.”
“But I can tell you this, our state was predicted to get hit worse on Covid economically than any other state because of our service economy and our tourism base,” he continued. “And what we were able to do by keeping Florida open, we saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in the restaurant, hotel, hospitality industry. We saved thousands of businesses. You know how I know that? Because every time I go out, someone will come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for saving my job,’ or ‘Thank you for saving my business.’ So we’ve been able now with 4.7 percent unemployment, that’s significantly less than the national average of 6% and way less than lockdown states like New York and California have.”
“So we’re doing it right,” he stated. “We obviously want to make sure those folks are able to succeed in terms of getting the people they need, but just think of where we could be. I mean, this is a good problem to have compared to seeing people — in some parts of the country, these businesses are dead. They’re never coming back. This is the heavy hand of government crushing family businesses, ruining jobs and destroying millions of people’s lives. We chose another path in Florida; it was the right path; it was the successful path, and yes, we want to make sure that these things are — there’s actually restaurants that have to close one day a week because they don’t have enough folks.”