Florida Governor Ron DeSantis rolled out a new line of fundraising merchandise ahead of the 2022 Governor’s race. The line includes t-shirts, hats, flags, and beer koozies and takes a light jab at Dr. Fauci. Some of the merchandise is emblazoned with the slogans “Don’t Fauci My Florida” and “Keep Florida Free.” One graphic also shows an image of the Governor raising a beer bottle with the words, “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?” which the Governor famously said at a Super Bowl event in February.
Since early in the pandemic, DeSantis has been a vocal critic of Dr. Fauci, lockdowns, and mask mandates. Of the states that locked down, Florida was among the first to reopen, and DeSantis did not issue a statewide mask mandate. In June, he said at a press conference in Ponte Vedra Beach that Florida is doing well because they did not listen to Dr. Fauci, “we’re going to end up probably having like $10 million in reserve once the new budget takes effect, that would not have been possible if we had followed Fauci. Instead, we followed freedom, and that’s the reason Florida is doing better.” However, recent data from Johns Hopkins University shows the state saw almost 24,000 new covid-19 cases for the week of July 9.
The merchandise went on sale Monday, July 12, in collaboration with the GOP fundraising platform WinRed. The items range in price from $12 for a set of 2 beer koozies to $40 for a 3-foot by 5-foot “Keep Florida Free” flag. DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum in 2018, and it is assumed he will run again in 2022. However, he is not yet officially listed as a candidate according to the state’s Division of Elections. Many people also suspect DeSantis will run for President in 2024.
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. 👀
— Team DeSantis (@teamrondesantis) July 12, 2021
Predictably the reaction to the merchandise fell entirely along party lines, with conservatives and Republicans mostly laughing while left-wing personalities were outraged. Florida Senator Marco Rubio said on a recent “Fox & Friends” appearance, “I think it’s funny” and that Fauci is “not above reproach or sarcasm.”
DeSantis is a well educated crackpot with no allegiance to our country, his constituency or the truth. https://t.co/7FAuKNEJrG
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) July 14, 2021
Former Governor of Vermont and famous screamer Howard Dean took to Twitter to voice his disapproval of the merchandise, saying, “DeSantis is a well-educated crackpot with no allegiance to our country his constituency or the truth.” MSNBC personality Joy Reid and “The View” host Anna Navarro also voiced disdain for the anti-Fauci merchandise. The most extreme statement came from Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, who called the goods “disgusting” and said, “millions of Floridians are going to die for Ron DeSantis’ ignorance, and he’s choosing to profit from it, he doesn’t care about Floridians; he cares about furthering his own cruel agenda.”