Florida governor Ron DeSantis is riling up his base with anti-Fauci campaign merch
The conservative set turned Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the president and head of the nation’s COVID-19 response, into a villain practically from the start of the pandemic. The GOP is famously hostile to science and loves riling up their base with a shiny, new boogeyman, so Fauci was the perfect figure to star in their dangerous COVID propaganda. Now, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who has been very busy lately trying to stop trans kids from playing sports, is selling anti-Fauci campaign merchandise. Because of course he is.
That’s right, y’all — proud republican Floridians can now don a classy t-shirt or whip out a beer koozie bearing anti-Fauci messaging.
“How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?” one koozie reads. Oh I don’t know, bro. Pull it down when you need to take a sip like we’ve literally all been doing all along in situations where masks are required but food and drink are being consumed? Of course that’s a tad nuanced and doesn’t quite match the hysterical vibe DeSantis is trying to cultivate with this merch. It wouldn’t be GOP politics without misinformation, carnival barking, and hostility to education and public health now, would it?
Yes, that t-shirt really does say “Don’t Fauci my Florida.” Sigh.
The Washington Post notes that once vaccines became available, Florida’s COVID-19 cases took a dive but the state is seeing a new surge thanks in part to the extra contagious delta variant, which is now the dominant variant in the US. The Post reports that Florida is seeing daily cases close to four times the national average with 26 new infections per 100,000 residents. That number is enough for Florida to be the second-highest in the country right now. And it’s not just rising cases that should have DeSantis concerned about his constituents — Florida’s death rate from the virus is almost double the rate nationally with the state ranking fourth for current hospitalizations. Don’t Fauci my Florida indeed! Why on earth would we want people to avoid serious illness and live? Bunch of liberal nonsense.
Of course Fauci has been dealing with the ire of republican politicians and their voters all along. “I’ve become sort of, for some reason or another, a symbol of anything they don’t like” related to anything “contrary to them or outside of their own realm,” he said earlier this year.
What they don’t like, apparently, is lives being saved and common-sense precautions that are truly no big deal. Fauci has famously urged the nation to mask up, socially distance, and stay home when possible throughout much of the pandemic and the “freedom” crowd have long bristled at this advice. That misguided fury is what DeSantis is trying to capitalize on with his ridiculous merch and sadly, it will probably go over big with his base.
DeSantis is running for reelection in 2022 and is widely considered a possibility for the GOP presidential ticket in 2024, which means his anti-science campaigning could soon expand beyond Florida. Lucky us.