As the Republican hands out big checks to mostly red rural Florida counties, he blames Biden’s plan for inflation and pushes “Brandon did that” stickers on his campaign website.
“Washington at its worst.” That is what Gov. Ron DeSantis has been calling the federal stimulus money that for two years has been funding college training programs and road projects, providing broadband access to rural areas, and allowing for a $1.2 billion tax savings package as well as a climate “resiliency” plan to combat rising waters in the Sunshine State. Washington money has even funded the governor’s own job growth program.
But even as the Republican incumbent calls out the Biden administration for spending money “like a drunken sailor,” he hands out millions of dollars of that same money to mostly Republican rural Florida counties, never mentioning that the funds come from President Joe Biden‘s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP).
‘DeSantis Claus’ With Washington Money
Despite his public protestations that federal spending has fueled inflation, since August, DeSantis has given out $77 million in job growth grants, and $500 million to the Resilient Florida Trust Fund to fight climate change, among other programs. DeSantis even awarded first responder bonuses from funds provided by the American Rescue Plan that he, and most members of the GOP, loudly denounce.
To bring the message home to his base, and some say to fuel his possible 2024 run for the presidency, DeSantis has even posted a video on his Twitter account where he’s seen handing out the big checks. On one occassion, he allegedly even called himself “DeSantis Claus.”
“He’s taking credit for something that’s not really his to claim credit for,” Ben Wilcox, research director for Tallahassee-based government watchdog group Integrity Florida told the Hastings Tribune.
Yes, Biden Did That!
But even as DeSantis is using federal stimulus money to boost the state’s reserves, he has been busy mocking Biden’s administration, and promoting an image of Florida as “the freest state in the nation” (at the same time, his administration prohibits schools from teaching students the history of racial inequality in the US, bans discussion of LGBTQ topics in elementary schools, censors math books that allegedly mention critical race theory, and makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to peacefully protest in front of a person’s home).
RELATED: De Santis’ New Law Requires Students to Observe ‘Victims of Communism Day.’ State Democrats See the Irony.
On his campaign website, he pushes “Freedom over Fauci” flip flops, “Freedom Lives Here” doormats, and a “classy” two-pack of golf balls on which is written “Florida’s Governor Has a Pair.”
The governor is also selling a packet of decals featuring a smiling, finger-pointing DeSantis, along with the phrase “Brandon did that!” a line that has become conservative code for something far more vulgar (“F— Joe Biden”).
“When gas prices are too high, your groceries cost exponentially more than they did a year ago, or you just want to point out the failures of the current administration – slap a ‘Brandon did that’ sticker on it,” suggests the seller.
One thing is for sure: none of the big checks “DeSantis Claus” has been doling out, bear the “Brandon did that!” sticker.