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Ron DeSantis

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Meet the man even his fellow Floridians call "DeathSantis."
God, guns, and freedom
U.S. Politics
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Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner
Persons of interest
At one school, "the kids began crying and writing letters to the principal, saying, 'Please don't take my books, please don't do this.'"
—Florida children reacting to the gutting of school and classroom libraries in response to DeSantis' "Don't Say Gay" law[1]
Trump has the charisma of a mortician and the energy that makes Jeb Bush look like an Olympian.
—Donald Trump, Jr., accidentally confusing his own father with DeSantis[2]

Ronald Dion "Meatball"[3] DeSantis (1978–) is an American far-right homophobe, transphobe, and woke-obsessed fascist currently serving as the Governor of Florida, having beaten progressive Democrat Andrew Gillum after dogwhistling about him being a monkey.[4]

First elected to public office in just his 30s, DeSantis' meteoric rise in politics makes him a leading Republican in the post-2021 U.S. coup attempt era, with many fearing that he could seriously become President of the United States one day.

Among his weaknesses regarding a presidential run were his abysmal social skills.[note 1][5] The Florida ManWikipedia has a tendency to ravenously devour food "like a starving animal who has never eaten before" during meetings and get it everywhere. In one incident, he dug into some chocolate pudding with three of his fingers.[6][7] Additionally, for a major public figure who regularly speaks to large crowds, his voice is hilariously high-pitched and nasally[note 2] to the point it can be difficult to even listen past it.[9]

On May 24 2023, DeSantis filed the paperwork to run for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, thus officially confirming his campaign.[10] True to form for someone with a reputation for being uncomfortable with meeting actual voters, instead of a traditional campaign rally, DeSantis' first campaign event after the filing was an interview on Twitter with plutocrats Elon Musk and David O. SacksWikipedia,[note 3] followed by a huddle with donors at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotels and ResortsWikipedia in the Brickell district of Miami, Florida.[12][13] During the primary, he lost significant ground to Trump. With a predictably poor performance in the Iowa caucuses, DeSantis soon dropped out and endorsed Trump.[14]

Early career[edit]

Navy[edit]

Former Guantanamo inmate Mansur al-Dayfi alleged that Ron DeSantis watched him being tortured.[15] DeSantis went on to become an advocate for the prison's continuation.

After obtaining a law degree from Harvard University in 2005, DeSantis enlisted in the Navy as JAGWikipedia officer (legal advisor to the command). He was deployed to Guantanamo Bay in 2006. During his time there, he advised his command to force-feed the inmates who were on a hunger strike ("Hey, you actually can force-feed."); force feeding is regarded as torture by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Despite this, the Pentagon also approved force-feeding of the inmates.[16]

According to former-inmate Mansoor Adayfi, who wrote about his experience at Guantanamo, "a male nurse forced that huge tube into my nose. No numbing spray. No lubricant. Raw rubber and metal sliced the inside of my nose and throat. Pain shot through my sinuses and I thought my head would explode."[17] Adayfi later recognized DeSantis as he rose to political power and said that DeSantis was one of several people who were smiling at him while he was being tortured.[16]

During an interview with Fox News in 2014, DeSantis falsely claimed that the high cost of maintaining the prisoners at Guantanamo was because, "They get three special halal meals a day. They get round-the-clock medical care, they get the Qurans when they want it. So they’re treated far better than they would be treated almost anywhere else. And that’s costly."[16] These are in fact things that Muslim prisoners at US SuperMax prisons are entitled to due to the First Amendment (Freedom of religion),[16] thus indicating DeSantis' Islamophobia.

Vanity publishing[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Vanity publishing

Following his discharge from active duty in the Navy in 2010, DeSantis published his first book with a vanity press (the appropriately-named for someone with a squeaky voice "High-Pitched Hum Publishing") in 2011, Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama.[18] The book was suppressed, presumably by himself, just prior to his running for president in 2023. The book can be found at only 12 libraries,[19] but it was reviewed by The Washington Post. The Post described the book as essentially a troll of Barack Obama's 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father.[20] The book is essentially a festival of context-free cherry picking:[20]

It would be impossible (or at least brain-meltingly boring) to run down every single quote in DeSantis’s book and see whether he gave it proper context. But, for those The Post reviewed, it can safely be said that he did not.
—Gillian Brockell

Congress[edit]

DeSantis was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a block of far-right conservatives, libertarians, nationalists, xenophobes, and conspiracy theorists, most of whom supported Donald Trump. While DeSantis chose to run for Senate in 2015, he withdrew from the race after Marco Rubio chose to keep his Senate seat once he lost the Republican primary for president in 2016. DeSantis thought better than to face an incumbent and instead ran for reelection to the House.

In 2015, John Boehner, a well-known obstructionist who helped Mitch McConnell ensure that Barack Obama got none of his agenda through, found himself clashing with DeSantis' Freedom Caucus, who saw Boehner as somehow too liberal. Eventually, the Freedom Caucus, spearheaded by DeSantis and future White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (under Trump), and backed by Ted Cruz, ousted Boehner in favor of Paul Ryan, who himself became a Trump toady shortly after the Orange Man won the primary.

By 2018, DeSantis had greater ambitions. Rick Scott was term-limited as governor, leaving the seat wide open. DeSantis, widely seen as the hardliner, won the primary and faced off against Andrew Gillum, an African American progressive Democrat who supported Medicare For All. DeSantis would win by less than 1 percent of the vote.

Racism[edit]

DeSantis at a law enforcement rally in Staten Island, New York, 2022

During his original campaign for governor, and to a lesser degree at other times, DeSantis has done many racist things, most notably telling his supporters not to "monkey this up" (referring to the election), by letting his opponent win.[21] When even Fox News pointed out the bigoted nature of his statement, DeSantis doubled down, whining about "socialism".[22] He also has engaged in other racist activities, such as moderating a racist Tea Party-affiliated Facebook group.[23] Unsurprisingly, racially-motivated voter suppression played a significant role in DeSantis' election.[24][25]

Gerrymandering to eliminate Black districts[edit]

In March 2022, DeSantis threatened to veto any redistricting bill that did not eliminate half of all black-held seats in Florida.[26] Even though Florida has officially banned gerrymandering due to a voter-approved constitutional amendment in 2010, the legislature still draws their own seats, so there still is no independent redistricting in the state. This has caused several flareups between lawmakers and the Florida Supreme Court, who struck down an obviously-gerrymandered map in 2015 before DeSantis stacked the court with his cronies.[27] By mid-March 2022, the Florida Republican Party passed maps for the state house and state senate seats, which do not need the governor's signature, but their map for Congressional seats must be signed by the governor, and DeSantis instead made his own proposal which gave Republicans 20 seats and Democrats only 8 seats. Even the far more right-wing Florida House of Representatives think that's ridiculous and illegal, but DeSantis refused to budge, hoping to turn the issue over to the Florida Supreme Court, which is now stacked with his justices. This was the only time Florida Republicans have ever substantially opposed DeSantis, and he was quite annoyed.[28]

In April 2022, the Florida legislature gave up. They granted DeSantis the power to make his own redistricting map, giving the governor the power to gerrymander Democrats and Black-majority seats out of existence. His map has 20 Republican seats and only 8 Democratic seats, a partisan power-grab that was only possible because he eliminated Black-majority districts. He claimed Black-majority districts are themselves gerrymandered districts, yet said nothing about the White-majority districts that he himself drew. This meant that he thinks protections for minority voters are unlawful, implying that he thinks that the white power structure in a former Confederate slave state should never be challenged whatsoever. This sets a huge precedent where state legislatures, even those held by the same party as the governor, can simply be bullied into subservience by the governor. His sky-high popularity among Republican voters matches that of Trump, which is why elected Florida Republicans have been unwilling to challenge him on gerrymandering. Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson wanted to run for Agriculture Commissioner, and Republican insiders admitted to reporters that Simpson didn't want to anger DeSantis because Simpson thinks he needed the governor's endorsement to win. DeSantis' move did three things

  1. It shored up more Republican seats for Congress.
  2. It obviously gave him more personal power.
  3. It allowed him to possibly water down or ultimately revoke a 2010 amendment to the Florida constitution, overwhelmingly approved by voters, that set guardrails on the redistricting process and constitutionally banned gerrymandering on the basis of race.

DeSantis wanted the 6-1 right-wing supermajority on the Florida Supreme Court to officially strike down all guardrails against gerrymandering in Florida.[29][30][31][32] However, on May 11, 2022, the map was struck down in court by a right-wing judge whom he had appointed.[33] The Florida Supreme Court ruled 4-to-1 however locking in the gerrymandered map.[34]

Governorship[edit]

2018 Florida voters were 0.4% away from sparing themselves this madness.[35]
[DeSantis] is a terrible governor who is failing his leadership course with flying colors. Driven only by politics and naked ambition, he pursues reckless policies that divide Floridians and may even put them in danger.
—Ruben Navarrette Jr.[36]

Despite 2018 being a Democratic-wave election, with the House going blue for the first time since 2008, Florida did not follow suit. It elected Rick Scott as Senator over Bill Nelson and chose DeSantis as governor over Gillum. This would prove to be one of the most damaging and consequential elections for Florida since 2000 because of what would happen a year later.

Environment[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Environmentalism

In one of the few things on which he agreed with Gillum, DeSantis, who does not take money from Big Sugar monopolies, called himself a "Teddy Roosevelt conservationist," saying he supports banning hydraulic fracturing, along with making inspections of septic tanks mandatory and stricter.[37] One of the key difference between DeSantis' governorship and the governorship of Rick Scott was that DeSantis actually addressed some environmental concerns in the beginning.[38]

But DeSantis is still a Republican, so he signed a bill banning local governments in Florida from requiring gas stations to add electric car charging stations.[39] He later signed a bill that banned local governments and cities from restricting dirty energy, essentially mandating that cities keep fossil fuels despite health and environmental hazards.[40][41]

In his crusade against so-called "woke corporations," DeSantis announced that he wants to prohibit state investments that use “environmental, social and governance” ratings, which can include taking into account impacts of climate change. ESG guidelines include companies’ climate-change vulnerabilities, carbon emissions, product safety, supply-chain labor standards, privacy and data security, and executive compensation.[42]

In June 2023, he signed a bill to experiment with paving Florida's roads using mildly radioactive waste (phosphogypsum, which contains radium-226 that decays into radon). A fertilizer company, Mosaic, lobbied for the bill. Mosaic would of course be happy to sell the state the radioactive waste it needed.[43][44] Quite a bit of concern has been raised about this due to radiophobia, but substantial amounts of phosphogypsum have been used in roadbed and parking lot construction beginning before 1990.[45]:3-4 to 3-5 Estimated cancer risks to workers applying or removing phosphogypsum road beds are low (in the 10-5 to 10-6)[45]:4-26 to 4-35 as worker risks go (10-4 is usually used as a cutoff for unacceptable worker risks in the US).[46] Driver risks would be expected to be far lower since the roadbeds are sealed when completed to reduce radon releases, and most drivers do not spend 8 hours/day on phosphogypsum-based roads. The consequences of not finding uses for phosphogypsum are substantial since phosphogypsum is often stored in enormous sealed "stacks" that can fail and release enormous amounts into the environment.[47]

As DeSantis turned toward national politics, he largely sidelined much of his early (if sometimes confusing and hypocritical)[48] pro-environment stances, and instead directed much of his entire focus on being "anti-woke".[49] This failure to address environmental concerns especially hit homeowners hard. During DeSantis' term, Florida homeowners began suffering from a home insurance crisis. While DeSantis and many other Republicans regularly engaged in climate change denialism, home insurance companies had been looking at the science and had long recognized that Florida was especially at risk from climate change, due to flooding because of rising sea levels and other factors, as well as increasingly powerful hurricanes fueled by warmer ocean waters.[50] Such naturally fueled rising insurance rates. While the home insurance market had been unstable in Florida since the 1990s, under DeSantis' governorship, the market grew even more volatile, with premiums doubling between 2019 and 2023, more than a dozen insurers becoming insolvent, and other insurers pulling out of Florida entirely.[51] While DeSantis and the Florida legislature did take a few tepid steps to address minor insurance industry issues such as tort reform, DeSantis far preferred to waste legislative time talking about "woke" drag shows instead of articulating a comprehensive blueprint for addressing the home insurance crisis.[52]

Healthcare[edit]

Continuing the policy of Rick Scott, DeSantis has refused federal money offered under the Affordable Care Act that could easily be used to expand Medicaid coverage for about a million poor Floridians. As of May 2023, this made Florida one of just ten states that continually reject the offer.[53][54][55] Following the legal end of the COVID-19 federal public emergency, Congress's requirement that states don't boot certain people off of Medicaid expired. DeSantis could have acted to preserve healthcare coverage for said people, but failed to act.[56] Actually, that's not quite true. He signed a bill expanding the ability of "insurance companies, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, ambulances, and more" to deny patients treatment.[57]

As a result of his inaction regarding Medicaid coverage, over 200,000 Floridians who were eligible for coverage lost theirs. Health advocates begged him to act, but by then, he was evidently too focused on his presidential campaign to notice.[53][58] The Los Angeles Times writes that Florida is one of the least-insured states in the country, and remarks that DeSantis could bring this status to the rest of the nation if his vision to "Make America Florida" came to fruition.[59]

Stacking the Florida Supreme Court[edit]

Due to Florida (surprisingly sensibly) prohibiting justices from serving past age 75 (originally 70, before DeSantis took power), all of the justices appointed by Lawton Chiles, the last Democratic governor,[note 4] were essentially term-limited. DeSantis appointed Barbara Lagoa, Robert J. Luck, and Carlos G. Muñiz to the Florida Supreme Court, shifting the court's majority from liberal to conservative. Luck and Lagoa were appointed by Trump to the Court of Appeals, allowing DeSantis to then appoint Jamie Grosshans and John D. Curiel as their replacements. That is five different justices for DeSantis, in contrast to his predecessor Rick Scott's one.

More guns[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Gun nut

Despite Floridians supporting gun control measures by wide margins (bans on assault rifles, background checks, and raising the minimum age of purchase from 18 to 21),[60][61] DeSantis signed a law that eliminated background checks and safety training for gun ownership.[62]

Knowing of the unpopularity of the bill, DeSantis unusually signed the bill in private in April 2023.[63] DeSantis normally has signed bills in media-focused ceremonies with people — especially chidren — standing behind him as props. Hypocritically, DeSantis wanted to ban guns from his own election night party in November 2022 but to not to be blamed for doing so.[64]

In May 2023, the NAACP (along with several other civil rights groups) issued a "travel advisory" due to DeSantis' "anti-woke" education efforts and other systemic racism, as well as the state's loose gun laws. The NAACP warned that as a result, "Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals".[65][66] In early June 2023, DeSantis somewhat incoherently fired back at the NAACP by evoking a bit of the black brute stereotype, stating that "if you’re in Baltimore or Chicago, these kids have a better chance of getting shot than getting a first-class education".[67] Underscoring the problems with both the state's laissez-faire gun policy and DeSantis' blatant racism, on August 26 2023, the 2023 Jacksonville shootingWikipedia occurred, where a racist white gunman (who, in 2017, was briefly detained for a mental health crisis)[68] killed three black people at a Dollar GeneralWikipedia store before killing himself.[69] Small wonder that when DeSantis showed up unannounced at a prayer vigil for the three victims, he was loudly booed.[70]

Authoritarianism[edit]

DeSantis rides around with the Florida National Guard in 2019.
See the main article on this topic: Authoritarianism

Starting in 2020, DeSantis became increasingly autocratic and dangerously authoritarian, using his power as governor to crush as many people as possible to shore up support from his base and weaken the opposition as much as possible. He is one of many, many, many Republican governors who followed Donald Trump's authoritarianism with their own and is by far the most successful, more than Trump even.

Punishing people for having different political beliefs[edit]

In July 2022, DeSantis signed a law requiring students and faculty be asked their political beliefs. DeSantis suggested budget cuts could be "imminent" if universities and colleges are found to be 'indoctrinating' students with political beliefs he disagrees with.[71] The political survey has been derided for its lack of transparency, particularly its lack of details on its privacy protections; based on the bill's language, survey responses will not be anonymous, sparking worries among many professors and other university staff that they may be targeted, held back in their careers, or even fired for their beliefs.[72]

Criminalizing protesters[edit]

On April 2021, DeSantis signed a law that "increases penalties for protesters who block roadways or deface public monuments"; creates a new crime, "mob intimidation"; and requires that anyone arrested at a protest be "denied bail until their first court appearance, likely making for overnight jail stays." He bragged about the law, calling it the "strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement law in the country."[73]

In the wake of the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, people began protesting outside the homes of Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito. DeSantis didn't like that, so he signed a law that banned protests outside private homes, a transparent way to protect the powerful and prevent people from protesting near his own house.[74]

Allowing protesters to be murdered[edit]

In November 2020, DeSantis proposed a bill that would allow gun-owning residents to use deadly force on individuals they believe are looting; basically state-sponsored murder of protesters and rioters for alleged property crime. It would also make blocking traffic during a protest a third-degree felony and impose criminal penalties for partaking in "violent or disorderly assemblies."[75] Worse, he has granted civil immunity to people who run over protesters, reasoning that it is like fleeing a mob.[76] To anyone who may think that they're living in a dystopia, the First Amendment of the US Constitution theoretically still protects freedom of assembly.

Anti-woke "education"[edit]

DeSantis delivers his 2019 State of the State address.
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen," and the powers in charge of Florida's public university system have declared the State has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of "freedom." To confront certain viewpoints that offend the powers that be, the State of Florida passed the so-called "Stop W.O.K.E." Act in 2022—redubbed (in line with the State's doublespeak) the "Individual Freedom Act." The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints. Defendants argue that, under this Act, professors enjoy "academic freedom" so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the State approves. This is positively dystopian. It should go without saying that "[i]f liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
—Chief Judge Mark E. Walker,Wikipedia November 18 2022, in an injunction temporarily blocking a portion of DeSantis's "anti-woke" legislation[77][78]

As part of his ongoing scheme to indoctrinate the next generation with reactionary bullshit, DeSantis signed laws to restrict how schools teach topics linked to race and sexual orientation. The bill allows parents to sue teachers and "challenge instructional materials" if they were offended at having to treat trans people with basic human decency. Math textbooks have been "culled for traces of critical race theory", which makes as much sense as one might think it does. Schools for the first time will have to observe "Victims of Communism Day", during which high schoolers will be taught anti-communism lessons. Teachers and librarians have been worried that a parent will "complain if a student with two moms shares stories from home during class time." His administration told school districts to "ignore new guidance from the federal government intended to protect transgender students from discrimination." CNN reported that this was DeSantis jumping on an anti-teacher bandwagon that had been kickstarted by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin,Wikipedia but as with everything else about DeSantis, he's even more extreme about it, namely by endorsing candidates who have vowed to support his education policy. A huge component of his strategy has been to tie himself to Moms for Liberty, an astroturf far-right group that has mobilized far-right women around the country to "fight school boards over cultural touchstones", including curricula that they believe is "pushing a liberal agenda" or textbooks they say are "inappropriate for kids", with Orange County (home of Orlando) considering "limiting LGBTQ ally symbols like rainbow lanyards and "Safe Space" stickers."[79][80]

Instructors who are simply teaching facts about American history, and its many unpleasant actions, are being accused of Marxism. The Florida legislature is considering bills that "aim to prevent students from feeling discomfort, guilt or anguish about race", basically weaponizing white guilt to stop any discussions about race. Perhaps the worrying thing is this isn't a bunch of well-connected plutocrats trying to set up private schools that teach Ayn Rand, but a bunch of normal parents who think their kids are being taught lies and falsehoods about how awful their country really is, and they're making inroads throughout the state (and country) while opportunists like DeSantis reap the benefits. Thankfully, educators and activists pushed and pushed harshly enough to force Florida schools to teach historical events such as the RosewoodWikipedia and Ocoee massacresWikipedia written into the standards and onto state exams, and even the State Board of Education rule banning critical race theory "reiterates state law requiring instruction about slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the civil rights movement."[81]

On Black history, DeSantis can be seen as a tangential advocate of the century old Southern pseudohistorical effort to engage in denialism over the importance of slavery and racism in American history, in a similar manner to previous whitewashing efforts by Lost Cause of the South architects like United Daughters of the Confederacy.Wikipedia[82] While not as explicitly white supremacist as the UDC, DeSantis shares the same goal of whitewashing history by minimizing the impact of slavery and violent white supremacy in the history of the South. Reportedly during his teaching stint at Darlington School,Wikipedia DeSantis minimized the importance of slavery as the top cause for the American Civil War, instead describing the war as being about "two competing economic systems".[83] DeSantis has also downplayed the role of slavery in the founding of the United States in a series of pseudohistorical comments in September 2022 that simultaneously also minimized pre-Revolutionary abolitionist efforts.[84][85] In January 2023, DeSantis successfully pressured the Advanced PlacementWikipedia board to strip out any mention of contemporary social justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter and writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, in their African American studies course.[86]

In July 2023, the Florida Board of Education approved a new African American studies curriculum standard with similar sorts of whitewashing. Among the lowlights were requirements that encouraged teachers to note that "slaves developed skills, which in some instance, could be applied for their personal benefit"; and that when learning about white supremacist terrorism in the Jim Crow era, students should be taught about "acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans", essentially attempting to advocate a balance fallacy on the subject.[87] Beyond the very problematic quotes, the alternate standards[88] were criticized by historians and other commentators as a whitewashing attempt that erased the brutality of slavery in favor of an upbeat heroes-without-villains narrative.[89][90] In order to present this positive narrative, the document contained many omissions and misdirections. For instance, whataboutism on United States slavery was advanced via a large section focusing on slavery around the globe.[91] In contrast, much of the violent white supremacy of the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras were considerably minimized, favoring a narrative during those periods that instead promoted famous African-Americans.[92] Names of famous abolitionists were included, but names of prominent segregationists and pro-slavery advocates were not.[92] Florida's resistance to civil rights, such as the Florida Legislature passing a resolution against Brown v. Board of Education, were not mentioned.[92] Recent civil rights movements such as Black Lives Matter also were not mentioned.[92] Political figures in the document were incredibly skewed towards conservative politicians.[93] Talking Points Memo founder Josh MarshallWikipedia thought that, using this curriculum, it would be difficult for a student to know why the civil rights advances in the 1960s were necessary at all.[94] The overall document was seen as very consistent with previous Lost Cause attempts to whitewash away the built in white supremacy and the horrors of slavery in historical Southern culture.[95][96]

Also in July 2023, PragerU announced that Florida became the first state to be allowed to use "PragerU Kids" material, with its clear conservative and nationalism bent, as "supplemental curriculum" in schools.[97]

Limiting ballot initiatives and amendment referendums[edit]

In Florida, despite often electing Republicans, voters typically vote in favor of progressive ballot initiatives, like restoring voting rights to non-violent felons. DeSantis, unhappy with popular democracy, signed a bill that would make it harder to launch successful ballot initiatives. This happened right as Floridians were trying to put medical marijuana legalization, increases to the minimum wage, and expansion of Medicaid on the ballot.[98][99]

Circumventing felons' voting rights[edit]

When Floridians restored voting rights to non-violent felons, DeSantis signed a law that required felons to pay court fees and fines, which was not on the ballot initiative at all. This was done specifically to stop as many felons from voting as possible, as many do not have the money to pay for those fees.[100][101] This "pay-to-vote" system was partially blocked by a district judge, who imposed a permanent injunction pending further judicial review.[102] DeSantis, in a great moment of doublespeak, said that allowing more people the right to vote would "corrupt" elections in Florida.[103] But the Eleventh Circuit reversed and vacated the injunction, with the circuit's chief judge using a law-and-order argument in favor of DeSantis. The Eleventh Circuit ruled 6-4 in favor of DeSantis, and two of the six judges were Luck and Lagoa, who had gotten their start as Florida Justices appointed by DeSantis.[104] If you took away those two, the circuit likely would have ruled against him.

Attacking abortion rights[edit]

DeSantis signed bills on the same day requiring parental consent for a minor to get an abortion and another that mandates governments and some businesses use E-Verify to check the immigration status of their workers. This puts more control in parents' hands over their children and allows for the government and businesses to learn if workers are undocumented immigrants, which would potentially put their lives in danger of ICE. These are exemplary of how vital the Florida Supreme Court is to people's lives: they originally struck down a similar abortion consent bill in 1989 when they had a centrist-to-liberal majority at the time.[105]

In April 2022, DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban without exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking, the most restrictive in Florida's history. The only exceptions allowed are when a pregnancy is "serious risk" to the birthing parent or a "fatal fetal abnormality" is detected if two physicians confirm the diagnosis in writing.[106][107][108]

A year later, DeSantis signed a 6-week abortion ban. This time, it contained exceptions (until the 15-week point). However, the rape and incest exceptions only apply if a police report or restraining order exists.[109][110] Advocates for rape victims were critical of this. Most rape cases are not reported to the police at all (even without a nine-week-long window).[111]

Anti-immigration[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Undocumented immigration

Despite the Florida economy being heavily dependant on immigrant labor, with nearly a quarter of workers having been born overseas, DeSantis decided to make demonization of immigrants part of his gubernatorial record.[112]

In September 2022, DeSantis duped mostly-Venezuelan asylum seekers in Texas to board two airplanes that he sponsored and flew them to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.[113] The transportation company that DeSantis used to make the flights, Vertol Systems, was heavily connected to Florida Republican politicians and donors, including the DeSantis-appointed "public safety tsar" Larry KeefeWikipedia who was reportedly was in charge of managing these stunts. Evading Florida public records laws, reportedly when Keefe communicated with the CEO of Vertol Systems, he used encrypted messaging applications and a private email address, using an alias taken from the Silence of the LambsWikipedia novel.[114] The Martha's Vineyard flight alone cost Florida taxpayers $615,000. A second migrant flight that was scheduled to forcibly relocate a group of Venezuelan asylum-seekers to Joe Biden's summer home in the same month was cancelled mid-way, leaving migrants stranded in San Antonio, Texas.Wikipedia This botched stunt cost Florida taxpayers $950,000.[115][116]

In duping the Venezuelan asylum seekers and flying them to Martha's Vineyard, felony level crimes may have been committed. On June 5, 2023, the sheriff's department of Bexar County, TexasWikipedia recommended that the Bexar County district attorney bring up criminal charges of unlawful restraint in relation to the stunt, which since some of the migrants were younger than 17 included potential felony level charges.[117] This news appeared around the same time of a report that two more planes tied to Vertol Systems had forcibly relocated some more Venezuelan migrants, this time in Sacramento, California.Wikipedia[118] California governor Gavin NewsomWikipedia (as well as the attorney general of the state Rob BontaWikipedia) slammed DeSantis for the stunt, with Bonta tweeting that "state-sanctioned kidnapping is immoral".[118] In a separate tweet, Newsom included a screenshot of some California legal codes on kidnapping, and claimed that the state of California would investigate whether this stunt violated any laws.[119]

DeSantis claimed the accepting immigrants was a burden that states should share[120] — perhaps the quarter of the Florida workforce that was born overseas should leave the state and relieve it of its 'burden'? In 2019, DeSantis signed a law banning sanctuary cities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal deportation — the law has not gone into effect as it is still in the courts as of May 2023.[112] Following DeSantis reeelction as governor in 2022, he has signed or advocated for a wide range of anti-immigrant legislation:[112]

  • Expanding the undocumented immigrant removal program
  • Eliminating lower in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants (in opposition to his own lieutenant governor, Jeanette Nuñez and his Repubican predecessor as governor Rick Scott)
  • Requiring hospitals to report immigration status
  • Felony criminalization of anyone harboring an undocumented immigrants

By June 2023, DeSantis' immigration policies not only worried migrants, they worried businesses that relied on undocumented labor, such as agriculture. According to the Florida Policy Institute, the state's most labor-intensive industries might "lose 10 percent of their workforce and the wages they contribute along with them."[121][note 5] Immigration advocates warned that the laws might spark a migrant worker exodus. [123] Even state Republican representatives at an event in Hialeah, FloridaWikipedia, citing farmers that were "mad as hell" about "losing employees", clumsily had to beg for immigrants to stay in the state in spite of DeSantis' anti-immigrant policies.[124] Multiple civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP, LULAC,Wikipedia and the Human Rights Campaign, issued "travel advisories" collectively recommending that minorities (not just immigrants and Latin Americans, but African-Americans and LGBTQ individuals as well) reconsider traveling to Florida in light of DeSantis' policies and the subsequent hostile climate to minorities in the state.[125][126] On June 1 2023, immigrant activists organized a "day without immigrants" protest to rally against DeSantis' anti-immigrant legislation.[127]

Limiting democracy, allowing voter purges, and deputizing voter intimidation[edit]

In 2022, DeSantis voiced support for a bill that limited ballot harvesting, banned ranked-choice voting, and created a state law enforcement office to "ensure election integrity". This new Office of Election Crimes and Security would have the goal of "investigating allegations of election law violations" or election "irregularities" in Florida.[128] DeSantis wanted even more restrictions on voting to ensure that absolutely nobody beat him ran for reelection in 2022.[129] His Election Police Force aren’t sworn officers of the law, but they're still endowed with authority to do voter intimidation of anybody who may vote against the governor, critics warned.[130]

On April 2022, DeSantis signed a bill that officially created an Election Crimes and Security Office, which meant that his election police force became activated effective immediately, months before the 2022 midterm elections. The bill also bans Ranked choice voting statewide, including in cities and counties. It stiffens penalties for ballot harvesting, which means pro-voting rights organizations can collect people's filled-out ballots and mail them in; one can now go to jail for get-out-the-vote efforts. It also requires election supervisors to purge any voters who they deem to be inactive from the rolls.[131]

Because DeSantis refused to identify exactly what "election irregularities" are, beyond the obvious "you're not White" overtones, many experts have feared that Florida's new election police will end up deterring voters, election administration officials, and third-party organizations that help voters navigate elections.[132]

Despite heavily-armed police arresting non-violent voters,[133] the first round of prosecutions from this law "largely flopped, resulting in dropped charges, a number of dismissals, one plea agreement that resulted in no punishment and only one partial conviction."[134] The law also resulted in judicial scrutiny over the highly-politicized prosecutions; not to be outdone by the judiciary, DeSantis had a new law passed to try to circumvent the scrutiny.[134]

DeSantis' brazen efforts to intimidate and harass voters has inspired Republicans to try it on a national scale. It was revealed through leaked recordings that the Republican Party plans to place party operatives and lawyers as poll workers and build a "hotline" to "friendly district attorneys" who would immediately prosecute against law-abiding citizens who are accused of voter fraud. This is a "precinct strategy" meant to intimidate voters in swing states such as Michigan and Florida.[135] This was not the first time that such racist voter intimidation has a more-or-less continuous history in the United States, dating back to the end of Reconstruction in The South.[136]:16[137]

Arresting whistleblowers[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Whistleblower

Rebekah Jones, a former data scientist in the Florida Department of Health, revealed that DeSantis was covering up COVID deaths in the state. DeSantis fired Jones after she refused to manipulate data to make DeSantis look good, allowing her to launch a COVID database of her own.[138] DeSantis ordered law enforcement to raid her home, take her hardware, and draw their weapons on her, which was caught on camera.[139]

Firing his critics[edit]

DeSantis trying to do an action pose at the 2021 Turning Point USA conference

State Attorney Andrew Warren, a twice-elected Democrat in a county that voted for Gillum in 2018, pledged not to criminalize those seeking abortions or those seeking reproductive health,[140] which is legally within his authority as prosecutor. But as he was waiting for a grand jury to make their decision on two rape and murder cases, Warren received an email from the governor's office saying that DeSantis had suspended him and commandeered his car. DeSantis was so angry at someone opposing him that he defied the will of the voters, ignored all precedent, and ousted a democratically-elected prosecutor for doing his job within the confines of the law. DeSantis accused Warren of being a 'woke' prosecutor more interested in social justice than in enforcing the law, which is laughable on its face. DeSantis called progressive prosecutors a "pathogen" spreading across the country, because they have the temerity to reduce incarceration rates and decrease the profits of the private prison industry in favor of humanitarian solutions to crime. Warren had also declined to press charges against 67 people who had been arrested for unlawful assembly — angering local law enforcement officials who always saw the pro-reform attorney as a threat to their power. Warren had also criticized DeSantis for the anti-riot law that penalized 2020-era protesters and spoke out against DeSantis ordering the state government to deny Medicaid coverage for transgender-related surgeries and medication.[141][142][143][144]

In August 2023, DeSantis fired Orlando-area state attorney Monique Worrell for not aligning with his views.[145] Florida Attorney General Ashley MoodyWikipedia praised him for the move and called it "democracy in action".[146]

Punishing sports teams for opposing gun violence[edit]

DeSantis vetoed state money for the Tampa Bay Rays' new training facility after the team tweeted about gun violence. He claimed taxpayer money shouldn't be used to fund private sports stadiums, but Republican insiders said DeSantis had not made up his mind about the money until they made that tweet opposing gun violence. I.e., saying one doesn't want gun violence means that the governor will strip you of your government money.[147][148]

Criminalizing and terrorizing the LGBT community[edit]

In 2021, DeSantis signed a bill banning transgender women and girls from sports, using tired and longstanding transphobic rationalizations for his bigotry.[149][150]

DeSantis ordered the state government to deny Medicaid-related transgender surgeries and medications. That means Floridians seeking gender-affirming care will not only be denied those services, but will also effectively de-transition lower-income trans Floridians, whose mental health will almost certainly decline and critics warn may even lead to a rise in suicides for trans Floridians. The Florida Surgeon General, appointed by DeSantis, also issued a memo speaking out against social transition — a non-medical process in "which a person changes their clothing, name or pronouns to better align with their gender identity."[151]

Perhaps most infamously, DeSantis voiced support for the "Don't Say Gay" Bill, which would ban curricula concerning LGBTQ issues in Florida classrooms below the 4th grade.[152] It would limit what classrooms can teach about sexual orientation and gender identity, allow parents to sue schools or teachers that engage in these topics, and erase essentially all LGBT issues from the minds of children and teenagers, which critics say would lead to more suicides among LGBT people.[153][154] Perhaps most concerningly, the bill requires schools to out LGBTQ students to their parents. Florida students staged walkouts in protest of the bill.[155][156] The relevant amendment was later withdrawn due to public backlash.[157]

Needless to say, LGBTQ issues are a significant part of certain scholarly curriculum, so DeSantis' homophobic stance affected Florida's educational quality. In May 2023, the College Board, having enough of DeSantis' bullshit after capitulating to his demands for African American studies, refused to bend to a similar effort to strip gender identity and sexual orientation from Advance PlacementWikipedia (AP) Psychology courses.[158] In August, the College Board affirmed this stance, advising Florida superintendents to nix their AP Psychology classes, as gender and sexual orientation material are an important part of the psychology field. The College Board also warned that any psychology class without this material could not be called "AP / Advanced Placement" and could not be used for college credit.[159] This stance was fully backed by the American Psychological Association,Wikipedia whose CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr. stated in June 2023 that "understanding human sexuality is fundamental to psychology, and an advanced placement course that excludes the decades of science studying sexual orientation and gender identity would deprive students of knowledge they will need to succeed in their studies, in high school and beyond".[160]

In late April 2022, DeSantis ordered the Florida Health Department to issue "guidelines" telling doctors to medically detransition all transgender youth and ban them from social transition treatment, including "name, pronoun, and clothing changes." The Florida Health Department also released a memo proclaiming that “social gender transition” should NOT be an option for youth, including "name, pronoun, and clothing changes."[161][162][163][164]

In June 2022, DeSantis told the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to ban transition-related care for transgender minors right at the start of Pride Month. This has been derided as cruelty for its own sake. To justify his decision, DeSantis alleged that these treatments are "under-researched and ineffective", which is a lie.[165] The Agency had been stacked with anti-LGBT Catholic Medical Association members however, and was more than happy to agree with him.[166][167] In January 2023, DeSantis requested information on transgender university students, including "the number and ages of their students who sought gender dysphoria treatment". A deadline for the information was set for February 10.[168][169]

Dismantling all local autonomy[edit]

DeSantis pushed for a bill designed to protect Confederate monuments; permit the state to overrule local governments' decisions in reducing funding for police; waive sovereign immunity for municipalities, thereby allowing local authorities to be sued for "inadequate law enforcement"; and block people injured while participating in protests from receiving damages. This would severely hamper black protesters from exercising their First Amendment rights, critics say.[170]

Using his spat with Disney over LGBT rights, DeSantis issued a proclamation expanding Florida lawmakers' special session and basically telling them to abolish all independent special districts created before November 1968, including the Disney-owned Reedy Creek, NASCAR's independent district in North Florida, and every Native American independent district. That is 133 independent special districts that are about to lose their autonomy completely.[171] Many critics decried the move, saying DeSantis is punishing locally-powerful monopoly for daring to criticize him. Democrats warned that DeSantis may be destroying Florida's economy in the future because there's nothing stopping Disney from leaving Orlando and setting up shop instead in, say, Atlanta, Georgia.[172][173] If Florida loses Disney the rest of the country may be inclined to cut the state off and just let it sink into the sea.[174]

Punishing corporations for criticizing him[edit]

"Florida Welcomes Walt Disney"? Not anymore!

When Disney, which literally owns a city in Florida, criticized DeSantis for his signing of the "Don't Say Gay" bill, DeSantis and his Republican loyalists publicly threatened to strip Disney of self-government power over Reedy Creek Improvement District, which was established to allow Disney to govern property that would eventually become Disney World.[175] DeSantis signed the district dissolution bill on April 23, 2022, apparently not caring that the literal billions of dollars that Reedy Creek accrues would then be shifted as a financial burden to the citizens of Orange County; he signed a de facto tax hike on average Americans.[176][177][178] The bill also revokee Disney's special tax exemptions.[179]

…and then losing to the Mouse[edit]

Slowly, it dawned on the Florida legislature that this "abolish Reedy Creek special status" plan, scheduled to be enacted on June 1 2023, would actually have some serious financial impact. So, in February 2023, seeking to avoid these repercussions, the Florida Legislature held a special session, during which state lawmakers decided to allow Disney to keep the special tax district and other perks, including the ability to issue tax-exempt bonds. Ron DeSantis, however, refused to let go of his idea of punishing Disney for being too "woke". So, state lawmakers also decided that Mr. DeSantis, not Disney, would be the ones to appoint the five members of the board for Disney’s taxing district, which was renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. Shortly afterwards, DeSantis announced the five members of the board, all of whom were either DeSantis political donors or culture war extremists like Bridget Ziegler, a co-founder of the double-speaking pro-book-banning Moms for Liberty.[180] Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in a statement that Disney was "ready to work within this new framework." This was widely seen as a victory for DeSantis.[181][182]

Before board power transferred from Disney-friendly members to DeSantis's stooges in March 2023, however, the board showed what they meant by "working within this new framework", in a move widely seen as a victory for Disney, and DeSantis getting out-maneuvered by The Mouse. During the pre-transfer period, the board quietly passed several long-lasting development agreements between Disney and the board that essentially stripped the board of a huge amount of its powers, transferring these powers to Disney itself and locking the new board out of the decision making process. In a sign of maximum legal trolling, at least one of these agreements used a "royal lives clause"Wikipedia in order to establish near-permanency, declaring that the arrangement was valid until either Disney is no longer interested in the property, or until "21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, king of England".[sic][183] Upon taking power, one DeSantis stooge (who, in a sign of the political theater hack nature of these stooges, clearly hadn't been monitoring the previous board meetings, whose activities were hardly secret under Florida's open access laws) complained that the board was stripped "for practical purposes, the majority of its ability to do anything beyond maintain the roads and maintain basic infrastructure."[184][185][186][187]

Being a petulant obstinate bully,[188] however, DeSantis chose to continue to fight Disney via a series of bills and/or proposals that directly targeted aspects of Disney, such as their monorail system,[189] extra taxes on Disney hotels, and extra tolls on the roads leading to the park.[190] DeSantis' board of stooges also attempted to nullify the arrangements that stripped them of power in March.[191] In response, having exhausted all patience in dealing with a (by then) year-long temper tantrum over some tepid token opposition to a single bill, on April 27 2023, Disney sued DeSantis over violating multiple Constitutional rights: the First Amendment's right to free speech, the due process clause, the takings clause, and the Contract Clause.Wikipedia[192]

In mid-May 2023, Disney cancelled a roughly one-billion dollar office complex scheduled to be built in Orlando, Florida, which would have included a relocation of as many as 2000 employees from California to Florida. This included much of Walt Disney Imagineering,Wikipedia a group of R&D engineers and architects responsible for the creation and design of Disney parks worldwide. Although other factors played into the cancellation of this project, "changing business conditions", which notably included DeSantis' feud, played a significant role in the decision.[193] In Disney's quarterly investor call in May 2023, Disney CEO Bob IgerWikipedia hinted that should the feud continue, further investment was possibly at risk.[194]

This feud unsettled some GOP members who were concerned about DeSantis prioritizing the culture wars over the needs of business, to the point of punishing one of the top businesses in the state (and one of the most significant draws of Florida tourism) just because this business made a statement he didn't like. Among the people who criticized DeSantis' actions were Mike Pence, Chris Christie (who actually declared that DeSantis was not a conservative based on his actions towards Disney),[195] and both of Florida's senators at the time (Rick Scott and Marco Rubio).[196]

Restricting education[edit]

Citing the racist manufactroversy over critical race theory, DeSantis banned 28 math textbooks, which is a very powerful brain drain against Floridian students, some of whom need those math textbooks to actually graduate or be proper workers in their fields (like engineering).[197]

DeSantis signed a bill limiting tenure at public universities, framing it as a way to stop faculty staffers and teachers from being "too political", which ultimately means he's just trying to term-limit all progressive teachers and faculty so they can be replaced with right-wing teachers who can bring up a new generation of conservative extremism.[198]

Parental rights and wrongs[edit]

Lest anyone think that DeSantis is simply in favor of expanding parental rights, he is not. He is only in favor of parental rights within his own narrow views for straight, ultraconservative parents. He expressed anger at children going to a "Drag the Kids to Pride" in Texas, and suggested that child protective statutes could be used against parents who allow their children to attend similar events in Florida.[199]

Due to these "rights", even the plays of William Shakespeare could be considered verboten under DeSantis' rules due to certain bits of raunchiness here and there. One school district, playing it safe, chose to work with only excerpts of plays in their English classes, compared to the past where two complete plays were assigned in their entirety.[200]

Consolidating power away from the state legislature[edit]

By early 2021, the Florida Republican Party was fully beholden to DeSantis, whose entire 2021 agenda was rubber-stamped by his party, including a bill that bans so-called vaccine passports, a bill that punishes Big Tech companies for "censoring" Republican voices, and anti-riot measures that are really just anti-protest bills.[201][202] This culminated in December 2021, when DeSantis announced that as part of a $100 million funding proposal for the Florida National Guard, $3.5 million would be allocated to the reactivation of the Florida State Guard, a volunteer state defense force that has been inactive since 1947. It would allow for training and equipment of up to 200 members.[203][204][205] He passed a bill that banned deplatforming xenophobic voices and could fine Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for such deplatforming, which experts say is unconstitutional.[206] This is deeply ironic and hypocritical, because he applauded Twitter for suspending (and thereby deplatforming) Rebekah Jones, a whistleblower and public critic of DeSantis' COVID policies.[207]

Silence on Nazis and antisemitism[edit]

DeSantis' authoritarian anti-minority policies have, naturally, attracted extremist white supremacists to the state of Florida. Under his governorship, Florida saw a sharp rise in antisemitic acts, including harassment, vandalism, and assault. Florida also attracted neo-Nazi troll groups like the Goyim Defense League (GDL), who engaged in shitpost "stunts", such as performing Nazi salutes on Florida freeway overpasses and holding placards in front of Disney tourists asking if they have thanked Hitler today.[208] Such stunts were even too much for even most Republican politicians, and were thoroughly denounced on social media by folks as noxious as Rick Scott. [208] Nonetheless, although DeSantis has occasionally taken some action against the neo-Nazi trolls, such as signing a piece of legislature targeting the GDL stunts in April 2023,[209] his team has largely been silent about these extremists, refusing to condemn them on social media and elsewhere. In one instance, DeSantis' team even tweeted out a false flag conspiracy theory instead.[208]

Ironically, DeSantis claims himself to be a staunch defender of Israel. During his term, he made several ceremonial trips to Israel.[208] Also during the 2023 Israel–Hamas war,Wikipedia true to his authoritarian style, in a move that according DeSantis was totally not cancel culture, he attempted to ban the pro-Palestine group Students for Justice in PalestineWikipedia from all Florida college campuses, alleging antisemitism and a link with Hamas. (This ban was criticized by many, including Republican presidential candidate rivals like Vivek Ramaswamy, for being a "shameful political ploy" and a violation of free speech.)[210][211]

The contrast between his supposed "defense of Israel" and the inability to publicly condemn Nazi trolls was too much for one Republican state representative, Randy Fine,Wikipedia who in October 2023 switched his endorsement from DeSantis to Donald Trump due to the governor's silence.[212]

In addition, Jewish critics of DeSantis have noted that DeSantis' anti-"woke" education policies that prohibit teaching about race, gender and sexuality also inhibit teaching about the Holocaust.[213]

On November 19 2023, DeSantis received criticism for, on the CNN program State of the Union, refusing to condemn a tweet from Elon Musk supporting an antisemitic white genocide conspiracy theory. DeSantis first claimed ignorance. When shown the offensive tweet, DeSantis half-defended Musk, claiming that he had "never seen (Musk) indulge in (antisemitism)", and that the tweet was "surprising", but he did not want to "sit there and pass judgment on the fly." When questioned by host Jake TapperWikipedia whether antisemitism on the right concerned him, DeSantis responded by insisting that antisemitism comes from major universities on the left, whereas on the right, it was relegated to "fringe voices". (Never mind that Musk is hardly "fringe".)[214][215]

Coronavirus response: Why he's called DeathSantis[edit]

DeSantis having to use big pictures to explain Florida's COVID situation to Trump.

Floridians, never known for liking their leaders, made a point to call him "Governor DeathSantis" or "DeSatan" due to over 88,000 people dying on his watch during COVID-19 pandemic as of May 19, 2023.[216][217][218][219]

DeSantis gained national infamy for royally screwing up his state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, notably by banning mask fines and taking action against local jurisdictions enforcing mask mandates.[220][221][222] Despite his state's worse-than-average death toll, DeSantis is fond of claiming his response has been a massive success, a claim echoed by many conservatives, while ranting against evidence-based restrictive measures taken to combat it.[223][224]

On March 2, 2022, he scolded students for wearing face masks at a press conference. Some removed their masks, others didn't, and DeSantis was called a bully for his Trumpian behavior.[225][226] He appointed anti-vaxxer Joseph Ladapo, a vocal supporter of his COVID-19 policies, as Florida's surgeon general. Ladapo has a history of promoting unproven treatments against COVID-19, opposes COVID-19 vaccine requirements, has questioned the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, and has associated with America's Frontline Doctors, a pro-Trump healthcare group known for promoting falsehoods about the pandemic.[227][228] Yes, a doctor who is okay with people dying is now surgeon general of Florida.[229]

Stubbornly refusing to listen to health experts, DeSantis instead banned vaccine passports while claiming that the government banning a health and life-saving policy is "small government" or something.[230] But in August 2021, Judge John Cooper ruled that DeSantis could not ban mask mandates in schools.[231] DeSantis immediately appealed, causing Cooper's ruling to be automatically suspended while the appeal was considered, but Cooper overruled that suspension on September 8, 2021, lifting DeSantis's ban, reasoning that unvaccinated children needed to be protected.[232]

DeSantis also made an executive order allowing parents to not mask their students, stating that if the State Board of Education determines that "a district school board is unwilling or unable to comply with the law", the State Board therefore may "withhold the transfer of state funds, discretionary grant funds, discretionary lottery funds", or any "other funds specified as eligible for this purpose" by the legislature until the school district "complies with the law or state board rule and declare the school district ineligible for competitive grants." This is DeSantis threatening to starve schools of resources unless they obey him.[233] Instead of vaccines, DeSantis promoted an antibody COVID treatment by Regeneron, which was a major investment of DeSantis's largest political donor.[234]

In September 2020, ignoring all advice to the contrary, DeSantis prohibited local governments from imposing fines or shutting down businesses for violations of mask mandates. The order also allowed restaurants to immediately reopen at full capacity and restricted local governments from ordering restaurants to operate at less than half-capacity.[235] A Florida-based newspaper found that DeSantis not only ignored scientists and health experts, not only invited only people who agreed with him regarding the pandemic, but also deliberately misled the public on COVID multiple times.[236] DeSantis set up vaccination sites in wealthy communities affiliated with donors to his own political campaigns, showing that he absolutely knows vaccines are necessary to survive the pandemic yet plays favorites with those whose lives he actually prioritizes.[237] He later threatened to withhold COVID-19 vaccines from counties that criticized the manner in which vaccines were distributed, while continuing to distribute vaccines to people who supported his campaign.[238][239]

On May 3, 2021, DeSantis signed an executive order officially rescinding the state of emergency and all COVID-19-related public health orders. This order superseded all local public health orders and prohibited municipalities from enacting any further public health order related to COVID-19.[240] The same day, he signed a bill into law that prohibited businesses, cruise ships, schools, and government entities from requiring proof of vaccination for use of services.[241][242] While DeSantis had received the initial vaccine doses himself, he had been intentionally oblique about whether he had received any booster shots; even Trump has called him out for being an idiot and a coward over refusing to just say whether he got his shots and for not encouraging others to do so.[243]

In 2022 for political purposes, DeSantis completely reversed his views on COVID vaccine efficacy, falsely disparaging vaccines and "convening skeptics to buck guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention".[244]

How he became the "Smarter Trump"[edit]

DeSantis in Arizona during the 2022 primary season.

The reason he stands out so much is because he's smarter than the average Trump thug, being able to bounce between power bases easily: he was once a Tea Party goon while in the Freedom Caucus before jumping on the Trump bandwagon, then going on the anti-vax and anti-mask chariot during COVID. When he goes on an "anti-woke" tirade, that's him oppressing sexual and gender minorities while painting those same disadvantaged minorities as part of the elite. It's not supposed to make sense — it's supposed to rile his base up so that he can crush any and all opposition to capital, and increasingly, all criticisms of his rule. He doesn't piss off as many people as Trump because he knows how to frame his extremism as if it's rational: instead of actively going after trans kids, he instead frames it as if parents of trans kids are "groomers", which is simply untrue but it sounds better to the average suburbanite compared to Trump, who actively incites violence against everyone he hates.

As another example, when he was running for president, Trump was asked a question about the minimum wage. Trump did not say that the minimum wage shouldn't increase. He said wages are too high and that wages should be lower.[245] But DeSantis doesn't do that. Instead, he says that it is "not the time" to raise wages, he says it shouldn't be a state constitutional amendment, he recites the usual GOP party line of wages "hurting businesses", and he says that there are problems with raising wages regardless of how one feels about it. This tactic which muddies the waters and tries to put the onus on supporters of wage increases.[246] But just like Trump, DeSantis is transparently corrupt, nakedly biased in favor of the rich, and openly boorish towards anyone who criticizes him; he just talks more like a politician so so as to skate by the media much more easily.[247] This however was not enough to stop Florida from increasing its minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour in late 2021, with $15 an hour being the target a few years later.[248]

Everything he's done as Governor boils down to him being an attention whore. He jumps into every single major culture war topic of the day, like a YouTuber or streamer chasing trends, so he can stay relevant to the news cycle and remind people he still exists. He wants to flex his power as governor, he wants to be the next strongman, and he wants to model his "imperial governorship" for a future imperial presidency; he provides a model for authoritarians to use government to punish critics far more competently than Trump. He can't be away from the bright lights forever, otherwise he becomes forgotten and irrelevant, so he has to be crueler and crueler with every new thing he does to stay in the spotlight. He needs to stand out next to all the other far-right troglodytes.[249] His salvo against Disney, for instance, is not about changing the company. He wants the clout, the talking point that he took on the most powerful American pop culture monopoly in history. He doesn't care if it will actually increases taxes on Floridians. He doesn't care if it actually fails. He wants to be known as the governor who fought Disney. He needs that notch on his belt. It always goes back to what he wants for himself, and no one else.[250][251]

2024 presidential campaign[edit]

DeSantis kicked off his campaign with Elon Musk on the newly-launched "Twitter Spaces" — it was marked by a high level of technical difficulties, known by wags as the "DeSaster".[252] Beyond the #DeSaster, content-wise, DeSantis failed to critique his likely opponent in the primary election (Trump), or even the likely opponent in the general election (Joe Biden).[252] Instead, DeSantis focused on things that ordinary people do not care about, and did not explain what the acronyms mean or why they should care about the subjects: Bitcoin, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and ESG (environmental, social and governance investing).[252]

He was publicly mocked by presidents Joe Biden, who tweeted out "This link works", with a link to his donation page[253], and his big competitor Donald Trump, who posted on his own social media, Truth Social, a satirical video of a fake Twitter Spaces event, with figures such as (((George Soros))), Klaus Schwab, Dick Cheney, Adolf Hitler, and the Devil in attendance.[254]

Climate change denialism[edit]

Florida will sink into the sea — it's only a question of how much.

Shortly after his own DeSaster, DeSantis spoke on Fox News, claiming that Hurricane Ian in 2022 was not related to climate change (climate scientists on the other hand had reported that it had 10% more rainfall due to climate change), and DeSantis made the statement, "This [hurricane frequency] is something that is a fact of life in the Sunshine state. I’ve always rejected the politicization of the weather." DeSantis was intentionally or ignorantly conflating weather (short-term events) with climate (long-term weather behavior)[255] For this statement, climate scientist Michael Mann accused DeSantis of psychological projection, stating:[255]

It is Ron DeSantis who is engaged in the ‘politicization of the weather’ by denying basic, established science – the intensification of tropical storms with human-caused warming of the oceans.

DeSantis' direct engagement with climate change denialism is not surprising given his previous anti-environmental actions.

Nonsensical politicization[edit]

In August 2023, DeSantis rejected participating in a $350 million rebate program from the Inflation Reduction ActWikipedia to help Floridians improve the energy efficiency of their homes.[256] While DeSantis offered no explanation for the veto, the move was seen by many as logically nonsensical and a sign that DeSantis was clearly "choosing political ambition over the people of Florida", as one resident put it.[257]

On August 30, 2023, Hurricane IdaliaWikipedia slammed into the "Big Bend" regionWikipedia of Florida, causing considerable damage. As is customary for significant natural disasters, Joe Biden flew in to survey some of the damage and announce relief efforts. However, DeSantis chose to snub bipartisan custom and did not appear with Biden. (Rick Scott joined Biden instead.)[258] Though DeSantis bizarrely cited logistics, most people clearly saw the reasoning for the snub as purely political. It is possible that DeSantis remembered the criticism from extremist Republicans for being "too friendly with the enemy" in 2012 when Barack Obama met with then-New Jersey governor Chris Christie after Hurricane Sandy.Wikipedia[259]

Obsession with wokeness[edit]

Despite only 1% of Americans saying "wokeness" is the most important issue facing the country in an April 2023 poll,[260] and the majority of Americans seeing the term "woke" as a positive,[261] DeSantis made "anti-woke" the central theme of his 2024 presidential campaign. As used by DeSantis (and many other populist conservatives), "woke" is a generic snarl word which has no clear definition.[262] Such vapidness hasn't stopped DeSantis from frequently and repeatedly using the word a lot in his campaign speeches. In a part of one speech from June 2023, DeSantis managed to say "woke" seven times in 26 seconds.[263] At another speech given at the Moms for Liberty conference in the same month, DeSantis outdid his previous "woke" speedrun by saying "woke" six times in 19 seconds.[264]

Because of this "anti-woke" emphasis, DeSantis will happily wade into any culture war controversy involving "woke", no matter how silly or irrelevant it may be. Ordinary politicians, for instance, would probably view the 2023 Bud Light boycott,Wikipedia where certain transphobic types got mad that parent company AB InbevWikipedia briefly partnered with a transgender TikTok influencer to market their Bud Light beer, as a trivial matter of little importance to a national presidential campaign. Not DeSantis — in July 2023, he made a point to publicly announce that the state of Florida was looking into suing AB InBev for this triviality, calling it an association with "radical social ideologies".[265] In an interview from Fox News when he was asked about why he should be elected, DeSantis stated that he will "destroy wokeism & leftism".[266] DeSantis has clamped down heavily on leftist and liberal dissidents and protesters since his time in office.

Bizarre extreme homophobia and flirtations with the manosphere[edit]

In June 30 2023, just before a spokesman for a super PAC backing DeSantis acknowledged that he was "way behind" in national polling,[267] the DeSantis campaign decided to try a new tactic to prop up his flailing campaign: proudly claiming that he was more homophobic and transphobic than Donald Trump (whose record on LGBTQ+ issues is anything but sympathetic).[268] To support this new tactic, the "DeSantis War Room" Twitter account accused Trump of celebrating Pride MonthWikipedia "more than any other Republican". To punctuate this claim, the tweet also included a video produced by a DeSantis campaign aide (which was posted on a Twitter account called "Proud Elephant" in an attempt to make the video appear as if it was generated independently.)[269][270] The video juxtaposed clips of Trump verbally showing support for LGBTQ+ people with clips celebrating the shocked newspaper headlines generated from some of DeSantis' most egregious anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.[271]

The extremely blatant homophobia in the video was naturally criticized by progressives, but it also attracted criticism from conservatives as well, particularly LGBTQ+ conservatives, who surprisingly exist despite American conservatism consistently going against their own interests. The Log Cabin Republicans called the advertisement "divisive and desperate". Caitlyn JennerWikipedia accused DeSantis' campaign of using "horribly divisive tactics" and wrote that "DeSantis has hit a new low".[272] The video also reportedly directly led to internal drama within the Gays Against GroomersWikipedia group.[273]

The video was also seen by some commentators as one of "the weirdest ad(s) in american political history".[274] This is because, aside from the headlines and Trump clips, the video was punctuated with depictions of obscure, bizarre memes from the manosphere- which only edgy fourteen-year-old boys even get. (Yep, that's right, people who cannot even vote.) Some of the memes included were "gigachad" and other "Chad" memes; serial killer cum cannibal Patrick Bateman from American Psycho;Wikipedia corrupt fraudster Jordan Belfort from The Wolf of Wall Street;Wikipedia gangster Thomas Shelby from Peaky Blinders,Wikipedia and Achilles from Troy.Wikipedia All of these memes reflect fictional characters that the manosphere saw as examples of either "alpha" or "sigma" men.[275][note 6] Perhaps with a touch of Haggard's Law, the extremely homophobic video also depicted several shots of male bodybuilders flexing their bulging muscles; this confusing contradiction, which gave the video a bit of a homoerotic vibe, was noted and criticized by (among others) Pete Buttigieg.[275][278]

Tweeting videos with neo-Nazi imagery[edit]

In late July 2023, more headlines were made when a Twitter account called "Ron DeSantis Fancams" tweeted a video with yet even more obscure online imagery from the alt-right. The video initially featured a "doomer" (a variation of the Wojak meme)[279] looking unhappy as he saw headlines of Donald Trump's various policy failures as well as his initial promotion of the COVID-19 vaccine. The "doomer" then became happier when DeSantis appeared on the screen and a montage of clips played that included military motifs as well as headlines highlighting DeSantis' anti-LGBTQ+, anti-education, and anti-immigration policies. Finally and most controversially, the video ended with DeSantis' face, flanked by marching military personnel, superimposed on a "sonnenrad"Wikipedia symbol (an ancient European symbol that unfortunately was appropriated by Nazis, and subsequently has been used by neo-Nazi groups).[280][281][282][note 7]

Shortly afterwards, it was revealed that a DeSantis campaign staff member was involved in the creation of this video. The creator was identified as Nate Hochman, a former staff writer at National Review [285] who was hired as a speechwriter for DeSantis in March 2023.[286] Hochman had previously raised some eyebrows when in August 2022, the conservative political journal The DispatchWikipedia noted that he participated in a Twitter Spaces conversation with neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes in December 2021, where Hochman agreed with such statements as "women are goofy... they should have no authority over men" and "50 percent of American whites are, like, shitlibs now".[286][287] As part of a general downsizing of the troubled DeSantis campaign, Hochman was fired from the campaign on July 25 2023.[288]

Given the connection to the DeSantis campaign, some critics saw this as definitive proof that DeSantis at best looked the other way at his fascist supporters, and at worst outright embraced fascism itself.[289]

The end[edit]

After months of internal drama (such as the above) and a mediocre second place in the Iowa caucus (winning far, far less delegates than Donald Trump), on January 21 2024, DeSantis suspended his 2024 Republican primary campaign, and endorsed Trump.[290]

Possible homosexuality[edit]

In June 2023, former NASA administrator Jim BridenstineWikipedia claimed (while speaking on stage at a DeSantis 2024 event) that he and DeSantis used to have showers during meetings in his basement. Haggard's Law as usual.[291]

Political future[edit]

DeSantis' landslide reelection in 2022, essentially solidifying Florida as a red state.

Unlike Andrew Gillum, who stepped away from public life after losing, DeSantis has forced himself into the spotlight ever since 2020, taking full advantage of the Republican Party's far-right shift to set himself up as an aspiring wannabe strongman. In a world where everyone fears the emergence of a so-called Smarter Trump, DeSantis is usually named as exactly that — an heir apparent to American fascism who uses every measure possible to green-light murder against protesters and pushing for even more LGBT kids to commit suicide.

Come 2022, DeSantis became one of many Republican presidential hopefuls who prodded or outright criticized Trump's record, particularly once the true weight of Trump's COVID inaction and apologia for dictators who oppose the United States really started setting in.[292]

Many reporters have noted that DeSantis may well be the "future of Trumpism" because he marries the elites with the populists within the party. DeSantis is not some pretender or a faker, he's a true believer, having "developed reactionary suspicions of democracy" years before Trump ever made noises about running for president. In fact, DeSantis once wrote a book warning of the dangers of a megalomaniacal president who threatened to destroy the foundations of the republic… except he was talking about Obama, not Trump (nor himself).[18][20][293]

He won’t be eligible to run in the 2026 gubernatorial election due to term limits, but he will be able to run again for a hypothetical third term in 2030.[294]

Notes[edit]

  1. No judging, but it probably makes some difference when one is campaigning in rural Iowa, or trying to negotiate key donations/endorsements.
  2. "A little squeaky." according to actor Dana Carvey, who made political impressions professionally.[8]
  3. Symbolic of Musk's ownership of Twitter, whose layoffs of large numbers of staff corresponded with multiple service outages and glitches, the livestream for the DeSantis interview crashed and had to be relaunched on Sacks' account 1/2 hour later, with ultimately only 250,000 users turning in. Musk was holding the interview on "Twitter Spaces", a product half-assed onto Twitter infrastructure using resources from PeriscopeWikipedia, which Twitter bought in 2015. A former Twitter employee described Twitter Spaces as a "prototype... a beta test that never ended" that wasn't intended to handle Twitter scale traffic.[11]
  4. Buddy MacKay, Chiles' lieutenant governor lost the election to Jeb Bush but Chiles unexpectedly died in office a month before Bush's inauguration. MacKay then became the governor of Florida for the remaining month of Chiles' term, instantaneously becoming a lame duck governorship.
  5. This is assuming that the anti-immigration policies actually are enforced, of course. According to the Cato Institute, states that previously passed strict anti-immigration employment enforcement laws, such as Arizona and Arkansas, often ended up in practice largely ignoring the regulations.[122]
  6. Never mind that Achilles has been depicted as homosexual in certain parts of Greek literature. (Achilles and PatroclusWikipedia)[275][276] It also remains unclear why DeSantis and the manosphere actually thinks that adoration of a fictional serial killer (Bateman) actually reflects well on their culture.[277]
  7. Ironically, the clip used a cover of the Kate Bush song Running Up That Hill.Wikipedia The lyrics of this song imagine a scenario where a man and a woman make "a deal with God" to exchange places. Naturally, some transgender individuals have interpreted this as an allegory for their experience.[283][284]

References[edit]

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  49. "DeSantis accused of ‘catastrophic’ climate approach after campaign launch" by Oliver Milman, Guardian, 2023 May 28
  50. "Florida’s Climate-Fueled Insurance Crisis" by Jack Sanner, Review of Banking and Financial Law, Boston University School of Law, 2023 May 17
  51. "How Florida's insurance crisis is haunting Ron DeSantis' campaign" by Laura Gersony, ABC News, 2023 July 31
  52. "More insurers leave Florida. How much is DeSantis to blame?" by Jay Cridlin, Tampa Bay Times, 2023 July 13
  53. 53.0 53.1 Caroline Catherman (May 23, 2023). " Health advocacy groups ask Gov. DeSantis to pause Medicaid purge". The Orlando Sentinel.
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  73. Florida Adopts Nation's Toughest Restrictions On Protests by Greg Allen (April 19, 20212:19 PM ET) NPR.
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  79. Florida students return to schools reshaped by Gov. DeSantis' anti-'woke' education agenda by Steve Contorno (9:02 AM EDT, Sat August 13, 2022) CNN.
  80. Mad Moms: A New Christian Nationalist Front Group Claims To Champion Parental Involvement In Public Education. Critics Say There’s A More Nefarious Agenda Afoot by Kathryn Joyce (Mar 29, 2023) Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
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  86. "College Board slammed over changes to African American studies course" by Cheyanne M. Daniels, Hill, 2023 February 1
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  94. "Lots of discussion of Floridas new African-American history curriculum, especially that line about slavery helping slaves develop skills which they might be able to use for their own benefit. Is that like representative? How is the curriculum as a whole? Well, I’ve read …" by Josh Marshall, @joshtpm, Twitter, 2023 July 22, archived on 2023 July 26
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  99. Gov. DeSantis signs HB5, 'eviscerating' the democratic process in Florida by Jim Saunders (Jun 9, 2019 at 3:19 pm) Orlando Weekly.
  100. Ron DeSantis signs Amendment 4 bill, limiting felon voting by Lawrence Mower (June 28, 2019) Tampa Bay Times.
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  106. DeSantis signs Florida's 15-week abortion ban into law by Steve Contorno (April 14, 2022) CNN.
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  108. DeSantis signs 15-week abortion ban into law by Marlei Martinez (4:13 PM EDT Apr 14, 2022) WESH.
  109. DeSantis signs Florida GOP's 6-week abortion ban into law by Anthony Izaguirre (April 14, 2023) The Associated Press.
  110. Rape, Incest Victims Must Show Proof to Get Exception to Florida's New Abortion Ban by Vanessa Etienne (April 14, 2023) People.
  111. Rape victims must show proof to get an exception under Florida’s 6-week abortion ban by Skyler Swisher (March 10, 2023) The Orlando Sentinel.
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  113. Fla. Gov. DeSantis moves to get Martha’s Vineyard migrant lawsuit dismissed by Chris Van Buskirk (Feb. 28, 2023) MassLive.
  114. "Newly released records show top DeSantis adviser used private email and alias to coordinate migrant flights" by Matt Dixon, Politico, 2022 January 28
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  116. "Operatives linked to DeSantis promised to fly migrants to Delaware — but left them stranded" by Sarah Blaskey and Nicholas Nehamas, Miami Herald, 2023 February 22
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  118. 118.0 118.1 "2nd plane carrying more than a dozen migrants lands in California capital" by Isabel Rosales and Jacqueline Hurtado, CNN, 2023 June 6
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  128. Florida election security bill would create special officers to investigate violations by Sam Sachs (Feb 28, 2022) WFLA.
  129. DeSantis wants felony penalties for ‘ballot harvesting’ and more hurdles for voters by Michael Moline (November 3, 2021 4:16 pm) Florida Phoenix.
  130. Florida Approves the Country’s First Election Police Force by Inae Oh (March 10, 2022) Mother Jones.
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  133. Man arrested at gunpoint in DeSantis voter fraud crackdown, video shows: In August, armed officers descended on homes of two men accused of illegally voting by Sam Levine (12 Jan 2023 05.00 EST) The Guardian.
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  138. Fired Florida Data Scientist Launches A Coronavirus Dashboard Of Her Own by Laurel Wamsley (June 14, 20209:36 AM ET) NPR.
  139. Florida Agents Raid Home Of Rebekah Jones, Former State Data Scientist by Bill Chappell (December 8, 202012:08 PM ET) NPR.
  140. Joint Statement From Elected Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Leaders Condemning the Criminalization of Transgender People and Gender-Affirming Healthcare (June 2021) Fair and Just Prosecution.
  141. A progressive prosecutor clashed with DeSantis. Now he’s out of a job: The ouster has alarmed many in Florida, who say DeSantis usurped the will of the voters by removing a local elected official who disagreed with him politically by Lori Rozsa (August 14, 2022) The Washington Post.
  142. Warren says Florida anti-riot bill ‘tears a couple corners off the Constitution by Athina Morris (Mar 10, 2021) WFLA.
  143. Tallahassee and 8 other cities file lawsuit challenging HB 1 'anti-riot' bill by Karl Etters (Nov. 16, 2021) Tallahassee Democrat.
  144. Hillsborough declines to prosecute 67 arrested in protests by Dan Sullivan (June 15, 2020) Tampa Bay Times.
  145. DeSantis suspends Orlando-area state attorney in second sacking of democratically elected prosecutor. CNN. 10 August 2023.
  146. Florida's attorney general says DeSantis suspending an elected state attorney is 'democracy in action'. Business Insider. 10 August 2023.
  147. "Ron DeSantis blocks funds for Tampa Bay Rays after team’s gun safety tweets (3 Jun 2022 17.13 EDT) The Guardian.
  148. DeSantis blocks state money for Tampa Bay Rays training facility after team tweets against gun violence by Steve Contorno (12:55 PM EDT, June 3, 2022) CNN.
  149. DeSantis signs controversial bill banning transgender women and girls from sports by Andrew Atterbury (06/01/2021 01:57 PM EDT) Politico.
  150. DeSantis signs bill banning transgender athletes from playing on certain teams into law by Emily McCain (Jun 01, 2021) ABC, WFTS.
  151. Florida to bar Medicaid coverage for those seeking gender-affirming care by Anne Branigin & Annie Gowen (August 11, 2022 at 7:10 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  152. Florida's governor signs controversial law opponents dubbed 'Don't Say Gay' by Jaclyn Diaz (28 March 2022) NPR.
  153. Don't Say Gay bill passes Florida Senate by Kiara Alfonseca (March 8, 2022, 10:13 AM) ABC News.
  154. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signals support for 'Don't Say Gay' bill by Steve Contorno (3:14 PM EST, Mon February 7, 2022) CNN.
  155. Tampa Bay students walk out in protest of Florida’s ‘don’t say gay’ bill by Jeffrey S. Solochek & Marlene Sokol (March 4, 2022) Tampa Bay Times.
  156. Students across Florida walkout of classes in protest of “Don’t say gay” bill by Daniel Villarreal (March 4, 2022) LGBTQ Nation.
  157. A Florida legislator withdrew his amendment to the 'Don't Say Gay' bill that would require school districts to out students within 6 weeks by Madison Hall (Feb 22, 2022, 7:41 AM PST) Business Insider.
  158. "College Board says it won’t alter AP courses to comply with Florida’s laws" by Lexi Lonas, Hill, 2023 June 15
  159. "Statement on AP Psychology and Florida", College Board News Room, 2023 August 3
  160. "APA supports College Board’s decision on AP psychology in Florida", American Psychological Association press release, 2023 June 15
  161. Here is the memo from the Florida Department of Health saying that “social gender transition” should NOT be an option for youth, including “name, pronoun, and clothing changes.” by Brian Tyler Cohen (1:59 PM · Apr 21, 2022) Twitter (archived from January 30, 2023).
  162. Florida Department of Health pushes back on federal guidance on trans youth care by Kiara Alfonseca (April 20, 2022, 1:27 PM) ABC News.
  163. Florida releases guidance clashing with HHS advice on transgender kids by Arek Sarkissian (04/20/2022 02:43 PM EDT) Politico.
  164. Florida health department advises against gender-affirming care for youth by Alta Spells & Jen Christensen (10:32 PM EDT, Wed April 20, 2022) CNN.
  165. DeSantis asks medical board to ban transgender healthcare by Selene San Felice (Jun 2, 2022) Axios.
  166. Catholic Medical Association members wrote a majority of Florida Medicaid’s anti-trans expert reports. Last year, CMA declared a faith-based commitment against approving of any transition care. by Zinnia Jones (August 25, 2022) Gender Analysis.
  167. Chrissy Stroop (August 18, 2022). "Media Fail to Acknowledge That 2024 Hopeful Ron DeSantis is as Catholic as Biden". Religion Dispatches.
  168. DeSantis seeks details on transgender university students By Brendan Farrington (January 18, 2023) Associated Press.
  169. Ron DeSantis requested the information of trans students who sought care at Florida's public universities. Now students are planning a statewide walkout. by Annalise Mabe (Feb 22, 2023, 9:02 AM PST) Insider.
  170. "In Wake of Capitol Riot, GOP Legislatures “Rebrand” Old Anti-BLM Protest Laws," The Intercept
  171. Here's the proclamation Gov. DeSantis issued this morning, expanding the special session to also include legislation relating to independent special districts in Florida: by Ashley Carter (6:55 AM - 19 Apr 2022) Twitter (archived from May 6, 2022).
  172. Reedy Creek dissolution bill is what happens when you ‘kick the bees’ nest," Florida Politics by Randy Fine (April 19, 2022) Florida Politics.
  173. DeSantis goes after Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District by Brenda Argueta (Published: April 19, 2022, 10:31 AM; Updated: April 20, 2022, 2:33 PM) Click Orlando.
  174. Will Florida be lost forever to the climate crisis? From sea level rise to habitat loss, the effects of the climate crisis are on the verge of making south Florida uninhabitable by Richard Luscombe (21 Apr 2020 06.00 EDT) The Guardian.
  175. Florida lawmakers consider stripping Disney of self-government power by Marlei Martinez (12:21 PM EDT Apr 2, 2022) WESH.,
  176. DeSantis wanted to punish Disney. Repealing its tax status may hurt taxpayers instead by Bill Chappell (April 22, 20224:07 PM ET) NPR.
  177. Disney Government Dissolution Bill Signed By Florida Governor (Apr 22, 2022) AP via Huffington Post.
  178. Florida's governor signs law revoking Disney powers (22 April 2022) BBC.
  179. DeSantis signs bill revoking Disney’s special self-governing status in Florida by Zoë Richards (April 22, 2022) NBC News.
  180. "DeSantis appoints political backers to new Disney oversight board" by Matt Dixon (2023 February 27) Politico.
  181. What We Know About the DeSantis-Disney Rift By Jesus Jiménez and Giulia Heyward (2023 February 27) The New York Times.
  182. DeSantis Repeals $1.2 Billion Tax Hike He Imposed During Last Year’s Disney Fight by S.V. Date (2023 Febuary 27) Huffington Post.
  183. King Charles III’s Descendants & Fanciful Characters — How Disney May Subvert Governor DeSantis’ ‘Oversight District’ by JessH (March 29, 2023) WDW News Today.
  184. DeSantis’ Reedy Creek board says Disney stripped its power by Skyler Swisher (2023 March 29) Orlando Sentinel.
  185. ‘Ron DeSantis just got out-negotiated by Mickey Mouse,’ Donald Trump super PAC chief says by Gabrielle Russon (2023 March 29) Florida Politics.
  186. Disney sidesteps DeSantis board with royal clause by Max Matza (2023 March 30) BBC News.
  187. New Reedy Creek Board Lawyers Up for Battle with Disney World by Tom Bricker (2023 March 30) Disney Tourist Blog.
  188. John Oliver on Ron DeSantis: ‘A petty autocrat and a bully’ (6 Mar 2023 12.06 EST) The Guardian.
  189. Changes to Florida transportation bill could target Disney’s monorail system by Rachel Tucker (2023 April 254) KGET.
  190. ‘Buckle up': DeSantis escalates Disney dispute, eyes hotel taxes and road tolls by Gary Fineout (2023 April 6) Politico.
  191. Ron DeSantis-appointed board nullifies controversial Disney agreement by Matt Dixon (2023 April 26) NBC News.
  192. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US Inc. v. Ronald D. DeSantis et al. Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, Case 4:23-cv-00163-MW-MAF, 2023 April 26.
  193. Disney Pulls Plug on $1 Billion Development in Florida by Brooks Barnes (2023 May 18) The New York Times
  194. Disney CEO questions continued Florida investment in clash with DeSantis by Dawn Chmielewski & Lisa Richwine (2023 May 10) Reuters.
  195. DeSantis’s feud with Disney is costing Florida — and possibly his 2024 campaign by Nicole Narea (2023 May 19) Vox.
  196. Florida's GOP Senators Issue Warnings to Ron DeSantis by Thomas Kika (2023 May 20) Newsweek.
  197. Florida bans 28 math textbooks in panic over Critical Race Theory by Bob Brigham (April 15, 2022, 6:13 PM ET) RawStory.
  198. DeSantis signs bill limiting tenure at Florida public universities: He takes aim at faculty, saying they develop an “intellectual orthodoxy” if left unchecked. by Divya Kumar (April 19, 2022) Tampa Bay Times.
  199. Ron DeSantis’s drag show comments foretell a vile trend by Alyssa Rosenberg (June 13, 2022 at 6:24 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  200. "Hillsborough schools cut back on Shakespeare, citing new Florida rules" by Marlene Sokol, Tampa Bay Times, 2023 August 7
  201. Ron’s regime: Florida Republicans give DeSantis what he wants by Matt Dixon (04/30/2021 06:00 AM EDT) Politico.
  202. It's over. Who won? Who lost? A look back at the 2021 Florida legislative session by James Call (April 30, 2021) USA Today via Tallahassee News.
  203. Gov. DeSantis seeks to reinstate Florida State Guard by Emily McCain (Dec 02, 2021) ABC, WFTS.
  204. Gov. DeSantis proposes reestablishing Florida State Guard civilian volunteer force (Published: December 2, 2021 at 1:42 PM; Updated: December 3, 2021 at 9:33 AM) News4Jax.
  205. Gov. DeSantis Wants a Florida State Guard. Here's How They Work in Other States by Phil Prazan (December 10, 2021) NBC 6 South Florida.
  206. In nod to Trump, Florida is set to ban 'deplatforming' by tech companies by David Ingram & Ben Kamisar (April 30, 2021) NBC News.
  207. DeSantis applauds fired whistleblower’s Twitter suspension, the latest in an ongoing feud by Reis Thebault & Marisa Iati (June 7, 2021 at 10:39 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  208. 208.0 208.1 208.2 208.3 "Neo-Nazis Gloat as Florida Becomes a Magnet for Hate" by Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 2023 September 14
  209. "Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation in Israel Further Combatting Antisemitism", Ron DeSantis Staff, FLGov.com, 2023 April 28
  210. "Florida Governor Ron DeSantis bans pro-Palestine student organisation", Al-Jazeera, 2023 October 25
  211. "Ron DeSantis defends call to ban pro-Palestinian groups from Florida colleges" by Edward Helmore, Guradian, 2023 October 29
  212. "Vocal on Israel, DeSantis Is Challenged on His Silence on Neo-Nazis in Florida" by Nicholas Nehamas and Maggie Haberman, New York Times, 2023 October 28
  213. "What Jewish voters should know about GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis" by Ron Kampeas, Times of Israel, 2023 May 24
  214. "Ron DeSantis Says He’s Never Personally Witnessed Elon Musk Attacking Jews When Asked About X Post Attacking Jews" by Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, 2023 November 20
  215. "DeSantis won’t condemn Musk for endorsing an antisemitic post. ‘I did not see the comment,’ he says" by Will Weissert, AP News, 2023 November 19
  216. COVID-19 Weekly Situation Report: State Overview (archived from May 19, 2023).
  217. Florida lawyer fundraising to put a Ron 'DeathSantis' billboard outside of the governor's mansion by Colin Wolf (Jul 28, 2020 at 3:13 pm) Orlando Weekly.
  218. 'DeathSantis' Sign Creators Say Florida Governor Is Letting Coronavirus flourish by Jocelyn Grzeszczak (7/21/20 at 2:14 PM EDT) Newsweek.
  219. Ron DeSatan is trying to kill his constituents by Daniel Uhlfelder (3:52 AM - 12 Jul 2020) Twitter (archived from January 14, 2022).
  220. Florida governor lifts all restaurant restrictions, bans mask fines as COVID-19 spreads (Sep 25, 2020 1:39 PM EDT) PBS.
  221. Coronavirus: DeSantis lays groundwork to overturn local mask mandates, chides 'lockdown' states: A group of doctors Gov. Ron DeSantis convened for a discussion Thursday scoffed at the idea that mask mandates, school shutdowns and contact tracing did any good. by Jane Musgrave (March 18, 2021) The Palm Beach Post.
  222. Gov. DeSantis looks ready to limit mask-wearing emergency orders by local governments by John Kennedy (March 12, 2021) Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
  223. Putting 'politics in front of lives': DeSantis faces criticism over Florida's Covid-19 response by Casey Tolan et al. (6:26 AM EST, Fri December 18, 2020) CNN.
  224. Dear news media, Fla. Gov. DeSantis’ COVID record isn’t a success, but a failure by Michael Hiltzik (March 19, 2021 11:10 AM PT) Los Angeles Times.
  225. DeSantis called a ‘bully’ after he scolds students for wearing masks by Andrew Atterbury (03/02/2022 04:51 PM EST) Politico.
  226. Please Take Them Off: Florida’s DeSantis Scolds Masked Students by Nathan Crooks (Mar 2, 2022) BNN Bloomberg.
  227. Florida's new surgeon general opposes mandates, calls COVID-19 vaccines "nothing special" by Li Cohen (September 23, 2021 / 7:38 AM) CBS News.
  228. "DeSantis's new surgeon general opposes vaccine mandates by Lexi Lonas (09/21/21 6:04 PM ET) The Hill.
  229. How a doctor who questioned vaccine safety became DeSantis’ surgeon general pick by Arek Sarkissian (09/29/2021 03:09 PM EDT; Updated: 10/01/2021 04:48 PM EDT) Politico.
  230. Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Landmark Legislation to Ban Vaccine Passports and Stem Government Overreach (May 3, 2021) Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
  231. Florida Judge Defies DeSantis Appeal, Allowing School Mask Rules by Johnathan Levin (September 8, 2021) Bloomberg (archived from 9 Sep 2021 04:56:30 UTC).
  232. Judge rules against Florida Gov. DeSantis' ban on mask mandates in schools by Leyla Santiago & Sara Weisfeldt (4:20 PM EDT, August 27, 2021) CNN.
  233. Governor DeSantis Issues an Executive Order Ensuring Parents’ Freedom to Choose Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
  234. Florida Gov. DeSantis promotes Regeneron, a COVID-19 treatment connected to one of his largest donors by Zac Anderson et al. (Published: 3:08 p.m. ET Aug. 18, 2021; Updated 4:25 p.m. ET Aug. 22, 2021) Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
  235. Florida reopens state’s economy despite ongoing pandemic by Bobby Caina Calvan (September 25, 2020) AP.
  236. Secrecy and spin: How Florida’s governor misled the public on the COVID-19 pandemic by Cindy Krischer Goodman et al. (December 3, 2020 at 10:53 p.m.; Updated February 11, 2021 at 7:46 p.m.) South Florida Sun Sentinel.
  237. Florida Gov. DeSantis accused of favoritism in distributing Covid vaccine, Congress urged to investigate by Will Feuer (Mar 1 2021) CNBC.
  238. Shameful and inhumane: DeSantis threatens to withhold vaccine amid criticism: Pop-up vaccination site serves "whitest demographic, the richest demographic." by Beth Mole (2/18/2021, 12:15 PM) Ars Technica.
  239. ‘I wouldn’t be complaining.’ Gov. DeSantis threatens to pull coronavirus vaccine from communities that criticize distribution by Richard Tribou (February 19, 2021) South Florida Sun Sentinel.
  240. Florida Gov. DeSantis suspends all remaining Covid restrictions: ‘We are no longer in a state of emergency by Amanda Macias (May 3 2021) CNBC.
  241. DeSantis signs bill banning vaccine ‘passports,’ suspends local pandemic restrictions: DeSantis said ending local orders was the “evidence-based thing to do.” by Lawrence Mower & Allison Ross (Published May 3, 2021; Updated May 4, 2021) Tampa Bay Times.
  242. Florida Gov. DeSantis invalidates COVID rules statewide: No need to police people 'at this point' by James Call (Published 11:26 a.m. ET May 3, 2021; Updated 5:02 p.m. ET May 5, 2021) Tallahassee Democrat.
  243. ‘Gutless’? Ron DeSantis’ booster status under new scrutiny after Donald Trump interview by A.G. Gancarski (January 12, 2022) Florida Politics.
  244. DeSantis reverses himself on coronavirus vaccines, moves to right of Trump: In a potential wedge issue for the 2024 primary, DeSantis is attacking the life-saving covid shots he once praised and promoted by Isaac Arnsdorf (December 17, 2022 at 4:19 p.m. EST) The Washington Post.
  245. Donald Trump, a literal billionaire, just said on national TV that wages are too high by Dylan Matthews (Nov 10, 2015, 9:40pm EST) Vox.
  246. Gov. Ron DeSantis urges Floridians to shoot down $15 minimum wage amendment by Jason Delgad (November 2, 2020) Florida Politics.
  247. Ron DeSantis' Corruption Scandal EXPOSED (May 4, 2022) YouTube. A video explaining his corruption and showing his quote on the minimum wage.
  248. Florida's minimum wage increases on Thursday despite opposition by Jim Turner (Sept. 27, 2021) Pensacola News Journal.
  249. Ron DeSantis flexes the raw power of his imperial governorship by Maeve Reston (2:19 AM EDT, April 22, 2022) CNN.
  250. Ron DeSantis vs. the Mouse by Jim Newell ( April 22, 2022 • 11:01 AM) Slate.
  251. How Disney found itself in the middle of a culture war by Alex Abad-Santos (Apr 22, 2022, 6:00am EDT) Vox.
  252. 252.0 252.1 252.2 Technical issues weren’t Ron DeSantis’s biggest problem by Jennifer Rubin (May 28, 2023 at 7:45 a.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  253. https://archive.is/20230525080427/https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1661496322980028423
  254. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/24/us/politics/desantis-twitter-trump-reaction.html
  255. 255.0 255.1 DeSantis accused of ‘catastrophic’ climate approach after campaign launch: Republican ‘trying to out-Trump Trump’ on climate, expert says, as governor says he rejects the ‘politicization of the weather’ by Oliver Milman (28 May 2023 06.00 EDT) The Guardian.
  256. "DeSantis tells Biden: Keep your IRA money" by Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico, 2023 August 30
  257. "Floridians stung by DeSantis veto that cost $346M in energy-saving programs" by Jeffrey Schweers, Orlando Sentinel, 2023 August 16
  258. "After DeSantis no-show, Scott stands next to Biden in Florida" by Myah Ward and Adam Cancryn, Politico, 2023 September 2
  259. "In Florida, Even a Hurricane Can’t Sweep Away Presidential Politics" by Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Nehamas, New York Times, 2023 September 2
  260. Fox News / Beacon Research / Shaw Research poll, conducted April 21-24 2023
  261. "A GOP war on 'woke'? Most Americans view the term as a positive, USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds" by Susan Page, USA Today, 2023 March 8
  262. "What does ‘woke’ mean? Whatever Ron DeSantis wants." by Philip Bump, Washington Post, 2022 December 5
  263. "Ron DeSantis Says Woke Seven Times in 26 Seconds in Wildly Out of Touch Remarks" by Prem Thakker, New Republic, 2023 June 5
  264. "Video of Ron DeSantis Saying 'Woke' Six Times in 19 Seconds Goes Viral" by James Bickerton, Newsweek, 2023 July 1
  265. "DeSantis calls for state investment manager to consider action against Bud Light’s parent company" by Steve Contorno and Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN, 2023 July 21
  266. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/may/30/ron-desantis-fox-news-interview-destroy-leftism
  267. "DeSantis super PAC spokesman acknowledges campaign is ‘way behind’ Trump" by Kit Maher and Jeff Zeleny, CNN, 2023 July 4
  268. "Ron DeSantis Doubles Down on Homophobic Video as “Totally Fair Game”" by Caleb Ecarma, Vanity Fair, 2023 July 6
  269. "To wrap up “Pride Month,” let’s hear from the politician who did more than any other Republican to celebrate it…", DeSantis War Room (@DeSantisWarRoom), Twitter, 2023 June 30, archived on 2023 July 5
  270. "The Sputtering DeSantis Campaign Looks for a Restart" by Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman, New York Times, 23 July 2023
  271. "A video shared by DeSantis' campaign showing his disdain for Pride is another piece of his 'extremely homophobic' campaign, law instructor says" by Hannah Getahun, Business Insider, 2023 July 8
  272. "An anti-Trump video shared by the DeSantis campaign is ‘homophobic,’ says a conservative LGBT group" by Jill Colvin, AP News, 2023 July 1
  273. "Gays Against Groomers Takes Hit in Membership in Wake of DeSantis’s Homophobia" by Christopher Wiggins, The Advocate, 2023 July 6
  274. "Is This the Weirdest Ad in American Political History?" by Prem Thakker, New Republic, 2023 July 3
  275. 275.0 275.1 275.2 "We Investigated the Deepest, Darkest Corners of the Internet to Understand Ron DeSantis’ Bizarre New Video" by Ian Ward, Politico, 2023 July 8
  276. A Homeric Warrior Against LGBTQ Rights (July 13, 2023) Pharos.
  277. "Ron DeSantis’s Ghoulish Embrace of American Psycho Patrick Bateman" by Robert Schlesinger, New Republic, 2023 July 6
  278. "Ron DeSantis boosts a video that all but calls for eliminating trans people" by Zeeshan Aleem, MSNBC, 2023 July 3
  279. Know Your Meme, "Doomer"
  280. "Sonnenrad",Anti-Defamation League hate symbol reference page
  281. "Outrage as DeSantis Staffer 'Retweets' Nazi Symbol Video: 'Disgusting'" by Ewan Palmer, Newsweek, 2023 July 24
  282. "A video retweeted by a DeSantis staffer stirred new controversy. Was there a Nazi symbol?" by Edward Bunch III, Pensacola News Journal, 2023 July 25
  283. "DeSantis team fires aide who secretly made video with Nazi symbol" by Alex Thompson, Axios, 2023 July 25
  284. "Thanks to 'Stranger Things' and Queer Fans, It's Kate Bush Summer" by Kurt Suchman, Thrilllist, 2022 July 1
  285. Nate Hochman, National Review profile
  286. 286.0 286.1 "DeSantis Finds His Voice: A NatCon Culture Warrior Who Praised a Prominent White Nationalist" by Tim Miller, The Bulwark, 2023 March 24
  287. "The New Right Finds a Home at the Intersection of Populism and Elitism" by Alec Dent, Dispatch, 2022 August 5
  288. "Ron DeSantis fires staffer who retweeted video with Nazi imagery" by Allan Smith and Katherine Doyle, NBC News, 2023 July 25
  289. "Mask Off: DeSantis Staffer Reportedly Shares Video of DeSantis and Giant Nazi Symbol" by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, New Republic, 2023 July 24
  290. "Ron DeSantis suspends his presidential bid and endorses Trump" by Alec Hernández, Matt Dixon, Dasha Burns and Jonathan Allen, NBC News, 2024 January 21
  291. "Former GOP Rep. Says He Used To 'Shower' Daily With DeSantis 'In The Basement'—And We Have Questions", Alan Herrera, Comic Sands 13 June 2023
  292. "ovid, Russia and crime: GOP presidential hopefuls take swipes at Trump’s record by Alex Isenstadt (03/15/2022 04:31 AM EDT) Politico.
  293. Is Ron DeSantis the Future of Trumpism? by Johnathan Chait (Mar. 29, 2022) New York Magazine.
  294. Constitution Of the State of Florida: As revised in 1968 and subsequently amended The Florida Legislature .