Gov. Ron DeSantis sells merch bearing the slogan 'Don't Fauci My Florida.'
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has launched a new line of merchandise aimed at Dr. Anthony Fauci in the run-up to the 2022 gubernatorial election, selling T-shirts and beer koozies that read, "Don't Fauci My Florida."
The campaign team for DeSantis unveiled the merch earlier this week, alongside flags and hats that read, "Keep Florida Free," and other T-shirts that read, "Love My Gov."
It is DeSantis' latest rebuke of Vice President Biden's chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has taken on the role of the federal government's spokesperson for the pandemic response.
Throughout the pandemic, DeSantis — who has been lauded by Republicans for his handling of the crisis and has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2024 — has positioned himself as a vocal opponent of lockdown measures.
He refused to impose a statewide mask mandate and worked feverishly to reopen Florida's economy last fall, while many other states remained closed.
When COVID-19 cases in the state reached their lowest level since last spring last month, DeSantis claimed the state was doing so well economically because he disregarded Fauci's advice.
“We're going to end up with somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million in reserve once the new budget is implemented,” DeSantis said. “That would not have been possible if we had adhered to Fauci's recommendations. Rather than that, we pursued liberty. And that is why Florida is performing better.”
However, the launch of the new merchandise coincides with a flare-up in new COVID-19 cases in the Sunshine State.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, the state saw nearly 24,000 new cases in the week ending July 9, more than double the number seen just two weeks earlier.
The increase in new infections has occurred in conjunction with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant and a decline in the number of people willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Numerous Democrats and liberal commentators expressed their disapproval of the merchandise.
“DeSantis is a well-educated crackpot who has no commitment to our country, his constituents, or the truth,” former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean tweeted.
According to Newsweek, MSNBC host Joy Reid referred to DeSantis as a "ignorant ghoul," while Ana Violeta Navarro-Cárdenas of "The View" called the merchandise "freaking stupid."