For $ 12 you can buy a red drink cooler with the words, “How the hell am I going to drink a beer with a mask on?”
Those with deeper pockets may be the proud owner of a $ 21 t-shirt stamped with the map of Florida and the “Love My Gov” and “Keep Florida Free” logo.
But maybe the merchandise with the best selling potential are koozie drinks and T-shirts that say “Don’t Fauci My Florida”.
The slogan, first reported by the Washington Post, is the brainchild of the team around Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida who hopes to be able to ride Donald Trump’s tails all the way to the White House in 2024.
The sentence is a search of Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser who, due to his cautious approach to the deadly coronavirus and mask-wearing, has become a popular punching bag for Republicans. There is no road to conservative supremacy, it seems, that does not go beyond America’s top infectious disease expert.
The model was set by Trump himself who, while presiding over a disastrous federal response to Covid in the White House, chose Fauci as his scapegoat. Trump called the doctor who has now served seven presidents since 1984 a “fool” and ridiculed his cautious approach to the virus by suggesting he was 500 years old. Fauci is now 80 years old. Trump is 75 years old.
Since Trump’s loss to Biden, the baton of fauci-bashing has been passed to Fox News star Tucker Carlson. The prime-time host took a more menacing approach, accusing Fauci of lying about the origins of the coronavirus in a series of unsubstantiated rants.
It is now DeSantis’ turn to jump on the bandwagon and generate money to fund his re-election campaign in 2022. Since the start of the pandemic, the Republican governor has positioned himself as the champion of freedom , standing up against pleasure-free health experts who insist on masks and social distancing.
Even as Covid swept across the United States in early 2020, DeSantis refused to close Florida beaches. He avoided mask orders and removed all restrictions on businesses in May.
The timing for its new Fauci-bashing merchandise launch is unfortunate, given the state of its condition. Although immunization levels have increased in Florida and infection rates have declined, Florida is grappling with a marked increase in new cases and hospitalizations as the highly contagious Delta variant kicks in.
Nearly 3,000 Floridians are hospitalized every day, according to the New York Times, the highest number in the country and the fourth per capita. New cases have risen by 429% in the past 14 days, a dramatic increase that was only replaced by that in Tennessee.
DeSantis might think twice about what he puts on his beer coolers. Politically, Fauci has a way of outliving his critics.