DeSantis campaign merch targets Fauci, facemasks

‘I’ve become ... a symbol of anything they don’t like,’ president’s science advisor says of Republican voters

New items for sale on Gov. Ron DeSantis' website appear to attack Dr. Anthony Fauci and mask mandates.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign is getting into the retail business with some novelty items designed to appeal to his supporters’ fatigue with coronavirus.

Among the items being sold on the governor’s official campaign website are drink koozies and T-shirts that read, “Don’t Fauci My Florida.” Those are aimed at Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

Another koozie features a quote from DeSantis that says, “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?”

The campaign added the COVID-19 themed items Monday as Florida reports new coronavirus cases are rising again amid concerns about the Delta variant and rising hospitalizations. According to the Washington Post’s rolling seven-day average, the state reported 26 new infections per 100,000 residents last week -- the second-highest rate in the country.

Fauci was a member of former President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force, who wouldn’t be silenced when he was given a less prominent role in the administration’s campaign against the virus. Republicans have targeted Fauci, using him as the face of government shutdowns and mask mandates.

“I’ve become sort of, for some reason or another, a symbol of anything they don’t like,” Fauci told Fox News this spring.

While discussing the budget this summer, DeSantis said Florida’s bright financial picture would not have been possible “if we had followed Fauci.”

“Instead we followed freedom,” he said.

Other items selling on the campaign website include shirts and hats that display the DeSantis logo along with the message, “Keep Florida Free.”

DeSantis is up for re-election next year and has emerged as a potential candidate for president in the 2024 election, although DeSantis hasn’t publicly weighed in on such talk.

Two Democrats so far are running against DeSantis next year: former governor and current congressman representing Tampa Bay, Charlie Crist, and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

About the Author:

Digital election producer in 2022. He created in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website through 2021.