Team Ron DeSantis continues to demonize everyday Americans, this time targeting his own state’s residents. On Saturday, Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for the Florida governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate, celebrated the idea of people fleeing Florida and the measures DeSantis has supported with the explicit goal of making their lives worse.
In response to a headline that a majority of Florida LGBTQ parents are considering leaving the state in response to the repressive “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the DeSantis right hand had one simple reaction: Bye!
The actual study Pushaw was smugly responding to found that nearly one-quarter of LGBTQ Florida parents feared harassment, with parents of school-age children in public schools expressing the greatest concern for their safety. Over half of the parents surveyed have considered moving out of Florida, while 17 percent have already taken steps to do so.
Such a reaction illustrates why some donors have recently started to sour on Ron DeSantis’s political prospects. In tacking further and further right by pursuing repressive policy after repressive policy—and surrounding himself with people of the same persuasions—he displays how shockingly little he cares for millions of Americans. In pretending to be the more “reasonable” Trump, he appeals neither to actual Trump supporters, who would have no reason to vote for the second-rate version, nor to the rest of potential voters who are simply not interested in such radical, out-of-touch politics that treat millions of hardworking Americans like pawns at best and garbage at worst.
The Ivy League elitist and former Guantánamo Bay torture adviser has tried to prove his salt-of-the-earth bona fides by pursuing outrageous policies—like loosening gun safety regulation; leading crusades against students, teachers, and school libraries; banning people from hanging out with undocumented people (of whom there are nearly one million in Florida); and passing an extremist abortion ban. In doing so, DeSantis has in fact smeared millions of Americans and Floridians who disagree with and are even directly impacted by such radical policies.
And in Desantis’s continued employment of and allyship with fellow radicals like Pushaw, he shows no sign of any interest in representing most of America. As NBC News reported at the end of March, Republican kingmakers have started to cool on DeSantis, with some suggesting that he might actually want to sit out the election rather than potentially lose to Trump. According to that report, conservative donors have cited a range of reasons for their emerging belief that the Florida governor isn’t quite ready for prime time, including “bold stands” that haven’t paid off, the fumbling of big moments, and a team that’s been deemed to be “far behind the eight ball.”