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EXCLUSIVE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reelection campaign is now selling new “Escape to Florida/The Lockdown Libs tour” T-shirts after some top Democratic politicians from states with stricter coronavirus restrictions were seen vacationing in the Sunshine State over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.
News of the T-shirts, which are being sold online on the Republican governor’s “Official Ron DeSantis Store” on his reelection campaign’s website, was shared first with Fox News on Monday.
“We don’t blame you … we like freedom, too,” the back of the shirt says, underneath a list of Democrats – including the governors of states such as Connecticut, Michigan and New Jersey – and where in Florida they stayed. The front bears the slogans “Escape to Florida” and “Lockdown Libs,” with an “Open” sign on an outline of the state.
The Ron DeSantis campaign will be selling the shirts, which reference how a number of prominent Democrats have vacationed in Florida while their own states have strict pandemic policies. (Image courtesy of DeSantis campaign)
“If I had a dollar for every lockdown politician who decided to escape to Florida over the last two years, I’d be a pretty doggone wealthy man, let me tell you,” DeSantis joked at a press conference one week ago. “I mean, Congress people, mayors, governors, I mean you name it.”
That remark was made after progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was spotted vacationing in Florida, hanging out at a crowded outdoor bar without a mask. Ocasio-Cortez’s office said Sunday the congresswoman has since tested positive for COVID-19.
Another Democrat, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, was also seen in Florida in recent days as he vacationed with family members. California is among the strictest states in the nation when it comes to pandemic policies.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site on Aug. 18, 2021, in Pembroke Pines, Florida. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
“It’s interesting the reception that some of these folks will get in Florida,” the governor said at the press conference, “because I think a lot of Floridians say, ‘Wait a minute you’re bashing us because we’re not doing your draconian policies, and yet we’re the first place you want to flee to, to basically to be able to enjoy life.’”
The conservative governor saw his popularity surge among Republican voters in his state and around the nation in 2020 and 2021, thanks in large part to his combative pushback against COVID-19 restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
To promote their new item, the DeSantis campaign on Monday put up a new video on social media that includes a shot of the governor putting on sunglasses and saying, “Welcome to Florida.”
The video touts that the new T-shirts are the latest in a line of merchandise the campaign’s been selling in recent weeks and months, which also includes “Don’t tread on Florida” and “Don’t Fauci my Florida” items.
DeSantis, a former congressman who won his election as Florida governor in 2018, is running this year for a second term steering the Sunshine State. Pundits also view the Republican governor as a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender.