CNN contributor Ana Navarro slammed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his 2022 reelection campaign sales of gear with slogans and phrases that appear to mock lead immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, but the added attention could also serve as free ad time for the popular Republican.
Navarro was responding to host Jim Acosta after he played a clip of an earlier interview he did with Fauci in which the top medical adviser to President Joe Biden also criticized DeSantis’ campaign for its gear that contains slogans like “Don’t Fauci My Florida.”
“It almost doesn’t even deserve a comment. It’s just — you know, taking an individual who stands for public health, for truth, for doing the right things, to protect the safety and the health of the public — which I have done now for four decades — and to use my name in a derogatory way to prevent people from doing things that’s for the benefit of their own health, go figure that one out, Jim,” Fauci said.
“I have no idea what that’s all about. That doesn’t make any sense at all,” he added.
Asked to respond, Navarro said, “I’m indignant about it and I find it painful.”
She went on to say her husband contracted COVID-19 and had to be hospitalized, and that she lost people close to her to the virus while stating she also has concerns about rising numbers of new variant cases in her state of Florida.
“I know Ron DeSantis knows better and can do better,” Navarro added. “We just saw him lead in a cooperative fashion at the collapse in Surfside, cooperating with Joe Biden, with the federal administration, and with the local mayor. He can do that.”
She went on to mention other GOP governors including Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Jim Justice of West Virginia and Mike DeWine of Ohio who have been “putting politics aside, putting partisanship aside” and encouraging their citizens to get a COVID vaccine.
“This is so stupid,” she said, noting that former President Donald Trump, whose permanent residence is in the Sunshine State, and DeSantis are vaccinated as well while accusing the Florida governor of “exploiting this for political purposes.”
He “doesn’t need to to this, to be the heir apparent to Donald Trump — he’s there already,” she said, claiming his merch sales were “harming the people of Florida and putting his constituents at risk.”
“It’s irresponsible and it needs to stop,” she lectured.
DeSantis was among the first governors to adopt policies that aided in isolating the state’s large senior population after it became apparent early on in the pandemic that the virus was particularly deadly to that demographic. His actions are often contrasted with those of New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo who ordered eldercare facilities to take in COVID patients, a decision critics say increased the state’s coronavirus death toll by thousands.
Cuomo has also been accused of undercounting COVID deaths.
But Navarro’s criticism, along with Fauci’s and many other Democrat-friendly media, is serving as free advertising for the 2022 DeSantis campaign, which has been seeing an influx in sales.
“Don’t Fauci My Florida merchandise is a HUGE hit,” the campaign tweeted with a link to an online store last week.
Don't Fauci My Florida merchandise is a HUGE hit. 🚨
— Team DeSantis (@teamrondesantis) July 15, 2021
The campaign also noted the amount of free publicity the governor’s getting thanks to the ‘buzz’ over its merch.
“ICYMI: Our Team DeSantis merchandise is already making major waves!” the campaign tweeted along with a video clip of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), in a Fox News interview defending the merchandise by noting that Fauci is “not above reproach” because he has “injected himself” in to the country’s “political debates.”
ICYMI: Our Team DeSantis merchandise is already making major waves! 🌊
Check out our feature on @foxandfriends this morning. 🚨👀
— Team DeSantis (@teamrondesantis) July 14, 2021
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