Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) apparently went out of his way on Monday to try to humiliate President Joe Biden when he signed four bills into law curtailing COVID vaccine mandates in Brandon, Florida.
The name of the town is a call-out to conservatives’ new anti-Biden insult, “Let’s go, Brandon.” The phrase gained traction last month at a NASCAR race when a commentator misheard chants of “Fuck Joe Biden” as “Let’s go, Brandon” (for driver Brandon Brown).
DeSantis signed the bills at a Honda dealership on the outskirts of Tampa and held a press conference from a podium labeled: “Protect Florida jobs. Brandon, FL.”
“We are proud to be able to make a stand for freedom in Brandon, Florida,” DeSantis slyly noted. The cooperative crowd erupted into occasional cheers of “Let’s go Brandon.”
After the signing, DeSantis was asked if he intended to troll Biden by holding the event in a town named Brandon.
“I think that Brandon, Florida, is a great American city,” he said with a smirk to the crowd.
State Attorney General Ashley Moody then muddied up the Biden dig by calling Brandon a “shining city on the hill, representing freedom.”
Honda was later prompted to issue a statement on Twitter that it does not endorse political “events.” It added: “Out of respect to our customers we strongly discourage our independently-owned dealers from hosting political rallies at their dealerships.”
The bills DeSantis signed into law largely prevent employers from requiring their staff to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to work. With DeSantis’ signature, Florida also became the first state in the nation to enact a law threatening employers with fines for requiring vaccines.
Twitter users had plenty to say about the Brandon stunt. One Democratic state lawmaker noted that the residents of Brandon, Florida, actually voted against Donald Trump and DeSantis the last time they ran.
“Divisive childish politics” cost Republicans support in Brandon “for the first time in more than 25 years,” Democratic state Rep. Andrew Learned told Florida Politics.