Ron DeSantis flexed his political muscles on Tuesday night as his endorsed candidates came out victorious in race after race. That included a massive wave of conservative school board members being ushered into office by the state’s voters. The next day, DeSantis then flexed his rhetorical muscles, slamming Dr. Anthony Fauci, who just announced his coming retirement just in time to avoid any oversight by House Republicans.
While giving a speech, the Florida governor went hard at Fauci, saying that “someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.”
DeSantis on Fauci: “I’m just sick of seeing him. I know he says he’s gonna retire. Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac!”pic.twitter.com/zB20gKOiZZ
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) August 24, 2022
The moment I saw that clip, I immediately supposed that the press would accuse him of inciting violence. That’s because the rules are as follows. If you are a Democrat, you can attack Republicans in any way you want, including using colorful language (see Maxine Waters). But if you are a Republican attacking a Democrat, any use of physical illusions, even in jest, is immediately labeled as “violence.” It’s really just a cheap way to shut down debate.
Sure enough, within hours, The Daily Beast was already clutching its pearls.
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) August 24, 2022
I love the question about whether the governor believes his rhetoric is “appropriate.” I mean, he said it didn’t it? Would he have said it if he didn’t believe it was appropriate? DeSantis isn’t exactly the type of guy to not think through what he says, and he clearly felt this shot at Fauci was warranted.
And you know what? It absolutely was warranted. Fauci is a self-righteous, corrupt figure who has bilked taxpayers for decades, becoming the highest paid member of the government while continually failing at his job. All along the way, the good doctor trashes his political enemies and tells “noble lies” to try to manipulate Americans. If there’s anyone who deserves to be chucked across the Potomac, it’s him.
Of course, DeSantis was not speaking literally, and I’m pretty sure Fauci is safe from being randomly picked up by an angry bystander and thrown across a river that is over a quarter mile wide around Washington, DC. It’s hilarious to see media members suggest it’s somehow inciting violence for a politician to make a joke, but here we are. But Fauci has received death threats! So does every other public figure in this country. That’s hardly a free pass to never be on the end of some rhetorical ribbing.
Regardless, DeSantis’ willingness to speak plainly and directly to voters in ways that create enthusiasm is one of his best qualities. Some on the right will no doubt condemn his commentary. I say it’s exactly the kind of fire Republicans want to see.