It seems Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis couldn’t resist, as a recent deep dive from The Washington Post reveals. As DeSantis gears up for his 2024 GOP presidential nomination bid, old skeletons about unreported trips funded by deep-pocketed donors are tumbling out of his proverbial closet.
Picture this: DeSantis, fresh off his election win as Florida’s governor, hopping on private jets for swanky trips, all funded by wealthy donors. The catch? These trips, at least six of them, were kept hush-hush, nowhere to be found on his campaign finance forms. And these aren’t just any trips – we’re talking high-end jaunts like the time major Florida home builder Mori Hosseini (who casually gifted DeSantis a golf simulator) covered DeSantis’s tab for a luxurious stay at the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club.
But wait, there’s more. Remember the $92 million from COVID-19 federal relief funds DeSantis allocated for a highway interchange? Well, it just so happens this interchange directly benefited a housing project of (you guessed it) Hosseini’s. Despite this eyebrow-raising connection, the DeSantis camp swears the decision was pure coincidence. Right.
As Nick Knudsen of DemCast aptly questions, “What did he promise them on the golf course? Deregulation? Tax cut?” The point Knudsen drives home is transparency. These potential backdoor deals, undisclosed trips, and secret donor handshakes aren’t just about optics; they’re about trust.
And the flight log doesn’t end with Hosseini. DeSantis reportedly received four other jet-setting jaunts, courtesy of donor John Cwik. Though Cwik plays innocent, claiming ignorance about who footed the bill, DeSantis’s team swears up and down that all was above board with gift regulations. Their reluctance to dive into specifics, however, only fuels skepticism.
Now, with the GOP primaries on the horizon, DeSantis trails in the polls, sitting far behind the former commander-in-chief, Donald Trump. Interestingly, Trump himself has been entangled in his share of questionable dealings, from profit-making off his businesses during his presidency to a bevy of potential conflicts of interest. But with these recent revelations, Trump loyalists might have just snagged themselves some fresh ammo to target DeSantis’s campaign.
The message here is clear: if you’re looking for trust, transparency, and leaders who aren’t swayed by luxurious trips to golf courses, perhaps it’s time to steer clear of the same old playbook.