There are enough images of Gov. Ron DeSantis palling with Rep. Matt Gaetz to show a close friendship, so a group of Democrats opposing the Governor’s reelection pooled them to ask, what happened to their friendship now that Gaetz appears to be in trouble?
“If Ron DeSantis will turn a blind eye to Matt Gaetz, makes you wonder what else he’s covering up,” snarks Ron Be Gone, in a new anti-DeSantis campaign video promoted on social media Thursday.
The video rolls out more than a minute of those images of Gaetz and DeSantis together in professional, social, and media-appearance settings, building the impression of a bromance between the two — at least until recently.
Gaetz is the Republican Panhandle Congressman struggling to deal with growing reports that he’s a central figure in a sex trafficking investigation that already has another old friend of his, former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, reportedly arranging a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
DeSantis was close enough to Gaetz while they served together in Congress that DeSantis had Gaetz serve as one of the co-chairs of the newly elected Governor’s’ transition team in 2018 and 2019.
Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes. In fact, federal authorities have confirmed none of the media reports that originated from undisclosed sources. They report that federal investigators’ probe of Greenberg’s activities last summer led them to suspect the involvement of others, including Gaetz. The New York Times reported federal investigators are looking into whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him as a sexual escort, across state and possibly international lines, with the help of Greenberg and others.
DeSantis has gone mum on his relationship with Gaetz since the scandal broke late last month.
The Ron Be Gone video went live on social media platforms Thursday afternoon in an effort to remind voters that DeSantis and Gaetz were close.
The video starts with a photograph of DeSantis with both Gaetz and Greenberg.
“You are the company you keep. And Matt Gaetz and Ron DeSantis are an inseparable pair,” the narrator declares.
“Yet Gov. DeSantis is refusing to answer questions about his friend,” the narrator says later.
Ron Be Gone was organized last month by Democrats hoping to get a campaign going against DeSantis’ 2022 reelection before Democrats even have a declared candidate to run against him. The campaign was organized with former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Coral Springs Vice Mayor Josh Simmons, former state Rep. Cindy Polo, and veteran Florida Democratic strategists Brice Barnes, Joshua Karp, and Lindsay Pollard.