Billboards highlighting Ron DeSantis’ close ties to Matt Gaetz coming to Governor’s Mansion

Matt Gaetz
'If Ron DeSantis thinks he can hide the true nature of his friendships with Matt Gaetz, he’s sorely mistaken.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ effort to distance himself from embattled U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz just got more difficult, as two giant reminders of their close association before Gaetz’s underage sex-trafficking controversy are coming to the Governor’s Tallahassee home.

Political group Ron Be Gone announced Wednesday that two billboards highlighting DeSantis close relationship with Gaetz will be displayed just outside the Governor’s Mansion at the intersection of North Monroe Street and Thomasville Road.

One billboard depicting the two Republicans features a joke Gaetz made on DeSantis’ 2018 campaign trail for the Florida governorship: “Matt Gaetz says DeSantis is the ‘Batman’ to his ‘Robin’.”

The other references an ongoing U.S. Justice Department investigation into whether Gaetz broke sex-trafficking laws by engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying for her to cross state lines, and implies DeSantis knew about it: “Best friends keep each other’s secrets”.

Sex between an adult age 24 or older and a person 17 or younger qualifies as statutory rape in Florida. Gaetz is 39. He was in his mid-30s at the time of the alleged relationship.

“If Ron DeSantis thinks he can hide the true nature of his friendships with Matt Gaetz, he’s sorely mistaken,” said veteran Florida Democratic strategist Brice Barnes, one of the organizers behind Ron Be Gone. “Floridians need to know that their Governor owes his political career to a congressman who is caught up in a federal investigation where someone pleaded guilty to multiple counts, including sex-trafficking a minor.”

Gaetz, who hasn’t been charged with a crime, has denied involvement in the scandal to which his associate, former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty in May.

But the digital trail federal investigators are following may contradict the Fort Walton Beach Republican’s story. In April, the Daily Beast reported it obtained Venmo records from 2018 showing transfers of funds from Gaetz to Greenberg, who then transferred identical sums of money to teenage girls, one of whom was 17 at the time,

Sources familiar with the case have said charges against Gaetz could come this month.

The results of a separate House Ethics Committee inquiry into whether Gaetz “may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gifts, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct” are pending.

A key ally to DeSantis, Gaetz urged the Governor to appoint several people who are now caught up in the federal investigation, Politico reported in May, quoting a former worker as saying, “By the time we were in heavy General Election mode, DeSantis was not doing anything without Gaetz being on it.”

Despite the threat of criminal charges hanging over his head for months, Gaetz has still proven himself to be a powerhouse fundraiser. Between April and June, his reelection campaign pulled in about $1.45 million. He has raised $3.25 million since January.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


34 comments

  • zhombre

    July 21, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    Another sleazy political hit like the one recently failed against Joe Gruters. I’d like to see billboards opposite showing Gillum in the south Florida hotel room where he got loaded and dallied with a male prostitute. Announcing this is the man Florida Democrats preferred over DeSantis last election.

  • Andy

    July 21, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    Sorry but this is a failed strategy. This will not get the governor unelected and if the thought is it will energize dems , it will equally if not to a greater extent energize republicans.

    If you can’t connect the governors policies and the negative impact the policies are having on the majority of people in this state, he will not be beat!!!!!

    • zhombre

      July 21, 2021 at 12:38 pm

      Prog Dems aren’t happy unless they have somebody to hate, viscerally and vociferously, while they accuse their opponents of spreading hatred.

  • Ed

    July 21, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    How about a billboard touting the sexual exploits of Rebekah Jones and one of her students while at FSU. We can also call her out on her “phony scientist” credentials. I think she had some pretty steamy writings and pictures as she cyber stalked the young stud.

    • Ed

      July 21, 2021 at 12:42 pm

      The “fake scientist” is running against Gaetz

      • zhombre

        July 21, 2021 at 4:43 pm

        She’ll fizzle out quicker than did Chelsea Manning running for Congress in Maryland. At least Manning actually lived in Maryland. And actually had access to the material she, at the time he, leaked.

  • Ocean Joe

    July 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Yes the billboards are stupid. Stick with Loserpalooza banner planes over the ‘Nuremberg/They Stole My Election’ rallies.

    • zhombre

      July 21, 2021 at 4:22 pm

      Some comments are simply too dumb to take seriously, let alone respond to.

      • GetFkkdGQP

        July 26, 2021 at 8:48 pm

        Is that why you’re commenting on every one of them in the whole comment thread? So you don’t feel alone?

  • Tom Palmer

    July 21, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    I agree this is lame. There are more substantive issues out there.

    • zhombre

      July 21, 2021 at 5:24 pm

      In all seriousness, it is lame and doesn’t this reflect the weak state of the Florida Democrat party? They can hardly muster viable candidates for state office. Recycling Charlie Crist for the umpteenth time is a sad joke.

    • Tom

      July 22, 2021 at 7:42 am

      Palmer, how snotty the fact that there is no facts behind it. No accusations, no proof and no example. Just a smear effort by attempted association. Pathetic, you can’t even be honest when it’s a open smear.
      You, Ocean Joe should be ashamed.

      • Tom Palmer

        July 22, 2021 at 6:10 pm

        That was the point I was making in case you have trouble reading. The whole campaign is idiotic.

        • Tom

          July 23, 2021 at 1:09 pm

          Palmer, I can read As the Dems are idiotic. Crispy Crist & Fraud Fried, they are a joke The associate groups, all a joke. Ocean Joe proves it.

          • Tom Palmer

            July 23, 2021 at 5:26 pm

            OK, this is just partisan BS. Thanks

    • tjb

      July 24, 2021 at 9:36 am

      Just to name a few Issues: the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol and fascism creeping into our government.

      • Tom

        July 24, 2021 at 10:08 am

        Palmer and tjb, you both engage in fake news. Dems and yourselves both along with Hoffman have nothing to run on. You have a shellacking coming. DeSantis big, Rubio landslide, legislature Repub, Repubs will pick up 2 or 3 seats in Florida Congress and nationally looking at a 30 seat net pick up. Senate leans Repub. but peddle Your fake news b s.
        Pelosi is ancient relic.
        Florida Dems are a joke.

        • tjb

          July 24, 2021 at 10:37 am

          Where is my fake news, Tom? I just named issues that should be discussed, Also, another issue to be explored, why is Florida leading the nation in new Covid cases?

          • Tom

            July 24, 2021 at 6:21 pm

            Speaker Pelosi knew the demonstrators were coming tjb. The FBI was tipped, her cap police security Knew as they asked for help days before. You are full of B S and fake news. You don’t want to talk issues just liberal scream. 5 Dem House seats will flip with 2 at least in Florida. Go hang out with Palmer, Hoffman and other useless Dems.

      • zhombre

        July 24, 2021 at 11:06 am

        Yeah, Creeping Fascism like the Biden Administration colluding with FB and Twitter to censor what they deem ‘misinformation’ on their platforms, meant to stifle and vanish all opinion they don’t approve of. Creeping Fascim like the FBi setting up bumpkins in Michigan in an outlandish plot to kidnap the governor, so the FBI could claim credit for the arrests and point to ‘white supremacist radicals.’ Creeping Fascism like the NSA ‘unmasking’ individuals on cable news shows that they don’t like. Creeping Fascism like the Dems decrying as Jim Crow every effort to ensure election integrity with simple measures like voter ID or banning of ballot harvesting, the bumpstock of voter fraud. You mean THAT Creeping Fascism, numbskull?

        • Tjb

          July 24, 2021 at 11:39 am

          Thank you zhombre, for your thoughtful response. However, you forgot to comment on why Florida is leading the US in new covid cases.

          • zhombre

            July 24, 2021 at 11:42 am

            Well, that’s a tough one … did the COVID-carrying Texas Democrats stop here in Florida between Austin and Washington DC?

          • zhombre

            July 24, 2021 at 11:46 am

            Oh and I forgot to mention Creeping Fascism like a “salacious and unverified’ dossier, ie, bullshit, paid for by the Democrats, being used as the basis for spying on the Trump campaign and the whole phony and unhinged Russian collusion witch hunt.

          • Tom

            July 24, 2021 at 8:54 pm

            You can’t deal with the facts tjb.
            You invent your own.
            You have no clue except being a soros Manchurian. Everything you celebrate is manufactured BS. Pelosi is a joke.
            Enjoy

          • Tom

            July 25, 2021 at 1:29 am

            The You are a fool.
            Wait for the Net 30 seat house flip.
            Florida is good for 2 to 3.

          • Tom

            July 25, 2021 at 9:35 am

            You were provided two outlines of facts not your liberal scream fluff.
            So typical of Dems. Lost in your dogma of lies.

  • Matthew Lusk

    July 22, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    This story is a real nothin burger.

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 22, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    Lol lol. You poor wittle men. Duffus Desantis is a loser. Hims just runs around looking for press coverage. You watched the coverage? Duffus Desantis is willingly slaughtering Floridians. Has been for months and still willingly trying to kill folks with lies.

    • zhombre

      July 23, 2021 at 5:28 pm

      I reiterate: Some comments are simply too dumb to take seriously, let alone respond to.

      • GetFkkdGQP

        July 26, 2021 at 8:50 pm

        Which is why you keep doing it, you mental midget?

        • Tom

          July 31, 2021 at 6:15 am

          Sounds like a good acronym for you.
          Mental.

    • Michael Paris

      July 25, 2021 at 4:52 pm

      Hey Red Sonja, Gaetz will walk free. They have no case. You have convicted felon/liar and nothing else. Not a fan, but tying him to DeSantis is ridiculous.

      • Tom

        July 25, 2021 at 9:44 pm

        Yes Red Sonja she is! LOL

  • Tom

    July 24, 2021 at 1:06 am

    Yes manure to be exact.

Comments are closed.


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