Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has few evident talents, but when it comes to being roundly and weirdly crooked, the man appears to be vying for a Supreme Court seat. The Washington Post has a new report revealing that DeSantis was given the "loan" of a golf simulator, installed at the governor's mansion at the expense of political donor and major Florida home builder Mori Hosseini.
Hosseini is also the chairman of the University of Florida Board of Trustees, a spot he gained after being appointed to the board by the also lavishly crooked then-Gov. Rick Scott. He's a one-man turducken of American politics as usual, in which very rich Americans pick who they, personally, would most like to be in charge of regulating their companies and investments. And then after those politicians are elected, the wealthy benefactors continue to ply them with new donations and free use of their private jets, yachts, or vacation spots. All of it then rolls back around into the rich men with private jets being themselves elevated into government jobs, if they want them, upon which the cycle begins anew and they are adopted by someone with even more money or an even bigger jet.
It's all brazenly corrupt, but because the political figures taking most advantage of it are the people who get to both write the loopholes that allow it and have instant access to the nation's op-ed pages to declare that it's all perfectly fine whenever they get caught, we've just decided that in other countries, this counts as corruption, but in our country it counts as free speech and your complaints about it are a form of oppression.
Still, though, having a top political donor arrange for a $30,000-$70,000 custom-installed "golf simulator" to be installed in the governor's mansion, specifically in the mansion's private gym, is a bit over the top. It's the sort of pompous flouting of the rules that DeSantis has become infamous for, as he uses his office almost entirely for the sake of his own personal ambitions and grudges. Scoring a free golf simulator is Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito-level grifting. It takes gall.
The Washington Post does explain how all this went down, and it sounds pretty damn crooked from top to bottom. DeSantis' chief of staff "verified" that it didn't count as an ethical or legal violation since the simulator being installed was being lent to the governor's mansion and not DeSantis personally. The state's Ethics Commission hasn't weighed in, but in the past has evaluated such donations based on whether the gifts were for public-facing or private-facing use—and the mansion's gym definitely lands on the "private" side of that line.
Oh, and yes: Hosseini has already been in the news for repeatedly loaning out his private jet to DeSantis, and for hosting the governor at the Augusta National Golf Club, as well for sending upwards of $360,000 towards DeSantis's 2022 reelection alone.
Is it crooked, then? Probably! And that and $5 will buy you an iced mocha. Why does he need a personal golf simulator anyway? He lives in the land of golf courses. Most likely he’s honing that drive so he can woo even more donors on the swampy back nine. Either that or he is simply trying to outdrive Trump.
In the meantime, DeSantis has continued his quest to become known as the weirdest candidate of the presidential cycle not descended from a member of the Kennedy clan. The man simply cannot do "folksy," and every time he tries to do "folksy" he looks like a wobbly-headed alien wearing human skin reading from a script half-memorized during the previous commercial break.
Even in his quasi-official duties, the same rules apply. DeSantis tries very hard to appear like a Perfectly Human Politician, but the vibes are just off.
"One year straight"? "Amoung"? Buddy.
What even is this stuff?
I don't know about any of this. It's not likely that DeSantis will face any consequences for his brazenly fascist attempts to hurt anyone and everyone in Florida who he believes "opposes" him, whether it be international mega corporations or random university professors. Hell will freeze over before any politician, anywhere, gets slapped down for a five-figure golf simulator gift from their private jet-owning major donor friend.
I still say he crashes and burns the very first debate, after the rest of Republicanism gets a good look at the candidate from Uncanny Valley and nopes right off that bandwagon. Yikes.
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