Every time we hear anything new about Ron DeSantis we’re reminded of the alternate universe that should have been, where his name was a footnote in political comedy history. But instead of being known only for that horribly embarrassing campaign ad where he just kept worshipping Donald Trump, the man actually got elected governor of Florida. Sigh… We live in the worst timeline…
If you were blissfully unaware, the FL Republican recently made headlines for pulling a stunt that was, at best, exploiting poor migrants for political points. At worst, it’s been accused of being flat-out criminal! Here’s the recap:
He Did What??
Basically, DeSantis rounded up 48 Venezuelan asylum seekers in San Antonio, Texas and flew them to the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where he dumped them onto the streets and just left them there for local authorities to deal with. The idea was to drop an issue that happens at the Texas border right on the doorstep of the rich, liberal, coastal elites to see how they like it. *eye roll* Not sure what this even has to do with the governor of Florida, but OK.
The whole thing kind of backfired as locals — despite having no warning — were able to get the migrants food and shelter before getting them moved to Cape Cod for additional help. DeSantis called the help provided to the migrants “self-congratulatory virtue signaling.” His fellow GOP members at the time applauded his “savvy” move. Man, the party winning the Bible Belt really need Jesus.
In any case, his little stunt left four dozen human beings stranded with no plan. It was a pretty icky move even on its face. But as folks dig deeper it gets a lot worse.
First off, if you’re a Floridian, we’re guessing the first thing you’d like to know is WERE OUR TAX DOLLARS SPENT ON THIS?? After all, just days later DeSantis had to get a handout from the federal government for disaster relief after the destruction of Hurricane Ian. Surely he wasn’t spending tons of the state’s money on a political stunt that didn’t even have anything to do with the Sunshine State! Sorry to break it to everyone, but that’s exactly what happened. According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis hired a charter company, presumably because flying them commercial would have raised too many questions. To fly the nearly 50 people he gave a whopping $1.56 million of the state’s budget to Vertol Systems. (Apparently they don’t really do that much private charter, they’re more about pilot training — but they were a company DeSantis’ cabinet had ties to, naturally.)
A MILLION AND A HALF BUCKS of Florida‘s money to fly migrants from Texas to Massachusetts. Not to help them, mind you, to own the libs. That make sense to Florida taxpayers??
Maybe the biggest question in all this has become… was this a crime? Lawyers representing some of the migrants, who are suing DeSantis, have accused the governor of “falsely promising them jobs” to get them on the plane — only to abandon them 2,000 miles away.
If he tricked a bunch of migrants into transporting them from one state to another for his own personal gain — that sounds an awful lot like human trafficking. Whether he was using them for cheap labor or political advertising this is still using them. Man, this could end up being a more embarrassing ad for him than that Trump thing…
The whole thing is being investigated by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in San Antonio. Sheriff Javier Salazar explained what they’d learned so far last month:
“Our understanding is that a Venezuelan migrant was paid what we call a ‘birddog fee’ to recruit approximately 50 migrants from the area around a migrants resource center on San Pedro here in San Antonio.”
That leads us to Monday’s shocking reveal…
That first migrant later told CNN he had been offered clothes, food, and money by a woman he knew as “Perla.” He said he believed her when she said she was going to help all the others he found, too:
“She had told me that the people who were going to Massachusetts, before I sent them, she had told me that they were going to receive them. They were going to be given shelter, a place to stay. They were going to help them with the language, and those who had children, they were going to study.”
According to the “recruiter” he trusted her after she proved to him she would look after whomever he could round up:
“She took them to a hotel. At the hotel, I realized that they were being treated well.”
But it was all a lie, just to get them to board the plane. The recruiter told CNN he felt betrayed afterward by this Perla woman. But who was she really??
She was described as wearing “cowboy boots” and having “highlights in her hair,” according to a report in New York Magazine. Though in Texas that isn’t much to go on… Thankfully, according to an attorney in the class action suit, some of the migrants took photos of the “smiling blond-haired woman in a cowboy hat” who approached them. That plus the fact she used her real name was enough to track her down!
According to The New York Times on Monday she has been identified as Perla Huerta, a former US Army counterintelligence agent and combat medic specialist. She was discharged at the end of August after over 20 years in the service. Welcome to the private sector, we guess? Now she’s a spy for hire, apparently!
Perla was named in the class action lawsuit before her full name was even discovered, so her first job out of the army may just have gotten her into some serious legal trouble — just like her boss…
Ron DeSantis maintains this was all legal as the migrants “volunteered” to go on the plane. But that’s sort of the argument con men make after stealing money from people, isn’t it?
If we’ve got this straight, DeSantis hired a spy to trick migrants into getting on a plane with false promises of help, then abandoned them — all to score political points. Furthermore this was pretty obviously all to benefit the governor personally, seeing as it didn’t have anything to do with Florida at all. Why? Well, word is he’s going to try to run for President soon — and he must figure any time he can own the libs will really help him win his party’s nomination.
Will Ron turn out to be as teflon as his hero Donald Trump, who seems to get away with everything he does? We guess we’ll see!