Governor Ron DeSantis is hitting back at President Joe Biden, who slammed the Sunshine State's anti-transgender policies as "cruel" and "close to sinful." The far-right Florida Republican is using a far-right extremist, one has been accused of promoting stochastic terrorism, to make his point.
In a "Daily Show" interview with former Obama White House aide, actor Kal Penn, President Biden denounced Florida's anti-transgender policies.
"What's going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, 'close to sinful,'" President Biden told Penn. “It’s just terrible what they’re doing."
“It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I want to become a man or I want to become a woman," Biden added. "I mean, what are they thinking about here? They’re human beings, they love, they have feelings, they have inclinations. It’s cruel."
Governor DeSantis has quickly become an expert at using the powers of his office to target the left and especially minority communities in a massive "culture war" designed to pave the road for a 2024 presidential run.
DeSantis' "Don't Say Gay" law has been copied by other far-right states, as it causes a massive reworking of the entire state's public education system, including school libraries that have pulled all books off the shelves as teachers, librarians, and administrators are terrified of being sued.
In January, The Associated Press reported, a DeSantis survey asked "state universities for the number and ages of their students who sought gender dysphoria treatment, including sex reassignment surgery and hormone prescriptions."
"The survey was released the same day the university presidents voted to support DeSantis’ anti-woke agenda and to reject 'the progressivist higher education indoctrination agenda' and committing to 'removing all woke positions and ideologies by February 1, 2023,' according to a Department of Education news release," the AP noted.
In response, sixteen Democratic state attorneys general denounced the request for information on transgender students, noting that "public reports suggest that you may seek to use the information sought to eliminate funding for necessary gender-affirming health care for students."
One month later, in February, members of Florida's boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine both – having voted to deny "necessary gender-affirming health care to trans youth," as The Intercept's Natasha Lennard wrote – "responded with a unanimous vote for even tighter restrictions."
In March, Florida lawmakers filed several anti-LGBTQ bills, upping the total this year in the Sunshine State to 11, according to a tally from the ACLU.
And last year, as GLAAD noted, Gov. DeSantis outright lied about gender-affirming care, saying: “They will actually take a young boy and castrate the boy. They will take a young girl and do a mastectomy, or they will sterilize her because of the gender dysphoria. There is no evidence that this is something that's effective medical care.”
GLAAD noted: "Longstanding best practices medical care for trans youth does not include surgeries or sterilization on young children. Every major medical association supports gender affirming care as evidence-based, lifesaving care, with growing and consistent research that it improves mental health and wellbeing for transgender and nonbinary youth."
That's just a slice of DeSantis' anti-LGBTQ work in his time as governor.
In response to President Biden saying what's going on in the far-right governor's state is "terrible," "cruel," and "close to sinful," DeSantis turned to the Twitter account of Libs of TikTok, an extremist anti-LGBTQ social media influencer that promoted the hate-filled "groomer" attacks (as did DeSantis' former press secretary).
DeSantis could have grabbed and posted the Daily Show's video clip of President Biden to send his tweet, but he opted instead to send a message of where he stands on LGBTQ rights.
Retweeting the video via Libs of TikTok, DeSantis also reposted his anti-transgender lies:
"It is not 'sinful' to prohibit the mutilation of minors," he tweeted. "It is not acceptable for the federal government to mandate that procedures like sex change operations be allowed for kids."
The federal government is not mandating that "procedures like sex change operations be allowed for kids."