Ever since the COVID pandemic began last year, few politicians have mishandled the disease as badly as Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has repeatedly tried to minimize the importance of vaccines and protective masks, holding himself up as some sort of beacon of fake freedom for the people in his state who refuse to do what’s necessary to control a public health crisis that has so far killed nearly 54,000 people in the Sunshine State.
In an effort to literally buy the loyalty of teachers in the state, DeSantis decided he’d take some of the federal money given to his state and hand out $1,000 COVID bonuses to Florida teachers. Great idea, right? Yeah, until the checks started bouncing.
According to the Tampa Bay Times:
When dozens of Florida teachers tried to cash their state-issued $1,000 bonus checks this week, they got a startling response: “insufficient funds.”
No, the State of Florida hasn’t run out of money. Instead, the bad checks are being blamed on a “banking error” by JPMorgan Chase.
Checks issued toat least 50 teachers in 22 different counties bounced because of the error, Florida Department of Education spokesman Jared Ochs said.
Of course, considering that DeSantis has long considered failed, one-term former President Donald Trump to be his political idol and mentor, you can understand why some of the teachers might have thought the governor had stiffed them. After all, Trump has failed to pay contractors for decades, leading many of them to going bankrupt despite Donald having contracts with them. Trump’s solution was to tie up the matter in court for years, waiting for the contractors to drop their cases against him because the legal bills became too much of a burden.
In the past, teacher bonuses from the state of Florida have been sent to school districts for distribution, but DeSantis couldn’t resist taking a page from Donnie Dirtbag and issuing paper checks with accompanying letters bearing his signature:
The state paid a private contractor $3.6 million to print and send the checks. That led some lawmakers and the union representing school teachers to accuse DeSantis of using the bonuses to score political points.
The state said that by sending the money directly, saying the $3.6 million was well below the 10 percent normally allotted or administrative costs on federal funding.
DeSantis is facing an uncertain political future. He’s up for reelection in 2022, but his poll numbers have collapsed and there are at least two Democrats (one of whom, Charlie Crist, is a former governor of the state) who are polling ahead of him and could easily win next November.
Turns out Ron DeSantis is indeed a lot like Donald Trump: Neither one of them is bright enough to realize that the solution to a pandemic is following the science and not trying to buy people’s loyalty.