Ron DeSantis Paved the Way for Donald Trump’s NFT Money-Grab

If he were not Donald Trump, you could almost feel sorry for him.

His “big announcement” on Thursday that he is selling virtual trading cards of himself as a fantasy superhero was ridiculous enough—but it turns pathetic when compared to Gov. Ron DeSanits’ sale seven months ago of actual trading cards of himself as a bona fide college baseball star.

The half-dozen Trump images now on sale are so bizarre that they can be taken as a parody of a narcissistic loser’s imaginings. The cost is $99, for which the buyer only receives a digital assurance that this “perfect gift for Christmas” is a “non-fungible” NFT.

The lone image on the cards sold by the DeSantis for Governor campaign in May features an iconic shot of a baseball hero taking a mighty swing that made him Rookie of the Year as a Yale freshman, ending with a .336 batting average as a senior. The 500 “limited edition Gov. DeSantis classic baseball cards” were priced at $49. The buyer received an actual card just like kids have been collecting and trading for decades.

There were also 10 numbered “relic” cards autographed by DeSanits. These were sold at auction, with six of them each going for the $3,000 maximum—set by a limit for individual campaign contributions. The other four went for at least $1,650.

But, if eBay is an indicator, the cards were a good investment. The seventh of the 10 that were auctioned was being offered for $9,999.95 on Friday. Imagine what it will go for if DeSantis becomes the next president.

His campaign announced the sale of the DeSantis baseball cards with a tweet headed AMERICA’S GOVERNOR x AMERICA’S PASTIME.

“The corporate media can throw all the curveballs they want, but they won’t get anything past this batter,” the tweet proclaims. “@RonDeSantisFL goes to bat for freedom in Florida.”

The tweet then shows a video clip of DeSantis scolding the press.

“That’s why people don’t trust people like you, because you peddle false narratives,” he says. “These are smear merchants. That’s why nobody trusts corporate media.”

He addresses the woke.

“I’ll tell you this, if you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way. I’m not going to let you get away with it.”

The footage of a tough-guy culture warrior fades into the single still photo of mighty DeSantis at the plate in his Yale days.

“Get your limited edition Ron DeSantis baseball gear today!” the narrator says.

But to buy that, for however much money, would also entail a moral cost. It would mean accepting the false narratives that DeSantis himself has been peddling—notably about masks and vaccines even as thousands of his constituents died of COVID unnecessarily. The dead in August of 2021 included six unvaccinated members of the Impact Church in Jacksonville.

“Four of them were under the age of 35. All of them were healthy, and the only thing they had in common was they were not vaccinated,” Pastor George Davis noted to the press, adding that the congregation would be mounting a push to get others vaccinated.

That same month, a 28-year-old Rockledge man died saying his one big regret was he had not gotten vaccinated. His family honored his memory by turning his funeral into a COVID testing and vaccination event.

But despite initially acknowledging that the COIVD vaccine saves lives, DeSantis has since sought political advantage in questioning its efficacy.

On the same day this week that a major study estimated that the vaccine had saved 3.2 million American lives, DeSantis took his false narrative to a new low. He brought McCarthyism to public health, calling for a grand jury investigation into supposed “crimes and wrongdoing” in connection with the COVID vaccine.

He also announced the formation of what he calls a Public Health Integrity Committee. It will be headed by Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who has questioned the value of the vaccine—and even advised young people not to get jabbed. He also supported the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID, which the CDC and a host of prominent scientists deemed to be of no value. Ladapo has also contended that masks do nothing to reduce transmission, despite definitive evidence to the contrary.

DeSantis has taken the same view regarding masks and has opposed mask mandates in schools as an affront to freedom as well as an abridgment of parental rights. But his actual priorities became clear when he arrived at a press conference where seven teenagers had been arrayed as a photo backdrop for him. He became angry on seeing that several of them were wearing masks, likely with parent approval, certainly by their own free choice.

“You do not have to wear those masks,” he told them. “I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”

DeSantis was, and is, batting not for freedom, but for DeSantis. The onetime star of America’s pastime-turned-self described America’s governor seems determined to become America’s next president.

He does so having gone from Yale to Harvard Law School to serving as a judge advocate in the Navy, as a member of the U.S. Congress and as a two-term Florida governor. You could almost admire him if he were not Ron DeSantis.

Meanwhile, that DeSantis card on eBay is going for $9900.95 more than a Trump superhero card is ever likely to fetch.