A new video ad released by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is “some of the most ass-backwards blasphemy I’ve ever heard in my life, and one of the dumbest political ads you could ever make,” a seminary educated former head of the Republican National Committee said Nov. 6.
Michael Steele attended divinity school and nearly became a priest instead of a politician. He was elected lieutenant governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007 and served as chairman of the RNC from 2009 to 2011.
“I don’t need Ron DeSantis to be Christ. I just need him to be governor, and that’s the problem.”
On MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show,” Steele said of the new DeSantis ad released on social media by his wife two days earlier: “It’s insulting.”
The black-and-white video uses a male narrator appearing to speak from heavenly places to declare: “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a protector.’ So God made him (DeSantis) a fighter. God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn and kiss his family goodbye, travel thousands of miles for no other reason than to serve the people, to save their jobs, their livelihoods, their liberty, their happiness.’ So God made a fighter.”
The ad credits DeSantis with being the hand of God to stand against the COVID-19 pandemic and keep children going to school, church doors open and loved ones able to kiss their parents and grandparents goodbye before they died.
Carla Sinclair, writing on the news website BoingBoing, took a more sarcastic approach to the DeSantis ad: “The bible forgot to mention this, but on the eighth day, God bestowed upon us a modern-day miracle and created Ron DeSantis. And how do I know? Because the Florida governor’s ad tells me so.” She called it an “over-the-top, mawkish political ad that will have you cringing with every maudlin DeSantis photo illustrating God’s gift to the world.”
Steele was more direct, saying the peculiar ad “tells you what this white Christian nationalism is all about; that’s what (the ad) appeals to. It doesn’t appeal to churchgoing folks on Sunday, people who actually read the Bible
“On the eighth day? Really? Church much? … God needs a protector? He could ask Moses to do that part, right?” Steele said. “What the hell are you talking about? Oh, God needs someone who’s going to go out and challenge the status quo? You ever hear of a man named Jesus?”
Steele summarized: “I don’t need Ron DeSantis to be Christ. I just need him to be governor, and that’s the problem. These idiots mesh it all together, and think they are one and the same.”
Several news outlets assessed that the script was a knockoff of a 2013 Superbowl commercial for Dodge about how God decided to make “a farmer,” narrated by radio legend Paul Harvey and based on a speech he made in 1978. Harvey originally gave the speech “So God Made a Farmer” to the Future Farmers of America Convention in 1978.
DeSantis is running for reelection for a second term as governor of Florida against Democrat Charlie Crist, a former governor and member of the House. On the day the ad was released, aggregate polling published by fivethirtyeight.com showed DeSantis leading Crist by more than 10 points.
The Florida governor has taken some of the most hard-right stances on polarizing issues such as immigration, making national headlines by paying for others to lie to immigrants in Texas in order to entice them to get on a bus to Martha’s Vineyard, where they were dumped on the street with no resources. The event was a publicity stunt inspired by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
DeSantis also appears to be a likely Republican candidate for U.S. president in 2024 and has been attempting to outmaneuver former President Donald Trump, who famously was photographed in front of a church near the White House holding a large Bible upside down with a somber pose.
A day after the peculiar DeSantis ad dropped, Trump mocked his likely primary opponent by giving him a new nickname: “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
Christian nationalism is on the ballot this week | Opinion by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush