Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) apparently went out of his way on Monday to try to humiliate President Joe Biden when he signed four bills into law curtailing COVID vaccine mandates in Brandon, Florida.
The name of the town is a call-out to conservatives’ new anti-Biden insult, “Let’s go, Brandon.” The phrase gained traction last month at a NASCAR race when a commentator misheard chants of “Fuck Joe Biden” as “Let’s go, Brandon” (for driver Brandon Brown).
DeSantis signed the bills at a Honda dealership on the outskirts of Tampa and held a press conference from a podium labeled: “Protect Florida jobs. Brandon, FL.”
“We are proud to be able to make a stand for freedom in Brandon, Florida,” DeSantis slyly noted. The cooperative crowd erupted into occasional cheers of “Let’s go Brandon.”
After the signing, DeSantis was asked if he intended to troll Biden by holding the event in a town named Brandon.
“I think that Brandon, Florida, is a great American city,” he said with a smirk to the crowd.
REPORTER: Did you chose Brandon, FL for your bill signing because of the "Let's Go Brandon" movement?
DESANTIS: "I think Brandon, Florida is a great American city..."pic.twitter.com/Igp3HxWbBB
— Election Wizard (@ElectionWiz) November 18, 2021
State Attorney General Ashley Moody then muddied up the Biden dig by calling Brandon a “shining city on the hill, representing freedom.”
Honda was later prompted to issue a statement on Twitter that it does not endorse political “events.” It added: “Out of respect to our customers we strongly discourage our independently-owned dealers from hosting political rallies at their dealerships.”
Honda does not endorse political candidates, parties or events and out of respect to our customers we strongly discourage our independently-owned dealers from hosting political rallies at their dealerships.
— Honda (@Honda) November 18, 2021
The bills DeSantis signed into law largely prevent employers from requiring their staff to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to work. With DeSantis’ signature, Florida also became the first state in the nation to enact a law threatening employers with fines for requiring vaccines.
Twitter users had plenty to say about the Brandon stunt. One Democratic state lawmaker noted that the residents of Brandon, Florida, actually voted against Donald Trump and DeSantis the last time they ran.
“Divisive childish politics” cost Republicans support in Brandon “for the first time in more than 25 years,” Democratic state Rep. Andrew Learned told Florida Politics.
Ron DeSantis is holding a press conference to sign his new anti-mandate legislation at Brandon Honda in Brandon, Florida which he seems to think is clever and hilarious. Unfortunately, 60,846 Floridians were unavailable for comment.
— Andrew Weinstein (@Weinsteinlaw) November 18, 2021
My employees (and clients) are all seniors. They want a safe work place. My clients don't want us coming into their homes, unmasked, or unvaxed.
I can demand a credit check, drug tests, and more to hire. I won't hire someone unvaxed. I won't risk my staff, who are like family.
— lessbarb (@lessbarb) November 18, 2021
Always searching for a new way to top his last classless stunt for his MAGA minions, Desantis is going to a car dealership named “Brandon Honda” for his anti-vaccine bill signing, just so he can serve up a dumb joke to insult Biden. pic.twitter.com/M8KfMpZb7z
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) November 18, 2021
If you believe what you say, then eliminate all vaccinations to enter public schools. Eliminate drug testing for jobs.
— What! Me Worry? (@AlfredENeuman99) November 18, 2021
Florida’s tax dollars hard at work.
— MKStumbo (@foreverkiki) November 18, 2021
Ironically Brandon, FL voted for Biden 52-46
— Tim Broyle, MD (@BroyleTim) November 18, 2021
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.