They were instead taken to Martha’s Vineyard, where they wound up wandering about with child-appropriate maps they had been issued in Texas.
This was DeSantis’ take on a stunt lately favored by the Republican governors of Arizona and Texas. They’d been putting migrants on buses, but he upped the ante by chartering planes at a cost to taxpayers of $615,000, or $12,812 per person.
At this writing, a commercial flight from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard is $329. Just so you know.
And mind you, Florida has no international land border.
But apparently, this stunt was too tempting for DeSantis to allow a little geography to get in his way. He reached halfway across the country to, in effect, kidnap dozens of people in what his office calls a “relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities.” In GOP circles, this is apparently what passes for wit.
You’d need a malignant sense of humor to find any of this funny, so it was likely a real knee-slapper for its intended audience of perpetually aggrieved white conservatives.
They are the reason DeSantis gave the stunt as an exclusive to Fox “News.”
They are also why the Vineyard — tony summer playground of wealthy liberals — was chosen and no official there was given a heads up that the flights were coming.
Confused immigrants descend on unprepared beach town. Hilarity ensues.
Never mind that DeSantis victimized vulnerable people.
Or that immigration lawyers say his stunt could complicate their asylum claims.
Again, this is not about immigration. It’s about cruelty as political stratagem.
After all, if you solve a problem, you can no longer exploit it. But leave it unsolved and you can use it to rub raw the emotions of your target audience — e.g., white people terrified at the browning of America — and stampede them to the polls.
Few things could be of greater interest to DeSantis, whose presidential lust is an open secret.
Sure enough, he received a standing ovation from the party faithful in Kansas a few days later. It was a vivid snapshot of the moral imbecility and rottenness of character that now define the Republican Party.
They should be ashamed of themselves, but they won’t be.
They lost the capacity for that a long time ago.