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Why didn’t DeSantis follow through on Texas-to-Delaware stunt?

Team DeSantis was prepared to fly another group of migrants, this time to Delaware. So why was the flight canceled?


In the aftermath of Gov. Ron DeSantis dumping desperate migrants on Martha’s Vineyard last week, the Florida Republican wasted little time in boasting that he was prepared to do it all again.

In fact, as NBC News reported, we were supposed to see just such a stunt yesterday in President Joe Biden’s home state.

The White House and the Delaware governor’s office were ready. So were the news media and political onlookers. Everyone who gathered Tuesday at a small airport in Georgetown, Delaware, near President Joe Biden’s home, was waiting in anticipation of a planeload of migrants to be flown from San Antonio as part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ program to send a message about illegal immigration. But by late Tuesday, no plane had arrived.

There was a flight that generated attention, but it landed in New Jersey and there were no migrants on board.

A source familiar with the governor’s thinking told NBC News, “He didn’t tell anyone and purposely left people in the dark. So technically the media, the Democrats, everyone got punked who decided to heed some s--- on Twitter instead of waiting for confirmation from the governor’s office.”

Christina Pushaw, a high-profile member of the Florida governor’s political operation, was even more direct via social media, tweeting that “regime ‘journalists’” had fallen for “disinformation.”

Well, maybe. There’s reason to believe, however, that there’s more to it than that.

It’s certainly possible that much of the political world, along with officials at the state and federal level, fell for an elaborate head fake, but The Miami Herald reported that there was an actual planned flight to Delaware, and DeSantis’ representatives had assured migrants in Texas that they would be on the airplane.

But yesterday, Venezuelan asylum-seekers were instead left at a hotel, stranded by those who’d made false promises.

Indeed, the Herald’s report, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, included familiar details: Desperate migrants in Texas were taken to a hotel for several days, and a woman — who never provided her full name — brought them food and assured them they would soon board a plane to a nice location in the Northeast where they’d receive benefits.

Except this time, those who were supposed to be exploited in a Republican stunt discovered that there would be no flight. They were given no additional information.

On the contrary, according to the Herald’s article, some migrants were taken back to the San Antonio migrant resource center where they had been recruited in the first place, while others were simply stranded.

So what happened? Maybe there was something resembling a sociopathic practical joke, in which many were “punked.” Or maybe DeSantis and his political operation were looking for a more favorable news cycle.

Or maybe the Florida governor and his lawyers changed direction after a Texas sheriff opened a criminal inquiry and DeSantis’ first round of victims found a lawyer and filed a credible lawsuit.