From the looks of how his first term in office has gone, it appears that Florida’s first “green” governor, Ron DeSantis, is making all the right moves, and coalescing a base of support that believes he is a consensus governor and could bridge all political divides.
When DeSantis first ran for governor he aligned himself and took campaign money from water conservationists, who positioned themselves as the go-to group for DeSantis to better understand Florida’s freshwater woes.
But while groups like the Everglades Foundation and Trust support DeSantis, how deep does that support really go? And given their support for liberal candidates and causes, is Governor DeSantis realizing these so-called “clean water” groups could be part of an unholy alliance?
The Everglades Foundation was created by billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones II, who funds its political arm, The Everglades Trust, and other affiliated water conservation groups like Captains for Clean Water.
DeSantis has closely aligned himself with President Donald Trump, with Trump having helped Florida secure much needed federal funding for disaster relief and for water clean-up and conservation.
But as these groups support DeSantis efforts to clean up Florida’s waterways, they bash President Trump and his administration at every turn.
Considering that Paul Tudor Jones donated to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election cycle and not Trump, not to mention he has given thousands of dollars to impeachment-supporting Democrats like Sens. Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker, it’s no surprise to anyone that Jones is not backing Trump.
One of the Everglades Trust board members did not fall in line with the group’s support for DeSantis, saying that he supported Democrat Andrew Gillum in the 2028 gubernatorial sweepstakes in a Gainesville Sun story.
“I don’t want to discuss the internal position-making process — let’s just say I am supporting Gillum-King. I think they are the best environmental ticket and best for the Everglades,” Mills said. “Their responses on Everglades issues are exactly correct and I am optimistic they will do a good job in making environmentally-related appointments.”
Other conservationists are jumping on the bash Trump bandwagon, and used the unveiling of a new flavor of ice cream at a local ice cream parlor- Bright Azure – the color of the Gulf of Mexico at its best, at a fundraiser to benefit, who else, Captains for Clean Water.
The Fort Myers News-Press recently highlighted environmentalists’ distaste for vice president Mike Pence, and believe that his upcoming trip to Southwest Florida will only serve to promote his and the president’s agenda, not to mention taking in a round of golf or get a haircut on his visit.
“Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani isn’t holding his breath. The League of Conservation Voters has given Pence a single-digit lifetime score of 4% (of a possible 100) and Cassani expects Pence’s policy ideas are in sync with his boss’s.
“I have no reason to believe that Pence’s position on the environment is any different from Trump’s. As such their environmental policies that favor deregulation at many levels will have a negative impact on everything from the economy to protecting wetlands, fish and wildlife, and public health,” he said. “The Pence/Trump policies seem to run opposite of what Gov. DeSantis is trying to do in Florida to restore water quality.”
What the Fort Myers News-Press did not disclose is that Pence critic John Cassani, Captains for Clean Water, the Everglades Trust, Foundation and Paul Tudor Jones are all financially interconnected.
According to the most recent financial disclosures, Jones personally gave Cassani’s group, the Waterkeeper Alliance, between $100,000 and $249,000 in 2016. Jones has also personally given tens of millions since he founded the Everglades Foundation in 1993. In turn, the Everglades Foundation has padded the pockets of Captains for Clean Water by $40,000 in the past few years.
If Trump’s water policies differ from that of DeSantis’, why would the administration send millions of dollars to help DeSantis’s effort to clean up Florida’s water?
And with “friends” like these, who needs enemies?