Florida motorists have a new option when it comes to choosing the design for their license plates. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed that the recently introduced a Gadsden flag design with a portion of each sale used to benefit military veterans in the state.
Of course, not everyone is a fan of the tags since a number of right-wing groups use the flag’s message – “Don’t tread on me” – as a motto of sorts.
A number of critics expressed their displeasure over the availability of the design in the form of tweets, which served as the basis for at least one news article claiming that the license plate “stirs controversy” across Florida.
One such tweet blasted the “vile new” license plate option and denounced the governor’s claim that “the plate is intended to send a clear message to out-of-state cars … from blue states like New York and California.”
An overwhelming number of Twitter posts, however, express support for the design and the fact that proceeds will support a worthy cause. Several users pointed out that Virginia has long offered a similar design – including under a Democratic governor – without any such backlash.
DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw sought to clear up the confusion with a tweet that linked directly to official information about the license plates while dismissing the “fake news hysteria” related to the issue.
The latest fake news hysteria is about the new Gadsden Flag license plate @GovRonDeSantis announced to help Florida veterans in need. Media is smearing this as a "racist"/"domestic terrorist" symbol, which is absurd!
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) August 3, 2022
Of course, this is just the latest case of outrage over the Gadsden flag. The FBI recently caused some controversy of its own by including the design, along with several other flags and phrases, on its list of potential warning signs of domestic extremism.
According to a recently released document labeled for internal use within the bureau, the Gadsden flag and Betsy Ross flag featuring 13 stars were among the possible red flags. In addition to phrases such as “I will not comply,” the FBI cited allegiance to a particular constitutional amendment as potentially problematic.
Militia violent extremists, the document claimed, “justify their existence with the Second Amendment, due to the mention of a ‘well regulated Militia,’ as well as the right to bear arms.”