FACT CHECK: Did Ron DeSantis Pose With A Shirt That Refers To Justin Trudeau As ‘Useless’?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holding an orange t-shirt that refers to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “useless.”

Verdict: False

The image has been digitally altered. In the original, DeSantis is holding a Popeyes shirt.

Fact Check:

The image shows DeSantis posing for a photo while holding an orange t-shirt that says, “There are 4 useless things in this world: A Woke Liberal, COVID Vaccine, A Face Mask & Justin Trudeau.” However, the photo has been digitally altered.

A reverse image search reveals DeSantis shared the unedited version of the photo on his verified Twitter account in September 2019, months before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The shirt visible in that image bears a message that reads, “I went to Popeyes for the new chicken sandwich and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

“Great to visit the HQ for @PopeyesChicken and @BurgerKing in Miami,” reads the tweet, in part.

While DeSantis does not appear to have spoken publicly about Trudeau, he is one of several U.S. Republicans who criticized GoFundMe’s decision to halt donations to Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” protesters in Ottawa, according to Reuters. The protesters are demonstrating against COVID-19 regulations and vaccine mandates in Canada, CNN reported.

He is also an opponent of mask mandates. He banned schools in Florida from implementing mask mandates, according to ABC News.

This is not the first time an altered version of the image has been shared on social media. In July 2021, Check Your Fact debunked a version that showed him holding a shirt that reads, “Your mask is as useless as Joe Biden.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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