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Navy Pilots Mock Ron DeSantis for Cringey ‘Top Gun’ Ad

Highway to the Douchebag Zone!

Ron DeSantis's cringey top gun ad

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is many things: a wannabe fascist dictator, an anti-LGBTQ bigot, and the presumed GOP nominee for president in 2024. But despite his best cosplay attempts, he is not a Naval fighter pilot. DeSantis premiered a new ‘Top Gun: Maverick’-themed campaign video where he wears a flight suit, pretends to fly a fighter jet, and rails against wokeism and corporate media. DeSantis’s jingoistic “Top Gov” ad campaign is meant to capitalize both on the box office success of Top Gun: Maverick, and to highlight DeSantis’s own naval career. But the Top Gov never got anywhere near Top Gun.

According to the Florida Phoenix, DeSantis’s naval career didn’t see him dog-fighting in the skies. Instead, he was a lawyer and a Judge Advocate General’s Corps Officer, aka JAG. DeSantis’s Top Gun roleplay was not well received on social media, with actual Naval pilots slamming the governor for stolen valor. Former Naval pilot Ken Harbaugh mocked DeSantis in a video for progressive PAC Meidas Touch saying “It’s not just cringey, … It’s literally Navy pilot cosplay.”

“Now, unlike Ron DeSantis, I didn’t pick this jacket up at Party City,” Harbaugh jokes. “These are actual pilot wings.” Harbaugh added that while there is “nothing wrong” with DeSantis serving as an attorney, “this tough guy act is pathetic, especially from someone like Ron DeSantis. This campaign ad from Ron DeSantis is just one more example of a Republican politician appropriating the honor of others because he has none.”

DeSantis’s campaign takes a page out of the Republican handbook: using the troops and the military to feed his own machismo and uber-patriotism, while rejecting any laws or actions that would actually help veterans. Earlier this summer, 25 Republican senators delayed the passage of the PACT Act, which provides health care and benefits for countless veterans exposed to toxins from burn pits and other deadly chemicals, despite voting in favor of it a month earlier. It was a cynical, vindictive ploy by Republicans that quickly backfired in the court of public opinion.

Many took to social media to dunk on DeSantis and the ad:

(featured image: screencap/YouTube)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.