Ron DeSantis mistakenly slams Biden for LGBTQ+ aid from Trump’s administration

Florida governor Ron DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis mistakenly criticised President Joe Biden for offering a programme that provides LGBTQ+ aid to Bangladesh – even though it was introduced during Trump’s presidency.

The Florida Rep, who is still in the running for this year’s Presidential Election, has been trying his best to hack away at his competitor, President Biden, during public events as election day draws closer.

One of the Don’t Say Gay bill creator’s go-to tactics throughout his campaign has been to hone in on anti-LGBTQ+ ideals in order to appeal to conservative and evangelical voters.

A picture of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who signed a controversial book ban law, wears a suit and tie as he speaks into a microphone
Ron DeSantis mistakenly criticised Biden for providing LGBTQ+ aid to Bangladesh – even though it was introduced during Trump’s presidency.. (Getty)

But, DeSantis slipped up last week during a town hall event in Iowa when he called out the Democratic candidate for supposedly wasting taxpayer dollars by “promoting transgenderism in Bangladesh.”

The problem is, the programme DeSantis is referring to was actually launched under Donald Trump’s administration – not Joe Biden’s.

The programme in question, developed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), worked with activists in Bangladesh to campaign for their government to include the “Hijra” community in their 2021 census. 

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“Hijra” is a South Asian word that is used to describe a third gender. The centuries-old term is now often used to describe transgender or intersex people.

Although the USAID programme ended in June 2021 – a few months into Joe Biden’s presidency – CNN reports that it launched in June 2018, when Donald Trump was still president.

Former president Donald Trump wears a white shirt, red tie and dark blue jacket as he stares somewhere off camera
The USAID programme launched in 2018, when Donald Trump was still president. (Getty)

Seemingly unaware of this, DeSantis told Iowan voters last week that he believed that whoever is elected president “should get a line-item veto,” and pointed to the programme as an example of Joe Biden’s failings.

While criticising Biden for inflation, he continued: “If they put a big spending bill on your desk, you can hack out, veto, individual spending items. They’re spending your money now to promote things like transgenderism in Bangladesh. Is that really a good use of your tax dollars?”

Not only has DeSantis mixed up the time period in which this programme ran, but he has also overstated how many “taxpayer dollars” went into it.

Fact-checking the presidential candidate, CNN notes that USAID’s support of LGBTQ+ rights in Bangladesh cost $849,535 over three years. 

In 2021, USAID records revealed that they had spent about $30 billion that fiscal year. That means that the LGBTQ+ rights in Bangladesh programme made up less than 0.003 per cent of USAID’s spending that year.

Despite DeSantis’s comments, Donald Trump has maintained his position as frontrunner in the battle for Republican presidential nomination, pulling ahead of DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy.

However, it won’t all be plain sailing for Trump, who has been barred from running in the state of Colorado because of his involvement in inciting the 6 January Capitol riot.

Trump has vowed to appeal the ruling, but if other US states follow Colorado’s lead, things could get complicated for the former president.

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