Did you hear what Ron DeSantis said about his Italian roots the other day? Neither did I. And that’s kind of the point.

Say what you will about the Florida governor, but he’s got a fascinating family story.

One of his great-grandparents, Luigia Colucci, left Italy in early 1917 “and arrived at Ellis Island,” the Tampa Bay Times noted a few years back, citing genealogist Megan Smolenyak.

“While Colucci crossed the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917. Among other restrictions on ‘undesirable’ immigrants, it barred illiterate people from entering the United States. Colucci couldn't read or write, according to immigration documents. But she was spared; the law didn't go into effect until May. She was allowed in.”


Being that DeSantis wants to build a wall to the moon to keep out immigrants, this led some to suggest the guv might be a little bit of a hypocrite.


But you rarely hear DeSantis talk about any of this stuff, one assumes, because he seems to be worried that his Trumpy voters hate immigration in any and all of its forms.

And so DeSantis – never afraid to brag about anything – says almost nothing about his family going from Ellis Island illiteracy to the Ivy League in two generations.

That’s almost sad.

It’s worth thinking about this when you hear yet another person go on about “Blarney Biden” or “Oirish Joe,” and the president’s recent trip to Ireland.

Of course, a lot of it was silly.

“His heart was firmly on his sleeve,” the Financial Times reported. “Biden’s Ireland – his ancestors left in the mid-1800s – can feel like a sepia photograph seen through syrup. Philip Breslin, a vet in the town of Ballina in County Mayo in the west of the country where the president concluded his trip…said he turned out to see Biden, even if his ‘view of Ireland may be rose-tinted.’”

Which was at least a lot nicer than most of the bile that flowed from others in the tonier precincts of the British press.

The Times of London and Spectator magazine dusted off rhetoric from the days of Churchill and de Valera, with all sorts of rubbish about “dangerous paths” and “the weaponization of Ireland,” and a cartoon of leprechaun Biden clutching a Guinness pint.

Yeah, because it’s Biden who’s stuck in the past, right?

And let’s not even dignify all the Republicans who showed not much more creativity by slamming Biden for going to Ireland – for going anywhere – and making several verbal gaffes.

“The world is exploding around us. You can end up in a third world war and this guy’s gonna be in Ireland,” Donald Trump lamented.

Yeah, Joe. You should obviously be busy doing things here in the US that the GOP can reject and spit upon.

You’ll also recall that Trump once made a powerful speech about the pilots who flew planes during the American Revolutionary War. He said stuff like that on a weekly basis.

The fact is, there’s lots you can say about how Biden conducted himself in Ireland – how he carries himself as an Irish American. What you can’t really say is that there are other people out there who do such things in ways that are so much more clearly admirable.

It’s not DeSantis, but many pundits and commentators who are hypocrites on topics like this.

They’ll chuckle and guffaw when the joke is on the Irish. But it’s earnest and serious when so many other immigrant groups are under discussion.

Which, believe me, looks just as syrupy and rose-tinted in its own way as Biden’s paddywhackery.

We can’t run around telling folks that the past is important, that history matters, only to then mock and denigrate how a person chooses to go about remembering their family’s journey to the United States.

Well, you can.

Just makes you a hypocrite.

(On Twitter & Instagram: @tomdeignan)

*This column first appeared in the April 19 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.