Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential presidential candidate, is facing growing criticism for his perceived failure to unequivocally denounce neo-Nazi activities in the state. This issue has come to the forefront after State Representative Randy Fine, the lone Jewish Republican in Florida’s Legislature, called out DeSantis for his muted response to neo-Nazi incidents in Florida.
Neo-Nazi Presence in Florida
Fine’s reproach was prompted by a series of alarming events, including a neo-Nazi demonstration that took place in Orlando.
Swastikas and Antisemitic Banners Shock Orlando
During this demonstration, swastikas and other antisemitic banners were displayed on the Daryl Carter Parkway Bridge in June.
Far-Right Extremists Parade
Later, in September, a group of far-right extremists paraded through Orlando, spewing racist and antisemitic slurs and brandishing flags with white supremacist symbols.
A Washington Times Op-Ed Criticizing Governor DeSantis
In a scathing opinion piece for The Washington Times, Fine highlighted the seriousness of the situation, saying, “Eighteen months ago, my Nazi ‘friends’ showed up in Florida.
They assaulted a Rabbi. They beat up a Jew who yelled back at one of their protests.”
Criticisms and Lack of Action Questioned
Fine further noted, “They commandeered highway overpasses to illegally hang banners saying ‘Gas the Jews.’ They have tormented Jews at their homes with filth.
Until a few weeks ago, Governor DeSantis said almost nothing. And worse, he did almost nothing.”
The mounting pressure on Governor DeSantis culminated in a challenging interview on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Host Kristen Welker questioned DeSantis about his response, or lack thereof, to the neo-Nazi presence in Florida.
DeSantis Brushes Off Fine’s Rebukes as Nonsense
DeSantis acknowledged that he condemned the far-right demonstrations but dismissed Fine’s criticisms as an attempt to gain notoriety.
DeSantis stated, “Everybody knows that’s nonsense. And don’t give somebody 15 minutes of fame just because they’re letting you try to do a preferred narrative just to hit me. It’s nonsense. Our record is second to none, and we’ll continue to lead on these issues.”
However, Fine, who declared his support for Donald Trump in the GOP presidential primary over DeSantis, expressed disappointment with the governor’s response during the Meet the Press interview.
Protecting Jewish Families
Fine highlighted the fears of thousands of Florida’s Jewish parents and criticized DeSantis’s flippant remarks.
Calls for Action Amidst Rising Concerns
“I am even more disappointed that the Governor continues to call the rise of Nazis in Florida ‘fake.’
Governor DeSantis didn’t mind the fame of signing my bills to tackle antisemitism, in Israel no less; I am not interested in fame for pointing out his failure to use them,” Fine posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“Instead of talking about me, he should protect Jewish children and families. I will fight for that for far more than 15 minutes.”
An Ongoing Issue
The issue of rising neo-Nazi activities in Florida is not a recent development. In January 2022, a group of white supremacists displayed swastika flags on an overpass in Orlando, sending shockwaves through the community.
White Supremacist Display In Orange County
The incident occurred shortly after members of the white supremacist National Socialist Movement were seen shouting antisemitic slurs at passing vehicles and making Nazi salutes in Orange County.
Political Games Rejected
During a press conference at that time, DeSantis condemned the neo-Nazis but defended himself against attempts by his political opponents to associate him with the extremists.
He refused to engage in what he called “political games” orchestrated by Democrats.
As pressure mounts and criticism continues to swirl around Governor DeSantis’s handling of neo-Nazi activities in Florida, the spotlight on this issue could have far-reaching implications for his political future.
The challenge for DeSantis will be to navigate these criticisms and demonstrate a more robust and unambiguous response to combat these concerning incidents in the state.
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The post DeSantis Under Fire: Growing Criticism Over Handling of Neo-Nazi Activity in Florida! first appeared on Mama Say What?!.
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