Just a reminder about Florida's biggest, racist skidmark, before he proceeds with his 2024 POTUS run.
After enough racism scandals involving a particular political candidate, you'd think everyone might just admit that person is simply racist. Yet a whole lot of people — from bad-faith conservative pundits to easily fooled reporters — continue offering excuses for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis' infamous statement on Fox News that Andrew Gillum would "monkey... up" Florida.
1. He spoke at a Muslim-bashing event alongside Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon.
David Horowitz, who runs the hard-core-Islamophobic FrontPage Magazine, organizes what he calls a "Restoration Weekend" every year. Past attendees have included Pamela Geller, Jeff Sessions, Nigel Farage, Laura Ingraham, and a slew of lesser-known Islamophobes and random alt-right cretins.
Last year's event included Milo Yiannopoulos, the ex-Breitbart writer whose career is in the toilet thanks to dueling pedophilia- and Nazi-sympathizing scandals; Hungarian nationalist group member Sebastian Gorka; former Trump adviser Steve Bannon; and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Jacksonville congressman who is now one of the frontrunners to become Florida's next governor.
DeSantis doesn't exactly shy away from courting the far right — he has leaned hard on Trump's January endorsement of him — but the appearance raises serious questions about the kind of company DeSantis is willing to keep.
Other attendees at last year's event were British alt-right troll Katie Hopkins (who once advocated placing Muslims in internment camps), fired Google sexist James Damore, "campus conservative" Charlie Kirk, Trump-worshipping Congressman Devin Nunes, virulent Islamophobe Mark Steyn, anti-immigrant author Douglas Murray, and fellow Florida Rep. Brian Mast.
Horowitz's Restoration Weekends don't typically get a ton of mainstream press, likely because Horowitz and his fellow FrontPage writers are far from household names. (Horowitz himself has spent this week on Twitter downplaying the severity of anti-black lynchings in the Old South.)
But DeSantis' appearance at the event last year, which went unreported save a few mentions in FrontPage and Breitbart, shows the congressman's willingness to pander to some of the most outwardly hateful members of the Republican base. At the time of the November conference, DeSantis had not yet announced his run for governor but apparently had no issues appearing alongside Yiannopoulos, who had already been outed for his comments endorsing pedophilia and his karaoke party with outright neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. BuzzFeed's damning report on Yiannopoulos' leaked emails — which showed him making Nazi jokes and using "kristallnacht" as a password — had hit the internet a month before the event took place. DeSantis, a former Tea Party darling, spoke on the same stage anyway.
2. He called New York candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is a Puerto Rican woman, "whatever she is."
Rep DeSantis, it seems you‘re confused as to “whatever I am.”
I am a Puerto Rican woman. It‘s strange you don’t know what that is, given that ~75,000 Puerto Ricans have relocated to Florida in the 10 mos since María.
But I’m sure these new FL voters appreciate your comments!
GOP Rep. calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “this girl…or whatever she is” http://bit.ly/2v5I3px by @jbendery
3:52 PM · Jul 23, 2018
3. He defended a supporter who said "bring back the hanging tree."
Per the Tampa Bay Times:
A candidate never knows what an excited audience member might say at campaign event that allows give and take. John McCain in 2008 memorably corrected a woman in Minnesota who called Barack Obama an Arab.
Last Saturday in Citrus County, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis told a group of voters about the "four liberals" on the Florida Supreme Court overturning the death sentence of the man convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota County in 2004 because the sentencing decision had not been unanimous.
"I have a tree and a rope in my back yard," one audience member chimed in.
"Bring back the hanging tree," added the audience member, drawing laughter as DeSantis continued talking about the court.
Listen here for the audio.
Asked for clarification on his position, DeSantis' campaign stood with the hanging tree questioner. Hard to fathom any Republican primary candidate losing votes by standing for swift justice and vengeance for a child killer.
"Ron thinks that Floridians should be forgiven for having some pretty strong and not at all politically correct feelings about what should happen to this animal. Let's be clear; we're talking about someone who kidnapped, raped and murdered an 11-year-old girl. The Florida Supreme Court's decision was appalling and demonstrates once again why we need someone like Ron DeSantis, who stared down terrorists while serving in the Navy in Iraq and at the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, to appoint constitutionalists who will apply the law correctly."
Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles appointed two of the current justices, and Chiles and Jeb Bush jointly appointed another. Republican governors appointed four of the seven current justices, though three of them were appointed by Charlie Crist, so….
4. He was moderator of a Facebook group that was a haven for racist memes and was run by lunatics.
Click on a page called "Tea Party," which boasts 94,000 followers and claims to be "the oldest and largest #TeaParty group on Facebook," and you'll find that one of the first posts this morning is a glaringly racist meme showing side-by-side photos of Melania Trump and a heavily Photoshopped Michelle Obama with the headline "Make the White House Beautiful Again."
"Who's the guy on the right?" one commenter jokes about the doctored photo of Mrs. Obama, and another responds with a homophobic meme about President Obama.
The racist post is par for the course for the page, which has also shared at least six posts since Tuesday supporting Florida's new GOP gubernatorial nominee, Ron DeSantis. Perhaps that's because, until reporters began asking questions yesterday, DeSantis was reportedly one of 52 listed administrators of the offensive page.
DeSantis' affiliation with the Facebook group was turned up by Natalie Martinez, a reporter with Media Matters, who noted that numerous other GOP candidates are also admins, including Arizona Senate candidate Kelly Ward and Virginia Senate candidate Corey Stewart.
It doesn't appear that DeSantis himself posted recently on the page, but his affiliation with such an obviously racist group wouldn't help his argument that he "accidentally" used the phrase "monkey this up" in relation to his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, on Fox News yesterday.
Through a spokesperson, DeSantis later confirmed that he was an administrator of the Tea Party group but claims he was added to the page without his knowledge. "The Congressman was completely unaware that he was part of the Facebook group, which he was added to without his knowledge or consent. As soon as he found out about it, he immediately deleted it," Stephen Lawson, a campaign spokesperson, says in a statement sent to reporters.