Florida Democratic Party chair condemns Richard Spencer, slams Rick Scott as ‘unfit to lead’

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Ahead of white nationalist Richard Spencer‘s speech in Gainesville Thursday, Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel issued a lengthy statement condemning the “neo-Nazi.”

While Bittel was at it, he castigated Gov. Rick Scott for failing to condemn President Donald Trump and his “stunning lack of moral leadership,” adding that any politician who failed to offer such condemnation is “unfit to lead” Florida.

“Politics is seldom ever so clear cut, but this is truly a moment of moral clarity. Richard Spencer is a neo-Nazi, and his supporters are neo-Nazis. These are the same white supremacists that descended on Charlottesville, armed to the teeth, and looking for a fight. An innocent woman was murdered because of these people. Make no mistake, they are coming to incite violence,” Bittel wrote Wednesday morning.

“The ideology of Spencer and his supporters directly attacks the mere existence of so many who call our state home—black, Hispanic, Jewish, LGBT—when any group of Americans are under attack, it is incumbent upon us all to treat it as an attack against every American,” Bittel added.

Bittel then pivoted to a reminder that, in the wake of the Charlottesville violence, President Donald Trump referred to those forces aligned in favor of Confederate monuments as “fine people.”

“And contrary to what Donald Trump would have you believe, the violent white supremacists and hatemongers invading Gainesville this Thursday are not ‘fine people’. Any politician who fails to challenge our President for his stunning lack of moral leadership—our governor chief among them—is unfit to lead a state as diverse as Florida,” Bittel added.

White supremacy is an evil we cannot ignore. When leaders like our governor fail to challenge the President for embracing white supremacists, it becomes all the more urgent that the rest of us speak out—clearly, unequivocally, and loudly. We must let it be known that we reject hatred in all its forms,” Bittel continued.

While Gov. Scott declared a state of emergency ahead of the event, he stopped short of taking President Trump to task for his reaction to Charlottesville.

Per the Orlando Sentinel from August: “I’m not going to parse the president’s words, but here’s what I’ll say: It’s evil. It’s horrible. I don’t believe in racism, I don’t believe in bigotry,” Scott said. “I believe that the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, they don’t belong in our society.”

Scott’s team provided a response Wednesday morning, via John Tupps, Communications Director.

“Gov. Scott has been clear in condemning bigotry and hatred of any kind. He’s 100 percent focused on public safety and making sure that local law enforcement has the support they need.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


6 comments

  • Christopher M. Kennard

    October 18, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Since the mid-1960’s, I have been involved one way or another within the Civil Rights Movement and Peace Movement — both of which converged within me and thousands of others like me who heard Dr. Martin Luther King speaking not just to young black men during these violent times but to all of us regarding moral choices we had and the role of our conscious.

    We came to understand that we needed peace within us to be able to share peace, speak of peace, teach peace within to others with whom we came into contact. That every thought, word and deed did, indeed, matter. That each and everyone one of us have the ability to focus our peaceful energies and create a peaceful aura surrounding us, embodied in the words we speak, the actions in which we engage.

    I would hope someone would convey this understanding to the Florida Democratic Chairperson, Mr. Bittel, in the larger hope of this gentleman making the connections within himself, and convey peace, enlightened understanding and building unity with all others, instead of divisive remarks made to inflame the political arena with more partisan party “leadership” like his predecessor, Debbie WS at the behest of the large donor class to whom the Democratic Party is chained.

    Both political parties play the role of “good guy” and “bad guy” each representing different spheres of the general population while in reality both serve the same “master”. It is not the American people who politicians often serve nowadays. It is time for folks to come together with that understanding, and build coalitions of voters based upon “issues” that the people of Florida can vote upon themselves, without the political parties providing the choices or outcomes of new law and policies we need.

  • Marshall Clayton Rawson

    October 18, 2017 at 11:57 am

    The fact that those on the Right do not riot, loot and whine when far-left activists speak on University campuses while the Left does riot, loot and whine when the opposite is taking place shows which side is in business of intimidating dissenters with fowl epithets and violence and of which side is loosing the argument… the Left.

    It is also interesting to note that known pedophile Morris Dees who has spent his entire working career targeting Christians and Christian organizations is speaking in Gainesville two days after Spencer. Yet where is the outrage from the Christian community on this?

  • Marshall Clayton Rawson

    October 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    The fact that the Right does not riot, looting, and whine when left wing activists speak on college campuses yet the opposite is not true when right wing activist speak on college campuses shows who is in business of intimidating dissenting voices with fowl epithets and violence and who is losing the argument…the Left

    It is also interesting to note that known pedophile Morris Dees who has spent his whole working legal career targeting Christians and Christian organizations is speaking in Gainesville two days after Spencer. Where is the outrage from the Christian community here?

  • Marion Greene

    October 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I wish the Republican Party condemned Antifa and BLM the way that the Democrats condemn the Alt-Right. Notice how the Left never attacks to the Left. That is why they win. The reason why the Alt-Right arose in the first place is because conservatives didn’t have a offensive strategy. Unlike the progressives who only play offense.

    • Curtis Sherrod

      October 20, 2017 at 1:51 am

      Say what??? For your info when I came to Fla in 1970 ALL Black men carried guns because black men has away of coming up missing!! You obviously don’t realize that Fl led the nation in lynching per capita!!! RIGHT to this day anytime I visit North or Central Fl I got my 9mm!!! And don’t tell me I’m exaggerating 4 of the 13 member police department of Frutland Park got fired for being Klan within the last 10 years!!!

Comments are closed.


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