Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist renewed his call Friday for Gov. Ron DeSantis to create a Florida Jan. 6 commission to address the “disproportionate” number of Florida men and women involved in the insurrection and the state’s “preponderance” of violent White extremist groups.
In doing so, Crist, the Congressman from St. Petersburg who once was a Republican Governor, charged that DeSantis is doing nothing to address extremists in Florida, regardless of his potential Democratic election opponent’s challenges.
“As we mark six months since the deadly attack on our Capitol and the foundation of our democracy — we are reminded that Florida has a Governor who has chosen to ignore violent extremists rather than protect our families and bring these insurrectionists to justice,” Crist charged in a news release issued by his campaign. “The Capitol Police’s decision to open an office in our very own Tampa Bay underscores the threat facing our state and the importance of a bipartisan commission to investigate these claims. Governor DeSantis needs to take action, but instead he remains silent. This is not the leadership Florida deserves.”
Crist first issued his call to DeSantis to respond to extremists at a June 18 press conference. He said Friday he has received no reply.
Friday the Governor’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry about Crist’s concerns.
Crist not only called on DeSantis to set up a Jan. 6 commission, he offered a draft executive order DeSantis might consider signing to do so.
The order’s preamble details many of the basics of the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a group of Trump supporters laid siege to the U.S. Capitol shortly after a rousing speech from the President and others decrying what they falsely claimed had been a stolen presidential election.
Yet the preamble also includes language that DeSantis or any Trump supporters would be hesitant to use. Crist presumably provides it to present a stark contrast between what he’ll state and what he expects DeSantis would not. Among such clauses: “WHEREAS President Trump inspired his supporters to attack the Capitol building by consistently telling them the ‘Big Lie’ that the election was stolen.”
The executive order also cites reports about Floridians’ involvement in the insurrection and in violent White extremist groups.
In particular the order cites a Sarasota Herald-Tribune report that called Florida the cradle of the insurrection. The June 15 story noted that Florida is home to at least 47 people charged with federal crimes from it, the most from any state.
Crist proposed the state commission would be called the “Bipartisan January 6th Commission to Investigate the Preponderance of Violent White Extremist Groups in Florida.”
The commission’s mandates would include investigating why Florida residents are disproportionately represented among those who participated in the Jan. 6 attack; what role “the former President’s continued lies” about the election contribute to “increased risk to Florida families from violence and domestic terrorism;” and the prevalence of racially motivated violent extremist groups in Florida.
The commission would make recommendations for countering violent extremism in Florida.
Crist proposed the 10-member commission would consist of appointees from the Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and the minority leaders of both chambers.