Ron DeSantis staffers compare Jacksonville protesters to U.S. Capitol rioters
Ron DeSantis. Image via AP.

The Governor's Press Secretary says trespassing 'is exactly what some of the protesters were charged with.'

Two members of Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ staff on Wednesday compared a Jacksonville protester — who made a nonviolent stand refusing to leave a press conference — with the rioters last year who battered their way into the U.S. Capitol killing one police officer and injuring scores of others.

Police arrested activist Ben Frazier, 72, before DeSantis’ press conference Tuesday in Jacksonville after he and other protesters refused instruction to leave before the Governor arrived. Frazier and the others had said they wanted to confront the Governor about his positions on critical race theory and other topics.

The arrest — Frazier was led away in handcuffs in front of gathered journalists, saying, “Why am I being handcuffed?” — led some Democrats, notably Rep. Angie Nixon, and House Democratic Leader-Designate Ramon Alexander of Tallahassee, to criticize DeSantis for standing by as police arrested a political critic.

The Florida Democratic Party also put out a statement calling Frazier a “civil rights leader, activist, and journalist who was arrested for exercising his First Amendment rights.”

Chairman Manny A. Diaz said, “In Ron DeSantis’ Florida, constitutional rights only seem to be respected for people who agree with the Governor and his political agenda.”

When asked about the incident after his remarks, DeSantis said he had “no idea what happened.”

After Nixon’s and Alexander’s comments (but before Diaz’s,) DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw and another member of DeSantis’ communications team, Kyle Lamb, responded on Twitter, ridiculing Democrats for sticking up for a trespasser.

They drew parallels between the Jacksonville incident, with Frazier, and the Jan. 6, 2021, riots, in which protesters smashed windows and doors, stormed the U.S. Capitol, fought with police, killing one and injuring 140 others, vandalized and stole property, caused lawmakers to flee for their lives, laid siege for hours, and endeavored to stop Congress from certifying that Democrat Joe Biden had been duly elected President.

“It’s almost the anniversary of J6, and Democrats in my replies are insisting that government buildings should always be open to any member of the public who wants to confront an elected official, and nobody should be arrested for trespassing in a government building! Wow!” Pushaw tweeted.

“I’m eager to see these folks admit all the J6 protestors should have been allowed in the Capitol for the electoral college discussion,” Lamb tweeted.

Pushaw later elaborated, telling Florida Politics, “Mr. Frazier and his defenders claim that citizens are always allowed to protest elected officials ‘in a public building.’ The U.S. Capitol is a public building as well, and participants in the January 6 protests have been arrested for trespassing, which refutes the widespread liberal argument that protesters at press conferences in state buildings have the right to disrupt and impede government officials.”

When asked by Florida Politics if it was her understanding that the Jan. 6 incident was about people trespassing in a public building, Pushaw replied, “That is exactly what some of the protesters were charged with, so it’s apparently the understanding of judges in that jurisdiction.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Concern Citizen

    January 4, 2022 at 5:15 pm

    Too many people are intentionally blind to the attack on democracy last January 6. To compare the Jacksonville protest to the violent storming of the Capitol is asinine. Christina Pushaw is DeSantis’s Joseph Goebbels

    • John

      January 5, 2022 at 2:28 pm

      So you are advocating for the dismissal of charges against anyone who was simply charged with trespassing or similar for their actions on Jan 6, right?

      • Phil Morton

        January 6, 2022 at 7:02 am

        If the Jan. 6 rioters simply walked into the Public Health Department like everyone else, then sure. That’s not what they did and trivializing their actions is way out of bounds.

  • Alex

    January 4, 2022 at 5:16 pm


    First DeAnus (the fascist who wants his own private army, and banned mask mandates that would keep kids safe) claimed Biden is an authoritarian, now his staff of idiots compares a peaceful demonstrator to the terrorists who attacked the capital in which 4 people died that day, and hundreds were injured.

    Lets ship all of these far right freaks to a place where they’d be more comfortable, like North Korea or Syria.

    • Elaine

      January 5, 2022 at 6:30 pm

      You got that exactly right

  • Lynda Friedman

    January 4, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    DeSantis needs to be ignored unless the opposition to him is allowed to speak. He never has anything worthwhile to say to voters , all those who pay sales taxes and most regular independents who just want to end a virus which has seriously messed up their lives.

    I think De Santis needs to work harder to earn the attention he gets from a press conference. Let him have his minions and mouthpieces warm up the crowd with samples of what DeSantis will say rather than giving out inane comments after the time has been used.

  • Conservative always

    January 4, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Just playing by the Democrat’s playbook.

  • Scott Alexander

    January 4, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    January 6th was a terrorist attack. By definition it was a terrorist attack and it was an attempt to overthrow a democracy with violence. The protest in Jacksonville was, at worst, civil disobedience (without which there would still be legalized segregation in our country). Comparing January 6th to a peaceful protest is disgusting, racially motivated and just typical of Desantis and his staff. They’re evil, completely immoral people. Police offers died on January 6th and representatives were close to being killed by a mob sent forth by Donald Trump. To equate a peaceful protest with that is hideous, repugnant and downright anti-American.

  • dee

    January 5, 2022 at 3:39 am

    Winney democrats-what’s good for me is not for thee. So over their socialist agenda.

  • Right side of the law

    January 5, 2022 at 4:13 am

    It is about time Ben Frazier was arrested, he thinks he is above the law because he is black. He plays the race card all the time. Now that he has been arrested, maybe he will continue to be arrested when he acts like a black cry baby and will not leave when told to leave.

    • Concern Citizen

      January 5, 2022 at 1:24 pm

      Time that we arrest Trump and his goons for promoting the terrorists attack at our Capitol on Jan 6, 2021. Just because their attempt to overthrow democracy was a failure, doesn’t make them innocent of various crimes.

      • John

        January 5, 2022 at 2:32 pm

        But you are advocating for dropping charges of trespassing or similar for those charged on Jan 6, right!

  • Evan Miller

    January 5, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    When will liberals face reality and ring the bell? Plenty coffee and donuts for the losers.

Comments are closed.


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