In a radio interview Friday, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried drew parallels between Gov. Ron DeSantis and German dictator Adolf Hitler.
Fried, who was being interviewed on NPR’s Florida Roundup, called DeSantis an “authoritarian” before advancing the comparison between the Florida Governor and the leader of the Nazi Party.
“Instead of listening and trying to govern with the people, he’s trying to govern over the people. And that, I’m sorry, I’m a student of history too. I saw the rise of Hitler. I learned those stories,” Fried said.
When asked if she was comparing DeSantis to Hitler, Fried stood her ground.
“In a lot of ways, yes,” Fried told interviewer Melissa Ross. “I have studied Hitler and how he got to power. Wanting his own militia. Having his own army.”
Fried referred to a proposal to revive the Florida State Guard, an auxiliary force at the Governor’s command in emergencies, to take pressure off the National Guard. More than 20 other states have a state-controlled defense force.
Fried asserted the militia concept was “different” in Florida than in other states because “this Governor’s using it for the sole purposes of power.”
“And in doing so to make fear, to instill that, to blame people for what is happening in their lives, blaming certain parts of our society and our culture, and that’s exactly what Hitler did to Jews back in World War II.”
Fried discounted a question about whether she was in danger of invoking Godwin’s Law by saying “not at all.”
“Do I think that we’re going to get to the extent of Hitler’s power? Of course not. But the rise of his power and what he did to scapegoat certain parts, especially the Jewish community in Germany, and how he utilized going after the media, going after and scapegoating people and blaming people and putting fear and taking over the military, that’s what this Governor is doing,” Fried said.
Gubernatorial press secretary Christina Pushaw condemned Fried’s analogy Friday,
“If we had an honest media instead of DNC stenographers, reporters would be criticizing Nikki Fried‘s dishonest and offensive claim that Gov. DeSantis is the modern Hitler. Such a comparison trivializes Hitler’s crimes against humanity. This is not funny; it’s sick,” Pushaw tweeted.
By Saturday afternoon, the first Republican call for Fried to step down came from a state legislator.
“As a Jew, I am repulsed by Nikki Fried comparing (Gov. DeSantis) to Hitler. No Governor has done more to help Jews in their state than Gov. DeSantis. She needs to disavow her repugnant anti-Semitism — or resign,” tweeted Rep. Randy Fine.