Joe Henderson: Nikki Fried’s comparison of Ron DeSantis to Adolf Hitler was absurd
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 9/1/2021-Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried during a moment of silence to honor COVID-19 victims, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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Fried didn't need to go dumpster diving in a farcical attempt to link DeSantis to someone who personified evil.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried loves to portray herself as a fighter, and as the lone Democrat elected to a statewide office, it seems like she’s always involved in some kind of controversy. Republicans love to kneecap her at every opportunity.

That’s still no excuse for what she said on NPR’s Florida Roundup.

We know politics often is best played with shoulder pads and a helmet. However, even by that standard, Fried went way, way, way over the line when she compared Gov. Ron DeSantis to Adolf Hitler.

“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.

There should have been a siren going off in her head at that point. She should have heard that warning when asked if she was comparing a Governor she detests and wants to unseat to a monster who orchestrated the murder of six million Jews.

If she did hear that, she didn’t listen. Instead, she dug in.

“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.”

It was crude, tasteless and offensive. Also, it calls her judgment into question as she seeks the highest office in the state.

There is plenty to criticize about DeSantis.

Call him arrogant, bullying and dismissive of anyone who disagrees with him. Say the man who champions freedom for Floridians likely will sign a bill soon that chips away at a woman’s control of her body and calls that “reasonable.

Bring up that he misrepresents things like critical race theory to solve a “problem” that doesn’t exist. It’s fair game to question how many lives he endangered with his handling of COVID-19, and maybe the worst is yet to come. Ask big-city mayors in Florida how it feels to have the authority to do their jobs undercut by edicts from DeSantis.

Every move DeSantis makes these days suggests his eyes are focused on the White House. Say that instead of trying to be the Governor for all people, he only seems to care about the people who voted for him. Keep asking how long he intends to remain Governor if elected to another four-year term.

And mention the latest thing, a congressional map drawn by DeSantis that Democrats say reduces the number of districts with African American representation from four to two. He released that on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and that wasn’t an accident.

There is more than enough meat there and substance that Fried didn’t need to go Dumpster diving in a farcical attempt to link DeSantis to someone who personified evil.

For Fried, the sad part is that she had something to crow about before all this. Her recent revelation that the state had about 1 million COVID-19 test kits sitting in a warehouse and about to expire put DeSantis in the rare position of playing defense.

Thanks to her, the federal government extended the deadline for how long people can use the kits. It was a major victory for her. But after her Hitler jag, no one is talking about that.

She only has herself to blame.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


12 comments

  • Charles

    January 18, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    Freeds comments were outrageous. Henderson is a hypocrite and master of yellow journalism as demonstrated by his rant against DeSantis. The post was about Freed yet Jackassery Joe couldn’t wait to spew his republican garbage. Time to put Jackassery Joe out to pasture— permanently. It’s well overdue!

  • Jodi

    January 18, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Think Nikki is spot on

    • AnnainFL

      January 18, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      Yes she is spot on and she is the only one not afraid to say it

  • Ocean Joe

    January 19, 2022 at 6:39 am

    Hitler’s final rise to power came with the false-flag operation of burning the Reichstag and blaming it on a coalition of leftists and communists. Less successful but analogous: the assault on our own capitol, and then blaming it on Antifa, Pelosi, the FBI… when it was obviously a brazen attempt by a mob of trash wearing Trump paraphernalia and calling his name to keep him in power and end American democracy. The work of that mob and those who inspired it is still ongoing. In both cases the goal was securing absolute power.

    The current penchant for absurd, bizarre, nonsensical conspiracies that get floated around and turned into actual legislation presents a serious danger. Examples for the thickheaded: A pathological liar loses an election by 8 million votes but convinces Red state legislatures who either worship or fear him to pass sweeping voting changes, and in one case (where our governor bragged about how well our last election ran) creation of election police. Another example mentioned above: The fiction that teachers are indoctrinating our young with CRT, so we pass laws outlawing the teaching of it when nobody can identify anyplace it is being taught.

    Turning mole hills into mountains is the daily fuel our governor uses to keep his ambitions going and keep his status as a sought after guest on Fox news. He should give it a rest. His first year in office was excellent. Now we have constant, divisive stunts.

    Every mention of Hitler’s name keeps alive the lessons of what he did, what he convinced a nation to do, the culture and people he tried to wipe out, who fell victim, and how our own country joined others to bring an end to it and rise to world leadership. We are drifting, our elections have long been about picking the lesser of two evils. Sleepy Joe was the antidote to crazy, but thinks he’s FDR, while folks like Desantis, instead of moderating the behavior of Trump actually exacerbate it further to the right in order to capture the new base.

    Yes, Fried could better have compared Desantis to Joe McCarthy, or Donald Trump, or George Wallace or Huey Long or other crusaders in terms of political methods, but while we still have our first amendment let her speak. She will get further by pointing out as governor she could veto the continued dismantling of Florida’s environmental protections in favor of developers (See Ana Rodriguez’ SB 198, Seagrass Mitigation-even Randy Fine opposes it!). Let’s not get to the point that every time somebody in public life refers to another politician as using Hitlerian tactics that the conversation shuts down. Then again, based on the column we have already reached it.

    • Tom

      January 19, 2022 at 8:17 am

      Talk about a mental manic rant, you own it Joe. What bunch of hot garbage. Fraud isn’t assured anything, she’s abused and disavowed any decency. Btw, ADL says she’s wrong. You said she’s ok to say hateful things cause she’s Jewish, to say hateful extreme things is wrong, regardless of who you are. Now you say she should have said like others. You called him Mussolini. Give us a break, no one knows why or what’s she’s running.
      Fraud is a stalker and disaster. Enjoy her.

    • ScienceBLVR

      January 20, 2022 at 6:53 am

      Thank you for such well written and erudite prose, Ocean. I believe you missed your calling.. you should be on the FP payroll as a commentator.

  • Jill

    January 19, 2022 at 7:33 am

    Ocean Joe said it better than I could have but one thing all of you who are so in a twist over the Hitler reference are forgetting is how Hitler came to be in a position of power that enabled him to carry out his mind-bogglingly heinous atrocities against not only the Jewish population but just about everybody else who disagreed with him.
    “In addition to six million Jews, more than five million non-Jews were murdered under the Nazi regime. Among them were Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, blacks, the physically and mentally disabled, political opponents of the Nazis, including Communists and Social Democrats, dissenting clergy, resistance fighters, prisoners of war, Slavic peoples, and many individuals from the artistic communities whose opinions and works Hitler condemned.”
    (https://www.socialstudies.org/sites/default/files/publications/se/5906/590606.html)
    I can’t speak for Nikki, but I think Ron DeSantis’ maneuvers to give himself militaristic powers and authoritarian control is reminiscent of Hitlers’ assent to the place where he could do the horrible things he did.

  • Tom

    January 19, 2022 at 8:00 am

    Sorry Joe, outlining 5 areas you disagree with the Governor and then suggesting Nikki Fraud has gone to far isn’t good enough.
    American Defamation League criticized Fried, strongly denouncing her. Considering she is Jewish, It is even more credible. But even worse, Fried had become a political stalker. Mentally unstable, and just plain evil. She is unbalanced when discussing Governor. Furthermore, Florida media has become to tolerant especially FP towards her. I defy you or anyone eyed to recite 4 issues she is running on. You never hear a issue from her. Your claimed success on her behalf and testing is a nothing issue. The Feds as requested extended them. That was a set up lie of a topic. FP played along with her.
    Nikki Fraud is a menace to society. She will lead the Dems to political annihilation. The stalker vote is bout 3%. She owns it, Disgracefully.

  • Jill

    January 19, 2022 at 8:05 am

    Ocean Joe said it better than I could have but one thing all of you who are so in a twist over the Hitler reference are forgetting is how Hitler came to be in a position of power that enabled him to carry out his mind-bogglingly heinous atrocities against not only the Jewish population but just about everybody else who disagreed with him.
    In The Other Victims of the Nazis
    Ina R. Friedman wrote “In addition to six million Jews, more than five million non-Jews were murdered under the Nazi regime. Among them were Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, blacks, the physically and mentally disabled, political opponents of the Nazis, including Communists and Social Democrats, dissenting clergy, resistance fighters, prisoners of war, Slavic peoples, and many individuals from the artistic communities whose opinions and works Hitler condemned.”
    I can’t speak for Nikki, but I think Ron DeSantis’ maneuvers to give himself militaristic powers and authoritarian control is reminiscent of Hitlers’ assent to the place where he could do the horrible things he did.

    • Tom

      January 19, 2022 at 8:19 am

      Jill really ?
      I think you have mental issues like Nikki Fraud.

      • Jill

        January 19, 2022 at 12:04 pm

        That’s a convincing rebuttal there, Tom.

        • Tom

          January 19, 2022 at 9:42 pm

          You have offered nothing Jill.
          I don’t care what you, ocean Joe or Joe Henderson suggest.
          Nikki Fraud is a disgrace, pathetic person who conducts herself with hate. You or anyone else can’t outline 5 issues she stands for. She hates the Governor, stalks him like a dangerous person. This is not racial. Governor DeSantis has treated all groups fairly. Save your analysis. No one cares, just like ocean Joe. He’s a hypocrite too, he’s tried to justify her hate with his justified hate.
          You all are sick, Fraud is ill. Period. Full stop. The ADL denounced her. My God can’t you idiots just admit and let it go. Good riddance.

Comments are closed.


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