Republican legislative leaders denounce neo-Nazi demonstrations in Central Florida

Chris Sprowls
Democratic leader Evan Jenne in the House joined in, but said the Governor must speak up as well.

Leaders in the Florida House from both political parties denounced pro-Nazi demonstrations this weekend in Central Florida. There’s still no official word from Gov. Ron DeSantis, but he’s holding a news conference in South Florida later today.

“Yesterday’s disgusting display of anti-semitism in Orlando does not reflect the values of Floridians,” tweeted Florida Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls. “These thugs and their hateful messaging are not welcome in this state.”

Shortly after, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson also unequivocally condemned the display of Nazi symbols.

“The anti-semitism on display in Orlando this weekend has no place in our state. Floridians stand together today to reject these cowards and their hate,” Simpson posted.

The messages came the day after a Nazi flag hung from an Orange County bridge. Sprowls and Simpson are the highest-ranking Republicans in state government to condemn the demonstration so far, and the presiding officers in the Florida Legislature.

The Palm Harbor Republican’s words stood in stark contrast to a message from Christina Pushaw, Gov. DeSantis’ Press Secretary. Sunday night, Pushaw tweeted — and quickly deleted — assertions the neo-Nazi demonstration may in fact have been the work of Democratic staffers.

Florida House Democratic Leader Evan Jenne at a press availability said there’s no truth to that, and said he assumed Pushaw knew that.

“We know it’s completely false,” the Dania Beach Democrat tweeted. “Her immediate deletion of that tweet shows she was just talking trash. No more or less.”

While Jenne said he appreciated that Pushaw’s tweet was quickly taken down, he said DeSantis himself needs to weigh in with forceful words to condemn the hateful message.

“Call out that we don’t want neo-Nazis in the state of Florida. It’s not that difficult a statement to make,” Jenne said.

“I would hope the Governor would say he does not support neo-Nazis’ agenda or beliefs. That was not difficult for me to do right now, nor should it be difficult for the Governor’s Press Secretary. I think she realized she probably overstepped when she deleted that tweet. We still need a more positive statement saying exactly where the Governor stands. I believe he would be against neo-Nazis, but the people of Florida need to hear that.”

DeSantis will speak in Palm Beach County at 3 p.m. today alongside federal officials including Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Byron Donalds and Brian Mast.

While the event appears to center around environmental projects in the region, it will be the first news conference by the Governor since the demonstration and he is likely to have a chance to address the matter there.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


5 comments

  • LeeS

    January 31, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    Antisemitism is not rare here in FL! Being this obvious about it is.

    • Ocean Joe

      January 31, 2022 at 4:06 pm

      They’ve been emboldened to come out of the shadows they’ve hid in since the 1950’s. And it’s pretty obvious who’s done the emboldening.

      • Jerry

        February 1, 2022 at 1:02 am

        Actually it’s you who are giving these hate groups plenty of free publicity. Every time these hate groups do a protest you splash it on every news network and spread it all over social media in an attempt to link it to your political opponents.

        These people have always been around. They aren’t new. But before a few years ago, no one paid these people much attention at all in the modern times. Heck we used to put them on talk shows like Jerry Springer and laugh at them, remember that back in the 90s? It was entertainment. Now you trying to say these same people are the greatest threat to America?

        • Concern Citizen

          February 1, 2022 at 8:50 am

          Did you grandparents laugh at the Nazi in WW2?

  • Concern Citizen

    January 31, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Has DeSantis denounced the NAZI and other hate groups such as the Proud Boys?

Comments are closed.


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