Ron DeSantis denounces Democratic ‘smears’ in wake of Orlando-area Nazi demonstration

Desantis palm
'They tried to play games, they tried to politicize.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday discussed a demonstration by neo-Nazis in Orlando over the weekend but spent more time dragging Democrats and mainstream political opponents than the neo-Nazis themselves.

The Governor, who was in Palm Beach County talking infrastructure, was asked by reporters to respond to the neo-Nazi demonstration. DeSantis was personally silent on the matter up until Monday afternoon.

“So what I’m going to say is these people, these Democrats who are trying to use this as some type of political issue to try to smear me as if I had something to do with it, we’re not playing their game,” DeSantis said.

“Some jackasses doing this on the street, first of all, state law enforcement is going to hold them accountable because they were doing stuff on the overpass. So they’re absolutely going to do that, and they should do that,” DeSantis added before going back on the political counteroffensive.

“But I’m not going to have people try to smear me who belong to a political party that has elevated antisemites to the halls of Congress,” DeSantis said, singling out Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

“They even have people in their party that have cavorted with (Louis) Farrakhan,” DeSantis said, with every comment getting farther away from the weekend’s central events.

Over the weekend, a group of neo-Nazis lined a bridge in eastern Orange County, hanging the swastika flag and banners — including a banner with the pro-Donald Trump slogan “Let’s Go Brandon” — and yelling profanities and antisemitic slurs at passing cars.

“They tried to play games; they tried to politicize. Why would they do that? Why would they want to elevate a half-dozen malcontents and try to make this an issue for political gain?” DeSantis asked. “Because they want to distract from the failure that we’ve seen with Joe Biden.”

Democrats are “tied at the hip” with Biden, DeSantis argued.

“We’re not going to let them get away with these stupid things where they’re trying to smear somebody unfairly. I will not be smeared by them, and that’s the reality,” DeSantis vowed.

The Governor’s comments came after his principal spokesperson seemed to struggle with messaging in the wake of the demonstration and demanding that DeSantis respond. Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls have issued statements denouncing the neo-Nazi demonstrators.

In a tweet posted Sunday night and later deleted, press secretary Christina Pushaw responded to Twitter outrage over an Orlando Nazi demonstration by asking, “Do we even know they’re Nazis?”

Pushaw then sought to clarify that statement. “I don’t know what you mean by ‘denying Nazis.’ I was referring to this event in VA, when a group of Democrats dressed up as White supremacists to discredit a (Glenn) Youngkin rally,” she told Florida Politics Monday.

“Nazi imagery and hate speech, whoever is using it, is never acceptable. Nobody from our office ever suggested it was,” she added, calling attempts to “tie” the neo-Nazis to DeSantis “disgusting political smears.”


Scott Powers of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    January 31, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    Never good when you have to make excuses for your press secretary. Everyone knows Ronnie is besties with Israel. Ask AG…he was there. They’re tied at the hip like Lenny Curry & the 🚢 Blake Bortles or AG & Byron Leftwich. Just ask AG he’ll tell ya.

  • Ocean Joe

    January 31, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    The nazi flag and the Let’s Go Brandon flag together. Doesn’t that say it all?

  • Frankie M.

    January 31, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    The first rule of Nazis & the Holocaust is you do not talk about Nazis & the Holocaust. Critical thinking is now illegal in Florida schools.

    • Tom

      January 31, 2022 at 9:08 pm

      That’s why Nikki fraud listened. Oh yeah it’s ok when she does.
      He didn’t talk about it, but was attacked for not. Regardless, Pushaw does not serve his best interests.
      He does not need her.

      • Concern Citizen

        February 1, 2022 at 1:11 pm

        When will DeSantis denounce the Nazis in Orlando or hate groups like the Proud Boys? What is preventing him from denouncing these hate groups?

        • PeterH

          February 1, 2022 at 1:16 pm

          DeSantis won his governorship by less than 1% of Florida voters. He can not possibly win re-election without appealing to the worst racist elements and the Trumpster base of haters.

        • AnnainFL

          February 1, 2022 at 1:41 pm

          Concern citizen… what is preventing him is that he is one of them

          • Tom

            February 1, 2022 at 9:46 pm

            33,000 votes, Elmo peter h.
            He won cause 44% Hispanics and 18% Africans supported the America’s Gov. It was on the public school choice scholarship Pledge in which he has expanded for low income families. Based upon census income. He promised and delivered.
            Real bad news for Dums today. Suffolk USA poll, DeSantis crushes Biden, 52% to 44%. He crushes Crist & Fraud 6% and 11% respectively. Florida Dems have no chance. Biden’s underwater in Florida, 39% approval. Negative in 46 states. What a joke peter h and Dum Manchurian nation are. Wah, Wah , cry eye.

          • Dezzare Lockhart

            February 5, 2022 at 6:56 pm

            I love my Jewish brothers and sisters, but the freedom of speech is for all USA citizens, wither you like what they are saying or not, you can’t pick and choose what groups get the freedom of speech and the right to a peaceful protest, with the American constitution comes the good, the bad and the ugly. Sorry that’s just the way it is.

    • Tom

      February 1, 2022 at 10:28 pm

      Frankie Yes, you told us that when Nikki Fraud accused Gov of being Hitler. Oh no, you didn’t! It’s called being a hypocrite liar. Manchurian nation.

      Did you see the new Suffolk poll with Desantis crushing incompetent Biden? Crist & Fraud separately in Florida. What a joke. Biden’s approval in Florida is 39%. Abysmal.

      • FP Monitor

        February 1, 2022 at 11:21 pm

        It’s a big mistake to respond to anything Tom posts. He’s an arrogant ignorant Trumpster hack simply looking for the attention he doesn’t get from friends or family. Do yourself and ALL OF US a big favor. Ignore all of his return comments. Maybe the internet troll will go away.

  • Arm The Homeless

    January 31, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    The problem with Gov. Ronny-Bobby’s strategy of always attacking, you end up wildly swinging at ghosts.

    Ronny-Bobby and his press flack got burned by their own hot-takes

  • ScienceBLVR

    January 31, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    Call it authoritarism, call it Nazi sh$t, expose it as the current GOP’s just so sad. Miss the old could reason and debate with Republicans, Quoth the Raven, Nevermore..

  • tom palmer

    January 31, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    He should have ignored the whole thing. He is so tone deaf and self-absorbed.

  • Happy gal

    January 31, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    DeSantis says Democrats are “tied at the hip” with Biden – the joke is that Republicans are tied to Trump’s butt. Get real. Calling democrats Nazis is downright crazy and beyond stupid but then, so are you!

    • Tom

      January 31, 2022 at 9:13 pm

      Of course they are you ignorant fool.
      I dare you to think if Dum, Dum demings, N Fraud, Crispy or another Dem Would show up if Biden came to Florida. No. They’d run ass away.
      You idiot Manchurians , you are going to lose 60 house seats, and 6 Senate seats. Liberal bubble needs to be pierced.

      • FP Monitor

        January 31, 2022 at 9:30 pm

        It’s a big mistake to respond to anything Tom posts. He’s an arrogant ignorant Trumpster hack simply looking for the attention he doesn’t get from friends or family. Do yourself and ALL OF US a big favor. Ignore all of his return comments. Maybe the internet troll will go away.

  • PeterH

    January 31, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Sure …. DeSantis and Trump devoted followers are hanging Nazi and Biden hate flags from an overpass and it’s someone else’s fault. DeSantis simply fails miserably at spin….. he needs a lesson from Kelly Ann Conjob!

    • Tom

      February 1, 2022 at 7:52 am

      Yes peter h the Lincoln advocate towel boy should talk. The racist Org that gifted the Govs race to new VA Gov Younghkin. Is yours tiki torches in your pocket.

      Gov Ron didn’t advocate anything related to that story. It is a smear as usual. Peter h you have no street credibility, you are ignorant and stupid. You lie on every topic. The border, budget, taxes, Covid and more. Where your pal Alex, hospital?
      Awful days for your Manchurians with Biden and Dems cratering nationally and locally. Will not recover, he’s negative in 46 states, several blue.
      40 net seat House swing, 6 net Senate seats. DeSantis win bigs.

    • Tom

      February 1, 2022 at 9:55 pm

      Yeah you would know, Lincoln racist Org. Peddlers of tiki torches and hate.
      Please go play with Elmo.
      DeSantis is wiping the floor with you Dums.

      • Corpser9000

        February 3, 2022 at 5:25 pm

        I want to touch your soul with my penis.

  • Tom

    January 31, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Hack this you ass wipe , F your self monitor.
    U Monitor you have made me a legend on FP.

  • Jerry

    January 31, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    The Dems know they are about to get totally wrecked in November. Their polling is absolutely abysmal. So I expect a whole lot smear attempts, shenanigans, and fake news in the coming months. It’s all the liberals have left.

    • Succession

      January 31, 2022 at 9:44 pm


    • Howard

      January 31, 2022 at 10:15 pm

      We’ll just claim that the elections were stolen from us and storm the capitals asswipe.

      • Tom

        January 31, 2022 at 10:50 pm

        Yeah, the 2 million illegal write in votes in Pennsylvania. Howie the ass wipe.

        • Succession

          January 31, 2022 at 11:09 pm

          Two million illegal voters that Tom read about on Breitbart! Lol

          Let Tom or anyone else prove Tom’s comment is truthful.

          • Tom

            February 1, 2022 at 4:52 am

            Clueless, You obviously live in a shoe moron. The PA court ruled that the 2 million write ins allowed, cast in 20 were illegal last Friday. But you know everything Manchurian central tells you to think. All you pathetic Dums have no independent thought. The Gov in PA is a abusively corrupt individual who has been as abusive as Dems corrupt hero Cuomo.
            Call Manchurian central to figure a reply. LMAO.

    • Tom

      January 31, 2022 at 10:51 pm

      Yes Jerry!

    • Concern Citizen

      February 1, 2022 at 1:14 pm

      Which fake news? Fox or OAN?

  • J

    February 1, 2022 at 12:27 am

    I am a Jew. I am proud of my heritage. I have children. I am appalled, frightened, disgusted. The comments made are scary. Where is the condemnation? This is so simple. Nazi bad, golden rule good. I can’t believe I am living this in 2022. This shouldn’t be politicized, propagandized or dismissed. There is no place for hate for anyone.

  • AnnainFL

    February 1, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Put down the hair gel Ronnie…you are Hitler in disguise

  • AnnainFL

    February 1, 2022 at 9:24 am

    It will soon become illegal in Florida to condemn the Nazi flags. All hail Deathsantis. He passes whatever bill he wants because he is the definition of authoritarian.

  • Tom

    February 1, 2022 at 11:03 am

    Ignorance X 50. Annan long time one.
    Total Manchurian
    Another hater, who screams fire for distraction.

    • AnnainFL

      February 1, 2022 at 1:49 pm

      Tom…I want to like Ronnie. I really do. but he never ceases to amaze me. Amaze me in a bad way. Until he changes and shows a little bit of empathy then yes I am a hater. He is so insecure and a complete p#$$@. He probably drives a fancy huge truck to make him feel like more of a man.

      • Tom

        February 1, 2022 at 2:33 pm

        Useless babble as always.
        Call your Manchurian nation.
        Pathetic. He will win with 53%.
        WH from Govs mansion after.

  • Chris

    February 2, 2022 at 11:46 am

    Florida’s current governor makes criticizing Nazi’s look hard. It is too sad that most of our WWII Vet are gone… they could have taught him a thing or two about what to say about Nazis.

  • Corpser9000

    February 3, 2022 at 5:23 pm


    • zhombre

      February 8, 2022 at 4:18 pm

      You really have issues. Seek counseling

Comments are closed.


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