Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says Gov. Ron DeSantis has avoided talking about the Jan. 6 riot because those are “his people.”
On Friday, the day after the first major January 6 Committee hearing in Washington, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate told reporters she was not surprised Republican Governor didn’t take questions at his news conferences Thursday and Friday. He has not been forthcoming in denouncing the insurrection attempt, she said.
“Since the incident happened, he really hasn’t talked a lot about it,” Fried said. “In fact, those are his people, and we know that.”
Fried’s comments follow a fundraising email her campaign sent Tuesday in which she accused DeSantis of courting “white supremacist insurrectionists” for when he runs for President in 2024. DeSantis has denied assertions that he’s running for President after re-election, but it hasn’t stopped Democrats from frequently alluding to or openly referring to his possible presidential run.
Fried also continued linking DeSantis with Nazis. In January on NPR’s Florida Roundup a year after the Capitol Riot, she called DeSantis an “authoritarian” and drew parallels between him and German dictator Adolf Hitler.
“It’s unfortunate that he has not denounced Nazis, he has not denounced the insurrectionists, hasn’t been holding them accountable, and so he needs to be held accountable,” Fried said.
Most TV news networks are carrying the Jan. 6 hearings live, but Fox News Channel, some of whose pundits have praised DeSantis for his opposition to President Joe Biden, is not.
Fried, who is down in the polls to both DeSantis and Democratic front-runner U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, predicted voters would turn out against Republicans on Election Day in response to conservative rhetoric.
“The American people, we have survived. We’ve been here for hundreds of years at this point,” Fried said. “Democracy is certainly fragile, but I know that the people of our state aren’t going to sit by and just watch this. They’re going to be voting in November to make sure that any type of elected official in our state that continues this rhetoric of hate and divisiveness is kicked out of office.”
DeSantis and Florida Republican lawmakers were initially vocal against the mob stirred up by former President Donald Trump.
“Violence or rioting of any kind is unacceptable and the perpetrators must face the full weight of the law. The Capitol Police do an admirable job and I thank them for their hard work,” DeSantis said in a statement the day of the Capitol riot.
Republican lawmakers also filed Florida anti-riot legislation the same day as the insurrection as a direct response to the violence. However, DeSantis first floated the proposal in September 2020 after a summer of Black Lives Matter protests, and ties between the anti-riot bill and the Capitol riot soon faded.
And on the one year anniversary of Jan. 6, DeSantis called the day an opportunity for the media to “smear” Trump’s supporters. “This is their Christmas,” he told reporters.
“It’s not something that I’ve been concerned about in my job because quite frankly it’s not something that most Floridians are concerned about,” DeSantis said.