Ron DeSantis says he’s ‘second to none’ in dealing with neo-Nazi threat
Image via DeSantis campaign

DeSantis Ron
The Governor said Jewish Rep. Randy Fine wanted '15 minutes of fame' when he made criticisms.

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Ron DeSantis defended his record in dealing with the state’s recurrent neo-Nazi protests under his governorship, saying he acted “swiftly and decisively.”

“Our record is second to none and we will continue to lead on these issues,” DeSantis told host Kristin Welker Sunday.

Welker pressed DeSantis to respond to claims from Rep. Randy Fine, a former supporter of his who now backs Donald Trump, that DeSantis’ Florida turned a deliberate blind eye to neo-Nazi threats in recent months and years.

In the Washington Times, Fine wrote that he was  “jumped by a Nazi in Florida” two weeks ago, and that’s “no big deal” in DeSantis’ Florida.

The Governor dismissed the claims of the only Jewish Republican in the Legislature as an attempt to get “15 minutes of fame.”

“He’s just trying to create a name for himself. So that’s all nonsense. Everybody knows that’s nonsense and don’t give somebody 15 minutes of fame just because they’re letting you try to, to do a preferred narrative just to hit me.”

“I mean, this guy was singing my praises a couple of months ago. He’s got his different reasons why he’s doing that,” DeSantis said, undercutting Fine’s personal experience, and reframing the discussion to his administration’s more aggressive response in the wake of Hamas’ attacks on Israel, which includes increased security around Jewish Day Schools and arrests of “people threatening to do harm to our Jewish community.”

Fine offered a response Sunday morning.

“I am very disappointed with the Governor’s flippant response to the fears of thousands of Florida’s Jewish parents.  I am even more disappointed that the Governor continues to call the rise of Nazis in Florida ‘fake.’  The Governor didn’t mind the fame of signing my bills to tackle antisemitism, in Israel no less; I am not interested in fame for pointing out his failure to use them. Instead of talking about me, he should protect Jewish children and families.  I will fight for that for far more than 15 minutes,” the Brevard County legislator said.

Meanwhile, Welker’s inquiry suggests that the Governor’s laissez-faire attitude toward the neo-Nazi protesters that have menaced Jewish people and others in major Florida cities resonates as a national red flag.

DeSantis, for his part, has expressed doubt that the neo-Nazis were even real, including at a recent town hall in New Hampshire, where it was clear the problem of displays of Nazi iconography in Florida proved to be a topic of interest beyond the state’s borders.

Asked about people who purported to be supporters of his who had “flags that said DeSantis 2024” and “Nazi, swastika flags,” DeSantis said he didn’t “think that they are” his supporters, before suggesting that the display was part of an “operation” against him.

“Well, first of all, when they’re doing that, understand those are not true supporters of mine, that is an operation to try to link me to something so that it’s me,” DeSantis said during an interview on WMUR’s “Conversations with the Candidate.”

“And what I would say is there are people that are doing things like that. They are trying to divide by using that as a weapon against me. Those were not my supporters because if they were my supporters, they would be on the side of every step I’ve taken been nobody that’s been stronger on these issues in any part of the country than me,” DeSantis said, regarding to pro-Israel policies and beefing up security at Jewish Day Schools.

Purported Nazi demonstrations have been on the uptick of late, with increased brazenness and visibility of the groups whether they brandish pro-DeSantis signs or not. One high-profile incident, near Disney World, happened earlier this summer.

He occasionally has addressed them, such as in 2022, one recent occasion when 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.

He was more concerned with Democrats talking about the issue in remarks after the fact.

“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 back in 2022.

“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.

In a tweet posted after the incident and later deleted, press secretary Christina Pushaw responded to Twitter outrage over the 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 at the time.

Similar demonstrations including Nazi regalia and pro-DeSantis flags recurred in 2022.

Meanwhile, former senior aides to his presidential campaign oversaw the creation and distribution of a video featuring a Nazi symbol: the Sonnenrad, a circular symbol associated with Nazi Germany that appears near the end of the clip as something of a halo around the Governor’s head.

DeSantis’ campaign fired one aide, speechwriter Nate Hochman, who shared the video and reportedly had a hand in creating it.

A.G. Gancarski

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


41 comments

  • Desanis should drop out

    October 29, 2023 at 9:42 am

    interesting since DeSantis has adopted Nazi ideologies to govern. He is a nazi enabler.

    • Julia

      October 29, 2023 at 3:29 pm

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  • Andy

    October 29, 2023 at 9:47 am

    Yes, acting quickly by appointing those Neo-Nazis who were in DC on January 6th to state positions!

    • Earl Pitts "THE RIGHT REVERAND" American

      October 29, 2023 at 10:29 am

      Good mornting to the 2 mis-guided lost souls above and/or to any additional mis-guided lost souls to come who feel our Great Nation is just sitting on the edge of their chairs to read yet another propaganda style week @55 post of non-senseical “Dook 4 Brains Leftism”.
      STAND BY FOR CHURCH:
      My, Earl Pitts American’s morning message of supream wisdom begins with the suggestion that everyone take a glorious moment to relax your sphincters which has been proven to clear your mind and body of dangerous “Dook 4 Brains Leftist” toxins. There now everybody – now you feel better. Now mentally (and physically if needed) flush and wipe.
      Well now that we all feel better both mentally and physically with those bad old toxins purged from our minds and bodies I, Earl Pitts “The Right Reverand” American, actually forgot to bring the sermon of supream, sage, and wise beyond the ages knowledge share which I, Earl Pitts American, had prepared to save your souls and bouy your spirits in these troubled times brought on by the too-many years of ruination to the planet and your souls brought on by “The Dook 4 Brains 8iden Administration”.
      THEREFORE:
      I, “The Right Reverend Earl Pitts American”, declare Church to be dissmissed early today [right after our Deacons pass around the offering plates]. Go forth therefore with clean minds and bodys to enjoy this glorious Sunday which The Lord made!!!!
      Thank you America,
      The Right Reverand Earl Pitts American
      *queue organ music as the congration gets up to orderly file out of the blessed sancuary, through the Holy vestibule, and lines up paitently to shake the hand of “The Hand Of The Man Who Shoots “THE GOSPLE GUN” The Right Reverand Earl Pitts American*

      • Boastful Earl A Church Going Man

        October 29, 2023 at 11:24 am

        Christian Comment Of The Day

      • Boastful Earl A Church Going Man

        October 29, 2023 at 11:26 am

        Only a Christian misspells ‘gospel’ 🤦🏻‍♂️

      • rick whitaker

        October 29, 2023 at 8:20 pm

        CAUTION ⚠ TROLL COMMENT BY EARL

  • My Take

    October 29, 2023 at 9:58 am

    Neo-Nazis love DeSScamus.
    Now why would that be?
    That is the ìmportant part.

  • My Take

    October 29, 2023 at 10:06 am

    Ŕoehm DeSSantis
    I think Ernst was a bit dwarfish too.

  • Michael K

    October 29, 2023 at 10:14 am

    Ron will do and say anything to give safe harbor to right-wing MAGA wing nuts – including nazis and White Christian Nationalists. He has no principles, only division, and lust for raw political power at any expense.

  • James Wilson

    October 29, 2023 at 10:40 am

    How many Proud Boys and neo-Nazis are still on the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee? Not all Republicans are neo-Nazis, but all neo-Nazis vote Republican.

    • MH/Duuuval

      October 30, 2023 at 10:36 pm

      Proud Boys are going to have to re-group — in the slammer.

  • F. Graham

    October 29, 2023 at 11:21 am

    Thats some straight shooting of The Gospel Gun by a preacher who left his sermon on the kitchen table. Done it before. Franklin

  • DEBRA

    October 29, 2023 at 11:40 am

    Desantis loves the Nazi’s flying their flags in Florida.

  • PeterH

    October 29, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    Florida residents should stream the Netflix Video “The Insurrectionist Next Door” Nancy Pelosi’s daughter interviewed a half dozen or so of the least dangerous January 6th terrorist to make this exceptional documentary.

    Now try to imagine our “sunny place for shady people” the day after the election when DeSantis pardons the 1000 criminals.

    In our 2023 America, there are currently 5,000,000 unemployable convicted felons. The State of Florida has more convicted felons than any other State in the USA. …… let’s keep in mind DeSantis was bragging he could win the anti-vaccine voter pool (like that’s something to be proud of)……Floridians need to ask themselves ‘why wouldn’t Desantis appeal to the Nazi vote’?

    • Earl Pitts "THE RIGHT REVERAND" American

      October 29, 2023 at 2:27 pm

      Pete Pete Pete,
      Fake Dook 4 Brains Leftist statistics my man.
      I thought I, Earl Pitts American, schooled you better than that.
      EPA

      • rick whitaker

        October 29, 2023 at 8:18 pm

        WARNING ⚠ TROLL COMMENT BY EARL

    • MH/Duuuval

      October 30, 2023 at 10:46 pm

      n Florida about 1.6 million people are disenfranchised because of a current or previous felony conviction, over 10% of the voting age citizens, including the 774,000 disenfranchised only because of outstanding financial obligations.

      This is the statistic that Ron Dee built his “great” electoral victory on in 2020 — as well as abnormally low turnout among Blacks and Latinos.

  • Tjb

    October 29, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    Liar.

  • My Take

    October 29, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    The Nazis know who their kindred spirits are.

  • Mother Superior Slapshot, Bishop Hedman Academy

    October 29, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    Perhaps he meant “second to a nun.” Anyway, he could try that next time. He might sound more like he was being truthful, bless his heart.

  • Margaret

    October 29, 2023 at 4:52 pm

    DeSantis is what he appears to be: a bigot, a Xenophobe, and a Racist. He spews words without any comprehensibility, leading one to wonder how in God’s name did he get into Yale and Harvard, much less, earn degrees from those tow schools?
    Has he suffered mental decline, perhaps from ingesting too much Testosterone, or stimulants before his media appearances? He seems, simply un-hinged, at time, with a moto-mouth delivery of gibberish when interviewed. He is dangerous for so many reasons.

  • Elmo

    October 29, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    And once again he refuses to condemn that sort of behavior. The audacity to infer that those Nazis are anti-DeSantis people shows us all how low he can sink. It’s like saying antifa was responsible for J6.

  • Nebraska Granny

    October 29, 2023 at 6:17 pm

    Most of you are foul-mouthed, nasty people who have nothing to do but spew hatred. You all think that because a person is White and a Republican they are Xenophobe, a Nazi, racist, and a bigot. Releasing 1000 Proud Boy felons would be dangerous? Open your eyes! More mass shootings? Looting stores? And the crime is all the Governor’s fault? He’s on testosterone because of his ego? What are you on? And I’m the one that’s judgemental?

    • No Defense In Unsafe Florida

      October 29, 2023 at 7:16 pm

      You are a Christian White Nazi, my love.

    • rick whitaker

      October 29, 2023 at 8:26 pm

      IF YOUR UNINFORMED PRUDISH SELF FINDS THE POSTERS HERE TOO FOUL, THEN WHY ARE YOU HERE? STAY IN CHURCH WHERE YOUR KIND OF BRAINWASHED PEOPLE HANG OUT.

    • rick whitaker

      October 29, 2023 at 8:37 pm

      i think nebraska granny may be another earl persona.

      • MH/Duuuval

        October 30, 2023 at 10:39 pm

        Or the model for SNL’s Church Lady.

  • My Take

    October 29, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    “Has he suffered mental decline, perhaps from ingesting too much . . .”

    . . . “INCREASE HEIGTH” “INCREASE LENGTH” “LAST LONGER” snake oils?

  • Nebraska Granny

    October 29, 2023 at 8:13 pm

    No, I am not a Nazi, sweetheart. I may be white and proud of my ethnic heritage, but you are hiding behind labels. Labels are a false defense. You all sic on Earl Pitts and sometimes me because you have nothing better to do. Grow up! The Internet, a public forum, should be a free exchange of ideas, not calling names, no matter how old you are.

    • rick whitaker

      October 29, 2023 at 8:28 pm

      YEAH, YOU ARE A WHITE CHRISTIAN NATIONALIST ( NAZI )

    • My Take

      October 29, 2023 at 9:14 pm

      The GOPer God Trump has liberated us all to call names, silly or derisive.

  • Ocean Joe

    October 29, 2023 at 10:36 pm

    Not to defend Desantis or his nazi friends, if you had to name one Florida politician even worse, it would have to be Randy Fine.

    Welcome Nasty Gramma, I enjoy all the comments, even Earl’s and yours should you continue to make them.

    • My Take

      October 29, 2023 at 10:47 pm

      if you had to name one Florida politician even worse, it would have to be Randy Fine.
      ======
      Too true.

      • MH/Duuuval

        October 30, 2023 at 1:15 pm

        Ditto re: Fine — though Dennis Baxley is a close competitor. They are both jolly as they go about spreading GOP baloney

  • My Take

    October 30, 2023 at 1:18 am

    It’s just a narrative that Deᛋᛋantis is as one with the Nazis.

  • Joe

    October 30, 2023 at 11:31 am

    1. None
    2. Tiny D

    Actually, that looks about right!

  • My Take

    October 30, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    Where are the Klansmen?
    There used to be a lot more of them than Nazis.
    Maybe the Nazis are northern transplants.
    Maybe they’re the bad cops DeSScamus invites down.

  • Andy

    October 31, 2023 at 9:50 am

    Dealing with them? His support is Nazi hate groups and he has never denied it! Why vote for him when he has the same Nazi hate groups in the GOP supporting the insurrectionist?

  • Dale A Arnold

    October 31, 2023 at 10:46 am

    What did Randy Fine think playing footsie with Christian white nationalist and their culture wars was all about? Did he think it would stop with Lgbtq community?
    MARTIN NIEMÖLLER: “FIRST THEY CAME FOR…”

Comments are closed.


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