New reports of recent speeches at an annual conference held by a right-wing extremist who has espoused white supremacist and Islamophobic views provide the latest evidence that Florida's Republican gubernatorial nominee, Rep. Ron DeSantis, has supported racist groups and associated with their viewpoints in the recent past.
The congressman, who announced Monday he was resigning from his seat to campaign full time against Democrat Andrew Gillum—the Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)-backed, African American mayor of Tallahassee—spoke four times in the last five years at the annual conferences of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
The group's namesake and leader is the author of a book entitled "Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream," which promotes the notion that white Americans are the victims of a race war. He also wrote on Twitter just last month that "Black Africans enslaved black Africans" while "America freed them sacrificing 350,000 mainly white Union lives."
His organization is dedicated to defending "free societies which are under attack from enemies within and without, both secular and religious" and exposing the "over-arching sinister agendas" of progressive politicians and groups including Sens. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Planned Parenthood.
GOP’s Ron Desantis now wants to bring the white supremacy he learned at this far right racist conference to the state of Florida as governor. https://t.co/u9StyvTFTl
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) September 10, 2018
Other speakers at recent meetings of Horowitz's group include multiculturalism critic Douglas Murray, who spoke about Europe's "civilizational suicide" through broadening immigration; former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos; and right-wing activist James O'Keefe, who became infamous for producing deceptive propaganda videos regarding Planned Parenthood and protesters at President Donald Trump's inauguration.
A spokesperson for DeSantis told the Washington Post that the congressman is "a leader in standing up for truth" and that he should not be held accountable for the views of others.
Speaking at Horowitz's conference in 2017, DeSantis, a steadfast supporter of Trump, defended the president's Muslim ban and attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the president's campaign and allegations that Trump has obstructed justice.
The revelations about his deep ties to Horowitz come weeks after DeSantis won his nomination and called his progressive Democratic opponent "articulate"—a common dog whistle used to suggest that eloquence and intelligence are aberrations among black Americans—and added, "The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state."
We tried to tell y’all! Ron DeSantis racist views have been there to see for anyone who bothered to look. https://t.co/pkRoPMH4Pm
— Novo Democrats (@NovoDems) September 10, 2018
There is no question whatsoever that GOP gov candidate in FL. Ron DeSantis. is a racist, proud to cavort with other racists, and knew exactly what he was doing with “monkey it up.”
— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) September 10, 2018