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Real Ron DeSantis, Part 2 (The Racist Thing)

October 20, 2018

Ron DeSantis teaching his toddler to “build the wall” in his primary TV ad.

Is Ron DeSantis a racist? He says no, of course not. But things just keep turning up. Consider the following:

The day after the Florida primary, the winner of the Republican nomination for governor, said this about the Democratic nominee, Andrew Gillum: “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.” The “monkey it up” remark immediately raised an outcry because Gillum is African-American and the “monkey” trope has long been a staple of racist insults. Just this summer, Roseanne Barr got kicked off her own show after calling Obama adviser Valerie Jarratt the offspring of an ape. The DeSantis campaign insisted that he was just talking about Gillum’s policies and “to characterize it as anything else is absurd.” Then it turned out that there was more about DeSantis that raised serious questions about racism.

Reporters quickly discovered that DeSantis was an administrator on a racist Facebook page called “Tea Party”, which among other things had that very morning posted a racist meme with side-by-side photos of Melania Trump and a heavily photoshopped Michelle Obama under the title “Make the White House Beautiful Again.” The DeSantis campaign was forced to confirm that he was indeed an administrator on the site, but claimed that he had been added to it and made an administrator without his knowledge or consent and had deleted it as soon as he found out.  Hmmm, well maybe…but…

Then there was his attendance as a paid speaker just before entering the governor race at a Palm Beach convention hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, featuring speakers who have defended a candidate accused of child molestation, suggested killing Muslims and argued that women are less suited for leadership because of  “biological causes”. Others attending included white nationalist Trumpsters Steve Bannon, Simon Gorka, and Milo Yiannopoulos as well as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes, who has done everything possible to make sure nothing Russia-related gets investigated. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, this organization focuses on exposing ” the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values” and sponsors events ranging from single day presentations by anti-Muslim fear mongers to extravagant weekend getaways where government officials mingle with far-right activists. Horowitz himself is the son of communist Russian Jewish immigrants and was active in radical leftist causes until the 1980s when he had an epiphany and became a Reaganite activist on the right. He has since veered even further to the right. Much of the organization’s funding has come from the ultra-conservative Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation (established by one of the founders of the John Birch Society), a major player in the Koch network. In a 2014 interview with the American Family Association, Horowitz said, “Obama is an anti-American radical and I’m actually sure he’s a Muslim, he certainly isn’t a Christian” and declared that the president had “destroyed our borders” to let our enemies in “with their dirty bombs and their anthrax and whatever else, you know, their swords to behead us…”  You get the drift. When a politician associates himself with organizations and individuals of this sort, it’s fair to conclude that he endorses their positions.

Indeed, much of DeSantis’s career has been based on exactly the sort of extreme anti-immigrant positions that are at the core of Trump’s appeal. If you want to know what DeSantis think about immigrants, etc., it’s whatever Trump thinks, i.e., anti-Muslim, anti-Latino, and anti-black. See this clip from a debate with his Republican primary opponent Adam Putnam here. And of course there was his infamous TV ad in which he shows his infant daughter how to Build the Wall.

The Miami New Times has compiled a whole list of incidents (“Eight Times Ron DeSantis ‘Accidentally’ Did Racist Stuff”) that certainly seem to reveal racist inclinations on the part of DeSantis. Maybe any one of them by itself wouldn’t be conclusive, but taken together they form a clear pattern and point to a coherent set of values. So yeah, I think Ron DeSantis is a racist.


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