Ron DeSantis has a history of palling around with racists — and he's running for governor against Florida's first-ever black gubernatorial nominee.
Florida's Republican nominee for governor is already under fire for using dog-whistle campaign rhetoric against his black opponent — and now it's been revealed that he spoke frequently at a racist right-wing conference.
In 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) appeared at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's annual Restoration Weekend conferences, the Washington Post reports.
There, the Trump-backed Republican spoke alongside speakers who espoused aggressively racist and Islamophobic views.
"I just want to say what an honor it’s been to be here to speak,” DeSantis told attendees during his nearly 30-minute speech in 2015.
The conference, hosted by rabid race baiter and fulltime Muslim-hater David Horowitz, features a rogue's gallery of fringe and hateful conservative voices.
When DeSantis spoke at the conference in 2017 — and had his stay at a nearby luxury resort paid for by the Horowitz Freedom Center — fellow speaker Milo Yiannopoulos addressed attendees with "a joke that referred to black-male genitalia and with a crude comment about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), an African American who has sparred with Trump," according to the Post.
Also at that 2017 conference, conservative author Mark Steyn announced, "The more diverse you get, the more stupid you get."
The news of DeSantis' repeated visits to the hate conference comes just two weeks after he urged Florida voters not to "monkey" around by voting for Andrew Gillum, the state's first black nominee for governor, in an appearance on Fox News.
DeSantis’ racist dog whistle was so loud, even Fox felt the need to distance itself from the Trump-backed nominee.
“We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement,” Fox News anchor Sandra Smith said later on air.
Days after that, it was revealed that DeSantis has been listed as a moderator for a vile Facebook group where members share racist, conspiratorial, and hateful content aimed at a range of targets — “including black Americans and South Africans, the ‘deep state,’ survivors of February’s massacre at a Florida high school, immigrants, Muslims and, in recent days, John McCain,” according to American Ledger.
Meanwhile, Gillum's campaign appears to be surging. A huge crowd of 1,200 people showed up for the Democrat's first official campaign rally on Saturday, Politico reports, and crowds of that size are unusual for a gubernatorial campaign.
"As the Florida Democratic Party’s first African-American nominee for governor, Andrew Gillum is like no candidate for the office the state has ever seen," Politico noted.
As Gillum's star rises, DeSantis may have all the more difficulty defending his disturbing pattern of race-baiting.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.