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DeSantis pushed anti-Semitic smear hours before synagogue shooting

Ron DeSantis spewed anti-Semitism to a crowd of supporters just hours before a shooter killed 11 at a Pennsylvania synagogue.

By Oliver Willis - October 29, 2018
Ron DeSantis

Florida’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ron DeSantis, invoked an anti-Semitic smear just hours before a gunman attacked a Pennsylvania synagogue and killed 11 worshipers.

At a campaign stop in Winter Haven, Florida, DeSantis argued that progressive philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros would infiltrate the state government through operatives placed by DeSantis’ Democratic rival, Andrew Gillum.

DeSantis claimed, “He would be seeding, into our state government, you know, Soros-backed activists.”

For more than a decade, Republicans have invoked and smeared Soros, who is Jewish, as a boogeyman because of his support for Democrats and progressive causes. His name is used to promote far-right conspiracy theories that Jews are secretly plotting nefarious acts against Americans.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, also a Florida Republican, baselessly accused Soros of funding the group of asylum-seekers fleeing violence in Central America.

Just a few hours after DeSantis made his statement, the synagogue shooter attacked worshipers, calling for the elimination of Jews. The shooter had postings on social media echoing Gaetz and other Republicans, including Trump, and their absurd conspiracy theory that Soros and other Jews are financing the refugees for nefarious purposes.

DeSantis, who is trailing Gillum in nearly every poll, has a history of bigoted comments, including writings excusing the slave trade.

After winning the Republican nomination, DeSantis used a racial slur against Gillum, who is black. He said, “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases bankrupting the state.”

DeSantis has also had the support of racists and other bigots as he has campaigned for governor and refused to disavow their help.

In a memorable moment during their gubernatorial debate, Gillum said of DeSantis, “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist — I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”

DeSantis has now been caught on video promoting anti-Semitic hate speech just like his fellow Republicans are using across the country.

It is a desperate tactic being employed in pursuit of attaining political power.

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