The American Independent

GOP nominee exposed as moderator of racist Facebook page

Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis

Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis

The same day Ron DeSantis used a racist dog-whistle to attack his opponent, the Florida Republican was exposed as a moderator of a virulently racist Facebook page.

Trump-endorsed GOP nominee Ron DeSantis was already under fire for using a racist dog-whistle during a Fox News interview this week.

But newly uncovered evidence shows that dog-whistles are just the start for DeSantis, who is running against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum — the first African-American to be nominated for governor in Florida.

As first discovered by Media Matters extremism researcher Natalie Martinez, DeSantis is listed as a moderator for a Tea Party 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.

The Facebook group, named Tea Party, has nearly 95,000 members, and DeSantis is listed as one of the group's 52 administrators and moderators. Users are required to join the group to post or comment on the page, so moderators and administrators would be responsible for, among other things, approving requests to join the group.

Members of the group have posted comments and content attacking Black Lives Matter and African Americans as "ghetto scum," while other users have mocked and demeaned the teen survivors of the Parkland shooting, the Ledger reported.

"The group cheered Trump’s reported reference to African countries as 'shitholes,' blamed Islam for terrorism, and accused Black Lives Matters activists of plotting to take over the country," according to the Ledger.

One user wrote a post on the page claiming that the Charlottesville white supremacist rally that led to the murder of anti-racist protester Heather Heyer was a hoax orchestrated by the left. The post garnered 1,600 'likes' from other group members.

Most recently, when Sen. John McCain died over the weekend, members of the group took to the Facebook page to post content ridiculing the deceased senator and former prisoner of war.

Media Matters reported on the Facebook group in July when it was discovered that Arizona Republican Kelli Ward, who lost her primary race this week, and her husband were listed among the group's administrators.

While the page is mainly used for launching hate-filled attacks on liberals, the media, and minorities, the group also uses the page to post praise of DeSantis, Ward, and Trump, according to the Ledger.

The discovery that DeSantis is a moderator of a racist, hate-filled social media group comes just as the Florida Republican is already defending himself against allegations of racism stemming from his use of a blatantly racist dog-whistle during a Wednesday morning interview on Fox News.

Warning voters not to support his opponent, Gillum, who became Florida’s first black gubernatorial candidate after winning this week's Democratic primary election, DeSantis told voters not to "monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist."

His campaign claims there was nothing racist about the comment and is defending him against accusations of racism, just as it did after he attacked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this summer.

But now, DeSantis has skipped past the dog-whistle and gone straight for the bullhorn. Unsurprisingly, his campaign did not return the Ledger's request for comment. However, hours after the story was revealed, the American Ledger reported that DeSantis had quit the group.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.