By Jim Bleyer
Bereft of substantive policy positions and concrete accomplishment, Ron DeSantis has allied himself with groups and individuals that espouse racial and religious hatred. Starting with his post-primary day “monkey it up” dog whistle, DeSantis has unashamedly courted bigoted extremists to his flailing candidacy.
Since his primary victory, Ron DeSantis has invited a disgraced former State Representative to co-chair a fundraiser, failed to denounce Donald Trump’s attacks on the Puerto Rican community — and was revealed to have attended four racist David Horowitz conferences.
In addition, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting disclosed DeSantis spoke before ACT for America — a designated hate group that the Anti-Defamation League says is the nation’s largest anti-Muslim organization:
Called out publicly for hobnobbing with white supremacists and anti-Semites, DeSantis retaliated with some pretty weak sauce. Hoping to drive a wedge between Florida’s politically-engaged Jewish community and the Andrew Gillum-Chris King ticket, DeSantis operatives dredged up a 20-year-old verbal indiscretion from King.
After he lost a student body election in 1999, King said the Harvard Crimson newspaper unfairly made an issue of his religion and cost him the student-body election.
“I was nailed to the cross,” King told reporters at the time. “And most of the editorial staff that was so hard on me, the vast majority were Jewish.”
After the quote surfaced, King asserted “This quote from when I was 20 years old is completely at odds with my beliefs. It was a hurtful and stupid comment, and I apologize.”
The desperate DeSantis campaign did not deny they sent text messages to voters with Jewish last names, and stated: “Chris King’s comments speak for themselves.”
An evangelical Christian, King trailed badly in the Democratic gubernatorial primary yet did not blame his lopsided loss on his Jewish campaign manager or Jewish communications chief. He took full responsibility himself.
A former King operative, privy to daily interaction between the candidate and his staff during the primary, confirmed in her Facebook account that there was no ethnic friction behind the scenes as well as in front of the microphone.
“ I witnessed Chris’s constant unbiased treatment of ALL people, including some of his closest Jewish staff members,” she wrote. “In an effort to gain momentum based on divisions rather than unity, I find it extremely disingenuous and un-American for the Republican gubernatorial candidate to try and manipulate an election with tactics like this.“
King admitted he made the statement and it was wrong. DeSantis, on the other hand, not only refuses to apologize for his associations with racists, white supremacist groups, and religious bigots, he continues to court their votes and contributions.
King has evolved; DeSantis has not.