It hasn’t even been two whole weeks since Ron DeSantis won the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary, but the Florida congressman just can’t keep his name out of the news for saying and doing racist bullshit.
On Sunday night, the Washington Post reported that DeSantis, who was endorsed by Donald Trump before the primary, had spoken at four separate David Horowitz Freedom Center conferences, an annual gathering of racists, grifters, and racist grifters like Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Milo Yiannopoulos.
The Post reports:
“I just want to say what an honor it’s been to be here to speak,” DeSantis said in a 27-minute speech at the 2015 event in Charleston [SC], a video shows. “David has done such great work and I’ve been an admirer. I’ve been to these conferences in the past but I’ve been a big admirer of an organization that shoots straight, tells the American people the truth and is standing up for the right thing.”
In June, the Naples Daily News reported that DeSantis had accepted a paid trip by the David Horowitz Freedom Center to attend its November 2017 conference to the tune of $1,218. Here’s some of the far-right dignitaries he kept company with at that event, per the Post:
Fellow speakers included a former Google engineer who was fired after arguing that “biological causes” in part explain why there are relatively few women working in tech and leadership; a critic of multiculturalism who has written that “Europe is committing suicide” by welcoming large numbers of refugees and immigrants; and a British media personality who urged the audience to keep the United States from becoming like the United Kingdom, where “discrimination against whites is institutionalized and systemic.”
Through a spokesperson, DeSantis was unapologetic about his attendance at the conferences.
“He appreciates those who support his efforts and is happy to be judged on his record,” DeSantis spokesperson Elizabeth Fusick told the Post. “He does not, though, buy into this ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ notion that he is responsible for the views and speeches of others.”
This is just the latest DeSantis controversy since he won the nomination. The morning after his primary win, DeSantis went on Fox News to warn voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for his opponent, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, who would be the first black governor of Florida. Then it was revealed that DeSantis had been an administrator for a racist Facebook group along with fellow cranks Corey Stewart (the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Virginia) and Kelli Ward, who just waged her second losing campaign in three years for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Arizona.
Meanwhile, David Horowitz predictably blew a gasket. “There’s a lynch mob on his back,” Horowitz told the Post, referring not to the black candidate who’s been the target of robocalls by neo-Nazis, but to DeSantis, who also used the dogwhistle “articulate” to describe Gillum in that post-primary Fox News interview.
With operators like DeSantis, senior White House advisors, powerful members of Congress, and, uh, the president on their side, it might be time for Republican Party leaders to take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves: Are we the baddies?