News & Politics

Florida GOP Candidate Spoke At Event Hosted By Man Who Claims There's a 'Race War' Against Whites

Rep. Ron DeSantis is a "big admirer" of far right anti-Black, anti-Muslim activist David Horowitz.

Ron DeSantis (Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore)

On Sunday, the Washington Post detailed Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis' ties to an extremist group founded by far-right activist David Horowitz.

According to the Post, DeSantis was a speaker in at least four "Restoration Weekend" conferences hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC) in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina.

At the 2015 engagement in Charleston, DeSantis said, "I just want to say what an honor it’s been to be here to speak ... 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."

At the DHFC events, DeSantis appeared alongside such figures as Milo Yiannopoulos, the former Breitbart writer who called feminism "cancer" and defended statutory rape; James Damore, the author of the "Google memo" that called women genetically inferior at computing jobs; and Charlie Kirk, the president of Turning Point USA, a far-right youth group that is engineering takeovers of student elections on college campuses.

Horowitz himself, once a prominent member of the New Left movement in the 1960s, has gone on to preach an ideology of hate against immigrants, Muslims, and people of color. He has said the Palestinian people are Nazis, compared Black Lives Matter to the KKK and al-Qaeda, claimed former President Barack Obama was "inviting the terrorists to behead more Americans," said that blacks "would still be slaves" if not for "the sacrifices of white soldiers," and argued that the "real race war" in America is against white people.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Horowitz has also used his online periodical, FrontPage Mag, to promote material from American Renaissance, a white supremacist publication, arguing that its founder Jared Taylor is "no more racist ... than Jesse Jackson and the NAACP."

DeSantis, a devoted supporter of President Donald Trump, has spent the last few weeks facing controversy for his statement that Florida should not "monkey this up" by electing Andrew Gillum, his Democratic opponent and the first African-American major party nominee for governor of Florida. He was also discovered to be the administrator of a racist Facebook group, which he claims he was added to without his knowledge.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.