Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Tuesday asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to condemn the weekend’s hateful demonstrations in Tampa, saying in a letter that “given the level of criticism you have directed at me over policy differences, it is deeply concerning that you cannot muster even a tweet against a group that glorifies genocide while using your name.”
She was referencing a “flag emblazoned with ‘DeSantis Country’ and an image of you.”
Also, “the demonstration, held outside the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, included Nazi flags, swastika posters, and other anti-Semitic images, in addition to racial slurs directed at counter protestors,” Fried, who is Jewish, wrote to DeSantis.
“I implore you to take a strong stand for morality by immediately, and forcefully, condemning this vile congregation and its association with your administration.”
Fried also said that it isn’t the first time that she has asked DeSantis to condemn Nazi demonstrations in Florida, according to the letter.
“In January, you refused to denounce a Nazi gathering in Orlando, claiming it was an attempt to ‘smear me as if I had something to do with it.’ As one of your harshest critics, I do not believe you are involved directly with Nazi demonstrations, however, your continued failure to speak out – especially when your name, image, and likeness is being co-opted by Nazis – is puzzling from a governor who never fails to speak his mind.”
Fried is an attorney, an elected statewide Cabinet member and a gubernatorial candidate in the August primary.
DeSantis is campaigning for reelection this year and is considered a potential presidential pick in 2024.