Ron DeSantis, GOP candidate for governor in Florida, has faced closer scrutiny since declaring that to elect his opponent (who would be Florida’s first black governor) would be to “monkey things up.” Examination of his past social media activity reveals that he was an admin of a Facebook group that promoted racism, xenophobia, anti-gay views, and conspiracy theories. DeSantis reportedly left his role as administrator after being questioned.
Miami New Times reports that Ron DeSantis was one of 52 administrators listed on the Tea Party group (one of dozens by that name on Facebook), until he left the group after reporters started asking questions.
The group posts include standard political posts, such as supporting a candidate for office, but there is also a seemingly never-ending stream of posts promoting anti-lgbt ideology (such as this one promoting the false notion that LGBT activism supports pedophilia), anti-Muslim hate (this one declares, “Everything I ever needed to know about [I]slam I found out in 5 minutes on 9/11/2001”), and racially charges memes, such as one with Sheriff David Clarke’s face, printed with the text “Stop trying to fix the police. Fix the ghetto!”
There’s a heavy focus on immigration — one post directs asylum seekers to stay home and fix their own countries, asserting that America did this twice, once in the Revolutionary War and once in the Civil War. Another post comments on the policy of separating children from their parents — in it, Trump holds a paper photoshopped to read, “Immigrants are going back to their shithole countries. A family deported together stays together.” Another warns that immigrants aren’t coming for asylum — “They want your paycheck.”
After John McCain’s death, attacks on the Senator became a theme of the group — like this one reading “and the songbird sang no more,” and a gravestone image with superimposed text reading, “John McCain, 1936-2018,traitor to America, friend to the Vietcong.”
Splinter News notes that other admins of the group included former Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward and Corey Stewart, a Senate candidate in Virginia who has previous endorsed White Supremacist Paul Nehlen.
Ron DeSantis has not, at this time, publicly offered any explanation for his affiliation with a group promoting racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-lgbt ideologies.