Here's a totally not mad Ron DeSantis

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is totally not mad that people are calling him out for hanging with racists instead of going after his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum.

DeSantis, whose most recent racist scandal involves keeping $20,000 from a Republican donor who called President Obama a "F—— MUSLIM N——," has been criticized for speaking four times at conferences organized by David Horowitz. Horowitz is a conservative activist who has said that African Americans should be more grateful to white people for their freedom and that Palestinians are Nazis. A day after winning the Republican primary, DeSantis went on Fox News and told Florida voters not to "monkey this up" by electing Gillum, the state's first African American gubernatorial nominee.

So yeah, there are at least 10 reasons why people are looking at DeSantis' past remarks on race. At a news conference in Oldsmar on Monday, though, the Republican nominee blamed the media for attempting to "create a narrative." During his meltdown, DeSantis said:
"You do not do that with Andrew Gillum. Have you asked Andrew Gillum why he had CAIR – the Council [on] American Islamic Relations – to Tallahassee in 2016. He spoke to welcome them.

They were an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trail – the largest terror financing trial in history. He welcomed them, he thanked them for what they were doing. Why were they in Tallahassee? To protest the anti-BDS legislation that the Legislature was doing, which was protecting our relationship with Israel. The CAIR people got kicked out of the House committees because they were saying all this anti-Semitic stuff. I don't see the media going after Andrew Gillum. What about his relationship with Dream Defenders? They support boycotting Israel. They equate Israel to an apartheid state.

Oh no, [Gillum] gets his zone of protection. So it's a double standard. It's an attempt to create a narrative, and if I have a crowd with 500 people, how the hell am I supposed to know who's in the crowd? That's not a good way. You do not do that with Democrats. You do not look to find the most radical person in the Democrat audience. I'd like you to start doing that, [because] I'll tell you, it's not very difficult. I can find anti-Semites around him. I can find him doing things, but it's almost like we don't want to discuss that." 

DeSantis' Breitbart-inspired talking points get some things confused. Although the civil rights organization CAIR was an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Holy Land Foundation trial, so were about 300 other people and organizations, including the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust. The Holy Land charity was convicted of funding illegal support for Hamas and other terrorist groups. CAIR and the other organizations were not charged with a crime, but federal prosecutors said the organizations were included so they could bring evidence into trial. The Washington Post reports a federal appeals court ruled it was a mistake for prosecutors to publicize a document listing those groups as co-conspirators.



Representatives for CAIR were not reported as being kicked out of 2016 Florida House committee hearings on a bill to penalize companies for participating in BDS, a growing, Palestinian-led movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel in various forms, similar to the South African anti-apartheid movement, according to the group's website. Members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Florida State University were the ones kicked out of the legislative meeting for protests.

The "anti-Semitic stuff" that DeSantis claims was reportedly said at the meeting include this comment from Aaron Ellis, co-president of Students for Justice in Palestine at FSU, where Ellis says, "The proposed legislation makes the mistake of calling the BDS movement anti-Jewish. BDS targets practices and policies, not religion," according to Fight Back News.

Despite unease from his progressive base, Gillum has actually come out in support of anti-BDS legislation and has called for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

DeSantis dabbles in false equivalencies when he says he doesn't know who could be a racist when he's speaking in front of 500 people. No one is taking him to task for not figuring out a random person in a crowd has racist thoughts. Critics are just pointing out that DeSantis keeps "inadvertently" speaking at events organized by a man with a well-documented history of racist, xenophobic and anti-Islamic comments.

Perhaps DeSantis should do some research on the conferences he's choosing to attend before going on rants blaming the media.


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