ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis condemned the recent pair of antisemitic gatherings held around an Orlando shopping plaza and a highway overpass while speaking at a Palm Beach County news briefing Monday afternoon.
The two incidents occurred this past weekend at an intersection at Waterford Lakes near the University of Central Florida on Saturday and on a highway overpass in Orange County on Sunday.
More than a dozen Nazis waved swastika flags and shouted antisemitic slogans at the overpass before being disbanded by law enforcement.
“First of all, state law enforcement is going to hold them accountable because they were doing stuff on the overpass. So they’re gonna absolutely going to do that, and they should do that,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis went on to say Florida is one of the No. 1 destinations for “Orthodox Jews” because the state “(provides) tremendous support,” as far as business and education goes, and will continue to do so.
DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw said in a tweet that has since been deleted, “Do we even know they’re Nazis? Or is this a stunt like the “white nationalists” who crashed the Youngkin rally in Charlottesville and turned out to be Dem staffers? I trust Florida law enforcement to investigate and am awaiting their conclusion.”
DeSantis responded to the criticisms lobbed against him following the tweet issued by Pushaw at the news briefing.
“So what I’m going to say is these people, these Democrats who are trying to use this as some type of political issue to try to smear me as if I had something to do with (it), that we’re not playing their game,” DeSantis said.
Pushaw later tweeted, “@GovRonDeSantis has ALWAYS condemned antisemitic attacks & hatred, and he always will. To suggest otherwise is just plain wrong. I am confident that Florida law enforcement will respond appropriately and justice will be served to any protester who violates the law.”
The Florida chapter of the Anti-Defamation League posted online chastising Pushaw for her response to the Nazi gatherings.
“We are alarmed that @ChristinaPushaw would first give cover to antisemites rather than immediately and forcefully condemning their revolting, hate-filled rally and assault,” the ADL post reads. “We expect any public official, especially a voice for @GovRonDeSantis, to address the fears of the Jewish community thoughtfully – not with this troubling and careless approach.”
1/3 We need all leaders to call out antisemitism and hate, rather than push false narratives or conspiracy theories. The Jewish community is on high alert following recent events, including this weekend’s neo-Nazi rally and assault in Orlando.— ADL Florida (@ADL_Florida) January 31, 2022