Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is an administrator of a Facebook group that promotes racist and “deep state” conspiracy theories.
American Ledger — a corruption watchdog news site — reported Wednesday that DeSantis is one of 52 administrators and moderators for the “Tea Party” Facebook group that is also co-run by failed Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward.
The GOP candidate’s participation in the large administrator pool was first revealed on Tuesday by Media Matters extremism researcher Natalie Martinez, who posted screenshots of a string of DeSantis campaign posts in the group. She later learned that another administrator named the candidate as one of the group’s admins.
Another admin/moderator for the racist, conspiracy Facebook group has also been promoting Ron DeSantis' campaign, and specifically named DeSantis as an admin, and said the Central Florida Post writer Taylor Foland was specifically brought on to promote DeSantis. pic.twitter.com/tXcqDmDrAX# p #4_9 # ad skipped = true #
— Natalie Martinez (@natijomartinez) August 28, 2018# p #5_9 # ad skipped = true #
The “Tea Party” group has nearly 95,000 members, the Ledger reported. In the past, group members have posted about the “ghetto scum” that is Black Lives Matter and made fun of the Parkland massacre survivors.
“One member believed the violent far-right rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 was a hoax,” the report noted, “writing in a post liked by 1,600 users that the rally was ‘orchestrated by the left’ to ‘destroy America.'”
Ward and her husband Michael were revealed to be administrators of the group in early July by Media Matters. Michael Ward was known to share posts from the candidate’s (verified) Facebook page and once called John McCain a “strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
After winning the GOP gubernatorial primary a day prior, DeSantis made headlines Wednesday after saying people who voted for his Democratic opponent — Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum — would “monkey up” the state.