Florida newspaper disgusted by Republicans refusing to disavow Nazi and white supremacist supporters
Florida Governor Rob DeSantis speaks at the University of Miami in 2019. (Shutterstock.com)

It's only been a few weeks since President Joe Biden made a speech calling out violent domestic terrorism from white supremacists, militia groups, neo-Nazis and others that have been embraced under the MAGA banner. Now the Miami Herald is concerned that too many of these groups are within Florida's borders and they're part of Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R-FL) supporters.

In an Editorial Board piece on Thursday, the Herald explained that these "extremists don’t always wear white robes and burn crosses." But they were certainly breaking through the windows of the Capitol on Jan. 6. they were flying swastika flags over interstate overpasses, they harassed those they believed were Jewish and people of color, they staged an event outside of a right-wing conference and held a rally outside of Disney World.

Groups like these were once hidden behind hoods and shamed into the dark corners of the internet. That is no longer the case, however. They've removed their hoods to march with tiki torches in Charlottesville and some replaced them with white gaiter face covering and ballcaps.

The Herald remarked that anyone concerned about what they've seen have been labeled by conservatives as "hysterical liberals."

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"Even as we learned about the Proud Boys’ close ties to Miami Republican politics, in addition to their prominent role in the Jan. 6 attacks, many state leaders remained mum," they wrote. Citing a new Anti-Defamation League report, they explained that "Florida has seen a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents — a 50% increase in 2021 compared to the previous year — and hate crimes. Nationwide, anti-Semitic acts also rose but at a slower pace of 34% increase. The organization also found that between 2020 and 2022, there were 400 instances of white supremacy propaganda distribution — 95% of those anti-Semitic — in the state."

They prefaced their comments with the note that neither DeSantis nor Trump said that they support Nazis or white supremacists, "through dog whistles like 'critical race theory' and an anti-LGBTQ agenda," and other buzzwords certainly embrace the ideologies.

"We cannot ignore that the GOP has an extremism problem — and an even bigger problem disavowing it within its ranks," the report explained. "Florida has the largest number of people arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attacks, according to the ADL. There was a “significant increase in violent rhetoric in right-wing online spaces” after the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the report found."

They recalled Trump telling the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by," during a 2020 debate, which then became a rallying cry for the militia group. They then helped organize attacks on the Capitol for Jan. 6. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) attended the white supremacist event, the America First Political Action Conference in Orlando.

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Any time that DeSantis is asked about it, he refuses to give an answer, instead saying Democrats are "trying to 'smear' him with the Jewish community and calling demonstrators 'jackasses' and 'malcontents.'" It shouldn't be difficult to reaffirm opposition to Nazis while also attacking Democrats, yet, DeSantis never manages it.

The Proud Boys growing in numbers in the Miami-Dade County GOP led the Herald Board to start asking Republican candidates about it.

"One of them fumbled her response, and did not strongly disavow extremism, so we changed our mind about recommending her in a Florida House primary," the board explained.

They closed by calling on all Florida leaders to speak up and disavow hate and extremism. It's unknown if it will happen, however.

Read the full column at the Miami Herald.