Ron DeSantis, the Trump-lovingformer Republican congressman running for governor of Florida, has been running from accusations of racism ever since he warned Florida voters on Fox News not to "monkey this up" by electing Andrew Gillum, his Democratic African-American opponent. But he has also faced questions for his ties to extremist groups, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
On Wednesday night, during the second gubernatorial debate at Broward College, when moderator Todd McDermott asked DeSantis about that relationship, he visibly lost his temper.
"You've made appearances at four of David Horowitz's Freedom Center events," said McDermott. "Again, four separate times, four speeches. Among some of Mr. Horowitz's statements, quoting here, 'This country's only serious race war is against whites.'"
"You can play the McCarthyite game—" interrupted DeSantis heatedly.
"I'll ask the questions, it's not a McCarthy game," said McDermott. "Wait for the question, sir. He also said, 'If blacks are oppressed in America, why isn't there a black exodus?' Now, in 2015 in your speech before the Freedom Center, you said of Mr. Horowitz, 'David has done great work, and I've been an admirer. I've been to these conferences in the past, and I've been a big admirer of an organization that shoots straight, tells the American people the truth, and is standing up for the right thing. Those are his words—"
"He had not even made those statements then," said DeSantis.
"Yes he had, sir," said McDermott. "The first statement was made—"
"Well, how the hell am I supposed to know every statement that somebody makes?" DeSantis shouted, to boos from the audience. "I am not going to bow down to the altar of political correctness. I'm not going to let the media smear me."
When cornered, DeSantis had no defense. And his ill-tempered response spoke volumes.The fact is, even if DeSantis truly did not know those specific quotes until later, it is impossible to miss Horowitz's bigotry; he uses his entire organization as a platform to attack immigrants and Muslims.