Gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried took to Twitter on Sunday where she doubled down on her remark comparing Governor Ron DeSantis to Adolf Hitler, claiming that DeSantis calls back to Hitler in his demonization and scapegoating of the media while enacting authoritarian rule.
Fried, the current sitting state Agriculture Commissioner, compared DeSantis to the World War II dictator during a Jan. 14 WLRN South Florida interview, saying that DeSantis compares to Hitler “in many ways,” claiming that she studied the rise of Hitler’s power and finds many similarities.
“Do I think that we’re going to get to the extent of Hitler’s power?” Fried said. “Of course not. But the rise of his power and what he did to scapegoat certain people, and especially the Jewish community in Germany, and how he utilized going after the media, blaming people, and putting fear and then taking over the military. That’s what this governor is doing.”
The statement immediately drew the ire of high-ranking officials and organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
“While public officials may have disagreements over policies, comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazism are inappropriate, offensive, and trivialize this unique tragedy in human history,” the Florida ADL said in a statement.
Leon County GOP Chair Evan Powers described Fried’s comments as outrageous, stating “If you look at real, authoritative leaders in our history, they take rights away from people and try to force mandates from the government on those people. But what the governor has done to great success is give those freedoms back to the people and get the government out of the way.”
Fried refused to backtrack despite the mounting pressure against her, putting out an additional statement on Twitter where she further condemned DeSantis’ ‘anti-democratic demagoguery.’
“Ron DeSantis and his anti-democratic demagoguery is a danger to our state, our country, and yes, the world,” said Fried. “Choose your own historical example if you want, but it’s the damn truth.”
Ron DeSantis and his anti-democratic demagoguery is a danger to our state, our country, and yes, the world.
Choose your own historical example if you want, but it’s the damn truth.
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) January 16, 2022
First Lady Casey DeSantis responded to Fried’s remarks in an email to campaign supporters, where she slammed Fried for her comparison. “They will stop at nothing to distract from their failed policies. When they can’t win on the issues, all they can do is resort to their tactics of baseless attacks and mudslinging. Just this weekend, Florida Democrats compared Governor DeSantis to Hitler. This comparison is repulsive, offensive, and minimizes Hitler’s evil crimes against humanity.”
Fried is trailing DeSantis in early polls for the governor race, trailing the incumbent by 11 and 13 percentage points in each of the most recent Redfield and Wilton polls. Notably, in all of the Democratic Primary polls conducted thus far, Fried performs worse than party opponent Charlie Crist. When looking at the Gubernatorial projections, Crist trails DeSantis by just 7 and 8 percentage points, respectively.