Florida GOP Candidate Ron DeSantis Flips Out During Debate When Asked About Association With Racist Group

Florida’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis had a rough night on Wednesday. During a debate between DeSantis and his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum, the Donald Trumploving GOP candidate was asked to explain his association with David Horowitz’s Freedom Center, an extreme right-wing organization that targets minority groups like African-Americans and Muslims.

During the second gubernatorial debate, hosted at Broward College, moderator Todd McDermott questioned DeSantis about his relationship with the Freedom Center. To say that DeSantis did not respond well would be a bit of an understatement.

“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.”

Here’s a little background on David Horowitz and his so-called “Freedom Center.”

From The Southern Poverty Law Center:

“In 1988, David Horowitz founded the Center for the Study of Popular Culture in Los Angeles to “establish a conservative presence in Hollywood and show how popular culture had become a political battleground.” In 2006, the center was rebranded the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC) and turned its focus toward “the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values.”

Under Horowitz’s direction, the Freedom Center has launched a network of projects giving anti-Muslim voices and radical ideologies a platform to project hate and misinformation. Funding these figures and ideas fits into Horowitz’s multi-front information war against the political left, which he claims has a stranglehold on mainstream culture. A fellow conservative has called him “something of a Stalinist,” and his FrontPage magazine ironically carries the tagline “Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” Horowitz took to far-right politics after participating in the radical left politics of the 1960s.”

Horowitz has also been a vocal critic of African-Americans, describing them as ungrateful and violent. Here are a few quotes:

“If not for the sacrifices of white soldiers and a white American president who gave his life to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks in America would still be slaves … Where is the gratitude of black America and its leaders for those gifts?”
—“Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery Is a Bad Idea — and Racist Too,” FrontPage Magazine, January 3, 2001

“Unfortunately, as a nation we have become so trapped in the melodrama of black victimization and white oppression that we are in danger of losing all sense of proportion. If blacks are oppressed in America, why isn’t there a black exodus?”
—“Guns Don’t Kill Black People, Other Blacks Do,” Salon, August 16, 1999

For DeSantis to claim that he had no idea about Horowitz’s bigotry after speaking before his organization almost a dozen times means he’s either lying or never bothered to do any research before cashing checks. And let’s not forget his casual “monkey this up” remark about his black opponent that set the tone for his campaign.

Meanwhile, hypocritical Republicans like DeSantis were quick to condemn President Barack Obama for his loose ties to people like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but seem to think it’s unfair for their associations with racist groups to be called into question.

Featured image Screengrab via YouTube.