Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faces the wrath of black leaders after the racial killings in Jacksonville


Tallahassee, Fla. (AP) — NAACP’s Ron DeSantis mocked I issued a travel advisory this spring Warning blacks to use “extreme caution” if traveling to Florida.

The leading civil rights group said the state’s broad gun laws and the Republican governor’s “anti-wake-up” campaign to deny the existence of systemic racism had created a culture of “open hostility toward African Americans and people of color.”

And just three months later, DeSantis is leading his state across After a racist attack left three African Americans dead. Black leaders in Florida — and across the country — say they are outraged by his actions and rhetoric prior to the shooting.

“the ruler. “DeSantis created and pushed an anti-Black narrative of division and hate,” said Rev. Jeffrey Romelin, pastor of the Dayspring Church in Jacksonville, where three black people were shot dead at a Dollar General store over the weekend by a white man. A man holding a swastika on his assault rifle.

Romelin criticized DeSantis for not explicitly calling the killer a racist at a vigil Sunday in Jacksonville. Disantis was The vigil was booedHe called the shooter a “major league bastard” and said, “We will not allow people to be targeted based on their race.”

Governor of Florida too This week’s response to a tropical storm And he, who has been pressing for much of his term, has faced multiple challenges over race since launching his presidential campaign. He has been criticized by his Republican rivals New Florida Education Standards on Slavery While losing his popularity to former President Donald Trump, the front-runner in the Republican primaries.

DeSantis’ team, always defiant, dismissed suggestions that he had not adequately condemned the weekend shooting and broadly ignored the concerns of the African American community in the state. Republican governor He won a landslide re-election Last fall, that included the heart of the traditionally Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade County, which has a majority Hispanic population. He made modest gains among black voters.

“This shooting was a terrible tragedy, and it is unfortunate that the Associated Press decided to collect and amplify false talking points as a report on this horrific event,” said Brian Griffin, a spokesman for DeSantis’ campaign. “Ron DeSantis has repeatedly condemned racially motivated killings in the strongest language possible. … He will not tolerate racial hatred or violence in Florida, and we reject your politicization of this horrific event.”

Tragedy overshadowed the Republican presidential campaign this week as candidates faced uncomfortable questions about the party Increased attraction among white supremacists and the GOP’s battle against so-called “vigilance” politics on race and gender. While DeSantis has not mentioned his “wake-up war” in recent days, cultural issues have been a focus of his campaign.

And nearly all of the candidates have adopted a similar message, aimed at appealing to the white conservative base of the Republican Party Reducing the existence of racism in America And Restriction of LGBTQ rights. In order to win the general election next fall, the Republican nominee will likely need to attract a more diverse group of voters. But the main battle will not be decided for several months.

Senator Tim Scott, one of three black Republicans running for president, called on his party to speak out against the latest tragedy while campaigning in his home state of South Carolina.

“I think we should all stand up and say that any act of violence against someone because of the color of their skin is terrible,” he told reporters. “We saw three African Americans die because of the color of their skin over the weekend. This is devastating.

He avoided answering directly when asked if the Republican Party had done enough to condemn white supremacist violence.

The question is: Have humans done enough to talk about racism, discrimination, and the use of violence? “I think that’s the responsibility of every American, whether the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, without any party affiliation,” Scott said.

In a radio interview with conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley said there was no clear explanation for such violence.

“There is a lot of hate online through social media. We have a lot of mental health issues. You combine that with the rhetoric going on in America about being divided and being able to hide behind something,” said Healy, who was serving as governor of South Carolina. On social media and anger, it makes a bad cocktail.” When a racist gunman attacked a black church Nine people were killed. “And when you get to that, people die.”

Haley, whose parents immigrated from India to South Carolina, declared in her presidential proclamation that America is not a racist nation.

Republicans have little political incentive to appeal to voters of color — in the initial phase of the presidential campaign, at least.

A third (35%) of Americans say racism is a “very big problem” in the United States, according to a June poll from the Pew Research Center. Only 14% of Republicans see racism as a very important issue, compared to 55% of Democrats.

Meanwhile, a quarter of Republicans believe that being white hurts a person’s ability to get ahead, according to one study. April study from the Pew Research Center. Republicans are as likely to say that being black helps (33%) a person’s ability to advance in the United States as they are to say that it hurts (34%) their ability to advance.

African American leaders have criticized what they call A pattern of “politics violence” against people of color imposed by the DeSantis administration that has reached a low point after the recent release of public school curricula on black history.

Florida House of Representatives Democratic Leader Ventrice Driskill has argued that DeSantis’ policies on race combine to encourage racists and extremists.

She pointed to the Republican governor’s “Stop-WOKE” law, which limits discussions of race in schools and businesses; his ban on diversity and equality in Florida colleges; and a newly adopted black history syllabus that suggested there were benefits to slavery. She also noted DeSantis’ relaxation of gun laws, including a new law that allows people to carry guns without a permit or training.

“We’ve given warnings – don’t pass this legislation because it will only inflame tensions, don’t pass this nasty bill because it will promote vigilance, don’t pass this bill because it will divide our communities,” Driskill said. He has gained support from the far right. plays with it. And that rhetoric always led to violence.”

Democratic Representative Angie Nixon, who represents the district where the weekend killings took place, swung between angry screams, tears and profanity when she condemned DeSantis in an interview.

“He refuses to use the word black. He refuses to call this guy a racist. He calls him a bastard. No!” Nixon said. “He’s circumventing the real issue because he’s worried his poll numbers will fall with the voter base he’s been religiously pursuing.”

DeSantis mocked the NAACP’s travel advice as a “political stunt” in May when he launched his presidential campaign.

“The claim that Florida is unsafe is a complete farce,” DeSantis said in a conversation with Elon Musk. “I mean, are you kidding me? If you look at cities all over this country, they are mired in crime. And in Florida, our crime rate is at its lowest level in 50 years.

On Monday, NAACP President Derek Johnson said DeSantis deserves real blame for the weekend shooting.

“What Governor DeSantis has done is create an atmosphere for these kinds of tragedies to happen,” Johnson said. “And that’s exactly why we issue travel advisories.”

___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writers Linley Sanders in Washington; Meg Kennard in Charleston, South Carolina; Michelle L. Contributed to this report. Price is from Indianland, South Carolina.

This article originally appeared on apnews.com

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