PALM BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke to reporters at an Everglades restoration funding event on Monday after multiple anti-Semitic rallies were held in Central Florida over the weekend.
In response, following the rallies DeSantis denounced Democrats whom he accuses of pinning the rallies on him.
‘Disgusting’: Rick Scott, other officials condemn anti-Semitic rallies in Central Florida
“We’re not playing their game… I’m not gonna have people try to smear me that belong to a political party that has elevated anti-Semites like [Rep.] Ilhan Omar, that have played footsie with the BDS movement,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis referred to the demonstrators as “jack***,” saying state law enforcement will hold them accountable because “they were doing stuff on the overpass.”
DeSantis added that Florida would sign the strongest anti-Semitism bill in the country.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to the area of Alafaya Trail and Waterford Lakes Parkway around noon Saturday, where a group of about 20 demonstrators had gathered.
“The group, assembled on public property, was reported by witnesses to be wearing clothing with ‘Nazi’ insignia and yelling profanities and anti-Semitic slurs at vehicles passing by,” a release from OCSO stated. “At one point, a physical fight ensued between a passerby and several of the demonstrators.”
According to OCSO, the group left the area and no arrests were made.
“The Orange County Sheriff’s Office deplores hate speech in any form, but people have the First Amendment right to demonstrate,” a release stated.
Multiple Florida officials posted on social media condemning the gatherings including Sen. Rick Scott.
DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw responded prior to the press event: “Gov. Ron DeSantis has ALWAYS condemned anti-Semitic attacks & hatred, and he always will. To suggest otherwise is just plain wrong. I am confident that Florida law enforcement will respond appropriately and justice will be served to any protester who violates the law.”
Pushaw said those calling on DeSantis to condemn the rallies aren’t coming from a place of good faith.
“Democrat politicians have falsely insinuated all weekend that the Governor’s policies are somehow responsible for the protest with Nazi symbols,” she wrote. “These aren’t ‘genuine questions.’ It’s a dirty political smear attempt, and people who say things like this aren’t fooling anyone. Not anymore.”
© © 1998-2022 WFLA, Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.