Florida Governor's Race Candidate Compares DeSantis to Hitler for 'Abuse of Power'
00:20 GMT 16.01.2022 (Updated: 08:21 GMT 16.01.2022)
The Florida gubernatorial primary is expected to be held in August of this year. Fried will campaign against former Florida Governor Charlie Crist and others in the hopes of defeating DeSantis in November's general election.
Nikki Fried, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida and currently an agriculture commissioner, has compared Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler.
In an interview with
Florida public radio that aired on Friday, Fried was discussing the governor and his domestic policies in the state. According to the commissioner, "instead of listening and trying to govern with the people, he is trying to govern over the people".
"I'm sorry, I'm a student of history, too. I saw the rise of Hitler", the 44-year-old said, adding when pressed if she was drawing a direct parallel between DeSantis and the Nazi leader, "in a lot of ways, yes".
Fried claimed that she had "studied" Hitler and the ways he came to power, "you know, wanting his own militia", referring to DeSantis' decision to re-establish a state guard, which is used by other states in the event of an emergency.
"The reason why this governor wants it is different than the other states that have been utilising it for emergency purposes", she added. "This governor is doing it for the sole purposes of power and doing so to make fear and...blaming certain parts of our society and culture, and that's exactly what Hitler did to the Jews back during World War II".
Fried was then asked about individuals who think that making Hitler parallels is inappropriate, and she indicated that politicians who do so have "lost the plot".
"Not at all, I mean look, do I think that we are going to get to the extent of Hitler's power?", Fried responded. "Of course not, but the rise of his power and what he did to scapegoat certain parts and certainly the Jewish community in Germany and how he utilised going after the media, going after and scapegoating people and blaming people and putting fear and taking over the military. That's what this governor is doing".
Fox News reported
upon the statements, with DeSantis' press secretary Christina Pushaw telling the outlet that Fried's words belittle Hitler's atrocities.
"Nikki Fried's claim that Governor DeSantis is a modern day Hitler is as offensive as it is absurd", Pushaw said. "With this hysterical comparison, Fried not only smears millions of Floridians as Nazis, but also trivialises Hitler's crimes against humanity".
In the comments section, however, many users recalled one of the internet's oldest memes,
"Godwin's Law", which states that the longer the debate goes on, the more likely it is that a participant in the discussion will compare an opponent to Hitler, with Pushaw calling Fried's comparisons a "sign of desperation or intellectual laziness".
And more to the controversy from the same interview, when discussing the high level of Republican support among the state's Hispanic communities, the politician said that the members of such communities "had the wool pulled over their eyes", by a "radical right party".
Fried also criticised the governor's stance
on not allowing private businesses in the state to impose vaccine mandates. The gubernatorial candidate noted that DeSantis "went even further" when he allegedly said that he "was going to try to eliminate diversity and inclusion training", while it was, in fact, corporations and businesses who were promoting the idea of equality and inclusiveness in the workforce.