Leftists call DeSantis a 'fascist dictator' for proposing to revive Florida state guard

Several other states across the country including New York and California have similar civilian forces.


Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)'s plans to create a "State Guard" for Florida have caused concern among his left-wing critics, who are calling the move "fascist."

According to the plan, the Republican state leader would control the civilian-military force to assist "state-specific emergencies."

The GOP governor's $3.5 million dollar plan would use funds from the state's armed forces budget and would "enable civilians to be trained in the best emergency response techniques," making them capable of assisting in the "event of a hurricane, natural disasters and other state emergencies."

The inititative is not without historical precedent. Florida did have its own State Guard during World War II to replace members of the National Guard serving overseas, although the entity was later disbanded in 1947.

Several other states across the country including New York and California have similar civilian forces, supporters of DeSantis have noted.

Many commentators are criticizing the very idea of a State Guard, however. Pundits in the mainstream media have "alleged the Florida governor was attempting to establish his own paramilitary force," according to Fox News.

Florida agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried stated on Twitter: "Can't believe I have to say this, but Florida doesn't need a paramilitary force that only answers to @RonDeSantisFL. Millions of Floridians know what it's like to live under regimes like this — and came to our state to escape them. This must be stopped."

"No Governor should have his own handpicked secret police," said Rep. Charlie Christ, a 2022 Florida gubernatorial Democrat candidate.

"Florida governor Ron DeSantis is either openly preparing for a break from the federal government or he wants his followers to *believe* he is. Either way, it's extremely dangerous for the future of the United States," commented Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official.

MSNBC host Joy Reid sounded the alarm, describing the proposal as "fascisty bananas" on Twitter. The tweet garnered over 17,000 likes, but even liberal actress Sarah Silverman pushed back against Reid's hyperbolic remark: "Please read the article before you post this stuff you’re a news outlet. The truth has to matter."

In the CNN article shared by left-wing figures across social media, the published piece covering the proposal doesn't acknowledge that that Florida would be the 23rd state to establish such a force until the write-up's fourth paragraph.

"WOW: GOP Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis wants to form a personal militia like the 'political' leaders in Iraq have. It would be a militia that only answers to him. This is the beginning of a 'Red Army' as the GOP prepares for war. Literally," liberal SiriusXM radio host Dean Obeidallah reacted to the CNN report.

"'And that, children, was the genesis of Florida's nuclear weapons program,'" disgraced Lincoln Project's co-founder Rick Wilson wrote.

"So...fascism," Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali tweeted.

"What wannabe totalitarian, fascist, authoritarian dictators do," MSNBC analyst Fernand Amandi similarly wrote on Twitter.

A spokesperson for Gov. DeSantis blasted the liberal media's coverage.

"Today, 'DeSantis' was trending on Twitter alongside 'Gestapo.' This is a result of sensationalist false narratives pushed by irresponsible journalists," DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw told Fox News. "The fact is that 22 other states already have a State Guard, like proposed for Florida. Calling them 'Gestapo' is disrespectful, not only to the service members who assist states in emergencies, but also to victims of the actual Gestapo," the spokeswomen added.

Pushaw slammed the corporate media's "super-spreaders of disinformation" who are "desperate to score cheap political points against Governor DeSantis, but they aren't fooling Floridians." She touted Florida as "the freest state in the country, because we have a governor who fights to defend our constitutional rights – even in the face of an unprecedented onslaught from the Biden Administration."

"Protecting citizens' freedom to live their lives and make their own choices, as Governor DeSantis does, is the opposite of dictatorship," Pushaw stated.

DeSantis, who has clashed with the Biden administration in recent months, emphasized that a state guard was "not encumbered by the federal government."

"We want to be able to have a quick response capability," DeSantis said at a press conference unveiling the proposal. "Re-establishing the Florida State Guard will allow civilians from all over the state to be trained in the best emergency response techniques and have the ability to mobilize very, very quickly."


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