Exclusive — Watch: FL Dem Gov Hopeful Crist Likens DeSantis to ‘Castro or Maduro’; Ignores Question About Fried’s Hitler Comparison

Last week, Florida Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Fried compared incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to Adolf Hitler during an interview with Florida public radio.

Fried received backlash for the remarks. However, her Democrat opponent, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), is not renouncing Fried for those remarks.

During a Zoom call hosted by the Okaloosa County, FL Democrats on Tuesday, Crist responded to a question from group vice chairman Davey Jones referencing his Democrat opponent’s comments about DeSantis and his push to establish a state-controlled militia.

Transcript as follows:

DAVEY JONES: OK so the last one I’m going to ask you is going to be kind of a difficult one. But we’ve gotten it in here in various forms, so I’m going to ask it. And what this is, is basically — so what are your opinions regarding DeSantis wanting to establish his own state guard separate from the Florida National Guard and how do you think – or do you think that ties into – do you have any opinion on the comment that Nikki Fried made on NPR “Florida Roundup” making a comparison to him and Nazi Germany.

CHARLIE CRIST: Yeah, well, I say it’s certainly smacks of authoritarianism. What you referred to in the first part of the question that is – having his own militia, answerable only to the governor of the state.

JONES: Right.

CRIST: That’s a little out there. Let’s be honest. And, you know, it kind of reminds you of, you know, different kinds of — you know, Castro or Maduro or the kind of leaders that are authoritarian, and what Republicans rail against, and now he’s starting to mimic. I mean, it’s bizarre. It’s really odd, and it’s off the chart and, and it needs to stop.

And we stop it on November 8. That’s Election Day in Florida. And again, I humbly ask for your vote. I thank you so much for the opportunity to be with you for this half hour tonight. I look forward to seeing you in person on the campaign trail. And if you want to help out the effort, just go to charliecrist.com and there’s all kinds of things you can choose to do. And God bless you. Thank you.

DeSantis press secretary Christine Pushaw condemned Crist for not being more outspoken in denouncing Fried’s remarks in comments given to Breitbart News.

“First off, it is appalling that Crist did not condemn Fried’s deranged Hitler comparison when asked directly,” she said. “The Zionist Organization of America, the Anti-Defamation League, StopAntisemitism.org, and others have correctly stated that Hitler/Nazi comparisons are deeply offensive and trivialize the actual victims of Hitler’s atrocities. There are a number of Holocaust survivors who live in Florida today, and I can’t imagine how they feel about a state official claiming that the governor of our state is the same as Hitler.”

“Not only did Crist tacitly endorse Fried’s disgusting invocation of Hitler, but he took it even further by comparing Governor DeSantis to left-wing dictators,” Pushaw added. “In addition to Holocaust survivors, there are also many Floridians who escaped from horrific communist regimes in Latin America, and they are acutely aware of how absurd and offensive it is to compare Castro or Maduro to Governor DeSantis.”

Pushaw also referenced a Crist visit to Cuba regarding heightened tensions in Venezuela and noted that Crist had arranged a photo-op with the communist Cuban officials.

“Charlie Crist quietly visited Cuba as tensions over Venezuela escalated,” she added. “Charlie Crist is the absolute last politician who should be likening anyone to Castro because he has openly supported the brutal regime in Cuba by visiting in 2019 and arranging photo ops with Communist officials.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.