A classic guilt-by-association smear — that was the apparent effort undertaken by The Washington Post’s Beth Reinhard and Emma Brown in an article published Sunday casting aspersions on Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), the Sunshine State’s GOP gubernatorial nominee, for his past association with David Horowitz.
The Post article, headlined “GOP candidate for Fla. governor spoke at racially charged events,” used the fact that DeSantis spoke at conferences organized by David Horowitz to unfairly and falsely label him as a racist.
According to the Post‘s Reinhard and Brown, DeSantis associating with Horowitz constitutes some sort of scandal.
“DeSantis, elected to represent north-central Florida in 2012, appeared at the David Horowitz Freedom Center conferences in Palm Beach, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, said Michael Finch, president of the organization,” the Post reported.
“At the group’s annual Restoration Weekend conferences, hundreds of people gather to hear right-wing provocateurs such as Stephen K. Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos and Sebastian Gorka sound off on multiculturalism, radical Islam, free speech on college campuses and other issues.”
Horowitz, known as a staunch conservative who spent his early life as a radical socialist, grew up in a household of Soviet Union-sympathizers and was a Marxist for much of his younger days. Horowitz has written at length about how he abandoned those views and became a conservative.
The 79-year-old had become more outspoken about his views over the last two decades and had been described by many as a provocateur for his views on Islam and political correctness. Due to his hardline stances and provocative statements, his views have repeatedly been taken out of context to smear him as a racist.
The Post‘s article continued to smear DeSantis by trying to associate him with other speakers at the event like former Google employee James Damore, author Douglas Murray, and Katie Hopkins.
Reinhard and Brown quoted a statement given to them from a spokesman for DeSantis responding to the claim.
“[DeSantis] appreciates those who support his efforts and is happy to be judged on his record,” it said.
“He does not, though, buy into this ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ notion that he is responsible for the views and speeches of others,” the statement added.
The Post also claimed that DeSantis’ “positions on matters of race are under scrutiny,” and cites the media-created furor over DeSantis saying in a Fox News appearance that Florida voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by embracing socialism to bolster the claim.
“I watched those Democrats debate and none of that is just my cup of tea, but he performed better than the other people there, so we gotta work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction,” DeSantis said.
“Let’s build off the success we’ve had on Gov. Scott. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases bankrupting the state,” he added. “That is not going to work.”
The establishment media immediately jumped on the use of the word “monkey” to accuse DeSantis of racism because his opponent, Tallahassee, FL Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is African-American.
DeSantis’ communications director Stephen Lawson addressed the controversy.
“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Gillum espouses,” Lawson said in a statement. “To characterize it as anything else is absurd. Florida’s economy has been on the move for the last eight years, and the last thing we need is a far-left democrat trying to stop our success.”
Also included in Reinhard and Brown’s piece were quotes from people other than DeSantis and at the end of the article, Horowitz is quoted, saying, “There’s nothing racist about me.”
“I want blacks to be treated with the same dignity as anyone else, not like an endangered species that needs to be protected. I think the liberal view of blacks is very patronizing.”
Finally, Horowitz tells the Post, “You can’t pin me on DeSantis. He’s not like me. I don’t think he would call Democrats communists and crooks like I do.”
The Post‘s article is yet another media-created attempt to boost DeSantis’ Democratic opponent using misleading reporting. While the media seizes upon an awkward gaffe to accuse DeSantis of racism, there is still no proof that he has done or said anything bigoted, and even The Washington Post‘s best efforts have yet to show otherwise.