Ron DeSantis stands gape-mouthed, speaking into a microphone.

Ron DeSantis’ Now-Fired Staffer Retweets Fan-Made Campaign Ad With Nazi Symbols

Whether it be Lauren Boebart’s rampant anti-Semitism or GOP megadonor Harlan Crow’s Hitler kink, Republican politicians across America seem to be not-so-quietly obsessed with the Third Reich. After all, one of Florida’s most outspoken hate groups, Moms For Liberty, used a quote from the Führer himself on the front page of one of their newsletters. It’s no secret that the American right-wing has become a safe haven for fascists of all shapes and sizes.

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Ron DeSantis, the discount autocrat governor of Florida, recently saw his administration come under fire after a staffer reposted a DeSantis presidential campaign video that was edited to include Nazi symbols. The clip features a “doomer” watching an online video featuring negative headlines about Donald Trump while looking depressed. Suddenly Ron DeSantis appears on the doomer’s screen and he looks elated. The video then ends with a depiction of the “sonnenrad” (aka “sunwheel/black sun”) with DeSantis’ face in the middle flanked on the left and right by military personnel.

Yikes.

The video has since been deleted from the original account, but not before it went viral across the internet. As described by the Anti-Defamation League, the sonnenad is an ancient European symbol that was adopted by the Nazis to depict the Aryan/Norse “master race”. The symbol was used by the Nazis themselves and Hitler’s paramilitary SS division.

The video obviously drew a ton of condemnation online. Florida Democratic congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost tweeted a well-deserved I told you so to politicians who criticized his accusation that the Florida governor acts like a fascist leader.

“When I first started calling [DeSantis] a fascist, I got blowback from folks in both parties,” Frost tweeted. “Now, he’s being so overt about it that people are coming around. Calling DeSantis a fascist isn’t hyperbole, it’s defining what he is.”

This is far from the first time that right-wing supporters have used obscure Nazi symbols to dogwhistle their support of fascism. Seemingly benign symbols like the “OK” hand gesture as well as the number 1488 (a reference to the white supremacist maxim “we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”) are frequently used in both real-world online spaces to show sympathy and support for fascist ideals. It’s no wonder DeSantis’ staffer thought this video would appeal to his boss’ base.

By the way, the DeSantis campaign has cut ties with the staffer who retweeted the video but not because the Florida governor or anyone on his team necessarily found it objectionable. It appears that this was likely just one casualty of mass layoffs, as DeSantis reportedly needs to cut campaign costs—understandable, given his ever-increasing unpopularity as a candidate and a human being.

(featured image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)


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Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.