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White Supremacist Gathering in Florida Sparks Outrage

A Democratic state legislator from Central Florida is calling attention to neo-Nazi demonstrators who once again are in Winter Park at the corner of Lee Road and Orlando Avenue.

“Sad to report that Nazi scum and losers are back in Winter Park, holding their disgusting flags and banner. Working with local officials to see what options we have for accountability,” posted Rep. Anna V. Eskamani to social media on Saturday.

The group, photographed by a constituent of Eskamani’s, was brandishing a Nazi flag, a Confederate battle flag, and signs that appeared to say “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” and “Jews love genocide.”

The Florida Highway Patrol is said to be responding to this incident, and we will update if we get more information.

Purported Nazi demonstrations have been on the uptick of late, with increased brazenness and visibility of the groups in Central Florida and elsewhere.

They were seen last summer near Disney World. In 2022, a group of neo-Nazis lined a bridge in eastern Orange County, hanging the swastika flag and banners — including a banner with the pro-Donald Trump slogan “Let’s Go Brandon” — and yelling profanities and antisemitic slurs at passing cars.

We have reached out to the Governor’s Office for comment. Of course, the Governor’s political operation has been dealing with seemingly avoidable controversies regarding neo-Nazis for some time.

In a tweet posted after the 2022 incident and later deleted, former Gov. Ron DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw responded to Twitter outrage over the Orlando Nazi demonstration by asking, “Do we even know they’re Nazis?”

Pushaw then sought to clarify that statement. “I don’t know what you mean by ‘denying Nazis.’ I was referring to this event in VA, when a group of Democrats dressed up as White supremacists to discredit a (Glenn) Youngkin rally,” she told Florida Politics at the time.

Similar demonstrations where people wore Nazi regalia and brandished pro-DeSantis flags have happened in recent years, but the Orlando event seemed to lack any material purportedly promoting the Governor.

Last year, former senior aides to his presidential campaign oversaw the creation and distribution of a video featuring a Nazi symbol: the Sonnenrad, a circular symbol associated with Nazi Germany that appears near the end of the clip as something of a halo around the Governor’s head.

DeSantis’ campaign fired one aide, speechwriter Nate Hochman, who shared the video and reportedly had a hand in creating it. Hochman has since written a tell-all condemning the “downright embarrassing” campaign that let him go.

DeSantis claimed last year that he was “second to none” when it came to reacting “swiftly and decisively” to neo-Nazi protests when asked to respond to claims from Rep. Randy Fine, a former supporter of his who now backs Donald Trump, that DeSantis’ Florida turned a deliberate blind eye to neo-Nazi threats in recent months and years.

In the Washington Times, Fine wrote that he was “jumped by a Nazi in Florida” two weeks ago, and that’s “no big deal” in DeSantis’ Florida. DeSantis said Fine was just looking for his “15 minutes of fame.”

The latest neo-Nazi sighting comes as issues involving flags and the Confederacy are stalling out in the Senate. President Kathleen Passidomo told reporters a bill banning Pride flags from government buildings stalled out in committee and likely had no path, and that she likely wouldn’t bring a measure protecting Confederate monuments to the Senate floor since it was “weaponized” by opponents and proponents.