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Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried compares Governor DeSantis to Hitler

Nikki Fried
In this Nov. 2, 2018 photo Nikki Fried, Democratic candidate for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, speaks at a campaign rally in Miami. Fried is challenging Republican candidate Matt Caldwell. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is a gubernatorial candidate, compared Gov. Ron DeSantis to Adolf Hitler in a recent radio interview.

Fried told NPR’s Florida Roundup that DeSantis is an “authoritarian” just like Hitler.

“Instead of listening and trying to govern with the people, he’s trying to govern over the people. And that, I’m sorry, I’m a student of history too. I saw the rise of Hitler. I learned those stories,” Fried said.

When asked if she was comparing DeSantis to Hitler, Fried stood her ground.

“In a lot of ways, yes,” Fried told interviewer Melissa Ross. “I have studied Hitler and how he got to power. Wanting his own militia. Having his own army.”

Fried referred to a proposal to revive the Florida State Guard, an auxiliary force at the Governor’s command in emergencies, to take pressure off the National Guard, which is common in many states.
More than 20 other states have a state-controlled defense force.

Fried asserted the militia concept was “different” in Florida than in other states because “this Governor’s using it for the sole purposes of power.”

“And in doing so to make fear, to instill that, to blame people for what is happening in their lives, blaming certain parts of our society and our culture, and that’s exactly what Hitler did to Jews back in World War II.”

Fried discounted a question about whether she was in danger of invoking Godwin’s Law, which is “if you mention Adolf Hitler or Nazis within a discussion, you’ve automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in.”

“Do I think that we’re going to get to the extent of Hitler’s power? Of course not. But the rise of his power and what he did to scapegoat certain parts, especially the Jewish community in Germany, and how he utilized going after the media, going after and scapegoating people and blaming people and putting fear and taking over the military, that’s what this Governor is doing,” Fried said.

By Saturday afternoon, the first Republican call for Fried to step down came from a state legislator.

“As a Jew, I am repulsed by Nikki Fried comparing (Gov. DeSantis) to Hitler. No Governor has done more to help Jews in their state than Gov. DeSantis. She needs to disavow her repugnant anti-Semitism — or resign,” tweeted Rep. Randy Fine.