GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Ron DeSantis Moderated Racist, Conspiratorial Facebook Group

Florida’s GOP gubernatorial nominee Rep. Ron DeSantis administered a racist and conspiracy-obsessed Facebook group, until yesterday when research from Media Matters staffer Natalie Martinez revealed the lawmaker’s role on the page and forced him to leave it.

DeSantis, who was under fire yesterday for making what many deemed a racist remark toward his black opponent Andrew Gillum, helped manage the 95,000 members strong group as one of its 52 administrators. The other managers included failed Arizona Republican Senate candidate and conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward, white nationalist-tied Virginia GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart, and outspoken anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller.

As for the page’s content, members shared posts comparing Parkland high school shooting victims and Black Lives Matter activists to Adolf Hitler, accused NFL players protesting police brutality of kneeling “like ISIS,” and accusing Muslims of worshipping a religion dedicated to “pedophilia, sex slavery, rape gangs, and honor killings.” Other members pushed wild conspiracy theories common in right-wing Facebook culture, even claiming the Charlottesville white supremacist rally was actually “orchestrated by the left.”

The news came as DeSantis was already under fire for telling Florida voters not “monkey this up” by voting for his Democratic rival Gillum — who is of African American descent. DeSantis’s campaign pushed back against those who accused him of using a racist dog whistle with the “monkey” comment, saying instead that it was mischaracterized.

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma